John R. Swanton.
Myths and Tales of the Southeastern Indians —
This collection of stories from the Southeastern Native American region
covers mythology and folklore from the Creek,
Hitchiti, Alabama, Kosati, and Natchez.
The Creek (including the Alabama, Hitichi and Kosati) originally
lived in northern Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.
The Natchez resided in Louisiana.
The Southeast tribes once had a sophisticated culture, including
a stable federal form of government.
They built huge earthworks, the largest indigenous buildings north of Mexico.
Decimated by smallpox and contact with the Europeans, the inhabitants
of this region were forcibly relocated to the Oklahoma area in the
19th century, alongside the better-known Cherokee.
These stories were collected from survivors
in the early twentieth century.
At this time, their folklore had been influenced for centuries by
both European and (particularly) African sources.
The tales included here include such ‘modern’ elements as guns and
dry-goods stores, and obvious post-relocation wildlife such as Buffalo.
However, the original stories are visible in strong relief,
including the trickster (in this area, a very rascally Rabbit),
the Corn-mother, and many tales that are similar to the Cherokee and other
tribes farther afield.
This collection has numerous duplicates and variations, so reading
it in a linear fashion may prove repetitious.
However, this is invaluable data for the study of comparative folklore.
The chapter on Comparison of Myths
will be of particular interest in this regard.
A certain man had a Dog. One day the Dog looked westward and began howling. The man also had a hen and chickens which began to dance about in the stomp dance. Then the man said to his Dog, “Why are you howling?” “I have discovered something that is making me howl. In about four days everything is going to be overflowed by water. You ought to make a raft on which to escape, gather all the wood you can on top of it, and keep a little fire burning upon it. When you have finished the raft plait a hickory rope with which to tie it so that it will not drift off into the ocean.”
After the man had gotten everything gathered together the mountains burst open and water poured from them, flooding everything. He and the Dog got on the raft. The Dog had said, “When all of the mountains burst open all kinds of dangerous creatures will appear. Therefore, get a forked stick made of sumac, take the bark off, and use it to push away anything that comes toward your raft.” When the water rose the raft rose upon it, and many people could be seen climbing up into trees. When it rose still higher the man could see all sorts of dangerous creatures swimming about devouring people. Finally the flood rose so high that all living things were drowned out and he was carried far up above the clouds where the country looked as it does on earth, all mountains and rocks. There were also all kinds of cedars and birds hanging to them. Then the Dog asked him to throw him off, saying, “You will go back by yourself to the place from which you started. When the water begins to fall you must return, but you must stay on the raft seven days before you get off. It will be too boggy until then.” After some hesitation the man obeyed his Dog and threw him off into the water.
On the seventh day after his return people began to appear to get fire from that he had on his raft. Some of them were naked, some wore ragged clothes, and some wore very good clothes. After they had divided the fire up and the ground had begun to get firm he kept hearing noises toward the east as if there were people there. He went in that direction in order to find them, but when he reached the place where he had thought they were he found none, and the noises turned out to have been made by all kinds of bugs and mosquitoes. By and by an old man came and stood near him. He said, “All these noises you hear are made by people you think are not living. You must know that they are living. The people that came to get fire were people that had died a long time ago. Some had not been dead so long as others. They have kept on living until the
There were two brothers by the same mother living together. After some time a woman came to them and they left it to each other who would take her. Finally the younger brother took her. These brothers were always going about fishing, and one time they found a big fish which they wanted to catch. Then the elder brother said to the other, “If we get hickory bark and plait it into a rope and you tie it about your waist, I can throw you into the water, and you can pull the fish out.” They did so, but when the younger brother was thrown into the water he jerked about so much that the rope broke and the big fish swallowed him. Then the big fish began going round and swam up the creek.
The remaining brother began running around asking everything he could see to help him, such as the wolf, opossum, polecat, etc. Meanwhile he could hear his brother singing inside of the fish. All of the things he asked to help him would get scared when they saw the fish coming toward them. Finally he came to the Kingfisher and asked him, and the Kingfisher replied, “That is my trade.” Then the Kingfisher perched on a limb over the water and the fish came toward him, shooting about as he came. The Kingfisher would dart toward him and then go back to the limb, shaking himself and shouting. Finally the fish drifted a little way off, turned over on its side, and drifted about until it came up to the bank of the creek. Now, the elder brother seized the fish, dragged it ashore, and cut open its big belly with a mussel shell. Inside he found his brother’s head still singing, but his body had been ground entirely up. Then his brother’s head spoke up, saying, “Wash me and place me on a log.” After this was done it said, “Go home and tell your sister-in-law that we never can go together and be the way we were before. I will be there in the early daylight.” He added that he would sing most of the time, and talk only a short time.
After the elder brother got home he and the woman talked all night about what had happened, and about dawn they heard the younger brother coming singing. He was flying through the air and he alighted upon the top of the house. He said, “Is my
lying there?” His brother answered, “She is lying there.” “Ho” he said. Then the head began to sing. After a time he spoke again, “I wonder what I could do to kill you.” And he added, “If we go over yonder we shall find a lot of palū’s (a wild fruit like grapes, perhaps the muscadine). I thought my sister-in-law could eat some of that.” So after daylight they went with him, and when they arrived there the head climbed up into the tree and began eating this fruit itself. He would throw nothing down except the skins which were left.
Every now and then the head asked, “Is my sister-in-law eating them?” and the brother replied, “Yes, she is eating them.” After awhile a Crow came to the two standing below and said, “This head up in the tree will kill you. Let me fool him while you run off. There is a dirt-dauber (Natchez, melola) living near by. Go to him and he will help you,” So the two ran off to the dirt-dauber’s while the crow remained in their places, answering the head. After some time the head said, “There is a voice that I do not know. I guess these berries are so sour that they make our voices sound differently.” Upon this he looked down and saw the Crow beneath, upon which the Crow flew up, crying “Ha ha ha ha.” Then the head started off on the trail of the man and woman, saying as he went,
"Dīx dīx dīx dīx dīx.”
Just as the fugitives had reached the door of the dirt-dauber’s house the woman had stumbled and fallen full length on the ground. When the head came there he asked if the man and woman had arrived, and the dirt-dauber answered, “I have not seen any woman.” “Why, I see the print of where the woman fell. Verendorum suorum imaginem humo impressam video.” “Well, you can hunt for her,” said the dirt-dauber, and the head entered.
Now the dirt-dauber had turned the woman into a man who lay on a bed on one side of the house while the real man lay on a bed on the other side. The head of the younger brother looked first at one and then at the other.
First he spoke to the woman, saying, “Miror an mane e lectulo surgens super domus tectum mingere possis,” ac dicebat Pelopaeus lunatus (dirt-dauber) “Permitte ut ille te hoc facientem videat.” Foras exibant, atque ad hoc faciendum ea se praeparabat dum caput appropinquat intenteque observat. Deinde plane super tectum ea mingebat. Postea domum ingrediebantur, atque caput alterum rogabat ut idem faceret. Deinde hic alter exibat atque caput intente uti antea observabat. Quum vero mingeret urinam usque ad mediam tantum altitudinem parietis ejaculabatur, et caput cachinnabatur. The dirt-dauber had a number of pottery vessels which he had made, sitting in a row. The head now asked the man who had been a woman, “Could you shoot an arrow through four of those jars?” and the dirt-dauber said, “Let him see you shoot through them.” So the man who had been a woman shot at them and her arrow passed through all four. Then the head asked the other man to do the same thing, and the dirt-dauber said, “Shoot them; let him see you.” But when this man shot he made a hole through only one. The head laughed at him. Then the head began wandering about. Finally he spoke out and said to the former woman, “Can you go hunting and kill something for me to eat?” The dirt-dauber said, “Hunt for him,” and the woman went hunting, followed by the head. She killed a deer for him and said, “Here it is,” but after examining ithe started off after her without touching it. Then she killed another deer and the head acted as before.
By and by they came to a creek, and the man’s head said to his companion, “Let us swim.” So she stepped into the water, and the head also jumped in. Then she dived under water and came out on the other side. As she did so she made a noise under water and said to the human head, “That is your home.” As soon as the man reached the other side he turned back into a woman, upon which the head began to shout and tumble around, but it could not follow her out.
The woman, however, walked out of the water and started on westward. On the way she came to be with child by something and gave birth to several children which she put into a hollow cane. Presently she came to a place where lived a chief who had several wives, and she became his wife also. She soon became the chief’s favorite, and the others became angry and began talking about her. “She is shaming us a great deal,” they said. So they determined to have a corn parching contest, and set a time for it. The day having come the favorite wife took a humming bird, which was one of the children she had borne on the way, out of her cane and sent it to the dirt-dauber after popcorn. It went to the dirt-dauber and brought back the sharp point of a grain of corn. Meanwhile the other women were all busy carrying corn back and forth in baskets to parch it. “When you are all through,” said the favorite wife, “I will use your pots to parch mine in.” When she put this piece of grain into the pot it began popping and swelling, and the house was finally filled with the popcorn which ran outside and covered up all that the other women had parched. They said, “Where has this woman come from that has shamed us so?”
Deinde dicebant mulieres, “De pilis verendorum nostrorum contendemus.” Mulier inde iteram ad Pelopaeum lunatum (dirt-dauber) suum Trochilum colubrem (humming bird) mandabat qui pilum unum verendis ejus imponendum reportabat. Ad tempus uxores omnes ordine ante principem stabant qui ad domus portam stabat, de certamine arbitrium acturus. Quum omnes mulieres vestitus suos elevassent pili uxoris quae in maxima gratia erat usque infra genua pertinere videbantur. Itaque iterum ea vincebat, atque aliae mulieres mirabantur ubinam ille hanc quae tantam eis infamiam adferret mulierem invenisset.
Now they thought of contesting by means of a ball game. So the favorite wife again sent her humming bird to the dirt-dauber, and the dirt-dauber said to the humming bird, “You must tell your mother that she must take all of her children out of the cane to help her.” The other women had planned, as soon as the game was under way, that they would all jump upon this woman and kill her. When the day came and the ball was thrown up to begin the game the favorite wife opened her cane and let out all of her children. One of her children was Thunder and Thunder struck all of the other women and killed them. She and her children were then left and her children scattered from her while she herself
There was a
man eater who had seven sons.
He used to hunt and kill beaver, hang them up to dry and eat them by himself. His boys said to one another, “I wonder if that beaver meat is good.” So they watched for an opportunity, stole some of this beaver meat, and ate it. When their father found that they had been eating some of his meat he said to them, “You want to eat beaver, do you?” So he took them to a high cliff above a creek and said to them, “There is where they live.” There were holes under water beneath this cliff, and he threw them into these holes. Six died there but one of them got out at a different place. It was night when he escaped, and he wandered along the creek. By and by he saw what he supposed to be a tree and thought, “I will stay here all night,” upon which he climbed up into it.
When daylight came he looked down and saw a snake on the ground, and what he had thought was a tree was really the snake’s horn. Now he was afraid to go down, so he remained where he was. As he sat there people began to go by in canoes, and these people were of different sorts, some having crooked legs, some crooked hips, etc., and they sang songs in which they referred to these facts. When they looked up and saw him they said, “He has no sense to sit up on the horns of a snake.” One canoe load of people were all blind in one eye. Presently he heard another canoe coming, and this was filled with young women. As soon as these girls had observed him they let their canoe drift in toward him until it was quite near and told him to spit toward them. His saliva struck the edge of the boat. They moved it nearer and told him to spit again, when he spit into the very middle of the canoe. Then they told him to jump in and he did so, landing in the center of their canoe. He married one of these women, and they had a child while they were still going on.
Farther on on this river lived the mother of this boy. Different creatures, such as rats, would disguise themselves and come to her calling out that they were her children who had been drowned. She soon found out that they were trying to fool her, so she became angry and began to cry, and she refused to look round. By and by her son, accompanied by his wife with her child in her arms, came to the place and landed. He said to his mother, “I have come back,” but she answered, “That is what you always say, you red rats.” Her son spoke again, and she answered, “That is what you are always saying, you holes of different kinds.” They kept on talking to her, however, and after a long time they bothered her so much that she looked round, and saw a person standing there. Then she took the child from his wife and said, “This is my grandchild,” upon which she began dancing round. After that they all got into the canoe and started on. They went down the river to the house of a chief. The chief called to them to come up, but they remained in the canoe.
After some time the young man’s mother said to the chief, “If the chief’s wives will come and lie down side by side as close to each other as possible so that we can walk upon them we will go up.” They did so, and the woman and her people walked up upon the bodies, treading so heavily that they broke wind as they stepped. The chief wanted to marry the mother too and did so, but he had taken out the eyes of all of his other wives, and he wanted to take out her eyes also, and her son did not want it to happen. Then the chief gave orders to have the young man taken off to another place, and it was done. By and by, however, he came back and found that his mother’s eyeballs had been taken out. He hunted around for these, found them, and put them back in their places. The chief gave orders that the youth should be taken to another place, and again removed the woman’s eyeballs. When the young man again got back he found his mother in the same condition dancing about before the chief who was seated beating upon a drum. He again hunted for the eyeballs, found and replaced them. Then he went to the chief and took his drum away from him. He and his mother now started for their canoe. The chief told his other wives to catch them, but, having no eyes, they ran about hither and thither unable to find them. So the fugitives reached their canoe and got into it. They started off westward, the son beating upon the chief’s drum as they went.
A young man named Idzogon’ciya was out hunting and met a young woman named Micu’x. He would shoot birds with his arrows and she would pick the arrows up, but, when he asked her for them, she was at first afraid to come near. Finally, however, she came to him.
Then he asked to go home with her. Finally she agreed, but as they were going along she told him that her mother was a cannibal, and whenever her daughter got a man her mother would kill him. But she told the man she would help him. As they were going along they found the feathers of different kinds of birds, such as the crane, shitepoke, duck, etc., which they collected. Afterwards they reached a creek and, taking mud from it, they made it into balls, one of which they stuck on the end of each feather. The woman said, “When we get to my home my mother will offer you something to eat, but you must not eat it. Eat this parched corn instead. Fool her.” When they reached the house the old woman was away, but presently they heard her coming, her feet sounding ki
lki lki l. When she came in she threw herself down on the bed opposite to that on which the two others lay and said hå’hux hå’hux.
