The Dipper

Hočąk Syllabic Text with English Interlinear Translation


HERE was a village. The chief was there. The son that the chief had listened to him. His father would say to him, "My son, you must fast. (2) Fast for your village. Your village will benefit from you, for sometimes one of the days will be difficult," he would say. He would do it, he would fast very much. (3) In time that one, the chief's son, grew up, and then one day they said, "A great warparty has come upon us," they said. Then the chief said, (4) "Hąhó my son, this is what I told you to fast for," he said. The chief's son took his arrows and began to pull them back and forth in his bow. Again they came and said, (5) "One of them is very great. He is not like anything," they came and said. "," the chief's son said. Again after awhile, one of them came. "It is not like anything. One of them is very great. (6) Everytime he comes, we leave one behind, pierced through," they said. "," he said. Still he worked his arrows back and forth in his bow. Again one came. (7) "It is not like anything. He has killed the bravest men, all of them," they came and said. Again the fourth time they came, "It is not like anything. They are about to enter the village. (8) They have made us retreat," they came and said. And the chief said, "Jáha-á my son, how is it that you are not trying to do something? They say that they are killing the village," he said. (9) "Howo," he said. Then he handled the arrows, tied them in a bunch, and threw them against the wall for safe keeping. And thus he did, and he took the warclub which he owned, and (10) put on [his moccasins], and clad only in a breech cloth, he came onto them. As soon as he came, he gave a whoop, and started for them. (11) Pushing them back, he chased them on and on. There one was left behind, and he killed him. He cut off his head and went back carrying it. Again he went forward. (12) Again he did the same. He began to do it to them over and over again. He killed a great many of them. Also, one [on the other side] did the same. He went on the warpath and there he was still the same. There his village was being defeated, but (13) he rained his arrows back. Finally, in time, there the opponents met. As they approached, they said, "Howo," they said, and (14) they threw their warclubs away at that place. Then they held each other by one arm each. They did very much. They swung at one another. Finally now, they quit the battle, and (15) they alone did they watch. They alone were the ones on whom they depended. Finally after awhile, they broke the chief's son in half. He suddenly made the sound, dom! (16) He rang like iron. When he had been broken, where [he and] the breaker went, no one knew. Thus, they suddenly vanished.

(17) Then they went into the village. They rubbed them out. But there was one of them that they did not kill there, a nice young man. And the leader told them not to kill him. (18) Therefore, they did not kill him. Then said the leader, "I am ashamed. I will not go home. The reason is that they killed many of my Warbundle Bearers, and (19) because I threw away many men. Here I shall remain," he said. "So I will live with this boy. He himself will be the one with whom I keep company," he said. (20) They tried to take him home, but of this he could not be persuaded. And thus they left him. So there the man looked at them around the village, and one he liked, so they themselves lived in that one. (21) And everything that he needed, that kind he took, and then he set fire to the village. He burned it to the ground. (22) And there he wintered, the young boy with him.

The man said, "Grandson, fast, for the world is narrow in places. You are going to fast, and (23) if the various spirits awaken their pity on you, you will get along well," he would say to him. He did it, he fasted. As the boy fasted, he would eat only once a month. Thus, he kept on. (24) Finally, he began hunting well, so he did it while he hunted. His grandfather, in time, grew old. His eyes even got dim. (25) He used to cook, but after awhile, he was unable to do even that. And his ears had also become small. So he would do this: a round black stone, this he used, and placing it at the base of his ear, he struck it, and (26) only thus would he hear speech. Finally, his eyes also became small. And when he [the grandson] got done cooking, he used the stones, and as he knocked them at the base of his ear, he would grunt, "Hąhą́," and (27) turn over, turning himself so that again he could knock them together on the other side. He would say, "Grandson, wha-a-at?! (ja-a)" he would say. "Grandfather, I have food for you," he would say to him. "Hąhó grandson, it is good," he would say.

(28) After a time there this one came again. He appealed to the Divine Ones (Thunderbirds), as he came crying. In the evening when he stopped, just then he was hissed at. (29) He stopped still and looked around him, but he did not see anything anywhere, so he again went on. And again it was said to him. He stopped, but he could not see anything. Again they said it to him. Three times it was said to him. (30) Then it said, "My brother," it said. He thought that it seemed to be from above, so he looked up. Unexpectedly, someone was sitting up above. (31) A stump stood there. The top of it was the man. The tree itself was his body. The tree also stood first of all. "You are my younger brother," he said. (32) "My little brother, as there are here and there things you have left to be revealed, I said it [hissed]. That old man whom you call 'grandfather', he it was who killed me. (33) And where you remain living, as much as the cleared ground, just that was the town when it existed. That was my town, and we were the very ones who were the chiefs over it. (34) And your grandfather led a great warparty. He was going to kill everyone, so I killed some of them myself. Their leader also killed a great many here. (35) So after we had been doing this, we struck, grappling upright; but I was broken in half. So this one launched me above. As I fell, I landed here, and (36) here I am still. From now on he will try to kill you. So I wanted to let you know, is why I am telling you this. (37) He will give you to his brothers. There they will eat you. He will tell you to kill something. They will be his brothers. When you get home, he will say, 'Hąhą́, grandson, I have been thinking all day. I have thought of something,' he will say. (38) 'I thought to seek a name for you. Oddly enough, on occasion, one used to see people. I don't like your being without a name. If they were to call you by name, what would people say, (39) if they saw you?', he said. He will say this. And at night, he has nightmares, he will say. And that one will say that it will only be by giving a feast that he will be able to live. (40) If you go, take plenty of tobacco, and offer tobacco to his attendents, and ask them to shield you. (41) They will do it,'" he said. "I'm telling you this to give you pointers, is why I'm saying this. In any case, to go into a trance to recover something lost, you have fasted exactly this way," he said.

Thus, time went on. (42) As he went along, he kept thinking it over. "Thus it is," he stood there thinking. "Grandfather never told me," he thought. He began to dislike his grandfather somewhat. And when he got home and was done fixing the food, (43) he hit him with the stone. He hit him really hard. Before, he used to hit him lightly, but now he hit him with all his stength. "Ąhą," he said turning over, and when he turned over, he knocked him again on the other side.

  A White Otter (Photo by Jesper)

(44) "Grandson, what?" he said. "Grandfather, I am giving you meat," he said. "Hąhó grandson, it is good," he said. And when he had finished eating, he went to bed. (45) The old man gave a yell. He had bad dreams. "Grandson! Grandson!" he said. He jumped up. He hit him with the stone placed at the base of his ear, then again on the other side. (46) "Grandfather, jaha-a!" he said. "Grandson," he said, and wept. "Never mind grandfather, tell what you dreamt about," he said. (47) "Grandson, in the direction of the setting sun is a white otter, they say that I should give a feast with that. They said that I should singe it. If it is not done that way, I will die, they say," he said. (48) "Hąhó grandfather, it is good. What are you doing crying? The reason that they gave it to you is for you to have a feast with it. In the morning, I will go after it," he said.

And in the morning, he started. (49) Where he meant, there he got to. Unexpectedly, there was a prairie that wrapped around and it was full of otters. When they saw him, they began to rise, but he said, "I have tobacco for you to do. (50) Don't tell on me," he said. "All right, that's the way it will be. Never, for the duration of the earth that we have lain here, have we smoked anything," they said, and so they would not tell. (51) Continuing on, as he went through, he gave them tobacco. They got out of his way, so that he could even go through. Then he said, "Grandfathers, when I get back, have them on my way back close up the path behind me," he told them. (52) Unexpectedly, there it was, sound asleep. A very white one, with a reddish nose, and reddish irises, lay there with its heart throbbing. (53) It throbbed, and about there he shot it. Tossing about, he turned himself over on the other side, and he did the same to him again, and he ran. (54) A black hawk cried, and ran. But he caught up to him, and took him into his mouth. Then, from a nostril, a hummingbird came out of it. (55) Again, for a second time as it was about to swallow him, he dodged, and it would miss, passing by him. (56) Unexpectedly, his grandfather then said to it, "Ho! Catch him! Catch him! You always wanted a human, so I raised a good one and sent him over to you. (57) You are not acting as you should," he said. As he got near home, unexpectedly, the door had been tied very tightly, and also he was holding the door on each side. (58) As he got near home, he blew at it, and after making a small opening, he came on through. Then he went and laid at the back opposite the door. He had nearly knocked the door to smithereens. (59) Then he groaned. "," he said. "'', you say. You will be another one. Again you even used hummingbirds in bunches. (60) I thought that he would use that first one at the start of the flight, so I called him, 'He Stands to Look at Blackhawk'. Again, now that he came back home, I will call him a spirit. The other, I guess, came to the door and ate. (61) Didn't you always used to talk a lot about you fleetness?" he said. "The door you must have made bloody for me," he said. He had gone back to lying down as he said this. (62) After awhile, he untied the door. And when he looked, there it was. It was really white. Truly, it was good.

Then he did it. He took the stones, and (63) as that one lay, he struck him at the ear, and again on the other side. "What?" he said. "Grandfather, I have brought it back," he said. " grandson, let me see it," he said. (64) He was wrinkled, so he had raked the back of his head back and tied it. Thus done, he opened his eyes. Then he opened the door for him. He saw it. "Hohó grandson, never has there been any animal so fine. (65) Grandson, I am now a great man. I will make something good out of it. If you were to skin the hide, you might make me a rug. I will use it for a rug," he said. (66) "Grandfather, I will not do it. You dreamed that you were going to singe it, and that you will boil it. I don't want you to die," he said to him. "Never have I said a single thing that is so," he said, and (67) when he untied the back of his head, his face flew back with a noise. Then he singed it. And he did not waste a bit of it scraping it. (68) Even drops of blood he did that with. Also it was because he might come back to life again is why he did it. His brother had told him everything he was to do, and this he did. (69) Then he put it in a kettle. And the old man said, "My grandson, if you skin him, use that to take him out," he said, and he handed him a piece of white cloth. (70) He gave it back to him. "Now I am through with it," he said. He said this purposely inasmuch as if there was any blood in that, he could bring him back to life. (71) Then he said to him, "Grandfather, I have put on the kettle to boil. If you also made a feast, they would usually sing songs as well. Aren't you going to say something?" he said to him. Unexpectedly, he was crying. "Grandson, my tooth aches. (72) I'm not able to say anything," he said. And when he got it cooked, again he said to him, "Grandfather, I've cooked it. Who do you want to invite? I could tell them to come," he said, (73) but he said, "Grandson, who would feast on it?" he said. "I trust that there are people," he said. He went out and said, "Those who belong from above, you are invited. (74) Those who belong from earth, likewise," he said, and he went in, and unexpectedly, the lodge was full. Then he said, as he greeted them, "My grandfather had a bad dream. (75) If he boiled a white otter, only then would he avoid death. Because he dreamed it, I hunted, I went out, I came back with it, and this is it. (76) As is customary, they always call on someone for the head, I think, and I will give it to an old woman who is present. No other woman came save she alone. (77) If I am not mistaken, grandfather received a war prize from her, so I will give it to her," he said. The old woman cried. Then he said, "You will also eat the bones," he said. (78) "Ho," they said. Now they cracked them open. That old woman was given the head, and she was one of his grandfather's sisters. (79) Therefore, she was crying. She was doing this because she was making a religious feast out of her own brother. There she tried to get a piece of bone, but (80) again she was given the head. And they consumed it all. The old woman said — after she ate only the flesh — she said, "I want to take home the bones. (81) My teeth ache. I cannot grind them," she said. "In this feast it is customary that you cannot take any with you," he said. (82) He used the stone of his grandfather which he had, and he pulverized the bones, and mixed them into soup, and made her eat it up. "So, I think that's all we'll do," he said, so they said, "Ho!" (83) They began to disappear.

"It will happen yet again," his brother said. When he arrived there, he smoked as he was accustomed to do. His brother filled a pipe and (84) lit it, as he was in the habit of doing. There he would tell him what they were going to do to him. He would also tell him what he should do. (85) The first time he had seen his brother was before he had had his bad dream. And when he said he would name him, then he said when he got home, "Grandson, I was thinking about something. Today I was thinking, I'll give you a name, I thought. (86) Sometimes one sees people in strange places. When they call you, what could they say?" he said. "Let me look at you," he said, (87) and he pulled up his face, and having done that, he opened his eyes and looked at him. "Hohó grandson, what a promising man," he said. (88) "Grandson, they shall call you, 'He Stands Looking at Blackhawk'," and as he said it, unexpectedly, above his head there stood a blackhawk crying out with a good voice.

(89) And this one had a bad dream for a second time. Again he cried out in the night. He took his stones and struck him at the base of his ear, then again on the other side. (90) "Grandfather!" "Jaha-a!" he said to him. "Hohó grandson, I had a bad dream. I must boil a white marten with its fur singed off. I dreamed that they told me that then I would not die," he said. (91) Hiho grandfather, it is good how they gave you an animal to hunt," he said. "In the morning, I will go after it," he said. So in the morning he went out wearing a hummingbird on each ear. (92) Finally he came in sight of a big prairie. Unexpectedly, there were a host of martens. There was one in the center, a very white one. (93) Again, those around, as they saw him, began to rise up, so he said to them, "Grandfathers, don't tell on me. You shall have a smoke," he said to them. (94) "Hąhó, let us not tell on him. As long as we have been on the earth never did we get near to that which they call 'tobacco'." And they even opened the way that he should go. (95) As he went on he distributed tobacco."Grandfathers, when I come back, crowd behind me," he said to them. In the center he got to him. (96) He was sound asleep. As he lay there, his heart could not help but make a noise, so he shot right at it. He groaned and rolled himself over, but again he did it to the other side. Immediately he took off. (97) The blackhawk cried kik-kik as he went. Immediately, the old man came after him. "Come and catch him! You always asked for a human being, (98) so I raised a good one for you, and I sent him over there. But you have completely relented," he said. Finally, he took him into his mouth. But he came out his nose holes. (99) A hummingbird, on it came. The old man was there sitting with his back towards them. Again he swallowed him. Again he came out his nose. (100) Then he came home. Unexpectedly, big logs were firmly piled against the door. And also inside he was pushing against it. (101) Again when he blew towards it, he made a little opening there, and went on in. He struck hard on the door. "Howá! it is bad flesh, really bad. (102) You must have made my door bloody. How you used to say things about your swiftness. Yet you should have caught him," he told him. "You are also another one. (103) Hoją́, I thought about it a lot. I called you 'He Stands Looking at Blackhawk'. I thought he would use this piece right at the start to run, that is why I called him that. Now it is again hummingbirds in bunches. (104) He will be another," he said.

He went to bed and listened to him. When he got through, he untied the door. He also removed the logs from there. (105) Truly, it was good. It was very white, with a reddish nose and red irises. Then he went in and took the stone, and as he lay, (106) he struck him at the base of the ear. He turned himself over, and he did it on the other side. "Grandson, what? How did you get home?," he said. "Grandfather, as I went after, I brought it back," he said. (107) "Grandson, let me look at it," he said. With his hair, he shoved back his wrinkles. When he opened the door and saw it, he said, (108) "Grandson, I'm an old man, and it would make such a good fur. Go and make a mat for me," he said. "Grandfather, I am not trying to kill you. You dreamed that you would singe off the hair and boil it." (109) Immediately, he built a fire. He singed it. Again he did the same. He did not waste a bit of it, neither the blood or the burnt parts. (110) Again right away, he gave him the food, but he would not accept it. He was crying already. He asked him to sing, but he would not do it. He said that he had a toothache. The same feasters came again. (111) Just as it was before, so it was the same again.

The Fisher (Audubon)

Again for a third time he had a bad dream. He said that he would have to boil a white fisher. Again he went after it. (112) It was again as it had been before, but this one was greater still. Only after being swallowed three times did he get back to the lodge. (113) Again it was the same. He did as before, yet for a fourth time he had a bad dream. He said that he would have to boil the polar bear (white grizzly) of which he dreamed. Again he killed it.

(114) It was far greater. Frequently, he was swallowed. Only with great effort did he avoid being grabbed. Again they made a feast. His grandfather also cried as usual, (115) and as well the old woman also cried again, but he called on her for the head. And thus this was.

Regularly in the evening, he would take his brother tobacco. There he would give him pointers about things he described. (116) Again he went. "My younger brother, again he will try you. He will feel good only if he kills you. Thus he is. (117) Since you have killed his brothers, he is going to ask you again. You will go again and overcome an even greater one. There they are rubbing out all kinds of the various spirits. (118) He will tell you to marry a woman. This old woman whom you made to eat the head there, she is killing her daughters' people. He will ask you to go. (119) He will ask you to take a Warbundle. The one that belongs to me is there. A little child's body is painted on the shield, (120) and there is a little bald-headed club. Take these with you. He will object, but take them anyway," he said. (121) "It was with great effort that he killed me, so he is afraid of you already. So right now he is highly desirous of killing you." Then he came home.

When he got back there, right away once it was night, he said, "Grandson, I've been thinking all day. (122) I thought of something," he said. "," he replied. "Grandson, in the begining I also used to sew moccasins for you. However, now I am not good at a single thing. (123) Also a little bit of cooking I used to do for you, but now when you get home, you feast on the food that you have hunted, and again you have to sew for yourself. (124) Grandson, I don't like it. I think that you should marry a woman," he said. "Grandfather, where is a place with any people from whom I could marry a woman?," he said. (125) Not at all, Grandson, there are many people round about, but I would choose my own. They are the only good women. (126) If you can get one, a woman dwells towards the rising sun. She has two women. They alone are good women. They are also very hard workers. (127) They are your mates," he said. "They are wanted all over the earth, but they fail to get them," he said. (128) "All right, hišją́ge, I'll try for them," he said. Then he got ready. He raked back his wrinkled face at the back of his head and tied it, and he worked on something all night long. (129) In the morning, he made a black fur blanket ready for him. He created ornaments for it. And in the center he placed a blanket ornament. (130) And even up to the four corners he tied on the central tail feathers of an eagle. "And, hąhó, my grandson, I will get you ready," he said. (131) Then he put a lot of wampum beads around his neck. Then he painted his face. He would size him up, but would say that it didn't suit him. (132) He tried different ways. Finally, he placed on well four black wampum strands, and then he put on just a little paint, touching it up here and there. And he used mud on him. (133) And when he looked him over, that was it. "Hąhą́ grandson, that is it. It is good for women — you look desireable," he said. And he said, when he was ready to go, (134) "Grandson, take one of the Warbundles with you. Look at them, and whichever one is best, take it with you," he said. The one that his brother had mentioned was there. He took that one. (135) "Grandson, which one did you take?," he said, so he told him. "Ši ši ši, grandson, that is a Warbundle, one that is sacred. That one is not to be used to court women," he said. (136) Over there are others that are also very good. Take one of those with you," he said, but he did not do it. "Now grandfather, I have already taken it. (137) So I will take it along with me. When one takes up and puts back a Warbundle, it means that they will not go," he said. (138) "Grandson, that is true," he said.

Then he went. Before he went very far, he came onto a road there. It had been made only recently. He chased after them. (139) He started at a run. Before long he caught up. Each one of them had all their warclubs with them. (140) There they were, the baldheaded men. As he was following behind, the leader said, "Jáha-á, why didn't some of you say something? I thought this was something," he said. The one ahead of him looked back, and unexpectedly, a human was following them. (141) "What can we say? A human has caught up to us. He is in the rear," he said. (142) "Hąhó, the humans are very clever," he said. Then, after a short time, the leader said, "Hąhó, about now let's fill our pipes here," he said. (143) There they sat down. They took out their pipes. They were weed-bulb pipes. They filled them with mashed oak leaves and did that. (144) Hagagasgé, they spread a bad odor around. Then he also filled his pipe. None of them could take their eyes off him. (145) He took just a few puffs from it, and handed it to the one who was nearest him. Right away he arose and took it. He built a fire and placed white cedar in it, and created incense. (146) Then the one who was the leader, put it in his mouth. "Howo," he said. As he held it in his mouth, he did not make any smoke come out. (147) He swallowed the smoke. All of them did the same. Then again they created incense, and they gave it back. They thanked him very much. (148) "Yet for this, even if we were to die, it would be all right," they said.

