Holy One and His Brother

Version 1

Hocąk Syllabic Text with English Interlinear Translation

Preamble. (52) This is the story of the Holy One and his brother and what they caused to be.

HERE was this one who was living together with his younger brother. The older one said, "My dear younger brother, what is there to worry about? I alone am great. Here on this earth, I alone am holy," he said. He always did this. In time, they discussed the heavens. They themselves were on earth. Everything was holy. And so when they were camping, he himself laid his foot over there against the wind. (2) There was this Waterspirit town there, and they would do it, and what they would say, unbeknownst to them, must have been overheard.

In time, his younger brother seemed to have gone missing. So he waited at home, but his younger brother had disappeared. In the end, he went out looking for him. After awhile, he began to weep. Wherever he stood and cried, a great lake would form. And whenever he sobbed, he would bite the hills in two, snatching them away. (3) Making a stamping noise, he would create big valleys. And as he was going along there, unexpectedly, there was Wolf. "My younger brother, search where my brother went, if you don't know my brother's place of death," he said. Wolf said, "Older brother, I have gone all over the earth, but I have no knowledge of him," he said. "Hohowá!" he said. (4) He turned to leave, but Wolf said, "Holy One, I will not be your brother's keeper," he said. "Guwa, is that the way it is to be?" he said, and pounced on him. Wolf extended himself to the utmost, but he went and caught up to him, and taking his bow, he killed him. Thus he did, and he lifted open his jaw, and he made himself a stick so that he could dance with it hanging from it. Thus he did, and went on. (5) Again a second time, as he went along there, Little Fox was there. "My younger brother, do you know the place of my younger brother's death? You are always so clever. Perhaps you have seen this place somewhere," he said. (6) Then he turned away to walk back, but, "I looked everywhere for your brother, Holy One, but I did not see him," he said, and he fled. Holy One said, "Guwa, so that is how it is, even someone like you will conspire against me," he said and he pounced. He had fled, but he came and caught up to him, and killed him. He lifted open the jaw, and placed him hanging from a tree. Then he went on. This time he saw Raven (Kaǧiga) there. "Younger brother, you are such a cunning fellow. (7) Do you not know the place of my brother's death?" Holy One said. Raven said, "Over the whole earth and all that is within the heavens I have roamed, but this thing is not my concern," he said, and as he was about to turn away and start off, he said, "Holy One, I myself must have looked everywhere for your brother," he said. Holy One said again, "You little rascal, even little guys like you must have heard the conspiracy," he said, (8) and just as he was about to fly away, he knocked Raven down. He lifted open his jaw and put him on the tree.

Hairy Woodpecker (Cosgénįk)

In the evening he started back to his lodge. As he went on, a little bird crossed his path in front of him. It went by just missing his face. Again a second time it did it. Again a third time, it did it. Again a fourth time it did it. "Howá!" he said. When Holy One looked up, it was a little woodpecker. (9) "Guwa, let me cry here. What evil little bird is it that comes sweeping past my eyes?" he said. Then Little Woodpecker (Cosgénįka) said, "E-e-e-e," it said. "Grandson, I bring news," she said. "Hohó grandmother, I knew something, that is why I said it. Tell it to me what you know. With the little paint that I have, you can paint your face. And the little awl which I have, you may use for carpentry," he said. (10) "Grandson, since you are puzzled by your brother's whereabouts, it is because they are using him as the chief's door flap upstream at the nearby lake in the Waterspirit village. They ate his body, and it is his skin that they are doing this with. Grandson, they called all of them to a council, except I along with my old man. That is why I told you this. (11) And at the south end of this lake, at the point of the subsidence sandbar, the two sons of the chief dream there on a clear day," she said. "Hąhą́ grandmother, it is good." And the paint that he had, he painted on her little head with a little red paint. And the an awl which he had, he placed on her little bill. (12) She flew off to a hardwood tree there and pecked it, sending it clear through the bark. She felt very proud of herself.

Then he set out, and in the morning, the day was very clear. Then the Waterspirits would be sunning themselves. When they say that he got there, as he went along he collected up little thieving mice and carried them along with him. Then there he was at the aforementioned subsidence sandbar. There he transformed into a stump. He was a hollow stump. (13) Mice also lived there. After awhile, the lake began to roar. Unexpectedly, they floated to the surface in the middle of the lake. Then one of them said, "Koté, Holy One is over there," he said, and they disappeared. After awhile, they came up again. And again for a fourth time they came up there. It was said, "Koté, for a long time it has continuously stood there," it was said. So one of them said, "Koté, then you had better go and look at it." (14) Then one of them came over. Once he had gotten over there, he attended to the stump. Then the mice ran in every direction. So he said, "Koté, so many of these — if this had been Holy One, could it be this way? For a long time it has continually stood here, as I told you, but you doubted it," he said. Then the other one came ashore to the subsidence sandbar there, calling for them to turn themselves over [for the sun]. Then they began to spread their omenta out. (15) On the sandbar they spread their omenta out. Then they laid down there. Soon they were sound asleep. Then Holy One went nearer to them. There he landed, and he shot an arrow right into his heart. Then he did it to the other one. Then they fumbled around with their omenta, and retreated into the water. Then Holy One went home.

The next morning, he went there to find out if he could hear anything. (16) Near the lake, unexpectedly, there he heard someone now and again. He heard it, and unexpectedly, he was singing. He went over there. When he got nearer, she was chopping wood and singing. He quickly stopped by an old burnt stump to put ashes on his face. There he was. Unexpectedly, an old woman was singing,

You chiefs;
You chiefs!

D. Gordon E. Robertson

she was saying. She was singing. Holy One said, "Grandmother, why are you singing that?" he said. "Ī grandson, is it Holy One who is saying this, grandson?" she said. (17) "Grandmother, somewhere by now Holy One will have cried himself to death," he said. And the old woman said, "Grandson, two arrows were done to the children of the chief. That is why even I am doing this wood chopping for them," she said. "Then grandmother, what are they going to do?" he said. "Ī grandson, are you Holy One who is saying this, grandson?" she said. "Grandmother, you are saying something foolish. I have been fasting on the other side of this hill for quite some time, (18) and you were standing here making a knocking noise chopping wood, so I came over. As I have not gone to the village in quite some time, no, I didn't hear about it, and that is why I am trying to ask about it. What's more is that there is someplace where Holy One must have died some time ago," he said. She said, "Grandson, you are right." In the morning, they were going to go for Hawk (Hegega). They were going to ruhį́c him. (19) "Well grandmother, if he comes in time, what will be the result?" "Then, my little grandson, they will live." "And grandmother, what time will he come?" he asked. "Ī grandson, are you Holy One who is saying this, grandson?" "Grandmother, how can it be Holy One? You who are saying this, by now Holy One has fallen." "Well grandson, he will come here in the morning, about noon." "And grandmother, where yonder will he come from?" he asked. "He will come from the ridge in the easterly direction," she said. (20) "And grandmother, what will they do to Holy one?" he asked. "Then little grandson, they are going to kill him." "Grandmother, what are they going to do so that they will kill him?" he asked. "Grandson, they would find him, and snakes will kill him," she said. "Grandmother, if they do that, Holy One will put his own moccasins on his feet, and will trample the brittle heads of the snakes to pieces," he said. He meant turtle shells. (21) "Ī grandson, you must be Holy One who is saying this." "Grandmother, you are saying this of Holy One in vain. Again what will they do if he does not to die there." "Well grandson, it will be made to snow, and they will cover him in snow. And once they have made him use up all his food, and when he has eaten his own bow sinew, then a four cornered herd of buffalo will trample him," she said. (22) "Grandmother, if they do that, he will shoot buffalo, and when he is through, they will eat the buffalo," he said. "Ī grandson, are you Holy One who is saying this?" "Grandmother, how can I be Holy One," he said. "And grandmother, if they fail there, what will they do?" he said. "Well my little grandson, if they fail, they will cause a flood. They will spread it out to cover the whole earth." "Well grandmother, what if he goes to meet them in his metal boat, what will they do then?" (23) "Well grandson, the Waterspirits would tip it over." "They use their tails, and grandmother, if they do it that way, I'll take the metal oar and cut off their tails." "Ī grandson, are you Holy One who is saying this?" "This, grandmother, you are saying about Holy One in vain. How could he be there?" again he said. "Well grandson, the Beaver Waterspirits will chew a hole through the bottom of your boat." (24) "Grandmother, if they do that, with the metal oar that he uses, he will cut the Beaver Waterspirits in two." "Ī grandson, you are Holy One," he said. "All this, grandmother, about Holy One will be in vain. Grandmother, is this all?" "Well, grandson, even I will be one of them." "As you are rather old, grandmother, how are your teeth for piercing through the bottom of the boat? Will you show me your teeth?" he said. (25) "Grandson, here are some teeth," she said, and closed her eyes, opened her mouth, and showed him her own teeth. Then he took his bow and knocked her teeth out. He had killed her. Then, unexpectedly, she was an old female beaver. Then he went home.