After some time she got up again, saying, “Håhu’x, why am I lying like this? I wish I would soon smell,” meaning that she wished she would soon eat. She began cooking something which she ate and afterwards threw herself over on the bed, again saying as before, “håhu’x.” By and by she sat up and said, “Where did my son-in-law come from?” Then she got up and prepared some food for him, saying, “Eat.” He got up out of bed with some parched corn in one hand which he ate, after which he lay down again. Then the old woman put away her cooking vessels and food and lay down on the bed uttering the same ejaculation. At that time she began to snore, but her daughter said that she never did this when she was really asleep. After a time she again got up, saying, “I want to smell again.” That meant that she wanted to kill her son-in-law and eat him. When she found him awake, however, she said, “I always dream. Sometimes I wake up lying by the door.” Again she lay down on the bed. By and by she got up again with the same remark as before, upon which the young man raised up and cleared his throat. Then she said, “I am an old woman and sometimes not just right. Sometimes when I wake up I am out in the yard.” She again fell over on the bed, and presently she fell asleep in reality. When she did so her daughter took the feathers with balls of mud attached and placed them all around her mother’s head. Immediately there came to be a lake full of wild fowl under the bed on which she was lying. Finally she jumped up, and the first thing she knew she was bobbing about in a lake. The ducks, snipes, and cranes were scared by her and began calling out. She became tired after a long time and wading across the doorstep where the water was up to her breast, went to sleep. Then her daughter rose, gathered up the feathers and mud, and, wrapping them together, took them out of the house and put them away.
Next morning the old woman woke up and ran out into the woods. Her daughter said, “When she comes back she will say, ‘There are raccoons out there in a tree. If my son-in-law will kill them I will smell them.’” By and by they heard her coming ti
l ti l ti l. She said, “There are seven raccoons out in a tree here. I want my son-in-law to shoot them.” His wife said, “Kill them for her.” He went out and shot them all, but if he had missed his mother-in-law had determined to kill and eat him. Then she said to herself, “Son-in-law is all right in shooting,” and she began crying, “hiii.”
After that she began picking up acorns which she pounded in a mortar and afterwards carried to the creek to wash. Her daughter said, “When she comes back from the creek she will say this: ‘There are drumfish feeding about where I was washing my acorns. If son-in-law will catch them for me I will smell them.’” She did as her daughter had foretold. Then her daughter said to her husband, “You must shoot the biggest one. When you do that you must turn around and run and not let the water touch you. If the water touches you it will knock you down.” The young man did so, and when he had shot the biggest drumfish the water pursued him up the hill. About halfway up a little water touched his heel and he fell down. He lay there for seven days. Meanwhile some cannibals came and looked at him, but they said, “He is extremely lean. In three or four days his flesh might be much better.” So they went away. As he lay there the youth sang, and he heard a song in reply up in the air just like his own song. He thought to himself, “When that person comes he will surely kill me.” It was his wife’s voice, however, and when she arrived she began doctoring him, so that he got up.
When they returned to the house his wife told him that her mother was over on the other side of the creek. “When she comes back,” she said, “she will want you to kill some white haxt (birds called in Cherokee umu’
lî or umi’ lî, which are like sandhill cranes).” She did as her daughter had predicted. “Let me smell some white haxt,” she said. The man’s wife also said, “She will offer to carry you across the creek in a canoe, and she will then run away with the canoe. When she does that you must take four arrows and shoot them in four different directions. You must also take four feathers off of those birds and put them together to form a bridge. She thinks that when she leaves you over on that side something will kill you.” As her daughter had said, she set her son-in-law across and took away the canoe. He found the white fowls and shot them during the day, and when night came on he shot arrows north, south, east, and west from the point where he intended to pass the night.
Late that night several parties of cannibals found his trail and called his name, saying, “He has been here.” Then they heard an answering cry “hiyu’x” off at a distance, and, thinking that it was his voice, the cannibals all ran in that direction and hunted all around for him. It was one of his arrows which had answered them. When they called again another arrow answered, and in this way they spent the entire night wandering around. At daylight they gave it up and went away. The youth then threw his feathers joined together across the stream and went home. Now the old woman went to the place where her husband lived, and, when she came back, she said, “I have set a time for a game of ball.” When the time was up different creatures arrived to take part in the game. Among these were such things as holes in clay banks and excrements resulting from diarrhea. As these things gathered in she would say, “Go ahead and tell old stories.” She herself would fall about on the bed.
When her husband came he had a black gum tree upon his shoulder in which all kinds of birds would gather, and he had canoes for earrings. When she saw him coming she said, “Well, ball playing shall never disappear.” She said to them, “When the game opens this person will slip on the excrement and fall into the clay bank hole, and we will kill him.” She shouted, “wa-a-a,” rejoicing at the prospect. On the other side the woman’s daughter and son-in-law had a number of beings to aid them, such as wind, cyclone, and thunder. Before they had played long thunder and wind destroyed the canoe earrings worn by the cannibal. Cyclone went round and round lifting the opposing players up from the ground, and thunder and lightning began tearing them to pieces. Every now and then a leg or a foot would drop to the ground with a noise like “tâx.” So the old man and his wife and all of their party were destroyed, leaving the young man and woman safe. Then they gathered up all of the pieces of the bodies of their enemies, piled them up along with a lot of firewood and burned them. When all were burning a crack sounded in the fire and went westward. Their spirits crossed the ocean and the young woman said, “Well, we have had revenge.” Then the man and woman were told to wander around and go westward.
A certain man lived alone with his wife who was pregnant. Every day he would go off hunting and come back at night with a deer, but before he set off he closed his house up tight because many strange creatures who ate people lived in the neighborhood. Whether these were monkeys, gorillas, or other animals they did not know. These would come up to the house and speak to the woman, telling her that they wanted to have a dance. One day when these creatures were dancing together outside, males and females, she opened the door and went out among them. A short time afterwards they caught her and devoured her.
That night, when the woman’s husband came home, he heard a baby crying outside and said, “Bring the baby to the house. Why have you got it out there?” His wife did not appear, and after a long time the man made a light and went to the place where he heard the baby’s voice. Looking about, he saw a little blood dropped upon a leaf. He picked the leaf up and brushed off the dirt, and it turned into a human being. Then he fed it on deer soup and when it had attained a considerable size he shat it up in the house when he went hunting.
Meanwhile the navel string of the baby which the woman had been carrying had been thrown away and had become another boy a little bigger than the first. But this boy was wild, and lived upon bugs which he would get by turning over logs, though his brother said to him, “I live upon this kind of meat,” showing a piece of deer meat. He also had the power of flight. He was afraid of his father and when the latter came home he would fly away, while his brother ran after him crying. Finally his father determined to capture him and tame him so that he could be a companion for his other son. He turned himself into a duck and squatted down at the corner of the house waiting for him. The wild boy wanted something with which to sharpen his arrow, and the other came to his father to get it. The father gave it to him. Then the wild boy went into the house to get it, and his father ran out from behind the corner and pursued him. The wild boy tried to get out through the smoke hole, but his father caught him and hobbled him so that he could not get away. Then he hung him up crosswise in the smoke hole and built a big fire under him, the smoke of which made him throw up all of the bugs which he had been eating. After that his father took him down, but he kept him tied until he had become gentle and had begun to eat deer meat.
After this wild boy had become gentle his father had to go off hunting, but before he set out he shut his children up in the house, telling them they must not go away anywhere. When their father had been gone a short time, however, the larger boy took the other up on his back and carried him out at the smoke hole. Many trails led from their house, and they deliberated for some time which they should choose, but finally they went eastward. By and by they heard people playing and shouting ahead of them, and when they reached the place they found that the noise was made by Wolves. The Wolves had a ball, perhaps half a foot in diameter, which could move about of itself as if endowed with life. The Natchez name of this ball is må’tåga. It moved from side to side among the Wolves, and some would run with it while others slapped at it to make it go.
The boy who had been wild said, “I am going to get hold of this ball. Go on and I will overtake you.” When the Wolves saw the boy they recognized him and said, “There is that fool boy standing there. That is just a navel string. Don’t take it.” “Pshaw!” said the boy. For a considerable time he stood there looking on, and every time they spoke to him he answered with this same word, “Pshaw!” After a long time the ball slipped through the crowd and rolled to where the boy stood. Then he seized it and ran, and they pursued him, howling. Finally he came up with his brother, grasped him and flew off home. When they got into the house they made the ball fly all over it from one wall to another, and when their father got home they said, “Look here at what we have found.” “Well!” said he, “keep it in the house. Don’t go outside with it. If you do it will get away from you.” Then he left them again.
The boys played around in the house with this ball until they became tired, and at last the larger boy said, “Let us play outside.” So they played outside, but they had not been there long before it got away from the smaller and began rolling away. They followed it for a long distance until at last it reached a creek over which hung a crooked tree. The ball ran up this tree with the larger boy in close pursuit and fell into the water and was lost. When the boy who was following got tired of hunting for it he went back to his brother on the bank. When he got to him he said, “Our uncle lives on the other side of this creek. Shout to him and let him take you over in his canoe. Stay with him. I am going to hunt for that ball again. When you call to our uncle he will tell you to come across on a foot log, but you must not do so or you will fall off and be drowned. Make him bring the canoe over.” So when the smaller boy called his uncle and his uncle told him to come over on the foot log he said, “No; I want the canoe.”
Then his uncle brought the canoe and carried him across. His uncle had some fish on the other side which he told his nephew to bring along, and when they got to the house his uncle told him to cook it. Then he told him to make some mush. When the boy began to cook and to rake out the fire with a stick his uncle told him to use his hands and took the stick away from him. And when he burned his hands in consequence his uncle laughed at him. When the boy stirred the mush with a stick his uncle took that away from him also and made him stir it with his hands. Everything being done, the uncle told his nephew to lie down. So he lay down on his back, and his uncle set a jar of mush on his belly and began to eat out of it. When he was through he gave the boy a little and said, “I am going to stick up a sassafras,” meaning that he was going fishing.
Then the man went out fishing with his nephew, and while they were there a big red perch began singing close by. The perch’s song was this, “You old man, you have: sassafras stuck up here.” The perch kept going back and forth singing this over and over, and finally the uncle became angry, dipped up the perch in his net and ate him, bones and all. Then they began fishing again. After they had sat there for a while, however, the uncle beard the perch singing in his belly. He sang at intervals, and the old man became very angry, but he could do nothing. Then he went off and defecated and came back to fish. Another space of time elapsed and again he heard the same song, this time from the place where he had defecated. He became angry again, seized a stick and beat the pile of dung all to pieces. For a while after everything was quiet.
By and by, however, the uncle’s hook became caught and he told his nephew to dive in and free it. He did so and saw his brother sitting there under water holding the hook. He asked his younger brother what had been done to him, and the latter described how his uncle had burned him and eaten off of him. Then the bigger boy said, “I am going to get revenge.” So he went about in the water, seized a number of fish, and laid them ashore near where the old man was fishing. “Take these up with you and cook them,” he said; so the old man took them up and began to cook them. When he grasped the poker, however, the boy took it away and told him to use his hands. “Now make mush,” he said, and when the old man got a stick with which to stir the mush the boy took it away from him. So the old man stirred the mush with his hand, and as he did so he said, “hīgigigigi,” pretending to laugh. When everything was cooked the boy told him to lie down. Then they put the jar of mush on him, piled the fish around him, and getting on each side began to eat. The old man began to be burned by the hot bowl and raised it up a little with his hands, saying “Hīgigigigi” as before.
When the boys were through eating they told the old man to eat, but before he was through they got up, struck him in the head and killed him. In his house they found various things which their uncle used in dressing himself up. They started off, leaving the old man lying on a blanket on one of his ears, which were very large. After a while the boys came back again and the larger boy said, “You are in a pretty position. Just remain that way.” The fourth time they came back the old man spoke up and said to the larger boy, “You are a navel string. You are mean. You have been in the habit of treating people meanly, and you have done it again.”
They went away again and came to another person sitting down sharpening nails or tacks to put into the heels of shoes. They asked him if he could kill a person by sticking the nails into him. “If you can kill a person that way,” said the bigger boy, “try it on my brother.” He did so and killed him, whereupon the biggest boy killed him also with a blow. Then he doctored the smaller boy and brought him to life. Then they took the nails off of the man’s feet and carried them away, saying, “These would be good things for our father to use in making shoes.” So when their father came home they said, “We have found these nails to make shoes with.” But their father told them that that was not what they were for and they had better put them back on the owner. They did so and he returned to life.
The boys started on again and came to a house where cannibals lived. They climbed up on top of the house and heard the cannibals laughing, feasting, and playing inside. While they were there a number of cannibals came carrying a baby which they set in a bowl on the fire. Then one of the boys on the housetop dropped something into the bowl and broke it. “This baby is alive,” said the cannibals. “He has broken our bowl.” Then they put the baby on the coals to roast it, and when it was done all squatted down and began eating. Afterwards they lay down all around the house to sleep. As soon as they had fallen asleep the bigger boy got down off of the house and tied all of their hair together, and then they set fire to the house. By and by the cannibals discovered this and said, “Why, the house is on fire.” They tried to get up and began shouting to one another, “You are pulling my hair. You are pulling my hair.” And they fought until the house burned down. Then the boys ran away.
After this the bigger boy said to his father, “What do you do in order to kill deer, bear, etc.?” He answered, “I always use medicine.” Then the boy said to his father, “I can find what kind you use.” So he went to a creek, brought back a big turtle and said, “Is that the kind of medicine you use?” “No,” he said. The boy went a second time and brought a dead snake. He brought all kinds of dangerous things, everything he could think of, but he could not find what the medicine was. Then the boys determined to follow their father on one of his hunting trips, so they made all kinds of arrows and hid them in order to be prepared for the journey. When he set out they kept only just within sight, for he was on the lookout for them on account of the questions they had asked him.
Finally he came to a high mountain, and stood up and looked far up into it. Then he opened a door at the foot of the mountain and out came a deer, which he shot. Then he shut the door, picked up the deer and started back while the boys hid until he had passed them. When he had reached a distance at which one can barely hear a person whooping the boys went to the door and opened it. Then deer, turkey, and all kinds of creatures began running out, and the boys began shooting at them, but they made no impression. All they could do was to whoop and clap their hands. Their father heard them, ran back, and shut the gate. Then he told them there were just a few things, left inside. He said, “You can now go your way. You have let out all the game we had to live on. I had this game for my own use. Now you may get on as best you can. I am going back.”
After their father had started off the larger boy began thinking over what had happened, and he made something to follow his father. This is called wå’gu
l (in Natchez), and
it was round and flat.
When he had made it he threw it after his father and said, “What is father saying?” The thing followed their father and when it had overtaken him struck him first on the heel and then on the knee. He looked around in surprise, stood still for a time, and then went back to his boys, and said, “I am sorry for you, but you have wasted what we had to live on. We can not live any more on that, and
we will go westward.”
