The Canine Warrior

by Jim Pine

Jim Pine

Hocąk-English Interlinear Text

(237) And then during the night they came. Here men lived round about. The men were numerous and there was one man and the woman who was his wife, and one dog, and that man understood the language of dogs (šųk-hit'énąxgų). He told that dog that he was to go and look. When man and dog returned, there were a great many people living there. (238) And they did not live on a very small area, and that dog said it. And when he (the man) came back, he told them, and he said to the woman that they would put him on the other side, and "Even tonight you will be getting back to here," he said, "then they will come, and when they shoot me with guns, they may also shoot them as well. And then I will be equal to my dog. They (the people) should not be afraid. And then the dog will run over them and then he will bite the testicles off other men. (239) And soon they will die there." And the dog was not very big, but then he made himself large. Therefore, they were afraid of him; however, at first they didn't shoot at him, but he was killing them. And so when they shot at him with guns, it proved impossible to kill him. And he returned with the people of his lodge. And then they were afraid. And all the people, as many as there were, therefore loved him. He understood human speech, and (240) the dog was still allowed to use human plates when he ate, and everyone thought very highly of him. Now he was equal to a warrior. He was equal to warriors inasmuch as he understood language. So it was.1

Commentary. "to use human plates" — it was a common practice among the Hocągara for dogs to join humans in their meals and to eat off plates, even in recent times.

Links: Wolf & Dog Spirits.

Stories:relating to dogs or wolves: The Gray Wolf Origin Myth, A Man and His Three Dogs, White Wolf, Wolves and Humans, The Wolf Clan Origin Myth, The Old Man and His Four Dogs, Worúxega, The Dogs of the Chief's Son, The Dog that became a Panther, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Wild Rose, The Man Whose Wife was Captured, The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter, The Dog Who Saved His Master, The Raccoon Coat, Wojijé, The Big Eater, Why Dogs Sniff One Another, The Healing Blessing, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Trickster Loses His Meal, Sun and the Big Eater, Redhorn's Sons, Trickster, the Wolf, the Turtle, and the Meadow Lark, Hog's Adventures, Holy One and His Brother, The Messengers of Hare, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, Grandmother's Gifts, The Hocąk Migration Myth, Bladder and His Brothers, The Stench-Earth Medicine Origin Myth, The Old Man and the Giants, Rich Man, Boy, and Horse, Kunu's Warpath, Morning Star and His Friend, Black Otter's Warpath, Chief Wave and the Big Drunk; Peace of Mind Regained (?).

Themes: a man understands the language of certain animals: The Raccoon Coat, A Man and His Three Dogs, The Dogs of the Chief's Son, The Dog Who Saved His Master; a being is able to enlarge himself: Hare and the Grasshoppers, Hare Kills a Man with a Cane (v. 1); a being is invulnerable: Worúxega, Tecumseh's Bulletproof Skin, The Blessing of a Bear Clansman, The Man who was a Reincarnated Thunderbird, Battle of the Night Blessed Men and the Medicine Rite Men; dogs rescue humans from their enemies: Wolves and Humans, A Man and His Three Dogs, The Dog that became a Panther, The Old Man and His Four Dogs, The Dogs of the Chief's Son, The Dog Who Saved His Master.


1 Jim Pine, [untitled,] in Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, n.d.) Notebook 26, 237-240.