In the morning, at noon, he went there. Eventually, just at noon, Hawk came there. (26) He sang, and said this:

Hawk, they sought you as a doctor,
To tell what makes me happy.
Hawk, he carries the gourd;
Hawk, he carries the gourd;
Hawk, he carries the gourd!

he said as he came. He carried a black bag, and he placed on top of it a gourd rattle, and he flew with this in tow. When he swung from side to side, he got the gourd to rattle. When he sang, he made the gourd keep time with it. (27) When he came alongside him, he said to him, "Hohó grandfather, you are someone who does not look like anything," he said. He stopped. He said to him, "Why are you traveling about?" "Grandson, the reason why I have arrived here is that they did two arrows to the chiefs," he said. "Well, then I shall go on singing this way and when I get there, they will open the door for me, and I shall go in," he said. "Grandfather, you are really beyond compare," he said. (28) "Again then, go out farther, and place yourself farther out, and come back from a little beyond, tipping yourself from side to side as you swing," he said. "All right," he said. He went back, and now then, he went back as he had said before, and the way that he said, and, "Grandfather, make a few more turns. Grandfather, circle around a bit farther out." Hawk circled around a little beyond. He made a few more turns. He started to turn off, but he turned and caught up to him, and he killed him. (29) Then he skinned him and put on his hide, and after practicing, he flew off. Yet he was identical with him. He was Hawk.

Then he approached the village of the Waterspirits. There he appeared. "Hohó, Hawk has come," they said. He came in time for the chiefs, so thus they may live," they said. He went towards the chief's lodge, and was at the door. Unexpectedly, they had skinned his brother's skin, and were using it as a door flap. (30) "Hohó, my brother (Hohó hisųkhara)!" he said. "He was not serious, what he said was, 'All right (Hąhó)'," they said. Others replied, "He said, 'His brother (Hisųgera)'." "No, I didn't intend that. 'The chief's brother's two sons (Hųgera hisųgera hinįk nųp)', I said," he said. "He said that. He actually said that," they said. And they sat at the back of the lodge. Only the feathered parts of the arrows stuck out. Then he said, "I shall need two iron rods," he said. And he said, "Put on two large kettles full of water. (31) I will give them a bath," he said. Then they did that. Then he put the two irons into the fire to be heated. Then he said, "I want the whole village to go beyond hearing distance of the lodge. I will try very hard to effect a cure. You should go to the other side of the hill," he said. Then everyone went to the other side of the hill. Then he chanted, and he went around the lodge until he first pulled it out of the elder one, gripping it firmly at a distance and shaking it lightly. (32) Therefore, he uttered many groans. Then, it sizzled. Thus he groaned. Then when he probed his way to his heart, he suddenly fell silent. ", my older brother, you have been relieved," he said. "Thus your groans fall silent, it has stopped you," he said. (33) The other one said, "Niži, I think you are seeking to kill my brother," he said. "Ni, no, since he is relieved, he is reclining quietly. You too will get this way very soon," he said. He also pulled the arrow out for him. Then he used the iron that had been heated in the fire, and when it reached his heart, he suddenly died. Thus he did, and he cut them into pieces, and boiled them. Then he rolled up his brother's skin. Now that they were cooked, he took them out there he began to eat them.

(34) Then the Waterspirits said, "Let's send Little Son-in-Law to check up on them," they said. He came out there from under the ground. He went and came to the top of the hill. He stood up there and looked about, sticking out his tongue. He saw him. "Little brother, come here. There is plenty of fat." When he came up to him, he cut the fat in strips, and shoved it into his mouth. When he had filled him up, he gave him pieces, and sent him back. (35) He said to him, "Little brother, when you get back, just say, 'Holy One, Holy One,' say that," he said. He told him, "Do it that way," he said. "Yes, it was Holy One," he said. When it was told, they ran about. They rushed after Holy One. As they went, the waters caught up to them. When the swelling waters caught up to him, he shot at them with his arrow, and they would recede. On and on they went. Finally, they said, "Let's stop. (36) He will exterminate us otherwise," they said. He killed a great many.

Then in the course of time, a hoard of snakes came upon him. He put both of his turtle shells on his feet, and easily crushed the heads of the serpents with his feet. Finally, they said, "All right, now let us stop, or he will destroy the serpents," they said. There they stopped.

Again, some time later, when it began to snow, it really piled up. (37) He had done this for a long time, he put everything in a state of preparation. So he had plenty of wood. He had also set aside food. The snow had become very deep. It came up just a little short of the hole at the horn of the lodge. Then one day the Waterspirits said, "It's about time that Little Son-in-Law should go check up on him. Little Sparrow will go and see," they said. He came there to check on him. (38) He came three times to check on him. He came for a fourth time. "Hohó," he said. He saw the little bird. "If I could eat him, I might last about four days," he said. "What am I saying? I could eat my own paltry bowstring as a last resort," he said. He untied his bowstring. He left it on top of some coals. (39) When Little Sparrow returned, he said, "He has eaten his bowstring. I left, as he really wanted to eat me also. 'Perhaps if I ate this little one, perhaps I could also last four days if I ate him,' he said."

Then they got together a very large herd of buffaloes, and they tried to trample him. When he went out, he must have shot dead many buffaloes. They had only paid attention to the lodge, as that was where he had been living, but he stood along side it, (40) and was to the side when they trampled it. He killed a great many of them. Finally, again they said, "He is rubbing us out, so let's quit," they said. They stopped. Unexpectedly, to one side the ground was bare, but it was done to the lodge alone; it was covered in snow, then he began to dress his own buffalo. He cooked up his own, and made himself a pack, and indeed he had plenty of buffalo.

(41) Then one day rain fell. It did not stop for some time. It flooded the earth. And since Holy One owned a metal boat, he floated about. He filled it full of food, then, unexpectedly, something suddenly wrapped itself around his boat. Then Holy One did this. He used his metal oar and struck whatever wrapped around his boat, and cut it in two. (42) Soon, it was done again. They started to do it, so he cut off a great many Waterspirit tails. Again, unexpectedly, they were chewing at the bottom of his boat. He used his oar and fished around the bottom of the boat. A Beaver Waterspirit floated up opposite the boat. He had been cut in two. Again he did it when he saw them, and he cut a great many Waterspirits. (43) "And so let's stop, or he will exterminate us all," they said. Then they stopped. There it flooded over the whole earth. The flood had been made so great that at the present time you can see on one of the hills the marks where the water jumped on to it. It had also made marks on the bluffs. How it had made the marks remain. After it had receded, once it drained from the hills here, it was not so fast. (44) And so, with waves crashing against them, they began to be eroded.

And after they receded, there he made himself a lodge. Then near the door he erected a platform for his brother and placed him there. And again he cried gently. Then, after the fourth time, early in the morning, his ghost began to speak. "My older brother, long have you wept. I bless you. Cease your lamentations, for I have returned," he said. Then Holy One said, "So be it. Long have I wept." (45) Then the ghost said to Holy One, "Hohowá!" he said. "My brother, you have made me pitiful," he said. And he said, "My older brother, for as long as the earth exists, if one of the people falls over, I will take care of his spirit," he said. Then he went towards the west, and Holy One followed him.

After awhile, when night overtook them, they built a fire there. (46) Holy One wanted to share the fireplace. He did not do it. "My brother, this is as it is because of what you yourself had said. Since you should not put a fireplace before me, thus it is to be. Whatever fireplace you make for me, you must also make one for yourself. I am in the form of a ghost, but you exist." Holy One reached out there, and again Holy One cried. (47) There they slept. In the morning, they started out. At that point, Holy One could not see him, and they kept going west. He saw the upper part of his body. Finally, as he went on there, he came to a red fire. He saw only the fire. When he got there, he could see only up to his shoulders. Again he told him to make a separate fire, so he placed his fire apart once more. (48) Then again in the morning, they started out. Again he could not see him, but he kept on as before. Again, once night fell, he was able to discern the fire in the distance, but when he got there, he could only see his legs. Again, in the morning, as they went on, he could not see him, yet he was there. Going on, by the time he reached nightfall, he could only see his feet. There they camped, and the next morning, he was at the place he was to go. (49) There at the ends of the earth, he spoke to him, saying, "My brother, I am not able to stay here with you. Because of what you yourself have done, people over the face of the earth will come here to live. There will be a place for those who have fallen. You yourself have done this, but if anyone falls, he may bring himself here," he said. There Holy One cried, and returned home. Because of Holy One himself, that is why death exists. (50) His brother himself is the chief of this very village of the ghosts. He is not just a spirit. He is also in the flesh. Where the sun goes down, there he is the Ghost Controller. Then Holy One returned home. " "Hąhą́, I shall roam about the earth," he said. Then he roamed about the earth. From that time on, whenever he visited the things of the earth, wherever he went, he called everyone 'brother'.

