Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle
retold by Richard L. Dieterle
In a village there was an oval lodge [inset] in which a man and his wife lived. With the wife lived her little brother, who was still a boy. The man loved his brother-in-law, and would always have the best portions of food fixed for him. He would frequently boil deer ribs for him. One day the man told his brother-in-law, "I will not let you fast. People that fast a lot finish too soon because they dream of evil spirits. I will not starve you to death, as I hunt for you every day." However, the woman did not like any of this. "He considers my brother to be more valuable than me," she thought to herself. When he went off to hunt, the husband was gone from sun to sun, and left before the boy got up. When his wife went out to pack wood, she would order the boy to stay inside the lodge and not come out; but when she was there, she would always order him to stay outside. When she left for wood, she would throw him the stinking part of a deer's ankle and tell him to cook and eat that. Indeed, she never gave him anything else. One day the husband remarked to her that her brother looked like he wasn't eating much. She replied, "I try to get him to eat, but he will not do it. Just before you get back he eats up everything for you."
The next day, when she threw him outdoors, something unexpected happened. He heard a voice from above that said, "You little boy, my nephew, I bless you. Some day I will help you, when you have hard times." Thus he spoke to Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle (Ča-si-gų-nąx-ka). One day when his sister was out packing wood, a strange woman entered the lodge. She had a very light complexion, with curly red hair (some say it was blue [čo]). She sat opposite the boy, who felt extremely bashful since he didn't know what to do. She picked up a piece of coal and threw it at him. After she did this four times, she finally spoke: "You eat the stinking part of deer ankles!" The boy asked, "Why are you doing this to me? I'm already poor, but you are making it worse." She said, "I know all this. I did not come to add to your misery, but to take you home with me, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle." "I do not known where you come from, besides my sister would knock me down if I did that," he said. The woman declared, "Your sister will not know about any of this, nor where we have gone. I came after you because I did not want her to abuse you." "All right," he replied, "if you think it is best." So he went home with her then and there. As they traveled along, they finally reached a spring. The woman said to him, "Stand in the spring," so he stood there naked as she washed him. Then she stretched his scalp lock and made his whole body big, as big as she herself was. They moved on and finally came to the foot of a big hill where, unexpectedly, a door opened into the hill itself, whose interior contained a long lodge. This lodge was her home. Then she spoke to him saying, "I bless you. that is why I went after you. As long as this world stands, that long shall you live. It is our destiny as well to be married." Then they got married.
The young man's brother-in-law came home from his hunting only to find him gone. "Where is my brother-in-law?" he asked his wife. "I went to pack wood," she said, "and when I got back, he was gone. I don't know where he went." He angrily replied, "I told you before that I thought you did not feed him, that's why he is gone. My brother-in-law must be somewhere in the wilderness suffering to death." The man would not eat, even though she put food before him. "I will not take it," he declared, "inasmuch as you begrudged my brother-in-law food, you can eat alone." Thus the man fasted, and early the next morning went out looking for the boy. He ran all day in the direction he thought the boy would most likely have gone, but returned home weeping. Because his brother-in-law was lost, the man could not eat. Much time passed, and now he was so exhausted from his search that he had to use a cane to walk. Every evening he would walk by the hill, never suspecting its significance.
One day the wife of Časigųnąxka said, "You must have a strong mind — your brother-in-law is exhausted and weeping, and is even going blind, but he still keeps on. He is on his way again — why don't you go over there and talk to him?" She told him everything he should say. So he came out of the hill and approached his brother-in-law singing. His brother-in-law had a spell of blindness and fell. Then Časigųnąxka said, "Brother-in-law, stop crying, I am here." He looked carefully and there he was. He began to weep all over again. Then the man said, "Brother-in-law, it is good that I found you. I thought that you might have died. I thought that I too would die." Then the young man replied, "Brother-in-law, I am in peace. A woman blessed me, and it is with her that I am living. Here I am, alive. You are making yourself very miserable. Ever since I left, I have been living with the woman who came after me. She lives in this hill. I live very well, and for as long as this world stands, I will live here. It is you who will be poor on this earth, so don't worry about me any more. Go home and eat and enjoy yourself as best you can. There is a town nearby. Go there and marry its yųgiwi (princess), or if you want you can remain with my sister. I don't care what she did to me, you can do as you want. From time to time, go out in the wilderness and pour tobacco for us, and offer red feathers — we will get them." He was very thankful and went home. When he arrived home he ate the food his wife put before him, however, the next morning he told his wife, "This time I shall go without returning, as you are stingy with your food. So you can eat your food alone." He left that morning never to return. Eventually he made his way to the village of which his brother-in-law spoke and married the yųgiwi.
