Ocean Duck (Jejąwįǧega)

retold by Richard L. Dieterle

There was a village where the son of the chief lived in his father's lodge behind a partition, and the only time he went outdoors was to relieve himself. One day the chief said to his son, "You should go out among your people, after all, this village is yours and whatever you say they will do it for you." Many times he spoke thus to his son. When the son left his lodge to relieve himself, his father's words were on his mind, and he went out much farther than he usually did. He went to a small knoll, and there he began to relieve himself, but unknown to him there was a large group of children playing on the other side of the knoll. While he was squatting there with his back to the knoll the children came around and saw him. Some of them said in whispers, "The chief's son has a red anus," and they laughed about it. Then one child, who was bolder than the rest, said right out loud, "The chief's son has a red anus!" The object of this ridicule became very embarrassed, and hurried back to his lodge. He thought to himself, "This is why I do not go out." Feeling humiliated, he became very quiet, so much so that his father noticed it. His father asked him why he was so dispirited, and his son told him what had happened, and added, "We must part from all children old enough to play, as they have shamed me!" So the attendants were summoned and told to announce that henceforth all the children were to play farther away from the village, and when they went out they were to take their lunch with them.

The next day the children packed off with their lunches in tow, but while they were gone, the chief ordered the whole village to move and all lodges and property left behind were to be burned. Everyone boarded canoes for a long voyage, but one old grandmother refused to leave and had to be bound and thrown in the canoe kicking and screaming. When the children returned to the smoking village, they all ran to the shore. In the distance they could see the glint of the oars as they were raised out of the water. They could just hear the grandmother's voice singing,

My grandson!
Under my seat!

Her grandson was puzzled at first, then he rushed back to the burned down lodge where they once lived and quickly dug up the dirt floor where she used to sit. There he found a pot, a knife, and a fire-starter kit. With this he was able to start a fire for the children. On the morrow the children began their trek along the lake shore. As evening approached, they saw a figure far off in the distance. Some children said, "My father said that he loved me, and now he has returned!" Others said that it was their mother, or uncle, or grandfather who had proved his love by coming back for them. However, as the figure got closer, it was unexpectedly a huge woman, and very aged, who said to them, "We heard that you were abandoned, so grandfather said, 'Take them home, they will make good company.' That is why I have come." The bigger children had been carrying the little ones, but now the great old woman picked them all up and carried everyone of them on her own back. They went into a big oval lodge very near the lake where she had a large kettle of water already boiling. "If grandfather comes home with game," she said, "we can boil it right away." The children were told to sleep with their heads close to the fire, the large woman explained, "Because the mice will eat your hair right off your head if you sleep by the wall." Then she took off her hat, and there, unexpectedly, they saw that her head was bald. "It's the mice," she told them. At length they were all asleep except the grandson and the old woman. She told him, "Child, you must get some sleep — I'll awaken you when grandfather comes back with some food." However, he felt uneasy about her and was afraid to go to sleep, so he merely pretended to nod off. When she thought he was asleep, she crept up to the children with a large knife in her hand. Suddenly, the boy stirred, and the old woman pretended that the knife was for the mice, whom she scolded: "You must be keeping the grandsons and granddaughters awake." Again the boy feigned sleep. Then the old woman cut off the first child's head, so the boy moved again. This time he got up and told her that he had to go outside to relieve himself. "I'll go out there with you," she insisted. She held on to one edge of his blanket, while he kept the other in his hand so that they would not get separated in the dark. The boy tied an arrow to his end of the blanket and told it to answer her whenever she said something. The old woman grew impatient, and asked, "Aren't you done yet?" "No, not yet," answered the arrow. This went on until the fourth time the arrow spoke, whereupon she pulled in the blanket only to find nothing but an arrow. She knew then that it was the arrow who had answered her. She went back inside, and one by one, she cut off the heads of the remaining children, threw them in the pot, and boiled them up. That night she feasted on this delicacy.