(51) This brother of Holy One rules over those ghosts who died needlessly for want of medicines (but not having died in war); in addition, if one of them does not know the origins of his clan; those who have no clans to which they may go; [those who know nothing of] what they came from, there they will have a home; those such as have a clan home, will go towards it.1

Version 2. Why a Tattletale is Called a "Woodpecker"

by Stella Stacy

Unlike most of her contributions, Stella tells this story in English as well as Hocąk.

HERE was a man once everybody was against him because there were some boys were playing along the shore of the sea and he shot at them with a bow and arrow. They weren't in where they had come from and that's why they make against him something that everything was against him. They says that everything was shut off for him, that he can get nothing, and they said they were going to starve him to death. (01:29) And they did. And when he was in his home, it snowed, and snow was cover[ing] him. The snow was covering him just around his home, that snow. And his home was just covered over with snow. He could just only see that light way where the smoke goes up, there was no snow there, it kind of melted away. (02:04) And I suppose it wasn't very long it was snowed and when he got everything all eat up, the last thing that he had, he had a bow and arrow, its string was made out of deerskin, and he tied around bow and arrow to shoot with. (02:33) And he said, there [it] was he had a fire and he toast his bowstrings, and he toast that, and he ate that.

(02:46) Then he went out, he went out to look for something. And there was a bird came around just for near to touch him right to his face flew away, and he, that bird, then did that to him two times. (03:06) And that man, what that man, and that bird was sounded like he was an old lady. He said, "Grandson," he said, "I'm trying to help you," he said. That bird saying that. (03:24) "And you know that everybody was against you. They said they would starve you to death because you shot two boys of Pink Sun," he says. "So everybody was against you, and they didn't invite me, that's what I'm trying to tell you," that bird said. (03:52) That was a woodpecker.   And he told him, and that, "There was a big bird and he was going to come around after these two boys." And he asked him, "What time is it, or what date, he's going to come around?" (04:12) Then that old lady told this man, and there was a hill, a kind of rock, was there. And that's where he is going to land [on] it when he comes, he says. (04:28) Then, "Oh thank you," he says.

And he went there. And he went there, and there was an old lady was chopping wood there. And she was, every time she was chopped, she was kind of singing. And she was kind of singing about those two boys who were shot. And this man he asked, "Grandma, what are you singing about?" this man says. (05:03) "Oh," he said, "I heard that man was pretty smart, maybe might (?) [be] you" he said. "No," he said. "Maybe he died. I heard that they're trying to put him [to] death to hungry," he says. "Maybe he died long ago, he told me." He's the one, but he's just fooling the old lady. (05:26) "Oh, that might be," she says, and, "What was [it] you're saying?" he says. "Oh, I'm chopping, making kindling for the chief," he says, "because that man that he shot these two boys, king's boys, and they waked (?) and I'm making kindling for them," he said, "and that's why I'm chopping the wood," he said. (05:59) And, "Oh, they say that big bird he's going to come around back again," he said. "Oh, what time is he going to come back around again?" (06:12) "Oh, I think it's about time. Today is the date that I think is about time he's going to come around," he said. "Oh, thank you, grandma, you told me that." He killed that old lady.

(06:25) And pretty soon he was making himself [into] a big stump. He was standing there by the rock. There that big bird came around and he flew kind of around there. And he was singing about what he was gong to do. He says that, he says, "I'm not much of a doctor, but I'm going. They came after me, so I'm going to doctor king's boys." He was singing about himself. (07:01) And, "He looks awfully good," he says, and he came around again and then he killed that big bird. And he killed it, and he skinned it, and he wears that, and he flew in where those boys were sick, and he went in there.

And he told this: everybody should go someplace. He wanted to be doctor[ing] those two boys all by himself, he told. So they did. (07:43) So they did, and everybody went over the hills, and he pulled those were some arrows in them, both of them. He had a some kind of steel that he put in the fire [to] make it red. And he pulled those arrows out, and he poked them with that red hot iron. And he killed those. Then he cooked [for] himself there. And there was a snake [that] comes around there — pine snake, as they say — and he said that he was going to tell. (08:31) And they said, "Do not tell," he says, and I'll feed you too," he says. He made some pieces, fat pieces, and he fed that snake. And pretty soon he got himself all full, and he went away. (08:48) And then they all came. He told that snake that he should go tell them, then he went away. That's the end.

(08:59) Then they said that that woodpecker was a tattletale, that he always tells things like that. So anybody [that's a] tattletale, they call them "woodpecker."2

American Woodpeckers
Connecticut Dept. of Energy & Environmental Protection


Version 1

"wherever he stood and cried, a great lake would form." — this is probably an image of the rain that the Thunders alone bring. Since it is creation from above, it implies that Holy One belongs to the Upper World.

"he would bite the hills in two, snatching them away" — the only other occurrence of the word hikus’aže (hikus?-s’a-že) is given the meaning, "he would snatch it away." The previous word is wa-rakųnų́k, which means "to cut them in two with one's teeth, to bite them off." The Thunders are said to "eat" whatever they strike with their lightning bolts. This eating therefore consists of biting off what is struck and snatching it away (up the stream of lightning).

"making a stamping noise, he would create big valleys" — since the hills are bitten in two, a valley is formed. The Thunders are said to have created the hills and valleys by the Thunderbird Warclub, which is an allomorph of lightning, itself clearly a weapon. This passage is an allusion to this power, the power of the Chief's clan, the Thunderbird Clan, to create hierarchy. This passage makes it very clear that Holy One is a Thunderbird.

"Wolf" — in the Thunder Clan's origin myth (q. v.), the Wolf (Clan) is held in the lowest esteem. Here he is the first to insult Holy One, and the first to come into conflict with him after the Waterspirits. Most of the cast of characters form an analogue set to the set of Hocąk Clans:

Holy One Thunderbird Clan
Waterspirits Waterspirit Clan
Wolf Wolf Clan
Fox -
Kaǧiga Bear Clan
woodpecker Thunderbird Clan
Hawk Hawk Clan
snakes Snake Clan
a little bird Pigeon Clan
buffaloes Buffalo Clan
muskrats -

Missing from this scheme are the Fish (often grouped with the Snake Clan), Eagle (sometimes grouped with the Thunderbird Clan), and the Deer and Elk Clans (which are often grouped together). Holy One's brother might well be identified with the Eagle Clan, although there is no direct evidence for it. Fox and Raven (Kaǧi) are names for the two neighboring Algonquian tribes, the latter being the Menominee. It should also be noted that Wolf plays the role of the brother of Holy One in the Central Algonquian prototype of this myth (see below).

"Holy One" — the name given here does not seem to mean "Holy One." Here it is Lo xo Ke, but elsewhere it is L xo Ke K, which may be from raǧó, "lungs," to which compare Chiwere ráxu, of the same meaning. However, this is not certain, since the syllabic form of the name is consistent with Raǧogega, Raǧugega, Raxogega, Raxokega, etc. Furthermore, the name given here is Roxuge (etc.). The name may vary radically on purpose as a kind of disguise, since this personage has to do with death. Fortunately, L xo Ke se Ki occurs as a phrase rather than a name, and Radin's translation gives its meaning as, "after it [the flood] had receded" (q. v.). So it would seem that the name means, "He who Recedes or Subsides." Dorsey had found the cognate character among other Siouan tribes, and has this to say: "This character, called Há-xi-ge (pronounced Há-ghi-ge) by the Omaha, and Ha-xu-ʞa by the Chiwere tribes, resembles Ictinike rather than the Rabbit, and several of his adventures are undoubtedly those which are told of the Algonkian Nanibozhu."3 Unfortunately, this does not tell us much as to the nature of Holy One or his tribe. However, we can say with confidence that Holy One is an opponent of the Waterspirits. In Hocąk thought, the arch enemies of the Waterspirits are the Thunderbirds. The name which would be literally translated "Holy One," Wakącąka, which can be written w K tt K, forms a strong assonance with Wakąjaga, "Thunderbird," which can also be written w K tt K. Wakąja means the "Divine One." The story of how death came into the world is a standard part of the Thunderbird Clan's origin myth (q. v.). For this and other reasons to be adduced below, it seems likely that Holy One and his brother are Thunderbirds.

