There were once upon a time two young men who were very great friends, and were constantly together. One was a very thoughtful young man, the other very impulsive, who never stopped to think before he committed an act.
One day these two friends were walking along, telling each other of their experiences in love making. They ascended a high hill, and on reaching the top, heard a ticking noise as if small stones or pebbles were being struck together.
Looking around they discovered a large spider sitting in the midst of a great many flint arrowheads. The spider was busily engaged making the flint rocks into arrow heads. They looked at the spider, but he never moved, but continued hammering away on a piece of flint which he had nearly completed into another arrowhead.
"Let's hit him," said the thoughtless one. "No," said the other, "he is not harming any one; in fact, he is doing a great good, as he is making the flint arrowheads which we use to point our arrows."
"Oh, you are afraid," said the first young man. "He can't harm you. just watch me hit him." So saying, he picked up an arrowhead and throwing it at "Unktomi," hit him on the side. As Unktomi rolled over on his side, got up and stood looking at them, the young man laughed and said: "Well, let us be going, as your grandfather, "Unktomi," doesn't seem to like our company." They started down the hill, when suddenly the one who had hit Unktomi took a severe fit of coughing. He coughed and coughed, and finally small particles of blood came from his mouth. The blood kept coming thicker and in great gushes. Finally it came so thick and fast that the man could not get his breath and fell upon the ground dead.
The thoughtful young man, seeing that his friend was no more, hurried to the village and reported what had happened. The relatives and friends hurried to the hill, and sure enough, there lay the thoughtless young man still and cold in death. They held a council and sent for the chief of the Unktomi tribe. When he heard what had happened, he told the council that he could do nothing to his Unktomi, as it had only defended itself.
Said he: "My friends, seeing that your tribe was running short of arrowheads, I set a great many of my tribe to work making flint arrowheads for you. When my men are thus engaged they do not wish to be disturbed, and your young man not only disturbed my man, but grossly insulted him by striking him with one of the arrowheads which he had worked so hard to make. My man could not sit and take this insult, so as the young man walked away the Unktomi shot him with a very tiny arrowhead. This produced a hemorrhage, which caused his death. So now, my friends, if you will fill and pass the peace pipe, we will part good friends and my tribe shall always furnish you with plenty of flint arrowheads." So saying, Unktomi Tanka finished his peace smoke and returned to his tribe.
Ever after that, when the Indians heard a ticking in the grass, they would go out of their way to get around the sound, saying, Unktomi is making arrowheads; we must not disturb him.
Thus it was that Unktomi Tanka (Big Spider) had the respect of this tribe, and was never after disturbed in his work of making arrowheads.
Once upon a time there lived as neighbors, a bear and a rabbit. The rabbit was a good shot, and the bear being very clumsy could not use the arrow to good advantage. The bear was very unkind to the rabbit. Every morning, the bear would call over to the rabbit and say: "Take your bow and arrows and come with me to the other side of the hill. A large herd of buffalo are grazing there, and I want you to shoot some of them for me, as my children are crying for meat."
The rabbit, fearing to arouse the bear's anger by refusing, consented, and went with the bear, and shot enough buffalo to satisfy the hungry family. Indeed, he shot and killed so many that there was lots of meat left after the bear and his family had loaded themselves, and packed all they could carry home. The bear being very gluttonous, and not wanting the rabbit to get any of the meat, said: "Rabbit, you come along home with us and we will return and get the remainder of the meat."
The poor rabbit could not even taste the blood from the butchering, as the bear would throw earth on the blood and dry it up. Poor Rabbit would have to go home hungry after his hard day's work.
The bear was the father of five children. The youngest boy was very kind to the rabbit. The mother bear, knowing that her youngest was a very hearty eater, always gave him an extra large piece of meat. What the baby bear did not eat, he would take outside with him and pretend to play ball with it, kicking it toward the rabbit's house, and when he got close to the door he would give the meat such a great kick, that it would fly into the rabbit's house, and in this way poor Rabbit would get his meal unknown to the papa bear.
Baby bear never forgot his friend Rabbit. Papa bear often wondered why his baby would go outside after each meal. He grew suspicious and asked the baby where he had been. "Oh, I always play ball outside, around the house, and when I get tired playing I eat up my meat ball and then come in."
The baby bear was too cunning to let papa bear know that he was keeping his friend rabbit from starving to death. Nevertheless, papa bear suspected baby and said: "Baby, I think you go over to the rabbit's after every meal."
The four older brothers were very handsome, but baby bear was a little puny fellow, whose coat couldn't keep out much cold, as it was short and shaggy, and of a dirty brown color. The three older brothers were very unkind to baby bear, but the fourth one always took baby's part, and was always kind to his baby brother.
Rabbit was getting tired of being ordered and bullied around by papa bear. He puzzled his brain to scheme some way of getting even with Mr. Bear for abusing him so much. He studied all night long, but no scheme worth trying presented itself. Early one morning Mr. Bear presented himself at Rabbit's door.
"Say, Rabbit, my meat is all used up, and there is a fine herd of buffalo grazing on the hillside. Get your bow and arrows and come with me. I want you to shoot some of them for me."
"Very well," said Rabbit, and he went and killed six buffalo for Bear. Bear got busy butchering and poor Rabbit, thinking he would get a chance to lick up one mouthful of blood, stayed very close to the bear while he was cutting up the meat. The bear was very watchful lest the rabbit get something to eat. Despite bear's watchfulness, a small clot of blood rolled past and behind the bear's feet. At once Rabbit seized the clot and hid it in his bosom. By the time Rabbit got home, the blood clot was hardened from the warmth of his body, so, being hungry, it put Mr. Rabbit out of sorts to think that after all his trouble he could not eat the blood.
Very badly disappointed, he lay down on his floor and gazed up into the chimney hole. Disgusted with the way things had turned out, he grabbed up the blood clot and threw it up through the hole. Scarcely had it hit the ground when he heard the voice of a baby crying, "Ate! Ate!" (father, father). He went outside and there he found a big baby boy. He took the baby into his house and threw him out through the hole again. This time the boy was large enough to say "Ate, Ate, he-cun-sin-lo." (Father, father, don't do that). But nevertheless, he threw him up and out again. On going out the third time, there stood a handsome youth smiling at him. Rabbit at once adopted the youth and took him into his house, seating him in the seat of honor (which is directly opposite the entrance), and saying: "My son, I want you to be a good, honest, straightforward man. Now, I have in my possession a fine outfit, and you, my son, shall wear it."
Suiting his action to his words, he drew out a bag from a hollow tree and on opening it, drew out a fine buckskin shirt (tanned white as snow), worked with porcupine quills. Also a pair of red leggings worked with beads. Moccasins worked with colored hair. A fine otter skin robe. White weasel skins to intertwine with his beautiful long black locks. A magnificent center eagle feather. A rawhide covered bow, accompanied by a quiver full of flint arrowheads.
The rabbit, having dressed his son in all the latest finery, sat back and gazed long and lovingly at his handsome son. Instinctively Rabbit felt that his son had been sent him for the purpose of being instrumental in the downfall of Mr. Bear. Events will show.
The morning following the arrival of Rabbit's son, Mr. Bear again presents himself at the door, crying out: "You lazy, ugly rabbit, get up and come out here. I want you to shoot some more buffalo for me."
"Who is this, who speaks so insultingly to you, father?" asked the son.
"It is a bear who lives near here, and makes me kill buffalo for his family, and he won't let me take even one little drop of blood from the killing, and consequently, my son, I have nothing in my house for you to eat."
The young man was anxious to meet Mr. Bear but Rabbit advised him to wait a little until he and Bear had gone to the hunt. So the son obeyed, and when he thought it time that the killing was done, he started out and arrived on the scene just as Mr. Bear was about to proceed with his butchering.
Seeing a strange shadow on the ground beside him, Mr. Bear looked up and gazed into the fearless eyes of rabbit's handsome son.
"Who is this?" asked Mr. Bear of poor little Rabbit.
"I don't know," answered Rabbit.
"Who are you?" asked the bear of Rabbit's son. "Where did you come from?"
The rabbit's son not replying, the bear spoke thus to him: "Get out of here, and get out quick, too."
At this speech the rabbit's son became angered, and fastened an arrow to his bow and drove the arrow through the bear's heart. Then he turned on Mrs. Bear and served her likewise. During the melee, Rabbit shouted: "My son, my son, don't kill the two youngest. The baby has kept me from starving and the other one is good and kind to his baby brother."
