Hare Visits the Bodiless Heads (§7 of the Hare Cycle)

retold by Richard L. Dieterle

Hare went to visit some of his uncles, but on the way he had to cross a very wide river. So he issued a command: "Crabs, come forward!" Immediately a host of crabs scurried up to him, and he picked up the biggest and said, "Lend me your boat." He took the crab and pulled it out of its shell, which he used for a boat, the tail being turned up as a sail. Then he commanded the wind itself, "Blow me across!" and the wind propelled his boat across the waters. He sang as he traveled, until finally, he reached the other side. He set aside his crab shell boat and after walking some way, he entered a lodge. Inside were people whose bodies consisted only of their heads. They greeted Hare and said, "Grandson, you must be very hungry." So they fixed him bear ribs and corn, but as he bit into the meat and started to cut it off with the knife they gave him, it slipped and he split his nose. They gave him another knife, and he seemed not to mind having cut himself. However, when he got home, his grandmother exclaimed, "Grandson, you have disfigured yourself!" Ever after, even to this day, when a person goes to visit his uncles, they say, "He is going out to slit his nose."

Not long afterwards, Hare "went out to slit his nose," as they say. He went to another long lodge of the same bodiless heads, who said to him, "Grandson you must be hungry, let us fix you something to eat." Hare had a really good meal. All this eating was beginning to fatten him up, so the heads said, "Let's eat Hare, he looks delicious!" They rushed to block all the exits, but Hare found a small opening in the wall and ran out that way. The heads rolled after him, forcing Hare to climb a tree to escape. They gnawed that tree down but Hare ran to a neighboring tree. That too they gnawed until they felled it, but once more Hare leapt to another tree. Finally, they felled that tree too, but Hare escaped again the same way. When they went to gnaw on the fourth tree, it tasted so bitter that the heads decided to wait him out at its trunk. Hare was uncertain about what to do next, when he suddenly got an idea and began to sing:

Bodiless heads, I want to go by,
Go to sleep!
Go to sleep!

The heads decided to trick Hare by pretending to sleep, so they said to each other, "Grandson says we should sleep, so let's go to sleep." However, by the time Hare had sung his song four times, they really had fallen asleep. Unfortunately, when Hare touched ground, he made a noise and the heads woke up. The pursuit started all over again, but this time Hare came to a creek which he jumped over in a single bound. The last pursuer yelled, "Jump across after him!" but being heads, they could only manage to roll into the water where every one of them drowned. After Hare went downstream, collected all the heads and set them in a big pile, he burned them down to the bone. Then he pulverized the bones into a powder, which he threw into the water. Hare decreed: "Since you have abused the humans, henceforth you shall exist as 'fast fish' who nibble at people's ankles when they cross a stream."

When he got home he said, "My uncles sure must be great." Grandmother replied, "Yes, they are among the great spirits." "Well," said Hare, "that's a bit of an exaggeration, since I turned them all into little fast fish." Grandmother was beside herself, "You big-eyed, big-eared, big-footed, slit-nosed varmint, you have destroyed my brothers!" "Well," answered Hare, "if that's the way you feel about it, I can just as easily make you into a fast fish!" "Oh no, grandson," she said nervously, "I was just joking. Actually you did a good thing as the heads were abusing your uncles and aunts."1


General Remarks. Hare originally attempted to win immortality for humanity by making the Road of Life and Death circular, so that it had neither beginning nor end. But as he went forward, he looked backward, and thereby introduced linear time with a point at which life could only be what has already gone before. Thus, by looking back in time, Hare accidentally introduced death. In our story, Hare overcomes the death inflicted by the Wąkpanįgera by stepping sideways in time. He introduces for the Hočągara a two-dimensional time in which death is real, but rebirth is possible for those who follow his example. Since the Hočągara were the first people created by Earthmaker, they have an exceptional standing. This Hočąk exceptionalism is seen most pointedly in the destiny of those who are killed in battle. It is the usual fate for a warrior who is killed by his enemies to be beheaded, and by virtue of this capture, his ghost is made a slave to the victor. This does not occur for the Hočąk warrior. When he dies, he takes a long journey to Spiritland, where along the way he is tempted by ghosts to stay in one or another of the ghost villages through which he passes on the way to Earthmaker's lodge. He successfully resists all these attempts to assimilate him, and arrives at the lodge of Earthmaker, where the Creator shows him the whole world and allows him to choose his station therein. He invariably chooses to be much as he was before he died. So Earthmaker has granted the Hočąk warrior freedom from being a supernatural slave to the enemies who may have taken his head or eaten his body. Neither outsider, the ghosts of those who did not die in this special grace, nor the enemies who killed him, can succeed in making the departed a supernatural captive. They cannot "swallow" or assimilate him. In our story, these outsiders are represented by the Wąkpanįgera, the Little Human Heads. The way that these enemies are overcome is shown by Hare in a myth based on the conquest myth in the "Origins of the Hawk Clan." The Hawk Clan is the Warrior Clan. In primordial times, when the Thunder Chief asked the Warrior to hunt for food that they might have their first meal on earth, he brought back a human being. The first meal of the Warrior in the time of national beginnings was served him by the Snake Clan. It was a fish, which the Warrior ate, leaving the head and tail on opposite sides of the plate. To commemorate this First Meal he gave a dog the name "Leaves Fish on Both Sides." Thus the Warrior swallows and assimilates the fish, here representing the enemy, just like he swallows the Wąkpanįgera-as-fish. He captures the central being of the enemy, his ghost, who becomes his supernatural servant. When this myth is reversed, and it is the Hočągara who suffer this fate, Hare provides a model of how the Warrior is able to avoid the fate of assimilation by supernatural capture. The original model of the First Meal is altered by making the Warrior assume the guise of a tree which is eaten between its roots and its crown, just like the fish; but the ghost, symbolized by Hare, is not swallowed, but escapes into another tree. The model of how to escape the fate of the fish is the essence of the myth.

"a very wide river" — this is probably the Ocean Sea, called the "Encircling Lake" (Te Ją) since it was imagined to surround the landmass of the earth. That the pre-contact Hočągara knew that the waters at the edge of the continent were salty is doubtful. This "lake" was both incredibly long, and therefore might more resemble a river. In the time of Homer, the Greeks, envisioned the the Ocean Sea (Okeanos/Ὠκεᾰνός) as a river (Ὠκεᾰνός ποταμός).2 Fantastical beings such as the Wąkpanįgera, Giants, and Nightspirits, are usually found on the far shore of the Ocean Sea. Esoterically, this story seems to be about the Otherworld of death, so it is appropriate for it to begin with a journey to the geographic Otherworld at the limits of physical space. Since Hare is the founder of the Medicine Rite, which is devoted to life and even resurrection, he is a champion against death itself. So it is wholly appropriate that it is he who crosses over into the Otherworld to set things aright. Members of the Medicine Rite, founded by Hare, are also said to cross a wide and seemingly impassible river in their journey to Spiritland.