A hunter had a little boy who stayed at the hunting camp. When he went off his boy said to him, “Make some arrows for me.” He made arrows for him but the next time he went off again the boy again said, “Make some arrows for me.” “How does it happen, said his father, “that you use up so many arrows?” and the child answered, “A boy comes around and we shoot together and bet and he wins all from me.” “If that is so, when he comes back you must catch him. I will sit watching and when you seize him I will run up and tie him.” Then he made the arrows and left, but he stayed near by watching and when the boys were playing about his son caught the other and they fell about wrestling. The second boy tried to run away but the father caught and tied him.
After he had sat tied for some time the strange youth quieted down and the man untied him, left the two together and started off hunting. “To-day some one will call toward the west to be ferried across in a canoe. It is not a human being. It is Old-woman-who-sticks-to-one and you must not set her across. When someone toward the east shouts, that will be a human being. You must set that one across.” He said this to them and started off.
Not long afterwards some one toward the west shouted and the strange boy said, “Let us go and set her across.” The other answered “I think he said, ‘Do not set that one across. It will not be a human being,’” but the first replied, “If you will not do it I will hack you with father’s big ax.” So the other became frightened and they went along together. Old-woman-who-sticks-to-one was standing by the bank and they put her across. After they had done so they jumped back. They jumped back across the creek quickly but Old-woman-who-sticks-to-one jumped back after them and fastened herself upon them. They could not get rid of her in any way, until finally they killed her and heated water and poured it over her, when she came off. They cut off her nose and made a pipe out of it. “It will be good for our father to use when he smokes,” they said.
While they were sitting holding this their father came home. He said, “Have you been right here all the time?” “We have been nowhere else,” said the boys. “We have made a pipe for you,” they said, and they gave it to him. He put tobacco into it, lighted it, and smoked. When he pulled at it hard, it made a noise,
lā+k. When he pulled at it still harder it made a noise, tlāk. Then he said, “Didn’t you do what I told you not to?” His child answered, “We put that one across and jumped back but she also jumped back and stuck to us. When we could do nothing else with her we killed her and poured hot water on her, and she came off. We cut her nose off and made a pipe out of it for you.”
When he was about to start out to hunt again he said, “If you want to go in swimming you must not swim in the creek toward the west. You must swim toward the east. You must not swim toward the west because there are lots of leeches in the creek there.” Then he set out.
Not long afterwards the boys said, “Let us go in swimming,” and they swam eastward in the creek. When they came back the strange boy said, “Let us go in swimming to find out about the leeches of which he spoke.” “I think he forbade us,” said the other. The strange boy replied, “If you do not agree I will hack you with father’s ax,” so he became frightened and they set out. They went in swimming. When they came out, leeches were all over their bodies. Then they wallowed in the sand and mashed them. When their skins got dry they made a noise, “tsågāk tsågāk,” and the boys danced in order to hear the noise.
When their father came home he said, “Have you been right here?” and the strange boy answered, “We have been nowhere else.” But his own child said, “We went in swimming where you said, ‘Do not swim there,’ and when we came out leeches hung all over our bodies. We rolled in the sand and mashed them, and when their skins were dried they made a noise and we danced.”
Then the boys said to each other, “When he leaves this time we will follow him. Let us make many arrows.” So they made them and hid them away where they would be ready and the next time he went out they followed. He opened a low mountain, a deer came out, and he shot at it and killed it. Then he shut the mountain, laid the deer on his back and started to return. They concealed themselves and waited until he had gotten away, but when he was a considerable distance off they opened the door. Deer came out and ran off; also turkeys and bear. They shot at them until they ran out of arrows. Then they shut the mountain and ran off. They got home first and sat down, not intending to tell what had happened.
When their father came back he said, “You have not been off anywhere?” and they answered, “We have been right here all the time,” so he thought everything was all right. But presently the deer meat gave out and he again started off. He could find nothing and so came back. “Well then,” he said, “you are also the ones who did that. There is nothing to be had. Now, let us go back to the place from which we came. That food was for us to live upon. Let us start away,” and they set out.
When they got to the place he said, “I want to reconnoitre,” and started off. In the evening he came back and said, “I am going to a council meeting,” and he set out again. Then the boys followed him stealthily. People were gathering at the council house and when it became dark they entered. “I wonder what they are talking about in there,” said the boys, so they crept under the floor and listened. As they sat there they heard that they themselves were being tried, and they were convicted. It was agreed to kill them before morning.
Then the two boys went out and started off. They collected guards to protect themselves, placing ducks in the outermost row. As a protection they put bumblebees into a hollow cane and stopped it up. In the same way they put hornets into a hollow cane and stopped it up. They stationed geese as guards in the next row. They also put yellow jackets into a hollow cane and stopped it up. They stationed sandhill cranes as guards in the, third row. Then they put wasps into a hollow cane and stopped it up. In this way they collected all kinds of stinging things. In the last row they put quails on guard. They themselves went into a small corncrib standing on the trail along which the enemy were to come.
While the boys were sitting in the corncrib the ducks came flying past making a noise. “I think they are coming,” they said as they sat there. After a while the geese also went by. “They are getting nearer,” they said. After another interval the sandhill cranes also passed. “They are getting close,” they said. After still another interval the quails flew past making a thundering noise, and they said, “They have come.” So they opened the hollow canes and threw them outside, and, when the people came to fight, these stung them. Then they began to fight. As more and more stinging insects came out they began fighting one another in fighting the stinging insects. They struck and killed one another.
Toward daylight the shouting and tumult quieted down. The stinging things rose upward humming. “What has happened?” said the boys, and they went out. Their enemies all lay about dead. “Father is lying among them somewhere,” they said, and they hunted for him. After they had hunted about they found him barely alive lying with his backup. “Do you think we had better let him die for good?” said the strange boy to the man’s son. When he asked this question the latter answered, “He shall always stay in the fields and steal garden vegetables and people shall chase him.” Then the strange boy made a little bow and scraped the string over the man’s buttocks. He stopped, and when the man tried to speak he said, “gāx, gāx, gāx, gāx.” He turned into a crow and flew away.
"What shall we ourselves do?” they said as they stood there. “We will go into the ground,” they said. “No, for we can never see each other,” they concluded. “Let us wade into the water,” they said, but they concluded, “If we do that we shall again be unable to see each other.” Then they said, “If we go above we can arrange to see each other, talk together, and travel together.” “I will go toward the west to live,” said the strange boy, and the man’s child went eastward. They made it thunder and lighten. A cloud separated them.
Corn-woman lived at a certain place in company with twin girls. When the corn was all gone she went into the corn house, taking two baskets, and came out with the baskets full. They lived on the hominy which she made from this.
One time the girls looked into this corn house and saw nothing there. They said to each other, “Where does she get it? Next time she goes in there we will creep up and watch her.”
When the corn was all gone she started to go in and they saw her. So they crept after her and when she entered and closed the door they peeped through a crack. They saw her set down the basket, stand astride of it and rub and shake herself, and there was a noise, tsågak, as if something fell off. In this way she filled one basket with corn. Then she stood over the other, rubbed herself and shook, the noise tsågak was heard and that basket was full of beans. After that the girls ran away.
"Let us not eat it,” they said. “She defecates and then feeds us with the excrement.” So when the hominy was cooked they did not eat it, and from that she knew they had seen her. “Since you think it is filthy, you will have to help yourselves from now on. Kill me and burn my body. When summer comes things will spring up on the place where it was burned and you must cultivate them, and when they are matured they will be your food.”
They killed Corn-woman and burned her body and when summer came corn, beans, and pumpkins sprang up. They kept cultivating these and every day, when they stopped, stuck their hoes up in the ground and went away. But on their return more ground would be hoed and the hoes would be sticking up in different places.
They said, “Let us creep up and find out who is hoeing for us,” and they did so. When they looked they saw that the hoes were doing it of themselves and they laughed. Immediately the hoes fell down and did not work for them any more. They did not know that it was just those two hoes which were helping them and they themselves spoiled it.
Old Corn-woman lived with a certain boy. When she was out of corn she went to the corn house, entered, and when she came out had a basket full of corn with which she made hominy. One time while they were living in this way the boy looked into the corn house and there was nothing there. He thought, “Where does she get the corn?
Next time she goes in I will watch her.” Presently the corn gave out again and when the boy saw Corn-woman start to enter the corn house he peeked through a crack. There she sat astride of a basket, and when she shook and made a noise the basket was filled. But he thought she was defecating into it. “I will not eat (lit., drink) any hominy this time,” he thought, and ran off.
When the hominy was cooked he would not eat any, and from that she knew that he had seen her. She said, “If you think I am filthy, your kinfolks are alive--your grandmother, your aunt, your uncle,
your second father,
your elder brother, your sister, your mother, and your father. I took you from them, but now that you think I am filthy you may go back. But I will provide for you before you go. First you must kill me and then burn down the house and reduce it to a bed of coals. Then you must go away. But before that go and hunt some birds.”
So the boy started out, killed birds and brought them in, but she kept saying to him, “Another kind,” and he went off again and killed others. But when he got back she said “Another kind,” and he went out hunting again. He hunted about and brought different kinds of birds. Finally he brought blue jays and parrakeets. “Those are the ones,” she said to him.
Then she brought the birds all to life, placed the parrakeets on one shoulder and the blue jays on the other, the chickadees in the center of the top of his head, the topknot birds back of his shoulders, and the others around his belt. She also made and gave him a flute and when he made a noise by blowing upon it all of the birds sang.
"Quum profisceris,” ei dicebat illa, “alicubi in via mulieribus pravis obviam venies quae te ut cum eis concumbas sollicitabunt. Cum eis vero ne concumbas quia in verendis suis dentes habent qui tuum penem abscindent. Facias tibi penem lapideum et quum mulieri quartae obvenies cum ea concumbas.”
After that he killed Corn-woman, burned the house down to a bed of coals, and then started off. He went along blowing upon his flute and the birds were singing. Mox cuidam mulieri appropinquanti obveniebat quae cum sollicitabat ut cum ea coiret. Recusabat pergebatque. Aliae mulieri appropinquanti obveniebat quae etiam eum sollicitabat ut cum ea coiret, atque iterum recusabat pergebatque. Et alia veniebat quae eum sollicitabat ut cum ea coiret atque iterum recusabat pergebatque. Deinde obviam ei veniebat quarta mulier quae etiam eum sollicitabat ut cum ea coiret. Ille assentiebatur et ambo concumbebant. Postquam paulisper concubuerunt penis suus lapideus dentes verendorum mulieris frangebat. Ea ibi plorans cubabat et ille eam derelinquebat atque pergebat.
As he was going along he met Rabbit coming toward him, who made friends as soon as he saw him. “Where are you going?” Rabbit said to him. “I am going to my mother’s.” “I live close by. Let us go back together. I am going into the creek to tie up turtles. Let us go back and tie up turtles together and then we will go on. I am going close by the place.” The youth was unwilling to go but Rabbit, who wanted to fool him, overcame his objections and they turned back.
When they got to the creek they peeled off hickory bark for ropes, took off their clothing and went into the water. Rabbit said to his companion, “When I say ‘Now!’ we will dive under water together.” So they went to a place which was rather deep and Rabbit said, “Now!” The youth dived, but Rabbit went out, seized his companion’s clothes, and carried them away.
After the youth had tied his turtles together by the legs he came out of the water and found that his clothing was gone. He stood thinking for a while with his head hanging down, and when he looked about saw a persimmon tree standing near. He climbed it, shook off some persimmons and rubbed them all over his body. Then he started on.
When he came to a house the people thought he was filthy and gave him food out at the edge of the yard. He went on for a while in this way until he came to where an old woman lived. That person looked upon him kindly. Then she cleansed him, and they lived together. The old woman said, “I want some fish.” So the youth went to the creek. Afterwards he came back and said to her, “A sick fish was lying there which I put into the canoe, but if you want it you can go and get it.” So the two started out. When they got down to the canoe it was full of fishes. “If you can not carry them all away,” he said to her, “tell your kinsfolk if you have any and let them get them.” So the old woman told them and they came and carried the fish away.
Rabbit heard how the young man had divided the fish. He said to his wife, “You must say, ‘I want some fish.’” Rabbit’s wife heard him and answered, “I want some fish.” Then Rabbit went to the creek. He found a dead fish and put it into the canoe. After a while he came back. He said, “A sick fish was lying there which I put into the canoe, but if you want it you can get it.” Then the two set out. They found only a dead fish swollen up and with its eyes turned white, and his wife scolded him about it.
Another time the youth made the old woman say by thinking, “I want some deer.” So the youth went into the woods to hunt. After a while he came back and said to her, “I finished killing a deer which lay sick and laid it in a hollow, but if you want it you can go and get it.” So the two started out after it. When they got to the place they found it full of fat deer. “If you can not carry them all off, let your kinsfolk take them away,” he said to her. So the old woman went to her kinsfolk and told them and they came and carried off the deer.
Rabbit also heard of that. He said to his wife, “You must say, ‘I want some deer.’” So Rabbit’s wife said, “I want some deer.” Then Rabbit went hunting in the woods. After a while he found a dead deer, put it into a hollow and came home. “I finished killing a deer lying sick,” he said, “but if you want it you can get it,” and they set out. When they came to where the dead deer lay, something had already taken out its eyes and the woman scolded him.
The birds hung dead on the clothing which Rabbit had taken away. [They would not sing for him.]
Next the youth said to the old woman, “Comb your hair and part it well,” and she started to comb it. Then he said, “I want to build a house,” and he stood near grinding his ax. The old woman went on combing her hair and when she got through he said to her, “Stand in the doorway.” She did so and forthwith he struck her on the head and split her in two. Immediately two young women stood there looking just alike. So he continued to live with his two wives.
Rabbit also heard of this and said to his wife, “Comb your hair.” She combed her hair and when she got through he said, “Stand in the middle of the doorway.” She stood there and he struck her and caused her to fall down dead.
After that happened the people said that the youth had occasioned the Rabbit to kill his wife and they arrested both. Then they tried them. All of the quadrupeds with hair and all of the flying things tried them. But they concluded, “It was not the telling of Rabbit by that youth but the foolishness of Rabbit himself which caused him to kill his wife by trying to imitate him,” and they let the youth go but convicted Rabbit.