On some mornings when Časigųnąxka awoke he would find several kettles of food boiling. These were offerings made by people on earth during the Buffalo Feasts. His wife was a Buffalo Spirit. Sometimes they would awake to find a lot of tobacco in the center of the floor. This is what was poured out for the buffaloes on earth. Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle would smoke this. In time, his wife finally had a child, a little girl. Not long after she was of an age where she could walk. Sometimes the little girl would be in human form and dress as a human, but other times she would assume the form of a buffalo calf. On nice days mother and child would go out and play on the hill under which they lived. One day his wife told him, "I have some brothers in the village that I came from. My parents are chiefs of that village. The people there used to ask for me to come back there, but I would not consent. My brothers forbade it, even though my parents were willing. My parents were afraid of them. They murder men, that is why I live out here in hiding. Now that I am here and married, they have heard of it, and they are very angry, so they will come here. Now if you do as I tell you, everything will be all right. They will come and take me home, but you must not go there yourself. If you do, they will kill you. Therefore you should stay here." However, he set a condition: "I will stay here if you leave behind our little daughter. Only then shall I remain here." Since she was unwilling to part with her daughter, she reluctantly agreed that he would have to come along. He declared, "Then I shall go with you. They might not kill me anyway." She told him, "All right. Since you insist on going, I shall give you a few pointers. These men have invulnerable bodies, covered in bone. They are vulnerable in the only orifices that they have, their throats and their rectums. When they come, they will dance all night and in the morning they will go home. I will go with them. In the morning when the dew rises, they will go in the beams, and at noon they will land again on earth. When you get there they will ask, 'Which is your wife?' Thus they will ask you, and four of them will be sitting there, and all of them will look alike. I will be one of them. If you guess wrong, they will kill you; but I will try to give you a sign. If you guess correctly, they will say, 'He will be another one,' and they will run off. On the way we will find a buffalo chip, and underneath it is an opening that goes below. From this point on, we will travel underground." Then his daughter added, "Father, I will always be calling to you, and when you guess at us, I will give you a sign." Then his wife resumed, "At noon we shall stop. When we get there, they will ask you to guess which is your daughter. There will be four of them, all alike. You must guess which of them is your daughter four times, and if you succeed, then you can travel with us."
One day the four brothers showed up. They took the man's pipe away from him and tried to pick a quarrel. They danced all night and the man's wife and daughter danced with them. That morning they all took off running, but the man knew which way they went and followed after them. In this he was aided by his daughter's calls which he could always hear directly above him. At noon he reached the summit of a hill, and, unexpectedly, he found four female buffaloes sitting there. They said to him, "Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle has just come up the hill. This man who pursues the woman, he'll be another one. Which one is your wife, the one you are chasing?" He looked at them very carefully, searching for the sign. They said, "Hurry up!" but he took his time. Finally, he found the sign. "This is the one," he said, pointing. "Well, he'll be another one," they said, and they all ran off with the man not far behind them. Then they traveled underground where he followed his daughter's voice. At noon he caught up with them. Again they were all the same, and demanded that he guess which of them was his daughter. When he succeeded, they ran off as before. This happened four times, and each time he guessed correctly. Then they all set out together.
