Music: Secrets Of The Cicada's Melody by Mesa Music Consort
|A Man and His Three Dogs
A Winnebago (Hotcak) Legend
This story tells of a certain village where there lived a family of three: a man, his wife, and his mother-in-law. The man had three dogs: a hound, a
white dog, and a rat dog. He was very fond of these dogs and used to cut up their meat before he prepared his own. The white dog used to
accompany him on the hunt, while the two others stayed at home near the camp. The man was a good hunter, and lived at some distance from the
village because he depended for his hunting on a blessing he had received. This year to his surprise he seemed able to kill nothing but a few small
animals. He went out, nevertheless, every morning. His family was at the point of starvation. So he knew that something was wrong and he used
to wonder and ponder over the cause. His dog, likewise, could not find anything, although in former years, he had always been able to find bear
caves and to locate deer, elk, etc.
One night, after they had all gone to bed, the man lay awake thinking of something. Suddenly he heard the dogs talking to one another. The old
hound was asking the other one whether they could not help their master. "I used to be able to help him, when I was young. But now I am old, and
our little brother is too young. All that he can do is to play about the camp. So you, who are the second one, are really the only one that can be of any
help," so spoke the old hound to the white dog. He answered, "I could have helped our master all this time, but there is a reason why I have not helped
him." "What is the reason?" asked the old hound. "Well," answered the white dog, "the old woman, his mother-in-law, once took [a poker?] and
struck me across the back with it, hitting my medicine bad. This made my heart very sad and that is the reason that our master has no success in
hunting. I see bears and deer every day, when I am out, but I do not show them to him. I like the master and his wife, but I do not like his
mother-in-law. However, if he were to cut the deer lung that hangs in his lodge and give it to us, I would show him a place where there are many
bear caves. There is one right near here and there are many not far from here." Thus the white dog spoke.
The man had never before been able to understand the dogs but now he was able to talk to them. So in the morning when he got up he took the deer
lung and cut it in three parts. His wife noticed this and asked him what he was doing. He answered that he was going to feed his dogs and she said
nothing more. He went and fed his dogs, and they were delighted. Then he took his bow and arrow and went hunting. His dog went along, and as
in olden times, before he had lost sight of his camping place the dog scared up a bear and the man killed it. From that day on he killed a bear or a deer
every day. In a short time they were all provided with provisions again.
One night he told his wife what the dogs had said and how they had provided for him, so from that day on they took even better care of them. Some
time passed in this manner and one night, when he was again awake he heard the dogs talking. They were saying that he was in the midst of a large
body of his enemies and that there was no possible manner by which he could escape. When he heard this he got up and called his dogs into the lodge
and fed them. When they had finished eating, the old hound said, "Brother, you have always treated us nicely in the past and you even fed us before
you fed yourself. We always tried to help you, but now we are in a great quandary as to what to do, for you are going to have a hard time. We were
just talking about this. Our little brother is, of course, of no consequence because he is too young, while I am too old to do anything but lie around the
house. So it is really up to our second brother, the white dog to try and help you. He is the only one that can help you, and he has consented to try
and help both you and your wife in the coming warfare." He continued, "It is said that one of the (spirit) chiefs has given you away as a victim to the
one who is leading the war party. That is why all this has been kept away from you. This war leader fasted more than you did and that is why he is
coming after you and why you didn't know about it. We know about it, however, for my brother has seen them today. He is going to take your wife
half way back to her folks, and then come back and help you fight the enemy. We two, who are good for nothing will stay near the camp and help
you in whatever way that we can. My younger brother will now tell you that he knows about." Then the white dog spoke to the man and said,
"Brother, you have always treated me nicely, so I am going to save you and your wife. The enemy are now circling the camp and when the sun
comes up, they are going to attack you from all sides. I went out to get as much information as possible and I heard this war leader say this. Now
you must understand what I am going to do. I shall escort your wife as far as I can and then she must hurry to her people and tell them to come to
your assistance." The white dog continued, "If her relatives reach us early in the afternoon, they will still find us alive and fighting, but if they come
later than that, it will be all over. Therefore, she must tell them to hurry up." He then got the woman and told her to take a hold of his tail, and to
crawl when he crouched, and to raise herself when he did, but under no circumstances to let go of his tail. This she did, and in this way he got her to
the place he had spoken of. Then he told her to run as fast as she could with her message.
In the meantime the man was getting ready for the attack. He fixed himself up for warfare, straightened his arrows, drew his bowstring tighter, and
painted his face, as he always did when he prepared to go on the warpath. Then he said to the dog, "How do I look brother?" and the dog said, "You
look as if it were impossible to kill you." Then the man laughed and said, "It is good." He sat there thinking of the fight before him. He had
confidence in the outcome because his brother, the dog, was going to fight with him, even though he knew that the number of the attacking party was
very large. After a time the white dog came back and told the man that the only way to fight the enemy was to take turns in fighting them. As soon
as they approached, the man was to fight them and when he was tired, the dog would relieve him, and so on. When things were very bad they were
to retreat to the lodge and fight in the same manner. "We may be able to resist them until our friends come to our aid, and in ant case they will not be
able to kill us right away, because my brothers are going to concentrate their minds on us." Thus spoke the white dog, and continued, "I, myself, am
the chief of the wolves. I tried to become a human being like you, but I only succeeded in changing myself into an ordinary dog. I am in possession of
a considerable amount of war blessings."
It was now dawn, and the enemy gave the war whoop and rushed for the man. The man, however, also gave the war whoop and rushed out with his
dogs to meet them. He drove them back a ways, and then he ran back to the lodge. Then Wolf ran out to attack them. He made a great deal of noise
and jumped at them, trying to tear their scrotums. Both the man and the dog, in this manner, killed many of the enemy. Thus they fought for a long
time, and when the sun began to go towards the west, their friends came up and the fighting continued. Finally, both the man and the dog fell down
exhausted, but some friends carried them away in blankets. While the fighting continued, the man regained consciousness, but the wolf lay
unconscious for four days. His white coat was red with the blood of human beings. Finally he, too, regained consciousness, and said to the man,
"Brother, I have done wrong. My coat is covered with the blood of human beings and it will never be white again. I know that he who is in control of
wars will not like this at all. From now on the people will call me 'the red wolf,' and as the years roll on they will tell of my conduct. You yourself are
a human and will remain here, but I shall go where Earth-maker has placed me."
So this is the story of how a wolf tried to become a human being, and how he only succeeded in changing himself into an ordinary dog. He did
something that was entirely wrong, and therefore left us humans. The man in the story had treated him nicely so he blessed him and saved him and
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|A Man's Revenge
A Winnebago (Hotcak) Legend
When they told stories, people always said of what tribe they were. That they said. They are Hotcak and numbered only about a thousand. They
built a village. People were constantly on the go and kept moving. In the early days, they ate a variety of meat. They used to track after deer and
buffalo. And in the winter they used to move near to the lake. Before the winter was long underway, he was living with an old man, his wife, his
woman, and his son-in-law, four of them alone in a lodge. The old man, as he was old, could not go hunting, and he couldn't trap or hunt even small
animals. Consequently, his son-in-law had to provide for him by hunting. And that old man used to give a feast. Thus it would be. And, "Daughter,"
he said, "every winter I used to feast. It is near time now, and if my only son-in-law were to kill something for me, that is what I would use in the
feast." He knew of this. "Just one deer would be good, but of that most excellent one could get two for me, he would make me very happy," the old
That man said to his wife, "Here it is not safe to move about the land, and what he did, hanka-a (no way) would I do it. So tomorrow take the
children along with you and the material that you will need for camping and go to the place where we do a lot of camping. It would be enough if I got
one on the hunt." The next morning they went back, taking the children with them. As they went along there was a good camping place there. There
In the evening the woman tried to make a lodge. The man said, "I will go quickly and hunt something while you are constructing the lodge," he said.
When he got there, there was his wife was standing and looking around. And he started. He took his bow and arrows, and after the woman had
finished collecting wood, she went to dip a pail in the water. She poured it in a kettle and placed it on the fire so that it would be ready.
Already it was getting dark. The man packed a deer home. They skinned it and cut it up and since they weren't going to eat all of it, the woman
placed it out to dry. And when the kettle was cooled, they ate it. After they quit eating, they retired. The children went quickly to sleep and the woman
also, but the man was unable to sleep. He was thinking as he lay there, what thing tomorrow would be the foremost, he was thinking. "What would
be the best thing to kill to make my father-in-law's heart feel best?" he thought.
The next morning he awoke and ate. He said, "My wife, I think much of you. As far as coming back, this situation that we've gotten into is a bad
thing. I always say, anytime wherever you are in trouble, I will come. If something that is not good should happen, do not leave the children," he
said. The children, he kissed them, and started out. He was the whole day long hunting. So he kept on across the lake. A deer he killed, skinned, and
went home packing that on his back.
When he approached, he saw that the lodge poles were still straight up. From the very first he knew what they had done. Thus they used to do. "My
wife, my children, they are dead," he thought. That one started back to the lodge. When he got there, he peeped in. His own children, there they sat
where they had placed them. They had killed them. They placed the lips in a raised position, that one's teeth shown. His heart ached much,
nevertheless, he laughed and [said], "Come children, we'll eat food, I am going to cook for the last time." It was cooked. He cut a little piece of meat
for them. He pried open the mouth, and into the mouth he placed a little piece of meat, and he ate, and he was talking to them. "Children, you have
made my heart ache. I will make enough very good gifts to your limbs and in the earth I will place you, and I will get back your mother, I say.
Therefore, I myself could do this warfare in this way. When I think of myself, I count myself to be a little man. When your spirits go there, as a result
of this they will go very well," he told them.