So the three older brothers who were unkind to their baby brother met a similar fate to that of their selfish parents.
This (the story goes) is the reason that bears travel only in pairs.
There was once a young man whose parents were not overburdened with the riches of this world, and consequently could not dress their only son in as rich a costume as the other young men of the tribe, and on account of not being so richly clad as they, he was looked down upon and shunned by them. He was never invited to take part in any of their sports; nor was he ever asked to join any of the war parties.
In the village lived an old man with an only daughter. Like the other family, they were poor, but the daughter was the belle of the tribe. She was the most sought after by the young men of the village, and warriors from tribes far distant came to press their suit at winning her for their bride. All to no purpose; she had the same answer for them as she had for the young men of the village.
The poor young man was also very handsome despite his poor clothes, but having never killed an enemy nor brought home any enemies' horses he was not (according to Indian rules) allowed to make love to any young or old woman. He tried in vain to join some of the war parties, that he might get the chance to win his spurs as a warrior. To all his pleadings, came the same answer: "You are not fit to join a war party. You have no horses, and if you should get killed our tribe would be laughed at and be made fun of as you have such poor clothes, and we don't want the enemy to know that we have any one of our tribe who dresses so poorly as you do."
Again, and again, he tried different parties, only to be made fun of and insulted.
One night he sat in the poor tepee of his parents. He was in deep study and had nothing to say. His father, noticing his melancholy mood, asked him what had happened to cause him to be so quiet, as he was always of a jolly disposition. The son answered and said:
"Father, I am going on the warpath alone. In vain I have tried to be a member of one of the war parties. To all of my pleadings I have got nothing but insults in return."
"But my son, you have no gun nor ammunition. Where can you get any and how can you get it? We have nothing to buy one for you with," said the father.
"I don't need any weapons. I am going to bring back some of the enemies' horses, and I don't need a gun for that."
Early the next morning (regardless of the old couple's pleadings not to go unarmed) the young man left the village and headed northwest, the direction always taken by the war parties.
For ten days he traveled without seeing any signs of a camp. The evening of the tenth day, he reached a very high butte, thickly wooded at the summit. He ascended this butte, and as he sat there between two large boulders, watching the beautiful rays of the setting sun, he was suddenly startled to hear the neigh of a horse. Looking down into the beautiful valley which was threaded by a beautiful creek fringed with timber, he noticed close to the base of the butte upon which he sat, a large drove of horses grazing peacefully and quietly. Looking closer, he noticed at a little distance from the main drove, a horse with a saddle on his back. This was the one that had neighed, as the drove drifted further away from him. He was tied by a long lariat to a large sage bush.
Where could the rider be, he said to himself. As if in answer to his question, there appeared not more than twenty paces from him a middle aged man coming up through a deep ravine. The man was evidently in search of some kind of game, as he held his gun in readiness for instant use, and kept his eyes directed at every crevice and clump of bush. So intent was he on locating the game he was trailing, that he never noticed the young man who sat like a statue not twenty paces away. Slowly and cautiously the man approached, and when he had advanced to within a few paces of the young man he stopped and turning around, stood looking down into the valley. This was the only chance that our brave young friend had. Being unarmed, he would stand no show if the enemy ever got a glimpse of him. Slowly and noiselessly he drew his hunting knife (which his father had given him on his departure from home) and holding it securely in his right hand, gathered himself and gave a leap which landed him upon the unsuspecting enemy's shoulders. The force with which he landed on the enemy caused him (the enemy) to lose his hold on his gun, and it went rattling down into the chasm, forty feet below.
Down they came together, the young man on top. No sooner had they struck the ground than the enemy had out his knife, and then commenced a hand to hand duel. The enemy, having more experience, was getting the best of our young friend. Already our young friend had two ugly cuts, one across his chest and the other through his forearm.
He was becoming weak from the loss of blood, and could not stand the killing pace much longer. Summoning all his strength for one more trial to overcome his antagonist, he rushed him toward the chasm, and in his hurry to get away from this fierce attack, the enemy stepped back one step too far, and down they both went into the chasm. Interlocked in each other's arms, the young man drove his knife into the enemy's side and when they struck the bottom the enemy relaxed his hold and straightened out stiff and dead.
Securing his scalp and gun, the young man proceeded down to where the horse was tied to the sage bush, and then gathering the drove of horses proceeded on his return to his own village. Being wounded severely he had to ride very slowly. All the long hours of the night he drove the horses towards his home village.
In the meantime, those at the enemies' camp wondered at the long absence of the herder who was watching their drove of horses, and finally seven young men went to search for the missing herder. All night long they searched the hillsides for the horses and herder, and when it had grown light enough in the morning they saw by the ground where there had been a fierce struggle.
Following the tracks in the sand and leaves, they came to the chasm where the combatants had fallen over, and there, lying on his back staring up at them in death, was their herder. They hastened to the camp and told what they had found. Immediately the warriors mounted their war ponies (these ponies are never turned loose, but kept tied close to the tepee of the owner), and striking the trail of the herd driven off by our young friend, they urged forth their ponies and were soon far from their camp on the trail of our young friend. All day long they traveled on his trail, and just as the sun was sinking they caught sight of him driving the drove ahead over a high hill. Again they urged forth their tired ponies. The young man, looking back along the trail, saw some dark objects coming along, and, catching a fresh horse, drove the rest ahead at a great rate. Again all night he drove them, and when daylight came he looked back (from a high butte) over his trail and saw coming over a distant raise, two horsemen. These two undoubtedly rode the best ponies, as he saw nothing of the others. Driving the horses into a thick belt of timber, he concealed himself close to the trail made by the drove of horses, and lay in ambush for the two daring horsemen who had followed him so far. Finally they appeared on the butte from where he had looked back and saw them following him. For a long time they sat there scouring the country before them in hopes that they might see some signs of their stolen horses. Nothing could they see. Had they but known, their horses were but a few hundred yards from them, but the thick timber securely hid them from view. Finally one of them arose and pointed to the timber. Then leaving his horse in charge of his friend, he descended the butte and followed the trail of the drove to where they had entered the timber. Little did he think that he was standing on the brink of eternity. The young man hiding not more than a hundred yards from him could have shot him there where he stood, but wanting to play fair, he stepped into sight. When he did, the enemy took quick aim and fired. He was too hasty. Had he taken more careful aim he might have killed our young friend, but his bullet whizzed harmlessly over the young man's head and buried itself in a tree. The young man took good aim and fired. The enemy threw up both hands and fell forward on his face. The other one on the hill, seeing his friend killed, hastily mounted his horse and leading his friend's horse, made rapidly off down the butte in the direction from whence he had come. Waiting for some time to be sure the one who was alive did not come up and take a shot at him, he finally advanced upon the fallen enemy and securing his gun, ammunition and scalp, went to his horse and drove the herd on through the woods and crossing a long flat prairie, ascended a long chain of hills and sat looking back along his trail in search of any of the enemy who might continue to follow him.
Thus he sat until the long shadows of the hills reminded him that it would soon be sunset, and as he must get some sleep, he wanted to find some creek bend where he could drive the bunch of ponies and feel safe as to their not straying off during the night. He found a good place for the herd, and catching a fresh horse, he picketed him close to where he was going to sleep, and wrapping himself in his blanket, was soon fast asleep. So tired and sleepy was he that a heavy rain which had come up, during the night, soaked him through and through, but he never awakened until the sun was high in the east.
He awoke and going to the place where he had left the herd, he was glad to find them all there. He mounted his horse and started his herd homeward again. For two days he drove them, and on the evening of the second day he came in sight of the village.
The older warriors, hearing of the young man going on this trip alone and unarmed, told the parents to go in mourning for their son, as he would never come back alive. When the people of the village saw this large drove of horses advancing towards them, they at first thought it was a war party of the enemy, and so the head men called the young warriors together and fully prepared for a great battle. They advanced upon the supposed enemy. When they got close enough to discern a lone horseman driving this large herd, they surrounded the horses and lone warrior, and brought him triumphantly into camp. On arriving in the camp (or village) the horses were counted and the number counted up to one hundred and ten head.
The chief and his criers (or heralds) announced through the whole village that there would be a great war dance given in honor of the Lone Warrior.