After traveling awhile, they finally reached a large buffalo village, the home of the brothers. When the inhabitants saw them arrive, they said, "The yųgiwi has come home with a husband." They went to a long lodge in the center of the village where her parents lived. The old people were very glad to see them. Every night the chief would have the crier call something out. Sometimes he would call them to a regular feast, or to a special medicine feast; other times they would have many kettles of bear fat boiling. The daughter liked this food very much, but her father warned her, "Do not eat this, it will cut up your mouth." His wife countered, "Why do you say that? It is enough that you do not eat it. She eats it because she likes it. Bear fat is the best food in the world. It is not easy to get — only good hunters can get this kind. They are a very shy animal." Her husband said, "They aren't hard to get at all. Every day I walk among them. They can't even run away. I could fell many and bring them back with me." "Well," she replied, "they are very rare and I don't think you could do it. They are hard to kill, but if you can get some, then by all means do so." "All right," he said, "I'll go out and get some." He went around the swamps and got a lot of them. When he got back the people were amazed, and said, "The human has killed a lot of bears." He took all the bears to his father-in-law's lodge. The chief said, "Son-in-law has killed bears and brought them to us." They were all very pleased by this. "Son-in-law," he said, "it is good!" When they spoke of "bears" what they meant, in fact, is what humans call "grass." Then the chief said, "We could eat it, but I will give a feast, as they always invite me to feast, but I have never greeted them in return." That night he gave a Medicine Feast where they danced all night. When morning arrived, his guests thanked him very much. Thereafter, he was able to give feasts often. So prosperous had be become in time, that he was finally able to eat at home. One day the human went out with his daughter to the edge of the lake where the plants grew in abundance. They saw eight plants, which prompted his daughter to exclaim, "Father! There are a lot of bears over here. Come here quickly before they run away." However, he just sat there in their midst, cutting them down with his knife. The girl finally came over and watched him. She was greatly surprised, and ran home to tell her mother. When she got home, she said, "Mother, father is sitting among the bears and killing them, but they do not run away." He returned with much food and for this they were most thankful. They longed for it, but for him it was just play. For all this, they loved him the more. In the morning when they woke up they found many kettles of food boiling over the fires. The kettles contained the best food: rice, dried corn, and dried corn mixed with fruit. These were from feasts given for the buffaloes by the humans on earth. There was also much tobacco. The human would eat and smoke with them.
The village in which he lived was really two villages side by side, one of which was for the Bad Buffaloes. The four buffalo brothers were the sons of the chief of the Bad Buffaloes. These buffaloes would always abuse the Good Buffaloes of the other side of the village. In the evening the crier for the Bad Buffaloes went about with his message: "Hąho! In the morning your son-in-law is wanted on the hill, so have him come." The Good Buffaloes said, "Alas, our son-in-law! They will be jealous, but he will not be able to strike hard." They hung their heads down and became quiet in their melancholy. Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle said, "Why are you so quiet. He might not kill me in any case." Then he walked out of the village and found a place where he laid on his stomach to do a little thinking. Then, unexpectedly, something unseen said to him, "Why are you afraid? I told you once that I blessed you. It is I, the one who blessed you. You are not to be killed." Then he looked at where the sound came from and there was an owl. He continued, "I bless you — kill me and skin me and make a necklace of me which you must keep inside your shirt. Thus you will wear me. Never part from me — always wear me around your neck." So he killed the owl, skinned it, and wore it as a gorget inside his shirt. Then he went back to the village.
The next morning he grabbed his arrows and went to the hill. When he got there he saw a pure white buffalo advancing towards him. As he came close, he bellowed and raised his tail. Even though the ground was hard, he walked on it like it was muddy. The Bad Buffaloes were cheering him on: "Ah, Kunu is thus when he gets jealous, but he just does that so he will not be able to stick very hard." He came on holding his head very low, and when he struck the man, it made a loud noise. However, he only raised him a little off the ground. Now the human started for the buffalo. The buffalo kept his side facing him, but the human kept running around him. When the buffalo lowered his jaw a little bit, the human shot him, his arrow disappearing into the animal completely. The buffalo bellowed and started to run, and as he fled he swung his tail from side to side. Then Časigųnąxga shot him in the rectum, and his arrow disappeared inside. The buffalo ran home and there he died.
The Bad Buffaloes wept much, and his parents declared to his next brother, Henu, "The humans are more clever than we are. Thus it is said, so we are telling you not to do it. The human knew what he was doing or he would not have come. Knowing this, we hope you will not repeat the effort. You had better stop." Henu said, "All you are doing is submitting to him. I will kill him." "Don't try it," his father insisted; but Henu was greater than his brother, that is why he was confident of success. Then the crier was caused to go forth and announce: "Hąho! Your son-in-law is again invited to the hill." The Good Buffaloes said among themselves, "Henu must have gotten jealous." That morning Časigųnąxga went again to the hill. There were many spectators gathered there. Henu charged the human, but when he struck he hardly lifted him off the ground, despite the enormous noise of the impact. Then the man pulled back his arrow in the bow, and although the buffalo tried to keep sideways, the human ran around him until he saw an opening in the buffalo's jaw. Then he shot his arrow through the animal's mouth and it disappeared inside. The buffalo took off running with its tail wagging, but the human shot him in the rectum so that the arrow disappeared inside him. Thus Henu died as well.