As the boy made his way along the lake shore in the morning, off in the distance he saw a figure approaching. It turned out to be a huge man. The man thought to himself, "My sister said that she loved me, but I wasn't sure what she meant; but now I know that is why this one has been allowed to come my way." When the two met, the man said, "Let's gamble, since men always gamble when they meet." But the boy replied, "I have nothing to gamble with, so what could I bet?" "Why, that's easy enough to answer," he said, "just bet yourself." So the boy agreed. The man was a Giant, and planned to eat him. The Giant picked up a great stone and slammed it down: "When we wrestle, we shall throw one another on this stone." The Giant scooped up the boy, lifted him over his head, and slammed him down towards the stone, but unexpectedly, the boy suddenly turned into a swallow, and took wing before he hit the rock. This went on and on until the Giant finally became exhausted. Then the boy threw him onto the rock and killed him. He took the Giant's large kettle which he had been carrying on his back, and cooked him in it. That night he had plenty to eat. The next day the boy encountered another Giant. This man too thought his sister had done him a loving favor. He said to the boy, "We shall gamble, Ocean Duck." So they also wrestled, but the same thing happened again, and that night Ocean Duck feasted on Giant once more. For two more days, exactly the same thing happened.

As he was traveling along the shore the next day, he came upon a long lodge about the time the sun reached its zenith. A woman was outside tanning a deerskin, and when she saw the boy approach, she thought to herself, "My brothers said that they loved me, and now I can see that they spoke the truth." When they met, she said, "We shall wrestle." She was the strongest of the siblings, and it was very difficult for Ocean Duck, but in the end he triumphed and smashed her against the rock. Then he cooked her, but did not include the hindquarters, which he threw away. Then he saw a very high rack, a meet rack of some kind, but never had he seen one so tall. There was nothing on it, but he could not see the platform at the summit, so he began to climb it. When he finally reached the top a grizzly scene greeted his eyes: there before him were six human hearts, each one wrapped in fine feathers. The next thing he knew, the woman he just killed was also climbing the rack. She was whole and back from the dead. When she got near, she said, "Come down from there and I will give you anything you want." The others he had killed gathered around the rack, alive again. They flattered him in every way, trying to get him to leave the hearts alone. Then, suddenly, the woman was upon him, but he quickly stabbed her with a knife and she fell from the structure. Then in turn each of the Giants came against him, but he killed everyone of them. Yet they were impossible to kill, for it was their hearts that they kept safely atop the rack. He did the only thing he could do: he set the rack afire and made sure that the hearts were burnt to ashes.

The next morning, he set out walking along the lakeside. He came to an oval lodge and peeped in. The old woman inside said, "Come in, Grandson! You have finally arrived. We shall gamble together, but first I will fix you a nice meal of rice." However, what she was really fixing him was a meal of lice. Ocean Duck took the lice and tossed them into the fire. At this the old woman voiced her thoughts, "Nephew, you must be the oldest brother's son. Before we wrestle, let us tell one another of our dreams." She told him all the mighty spirits had blessed her at the time that she first had her monthly terms, but Ocean Duck replied, "All those who blessed you also blessed me." "You are indeed the oldest brothers son," she said confidently, "we should not wrestle one another." He replied, "I have been challenged, so we must go through with it." She walked over to the wall of the lodge and pulled away a large mat. There instead of a rock was a large crevasse. "Here," she said, "we will throw one another." They wrestled for a long time, and she was the most difficult opponent he had yet encountered. Before long, she had succeeded in throwing him into the chasm. As he fell he could see that the crevasse had precipitous side made up of jagged rocks from which hung stands of human flesh torn off of previous victims. Finally, he fell into a kettle placed at just the right spot at the bottom of the crevasse. This kettle had been used to cook all the others who had lost the match. Up above, the old woman mused to herself, "He should have taken the opportunity to quit when he had the chance." As she was thinking this to herself, unexpectedly the young man crawled back up from the chasm. He saw that it was the kaǧi skin that she had around her neck that gave her renewed strength, so he jumped up and stripped her of all her charms and fetishes. Then he picked her up and cast he into the void below. He shouted down to her, "We were not created by the Creator for this purpose!" He had known her from times before: indeed, it was because of her that he had come to live among the humans, since he had to stop her homicidal obsession. She was in fact his aunt, the sister of his father. Ocean Duck's father was the oldest son of the chief of the Thunders. After burning her lodge, he resumed his travels along the lake's rim.