They could not think of any way to kill Rabbit, however, so they discussed secretly a way to deceive him. They said, “Go and get Rattlesnake.” If he went for him, it would sting him and so kill him, they thought. “All of us are not here to judge because Rattlesnake can’t walk fast enough and hasn’t come. Go and get him,” they said, and he started off. But Rabbit knew they were deceiving him. He broke off a long stick, sharpened it, and came to the place using it as a walking stick. When he arrived he also told a lie. “They sent me from the assembly,” he said. “Many said, ‘Rattlesnake is long.’ Many said, ‘He is short.’ ‘Well then,’ they said to me, ‘Go and measure him,’ and so I came along.” Upon hearing this Rattlesnake straightened out and lay flat and Rabbit began measuring him. As he was doing so he said, “I shall not strike your life?” Rattlesnake answered that his life was in the middle of his head, so Rabbit kept on measuring him and while he was doing so stuck the stick into the middle of his head and killed him. He laid him over his shoulder impaled on the stick and carried him back.
"We told you to bring him here alive,” they said to him. “What is he fit for? Throw him away.” And he threw him away.
Again they came to an agreement on the matter. “Let him lead the water,” they thought, “and that will catch and drown him.” So they said to him, “You lead the water. Make it run straight in the channel.” So he caught the water and led it by means of a string. Presently the water overtook him and he started to run. When it overtook him again he ran in a crooked course. It overtook him again, and after running from it several times he got tired, let the water go, and ran off.
When they said to him, “We told you to make it straight,” he answered, “What I have done is right. Since it is crooked it makes a good place in which things can range about and when the second bottom is made it is a good place in which to hunt. It would be good to cultivate and to make a farm out of, I thought, and so I made it that way.” They could do nothing with him and so they let him go.
A woman was washing at a creek with her baby lying close by her. While she was dipping up water a
which had been watching her, ran up and carried off her child. She did not know at first what had happened to it. The Tiger took the child, which was a boy, to its den, and with its mate raised him. When he had grown to be of some size the Tigers gave him a bow. The boy would go out and on coming back tell the Tiger that be had seen something that scared him, which was in fact a bird. Then the Tiger would explain that these birds were to be killed and eaten. So he got into the habit of going out hunting, killing these birds, and bringing them in. By and by he said, “Some baldheaded things scared me.” “Those are to kill and eat,” said the Tigers. They were turkeys. When be became a young man he saw something else which scared him and said, “I saw something with small legs which scared me.” “They are to be killed and eaten,” said the Tigers. So he went out and killed them. They were deer.
Some distance away was a mountain which looked blue in the distance. The Tigers said, “You must never go to that mountain.” By and by the Tigers went off somewhere to make a visit, and the boy thought, “Why is it that they do not want me to go to that mountain?” So he decided to go there, and after he had climbed to the top he found a crowd of people playing ball. He saw his mother playing among them. Then he got back to the Tigers’ home and when the Tigers came back they found that he had been somewhere and said, “Haven’t you been over there?” “Yes,” he said, “I have been there.” “Well, that is your town. You shall go back to it, and we will prepare for your return.” The Tigers asked him to kill birds of a certain kind, and, when he had done so, they said, “Kill another kind.” He kept on until he had killed as many different kinds of birds as he could find. With these they decorated the boy, placing a parrakeet on his head, jays on each shoulder, and smaller birds of different kinds about his belt. The Tiger caused these birds to live. “When you start off,” he said, “you will come to a house, and when you have passed the house you will meet a person, but you must keep right on without talking to him.” The Tiger also gave him a horn to blow oil, and when he blew every bird would cry out.
So the youth started off, and, as had been foretold to him, he passed a house and met a person beyond it. This was Rabbit. Rabbit stopped him and said, “Where are you going?” “I am going to my mother’s. Where are you going?” “I am going to the creek to catch turtles. Your mother lives close to this place. Let us go back and catch turtles, and then go to her house together.” Upon this the boy turned back with Rabbit, and, when they reached the creek, he pulled off his clothing and said, “How do you catch these turtles?” “I always take a hickory bark rope, dive into the deep water, catch and tie them, and drag them out.” So the two took hickory bark cords and waded into the water. Rabbit said, “When I say ‘Now!’ we will dive into the water at the same time.” When Rabbit said this word the boy dived in, but Rabbit jumped back on the bank, seized the boy’s clothes, and ran off with them. The youth caught a turtle and, coming out and looking round, saw that his clothes were gone. Then he hung his head and began to think, “What shall I do?” Then he began looking around, and he spied a persimmon tree loaded with fruit. He shook this tree and rubbed the fruit all over himself.
Then he started on toward his mother’s house, dragging the turtle after him. When he reached his mother’s house he stopped in the yard. His mother was cutting up raccoon meat. He said “Mother,” but his mother answered, “I don’t know whether I have a child.” Then the boy started off again, saying, “If you have a child let the raccoon bite you,” and the raccoon bit her. He went along while his mother cried out from the biting of the raccoon. He came to a number of houses, but he looked so filthy they would give him something to eat out in the yard and turn him away. Finally he came to a house where an old woman lived with her granddaughter. There was a hole in a clay bank out in the yard of this house, and the young man put his turtle into it. Then the women welcomed him, invited him into the house, and fed him there. The youth told them that that was the first house in which he had eaten, and related how he had been treated at the different houses he had passed. The old woman said, “That is not the way to treat a person.” Then the young man said, “If you eat turtle, I put one into a hole out there.” “Well, if it is turtle,” said the old woman, “it is something that has always been scarce.” When they went to the hole and looked in, it was full of turtles making all kinds of noises. They took one of them out and cooked it. Then the old woman said, “I will give you my granddaughter. No one ever brought us anything of this kind before.” The boy said, “If you have any relations let them come and get some of these.” So the young woman went to inform some of their relations, and they came after turtles.
By and by the young man said, “Let us go to the creek.” He stripped off his clothing and began diving back and forth under water from one side of the creek to the other. Then the fish became addled (or drunk), and the youth said, “Go and tell your relations and let them kill the fish.” The young woman did so, and they came and killed some of the fish.
When Rabbit heard what the youth had done he determined that he would do the same. After he did so there were a lot of minnows floating about which he told the people to kill, but they soon found that the minnows were floating about of their own accord, and they scolded Rabbit.
When the young man had jumped into the creek he had gotten the persimmon stains washed off of him and appeared as a fine youth. Presently he asked his wife to comb her hair well and part it in the middle in the usual manner. She did so, and he said, “Give me that broad ax and a grindstone.” “I will give them to you,” she said. As he sat there a short distance away from her he said, “I am hungry.” So his wife went into the house and brought out different kinds of food. “Where shall I put the food?” she said. Then the young man got up quickly, and, swinging his broad ax, struck his wife in the middle of her head where her hair was parted, thereby making two persons out of her, who laughed and smiled at each other.
When Rabbit heard what had taken place he had his wife comb her hair, and afterwards asked her to give him the ax and grindstone. Then he sat down and sharpened his ax. Then he said, “I am hungry,” and his wife went in and brought out different kinds of food for him. “Where shall I put it?” she said, upon which he stood up, struck her on the head, and killed her.
When this happened the different animals and other creatures went to the youth and arrested him, saying that he was the cause of Rabbit having killed his wife. They tried him and sentenced himto death.
First they thought they would kill him by setting him to cut cane for arrows in a canebrake where there were poisonous snakes. But first the youth went to the Tiger, who gave him four balls and said, “Take these balls, and when you get into the canebrake and think your enemies are near by throw a ball and they will run after it. Throw the fourth ball as far as you can.” So when the young man arrived at the canebrake he threw one of the balls, and while the snakes were pursuing it he began cutting cane. When they came back he threw another and then the third, and, having cut enough cane, he throw the fourth ball as far as he could and ran off, returning safely to the place from which he had been sent. Next the youth’s enemies sent him to a cannibal who lived near, telling him to cut off his beard to wrap around the arrows. Again he went to the Tiger, who said, “Go there, turn into a granddaddy-longlegs and climb up on the ceiling. He will not be there when you arrive, but be on the ceiling when he comes back.”
When he got to the house he found only the cannibal’s wife at home, who agreed to cut off her husband’s beard for him, so he turned himself into a granddaddy-longlegs and climbed up on the ceiling. After a time the cannibal came in, lay down, and went to sleep, when his wife cut off his beard and gave it to the youth, who took it back to his enemies. Next he was sent to a creek where there was something dangerous, to dig up clay from the bottom. He consulted the Tiger again, who said, “Let that person who wears a white collar get that clay from the bottom of the creek. You can not do it. You must sit down at the edge of the water and tell this person to hurry up.” When he did so the person he called came, and it was a Kingfisher. The young man asked him to dig clay out of the bottom of the creek for him, and the Kingfisher said, “I can do so. When I dive under the water, if white bubbles rise, you will know I am all right, but if red bubbles of blood rise you must go back.” He dived, and the boy sat watching, and presently he saw some white bubbles rise to the surface. Then the bird came out and asked the boy to take the earth out from under his nails.
When he had done so the bird said, “Strike the rock with this clay,” and at once the clay grew large. He returned with it to the people who had sent him. Now, the people thought they would take this youth across to the other side of the creek, where there were numbers of cannibals. He consulted the Tiger once more. Then the people ferried him across and left him on the other side. That night hounds got after him, but in obedience to the instructions of the Tiger he got into a hollow tree. The cannibals who followed the hounds tried to twist him out with a switch, as is done in the case of rabbits, but he twisted it about in some spider webs, and when the cannibals saw it they thought that the hounds had lied and began to beat them. Then they went back home.
When day came the young man got out of the hollow tree and began wandering about, and after a time he came to where two women were swimming. He took their clothes and climbed up into a tree near by. When the women found this out and discovered him they asked for their clothes, but he said, “What will you be to me?” “We will be your sisters,” they said. He remained where he was. Then they said “We will be your aunts.” He did not move. “We will be your mothers.” They named all kinds of relationships. Finally they said, “We will be your wives,” and as soon as he heard it he came down and they took him with them. As they went along they said to him, “We always want a man, but if we get one our father always kills and eats him. In the first place our father makes him enter a race. There is a deep washout in which he has stuck up sharp spikes, and when they run and have nearly reached that place, he lets them get a little ahead of him and pushes them in so that they fall on the spikes and are killed.”
When they reached their house their father began to shout and rejoice, saying, “Those women never fail to bring a good man.” Then he asked the young man to run a race, but just before they reached the washout he dropped back and the old man went on, falling into the ditch, but by the side of the spikes, so that he was not killed. Then the youth helped him out. That night the youth slept between his two wives, and over his head he had something fixed like a mask, making it appear as if his eyes were wide open. The old man would come over from time to time and peep at him, but when he saw him lying with his eyes apparently wide open he went back. Finally he gave up any expectation of catching his son-in-law asleep, so he whispered to his daughters that he was going to set the house on fire, and one night, while they were asleep, he struck them on the head and woke them up. So the two girls got up and started out, but they had the young man between them. Then the old man set fire to the house and while it was burning and everything was crackling and popping he said, “Those bones that I like to eat so well are crackling and popping.” He would run around the house saying “Hayi haa.”
After a while he looked about, saw his son-in-law standing near and said, “I thought my son-in-law had burned up. I thought bad luck had befallen him. That was what I meant by acting the way I did.” After this the two women said, “Our father will not give up doing this. Go home if you want to.” Then they told him they would find four young pups for him. They said, “You will find something with white round its neck. You ride it across the river. You can name it ‘My friend.’” Then he took his four pups to the bank of the river, sat down there, and began calling for something. Snakes and turtles of various kinds would raise their heads out of the water,, and he would say to them, “I am not speaking to you,” upon which they would answer, “I thought you were calling me,” and dive under water again. After a time something with a white ring about its neck stuck its head out from under the water and said, “What is the matter?” The young man answered, “I want you to carry me across the river.” Then the snake said, “Why, what are you going to do for me?” and the young man answered, “I will give you something to eat while you are carrying me over.” “All right,” said the snake, and the youth got upon his horn (this snake having horns like a deer). When they started the young man gave the snake one pup, but as soon as he had finished it he began to sink toward the bottom. Then he gave him another pup and he rose and started on. He fed him with all four in the same manner.
As he went the youth began sawing off one of the prongs of the snake’s horns. The snake perceived the dust and said, “What is this falling?” “It is some kauhi’sitå (meal made from parched corn) that I am eating.” So he got one of the prongs cut off unknown to the snake. When they were nearly over he shot an arrow which stuck up in the earth. Seeing this he shot again but held to the arrow and alighted upon the ground. Upon this the snake became angry and said, “Well, you could have done that in the first place without tiring me.” The youth answered, “You are so proud minded and cross I could dry the water up from you which is all you have to support yourself on.” So he dried up the water, and the snake began to tumble about. It said, “You have treated me badly.” So the young man brought the water back and let the snake go.
Thunder married a
He had a big frog covered up to keep his fire. When Thunder came back from killing someone he hung up an arm, the head and the buttocks. As he went along Thunder sang, “I am flying. I am flying. I am flying. Flying water (i. e., rain) is my child. Flying water is my child. I am flying.” He was shooting, and what he used was lightning. If he stayed away all day, the big frog went around the fire and sang “Gaditī’yaoc. He comes flying. He comes flying. Flying water is his child. He comes flying. He comes flying.” Since Thunder stayed away all day he was worried lest his wife should be carried off. “Nothing can hurt me myself,” he said, “for I am very brave,” and he lay down.
But now the arm, the head, and the buttocks hanging up got angry, and the arm sang, “Hånīgū’tsi hå’nigutsi itā’wawa ita’wawa’ hānāgānī’” (meaning unknown). The head also sang, “Dū’nuga’ dunuga’ dunugå’tsi dunuga’ ya’ox” (meaning unknown except that the last word signifies that the head was whooping), and gritted its teeth. The back also sang, “Tsetsē’tataginā’wiyo. Tsetsē’tataginā’wiyo.” When Thunder came back from killing people he took the cover off of the fire and the big frog and said to the frog, “Throw them into the ground.” So the frog dragged the members away, dug a hole behind the house, and buried them. In that way he had made mounds of earth. That is what they always used to say.
The Moon, Sun, Wind, Rainbow, Thunder, Fire, and Water once met an old man. This old man was God. One human being was invited to be present. Then Thunder asked the old man, “Could you make the people of the world my children?” “No, they can not be your children, but they can be your grandchildren. If anything arises which is heavy on the people of the world you can be the sinker of that.” The Sun asked the old man the same question. “No, they can not be your children, but they can be your friends and grandchildren. You can only be for the purpose of giving them light to go by.” Then the Moon said, “Could you make the people of the world my children?” “No, I can’t do that. The people of the world can be your nephews and friends.” The Fire then asked that the people of the world be made his children, and the old man replied, “No, I can’t give them to you to be your children, but the people of the world can be your grandchildren. While they are growing up you can be their warmth and can give them something cooked to live on.”