Then they went on again. "Hąhó, here we will look for food." When some were called, they went. (149) They let them know where they would meet. When they got there, they had many different things with them, even big snakes, and even large frogs, and yet even little tree-dwellers. (150) They came with such things. There they did a lot with their roasting sticks. When they used their roasting sticks, (151) they could not stick them into the ground. So now they went after big stones, and they wedged their roasting sticks into them. (152) Then they said, "Koté, you had better ask our human friend what he is in the habit of eating," they said, so they asked him. "I always eat deer," he said. (153) "How are they to look upon?" they asked him, and he said, "Their hair is gray, and their rumps are white, and their feet have forked curved nails," he said. ", he means grasshoppers. (154) Go and get it for him," they said, and as there was one in the brush, he brought it there. He held its ear in his grip, and he took it and came back. (155) "Hąhó, kill it for yourself," they told him, and he held it so that it stood sideways. He shot an arrow in his side that went right through him. (156) It jumped around for a bit, and there it rolled over. "Korá, he is such a good shot," they said. He also skinned that one, and broiled the ribs. (157) His roasting stick, he stuck into the ground. They really marveled at him. They couldn't stick anything into the ground, but he could. (158) Then they slept there, and in the morning, they started out again.

Every time he smoked, he would still give them some. They got there in four days. (159) With respect to what they had done, they would continue to do it that way, even their meals. Then, "Hąhó, here it is," they said. They came to a great valley. In the center the village was visible. (160) "That is it," they said. Then they said, "Here we are being killed off, but we still come. We are going here to the center of the valley, and (161) we are going to be chased, and if we can get back to the edge before we are caught, we will obtain women. Yet where we are chased by one of them, there we are caught," they said. (162) Then they went on! One turned back just after he had entered the valley. Only the leader there went a little more. (163) Finally, the human went. Thus he went, and thus it was. "Hohó, so he's a goner," they said. (164) "Korá, he should also have left the tobacco, anyways it will be a regrettable loss," they said. Thus it was.

When he arrived there, unexpectedly, two women were combing their hair. (165) He knocked on the frame of the lodge. "We have come to court you, yet you do not say anything," he said. Then he knocked down an old woman. "Waną́," they said, and (166) they pulled her out. Thus he did, and came on out. "Koté, he has come out," they were saying. Also the women said, (167) "Hąhą́, when we get through combing our hair, we can kill him. He can't get away anyhow," they said. The Thunders, in any case, were worried. He was walking back in a very deliberate way. (168) Hagagasgeiją, it would be a good idea to run," they were saying. A short time after he came out, they appeared. Immediately, they began to run. (169) When he saw them, he left at a trot. They caught up to him there. As they raised their clubs, there was a baby in a cradle, fussing and crying, (170) so they did not strike him. Unexpectedly, he went quite a way out. Again they went after him. This time the other one caught up. Again he did it to her. (171) Again she did not come. The old man was already shouting at them, "Hehé, you are in love with him! Kill him. You were always wanting humans, but now you are weakening," he said. (172) Finally, he started to run. He ran away from them. The speed of human thought, his speed was like that. He ran all over the earth from them. (173) Finally, after awhile, they had to abandon their moccasins. Again, finally, they also had to abandon their skirts. Now, at last, they went naked. (174) And now he went back to his lodge. They were made to sit at the door. They did not go in. He had already gotten the stones, and (175) struck him hard, and again on the other side. "Grandson, how was your trip back?" I came back with them and they are standing by the door," he said. "Ho, it is good. (176) My daughters-in-law, come in. We are nothing to be respected." After he said this, they said to him, "Homely skin-face, you who are saying this! Now you have put us in a real fix. (177) You are the cause of our being this way. We are not fit to come into anything. We are sitting here naked," she said. The old man felt around in the back and brought out some clothes. (178) "There, grandson, go give them these," he said. He handed them over. Then they put the clothes on, the ones given to them by the old man, when he gave them clothing. (179) Then they came in.

Then right away, he went there to his brother. He filled his pipe, and when he arrived, he climbed up there, and gave it to him. (180) Then when he got through, he came down and returned to the ground, and talked to him some more. He told him that he had brought them back, and he thanked him. Then he said, "My little brother, that you accomplished it, this at least is good, (181) but he will still say it again. Probably he will try you again himself. Also, it is not good. In the course of things, he might unexpectedly do a little something. (182) He will not quit until he kills you, that's what he means to do. However, it would seem that if he would give up, then he would stop it. But he will not give up. (183a) You also should try him," he said. "My brother, that is so, but, warokąną, I think I will not be injured. My grandfather raised me himself, and I have grown used to him," he said. (183b) So he returned home.

Then the women said, "We do not like your grandfather. Your grandfather expects us to take his part, but will will not take his part. (184) He caused what happened to our very own uncle, and of my uncle being killed by you. Therefore, we do not like him. We would like it if you killed him. (185) You should also try him. If he keeps on, he will kill you. He would not die of anything, he would always say, other than if he were to eat a young beaver with its hair singed off, then he would die, he would say. (186) You should say to him that he could give a feast with one of that kind, and it would be good if he were made to eat it. Then, "You speak what might be true, but in any case warokąną, I don't think that he would hurt me, and then again also I have grown used to my grandfather as he himself has raised me," he said. (188) "And again, he himself will try you," they said to him. "Again he will say that he is having nightmares. He himself will tell you that he dreamt that he would shoot you. (189) He will tell you that we are going to hold you on each side. There, he thinks, he will kill you. He thinks that if we hold you tight, he will shoot you in two there. (190) He thinks that we will help him. We will not do that," they said.

Then right away that night, he cried out. (191) Again, he immediately tried to awaken his grandfather, but as he was lying with them, they held him. "Now, don't awaken him, he will stop. (192) And besides, we have already told you what he is going to say," they said, but he got loose, and he struck him with the stones, and again on the other side. "Grandfather, what is it?" he said. (193) "Grandson, I had bad dreams." "Grandfather, tell me what you dreamt of," he said. And he said, "Grandson, this is why I cautioned you against taking a Warbundle with you, (194) but you did it anyways. That Warbundle was to be carried only in war. It was always taken solely for where shooting was to be done. (195) Therefore, you have taken it somewhere, and you did not do any shooting. Therefore, in my dream they said that I was to shoot you. If I don't do that, grandson, you will die," he said. (196) "Hąhó grandfather, hišjąge, in the morning, you can shoot me," he said. "The new women will hold you on each side, then I will shoot you, they said," he said. (197) "All right, hišjąge, they can do that," he said. It is said that he married only that one of those women who was the youngest. He married one of them, they say.

(198) The old man spent all night filing, they say. He did the heads of two arrowheads. He did it with a stone and ground it. (199) These arrowheads were very big. They meant that the arrowheads were the size of a railroad engine cow catcher. (200) Then in the morning, "Hąhó grandfather, what did you mean?" "If you stand in the doorway, the women on each side of you, they will hold you stretched out," he said. (201) Then he sat in the back. Then the women held him on each side. They said to him in a whisper, (202) "Throw yourself to the ground, as we will throw you to the ground in any case," they said to him. When he was about to shoot the arrow, he threw himself to the ground. It was great. Onward the arrow went, thundering. (203) He said, "There I send him to you, He Stands Looking at Blackhawk, a spirit-man I send. You always talked about humans," he said, but (204) the women said, "To what place is this one going that you speak thus? Is it this one here that you mean?" they said to him. He saw him. (205) He unexpectedly said, "There I send him to you, I shot the arrow at him in order to miss him. I did it just in order to fulfill the dream."

Again the second time when he was about to shoot, (206) they said to him, "We will boost you up. You must jump up," they said to him. Now he was about to shoot. He thought that since the first time he threw himself to the ground, (207) he would shoot near to the ground. Again the arrow went thundering on. It thundered on out of sight to the ends of the earth. (208) Again he said, " I send him to you there, the holy man, He Stands Looking at Blackhawk. You are always talking about humans." Then the women said to him, (209) "You homely, wrinkled faced one who is speaking, where is he going that you should speak thus? Is it he who is standing here who is doing it?" they said to him. (210) Unexpectedly, he was still standing there. "There I send you the arrow, my grandson, He Stands Looking at Blackhawk. Just in order to fulfill the dream, I shot at him to miss him," he said. (211) Then he went in and laid down.

Then he took tobacco to his brother. Again he talked to him after he finished smoking. (212) "About now you should say it to him. If he keeps on he will accomplish his intentions. Tell him that the Warbundle that you took gave you bad dreams. It is just what those women told you. (213) He is not going to die of any single thing else. Finally, even when you are asleep, he will harm you. You must speak first before he can say anything again. (214) He will say it again," he said. Then he came home. When he returned to his lodge again, the women said, "About now you should also say one of the things to him. (215) If he keeps it up, he will kill you," they said to him. "Korá, well, in truth I do not care to do it. Besides, he coudn't harm me, I thought, so I did it. (216) And I will do it, because you want me to," he said.

Then at night, after they went to bed, after a short time, He Stands Looking at Blackhawk cried out. (217) Unexpectedly, the old man said, "Hąhó, my grandson has bad dreams. Daughters-in-law, wake him up," he said, but they would not do it. (218) Finally, the old man jumped over to him. He woke up. "Grandson, what is the matter?" Here are the stones. Tell me what you dreamt of," he said. Quickly he hit him with the stones, (219) then again on the other side. "Grandfather, I had bad dreams. That is the reason why you forbade me to take a Warbundle while courting women, (220) but I took it anyways. They said for that I was to make a feast. You are to eat it, they said. I am to boil for the warclub that I took with me, they said. (221) If you don't eat it up, I dreamt that they said I am to hit you with the warclub," he said. "Hąhó grandson, that is why I forbid it. Hišjąge, I guess I'll do it. (222) What could happen to me when I am eating? But grandson, they never boil anything that is from earth for that Warbundle (warclub). (223) They only boil for it those that have wings. Yet whatever one they direct for me, it shall be so," he said.

In the morning, he immediately went on the hunt. (224) There a creek ran, and he went along it. He was going after the young beaver. Finally, he killed one. (225) When he got home, the women themselves attended to it. They singed the whole thing, and did not even scrape off the burnt part. And they put all of it in the kettle as it was. (226) Then after they cooked it, then they stuck the warclub there in the ground. Then they placed it before him. "Grandson, you have already cooked it. (227) Therefore, you can pour it out, and you will be done with it," he said, but he ordered him to eat it. He said that he would hit him with the warclub, so he did it. (228) Again he said, "I will have the daughters-in-law do it with me," he said, but the women said, "You homely, wrinkled faced one that speaks, when you dream something, does he try to change it for you? (229) When you give orders, he does it," they said to him. The old man finally ate it up. They also made him drink the soup. He went to bed, and as he was groaning, he burst. (230) His belly burst. Then they burned up the lodge there with him, and built a lodge farther on.

Then the women said, "We can make your brother well for you," they said to him. (231) He was very glad. There he was, and told him of it. "Well my younger brother, it will be hard, but they who speak are holy. (232) If they can, it would be good," he said. "My butt end is also across the Ocean Sea (Te Ją) where it is eating people. It is very fleet and even goes on the water. (233) If they think they can do it [go ahead] — but as it is, to talk to one another, even this is good, however," he said. Then he went home. When he arrived, they were glad. Then they did this. (234) What they call "nets," this sort of thing they made. Four of them they made. Then they did this. They took the pipe that the older brother used to have which was there, and these together with the tobacco pouch, (235) and there they went and sat down. Then she said, "Blow across!" As she said it, the wind began to blow across. There as the human butt was going along, he smelled it. (236) "Hohó," he said. When I was in human form, I used to use that pipe and smoke it when I went around," he said. ""Hąhą́, what am I talking about? It is my brother. (237) I will go take it and smoke it," he said. He started at a run. Then the women did this. One after another, they laid out the nets to be stretched. (238) Then when he ran there, she threw it and he got into it the first one. As he rolled into it, they wrapped it around him. Then they threw the other one on him, and rolled him up in it. (239) They rolled him into all four of them. Then he chewed on them. He cut them up, but they put in large stones to heat up, and after they had done that, they threw them into his mouth. (240) He did all the teeth in his rectum. He broke them all out. Then he groaned a great deal. "My younger brother, they are going to kill me," he said and he cried out. (241) After a time, finally, he broke out all of this teeth, after which he died.

Then they took him home. Then they heated up stones. They did it for use in the sweat bath. (242) Once this was done, they went after the one in the tree. Before he went, they told this man, "We will make your brother alive, provided that you are strong in mind. (243) If your mind is not something of this sort, if you do what he says, then he will surely die. If we fail, it will be your doing. Do your mightiest there. (244) Whatever he may say, don't listen to him. If we say anything, you must do just that," they said to him. Then your brother's body will become like your own, (245) if you do what we tell you. Then again, if you do not do what we say, he will die. That you yourself will have done. Do it with might," they said to him. (246) Then, finally, they went to the one up in the tree. When they arrived there, the man climbed up. There the tree had grown into the flesh of his waist. So he went to break him loose. (247) That man began to groan. "My younger brother, you will kill me. We were able to talk to one another, but now you will finish me. (248) When they tried to kill you, I told you of one of the things that they were going to do to you here. If you are alone, they will kill you. Therefore, these women have acted in this way. (249) Now, thus they have conquered both of us," he said. The man stopped. "Hurry up, or you will kill him instead, if you don't do what we say." (250) So he started again. Finally, he pried him loose. Then he let him down gently. As the women stood on the ground, they stretched out a blanket that they had. (251) He dropped him there.

And all over his waist the sore parts were hurting. Then in the sweat bath lodge they set his waist down and joined them together. (252) Then they closed the sweat bath lodge. The contents of four bear stomachs were poured over the stone. Bear oil, this is what she used to pour on the stone. (253) The oldest woman herself poured it on the stone. Then when they had done thus, he began to groan. After awhile he said, "Hąhó, open it for me! (254) You nearly killed me. It was with great effort that I lived through it," he said. "I am alive. Open it for me, my brother," he said. When he said this, the man began to walk over there, (255) but he would always turn back again. So finally the women said to him, "You should go where you can't hear him well," they said to him. (256) Consequently, he went off someplace. Again in a short time, he would come and peep in. Now, thus he was pleading very hard. When she used the fourth bear pouch, he had a lot to say. (257) It was a heart rending thing. Finally, when she used it up, he stopped all at once. "Hohó, they must have killed my older brother," he thought.


(258) Then they called to him. When he got back, unexpectedly, he was inside blowing on himself. After awhile he said, "Hąhó, I am through," he said. (259) Then they said to him, "Hąhó, even before you relinquished trying to open it, he had responded readily there," they said to him. There were the clothes that he was to wear. (260) The women came out, and then he opend it for him. There he was. Although as young as he was, yet he was still the same. And he was a very handsome man. (261) Then once he was dressed, he said to him, "My older brother, that is your place," he said to him. He meant to the place of the woman he was not married to.

(262) Then they came in. Then the man thanked them very much. Then He Stands Looking at Blackhawk said, (263) "Hąhó, now at this time to go about what I was doing, I will go and do. My stay among humans was very difficult," he said. (264) Then he went out with his wife, and they were married hummingbirds. The two of them stood humming around. He lived with his brother for some time before he did it, they say. (265) And they say that the woman was also a female marten. That one also went home to the sky. (266) When the stars are visible in the sky, it can be seen there. The Big Knives call it "the Dipper." That is she, they say. (267) A star sits very close to that. That is he. Her husband is the only bright one nearby.

Hąhą́, it is ended."1

Polaris under the Bow of the Milky Way
Four Lakes, Sunrise, Midsummer Day, 1750
Starry Night Software,

Commentary. General Remarks. The title of this story, "The Dipper," is a misnomer. More appropriate would have been "The North Star," since he is the true protagonist of the tale. Esoterically, the myth reveals how the stars of the north can allow an astute observer of the heavens to determine the time of midsummer. The means by which the myth achieves this is set out in the conclusion of the commentary.

"bow" — in the allegory of this myth, the young warrior plays the role of the Milky Way. Much of the time, the Milky Way arches over Polaris in the north like a bow, but at other times it lies flat on the horizon (see inset below), exhibiting the state of either a drawn bow or an unstrung one. However, the pulling of the bowstring back and forth is what the hunting and arrow spirits, the Heroka, do when they magically fell an animal. They, being the spirits of the arrow, pull the string back and forth on an empty bow. We can conjecture that the reason why he does not shoot arrows, is that the Chief of the Heroka, which I have argued is the star Alnilam of the belt of Orion, has set below the horizon, and does not reappear until ca. July 23.

"one of them is very great" — the working assumption in this analysis is that the myth is an allegory, primarily about the astonomy associated with Polaris, the North Star, which the Hočągara called the "Star that Does Not Move" (Wiragóšge Hąké Diráni). The opponent of the champion of the stars is Day. Polaris is the younger brother of the Champion, who plays the role of the Milky Way that arches over Pole Star in the north. It takes some astute observation to note that the fortunes of Polaris and its part of the Milky Way are the inverse of those of Day, since day comes and goes at the eastern and western horizons, whereas Polaris and its part of the Milky Way are fixed in the north. It is only by noticing that as the days progress from midsummer to midwinter that the northern stars climb higher in the sky, and inversely for the other half of the year's progression. This interesting relationship makes the Day and north stars enemies, since the decline in Day corresponds to the ascent of the northern stars, and the ascent of Day is the decline of those stars.

"everytime he comes, we leave one behind" — it is true that daylight kills the stars everytime Day comes forward, but this is not quite what is meant. It is also true that every day that passes, from the winter solstice to the summer solstice, Polaris and its part of the Milky Way sink in the sky. That means that the members of its "village," the other stars beneath the arch of the Milky Way, also sink gradually towards the horizon. Those that are nearest the (northern) horizon soon fall below it and are therefore, "dead-and-buried." Everytime the Day comes forward, one of the brave stars camped at the outskirts of the north stars' village "dies."

"they are about to enter the village" — the village is where Polaris lives under the arch of his brother, the Milky Way in the north. As the sun gains ascendancy, it moves it rising point farther and farther north. In May it rises to the right of the (Auriga) Milky Way, then at the summer solstice, it rises inside the Milky Way, and finally in July it rises inside the "village" of Polaris. Actually, it is the Milky Way that is moving to the east, making the sun's motion a relative motion deeper and deeper into the village where Polaris lives, even when in fact it begins to fall back from Polaris itself.

"retreat" — another way of referring to the disappearance of many northern stars below the horizon. The whole of them step backwards as the sun, the Day, advances to its greatest power at midsummer.

"pushing them back" — once summer has passed, the Day is shorter and shorter as more of his light is cut off. In Hočąk symbolism, light (hąp) = life, so the loss of increments of light each day is a death of part of Day's host.

"the warclub" — at midsummer, when the arch of the Milky Way hangs tightly over the circumpolar stars, there is one set of stars that rotates underneath the arching Milky Way, the Big Dipper. This set of stars has a shape very much like a warclub. We find it again in this role below. At sunrise at the fall equinox, this "club" is in the upright position, facing the rising sun, where Day is coming on.

"he rained his arrows back" — now Orion is high in the sky during the winter months when the northern Milky Way is dominant. He now has the arrows of the Heroka most at his disposal.

"there the opponents met" — as the year comes full circle again, we are at the summer solstice. It is precisely then (in recent centuries) that the northern Milky Way and the sun meet as the sun rises.

"they threw their warclubs away" — at this time, sunrise on the summer solstice, the Big Dipper lies flat close to the round, as though it had been cast on the ground.