Again that night, amidst the weeping, the old man told his third son, Haga, not to repeat the mistake of his two dead brothers; but Haga was greater still, and was determined to avenge them. So that very night the crier went forth again and shouted, "Hąho! Your son-in-law is again invited to the hill." The next morning, before countless spectators, Časigųnąxka braced himself for another charge. The great buffalo moved towards him as if he were on swampy ground, and when he struck, the noise was deafening. Yet the human raised but a little off the ground. He employed the same tactics as before, and succeeded in shooting this buffalo in both the mouth and the rectum. Thus Haga ran off and died like his brothers before him.
That night, the chief of the Good Buffaloes said to his sons, "The son-in-law is doing something very difficult. He must be worn out. Get him a stone for a steam bath so that he can recuperate." So his brothers-in-law made a sweat lodge for him. As he got ready, Časigųnąxka took off everything, including his owl skin necklace, which he hung on the cross beam; but afterwards when he got dressed again, he forgot the necklace. The next morning, he went back to the hill to meet the final challenge. As formidable as were the first three brothers, the fourth was even more so. He came walking towards him as though the ground were muddy. He held his head so low that his horns scraped the ground. Then he charged and struck the human with such force that he shattered him into thousands of fragments of stone, so that he completely disappeared. The Good Buffaloes, mourning greatly, picked up the shattered pieces and brought them home. The dead man's wife faced the wall and wept much. Then, unexpectedly, something said, "Stop your crying, and put me outside." She began to cry all over again. Then it said, "What is it that has spoken?" She did not understand, and again she wept bitterly. When he spoke again, she was very attentive, and suddenly noticed a skinned owl hanging from a pole. "Put me outside and stop your crying. I will go after your husband for you," it said. So she opened the door and put it outside. Then, unexpectedly, the man came back in alive. His wife was so surprised that she could not speak for a long time. Finally she said, "My husband, if you are really alive, I love you with a double love." "I am indeed alive," he said. Everyone saw him and they were much surprised. The whole family was awakened and they celebrated with a meal. Some visitors, the three wives of the dead buffalo brothers, saw that the one that they had killed was now alive and still among them. The human made it clear that he was anxious to kill the one who had slain him. He told a servant, "In the morning I will kill all of them. When I do, everyone should go to their lodges." This servant secretly informed everyone. That morning, at the usual time, Časigųnąxka was already waiting at the hill. There again, Nángxi, the fourth buffalo brother, started for him. His head was so low that it practically dragged on the ground. He strode forth as though he were walking in mud. As he came forth, he trampled the lumps of sod flat. Since he killed the human before, he had no doubt he would succeed again. He charged forward with his horns near the ground and struck upward with a great noise, yet he barely lifted him off the ground. He bellowed with a wide open mouth and stood sideways. The man ran around him until he was able to shoot him in the mouth. The arrows struck home and disappeared inside his body. The buffalo bellowed loudly, and as he turned to run, he swung his tail from side to side. Just then the human shot him in the rectum, his arrow burying itself inside his body. Then the buffalo rolled over and died. Suddenly, the human rushed at the other Bad Buffaloes, who attempted to flee, but everyone of them was shot dead. Only two very young Bad Buffaloes did he spare, a male and a female. He declared, "I thought I would end you altogether, but the Creator would not be pleased, I thought. So I did not exterminate you, as the people would have nothing to call 'Bad Buffaloes.' Therefore you shall lay very deep underground. Never again will any of you come on earth evermore." He then returned home to the village.
The whole village was very thankful, as the Good Buffaloes had endured much abuse from them. As much as they loved the son-in-law before, all the more they loved him now. Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle resumed hunting "bears" which he brought home in great armfuls. Then one day the old man said, "My daughter, this son-in-law must come from somewhere and they may be lonesome for him. So about now you had better go to where he came from. It would be better." But the human replied, "I don't know where I would go. Only two people raised me and they were alone. Where they are now, I do not know, and besides, I don't even know if I have parents. I was very small when I was alone, and therefore I do not know of any relations of mine." So he stayed in the village of the Good Buffaloes.
