Once he saw Buzzard flying high in the air. He was dipping, and soaring, and flying in circles. His performance was worthy of admiration. After
watching him for a while Manabush said to himself, "If I could only fly like him, how I should enjoy looking down on things on earth." He moved his
arms as if flying. He continued to do this for some time. Buzzard, noting his strange behavior, floated down. Manabush told him that he would like
to be able to fly like him and from the sky look down on the earth. He would like to see what everyone was doing.
Buzzard laughed and told him that, not being a bird, he would never be able to fly. Just waving his arms would accomplish nothing. Buzzard told
him to get on his back and to hold on. Soon they were high in the air. They flew about for quite long distances. Manabush did not see as much as he
wished. It was so hard to keep his hold on Buzzard's back. He wanted to get back to earth. So Buzzard flew down to a high mountain peak. There he
left him and flew away. The sides of the mountain were very steep. It was a very dangerous place. After a while Manabush decided to try to plane
down to earth. He spread his arms and jumped out as far as he could. His downward flight was swift. He landed safely in a hollow tree. Here he
was a prisoner for several days. He tried to get out but was not able to do so. At this time some women, who had come from their camp to get wood,
found this dead tree. They decided to chop it down. Not wishing to frighten them away Manabush imitated the call of a porcupine crying, "ya he, ya
he, ya he!" Thinking that they had found a porcupine the women chopped down the tree. When Manabush crawled out they were frightened and ran
|He Wants To Fly
A Menomini Legend
Music: The Healing of Hand by Kevin Mockingbird
|Manabozho Plays Lacrosse
A Menomini Legend
Now it happened that the beings above challenged the beings below to a mighty game of lacrosse. The beings below were not slow to accept the gage
and the goals were chosen, one at Detroit and the other at Chicago.
The center of the field was at a spot called Ke'sosasit ("where the sun is marked,"[on the rocks]) near Sturgeon Bay on Lake Michigan. The above
beings called their servants, the thunderers, the eagles, the geese, the ducks, the pigeons, and all the fowls of the air to play for them, and the great
white underground bear called upon the fishes, the snakes, the otters, the deer, and all the beasts of the field to take the part of the powers below.
When everything was arranged, and the two sides were preparing, Manabozho happened along that way. As he strolled by he heard someone
passing at a distance and whooping at the top of his voice. Curious to see who it was, Manabozho hastened over to the spot whence the noise
emanated. Here he found a funny little fellow, like a tiny Indian, no other, however, than Nakuti, the sunfish. "What on earth is the matter with
you?" queried Manabozho.
"Why haven't you heard?" asked sunfish, astonished; "tomorrow there is going to be a ball game, and fishes and the beasts of the field will take the
part of the powers below against the thunderers and all the fowls, who are championing the powers above." "Oh ho!" said Manabozho, and the
simple Nakuti departed, whooping with delight. "Well, well," thought Manabozho, "I must see this famous game, even if I was not invited."
The chiefs of the underworld left their homes in the waters and climbed high up on a great mountain where they could look over the whole field, and
having chosen this spot they returned.
Manabozho soon found their tracks and followed them to the place of vantage which they had selected. He judged by its appearance that they decided
to stay there, so he concluded that he would not be far away when the game commenced. Early next morning, before daybreak, he went to the place,
and through his magic power he changed himself into a tall pine tree, burnt on one side.
At dawn, he heard a great hubbub and whooping. From everywhere he heard derisive voices calling "Hau! Hau! Hau!" and "Hoo! Hoo! Hoo!" to
urge on the enemy. Then appeared the deer, the mink, the otter, and all the land beings and the fishes in human form. They arrived at their side of the
field and took their places and all became silent for a time.
Suddenly the sky grew dark, and the rush of many wings made a thunderous rumbling, above which rose whoops, screams, screeches, cackling,
calling, hooting, all in one terrific babel. Then the thunderers swooped down, and the golden eagles, and the bald eagles, and the buzzards, hawks,
owls, pigeons, geese, ducks, and all manner of birds, and took the opposite end of the field. Then silence dropped down once more, and the sides lined
up, the weakest near the goals, the strongest in the center. Someone tossed the ball high in the air and a pell mell melee followed, with deafening
howling and whooping's.