"then they held each other by one arm each" — the Milky Way breaks at the star Deneb, creating a fork known as the "Cygnus Rift."2 At a certain time of the year the half of the Milky Way below the break set with the rise of the sun (and therefore Day). As the hours progress during the night, the part of the Milky Way where the hero's waist is located begins to sink progressively farther under the horizon, until at sunrise on the equinox (0644 hours, 9/22/1753), that section has sunk completely below the horizon. Thus, it is like a wrestling match between Day and the personification of the Milky Way centered on Deneb. A parallel achronical struggle is seen in the Greek myth in which Orion is killed by being bitten by a scorpion.3 This is an allegorical description of the setting of Orion at the rising of Scorpius, which is located on the opposite side of the horizon. They are described as being in contact only because the forward motions of one cause the retreat of the other, as though the rising celestial object were pushing the setting one. In the Hočąk myth, after the hero is thus split in two, we later learn that his lower half is confined to the earth and the waters at the edge of the world.

Deneb at the Top of the Milky Way "Tree"

"they broke the chief's son in half" — as we later learn (see below), the upper body lands on a tree, which in stellar codes signifies the Milky Way. As it happens, there is a break in the Milky Way at the star Deneb (the Cygnus Rift) which divides the galaxy in two [inset]. In the work of George Lankford, this break in the Milky Way has been singled out as an important feature in the celestial aspects of many North American Indian religions.4 Where the Milky Way is the pathway of the departed souls, this spot seems to represent the bifurcation of the trail, one branch of which leads to oblivion or the Bad Spirit's domain, and the other to Spiritland. In our story, the break is in the brother's body at the waist.

"he rang like iron" — one of the important conventions of Hočąk symbolism is the rendering of light by sound. Allegorically, a bright object makes a loud noise. When we are told that the impact of the (iron spike on the) warclub rang out like iron, we should look for the visial counterpart of such a noise. In this case, the hard striking of iron against itself yields sparks, which being bright, are rendered mythologically as loud. Where do we find sparks in the night sky? Lightning suggests itself, but that is bound up with clouds and the Thunderbirds, rather than with stellar objects, and all the figures of this story are objects of the nocturnal sky. The only serious candidate as the spark of the night sky is the meteor, which in Hočąk is grouped together with the comet under the term wojije ("that which becomes a luminary"). The connection between iron and stellar phenomena is not confined to the shine of metal, which hardly singles out iron, but to the fact that meteorites are so rich in this metal, something that the Hočągara learned in the last few centuries from their contact with the whites. As we have seen, the splitting in twain of the hero occurs in a fight that lasts from midsummer to the autumnal equinox. During this period we have the spectacular meteor shower known as the Perseids, which come out of part of the Milky Way above Deneb at the place where the constellations Perseus, Cassiopoea, and Camelopardus meet. As the lower half of Milky Way's body is being forced onto the earth, from July 17 to August 24, there is a shower of ferric sparks in the heavens directly above. And more immediately, between August 3 and August 25, there is the κ Cygnid meteor shower very near Deneb.5 This same miniature allegory is repeated later clothed in a different fabric of symbolism (see below 1, 2). In this latter case, red hot stones replace the ringing iron.

"they suddenly vanished" — this episode of the astronomical allegory is set in late summer, when the hero, who is the Milky Way centered on the Cygnus Rift at Deneb, sinks to his waist below the horizon where he is split in two. This occurs when the sun rises, so when the action is complete, Day wipes out the whole scene by washing out the light of the stars completely. Thus, they all vanish.

"Warbundle Bearers (Wakixánara)" — for a warleader to lose a man was considered a serious failure, but to lose his attendants, the Warbundle Bearers, and to return alive himself would be a very great disgrace. Usually his Warbundle Bearers were his own nephews (sister's sons). The same strict standards applied to them reciprocally as well. Perhaps the closest relationship, socially, was between maternal uncle and his nephews, so on a personal level, the loss would be traumatic. The Warbundle was a sacred object somewhat like the Hebrew Ark of the Covenant, which contained spiritual items designed to impart supernatural power to the bearer's efforts in battle. Since the action is taking place between the summer solstice and the autumnal equinox, the loss of his Warbundle Bearers (and their Warbundles?) has caused him to decline in power, just as the sun, and by consequence, Day itself, declines in its power as the light (hąp, his life) gets weaker and weaker with the approach of the winter solstice.

"thus they left him" — after midsummer, the stars in the south begin to fall below the horizon. They move away from the north where the sun is in midsummer.

"so they themselves lived in that one" — as previously noted, the sun moves farther and farther left of the Milky Way where the two had come into contact. So he is now deep within the village where Polaris lives.

"he set fire to the village" — the sun rises between the two pillars of the Milky Way and inside the village of Polaris. Thus, when he rises, he sets it aflame.

"there he wintered" — actually, the sun stays in the village of Polaris right up to the winter solstice, where it rises in the opposite pillar of the Milky Way (the Sagittarius section). In fact, the Day "winters" with Polaris precisely from the summer solstice to the winter solstice, the time when the sun declines, here expressed as Day's disgrace at having lost his Warbundle Bearers.

"the world is narrow in places" — this is what the Hočągara call an "old men's saying." In our text the Hočąk is, Mąra nįgešana wiwisijejeną; and Jipson gives the nearly identical, Mąra nįgešana wiwisšaną. He adds that it is said in a context "relating to one's duty in fasting."6 In this myth, it also has an allegorical meaning. The grandson is Polaris. Polaris is located between the two branches of the Milky Way. During the summer, the celestial sphere inclines towards the south, so that the sun is high in the sky and Polaris falls as low as it will get in the north. At this same time, around the summer solstice, the Milky Way arches over Polaris. It is as if Polaris were caught in the narrows between the waters of the Milky Way, which form a containing arch from horizon to horizon, and the horizon itself beneath the star. This is the time at which the world of Polaris is in a "narrow place."

"he would eat only once a month" — from about October through January, when the sun is in the south, the full moon is in the north where Polaris lives. The Moon (Hąhewira, "The Night Luminary") rises as a crescent in the southwest at sunset, then day by day progresses across the sky towards the north, until it stands as a full moon in opposition (i.e., the opposite side of the celestial dome) to the sun. This is as far north as it gets — thereafter is recedes towards the southeast to fall, as a crescent, into conjunction with the sun. Once the moon is full, the evil spirits are said to eat it away until there is nothing left of it, which makes it necessary for Earthmaker to create it anew every month. Therefore, like the Indian (Hindu) Soma, the Moon is also food for the spirits. So during the cold part of the year, his period of fasting, Polaris encounters the full moon, the moon-as-food, just once a month. Therefore, he eats only once a month.

"he hunted" — Polaris is styled, "The Star that does not Move," yet stars characterized as hunters are in pursuit of stellar game, and necessarily move across the sky. This might seem paradoxical, but it has an easy solution. At the summer solstice when the sun is in the north, Polaris is low on the horizon, but as time progresses, it gets higher and higher in the sky, until it reaches its apogee at the winter solstice, when it reverses the process. So Polaris moves across the sky, not (detectably) during a single night, but over the weeks.

"grew old" — grandfather, as the day sky, grows old as the day progresses. Therefore, he is at his most advanced age at twilight, after the sun has set. When there is no hąp ("light") left from Hąpwira, the day sky is "dead," as the night sky now takes over. The dead are said to go west, and this is what happens to the light of Day. The soul as life is said to be hąp, a term in the Medicine Rite which Radin translates as "Light-and-Life." So Day dies when he loses his Light-and-Life, as his soul goes west. As he progresses towards this end, Day exemplifies all the stages of life, with his greatest vigor being midway at noon. Night is conceptualized not as a mere absence of light, but as a positive substance spread across the sky just as the blue of day is spread as it is born. The first Nightspirits have white hair from the twilight, as they come onward from the east spreading darkness. The elders come first, and are the first to die, as they in their turn go west. The diurnal aging of the Day also is reflected in the annual aging of the sun, where its decline is at its maximum at the winter solstice where the light (life) of Day is its weakest.

"his eyes even got dim" — as the sun sets, the sky grows dim in the east first, then becomes dim everywhere in a gradual way. At the same time, of course, the objects of sight also become dim, since they are viewable only by means of reflected light (excepting fire, etc.). So, as the sun sets, the ability of Day to see also declines.

"he was unable to do even that" — in his youth, Day has a fire in the form of the sun, readily available to him, but once the sun sets, Day is no longer able to "cook." The same is true annually, as serious cold sets in by the solstice in December.

"his ears had also become small" — this quaint expression is a Hočąk idiom meaning that he had become deaf. As light and sound are isomorphic, the Hočągara often use sound to symbolize light. When the sky is dim, as in the morning and evening, the sun is itself small, only partially above the horizon and not at its full power. The two ears of Day are the rising and setting points of the sun. As he grows old, the setting sun causes the east to become dim first, then the west. Once it sets altogether, the sky is dark, and the Day is deaf, unable to "hear" (see) the "sounds" (light).

"a round black stone" — as subsequent events show, there are two such stones, one of which is used as the striker. We know of round, black stones from at least two sources. In Mąz-ni'ąp-ra, they give the title its name: "the live iron," the word for the magnetic loadstone. In that story, the two protagonists, who represent the counterparts to the Thunderbirds, actually swallow these stones as though they had gizzards.

He put the little stones he had carried into the fire and then they came out. Then he encouraged his friend, "Act with all your might or many of us will die," he said. Then when they came in, the stones were red hot. They swallowed one apiece.7

Earlier in the story these were described as, "two round, small, black stones" (see the Commentary there).8 These stones were heated so that the young men who swallowed them could sleep with the consorts of the Thunders, the Nightspirits. These women brought bitter cold with them of such a degree that the two men were in danger of being frozen to death. These hot black stones are also associated with the lightning which the Thunders shoot from their eyes. They could therefore be expected to be hot, and to contain the light that moves with them (rather like a speedier form of meteor). The Greeks believed that the thunderbolts of Zeus were of stone,9 and they apparently thought that they could even be shot from the eyes of the god.10 As Eliade says,

A great many beliefs connected with the sanctity of thunder are to be found all over the world. People thought the so-called "thunder" stones — which are for the most part nothing more than prehistoric flints — were the very arrowpoints of the lightning, and they were venerated and piously preserved as such.11

For example, the thunder god of the Iroquois, Heno, carries a pouch full of flint stones which, when cast, transform into lightning.12 Striking such stones together is a well known way of producing sparks, often enough to ignite something flammable. This quality of the stone, in later times, was very well known through the flintlock musket; but in ancient times, those who worked obsidian and flint would have many occasions to see sparks fly. That they seem to emit a miniature form of lightning when thus struck, makes them good candidates as purveyors of lightning and the stone-like damage that it inflicts upon trees. This basic theory of lightning and thunder stones survived in the West through the Renaissance. Handed down from Roman antiquity was the distinction between the fulgar, which was the lightning flash, and the fulmen, the thunderbolt itself.13 Fulke elaborates on this in the XVIth century when he says that on the occasion of a lightning strike, "a great stoone is blowne out with it ... consistynge of brymstone and other metallycke substance." It is this stone which causes the damage we see from lightning strikes.14 Other Hočąk stories allude to these thunder stones. In the story "Green Man," a woman akin to Morning Star and to the Thunders, keeps her soul in a small round black rock. She loses her life when her rock-soul is rolled into the depths of the Ocean Sea by a Waterspirit figure.15 The second place that we encounter a round, black stone is in the mythology of lacrosse. In "Spear Shaft and Lacrosse," they play a game in which "the ball was a black stone greased and painted red."16 This stone, the lacrosse ball, is likely a symbol of the sun. That light of the sun is related to a black stone shows the degree to which lightning and solar light had become homologized. In this story, where the grandfather is Day, the stone at the base of his ear would be the sun. The thunder stones, which are the lightning, are shot from the eyes of the Thunderbird, just as the light of Day is "shot" from the great eye of the sky, the sun. The other stone would likely represents the solid earth at the horizon. The great stone of the sun when it sets, strikes the stone ridge of the western horizon as it goes down; and in the east it strikes it as it comes up. For more on thunder stones, see below. See also the Commentary to the "Big Stone."

"at the base of his ear" — in Hočąk symbolism, sound can stand for light. The knocking together of the two stones makes a loud noise and may even produce sparks. The ear that is thus suddenly empowered is that of Day, the sky that is illuminated by the sun. In other stories, the round black rock, painted red for the lacrosse game, is an alloform of the sun, the round, red-hot black rock (the kind of rock heated for sweat baths and for boiling water) that brings the "noise" of light to the world. Inasmuch as the organ for the apprehension of sound is the ear, the ear becomes the counterpart of the eye. It is the noise of the round, black rock that makes the ear viable once again. Translated from symbolism, this would mean that it is the light (= noise) of the sun (= the round, black stone) that makes it possible for anyone, including Day, to see (= hear). The sun is like the eye of the daytime sky, and therefore, in this symbol system, it is represented by grandfather's ear. The symbolic identity of the round stone and the ear-as-eye is represented in the story by the proximity of the stone to the ear. This association is expressed in other religions. In the Hindu Indian Mahābhārata, Karṇa, whose name means "Ear," is the avatar of the sun god Sūrya. When he is born, Karṇa is encased in golden armor, but of more interest to our present example, he is also born with golden earrings. The rings, being round, golden, and brilliant, represent the sun. They are the counterparts of the round stone(s) placed to the base of grandfather's (Day's) ears. The gold of earrings is conventionally red or orange, the color of the sun as it rises or sets (due to atmospheric refraction). The ears are at the side of the head, just as the rising and setting suns are at the sides of the sky of Day. The first striking of the stones represents the setting sun, which does nothing except cause Day to turn over. The second strike of the stones represents sunrise, and it is this strike that awakens Day, bringing him back to life from the pseudo-death of sleep.

"thus would he hear speech" — when day is no longer in the sky he is said allegorically (and therefore metaphorically) to be "asleep," but also "deaf" since no "sound" (light) reaches him from the world. Once the "round stone" (sun) makes its "noise" (light) to first radiate, it can "hear" (see). Perception of light becomes possible only once the sun has risen and Day is once again stretched across the sky. Now that Day is in the sky, he can "hear" Polaris "speak," that is, radiate light. When Day is reclined on earth unconscious, he cannot hear anything. Speech comes from the mouth, so when Day comes to consciousness, he grunts "Hąhą" or says, "What?," both symbolic of the first appearance of blue light on each side of the horizon (see below, 1, 2). When sound symbolizes light, speech must symbolize self-generated light. So the sun becomes the mouth of Day. The essence of the sun and of Day is hąp, "light," which the Medicine Rite in particular identifies with life. Life in its turn, is identified with breath, as the word meaning "breath," ni, also means "life." Thus, hąp = ni, Light-and-Life = Breath. Both hąp and ni are connected to the essential being or life-soul of a person. Speech becomes a window on the soul. When Hąp, "Day," speaks, his breath is light, which radiates from his mouth, the sun.

"his eyes also became small" — following the same model set out in the comment concerning his ears (above), this idiom means that he became blind. Allegorically, if the sun is also taken as an eye, when it sets it becomes smaller as it drops below the horizon. As a result, things literally become dimmer.

"he would grunt" — this correlates the stones not only with hearing, but with sound, as grandfather Day at this point first begins to appear as pale blue light above the eastern horizon, expressed allegorically in his utterance of sound.

"on the other side" — this probably means that the light reaches the opposite side of the horizon. It may also mean that the sun shines from the opposite side of the sky after it has revolved through the day sky. That the other ear is the setting point of the sun is suggested by the interpretation given in the next entries.

"wha-a-at" — the extended form of ja-a expresses a prolonged sound. Sound symbolizes light in astronomical codes, so it is an extended form of light. This suggests a depiction of the blue sky reaching across finally to the opposite side of the sky. Here one of the convenient puns of Hočąk comes into play, as ja/ją also means "to see." Thus, when the sun awakens and rises, he says, "He sees!"

"food" — the light of the day sky consumes ("eats") the stars over which Polaris presides. The blue sky swallows them up along with the crescent moon. Once the light of the day reaches the opposite horizon, the day will conclude his meal. The status of Polaris is expressed differently by his living in the lodge of Day, once Day has awakened and regained his "hearing" (luminence).

"the Divine Ones (Wakąja)" — the term Wakąja is translated as "spirits," but in fact it has a more specific meaning, "Thunderbirds." It suggests that he is not just fasting to strengthen himself, but is going for something that only the Thunders are likely to bestow. The hypothetical position of the Thunderbird constellation is roughly in between Polaris and his brother, as we shall see below.

"crying" — when someone petitions the spirits for a blessing, (s)he would go out from camp with face blackened as if in mourning, and weep before the spirits. This was to induce their pity for the mortal, human condition. Out of pity they would bestow blessings on the petitioner.

"someone was sitting up above" — there are enough clues given that we might come to a tentative conclusion as to the identity of the being who resides above Polaris (for which see the next entry).

"the top of it was the man. The tree itself was his body" — the tree, here as elsewhere (The Redman, Įčorúšika and His Brothers, Omaha, Maya), is the Milky Way. The Milky Way is a more or less continuous arch in the sky; however, at the Cynus Rift there is something of a break (see the inset above), and that is where we find the star Deneb (α Cygni). So Deneb can mark the place where the "tree" reaches its top. Most of the time, this section of the Milky Way, that below the Cygnus Rift, rises vertically from the horizon like a tree. The Cynus Rift, as can be seen from the inset, is often found above Polaris. The brother's body had been broken in two at the waist, so there should be as much above the waist as there is below it. So we must conclude that the upper body of the brother is the other half of the Milky Way.

"stood first of all" — in the interlinear MS, čekjį ježe was, oddly enough, translated as "full of life." The word je means, "it stood"; and čekjį means, "first, the first one, the first thing, the first time," and never means "life." The statement seems to mean that this was the first tree of creation, the original tree. Astronomically, the stellar tree is the Milky Way as it stands upright rooted in the horizon. Either half of the Milky Way can play this role depending on the time of year and time of night, as well as the orientation of the observer. Since creation was from the celestial world to the terrestrial, it would follow that this "tree" preceded all earthly flora.

"that was the town when it existed" — the cleared area ought to be the space where there are no bright stars, most of the area between the horizon and the arching Milky Way (see the picture above). However, towards the horizon there are some bright stars that define its lower limits: Arcturus (-0.07), and the Big Dipper [Alkaid (1.84), Alioth (1.75), Dubhe (1.78)].

"we were the very ones who were the chiefs" — in order of magnitude and proximity, the first star in the area is Vega (0.00), the second is Deneb (1.25), and the third is Polaris (1.96). This suggests that Vega is the first chief in the story, Deneb is his eldest son (the brother of Polaris), and Polaris is his second son.

"he was going to kill everyone, so I killed some of them myself" — in Hočąk this is, hanąč t'ewahirekjanahege, hišge hisge t'ehaną. The musical nature of this sentence can be seen in its chiastic alliteration:









For another example, see below.

"grappling upright (hakininąžįwiną)" — from hakini, "to combat, to take hold of one another, to grapple," and nąžį, "to stand." So the two of them stood upright grappling with one another. This is a reduplication of the man-tree theme, with the tree being the upright Milky Way terminating at its top with the star Deneb. When the sun rises, Day brings utter destruction to the village of the stars, as they disappear into his light.

"broken in half" — this seems to be a reference to the Milky Way at the Cygnus Rift, where it looks as if it were broken in half.

"this one launched me above" — at the vernal equinox, at sunset, the horizon cuts the Milky Way in two right at Deneb. At the opposite autumnal equinox, as the sun rises, the area around Deneb sets on the northeastern horizon. Starting around November 23 (1750), Deneb rises with the sun. Month by month, Deneb rises higher in the sky, as if it were pushed up by the rising sun. On May 23, Deneb reaches it highest altitude at sunrise (87° 26'), with the sun rising nearly straight below it. So it is as if the sun had launched him high into the sky.