The Rock Crab, Grapsus grapsus
Marc Figueras

"crabs" — crabs are denoted by the term wajųsgé, which also denotes the crawfish, a crustacean created by the actions of the Devil, Herešgúnina. The crawfish walks backward, a form of locomotion known as the "Devil's walk," since Herešgúnina himself has his feet on backwards, leaving tracks that go the wrong way. Pedal locomotion symbolizes progress through life, the means by which men and animals progress down the Road of Life and Death, the proper course on which was set out by Hare in his founding of the Medicine Rite. Thus, those who follow the reverse tracks of  Herešgúnina are morally backward. Crabs walk sideways, which is akin to the "Devil's walk." The land of the Devil is a side path off this road, so those whose natural course is sideways, do not walk this path in the correct direction and depart from the straight and narrow to take a side spur. The bodiless heads locomote by rolling, which is of a piece with the peculiar misdirected locomotion of the crab, save that the heads have no legs, whereas the crab has a super-abundance of them. As Decapods, crabs have ten legs, including the two that terminate in giant claws. To reach something, it goes sideways. In Hočąk both these ideas are expressed in the same word, hikiją́. Therefore, to reach something is to be sideways. It can arrive at its destination by moving either right or left, depending which way it is facing, so there is no distinction between forward and backward with a crab. In Hare's Medicine Rite, there need be no distinction between going forward from life to death, or going backward from death to life. It is the locomotion of the crab, for whom reaching something is the symmetrical process of going hikiją́.

"pulled it out"— one of the important incidents along the Road to the Otherworld is the encounter with Spirit Woman. She cracks open the skull and empties out the brain, or as some say, cups the body of the departed person, drawing out his blood. The result of the procedure is that the person loses all desires to return to the world of the living. The brain is nąsúrugóp, the (wa)horugop of the head (nąsú). Wahorugop is marrow, from horugop, "to scoop out" (Miner). So the brain is a kind of bone marrow, in its largest bodily concentration. It is a widespread belief that the soul resides in the marrow, and often the soul is represented by a bone, especially a cracked one.3 So by removing the wet substance in which the soul most likes to dwell (or at least its spiritual equivalent), the departed person loses that which attaches him most essentially to corporeal existence. The same process of disconnection is expressed in Greek thought by the crossing of the Waters of Lēthē (Λήθη), the Waters of Forgetfulness, where are washed away all earthly memories. When Hare removes what is inside the exoskeleton of the crab, he is removing its counterpart to marrow. He therefore does an act analogous to that of Spirit Woman. However, he then takes its place, thereby assuming the role similar to that of the departed soul. This is because his actions are to be a template or paradigm for all those who go after him on the Road of Life and Death. The crab evicted from its shell is another symbol of immortality. Since an exoskeleton does not grow, it becomes necessary from time to time for the crab to pull himself from the shell, leaving it behind to grow another one, just as the snake shuffles off its skin. Therefore, like the snake, the crab is born and reborn, the very theme of this myth. It is fitting, therefore, that Hare transport himself in the form of one who is to be constantly reborn.

"boat" — crabs are inside out, having their skeleton on the outside of their bodies. Perhaps most importantly, they seem to have no proper head at all, having eyes that project out of their bodies on tubes. So the crab is the opposite of the bodiless head, he is a headless body. So Hare traverses the boundary that separates him from the bodiless heads by use of the exoskeleton of a being that appears to be a body without a head. So when Hare gets inside this exoskeleton and becomes its marrow, so to speak, he is also for the first time supplying this form with a head. As we have seen above, marrow/brain = head = ghost/soul. Hare is transporting himself to the Otherworld shore as if he were a ghost.

"tail" — the small tail fan is tucked under the body, so that in order to have it project upward, the carapace must be turned upside down (the only way that it could function as a boat). Crabs typically live on the littoral, the boundary between water and land. Hare himself traverses this Boundary by riding the crab-vehicle turned backwards, being propelled forward by means of its tail. This recalls the Greek Charon, who traverses the waters between the land of the living and Hades by propelling his boat forward while his head is turned backward. This symbolizes the fact that for the dead all time is behind them, there being nothing to see but what has already gone by. Similarly, as Hare travels to the Otherworld, he does so seeing only the Behind. He too is a kind of ferryman of the dead, playing the role of the soul so that his followers do not have to remain forevermore on the distant shore. In the "Necessity for Death," Hare shares exactly the symbolism of Charon. There he makes a circuit of the world, but is told that in order to succeed in making humans immortal, he must at all costs never look back. The temptation is too great, and he turns his head back, at which point death enters permanently into the world. We can see that this is because for a moment the leader became as the dead seeing only what is behind in time, and in so doing introduced the defining characteristic of death, the termination of the future. This is the same mistake that Orpheus made when he looked back at Eurydice, putting her forever in the back of time.

"blow" — to order the winds to blow upon the "sail" is to conceive of their wind as a breath. The word for both breath and water is . Breath, , is also metaphorically life (Marino). It is the constant blowing of breath that propels life itself. So it is by means of Life that Hare is propelled in a boat whose marrow-like owner is incapable of seeing asymmetry between backward and forward.

"heads" — heads, as we have seen above, are the major seat of "marrow" (wahorugop), and therefore hold the soul with the greatest force. Therefore, in battle it was of great importance to take the heads of slain enemies, since they would bring to their conqueror the souls of the vanquished. These souls could then be enlisted in the service of the victor, especially as guides to co-nationals who have "gone west."4 The Hočągara in particular were very keen on taking heads for this very reason. Therefore, heads can represent enemies. The crossing over to the Otherworld on the opposite side of the Ocean Sea is a representation of passing over to the physical Outside represented by the lands of foreign tribes.

"grandson" — in the Crow-Omaha kinship system of the Hočągara, a grandson is considered the same as a nephew (sister's son). They are both called hičųšgé.

"he split his nose" — here it is interesting to note that the word for nose, pa, is one and the same as the word used in the name Wąk-pa-nįk-ra to denote heads. This in turn suggests that the groove in the septum of a rabbit's nose is a model of a division of heads. What separates Hare's head from the bodiless heads, initially at least, is a "wide river." This is later repeated in the form of a creek, which Hare negotiates at a single bound, but which the Wąkpanįgera cannot cross. The septum groove separates two chambers through which breath,, passes; the channels of water, , act as a septum separating two groups of heads. Uncles (brothers in the maternal line) are separated from their nephews by the divide of moiety, a tribal system of organizing clans into two sets that intermarry with one another. The very sexual organ itself exudes two kinds of , urine ("water") and semen (as Life). The latter appears to be of the same stuff as "marrow" (wahorugop), the very seat of life.5 At least elsewhere in the world, the nose is homologized to the penis.