One day in the spring of the year a great noise and commotion was heard at the end of the village. A young man and a young woman were the cause of it. The chief remarked to his daughter, "The son-in-law should never go where the noise is." The human asked, "Why did he say that? If he will tell me his reasons, I will not go over there. If it is not good, then I will not go." So she relayed this to her father, who explained, "Where the noise is, there the people on earth make ready to come here and shoot buffaloes. They make offerings and the offerings come here. When one gets an offering, that is when the rest shout for him. When one gets an offering, we will have to go where the buffalo hunt takes place and get killed. So when he takes an offering he sells himself. All that take offerings will have to go where humans hunt buffalo. If you go there and take a liking to something, you will have to go to earth and get killed. It is best for you not to go over there." "All right," he replied. Where he used to be, there was a constant noise, and he thought to himself, "I would like to find out how they make so much noise." So he went over there. There, on a nice piece of ground, would appear all kinds of good things: woolen belts, white deerskins, red feathers, tobacco, and all sorts of human clothing. He looked over all of it thoroughly. Then, just where he was standing, there appeared a magnificent deer tail headdress. It was too good not to accept, so he took it. Then they shouted for him. When he returned home, the chief said, "Alas! Thus it would be, and that is why I said what I did to you. I wished that you had stayed home." Then all those who were to go got ready to leave. The chief said, "Now my daughter, you will of course go along. Why should the son-in-law go alone and what shall he do? You go with him as they do not like partial returns for their offerings."
Then they went down to earth. The human was transformed into a buffalo, a very poor and scraggly kind such as humans particularly dislike. It was thought that he was so poor that they would not kill him, as he was not worth eating. So they all went down to earth as they were, males as bulls and females as cows. They said, "Don't take the yųgiwi, but let her remain with the human. We were created to be as we are by the Creator, but the humans don't function like us. In the morning we shall come to the people, so you, yųgiwi, and your husband, must always stay in front so that they will not shoot him." They set down in a round valley where the people came upon them. They chased the buffalo and shot at them while they ran. Three times they did this. When Časigųnąxka saw the people doing this, he decided to hang back. As he watched them hunt, he felt pleased with their ways. Indeed, he had not seen his own race in a very long time, and he was glad to see them again. He kept lagging behind the rest of the herd. By now, most of the hunters began returning home, and the buffalo herd had become widely strung out. Two young men kept up the chase. When they saw the last buffalo, they shot at him. One arrow hit him, as he had lagged way behind. The one who hit him said to the other hunter, "That ugly bastard will take my arrow with him, so I had better finish him off." So he continued to chase after him until, finally, he killed him. However, when he went to inspect the kill, there, unexpectedly, was a human with his arrow in him. "Hoho! What have I done?" he said. "I have accidentally committed a crime!" Thus he killed him. When the buffaloes are killed and eaten, they come back to life and go home, but the human really died for good. The buffaloes have often blessed many people, so they offer them tobacco and food. So it is that the humans are remembered in turn.1
Commentary. When the spirit woman throws a piece of coal at Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, she is doing what the male head of the household would normally do to insist that a boy who has reached puberty go on a fast and seek a dream from the spirits.
Comparative Material: The Sanskrit story from the Mahābhārata about Cyavana's courtship of Sukanyā is very similar to the episode in which Časigųnąxka must pick out his wife from among four identical female buffaloes. In the Sanskrit story, the Aśvins (the hippomorphic Divine Twins) transform the holy man Cyavana so that he looks exactly like one of them. Sukanyā must choose which among them she shall have as her husband. Just as in the present story, she makes the correct choice only because Cyavana covertly makes a sign to her.2
Links: Buffalo Spirits, Owls, Bird Spirits, The Redhorn Panel of Picture Cave. An American Star Map.
