The Blessing of Kerexųsaka

by Jasper Blowsnake
translated by Richard L. Dieterle


Jasper Blowsnake

Hočąk-English Interlinear Text


(22) Then there was a man called Nimąxguáwa, and the one called Kerexų́saka, and this Kerexų́saka they called a Hočąk. And the aforementioned Nįmąxguáwa was called a Sauk. (23) And this Kerexų́saka went to this Sauk called Nįmąxguáwa. Then one of Kerexų́saka's sons died, and he lay by the grave for four days.

Then Nįmąxguáwa took a bundle that he had and the medicine that went with it, and arrived there. He consoled him as he lay crying at the grave, having gone there for that purpose. He had nothing adequate. Then he tried the bundle as a consolation, and he began to use the medicine there to console him. Then he said to him, "Hąhą́, younger brother," he said to him, "the reason that I've come is that you should stop crying. (24) And, younger brother, one of the various Spirits made by Earthmaker, if one of these came and talked, that one would not be my equal. If four of the kind of Spirits whom Earthmaker had created should come, they are not my equal. And as many of the various Spirits whom Earthmaker had created, if that many sat around in a circle and spoke, they would not be my equal. And if Earthmaker himself were to come and say, "I bless you," speaking truthfully, then nevertheless, not even Earthmaker would be my equal. If I fall short in anything, it is not by much. (25) Whatever Earthmaker says will be true, but it will not last as long. From this, indeed, younger brother, for as long as their roots extend, and up to that far you may dream for them. I have piled up meat for you on each side of your lodge. I have placed on each side of your lodge a pail full of grease. These will be imperishable for as long as the earth exists, for that long you will dream for them. And then if you wished to get something of their own for the people, it will be of such a kind as will be as inexhaustible as the earth itself.

Such was my life that six times, that many, I made the Road, and even without my attendants, without any effort I brought home many a necklace of wampum. (26) Then there came a big day. It is difficult, that day of war, but if I carefully prepare, if any bullet should hit me, it will become cold, it would not penetrate me, it would be ineffectual. This is the sort of thing which you will dream for yourself for the duration of the earth."

"And, younger brother, I dreamt of a different tribe. They said to me, 'I am to participate in this.' This, younger brother, will be here in the other tribe, there will be nothing left for me. My medicine bundle, my Warbundle, will go to the Hočągara. And my song will extend as far as your roots shall extend, that far you will make my song appear. (27) Offer a handful of tobacco for me, then if you will make the song appear to them, then whatever you asked for, if you make the song appear, sit truly singing, and it will truly reside as far as your mind extends. Whatever one of them you ask for, and they begin the dance songs, if you will do them, I will jump up there behind you, and I will dance for you. Whatever Light-and-Life you ask for, that way it would be, provided you concentrate you mind upon it. If you ask for Life, I myself will be in such a way as to hear you. It is on account of this very tobacco that I shall do this. I will dance for you, and if you would see me, I can do it. (28) In any case, should you be unable to see me, this very thing, this song, can be done."

That is what the blessed ancients told one another.1


Commentary. "the medicine that went with it" — we learn in the course of the story that one of these bundles is a Warbundle. Nothing is said about the other, which we may presume is some kind of medicine bundle.

"not even Earthmaker would be my equal" — needless to say, this and what follows, is highly sacrilegious.

"roots"réjų, "roots," is a metaphor for descendants.

"dream" — in this context to dream for someone is to bless them.

"Road" — the War Road or Warpath.

"my attendants" — a Warleader's nephews are his attendants not only in battle, but in all the preparations leading up to the Warpath.

"the necklace of wampum" — it says in the Moiety Origin Myth that, "It was the custom in the olden time that he who returned with a scalp should be given a wampum belt as a prize. This he had to give to one of his sisters." For wampum, see the Glossary.

"a big day" — the day when they take the Warpath.

"Light-and-Life"Hąbᵋra, which means "light, day," is used metaphorically in the Medicine Rite to mean life.


Links: Earthmaker, Supernatural & Spiritual Power.