"eat" — the symbolism of eating is very important in relation to enemies. Before a warparty sets out they have an essential ritual, the Fast Eating Contest. Every member is presented with a plate of food. The object is to eat everything on one's plate quickly, and if anything is left over, it betokens that an enemy which was otherwise given to them, will escape the warparty. The enemies that are to be conquered are said to be "swallowed." This shows that eating symbolizes conquest, including capture and assimilation, the natural analogues of eating and digestion. It's interesting that the heads are also cannibals. Ordinarily, the cannibals of lore are Giants, called in Hočąk, Wągeručge, "Man-Eaters." Giants also seem to function esoterically as images of enemy aliens. Since the killing of an enemy is ideally followed by the taking of his head, detached heads can play the same symbolic role. When the enemy is victorious, they "swallow" members of the nation. Normally, when this process leads to death and the taking of heads, the person thus dispatched has most fundamentally become a captive, now in supernatural service for the length of time that his conqueror lives himself. Like a living captive, he lives in the Outside world. Thus, detached heads and cannibals do in fact go together on a more esoteric level as enemy aliens living in the Otherworld of the Outside. Both the split nose and eating are found in the enemy Osage tribe as part of an adoption ceremony — see Comparative Material below.

"delicious" — Hare is the counterpart of food because conquest and capture, either temporal or supernatural, is homologized to swallowing up the opponent. Why do men attempt to "swallow" members of foreign tribes? Apart from self-defense (the need to eat), there is the gratification that it offers. War is the only pursuit in which men can win high honors for bravery and related forms of achievement. These honors, which are a form of personal gratification, are homologous to the good taste of food.

"opening" — the Wąkpanįgera are homologous to two things simultaneously: enemy warriors and the heads in Spiritland who are not destined to be reincarnated (since they were not killed in action). Both represent isomorphic Outsides whose denizens want to assimilate Hare. Hare arrives at an Otherworld that is at once Spiritland and the contemporary earthly Outside of the alien tribes. When he enters their space he finds himself in an inside-out world rather like the crab shell that he used to get there. Their inside is his outside, and conversely. When he crosses the threshold of the lodge, he has crossed into the inner sanctum of the alien world. All that is needed to "swallow" him in the lodge is to block off the way he came in. Instead of going forward or backward, he finds his way hikiją like a crab by a sideways motion where there is no conventional exit. By the double negation of being outside the inner sanctum of the Outside world, he has now set himself free and avoided capture temporal and supernatural. The lodge itself is like the Wąkpanįgera: it is cephalic, with openings, but has no means of locomotion nor limbs of any kind. It is also covered with skins, since lodges have an endoskeleton of branches covered with the hides of animals. So to be trapped inside the lodge is another way of expressing the same internalizing process as being swallowed in a cannibalistic feast. Since it is made of tree branches, it is also like the crowns of trees into which Hare escapes in the next episode.

"climb a tree" — in Hočąk symbolism, a tree can stand for a human lineage, a genealogical tree, where the branches are the ancestors and the roots are the descendants. Thus, the Hočąk word rejų means both "roots" and "descendants." We find similar symbolism in the word wáixa, which means, "rivulet, tributary; branch of a tree; distant family relation" (Miner). The place between the roots and the branches, which is the base of the tree, therefore represents the individual. The ancestors above correspond to past time, and the descendants below to future time, therefore the base of the tree represents the contemporary life of the individual. In the journey of the soul to Spiritland in the Medicine Rite, the initiates who have departed reach a place where they climb a cedar ladder to reach the higher world of Earthmaker. The tree, in as much as it represents human lineage, has the ancestors in its upper branches. Therefore, in scaling a tree, the departed has climbed back to the realm of the ancestors. However, the only way that he can return is to fall from the tree like a seed to be reborn as a descendant or "root" (rejų). The climb to the Upper World repeats the theme of the Otherworld journey, but this Otherworld is opposite to that to the Wąkpanįgera.

"they gnawed that tree down" — the enemy, represented by detached heads, cuts down a tree in which Hare hangs as if he were its fruit. If the tree falls, then the enemy will "eat" Hare-as-soul, which is to say, internalize him, making him a captive either temporally or supernaturally. "Swallowing" Hare would be to remove him from his independent life among the ancestors (crown of the tree) and make him subservient to his enemies. This could take two forms: he would become the ghost slave of the living enemies who killed him; or he would join the ghosts in their villages never to be reincarnated again. The genealogical tree has ancestors in its crown and descendants in its roots, so the place where the tree meets the roots, the base at the ground, represents the living individual in contemporary time. Gnawing the base up completely and felling the tree is a repetition of the theme of being killed in action by the enemy, a theme already expressed in the ascent of Hare into the crown of the tree. It is the bisection ritual of conquest. We see this repeated in another guise when the ghost on the path to Spiritland (q.v.) is asked to gnaw in two any animal that crosses his path, then throw its remains behind him. The causes the animal to live on earth with the destiny of being successfully hunted by the ghost's own relatives. The space in front of the ghost represent the past in time, since the dead no longer have a future; so the space behind the ghost represents the future on earth, from whose space-time he has departed. When the Wąkpanįgera gnaw the tree in two, it is as if they were eating Hare, but they cannot swallow all of him until they "swallow" that part of him that is with his ancestors in the crown of the tree. This part is his soul. This means that while they can kill a Hočąk warrior, they cannot swallow his soul (Hare), which has escaped to the crown of the tree where dwell his ancestors. Were it possible to eat Hare, it would symbolize supernatural captivity and governance of the soul of the Hočąk warrior, where he must do service to his killer; or it would mean that he has been seduced ("captured" and "swallowed") by the ghosts of Spiritland (the heads) and thereby prevented from returning to the world of the living. This would represent the failure of Hare's soteriological mission. It is the destiny of the Hočąk warrior who has been slain in battle to make it to the dwelling of Earthmaker and from there to be reborn on earth to renew the cycle.

"ran" — the method by which Hare escapes the enemy who are trying to internalize and assimilate ("eat") him reveals an asymmetry between the Hočąk warrior, the follower of Hare, and the enemy themselves. The thesis offered by this allegorical story asserts that the Hočąk warrior when killed (when his tree is gnawed down or "eaten"), escapes internalization by circumventing the process and establishing himself  in another tree. When the tree is felled, the warrior has been killed, but his soul is among the ancestors in the crown of the tree, and from there he descends back to the ground (life in the flesh in contemporary time). He then runs to the next tree. This is the journey on the Road of Life and Death, which always ends in death, but which, thanks to Hare, does not lead to the captivity of the soul by the alien heads (non-resurrecting ghosts, or living enemies). When he reaches the end of this path, he is again in the crown of the tree. The tree itself is a recapitulation of this process and an image of the individual in the flesh. This new tree would represent a new life, but one in which his underlying identity is preserved. This reflects the warrior theology of the Hočągara, a theology upon which Hare's Medicine Rite is founded. The belief is that a Hočąk warrior killed in action has a very special status: he goes to Earthmaker where he is shown the whole of the world by the Creator himself, and offered the opportunity to be reborn anywhere he chooses. He naturally would choose to be born among the Hočągara. This creates a cycle in which someone killed in action never really dies, but like an avatar of a Spirit, keeps being born and reborn among humans. Indeed, such people are often said to be Spirits (Waxopini) who have sojourned upon earth. When the enemy kills a spirit who sojourns among the people as a mortal warrior, his soul goes to Earthmaker, who grants him the power to be reborn. The base of the tree, which represents the present time in the life of the individual, may be "swallowed" by the enemy, which is to say that the individual is killed; but the enemy never succeeds in "swallowing" the soul, the essential individual, since that part of his existence climbs into another tree. So he cycles from the Upper World back to the Upper World without being internalized by the enemy. Therefore, the Hočąk theory is that the only kind of captivity is temporal, that a Hočąk slain by an enemy is not enslaved by him supernaturally, but instead, that warrior being in essence a being of the Upper World, returns there to be reborn. We might term this the theory of "Hočąk exceptionalism." In Hare's Medicine Rite, the initiates may participate in the same cycle of reincarnation. For them, the Wąkpanįgera represent death itself. It is from this that the Medicine Rite people escape.