And he painted himself. He did half of his body, and this side he made dark. He got a lot done. He tightened the bowstring and he straightened the
arrow that he took with him, and he started off. As he went along, that one got onto a trail, the war road. That one looked for tracks. His wife's
tracks came into view with them. He knew that they had taken her prisoner. There he ran after them in the form of a ghost. When he got nearer to
them, he ran ahead of them and there that one hid himself.
When the Sak'ina (Warbundle Bearer) came by, he whooped and knocked him down. He cut it off at the neck and ran off. There he hid it away and
so he ran ahead of them. So now the next time the Warbundle Bearer came along he whooped and knocked him down. So immediately he broke the
head off and again he ran away in order to hide away the head there. And so he ran ahead of them.
There the third time the Warbundle Bearer came along. Then again he whooped and broke it off at the neck and he ran away to hide it there. And
again he ran ahead of them there. And thus he did the fourth time. Eight Warbundle Bearers he killed, and when the sun appeared, here he took all
the warclubs and those heads he had and he came towards the camp. Where he camped, there he returned. There he fixed the heads and he talked to
the children: "The many gifts to the children's limbs are certainly good enough -- that I did, but the sum came upon me," he said. "I did not get your
mother," he told them. And the man started back the same way to his people.
When he got back near there, near the village, there he placed the human heads in a row, and the warclubs. He knew how each one was paired,
placing one beside the other. And when it became night, he came towards his father's camp. He got there late at night when the fire was dying out.
Where he used to sit, there at that place, he very carefully sat down. That one's parents were asleep. He put his hair in braids and the remainder he
pinned under. He began to sit down there in order to take refuge. The old man became awake. That one glanced about. There a man, where his son
used to sit, was blackened, and he sat down. "My wife, there is a man where our son used to sit, and since he is sitting where our son sat, it seems like
it must be him. I'll fix a little fire," he said. The old man fixed the fire.
When it became light, they looked at the man that must be their son and they knew who it was. And the old man said, "Djaha, my son! What brings
you here again?" he said. And the son said, "It was a matter of war -- while I was our hunting they came upon the lodge. In the evening when I came
back, the lodge poles were upright. When I came back, they had killed the children, and 'My wife, my son,' [I said]. My heart ached, and the children
took along very good food and I put them away somewhere. I told them what I was going to do for them, and I went after them. Eight Warbundle
Bearers I killed. Our Grandfather appeared. I quit and I brought them back to the lodge. And the children, thus I told for them something. I made
enough for their limbs. They will certainly travel well and when I brought these heads home, here near the village, there in a row I put only what
warclub belonged to each. I placed them on the roof," said the man's son.
The old man said, "Some further good you did for the children and thus you have done very well for your people. You have brought them very good
heads, which will do for some great fun. They will place you in front. Just this way I wanted you to be rich in everything, this is why I used to say
this to you when you were small. If only you could pursue them very well, it would make my heart feel good. I myself am saying, I will play with
them myself," the old man said. And [he said]. "At first light the messenger of the village will go around and announce what men had returned there."
When the brothers-in-law heard this, they immediately went there. "We want to be the first to hit them, that way we will be genuine brothers-in-law,
that sort we seek to be," Kunu said.
The man told them, "Wherever the heads were, there they would be the first to count coup," and he liked it very much. They thanked their
brother-in-law and they gathered together as many men as could handle a warclub. They all started for those human heads. When they found them,
the man's brothers-in-law found them first, so they were the first to visit them. As they kept coming, they all gave a whoop. They all scrambled to hit
them. Then they took the "scalps," the human heads, along to the War Lodge. When they brought them there, they meticulously began to do the Scalp
Dance. There the men were telling everything, the holy thing he had done, they were telling. Finally, after a time, the man quit the dance.
And so he meticulously rubbed in charcoal and fasted. He said that he was going for a full forty at one time. His brothers-in-law killed a deer for
him. He offered the heart and said, "You young men here, I think that those who are in charge or war must also have blessed me a little," he said, " my
wife, it is that one I'm going after. I know what I am going to try to do to that village, so I have been doing this. I fasted, that is what I have been
doing, and I'm going to do as much as I can. Those who will follow me, get ready to make yourselves a feast, and when you're through, tomorrow
when our Grandfather appears, all those who are going to march, we will gather here near the brush over on the other side of this hill from where
we'll start," he told them.
They were all gathered there, all his brothers-in-law joined in. They went forth for the whole day. Finally, early in the morning, he arrived there
where they marked out the camp horizontally. Through the remainder of the whole morning, those warriors told stories (woraks). This they were
doing. That way they would not fall asleep on the warpath. And the next morning the day came, and they went back. This they did. "You young
men, we are near the place that we're going to," he said. "I'm going to scout with you this night," he told these men. And he started forth.
He went swiftly and late that night he came to the village. He was going to do the whole village. Wherever the chief's lodge where, to that one he
would repair, as his wife was there. Here he spoke to her. "If you want to live, make for your brothers, as this is the only fight that I'm going to do. I
say it now as I have always said it, how wherever it is that they would take you, I would come after you. Let me tell you at that very time I came after
you I killed eight only out of the large number there were of them, but it became day, so I did not take you away from them. I offered our children's
limbs enough very good things, and your brothers counted coup well. And then I came after you, here I am, I have come. The War Controllers
(Wonaghire Hiruk'ono) gave me this whole village," he said. "In the morning when the sun approaches his appearance, then we'll make for them. All
of your brothers came with me, so don't be afraid of them; go in the midst of your brothers. You must say to them, 'My brothers, I want to live!' This
you must say. And I'm going to tell them that I knew the way that you'll be. Don't be afraid of the ghosts. If you do what I say you won't die. If you
do it and accomplish it, there they will make you rich in everything," he said to her.
And he came forth to contend with them. He told the men how that village was very good. They did not know anything about it. "We'll do some
good killing," he said. His wife would be with her brothers, he told them. He had contacted the woman and how if she did what he told her, he made it
clear to them, that they would not kill her. "I am going to take her back, so take her with you," he said. "But these, I tell you, I'm going to fight," he
said. And he said, "You, our young men, get yourselves ready. It is early in the morning," he said. As soon as darkness stands, when it gets light
enough, well move around. I have been made rich in everything. My very good men, we will try to do some killing, but do not mutilate them any
more than you have to, as they gave all of them to me. It is a good thing to do," he said. "Our grandfathers will like it," he said.
And towards morning as the sun arose back up, as the village was in sight, he gave a whoop as he came on. And the woman very much did she come.
"Don't kill her, she's my wife," he said. So they did not kill her. Then they made for the village to kill and also to take prisoners and a little while they
made it so. They counted many coup. They killed every single person in the village. The young man was smart, but they tried to make fun of them
[his children]. They made the village invisible, killing everyone. This is what they were saying. That one they meant. He fasted. He, that man, they
talked about whenever they used to tell stories. That they will do as long as it will endure above, is what they are saying. That holy (wak'atcank)
young man, thus he did, is what they were saying. The old people when they were telling woraks, that is what they were saying.
|A Raccoon Tricks Four Blind Men
A Winnebago (Hotcak) Legend
Once there was a raccoon who went up a stream. As he went along suddenly he came to an Indian rope trap. He thought it was that kind, so he
raised his left paw, but did not put it down. "If I put it down, the trap will bite me." Then all day he stood there, only at night did he go home. The sun
rose as he went along the Indian path and soon he came to water.
He kept going on the path, and then there was a long lodge. He peeped in and there four old men were on each side within this house. One of them
said, "Your cooking must be done by now." "Yes, it is cooked. Hand the dish here and I will give you some." The raccoon went in. All four of these
old men were blind. Then the old men on the other side said, "Ho! Here is the dish, pass it over." But then the raccoon said, "Ho!" and took the dish.
The one being served said, "What?" as he had not gotten the dish. "What happened? I handed it to you and you took the corn," he said. "I am saying
that no one here handed it to me," he said. Then he hit him right in his face.
He said, "Ho! We will do it. I said I handed it to you." Then the other one right in the face he hit him. "Ho! We will do it," he said, and he stood up.
Now the two fellows got a hold of one another and began to fight each other. It was the raccoon who stood up and did it, hitting them in the face too.
"Well! We will do it," then all four of them began fighting and then the raccoon laughed as the old men were funny.
The four then went into town and there they knew of him. "Ho ho! Old men, the raccoon is the cause of this," they said. "Stand at the door." Then
they did it, but the raccoon had gone out on top of the lodge.
|A Snake Song Origin Myth
A Winnebago (Hotcak) Legend
This story is told during the Medicine Rite by the spring-impersonator of the north.
"Ancestors, we send forth our greetings to you. I possess a Snake Song, one that has come down to me and one that I could use, so they told me,
whenever I wished to give a life-engendering greeting. This song was obtained from a large yellow snake by a person who had been blessed under
the fork of a tree where there was a crow's nest. With a large portion of life was he blessed, with herbs and grasses, beneficent grasses, those that
would restore health to a man. Yet, nevertheless, some of them, it is said could cause a person to become weak. All these plants were to bring prestige
and honor to the possessor.
"Now, in the beginning, people associated with these plants just as if they possessed life like ourselves. They were worshipped and honored. Not
today do we do so. Yet these herbs and grasses are still being used and are still efficacious.
"This Snake Song I shall now sing. Ancestors, we greet you, we greet you!"