The whole village turned out and had a great war dance that was kept up three days and three nights. The two scalps which the young man had taken were tied to a pole which was placed in the center of the dance circle. At this dance, the Lone Warrior gave to each poor family five head of horses.
Being considered eligible now to pay his respects to any girl who took his fancy, he at once went to the camp of the beautiful girl of the tribe, and as he was always her choice, she at once consented to marry him.
The news spread through the village that Lone Warrior had won the belle of the nation for his bride, and this with the great feat which he had accomplished alone in killing two enemies and bringing home a great herd of horses, raised him to the rank of chief, which he faithfully filled to the end of his days. And many times he had to tell his grandchildren the story of how he got the name of the Lone Warrior.
A war party of seven young men, seeing a lone tepee standing on the edge of a heavy belt of timber, stopped and waited for darkness, in order to send one of their scouts ahead to ascertain whether the camp which they had seen was the camp of friend or enemy.
When darkness had settled down on them, and they felt secure in not being detected, they chose one of their scouts to go on alone and find out what would be the best direction for them to advance upon the camp, should it prove to be an enemy.
Among the scouts was one who was noted for his bravery, and many were the brave acts he had performed. His name was Big Eagle. This man they selected to go to the lone camp and obtain the information for which they were waiting.
Big Eagle was told to look carefully over the ground and select the best direction from which they should make the attack. The other six would await his return. He started on his mission, being careful not to make any noise. He stealthily approached the camp. As he drew near to the tent he was surprised to note the absence of any dogs, as these animals are always kept by the Sioux to notify the owners by their barking of the approach of anyone. He crawled up to the tepee door, and peeping through a small aperture, he saw three persons sitting inside.
An elderly man and woman were sitting at the right of the fireplace, and a young woman at the seat of honor, opposite the door.
Big Eagle had been married and his wife had died five winters previous to the time of this episode. He had never thought of marrying again, but when he looked upon this young woman he thought he was looking upon the face of his dead wife. He removed his cartridge belts and knife, and placing them, along with his rifle, at the side of the tent, he at once boldly stepped inside the tepee, and going over to the man, extended his hand and shook first the man's hand, then the old woman's, and lastly the young woman's. Then he seated himself by the side of the girl, and thus they sat, no one speaking.
Finally, Big Eagle made signs to the man, explaining as well as possible by signs, that his wife had died long ago, and when he saw the girl she so strongly resembled his dead wife that he wished to marry her, and he would go back to the enemy's camp and live with them, if they would consent to the marriage of their daughter.
The old man seemed to understand, and Big Eagle again made signs to him that a party were lying in wait just a short distance from his camp. Noiselessly they brought in the horses, and taking down the tent, they at once moved off in the direction from whence they had come. The war party waited all night, and when the first rays of dawn disclosed to them the absence of the tepee, they at once concluded that Big Eagle had been discovered and killed, so they hurriedly started on their trail for home.
In the meantime, the hunting party, for this it was that Big Eagle had joined, made very good time in putting a good distance between themselves and the war party. All day they traveled, and when evening came they ascended a high hill, looking down into the valley on the other side. There stretched for two miles, along the banks of a small stream, an immense camp. The old man made signs for Big Eagle to remain with the two women where he was, until he could go to the camp and prepare them to receive an enemy into their village.
The old man rode through the camp and drew up at the largest tepee in the village. Soon Big Eagle could see men gathering around the tepee. The crowd grew larger and larger, until the whole village had assembled at the large tepee. Finally they dispersed, and catching their horses, mounted and advanced to the hill on which Big Eagle and the two women were waiting. They formed a circle around them and slowly they returned to the village, singing and riding in a circle around them.
When they arrived at the village they advanced to the large tepee, and motioned Big Eagle to the seat of honor in the tepee. In the village was a man who understood and spoke the Sioux language. He was sent for, and through him the oath of allegiance to the Crow tribe was taken by Big Eagle. This done he was presented with the girl to wife, and also with many spotted ponies.
Big Eagle lived with his wife among her people for two years, and during this time he joined in four different battles between his own people (the Sioux) and the Crow people, to whom his wife belonged.
In no battle with his own people would he carry any weapons, only a long willow coup-stick, with which he struck the fallen Sioux.
At the expiration of two years he concluded to pay a visit to his own tribe, and his father-in-law, being a chief of high standing, at once had it heralded through the village that his son-in-law would visit his own people, and for them to show their good will and respect for him by bringing ponies for his son-in-law to take back to his people.
Hearing this, the herds were all driven in and all day long horses were brought to the tent of Big Eagle, and when he was ready to start on his homeward trip, twenty young men were elected to accompany him to within a safe distance of his village. The twenty young men drove the gift horses, amounting to two hundred and twenty head, to within one day's journey of the village of Big Eagle, and fearing for their safety from his people, Big Eagle sent them back to their own village.
On his arrival at his home village, they received him as one returned from the dead, as they were sure he had been killed the night he had been sent to reconnoiter the lone camp. There was great feasting and dancing in honor of his return, and the horses were distributed among the needy ones of the village.
Remaining at his home village for a year, he one day made up his mind to return to his wife's people. A great many fancy robes, dresses, war bonnets, moccasins, and a great drove of horses were given him, and his wife, and he bade farewell to his people for good, saying, "I will never return to you again, as I have decided to live the remainder of my days with my wife's people."
On his arrival at the village of the Crows, he found his father-in-law at the point of death. A few days later the old man died, and Big Eagle was appointed to fill the vacancy of chief made by the death of his father-in-law.
Subsequently he took part in battles against his own people, and in the third battle was killed on the field. Tenderly the Crow warriors bore him back to their camp, and great was the mourning in the Crow village for the brave man who always went into battle unarmed, save only the willow wand which he carried.
Thus ended the career of one of the bravest of Sioux warriors who ever took the scalp of an enemy, and who for the love of his dead wife, gave up home, parents, and friends, to be killed on the field of battle by his own tribe.
A boy went on a turtle hunt, and after following the different streams for hours, finally came to the conclusion that the only place he would find any turtles would be at the little lake, where the tribe always hunted them.
So, leaving the stream he had been following, he cut across country to the lake. On drawing near the lake he crawled on his hands and knees in order not to be seen by the turtles, who were very watchful, as they had been hunted so much. Peeping over the rock he saw a great many out on the shore sunning themselves, so he very cautiously undressed, so he could leap into the water and catch them before they secreted themselves. But on pulling off his shirt one of his hands was held up so high that the turtles saw it and jumped into the lake with a great splash.
The boy ran to the shore, but saw only bubbles coming up from the bottom. Directly the boy saw something coming to the surface, and soon it came up into sight. It was a little man, and soon others, by the hundreds, came up and swam about, splashing the water up into the air to a great height. So scared was the boy that he never stopped to gather up his clothes but ran home naked and fell into his grandmother's tent door.
"What is the trouble, grandchild," cried the old woman. But the boy could not answer. "Did you see anything unnatural?" He shook his head, "no." He made signs to the grandmother that his lungs were pressing so hard against his sides that he could not talk. He kept beating his side with his clenched hands. The grandmother got out her medicine bag, made a prayer to the Great Spirit to drive out the evil spirit that had entered her grandson's body, and after she had applied the medicine, the prayer must have been heard and answered, as the boy commenced telling her what he had heard and seen.
The grandmother went to the chief's tent and told what her grandson had seen. The chief sent two brave warriors to the lake to ascertain whether it was true or not. The two warriors crept to the little hill close to the lake, and there, sure enough, the lake was swarming with little men swimming, about, splashing the water high up into the air. The warriors, too, were scared and hurried home, and in the council called on their return told what they had seen. The boy was brought to the council and given the seat of honor (opposite the door), and was named "Wankan Wanyanka" (sees holy).
The lake had formerly borne the name of Truth Lake, but from this time on was called "Wicasa-bde" -- Man Lake.
In a deep forest, far from the villages of his people, lived a hermit. His tent was made of buffalo skins, and his dress was made of deer skin. Far from the haunts of any human being this old hermit was content to spend his days.
All day long he would wander through the forest studying the different plants of nature and collecting precious roots, which he used as medicine. At long intervals some warrior would arrive at the tent of the old hermit and get medicine roots from him for the tribe, the old hermit's medicine being considered far superior to all others.