Then the Wind asked the question. “No, the people of the world can’t be your children but they can be your grandchildren so that you can remove the foul air and all kinds of diseases.” Then the Rainbow wanted the people to be his children. “No, they can’t be your children. You can be only to prevent floods and prevent rainy weather. You can be honored that way.” Then the Water asked that human beings be made his children, but the old man said, “No, the people of the world can’t be your children. All you can do is to wash them clean. When they get dirty you can wash them. So you can be named
Then the old man said, “I have told you all how to guide yourselves and what to do. You all must remember that these children are my children.”
An old man looked at human beings and held a meeting attended by Thunder, Wind, Rainbow, Fire, Sun, Moon, and Water. Thunder said, “Perhaps all of the people in the world will be my children,” but the old person answered, “It will not be so. They will be your grandchildren, your friends. You will take away anything dangerous from them.” Wind also asked to have them for his children. “That shall not happen either. They shall be your grandchildren, he said. Rainbow asked to have them as his children. “It can’t be. They shall be your grandchildren,” the old man answered. Sun asked to make them his children. “It can’t be,” said the old man, “they shall be your nephews, your friends.” Moon asked to have them as his children. “It can’t be. They shall be your nephews, your friends.” Fire also asked to have them as his children. “It can’t be,” he replied. “They shall be your grandchildren. You can warm them and cook their food as long as you live. They shall be your grandchildren.” Water also asked to have them as children. “It can’t be. You can have them as your friends, as your grandchildren, and keep them nice and clean. Your name will be Long-person. I can not let them be your children. They are my children,” said he from the place where be sat. This is what they always used to say.
A cannibal found a large number of ducks swimming about in a certain lake or river. Then he procured a great quantity of hickory bark, dived under water toward them, and when he was among them he stood with his nose sticking out of the water and
tied the ducks to his body
one after the other by means of the bark, until all of it was used up. Afterwards he dived under water again, came to the surface a short distance away, and began singing. He thought that they could not fly. He sang, “Agū’shuwe’bångini, Agū’shuwe’bångini Adā’gītsā’gītsåk a’tsågā’gitsågītsåk,” meaning that he had tied the ducks up and that he had tied them to himself.
Then the ducks said, “What is he singing?” After a while he sang the same thing again. “Agū’shuwe’bångini, Agū’shuwe’bångini Adā’gītsā’gītsåk a’tsågā’gitsågītsåk.” The ducks said to one another, “He has tied the strings to his body,” and all flew off up into the air carrying him with them, singing. As he went up he kept catching at the strings, but they flew on until at last his member broke off and he fell down, landing in a hollow tree. After he had sat inside of this tree for seven days a woodpecker began pecking at it. Then he told this bird to collect the rest of the woodpeckers and cut the tree down, saying, “I shall be very thankful to you all.” Presently a flock of these birds came, settled around the tree and began pecking at it. As they pecked they sang, “Tom`shi
lho’nho’nōgua shū’uhuts gaī’tsiī nī’yi ni dogotilū’shik” (meaning that they were pecking at a hollow tree in which was a cannibal). They repeated this over and over and shouted again and again until they had pecked the tree down. Their song and the clamor they made over him had made the cannibal angry, so, as soon as he had gotten out, he sat down on a log and said to them, “Just now I cannot reward you in any way. But gather near and I will tell. you something strange.” So all collected close to him, and when they had done so he suddenly seized them and ate a great number. Some of them flew away, however. When he had finished he said, “Now let them shout and carry on.” Then he left that place.
By and by the cannibal heard someone ahead of him singing in a low voice, “Tom`shī
lhônhô’nogua dahåbā’li gabī’shgua gåbukta’” (meaning, “Kill that cannibal and let us eat him"). “What is that?” he thought. Then he went into a little bushy place from which the sound came and found a redbird’s nest with a number of young ones in it with their feathers just starting out. He seized it and began eating them, nest and all. Then he said, “Sing on. Sing on again.” Then he started on
westward once more.
Seven persons went apart, fasted, and took medicine for four days in order to prophesy. Then they came in and reported to the people what they had found out. Then the people said, “We will select seven persons and find out more.” So they sent out seven persons who fasted and took medicine for seven days. At the end of this time they wondered if they should continue their fast for seven months. They fasted and took medicine until the seven months were completed. Then they asked one another if they could not observe their regulations for a whole year.
They accomplished it, but when the time was completed they had become wild and feared to go near the rest of the people, so they went into the woods and stayed there, They asked one another what they should do, and finally said, “Let us turn ourselves into pine trees.” At that time there were no iron axes but tools made of flint with which little wood could be cut. But when the white men came and they saw them cutting down pine trees with their axes they said. to one another, “That has cut us down.” When the whites went on destroying pine trees they said, “Let us turn ourselves into rock. A rock lies undisturbed on top of the ground.” But after they had turned themselves into rocks they saw the white people turn to the rocks and begin to use them in various ways. Then they made up their minds to go above, saying, “We can not escape in any other manner.’” So they rose and went up into the air, where they became a constellation (probably the Pleiades).
While a certain man was lying sick, at the point of death, his wife was stolen from him without his knowledge. He had many Dogs, and an old one among them came in and said to him, “We think you had better go hunting.” “I can’t do anything,” he answered. “Still, you must go,” the Dog said to him. “If you can get into the canoe you can go.” “I can’t carry my gun and bed,” he answered, but the Dog replied, “We ourselves will take them.” “If that is so, go ahead,” he said, and the Dog went out and told the others. Then the Dogs all came in and sat about. They seized the bed in their mouths and dragged it out. Two of them took the gun in their mouths. Then the man started to crawl off, raised himself by leaning against the wall of the house and went along until he came to the canoe. The canoe was already full of things and the Dogs stood about as be got in. Then they untied it and pushed it off and when it was afloat they jumped in and went with him. After it had floated along of itself for some time it grounded at a river bend.
Then the Dogs jumped ashore, took the painter in their mouths and pulled it up and tied it. Then they went up the bank. Presently they came back. “Now go up the hill,” they said to him. “When you reach the camping place you must not stop. Go on past the fire and when you get tired come back. When you have gotten back return without stopping. If you get tired on the way and before you get to the top come back again. And when you have gotten back you must go up once more without stopping. You must try to reach the top and if you get tired turn back again, and when you get back turn round and try it over. You must try as hard as you can. When you finally get to the top and have gotten back without stopping take your gun and go off hunting.”
Then the man rose and started up the bank; though he could hardly proceed from weakness he got to the top. They had said to him, “Keep on to the fire (or camp),” so he went there. He moved a short distance toward the hill beyond, got tired and came back. Immediately he started up again. He went a little farther, got tired, and turned back. This time he came down a little faster, and after he had gotten back and set out once more he had nearly reached the top when he became tired and turned around. He went back. He came down on a jog trot, set out again and went up faster. This time he got to the top. He turned back, came down fast, and, without stopping, took his gun and went into the woods to hunt. Before he had gone far he killed a deer and the Dogs ate it. They had said to him, “All of the first one you kill shall be ours,” so they ate this. “Half of the second one you kill shall be ours,” they said, and when he killed another they took half of it.
After that he hunted about and killed many deer. That night the old Dog came to the place where he was lying and talked to him, saying, “Your wife and the one who stole her when you were lying in bed are at a house standing in the field and I think we will go and kill them, if you agree. Your first wife was a good woman but you sent her away, though she was not of the
We will all go there. This other one who is of the whipping kind we want to kill tonight,” he said, “and if you agree we will do so.” So they yelped and started off.
Before they had gone far they uttered a long howl and were then quiet, but for some time, from the place where he was lying, he heard them howling in the distance. Some time later they came back howling with their mouths covered with blood. “We have done it,” they said. “When you have plenty of meat we will start off.” So he went about hunting until he had gotten enough. Then they said, “Now get ready,” so he put into the boat the deer meat he had prepared, and they got in and started off.
As they went along they said to him, “Let us go to the house where your first wife lives. She will not say anything against it. When we get there you must say, ‘I want some boiled chicken,’ and after she has killed and cooked it but before it is done you must say, ‘Perhaps that is enough.’ If you are told that it is not done you must answer, ‘I want it nevertheless.’ When she puts it into a dish and gives it to you, we will be near. You must give it to us. We will eat first. Afterwards you must eat. And if they tell you that your former wife and her husband were killed by wolves, you must say, ‘It had to be so.’ We ourselves will die, and if one says to you, ‘They are dead with colic because you fed them too much hot food’ you must reply, ‘It had to be so.’ Keep this a secret. If you tell anyone of our doings, you will die.”
So they started off and reached the place. “I want boiled chicken,” he said. So they killed a chicken and cooked it. When the water had just begun to boil, he said, “That is perhaps enough. I am very anxious to have it.” It was put into a dish for him but he gave it to the dogs. When the woman said to him, “Why do you do that?” he answered, “I want them to eat it at the same time as myself.” They began eating, devoured all, and went out. Afterwards, while the others were eating, he was told that wolves had killed his former wife and her husband. “It had to be so,” he replied. Now when that woman went out and walked around outside she saw the dogs lying scattered about dead and said to her former husband, “They have died of colic because you fed them that hot stuff.” He stood by and answered, “It had to be so.”
As they had said to him “You must not tell what happened” he did not say anything about it but he wanted to tell very badly and finally did so. After he had told it, and as they had warned him, he died.
A man out hunting came to a river
and thought to himself, “I will go in swimming.” He did so and swam about for some time in the shallow water. He saw a deeper place, however, where he was afraid to venture. By and by a tie-snake came out of this place and tied him. When it wrapped itself about him he became afraid that the snake would carry him into the deep water hole, and he jumped about until he was out of the water. There were many bushes about, and the hunter grasped at these to keep himself from being carried away, but the snake pulled him off without any trouble. When the man gave this up the snake started off with him up to the level top country.
Looking about, the man saw what he at first thought was a level strip of prairie, but when they reached it it was found to be a large lake. The snake carried him into this. It was at first shallow, but it grew deeper and deeper, and finally the man was up to his breast. At this point, however, he heard a noise behind them in the direction from which they had come, and looking, he saw that it was a big alligator. Then the tie-snake let goof him and sprang up into the air with the alligator after him. The hunter was very tired and sat down in the water. Up in the sky he could hear the noise of the two creatures, and after a long time he saw them coming down and they dived into the lake. Upon this he thought he would get out of the water, and he did so, but his bruises pained him so much that he could scarcely stand up. When he started off he had to procure a walking stick. Then he returned to the place where he had gone in swimming, put on his clothes, took his gun, and returned home. He declared that he would never hunt any more “because he was too old.”
One time three hunters,
one of whom was a young man, were camping in a certain place. The older men began talking about a very deep place in a little creek where lived an ukteni. The young man heard them and went to that place, saying to himself, “I wonder what it is.” One place in the stream was so deep that the water looked blue and dark. He crept up to the high bank, and, looking over, saw the ukteni sleeping near the edge of the water with its head out. The youth shot at the snake, which immediately coiled up into an immense bulk. The young man wanted to get away, but he could scarcely move. It had been a clear morning, but now it rained, thundered, and lightened, and the wind blew fiercely. He crept away and hid in the rocky cliffs, and he said that the snake had come near shooting him. Later on it stopped raining, but when he got back to the camp he found his comrades struggling to keep the wind from carrying away the tent which it had blown over. When the other hunters learned what their companion had done they were angry with him.
This happened to a Creek living near Braggs, named Konip ha’djo, and occurred not very long ago.
A trail left by the sharp-breasted snake is near Watt Sam’s house, and there is another not far from the dance ground in the Greenleaf Mountains. Even the scent of one of these big snakes would kill a person. Going-snake, referring to this reptile, is the name of a Cherokee chief and district.
The Natchez name of the sharp-breasted snake, which is identical with the ukteni, is olo’bit, meaning literally “walking terrapin,” but it is also called intsiyåcdoo’cgu, a name which refers to its sharp breast. The tie-snake is called u’låx dåxgi’ilu.
One time a young man said, “If I had children and those birds took one of them I would kill them.” People told him not to say such a thing, but he persisted. This youth grew up and married in course of time and had a child. One day, when the child was large enough to run about, it was playing around while its mother swept the yard, the father being off hunting. Then a
flew down and carried the child away. When the father came home and his wife told him what had happened he did not seem to be angry but said, “I am going to kill him.” He lay down and fasted for seven days. Hitherto people had always failed to shoot this bird, because when they sent an arrow at it it caught the arrow in mid-air. After the seven days fast was completed the man went to a, creek or river near by, dived into it, and brought up a turtle. Taking this, he went to the top of the precipitous cliff on which the bird’s nest was built, and, tying one end of a grapevine at the top, swung down to the nest. He tied the turtle to the end of the grapevine and hung it in front of the nest. Inside of the nest he found some young hawks (tlānuwâs) which he killed and threw into the water. Then he hid himself at the top of the cliff and waited for the return of the old birds. By and by they came back carrying an infant with them, and finding that something was wrong they flew round and round without alighting.
Then they flew high up into the air, let the child they were carrying fall and beat it to pieces before it reached the earth. After that they dived into the water and pulled out a snake which they also carried high up in the air and treated as they had the child, letting the pieces fall into the water. After that one tlānuwâ flew up against the turtle, broke a wing upon it and fell into the water, and after a while the second bird did the same thing. Then the young man went down to the nest again, untied the turtle and carried it back to the place from which he had obtained it. He went to the other side of the river where the bank was low, made a canoe and pulled both tlānuwâs out of the water. He pulled off their feathers, which were a fathom long, and made a box for them. Afterwards some more tlānuwâs came, but they were red in color. They lighted on a tree near by, and he shot one and put its feathers into the box where he kept the others. After that a great many people in his town began dying of a bloody flux. He though to himself, “Those red feathers must be the cause of it.” So he took the red feathers out and threw them into the water, and the disease was stopped. The person that saw these feathers was Watt Sam’s father’s great-great-grandmother. It was somewhere in the east.
There is a race of little people to whom what is small seems large while what is large seems small. A number of these people once said they were going to war. They had bows about 6 inches long. The first enemy they found was a hive of yellow jackets with which they began to fight. The yellow jackets stung many of them to death, but there was one large person among them, and he killed the yellow jackets by flailing them with a bush containing many limbs. Therefore the little people became very much attached to this man and honored him. While wandering about they came to a very small creek, and in order to cross this they had to build rafts. They killed a small bird called tsishtsinuku and cut it up into pieces, which they carried off separately. When the large person took this bird by the bill and lifted it up they thought he was very strong.
