Fireman's Brother

by John Fireman

translated by George Ricehill

BAE 37: 66
John Fireman

English Text

Fireman's brother went hunting and shot a deer, but it lived, so he took a club and killed it. He left it behind because it was heavy. Upon returning for it, he found that it was not there.1

Hocąk-English Interlinear Text

p. 74 —

Péjga kinų́bera nąkíkera caížą gúj niópgi.
Fireman brother hunting deer shot live.

Nąsigížą rúzanąga gisákje. Sgį́gerege ásge
A club he took, and killed with it. Heavy reason

t'ųnakére. Hágujigàją cára hįká wajéniže.
he left it. Coming after deer not there.

Commentary. To the Western mind the story seems incomplete: were there deer tracks leading from the site? Were there human tracks? Given that it was killed, the fact that the deer simply vanished suggests that it was some kind of spirit animal. However, the story does not speculate, but simply leaves us with the same mystery that confronted Fireman's brother.

Links: Deer Spirits.

Stories: featuring deer as characters: Deer Clan Origin Myth, A Deer Story, Little Fox and the Ghost, Porcupine and His Brothers, Wolves and Humans, The Green Man, The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter, Trickster's Tail, cf. The Race for the Chief's Daughter.

Themes: strange things happen to an animal that has been struck by a hunter: The Choke Cherry Wild Cat; a deer is killed with a club: White Wolf.


1 John Fireman, Tales of Fireman's Brother, trs. by George Ricehill, in Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks, Freeman #3892 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) III, #11a, Story 2, p. 74.