"his jaw" — the jaw is singled out in this episode most probably because it represents offending speech.

"Kaǧiga" — this word (kaǧi) means "raven." The raven is an allomorph of the bear, and may here stand for the Bear Clan. The Bear Clan had the function of the mąnąpé or police. As such they represented a power center and potential rival to the Thunderbird Clan, the Chief Clan. Kaǧi is also the name of the Menominee tribe in Hocąk, a Central Algonquian tribe in whose mythology this story may have originated.

"woodpecker" — the redheaded woodpecker has a crest on its head that looks very much in color and form like a flame. Woodpeckers are in many tribes associated with the thunder because of the loud noise they make as they drill trees with their bills. For these reasons, and that it is a bird, it has a strong association with the Thunderbirds.

"mice" — in the story Lost Blanket, Ghost (one of the Divine Twins) dresses in a robe made of mouse fur (for which, see the commentary to "Lost Blanket").

"there" — meaning along the shore. The shoreline evokes another association with Ghost. Ghost used to live in the water as his natural element, and whenever he played with Flesh, his brother, and their father arrived, Ghost would run away and submerge himself in the waters of a river or lake.

"stump" — Ghost is said to have been left as a baby in, or in front of, a stump. He is often given the appellation (as a substitute for using his name), "He whose Grandmother is a Stump." So the images of the stump, the shore, and the mice, all allude to the soul or ghost. Therefore, Holy One is making himself into a symbol of his brother, who has become a ghost at the hands of the Waterspirits upon whom he will now take some measure of revenge. Radin has "willow stump," which is unsupported by the text. The willow has death associations, as we see in "The Journey to Spiritland, v. 4."

"the lake began to roar" — whenever Waterspirits rise to the surface, the waters always begin to roil violently. This is a sign to the listeners of this tale that the creatures that Holy One hopes to ambush are Waterspirits.

"a burnt stump" — stumps are usually burnt from lightning. This is another association to the Thunderbirds.

"put ashes on his face" — he is going to masquerade as someone who is out "crying to the spirits," that is, someone who is seeking the blessings and aid of the spirits for some endeavor. Such people always blacken their faces with charcoal, although in this case it is the natural charcoal of wood that has been blasted to ash by the lightning weapon of the Thunders. The blackened face is designed to elicit pity from the spirit. This is probably derived from the self-effacing practice of people in mourning who also blacken their face, and often cut their hair. The blackened face of Holy One is the natural and appropriate symbol of his mourning, despite the fact that he is using it as a disguise of someone fasting for a blessing.

"Hegega" — it is not at all certain what the stem of this name, heg- or hek-, means. Heg is also said to mean, "vulture, buzzard" (Helmbrecht-Lehmann); "turkey vulture" (Dorsey, Baptiste, Marino, Helmbrecht-Lehmann); hegé, "buzzard" (Miner); hek, "buzzard" (Marino); hek, "hawk" (Susman, Marino); "bald eagle" (Gatschet); Hegega, "Hawk" (Marino). On the one hand, the hawk is the bird of the sun and therefore of the blue sky in contradistinction to the gray sky of the Thunderbirds. It is with the blue sky that the Waterspirits have a special identity, since it stands in opposition to their mortal enemies the Thunders. So the hawk would be the logical choice to cure a Waterspirit. On the other hand, inasmuch as the vulture is the bird of death, it follows that by virtue of being in control of death, the vulture can withhold mortality as well. Therefore, the vulture should be the very best of birds for curing anyone.

"ruhį́c" — as a noun, its primary meaning is, "a reverential expression used extensively in ceremonies, performed by slowly raising the outstretched right arm before the face of the person being greeted" (Radin). Its verb form is, "to give reverential greetings" (Radin), "to recognize ceremonially" (Miner). However, it has a secondary meaning: "to fetch a medicine man and give him a gift for healing; to beseech anyone for his power to heal" (Miner). Susman says of the ruhį́c that it is "given to a medicine man or woman – stroke the head, give tobacco and ask to doctor." The stroking suggests the origins of the conventional raised arm of this greeting, that it is an abbreviated version of touching the forehead.

"flood" — when specifically asked in the Schoolcraft project whether they had a tradition of a universal flood, some Hocągara responded that they did. Fletcher, an Indian Agent for the Hocągara at an early day, volunteered the conclusion that "the Tradition of the Deluge is believed by the majority of the Tribes."4 To this Foster replied that "an assertion which I deny the truth of, and on the contrary assert, after personal investigation, that such a belief is not common in this or other Tribes, and in every case where it appears to be entertained, or is expressed, it has been derived from missionary teaching, or is drawn out by 'leading questions'."5 However, the episode of the flood seems integral to the story line, although this would not exclude Christian influence. Nevertheless, the story seems to have little or no resemblance to the Noah myth otherwise. Nothing is said of the drowning of the human race and their recreation by Earthmaker. We are really invited to infer that all this took place before the human race was established, or even that some people survived by boarding their own boats.

"Beaver Waterspirits" — the basic design of a Waterspirit is an animal body with a human face and a very long tail. The theriomorphic parts of a Waterspirit can belong to just about any kind of animal, in the present case a beaver. The context suggests also that the teeth possessed by these Waterspirits are those of beavers. For mention of the varieties of Waterspirits, see W. C. McKern, Winnebago Notebook (Milwaukee: Milwaukee Public Museum, 1927) 108.

"noon" — the hawk is the bird of the sun, and with the sun at its apogee, it might be thought at the height of its powers. However, noon represents a time between, a kind of interstice. It might be thought of as a time between ascending and descending; however, ascending and descending are contraries only if the middle condition, stillness, obtains. If a ball is thrown straight up so that it falls back down, then there really is a point at which it is neither going up nor down and is therefore still; but in an arced trajectory, this is not as simple, and the interstice looks more like a contradiction where ascending and descending are contradictories. Therefore, noon seems like a paradoxical condition during which the sun is both ascending and descending. Contradictions imply anything whatever, and therefore in such paradoxical conditions, anything can happen. And here that "anything" is the worse case scenario from Hawk's point of view.

"Hawk, they sought you as a doctor" — why would a predatory bird be a good candidate as a physician? The Hocąk Hawk Clan, of which he is the totem, is known functionally as the Warrior Clan. Most combat wounds are caused by arrows, and as the hawk is the patron of such combat, it follows that he has mastery over such instruments of war. This mastery is that of both striking and withholding. We see this among the Greeks with Apollo, who is a bowman associated with the sun and the hawk, but who also is the patron of the medical arts. Among the Hocągara, we see the same principle at work in the case of Redhorn, who as the spirit of the arrow (as one of the Heroka), is also a master doctor when it comes to removing one, as we see "Redhorn and His Brothers Marry." That Redhorn adventure gives honorable notice to Hawk, who at least succeeds in pulling the arrow halfway out of the wounded man that Redhorn ultimately cures.

"he flew off" — Thunderbirds have the shapes of various kinds of raptorial birds. The chief of the Thunders is a "hawk," actually a kite of the species called the "American Swallow-tail Kite," known to the Hocągara as the "Black Hawk." So Holy One's ability to fly in the form of a hawk is also consistent with his being a Thunderbird.

"it has stopped you" — the Hocąk here has a clever double meaning. He says, ni Lo dtt n (nį-ru-šjá-ną), which is either nįrušjáną, "it has stopped you [from groaning]," or nį rušjáną, "he has stopped breathing," where means, "to breathe, to live."

"he began to eat them" — the Thunders not only kill their enemies, the Waterspirits, but whenever they can, they eat them. So here again, Holy One acts in the role of a Thunder.

"Little Son-in-Law" — the word w to Ai ttAi ni K (Watohicinįka) is actually used as his name, since the definite article indicating a personal name (-ka) occurs after nįk ("little"). The word used for son-in-law is the rare variant watohici, rather than standard watohoci.

"sticking out his tongue" — the fact that this being is a son-in-law of the Waterspirits, travels underground, and sticks out his tongue while searching, shows that he is a snake. The fact that snakes live underground and are sometimes aquatic makes them relatives of the Waterspirits.

"snakes" — the snakes live at the level of the foot, and often strike the foot or heel, which is here the instrument of Thunderbird hegemony. This may also symbolize the suppression of the ambitions of the Snake Clan, which is shown not to have the power to successfully overcome the instrument of Thunderbird power.

"turtle shells" — this is another image of what was represented when (above) he sighed and caused the hills to become valleys. The power of the Thunderbird Clan to conquer and to establish hierarchy is pictured in terms of their trampling their enemies under foot, which is to say, hierarchically, to make them lower. This is accomplished by victory in war. The symbolism of turtle shell shoes, is that the trampling down is done by means of a turtle as well as a foot. The author of human warfare was the spirit Turtle, so the use of a synecdoche of this spirit in the imagery of suppression is designed to communicate the notion that Thunderbird preeminence is achieved through war.

