Hare Establishes Bear Hunting


Hočąk Syllabic Text with an Interlinear English Translation


Version 1 (§3 of the V.23 Text of the Hare Cycle)

translated by Richard L. Dieterle


(145) Now he looked around. "He will come." Finally, he looked around there. "Grandmother, a mind is made to come here. (146) It is powerful," he said. He bathed. Finally, after he (Hare) did it by means of the dance, now he (Bear) would sort of dance. Finally, again he wanted to go there. The odor had diffused. He wanted it very much. Then he did not look about differently. Thus it was. He knew when a mind had gotten there. Thus it was. The next morning, the dogs of the humans were quiet. They howled. (147) One of the thoughts had come right here and it commanded the dogs of the humans. One went there. He saw his hand, but he was not ignorant. He came right away. They did not say anything. "The order at some point will be given to you," he said, but right away they brought him. Again the other one came. So there they tried to put food on the roasting frame. Hare came immediately. (148) "Hohó, it is good," he said. "Yes, he has come out and done it for them. He has come out." So he pointed his arrow right under his arm pit. Now it ran out of the corners of Bear's eyes in a stream. At just that moment he still thought that he would come. He pointed his long arrow at him. Finally, now that he was out of sight, he ran. Again he ran ahead of him. Very near him the dogs sidestepped him as they went. (149) There again the hide was ready. Unexpectedly, he pointed his arrow just a little bit right under the arm pit. Again they now came walking. Again he did not shoot him. The fourth time the man made for him, Bear cried. He had chased him there. It approached someplace, and his mind walked. He was fooled by what he had said. "Well, repent of having cried," he told him. "In this way he (the human hunter) will do to you what I have done. You will take your paw out of sight. (150) At that time you said that you would do something for my little uncles. Well, I will not kill you." "Yes Hare, you have spoken truly: when they hunt, they will be able to find me," he said. There at last the bear allowed himself to be turned loose. And he is made to be poor it is said. And when the people hunted, this was the sort of thing they made use of. (151) They would be cooking him. They did it. There it was.1


Version 2

From the published "Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans"

retold by Richard L. Dieterle


Bear proved to be an unusual case. After Hare had gotten Deer's consent to be food, he had asked Bear. Bear demanded that people fast before hunting him. "If they do not fast," he declared, "I will put my paw up and block the entrance of the cave so that they will never find me." "Nonsense," replied Hare, "my uncles have strong medicines, and what is more, they have dogs that can track down anything." After the animals had been fattened, Hare showed the people how bears were to be hunted. He first prepared a sweat bath with plenty of vapor. There he concentrated his mind — his thought reached all the trees, the grasses, and even the weeds, stones, and soil. He set a kettle of dried corn boiling, then made an offering of tobacco. He asked his grandmother to sing the Blackroot Songs with him, songs of great medicine. As Bear sat in his cave, he was overcome with a desire to look in Hare's direction — for he could hear all that was going on. Finally, he did look. Just then, Hare cried out, "I felt someone's mind turn towards me!" But his grandmother just urged him to try harder. This time Hare sang his dance songs, and when the bear heard them he could not resist dancing himself. As the aroma of the food reached him, Bear could not resist it and desired to come over to where Hare was. Thus he could not keep his mind off Hare. As Hare looked into the fire, he saw an ember jump towards him. Then he knew that the bear's mind had turned towards him. After that, Hare went to sleep. The next morning, Hare told his dogs, "Last night a mind came to me from somewhere over there," so they set out in that direction. The dogs ran ahead and one of them reached the bear's cave. Bear put his paw in front of his cave, but the dog had no trouble finding him. "If you keep quiet about me," said Bear, "I'll give you a nice piece of fat." However, the other dog came up and both began to bark at him. As they tried to drag Bear out of his cave, Hare arrived. "It is good," he said, then commanded the bear to come out of the cave, all the while poking him with a stick. When the bear finally came out of his cave, Hare pointed his arrow at him. Bear expected at any moment to be shot and couldn't stand to look, but Hare then ran around to the front of the bear and aimed again. Then the bear came right up to Hare, so Hare aimed again at his heart. The bear stopped, and Hare again drew his arrow back. At this point the bear began to cry. "Why do you cry?" asked Hare. "I thought you were supposed to be tough? If one of my uncles had been hunting you, even if you had put your paw up in front of your cave, you would have been killed by now." Then Bear acknowledged, "Hare, you were right. I was wrong for thinking that the humans could not find me. I will therefore offer myself to anyone who has done as you have, Hare." Thus, ever after people have hunted bears the way Hare did.2


Commentary. "he bathed" — this would be a sweat bath.

"the odor had diffused" — Hare has made an offering of tobacco into the fire. The fire is a messenger bringing the odor of the tobacco to the bear, who is under its compulsive influence.

"I will put my paw up" — bears typically hybernate with one paw up in front of their face.

"he saw his hand" & "you will take your paw out of sight"— in an earlier episode, Bear said that they would not be able to find him because he would put his hand up in front of the den entrance (see the previous entry). However, a dog did find him, because Hare had caused the bear's mind to enter the village where the dogs lived. Apparently the presence of a mind was conceptualized along the model of a scent, something that could be followed back to its point of origin, which is what one of the dogs does. This dog sees the bear's paw and is not fooled.

"so there they tried to put food on the roasting frame" — in other words they now set to the task of killing the bear in order to obtain food for themselves and their human masters.