After a long day's ramble in the woods, the hermit came home late, and being very tired, at once lay down on his bed and was just dozing off to sleep, when he felt something rub against his foot. Awakening with a start, he noticed a dark object and an arm was extended to him, holding in its hand a flint pointed arrow.
The hermit thought, "This must be a spirit, as there is no human being around here but myself!" A voice then said: "Hermit, I have come to invite you to my home." "How (yes), I will come," said the old hermit. Wherewith he arose, wrapped his robe about him and followed.
Outside the door he stopped and looked around, but could see no signs of the dark object.
"Whoever you are, or whatever you be, wait for me, as I don't know where to go to find your house," said the hermit. Not an answer did he receive, nor could he hear any noises as though anyone was walking through the brush. Re-entering his tent he retired and was soon fast asleep. The next night the same thing occurred again, and the hermit followed the object out, only to be left as before.
He was very angry to think that anyone should be trying to make sport of him, and he determined to find out who this could be who was disturbing his night's rest.
The next evening he cut a hole in the tent large enough to stick an arrow through, and stood by the door watching. Soon the dark object came and stopped outside of the door, and said: "Grandfather, I came to -- ," but he never finished the sentence, for the old man let go his arrow, and he heard the arrow strike something which produced a sound as though he had shot into a sack of pebbles. He did not go out that night to see what his arrow had struck, but early next morning he went out and looked at the spot about where he thought the object had stood. There on the ground lay a little heap of corn, and from this little heap a small line of corn lay scattered along a path. This he followed far into the woods. When he came to a very small knoll the trail ended. At the end of the trail was a large circle, from which the grass had been scraped off clean.
"The corn trail stops at the edge of this circle,"
said the old man, "so this must be the home of whoever it was that invited me." He took his bone knife and hatchet and proceeded to dig down into the center of the circle. When he had got down to the length of his arm, he came to a sack of dried meat. Next he found a sack of Indian turnips, then a sack of dried cherries; then a sack of corn, and last of all another sack, empty except that there was about a cupful of corn in one corner of it, and that the sack had a hole in the other corner where his arrow had pierced it. From this hole in the sack the corn was scattered along the trail, which guided the old man to the cache.
From this the hermit taught the tribes how to keep their provisions when traveling and were overloaded. He explained to them how they should dig a pit and put their provisions into it and cover them with earth. By this method the Indians used to keep provisions all summer, and when fall came they would return to their cache, and on opening it would find everything as fresh as the day they were placed there.
The old hermit was also thanked as the discoverer of corn, which had never been known to the Indians until discovered by the old hermit.
A young man was once hunting and came to a steep hill. The east side of the hill suddenly dropped off to a very steep bank. He stood on this bank, and at the base he noticed a small opening. On going down to examine it more closely, he found it was large enough to admit a horse or buffalo. On either side of the door were figures of different animals engraved into the wall.
He entered the opening and there, scattered about on the floor, lay many bracelets, pipes and many other things of ornament, as though they had been offerings to some great spirit. He passed through this first room and on entering the second it was so dark that he could not see his hands before his face, so becoming scared, he hurriedly left the place, and returning home told what he had seen.
Upon hearing this the chief selected four of his most daring warriors to go with this young man and investigate and ascertain whether the young man was telling the truth or not. The five proceeded to the butte, and at the entrance the young man refused to go inside, as the figures on either side of the entrance had been changed.
The four entered and seeing that all in the first chamber was as the young man had told, they went on to the next chamber and found it so dark that they could not see anything. They continued on, however, feeling their way along the walls. They finally found an entrance that was so narrow that they had to squeeze into it sideways. They felt their way around the walls and found another entrance, so low down that they had to crawl on their hands and knees to go through into the next chamber.
On entering the last chamber they found a very sweet odor coming from the opposite direction. Feeling around and crawling on their hands and knees, they discovered a hole in the floor leading downward. From this hole came up the sweet odor. They hurriedly held a council, and decided to go no further, but return to the camp and report what they had found. On getting to the first chamber one of the young men said: "I am going to take these bracelets to show that we are telling the truth." "No," said the other three, "this being the abode of some Great Spirit, you may have some accident befall you for taking what is not yours." "Ah! You fellows are like old women," said he, taking a fine bracelet and encircling his left wrist with it.
When they reached the village they reported what they had seen. The young man exhibited the bracelet to prove that it was the truth they had told.
Shortly after this, these four young men were out fixing up traps for wolves. They would raise one end of a heavy log and place a stick under, bracing up the log. A large piece of meat was placed about five feet away from the log and this space covered with poles and willows. At the place where the upright stick was put, a hole was left open, large enough to admit the body of a wolf. The wolf, scenting the meat and unable to get at it through the poles and willows, would crowd into the hole and working his body forward, in order to get the meat, would push down the brace and the log thus released would hold the wolf fast under its weight.
The young man with the bracelet was placing his bait under the log when he released the log by knocking down the brace, and the log caught his wrist on which he wore the bracelet. He could not release himself and called loud and long for assistance. His friends, hearing his call, came to his assistance, and on lifting the log found the young man's wrist broken. "Now," said they, "you have been punished for taking the wristlet out of the chamber of the mysterious butte."
Some time after this a young man went to the butte and saw engraved on the wall a woman holding in her hand a pole, with which she was holding up a large amount of beef which had been laid across another pole, which had broken in two from the weight of so much meat.
He returned to the camp and reported what he had seen. All around the figure he saw marks of buffalo hoofs, also marked upon the wall.
The next day an enormous herd of buffalo came near to the village, and a great many were killed. The women were busy cutting up and drying the meat. At one camp was more meat than at any other. The woman was hanging meat upon a long tent pole, when the pole broke in two and she was obliged to hold the meat up with another pole, just as the young man saw on the mysterious butte.
Ever after that the Indians paid weekly visits to this butte, and thereon would read the signs that were to govern their plans.
This butte was always considered the prophet of the tribe.
Near to a Chippewa village lay a large lake, and in this lake there lived an enormous turtle. This was no ordinary turtle, as he would often come out of his home in the lake and visit with his Indian neighbors. He paid the most of his visits to the head chief, and on these occasions would stay for hours, smoking and talking with him.
The chief, seeing that the turtle was very smart and showed great wisdom in his talk, took a great fancy to him, and whenever any puzzling subject came up before the chief, he generally sent for Mr. Turtle to help him decide.
One day there came a great misunderstanding between different parties of the tribe, and so excited became both sides that it threatened to cause bloodshed. The chief was unable to decide for either faction, so he said, "I will call Mr. Turtle. He will judge for you."
Sending for the turtle, the chief vacated his seat for the time being, until the turtle should hear both sides, and decide which was in the right. The turtle came, and taking the chief's seat, listened very attentively to both sides, and thought long before he gave his decision. After thinking long and studying each side carefully, he came to the conclusion to decide in favor of both. This would not cause any hard feelings. So he gave them a lengthy speech and showed them where they were both in the right, and wound up by saying:
"You are both in the right in some ways and wrong in others. Therefore, I will say that you both are equally in the right."
When they heard this decision, they saw that the turtle was right, and gave him a long cheer for the wisdom displayed by him. The whole tribe saw that had it not been for this wise decision there would have been a great shedding of blood in the tribe. So they voted him as their judge, and the chief, being so well pleased with him, gave to him his only daughter in marriage.
The daughter of the chief was the most beautiful maiden of the Chippewa nation, and young men from other tribes traveled hundreds of miles for an opportunity to make love to her, and try to win her for a wife. It was all to no purpose. She would accept no one, only him whom her father would select for her. The turtle was very homely, but as he was prudent and wise, the father chose him, and she accepted him.
The young men of the tribe were very jealous, but their jealousy was all to no purpose. She married the turtle. The young men would make sport of the chief's son-in-law. They would say to him: "How did you come to have so flat a stomach?" The turtle answered them, saying:
"My friends, had you been in my place, you too would have flat stomachs. I came by my flat stomach in this way: The Chippewas and Sioux had a great battle, and the Sioux, too numerous for the Chippewas, were killing them off so fast that they had to run for their lives. I was on the Chippewa side and some of the Sioux were pressing five of us, and were gaining on us very fast. Coming to some high grass, I threw myself down flat on my face, and pressed my stomach close to the ground, so the pursuers could not see me. They passed me and killed the four I was with. After they had gone back, I arose and lo! my stomach was as you see it now. So hard had I pressed to the ground that it would not assume its original shape again."
