Migistéga’s Magic

by John Fireman

based on the interlinear translation of George Ricehill


Hočąk-English Interlinear Text


BAE 37: 66
John Fireman

(86) An Indian woman married a Big Knife. He was a trader. A veritable herd of people went to that place. They asked him for paint. The trader could not give them paint, and Migistéga answered, "If you give me some flour, I will make some paint." And the trader said (87), "If you make some paint, I'm going to give you the store." "All right," Migistéga said, "I'll do it outside the Indian camp." The trader handed a pan full of flour to Migistéga. He took it. And he did the Grizzly Bear Dance, and he shook the pan four times, and when he removed the black cloth, the pan was full of red paint. (88) The little trader took a stick and stirred up the whole batch of red.

The trader: "Migisté, you have beaten me, the store is yours; but again make the pan full of flour," he said. And again there was dancing and in the same way he again shook the pan four times, and it was full of maple sugar.

 

(89) And again he put a plum wood stake in the ground and covered it with a black cloth. And he shook the plum wood four times, the plums falling off it. They ate them. Plums are what they became like.

And an Ioway came and danced the Grizzly Bear Dance. And one of the Ioway, Wanasúⁿčka, stuck something into the fire. And Migistéga took a grizzly bear claw out of the fire. (90) And again he began dancing. After he threw in front of him a fawn-hide tobacco pouch belonging to him, a fawn came to life and walked around in front of the dancer. Again, the skin came to life.1

Links: Witches.


For another version of the trader episode, see "Mijistéga’s Powwow Magic and How He Won the Trader's Store."


Stories: mentioning Migistéga (Mijistéga): Mijistéga’s Powwow Magic and How He Won the Trader's Store, Mijistéga and the Sauks, Migistéga's Death; mentioning witches or warlocks: The Witch Men's Desert, The Thunder Charm, The Wild Rose, The Seer, Turtle and the Witches, Great Walker and the Anishinaabe Witches, The Claw Shooter, Mijistéga’s Powwow Magic and How He Won the Trader's Store, Mijistéga and the Sauks, Migistéga's Death, The Mesquaki Magician, The Tap the Head Medicine, Keramaniš’aka's Blessing, Battle of the Night Blessed Men and the Medicine Rite Men, The Hills of La Crosse, The Shawnee Prophet — What He Told the Hočągara (v. 2), Įčorúšika and His Brothers, Thunder Cloud Marries Again, Paint Medicine Origin Myth, The Woman's Scalp Medicine Bundle, Potato Magic, Young Rogue's Magic; mentioning grizzly bears: Blue Bear, Brass and Red Bear Boy, The Reincarnated Grizzly Bear, The Were-Grizzly, The Spotted Grizzly Man, The Meteor Spirit and the Origin of Wampum, The Roaster, Wazųka, Little Priest's Game, The Story of How Little Priest went out as a Soldier, Mijistéga’s Powwow Magic and How He Won the Trader's Store, The Woman who Loved her Half-Brother, The Two Boys (giant black grizzly), Partridge's Older Brother, The Chief of the Heroka, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds, The Dipper (white grizzly), Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, The Creation of Man (v. 9), The Creation of Evil, cp. The Woman Who Fought the Bear; in which dancing plays a role: Ghost Dance Origin Myth I, Ghost Dance Origin Myth II, Buffalo Dance Origin Myth, Mijistéga and the Sauks, Mijistéga’s Powwow Magic and How He Won the Trader's Store, Little Priest's Game, How Little Priest went out as a Soldier, The Four Slumbers Origin Myth, Įčorúšika and His Brothers, Trickster and the Dancers, Wolves and Humans, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth, Bluehorn Rescues His Sister, The Blessing of Kerexųsaka, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts; mentioning traders: Mijistéga’s Powwow Magic and How He Won the Trader's Store, Soft Shelled Turtle Gets Married, Turtle and the Merchant, How Jarrot Got His Name, The Chief Who Shot His Own Daughter, The Tavern Visit, Origin of the Hočąk Name for "Chicago"; mentioning the Ioway: Ioway & Missouria Origins, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, Keramaniš’aka's Blessing, The Woman's Scalp Medicine Bundle, Little Priest's Game, A Peyote Story, Introduction; mentioning the Big Knives (white Americans): The Shawnee Prophet and His Ascension, The Shawnee Prophet — What He Told the Hočągara, Little Priest's Game, How Little Priest went out as a Soldier, A Prophecy, The Chief Who Shot His Own Daughter, The First Fox and Sauk War, The Cosmic Ages of the Hočągara, Turtle and the Merchant, The Hočągara Migrate South, Neenah, Run for Your Life, The Glory of the Morning, First Contact, Mijistéga’s Powwow Magic and How He Won the Trader's Store, Yellow Thunder and the Lore of Lost Canyon, Mighty Thunder; mentioning plums: Trickster and the Plums, Mijistéga and the Sauks.


Themes: an Indian woman marries a white man (fur trader): The Glory of the Morning, Origin of the Decorah Family, The Chief Who Shot His Own Daughter; an empty hide comes to life: White Wolf, Mijistéga and the Sauks, The Woman who Loved Her Half-Brother; food is magically created from something inedible: Mijistéga and the Sauks, Potato Magic.


Notes

1 John Fireman, "The Story of Migistéga," trs. George Ricehill, in Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks, Freeman #3892 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) Winnebago III, #11a, Story 7: 86-90. An English only version is found in Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1908) Winnebago I, #7a: 45-49, 33-45.