[The Snake Song was omitted in the source.]
|A Wife for Knowledge
A Winnebago (Hotcak) Legend
Once there was a man who was very powerful and respected among the people. He was a member of the Medicine Rite. This man had only one son,
and because the boy had no brothers, he knew very little. In the course of time, the father began to give his son presents. He put a kettle on the fire,
and told him to be brave and to be a real warrior. The son wondered to himself why he was giving him gifts and advice. The father kept giving his
son gifts, and eventually he gave him a fine horse and told him, "My dear son, in order to be a warrior, there are certain things you must know." Then
his son understood what he meant.
In the course of time the young man married a beautiful woman with red hair who came from another tribe. His father was smitten by her beauty
and cast longing eyes upon her. His son did not fail to notice it. So the son gave his father this woman. The old man was very grateful and said,
"How can I ever repay you, you have made my heart glad." So the father gave his son all the knowledge that he possessed.
In time the red haired woman sicked and died. The old man made a bowl of her skull and then composed a song which is used to this day in the
A Winnebago (Hotcak) Legend
After Earthmaker created this island on which we live, he created all living things, man being the very last of these. The first and foremost animal that
Earthmaker created was a bear of pure white color, whom he placed in the north. This is White Bear. The second bear that he created was Red Bear,
whom he placed in the west. Earthmaker next created in the east a kind of grizzly bear Blue Bear, who was the color of the sky, either blue, or as some
say, gray. The last bear created by Earthmaker was Black Bear, who was placed in the south. These four kinds of bears were created as Island
Weights to help stop the incessant spinning of the primordial earth.
Spiritually, they were not only bears, but the four cardinal winds as well. White Bear was chief over polar bears, Red Bear held hegemony over the
brown bears of earth. Blue Bear ruled over Grizzlies, and Black Bear was chief of the terrestrial black bears.
|Big Eagle Cave Mystery
A Winnebago (Hotcak) Legend
Three boys went out hunting, but never returned. A war party was sent out to track them, and followed their tracks into a cave. As each member of
the war party descended into the cave, he disappeared. The last man heard a death song coming from the cave, a melody that he had never before
Tcaxcepxedega, big Eagle, chief of the tribe returned with many men, but every time his men descended, no matter what precautions were taken, the
first man in line would always disappear at a certain point in the descent. The eerie song was once again heard.
One day a boy appeared leading a blind man who was completely white. The boy appeared to be one of those who was lost, but he claimed to have
come from another tribe to the northwest. The man became noted as a great healer. At the request of the chief, he looked into the matter of the cave.
He and the boy descended. As they disappeared, the song of death became louder. Finally the man emerged alone, and embarked on a canoe that
sailed away across the lake. Later some adventurers descended into the cave, despite its fearful reputation, and found there a chamber with a single
giant empty throne, and laying about it face down, the bones of all the men who had descended into the cave.
|Bird Origin Myth
A Winnebago (Hotcak) Legend
The first birds created by Earthmaker were the Thunders, who can make themselves invisible. As the Thunderbirds traversed the heavens, they would
occasionally lose a feather. From such feathers, the visible birds sprang into existence. From the largest quill feathers of the Thunders there came into
being the race of eagles; from other large feathers came the race of hawks and their kind; from the small feathers came such birds as partridges, from
the down feathers came the small birds like robins and pigeons; and from the mere fuzz of down feathers emerged the very smallest of birds, such as
sparrows and hummingbirds. All birds, therefore, are descended from the Thunders.
|Black and White Moons
A Winnebago (Hotcak) Legend
In the time of beginnings, the good spirits and the evil spirits met in council to determine how the world should be divided between them. First they took
up the question of how many moons there should be from one winter to the next. Wild Turkey (Zizikega) strutted before them and spread his tail
feathers, declaring, "Let a year be as many moons as there spots on my tail." But the council of spirits voted this down, as there were far too many
spots on his tail. Partridge also suggested that there should be as many moons in a year as there were spots on his tail, but the spirits felt that it was
also too long a time. Then Chipmunk (Hetcgenika) scampered up throwing its tail over its head as chipmunks always do, and said, "Let a year be as
many moons as there are black and white stripes down my back." The counselors thought well of this suggestion, and allowed that the six black stripes
would be the summer moons, and the six white stripes would be the moons of winter.
The evil spirits are greedy, however. They always wish for darkness, so when they the bright white disc of the moon and how it lit up the world, they
began to eat the Night Luminary away until nothing was left of it. But Earthmaker was not content to see his creation consumed, leaving a dark world
as a cover for evil, so he recreated the moon a little each night until at the end of fourteen nights it was full again. Then Earthmaker rested. While the
Creator took leave, the evil spirits again gnawed away at the moon until it was completely consumed. And so it continues, with Earthmaker ever
renewing the moon and his enemies forever eating it away.
|Bear Clan Origin Myth
A Winnebago (Hotcak) Legend
There exists several versions of the Bear Clan Origin Myth:
The spirits met at a long lodge in the East to discuss populating the Earth. Earthmaker wished to put a particular Bear on Earth, but it was already
headed that way on its own initiative. When the Bear appeared, the wind stopped and the day stood still. As the Bear walked towards the Creation
Council, a great nimbus of lightning formed over his head. Before the lodge of the council stood a sapling. Unexpectedly, a storm suddenly struck out of
nowhere, and a great lightning bolt consumed the tree. There stood the Bear, and beside him materialized the Spirit of War (Wonaghire Uankcik?).
They greeted each other as friends. This is why Bear clansmen have two sides to their bodies: one is the repository of war powers and the other is the
dwelling place of the powers of chieftainship. The Bear clansmen from the beginning walked on two legs, but initially they were completely covered
with fur. Those with whom they traveled would kill and eat a Bear from time to time, but the Bear people would always abstain. However, one day a
Bear clansman joined in the feast. When this was reported to the Bear Chief, he declared for all time that because "we have eaten ourselves," the Bear
Clan shall henceforth participate with the other clans in feasts.
There were four spirit Bears the youngest of whom came walking across the ocean. When he got near the shore he suddenly turned into a raven and
flew onto the littoral. Because he became a raven, the Bear Clan now has the name Kakijigaga, (kaghi - "raven"). Some say that it was in the form of
foam that he came to shore and that is why the Bear clansmen have so much life. Then he changed back, and because he changed twice his is one of the
greatest of the Bear people. When he walked on the shore at Red Banks he first saw a Wolf clansman and they went together to a lodge each of whose
four doors opened onto one of the cardinal points. When they entered the lodge they sat opposite one another. This is why they are friends and call each
other, "my opposite."
Ten brothers left their parents and walked across the ocean, heading for the great clan meeting at Red Banks. As they approached the shore, four waves
were formed and out of wave a raven (kaghi) flew up. When the ravens landed on the shore, suddenly they became a Bear. Those four, because they had
changed themselves twice, were the most powerful. As they walked along they walked along they saw the tracks of the Wolf clansmen, so they said, "Our
friends have gone by." When they went into the assembly lodge, they sat opposite the Wolf people. This is why the Wolf and Bear Clans bury each other.
Bear people should paint their faces with red and black pigments. The charcoal should be from the basswood tree. They should paint the women with
red on their cheeks and place a black mark in the center of each cheek.
In the beginning there were no humans since Earthmaker had created only animals. In a great council with all the animals, Earthmaker announced that
some of them would be chosen to become human. It was decided that one animal of each of twelve kinds was to be chosen along with his wife. When it
came time to name the soldier, he picked the youngest of the Bears. This Bear's oldest brother has black hair, the second oldest is dark red, and the third
of the brothers has blue (tco) hair. Each was a chief in his spirit village. Then, on the appointed day, the youngest Bear and his wife emerged out of the
Earth to the North of Green Bay. It was a perfect day. As they went to the place of rendezvous, they heard them say in the distance, "Here come the
Soldiers!" With each step they made footprints of luminescent blue like Daylight itself. Thus they have a name, Habamanina, "He Who Walks with the
Day." As they walked, those who followed him became hungry, so he told them that they could hunt. Now he sent those hunters ahead so that they might
have just the right food waiting for them when they camped. That night they made offerings of this food along with red feathers and tobacco for the three
brothers that he left behind. He did this because they asked to be remembered of him. When they started again the next day they tracks on the ground,
and said, "Our friends must have come by." When their friends saw the tracks of the Soldiers, they said the same thing. The Soldiers arrived at last at a
great lodge where they met the other chosen animals. They wished to start a fire, but none of them save the Thunder Clan could make one, so that clan
was made chief. They called upon the Waterspirits to be chief of the lower division; of the third division, the Soldiers were to be chiefs. They were in
charge of discipline. This is the origin of the Bear Clan, who are Soldiers.
After he created all other things, Earthmaker created a man and a woman in the South, and he appointed them to be in charge of part of the Day (that is,
Life). To the man, he gave charge of all the creatures upon the Earth and in the sky. This man came North from below, and as he came forth a great host
of creatures followed after him. The other clans had already gathered at thge place of rendezvous, and when they saw them come, they said, "Make room!
Our Soldiers have arrived." Then the Soldier spoke to them and said, "What Earthmaker created me for, I am here to do. I will protect and make sacred
all the cleared land upon which your village stands; and if you call upon your Soldiers to combat sickness, you shall be made well." For four days the
weather was good and no wind blew from any direction. In such wise was the Soldier in charge of things and circling above him were birds of prey sharp
in their talons. After four days the clans left for their homes. To this day the Bear is still in command of the people.