"bitter" — the allegory of the fourth tree represents a situation in which the heads, the enemy, are going to wait Hare out and swallow him when he just touches down (at the time of his birth). Thus Hare-as-soul descends from the realm of the ancestors in the normal way, to appear at the base of the tree, which symbolizes contemporary time. There the heads wait to swallow (assimilate) him. This is the scenario in which the warrior is captured in infancy and raised as an enemy warrior, a situation impossible for someone with the destiny of the Hočąk warrior, whose choice of rebirth is assured by Earthmaker himself. So the enemy attempts to swallow the fourth tree at its base, but find it bitter and spit it out. If in the Fast Eating Contest, someone were to spit out food because of its bitterness, that would represent the escape of an enemy otherwise promised them. So Hare is here represented as escaping like one who, though seemingly doomed, is protected by stronger spirits than those who had promised him to his enemies. Indeed, no spirit is stronger than Earthmaker.

"sing" — in Hočąk symbolism, sound can represent light. So the singing of the song represents Hare's choosing Light-and-Life (Hąp). This happens when the Hočąk warrior decides at Earthmaker's behest, to be reborn. The danger is that he will be swallowed up as soon as he sets foot on the ground. Symbolically, this means that he may be captured by the enemy shortly after his birth, then "swallowed" as an infant, and raised as an enemy warrior. This cannot happen to a Hočąk warrior who chooses rebirth, since he has been granted a very particular destiny. This destiny is the very content of his song (his life). The song says that the heads, the enemy, should sleep, since he wants to pass by. Again space stands for time, and passing by means not being assimilated at birth, and gaining the time that is in front of his birth (the future), the place in time where he touched down in the descent of his soul from above. The destiny bound up as the content of his life (the content of his song), guarantees that the enemy cannot acquire his image (soul). Thus the song itself puts them to sleep (complete impotence).

"sleep" — as they sit at the base of the tree, the bodiless heads keep Hare from coming down to earth, which is to say, being reborn. If he were to descend, he would be reborn among them, which in the allegory is to be "swallowed" or assimilated. As in the episode of the lodge, all the heads have to do is close off the routes of escape at the base of the tree, since that is where he must come down. Allegorically, if Hare-as-soul is to descend to the earth from the Upper World of souls, on the arboreal model he must touchdown at the base of the tree, which represents the place and time of the living. So what is being modeled is not supernatural capture by means of killing, but the capture near the moment of touchdown. When Hare touches down at the base of the tree, he has not yet begun to walk the Road of Life and Death. So when the heads overcome him and swallow him at this place, what is allegorically modeled is the capture of an infant, something done from time to time by tribes when the enemy need another person to replace their losses from mortality. All they have to do is see Hare in order to attack and swallow him. Seeing is itself a model of this process of assimilation. When a person is seen, the light passes through the hole (pupil) in the eye and is either seen there or in the heart (universally believed before Aristotle to have been the seat of intellection). Light is hąp in Hočąk, and hąp also means "life." So the eye metaphorically captures Life as it goes through the hole in its pupil. This model is reinforced by a concept expressed in Hočąk. The word for the soul, nąǧirak, also means "shadow, reflection (as in a pool of water)" (Gatschet). When a person looks at the pupil of another person's eye, he sees therein a reflection of himself. This reflection (nąǧirak), by definition, is the soul (nąǧirak) of the person seen, not the person in whose eyes the reflection resides (as it is said to be in some cultures). So the eye can be a model for capturing life and soul, not unlike swallowing. The theory of the Fast Eating Contest (see above) is that in the upcoming warpath, certain spirits have promised the warleader the lives of a certain number of particular enemy individuals. However, this promise is not destiny. The Fast Eating Contest allows that if some food is left uneaten, it represents certain promised victims who shall escape being "swallowed" (killed/captured). The warleader has seen these individuals in a dream (and as well, perhaps, in reality). He has acquired them through his inner vision by grace of the spirits. What he has acquired is the nąǧiragera of the victims. But this "acquisition" is like that of radar "acquiring" its target — it is not a full physical capture. Sometimes the target is protected by stronger spirits and is able to free himself from what would otherwise be his fate. The Fast Eating Contest shows that the warparty is not always able to swallow every morsel promised them. When the heads deliberately close their eyes, they shut out the nąǧirak of Hare, and are pretending that they cannot acquire him. The fourth rendition of this song, like the fourth tree in which Hare resides, does in fact cause them to fail to acquire him. Just as the heads spit out the trunk of the tree, so now they exclude the nąǧirak of Hare by shutting their eyes, this time without the ability to open them while he reemerges at the base of his tree and at the base of the Road of Life and Death. This is because, as the embodiment of the Hočąk warrior, Hare has been promised by no less than Earthmaker himself that he shall live as he had chosen. His song states that he shall pass by the heads, and it is through the power of Earthmaker that their vision will not be able to acquire their otherwise certain target, the image-soul, or nąǧirak, of Hare. In the first three arboreal models, the heads have been able to eat up the base of the tree where the soul of Hare resides in the crown, symbolizing the killing of his body, but the escape of his soul; now the fourth model is inverted, they fail to swallow the body of Hare, but they still believe that they can acquire his soul. In this they prove mistaken.

"ground" — as we have seen, the base of the tree represents contemporary time, and the life of the individual as a living person. So descending from the tree to the ground is the descent of the soul into a living body on earth. On the arboreal model, the tree drops seed which puts down roots, a double creation from above. The seed is reborn by touching ground, symbolic of life. The seed itself also creates from top to bottom by sending down roots, that is, descendants. The descent of the soul into the flesh reenacts the creation of the world itself, which was formed when Earthmaker created it from above. Earthmaker is also the author of the destiny of the Hočąk warrior, so he too is created by descent.

"noise" — in standard Hočąk semiotics, sound stands for light. It is at the moment when Hare touches ground that he makes a noise. This is to say, symbolically, when he touches ground (meaning comes to life) he creates light. This sounds prima facie like a species of nonsense, but in Hočąk the word for light is hąp, a word used as a prominent recurring metaphor for life. Therefore, in making a noise, the same symbolism as touching the ground is repeated and with the same significance: Hare comes back to life (reincarnation). It's unfortunate that the Hočąk text has not been preserved, since sound in this context is usually made by stepping on a twig, and the word nąčáp, "to break a piece of wood, etc., with the foot or machine" (Dorsey), is almost identical with the presumed emphatic, nąčą́p-jį, "to be wide awake" (Miner).

"woke up" — they now acquire the image-soul (nąǧirak) of Hare in their vision, but it is too late, as he is reborn with a head start once again. They now chase after what they see in the expectation that they will swallow (assimilate) him.