After he had explained the cause of his deformity to them, they said: "The Turtle is brave. We will bother him no more." Shortly after this the Sioux made an attack upon the Chippewas, and every one deserted the village. The Turtle could not travel as fast as the rest and was left behind. It being an unusually hot day in the fall, the Turtle grew very thirsty and sleepy. Finally scenting water, he crawled towards the point from whence the scent came, and coming to a large lake jumped in and had a bath, after which he swam towards the center and dived down, and finding some fine large rocks at the bottom, he crawled in among them and fell asleep. He had his sleep out and arose to the top.
Swimming to shore he found it was summer. He had slept all winter. The birds were singing, and the green grass and leaves gave forth a sweet odor.
He crawled out and started out looking for the Chippewa camp. He came upon the camp several days after he had left his winter quarters, and going around in search of his wife, found her at the extreme edge of the village. She was nursing her baby, and as he asked to see it, she showed it to him. When he saw that it was a lovely baby and did not resemble him in any respect, he got angry and went off to a large lake, where he contented himself with catching flies and insects and living on seaweed the remainder of his life.
There once lived a Sioux couple who had two children, a boy and a girl. Every fall this family would move away from the main camp and take up their winter quarters in a grove of timber some distance from the principal village. The reason they did this was that he was a great hunter and where a village was located for the winter the game was usually very scarce. Therefore, he always camped by himself in order to have an abundance of game adjacent to his camp.
All summer he had roamed around following the tribe to wherever their fancy might take them. During their travels this particular year there came to the village a strange girl who had no relatives there. No one seemed very anxious to take her into their family, so the great hunter's daughter, taking a fancy to the poor girl, took her to their home and kept her. She addressed her as sister, and the parents, on account of their daughter, addressed her as daughter.
This strange girl became desperately in love with the young man of the family, but being addressed as daughter by the parents, she could not openly show her feelings as the young man was considered her brother.
In the fall when the main village moved into a large belt of timber for their winter quarters, the hunter moved on to another place two days' travel from the main winter camp, where he would not be disturbed by any other hunters.
The young man had a tent by himself, and it was always kept nice and clean by his sister, who was very much attached to him. After a long day's hunt in the woods, he would go into his tent and lie down to rest, and when his supper was ready his sister would say, "My brother is so tired. I will carry his supper to him."
Her friend, whom she addressed as sister, would never go into the young man's tent. Along towards spring there came one night into the young man's tent a woman. She sat down by the door and kept her face covered so that it was hidden from view. She sat there a long time and finally arose and went away. The young man could not imagine who this could be. He knew that it was a long distance from the village and could not make out where the woman could have come from. The next night the woman came again and this time she came a little nearer to where the young man lay. She sat down and kept her face covered as before. Neither spoke a word. She sat there for a long time and then arose and departed. He was very much puzzled over the actions of this woman and decided to ascertain on her next visit who she was.
He kindled a small fire in his tent and had some ash wood laid on it so as to keep fire a long time, as ash burns very slowly and holds fire a long time.
The third night the woman came again and sat down still nearer his bed. She held her blanket open just a trifle, and he, catching up one of the embers, flashed it in her face; jumping up she ran hurriedly out of the tent. The next morning he noticed that his adopted sister kept her face hidden with her blanket. She chanced to drop her blanket while in the act of pouring out some soup, and when she did so he noticed a large burned spot on her cheek.
He felt so sorry for what he had done that he could eat no breakfast, but went outside and lay down under an oak tree. All day long he lay there gazing up into the tree, and when he was called for supper he refused, saying that he was not hungry, and for them not to bother him, as he would soon get up and go to bed. Far into the night he lay thus, and when he tried to arise he could not, as a small oak tree grew through the center of his body and held him fast to the ground.
In the morning when the family awoke they found the girl had disappeared, and on going outside the sister discovered her brother held fast to the earth by an oak tree which grew very rapidly. In vain were the best medicine men of the tribe sent for. Their medicine was of no avail. They said: "If the tree is cut down the young man will die."
The sister was wild with grief, and extending her hands to the sun, she cried: "Great Spirit, relieve my suffering brother. Any one who releases him I will marry, be he young, old, homely or deformed."
Several days after the young man had met with the mishap, there came to the tent a very tall man, who had a bright light encircling his body. "Where is the girl who promised to marry any one who would release her brother?" "I am the one," said the young man's sister. "I am the all-powerful lightning and thunder. I see all things and can kill at one stroke a whole tribe. When I make my voice heard the rocks shake loose and go rattling down the hillsides. The brave warriors cower shivering under some shelter at the sound of my voice. The girl whom you had adopted as your sister was a sorceress. She bewitched your brother because he would not let her make love to him. On my way here I met her traveling towards the west, and knowing what she had done, I struck her with one of my blazing swords, and she lies there now a heap of ashes. I will now release your brother."
So saying he placed his hand on the tree and instantly it crumbled to ashes. The young man arose, and thanked his deliverer.
Then they saw a great black cloud approaching, and the man said: "Make ready, we shall go home on that cloud." As the cloud approached near to the man who stood with his bride, it suddenly lowered and enveloped them and with a great roar and amidst flashes of lightning and loud peals of thunder the girl ascended and disappeared into the west with her Thunder and Lightning husband.
There were once in a very large Indian camp two little boys who were fast friends. One of the boys, "Chaske" (meaning first born), was the son of a very rich family, and was always dressed in the finest of clothes of Indian costume. The other boy, "Hake" (meaning last born), was an orphan and lived with his old grandmother, who was very destitute, and consequently could not dress the boy in fine raiment. So poorly was the boy dressed that the boys who had good clothes always tormented him and would not play in his company.
Chaske did not look at the clothes of any boy whom he chose as a friend, but mingled with all boys regardless of how they were clad, and would study their dispositions. The well dressed he found were vain and conceited. The fairly well dressed he found selfish and spiteful. The poorly clad he found to be generous and truthful, and from all of them he chose "Hake" for his "Koda" (friend). As Chaske was the son of the leading war chief he was very much sought after by the rest of the boys, each one trying to gain the honor of being chosen for the friend and companion of the great chief's son; but, as I have before said, Chaske carefully studied them all and finally chose the orphan Hake.
It was a lucky day for Hake when he was chosen for the friend and companion of Chaske. The orphan boy was taken to the lodge of his friend's parents and dressed up in fine clothes and moccasins. (When the Indians' sons claim any one as their friend, the friend thus chosen is adopted into the family as their own son).
Chaske and Hake were inseparable. Where one was seen the other was not far distant. They played, hunted, trapped, ate and slept together. They would spend most of the long summer days hunting in the forests.
Time went on and these two fast friends grew up to be fine specimens of their tribe. When they became the age to select a sweetheart they would go together and make love to a girl. Each helping the other to win the affection of the one of his choice. Chaske loved a girl who was the daughter of an old medicine man. She was very much courted by the other young men of the tribe, and many a horse loaded with robes and fine porcupine work was tied at the medicine man's tepee in offering for the hand of his daughter, but the horses, laden as when tied there, were turned loose, signifying that the offer was not accepted.
The girl's choice was Chaske's friend Hake. Although he had never made love to her for himself, he had always used honeyed words to her and was always loud in his praises for his friend Chaske. One night the two friends had been to see the girl, and on their return Chaske was very quiet, having nothing to say and seemingly in deep study. Always of a bright, jolly and amiable disposition, his silence and moody spell grieved his friend very much, and he finally spoke to Chaske, saying: "Koda, what has come over you? You who were always so jolly and full of fun? Your silence makes me grieve for you and I do not know what you are feeling so downhearted about. Has the girl said anything to you to make you feel thus?"
"Wait, friend," said Chaske, "until morning, and then I will know how to answer your inquiry. Don't ask me anything more tonight, as my heart is having a great battle with my brain."
Hake bothered his friend no more that night, but he could not sleep. He kept wondering what "Pretty Feather" (the girl whom his friend loved) could have said to Chaske to bring such a change over him. Hake never suspected that he himself was the cause of his friend's sorrow, for never did he have a thought that it was himself that Pretty Feather loved.
The next morning after they had eaten breakfast, Chaske proposed that they should go out on the prairies, and see if they would have the good luck to kill an antelope. Hake went out and got the band of horses, of which there were over a hundred. They selected the fleetest two in the herd, and taking their bows and arrows, mounted and rode away towards the south.