"to go into a trance to recover something lost" — the Hočąk is warukąną. The only other place where warukąną is used is in the story Mąznį’ąbera, where the hero kills the sons of the Giant chief. Since his sons have not returned, he needs to find out where they are, so he instructs his priests (wakąčąkra, "holy men") to locate them, which they do by the magical procedure of warukąną. LaMère-Radin do not translate this word at all in our story, and it is only through Miner's Lexicon that we learn that it is a procedure involving a trance. Apparently, when Polaris fasted, he went into such a trance, and now should be able to locate his grandfather's brothers when the need arises.

"I am giving you meat" — in the Hočąk text this is wonik'ųną. By dividing the word differently, an ingenious homonym is formed. The word woni (wo ni) is a variant of the more standard wąnį́, "meat, food," /o/ often being written for /ą/. The expression wąnį-k'ų-ną, thus analysed, means, "I make (fix) meat"; but when divided in this fashion, wąnįk-'ų-ną, it means, "I create birds." As Polaris rolls over during the night, the stars spin gradually around him. This means that the circular motion that he seems to generate causes stars to rise in the east. As night flyers, stars are often homologized to birds, particularly owls. So, by drawing stars up from the horizon during the course of the night, Polaris creates "birds." Those that he himself has created are in the east where the sun rises. When in the story Polaris awakens Day, Day comes into consciousness, which is to say, the sun rises bring the new day into (mental) existence. Waking and coming into existence are seen in Hočąk symbolism as homologous as we seen in the myth of the genesis of Earthmarker, who sprang into existence by simply awakening into consciousness. As we have seen in the combat scenes of this story, the rising sun causes the Day to "kill" the stars in the sky, beginning with those in the east. In Hočąk symbolism, killing an enemy in battle is "swallowing" him, as we see enacted in the Fast Eating Contest, where the swallowing of food represents the killing of enemies promised to a warparty by the spirits. The food eaten by Day when he gets up is indeed supplied by Polaris, and consists of those winged creatures, the stars, that the circular motion around Polaris had caused to come into existence. Thus his creating birds, wąnįk-'ų, is one and the same as his fixing Day's food, wąnį-k'ų.

"yell" — this is sound for light. Awakening is the appearance of the light (hąp) of consciousness from the night of sleep. So his awakening, or coming into the light of consciousness, is represented by a yell. This is the counterpart of sunrise. The light of the sun is Day's wakened state, but when the sun is set the lights of darkness are the luminaries of his sleeping consciousness, which is to say, his dreams.

"in the direction of the setting sun" — I shall argue below that this otter is Capella. It is the behavior of Capella at sunset that is of interest in this episode.

"a prairie that wrapped around" — in the vicinity of Polaris, at certain times of the year and of the night, the Milky Way arches over the North Star from horizon to horizon, looking like a prairie.

"otters" — it is a little odd that the myth does not make this a river. Otters are strongly associated with the Milky Way, since part of the Milky Way was created when an otter plunged into the Ocean Sea and came up with such force that the spray scattered across the sky. This formed the larger half of the Milky Way. (See The Origins of the Milky Way).

"when they saw him, they began to rise" — the evidence indicates, as will become more apparent, that this episode takes place at the summer solstice (June 21 in 1750). When Capella is reclining on the western horizon, the Milky Way rises in the sky at the same time that Capella sets. So at sunset, when the Milky Way (the stars or "otters" on the "prairie") are first able to see Polaris, they begin to rise in the sky.

"never for the duration of the earth that we have lain here, have we smoked anything" — smoke is just what the Milky Way looks like, and smoke is another image that it takes. As long as the otters are with the earth, the Milky Way is not visible, so there is no "smoke." However, as they now appear in the sky there is considerable "smoke."

"on my way back close up the path behind me" — at sunset on the solstice, Polaris lies to the left and outside the arch of the Milky Way. As the night progresses, the Milky Way rises and swings over Polaris as an arch, sealing off the area "behind" (to the west of) him.

"asleep" — the remark below, that Polaris sits opposite the doors, shows that the action takes place at the summer solstice. At that time, the very bright star (magnitude 0.06) Capella (α Aurigæ) reclines on the horizon, both at sunset and sunrise. At that time, as shown by the table below, Capella is the only bright star near the sun's door and close to the Milky Way, where the other "otters" are said to live. On that point, Capella might be considered to reside on the edge of the Galaxy.

"very white" — Capella is actually yellow, but it is the sixth brightest star in the sky, so it may give the impression of being white, especially against the red background of a sunset. Fortunately, we have an example of another important star (probably Alnilam) which is said in the same story to be the brightest of three stars, while being characterized as both "white" (ska) and "yellowish" (zi-nisge). See Įčorúšika and His Brothers.

"with a reddish nose, and reddish irises" — this is not an allegorical reference to red stars in an asterism, but is a way of indicating that the white otter is an albino. The word translated as "irises" is hišja'ihara, which means, "mouth of the eyes." The translation in Notebook 49 gives "eyelids," but the mouth of this eye is clearly the iris, since it contains the opening (pupil) and is the part of the eye that is pink in albinos. The term šujnisge, "kind of red," is here used to denote pink. The pink associated with the star Capella is the color imparted by the setting sun. Capella is so low on the horizon at sunset that it falls within the red glow of the twilight.

"he turned himself over" — as stars revolve around Polaris as a hub, they will turn a full 180°. When Polaris strikes him in the morning just before sunrise, Capella just rolls over. This refers to the rotation of the star as it circles over Polaris to the other horizon. There at sunset, it can be seen reclining right on the horizon. There the second blows has the telling effect. However, it is interesting to note that this applies to the year as well. At the summer solstice (1750) the star is at an azimuth of 327° 40' at sunset, and at the opposite time of year, at sunrise on December 24 (1750), it is at the very same place, azimuth 327° 44'.

"passing by him" — in the end, all stars pass by Polaris. Those that are nearby will move, but their motion is in a circle which causes them to swerve away from Polaris as they move. If one takes the circumpolar asterism as if it were stationary, then the relative motion of Polaris will look like a dodge.

"laid at the back opposite the door" — the two doors for the Day (and sun) are where the sun rises and where it sets, since these spots are where the Day comes and goes from its sleeping quarters. Normally, since Polaris resides always about due north, it is at a remove from these "doors." However, there is one time of the year where it is closest to both doors simultaneously, and that is at the summer solstice (June 21 in 1750) when the sun has gone as far north as it will get. The relative positions of the sun, Polaris, and Capella can be seen on the table below. On the table the values are given for both azimuths (azi) and altitudes (alt).

Date Sunrise Sunset
Sun Polaris Capella Sun Polaris Capella
March 21 azi: 88° 48' azi: 2° 42'
alt: 42° 4'
azi: 10° 13'
alt: 0° 16'
azi: 271° 29' azi: 357° 14'
alt: 42° 44'
azi: 287° 46'
alt: 75° 41'
April 21 azi: 72° 47' azi: 2° 46'
alt: 42° 40'
azi: 21° 42'
alt: 3° 22'
azi: 287° 29' azi: 357° 40'
alt: 41° 25'
azi: 294° 26'
alt: 48° 54'
May 21 azi: 60° 54' azi: 2° 32'
alt: 43° 20'
azi: 33° 58'
alt: 10° 0'
azi: 299° 17' azi: 359° 3'
alt: 40° 37'
azi: 309° 19'
alt: 25° 44'
June 21 azi: 56° 2' azi:1° 41'
alt: 44° 6'
azi: 48° 34'
alt: 23° 15'
azi: 303° 58' azi: 0° 42'
alt: 40° 34'
azi: 327° 52'
alt: 8° 47'
July 21 azi: 60° 27' azi: 0° 6'
alt: 44° 29'
azi: 62° 47'
alt: 43° 39'
azi: 299° 22' azi: 1° 49'
alt: 41° 0'
azi: 344° 58'
alt: 1° 14'

On the solstice at sunrise, Polaris and the sun are separted by only ca. 54°, and at sunset by ca. 57° azimuth. So this is the time that Polaris is closest to the risng and setting points of the sun. He sits in the back (north) of the lodge as close to being opposite the doors as he will ever get.

To sum up the evidence for Capella being the star identified with the white otter: at the time at which Polaris is opposite the "doors" of the sun (midsummer day), one of the "otters" (stars) of the "prairie" of the Milky Way, very bright white, "reclines" (is lying on the hoizon) in the west. In the morning, it is found near the point where the sun rises. One and only one star satisfies all these requirements, and that is Capella. As has been noted with respect to its deviation from the color white, there is at least one yellowish star that a Hočąk story teller has called "white," probably on account of its brightness.

"knocked the door to smithereens" — on the solstice, Capella crashes into the horizon about 2 hours and 14 minutes after the sun sets, and not too distant from its setting point. At the opposite solstice, December 24, it is at this same "door" (azimuth 327°) in the process of setting, but at sunrise.

""— it may be recalled that this is what his brother said when his own village was under dangerous attack.

"He Stands to Look at Blackhawk" — one would think, since Polaris is always in the north, that the star would look across the way to the south; but in this episode, Polaris actually emerges from the mouth of a Blackhawk, and it is this bird to which the name was intended to refer, as the grandfather testifies.

The Thunderbird Constellation Near Polaris

Therefore, this star group must be in the region of Polaris, and should actually be next to it. The succeeding transformation into a hummingbird is the natural form of Polaris as the Star that does not Move, standing stationary in mid-air like a hummingbird. The inset shows an asterism of the Lakota called the "Thunderbird."17 Its "mouth" (beak = τ Draconis) is right across from Polaris. However, our story speaks of a Blackhawk. This does not prove to be an impediment, since the chief of the Thunderbirds in Hočąk lore is Great Blackhawk. It seems quite credible that the Hočągara could have essentially the same asterism under the name "Blackhawk." On the one hand, the Sioux and the Hočągara are related and this constellation could be a common inheritance. Then again, the Hočągara fought the Sioux (Dakota) and, as a neighboring tribe, the Hočągara would no doubt have assimilated a number of captives (including bride capture) who could have introduced this asterism to their new tribe. So a Sioux Thunderbird asterism could easily be cognate to a Hočąk Blackhawk constellation, both of which would neighbor the North Star. And as we see from the inset, Polaris does indeed stand looking at this raptorial constellation (or one very like it).

"the door you must have made bloody for me" — Capella "died" when it fell below the horizon at sunset where it was reclining. Polaris may seem to cause its death by making the star swirl around it, until the stars crash into the earth in the west where the sun likes to sleep (set). When the star group sets with the sun, it sets into the sunset full of a profusion of red light as if the stars had bled out on the horizon. All this happens around the summer solstice. Capella is closer to the horizon a month later, but in an environment like that of Wisconsin, where hills and trees occlude the horizon, the star disappears from view much sooner. At the solstice when it is 8° or 9° degrees above the horizon, it will barely be visible in such an environment.

"there it was" — this takes place in the morning when Day arises from his nocturnal sleep. So the door that he opens is the one in the east. At sunrise, Capella is still close to the "door" both in altitude and azimuth, but not so close that it will be immediately washed out by the sun's light when it "peeks" out its door at dawn. However, the opposite solstice may be indicated (as well), since on December 24, 1750, at sunrise, Capella is at the exact same place that it was on the summer solstice (azimuth 327°). If we use the annual model, Capella is at the very same spot at the very same door. This goes to show that it is possible to use this star in a rather rough way, to determine both solstices by its imminent setting at, respectively, sunset and sunrise.

The "Wrinkles" of Day's Face
Chris Harvey, Flite Media, "Sunscapes"

"he was wrinkled, so he had raked the back of his head back and tied it" — this makes it clear that he is unusually wrinkled, far beyond what is normal for an aged man; yet the "face" of the sun (and Day) seems perfectly smooth to the glance of the unaided eye. However, Day deals with his wrinkles at dawn, when the sun rises and falls subject to the distorting medium of the atmosphere near the horizon. The inset photo (taken in England) shows remarkably well how low lying clouds can accentuate the distortions effected by the air, which include the faint outlines of a sun-pillar above the solar disk. The striations of the clouds would be the most common source of the solar disk appearing to be "wrinkled," which can also be well appreciated from this photo. As the sun rises, it clears the clouds that hang at the horizon, which is here expressed as a raking back of his hair and skin to his occiput, where it is tied (Mississippian style ?). This seems to express the pulling of the sun away from the clouds, which in Hočąk symbolism are homologized to hair. It is only at this point, when Day is free of such obstructions, that it can "see" with its unoccluded solar "eye."

"a great man" — this is the literal meaning of wąkxete. However, in this context, the Hočąk idiom means "an old man." This is similar to the English (Germanic) expression "great grandfather," where age is identified with stature and prestige.

"rug" — a rug is something inside Day's lodge upon which he may sit or recline. Since Capella in the west lies on the horizon near where the sun sets, it is laid out rather like a rug for Day to recline upon as it goes to "sleep."

"singe it" — as Capella lies by the horizon at this time of the year, it is metaphorically singed by the fire of the setting sun.

"boil it" — the edge of the world where the stars setting with the sun are singed, is also where the Ocean Sea (Te Ją) is found, and so they may be thought of as setting in this body of water as well. Thus, Capella is conjoined with fire and water simultaneously, as if it were being boiled.

"a noise" — here again his wrinkles reappear, which means that the time to which the allegory refers is sunset. As we saw above, the wrinkles represent the horizon's clouds. As the sun sets into them, it becomes "wrinkled" by the atmosphere distortion and refraction of light through the clouds that it did when it rose in the morning on the opposite horizon in the east. The "noise" to which it refers is the illumination of the clouds at sunset, using the standard symbolism of sound for light. This is verified by the fact that the singeing and boiling take place immediately after Day restores his wrinkles.

"blood" — blood is often a symbol of the reddening of the horizon at sunrise and sunset. It is from its rising at the horizon that Capella would come back to life. When it rises with the sun, it would emerge out of the reddened sky, as if this "blood" had been the generative medium for its resurrection.

"white cloth" — a red circle on a white deerskin is the standard sacrificial offering to Day or Sun. By asking for a little spot of blood on the white cloth, Day is in effect asking for an offering of the otter, so that owning him again, he might resurrect him from that spot of blood. This de facto offering is, of course, withheld by Polaris.

"he might come back to life" — it was believed that if the body of an incarnated spirit were completely consumed, especially by fire, the spirit could not again incarnate itself in that form. This is a very common belief in folklore around the world.

... cremation ... may render the body completely inert and even reduce it to inorganic ash so that it no longer "does" anything at all. That this is its objective, in Northern India at least, is suggested by Crooke's observation that it was important for a body to be cremated soon after death, since otherwise the soul might return18 ... And as I have mentioned, certain Bulgarian villages along the Black Sea at one time routinely burned their dead "so that they would not become vampires."19 It has been observed that cultures that cremate tend not to have revenants in corporeal form,20 but since India has abundant revenants in its folklore, we might suggest that such cultures cremate in order not to have revenants.21

In our story and other Hočąk examples, not even a bone can be preserved — everything must be reduced to powdered ash.

"my tooth aches" — if we hold to the identity of the tooth with stars (as below), the star is now with the sun and in its "mouth." However, as a star that no longer shines in the night sky, it is concealed within the sun and in a state of decay and injury. Its inability to shine owes to its capture by Day, and is expressed in Day's unwillingness to sing on its account (sound for light).

"as is customary, they always call on someone for the head" — the head, being the highest part of the animal, and a delicacy, was offered to the most honored warrior. This is similar to the Celtic practice of offering the foremost man the Champion's Portion, the choicest cut of meat. The honoraria at this feast should count as insults to the grandfather. The young man says that he must give this honor to the old woman because she is the only woman present, the very opposite of the standard procedure in a feast, but matches the practice of the disposition of war trophies. A man carrying the head of the enemy taken on the warpath, customarily gives it to his sister. Therefore, he could be treating the white otter as an enemy warrior. Yet he does say that he hunted him, and he did bring the whole of him home, and not just his head. Furthermore, he says that the custom is that someone is called (warajire) for the head, which is not really the war practice at all.

"grandfather received a war prize from her" — this is another odd inversion. The word kikiri, here translated as "war prize," is said by Marino-Radin to mean, "to bring scalps." Radin often uses "scalp" in place of "head," as the practice of headhunting had recently been superseded by this more abbreviated amputation. The customary practice had been to take a slain enemy's head which was believed to have his soul bound to it in some way. This soul, thus possessed, could be used as an other worldly aid to deceased members of the victor's own tribe. When the victor's warparty returned, the head was given to the man's sister, who paraded it about as part of the triumph ceremonies. The only real war prize was the head of the slain enemy, which later was his scalp (hence, "war prize" = "to bring scalps"). Therefore, it is extremely odd that the grandson would say that he thinks that this was a woman who once gave his grandfather a human head taken in battle. He is, in effect, calling his grandfather a "sissy," since his sister is portrayed as the warrior and he as the sister.

"she was making a religious feast out of her own brother" — the interlinear translation has, "she was feasting on her brother." The word higigó, which is used here, means specifically, "to give a religious feast," however. The narrative implies that the old man is the old woman's brother, and that furthermore, the white otter that had been killed for the feast was also her brother. Therefore, the white otter was the grandfather's brother as well. The old woman seems to be the Moon. At conjunction, the Moon is old and travels to the lodge of the Sun. The Moon also "swallows" stars, and lives in the same lodge as the Sun for a couple of days a month during their conjunction (usually portrayed as a marriage). Her brothers are certainly stars, and she is akin as well to the Sun, as he is the Day Luminary (Hąp-wi-ra) and she is his counterpart as the Night Luminary (Hąhe-wi-ra).

Another hypothesis suggests itself. On the way to Spiritland, the ghost encounters an old woman who performs a necessary operation on the soul. She either "cups" (draws blood from) the deceased, or cracks open his skull and removes his brain. When she withdraws his substance, he looses all corporeal desires, which is very similar to ancient Greek notions, expressed in the idea that when the ferryman of the dead crossed the waters of Lēthē (Λήθη), the River of Forgetfulness, all the souls in his care had their memories washed away. The woman is known as "Spirit Woman," but also goes by the name "Old Woman," which is Hitokénįgeną́ka in Hočąk. This is a personal name, analysed as Hitokénįk-ną́k-ka. The suffix -ną́k is an auxiliary to the noun that indicates the sitting position, and -ka is a definite article used in personal names and only rarely otherwise (-ra/-na being more standard). However, there is also a suffix -nąka, which means "that," and is often translated as "the." It happens that on page 77, the old woman is denoted by Hitokenįknąka. This is translated as "the old woman" (hitokénįk-ną́ka) rather than "Old Woman" (Hitokénįk-ną́k-ka). However, it is impossible to say for sure which is meant. Old Woman is said to have a lodge with two doors, facing east and west. She herself sits on the north side of the lodge, a fact which suggests possible proximity to Polaris. Her presence here would explain the presentation of the head of the deceased to her. However, it would explain almost nothing else, and Moon still remains a better fit with the actions of this episode.

In "The Chief of the Heroka," we find another old woman who plays a role similar to Day in the present story. She feigns a nightmare to send her son-in-law on a Bellerophonic mission, not to kill a white otter, but a black one, as summarized here.

That night her mother cried out from a nightmare. Her daughters had great difficulty in waking her, and she was very reluctant to tell them about the dream for fear that some obligation might fall upon her new son-in-law. Finally the daughters got her to say what it was that she dreamt: "I dreamt that I must die, and the only thing that will save me is a feast made of a black otter that resides in the east at the corner of the earth." So her son-in-law went out to get it, and that evening he came back with the otter. He singed the hair off of it, then boiled it, since this is how she dreamt it. [The young man calls the spirits to a feast.] And so they ate it according to the ritual. Then they disappeared, having returned to their spirit abodes. The next day the sisters acted grief stricken and sat facing the wall and never uttered a word. His wife explained: "My mother has four brothers who live in the world above. They used to come down and help eat the husbands my sisters killed. The animal that you have killed is one of their dogs. That is why they act so."22

Instead of eating her brother, in that story she must eat her "dog," that is, a pet comparable in worth to a human being.