Stories: pertaining to the Medicine Rite: The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Journey to Spiritland, Holy Song, Holy Song II, Maize Origin Myth, The Necessity for Death, Hog's Adventures, Great Walker's Warpath; mentioning Earthmaker: The Creation of the World, The Creation of Man, The Commandments of Earthmaker, The Twins Get into Hot Water, The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, The Lost Blanket, Earthmaker Blesses Wagíšega (Wešgíšega), The Man Who Would Dream of Mą’ųna, The First Snakes, Tobacco Origin Myth, The Creation Council, The Gray Wolf Origin Myth, The Journey to Spiritland, The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter, The Seven Maidens, The Descent of the Drum, Thunder Cloud Marries Again, The Spider's Eyes, The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion, Hawk Clan Origin Myth, Fourth Universe, Šųgepaga, The Fatal House, The Twin Sisters, Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth, Elk Clan Origin Myth, Deer Clan Origin Myth, Bear Clan Origin Myth, Wolf Clan Origin Myth, The Masaxe War, The Two Children, Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Petition to Earthmaker, The Gift of Shooting, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, Bluehorn's Nephews, The Stone Heart, The Wild Rose, Earthmaker Sends Rušewe to the Twins, The Lame Friend, How the Hills and Valleys were Formed, The Hočąk Migration Myth, The Necessity for Death, Hočąk Clans Origin Myth, The War among the Animals, Lake Winnebago Origin Myth, Blue Mounds, Lost Lake, The Hočągara Migrate South, The Spirit of Gambling, Turtle and the Giant, The Shawnee Prophet — What He Told the Hočągara, The Hočągara Contest the Giants, Ghost Dance Origin Myth II, Bird Origin Myth, Black and White Moons, Redhorn's Sons, Holy Song, The Reincarnated Grizzly Bear, The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, Death Enters the World, Man and His Three Dogs, Trickster Concludes His Mission, Story of the Thunder Names, The Origins of the Milky Way, Trickster and the Dancers, Ghost Dance Origin Myth I, East Enters the Medicine Lodge, The Creation of Evil, Song to Earthmaker, The Blessing of the Bow, The Stench-Earth Medicine Origin Myth, The Origin of the Cliff Swallow; mentioning the Sauk (Sac, Sagi): The First Fox and Sauk War, Mijistéga and the Sauks, The Annihilation of the Hočągara I (v. 2), Annihilation of the Hočągara II, Big Eagle Cave Mystery, The Chief Who Shot His Own Daughter, Little Priest's Game, Gatschet's Hočank hit’e (St. Peet ...), A Peyote Story, Introduction; mentioning Kerexų́saka: The Warbundle of Eight Generations; mentioning Warbundles: Waruǧápara (Thunderbird), The Adventures of Redhorn's Sons (Thunderbird), Redhorn's Sons (Thunderbird), The Twins Join Redhorn's Warparty (Thunderbird), The Warbundle of the Eight Generations (Thunderbird), Wanihéga Becomes a Sak’į (Thunderbird), Šųgepaga (Eagle), The Warbundle Maker (Eagle), The Masaxe War (Eagle?), The Blessing of a Bear Clansman (Bear), The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits (Buffalo), Paint Medicine Origin Myth (Hit’énųk’e Paint), Yellow Thunder and the Lore of Lost Canyon, Mijistéga’s Powwow Magic and How He Won the Trader's Store (Potawatomi), A Man's Revenge (enemy); mentioning wampum: The Meteor Spirit and the Origin of Wampum, Young Man Gambles Often, Morning Star and His Friend (v. 2), Little Human Head, Turtle and the Giant, Snowshoe Strings, The Chief of the Heroka, The Markings on the Moon, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth (v. 2), Mijistéga’s Powwow Magic and How He Won the Trader's Store, Bird Clan Origin Myth; in which dancing plays a role: Ghost Dance Origin Myth I, Ghost Dance Origin Myth II, Buffalo Dance Origin Myth, Mijistéga and the Sauks, Mijistéga’s Powwow Magic and How He Won the Trader's Store, Little Priest's Game, How Little Priest went out as a Soldier, Migistéga’s Magic, The Four Slumbers Origin Myth, Įčorúšika and His Brothers, Trickster and the Dancers, Wolves and Humans, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth, Bluehorn Rescues His Sister, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts.

Stories from Jasper Blowsnake's account of the Medicine Rite (The Road of Life and Death) in notebook order: The Shell Anklets Origin Myth (v. 1), Keramaniš’aka's Blessing, The Woman's Scalp Medicine Bundle, Historical Origins of the Medicine Rite, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge of the Medicine Rite, Lifting Up the Bear Heads, East Enters the Medicine Lodge (v. 1), The Creation of the World (v. 12), The Creation of Man (v. 8), Otter Comes to the Medicine Rite, The Journey to Spiritland (v. 4), East Enters the Medicine Lodge (v. 2), Testing the Slave, South Enters the Medicine Lodge (v. 2), The Descent of the Drum (v. 1), The Commandments of Earthmaker, The Coughing Up of the Black Hawks, The Animal Spirit Aids of the Medicine Rite, The Arrows of the Medicine Rite Men (v. 2), East Shakes the Messenger, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth (v. 4), The Messengers of Hare (v. 2), North Shakes His Gourd, Grandmother's Gifts, South Seizes the Messenger, Four Steps of the Cougar, The Messengers of Hare (v. 1), The Island Weight Songs, The Petition to Earthmaker, A Snake Song Origin Myth, The Completion Song Origin, Great Walker's Medicine (v. 2), Great Walker and the Ojibwe Witches, The Diving Contest, The Sweetened Drink Song, The Plant Blessing of Earth, Tobacco Origin Myth (v. 3), The Tap the Head Medicine, The Claw Shooter, Tobacco Origin Myth (v. 4), Peace of Mind Regained, The Journey to Spiritland (v. 5), A Wife for Knowledge, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth (v. 2), The Descent of the Drum (v. 2), South Enters the Medicine Lodge (v. 1), Death Enters the World.


Themes: someone is disconsolate over the death of a relative: White Flower, Ghost Dance Origin Myth II, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth, The Lost Child, The Shaggy Man, Holy One and His Brother, Sunset Point; someone is able to exert supernatural power upon an object by concentrating his mind upon it: Hare Establishes Bear Hunting, Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans, The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion, The Petition to Earthmaker, The Messengers of Hare, South Enters the Medicine Lodge, Otter Comes to the Medicine Rite.


Notes

1 Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Library) Winnebago II, #6: 22-28 (the original interlinear MS); Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Library) Winnebago II, #1: 35-40 (handwritten phonetic text); Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Library) Winnebago III, #12: 21-23 (typed text, phonetic only); Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Library) Winnebago II, #5: 36-39 (typewritten phonetic text with a typewritten interlinear translation). Paul Radin, The Culture of the Winnebago: As Defined by Themselves. The Origin Myth of the Medicine Rite: Three Versions. The Historical Origins of the Medicine Rite. International Journal of American Linguistics, Memoirs, 3 (1950): §1.4, 70.1-71.40. Paul Radin, The Road of Life and Death: A Ritual Drama of the American Indians. Bollingen Series V (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1973 [1945]) 94-95.