"he will destroy the serpents" — in the previous episode the Waterspirits said, "w K m Ao tt wi n (Wągamahujawiną) — he will destroy us"; but this text reads, "w K. m Ao tt wi n (Waką mahujawiną) — he will destroy the serpents." This is a play on words.

"snow" — since there is rarely ever thunder or lightning during snow storms, it would seem that snow is in some way inimical to Thunderbirds. This is no doubt why the other spirits attack him with it.

"the horn of the lodge" — this is the opening in the roof of the lodge known today as "the smoke hole." It has a Λ shape that recalls a horn.

"Little Sparrow" — the name in Hocąk is Hišjaširiricgenįka. This appears to be an earlier work of Radin's, and at this time he was not able to identify the type of bird, and consequently translated it as "a little bird." We know now that hišjaširiricge is the sparrow. Further on, the sparrow is called "a little bird" in Hocąk. The "noxious little birds" are among the obstacles that a member of the Medicine Rite must endure as a ghost on the path to Spiritland.

"bowstring" — the bowstring was made from entrails, apparently from the bear.

"platform" — this is yet another indication that Holy One is a Thunder, since platform burials are performed only by members of the Upper Moiety.

"if one of them does not know the origins of his clan" — a waiką had to be purchased, sometimes at a great price. The most important waiką was the story of one's own clan. So someone who had not purchased a telling of that story might be considered negligent.


Version 2

"the sea" — this story is sufficiently old that no sea need be specified. The old concept of the world was essentially identical to that of the peoples of the Eastern Hemisphere generally, who believed that the land mass of their hemisphere was surrounded by what the Greeks called Ὠκεᾰνός | Okeanos, "the Ocean Sea." In the Americas, at least in the north, the home land mass was frequently called "Turtle Island," it being conceived as a land mass completely surrounded by water. Thus there was only one Sea, and a story set on its shore would necessarily be located somewhere at the very edge of the earth.

"they weren't in where they had come from" — this sentence is rather awkward, but the first version makes clear that the two boys were the sons of the chief of the Waterspirits. So the place whence they came will have been the sea. Therefore, when they play upon the shore, they are not where they had come from as Waterspirits. Their natural place was in the water.

"he" — in Hocąk this pronoun would be e. The word e has no gender, and since pronouns are embedded in verbs, the only occasion in which such pronouns are used independently is for emphasis. Stella has the odd habit of using the English pronoun "he" in this same way. It can be seen as the story unfolds, that more than one character to whom she refers as "he" turns out to be a woman. Later in the story, Stella does use "she" extensively for a woman chopping wood, but at some point slips back into referring to her several times with the pronoun "he".

"Pink Sun" — she starts to say "Pink Swan," but corrects herself and seems to say "Sun" instead. A pink sun would be found near the horizon, either rising or setting. The Thunderbirds live in the west by the shore of the Ocean Sea where the sun sets. It was thought that either the Sun continued its journey in an inverted path through the sky of the lower world, or that it floated on the southern Ocean Sea to the opposite side, where it rose again in the east. The four quarters were held in place by four great Waterspirits, implying that two of them were situated one in the east, and the other in the west. So if the two boys of Pink Sun, a presumed Waterspirit, were shot where they should not have been by a Thunderbird, as made clear in v. 1, then it would seem highly likely that they had been on the western shore where the Thunderbirds perched. If so, then Pink Sun will have been the Island Weight of the west.

In this version, the offence is the wounding of the sons of a particularly holy chief.

"they didn't invite me" — in the context of this shorter version, this statement is obscure. The fuller version of the story makes it clear that a council was convened of all the spirits wherein it was decided to starve to death the unnamed man (= Holy One). Because she was snubbed and held as being of no account, she decided to tattle on Pink Sun.

"a big bird" — here we find in the Hocąk tape (03:11) his actual name: Hegega, just as given in Version 1. This name is conventionally translated as "Hawk" by Radin, but in most instances, hek, heg is translated as "buzzard, vulture" elswhere. Stella herself seems to have been uncertain about the exact translation, and settled for a description that applies to both birds. For more on Hegega, see the comment to v. 1.

"a big stump" — as v. 1 makes clear, he turns himself into a stump. In v. 1, the story focuses on death, and begins with the death of the protagonist's brother. In keeping with this theme, a stump is the arboreal equivalent of a corpse, so it seems consistent with the image created by a circling buzzard rather more than a circling hawk.

Andrew Cannizzaro
The Pine (Fox) Snake (Pantherophis vulpinus)

"pine snake" — the Hocąk name, wakąsérejᵋrá, means "long-snake." In Wisconsin the pine snake is the Eastern Fox Snake (Pantherophis vulpinus). Although it can climb trees, it lives in old stumps, under logs, and in leaf litter. It's a non-venomous snake that kills by constriction, typically hunting rodents and ground nesting birds. When it feels threatened, it will vibrate its tail in the leaf litter creating the impression that it's a rattlesnake. Originally it was called the "fox snake" because it emits an odor like a fox or even a skunk when it senses danger.

"they said" — this would be aíreną or words of similar meaning. In Hocąk an expression meaning "they said," literally, can serve the same function as the passive voice does in English. So in this context, a word like aíreną would be translated, "it was said." Stella, however, translates it rather too literally into English, creating in this context the paradox of referring to a single person using the third person plural

"that's the end" — Stella ended her story prematurely, and had to be reminded by Fraenkel that the point of the story was the role of the woodpecker as a tattletale.

Philip Henry Gosse       Philip Henry Gosse
A Woodpecker's Tongue   The Barbs on the Woodpecker's Tongue   The Zygodactyl Foot of a Woodpecker

"woodpecker" — these birds and tattletales have some odd things in common which suggests the root of their association. Woodpeckers and tattletales have a firm grasp of what is going on. This is seen in the zygodactyl configuartion of the woodpecker's toes: two facing forward, and two facing back, contrary to the 3:1 ratio of most birds. This X shaped design allows them to firmly grasp the tree, the object of their attention. The noise that both human and bird make with their mouths is heard far and wide, revealing what was meant to be hidden from public view. As a result, their mouths create a great deal of damage. Making such revelations are usually satisfying, as both bird and tattletale are "fueled" by exposing what is hidden. Woodpeckers fly from tree to tree to accomplish their purpose, and tattletales "fly" from one person to another to accomplish theirs. Yet, most of all, the woodpecker has something else that recalls the wagging tongue of the tattletale.

A peculiar construction, permitting of the extreme protrusion of the tongue in woodpeckers, is the great length of the roots of that organ, in some species extending from the base of the tongue around the back of the head, on either side of the neck, over the top of the skull, with the ends resting close to the base of the upper mandible.6

The tongue is capable of protruding four inches beyond its already long bill.7 It is the tongues of the tattletales that more than anything sets them apart, and the woodpecker, among all birds, has the most enormous tongue. Not only that, but the tongues of each are either literally or metaphorically barbed.

Comparative Material: This seems to be an adaptation of a widespread Central Algonquian myth. Its basic form is outlined by George Lankford:

... Manabozho's brother Wolf was killed by the Underwater Panthers [Waterspirits]. That first death had two general outcomes. The majority of the local versions tell of Manabozho's revenge on the water manitouk, killing several of them through a deception at the water's edge and an impersonation of a doctor, with the Flood as the Underwater Panthers' response.8