Back and forth surged the players, now one side gaining, now the other. At last one party wrested the ball through the other's ranks and sped it
toward the Chicago goal. Down the field it went, and Manabozho strained his eyes to follow its course. It was nearly at the goal, the keepers were
rushing to guard it and in the midst of the brandished clubs, legs, arms, and clouds of dust something notable was happening that Manabozho could
not see. In his excitement he forgot where he was and changed back into a man.
Once in human shape he came to himself, and looking about, noted that the onlookers had not discovered him. Fired by his lust for revenge he
promptly took his bow, which he had kept with him all the time, strung it, and fired twice at each of the underground gods as they sat on their
mountain. His arrows sped true, and the gods rushed for the water, falling all over themselves as they scurried down the hill. The impact of their
diving caused great waves to roll down the lake towards the Chicago goal. Some of the players saw them coming, rolling high over the tree tops.
"Manabozho, Manabozho!" they cried in breathless fright.
At once all the players on both sides rushed back to the center field to look. "What is the matter?" said everyone to everyone else. "Why it must have
been Manabozho; he's done this; nobody else would dare to attack the underground gods." When the excited players reached the center of the field
they found the culprit had vanished. "Let's all look for Manabozho," cried someone. "We will use the power of the water for our guide." So the
players all waded into the water, and the water rose up and went ahead of them. It knew very well where Manabozho had gone.
In the meantime Manabozho was skipping away as fast as he could, for he was frightened at what the consequences of his rashness might be. All at
once he happened to look back and saw the water flowing after him. He ran faster and faster, but still it came. He strained himself to his utmost
speed and it gained on him. On, on, led the chase, further, and further away.
"Oh dear! I believe that water will get me yet!" worried Manabozho. As he scampered he saw a high mountain, on the top of which grew a lofty pine.
"I guess I'll go there and ask for help," thought Manabozho. So up the mountain side he raced, with the water swiftly rising behind him. "Hee'ee!
Nasee'! Oh my dear little brother," gasped Manabozho to the pine tree, "won't you help me? Save me from the water! I am talking to you, pine tree."
"How can I help you?" asked the pine deliberately. "You can let me climb on you, and every time I reach your top, you can grow another length>"
cried Manabozho anxiously, for the water was coming on.
"But I haven't so much power as all that; I can only grow four lengths." "Oh, that will do anyway, I'll take that!" screamed Manabozho in terror,
jumping into the branches just a few inches ahead of the water. With all his might and main Manabozho climbed, but the water wet his feet as it rose,
rose, rose. He reached the top. "Oh, little brother, stretch yourself," he begged. The pine tree shot up one length, and Manabozho climbed faster than
ever, but still the water followed. "Oh, little brother, stretch yourself," he entreated. Up shot the pine tree, and up climbed Manabozho, but the water
followed inexorably. When he reached the top, the tree shot up again, but still the water rose. "Stretch yourself, only once more, little brother, give me
just one more length," prayed Manabozho, "maybe it will save me; if it doesn't, why I'll be drowned." Up shot the pine tree for the fourth and last
time. Manabozho climbed to the top, and the water followed. There it stopped. Manabozho clung to the tree with all his might, frightened half to
death, but it rose no more.
A Menomini Legend
In the beginning, there was a lone old woman living on this island. Nobody knows where she came from, nor how she got there, but it is true that she
dwelt in a wigwam with her only daughter. Wild potatoes were the only food of the two women.
Every day the old woman took her wooden hoe and went out to gather them. She packed them home and dried them in the sun, for in those days,
there was no such thing as fire in that part of the world.
One day her daughter begged to go with her. "Mother, let me go and help you; between us we can dig more potatoes than you can alone." "No, my
daughter, you stay here," said the old woman; "I don't want you to go. Your place is at home caring for the lodge." "Oh dear! I don't like to stay here
alone all day," teased the girl; "it's so lonely when you are gone! I'd much rather go with you. There is another old hoe here that I can use. Please let
me go too."
At last, the old woman consented to her daughter's pleading; the two armed themselves with their tools and set out. After a little journey they came to
a damp ravine. "Here is the place where I always come to gather the potatoes," cried the mother; "you can dig here too. But there is one thing that I
must warn you about, when you are digging these potatoes; I want you to face the south. Be sure not to forget this. It was because I was afraid that
you could not be trusted to remember that I never brought you here before." "Oh, that's all right, I won't forget," cried the girl. "Very well then, you
stay right here and work; I am going to dig over there."
