The Hočągara Contest the Giants

by Little Decorah


"In the early days there were Giants tall as trees and their bodies in proportion to their height; and their especial food seemed to be people, Indians, and especially the Hočągara (Winnebago). At one time the Winnebago had a big village, and a large number of Giants came and made a village of their own right alongside. Just as soon as they came there, a person brought the news to the Hočągara that the Giants wanted to have a game of "LaCrosse" ball-play with them: that is playing ball with crooked bats (Čąpnąrukísikisik). The Winnebago, seeing that they were so small and the others so large, feared to engage in the game, until the Turtle (Kečąkéka) advised them to make the play. When the Hočągara went upon the play ground, they found there a female Giantess, who seemed the commander of the whole, and who had red-yellowish hair.

Before the play began the stakes were agreed to be that if the Giants won, they should take so many Winnebago for their pay to eat them, and if the Winnebago won they should destroy so many Giants; and they were to play four games. The game went on and at the end of the fourth game the Winnebago were victorious and they took possession of about two hundred of the Giants whom they killed; the red-haired Giantess, whom the supernatural ally of the Indians, The Turtle, was especially antagonized with, being captured.

The Good Spirit[s] (Waxop’inipįga) had pity on the Winnebago, when [he] saw the cruel way the Giants had before used them, and it was he that sent the Turtle to them to advise so that they might be protected in future from the Man-Eaters.

Then the Turtle told the Giants to go away before they killed them all; and when the other Giants left, the Winnebago followed after them and killed them all, the Turtle assisting. The red-haired woman was kept in the tribe and became a good woman.

Hešúčka, meaning 'Red-Horn' or 'Red-Braids,' one of the Giants, had, it is alleged, two faces for ear-rings, which were alive and could talk!"1


Commentary. "Red-Horn" — the mention of Redhorn as a Giant is unprecedented. He is usually portrayed as a major opponent of the Giants, and it is he who married the redheaded Giantess (see 1, 2).


Links: Giants, Redhorn, Turtle, Earthmaker, The Sons of Earthmaker, Pretty Woman.


Stories: featuring Giants as characters: A Giant Visits His Daughter, 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 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; featuring Turtle as a character: The Mission of the Five Sons of Earthmaker, Turtle's Warparty, Turtle and the Giant, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, Soft Shelled Turtle Gets Married, Turtle and the Merchant, Redhorn's Father, Redhorn's Sons, Turtle and the Witches, The Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, Trickster Soils the Princess, Morning Star and His Friend, Grandfather's Two Families, The Race for the Chief's Daughter, Kunu's Warpath, Redhorn Contests the Giants, Redhorn and His Brothers Marry, The Skunk Origin Myth, The Hočąk Migration Myth, Porcupine and His Brothers, The Creation of Man, The Twins Join Redhorn's Warparty, The Father of the Twins Attempts to Flee, The Chief of the Heroka, The Spirit of Gambling, The Nannyberry Picker, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, The Markings on the Moon (v. 2), The Green Man, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Coughing Up of the Black Hawks, The Petition to Earthmaker, The Origins of the Milky Way; mentioning Redhorn: The Redhorn Cycle, Redhorn's Sons, Įčorúšika and His Brothers, The Mission of the Five Sons of Earthmaker, Redhorn's Father, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Twins Join Redhorn's Warparty, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Morning Star and His Friend, The Spirit of Gambling, The Green Man, cp. The Cosmic Ages of the Hočągara, Heroka, Redman; featuring Pretty Woman (or a Giant princess with red or yellow hair): Redhorn's Sons (red hair), Redhorn Contests the Giants (red hair), Redhorn's Father (red hair), The Roaster (yellow hair), Morning Star and His Friend; mentioning Earthmaker: The Creation of the World, The Creation of Man, The Commandments of Earthmaker, The Twins Get into Hot Water, The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, The Lost Blanket, Earthmaker Blesses Wagíšega (Wešgíšega), The Man Who Would Dream of Mą’ųna, The First Snakes, Tobacco Origin Myth, The Creation Council, The Gray Wolf Origin Myth, The Journey to Spiritland, The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter, The Seven Maidens, The Descent of the Drum, Thunder Cloud Marries Again, The Spider's Eyes, The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion, Hawk Clan Origin Myth, Fourth Universe, Šųgepaga, The Fatal House, The Twin Sisters, Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth, Elk Clan Origin Myth, Deer Clan Origin Myth, Bear Clan Origin Myth, Wolf Clan Origin Myth, The Masaxe War, The Two Children, Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Petition to Earthmaker, The Gift of Shooting, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, Bluehorn's Nephews, The Stone Heart, The Wild Rose, Earthmaker Sends Rušewe to the Twins, The Lame Friend, How the Hills and Valleys were Formed, The Hočąk Migration Myth, The Necessity for Death, Hočąk Clans Origin Myth, The War among the Animals, Lake Winnebago Origin Myth, Blue Mounds, Lost Lake, The Hočągara Migrate South, The Spirit of Gambling, Turtle and the Giant, The Shawnee Prophet — What He Told the Hočągara, Ghost Dance Origin Myth II, Bird Origin Myth, Black and White Moons, Redhorn's Sons, Holy Song, The Reincarnated Grizzly Bear, The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, Death Enters the World, Man and His Three Dogs, Trickster Concludes His Mission, Story of the Thunder Names, The Origins of the Milky Way, Trickster and the Dancers, Ghost Dance Origin Myth I, East Enters the Medicine Lodge, The Creation of Evil, The Blessing of Kerexųsaka, Song to Earthmaker, The Blessing of the Bow, The Origin of the Cliff Swallow; mentioning lacrosse (kísik): Redhorn's Father, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, Morning Star and His Friend, Redhorn Contests the Giants, The Roaster, Redhorn's Sons, The Blessing of a Bear Clansman, Bluehorn Rescues His Sister, The Shaggy Man, How the Thunders Met the Nights; mentioning the Decorah family: Origin of the Decorahs, The Glory of the Morning, The Origin of Big Canoe's Name, The Tavern Visit, How Little Priest went out as a Soldier.