There was a hill in the South near a spring of white water. The hill and the waters shook mightily and he who lived in the hill came forth preceded by his
attendants. There were eleven men there, and they told him to look about the fields and meadows. So he sent four of his attendants and there they found
ripened fruit in abundance, even nuts and beans. However, they returned and excitedly reported to the leader, "Unexpectedly, we came across the
footprints of human beings." So the leader told them to make a wider circuit in their explorations and when they did so, they soon found those they
sought. It had been the Wolves who made the footprints, and being thus discovered, they said, "It is our friend who have come upon us." The Bears
replied, "Friends, let us never disobey one another's words<" and for their part the Wolves declared, "It shall always be thus." And they pledged to one
another that when anyone among them should die, his opposite would put him in the Earth so that his soul would not be set upon by evil spirit insects.
Thus the Bears and Wolves are friends, and even avenge the murder of one another's clansmen. After shaking hands, the Wolves departed to their home,
and the Bears returned South. When the Bears came back to this Earth again, they spread out all over the land seeking every kind of ripe fruit. Thus they
do to this day.
Hotcak-English Interlinear Text.
Earthmaker he made it (the cosmos). Thus it was taught that Earthmaker did in this way, and so the story began. The story has reached us. Also in this
way he made us, and so the story began. "We are to get ready to counsel together." It was the one on the side where it grows cold (the North) who said it.
He was the one whom the Creator also created in the way he created us. There were four brothers, the eldest was named "Black"; the second, "Red," as he
was a red one; the third was a blue/green (tco) one; the fourth, who was the youngest and last, was a white one.
"Our younger brother, how will it be?" This one (said), "I myself say that I am not equal to the task, thus do I believe, My temperament does not approach
being equal to the task. Try to say something, as they are about to have a gathering. Try to say something." And, "O elder brother, you have spoken truly,
and I too am thus. There I am not equal to the task of finishing this, my dear elder brother, I am not fit." "Alright, our dear elder brother, you have told us
to finish this, but for this sort of thing I am not equal to the task; only our younger brother, he alone is clever, our dear elder brother, I believe that it is only
our younger brother who is the one." "Alright, our younger brother, he will be the one. Truly have you spoken, our younger brother alone is fit for the
task. The announcement of the coming gathering has already been made. We shall council over it right away, in our younger brother we will find refuge,
only our younger brother, he alone will be strong in his mind." "Truly you have spoken. He will go on to the Earth, but we will be obliged to remain here
and take care of our home. The younger brother, when he speaks, that way is how it will be. Thus it will be. Earthmaker ordained that they should gather
together and the lives that we have shall be lived there. Our younger brother will do it. Younger brother, you will be going, so we will ask you to remember
us. When you arrive on Earth, you will be going along and if you obtain one of the little offerings, send them back to us. When you start out going, you
will go in the guise of Light-and-Life (Hapdjare). Now it is his [to do]. You have companions. You have those who travel. You will do it. You will take
care to name everyone who is now with you. And when you start going out, after you have arrived at the gathering place, you will name the dog names.
Now you will go forth in holiness (wakatcak)." And he was the last to start.
"This one, the first one, his name this will be it: the name for the oldest, the first, if he is a man, a male, they will call him by the name, 'Very Black', they
will address him. And they will call the second one 'Yellowish Red.' The name of the fourth oldest they shall call 'White Bear.' When there is a girl, they call
her by the name, 'She who Walks in Darkness.' And the next one they call 'Daylight as She Walks.' And the next one they call 'She who Thrusts Herself
within a Lodge.' And the next one they call 'Visible Footprint Woman,' the call her. And again, in owning a dog, if they wish to keep him, they call him
'Bringer of Fresh Meat.' Yet again, one they style 'Two Bears,' they call him, if they keep him. And again when doing it for a female dog, they style her
'Haksiga (Third Born Female),' they call her. Yet again, a bitch, once they decide to keep it, they style it "Yellowish Red Female,' they call it, and in this way
they will do it," he said.
They started to go to the gathering place. They began to talk. They [at the gathering place] heard them: "Our soldiers are coming. Their speech is audible."
In time one landed with a leap. "Our friends have arrived," they said. And they arrived. They arrived at the gathering place. When he got there, they
arrived. The Waterspirit Clan had arrived first; the Bird Clan had arrived; the Bear Clan had arrived; the whole group of relatives gathered together, and
they made a lodge. They made a great lodge. They finished the lodge and they said -- to those who were first to arrive, the Waterspirit Clan -- they were
addressed, "Chief among our kin, how will we proceed? Try to light a fire!" "Hoho,hoho, hagagasgeja, I cannot do it. I am unable. One among us will do
it." They were told that he could not do it. They said, "The one who could start the fire, that one would become chief." Thus they said. They tried to do it.
The Thunderbird Clan of the Bird Clan, they could do it. They said that they could start the fire, and so they are the chief. They became glad and the
relatives distributed the fire around. And everyone placed the fire it is said. Thus it was at the Creation Council.
Everything they were to create, they got done. They were to (ritually) serve the village. The Thunderbird Clan, it was put in charge of the village. They
made for him a lodge, they put him in charge, and they obeyed whatever he would say. They said to him, "By this means we got here," they would say to
him, and thus they would obey their chief and [this is why] they said it.
When they were to eat, whatever food they brought back, they would look for it themselves. They say that they began to take the food back with them, and
the Bear Clan made a rule for themselves; it would make for itself a feast as an offering. For him they give just one kettle, it is a shallow kettle, they say.
It is told that at a large spring there suddenly appeared a Bear whose body was sky-blue and so bright that it seemed like a part of the sky itself. This was
Blue Bear, and Earthmaker brought him there for a special purpose. Standing to the side of Blue Bear were twelve men. Then, unexpectedly, four times the
Earth shook, and each time a great spirit being came up from the Earth. When the third of these emerged, the Earth erupted in fruit of every kind and in
plenty it was spread over the Earth. And Earthmaker told Blue Bear that he, and all who were with him, were to go to a gathering at Red Banks. As they
tread the Earth, it shook, and the leaves with spiny edges changed to men, and so too the thorns and briars, the serpents with sharp fangs, and the birds of
prey with the sharp talons -- all these became men under the charge of Blue Bear. When they arrived, they found that a place had already been prepared for
them, but they did not tarry there long. Blue Bear announced that Earthmaker had made these men to be spiritual guardians to ward off evil from the
Hotcagara, for they were all soldiers among the living beings of this world. When this was made known, everyone dispersed to their homes, but those who
remained behind as men became the Hotcak Soldier (Bear) Clan.
|Great Walker's Medicine
A Winnebago (Hotcak) Legend
There was once a man named "Great Walker" who began to fast for a blessing. One day he finally had a dream in which a Loon Spirit blessed him, and
afterwards said to him, "Great Walker, I also bless you with this other thing. When I worked for our chief in Spirit land and swept out his lodge, I removed
bad things and swept them outside --so too will this medicine sweep bad things from your body. No matter what bad thing you swallow, it shall not kill
you, for this medicine will sweep it out." Then Great Walker looked at the Loon Spirit and saw something growing out of his back. That was the medicine
plant. The Loon Spirit continued: "When you want to use this plant, don't just dig it up, but first make offerings of a white feather, a white deerskin, and
red feathers. Pour me tobacco and I shall smoke it. Then you may dig it up --and when you use it you will not fail in anything. I bless you alone with this
herb." Great Walker performed many cures with this purgative medicine and passed the knowledge of it on to his descendants.
In recent times an old man named "Dog Head" followed the war leader Smoke Walker to Tippecanoe. In that battle Smoke Walker was killed, but before he
died, Dog Head told him that he would give his son Small Snake a blessing. As they made their escape from the battlefield, Dog Head told Small Snake,"My
son, I promised your father that I would give you a blessing. It is not a thing like the Medicine Lodge,for that would not go on after your death. I shall give
you a medicine of great value that first came to a man named 'Great Walker'." Then he told Small Snake the story of how Great Walker acquired the
medicine from the spirits.
The owner of the medicine kept it hidden in a small hole in the side of a cliff. When he went to get it, it was gone. He said, "We should have been more
careful where we kept it."
Dog Head spoke the truth, for even to this day the descendant of Small Snake have benefited people with this medicine.
|Little Brother Snares the Sun
A Winnebago (Hotcak) Legend
At the beginning when the earth was new, the animals were the chiefs. They were more powerful than humans, whom they hunted, killed, and ate.
Finally they killed all the people except one girl and her little brother, who lived in hiding. The brother was very small, no bigger than a newborn child, but
the girl was normal in size. Because she was so much bigger, she took care of him and did all the work.
One winter day the girl had to go out and gather food in the woods. To keep Little Brother occupied, she gave him her bow and arrows. "Hide until a
snowbird comes," she told him. "Wait until he looks for grubs in the huge dead tree. Then kill him with one of your arrows."
She went off, and the snowbird came, but Little Brother's arrows missed him. "It doesn't matter," the sister said when she came home. "Try again
The next day she went into the forest again. Once more the bird came, and this time the boy's arrow hit and killed him. Proudly he showed the bird to his
sister when she returned at night.
"sister, I want you to skin the snowbird and stretch the hide," he said. "I'll be killing more birds, and when we have enough skins, you can make a feather
robe for me."
"But what shall we do with the meat?" asked the girl. At that time people ate only berries and other green things, because they didn't hunt; it was the
animals who hunted them. "Make soup out of it," said Little Brother, who was clever in spite of his size.
Every day for ten days he shot a snowbird, and his sister made him a fine feather robe from the skins.
"Sister, are there no other people in this world?" he asked one day. "Are we the only ones?"
"There may be others," she said, "but we don't dare go looking for them. Terrible animals would stalk and kill us."
But Little Brother was consumed with curiosity. So when his sister went off to gather food again, he set out to look for other humans. He walked a long
time but met neither people nor animals. He got so tired that he lay down in a spot where the sun had melted the snow away. While he was sleeping, the
sun rose and shot fiery rays upon Little Brother.