Hake was overjoyed to note the change in his friend. His oldtime jollity had returned. They rode out about five miles, and scaring up a drove of antelope they started in hot pursuit, and as their horses were very fleet of foot soon caught up to the drove, and each singling out his choice quickly dispatched him with an arrow. They could easily have killed more of the antelope, but did not want to kill them just for sport, but for food, and knowing that they had now all that their horses could pack home, they dismounted and proceeded to dress their kill.
After each had finished packing the kill on his horse, Chaske said: "Let us sit down and have a smoke before we start back. Besides, I have something to tell you which I can tell better sitting still than I can riding along." Hake came and sat down opposite his friend, and while they smoked Chaske said:
"My friend, we have been together for the last twenty years and I have yet the first time to deceive you in any way, and I know I can truthfully say the same of you. Never have I known you to deceive me nor tell me an untruth. I have no brothers or sisters. The only brother's love I know is yours. The only sister's love I will know will be Pretty Feather's, for brother, last night she told me she loved none but you and would marry you and you only. So, brother, I am going to take my antelope to my sister-in-law's tent and deposit it at her door. Then she will know that her wish will be fulfilled. I thought at first that you had been playing traitor to me and had been making love to her for yourself, but when she explained it all to me and begged me to intercede for her to you, I then knew that I had judged you wrongfully, and that, together with my lost love, made me so quiet and sorrowful last night. So now, brother, take the flower of the nation for your wife, and I will be content to continue through life a lonely bachelor, as never again can I give any woman the place which Pretty Feather had in my heart."
Their pipes being smoked out they mounted their ponies and Chaske started up in a clear, deep voice the beautiful love song of Pretty Feather and his friend Hake.
Such is the love between two friends, who claim to be as brothers among the Indians. Chaske gave up his love of a beautiful woman for a man who was in fact no relation to him.
Hake said, "I will do as you say, my friend, but before I can marry the medicine man's daughter, I will have to go on the warpath and do some brave deed, and will start in ten days." They rode towards home, planning which direction they would travel, and as it was to be their first experience on the warpath, they would seek advice from the old warriors of the tribe.
On their arrival at the village Hake took his kill to their own tent, while Chaske took his to the tent of the Medicine Man, and deposited it at the door and rode off towards home.
The mother of Pretty Feather did not know whether to take the offering or not, but Pretty Feather, seeing by this offering that her most cherished wish was to be granted, told her mother to take the meat and cook it and invite the old women of the camp to a feast in honor of the son-in-law who was soon to keep them furnished with plenty of meat. Hake and his friend sought out all of the old warriors and gained all the information they desired. Every evening Hake visited his intended wife and many happy evenings they spent together.
The morning of the tenth day the two friends left the village and turned their faces toward the west where the camps of the enemy are more numerous than in any other direction. They were not mounted and therefore traveled slowly, so it took about ten days of walking before they saw any signs of the enemy. The old warriors had told them of a thickly wooded creek within the enemies' bounds. The old men said, "That creek looks the ideal place to camp, but don't camp there by any means, because there is a ghost who haunts that creek, and any one who camps there is disturbed all through the night, and besides they never return, because the ghost is Wakan (holy), and the enemies conquer the travelers every time." The friends had extra moccasins with them and one extra blanket, as it was late in the fall and the nights were very cold.
They broke camp early one morning and walked all day. Along towards evening, the clouds which had been threatening all day, hurriedly opened their doors and down came the snowflakes thick and fast. Just before it started snowing the friends had noticed a dark line about two miles in advance of them. Chaske spoke to his friend and said: "If this storm continues we will be obliged to stay overnight at Ghost Creek, as I noticed it not far ahead of us, just before the storm set in." "I noticed it also," said Hake. "We might as well entertain a ghost all night as to lie out on these open prairies and freeze to death." So they decided to run the risk and stay in the sheltering woods of Ghost Creek. When they got to the creek it seemed as if they had stepped inside a big tepee, so thick was the brush and timber that the wind could not be felt at all. They hunted and found a place where the brush was very thick and the grass very tall. They quickly pulled the tops of the nearest willows together and by intertwining the ends made them fast, and throwing their tent robe over this, soon had a cosy tepee in which to sleep. They started their fire and cooked some dried buffalo meat and buffalo tallow, and were just about to eat their supper when a figure of a man came slowly in through the door and sat down near where he had entered. Hake, being the one who was doing the cooking, poured out some tea into his own cup, and putting a piece of pounded meat and marrow into a small plate, placed it before the stranger, saying: "Eat, my friend, we are on the warpath and do not carry much of a variety of food with us, but I give you the best we have."
The stranger drew the plate towards him, and commenced eating ravenously. He soon finished his meal and handed the dish and cup back. He had not uttered a word so far. Chaske filled the pipe and handed it to him. He smoked for a few minutes, took one last draw from the pipe and handed it back to Chaske, and then he said: "Now, my friends, I am not a living man, but the wandering spirit of a once great warrior, who was killed in these woods by the enemy whom you two brave young men are now seeking to make war upon. For years I have been roaming these woods in hopes that I might find some one brave enough to stop and listen to me, but all who have camped here in the past have run away at my approach or fired guns or shot arrows at me. For such cowards as these I have always found a grave. They never returned to their homes. Now I have found two brave men whom I can tell what I want done, and if you accomplish what I tell you to do, you will return home with many horses and some scalps dangling from your belts. Just over this range of hills north of us, a large village is encamped for the winter. In that camp is the man who laid in ambush and shot me, killing me before I could get a chance to defend myself. I want that man's scalp, because he has been the cause of my wanderings for a great many years. Had he killed me on the battlefield my spirit would have at once joined my brothers in the happy hunting grounds, but being killed by a coward, my spirit is doomed to roam until I can find some brave man who will kill this coward and bring me his scalp. This is why I have tried every party who have camped here to listen to me, but as I have said before, they were all cowards. Now, I ask you two brave young men, will you do this for me?"
"We will," said the friends in one voice. "Thank you, my boys. Now, I know why you came here, and that one of you came to earn his feathers by killing an enemy, before he would marry; the girl he is to marry is my granddaughter, as I am the father of the great Medicine Man. In the morning there will pass by in plain sight of here a large party. They will chase the buffalo over on that flat. After they have passed an old man leading a black horse and riding a white one will come by on the trail left by the hunting party. He will be driving about a hundred horses, which he will leave over in the next ravine.
He will then proceed to the hunting grounds and get meat from the different hunters. After the hunters have all gone home he will come last, singing the praises of the ones who gave him the meat. This man you must kill and scalp, as he is the one I want killed. Then take the white and black horse and each mount and go to the hunting grounds. There you will see two of the enemy riding about picking up empty shells. Kill and scalp these two and each take a scalp and come over to the high knoll and I will show you where the horses are, and as soon as you hand me the old man's scalp I will disappear and you will see me no more. As soon as I disappear, it will start in snowing. Don't be afraid as the snow will cover your trail, but nevertheless, don't stop traveling for three days and nights, as these people will suspect that some of your tribe have done this, and they will follow you until you cross your own boundary lines."
When morning came, the two friends sat in the thick brush and watched a large party pass by their hiding place. So near were they that the friends could hear them laughing and talking. After the hunting party had passed, as the spirit had told them, along came the old man, driving a large band of horses and leading a fine looking coal black horse. The horse the old man was riding was as white as snow. The friends crawled to a little brush covered hill and watched the chase after the shooting had ceased. The friends knew it would not be long before the return of the party, so they crawled back to their camp and hurriedly ate some pounded meat and drank some cherry tea. Then they took down their robe and rolled it up and got everything in readiness for a hurried flight with the horses. Scarcely had they got everything in readiness when the party came by, singing their song of the chase. When they had all gone the friends crawled down to the trail and lay waiting for the old man. Soon they heard him singing. Nearer and nearer came the sounds of the song until at last at a bend in the road, the old man came into view. The two friends arose and advanced to meet him. On he came still singing. No doubt he mistook them for some of his own people. When he was very close to them they each stepped to either side of him and before he could make an outcry they pierced his cowardly old heart with two arrows. He had hardly touched the ground when they both struck him with their bows, winning first and second honors by striking an enemy after he has fallen. Chaske having won first honors, asked his friend to perform the scalping deed, which he did. And wanting to be sure that the spirit would get full revenge, took the whole scalp, ears and all, and tied it to his belt. The buffalo beef which the old man had packed upon the black horse, they threw on the top of the old man. Quickly mounting the two horses, they hastened out across the long flat towards the hunting grounds. When they came in sight of the grounds there they saw two men riding about from place to place. Chaske took after the one on the right, Hake the one on the left. When the two men saw these two strange men riding like the wind towards them, they turned their horses to retreat towards the hills, but the white and the black were the swiftest of the tribe's horses, and quickly overtook the two fleeing men. When they came close to the enemy they strung their arrows onto the bowstring and drove them through the two fleeing hunters. As they were falling they tried to shoot, but being greatly exhausted, their bullets whistled harmlessly over the heads of the two friends. They scalped the two enemies and took their guns and ammunition, also secured the two horses and started for the high knoll. When they arrived at the place, there stood the spirit. Hake presented him with the old man's scalp and then the spirit showed them the large band of horses, and saying, "Ride hard and long," disappeared and was seen no more by any war parties, as he was thus enabled to join his forefathers in the happy hunting grounds.