The next morning Ocean Duck came to an oval lodge. When he looked in, an old woman said, "Grandson, come in! Your village is half happy and half sad." She had four beans in her hand which she dumped into a pot of water she had boiling over the fire. "These shall be enough," she said confidently. The boy doubted this, but every time he ate a bean out of the pot, another appeared in its place, so the boy ate all he wanted and was soon full. The old woman told him, "Your village is just across the way. Keep traveling along the shore line and you will reach my older and wiser sister at eventide. She will tell you more." As he started out the next morning, he reckoned that if he picked up the pace he would arrive at her lodge well before sunset. So he started running and kept that pace all day, yet it was only when evening began to fall that he reached his destination. Everything happened just as before, and he again feasted off four magical beans. The older sister told him a bit more about his village: "Half the people mourn, the other half dance, and when they dance, they sing of you. Tomorrow you will reach your own grandmother's lodge. You will get there in the evening no matter how fast or slow you travel." The next day when he set out, he took his time, and just as evening fell, he came to an oval lodge. There his grandmother fed him from the four beans just as the other old women had. She told him, "Tell your grandfather to take you across. Say, 'Grandfather, if you take me across, I will give you tobacco, a white deerskin, and a red woven yarn belt tied to each of your horns.' Then he will consent." His grandfather arrived the next evening, so Ocean Duck told him exactly what he was instructed to say. Just the same, the old man said nothing at all. Then the grandmother spoke up, "If you do not go, then I will go in your place, since the offerings are good." The grandfather relented to some degree, saying, "If it's a fine day, then I'll go." And the next day was indeed a very nice day, with no clouds to be seen anywhere. So they got ready to cross over together. The grandfather said, "If I go too slow, hit me between the horns and I'll go faster, but if you see a cloud form, we must turn back." So Ocean Duck got on his back and hit him between the horns. They were traveling so fast that the grandfather left a wake behind him. "When we get close to the shore," said grandfather, "don't make me go so fast that we run aground." Clouds were starting to form, but Ocean Duck told him, "I don't see any clouds so far." Then he hit him again between the horns even though they were getting very close to the shore. Grandfather got closer and closer go the shore, then, unexpectedly, he ran aground with such force that he skidded up the beach and plowed over several trees. Ocean Duck jumped off and cried out in a loud voice, "Oh you Thunders, you long for Waterspirits, so here is one!" Before the old Waterspirit could crawl back into the deep, the Thunderbirds overwhelmed him, and devoured him completely save for his scent bag. Out of this, Ocean Duck made many bad medicines.

As the lad was wondering on the other shore he heard the sound of wood chopping. When he traced it down, he found a woman crying. She was the mother of a boy who had been a friend of his. He told her what had befallen the children, and walked home with her. The other parents gathered about the lodge to hear the tragic news from Ocean Duck. Then they invited him to the wake and offered him the honor of beating the drum, but he refused even to attend. Just as the drumming stopped, he put bad medicines inside each parent's lodge. The next morning all of them were found dead with their stomachs burst. The remainder of the village, who had sung his praises, made Ocean Duck chief. They then moved to a new location and set up their village there. They had crossed the Ocean Sea to live in this country. Ocean Duck's mother was the daughter of the chief of the Nights. It was because of Ocean Duck that the people had come to live in this country.1

Commentary: "evening" — since he was the son of the chief of the village, the boy who lived behind the partition was one of the children sent away to play. It was he who was Ocean Duck, and his father was the eldest son of the Thunderbird chief. The grandmother is doubtless the wife of the eldest son's father. Since he is a Thunderbird, his wife is a Nightspirit, as the Thunderbirds always marry Nightspirits. This explains why it is evening when and only when Ocean Duck reaches the lodge of one of the sisters: wherever they are, it is night by definition.