"he has come out" — he has come out of his lair, den, or cave. One of the best times to hunt bears is when they are hibernating. The dogs flush the bear out, but because he has been roused from a profound sleep, he is groggy and disoriented. Therefore, he is a far easier opponent for the hunter to kill.

"he was out of sight" — this is a bit confusing. In the other variant, it is said that Bear cannot bear to look at Hare and covers his eyes. However, in Version 1, the Hočąk word is hirokinǫ, which is attested elsewhere as meaning "to be out of sight" (and is found with this meaning in Dorsey's wordlist as well). Perhaps this action is merely being assumed in this version, and Hare is only out of sight because Bear has covered his eyes.

"his mind walked" — it is as if Bear's mind had journeyed while he slept, a common occurrence in supernatural interactions, as we see elsewhere when the spirit of a person is summoned in their sleep to the abode of the spirits. With the correct rite, a human can so summon the spirit of a bear, who, as it were, leaves his footprint trail behind in an ethereal way (like a scent, as above), but in a way that can at least be tracked by dogs, if not humans. Hare's songs and tobacco offerings had fooled Bear's spirit to seek him out.


Links: Hare, Bear, Earth.

Links within the V.23 Hare Cycle: §2. Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Version 2, §4. The Necessity of Death, Version 3.


Stories: featuring Hare as a character: The Hare Cycle, Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Necessity for Death, The Mission of the Five Sons of Earthmaker, Hare Acquires His Arrows, Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp, Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans, Hare Kills Wildcat, The Messengers of Hare, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, Hare Kills Flint, Hare Kills Sharp Elbow, Hare Visits His Grandfather Bear, Grandmother Packs the Bear Meat, Hare Visits the Bodiless Heads, Hare Visits the Blind Men, Hare Kills a Man with a Cane, Hare Burns His Buttocks, Hare Gets Swallowed, The Hill that Devoured Men and Animals, Grandmother's Gifts, Hare and the Grasshoppers, The Spirit of Gambling, The Red Man, Maize Origin Myth, Hare Steals the Fish, The Animal who would Eat Men, The Gift of Shooting, Hare and the Dangerous Frog, Thunder Cloud is Blessed, The Coughing Up of the Black Hawks, The Animal Spirit Aids of the Medicine Rite, The Petition to Earthmaker; featuring Grandmother Earth as a character: Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Maize Origin Myth, Grandmother Packs the Bear Meat, Grandmother's Gifts, Owl Goes Hunting, Hare and the Grasshoppers, Hare Acquires His Arrows, The Plant Blessing of Earth, Hare Visits the Blind Men, Hare Visits His Grandfather Bear, Hare Visits the Bodiless Heads, Hare Burns His Buttocks, Hare Gets Swallowed, Hare Kills Wildcat, Hare and the Dangerous Frog, Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp, Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans, The Necessity for Death, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, Hare Steals the Fish, Hare Kills Sharp Elbow, Hare Kills Flint, The Gift of Shooting, The Creation of the World, The Creation of Man (vv 4, 6), Hare Kills Wildcat, Redhorn's Father (?); Bear as a character: Hare Visits His Grandfather Bear, Bear Offers Himself as Food, Hočąk Clans Origin Myth, The Hočąk Migration Myth, Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans, Lake Winnebago Origin Myth, Bear Clan Origin Myth, The Woman Who Fought the Bear; mentioning (spirit) bears (other than were-bears): White Bear, Blue Bear, Black Bear, Red Bear, Bear Clan Origin Myth, The Shaggy Man, Bear Offers Himself as Food, Hare Visits His Grandfather Bear, Grandmother Packs the Bear Meat, The Spotted Grizzly Man, The Woman Who Fought the Bear, Brass and Red Bear Boy, Redhorn's Sons, The Meteor Spirit and the Origin of Wampum, The Wolf Clan Origin Myth, Hočąk Clans Origin Myth, The Messengers of Hare, Bird Clan Origin Myth, The Hočąk Migration Myth, Red Man, Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans, Lifting Up the Bear Heads, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, The Two Boys, Creation of the World (v. 5), Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, The Brown Squirrel, Snowshoe Strings, Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, East Enters the Medicine Lodge, Lake Winnebago Origin Myth, The Spider's Eyes, Little Priest's Game, Little Priest, How He went out as a Soldier, Morning Star and His Friend (v. 2), How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Race for the Chief's Daughter, Trickster's Tail, Old Man and Wears White Feather, The Warbundle Maker, cf. Fourth Universe; 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 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 Dipper, The Two Boys, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth (v. 2).

Version 2 is an excerpt from Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans.


Themes: threatening four times to shoot a bear, and causing the bear to cry: The Shaggy Man, Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans, Hare Establishes Bear Hunting; animals volunteer to be eaten: River Child and the Waterspirit of Devil's Lake (a sturgeon), Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp (beavers), Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans; an animal volunteers to be food for humans: Bear Offers Himself as Food, Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans; a person (or spirit) aids someone in a task by concentrating his mind upon it: Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans, Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, The Petition to Earthmaker, Ghost Dance Origin Myth II, The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter; someone is able to exert supernatural power upon an object by concentrating his mind upon it: Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans, The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion, The Petition to Earthmaker, The Messengers of Hare, South Enters the Medicine Lodge, Otter Comes to the Medicine Rite, The Blessing of Kerexųsaka.


Notes

1 The Hare Cycle, in Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks, Freeman #3897 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, n.d.) Winnebago V, #23: 145-151.

2 Paul Radin, Winnebago Hero Cycles: A Study in Aboriginal Literature (Baltimore: Waverly Press, 1948) 111-113.