"creek" — the Twin called "Stump" or "Ghost" is able to live in water without drowning. This is an image of the way in which the soul subsists in the essentially liquid human body. We find in a number of funerary myths, the task presented to the soul of the departed to leap over a river. No matter how great the river, the soul always manages to land safely on the other side. As we see in the Twin Cycle, Ghost who is the transparent exemplar of the soul in the allegories of the cycle, is capable of living in water, and finds that to be his natural dwelling place. So the water of the creek represents Spiritland. Ghost has to be coaxed out of the water in order to join in life with his brother Flesh. Both ground and the earth as a world are denoted by the word . This word also denotes time itself. Reincarnation is to live on earth, then return after a time to live the corporeal life once again. Hare passes over the creek by leaping over it, so that he is above it. This symbolizes the Upper World into which the soul of the warrior travels, and the descent of his leap and return to , is his return to the Lower World of , the earth. It is also a leap from one time () to another, avoiding the timeless sojourn in the world of the permanently departed, the soul-comforting water world. In many Hočąk stories in which a hero goes to Spiritland to retrieve his wife or to achieve reincarnation, the souls of the Spiritland villages rigorously tempt him to join them in their timeless joys, but he succeeds by being resolute and avoiding the shallow self-gratification that they offer. The jump from land to land over the water is like the transit from tree to tree, a description of the reincarnated soul that escapes supernatural captivity. Such is indeed the very mission of Hare, who is the author of the Medicine Rite and the accidental author of death itself.

"drowned" — this seems once again to express Hočąk exceptionalism. The enemy that follows after drowns in the water: they live but once and never return. The enemy = cannibals can, in the end, never really devour those Hočąk warriors whom they kill, for such warriors have souls that transit from "tree" to "tree" and leap over the water that is the permanent dwelling place of those who arrive in the Spiritland of ecstasy. That land is one of inferior Grace, devoid of the Sturm und Drang and the romance of real life with all its difficulties. It is to this vacuous Spiritland that the enemy warriors go, a Happy Hunting Ground whence they never return. Thus, they "drown" in the preferred medium of ghosts.

"burned" — the Wąkpanįgera are not only burned to complete ash, but their bones are made into powder. In Hočąk, both the ash and the powder are denoted by the same word, raxóč. Those spirit-avatars who are made into raxóč never come back to the land of the living in that bodily form again. Such a technique is used worldwide against revenants. Equally widespread is the association of ghosts with water, most likely because the body that they inhabit as souls is essentially liquid. Ashes are in many ways the opposite of water, being dry, solid products of fire. In Hočąk in particular, ghosts are said to be averse to ashes (raxóč). Symbolically, therefore, unlike the Hočągara killed in action, the enemy aliens that meet the same fate never come back to life. They are condemned always to live in water and can never return to land: the same image in different symbolic language. See the Commentary to "Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts."

"fast fish" — this name matches the entry in Marino's Lexicon, hoxasagera, which is an unidentified species of fish. However, it is derived from hoǧą́, "minnow" (Miner); sak, "fast, swift; to do something swiftly; to hurry" (Marino); and -ra, the definite article. However, the name hoǧą / hoxą (sometimes hoǧį́) applies not just to the minnow, but to any small fish. J. O. Dorsey defines hoǧą́na as "fish," and hoxą́nik as "minnows and other small fish. In the same story, LaMère himself translates hoǧį́ as "minnow" at one place, and hoǧįnįgížą as "a small fish" at another.6 Nevertheless, we can make an educated guess at what fish is meant by the "fast hoxa." The small fish that lives in streams that has a particular reputation for speed is the darter, a member of the perch family.


The Bluntnose Darter,
Etheostoma chlorosomum


The Fantail Darter,
Etheostoma flabellare

The name of this kind of fish derives from their propensity to dart about. Worldwide, there are three genera of darters, Percina (30 species), Ammocrypta (7 species), and Etheostoma (89 species), found in the temperate climates of North America and Europe. The species found in Wisconsin are the slenderheaded darter, blackside darter, gilt darter, log perch, river darter, crystal darter, western sand darter, johnny darter, bluntnose darter, banded darter, rainbow darter, mud darter, Iowa darter, fantail darter, and least darter. In Wisconsin, darters inhabit swift running waters that flow over silt free bottoms.7

Fish are natural symbols of the soul. The Tupinambá, for instance, explicitly draw this connection.8 One reason for this is that the soul dwells within an essentially liquid body, most particularly in the fluid blood or gelatinous marrow/brain. Of the two Hočąk twins, Ghost and Flesh, it is Ghost who lives in water and has to be forced to leave it for union with Flesh. In mythology worldwide, the idea that souls dwell in waters is commonplace, but seems likely to have originated in myths in which it was just a simile meant to illustrate that soul : flesh :: fish : water. In time the allegory-based metaphor became reified, so that people believed that souls might actually dwell in bodies of water in the form of aquatic creatures. It can be argued that the metaphor is still seen in Christianity, as when Jesus calls fishermen to be his disciples by saying, "Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men" (Mark 1:17, cf. Matt. 4:19). Another reason why souls are pictured as fish derives from the notion that the Milky Way is both a river and the course taken by souls to Spiritland. The Russians of Bukovina used to say that those who went to the kingdom of the dead were half human and half fish.9 Among some people, these two concepts of the liquids of the soul-stuff and the Milky Way have been explicitly fused.

The main reason why the fish are swimming up the streams is to lay their eggs and thus it is believed that the Milky Way is a fertilizing stream carrying in its flood germs, seeds and semen.10

In Russia,

... we observe that the water falling from the sky takes its origin in the heavenly stream, from which originates all fecundity.11

The idea that the soul takes on the form of a fish and lives in water is reinforced by both its habitats, the water of the flesh, and the water that is the Milky Way. For the Milky Way as a body of water, see "The Origin of the Milky Way," and the links and sources there.