The friends did as the spirit had told them. For three days and three nights they rode steadily. On the fourth morning they came into their own boundary. From there on they rode more slowly, and let the band of horses rest and crop the tops of long grass. They would stop occasionally, and while one slept the other kept watch. Thus they got fairly well rested before they came in sight of where their camp had stood when they had left. All that they could see of the once large village was the lone tent of the great Medicine Man. They rode up on to a high hill and farther on towards the east they saw smoke from a great many tepees. They then knew that something had happened and that the village had moved away.
"My friend," said Chaske, "I am afraid something has happened to the Medicine Man's lodge, and rather than have you go there, I will go alone and you follow the trail of our party and go on ahead with the horses. I will take the black and the white horses with me and I will follow on later, after I have seen what the trouble is."
"Very well, my friend, I will do as you say, but I am afraid something has happened to Pretty Feather." Hake started on with the horses, driving them along the broad trail left by the hundreds of travois. Chaske made slowly towards the tepee, and stopping outside, stood and listened. Not a sound could he hear. The only living thing he saw was Pretty Feather's spotted horse tied to the side of the tent. Then he knew that she must be dead. He rode off into the thick brush and tied his two horses securely. Then he came back and entered the tepee. There on a bed of robes lay some one apparently dead. The body was wrapped in blankets and robes and bound around and around with parfleche ropes. These he carefully untied and unwound. Then he unwrapped the robes and blankets and when he uncovered the face, he saw, as he had expected to, the face of his lost love, Pretty Feather. As he sat gazing on her beautiful young face, his heart ached for his poor friend. He himself had loved and lost this beautiful maiden, and now his friend who had won her would have to suffer the untold grief which he had suffered.
What was that? Could it have been a slight quivering of the nostrils that he had seen, or was it mad fancy playing a trick on him? Closer he drew to her face, watching intently for another sign. There it was again, only this time it was a long, deep drawn breath. He arose, got some water and taking a small stick slowly forced open her mouth and poured some into it. Then he took some sage, dipped it into the water and sprinkled a little on her head and face. There were many parfleche bags piled around the tepee, and thinking he might find some kind of medicine roots which he could use to revive her he started opening them one after the other. He had opened three and was just opening the fourth, when a voice behind him asked: "What are you looking for?" Turning quickly, he saw Pretty Feather looking at him. Overjoyed, he cried, "What can I do so that you can get up and ride to the village with me? My friend and I just returned with a large band of horses and two scalps. We saw this tent and recognized it. My friend wanted to come, but I would not let him, as I feared if he found anything had happened to you he would do harm to himself, but now he will be anxious for my return, so if you will tell me what you need in order to revive you, I will get it, and we can then go to my friend in the village." "At the foot of my bed you will find a piece of eagle fat. Build a fire and melt it for me. I will drink it and then we can go."
Chaske quickly started a fire, got out the piece of fat and melted it. She drank it at one draught, and was about to arise when she suddenly said: "Roll me up quick and take the buffalo hair rope and tie it about my spotted horse's neck; tie his tail in a knot and tie him to the door. Then run and hide behind the trees. There are two of the enemy coming this way."
Chaske hurriedly obeyed her orders, and had barely concealed himself behind the trees, when there came into view two of the enemy. They saw the horse tied to the door of the deserted tent, and knew that some dead person occupied the tepee, so through respect for the dead, they turned out and started to go through the brush and trees, so as not to pass the door. (The Indians consider it a bad omen to pass by the door of a tepee occupied by a dead body, that is, while in the enemy's country). So by making this detour they traveled directly towards where Chaske was concealed behind the tree. Knowing that he would be discovered, and there being two of them, he knew the only chance he had was for him to kill one of them before they discovered him, then he stood a better chance at an even combat. On they came, little thinking that one of them would in a few minutes be with his forefathers.
Chaske noiselessly slipped a cartridge into the chamber of his gun, threw it into action and took deliberate aim at the smaller one's breast. A loud report rang out and the one he had aimed at threw up his arms and fell heavily forward, shot through the heart.
Reloading quickly Chaske stepped out from behind the tree. He could easily have killed the other from his concealed position, but, being a brave young man, he wanted to give his opponent a fair chance. The other had unslung his gun and a duel was then fought between the two lone combatants. They would spring from side to side like two great cats. Then advance one or two steps and fire. Retreat a few steps, spring to one side and fire again. The bullets whistled past their heads, tore up the earth beneath their feet, and occasionally one would hit its mark, only to cause a flesh wound.
Suddenly the enemy aimed his gun and threw it upon the ground. His ammunition was exhausted, and slowly folding his arms he stood facing his opponent, with a fearless smile upon his face, expecting the next moment to fall dead from a bullet from the rifle of Chaske. Not so. Chaske was too honorable and noble to kill an unarmed man, and especially one who had put up such a brave fight as had this man. Chaske advanced and picked up the empty gun. The Toka (enemy) drew from a scabbard at his belt a long bowie knife, and taking it by the point handed it, handle first, to Chaske. This signified surrender. Chaske scalped the dead Toka and motioned for his prisoner to follow him. In the meantime Pretty Feather had gotten up and stood looking at the duel. When she heard the first shot she jumped up and cut a small slit in the tent from which she saw the whole proceedings. Knowing that one or both of them must be wounded, she hurriedly got water and medicine roots, and when they came to the tent she was prepared to dress their wounds.
Chaske had a bullet through his shoulder and one through his hand. They were very painful but not dangerous. The prisoner had a bullet through his leg, also one through the muscle of his left arm. Pretty Feather washed and dressed their wounds, and Chaske went and brought the black and white horses and mounting Pretty Feather upon the white horse, and the prisoner on her spotted one, the three soon rode into the village, and there was a great cry of joy when it was known that Pretty Feather had come back to them again.
Hake, who was in his tent grieving, was told that his friend had returned and with him Pretty Feather. Hearing this good news he at once went to the Medicine Man's tent and found the Medicine Man busily dressing the wounds of his friend and a stranger. The old Medicine Man turned to Hake and said:
"Son-in-law, take your wife home with you. It was from grief at your absence that she went into a trance, and we, thinking she was dead, left her for such. Hadn't it been for your friend here, she would surely have been a corpse now. So take her and keep her with you always, and take as a present from me fifty of my best horses."
Hake and his beautiful bride went home, where his adopted mother had a fine large tent put up for them. Presents of cooking utensils, horses, robes and finely worked shawls and moccasins came from every direction, and last of all Chaske gave as a present to his friend the Toka man whom he had taken as prisoner. On presenting him with this gift, Chaske spoke thus:
"My friend, I present to you, that you may have him as a servant to look after your large band of horses, this man with whom I fought a two hours' duel, and had his ammunition lasted he would probably have conquered me, and who gave me the second hardest fight of my life.
The hardest fight of my life was when I gave up Pretty Feather. You have them both. To the Toka (enemy) be kind, and he will do all your biddings. To Pretty Feather be a good husband."
So saying, Chaske left them, and true to his word, lived the remainder of his days a confirmed bachelor.