When they came to a little creek he would take the little people up in his hand and put them across, but a larger creek they would jump, while the large person had to be taken by the arms and helped over. Once they killed a bison, and one of these little men picked it up alone and carried it along. By and by they came to where the long-billed cranes live and fought with them. The cranes began to kill a great many, but the large man got a club and clubbed them until they ran away.
(My informant did not remember any more of this story, but added that if a man wants to see these little people he has to fast four days and go with a shaman. The periods of fasting varied, the fast of a year spoken of in Story 14 being the longest my informant had ever heard of.)
living with his grandmother took a wife. He did nothing all day but swim about in the river whooping and his grandmother kept saying to him, “Your wife will be taken away from you.” One day he went into the river and swam about whooping all day long. His grandmother covered his wife up in a mortar and was sitting down when people came in search of the Frog’s wife and said to the woman, “Where is she?” But she answered, “I have not seen her.” When she told them that, they hunted about until they pushed over the mortar and disclosed her, and they caught her and carried her away.
The grandmother sat there all the rest of that day saying, “Warts-on-the-body’s wife, his wife,” and when the Frog came home she said, “To-day they have carried off the woman just as I told you they would.” The Frog answered, “Wa, wa, wa, I am angry. Wa, wa, wa, give me my leggings.” She gave them to him; he put them on and said, “Give me my garters.” She gave them to him and he put them on. “Give me my belt,” he said, and she gave it to him and he put it on. Then the two started off. Frog went on, went on in the direction in which the woman had been taken following his grandmother. Following the people, they went leaping along. Presently they came to a big square ground where people had gathered and when these people saw them they said, “Why is that warty Frog coming here?” So they caught him by the arm and threw him “plup” into a gully. He fell down the hill, “bokts.” They also caught his grandmother by the arm and threw her “plup” in the same direction, and “bokts,” she fell near him. They lay there for a while, then came to life, poked up their heads and went straight westward.
Panther and Crane laid a wager. Panther said to Crane, “Let us see who can throw the farthest.” “All right,” Crane answered. They said, “Let us throw a hammer across a stream.” Panther threw first, and he got it across, but when Crane stood ready to throw, he thought, “I can’t get it across.” The two had agreed that whichever did not succeed in getting the hammer across should be killed.
"If I do not get it across, he will kill me,” thought Crane, and, as he stood there, he whistled. “Why are you whistling?” said Panther. “My elder brother lives way up there where the hammer is going to fall. I am whistling because when I throw this hammer I want him to see it. He is a blacksmith and I think it will be useful to him. That is why I am making a noise.” “If that is so, don’t throw it. I have some use for it myself. I can’t spare it. Let us try something different. Let us see who can eat most of equal quantities of food.” They did so. But the Crane had a bag hung about his person and he sat eating a little and putting more into the bag. Panther, however, did not find it out and ate all, and when all was devoured they brought more in. After they had eaten for a while longer Panther got more than enough and fell down dead. So Crane beat Panther.
There was once a very pretty girl whom all creatures wanted to marry. Finally the Opossum went to see her and on the way he picked up all the pieces of paper he could find and put them into his pocket. When he got to the place he kept looking at these papers and then laying them aside, whereupon the people of the house asked him what he was looking at. Then he said that he had been a soldier and these papers were his pension money. So he got the girl at once. Then all of those who had tried to get this girl unsuccessfully became angry, and one night they put a hair-eating insect or caterpillar into the then bushy tail of the Opossum which ate all of the hair off of it.
About daylight the Opossum woke up, and when he found how he had been treated he went out and climbed up into the top of a tree near by. When the girl awoke and found that the Opossum was not by her, she went out of doors, looked all around, and finally saw him up in the tree. She said, “Come down. What are you doing up in the tree?” He would not descend, however, and she said, “If you do not get down I will shake you off.” As he still remained there she began picking up stones and sticks and throwing them up at him. Some of these hit him, and one of them finally struck him in the head, making him fall from the limb. When he began to fall, however, his tail wrapped around a limb and he hung there by it. From that time it has happened that the Opossum has been able to swing from a limb by its tail.
A Wolf met a Fawn and asked it how it came to be striped. The Fawn answered, “They put me about that deep (indicating about 3 feet) under the ground, laid a cane riddle over me, and built a fire on the top. That is how I came to be striped.” Then the Wolf decided that he wanted to be striped too, so they dug a hole for him of the depth indicated, laid a riddle above him, and built a fire on the top. Then the Wolf said, “It is getting hot. I am becoming striped now.” By and by the Wolf spoke again, saying, “I want to urinate.” Presently he said, “I want to defecate.” After he had said that the Fawn kept on building the fire higher and before long the Wolf was burned up, leaving only the bones. Then the Fawn picked up the Wolf’s vertebræ, ran some hickory bark through them and hung them about his neck.
Now the Fawn walked along in front of some other Wolves singing,
lga l tsanåndēc wī lwī l tsanåndēc compcomp."
When they heard him the people asked him what he was saying in his song, and he answered that he was singing about wearing his own bones. They thought it was all right, and he started on again. When he got a short distance away, however, he started the same song, and this time they understood it. Then they began to pursue him and the Fawn fled from them until he came to the hole of a Skunk. When the Wolves came up they asked the Skunk if a Fawn had not come there. The Skunk told them that he was sitting down inside, and the Wolves said, “Turn him out of the house.” Then the Skunk told them to gather close around the mouth of his den so that the Fawn could not get past, because he was very quick. Then the Skunk went in and began making a noise as if he were dragging the deer out, but in reality he was only scratching on the ground with his paws. He came out backward where the Wolves stood waiting and threw effluvia all over them. Then the Wolves all fainted and the Fawn and Skunk ran away.
By and by the Wolves came to and found the trail of the Fawn a second time. They gained upon him and finally got so near that the Fawn ran to the place where a Buzzard lived and went into his nose. Part of one of his legs was left hanging out, however. When the Wolves ran up and asked if a Fawn had come there the Buzzard answered, “I haven’t seen anyone.” Then one of the Wolves said, “What is that in your nose? It looks like the leg of a deer.” Then the Buzzard blew his nose, blowing the Fawn out, and the Fawn ran on again. By and by he was so closely pursued that he climbed into a tall tree. The Wolves tried to shoot him down from it but failed. In shooting they used the bristles about their mouths.
After some time the Wolves thought of a Terrapin living near by and said to one another, “If we can get that Terrapin he can kill him.” So one of the Wolves went to the Terrapin’s house and told him what was wanted of him, and the Terrapin said, “I am making arrows.”
When he got back to the other Wolves with this message, however, they told him to go again, saying, “We think he has finished making his arrows.” So the Wolf went and the Terrapin said, “I am straightening my arrows.” The Wolf was sent a third time, and the Terrapin said, “I am just now feathering my arrows.” When they heard of this the Wolves told their messenger to return again saying, “We think he is through feathering his arrows.” “I am just beginning to sharpen my arrows,” said the Terrapin. Again the Wolf returned and again he was sent back. “We think he has finished sharpening his arrows,” said the Wolves. This time the Terrapin was ready, but he said, “I am so puny that I can not go unless they carry me on their backs.” So three Wolves were sent to bring the Terrapin, one to carry his bow, one to carry his arrows, and the third to carry the Terrapin. Then they brought him to the place where the rest of the wolves were assembled and set him down under the tree on which the Fawn had taken refuge. Then the Terrapin began shooting at the deer, but for a long time his arrows would just glance by and stick up in the ground a long distance away while the Wolves ran as fast as they could and brought them back. After a long time, however, the Terrapin shot the deer and brought him down and the Wolves skinned him.
Then they cut the deer up until there was a piece for each. They asked the Terrapin what part he would have, but he was quiet for a long time and said nothing. They said, “Will you take a hindquarter?” “My hindquarter always hurts and I don’t think it would agree with me,” said the Terrapin. “Will you take a forequarter?” they asked. “I have pains in my shoulder. I don’t think a forequarter would agree with me.” “Will you take a rib?” “No, for I have pains in my ribs and I don’t think it would agree with me.” “Will you take the backbone?” “I am bothered with backache, and I don’t think it would agree with me.” “Will you take the head?” “I am troubled with headache, and I don’t think it would agree with me.” “Will you take the jaw?” “I am bothered with jaw-ache, and I don’t think it would agree with me.” “Will you take the legs or feet?” “No, I am bothered with pains in the knees and I don’t think they would agree with me.” “Well, will you take the liver?” “No, I am bothered with pains in that part. I don’t think it would agree with me.” “Will you take the guts?” “No, I can’t, I am bothered with my stomach.” “Will you take the tail?” “No, I am troubled with my tail.” At that the head Wolf said, “I guess he doesn’t want anything.” So each took a piece of meat and they carried it all off, leaving the Terrapin alone.
After they had gone the Terrapin crawled over to where the deer had been cut up. He found that they had even licked up all of the blood there, but he discovered one leaf on which was a lump of clotted blood. On this he began to drop other leaves until he had a large bundle, which he picked up and carried away. When he got near home his wife saw him coming and said to herself, “He is bringing meat.” So she put her pot on the fire with water in it ready for cooking. Then he brought his bundle up and laid it down close by. His wife began taking off the leaves one at a time, and as she did so he kept telling her that the meat was farther on. When she took off the last there was just a drop of blood. Then the Terrapin’s wife said, “What do you mean by bringing this little lump of blood?” She took it and threw it into her husband’s eyes, and that is what caused the Terrapin’s eyes to be red.
Once the Terrapin proposed to the Deer to run a race across seven high hills, and they appointed a time for it. The day having arrived, the Terrapin got the other Terrapin together and placed them in a row on the sides of the hills. He put a white feather on the head of each. Then he said to the Deer, “I will have a white feather on my head.” When they were at the starting point the Terrapin said, “Every time you reach the top of a hill you must whoop. When I whoop we will start running.” So the Terrapin whooped and they started.
When the Deer came to the top of the first hill he whooped as the Terrapin had directed him, and, looking over to the next hill, he saw a Terrapin which whooped also and went out of sight over the crest. This was one of the Terrapin which the first one had placed there, and when the Deer came up he hid, allowing the Deer to pass. Every time the Deer came to the crest of a hill he would whoop, and see a Terrapin go over the crest of the next. When he crossed the last he saw a Terrapin sitting down at the goal, and the Terrapin said, “I told you I could outrun you.” The Deer said, “You look like a different Terrapin.” “No; I am the same one.” “I don’t think you are the same because your eyes are so red. When we started your eyes were not as red as that.” “As I ran along I got hot, and dust and rubbish got into my eyes. That is why they are so red.”
The Fox wanted to catch the Crawfish in order to eat him, and the Crawfish said, “We will run a race, and if you can beat me you can have me.” They agreed upon a course over seven hills, and squatted down at one end ready to start. One of them was to say “Let us go.” Then the Fox had his tail stretched out close by the Crawfish and the latter seized it, so when they started he clung on and the Fox carried him from one end of the course to the other. At the other end of the course the Fox turned about quickly and the Crawfish was switched off in such a way that he fell some distance farther on. He said, “I told you that you couldn’t outrun me.”
The Humming Bird and Crane lived on the shore of the ocean in the east, and the Humming Bird came to the Crane to ask him for a race. The Crane answered, “I can’t race. I can’t do anything.” The Humming Bird kept at him, however, and finally they agreed to race to the ocean in the west. So they placed themselves at the edge of the water and the Humming Bird said, “Well! let’s go.” The Crane had no more than raised his wings when the Humming Bird was out of sight. Finally the Crane rose and began working his wings slowly up and down. When darkness came on the Humming Bird stopped for the night, and toward daylight, as he was sitting on a tree, the Crane came flying by. When daylight came the Crane had gotten on a long distance, and the sun was well up before the Humming Bird passed him. That night the Humming Bird again stopped for the night, and this time the Crane overtook him at midnight, getting so far ahead that the Humming Bird did not catch up with him until noon of the next day. The third night the Crane passed the Humming Bird fast asleep on a tree before midnight and the Humming Bird did not overtake him until late in the evening of the fourth day. He had not gone far beyond before he had to stop and the Crane passed him very soon. So the Crane got to the western ocean far ahead, and going into the water he began catching fish, for he was hungry. It was morning when he finished flying and the Humming Bird did not arrive until noon. Then the Humming Bird said to the Crane, “I had no idea you could get here first. If I were able I would whip you. I could pass around you, under you, under your wings and everywhere else.”
An Owl found a Perch in a little puddle which was almost dry and wanted to eat it, but when he caught it the Perch said, “Let me sing you a song for you to dance by first. I am a good singer, and, if you will carry me to some spot that is open and clean so that you can dance, I will sing for you.” The Owl agreed and said, “When we have reached the right place say, ‘Here is a good place.’” So the Owl picked the Perch up and started off. Presently they came to a pool of water and the Perch said “Here is a good place. Brush it off well, and when you get it well brushed off dance back and forth four times. The fourth time you can eat me.” He also said, “Lay me down beside your path.” The Owl brushed the place off and began to dance, but when he turned round the fourth time the Perch made a jump and went off into the pool of water. So the Perch outwitted the Owl.
came out of the Water and began sunning himself on a log. While he was doing so he looked up and saw that a rainstorm was coming. He said to himself, “It is going to wet me.” So he jumped into the water.
Wildcat was splitting rails when Turkey Gobbler came up. Wildcat was about to shoot him when Turkey said, “Wait,” and he came near. Then he said, “You can pick my feathers off and I will go to the place where your wife lives, let her kill and cook me, and when I am done you can eat me when you get there.” So he sat down on a log and Wildcat plucked him. After he had plucked him, Turkey said, “I shall be cooked well enough when you get home,” and he started off.
When he got to Wildcat’s house he said, “Your husband said to me, ‘Let me pluck you and then you may go to my home and my wife will pound up cold flour for you and you can tread on her.’” Forthwith she pounded up cold flour for him, he trod on her, shouldered the cold flour and went off.
When Wildcat came home at noon he said, “Is that turkey done?” “No; when he came here he said, ‘Your husband said to me, “Let me pluck you, go to my home, and my wife will pound up cold flour for you and you can tread on her.’” I pounded up cold flour for him and he trod on me and went off,” she said.
Then Wildcat got a gun and said, “In which direction did he go?” He was shown the way and followed, and before he had gone far be came upon many turkeys walking around with the one he had plucked among them. Already he had feathers stuck on him in different places. As he went about he would throw cold meal into the mouths of the others and each of them would give him a feather. He was sticking them on his body and soon the one who was creeping upon him could not distinguish him from the rest.