(Manitouk is the plural (in Ojibwe) of the singular manitou, "spirit.") In particular, the Fox have a long story of this type whose protagonist is their trickster god Wī́sa‘kä́ka. In the beginning, the manitous [spirits] lived on earth as well as among the stars and under the earth. Gishä́ Mắnetṓwa, who ruled over them, had two sons, Wī́sa‘kä́ka and Kīyā́‘pā‘tä́ha. When the two boys grew up they were by far the mightiest of the manitous, and all the other manitous, even their own father, were jealous of them. Gishä́ Mắnetṓwa called a council of all the manitous where they agreed that the two young men must die. All the manitous ran off to where the boys were living with their grandmother, Mesá‘kamígō‘kwä́ha. She allowed that the younger, Kīyā́‘pā‘tä́ha, may be killed, but she warned them that they did not have the power to kill Wī́sa‘kä́ka, and that in any case, she would not participate in a war against either of them. The manitous hatched a plot. They persuaded Wī́sa‘kä́ka to lead the old manitous on a trip, and Kīyā́‘pā‘tä́ha to lead the others on a voyage in the opposite direction. As Wī́sa‘kä́ka lead his old manitous he noticed they they were fewer and fewer in number, until finally no one was left following him at all. Not long afterwards he heard his brother's voice from afar crying out, "Older brother, I am dying!," but he could not see his brother anywhere, despite searching for him everywhere. Finally, after four days, the ghost of Kīyā́‘pā‘tä́ha showed up at Wī́sa‘kä́ka's lodge door, and asked to come in. Wī́sa‘kä́ka told him he could not enter, but that he had a better place for him to live in the west. He told him that there he would be called Tcīpaíyāpṓswa, and that he would not be alone there, for he, Wī́sa‘kä́ka, would create a race of men who in time would join him there. And so, after Wī́sa‘kä́ka gave him some things that he might take with him, Kīyā́‘pā‘tä́ha went west beyond where the sun sets. Then Wī́sa‘kä́ka set out to avenge his brother. As he was walking by the waters of the Gétci Gumī́we (The Great Expanse), the little gétci kā́nānā́hä bird told him where he might find the killers of his brother. They lived in a great cavern that opened onto a sand island in the Great Expanse, and on that island they would sun themselves from time to time. Wī́sa‘kä́ka found a mountain nearby, and from that peak he was able to see the two manitous on the island. They were on their guard, but Wī́sa‘kä́ka fooled them by descending in the form of a spider web. He suddenly appeared and began shooting them with his arrows, but the other manitous heard the commotion and soon ran to the aid of their confederates. Wī́sa‘kä́ka had to flee and had only wounded his two enemies. These two chiefs were taken from the water and placed in a lodge. The manitous sent for Métemṓha Mắmă‘kä́ha (Old Woman Toad), the great healer, that their chiefs might recover from their dangerous wounds. Wī́sa‘kä́ka, however, intercepted Old Woman Toad and her daughters and persuaded them not to go to the aid of these chiefs. Instead, Wī́sa‘kä́ka transformed himself into the guise of Old Woman Toad and entered the lodge where the wounded manitous lay. He told the other manitous that they must go so far away that they cannot hear what will transpire, otherwise the cure would not work. They did as be bade them, and once he had gotten a spirit-iron hot enough, Wī́sa‘kä́ka thrust it into the wounds, killing each of his brother's assassins. He then cooked them in kettles. The other manitous, now suspicious, sent a little shā́shāgä́ha snake to find out what had happened. When Wī́sa‘kä́ka saw the snake, he told it to eat all he wanted of the meal cooking over the fire. When the snake returned, it told the manitous of the wonderful meal it was given by Wī́sa‘kä́ka. The manitous were furious, and cast fire into every place that they thought Wī́sa‘kä́ka might be hiding. When they failed to get him, they caused rain to fall until all the land was inundated. Wī́sa‘kä́ka fled to the tallest pine on the tallest mountain, but the waters rose even to that height, and he was about to perish when the pine suddenly released a canoe, and Wī́sa‘kä́ka was able to ride it across the waters. In time he revived a turtledove and a muskrat, and sent the former for a twig and the latter for a ball of mud. They eventually succeeded, and from the twig and ball of mud, Wī́sa‘kä́ka was able to recreate dry land, and thus he saved himself.9 [Next episode of the Fox story.]

The more closely related Omaha have a very similar story. The following summary is quoted from Dorsey in the version by Pa¢iⁿ-naⁿpajĭ. Haxige a hunter; warned younger brother not to disturb animals on the ice of the stream; brother attacked two otters, chasing them to the den of water monsters [Wakandagi]; enticed into den and slain, body cut up, skin used as door-flap; Haxige sought brother, wandering over world; Haxige's tears then shed became the streams that we now have; Haxige met two ducks that were conversing; Haxige became a leaf and drifted close to them; overheard what they said about his brother's death; became a man again, seized ducks by necks; tore bad duck to pieces, spared good one; Haxige went towards den of water monsters; on first day went as an eagle, but was detected; on next day went as a leaf, but was detected; on third day went as a blue-backed bird-hawk, detected; on fourth day became a grass snake, and crawled very close to them; resumed his form, shot both the chief water monsters, and escaped; next day Haxige went hunting; on return found that some one had crossed his trail; same thing happened four days in all; on last day he met the person; it was Ictinike, disguised as Hega, the Buzzard; Hega was the doctor going to powwow over the wounded water monsters; the old doctor was persuaded to describe his treatment of the case; Buzzard danced, and sang thus: —

"Hé-ke tá-ko, hé-ke hé-ke tá-ko. Hé-ke tá-ko, hé-ke hé-ke tá-ko."

"Ho, venerable being! I have come for you to powwow." Said to next, "Ho, venerable being! I have come for you to powwow over me." To third, "Ho, venerable being! I have come for you because you can cause a person to bathe." To the last, "Ho, venerable being! I have come for you because by your aid a person can bathe all over. I have come for you that you may cleanse me from all impurities. May I come out in sight on many different days! Venerable being, may I and my young ones come in sight on the four peaks! I pray to you, thou superior god above and thou superior god below! On different days may I and my young ones come in sight!" Poles then obtained; went for water, addressing it in prayer; made fire, put stones on, then dropped a medicine on, making sparks; poured the water over his brother's skin inside the lodge, restoring him to life; but when Haxige let him go the brother became a ghost again; done four times; Haxige despaired of keeping brother alive; spoke of separating. "As you go in this manner, red men shall go and never return." Haxige departed; met aged Beaver-woman, who was making a boat; she told him of a flood coming because Haxige had killed the water monsters; Haxige told her that he was ready for it. "But if they fail to kill Haxige by the flood they will send serpents over the earth." Haxige did not fear them, threatening to kill them; he told how he could escape from a deep pit and a severe snow-storm; then he killed her; returned home; made another sweat-lodge; brother would not stay alive, so Haxige told him that they must change their forms. "You shall become a young male big wolf, with long blue hair on the space between the shoulders, and I will become a very large male deer, with horns full of snags, and with hair which has been made very yellow by heat, scattered over my forehead."10

The following Omaha version is that of Francis La Flesche. There were two water monsters, who killed the young brother of Haxige. They flayed the body, and hung up the skin for a door-flap. They invited all the animals to a feast, when they boiled the body, dividing it among the animals, thus bribing them to silence. Haxige missed his brother, and went in search of him. He reached a stream where two wood ducks were swimming. The conversation of the ducks and the transformation of Haxige into a leaf are given in both versions. One of the ducks repeated his words to Haxige: "O elder brother, when Haxige's young brother was killed I received only a little finger as my share, so I said that I would tell Haxige about it whenever I saw him." He then told Haxige about the Buzzard's going daily to treat the wounded monsters. The good duck was rewarded by Haxige, who stroked him along the head, forming a crest, and making the feathers whitish which were next the outer corners of the eyes. As Haxige went, the tears from his eyes formed rivers. He met the Buzzard, and induced him to sing his magic song, thus:

"Hé-ki-máⁿ-daⁿ, hé-ki hé-ki maⁿ-daⁿ, hé-ki hé-ki máⁿ-daⁿ."

Haxige killed the Buzzard, took his gourd rattle, iron rod, and small pack; Haxige suspected by two of the four who carried him on the buffalo robe. The rest closely accords with the preceding version, with a few exceptions: in this one the Beaver-woman said the gods had taken her as their servant in the conflict against Haxige; when they sent a flood over the earth, and Haxige got into a boat, she would aid them by gnawing a hole in the bottom of his boat; after she spoke of their sending darkness and then serpents to kill Haxige, he told her who he was, and crushed in her skull; then he made a sweat-lodge for his brother, hoping to revive him; on the fourth day he found that his brother must remain a ghost, so he told him to become a young male deer, while Haxige departed as a big wolf.11

The Hocąk myth of Holy One has very interesting parallels to the ancient Egyptian myth of Osiris and Isis.