Themes: spirits come to earth in order to rescue humanity from enemies who threaten their existence: The Mission of the Five Sons of Earthmaker, Bladder and His Brothers, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, Grandfather's Two Families, The Hare Cycle, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Raccoon Coat, Redhorn's Sons, The Redhorn Cycle, The Roaster, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, The Spirit of Gambling, The Reincarnated Grizzly Bear, The Trickster Cycle, Wojijé, Redhorn's Father, Turtle and the Merchant; anthropophagy and cannibalism: A Giant Visits His Daughter, 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, 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; the Hočągara encounter Giants: The Stone Heart; contests with the Giants: Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, Redhorn's Father, White Wolf, The Roaster, Young Man Gambles Often, Little Human Head, Redhorn Contests the Giants, Redhorn's Sons, Morning Star and His Friend, The Reincarnated Grizzly Bear, Sun and the Big Eater, The Big Eater, The Old Man and the Giants, The Meteor Spirit and the Origin of Wampum, Shakes the Earth, The Origins of the Milky Way, The Shaggy Man, Grandfather's Two Families; a being has red hair: Redhorn's Sons, Redhorn's Father, Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp (vv. 1 & 2), Redhorn Contests the Giants, The Sons of Redhorn Find Their Father, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, Heną́ga and Star Girl, A Wife for Knowledge, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle; red as a symbolic color: The Journey to Spiritland (hill, willows, reeds, smoke, stones, haze), The Gottschall Head (mouth), The Chief of the Heroka (clouds, side of Forked Man), The Red Man (face, sky, body, hill), Spear Shaft and Lacrosse (neck, nose, painted stone), Redhorn's Father (leggings, stone sphere, hair), The Sons of Redhorn Find Their Father (hair, body paint, arrows), Wears White Feather on His Head (man), The Birth of the Twins (turkey bladder headdresses), The Two Boys (elk bladder headdresses), Trickster and the Mothers (sky), Rich Man, Boy, and Horse (sky), The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits (Buffalo Spirit), Bluehorn Rescues His Sister (buffalo head), Wazųka (buffalo head headdress), The Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth (horn), The Brown Squirrel (protruding horn), Bear Clan Origin Myth (funerary paint), Hawk Clan Origin Myth (funerary paint), Deer Clan Origin Myth (funerary paint), Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth (stick at grave), Pigeon Clan Origins (Thunderbird lightning), Trickster's Anus Guards the Ducks (eyes), Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp (scalp, woman's hair), The Race for the Chief's Daughter (hair), The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy (hair), Redhorn Contests the Giants (hair), Redhorn's Sons (hair), The Woman's Scalp Medicine Bundle (hair), A Wife for Knowledge (hair), Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle (hair), A Man and His Three Dogs (wolf hair), The Red Feather (plumage), The Man who was Blessed by the Sun (body of Sun), The Man Whose Wife was Captured (v. 2) (body of the Warrior Clan Chief), Red Bear, Eagle Clan Origin Myth (eagle), The Shell Anklets Origin Myth (Waterspirit armpits), The Twins Join Redhorn's Warparty (Waterspirits), The Roaster (body paint), The Man who Defied Disease Giver (red spot on forehead), The Wild Rose (rose), The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth (warclub), Įčorúšika and His Brothers (ax & packing strap), Hare Kills Flint (flint), The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head (edges of flint knives), The Nannyberry Picker (leggings), The Seduction of Redhorn's Son (cloth), Yųgiwi (blanket); a spirit has faces on each earlobe: Redhorn Contests the Giants, The Sons of Redhorn Find Their Father, The Dipper (hummingbirds), Redhorn's Father, Įčorúšika and His Brothers, Morning Star and His Friend.


Notes

1 Thomas Foster, Foster's Indian Record and Historical Data (Washington, D. C.: 1876-1877) vol. 1, #3: p. 3 col. 1. Told by Little Decorah [picture], a member of the Thunderbird Clan.