Stories: about buffaloes and Buffalo Spirits: Buffalo Clan Origin Myth, The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, White Fisher, Brass and Red Bear Boy, Bluehorn Rescues His Sister, Bluehorn's Nephews, Redhorn's Father, The Woman who became an Ant, Buffalo Dance Origin Myth, The Buffalo's Walk, Trickster's Buffalo Hunt, The Blessing of Šokeboka, The Creation of the World (v. 3), The Annihilation of the Hočągara I, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Red Feather, Wazųka, Holy One and His Brother, Old Man and Wears White Feather, The Orphan who was Blessed with a Horse; mentioning white buffalo: Brass and Red Bear Boy, The Orphan who was Blessed with a Horse, Thunderbird and White Horse; in which owls are mentioned: Owl Goes Hunting, Crane and His Brothers, The Spirit of Gambling, The Glory of the Morning, The Chief of the Heroka, Partridge's Older Brother, Waruǧápara, Wears White Feather on His Head, Keramaniš’aka's Blessing, Old Man and Wears White Feather, The Annihilation of the Hočągara I, The Green Man; about Bird Spirits: Crane and His Brothers, The King Bird, Bird Origin Myth, Bird Clan 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, Owl Goes Hunting, 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 (kaǧi, 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, Earthmaker Blesses Wagíšega (Wešgíšega), The Man Who Would Dream of Mą’ųna (chicken hawk), Hare Acquires His Arrows, Keramaniš’aka's Blessing (black hawk, owl), Worúxega (eagle), The Arrows of the Medicine Rite Men (eagle), The Gift of Shooting (eagle), 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 (buzzards), The Shaggy Man (kaǧi), The Healing Blessing (kaǧi), The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth (kaǧi), 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 Fleetfooted Man, The Journey to Spiritland (v. 4) — see also Thunderbirds; mentioning Rock Spirits: The Big Stone, The Green Man, The Creation of the World, The Commandments of Earthmaker, The Seer, The Roaster, Wojijé, The Raccoon Coat, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, Hare Kills Flint, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, A Woman Turns into a Rock; mentioning blind people: A Raccoon Tricks Four Blind Men, Raccoon and the Blind Men, Hare Visits the Blind Men, The Raccoon Coat, Big Eagle Cave Mystery, The Roaster, Owl Goes Hunting; 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, White Wolf, The Shaggy Man, Soft Shelled Turtle Gets Married, The Dipper, 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), 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 Dipper (Sick Offering Feast, Warclub 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); mentioning red feathers (as an offering to the spirits): The Red Feather, Bear Clan Origin Myth (v. 4), Big Thunder Teaches Čap’ósgaga the Warpath, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, The Elk's Skull, The Girl who Refused a Blessing from the Wood Spirits, The Nightspirits Bless Jobenągiwįxka, Great Walker's Medicine, The Reincarnated Grizzly Bear, The Twins Visit Their Father's Village, A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga, The Waterspirit of Rock River, The Were-fish (v. 1), Disease Giver ; mentioning springs: Trail Spring, Vita Spring, Merrill Springs, Big Spring and White Clay Spring, The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter, Bear Clan Origin Myth, vv. 6, 8, Bird Clan Origin Myth, The Woman Who Fought the Bear, Bluehorn's Nephews, Blue Mounds, The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion, The Lost Child, Old Man and Wears White Feather, The Wild Rose, The Omahas who turned into Snakes, The Two Brothers, Snowshoe Strings, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Nannyberry Picker, The Orphan who was Blessed with a Horse, Rich Man, Boy, and Horse, The Two Boys, Waruǧápara, Wazųka, The Man Who Fell from the Sky, Turtle and the Witches.
Themes: a woman abuses someone with whom she is living: Partridge's Older Brother, The Woman who Loved Her Half-Brother, The Quail Hunter, Snowshoe Strings, The Red Man, The Chief of the Heroka, Bluehorn's Nephews, Bluehorn Rescues His Sister, Old Man and Wears White Feather, The Were-Grizzly; when the kill is divided one person unjustly gets only the feet: The Brown Squirrel; a spirit is quoted as he gives someone a blessing: Earthmaker Blesses Wagíšega (Wešgíšega), Traveler and the Thunderbird War, The Nightspirits Bless Jobenągiwįxka, Disease Giver Blesses Jobenągiwįxka, The Man Whose Wife was Captured, The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion, Ghost Dance Origin Myth I, The Woman Who Fought the Bear, The Blessing of a Bear Clansman, Aračgéga's Blessings, The Girl who Refused a Blessing from the Wood Spirits, The Meteor Spirit and the Origin of Wampum, Great Walker's Medicine, Buffalo Dance Origin Myth, Thunderbird and White Horse, The Plant Blessing of Earth, The Completion Song Origin, The Man who was Blessed by the Sun, Thunder Cloud is Blessed, The Difficult Blessing, The Blessing of Šokeboka, A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga, Bow Meets Disease Giver, A Peyote Vision, The Healing Blessing; someone has a very pale complexion: The Woman Who Became an Ant, Big Eagle Cave Mystery, The Roaster; blessings from Buffalo Spirits: The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, Brass and Red Bear Boy, The Blessing of Šokeboka, Buffalo Dance Origin Myth; a being has red hair: Redhorn's Sons, Redhorn's Father, Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp (vv. 1 & 2), The Hočągara Contest the Giants, Redhorn Contests the Giants, The Sons of Redhorn Find Their Father, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, A Wife for Knowledge; red as a symbolic color: The Journey to Spiritland (hill, willows, reeds, smoke, stones, haze), The Gottschall Head (mouth), The Chief of the Heroka (clouds, side of Forked Man), The Red Man (face, sky, body, hill), Spear Shaft and Lacrosse (neck, nose, painted stone), Redhorn's Father (leggings, stone sphere, hair), The Sons of Redhorn Find Their Father (hair, body paint, arrows), Wears White Feather on His Head (man), The Birth of the Twins (turkey bladder headdresses), The Two Boys (elk bladder headdresses), Trickster and the Mothers (sky), Rich Man, Boy, and Horse (sky), The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits (Buffalo Spirit), Bluehorn Rescues His Sister (buffalo head), Wazųka (buffalo head headdress), The Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth (horn), The Brown Squirrel (protruding horn), Bear Clan Origin Myth (funerary paint), Hawk Clan Origin Myth (funerary paint), Deer Clan Origin Myth (funerary paint), Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth (stick at grave), Pigeon Clan Origins (Thunderbird lightning), Trickster's Anus Guards the Ducks (eyes), Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp (scalp, woman's hair), The Race for the Chief's Daughter (hair), The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy (hair), Redhorn Contests the Giants (hair), Redhorn's Sons (hair), The Woman's Scalp Medicine Bundle (hair), A Wife for Knowledge (hair), The Hočągara Contest the Giants (hair of Giantess), A Man and His Three Dogs (wolf hair), The Red Feather (plumage), The Man who was Blessed by the Sun (body of Sun), The Man Whose Wife was Captured (v. 2) (body of the Warrior Clan Chief), Red Bear, Eagle Clan Origin Myth (eagle), The Shell Anklets Origin Myth (Waterspirit armpits), The Twins Join Redhorn's Warparty (Waterspirits), The Roaster (body paint), The Man who Defied Disease Giver (red spot on forehead), The Wild Rose (rose), The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth (warclub), Įčorúšika and His Brothers (ax & packing strap), Hare Kills Flint (flint), The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head (edges of flint knives), The Nannyberry Picker (leggings), The Seduction of Redhorn's Son (cloth), Yųgiwi (blanket); a being has curly hair: Redhorn's Father; someone goes out searching for a missing person who was dear to them: The Woman who Married a Snake, Waruǧápara, A Man's Revenge, The Man Whose Wife was Captured, Bluehorn Rescues His Sister, Ghost Dance Origin Myth II, Old Man and Wears White Feather, Snowshoe Strings, Brass and Red Bear Boy; a doorway is unexpectedly found in the side of a hill which serves as a lodge for a powerful spirit: The Shaggy Man, Bluehorn's Nephews, Bluehorn Rescues His Sister, Thunderbird and White Horse; a human being physically travels to Spiritland without having died: The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter, Ghost Dance Origin Myth II, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, Snowshoe Strings, The Thunderbird, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds, The Star Husband, White Wolf, Waruǧápara, How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Shaggy Man, Buffalo Dance Origin Myth, Aračgéga's Blessings, The Blessing of a Bear Clansman, The Lost Blanket, The Twins Get into Hot Water, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, The Petition to Earthmaker, The Boy who would be Immortal, Thunder Cloud Marries Again, Rainbow and the Stone Arch (v. 2), Trickster Concludes His Mission; a hungry young man accidentally finds his way to the lodge of the daughter of a spirit and soon marries her: The Old Man and the Giants; a human marries a spirit: The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy (a Thunderbird, a Nightspirit, and two Waterspirits), The Thunderbird (a Thunderbird), How the Thunders Met the Nights (a Nightspirit), The Shaggy Man (a Bear Spirit), White Wolf (a Wolf Spirit), The Woman who Married a Snake (a Snake Spirit), The Star Husband (stars), Little Human Head (a Louse Spirit), The Phantom Woman (Waterspirit); someone has to guess the identity of a person from among a group of people all of whom look exactly alike: Redhorn's Father; marriage to a yųgiwi (princess): The Nannyberry Picker, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Race for the Chief's Daughter, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, The Big Stone, Partridge's Older Brother, Redhorn's Sons, The Seduction of Redhorn's Son, The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter, River Child and the Waterspirit of Devil's Lake, The Roaster, Soft Shelled Turtle Gets Married, White Wolf, The Two Boys, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, The Shaggy Man, The Thunderbird, The Red Feather, The Orphan who was Blessed with a Horse, Trickster Visits His Family, The Woman who Loved Her Half-Brother, Redhorn's Father, Old Man and Wears White Feather, Morning Star and His Friend, Thunderbird and White Horse, Rich Man, Boy, and Horse, Shakes the Earth, The Nightspirits Bless Čiwoit’éhiga; someone can transform himself into a buffalo at will: The Annihilation of the Hočągara I, Brass and Red Bear Boy; a knowledgeable person tells someone not to go to a certain place because of the danger, but that person goes there anyway: The Twins Disobey Their Father, The