Once upon a time there came to a large village a plague of crows. So thick were they that the poor women were sorely tried keeping them out of their tepees and driving them away from their lines of jerked buffalo meat. Indeed they got so numerous and were such a great nuisance that the Chief finally gave orders to his camp criers or heralds to go out among the different camps and announce the orders of their Chief, that war should be made upon the crows to extermination; that their nests were to be destroyed and all eggs broken. The war of extermination was to continue until not a crow remained, except the youngest found was to be brought to him alive.
For a week the war on the crows continued. Thousands of dead crows were brought in daily, and at the end of the week not a bird of that species could be seen in the neighborhood. Those that escaped the deadly arrow of the warriors, flew away, never to return to those parts again.
At the end of the war made upon the crows, there was brought to the Chief's tepee the youngest found. Indeed, so young was the bird that it was only the great medicine of the Chief that kept him alive until he could hop about and find his own food. The Chief spent most of his time in his lodge teaching the young crow to understand and talk the language of the tribe. After the crow had mastered this, the Chief then taught him the languages of the neighboring tribes. When the crow had mastered these different languages the chief would send him on long journeys to ascertain the location of the camps of the different enemies.
When the crow would find a large Indian camp he would alight and hop about, pretending to be picking up scraps, but really keeping his ears open for anything he might hear. He would hang around all day, and at night when they would all gather in the large council tent (which always stood in the center of the village) to determine upon their next raid, and plan for a horse stealing trip, Mr. Crow was always nearby to hear all their plans discussed. He would then fly away to his master (the Chief) and tell him all that he had learned.
The Chief would then send a band of his warriors to lie in ambush for the raiding party, and, as the enemy would not suspect anything they would go blindly into the pitfall of death thus set for them. Thus the crow was the scout of this chief, whose reputation as a Wakan (Holy man) soon reached all of the different tribes. The Chief's warriors would intercept, ambush and annihilate every war party headed for his camp.
So, finally learning that they could not make war on this chief's people unbeknown to them, they gave up making war on this particular band. When meat was running low in the camp this chief would send the crow out to look for buffalo. When he discovered a herd he would return and report to his master; then the chief would order out the hunters and they would return laden with meat. Thus the crow kept the camp all the time informed of everything that would be of benefit to them.
One day the crow disappeared, over which there was great grief among the tribe. A week had passed away, when Mr. Crow reappeared. There was great rejoicing upon his return, but the crow was downcast and would not speak, but sat with a drooping head perched at the top of the chief's tepee, and refused all food that was offered to him.
In vain did the chief try to get the crow to tell him the cause of his silence and seeming grief. The crow would not speak until the chief said: "Well, I will take a few of my warriors and go out and try to ascertain what has happened to cause you to act as you do."
Upon hearing this, the crow said: "Don't go. I dreaded to tell you what I know to be a fact, as I have heard it from some great medicine men. I was traveling over the mountains west of here, when I spied three old men sitting at the top of the highest peak. I very cautiously dropped down behind a rock and listened to their talk. I heard your name mentioned by one of them, then your brother's name was mentioned. Then the third, who was the oldest, said: 'in three days from today the lightning will kill those two brothers whom all the nations fear.'"
Upon hearing what the crow stated the tribe became grief stricken. On the morning of the third day the chief ordered a nice tepee placed upon the highest point, far enough away from the village, so that the peals of thunder would not alarm the babies of the camp.
A great feast was given, and after the feasting was over there came in six young maidens leading the war horses of the two brothers. The horses were painted and decorated as if for a charge on the enemy. One maiden walked ahead of the chief's horse bearing in her hands the bow and arrows of the great warrior. Next came two maidens, one on either side of the prancing war steed, each holding a rein. Behind the chief's horse came the fourth maiden. Like the first, she bore in her hands the bow and arrows of the chief's brother. Then the fifth and sixth maidens each holding a rein, walked on either side of the prancing horse of the chief's brother. They advanced and circled the large gathering and finally stopped directly in front of the two brothers, who immediately arose and taking their bows and arrows vaulted lightly upon their war steeds, and singing their death song, galloped off amid a great cry of grief from the people who loved them most dearly.
Heading straight for the tepee that had been placed upon the highest point, adjacent to the village, they soon arrived at their destination and, dismounting from their horses, turned, waved their hands to their band, and disappeared within the tepee. Scarcely had they entered the lodge when the rumblings of distant thunder could be heard. Nearer, and nearer, came the sound, until at last the storm overspread the locality in all its fury. Flash upon flash of lightning burst forth from the heavens. Deafening peals of thunder followed each flash. Finally, one flash brighter than any of the others, one peal more deafening than those preceding it, and the storm had passed.
Sadly the warriors gathered together, mounted their horses and slowly rode to the tepee on the high point. Arriving there they looked inside the lodge and saw the two brothers lying cold and still in death, each holding the lariat of his favorite war horse. The horses also lay dead side by side in front of the tent. (From this came the custom of killing the favorite horse of a dead warrior at the burial of the owner).
As the Indians sadly left the hill to return home, they heard a noise at the top of the tepee, and looking up they saw the crow sitting on one of the splintered tepee poles. He was crying most pitifully, and as they rode off he flew up high in the air and his pitiful "caw" became fainter and fainter till at they heard it no more. And from that day, the story goes, no crow ever goes near the village of that band of Indians.
Once upon a time there appeared from out of a large belt of timber a man attired in the fat of the buffalo. On his head he wore the honeycomb part of the stomach. To this was attached small pieces of fat. The fat which covered the stomach he wore as a cloak. The large intestines he wore as leggings, and the kidney fat as his moccasins.
As he appeared he had the misfortune to meet "Unktomi" (spider) with his hundreds of starving children. Upon seeing the fat, Unktomi and his large family at once attacked the man, who, in order to save his life, started to run away, but so closely did Unktomi and his family pursue him that in order to make better time and also get a little better start, he threw off his head covering, which the Unktomi family hastily devoured, and were again closing in upon him. He then threw off his cloak and they devoured that, and were close upon him again, when he threw off his leggings. These were hastily eaten up, and, as they drew near to a lake, the man threw off the kidney fat, and, running to the edge of the lake, dived down into the water and kept beneath the surface, swimming to the opposite shore. After the Unktomi family had eaten the kidney fat they came to the water's edge, and the grease was floating on the surface of the water which they lapped up, until there was not a grease spot left floating on the surface.
The small morsels had only sharpened their appetites, and as they saw the man sitting on the opposite shore, Unktomi and his family proceeded around the lake and came upon two men sitting on the shore. Unktomi saw that the other man was "Wakapapi" (pounded beef). The family surrounded the two and Unktomi ordered them to fight. Fearing Unktomi and his large family, they at once commenced to fight and Pounded Meat was soon killed. The hungry family at once fell to eating him. So busy were they that none noticed the fat man sneak off and disappear.
When they had finished the pounded beef man they looked around to fall upon the fat man, but nowhere could he be seen. Unktomi said, "I will track him and when I find him, I will return for you, so stay here and await my return."
He followed the fat man's tracks until farther east on the shore of the lake he found the fat man in the act of skinning a deer, which he had killed. (He had held on to his bow and arrows when he jumped into the lake). "My," said Unktomi, "this will make a fine meal for my hungry children. I will go after them, so hurry and cut the meat up into small pieces so they each can have a piece."
"All right, go ahead and get your family," said Fat Man. During Unktomi's absence, the fat man hurriedly cut the meat up into small pieces and carried them up into a tree that stood near to the shore. When he had carried it all up he threw sand and dirt upon the blood, and so left no trace of the deer.
On the arrival of Unktomi and his family, no signs of the fat man or the deer could be found. They wandered about the spot looking for tracks which might lead them to where the fat man had cached the meat, as Unktomi said he could not have carried it very far. Now the fat man was up in the tree and sat watching them. The reflection of the tree was in the water, and some of the children going close to the shore, discovered it as they looked at the reflection. The fat man cut a piece of meat and extending it towards them, drew back his hand and put the meat into his mouth.
"Come quick, father, here he is eating the meat," said the children. Unktomi came and seeing the reflection, thought the fat man was down in the lake. "Wait, I will bring him up for you." So saying, he dived down, but soon arose without anything. Again and again he tried, but could not reach the bottom. He told the children to gather rock for him. These he tied around his neck and body, and dived down for the last time. The last the children saw of their father was the bubbles which arose to the surface of the lake. The rocks being too heavy for him, held him fast to the bottom, and some hungry fish soon made a feast out of the body of poor "Unktomi."