Waking up, the boy found that his feather robe had scorched and tightened around him so that he couldn't move. To free himself he had to tear it apart,
ruining it. He shook his fists and shouted, "Sun, I'll get even! Don't think you're so high that I can't get at you! Do you hear me up there?"
Angry and sad, Little Brother returned home. He wept when he told his sister how the sun had spoiled his feather robe. He lay down on his right side for
ten days and refused to eat or drink.
Still fasting, he lay on his left side for another ten. After twenty days he got up and told his sister to make a snare for him to catch the sun. She had only a
short length of dried deer sinew, and out of that she made a noose.
"I can't catch the sun with this little thing," he said. So the girl made a string for him out of her hair, but he said, "This isn't long or strong enough."
"Then I'll have to make a snare out of something secret," she said.
She went out and gathered many secret things and twisted them into a strong cord. The moment he saw it, Little Brother said, "This is the one!" To wet the
cord he drew it through his lips again and again, so that it grew longer and stronger.
Then Little Brother waited until the middle of the night, when it is darkest. He went out and found the hole through which the sun would rise, and at its
entrance he set his snare.
When the sun came up at the usual time, he caught and held fast, and there was no day that day. There was no light, no warmth.
Even though the animals were the chiefs who had killed and eaten the people, they were afraid. They called a council of all their elders and talked for a long
time. At last they decided that the biggest and most fearsome of all the animals should go and gnaw through the cord holding the sun.
This animal was Dormouse, who was not small, as it is now, but as big as a mountain. Even so, Dormouse was afraid of the sun. "What you want me to
do is dangerous," she said, "but I'll try."
Dormouse went to the place where the sun rises and found him in the snare.
Struggling to free himself, the sun had grown hotter. As Dormouse approached, the hair on her back smoked and was singed off, but she crouched down
and began to gnaw at the cord. She chewed and chewed and after a long time managed to bite it in two.
Freed at last, the sun rose at once and made everything bright again. But the heat had shriveled Dormouse down to her present size, and the sun's rays had
half blinded her. So she was given the name of Kug-e-been-gwa-kwa, Blind Woman.
Through brave Dormouse had freed the sun, everybody realized that Little Brother, who had snared the sun, was the wisest being in this world, and the one
with the greatest power.
Since that time the humans have been the chiefs over the animals, the hunters instead of the hunted.
|Skunk Origin Myth
A Winnebago (Hotcak) Legend
In a village long ago a woman gave birth to a girl with pure white hair. She grew up to be beautiful beyond compare, and because of her white hair, she
was thought to be very holy. Men would often court her, but she showed no interest in them, preferring to gaze at her own reflection in still waters. She
loved the smell of flowers and would rub their perfumed petals on her skin and hair.
One day a strange looking man showed up and was very keen to court her. She laughed at him, scolding him for his ugliness --yet he was not a mere man,
but one of the great spirits, Turtle. Turtle shed his wrinkled outer skin and appeared in all his glory. He decreed, "Since you rejected one of the great spirits,
you shall be transformed into a lowly animal! When people see you, they will turn away from your repulsive odor." She began to shrink, and she became
covered with little black hairs. The only trace left of her beautiful white hair was the furry white stripe down her back. She became the first of her race, the
race of skunks (gucge) who live to this day.
|The Baldness of the Buzzard
A Winnebago (Hotcak) Legend
Retold by Richard L. Dieterle
In his travels about the world, Trickster climbed up a hill and when he reached the top, he laid down to rest. As he was looking up, he saw a bird floating
effortlessly in the sky. Trickster thought to himself how nice it would be to have a view of the whole countryside like the bird's. Just as Trickster was looking
at the bird, so it was looking at Trickster. It thought that he was an animal that might make a good meal, so he circled down a bit lower. As soon as he got a
closer look, he could see that he was being watched, so he floated down to a dead tree with only a few branches. As the bird perched there, he thought to
himself, "I'll preen a few of these feathers and let the man enjoy my natural beauty." This bird was a buzzard.
In those times buzzards were very beautiful and also very vain. As Trickster laid there watching him, he said, "Haho, little brother.
"I was watching you circling above. It sure must be great to fly around with no effort at all." However, the bird said nothing at all back to Trickster. Then
Trickster said, "Did I ever say how beautiful a bird you are?" "No," replied the buzzard. "Well, you really are, you know. I like the way that the light shines
from your feathers when you turn your head. But what I really like best is the way you can have a view of the whole world from where you are flying. I
only wish you could give me a ride so that I too could enjoy it." The bird said, "I can probably do that," but when he reached Trickster, he said, "You're way
too heavy. If I put you on my back, I would never get off the ground." "Well," said Trickster, "I can fix that." Then Trickster thought to himself, "I'll become
just the right size to ride on that bird's back," and no sooner had he thought this, than he suddenly shrunk in size so that he was no bigger than a baby. Then
he climbed up on the buzzard's back and hung on tight.
The bird flapped his wings and soon they were airborne. He circled around until he hit an updraft, then suddenly he sailed away high into the sky. Trickster
exclaimed, "Ah, little brother, this is truly the life. There is nothing like this, to be able to see all over. You really have a great life gliding around up here."
Now the buzzard thought Trickster just wanted a short ride, but nothing could make him return. Now Trickster kept telling the buzzard to fly here or fly
there, and was starting to make a nuisance out of himself by his constant demands. Suddenly, the buzzard made a steep turn, and Trickster cried out,
"Whoa, watch that or I'll fall off!" This gave the buzzard an idea. He circled around and around gradually descending as he went. He was looking for a
hollow stump that he had seen earlier. After much searching, there it was. He flew directly over it, then he suddenly performed a mid-air flip, and Trickster
fell right off. The buzzard's aim was perfect and Trickster landed right in the hollow of the stump. This stump had been burned out, and the hole was small
enough that Trickster couldn't get back out again. Trickster was furious, and called the bird every bad name he could think of. Then he said, for good
measure, "I'll get even with you someday." However, the buzzard simply ignored him and flew away.
After all that time traveling about the world, now Trickster was a prisoner. Then Trickster decided to restore himself to his normal size, but when he did
that, he found himself stuck even tighter than before. Then he heard the voices of women out gathering wood. They were speaking to one another in Hotcak.
This gave Trickster an idea, and he sung out,
which means, "I am a big mother raccoon." The women exclaimed, "Wehehe! There is something over there." They went over to where they heard the
singing. Then Trickster sang again in a bass voice,
The women said, "Let's get this raccoon," and they began to chop away at the tree. When they had cut an opening through it, Trickster held up his raccoon
blanket, and the women exclaimed, "That's a big fat one!" Then trickster said, "Yes indeed, I am a really big one. Now, you're going to have to chop the hole
much bigger to get me out." After the women had chopped away furiously at the stump, the hole was now so big that Trickster stepped right out. He dropped
his blanket and laughed. The women were so angry at him that they chased him their axes, but he made good his escape.
No matter where Trickster went in his travels, he never ceased thinking about avenging himself against the buzzard. He contemplated many schemes, but
nothing seemed to work. Then one day when he was watching a herd of buffalo, he suddenly got a brilliant idea. "Now then," he said, "I'll become a buffalo
and drop over dead. That will give the buzzard just what he wants most, a really big meal of carrion."
So Trickster turned himself into a buffalo and spent his days grazing on the luxuriant grass, and in time became very fat. Then he laid down and died. There
he lay in the hot sun, rotting. Some time later a tcosgenika bird (woolly? [woodpecker]) spotted the buffalo rotting in the grass. This bird is a very noisy
one, and when he returned to the woods, he called out to all the meat eating birds that there was a fine, big meal going to waste in the meadow.
A great group of birds descended on the corpse and began pecking it all over, but its hide was so tough that none of the birds could penetrate it. Trickster
shut his eyes so tight that they couldn't even pick his eyes out. Finally, they called upon the magpie, who was a large bird with a sharp beak. They told him to
peck a hole right through the hide.
The magpie hammered away for a long time, but could get nowhere. Then he said, "Let me do this my way. The best way to get into a tough animal is to
enter through its anus." So he began pecking away at the buffalo's anus, and soon he had made an entry. Then the other birds went in as well, and flew off
with bits of fat.
Eventually, the news reached the buzzard who flew down to a nearby tree. He was wary of what Trickster might be up to, and was on his guard against
any tricks that might be in the offing; but the other birds kept saying, "Brother, come on down, we are getting to the best part now." So finally the buzzard
descended, thinking that he had better get some now before there was nothing good left. The other birds said, "We found this way in, right through his anus.
We saved it for you, the most beautiful of birds, brother."
So the buzzard stuck his head deep into the rectum of the buffalo. Then, unexpectedly, the anus tightened around his neck and his head was trapped inside.
Then suddenly the buffalo rose to his feet and began eating grass. After that he went down and drank a lot of water, after which he resumed eating
enormous amounts of lush, green grass, the kind that makes strong, hot buffalo chips. After a day of this, he finally relaxed his anus and let the bird go.
As the bird lay there in shock, Trickster changed himself back into his normal form. "Well now, you beautiful bird, how did you like the dinner I served up to
you?" When the bird came to his senses and saw Trickster standing before him, his worst fears were realized, and he flew up to the nearest tree. There he
shook himself off, but much to his surprise, all the feathers on his head fell off as he shook. Then Trickster said, "Because you have abused me, forevermore
your kind shall have bald heads, and no longer will the people say, "you are the most beautiful of birds, for in truth you will now be the ugliest." Even down
to this day turkey buzzards have no feathers on their head.
|The Boy Who Was Blessed By A Mountain Lion
A Winnebago (Hotcak) Legend
Once in a village, there lived a very poor boy. His family wished to bring him up so that he would be blessed by the spirits. They made him fast and coaxed
him to fast for long periods of time that he might be blessed by the great spirits and do something for his people. At first the boy thought that there was
nothing in fasting, but one night, he heard a voice which said, "My grandson, try hard to dream of my brothers and myself, for it you do not pay much
attention to your fasting we cannot bless you. Your people depend upon you, and that is why they have asked you to fast as long as you can. The longer you
fast, the more you will be able to accomplish for yourself and for your people." Thus spoke the voice.