"ankles" — the feet are the means by which people progress down the Road of Life and Death. The fish cannot stop the feet from crossing through the water to the other side, just like they cannot stop Hare from escaping from one tree to the next. Hare's crossing of the river is the arboreal image in another symbolic garb, with land representing the abode of flesh, the living; and water symbolizing the abode of the soul and the ghosts of the dead. The foot is also the symbol of conquest. The Thunders are said to have created the hills and valleys by the impress of their feet upon the land. The hills and valleys symbolize hierarchy, and the feet of the Thunderbirds are like the symbol of the jackboot today. The feet have this symbolic value because they are the lowest part of the body, so that anything beneath them is of yet lower status. It is precisely the power of the feet which the Wąkpanįgera-as-fish wish to detach from the body as an antidote to subordination. The image of status and the fish is developed in another way in Hawk Clan ideology, where it is said that when in primordial times the Snake Clan served the first Hawk Clansmen a fish, he ate it leaving the head and tail on either side of the plate. The Hawk Clan (also known as the "Warrior Clan"), like the Wąkpanįgera, is known particularly for cannibalism, it having been said that when the Thunders asked their Hawk kinsmen to hunt down something to eat in the time of beginnings, the Hawk Clansmen brought back a human being, hence the name that they have in the clan, Wąkšigeručka, "He Who Eats Humans." In eating the fish only in the center, the Hawk Clan claims the center, leaving the fish to remain only at the periphery. This is the familiar symbolism of hierarchy and power, where the peripheral is equated to the low, and the central to the high. The Hawk Clan commemorated this incident by creating a dog name, "Leaves Fish on Both Sides." (See the Commentary and Comparative Material to the Hawk Clan Origin Myth for a full discussion of this ideology, and the Commentary to "Morning Star and His Friend.") In the present myth, the fish try to treat human beings in the same way, attacking the last locomotor joint, equivalent to where the fish's tail joins its body, just as they had attacked the analogous "joint" in a tree between its trunk base and its roots (which achieve the opposite of locomotion). In the realm of Spiritland, where they attempt to establish their rule as fish in the waters, they do not have the power to assimilate the ghost of the Hočąk warrior killed in action, because Hare has transformed them into the lowest in status and power, the fish that live lower even than the surface. The fish cannot do to the Warrior what the Warrior can do to them. In life, the Wąkpanįgera may eat the tree leaving the stump and the crown on either side, a victory in the corporeal world, but they cannot swallow and assimilate the ghost of the Hočąk warrior, who is impervious in Spiritland to their corporeal conquests, since it has been decreed by Hare and Earthmaker himself that they are privileged to be reborn. So they go from one tree to another, from one shore to another, and the Wąkpanįgera are impotent to swallow their essential being and identity, as they are the hallowed sacrifice that the people might live.

Internal Isomorphism. The waiką can be divided into a set of models isomorphic to one another because they possess the same deep structure, a deep structure formed by their common meaning. They express in symbolic form the journey to Spiritland and the ultimate destiny of the Hočąk warrior who has been killed in action. Hare represents the ghost of this warrior. (For a brief discussion of models, see the Commentary to "Wears White Feather.")

Model I. The Lodge of the Wąkpanįgera. Hare, as a ghost, crosses over  a "river" symbolic of the Ocean Sea, and lands in the Otherworld where he visits the bodiless heads (Wąkpanįgera). They try to trap him in their lodge so that they might eat him. The lodge is the spirit world, and being made of branches in part, it resembles the genealogical tree whose canopy is the dwelling place of the ancestors. Eating is the standard metaphor for assimilation. So the enemy who have killed the Hočąk warrior try to assimilate his soul, but Hare finds a side exit, whence he makes his escape. This symbolizes the escape of the Hočąk warrior's ghost from being bound in Spiritland by the normal constrains of unidirectional lifetime vs. deathtime, which he breaks by reaching lifetime by setting out in another direction.

Model II. The Crab. This is an non-allegorical model, in that it does not rest entirely upon a set of statements (the story) satisfied by states of affairs, but upon the attributes of a particular, in this case the crab. The crab's skeleton is on the outside, and what is inside bone is the stuff in which the soul is found, and from which the ghost may issue at death (marrow/brain). So when Hare removes the crab from his shell and takes his place inside, he is identifying himself with the ghost. Hare moves forward with the tail in front, which is the counterpart of the image of Charon, the ferryman of the dead in Greek mythology, who moves forward by looking only backward. This symbolizes the purely backward time of the dead, who no longer have a future lifetime but only a past. The locomotion of the crab is the walk of the Devil, so when Hare exits from the crab, he does so sideways in relation to the locomotory axis of the crab. This is once again the sideways exit theme.

Model III. The Arboreal Theme. Hare flees by climbing a tree. The tree represents the genealogy of a person, with the crown being the ancestors and the roots, the rejų, the descendants. Therefore the base of the tree is the individual himself. This is gnawed in two by the Wąkpanįgera, symbolic of conquest, both by swallowing at the base which represents the individual, and by bisection, which according to the standard myth of conquest, represent victory. So the enemy have killed Hare-as-Hočąk-warrior. But Hare is not forced down the trunk of the tree to be devoured by them, but instead he once again escapes by another "sideways" route, as the crown of the tree falls to the ground affording him a chance to escape. So the ghost of the Hočąk warrior is not assimilated by the enemies or the ghosts of Spiritland, but has a fate independent of his life-tree. He once again touches the ground representing the here-and-now, his lifetime.

Model IV. The Fourth Tree. This model explores the question, "Is it possible for a Hočąk warrior who has chosen to be reborn, to be captured in infancy and assimilated by enemies?" The action occurs in the time of life at the base of the tree, where the heads, the enemy, decide to wait for Hare to descend. The enemy hope to capture the warrior in infancy, at the base of the tree just when his soul descends to the life-ground, but they cannot acquire him because of his destiny. He is the opposite of swallowed, he is spat out, rejected. Then they attempt to acquire him through sight, but the charm of the Hočąk warrior's life-destiny prevents this from happening. The song, symbolic of this destiny of life while he is yet in the realm of the ancestors (crown of the tree), in the end causes them to close their eyes. The eyes are capable of capturing the image, which goes by the same word (nąǧirak) as the soul. So they are not able to assimilate his soul by infant capture. But when he does touch the ground symbolic of life, he makes a noise, and because sound = light = life, the noise symbolizes the same thing. The enemy once again pursue him.

Model V. Leaping Over the Creek. Like the Twin called "Ghost," souls love to live in water, so a creek can serve as a symbol of Spiritland. Here Hare crosses from the land of the bodiless heads, to the opposite shore, crossing sideways the current of the creek. This portrays the descent of the soul from the Upper World back to life. This is uniquely possible to the Hočąk warrior, who is capable of rebirth. The enemy warriors in the form of the Wąkpanįgera attempt to follow his example, but because of their unexceptional nature, they fall into the creek and drown. The enemy warriors go to a Spiritland from which they do not return.

Model VI. The Fish. The irrevocable departure of enemy warriors is symbolized by the treatment of their bones in the fashion of suppressed revenants: they are powdered, a procedure which guarantees that the spirit that formerly animated them can never assume that corporeal form again. Their remains are dumped into the creek that symbolized Spiritland. There their souls reside forever. This is reiterated when they transform into fish, creatures incapable of living outside water (Spiritland), unlike Hare, who as the soul of the Hočąk warrior, is capable of avoiding the stream altogether to land safely on the bank of the living. The fish bring to mind immediately the conquest myth of the Hočąk Warrior (Hawk) Clan, who eat the traditional opponent of the hawk, the fish, and leave the head and tail on opposite sides of the plate. Here the fish are shown nibbling harmlessly at the ankles of the people's feet, as they cross the creek to the other side. The feet, which symbolize conquest, here represent the conquest of the soul of the Hočąk warrior, who can ford the creek (sideways to the current) without being assimilated by the souls (fish) of the enemy (Wąkpanįgera) as he progresses toward the opposite bank of reincarnation.