The girl set to work with a will, and enjoyed her task very much. "Oh how nice it is to dig potatoes!" she said, and kept up a running stream of
conversation with her mother as she labored. As the time passed by, the daughter gradually forgot her promise and at last turned round and faced in
the opposite direction as she dug. All at once there came a great rushing, roaring noise from the heavens and the wind swept down where she stood
and whirled her round and round. "Oh, mother! Help! Come quick!" she screamed. Her mother dropped everything and rushed to her aid. "Grab me
by the back and hold me down!" cried the girl in terror. The old lady seized her with one hand and steadied herself, meanwhile, by catching hold of
some bushes. "Hold me as tightly as you can!" she gasped. "Now you see why I told you to stay at home! You are being properly punished for your
Suddenly the wind stopped. The air was as calm as though nothing had ever happened. The two women hastily gathered up their potatoes and
hurried home. After that the old woman worked alone. Everything went well for a while, and then, one day the daughter complained, "I feel very
strange and different, mother; there seems to be something within me." The old woman scrutinized the girl narrowly, but made no answer, for she
knew that her daughter was pregnant. At last, she was brought to bed and gave birth to three children. The first of these was Manabozho, the second
was a little wolf, Muh'wase, and the last was a sharp flint stone. When the unfortunate mother gave issue to the rock, it cut her and she died. The old
woman mourned her daughter greatly. In a paroxysm of rage and grief, she threw away the flint stone, but Manabozho and Muh'wase she cherished
and cared for until they grew to be children.
|Manabozho's Wolf Brother
A Menomini Legend
When Manabozho had accomplished the works for which Kisha' Ma'nido sent him down to the earth, he went far away and built his wigwam on the
northeastern shore of a large lake, where he took up his abode.
As he was alone, the good manidos concluded to give him for a companion his twin brother, whom they brought to life and called Naq'pote (which
signifies an expert marksman). He was formed like a human being, but being a manido, could assume the shape of a wolf, in which form he hunted
Manabozho was aware of the anger of the bad manidos who dwelt beneath the earth, and warned his brother, the Wolf, never to return home by
crossing the lake, but always to go around along the shore.
Once after the Wolf had been hunting all day long he found himself directly opposite his wigwam, and being tired, concluded to cross the lake. He had
not gone halfway across when the ice broke, so the Wolf was seized by the bad manidos, and destroyed.
Manabozho at once knew what had befallen his brother, and in his distress mourned for four days. Every time that Manabozho sighed the earth
trembled, which caused the hills and ridges to form over its surface. Then the shade of Moquaio, the Wolf, appeared before Manabozho, and knowing
that his brother could not be restored Manabozho told him to follow the path of the setting sun and become the chief of the shades in the Hereafter
where all would meet. Manabozho then secreted himself in a large rock near Mackinaw.
Here his uncles, the people, for many years visited Manabozho, and always built a long lodge, the mita'wiki'mik, where they sang; so when
Manabozho did not wish to see them in his human form he appeared to them in the form of a little white rabbit, with trembling ears, just as he had
first appeared to Nokomis.
|Mashenomak, The Fish Monster
A Menomini Legend
A fish water-monster frequently caught Indian fishermen. He dragged them down into the lake and there devoured them. The people were in great
fear and distress. They appealed to Manabush to help them. This he promised to do. He asked his grandmother to hand him his singing sticks. He
told her he was going to allow himself to be swallowed by the giant fish. He was going to destroy him. He built a raft and floated out into the lake. As
he floated he sang, "Mashenomak, come and eat me; you will feel good." The monster saw Manabush and told his children to swallow him. One of
the young Mashenomak darted to swallow the demigod who said, "I want Mashenomak to swallow me." This made Mashenomak angry, and he
swallowed Manabush. He became unconscious. When he recovered he found that his brothers, Bear, Deer, Porcupine, Raven, Pine Squirrel and
others were also prisoners in the water monster's belly.
Manabush then sang his war song. He asked them to sing and dance with him. As the dancers passed around the belly of the Mashenomak it made
him reel. As Manabush passed he thrust his knife into his heart. This caused the monster to have convulsions. Manabush thrust his knife three times
into his heart. After this he said, "Mashenomak, swim toward my wigwam." The monster's body quaked and rolled so violently that all again became
unconscious. When Manabush returned to consciousness all was motionless and quiet. The monster was dead.
