Fable of the Mouse

by Peter Sampson (Čaščąga, "Wave")


"Once there were some mice under a crooked log and they believed they were the only people in the whole world. One of them standing up and stretching his little arms could just touch the under side of the log. He thought that he was very tall and that he touched the sky. So he danced and sang this song:

Song of the Mouse
   
Móžunákre,  
In all the land,  
   
Pežé yakískešųnų,*
Who would I be like,
   
Nįknąkiske?  
Like a little one?  
   
Móžunákre,  
In all the land,  
   
Pežé yakískešųnų,*
Who would I be like,
   
Nįknąkiske?  
Like a little one?  
   
Nešana mąxínįgera yakio-o!
I alone I have touched the little sky!1

 
*Susman has for Natalie Curtis' ya-ki-ske shun-non, a revision in the future tense, yak'ískek'če.
†Susman has, in place of Curtis' Ne-sh-na ma-chi-nik-gla ya-ki-o-o, the revised text, néšąne mąxínįkra yak'í. 'O'ó.  However, Jipson has recorded, kio, "to touch," which would make yakio simply, "I touch."

Commentary. This is described as a wai-kun (waiką), a sacred story. Waikąra are so holy that they can only be told in the winter. However, a mere fable would seem to be nothing more than just a worak, or simple story.

Comparative Material. ...


Links: Mice.


Stories: mentioning mice: The War among the Animals, Trickster Takes Little Fox for a Ride, Waruǧápara, Hare Kills Wildcat, Ocean Duck, The Two Boys, The Lost Blanket.


Themes: ...


Songs. Bladder, Song about the Older Brother (v. 2), Bladder, Song about the Older Brother (v. 3), Buffalo Dance Songs, Clan Songs, Bear Clan, Clan Songs, Bear Clan, Song for Returning, Clan Songs, Bear Clan, Song for Starting Out, Clan Song, Bear Clan, Song of the Youngest, Clan Songs, Buffalo Clan, Clan Songs, Buffalo Clan, The Four Songs of Hojanoka, Clan Songs—Deer Clan, Clan Songs—Wolf Clan, Clan Songs—Wonáǧire Wąkšik Clan, The Crawfish's Song, Duck Song, Farewell Songs, The Four Services Songs, Grandfather Sparrow's Rain Songs, Grizzly Bear Songs, Hare's Song to Grasshopper, Hare's Song to the Wągepanįgera, Hare's Song to Wildcat, Hawk's Song, Heroka Songs, Holy Song, Holy Song II, Little Fox's Death Song, Little Fox's Death Song (for the Warpath), Little Fox's Tail Song, Love Song I (female), Love Song II (female), Love Song III (female), The Mouse Song, Nightspirit Songs, The Quail's Song, Redman's Song, Slow Song of the Heroka, Soldier Dance Songs, Song for Calling the Buffalo, Song from the Water, Song from the Water (King Bird), The Song of Bluehorn's Sister, Hočąk Text — The Song of Sun Caught in a Net, The Song of the Boy Transformed into a Robin, Song of the Frog to Hare, Song of the Thunder Nestlings, The Song of Trickster's Baby, Song to Earthmaker, The Song to the Elephant, The Sun's Song to Hare, Three Warrior Songs, Turtle's Call for a Warparty (v. 1), Turtle's Call for a Warparty (v. 2), Turtle's Four Death Dance Songs, Twins, Ghost's Song (v. 1), Twins, Ghost's Song (v. 2), Twins, Ghost's Song (The Two Brothers), Twins, the Songs of Ghost and Flesh, Twins, Song of the Father-in-Law, Victory Song, Wailing Song, Warrior Song about Mąčosepka, What a Turtle Sang in His Sleep, Wolf-Teasing Song of the Deer Spirits. Songs in the McKern collection: Waking Songs (27, 55, 56, 57, 58) War Song: The Black Grizzly (312), War Song: Dream Song (312), War Song: White Cloud (313), James’ Horse (313), Little Priest Songs (309), Little Priest's Song (316), Chipmunk Game Song (73), Patriotic Songs from World War I (105, 106, 175), Grave Site Song: "Coming Down the Path" (45), Songs of the Stick Ceremony (53).


Notes

1 Natalie Curtis Burlin, The Indians' Book: an Offering by the American Indians of Indian Lore, Musical and Narrative, to Form a Record of the Songs and Legends of Their Race (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1907) 253. Curtis' text had been revised and edited by Amelia Susman, "Song of the Mouse," Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1939) Book 10, Song 3, p. 84. Susman adds that this song was sung to children.