While the one who was going to kill him was following, they discovered him creeping up and ran away so fast that he could not catch them. He set out for home unable to accomplish anything.
A Rabbit wandering about came upon a Bear cooking a piece of his flesh. When it was done the Bear sharpened his knife, bent over a pot in which beans were cooking, slit his belly and let grease run out of it into the beans in order to season them. He gave the Rabbit a dish of beans and the Rabbit ate a great quantity of them. When he was through eating he invited the Bear to go and see him in his turn. After the Bear got there the Rabbit began skipping about preparing the meal, and he too cooked some beans. When they were done he also sharpened his knife, bent over the pot and tried to make slits in his belly. When he did so he cried “Wī.” At the second attempt his knife went through and he fell over on one side. The Bear said to him, “You have hurt yourself badly. I am just that way, the way I was doing when you came to see me. I will go and find a doctor for you.” By and by the Bear brought the Buzzard back with him and the Buzzard said, “When I treat a person I don’t want anybody to be present. People always make a hole at the top of the house to give me light.”
Then the Buzzard began doctoring, and every now and then they could hear the Rabbit squeal. The Bear, who was sitting just outside of the door, would say, “What is the matter?” and the Buzzard would answer, “It is hurting him where I am doctoring him. Once in a while I blow into his wound.” After a while the Rabbit stopped crying. The Bear said, “How is the patient?” “He is better,” said the Buzzard, and presently he flew out of the hole in the roof of the house and lighted on top of a tree. Several different animals, the Skunk, Raccoon, etc., had gathered about the house, and the Buzzard said to them, “I am through.” Then they opened the door and went in and there lay only a pile of bones. They said, “Buzzard has done a great wrong. Let us kill him.” So they shot at him with arrows, and shot through his nose, making the nostrils as we see them to-day. The Buzzard said, “You have made a place good for me to breathe through.” Then he flew off.
The animals had a chief who divided the various kinds of food among them, and each called for what it liked, the Squirrel asking for acorns, the Opossum, Raccoon, and Fox for persimmons, the Birds for grapes, etc. The Rabbit looked up and saw a lot of sycamore balls hanging on a tree. He wanted to have these, and he sat under them waiting for them to fall down. Instead of falling to the ground, however, they would scatter. At last he got hungry, came before the chief again, and asked for something else. Then the chief said to him, “If you will hunt and bring to me something I like, I will give you something that you like.” Then the Rabbit went away and came to where an Alligator lived. He called to it and the Alligator came out, saying, “What is it?” “They want you to hew out a forked post,” said the Rabbit. “Who wants it?” said the Alligator. “The chief,” said the Rabbit. Then the Alligator said, “AR right, I shall have to go,” so they started off together. When they had almost reached the canes where the wood was the Rabbit hit his companion in order to kill him, but the Alligator ran away uninjured. Then the Rabbit went before the chief and said, “I couldn’t find anything for you.” “I won’t give you anything until you bring me something,” the chief replied.
Then the Rabbit went off again, killed a fawn, skinned it, wrapped the skin about him and went to the Alligator’s home a second time. He shouted to the Alligator and the Alligator said, “What is it?” “The chief wants you to hew out a forked post,” said the Rabbit. “That is what they always tell me, but I do not want to go. They always thump me on the head.” “Who treated you that way?” “The Rabbit hit me on the head.” The Rabbits aid, “The Rabbit hasn’t any sense. What did they send him for? I am all right.” Then the Alligator said, “I guess I can go,” and he started off with him again. When they got close to where the chief was the Rabbit said to his companion, “What part of your life did they miss?” “If they had hit me in the back they would have killed me.” Presently the Rabbit picked up a club, hit the Alligator over the back and killed him. Then the Rabbit picked his body up and carried it to the chief. But when the chief saw him he said, “Hey, things of that kind are not to be eaten. Go along where old women have planted gardens and pilfer out of them. And let the dogs chase you through the brush,” and he sicked the dogs upon him. “That,” he said, “is going to be the place for you to be killed in.” So the Rabbit became such a lover of beans because he was such a story teller.
There was a girl whom
the Wolf and the Rabbit both wanted to marry.
The Wolf got her but afterwards the Rabbit came to court her. The girl’s mother told him that her daughter belonged to the Wolf, but the Rabbit said that the Wolf was like a riding horse to him. Then the mother said, “If you will ride the Wolf here, I will believe you.” After that, when the Rabbit and Wolf met, the former said, “When are you going to see this girl? When you go, come by and we will go together.” When he was ready the Wolf came to his house, and the Rabbit said, “May I ride you? My stomach troubles me.” The Rabbit got upon his back and then said, “It is hard for me to ride you. I will put a saddle on you.” The Wolf agreed and the Rabbit put the saddle on him and got into it. But the Rabbit said, “If you will let me put spurs on I will sit steady in the saddle.” So the Rabbit put spurs on and remounted. Still he was not quite satisfied and said, “It will be better if I put a bridle on you.” He did this and got on, saying, “This is all right,” and they started off.
When they rode up to the door of the girl’s house the Rabbit said, “I said I could do this. I have brought him up.” Then he pulled the saddle off of the Wolf and put him into the horse stable. The people gave the Wolf hay and corn, but the Rabbit said, “He will not eat this hay and corn; he eats fresh meat.” As they had none, the Wolf remained in the barn all day without eating. Meanwhile the girl and her mother agreed to take Rabbit, and he remained in the house that night. When night came the Wolf began to dig his way out and got away. When the Rabbit found this out he was afraid to go far from the house, thinking that the Wolf was waylaying him. During the night, however, he began to get hungry, and he began eating about among the weeds and grass. The Wolf found him there and chased him round and round, but the Rabbit finally escaped through a crack in the fence. The Wolf stayed around, however, chasing the Rabbit every chance he got. Finally the Rabbit hid in the garden and fed on the vegetables there, but the Wolf slipped up on him and caught him.
Now the Wolf took the Rabbit home, got an ax, and said he was going to cut his head off. The Rabbit said, “I do not care if you do kill me. When you cut my head off I shall become two.” Then the Wolf tied the Rabbit down and built a big fire, saying, “I am going to burn you up in this fire.” But the Rabbit said, “If I make water on this fire I shall put it out.” Then the Wolf put a kettle of water over the fire and said, “I am going to scald you in this kettle of water.” But the Rabbit replied, “If you put me into that kettle I will kick up my heels and break it.” Then the Wolf said to the Rabbit, “I will throw you into this big brier patch.” The Rabbit answered, “I will cry all I can when you do it.” So the Wolf threw the Rabbit as far into the brier patch as he could, but when the Rabbit struck the ground he raised a great whoop and started off on the run. The Wolf was beside himself with rage at this and ran after him. He chased the Rabbit round and round until he finally chased him into a hollow tree.
When he found he could not get him out of this he went to an Owl which lived close by and told him to keep watch, saying, “Don’t let the Rabbit get away while I am gone.” “If the Rabbit comes out I will kill him,” said the Owl. So the Wolf started off after an ax. When the Rabbit found that the Owl was there he said, “Come and look at me. I am in a pretty hole.” The Owl said, “It is too dark. I can not see well.” The Rabbit said, “Open your eyes as wide as you can.” Meanwhile, the Rabbit was chewing tobacco, and when the Owl opened his eyes wide he spit tobacco juice into them. Then the Owl suffered so much with his eyes that he fell off of the tree and staggered around trying to got relief, while the Rabbit came out of the hole in the tree and ran off. When the Wolf came back and said to the Owl, “Is the Rabbit in here?” he replied, “He got out. He said ‘Come and look at me.’ Then we had a fight.” While the Owl staggered around he had defecated until there was a great heap of manure. So he said, “While we were fighting the Rabbit made that pile you see there.”
Then the Wolf said, “I am going to burn up this pile of rabbit manure,” but the Owl answered “You will spoil it.” The Owl objected so much that the Wolf finally said, “You must have made that big pile of manure yourself; you are so stingy with it.” When the Wolf said this he struck the Owl on the side of the head with the handle of his ax and the Owl squealed, “O-o-o-o.” Since then the Owl has always called out in this way, and his head swelled up from the blow so that he now has a big head.
All of the wild animals appointed a time to dig for water and when the time came assembled and began digging. But presently Rabbit gave up digging, and the others went on digging without him. They found water. Then they stationed two people to watch it. But Rabbit became very thirsty. He killed a gray squirrel, stripped off its hide, got into it, and came to the watchers. It was Rabbit who did it, but in the form of the gray squirrel he said that he had become very thirsty for lack of water. “You may drink water because you are just a gray squirrel,” they said to him, and he drank. He drank all he wanted and went away. Then he pulled off the hide.
But when he thought of going back to drink again the hide had become hard and he could not got it on, so when he became thirsty he dipped up the water at night. But when he set out water for his visitors they said to him, “Where did you find it?” and he answered, “I got it from the dew.” Then, following the tracks by the water, they saw signs of Rabbit, made an image of a person out of pitch and set it up near the place where they had dug the well.
The next night Rabbit came and stood there. “Who are you?” he said. There was no reply and he continued, “If you do not speak I will strike you.” Rabbit struck it with one hand and his hand stuck to it. “Let me go. If you do not let me go I will strike you with my other hand,” he said, and he struck it with that hand. When he hit it that hand also stuck. “Let me go. Stop holding me. If you do not let me go I will kick you,” he said, and he kicked it. When he kicked it his foot stuck. “If you do not let go I will kick you with my other foot,” he said, and he kicked it with that foot. When he did so his other foot stuck. “Let me go,” he said, “I have my head left, and if you do not let me go I will butt you.” He pulled back and forth to get free and butted it with his head and his head stuck. Then he hung there all doubled up.
While he was hanging there day came. And when it was light the water watchers came and found Rabbit hanging there. They picked him up, made a prisoner of him, and carried him off. They assembled together to kill him. “Let us throw him into the fire,” they said, but Rabbit laughed and replied, “Nothing can happen to me there. That is where I travel around.” “If that is the case we must kill him some other way,” they said, and after they had debated a long time concluded, “Let us tie a rock around his neck and throw him into the water,” but Rabbit laughed and called out, “I live all the time in water. Nothing can happen to me there.” “Well,” they said, “he will be hard to kill. How can we kill him?” After all had conferred for a while, they said, “I wonder what would become of him if we threw him into a brier patch?” At that Rabbit cried out loudly. “Now you have killed me,” he said. “Now we have killed him,” they replied. “If we had known that at first we would have had him killed already,” so they carried him to a brier thicket, Rabbit weeping unceasingly as he was dragged along. Then they threw him into the brier thicket with all their strength, and he fell down, got up, and ran off at once, whooping.
Wildcat and Rabbit met and talked. Rabbit said, “Turkeys are walking around near by. Pretend that you are dead. Lie down and I will deceive the Turkeys and bring them to you so that you can catch them.” So Wildcat pretended that he was dead, and Rabbit rubbed a piece of rotten wood on his mouth and his eyes and went to the place where the Turkeys were walking about. When he came to them he said, “I just saw Wildcat, the one who used to kill you, lying dead. I will sing for you and you must dance and rejoice.” They started off and when they got to the place Rabbit sat down and began singing. They danced.
The Turkeys were dancing around Wildcat and Rabbit sang these words, “Catch that one with the large red head.” “What are you saying?” the Turkeys said, and he answered, “I am saying that because the one who used to kill you is dead. Rejoice, you dancers. Step on the open mouth of Wildcat as you go round and round,” and while they danced he caught one. The others scattered. Rabbit, however, ran off out of sight, no one knew where. He was lost.
When Rabbit and Wildcat first met, Rabbit thought, “He will catch me,” and so he acted with cunning. That is why he brought the Turkeys who were roaming close by for Wildcat.
Rabbit was traveling westward when he met
coming toward him. Man-eater said, “Where are you going?” and Rabbit answered, “I am going over yonder to eat someone. How is it with you?” he said, and Man-eater answered, “I am going eastward hunting.” “You can’t find anything in that direction. I ate them all up and left. Turn back and let us travel together,” said Rabbit, so he turned back and they started on.
After they had gone along for a while Rabbit said, “Let us sit facing each other with our eyes shut and defecate.” So they sat down, and when Man-eater shut his eyes and defecated Rabbit held his hand under him and took his excrements away. He returned his own in exchange. Man-eater’s excrement he laid down under himself. He had said to Man-eater, “When I say ‘Now’ we will get up.” So he said “Now” and they got up. “Let us look at our excrements,” he said to him, and when they looked Rabbit said, “This excrement of yours looks pitiful.” And Man-eater answered, “I never defecated like that before. My life must be nearing its end. Hehā+.”
Then the two started on. When evening came they built a fire near a river and sat down to spend the night. “They say that the fire will pepper whoever stays here all night, but I hardly believe that,” said Rabbit. Then Man-eater lay down on one side of the fire and Rabbit lay down on the other. “What noise do you make when you are asleep?” said Rabbit, and Man-eater answered, “When I sleep I always say ‘dåno’
l, dåno’ l’ (I am asleep, I am asleep). But what do you say when you are asleep?” Rabbit replied, “When I sleep I always say ‘ lēk, lēk’.” Then Man-eater pretended to be asleep and said as he lay, “dåno’ l, ‘dåno’ l.” When Rabbit said to him, “Are you asleep?” he lay still. Rabbit also lay snoring, saying “ lēk, lēk.” When the other said to him, “Are you asleep?” he went on without stopping. So Man-eater thought he had gone to sleep and lay down and slept, making a noise like “ lā+k,” as he lay. When Rabbit heard that he got up, shoveled up some live coals and sprinkled them about where he himself had lain down. He said, “It has turned out just as I told you they say it does,” and he sprinkled his companion. Man-eater jumped up and they both ran off. “It always does that when you are going along,” Rabbit said, as he ran on.
As they wore traveling on they jumped across a stream and when Man-eater was across Rabbit jumped back and made the river grow larger. Man-eater walked about on the other side unable to get back. Then he said to a Crane flying along, “Crane, make a foot log for me.” So Crane stood on the bank of the river and stretched out his neck, and Man-eater climbed upon it. But when he got halfway over Crane said, “I am almost breaking,” so Man-eater turned back. Then he climbed on again and got halfway across. “I am on the point of breaking,” Crane said, and Man-eater turned round and got off. After this had happened several times Crane flew away.
Then Man-eater remained on the other side. Rabbit kept saying, “The river is growing bigger.” He whooped and made gobbling noises as he wandered about.