Egyptian Hocąk
Osiris was king. Holy One's brother claimed to be the greatest power on earth.
This made his brother Set, and his 72 confederates, jealous. The spirits resented the brother's boast.
They plotted to kill Osiris. They plotted to kill the brother.
Set was to lead the effort. (Set was identified with the Greek Typhon.) The Waterspirits were to kill the brother.
Set tricked Osiris into getting into a wooden sarcophagus, shut him up within and threw him into the river to die. Holy One, with his dead brother in tow, was caught up in a flood created by the Waterspirits. He rode this out in a metal boat.
The drifting Osiris came to be embedded within a cedar tree. Those who disparaged the brother were killed and hung on a tree by Holy One.
This tree, with him inside it, was used as a pillar in a foreign temple. The brother's hide was used as a door to the lodge of the Waterspirits.
His wife-sister Isis found and removed the body. Holy One found and removed the body of his brother.
Isis buried him back in Egypt. Holy One put his brother on a funerary platform.
Set, his brother, found where Osiris was buried, and cut him into 14 pieces. Holy One had only one piece of his brother, his hide.
These were scattered over the countryside. When he went west, the brother disappeared one part at a time.
All the pieces were found except one, the penis, which was replaced by a golden substitute. The only piece of his brother that Holy One found was the hide.
The penis had been eaten by the oxyrhinchus fish. The missing parts of his body had been eaten by the Waterspirits.
Isis assumed the form of a kite or sprouted wings herself, Holy One put on the form of a hawk to capture the body of his brother.
and brought Osiris back to life by an incantation. Holy One wept for days, but in the end, his brother came back to life.
Osiris fathered the hawk-headed Horus upon Isis. Holy One had taken the form of a hawk to rescue his brother.
Osiris became Lord of the Dead. The brother went west, where he ruled over a special Spiritland for people who had nowhere else to go.

The two stories have quite a number of shared themes: man-eating, dismemberment, resurrection, hawk-sky vs. water creatures of the lower world, floating on the waters because of an enemy, becoming part of a foreign edifice, ruling over the dead, etc.

Links: Waterspirits, Ghosts, Kaǧi, Foxes, Wolf and Dog Spirits, Hawks, Snakes, Buffalo Spirits, Gourd Rattles.

Stories: in which Waterspirits occur as characters: Waterspirit Clan Origin Myth, Traveler and the Thunderbird War, The Green Waterspirit of Wisconsin Dells, The Lost Child, River Child and the Waterspirit of Devil's Lake, A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga, Bluehorn's Nephews, The Seer, The Nannyberry Picker, The Creation of the World (vv. 1, 4), Šųgepaga, The Sioux Warparty and the Waterspirit of Green Lake, The Waterspirit of Lake Koshkonong, The Waterspirit of Rock River, The Boulders of Devil's Lake, Devil's Lake — How it Got its Name, Old Man and Wears White Feather, The Waterspirit of Sugar Loaf Mounds, Lakes of the Wazija Origin Myth, Waterspirits Keep the Corn Fields Wet, The Waterspirit Guardian of the Intaglio Mound, The Diving Contest, The Lost Blanket, Redhorn's Sons, The Phantom Woman, Įcorúšika and His Brothers, Great Walker's Warpath, White Thunder's Warpath, The Descent of the Drum, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, Snowshoe Strings, The Thunderbird, Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp (v. 2), The Two Children, The Twins Join Redhorn's Warparty, Earthmaker Sends Rušewe to the Twins, Paint Medicine Origin Myth, Waruǧábᵉra, Ocean Duck, The Twin Sisters, Trickster Concludes His Mission, The King Bird, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Great Walker's Medicine (v. 2), Heną́ga and Star Girl, Peace of Mind Regained, The Story of the Medicine Rite, How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Spiritual Descent of John Rave's Grandmother, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds, The Shaggy Man, The Woman who Married a Snake (?), Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, Ghost Dance Origin Myth I, The Sacred Lake, Lost Lake; mentioning ghosts: The Journey to Spiritland, The Four Slumbers Origin Myth, The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter, Worúxega, Little Human Head, Little Fox and the Ghost, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, The Lame Friend, Ghost Dance Origin Myth I, Ghost Dance Origin Myth II, Hare Steals the Fish, The Difficult Blessing, A Man's Revenge, Thunder Cloud is Blessed, Two Roads to Spiritland, Sunset Point, The Message the Fireballs Brought; about journeys to and from Spiritland: The Four Slumbers Origin Myth, Ghost Dance Origin Myth II, The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter, The Journey to Spiritland, Sunset Point, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Lame Friend, Two Roads to Spiritland, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, Ghost Dance Origin Myth I, The Foolish Hunter, Waruǧábᵉra, The Thunderbird, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds, White Wolf, The Twins Get into Hot Water, The Two Brothers, The Lost Blanket, Earthmaker Sends Rušewe to the Twins, The Man who went to the Upper and Lower Worlds, The Petition to Earthmaker, Wears White Feather on His Head, Buffalo Dance Origin Myth, Thunder Cloud Marries Again, The Shawnee Prophet — What He Told the Hocągara, The Friendship Drum Origin Myth, Aracgéga's Blessings, The Blessing of a Bear Clansman, The Man Whose Wife was Captured; relating to dogs or wolves: The Gray Wolf Origin Myth, A Man and His Three Dogs, White Wolf, Wolves and Humans, The Wolf Clan Origin Myth, The Old Man and His Four Dogs, Worúxega, The Dogs of the Chief's Son, The Dog that became a Panther, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Wild Rose, The Man Whose Wife was Captured, The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter, The Canine Warrior, The Dog Who Saved His Master, The Raccoon Coat, Wojijé, The Big Eater, Why Dogs Sniff One Another, The Healing Blessing, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Trickster Loses His Meal, Sun and the Big Eater, Redhorn's Sons, Trickster, the Wolf, the Turtle, and the Meadow Lark, Hog's Adventures, The Messengers of Hare, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, Grandmother's Gifts, The Hocąk Migration Myth, Bladder and His Brothers, The Stench-Earth Medicine Origin Myth, The Old Man and the Giants, Rich Man, Boy, and Horse, Kunu's Warpath, Morning Star and His Friend, Black Otter's Warpath, Black Otter’s Sacrifice to a Thunder, Chief Wave and the Big Drunk, Peace of Mind Regained (?); mentioning foxes: Trickster Takes Little Fox for a Ride, Little Fox and the Ghost, Įcorúšika and His Brothers, Redhorn's Father, Trickster's Anus Guards the Ducks, The Scenting Contest, Trickster Gets Pregnant, Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans (v. 3), Little Fox Goes on the Warpath; mentioning kaǧi (blackbirds): Bear Clan Origin Myth (vv. 2, 3), The Hocąk Arrival Myth, Turtle's Warparty, The Shaggy Man, Trickster's Tail, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, Ocean Duck; mentioning snakes: The First Snakes, The Woman who Married a Snake, Blessing of the Yellow Snake Chief, Snake Clan Origins, The Omahas who turned into Snakes, A Snake Song Origin Myth, The Serpents of Trempealeau, The Story of the Medicine Rite, Rattlesnake Ledge, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Twins Disobey Their Father, The Two Boys, Wears White Feather on His Head, Creation of the World (vv. 2, 3, 4), The Magical Powers of Lincoln's Grandfather, Lakes of the Wazija Origin Myth, The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, Waruǧábᵉra, The Green Man, The Man who was Blessed by the Sun, The Warbundle of the Eight Generations, Turtle and the Merchant, The Lost Blanket, A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth; about buffaloes and Buffalo Spirits: Buffalo Clan Origin Myth, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, White Fisher, Brass and Red Bear Boy, Bluehorn Rescues His Sister, Bluehorn's Nephews, Redhorn's Father, The Woman who became an Ant, Buffalo Dance Origin Myth, The Buffalo's Walk, Trickster's Buffalo Hunt, The Blessing of Šokeboka, The Creation of the World (v. 3), The Annihilation of the Hocągara I, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Red Feather, Wazųka, Old Man and White FeatherThe Stench-Earth Medicine Origin Myth, Old Man and Wears White Feather, The Orphan who was Blessed with a Horse, The Story of the Medicine Rite, Black Otter's Warpath; mentioning hawks: Hawk Clan Origin Myth, Old Man and Wears White Feather, Holy One and His Brother, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, The Thunderbird, Partridge's Older Brother, Creation Council, The Woman who Loved her Half-Brother, Waruǧábᵉra, The Race for the Chief's Daughter, The Magical Powers of Lincoln's Grandfather; mentioning woodpeckers: The Bungling Host; about Bird Spirits: Crane and His Brothers, The King Bird, Bird Origin Myth, Bird Clan Origin Myth, Wears White Feather on His Head, Old Man and Wears White Feather, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds, The Thunderbird, Owl Goes Hunting, The Boy Who Became a Robin, Partridge's Older Brother, The Woman who Loved Her Half-Brother, The Foolish Hunter, Ocean Duck, Earthmaker Sends Rušewe to the Twins, The Quail Hunter, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Hocąk Arrival Myth, Trickster Gets Pregnant, Trickster and the Geese, Porcupine and His Brothers (Ocean Sucker), Turtle's Warparty (Thunderbirds, eagles, kaǧi, pelicans, sparrows), Kaǧiga and Lone Man (kaǧi), The Old Man and the Giants (kaǧi, bluebirds), The Bungling Host (snipe, woodpecker), The Red Feather, Trickster, the Wolf, the Turtle, and the Meadow Lark, Waruǧábᵉra, The Race for the Chief's Daughter, Black and White Moons, The Markings on the Moon, The Creation Council, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, Earthmaker Blesses Wagíšega (Wešgíšega), The Man Who Would Dream of Mą’ųna (chicken hawk), Hare Acquires His Arrows, Keramaniš’aka's Blessing (black hawk, owl), Heną́ga and Star Girl (black hawk), The Stench-Earth Medicine Origin Myth (black hawk, kaǧi), Worúxega (eagle), The Arrows of the Medicine Rite Men (eagle), The Gift of Shooting (eagle), Hocąk Clans Origin Myth, Hawk Clan Origin Myth, The Hocąk Migration Myth, Blue Jay, The Baldness of the Buzzard, The Abduction and Rescue of Trickster (buzzards), The Shaggy Man (kaǧi), The Healing Blessing (kaǧi), The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth (kaǧi), Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, Įcorúšika and His Brothers (Loon), Great Walker's Medicine (loon), Roaster (woodsplitter), The Spirit of Gambling, The Big Stone (a partridge), Trickster's Anus Guards the Ducks, The Story of the Medicine Rite (loons, cranes, turkeys), The Fleetfooted Man, The Journey to Spiritland (v. 4) — see also Thunderbirds; mentioning willows: The Journey to Spiritland (v. 4), The Lame Friend, Partridge's Older Brother, and cp. also Tree Spirits; mentioning Medicine Men: Visit of the Medicine Man, Big Eagle Cave Mystery, Old Man and Wears White Feather, The Magical Powers of Lincoln's Grandfather, Yellow Thunder and the Lore of Lost Canyon, The Phantom Woman, Black Otter's Warpath; mentioning sacred gourd rattles: North Shakes His Gourd, East Shakes the Messenger, The Brown Squirrel, South Seizes the Messenger, The Stench-Earth Medicine Origin Myth, A Peyote Story; mentioning teeth: The Animal who would Eat Men, Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans, Hare and the Dangerous Frog, The Girl who Refused a Blessing from the Wood Spirits, The Two Boys, The Birth of the Twins, The Twins Disobey Their Father, Wears White Feather on His Head, The Dipper, Wolves and Humans, The Commandments of Earthmaker, The Children of the Sun, The Green Man, Partridge's Older Brother, The Brown Squirrel, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge of the Medicine Rite, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, East Shakes the Messenger, Lifting Up the Bear Heads, White Wolf, Buffalo Clan Origin Myth; mentioning snow: Waruǧábᵉra, The Glory of the Morning, Wolves and Humans, Grandfather's Two Families, The Four Steps of the Cougar, Redhorn's Father, The Old Man and the Giants, Old Man and Wears White Feather, Great Walker's Warpath, White Wolf, North Shakes His Gourd, The Fleetfooted Man, Lake Wąkšikhomįgra (Mendota): the Origin of Its Name, Witches, Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth, Trickster Gets Pregnant, The Raccoon Coat, Silver Mound Cave, Soft Shelled Turtle Gets Married.