Comparative Material. Eating and splitting the nose are found among the Osage, a tribe both kindred to the Hočągara and one of their enemies. When an Osage captive is presented for adoption into their tribe,

The Panther [Clan] headman now took a keen flint knife and made a small cut at the tip of the captive's nose. Quickly, the grand Tsi-shu chief wiped away the small amount of blood. Then the great Hun-ka chief brought water and the Hun-ka headman brought buffalo meat and corn. The grand Tsi-shu chief then placed the corn and meat against the captive's lips and gave him water to drink. ... The letting of blood symbolized the loss of blood kinship to the people of the captive's birth. Wiping away the blood removed all trace of his former allegiance. Food and drink made new blood, since the food was Osage food the new blood was Osage blood.12

We do not know from this account whether the cut was made after the fashion of the split septum of the rabbit, or whether it was crosswise.

The theme of escaping from one tree to another as they are being felled, is found among the Chiricahua Apache. "Coyote went on his journey again. He saw a turkey in some pine trees. It was high up there in a tree. I don't know where he got the axe, but he got an axe, and he began to chop on that tree. Just about the time the tree started to fall, the turkey flew to another one. Coyote went to that tree and tried to chop it down. He just kept doing that all day long until he was tired out. He kept chopping and Turkey kept flying to the next tree until Coyote was worn out."13

Among the Plains Indians, the hero Blood Clot is often a counterpart to Hare. In an Arapaho tale, Blood Clot visits an old woman who offers him meat. This meat turns out to be human flesh. He kills the old woman, but the kindred cannibals come home and begin to chase Blood Clot Boy. He changes into different animals to escape, his last two forms being varieties of rabbit. Then he comes to a thinly iced river which he can cross as a rabbit, but his pursuers, being men, fall through the ice. Blood Clot Boy causes the ice to freeze back over, killing all the cannibals.14

The affinity of men to trees may be suggested in this Christian myth: "(Mark 8:23) And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought. (8:24) And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. (8:25) After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly."

The Wąkpanįgera gnawing at the base of Hare's trees, recalls the gnawing of Níðhǫggr at the roots of world tree Yggdrasill in Norse mythology.15 Níðhǫggr is a conspicuous evil spirit who symbolically undermines the world order by attacking the very foundation of the tree. In addition he is connected with the dead, and is said to eat corpses. Here we see in Vǫluspá 38-39 such a connection:

  Sal sá hon standa
sólu fjarri
Nástrǫndu á,
norðr horfa dyrr.
Fellu eitrdropar
inn um ljóra,
sá er undinn salr
orma hryggjum.
A hall she saw standing
remote from the sun
on Dead Body Shore.
Its door looks north.
There fell drops of venom
in through the roof vent.
That hall is woven
of serpents' spines.
  Sá hon þar vaða
þunga strauma
menn meinsvara
ok morðvarga
ok þanns annars glepr
Þar saug Niðhǫggr
nái framgengna,
sleit vargr vera -
vituð ér enn, eða hvat ?
She saw there wading
onerous streams
men perjured
and murder-vargs
and the one who seduces
another's close-trusted wife.
There Malice Striker [Níðhǫggr] sucked
corpses of the dead,
the varg tore men.
Understand ye yet, or what?

The translation is essentially that of Dronke.16 A varg is both wolf and outlaw-as-wolf. The passage also seems to imply that Niðhǫggr's realm is on a strand of some distant sea. The images of the subterranean, far shores, and vargs, are similar to the imagery found in the Hočąk representations of the Outside in the Wąkpanįgera myth. Again the Vǫluspá 66 mentions Níðhǫggr taking up the dead in his wings:

  Þar kǫmr inn dimmi
dreki fljúgandi,
naðr fránn, neðan
frá Niðafjǫllum.
Berr sér í fjǫðrum
- flýgr vǫll yfir -
Níðhǫggr nái -
nú mun hon sǫkkvask.
From below the dragon
dark comes forth,
Níðhǫggr flying
from Niðafjǫll [Dark of the Moon Hills];
The bodies of men
on his wings he bears,
The serpent bright:
but now must I sink.

The translation is from Bellows with some minor modifications.17

Striking similar to this concept of Yggdrasill is the Mayan World Tree, which converges a bit more on the Hočąk by being identified with the king.

  On public monuments, the oldest and most frequent manner in which the king was displayed was in the guise of the World Tree. Its trunk and branches were depicted on the apron covering his loins, and the Doubled-headed Serpent Bar that entwined in its branches was held in his arms. The Principal Bird Deity at its summit was rendered as his headdress. This Tree was the conduit of communication between the supernatural world and the human world: The souls of the dead fell into Xibalba along its path; the daily journeys of the sun, moon, planets, and stars followed its trunk. The Vision Serpent symbolizing communion with the world of the ancestors and the gods emerged into our world along it.18

Here the tree is also identified with a human being, but the serpent at its base, unlike Níðhǫggr or the Wąkpanįgera, does not try to undermine the system.

Overcoming the stream in afterlife is a theme in Buddhist thought with the same import: "A bhikkhu by the complete destruction of the three fetters is a stream-winner, one who cannot be reborn in any state of woe, assured, bound for enlightenment."19 A successful Brahmin is one who crosses over to dry land: "... the arahan ... is here called 'the brahmin [who] crossed over, going beyond, stands on dry land'."20

A Buddhist myth relates how one of the wives of the king gave birth to a ball of flesh, which was rejected, put in a box and thrown into a river. It was fished out by a man who discovered that it contained a thousand little boys. They grew up to be great warriors and laid siege to their father's kingdom.21

Links: Hare, Wąkpanįgera, Earth, The Sons of Earthmaker.

Links within the Hare Cycle: §6. Grandmother Packs the Bear Meat, §8. Hare Burns His Buttocks.

Stories: about bodiless heads: Little Human Head, The Red Man, Bluehorn's Nephews, The Chief of the Heroka; about the Wąkpanįgera: Little Human Head; 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 Blind Men, Hare Kills a Man with a Cane, Hare Burns His Buttocks, Hare Gets Swallowed, The Hill that Devoured Men and Animals, Hare Establishes Bear Hunting, 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 (spirit) fish as characters: The Man who went to the Upper and Lower Worlds, The Were-Fish, The Greedy Woman, Wolves and Humans, River Child and the Waterspirit of Devil's Lake, The Great Fish, The Spirit of Maple Bluff, Lake Wąkšikhomįgra (Mendota): the Origin of Its Name, The King Bird, Fish Clan Origins, The Blessing of a Bear Clansman, Trickster's Adventures in the Ocean, Otter Comes to the Medicine Rite; 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 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 Establishes Bear Hunting, Redhorn's Father (?); mentioning shells: The Gift of Shooting, The Markings on the Moon, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth, The Arrows of the Medicine Rite Men, Otter Comes to the Medicine Rite, The Wild Rose, Young Man Gambles Often (wampum), Morning Star and His Friend (v. 2) (wampum), Wolves and Humans (oyster), Bird Clan Origin Myth, The Lost Child, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth (v. 2), Turtle's Warparty, The Lost Blanket (mussel), The Annihilation of the Hočągara I.