He was lying on shore. Manabush cut a hole in the body and saw daylight. Then he took his singing sticks and began to sing. As he continued to sing
his brothers recovered. He cut a larger hole and all emerged from the body. All thanked Manabush and went to their wigwams. Thus the fish
monster Mashenomak was destroyed.
|The Deceived Blind Men
A Menomini Legend
There was a settlement on the shore of a lake, and among its people were two very old blind men. It was decided to remove these men to the opposite
side of the lake, where they might live in safety.
The people thought the settlement unsafe, as the settlement was exposed to the attack of enemies, and feared the blind men might easily be captured
So the relations of the old men got a canoe, some food, a kettle, and a bowl and started across the lake, where they built for them a wigwam in a grove
some distance from the water. A line was stretched from the door of the wigwam to a post in the water, so that they would have no difficulty in
The food and vessels were put in the wigwam, and after the relations of the old men promised them that they would call often and keep them provided
with everything that was needful, they returned to the settlement.
The two old blind men now began to take care of themselves. On one day one of them would do the cooking while the other went for water, and on the
next day they would change about in their work, so that their labors were evenly divided. As they knew just how much food they required for each
meal, the quantity prepared was equally divided, but was eaten out of the one bowl which they had.
Here they lived in contentment for several years; but one day a Raccoon, which was following the water's edge looking for crawfish, came to the line
which had been stretched from the lake to the wigwam. The Raccoon thought it rather curious to find a cord where he had not before observed one,
and wondered to himself, "What is this? I think I shall follow this cord to see where it leads."
So he followed the path along which the cord was stretched until he came to the wigwam. Approaching very cautiously, he went up to the entrance,
where he saw the two old men asleep on the ground, their heads at the door and their feet directed toward the heap of hot coals within. The Raccoon
sniffed about and soon found there was something good to eat within the wigwam; but he decided not to enter at once for fear of waking the old men;
so he retired a short distance to hide himself and to see what they would do.
Presently the old men awoke, and one said to the other, "My friend, I am getting hungry; let us prepare some food." "Very well," replied his
companion, "you go down to the lake and fetch some water while I get the fire started."
The Raccoon heard this conversation, and, wishing to deceive the old man, immediately ran to the water, untied the cord from the post, and carried it
to a clump of bushes, where he tied it. When the old man along with his kettle to get water, he stumbled around the bush until he found the end of the
cord; then he began to dip his kettle down upon the ground for water. Not finding any, he slowly returned and said to his companion, "We shall surely
die, because the lake is dried up and the brush is grown where we used to get water. What shall we do?"
"That can not be," responded his companion, "for we have not been asleep long enough for the brush to grow upon the lake bed. Let me go out to try if
I can not get some water." So taking the kettle from his friend he started off.
So soon as the first old man had returned to the wigwam, the Raccoon took the cord back and tied it where he had found it, then waited to see the result.
The second old man now came along, entered the lake, and getting his kettle full of water returned to the wigwam, saying as he entered, "My friend,
you told me what was not true. There is water enough; for here, you see, I have our kettle full." The other could not understand this at all, and
wondered what had caused the deception.
The Raccoon approached the wigwam and entered to await the cooking of the food. When it was ready, the pieces of meat, for there were eight of
them, were put into the bowl and the old men sat down on the ground facing each other, with the bowl between them. Each took a piece of meat, and
they began to talk about various things and were enjoying themselves.
The Raccoon now quietly removed four pieces of meat from the bowl and began to eat them, enjoying the feast even more than the old blind men.
Presently one of them reached into the bowl to get another piece of meat, and finding that only two pieces remained, said, "My friend, you must be
very hungry to eat so rapidly; I have had but one piece, and there are but two pieces left."
The other replied, "I have not taken them, but suspect you have eaten them yourself"; whereupon the other replied more angrily than before. Thus they
argued, and the Raccoon, desiring to have more sport, tapped each of them on the face. The old men, each believing the other had struck him, began to
fight, rolling over the floor of the wigwam, upsetting the bowl and the kettle, and causing the fire to be scattered.
The Raccoon then took the two remaining pieces of meat and made his exit from the wigwam, laughing ha, ha, ha, ha; whereupon the old men
instantly ceased their strife, for they now knew they had been deceived.