The next morning, he told his father that some voice had spoken to him. "It is good," said the father, "but you must get a blessing from someone who is in
charge of great blessings, be he above in the sky, under the earth, or in the waters. Thus, when you get to be a man, the people will all say that you are the
young man who fasted for a long time. 'He must know very much,' they will say. So blacken your face still more, my son." Then the boy took some
charcoal from the fireplace and rubbed it upon his face, and then went away, taking with him his bow and arrows.
When he got to a place at some distance from the village, he said to himself, "There must be something in this preaching. I will try to dream of something. I
will stay out in the wilderness and try to obtain some blessing." Thinking of these things, he wandered farther and farther away. Finally, he made a shelter
for himself in a hollow log. When night came he crawled into the log backwards and stuffed the hole with dried leaves so that he would not be too cold.
There he slept and the next day he got up and went hunting as usual. He shot many squirrels and birds, and when he was tired he put up a target to shoot at,
just as many other boys do, When night came again, he crept into the log again and slept. This he kept up for ten days. He was tired and hungry by this
time, but he said to himself, "If my ancestors could see me as I am now, tired and hungry, they would surely bless me." Thus he thought. He tried to stand it
as long as possible, and so he kept it up for another ten days. By this time he was so emaciated that he was practically only skin and bones. He could hardly
walk. Then he thought to himself, "Tonight, I shall sleep out on the hill, and if I starve to death, my people, when they find my body will know that I met a
good death." So there he lay and went to sleep.
In the middle of the night he awoke and felt that something was near him. He peered into the night, and there was a mountain lion sitting quite close. He got
frightened at first, but he did not move, thinking to himself, "Well, if I am going to die, I might as well die now." Just then the lion spoke to him and said, "I
am the cause of your being in your present condition. I made you come to this place. My brothers sent me to see you and to bless you. We knew long ago
that you were making yourself pitiable, but only when you became thin and indeed most pitiable, only when you remembered my brothers, did I come to
you. Now I am going to tell you about some war party that you are to lead. You will kill as many people as you want to, as long as you remember to pout
your tobacco for my brothers and myself. We are in possession of great war-giving powers. I am in charge of the others besides and should any difficulty
befall you, therefore, call my name and I will come to your aid immediately. When you kill any one, you may retain the head, but the body you must leave
for us and we shall eat it. I shall stay with you all night, and tomorrow I shall go and get you something to eat." Thus the lion spoke.
Early the next morning the lion went out and killed a deer and cooked a piece of meat for the boy. "Eat and drink some soup so that you may be strong
enough to go home to your parents. They are hunting for you, and are about to give up all hope of ever finding you alive. I am there every day as it is not far
from here. It is just over the hill." The boy ate and then thanked the lion, saying, "Grandfather, you have conferred a great blessing upon me and what you
have asked of me, I will do for you as long as I live." The lion replied, "Well, you may go home now, grandson. There is a man who is just about to start out
on the warpath. Go along with him and do your best. Always think of me, and then I will keep my mind upon you in order to aid you."
So the boy went home, and the lion went to his home. All day and part of the night, the boy traveled, reaching his home late at night. He immediately went
to his father's lodge, and there he found the old man with his head in his hands. "Father," said the boy, "It is I. I have come home. I got along very well while
I was away. What you asked me to try and obtain, I did obtain and I think I have been blessed with great powers." Then the father awoke his wife and told
her to prepare some food for their son as he must be hungry. He said to him, "My son, we were just about to give up searching for you, for we all thought
that you were dead by this time. Really, it is good that you have succeeded so well in your fasting. In the future you will never have to worry about
anything. What brave men do, that you will also be able to do, so that in years to come your people will be able to mention you whenever they recount the
deeds of their famous war leaders." The old man continued, "A certain man is just about to start on the warpath, and thus, you have come just in time to go
along. His folks are going to give a Winter Feast tomorrow, and the day after he will start out. He will first go through the village and all the young men
who have accomplished anything, and those who have fasted, will join him. Now I will tell your mother and sisters to get moccasins and some medicine
ready for you so that you may be able to join this man."
The next morning the Winter Feast was given and the old man and his son were invited. So the two went over and the people kept on saying, "Look, there is
the old man with his son whom we all thought to be dead. He must be a great person, because he has been away so long a time fasting." At the feast, the man
who was going on the warpath made a speech and asked all the young men who had never had anything to do with women to join him the next morning at
the break of day. They were to gather yonder at the hill and start from there. So the next morning, the young men went to the appointed hill, and when they
had gathered together, they started out. They were led by a warrior. When night came they sat around the fires they had built, telling stories. On the second
and third nights they did the same. On the fourth night, the leader addressed them as follows: "Young men, whatever you have dreamt of, whatever you
have been blessed with, you must tell us for we are near the enemy now. I want to select those whom I wish to send out to scout the enemies' position." So all
the young men told the leader of their dreams. When the boy's turn came he got up and said, "Well, when I fasted and wanted to die in the wilderness, a
mountain lion came to me and said that he was the chief of the lions and that he had come to me purposely to bless me. Then he went out and killed a deer for
me and cooked it and gave it to me to eat. Before leaving, he told me to go home and join this war party." The leader said, "Well, that is good." He also
added, "I am going to select one person, the one that I think will make the best scout." Then he selected the boy.
Before the boy started, he poured some tobacco on the ground and asked hi grandfather to bless him. Then the lion came to him again, and said, "You are to
stay here, while I go forward and scout their position." So the boy stayed there and the lion growled and started forward, tearing the brush as he went. In a
little while he returned to the boy and said, "Everything is well. They have no suspicion at all of your coming, so that you will be able to surprise them." Then
the lion departed. When the boy got back, the leader said to him, "What did you find out?" The boy replied, "My grandfather went to spy upon them for me
and said that everything was all right, and that we would be able to surprise them." The leader said, "That is good, that is what we want. Be ready, boys,
about day break, because just as our grandfather the sun makes his appearance in the sky, we shall rush upon the enemy. Each of you must try his best
because we want to kill as many of the enemy as we can. I shall go ahead, and when I give a whoop then you boys can follow." But the boy snuck away and
hid himself in front of the place where they were sleeping, and when the leader came past in the morning and gave the whoop, the boy ran past the leader.
The leader said, "That is good, that is what I call a good warrior." The boy rushed into the midst of the enemy and killed their leader, cut off his head, and
brought it to his own leader. The leader struck the head and said, "He is the one I have come after, but you killed him before I could reach him. Now I am
glad that I can count the second coup." So he gave a whoop and struck the head. They fought until late in the afternoon, and then they started for home.
Almost all of them carried a scalp with them. When they got home, they told how the boy had killed the leader, and had given the head to their own war
leader. The boy's father was very glad.
Then the boy got married, and used to go hunting with his wife. They used to go away from home and camp out for some time. One day, when they had
gone camping, he went out hunting and left his wife in the camp. In the evening when he returned, his lodge poles were standing very straight. Looking
about, he found that his wife had been taken prisoner. So he said, "I shall go after my wife. I am a man, and it would be a shame for me to go back to my
people without her." So he started out and soon came upon a trail. Looking carefully at it, he discovered his wife's footprints. This made him very angry
and he went faster. He traveled until he came in sight of a village. There he hid himself near a spring. About dark he saw a woman coming to the spring and
he recognized her as his wife. So he went up to her and said, "I love you very much, and for that reason I have come after you." The woman, however, was
already married to a son of the chief of that village, and she liked her new husband, so she told him to wait there until she went back to get some moccasins.
He waited there while she went back to the village. But she told her husband that her old husband had come and was at the spring. Thereupon they sent a
few warriors to capture him. The warriors, coming upon him unexpectedly, captured him. They placed him in the Warrior's Lodge and guarded him there.
The next morning the son of the chief sent for him and said, "You must have been very fond of your wife to have come so long a distance to see her." The boy
answered, "I always said that if ever my wife was captured, I would go and get her." The son of the chief then said, "I have a little soup on the fire for you, for
you must be hungry. You are going to eat as a real man should, and when you have finished eating we will go out into an open field and have a little fun." So
he place the boiling kettle before him, and told him to eat the soup with his hands. The boy did it, and burned his hands until they were raw and bloody.
Nevertheless, he ate all that they put before him. The old chief protested and told his son that this was not the way to make a man suffer, but the son laughed
and told him that it was just in this that the fun came in. Then he took the boy to an open field and after driving stakes in the ground, tied his limbs to them.
Then the chief's son and his wife got on horses and ran towards him. The horses, however, jumped over him. They kept on running their horses at him until
the horses stepped on him. By evening there was nothing left of him. Then they went back to the village and the chief's son said, "Why, that man did not
have any blessings at all. He couldn't help himself in the least."