Themes: crossing a river by summoning the aid of water creatures: The Seduction of Redhorn's Son (leeches); crossing a body of water by using a plant or animal as a ship and commanding the wind: The Thunderbird, How the Thunders Met the Nights; crossing a body of water on the back of an animal: Ocean Duck (Waterspirit), The Seduction of Redhorn's Sons (leeches), The Hočąk Migration Myth (turtle), Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp (beaver), Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts (horse), cf. The Shaggy Man; a spirit causes someone to fall asleep: The Brave Man, Waruǧapara; hypnotic command for enemies to sleep works on the fourth utterance: The Brave Man; creatures turn into fish: Lake Wąkšikhomįgra (Mendota): the Origin of Its Name, The Were-fish, The Greedy Woman, The King Bird, The Man who went to the Upper and Lower Worlds.

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).


1 Paul Radin, Winnebago Hero Cycles: A Study in Aboriginal Literature (Baltimore: Waverly Press, 1948) 100-102. Paul Radin, The Trickster: A Study in American Indian Mythology (New York: Schocken Books, 1956) §§10-11, pp. 72-74. The original Hočąk text is missing, but the English translation of Oliver LaMère is preserved in Paul Radin, "The Hare Cycle," Winnebago Notebooks, Freeman #3851 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, n.d.) Winnebago IV, #1: 48-59.
2 "Therein he set also the great might of the river Oceanus, around the uttermost rim of the strongly-wrought shield" (Ἐν δὲ τίθει ποταμοῖο μέγα σθένος Ὠκεανοῖο ἄντυγα πὰρ πυμιάτην σάκεος πύκα ποιῃτοῖο), Iliad 18.606; "There was no river that came not, save only Oceanus ..." (οὔτε τις οὖν ποταμῶν ἀπέην, νόσφ᾿ Ὠκεανοῖο ...) Iliad 20.7. An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon, Founded upon the Seventh Edition of Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1975 [1889]) s.v. Ὠκεᾰνός, 905a.
3 George Lankford, "The 'Path of Souls': Some Death Imagery in the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex," in Ancient Objects and Sacred Realms: Interpretations of Mississippian Iconography, edd. F. Kent Reilly III and James F. Garber (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2007) 174-212 [191-192]. See also Weston La Barre, Muelos: A Stone Age Superstition about Sexuality (New York: Columbia University Press, 1984). Robert L. Hall, An Archaeology of the Soul: North American Indian Belief and Ritual (Urbana & Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1997) 30-31.
4 Radin says in a note on the back of one of his Winnebago Notebook pages: "It is supposed that a warrior can command the spirit of the one he has killed. So in death they command them to take care of the departed one and guide him on the way." Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks, Freeman #3897 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, n.d.) Winnebago V, #24: 62 verso (English translation).
5 See Weston La Barre, Muelos: A Stone Age Superstition about Sexuality (New York: Columbia University Press, 1984), where this concept is discussed in a worldwide context.
6 Cf. the following words: hohąna (ho-hun-nah), "minnows" (George); hoxą́nik, "minnows and other small fish," hoǧą́na, "fish" (Dorsey); hoǧį́, "minnows," hoǧįnįgížą, "a little fish," hoǧį́nįgra, "the minnows" (Charlie Houghton, "Turtle's Warparty"); hoxąra (ho-xan-ra), "minnow" (Jipson); hoǧą́, "minnow" (Miner).
7 George C. Becker, Fishes of Wisconsin (Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press, 1983) 869-870, 894-897 (slenderheaded darter), 898-902 (blackside darter), 903-906 (gilt darter), 907-911 (log perch), 912-914 (river darter), 915-917 (crystal darter), 918-920 (western sand darter), 921-925 (johnny darter), 926-928 (bluntnose darter), 929-931 (banded darter), 932-936 (rainbow darter), 937-939 (mud darter), 940-944 (Iowa darter), 945-949 (fantail darter), 950-954 (least darter).
8 Isabelle Combès, La tragédie cannibale chez les anciens Tupi-Guarani (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1992) 134; Arnold Lebeuf, "The Milky Way, a path of the souls," in Astronomical Traditions in Past Cultures, edd. Vesselina Koleva and Dimiter Kolev. Proceedings of the First Annual General Meeting of the European Society for Astronomy in Culture, Smolyan, Bulgaria, 31 August - 2 September 1993 (Sofia: Institute of Astronomy, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, National Astronomical Observatory, Rozhen, 1996) 148-161 151].
9 Boris Andreevich Uspenskiĭ, Kult świętego Mikołaja na Rus, trs. (into Polish) Elżbieto Janus, Maria Renata Mayenowa, Zofia Kozłowska (Lublin: Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski, 1985) 48; Lebeuf, "The Milky Way, a path of the souls," 151.
10 Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff, "Astronomical Models of Social Behavior Among Some Indians of Colombia," in Anthony F. Aveni and Gary Urton, Ethnoastronomy and Archaeoastronomy in the American Tropics, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, vol. 385 (New York: New York Academy of Sciences, 1982) 165-181 [170]; Lebeuf, "The Milky Way, a path of the souls," 151. Lebeuf adds, "In India, in ancient times, the word Min, which means Fish, was used for Star." He cites D. Dennis Hudson, "Madurai: The City as Goddess," in Urban Form and Meaning in South Asia: The Shaping of Cities from Prehistoric to Precolonial Times, edd. Howard Spodek and Doris Meth Srinivasan (Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1993) 125-142 [127]. However, no such word िमन् min or मीन् mīn can be found in Monier-Williams. We do, however, find मीन mīna, which does denote fish, but does not exactly mean "star"; rather it denotes the specific constellation Pisces (in Varāha-mihira's Bṛihat Saṃhitā and the Purāṇas). Sir Monier Monier-Williams, A Sanskrit-English Dictionary (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1990 [1899]) 818c, s.v. मीन mīna.
11 Uspenski, Kult świętego Mikołaja na Rus, 215; Lebeuf, "The Milky Way, a path of the souls," 151.
12 Louis F. Burns, Osage Indian Customs and Myths (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1984) 86; from Alice Fletcher and Francis La Flesche, "The Osage or Wazha'zhe, Tribe," Smithsonian Institution, BAE 27th Annual Report (Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1911) 61-62.
13 Morris Edward Opler, Myths and Tales of the Chiricahua Apache Indians (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1994 [1942]) 41.
14 Runs in the Water, "Blood-Clot-Boy," in George A. Dorsey and Alfred L. Kroeber, Traditions of the Arapaho (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1997 [1903]) Story 130, p. 302.
15 Gylfaginning XVI.
16 Ursula Dronke, The Poetic Edda. Volume II : Mythological Poems. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997) 18, 124-125.
17 Henry Adams Bellows, The Poetic Edda (Princeton Princeton University Press, 1936).
18 L. Schele and D. Freidel, A Forest of Kings: The Untold Story of the Ancient Maya (New York: William Morrow, 1990) 90.
19 Isaline Blew Horner, The Early Buddhist Theory of Man Perfected (Amsterdam: Philo Press, 1975 [1936]) 213.
20 Anguttara II.133f, quoted in Horner, 1936: 218-219. See page 300 for a fuller discussion.
21 James Legge, A Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms, being an Account by the Chinese Monk Fā-hien of his Travels in India and Ceylon (A. D. 399-414) in search of the Buddhist Books of Discipline (Oxford: Clarendon, 1886) 72-75.