The Raccoon then remarked to them, "I have played a nice trick on you; you should not find fault with each other so easily." Then the Raccoon
continued his crawfish-hunting along the lake shore.
|The Porcupine Quills
A Menomini Legend
Some Indian women, who had once befriended Manabush, went to him. They wanted some porcupine quills. With them they wished to ornament
some garments. He gladly promised to try to get them. He traveled through the forests and over the hills to find Porcupine. They were friends. When
he found him he told him of his mission. But Porcupine refused to give away any of his quills. Neither would he exchange any for anything which
Manabush could offer. He was going to a dance and ceremony and needed all of the quills he had.
Manabush determined to have some of the quills. He said he was very hungry and asked Porcupine if he had a kettle. Manabush gathered various
edible herbs of which his friend was very fond and could produce sleep. Porcupine ate heartily of the meal and fell asleep. While he was asleep
Manabush drew a lot of fine quills from his body and went away. The women were greatly pleased with the quills. They flattened and dyed them in
bright colors. When Porcupine later visited the Indian camp he saw all of the women wearing buckskin garments, beautifully ornamented with
porcupine quills. He was suspicious, but too late.
|The Reed Dancers
A Menomini Legend
Once after a long journey Manabush entered a pleasant little valley. Here he heard the sound of a drum, rattles and people singing and dancing. As he
drew nearer he saw the dancers stepping about in a very lively fashion. Their head feathers were moving about in every direction. It was just at dusk,
he did not recognize any of the dancers. No one paid any attention to him. He received no friendly greeting. He felt like dancing and wanted to join in
this dance. He laid his bunting bag and knife at the roots of a tree. Several times he asked to be invited to dance, but the dancers brushed by him and
none replied to his request. So he joined in the dance anyway and greatly enjoyed himself. Then the bright moon overhead revealed how he had been
deceived. He had wandered into a field of tall reeds, mistaking these with their feathery plumes for warriors with eagle feather headdresses. Wearily
now he spread his blanket beneath a tree and went to sleep.
|The Shut-Eye Dance
A Menomini Legend
Manabush was wandering along, stopping now and then to examine a flower, or to watch the flight of a bird or butterfly, when he suddenly saw at a
little distance a number of water birds of different kinds. There were duck, geese and swans among them. They were dancing in a circle and were
As he drew near them he said to them, "My friends I have brought some songs with me. I will sing for you while you dance. You must all keep your eyes
closed while you dance, if not, I will stop singing." The birds consented and began to dance.
As one of them came near to him he grasped it's neck to prevent it's crying out. In this way he killed a number of birds. One bird, a duck, not hearing
the voices of it's friends opened it's eyes. It saw the dead dancers laying at the feet of Manabush. It flew into the air and cried out, "My brothers,
Manabush is killing us. Fly, or we shall all be killed!" Instantly all of the birds opened their eyes and flew in all directions. All escaped. Manabush
called to the duck that had sounded the warning, and said, "For this disobedience you shall always have red eyes." To this day the rings around the eyes
of this duck are red.
|The Sun Snarer
A Menomini Legend
One day while two elder brothers were out hunting in the forest, the youngest went away to hide himself and to mourn because he was not permitted to
He had with him his bow and arrows and his beaver-skin robe; but when the Sun rose high in the sky he became tired and laid himself down to weep,
covering himself entirely with his robe to keep out the Sun. When the Sun was directly overhead and saw the boy, it sent down a ray which burned spots
upon the robe and made it shrink until it exposed the boy. Then the Sun smiled, while the boy wept more violently than before.
He felt that he had been cruelly treated both by his brothers and now by the Sun. He said to the Sun, "You have treated me cruelly and burned my robe,
when I did not deserve it. Why do you punish me like this?" The Sun merely continued to smile, but said nothing.
The boy then gathered up his bow and arrows, and taking his burnt robe, returned to the wigwam, where he lay down in a dark corner and again wept.
His sister was outside of the wigwam when he returned, so she was not aware of his presence when she reentered to attend to her work. Presently she
heard someone crying, and going over to the place whence the sound came she found that it was her youngest brother who was in distress.
She said to him, "My brother, why are you weeping?" to which he replied, "Look at me; I am sad because the Sun burned my beaver-skin robe; I have
been cruelly treated this day." then he turned his face away and continued to weep. Even in his sleep he sobbed, because of his distress.
When he awoke, he said to his sister, "My sister, give me a thread, I wish to use it."