Themes: the oldest brother announces that he is so great a spirit that his brothers have nothing to fear: Turtle's Warparty, Įcorúšika and His Brothers, Bladder and His Brothers; arrogance: The Skunk Origin Myth, The Blue Jay, The Fatal House, The Creation of Evil, Trickster Eats the Laxative Bulb, The Foolish Hunter; spirits meet in a council: The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, Black and White Moons, The Creation Council, The Children of the Sun, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, Traveler and the Thunderbird War (v. 5), The Gift of Shooting, East Shakes the Messenger, The Descent of the Drum, East Enters the Medicine Lodge, South Enters the Medicine Lodge, The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, The Petition to Earthmaker, The Boy who would be Immortal; someone is disconsolate over the death of a relative: White Flower, Ghost Dance Origin Myth II, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth, The Blessing of Kerexųsaka, The Lost Child, The Shaggy Man, Sunset Point; a body of water is created by tears falling from above: The Creation of the World, Lake Winnebago Origin Myth, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, How the Hills and Valleys were Formed (v. 1); as punishment for its temerity, a spirit knocks the teeth out of an animal's mouth: Hare and the Dangerous Frog; someone is captured by Waterspirits: Įcorúšika and His Brothers, Traveler and the Thunderbird War (v. 5), Redhorn's Sons, Heną́ga and Star Girl, The King Bird; a small bird flies right at a man's face (almost) hitting him: Wazųka; a spirit's brother is killed and his hide is used as an artifact by his killer: White Wolf (bracelets), Bladder and His Brothers (bladders); a woodpecker uses an awl for a bill: The Bungling Host; being unable to hide, despite a great effort: The Children of the Sun, The Birth of the Twins, The Two Boys, The Man Whose Wife was Captured (v. 2); two Waterspirits sleep while basking in the sun: The Thunderbird, The Twins Join Redhorn's Warparty; a hero shoots two Waterspirits in the heart: The Thunderbird; an evil spirit thinks that he has detected the presence of his enemy, but his partner dissuades him: The Raccoon Coat, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Thunderbird; after wheedling out how a man is going to proceed, a spirit kills him, puts on his skin, and thus attired goes on to impersonate his victim: Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp; wearing the skin of a spirit bird: Hare Acquires His Arrows, Thunderbird and White Horse, The Boy who Flew, The Lost Blanket; someone makes an insulting remark to an animal, then pretends he said something else that sounds similar: Trickster and the Mothers, Hare Kills Wildcat; a doctor successfully extracts an arrow from someone's body by shaking it while he pulls it out: Redhorn and His Brothers Marry; platform burials: Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, Little Fox and the Ghost, Snowshoe Strings; a herd of buffalo attack someone: The Woman Who Became an Ant; an evil spirit uses snow as a weapon: Waruǧábᵉra; death enters the world for the first time: The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Necessity for Death, The Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth, Death Enters the World, Deer Clan Origin Myth; a man travels west following a departed loved one in order to prevent him/her from residing forever in Spiritland: Ghost Dance Origin Myth II, Snowshoe Strings; after his death, the brother of a holy spirit goes west to rule over a Spiritland village of the dead: Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth.

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, Hocąk 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 Mącosepka, 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, "The Story of Holy One," Winnebago Notebooks, Freeman #3859 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) Winnebago IV, #4: 59-77 (typed English translation); Paul Radin, "The Story of the Flood and Origin of the Spirit Home," Winnebago Notebooks, Freeman #3897 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) Winnebago V, #24: 1-51 (syllabic text without translation or transliteration).

2 Stella Stacy, The story explaining why a tell-tale is called a woodpecker in Winnebago, Fraenkel, Gerd. Winnebago texts, [28 July 1959]. (Mss.Rec.29); audio: 7274; APSdigrec_2205; Recording Number: 03; Program Number: 06. Winnebago texts, [1959]. Mss.Rec.29). Copy made by Gerd Fraenkel of an original tape held at the Archives of Languages of the World, Indiana University. This program comes from original tape 19.

3 J. Owen Dorsey, "Nanibozhu in Siouan Mythology," The Journal of American Folklore, 5, # 19 (Oct. - Dec., 1892): 293-304 [303].

4 Henry Schoolcraft, Information respecting the Historical Conditions and Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States (J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1852-1854) 4:228-230.

5 Thomas Foster, Foster's Indian Record and Historical Data (Washington, D. C.: 1876-1877) vol. 1, #3, p. 2, col. 4.

6 B. S. Bowdish, "The Wonders of a Bird's Bill," American Homes and Gardens, 3 (July, 1906): 36.

7 John James Audubon, The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories (New York: G. R. Lockwood, 1870) 231.

8 George Lankford, "The Great Serpent in Eastern North America," 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) 107-135 [123].

9 William Jones, "Episodes in the Culture-Hero Myth of the Sauks and Foxes," The Journal of American Folk-lore, XIV, #55 (Oct-Dec, 1901) 225-238 [225-234]. Another version of this story of Wísa‘käa is given in Paul Radin, Literary Aspects of North American Mythology, Canada Geological Survey, Museum Bulletin #16, Anthropological Series, #6 (June 15, 1915): 1-51 [8, & passim].

10 Pa¢iⁿ-naⁿpajĭ, "Adventures of Haxige," in J. Owen Dorsey, "Abstracts of Omaha and Ponka Myths, II," The Journal of American Folklore, 1, # 3. (Oct. - Dec., 1888): 204-208 [204-205]. Cf. Dorsey, "Nanibozhu in Siouan Mythology," 303-304.

11 Francis La Flesche, "Adventures of Haxige," in J. Owen Dorsey, "Abstracts of Omaha and Ponka Myths, II," 205-206.