"my teeth ache" — inasmuch as the moon at conjunction is in the lodge of the sun, she is present with the stars which are also in conjunction at that time. So her teeth hurt for the same reason as the Sun's (see above).

"you cannot take any with you" — the moon is only in the sun's lodge at conjunction for a couple of days, whereas the stars that have set with the sun abide with him for some time. Therefore, after the short period of feasting, she must leave without taking the stars with her, as their "conjunction" with the moon is only brief and coincidental. The stars set in the west and rise in the east, but the moon does the reverse during its monthly course.

"the stone" — this is an alloform of the sun (see above). As Capella is on the horizon at sunset, and sinking daily, the sun is gradually dragging it down into the horizon, where it is destroyed (it disappears). The great stone of the sun crushes it against the stone that is the earth's horizon. This occurs at the edge of the world at the Ocean Sea, where the star submerges into the "soup."

"eat it up" — the action, as we are told, takes place on the western horizon. The old woman is Moon, the sister of Day. When the moon is in the lodge of the sun, she is in conjunction. This last but a brief time, here expressed as the length of a feast. When she leaves the lodge of the sun (Day), she rises as a sliver in the west. After this, she grows bigger and bigger. After eating her brother star Capella, she begins to recover her girth. However, the moon never actually passes over Capella, so she does not "eat" the star in any more literal sense.

"he smoked" — every visit to his brother begins with an episode of smoking. This seems to be another reference to the Milky Way, which also resembles a trail of smoke.

"lit it" — a star like Deneb that shines brightly in the Cygnus Rift of the Milky Way is like a pipe that is being lit whence arises the field of smoke that trails to either side of it. Near Deneb, on the edge of the Cygnus Rift is found the North America Nebula (NGC 7000), a diffuse red "cloud" that, although faint, can suggest the color of lit tobacco.

"above his head there stood a blackhawk crying out with a good voice" — this reinforces the hypothesis advanced above that the blackhawk is an asterism essentially identical to the Thunderbird of the Sioux. This asterism, like all stars, rotates around Polaris like a wheel around a hub. At sunset (2045 hours) on December 10, 2007, Altais (the star at the back of the bird's head) was directly to the left of Polaris. At 0245 hours on the same night, Altais is directly below Polaris, looking up; and just after sunrise, Altais is to the right of Polaris, the bird being upside down. Only around the beginning of May will Altais be directly over Polaris, but the light of its stars will be washed out by the sunrise at 0600 hours. The time at which Altais is directly above Polaris is set out on the table below.

Date Time
April 25 0600
May 25 0405
June 25 0200
July 25 2350
August 25 2150
September 25 1945
October 29 1752

In the last entry, Altais is directly above Polaris exactly at sunset. So, from about the beginning of seasonal spring (May Day) to about the beginning of seasonal winter with the first snowfall (Halloween), the supposed Blackhawk asterism would be directly above Polaris at the times indicated, with the bird's beak (τ Draconis) pointing down at the North Star. Since sound stands for light, its crying out with a good voice (ijanik ... wahopįxjį) corresponds to the maximal brightness of its stars, which only occurs once it is liberated from the light of sunrise and sunset, during the warmer half of the year. This is the time of the year, of course, when the Thunderbirds are active (as it almost never thunders during the times of the year when it snows [see Table]).

"so in the morning he went out wearing a hummingbird on each ear" — this apparently means that he wore (or had) living hummingbirds as earrings (or earbobs). This is very similar to Redhorn, who has living heads for his earbobs (or earlobes). This reinforces the association between hummingbirds and black hawks. On the face of it they seem to have nothing in common; but they are distinguished most particularly by the same thing: they are the most accomplished fliers among the race of birds. What is particularly interesting in the flying of hummingbirds is their ability to hover in place. That Polaris should be identified with hummingbirds is certainly appropriate given that, as the Hočągara and others call him, "The Star that Does Not Move," he hovers in the northern sky while all the other stars swirl around him. The two stars nearest him are the Cepheid star still best known by its Flamsteed designation, 2 Ursæ Minoris;23 and Yildun (δ Ursæ Minoris).24 The former has a visual magnitude of 4.24, and the latter 4.35. The other stars nearby are of magnitude 5.00 or higher, where 6.00 comes close to the boundary of visibility. These two stars rotate around the "head" of Polaris like hummingbirds around a flower. Being close to the pole star, they rotate around it very slowly, with Yildun being something of a competitor with Polaris as the true indicator of the celestial pole. These stars make a pattern similar to those of Orion which forms the earbobs (presumably) of Redhorn, as we see in the pictures below.

The Living Stellar Earbobs of Polaris and Redhorn

"martens" — the Milky Way is once again described as a prairie, but instead of a group of otters, we now have martens. We do know that circling very close to Polaris is the Hočąk constellation of the Marten, which is the Big Dipper (Ursa Major), as we are told later on in this story. It will come to play the role of Polaris' wife, but here it is one of the constellations between the Milky Way, the horizon, and Polaris. Both the marten and the fisher, a close cousin, are known for their acrobatic skills in the trees, and for being able, like their main prey animal the squirrel, to run up the trunks of trees in a circular pattern. In like manner, they inscribe a tight circle around Polaris.

The Big Dipper, Sunrise, Midsummer Day, 1750
Starry Night Software,

"the center" — this is an important datum in affirming the identity of the marten. At dawn on the summer solstice, the Marten Constellation, the Big Dipper, lies flat on the horizon. Its two pointer stars, Dubhe (α Ursæ Majoris) and Merak (β Ursæ Majoris) stand straight up at 90° pointing up at Polaris. Dubhe's azimuth is 358° 23', that of Merak is 358° 20', which makes them almost perfectly upright and almost due north. The sun sets in the Gemini part of the Milky Way at azimuth 304°, and rises at azimuth 56°. The midway point between these two azimuths is 359°, almost identical to the azimuth points for Dubhe and Merak. So the pointer stars are in the center of the sunrise and sunset points, which also is about the center of the Milky Way arch. It is also interesting that the tip of the tail of the marten, the star Alkaid (η Ursæ Majoris), is at azimuth 330° 1.7', which is only 2° 9.7' from the position of Capella (327° 52') at sunset on this same day. So the tail of the marten lies as close to the western "door" of the sun as the otter lay.

"rolled himself over" — again, this asterism rolls over Polaris during the day, so that at sunset it is at an 11 o'clock position above the North Star. However, the same side always faces Polaris. At the opposite side of the year at sunset on December 21, the Dipper-Marten has completely rolled over and is now in the same position, essentially, that he was at the summer solstice.

"big logs were firmly piled against the door" — the "door" of the sun, where it rises or sets, is the Gemini Milky Way during midsummer, and the Sagittarian Milky Way during the winter solstice. As we have seen, the Milky Way is frequently homologized to a tree, so it is appropriate to cast it as logs piled against the door.

"hair" — hair often symbolizes clouds. It is only by pulling his hair back that Day is able to see, as the presence of clouds will occlude his eye, the sun.

"fisher" — a relative of the marten. We do not have enough information to deduce what star or asterism the fisher might represent.

The Bear Lodge Constellation
Four Lakes, 0330 Hours, Sept. 3, 1753
Starry Night Software,

"polar bear" — here we encounter a substantial anomaly in the translation. LaMère, the presumed translator, instead of "the polar bear" or "the white bear" (the more literal), instead gives us "White Feather." The syllabic is quite clear and very legible, reading m ttAo rK s. (mąčo skara), which literally means "the white grizzly," the name that the Hočągara give to the polar bear (Miner). Instead, LaMère reads this as if it were m dAo rK s. (mąšų skara), which would be "white feathers." There is a mythological being known from nearby Siouan tribes as White Plume, who seems to be identified with Sirius. This being is probably the same as the Hočąk Wears White Feather on His Head. The name "White Plume," which seems to refer to a crane or egret, is also a personal name found in the Bird Clan.

As to the star group denoted by "polar bear," we have a good candidate in the Lakota Bear Lodge, a group of stars located in the Gemini sector of the Milky Way.25 Elsewhere (1, 2, 3), this group of stars is a good candidate for a Hočąk bear asterism.

Like Capella and the Dipper-Marten before it, the stars Castor and Pollux (Gemini) lie flat on the horizon at sunset on Midsummer Day, with the sun setting almost directly under them. The Gemini stars are in this same position at the opposite time of the year at the winter solstice when the sun rises in the Sagittarian Milky Way.

"two women" — these two women will prove to be the "pointer stars" of the Dipper by which Polaris can easily be found in the night sky. On the summer solstice they point upward as the Dipper lies flat on the horizon at dawn. The sun rises in the northeast, as close as it will get to the Dipper.

"mates" — there is some inconsistency in the story telling. Below we are told that he marries only one of the women, and that she is the Dipper. It seems clear from what is said here, however, that he marries both women, and they are both parts of the Dipper, not the whole asterism. Since the pointer stars are used to find Polaris, we can say that where they are, so too is Polaris. This intimate association and companionship is analogous to marriage.

"they are wanted all over the earth, but they fail to get them" — since the Dipper is circumpolar and these stars never set with the sun into the earth, no one on earth ever gets them.

"black fur blanket" — this, of course, symbolizes the night sky which is the robe worn by the stars.

"ornaments" — these are the stars which revolve around the night sky robe centered on Polaris.

"in the center he placed a blanket ornament" — as the ornaments are stars, this symbolizes Polaris himself, who is at the center of the black "blanket" which is the night sky.

"four corners" — the four corners of the night sky blanket would be the four cardinal points on the horizon, which marks the end of the "blanket."

"central tail feathers of an eagle" — the feathers of an eagle's tail increase slightly in size as they progress towards the center, so that the central tail feather is the longest. This means that the tip of this feather is at the very end of the eagle's body. In world mythology, the eagle is the bird of the day sky (and sometimes the sun), as we see, for instance, with Zeus, who is the Greek god of the day sky,26 whose bird is the eagle.27 Here the tail end of the eagle's body is attached to the edge of the night sky at the cardinal points, inasmuch as the night sky ends where the day sky begins, so that they revolve in lockstep. This revolution is a kind of flight, the ascent of the day sky recalling the take off of the great bird who then glides across the firmament. This gliding flight is aptly symbolized by the largest instrument of that flight, the central feather of the tail. The feather, the symbol of movement in the sky, is both central and peripheral, expressing both the beginning and the ending of dirunal and nocturnal time. And, of course, this was put upon the blanket of night by Day himself.

"neck" — inasmuch as the stars revolve around Polaris, they are like strands of white wampum beads that, by being hung around his neck, form concentric rings around his head, which symbolizes the centrality of his star.

"four black wampum strands" — black is the color of night, so that the wampum strands represent the same thing as the black blanket. The four strands represent the four directions. The night itself encircles the neck of Polaris and revolves around it just like the stars symbolized by the white wampum necklaces.

"mud (mąkáx)" — perhaps a reflection of the fact that Polaris is a reddish star.

"take one of the Warbundles" — a rather odd idea that a Warbundle should be taken on the road to courtship. One of the primary objects of the warpath is to "swallow" the enemy, which is to say, to take them prisoner in the flesh, or by killing them and obtaining their heads, to take them prisoners as souls. The object of courting is to "capture" a bride, which may be viewed as a kind of soul capture, a seduction. It was perhaps thought that the magical powers of the Warbundle which made it efficacious in combat would also suffice to seduce the soul of a woman to be obtained as a bride. The Warbundle is also bound up with blood, having had its case made by a virgin who is just undergoing her first menstruation. It is said,

Everything that is holy would immediately lose its power if a menstruating woman came near it. ... If a person possessed any medicines, they would lose all their power if a menstruating woman came in contact with them. ... However, there is one thing that a menstruating woman is afraid of, and that is the warbundle. These warbundles are kept in cedar mixed with medicine to prevent danger from just such a source. If a menstruating woman comes near a warbundle, her flow would increase and never cease, and after a while she would die, and only if the owner of the warbundle personally attends to her can she be cured. For that reason whenever a warbundle feast is being given a woman is very careful, and even if it is a few days before her menstrual flow she will not go.28

Radin was of the opinion that it was the cedar that made the Warbundle dangerous to a menstruating woman, and not the bundle itself.29 For whatever reason, it is clear that the Warbundle has power over women.

"the baldheaded men" — the young man comes upon a column of Thunderbirds carrying warclubs. In humanoid form, the Thunders are baldheaded, and the kind of warclub that they carry (see the inset in the text) is also called "baldheaded" (pešara). It may be that the one's baldness derives from the other's.

"oak" — the oak is the tree most often struck by lightning. Consequently, it is strongly associated with the Thunders. When the Thunders strike something with lightning, they are said to "eat" it. So taking in oak smoke by burning it is homologous to striking an oak tree with lightning. For more on the oak and lightning, see the Commentary to "The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head."

"he swallowed the smoke" — smoke, here being homologized to clouds, is part of the very nature of the Thunderbirds, whose bodies are the clouds. By internalizing smoke, a symbolic representation is made of the internal essence of the Thunders as clouds.

"grasshoppers" — the Thunders are in the habit of referring to large animals by diminutive counterparts, grasshoppers being the deer among the insects. Even the powerful Waterspirits are said by them to be "beavers," which expresses the magnitude of the power that they possess that their enemies are to them as beavers are to humans. In the present example we may infer that,

Thunders : humans :: deer : grasshoppers.

"food" — the Hočąk is literally, hiroit'ųra, "things for the fire." This term is used elliptically for sacrifices. As it turns out, the Thunders are actually sent out to look for sacrifices that have been offered to them, or for other objects connected to the fire itself, their holy possession.

"big snakes and even large frogs" — since they are sinuous and have forked tongues, snakes can be symbols of lightning, as reflected in the name "Blowsnake" in the Thunderbird Clan. Frogs, for their size, have the greatest voice in the animal kingdom, and here serve as symbols of thunder. Both snakes and frogs are cold and wet like the clouds whence lightning and thunder originate.

"tree-dwellers (noči)" — the word nočí comes from ną, "tree, wood"; hočí, "to dwell"; and so means, "tree-dweller." A marginal note by Radin in another story says, "i.e., a dryad," the term in Greek mythology for a tree spirit.30 These spirits are called in translation, "Wood Spirits," and are said to be "little" (nįk) because they are about the size of a cat. To even think of them is dangerous, so they are usually referred to by the elliptic expression, Wakąčuna, "The Possessors of Holy Power." "Tree-dweller" is a similar ellipsis. They have eyes that glow in the dark, and they can kill people by merely gazing upon them. This is why they are here associated with the Thunders, since these upper world beings shoot lightning from their eyes with similar effect.

"a great valley" — this is another way of conceptualizing the vicinity in which Polaris "dwells," taking the Milky Way as high ground surrounding a flat area. When viewing the northern sky, the Milky Way creates a semicircle over the North Star, a bow that looks like a natural arch. This same area was described above on page 33 as "cleared ground," as though the Milky Way were originally a disc and this area was hollowed out to make a natural arch, or cleared away to eliminate the Milky Way "brush."

"here we are being killed off" — as the stars of the Thunderbird asterism progress both during the night and during the year, they set off from the eastern side of the Milky Way and end up at its western edge, where during the shorter nights of the year, the sun rises on them and their stellar light is washed out or "killed." That they move from east to west is an illusion, since the eastern, Gemini Milky Way simply rotates around until it is in the west.

"only the leader there went a little more" — Aldhibain, the tail star of the Thunderbird asterism, approaches the western Milky Way, but rotates back. Altais, one of the head stars, and as the head, the leader, follows last, but gets farther to the western edge of the Milky Way. The reason for this is, of course, that the head stars are closer to the Milky Way than the tail stars, and as the system rotates from east to west, the illusion is that Altais has traveled farther west than Aldhibain.

"finally, the human went" — this might seem to be a puzzling statement in an allegory, since on any given night, the Star that Does Not Move (Polaris), as it name indicates, is stationary. Their motion is an illusion that arises from taking the Milky Way to be a stationary arch reaching from east to west in the northern sky. The travels of the Thunderbirds and of Polaris across the valley can be seen in the shifting position of the North Star in relation to the Milky Way at the same time of night in succeeding months, as seen in the table below (a "motion" which also occurs nightly). The time chosen was 2045 hours, which is the time that the sun set on June 21, 1750. The Milky Way arches over both the Thunderbird constellation (see above) and Polaris. However, both the Thunderbird asterism and Polaris are closer to one side of the Milky Way than the other. When the sun sets in August, Polaris and his companions are near the Gemini half of the Milky Way to the east, and in the west, the Scorpius side of the Milky Way is quite distant. Therefore, the Milky Way as it arches over Polaris is asymmetrical, and as it rotates during the next eight months, the Gemini Milky Way swings over the top of Polaris and ends up in the west, changing positions with the Scorpius half. However, if the eastern half of the Milky Way is treated as if it were stationary, the illusion is that Polaris and the Thunderbirds are traveling from one side of the Milky Way to the other. This apparent journey across the opening between the stellar arch of the Milky Way is seen in the illustrations below.

The Position of Polaris and the Thunderbird Stars (Altais and Aldhibain) at 2045 Hours, August-April
All images are from Starry Night Software,
August 21, 1750 October 21, 1750 December 21, 1750
February 21, 1751 April 21, 1751

The position of the Thunderbird asterism is marked by a head star, Altais, and the central star of its tail, Aldhibain. It can be appreciated that the Thunderbird stars start out ahead, but appear to turn back once they reach their limit in the west; whereas Polaris alone remains in the west when the sun overtakes this configuration (either diurnally or annually).

"two women" — inasmuch as the village is situated in the center of the semicircle formed by the over-arching Milky Way, the women must also be located there. As noted above, these women appear to be the two "pointer stars" of the Big Dipper (Dubhe and Merak). They may also double as Nightspirits. The women that the Thunderbirds always court are of the divine race of Nightspirits, the beings who are responsible for bringing on the darkness of night.

"combing their hair" — at the solstices, the Dipper lies flat near the horizon in the summer at sunset and in the winter at sunrise. It is low to the horizon that clouds frequently gather at these times, and it is clouds that are usually homologized to hair.

"the frame of the lodge" — another way to conceive of the arching Milky Way is to think of it like the arching frame of an oval lodge.

"he knocked down an old woman" — this old woman is apparently their mother. She may be the other stars of the Dipper, since at this time of the year, while the two pointer stars, the two women, stand upright, the stars of the Dipper's handle lay parallel to the earth.

"they pulled her out" — on the winter solstice at sunset the Milky Way arches over the Dipper like the frame of an oval lodge. As the night progresses, the whole Dipper moves from its position flat on the horizon to a station high in the sky near the zenith (Alkaid, altitude 81° 22'). As it rises, the Milky Way behind it receeds, and the Milky Way in front of it opens up and disappears for a time below the western horizon so that in terms of this allegory, the two pointer stars have dragged the prostrate stars out of the enclosed "lodge" formed by the overarching Milky Way, and out into the open. By sunrise, the Milky Way lies flat on the northern horizon from west to east, so Polaris and the Dipper are no longer in a "lodge."

"a short time after he came out, they appeared" — Polaris is bright enough to come out at twilight. The pointer stars are low on the horizon and are therefore more readily washed out by the sun's rays. Polaris has a lead on them as the Milky Way receeds and they come out into an open field of stars.

"a baby" — when the young man is being chased by the women, he turns himself into a baby. "Those who Turn Themselves into Babies" is a name for a class of spirits otherwise called the "Little Children Spirits." However, it seems unlikely that Polaris is to be identified with these spirits, as the theme of turning into a person whose opponent is unwilling to kill is found elsewhere (see below). As seen in the inset above, Polaris is surrounded by three stars (Yildun, 2 Ursæ Minoris, HIP 37391) that form something of a cradle in which he rests.