She handed him a sinew thread, but he said to her, "No, that is not what I want; I want a hair thread."
She said to him, "take this; this is strong."
"No," he replied, "that is not the kind of a thread I want; I want a hair thread."
She then understood his meaning, and plucking a single hair from her person handed it to him, when he said, "This is what I want," and taking it at both
ends he began to pull it gently, smoothing it out as it continued to lengthen until it reached the tips of the fingers of one hand to the ends of the fingers of
Then he started out to where the Sun's path touched the earth. When he reached the place where the Sun was when it burned his robe, the little boy made
a noose and stretched it across the path, and when the Sun came to that point the noose caught him around the neck and began to choke him until he
almost lost his breath.
It became dark, and the Sun called out to the ma'nidos, "Help me, my brothers, and cut this string before it kills me." The ma'nidos came, but the thread
had so cut into the flesh of the Sun's neck that they could not sever it. When all but one had given up, the Sun called to the Mouse to try to cut the string.
The Mouse came up and gnawed at the string, but it was difficult work, because the string was hot and deeply embedded in the Sun's neck.
After working at the string a good while, however, the Mouse succeeded in cutting it, when the Sun breathed again and the darkness disappeared. If the
Mouse had not succeeded, the Sun would have died. Then the boy said to the Sun, "For your cruelty I have punished you; now you may go."
The boy then returned to his sister, satisfied with what he had done.
|The Trickster's Great Fall and His Revenge
A Menomini Legend
Once while the Buzzard was soaring away through the air he saw Manabozho walking along. He flew a little toward the ground, with his wings
Then the Buzzard heard Manabozho say to him, "Buzzard, you must be very happy up there where you can soar through the air and see what is
transpiring in the world beneath. Take me on your back so that I may ascend with you and see how it appears down here from where you live."
The Buzzard came down, and said, "Manabozho, get on my back and I will take you up into the sky to let you see how the world appears from my abode."
Manabozho approached the Buzzard, but seeing how smooth his back appeared said, "Buzzard, I am afraid you will let me slide from your back, so you
must be careful not to sweep around too rapidly, that I may retain my place upon your back."
The Buzzard told Manabozho that he would be careful, although the bird was determined to play a trick on him if possible. Manabozho mounted the
Buzzard and held on to his feathers as well as he could. The Buzzard took a short run, leaped from the ground, spread his wings and rose into the air.
Manabozho felt rather timid as the Buzzard swept through the air, and as he circled around his body leaned so much that Manabozho could scarcely
retain his position, and he was afraid of slipping off.
Presently, as Manabozho was looking down upon the broad earth below, the Buzzard made a sharp curve to one side so that his body leaned more than
ever. Manabozho, losing his grasp, slipped off and dropped to earth like an arrow. He struck the ground with such force as to knock him senseless. The
Buzzard returned to his place in the sky but hovered around to see what would become of Manabozho.
Manabozho lay a long time like one dead. When he recovered he saw something close to and apparently staring him in the face. He could not at first
recognize it, but when he put his hands against the object he found that it was his own buttocks, because he had been all doubled up. He arose and
prepared to go on his way, when he espied the Buzzard above him, laughing at his own trickery.
Manabozho then said, "Buzzard, you have played a trick on me by letting me fall, but as I am more powerful than you I shall revenge myself." The
buzzard then replied, "No, Manabozho, you will not do anything of the kind, because you cannot deceive me. I shall watch you."
Manabozho kept on, and the Buzzard, not noticing anything peculiar in the movements of Manabozho, flew on his way through the air. Manabozho
then decided to transform himself into a dead deer, because he knew the Buzzard had chosen to subsist on dead animals and fish. Manabozho then went
to a place visible from a great distance and from many directions, where he laid himself down and changed himself into the carcass of a deer.
Soon the various birds and beasts and crawling things that subsist on such food began to congregate about the dead deer. The Buzzard saw the birds
flying toward the place where the body lay, and joined them. He flew around several times to see if it was Manabozho trying to deceive him, then thought
to himself, "No, that is not Manabozho; it is truly a dead deer." He then approached the body and began to pick a hole into the fleshy part of the thigh.
Deeper and deeper into the flesh the Buzzard picked until his head and neck was buried each time he reached in to pluck the fat from the intestines.
Without warning, while the Buzzard had his head completely hidden in the carcass of the deer, the deer jumped up and pinched together his flesh, this
firmly grasping the head and neck of the Buzzard.