Fox-Hočąk War, The Twins Get into Hot Water, The Two Boys, The Two Brothers, The Lost Blanket, Bladder and His Brothers, The Thunderbird; a young man follows the detailed instructions of a wise woman and as a result succeeds in a difficult mission: Waruǧápara, Trickster Soils the Princess; people chase one another underground: Įčorúšika and His Brothers, The Seduction of Redhorn's Son, Redhorn's Sons, Iron Staff and His Companions; a human has an easy time hunting something that the spirits find hard to get: The Thunderbird, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, Waruǧápara, How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds; powerful spirit beings act somewhat dim witted: How the Thunders Met the Nights, Hare Kills Sharp Elbow, The Thunderbird, Partridge's Older Brother, The Dipper; a man pleases his father-in-law with his hunting prowess: The Thunderbird, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, Little Human Head; as part of a blessing, a spirit orders the beneficiary to kill him and make magical use of his body: A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga, White Wolf, The Seer, Paint Medicine Origin Myth, The Elk's Skull; powerful beings give a human a charm which they say will bring him benefits: White Wolf, The Lost Child, The Thunder Charm, Witches; 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, 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, The Dipper, 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; jealousy: The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, The Diving Contest, Hog's Adventures, Wazųka, The Fleetfooted Man, Bluehorn's Nephews, Redhorn's Sons, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Lost Blanket; an evil spirit engages in a contest designed to knock his opponent into the air with fatal consequences: Bladder and His Brothers, The Children of the Sun; the youngest offspring is superior: The Mission of the Five Sons of Earthmaker, Young Man Gambles Often, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Twins Cycle, The Two Boys, Bluehorn's Nephews, The Children of the Sun, The Creation of the World (v. 12), The Race for the Chief's Daughter, Įčorúšika and His Brothers, The Raccoon Coat, Wojijé, How the Thunders Met the Nights, Sun and the Big Eater, Buffalo Clan Origin Myth, Bear Clan Origin Myth (vv. 4, 7), Snake Clan Origins, South Enters the Medicine Lodge, Snake Clan Origins, Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth; violating the terms of a blessing does harm: The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Necessity for Death, Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp, White Wolf, The Dog that became a Panther, The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion, Disease Giver Blesses Jobenągiwįxka, The Greedy Woman, Trickster, the Wolf, the Turtle, and the Meadow Lark (meadow lark); striking of an enemy whose body scatters over the face of the earth as a shower of stones: Hare Kills Flint, The Big Stone; a mortal is returned to earth from the spirit village that he is visiting: Waruǧápara, The Thunderbird, Two Roads to Spiritland, The Shaggy Man, Buffalo Dance Origin Myth, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, Snowshoe Strings, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, White Wolf, The Foolish Hunter, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds, The Petition to Earthmaker; someone returns from the dead: Ghost Dance Origin Myth II, The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, White Fisher, The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion, The Shaggy Man, The Two Brothers, The Two Boys, White Wolf, The Red Man, The Chief of the Heroka, The Man Whose Wife was Captured, Waruǧápara, The Lost Blanket, The Old Man and the Giants; scattering of animals from their primordial village into permanent exile: Wolves and Humans, The Shaggy Man, The War among the Animals; good people (and spirits) completely annihilate a race of bad spirits except for two, whom they allow to live (so that they do not undo the work of the Creator): Grandfather's Two Families, Sun and the Big Eater, Įčorúšika and His Brothers, How the Thunders Met the Nights, Bluehorn Rescues His Sister, Redhorn's Father, Morning Star and His Friend; a human turns into a (spirit) animal: How the Thunders Met the Nights (Thunderbird), Waruǧápara (Thunderbird), The Dipper (hummingbird), Keramaniš’aka's Blessing (black hawk, owl), 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), 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).
Calling grass "bears" is the inverse of the following theme: powerful spirits refer to strong animals by names denoting smaller and weaker animals: How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Twins Disobey Their Father, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds, Waruǧápara, The Thunderbird, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, Earthmaker Sends Rušewe to the Twins, Bluehorn's Nephews, Redhorn's Sons.
1 Paul Radin, "Dear Ankle Smelling Feet," Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) Notebook #20: 1-146.
2 Mahābhārata 3.123; Jaiminīya Brāhmaṇa 3.123-125; Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa 188.8.131.52-12.