"they did not strike him" — the whole Dipper is shaped like a club. However, Polaris is fixed and cannot be forced below the horizon, and therefore cannot be killed. These stars swirl around him with their menacing club, but are never able to make contact.

"moccasins" — the lowest coverings of the Dipper stars are their moccasins. As the sun is about to rise, the light washes out the lowest stars first. So they begin by losing their moccasins.

"skirts" — as the dawn progresses, the light gets higher and higher into the sky, so that the stars first lose their moccasins, then their skirts.

"naked" — the "clothing" of the stars is their outer appearance, which is the black of darkness (like the black furred blanket of Polaris). Therefore, when the sun rises on them, which is to say, when they come to the lodge of Day, they loose their enraping darkness, and metaphorically they lose their clothing (outward appearance).

"they were made to sit at the door" — this happens during the summer solstice. The Dipper appears high in the sky at sunset, then revolves slowly until it rests flat on the horizon, the same position it occupied at sunset on the winter solstice.

"they did not go in" — as circumpolar stars, they do not go below the horizon.

"brought out some clothes" — these new clothes are the blue blanket of the daytime.

"you are the cause" — this goes towards confirming the interpretation of the nakedness of the women as the wiping away of darkness by the Day (see above).

"He handed them over. Then they put the clothes on, the ones given to them by the old man, when he gave them clothing." — in Hočąk this is, Hija wogarehiže. Égi wainira wogiwaǧukirakireže, wawogaga wąknunąka, waini wogagi. These two sentences are highly alliterative in Hočąk, in a way almost reminescent of the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf, in this case with almost every word starting with the letter /w/.


















Coincidence cannot be excluded, but in story telling such alliteration could certainly be done by design. For another example, see above.

"then they came in" — inasmuch as the sun has risen, his lodge is now the day sky in which Polaris and the Dipper now dwell (out of view).

"they held him" — at sunset on Midsummer Day, Polaris is at its lowest altitude in the sky at 40° 34'. The same is true of the two pointer stars, who are also now closest to the horizon. It is as if they had pulled him down and held him in place.

"he got loose" — by dawn on Midsummer Day, Polaris has risen to an altitude of 44° 6'. The rise could be noticed against the back drop of a lone tree or outcrop of rock. So during the course of the night he does manage to rise dispite the fact that when they went to bed, he was held to his lowest altitude ("lying down").

"two arrowheads" — the two shots that Day takes at Polaris are in the evening and the morning, as we shall see from the configuration of the stars. These arrows represent the κ Cygnids (KCG), a meteor shower that we have encountered in a prior episode. It is apparent that the weapon launched is a meteor(ite), a ferrous stone associated with the "sparks" that we see in the firmament as the meteors rain towards the ground.

Sunset, August 12, 1750 Sunrise, August 13, 1750
Starry Night Software,

"ground it" — this suggests that the arrowhead is made of metal or perhaps stone. Its comparison to a cow catcher on a locomotive calls to mind the triangular arrowheads of other tribes, rather than the connical, turtle claw arrowheads used by the Hočągara. Meteorites are so iron rich that a magnet will stick to them. The grinding not only suggests the iron of the meteorite, but alludes to its peculiar character of luminence. The grinding stone used by Day will, of course, produce an abundance of sparks whether it is applied to a stone or a piece of iron. A meteor shower will resemble sparks shooting from part of the sky as though that region were being applied to a grindstone in slow motion.

"railroad engine" — in the days in which this myth was told (1908-1912), the engine was a steam driven locomotive. This "neologism" turns out to be an ingenious analogy. The locomotive is stoked with a black "stone" (coal) in a concealed fire, the smoke from which strings out in a long plume behind the moving train. The smoke resembles the Milky Way, from which the KCG shower is not far removed. The lamps above the cow catcher give the speeding train the appearance of a meteor rushing through the night.

Claude Monet, "Train in the Snow, the Locomotive" (1875)

"cow catcher" — this image, too, fits in nicely with an allegory about meteors. In the Monet painting, the cow catcher (or "pilot") is the set of red bars at the chin of the locomotive, just below the running lights.

Although the earliest forms of cowcatchers were largely made of wood, iron was widely favored during succeeding years. Nearly all of the pre-1855 illustrations show cowcatchers made of round or flat iron bars.31

The standard cow catcher of the later XIXᵀᴴ century was a giant triangular structure made of iron bars (almost always painted a fiery red), and resembling a great downward pointing arrowhead. A massive piece of iron behind running lights that rushes through space in front of a streaming cloud of smoke, bears a fair semblance to a κ Cygnid meteor as it suddenly appears in the firmament as a streak of light — in reality a glowing arrowhead of ferrous stone — with the trailing "smoke" of the Milky Way behind it.

Implicit Models. The railroad locomotive with a cow catcher is merely alluded to in the course of drawing analogies, yet it forms an "image" or model that is very similar to that of the model employed by allegory. It is the actual speeding locomotive with its cow catcher that forms a model of the fiery meteorite as it courses through the heavens.

"the doorway" — here the doorway is the opening in the Milky Way by Deneb (α Cygni). Only a short distance away, still within Cygnus, is the KCG, where Day's arrows eminate. So Day shoots his arrows through this doorway where Polaris stands nearby.

"the women on each side" — prima facie, this looks like an impossible condition for the pointer stars of the Dipper, with whom the two mates of Polaris had been identified, since these stars are next to one another and are not on opposite sides of Polaris. However, they are on either side of Polaris at the two defining times of this episode, sunset and sunrise. These are the times at which Day takes his shots. As we see in the picture above, in the evening Dubhe and Merak are to the left of Polaris, but in the morning, they have swung around and now "hold" him from his right side. We know from the narrator's own statement that Dubhe is, or is at least part of, the asterism with whom Polaris' wife is identified. As to a candidate to replace Merak, we really look in vain for another star to the right of Polaris (at sunset) that is still within the wall formed by the Milky Way. So the temporal configuration is the only one that works, and is at least consistent with the homology seen between space and time generally in Hočąk thought.

"he threw himself to the ground" — motion with Polaris is almost always relative. As we see from the picture of the situation at dusk (2004 hours) on Aug. 12, 1750, his two mates, the pointer stars of the Dipper, are to the left and at the same level as Polaris, but the KCG are above the North Star. His mates have told Polaris that they will pull him down, although we learn that Polaris does this for himself in any case. What happens as time progresses, is that the Dipper rotates down until at 0204 hours, they are actually directly below him. On the other hand, the circular motion of the KCG spot has caused it to swing higher into the sky, until it reaches its greatest altitude (73° 25') at 2232 hours. This table shows the altitude and azimuth of the principal players on August 12-13, 1750, beginning at sunset.

Time KCG Polaris Dubhe
altitude altitude azimuth altitude azimuth
2004 61° 37' 41° 23' 2° 18' 38° 41' 324° 21'
2104 68° 24' 41° 51' 2° 37' 32° 39' 327° 59'
2232 73° 25' 42° 37' 2° 46' 25° 3' 335° 11'
2304 72° 38' 42° 53' 2° 44' 22° 46' 338° 14'
0004 67° 55' 43° 23' 2° 30' 19° 19' 344° 29'
0104 61° 2' 43° 49' 2° 6' 17° 2' 351° 12'
0200 53° 55' 44° 9' 1° 34' 16° 3' 357° 47'
0230 50° 3' 44° 17' 1°15' 16° 1' 1° 19'

Since Polaris drops (relatively), the arrow flies above him. As we see, Polaris actually gains a little in absolute altitude (1° 14'), but the relative drop is substantial (11° 41'). At 0230 hours, Dubhe gets almost directly below Polaris (only 4 minutes difference).

"thundering" — meteors (to my knowledge) do not make a rumble or roar like thunder. However, this pseudo-attribution serves the purpose of homologizing the meteor to lightning which is accompanied by such sounds. A meteor does not have the sound, speed, or brevity of a lightning strike, but the prevalent theory of lightning nearly everywhere in antiquity, conceived of it as being (associated with) a stone glowing with heat that strikes the world below with the force of its inertia.32 That lightning is the product — or at least bound up in some way — with the "thunder stone," may well be the effect of homologizing lightning to meteors; but in any case, it conceptualizes lightning strikes and meteor showers, in the minds of most people engaged in pre-scientific thought, as very similar phenomena. Gilbert Murray says, in connection with the association of the Greek Zeus with stone,

In the word 'thunder-stone', or κεραυνία, the ancients seem to have mixed, and perhaps confused, two ideas: that of a meteorite, which seemed to be the actual bolt which fell in the thunder, and that of an ordinary flint, nephrite, jade, or the like, which has its mysterious fire inside it. The fire is the soul, or indwelling mana, of the flint.33

Part of the reason for this confusion, as Eliade observed, is that "Meteorites ... were seen as pursued by lightning, a symbol of the sky god."34 For more on thunder stones, see above.

"we will boost you up" — on the first table we see what the stars do after Day's first shot. On this table, we can see what they do on Day's last shot. The events take place on August 13, 1750, on which date, sunrise occurs at exactly 0600 hours. The table starts at the time that Dubhe is almost directly below Polaris.

Time KCG Polaris Dubhe
altitude altitude azimuth altitude azimuth
0230 50° 3' 44° 17' 1°15' 16° 1' 1° 19'
0300 46° 13' 44° 23' 0° 54' 16° 18' 4° 51'
0314 44° 27' 44° 25' 0° 44' 16° 33' 6° 29'
0400 38° 47' 44° 29' 0° 10' 17° 52' 11° 46'
0500 31° 51' 44° 27' 359° 25' 20° 41' 18°18'
0600 25° 38' 44° 16' 358° 43' 24° 37' 24° 16'

From 0230 hours on, Dubhe and the Dipper pull up higher and higher into the sky at the same time that KCG falls in altitude. At 0314 hours, KCG and Polaris pull up even in altitude, but Day does not take his shot until dawn. Between 0400 hours and dawn (0600 hours), Dubhe suddenly jumps about 6 ½° degrees into the sky, which makes Polaris clear Day's dawn shot (KCG) by 18° 38' (44° 16' - 25° 38').

"he would shoot near to the ground" — it is clear from the table above, that Polaris jumps from being 5° 46' below KCG, to being 18° 38' above at dawn; so Day ends up shooting too far below him.

"Warbundle" — this is a slip of the tongue by the narrator (who may have been getting on in years), having said Waruǧap, "Warbundle," instead of nąmąče, "warclub." The context makes it clear that they are talking about making an offering to the warclub, and if that offering is not made and consumed as directed, the grandson is to use that same warclub on the old man. One would think that inasmuch as the Warbundle was supposedly violated by being mixed up with the affairs of women, that it would be the Warbundle's spirit who needed to be mollified.

The Edge of the World
Where the Milky Way Lies Like a River by the Ocean Sea

"creek" — since our hero is Polaris, the creek along which he travels would have to be the Milky Way, the only stellar grouping that resembles a waterway. The Milky Way is widely homologized to bodies of water (see the links and sources here). Nevertheless, the matter is not that simple. Like the Greeks, the Hočągara believed that the dry earth was surrounded by a waterway called Te Ją(na), "(the) Encircling Lake," which is one and the same concept as the Ocean Sea (Okeanos/Ὠκεᾰνός), which in Homer's time was conceived as a river (Ὠκεᾰνός ποταμός).35 However, as the word te is otherwise used only for lakes, it is not clear that the Hočągara who used this designation realized that the oceans were salt water, having never visited one. Just as in the ancient Western tradition, people considered that the sun might set in this Sea, or in the mountains that must surely surround and contain it (to prevent it from draining off the edge of the world). In the inset we see that at an important time of the year, when the nights are the shortest and the sun and Polaris are nearest each other, the midsummer solstice, that at sunset for nearly two months the Milky Way lies flat on the horizon, stretching from the northeast to the northwest. At the edge of the world as imagined in the received opinion of the ages, this celestial river would lie parallel and just above the great waterway at the earth's periphery, the Ocean Sea. So the two "creeks" would mirror each other, and in the case of the Ocean Sea, the mirroring would be literal. So Polaris is not only alongside the celestial creek which is the Milky Way, but the similar "creek" that runs along the edge of the earth. Since at midsummer Polaris is at its lowest altitude (ca. 40° 30'), it is closest to the terrestrial "creek" at the rim of the world.

"beaver" — at the summer solstice, the sun enters into Gemini, whose two principal stars, Castor and Pollux, are often identified with the Divine Twins. In Greece they are known as the Dioskouroi (Διόσκουροι), and the name Kastor (Κάστωρ) in Greek means "Beaver." The Divine Twins in the Americas also have beaver associations, perhaps even dating from a time when the stars Castor and Pollux gave rise to the notion of divine twin stars. In the last couple of millennia, the stars have passed by the sun around midsummer, so that their near conjunction with the sun marks the time at which Polaris comes closest to the sun. This coincidence of the sun with the proximity of the Gemini stars and the lying of the Milky Way on the horizon as a celestial mirror of the Ocean Sea, makes it hardly surprising that the star Castor in particular might be identified with a beaver or otter. The Gemini stars are not fish, because they are not actually within the Milky Way, but on its bank. In "The Twins Disobey Their Father," the dominant Hočąk Twin says to his brother, to intimidate him, "'Koté, again it is very good, so let's go right now. If you don't, I'll cut you with my beaver teeth,' he said to him."36 One of the Blackfoot Twins is called "Beaver," since he was raised by beavers in their lodge.37 On the other hand, among the Kitkahahki Pawnee, it is the younger, wild Twin who is said to have teeth "like a beaver," hence his name, "Long Tooth Boy." He is captured when an inflated animal bladder is placed on his head, preventing him from escaping into the water.38 Among the Crow, the simile of sharp teeth is transferred to another aquatic animal when the aggressive Twin, Thrown in the Spring, is said to have "sharp teeth like an otter."39 Both Twins capture an extraordinary beaver tail, so hard and sharp that they can use it to cut wood. With this beaver-weapon, they cut off the arms and head of Long Arms, whose hubris was to bar the hole in heaven with his outstretched hand.40 Among the northern Cree, the dynamic Twin, Che-che-puy-ew-tis, has a very strong identity with the beaver, as this episode from their Twin story shows:

Che-che-puy-ew-tis strictly laid it down that Mejigwis was not to bring home the meat of a solitary beaver, but only of those that lived in groups, as Che-che-puy-ew-tis was afraid less he eat his own wife. His brother consented. Nevertheless, one day Mejigwis brought back a solitary beaver, but did not inform his brother of the fact. He boiled it and when it was done, he offered some to his brother. Che-che-puy-ew-tis at first demurred, since he feared that it was a solitary beaver, but his brother reassured him, "I shot just one of a group," he said. So Che-che-puy-ew-tis drank the soup and ate the meat, but no sooner had he finished than he suddenly turned into a beaver himself, and immediately jumped into the nearby creek.41

The various sets of Divine Twins in America have come to be identified with various stars other than the two of Gemini, but the widespread identity of one of the Twins with a beaver (or otter) suggests the same original identity as was found among the Greeks.

"he killed one" — as the hub of stellar rotation, Polaris can be thought of as commanding that rotation. Therefore, he causes the stars to set. As the sun sets on midsummer day, the Gemini stars emerge from the twilight and are seen by Polaris in his hunt. They set a mere two hours later, so Polaris "kills" them shortly after they are spotted.

"they singed the whole thing" — for two months centering around the midsummer solstice, Castor is directly above the sun. Therefore, it is being "roasted."

"in the kettle" — this is a metaphor found elsewhere as well for a celestial object setting into the Ocean Sea. As the sun has set before it (by about 2 hours), and it is directly below it like the fire under a kettle, the singed Beaver Star is now set to boil.

"they stuck the warclub there in the ground" — the asterism that most resembles a warclub and which is in the right place is the Big Dipper (Ursa Major). Early in the morning before sunrise on the summer solstice Phecta, the lowest star of the head of the club, is at an altitude of 9° 24', but when it sinks slightly lower in July (altitude of 8° 33'), the handle is below the head, so it is no longer sticking like a club in the ground. So it is only around the solstice that the head of the club (the ladle of the Big Dipper) is seen to be stuck in the ground.

"he would hit him with the warclub" — the Big Dipper by sunrise on midsummer day, moves from its head embedded in the ground, to being raised up so that the head now faces east towards the sunrise. It's as though it were a club being raised menacingly against the sun.

"ate it" — the sun beneath pulls the Gemini stars below the horizon and seems to swallow them up. The stars emerge from the light of the sun for only a brief period before they are swallowed up by it where it set on the horizon, like a beaver that had been delivered to the fire, cooked, then consumed by the Day before it had gone fully to bed.

"he went to bed" — as the sun sets, Day reclines on the bed that is the horizon. Day is not quite the same as the sun, and his light shows his reclining presence on the western skyline, even though his wheel has been put away.

"groaning" — once again we have sound for light. Groaning is a weak sound compared to the normal voice, or to shouting or crying out. This reflects the dimmed light of the reclining Day at twilight.

"his belly burst" — as Day reclines on the horizon, the center of the light distributed across the bottom of the western sky is located where the sun itself had set. It is at that spot that the sky turns the clouds the reddest, where the light spreads farthest above and blood red is most intense. Thus, when the sun sets, it is as if its belly had burst.

"burned up the lodge" — as the sun sets, the day sky (the lodge in which Day lives) burns up in the red of the sunset until nothing is left but the black ash of the night sky.

"my butt end" — this is the counterpart to the tree on which the upper body of the brother landed. As we see below, the waist is found at the upper end of the gap in the Milky Way at Deneb, so the anus should be the open space just below it. The lower body should be the Milky Way as it occurs below the Cygnus Rift.

"it is eating people" — this marks the brother's lower body as an evil spirit akin to the Giants, who are known in Hočąk as the Wągeručge, "Man-Eaters." This strange episode in which a butt eats people with its anus, may have evolved from ideas held about the Milky Way as the path of souls.

"nets (hokere)" — the Hočąk word is properly divided as ho-kere, where ho means "fish," and kere means "to place, to set, to fasten, to put" (Marino), and "to put something long" (Miner). Since the word kere also means "to sneak," the word hokere has connotations of subterfuge, so that it might well be translated as "fish trap." A pictograph [inset], probably from another tribe, shows a were-fish or merman being captured in a net. Notice the arch shape of this kind of fish net. The shape of the net matches nicely the arch of the Milky Way over the region where Polaris, his brother, and the women are found.

"they rolled him into all four of them" — this is a way of saying that the nets have become one with the butt end of the brother. The net, as we have seen graphically in the previous entry, is another form of the Milky Way, so indeed, the brother's wayward butt is part of the "net." His identity is stressed by his becoming rolled up in the nets, so that they are no longer spread out, but are just the arch, or semi-arch, that is the brother's lower body.

"chewed" — given that the nets are identified with the brother's butt end, that he chews a hole in it at the level of his anus is just another description of the gap that occurs at the Cygnus Rift, a gap by Deneb that is precisely to be identified with the anal opening of the brother's butt.

"they threw them into his mouth" — what are these large stones? They are heated, from which we may infer that they glow. The sun and moon (which is not hot) are rather too far away, and never enter its anus-mouth (the Milky Way gap). The only candidates are meteors, which the Hočągara knew to be black, iron rich rocks that landed with explosive impact. In absolute terms, they can be large, and they would certainly appear to be heated judging from their firey progress across the firmament. Most of the action seems to occur around midsummer, and the "death" of the lower body seems to be around the equinox in September (see below). As we have seen above, there is meteor shower that occurs about 20° from the stars θ Cygni and κ Cygni, very near Deneb (α Cygni). This meteor shower, the κ Cygnid shower (KCG), would cerainly have many meteors that would seem to the eye to penetrate the gap. The KCG occurs between August 3rd and 25th, which is after midsummer but before the equinox.