Then Manabozho said, "Aha! Buzzard, I did catch you after all, as I told you I would. Now pull out your head." The Buzzard with great difficulty
withdrew his head from the cavity in which it had been enclosed, but the feathers were all pulled off, leaving his scalp and neck uncovered with nothing
but red skin.
Then Manabozho said to the bird, "Thus do I punish you for your deceitfulness; henceforth you will go through the world without feathers on your head
and neck, and you shall always stink because of the food you will be obliged to eat." That is why the buzzard is such a bad-smelling fellow, and why his
head and neck are featherless.
A Menomini Legend
While Manabozho was once walking along a lake shore, tired and hungry, he observed a long, narrow sandbar, which extended far out into the water,
around which were myriads of waterfowl, so Manabozho decided to have a feast.
He had with him only his medicine bag; so he entered the brush and hung it upon a tree, now called "Manabozho tree," and procured a quantity of bark,
which he rolled into a bundle and placing it upon his back, returned to the shore, where he pretended to pass slowly by in sight of the birds. Some of the
Swans and Ducks, however, recognizing Manabozho and becoming frightened, moved away from the shore.
One of the Swans called out, "Ho! Manabozho, where are you going?" To this Manabozho replied, "I am going to have a song. As you may see, I have all
my songs with me." Manabozho then called out to the birds, "Come to me, my brothers, and let us sing and dance." The birds assented and returned to
the shore, when all retreated a short distance away from the lake to an open space where they might dance.
Manabozho removed the bundle of bark from his back and placed it on the ground, got out his singing-sticks, and said to the birds, "Now, all of you
dance around me as I drum; sing as loudly as you can, and keep your eyes closed. The first one to open his eyes will forever have them red and sore."
Manabozho began to beat time upon his bundle of bark while the birds, with eyes closed, circled around him singing as loudly as they could. Keeping time
with one hand, Manabozho suddenly grasped the neck of a Swan, which he broke; but before he had killed the bird it screamed out, whereupon
Manabozho said, "That's right, brothers, sing as loudly as you can." Soon another Swan fell a victim; then a Goose, and so on until the number of birds
was greatly reduced.
Then the "Hell-diver," opening his eyes to see why there was less singing than at first, and beholding Manabozho and the heap of victims,k cried out,
"Manabozho is killing us! Manabozho is killing us!" and immediately ran to the water, followed by the remainder of the birds.
As the "Hell-diver" was a poor runner, Manabozho soon overtook him, and said, "I won't kill you, but you shall always have red eyes and be the
laughing-stock of all the birds." With this he gave the bird a kick, sending him far out into the lake and knocking off his tail, so that the "Hell-diver" is
red-eyed and tailless to this day.
Manabozho then gathered up his birds, and taking them out upon the sandbar buried them --some with their heads protruding, others with their feet
sticking out of the sand. He then built a fire to cook the game, but as this would require some time, and as Manabozho was tired after his exertion, he
stretched himself on the ground to sleep. In order to be informed if anyone approached, he slapped his thigh and said to it, "You watch the birds, and
awaken me if anyone should come near them." Then, with his back to the fire, he fell asleep.
After awhile a party of Indians came along in their canoes, and seeing the feast in store, went to the sandbar and pulled out every bird which Manabozho
had so carefully placed there, but put back the heads and feet in such a way that there was no indication that the bodies had been disturbed. When the
Indians had finished eating they departed, taking with them all the food that remained from the feast.
Some time afterward, Manabozho awoke, and, being very hungry, bethought himself to enjoy the fruits of his stratagem. In attempting to pull a baked
swan from the sand he found nothing but the head and neck, which he held in his hand. Then he tried another, and found the body of that bird also gone.
So he tried another, and then another, but each time met with disappointment. "Who could have robbed him?" he thought. He struck his thigh and asked,
"Who has been here to rob me of my feast; did I not command you to watch while I slept?"
Hid thigh responded, "I also fell asleep, as I was very tired; but I see some people moving rapidly away in their canoes; perhaps they were the thieves. I
see also they are very dirty and poorly dressed." Then Manabozho ran out to the point of the sandbar, and beheld the people in their canoes, just
disappearing around a point of land. Then he called to them and reviled them, calling them "Winnibe'go! Winnibe'go!" And by this term the Menomini
have ever since designated their thievish neighbors.