A Giant Visits His Daughter

by Charlie Houghton

translation based upon the interlinear text of Oliver LaMère


Hočąk-English Interlinear Text


(28) "There a town was and in the fall there were some lodges. A man and his wife with him took only one small child with them and started to move. There they lived. The man went hunting. Wahó-o-o! there were many deer and bear there. He did very well, (29) getting much food and lard.

Once the man went out hunting quite a distance. There he saw, going towards his lodge, the footprints of a Giant (Man Eater). That man became frightened: "Hoho, he will kill my wife, my child," he thought. He fixed his pack and dropped it, and thus tracks (30) went to his lodge and so the man reloaded his gun and he went home to his lodge. When he got near, the small child was speaking, and so he got up to the door and, werakirakúni!, his wife said, "Father." This she was saying to the man. And he just went in and his wife (31) was sitting down holding the little child, and the man could not believe it, so he swept his eyes again over the scene and there his wife was alive. The woman said, "My father has come," she said, "so make the house larger." He made a large teepee. On the opposite side he was sitting, sitting there naked. (32) "Greetings, my son-in-law. This year I had done little things to help you. Come here," he said, but the man at the time was afraid. "My wife, indeed let us give him the child; if he eats it, he has fooled us, and we will run away," he said, they say. (33) And so they gave him the child. "If you wish to eat it, you can," they said to him. He did not eat it. "I did not come to eat people, it is only tobacco that I long for," so they only gave him deer soup to eat and that only he would drink. "I will stay only to spring, then I'll go home," he said, "have no fear of me," but just the same, the man (34) always feared him. And so he killed a man and gave him to the Giant. The Giant said, "You have done a really bad thing." "No way (Hąká-a)! I am giving him to you for you to eat." "Ho, it is good."

And the Giant built a house for them. He lived alone. The small child had become used to the Giant. (35) The small child would occasionally cry [for food]. "Son-in-law, this is the cave that bears make their abode," and so the man killed many — ten bears he killed — and the Giant, tying them together, would carry them. They got much food for the man.

(36) "Yes, my daughter, in four days I am going home," said the Giant. "Yes, now then, it is four days. I'm going home. You will be a very good human being and never want for anything. At the time that you die, here to my house you may come; and my only grandson (37) will be the last one to arrive home." Indeed, in the morning when the man awoke, he was not there. And they say he told the truth. Indeed, it is finished."1


Commentary. The Giant craves tobacco because the spirits are forbidden to possess it except for that tobacco which is offered up to them by human beings. The Giant says that he has done little things for the man — by this is meant that he has blessed him and has acted in some ways like a helpful spirit.


Links: Giants.


Stories:featuring Giants as characters: Turtle and the Giant, The Stone Heart, Young Man Gambles Often, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, Redhorn Contests the Giants, The Sons of Redhorn Find Their Father, Morning Star and His Friend, The Reincarnated Grizzly Bear, The Old Man and the Giants, Shakes the Earth, White Wolf, Redhorn's Father, The Hočągara Contest the Giants, The Roaster, Grandfather's Two Families, Redhorn's Sons, The Meteor Spirit and the Origin of Wampum, Thunder Cloud is Blessed, Little Human Head, Heną́ga and Star Girl, Rich Man, Boy, and Horse, Sun and the Big Eater, The Big Eater, How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Origins of the Milky Way, Ocean Duck, The Blessing of a Bear Clansman, Wears White Feather on His Head, cf. The Shaggy Man.


Themes: anthropophagy and cannibalism: Turtle and the Giant, The Witch Men's Desert, The Were-Grizzly, Grandfather's Two Families, The Roaster, Redhorn's Father, Hawk Clan Origin Myth, The Lost Blanket, Young Man Gambles Often, White Wolf, The Shaggy Man, The Twins Get into Hot Water, Partridge's Older Brother, The First Fox and Sauk War, The Fox-Hočąk War, The Hočągara Contest the Giants, Morning Star and His Friend, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Seven Maidens, Šųgepaga, The Reincarnated Grizzly Bear, The Woman who Loved Her Half-Brother, The Blessing of a Bear Clansman, Shakes the Earth, The Stone Heart, Thunder Cloud is Blessed; marriage to a Giant: The Stone Heart, Young Man Gambles Often, The Reincarnated Grizzly Bear, Redhorn Contests the Giants, The Roaster, Redhorn's Sons, Redhorn's Father, White Wolf.


Notes

1 Charlie N. Houghton, A Story about a Giant, with an interlinear translation by Oliver LaMere, in Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks, Freeman #3892 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) Winnebago III, #11a, Story XXVII: 28-37.