Deneb, the North America Nebula (NGC 7000) and the Big Dipper as a Stretcher  

"he broke out all of this teeth" — the teeth usually represent stars, since they are small, white, and occur together in a bunch. The "mouth" of the butt end of the elder brother is the same as the gap in the Milky Way, and is also the opening of the rectum at his anus. It is at least a description, if not an explanation, to allegorically remark on the lack of stars in this gap. It is as if they had been knocked out.

"he died" — death of stars in mythology usually means that they have heliacally set. However, the gap in the Milky Way does not ever disappear from the sky for the whole night. Nevertheless, the wheeling motion around the hub of Polaris does cause the gap to disappear from the night sky before the sun rises, which is the nearest thing to Polaris killing the lower body of his brother. This occurs around Sept. 22 at the equinox.

"they stretched out a blanket" — one of the women, as we later learn, is the Big Dipper. Another image of this asterism among nearby American tribes is of a stretcher used to carry the sick or wounded. Lankford has collected a number of these views of the Big Dipper:

One other small group of tribes, also in the Plains, saw the constellation's great quadrangle as a litter or stretcher. As it rotates counterclockwise around Polaris, it is followed by a line of stars who are the companions of the man in the litter.42

The Sioux, and in particular the Dakota who neighbor on the Hočągara, see the bowl as a stretcher used for carrying a dead man, and the stars of the handle of the Dipper are the mourners following behind.43 The more closely related Omaha and Osage called the constellation Wábaha, "The Stretcher."44 The Pawnee believed that the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper were both stretchers used to carry two people who became ill during the first great council.45 The North Star as chief, watches over this procession.46 Given the context, there can be little doubt that our myth alludes to this same asterism. The Stretcher asterism (the Big Dipper) is on the ground and lying flat at midsummer. Just before dawn the Stretcher lies directly below Deneb, and Polaris is midway up, just to the side, as if mediating between the upper body near him and the stretcher below.

"the sore parts" — what tends to confirm the interpretation offered here is the fact that in the gap in the Milky Way (identified with the point of bifurcation of the elder brother) we find the famous North America Nebula (NGC 7000), which is a faint, but readily visible (4.00 magnitude) diffuse cloud of stars 3° from Deneb. The glow of hydrogen in star formation gives it a distinct reddish color. Since this defuse red patch occurs where the sores are said to be found, it seems reasonable to identify the wounds with the nebula.

"the stone" — this should be the sun, since the stone used in sweat bathes is heated red hot and water or some other evaporant is poured over it to create a cloud. The brother is reclining. The scene that we encountered above, where the Milky Way is lying on the horizon at sunset, is here replicated at the opposite time of the year. In December, the Milky Way reclines on the horizon at the same place (Deneb being in the northeast). In June the sun sets far to the west and is not involved in the scene; but in December the sun actually rises in the eastern portion of the reclining Milky Way in the constellation Scorpius. So it plays a role in the sweat lodge, as the steam (the Milky Way) seems to rise directly from the glow of the sun just below the horizon.

"marten" — the Big Dipper (Ursa Major) has the form of this weasel-like predator of the squirrel. This concept of the constellation is not unique: the Anishinaabeg see the Dipper as a fisher (see above), an animal nearly identical to the marten.47

"the Dipper" — the Hočąk niwirąčką huna translates literally as, "cup with a handle." Formerly I had identified this as the Little Dipper (Ursa Minor) on account of its greater proximity to Polaris. However, two sources make it clear that the raconteur is actually referring to the Big Dipper (Ursa Major). Radin, ca. 1908, made a few notes on stars in connection with the story The Origins of the Milky Way, where he says,

wazuñgra — dipper (marten). It resembles something of a marten. Real reason is because dipper goes around North Star. Wiragóšge hañké diránina - star that moves not = North Star. Small dipper - héx síra = swan's feet."48

In this case, because Radin refers to the first Dipper in contradistinction to the "Small Dipper," he clearly means his first reference to refer to the other Dipper, the Big Dipper. Amelia Susman says, "wazą́gara — otter, mink, marten (Dipper). Tell time at night by it."49 She is in good agreement with Radin, with both concurring that this is to be identified with the animal called wazųgera, which in fact is the marten. Since in this myth the marten is identified with the dipper constellation in question, we are obliged to conclude that this constellation is the Big Dipper.

On using the Big Dipper to tell time, we discover that this is a very common and widespread practice.

The pointing of the 'Last Brother' [the star Alkaid] furnished the Blackfeet with their night-sky clock. This method of telling time in the night is well known to shepherds and cattle herders [elsewhere in the world], whose night occupation keeps them continually in the open. Observation soon teaches them that the 'Last Brother' or end star of the handle of the Great Dipper, describes a great circle around the North Star once in twenty-four hours and therefore, that its pointing or relative position with the horizon would mark the time, as on a great dial face.50

The Micmac not only used the Big Dipper as a clock, but found it useful in marking the seasons as well.51

"that is she" — this establishes the identity of one of the women courted by Polaris as the Marten Constellation, which we know as the Big Dipper (Ursa Major).

Comparative Material. To the man whose lower body is a tree stump, compare the figure in the story of Ćaŋḣpí told by the Dakota (in Old Man and Wears White Feather).

A number of Aztec myths bear some resemblance to the courting episode and the shooting at the hero. Two double-headed deer fall from heaven. They were pursued by two mixcoa ("cloud serpents"), Xiuhnel and Mimich. At night the two deer changed into women and tried to seduce the hunters. Only Xiuhnel succumbed, and the deer woman ate his heart out. Mimich, however, resists all the advances of the other woman, who is revealed to be the goddess Itzapapalotl ("Obsidian Butterfly"). Mimich captured Itzapapalotl and with the help of the fire gods, the Xiuhteteuctin, he burned her up.52 Of greater similarity is another version. Iztac Mixcoatl ("White Cloud-serpent") began a series of conquests. When he arrived at the city of Uitznauac, he met Chimalman. She dropped her weapons and stripped naked to meet him. Iztac Mixcoatl had four spears. The first she dodged by ducking, the second by jumping to the right, the third she caught with her hand; but the fourth struck her in the cleft. Then Iztac Mixcoatl seized her and impregnated her on the spot. They became the parents of One Reed (Quezalcoatl), but she died giving birth.53

There is a great deal of comparative material embedded in the Commentary. For parallels from the following tribes, click on their parenthetical numbers: Anishinaabeg (1), Blackfoot (1, 2), Cree (1), Crow (1), Dakota (1), Iroquois (1), Lakota (1), Micmac (1), Omaha (1), Osage (1), Pawnee (1, 2).

Material from a number of non-Indian nations is also discussed in the commentary: (Hindu) Indian (1, 2, 3), Greek (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8), Roman (1), Bulgarian (1).

Links: Polaris, Celestial Spirits, Blackhawks, Hummingbirds, Little Children Spirits, Thunderbirds, Otters, Sun, Fishers, Hawks, The Redhorn Panel of Picture Cave. An American Star Map.

Stories: about stars and other celestial bodies: Įčorúšika and His Brothers, The Seven Maidens, Morning Star and His Friend, Little Human Head, Turtle and the Witches, Sky Man, Wojijé, The Raccoon Coat, Sun and the Big Eater, The Big Eater, The Star Husband, Grandfather's Two Families, Bluehorn's Nephews, The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, The Meteor Spirit and the Origin of Wampum, The Children of the Sun, Heną́ga and the Star Girl, The Origins of the Milky Way, The Fall of the Stars; about Polaris (Pole Star, North Star): The Seven Maidens; about the Little Dipper: The Seven Maidens; about two sisters: The Twin Sisters, Bluehorn Rescues His Sister, Old Man and Wears White Feather, The Old Man and the Giants, Bluehorn's Nephews, The Markings on the Moon, The Man Who Fell from the Sky, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts; mentioning otters: Otter Comes to the Medicine Rite, The Fleetfooted Man, The Two Children, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, Turtle's Warparty, The Origins of the Milky Way, Redhorn's Sons, Redhorn Contests the Giants, Kunu's Warpath, Įčorúšika and His Brothers, The Woman who Loved Her Half Brother, The Chief of the Heroka, The Animal Spirit Aids of the Medicine Rite, The Arrows of the Medicine Rite Men (v. 2), Wojijé, Holy Song II, Morning Star and His Friend, A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga; mentioning beavers: Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp, White Wolf, Old Man and Wears White Feather, The Animal Spirit Aids of the Medicine Rite, The Chief of the Heroka, The Arrows of the Medicine Rite Men, Turtle and the Merchant; mentioning fishers: Redhorn's Father, Bladder and His Brothers; mentioning martens: Great Walker's Medicine (v. 2), Grandfather's Two Families; mentioning grizzly bears: Blue Bear, Brass and Red Bear Boy, The Reincarnated Grizzly Bear, The Were-Grizzly, The Spotted Grizzly Man, The Meteor Spirit and the Origin of Wampum, The Roaster, Wazųka, Little Priest's Game, The Story of How Little Priest went out as a Soldier, Mijistéga’s Powwow Magic and How He Won the Trader's Store, Migistega's Magic, The Woman who Loved her Half-Brother, The Two Boys (giant black grizzly), Partridge's Older Brother, The Chief of the Heroka, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, The Creation of Man (v. 9), The Creation of Evil, cp. The Woman Who Fought the Bear; mentioning black hawks: Hawk Clan Origin Myth (v. 2), The Thunderbird, Partridge's Older Brother, The Woman who Loved her Half-Brother, Waruǧápara, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, Morning Star and His Friend, The Coughing Up of the Blackhawks, The Animal Spirit Aids of the Medicine Rite, Keramaniš’aka's Blessing, The Race for the Chief's Daughter; mentioning hummingbirds: The Thunderbird, Tobacco Origin Myth (v. 5), The Race for the Chief's Daughter; mentioning Thunderbirds: The Thunderbird, Waruǧápara, How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds, Traveler and the Thunderbird War, The Boulders of Devil's Lake, Thunderbird and White Horse, Bluehorn's Nephews, How the Hills and Valleys were Formed (vv. 1, 2), The Man who was a Reincarnated Thunderbird, The Thunder Charm, The Lost Blanket, The Twins Disobey Their Father, The Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth, Story of the Thunder Names, The Hawk Clan Origin Myth, Eagle Clan Origin Myth, Pigeon Clan Origins, Bird Clan Origin Myth, Adventures of Redhorn's Sons, Brave Man, Ocean Duck, Turtle's Warparty, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, The Quail Hunter, Heną́ga and the Star Girl, The Twins Join Redhorn's Warparty, Redhorn's Sons, The Stone that Became a Frog, The Race for the Chief's Daughter, Redhorn Contests the Giants, The Sons of Redhorn Find Their Father, The Warbundle of the Eight Generations, Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Origin of the Hočąk Chief, The Spirit of Gambling, Wolf Clan Origin Myth, Aračgéga's Blessings, Kunu's Warpath, The Orphan who was Blessed with a Horse, The Glory of the Morning, The Nightspirits Bless Čiwoit’éhiga, The Green Waterspirit of the Wisconsin Dells, A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Big Stone, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, Song to Earthmaker, The Origins of the Milky Way; about Bird Spirits: Crane and His Brothers, The King Bird, Bird Origin Myth, Wears White Feather on His Head, Old Man and Wears White Feather, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds, The Thunderbird, The Boy Who Became a Robin, Partridge's Older Brother, The Woman who Loved Her Half-Brother, The Foolish Hunter, Ocean Duck, Earthmaker Sends Rušewe to the Twins, The Quail Hunter, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Hočąk Arrival Myth, Trickster Gets Pregnant, Trickster and the Geese, Holy One and His Brother (blackbirds, woodpeckers, hawks), Porcupine and His Brothers (Ocean Sucker), Turtle's Warparty (Thunderbirds, eagles, kaǧi, pelicans, sparrows), Kaǧiga and Lone Man (kaǧi), The Old Man and the Giants (kaǧi, bluebirds), The Bungling Host (snipe, woodpecker), The Red Feather, Trickster, the Wolf, the Turtle, and the Meadow Lark, Waruǧápara, The Race for the Chief's Daughter, Black and White Moons, The Markings on the Moon, The Creation Council, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, Earthmaker Blesses Wagíšega (Wešgíšega), The Man Who Would Dream of Mą’ųna (chicken hawk), Hare Acquires His Arrows, Hočąk Clans Origin Myth, Hawk Clan Origin Myth, The Hočąk Migration Myth, Blue Jay, The Baldness of the Buzzard, The Abduction and Rescue of Trickster (turkey buzzard), The Shaggy Man (blackbirds), The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth (blackbirds), Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, Įčorúšika and His Brothers (Loon), Great Walker's Medicine (loon), Roaster (woodsplitter), The Spirit of Gambling, The Big Stone (a partridge), Trickster's Anus Guards the Ducks, The Journey to Spiritland (v. 4); mentioning grasshoppers: The Green Man, Hare and the Grasshoppers, The Two Boys, How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Thunderbird; mentioning teeth: The Animal who would Eat Men, Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans, Hare and the Dangerous Frog, The Girl who Refused a Blessing from the Wood Spirits, The Two Boys, The Birth of the Twins, The Twins Disobey Their Father, Wears White Feather on His Head, Wolves and Humans, The Commandments of Earthmaker, The Children of the Sun, The Green Man, Holy One and His Brother, Partridge's Older Brother, The Brown Squirrel, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge of the Medicine Rite, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, East Shakes the Messenger, Lifting Up the Bear Heads, White Wolf, Buffalo Clan Origin Myth; mentioning oak: Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth, The Oak Tree and the Man Who was Blessed by the Heroka, Wolf Clan Origin Myth, The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, The Children of the Sun, Turtle's Warparty, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth, Old Man and Wears White Feather, Waruǧápara, The Creation Council, The Man Who Would Dream of Mą’ųna, Young Man Gambles Often, Morning Star and His Friend (v. 2), Sun and the Big Eater, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, The Roaster, Little Human Head, The Shaggy Man, Wears White Feather on His Head, Peace of Mind Regained; mentioning tobacco: Tobacco Origin Myth, Hare and the Grasshoppers, Hočąk Clans Origin Myth (v 2), How the Thunders Met the Nights, Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth, Grandmother's Gifts, The Thunderbird, First Contact, Peace of Mind Regained, The Four Slumbers Origin Myth, The Masaxe War, A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, Mijistéga’s Powwow Magic and How He Won the Trader's Store; mentioning red cedar (juniper, waxšúč): The Journey to Spiritland (vv. 4, 5) (used to ascend to Spiritland), The Seer (sacrificial knife), A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga (sacrificial knife), Redhorn's Sons (coronet of Thunders, lodge), Aračgéga's Blessings (coronet of Thunders), The Twins Disobey Their Father (trees found on cliffs of Thunders), Partridge's Older Brother (smoke fatal to evil spirit), Hawk Clan Origin Myth (purifying smoke), The Creation Council (purifying smoke), Sun and the Big Eater (arrow), The Brown Squirrel (arrow), Hare Kills a Man with a Cane (log used as weapon); mentioning the Ocean Sea (Te Ją): Trickster's Adventures in the Ocean, Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp (v. 1), Otter Comes to the Medicine Rite, The Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, Trickster and the Children, The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, Wears White Feather on His Head, White Wolf, How the Thunders Met the Nights (Mąznį’ąbᵋra), Bear Clan Origin Myth (vv. 2a, 3), Wolf Clan Origin Myth (v. 2), Redhorn's Sons, Grandfather's Two Families, Sun and the Big Eater, The Journey to Spiritland (v. 4), The Sons of Redhorn Find Their Father (sea), The Thunderbird (a very wide river), Wojijé, The Twins Get into Hot Water (v. 1), Redhorn's Father, Trickster Concludes His Mission, Berdache Origin Myth, Thunder Cloud is Blessed, Morning Star and His Friend, How the Hills and Valleys were Formed; mentioning sweat lodges or sweat baths: The Twins Get into Hot Water, The Lost Blanket, The Green Man, Bladder and His Brothers (v. 1), Hare Establishes Bear Hunting, Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans, The Thunderbird, Snowshoe Strings, Waruǧápara, The Red Man, The Chief of the Heroka, The Birth of the Twins (v. 2), Lifting Up the Bear Heads, The King Bird, Little Human Head, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, White Wolf, The Shaggy Man, Soft Shelled Turtle Gets Married, The Two Boys, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth (v. 2); mentioning feasts: Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth (Chief Feast), The Creation Council (Eagle Feast), Hawk Clan Origin Myth (Eagle Feast), Waterspirit Clan Origin Myth (Waterspirit Feast), A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga (Mąką́wohą, Waną́čĕrehí), Bear Clan Origin Myth (Bear Feast), The Woman Who Fought the Bear (Bear Feast), Grandfather's Two Families (Bear Feast), Wolf Clan Origin Myth (Wolf Feast), Buffalo Clan Origin Myth (Buffalo Feast), The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits (Buffalo Feast), Buffalo Dance Origin Myth (Buffalo Feast), Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle (Buffalo Feast), The Blessing of Šokeboka (Feast to the Buffalo Tail), Snake Clan Origins (Snake Feast), Blessing of the Yellow Snake Chief (Snake Feast), Rattlesnake Ledge (Snake Feast), The Thunderbird (for the granting of a war weapon), Turtle's Warparty (War Weapons Feast, Warpath Feast), Porcupine and His Brothers (War Weapons Feast), Earthmaker Blesses Wagíšega (Wešgíšega) (Winter Feast = Warbundle Feast), Big Thunder Teaches Čap’ósgaga the Warpath (Winter Feast = Warbundle Feast), The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion (Winter Feast = Warbundle Feast), White Thunder's Warpath (Winter Feast = Warbundle Feast), The Fox-Hočąk War (Winter Feast = Warbundle Feast), Šųgepaga (Winter Feast = Warbundle Feast), The Man Whose Wife was Captured (v. 2) (Warbundle Feast, Warpath Feast), Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth (Warpath Feast), Kunu's Warpath (Warpath Feast), Trickster's Warpath (Warpath Feast), The Masaxe War (Warpath Feast), Redhorn's Sons (Warpath Feast, Fast-Breaking Feast), The Girl who Refused a Blessing from the Wood Spirits (Fast-Breaking Feast), The Chief of the Heroka (Sick Offering Feast), The Four Slumbers Origin Myth (Four Slumbers Feast), The Journey to Spiritland (Four Slumbers Feast), The First Snakes (Snake Feast), Spear Shaft and Lacrosse (unspecified), Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts (unnamed).