Sometime during the night the mountain lion was walking about, and he smelled the flesh of a human being. He went to the spot where the man had been
killed, and putting his head down, he sniffed again and said, "Why this is the man I have blessed. He evidently did not think of men and hence was killed. I
will try and revive him." So he licked the earth and made peculiar noises. Then the man's bones came together. When he had made the noise the fourth time,
the man said, "They took me unexpectedly, grandfather, so I did not have time to think of you." They sat together awhile and then they went away into the
The man and the lion fasted for four years. At the end of that time the man said, "Grandfather, I am going to stop fasting. I am really blessed now, and the
spirits in charge of war have given me that whole village. Now I will go to that village and no one may go with me but you." So the lion went forth and
killed a deer, and the man gave a feast. Then the man went and got the deer and the lion gave the feast, and the man feasted. Then they started out for the
enemy. "Grandson," said the lion, "I will kill one half of the village and you will kill the other half." They proceeded onward carrying a few scalps with them.
When the man's folks saw him coming back with a big mountain lion, they were frightened. When they reached home they went to the lodge of the young
man's parents, and the father asked him where his wife was. The boy replied, "The enemy took her away from me and when I went after her, they killed me.
But my grandfather, whom you see here, resuscitated me. Then the two of us went and killed every person in that village. Here are a few scalps, and if any
people want a few more, they can go and get them." Then the father sent a crier through the village with the news, and the people were glad. The wife's
brothers came running to him and said, "Young man, you have done very well."
Then the lion said, "If I remain here, it will not be all right. Earth-Maker does not wish it to be that way, so I shall go where my brothers are." If he had
remained, he and the man would have killed all the people, and as the lion knew this, he went away. This is the story of how the lion blessed the human
being, and then later took his blessing away because Earth-Maker did not like it.
|The Lost Child
A Winnebago (Hotcak) Legend
Once in the fall of the year, a Winnebago with his family camped there, near a spring which issues from the foot of the bluff, to have his winter hunt. While
the man was out hunting, his wife would go and dig some of the Indian potatoes (wakciktora) from the margin of the spring. She took along her little
daughter, who was about four years of age, and having dug some of the roots, left the child to watch them, and went further to dig more. While away she
heard the girl give one scream; but when she had hurried back no child was to be seen; nor would she find her with all the search and callings she made.
When the man returned he endeavored to find her, but with no better success. The next fall, the man and his family camped at the same place again. The
woman had dreamt during the summer that the child would be returned to her. One day, a clear fine day, she took her axe, and went to the same place where
she had lost the child.
She saw her there, and went up to her, but there was such an odor or scent from the child that it overcame the mother and she fainted. The child restored the
mother,and then the mother picked the child up, and carried her to the lodge, where her husband was. The child observed that if the odor which she had,
which arose from her association with the Wak'tcexi (Water Spirit) was disagreeable, she would go back.
She related that she had heard her mother and father crying for her the whole winter; that she could not come to them because she did not know the way; and
besides, her new mother, the Wak'tcexiwika, would not let her go; but as they had cried so much and made so much sacrifice to the Wak'tcexi, they had
consented to send her back to live with her folks until they wanted her again. While with her new mother, she was well dressed and wore plenty of wampum
(a child's and young Indian's supreme ambition).
When her new mother sent her back, she sent her with the same clothes she had on when she was taken; but had tied around her neck a small sea shell as a
charm. The new mother told her that as long as she preserved that shell, she would want for nothing --all her wishes should be gratified. So she stayed with
her earthly parents, the strong Wak'tcexi's odor passing away.
|The Orphan Who Was Blessed With A Horse
A Winnebago (Hotcak) Legend
There in a village lived an orphan with his grandmother. Everyone called him Wainanika, which means "Little Orphan." The other children when they saw
him would tease him by saying, O wainanika ixajirena, "Oh, the little orphan is going by again." Nevertheless, he was a good child and always did what his
grandmother asked him. So one day his grandmother told him it was time for him to fast and to seek a dream from the spirits, so the orphan blackened his
face and went out to the wilderness to make himself pitiable before the spirits. Night after night the orphan would return home, and every time his
grandmother would ask, "did you dream and receive a blessing, grandson?" Even though four times he fasted four days and nights, and nearly fasted
himself to death, he did not receive a blessing from the spirits. Indeed, he never received one.
In time he reached the age when he would be expected to go out on the warpath, so he went out to fast again. He felt discouraged and thought that the spirits
denied him blessings because they were so much like humans that they felt towards him the same way that the villagers did. Nevertheless, he went to the
wilderness and cried out to the Thunders that they might take pity on him and bless him. For four days and four nights he ate and drank nothing, indeed he
did not even put so much as a pebble in his mouth; but on the fifth day he was so thirsty that he broke his fast to take a drink. As the orphan neared the spring
he saw something. There, unexpectedly, was a dirty, emaciated horse laying in the mud. He had always desired a horse, but his grandmother was too poor
to own one. When Little Orphan saw the horse he took pity on it. He fetched water for its parched lips, and rich green grass to sate its hunger. He brushed
the dirt from its hide and kept bringing armfuls of grass so that he would have plenty to eat. Then he promised the horse that he would soon return after he
had seen his grandmother.
When he arrived at his grandmother's, she asked, "Grandson, did you dream?" Again he had to answer "No." but he added, "I found a horse lying by the
spring." He told her how he had almost fasted to death, and how he had sought the blessings of the Thunderbirds; but that on the fifth day he had to seek
water, and that was how he found the horse. Hid grandmother told him that he should always help those who cannot help themselves, so he returned every
day and supplied the horse with water and feed, nursing him back to health. Finally, he was able to lead the horse back to his lodge. When some people saw
him leading this bag of bones home, they mocked him and said, "Now Little Orphan owns a horse!" The boy tried with all his power to fatten the horse up,
but no matter how much grass he gathered, the horse always seemed ugly, and so bony that it looked as if his skeleton would pierce right through his skin.
At this time a number of men had gone out on a hunting expedition, and now they returned with the news that a great herd of buffalo was headed their way
and would be there in about four nights. Scouts were sent out to find a good place to hunt the buffalo herd, and when they came back they had unexpected
news: among the herd was a buffalo whose hide was as white as snow. It was very holy. The chief greatly coveted the hide of this animal,and had his criers
announce that whoever could bring him that hide would receive his daughter's hand in marriage. The orphan greatly loved the yugiwi (princess), and she in
turn had not failed to notice him. The orphan went home and told his grandmother everything. He declared that he would try to kill the white buffalo.
The hunters decided to wait until the buffalo were just one night's travel away, then they would launch their expedition. The boy decided to take his new
found horse on the hunt with them. The next day he led his horse to water as usual, then he took him to green pastures. All the while the orphan seemed quiet
and contemplative. As they were walking along, he heard a voice nearby say quite distinctly, "Well nephew, why are you so quiet?" It seemed as if the voice
had come from the horse, but he could not believe that such a thing was possible. Just the same, the boy decided to answer the question in order to find out
where the voice was really coming from. "I was thinking about the hunt and how hard it will be to get the white buffalo. Indeed, it will be very difficult."
Then the voice was heard again. "Nephew, if that is what you want, then we shall get it." Then he knew it. The voice was indeed that of the horse, and he
thought to himself, "This horse is truly wakatcak (holy)." The boy now looked for particularly good pasture, as they would be going on the hunt the next day.
As they were heading back to his grandmother's lodge, the horse said, "Nephew, what you have heard only you have heard and no one else, so do not speak of
it." The orphan replied, "All right."
The next morning he went to where the men had gathered for the hunt. There they waited for the Bear Clan to give the order for the hunt to begin. Then the
horse said to him, "Nephew, now you may get on me, but be sure to sit tight, and whatever happens, remain seated as you are." The Bear clansmen gave the
signal for the hunt to begin, and everyone galloped off on their horses. No one paid much attention to the orphan, but when the signal had been given, his
horse seemed to disappear. As the hunters finally began to get near the great buffalo herd, there, unexpectedly, to their great astonishment, was the orphan
riding back. In his hand was the hide of the white buffalo. Thus the orphan won the prize of the princess. Great was the rejoicing of the village, for many
buffalo were killed and there was meat aplenty.
Then the boy went to his horse and asked him, "Uncle, who are you?" The horse replied, "Hoho, nephew, you nearly fasted to death and we knew it. We took
pity on you, and I came as a blessing to you. This very day at sunset I shall depart; but look in the direction of the setting sun and it shall be made known to
you who I am." Thus did the horse speak, then he vanished.
That day near sunset he saw a black cloud form, its edges reddened by the setting sun. The cloud grew and grew, and soon a tremendous thunder storm
swept over the land. And the people became alarmed, so intense was it. Lightning flashed with the voice of the Thunders. The sky was now black with
clouds, and as Little Orphan looked to the west, he saw a great white horse race across the sky, lightning flashing from his eyes. Then he knew it, that the
Thunderbirds had indeed blessed him.
|The Shawnee Prophet - What He Told The Hotcagara
A Winnebago (Hotcak) Legend
When the Creator fashioned the Shawnee Prophet, he made him that he might accomplish a special mission on this earth. The Creator told him all that he
was to do and achieve in life. When he was born, he was one of triplets. In his youth the Devil (Herecgunina) came to him and told him many things and led
him astray, even to the point that he came to forget what the Creator had told him. The Devil claimed that he would ascend to heaven and that no one could
kill him. Then the Devil gave him a medicine belt of great mystery: when he cast it upon the ground, it would turn into a rattle snake that would shake its
rattle as if to strike. Under the Devil's influence he had become a bad person, and much feared by everyone. Women were always in his company, not
because they loved him, but because they feared not to do his bidding. He was immensely strong and drank to excess, and if anyone attacked him when he
was drunk, he would find out who they were, and beat them severely. If they resisted, he would kill them. Thus he was feared by everyone. His brother,
Haga, who was the third triplet, had a very narrow head, and people constantly teased him about it. One day he announced, "I have had enough of this, and
will go home." Then he died.