While traveling about a hunter was overtaken by darkness and thought, “I will camp for the night and go home next morning.” Near by was something which he took to be a tree pulled up by the roots, and he thought, “I will make a fire there.” So he leaned his gun up against it and hung his shot pouch on it. But really it was a bison and what he hung his shot pouch on was the horn. It got up and ran off bellowing, carrying the shot pouch. After it got a long distance away it threw it off.
A man who had two wives went hunting. He killed nothing and saw nothing in the woods, and before he could see any game in the grassy places it would run away. Then he thought, “I will kill them by jumping into the water,” but first he thought he would go about setting fires. So he went along setting fire to the pines and finally he set fire to a bison lying down which jumped up all ablaze and set more fires as he ran on.
The bison made a circle of fire as far as the hunter had thought of going, so he jumped into the water and when the flame came toward him he killed deer, turkeys, bear, and other animals as they came down. As he sat doing this his gun would become clogged and he would clean it out, dry it, and then kill more. After he had shot them for some time he said to himself, “I think that will do,” and he stopped.
Then he began skinning the animals. He picked out the fat ones and kept them, but he picked out the lean ones and threw them away, taking only their skins. When he got through skinning them he put bear fat into the deerskins, made two canoes, and put these in them. He filled both canoes with the meat and fat, tied them together and drifted down with them.
As he was going along he saw a man and a woman lying asleep on the bank of the river at a certain place and he wanted to play a trick upon them. So he brought the canoes to shore, went up the bank, and lay with the sleeping woman. Then he filled a clay pot with bear fat and laid down some dried deer meat near it, and thought, as he went on, “When they wake up they will sop it up.”
While he was going on farther bethought, “I will rest and then start on again,” so he landed and went up the bank, but while he was lying there he saw turtles floating near. He wanted to get them, so he made a cord and dived under water. He tied up many of them and, thinking, “I guess that will do,” he went up and tied them to a tree on the river bank, one bending over the water. He cooked one and when it was done he split it in two and said to himself, “I will eat it when it is cool, and meanwhile lie down on my back and go to sleep.”
It was the
end of the fourth day
when he awoke, and lots of maggots had come out on him. “The turtles have pulled up the tree near which I put them and it is standing up in the deep water near the other side of the river,” he said.
When he reached the place where his people came to get water one of his wives came down with her head dishevelled. He thought, “Whose wife looks like that? I thought it was mine,” and when he looked closely he wept. He had been gone so long that she thought, “Something must have killed him,” and she dressed herself like a widow. When she wept, he said to her, “You can both come and get what I brought,” but she answered, “The other one has married again.” “All right,” he said, “you take all the things for yourself,” and she took them out of the canoe.
Then they took many hides to the store. When they sold them he said to her, “Take that shawl which you have around you off and throw it away.” So she took it off and he gave her a new one which she wrapped about herself. Farther on he was buying dry goods and there were tearing noises as they separated off the goods for him. He said, “When I was shooting them it sounded like that.”
A man (probably a Natchez) was out hunting and heard a noise a long distance behind him, “Wâmp, wâmp, wâmp.” He said to himself, “I believe that white people are chasing me with hounds.” After he had gotten along some distance farther he heard a quick rushing noise behind him, and looking about he saw a big mosquito flying toward him. Then the man jumped behind a large tree and the mosquito flew against it so hard that its bill ran clear through and came out close to where the man stood. The man took a hatchet he had with him and pounded on the end of the mosquito’s bill so that it became riveted and he could not withdraw it. Then the mosquito brought his wings forward in an effort to pull his bill loose and the man cut them off. He thought, “These will make good fans for old men.” He stuck them into a pack he had on his back, but when the sun shone out hot the wings turned to powder.
A man was sitting down wishing he had deer, turkeys, and other kinds of game, so he thought, “I will go hunting,” and he started off. While he was walking about in the pine woods he was about to shoot a turkey on a broken pine when he heard a noise lower down and thought, “What causes that noise?” As he sat watching he saw that it was a deer and thought to himself, “How can I manage to kill both?” He pointed his gun first at the turkey and when he discharged it he dropped the muzzle and hit both.
Then he went to get the deer and laid it down but could not find the turkey, and while hunting about he thought, “It might have fallen into a hole in this tree.” He climbed up and when he reached the top and looked he found a hole. He put his legs in, holding to the top of the tree with his hands, and felt about with his feet, and he thought something was lying below, so he let go his hold. His feet struck the turkey, which had lodged close to the top, and it went down inside while he followed, scraping along the sides. He stood upon the bottom. When he picked up the turkey and laid it on his shoulder there were some bear cubs sitting by it which he put into the breast of his shirt. It was dark where he stood and he thought, “How shall I get out?” He stuck his knife into the tree and lifted himself by it, but when he pulled it out to get another hold he would fall back.
After he had been in that place for a while the old bear came down backward. He caught it on one side and stuck his knife into its thigh and it pulled him out. When he got out at the top he stabbed the bear in the neck and cut its throat. He threw it down along with the turkey and the two cubs. Then he got down himself and gathered them together.
Going along from that place the hunter saw a turtle sitting on a log lying near the other bank of a creek. He wanted that also, so he drew his bow and shot an arrow at it. As he did so a fish jumped out of the water and the arrow went through it. It also passed through the turtle. Then he went to get them, but after he had brought the fish and turtle back he missed his arrow and went to search for it. Presently he found it sticking into a tree. When he tried to pull it out it was hard work, so he put his foot against the tree, and this time when he pulled it came out so easily that he fell upon his back. In doing so he landed upon a covey of quail and killed them. Presently he looked at the tree into which he had shot and saw honey flowing out. He hunted for something with which to stop the flow and caught a rabbit by the foot which he struck against the tree and killed. When he again hunted for something he pulled off the head of one of his quails and stopped the hole with that. Then he cut the tree down.
Next he slipped off the skin of his deer and put the honey into it. He collected all of it in one place. “How shall I carry everything home?” he thought, and presently he reflected, “I had better make a sled,” so he made a sled. After he had finished it he lacked a harness, so he got a cowhide which he had soaking in water, and cut it up. When he got through he harnessed a horse and hitched him to the sled. He put on the sled the deer, the bear, the turkey, the rabbit, the turtle, the fish, the quails, and the honey, and started along leading the horse. As he went on he thought that the sled was dragging behind but when he got home and turned to look back it was sitting where he had left it. “Now,” thought he, “I wonder what will happen when the harness dries,” so he tied his horse behind the house and sat down. As the skin dried it drew up into a ball and brought the sled home.
Twelve Irishmen were going along together. One of them had a gun. In a certain place a grasshopper lighted on the breast of a member of the party, and he cried, “Turkey, turkey, turkey.” “Where? where?” said the man with the gun. Then the first Irishman pointed to his breast and said “Here.” Upon this the man with the gun pointed it at him, and the other said, “Don’t shoot me. Pull the trigger gently (so that the bullet will not reach too far).” So the man with the gun pulled the trigger gently and shot him. That left 11.
By and by they came to a place where a quantity of wheat had been sowed, and said to one another, “That is a river. Let us lie down.” So they lay down and crawled slowly along, thinking they were swimming. When they got across the wheat patch they thought they had gotten across the water. Then one of them said, “Didn’t anybody drown? Did all get across? Count!” So one counted, and as he left himself out, made 10. Then he said to the others, “One has been drowned. Let some of you count.” So another counted in the same way and said, “One has indeed been drowned.” After that all made marks in something with their noses and counted the marks. They all counted 11.
Starting on again, the Irishmen came to a river and saw a swarm of bees hanging to a limb. They said to one another, “Let us do as they are doing.” So they climbed up on a tree which bent over it, and one of them slid down upon a limb over the water. The others slid down over him and over each other one after the other and hold each other around the waist. By and by they became so heavy that the hands of the one who had hold of the branch began to slip. He said, “I am about to lose my hold. Let me spit on my hands.” He did so and all fell into the water and were drowned.
Two Irishmen bought a horse. One said to the other, “You ride him,” and the other said, “You ride him.” When the two were leading him about, one finally agreed to ride him, but when the horse moved he fell off. Then the two walked along leading him. Then one said to the other, “You ride him,” and the other replied, “You ride him.” While they were going along the other one mounted in his turn, but when the horse started up he fell off. “It is dangerous,” they said. They got scared of him and merely led him. On the way they came to where two people were harvesting pumpkins. “What are those?” they asked. “The long ones are horse eggs, and the round ones mule eggs,” they answered. Then they thought, “If we get one and hatch it the animal will grow up gentle,” so they exchanged their horse for a round pumpkin, took the pumpkin, and started on.
When they were running down a hill some time later, the one who held the pumpkin stubbed his toe and fell down and the pumpkin rolled away, struck a tree, and burst. A rabbit which was sitting in the neighborhood ran off and they thought a little mule had hatched out. “Little mule, little mule,” they called to it and pursued it, but soon lost it.
An old woman and a boy lived together, but I do not know that they were related to each other. One time their food gave out and there was nothing to eat. Then the woman said to the boy, “Take the calf and sell it and get what you can for it,” so he took the calf. Some one gave him a bean and he gave the calf to him. He was given only one bean in exchange for the calf. When he brought this to the old woman, she said, “What could I do with no more than that?” and she threw it outdoors.
Next summer the bean came up. It grew upward until it touched the sky. Then the boy took hold of the beanstalk and climbed up. He climbed on up until he reached the sky. He got off and, walking along, came to where a cannibal lived where a woman gave him some bread. “Go back quickly,” she said to him. He started back, but climbed up again and reached the same place. When he stood there the woman offered him bread once more but he did not want it. “What do you want?” she asked and he said that he wanted a bugle which lay beside the sleeping cannibal. She answered, “Get it, but leave without blowing it. If you blow it he will wake up. When he awoke after you were here before he said “I smell blood,” and he went round hunting for you. Go quickly.”
The boy took the bugle, but when he had gone on a short distance, he blew it. When he looked about he saw that the cannibal was awake and had gotten up already, so he ran away. The cannibal chased him but he started down on the beanstalk. Halfway down he saw that the cannibal had also started down. He determined what he would do as soon as he got to the bottom. Arrived there, he saw the cannibal had gotten halfway, so he procured an ax, chopped upon the beanstalk, and cut it down. The cannibal fell with it, but what became of him is not known.
A man was chopping off the top of a bee tree, when another person
came along and said to him, “That tree will fall on you and kill you.”
Immediately the first man climbed up above the point at which he
was chopping, and continued his work. When the top fell, he fell
down with it. Then the two men began eating honey. While they
were doing so, the man who had chopped off the top of the tree said
to himself, “This person must be a prophet, for the tree did not fall
upon me.” Then he said aloud, “I want you to tell my fortune.”
The other said, “I am no fortune-teller.” —? “All I wish to know is
whether my life is going to be short,” said the first. “I don’t care
about anything else.” Then the other said to himself, “This person
can easily be made to believe anything I tell him:” so he answered,
"If you break wind four times, you will die at once; but if you hold
back for some time, your death will be deferred.”
As soon as the simple man heard that, he started home. On
the way he remembered that he had no meal, and thought, “If I go
at once to the mill to get some meal ground, my family will have meal
when I am dead.” Consequently, as soon as he got home, he began
shelling corn. Having filled a sack, he threw it over his horse to take
it to the mill; but, just as he did so, he slipped, and broke wind. “I
have just three more times to break wind,” he thought. He went on
to the mill as fast as he could, kicking his horse continually to hasten
him; but in his hurry he broke wind twice more, and had only one
chance left. He jumped down quickly, and started to take his sack
of corn down; but in the effort he broke wind for the last time. Then
he thought that all was up, and he threw himself on the ground,
prepared to die. While he was lying there, along came a hog rooting
about, tore a hole in the sack of corn, and began eating it. “If I were
not dying, you couldn’t be doing that,” said the man. But by and
by another man came along and said, “Why are you lying there?” —
"I am dead.” ? “Why, you are talking,” said the other. “You can-
not be dead. Get up quickly!” So the man got up and went away.
Present time. For another Natchez version of the flood legend see Bull. 73, Bur, Amer. Ethn., p. 316.
Sister-in-law. The woman has now become the wife of the elder brother.
Went westward. “Went westward” are favorite words with which to
end Natchez stories.
Man eater who had seven sons. An old Natchez story.
It was round and flat. It was evidently a chunk stone.
We will go westward. Creek Sam, the father of my informant, interpreted this to mean that the Natchez had been obliged to migrate westward to the place they now occupy, but that as some animals were left in the mountain some hope was still left for the Natchez.
- Your second father. I. e., paternal uncle.
- Tiger. Popular name for the panther.
- Human being. And that is how the other facts regarding him came to be known.
- Long-person. This name is thought to have been given because cleanliness prolongs life.
- Tied the ducks to his body. In the manner indicated in the last paragraph of Koasati 10
- Westward once more. Evidently this is incomplete.
- Whipping kind. That is, she was not in the habit of whipping the dogs.
- A man out hunting came to a river. Told to Watt Sam by a Creek named Shom’psi.
- Three hunters. From the same man as the preceding. Ukteni is a Cherokee name.
- Tlānuwâ. Cherokee name for a sharp-breasted hawk that was supposed to kill by striking with its breast. My informant had forgotten the Natchez name. This is a very large bird, and my informant’s grandmother claimed to have seen its feathers, which were “about a fathom” in length. It lived on a high cliff above some body of water and used to catch children as a hawk does chickens.
- Frog. Translated toad, but this must be wrong.
- Yaha. These words are probably intended for Creek, yaha being the word for “wolf.”
- A Turtle. Told by a Creek Indian.
- The Wolf and the Rabbit
both wanted to marry. Told to Watt Sam by Charlie Jumper, one of the three remaining speakers of Natchez, who got it from his grandmother.
- Man-eater. Called “Lion” by my informant.
- The end of the fourth day. So the text, but a longer time seems to be indicated.
- A man.
A modern European story told to my informant by a Creek Indian. It is of little value except for the linguistic material obtained with it. Given in
The Journal of American Folk-Lore, vol. XXVI, no. CI, 1913, p. 217.
Text Prepared by
- Peyton Benedict
- Bruce R. Magee
- Avinash Maskey
- Pravin Upadhyay
- Cecilio Mata
Swanton, John R. Myths and Tales of the Southeastern Indians. Washington, D.C.: Government Publishing Office, 1929. Smithsonian Institution: Bureau of American Ethnology
Bulletin 88. Hathi Trust Digital Library. Web. 24 Oct. 2013.
<http:// catalog. hathi trust. org/ Record/ 003911867>.