Themes: head hunting: White Fisher, Big Thunder Teaches Čap’ósgaga the Warpath, A Man's Revenge, How Little Priest went out as a Soldier, Little Priest's Game, Bluehorn's Nephews, The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion, Young Man Gambles Often, Morning Star and His Friend (v. 2), The Four Slumbers Origin Myth, Porcupine and His Brothers, Turtle's Warparty, Ocean Duck, The Markings on the Moon, Wears White Feather on His Head, The Red Man, The Chief of the Heroka, Thunderbird and White Horse, The Man with Two Heads, Brave Man, The Sons of Redhorn Find Their Father, Redhorn's Sons, Fighting Retreat, The Children of the Sun, Heną́ga and the Star Girl, Mijistéga’s Powwow Magic and How He Won the Trader's Store, The Were-Grizzly, Winneconnee Origin Myth; a warleader will not return to his people (because he has lost so many of his men): Great Walker's Warpath; a boy lives alone with his grandfather: Old Man and Wears White Feather, How the Thunders Met the Nights; a (magical) round, black stone: How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Green Man, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, Tecumseh's Bulletproof Skin, Partridge's Older Brother; an unseen creature hisses (blows puffs of air) at someone: Wears White Feather on His Head, The Man who went to the Upper and Lower Worlds, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, The Brown Squirrel, Hare Kills a Man with a Cane; a spirit-being comes from a stump or hollow log: The Spirit of Maple Bluff, Lake Wąkšikhomįgra (Mendota): the Origin of Its Name, The Were-fish, The Birth of the Twins, The Two Boys; the skin of an old man is so wrinkled and loose that he cannot see unless he pulls it up above his eyes: Esau was an Indian; an old person informs a young man living with him that in a nightmare he was told that a certain animal should be killed and made into a Sick Offering for him or he would die: The Chief of the Heroka; a hero goes to the corner of the world and takes a black (or white) otter that lives there: The Chief of the Heroka, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth; something is of a (symbolic) pure white color: White Bear, Deer Spirits, The Journey to Spiritland (v. 4), White Flower, Big Eagle Cave Mystery, The Fleetfooted Man, Thunderbird and White Horse, The Orphan who was Blessed with a Horse, Worúxega, The Two Boys, The Lost Blanket (white spirits), Skunk Origin Myth, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, White Wolf, A Man and His Three Dogs, The Messengers of Hare, The Brown Squirrel, The Man Who Fell from the Sky, Bladder and His Brothers, White Thunder's Warpath, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth, Great Walker's Medicine (v. 2), Creation of the World (v. 12), Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, The Descent of the Drum, Tobacco Origin Myth (v. 5), The Diving Contest, Otter Comes to the Medicine Rite, The Arrows of the Medicine Rite Men, The Animal Spirit Aids of the Medicine Rite, Grandmother's Gifts, Four Steps of the Cougar, The Completion Song Origin, North Shakes His Gourd, Lifting Up the Bear Heads, Thunder Cloud is Blessed, Peace of Mind Regained; a spirit has living faces on each earlobe: Redhorn Contests the Giants, The Sons of Redhorn Find Their Father, Redhorn's Father, Įčorúšika and His Brothers, Morning Star and His Friend, The Hočągara Contest the Giants; a young man has a living bird with a clear voice as his headdress: Old Man and Wears White Feather (loon); description of a courtship outfit: The Seduction of Redhorn's Son, Redhorn's Father, Trickster Gets Pregnant, Trickster Soils the Princess, The Nannyberry Picker; coming across a warparty traveling in column and falling in at the rear: The Thunderbird, The Twins Join Redhorn's Warparty, How the Thunders Met the Nights; a human joins up with the Thunderbirds: The Thunderbird, How the Thunders Met the Nights, Waruǧapara, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds; Thunderbirds are reduced to using grass or weeds when they smoke their pipes: The Thunderbird, How the Thunders Met the Nights; powerful spirits eat snakes (even though they are sacred): The Twins Disobey Their Father, The Two Boys, How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy; dragging a deer to the kill by hand: Morning Star and His Friend (v. 2), How the Thunders Met the Nights; Thunderbird people roast meat over the fire on sharpened sticks: Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth (v. 3), How the Thunders Met the Nights; powerful spirit beings act somewhat dim witted: How the Thunders Met the Nights, Hare Kills Sharp Elbow, The Thunderbird, Partridge's Older Brother, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle; in order to get wives (from the Nightspirits) the Thunders must pass over a region where they are attacked: How the Thunders Met the Nights; a spirit turns into a person of radically different age: Morning Star and His Friend, The Messengers of Hare, Old Man and Wears White Feather, The Chief of the Heroka; as someone is about to be killed, he changes into the kind of person that his opponent cannot bring himself to kill, and is thereby spared: Old Man and Wears White Feather (a beautiful woman); being swallowed whole: The Hill that Devoured Men and Animals, Hare Gets Swallowed, The Great Fish, The Waterspirit of Rock River, The Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Bungling Host; in a chase, a group of people lose articles of clothing as they run until finally they become naked: The Chief of the Heroka; a group of women are reduced to going to a lodge naked: The Abduction and Rescue of Trickster; a being is vulnerable in a highly unusual way: River Child and the Waterspirit of Devil's Lake, Snowshoe Strings, The Green Man, Partridge's Older Brother, The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, Migistéga's Death (v. 2), The Shawnee Prophet and His Ascension; a hero kills iniquitous people by feeding them poison that bursts their stomachs: The Shaggy Man, Ocean Duck; having the power to control the winds and/or the weather: Deer Clan Origin Myth, Wolf Clan Origin Myth, Bear Clan Origin Myth (vv. 1, 5), Blue Bear, The Gray Wolf Origin Myth, The Chief of the Heroka, East Enters the Medicine Lodge (v. 2), East Shakes the Messenger, South Seizes the Messenger; a group of female spirits can command the wind to blow: The Chief of the Heroka; the reviving sweat bath: The Shaggy Man, The King Bird, The Red Man, The Chief of the Heroka, Snowshoe Strings, The Old Man and the Giants; bear oil is used to create steam in a reviving sweat bath: The Red Man, The Old Man and the Giants, Snowshoe Strings; a human turns into a (spirit) animal: How the Thunders Met the Nights (Thunderbird), Waruǧápara (Thunderbird), Keramaniš’aka's Blessing (black hawk, owl), Heną́ga and the Star Girl (black hawk), Elk Clan Origin Myth (elk), Young Man Gambles Often (elk), Sun and the Big Eater, (horse), The Reincarnated Grizzly Bear, The Were-Grizzly, Partridge's Older Brother (bear), The Woman who Loved her Half-Brother (bear), Porcupine and His Brothers (bear), The Shaggy Man (bear), The Roaster (bear), Wazųka (bear), White Wolf (dog, wolf), Worúxega (wolf, bird, snake), Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle (buffalo), The Brown Squirrel (squirrel), The Skunk Origin Myth (skunk), The Fleetfooted Man (otter, bird), The Diving Contest (Waterspirit), The Woman who Married a Snake (snake, Waterspirit), The Omahas who turned into Snakes (four-legged snakes), The Twins Get into Hot Water (v. 3) (alligators), Snowshoe Strings (a frog), How the Hills and Valleys were Formed (v. 3) (earthworms), The Woman Who Became an Ant, Hare Kills a Man with a Cane (ant); people turn into birds: Waruǧápara (owl, Thunderbird), Worúxega (eagle), The Thunderbird (black hawk, hummingbird), Keramaniš’aka's Blessing (black hawk, owl), Heną́ga and the Star Girl (black hawk), The Hočąk Arrival Myth (ravens), The Annihilation of the Hočągara I (turkey), The Quail Hunter (partridge), The Markings on the Moon (auk, curlew), The Fox-Hočąk War (goose), The Fleetfooted Man (water fowl?), The Boy Who Became a Robin (robin); someone is, or becomes, a star: The Seven Maidens, Grandfather's Two Families, Morning Star and His Friend, Heną́ga and the Star Girl, Turtle and the Witches, Įčorúšika and His Brothers, The Star Husband.


1 Paul Radin, "The Dipper," Notebooks, Freeman #3850, 3896, & #3897 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) Notebooks #49-50: 1-267 (Hočąk syllabary with an English interlinear translation); Paul Radin, "The Dipper," Notebooks, Freeman #3860 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) Winnebago IV, #7, Story 7n: 1-26 (typed English translation); Paul Radin, "The Dipper," Notebooks, Freeman #3861 & #3891 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) Winnebago IV, #8, Story 8r: 1-29 (typed English translation).
2 Edwin C. Krupp, "Negotiating the Highwire of Heaven: The Milky Way and the Itinerary of the Soul," in Alexandria 5: Cosmology, Philosophy, Myth, and Culture, ed. David Fideler (Red Wheel/Weiser, 2000) 75-102 [91].
3 Aratus 638; Pseudo-Eratosthenes, Catasterismoi, fr. 32.
4 George E. Lankford, Reachable Stars: Patterns in the Ethnoastronomy of Eastern North America (Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 2007) 224-225.
5 The κ Cygni shower was first reported by William F. Denning, "Meteors from E. of α Cygni," The Observatory, 27 (1904), 206-207. The α Cygni mentioned in the title is Deneb. His tabulated observations give a good idea of the intensity of this meteor shower:

Date Frequency Number
July 11-12, 1877 Rapid 8
August 4-12, 1877 Rapid 13
August 21-23, 1879 Slow 6
July 2-6, 1880 Rapid 5
July 13-14, 1885 Very Rapid 5
June 12-28, 1887 Rapid 6
July 19-23, 1887 Rapid 5
July 18-28, 1898 Medium 6
July 18-30, 1900 Slow 9
July 9-11, 1902 Rapid 3

He describes the meteors as being "small with very short flights." He also says, "Traces of the same shower (or of radiants in identical position) have been detected in March, and I have noticed meteors from it in June, but they come most plentifully in July, and are still prevalent in August and September."
6 Norton William Jipson, Story of the Winnebagoes (Chicago: The Chicago Historical Society, 1923) 405.
7 Paul Radin, "Mązeniabera," Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) Notebook 21: 63-65.
8 Radin, "Mązeniabera," 31.
9 Arthur Bernard Cook, Zeus. A Study In Ancient Religion, 3 vol. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1914–40) 3.924-926.
10 Cook, Zeus, 2.502-505.
11 Mircea Eliade, Patterns in Comparative Religion (New York: New American Library [Meridian], 1958) 54.
12 See the story, "The Wife of the Thunderer," in Joseph Bruchac, Heroes and Heroines, Monsters and Magic: Native American Legends and Folktales (Fort Collins, Colorado: The Crossing Press, 1985) 146-154.
13 S. K. Heninger, A Handbook of Renaissance Meteorology, with Particular Reference to Elizabethan and Jacobean Literature (Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1960) 76. See Carl Darling Buck, Dictionary of Selected Synonyms in the Principal Indo-European Languages (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1949) 1.55.2, 1.57.2.
14 William Fulke, A Goodly Gallery with a Most Pleasaunt Prospect, into the Garden of Naturall Causes of All Kind of Meteors (London: William Griffith, 1571) fol. 27 v., fol. 28. He advances the theory that "while the potential lightning was still enclosed as a hot exhalation within the cloud, the Earthly components of the exhaulation frequently solidified into a hard mass." Heninger, A Handbook of Renaissance Meteorology, 76.
15 Paul Radin, "The Blue Man," Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) Notebook 55; Paul Radin, (untitled), Winnebago Notebooks, Freeman #3858 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) Winnebago IV, #5: 4-16.
16 Paul Radin, "Spear Shaft and Lacrosse," Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) Notebook 36: 1-81.
17 Ronald Goodman, Lakota Star Knowledge: Studies in Lakota Stellar Theology (Rosebud Sioux Reservation: Siŋte Gleska University, 1992) 57.
18 William Crooke, Religion and Folklore of Northern India (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1926) 185.
19 Konstantin Jireček, Das fürstenthum Bulgarien: Seine Bodengestaltung, Natur, Bevölkerung, wirthschaftliche Zustände, geistige Cultur, Staatsverfassung, Staatsverwaltung und neueste Geschichte (Vienna: F. Tempsky, 1891) 101.
20 Stefan Hock, "Die Vampyrsagen und ihre Verwertung in der deutschen Litteratur," in Forschungen zur neueren Litteraturegeschichte, 17 (1900): 1-133 [1]; Dagmar Burkhart, "Vampirglaube und Vampirsage auf dem Balkan," Beiträge zur Südosteuropa-Forschung: Anlässlich des I. Internationalen Balkanologenkongresses in Sofia 26. VIII.-1. IX (Munich: Rudolf Trofenik, 1966) 250; Wilhelm Hertz, Der Werwolf — Beitrag zur Sagengeschichte (Stuttgart: Verlag A. Kröner, 1862) 126; Richard Andree, Ethnographische Parallelen und Vergleiche (Stuttgart: J. Maier, 1878) 81.
21 Paul Barber, Vampires, Burial, and Death (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988) 168. See also 164-165.
22 Paul Radin, "The Chief of the Heroka," Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, n.d.) Notebook 33: 24-28.
23 2 Ursæ Minoris = SAO 181 = HD 5848 = HIP 5372. When the constellation boundaries were redefined, this star ended up in the constellation Cepheus. Other stars less bright have names, but this one, oddly enough, does not.
24 The name Yildun comes from the Turkish Yilduz, "Star."
25 Goodman, Lakota Star Knowledge, 6, 9, 12, 55, 56, 60.
26 See Iliad 13.837, "ἠχῇ δ᾿ ἀμφοτέρον ἵκετ᾿ αἰθέρα καὶ Διὸς αὐγάς," "and the clamour of the two hosts went up to the aether and the rays of Zeus." The Scholiast B says with respect to this passage that by the "rays of Zeus," Homer meant the sky. (For the meaning of αὐγάς as "rays," see An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon, Founded upon the Seventh Edition of Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975 [1889]) s.v. ΑΥ᾿ΓΗ´, 131b. Arthur Bernard Cook, "The European Sky God," Folk-lore, 15 (1904): 264-426 [265].) In Iliad 15.192 it is the sky that is the domain of the father of the gods: "Ζεὺς δ᾿ ἔλαχ᾿ οὐρανὸν εὐρὺν ἐν αἰθέρι καὶ νεφέλῃσι," "Zeus won the broad sky amid the air and the clouds." In Odyssey 18.137, Zeus causes the day to come upon the world: "ἦμαρ ἄγῃσι πατὴρ ἀνδρῶν τε θεῶν τε," "the day which the father of gods and men brings upon them." An Orphic poem describes Zeus' head and face as being the sky. Orphic fr. 123, 16f. (Cook, Zeus, 2.117, 2.1028; the poem is given in full in Greek at 2.1027-1029). As a sky god, Zeus also controlled the sun and the weather. Cook, "The European Sky God," 266-290.
27 In the early versions of the myth of the abduction of Ganymede, it is Zeus himself who seizes the boy (Iliad, 20.232-235; Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite, 202 sqq.), but in later versions an eagle replaces Zeus, reflecting its standing as his alloform. See Lucian, Dialogi deorum, 4.1; Virgil, Æneid, 5.252 sqq.; Ovid, Metamorphoses, 10.155 sqq.; Scriptores rerum mythicarum Latini (Bode), 1:56, 139, 162, 256; First Vatican Mythographer, 184; Second Vatican Mythographer, 198; Third Vatican Mythographer, 3.5, 15.11. In Crete Zeus has appeared as an eagle. See Aglaosthenes, Naxiaca, frag. 2 (C. Müller, Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum, 4.293), apud pseudo-Eratosthenes, Catasterismoi, 30; scol. Cæsar Germanicus, Aratea, 411, 19 ff. (Eyssenhardt), Lactantius, Divinæ Institutiones, 1.11; Hyginus, Poetica Astronomica, 2.16; Cook, Zeus, 1.164 nt 4, 1.106; 2.187, 2.752, 2.941 nt. For the eagle as a telephany of Zeus (a means by which he can appear at a distance), see Cook, Zeus, 2.187-189. The Eagle carried the thunderbolts of Zeus. Cook, Zeus, 3.693-694.
28 Paul Radin, The Winnebago Tribe (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990 [1923]) 88.
29 Radin, The Winnebago Tribe, 88 nt 5.
30 Jasper Blowsnake, "Waretcawera," in Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks, Freeman Numbers 3850, 3896, 3897 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, n.d.) Notebook 67: 14.
31 John H. White, A History of the American Locomotive: Its Development, 1830-1880 (New York: Published by Courier Dover Publications, 1979) 211-212.
32 For the Zuñi, the lightning and thunder are two different objects, the thunder stone and the lightning shaft. The sound of thunder is caused by the rolling of the stone. See Frank Hamilton Cushing, "How Áhaiyúta And Mátsailéma Stole The Thunder-Stone And The Lightning-Shaft," Zuñi Folk Tales (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1901) 175-184.
33 Gilbert Murray in Anthropology and the Classics: Six Lectures Delivered Before the University of Oxford, ed. Robert Ranulph Marett (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1908) 86.
34 Eliade, Patterns in Comparative Religion, 227.
35 "Therein he set also the great might of the river Oceanus, around the uttermost rim of the strongly-wrought shield" (Ἐν δὲ τίθει ποταμοῖο μέγα σθένος Ὠκεανοῖο ἄντυγα πὰρ πυμιάτην σάκεος πύκα ποιῃτοῖο), Iliad 18.606; "There was no river that came not, save only Oceanus ..." (οὔτε τις οὖν ποταμῶν ἀπέην, νόσφ᾿ Ὠκεανοῖο ...) Iliad 20.7. Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon, s.v. Ὠκεᾰνός, 905a.
36 "The Epic of the Twins, Part Two," in Paul Radin, The Evolution of an American Indian Prose Epic. A Study in Comparative Literature, Part I (Basil: Ethnographical Museum, Basil Switzerland, 1954) 42-58 [22].
37 Clark Wissler and D. C. Duvall, Mythology of the Blackfoot Indians (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1995 [1908]) 40-44.
38 Leading Sun, "Long Tooth Boy," in George A. Dorsey, The Pawnee Mythology (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1997 [1906]) 494-495, Abstract 41; cf. Thief, "Long Tooth Boy," in Dorsey, The Pawnee Mythology, 493-494, Abstract 40.
39 Stephen Chapman Simms, "Lodge-Boy and Thrown-Away," Publications of the Field Museum of Natural History, Anthropological Series, 2, #19 (1903).
40 Gray Bull, "2. Lodge Boy and Thrown-Away," in Robert H. Lowie, "Myths and Traditions of the Crow Indians," Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History, vol. 25, part 1 (New York: Trustees of the American Museum of Natural History, 1918) 85-94 [90].
41 This is my retelling of the tale from Robert Bell, "The History of the Che-che-puy-ew-tis, A Legend of the Northern Cree," The Journal of American Folk-lore,10 (1897): 1-8.
42 Lankford, Reachable Stars, 152.
43 Walter McClintock, The Old North Trail (London: Macmillan, 1910 [Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1968]) 523; W. D. Wallis, Beliefs and Tales of the Canadian Dakota, Journal of American Folk-lore, 36 (1923): 36-101 [44]; Lankford, Reachable Stars, 152-153.
44 James Owen Dorsey, A Study of Siouan Cults. Bureau of American Ethnology Annual Report 11 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1894): 379; Francis La Flesche, The Osage Tribe: Two Versions of the Child-Naming Rite. Bureau of American Ethnology Annual Report 43 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1928) 73; Francis La Flesche, A Dictionary of the Osage Language. Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 109 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1932) 183, s.v. wá-ba-ha, 274, s.v. "Great Dipper"; Lankford, Reachable Stars, 153.
45 Dorsey, The Pawnee Mythology, #35, 135-136; Lankford, Reachable Stars, 153-154.
46 Dorsey, The Pawnee Mythology, #35, 135-136; Von Del Chamberlain, When Stars Came Down to Earth: Cosmology of the Skidi Pawnee Indians of North America (Los Altos: Ballena Press, 1982) 109-111; Lankford, Reachable Stars, 154.
47 Dorcas S. Miller, Stars of the First People: Native American Star Myths and Constellations (Boulder: Pruett Pub Co, 1997) 61.
48 Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1908) Winnebago I, #3: 107b.
49 Amelia Susman, Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, May 18 - Aug. 3, 1938) Book I, p. 19, word #380, wazą́gara.
50 McClintock, The Old North Trail, 521; Lankford, Reachable Stars, 117.
51 Stansbury Hagar, "The Celestial Bear," Journal of American Folk-lore, 13 (1900): 96; Lankford, Reachable Stars, 117.
52 Eduard Seler, Collected Works in Mesoamerican Linguistics and Archaeology (English Translations of German Papers from Gesammelte Abhandlungen zur Amerikanischen Sprach- und Alterthumskunde), translated by Charles P. Bowditch & Frank E. Comparato; J. Eric S. Thompson and Francis B. Richardson, edd., 2d ed. (Lancaster, California: Labyrinthos, 1996) 5: 53a.
53 Seler, Collected Works in Mesoamerican Linguistics and Archaeology, 5: 53b.