One night when he was drunk, the Shawnee Prophet was jumped by a group of men and nearly killed. The next morning he asked his wife who they were,
and when she told him, he said, "They shall hear of me this day!" Before taking revenge, he decided to bathe. While he was bathing, a man approached him
and said, "I am sent to summon you, so let us go." The man took him to the Spirit-land where he saw the Creator, who asked him, "My son, I had created you
for a purpose, so how fares the mission given you?" He then remembered all the Creator had said to him, all that he had since forgotten. The Creator spoke"
"Did I create you thus?" Whereupon the Creator showed him his own mouth which had become twisted out of shape. Then he showed him his ears which was
so warped that he did not comprehend how he could hear anything through them. "Did I create you thus?" the Creator asked. Then the Creator pulled out his
heart, which was furrowed and un smooth. "Did I create you thus?" the Creator again asked. Then the Creator showed him all his evil ways, and asked, "Is
this what you were created to do? But you will do better this time."
When he returned to earth he gave up thoughts of revenge, and began to teach his great mystery. Yet no one believed him. So he called a great assembly and
promised to speak the truth to them. Many scoffed and said he was becoming more and more insane. He fashioned a small, flat war club and brought this
with him. Now his remaining brother [Tecumseh] was himself very holy, and could not be killed even with bullets. He told his brother not to speak, but he
replied, "If you can pick up this miniature club, then I shall fall silent." His brother went to lift it, but could not budge it at all. Then he invited anyone to lift it,
but no one could make it move at all. When the people saw this, they believed him.
At this time the other tribes were having their night dances, so the Hotcagara moved nearby. The word of the Shawnee Prophet reached many, for he said,
"Let the people give up the customs they now have, and I shall give them new ones." So many threw away their war-bundles and tossed out their good
medicine bundles, but he had meant that they should renounce their bad customs. So a war-leader named "Smoke Walker" decided to lead some of the young
men over to the Prophet's camp to see him. Then an old man named "Dog Head," who was very wakatcak (holy), announced that he would come along; but
the leader said, "Not so --for we shall walk as the Thunders." "If you walk as the Thunderbirds, and I cannot keep up, then I shall turn back," the old man
replied. Eleven men went with Smoke Walker. When they arrived, they found people from every nation except the Hotcagara. When the Shawnee Prophet
saw them, his heart was glad, and he said to them, "My dear younger brothers, I had hoped much to see you, although I do not speak Winnebago, so I may
not be able to address you." Now the leader turned to Dog Head, who in his youth could speak the languages of all the neighboring nations, and asked him to
translate. Dog Head said, "I can understand him, but I do not know whether I can speak to him." "Do your best," said the leader, "for anything is better than
nothing." Then Dog Head spoke to the Prophet and said he thought that he might not be understood, but the Prophet understood him and they had a long
conversation: "My dear younger brothers," said the Prophet, "we are not getting along in life as we should because we have not done the right thing." Then
he told the Hotcagara all that had happened to him and how the Creator had sent him to earth to accomplish a mission. Then he instructed the people to build
a long ceremonial lodge. Some were chosen to go after bears, and each one he sent forth did not fail to come back with one. Thus they believed him, and
knew him to be holy.
One day the look-outs informed the Prophet that the Long Knives were advancing upon them in force. Then the Prophet told them, "Listen carefully, and
when they have fallen asleep, then we will take care of them." One of the Long Knives came into camp and asked them, "Where shall we camp?" and they told
him that they could camp where they were. While the Long Knives slept that night, the united tribes fell upon them, firing a hail of musket balls. The Long
Knives were so surprised that many fled into the night without their muskets. The commander [General William Henry Harrison] had the bugle sounded
and the Long Knives gathered back together. Then they counterattacked and many Indians fell there [at Tippecanoe]. The Hotcak war-leader, Smoke
Walker, was one of these. The warriors were scattered as to the winds, and none knew who had lived or who had perished.
Small Snake, the son of Smoke Walker, headed back home with a boat load of women under his care. The women suddenly expressed alarm when they saw
a boat full of white people coming right towards them. Small Snake had only two musket balls left, but he stood to fire. At the last moment he held back, for
he recognized them: unexpectedly they were not Long Knives, but Good Spirit People (French). They greeted one another and the French gave him plenty of
ammunition. Thus they got home safely.
Since the time of the Shawnee Prophet many prophets have risen up and passed away, yet they never spoke the truth as he had. They spoke that they might
be praised, or only that they might be heard. He foresaw that a woman would prophecy, but that she should immediately be slain, for she foreshadowed the
end of the world. He also said that a boy would rise as a prophet and that all should give him ear. The Peyote people believe that they have realized this
prophesy. The Shawnee Prophet said many other things that have come to pass. He spoke the truth when he said that the Hotcagara would be able to write
their own tongue. He said that the time would come when trees have been logged and put upon trains to the mill. All this he prophesied many generations
ago, and he spoke the truth like no other that has come afterwards.
|The Spider's Eye
A Winnebago (Hotcak) Legend
When Earth-Maker had completed his creation of the world, he looked for a creature that could watch over his creation. First Earthmaker appointed Turtle
to oversee things, but his legs were so stubby that he could not see very far at all. So he was recalled. Then Earth-Maker appointed Kaghiga (Crow/Raven) to
oversee the world. Kaghiga could see far and wide, but he did more than just watch: he gave orders to everyone, and never was he silent for even a moment.
Thus Earthmaker recalled Kaghiga. Then Earthmaker appointed Bear. Bear could stand on his hind legs and see well and could even climb trees so that he
could see in every direction. However, Bear had a terrible temper, and soon frightened the whole of creation. So Earthmaker recalled him as well.
Then Earthmaker appointed Spider to watch over the world. Spider was without any passion, so no one feared her. Because she could climb, Spider was able
to see far and wide. In the beginning, Spider had only two eyes like everyone else, but just to make sure that she could see everywhere, Earthmaker gave her
six new eyes, one for each direction. Ever since, spiders have had eight eyes.
|The Woman Who Fought The Bear
A Winnebago (Hotcak) Legend
There once was a band of people who were always giving Bear Feasts and came to be blessed by a great Bear Spirit. One member of the band fasted very
hard, and made himself very pitiable. Finally, he dreamed and was blessed by a Bear Spirit. The spirit came before him and said, "Human! I bless you with
war powers: on your first warpath you shall gain the fourth war honor; on your second, you shall have the third war honor; on your third warpath you
shall achieve the second war honor; and on the fourth warpath you shall achieve the first war honor, and your sisters shall parade through the village with
the prize!" He was overjoyed to hear this, but there were yet more blessings. The spirit continued: "Human! I bless you with life: for as long as the Creator
gave you to live, that long shall you live; I bless you with the full extent of life given to you. Human! I also bless you with my body: if you pour me a pipe full
of tobacco, then you shall not fail to kill a bear on your hunt. Do not abuse the bears, and you shall never want for food. Human! I really bless you. Never
before have I blessed anyone in all the eons that I have lain here. As long as your posterity lasts on this earth, that long have you dreamt for them. If they
keep up the feasts well, I shall extend to them the same blessings of war and life; and if they offer me tobacco, I shall not fail to accept it. If they offer me a
kettle at the feasts, I shall accept it with thanks. This single thing I warn you against: if you offer me food or tobacco you must at all costs keep it away from
unclean women. It is I, the Chief of Bears, who have blessed you."
Ever since then when the First Bear Moon becomes visible, they would always give a Bear Feast. They would use no meat, but only the produce of the earth.
They would always try to obtain the Bear Chief's favorite foods, which he said were maple sugar and blueberries. They would boil in the kettle dried corn and
ground green corn, which they would mix with fruit and ground sugar. The feast was held in the dark of night. When all this was accomplished, the host sent
his attendant around to invite the guests. When the lodge was filled to capacity, the host arose and said, "Relatives, take a seat here! Greetings to you all! It is
not of our own devising that we offer tobacco to the spirits -- this knowledge came to my grandfather from Black Fur (Hisepga), Chief of the Bears, when he
blessed him. Thus we offer a kettle to him. And we make this request: should war come to us may we come away with honors. We also ask for life, as this is
what our grandfather dreamt for us, it is said. Thus we give him a pipe full of tobacco, two kettles of food, and some tree sap. Then we shall eat." After the
attendant filled everyone's plate, the host arose again and spoke: "Relatives! When the plates are filled, it is time to eat; but do not eat with your right hands."
Then the fires were put out, and everyone ate with their left hand in pitch darkness. Another feast just like this one was given in the spring as well.
The following year, the host set aside some choice dried corn so that it could be offered to Black Fur when the Bear Moon first appeared in the sky. This corn
was special to him, and he took care that no one would touch it, for he knew that the Bear Spirit was anxious to have it. It chanced that his two unmarried
girls had their menstrual periods, and went to the seclusion hut to fast. After the first day of their fast, they were anxious to eat, but as no other food could be
found, their mother boiled some of the sacred corn for them, even though they were not clean.
One day their mother was out with her stick tanning a hide near a spring that emerged from blue earth. There her two girls were also. Then, unexpectedly,
out of the spring came a powerful bear, and it fell upon the girls and tried to kill them. The mother took her stick and kept stabbing the bear with it, but he
paid no attention to her. He just kept attacking the two girls who had defiled the feast. Finally, he killed both the girls, but their mother also stabbed him to
death. The bear was covered with blue clay (ma tco), and they say that it was not an earthly bear, but a Spirit Bear, that came to punish the two girls for
eating the feast corn unclean.
Ever since that day, this band has never given another Bear Feast.