"lice" — this strange meal of rice which is really lice, is also encountered in the story of Spirit Woman, who interviews ghosts who are treading the path to Spiritland. She offers them a meal of rice, which gives them a headache, whereupon she cracks their skulls open and scoops out their brains. The rice that they eat afterwards is actually lice, and it causes them to part "from all bad things."

"around her neck" — his aunt wears a kaǧi (raven, crow) around her neck. This normally signifies that a warrior has captured more than one woman.2 Here it is apparently inverted: she has captured (killed, and eaten) more than one warrior.

"grandfather" — the Waterspirit that ferries him across is not literally his grandfather, this is just a polite form of address. The grandmother is able to say that if the grandfather does not agree to carry him across, then she will, because Nightspirits can walk on water (see How the Thunders Met the Nights). Ocean Duck's maternal grandfather was the chief of the Nights. Ocean Duck is therefore himself a Thunderbird. This explains his oddly hostile treatment of the Waterspirit: Thunderbirds and Waterspirits are mortal enemies.

The myth seems to be a Thunderbird Clan foundation myth, inasmuch as they started out from the opposite side of the ocean, which would be either the abode of the Thunderbirds (west) or of the Nightspirits (east). In either case, they would have landed on the shore of the mortal abode.

Comparative Material: The following is an excellent parallel from the Gros Ventre tribe. There was a camp. All the children went off to play. They went some distance. Then one man said, "Let us abandon the children. Lift the ends of your tent-poles and travois when you go, so that there will be no trail." Then the people went off. After a time the oldest girl amongst the children sent the others back to the camp to get something to eat. The children found the camp gone, the fires out, and only ashes about. They cried, and wandered about at random. The oldest girl said, "Let us go toward the river." They found a trail leading across the river, and forded the river there. Then one of the girls found a tent-pole. As they went along, she cried, "My mother, here is your tent-pole." "Bring my tent-pole here!" shouted an old woman loudly from out of the timber. The children went towards her. They found that she was an old woman who lived alone. They entered her tent. At night they were tired. The old woman told them all to sleep with their heads toward the fire. Only one little girl who had a small brother pretended to sleep, but did not. The old woman watched if all were asleep. Then she put her foot in the fire. It became red hot. Then she pressed it down on the throat of one of the children, and burned through the child's throat. Then she killed the next one and the next one. The little girl jumped up, saying, "My grandmother, let me live with you and work for you. I will bring wood and water for you." Then the old woman allowed her and her little brother to live. "Take these out," she said. Then the little girl, carrying her brother on her back, dragged out the bodies of the other children. Then the old woman sent her to get wood. The little girl brought back a load of cottonwood. When she brought it, the old woman said, "That is not the kind of wood I use. Throw it out. Bring another load." The little girl went out and got willow-wood. She came back, and said, "My grandmother, I have a load of wood." "Throw it in," said the old woman. The little girl threw the wood into the tent. The old woman said, "That is not the kind of wood I use. Throw it outside. Now go get wood for me." Then the little girl brought birch-wood, then cherry, then sagebrush; but the old woman always said, "That is not the kind of wood I use," and sent her out again. The little girl went. She cried and cried. Then a bird came to her and told her, " Bring her ghost-ropes for she is a ghost." Then the little girl brought some of these plants, which grow on willows. The old woman said, "Throw in the wood which you have brought." The little girl threw it in. Then the old woman was glad. "You are my good grand-daughter," she said. Then the old woman sent the little girl to get water. The little girl brought her river-water, then rain-water, then spring-water; but the old woman always told her, "That is not the kind of water I use. Spill it!" Then the bird told the little girl, "Bring her foul, stagnant water, which is muddy and full of worms. That is the only kind she drinks." The little girl got the water, and when she brought it the old woman was glad. Then the little boy said that he needed to go out doors. "Well, then, go out with your brother, but let half of your robe remain inside of the tent while you hold him." Then the girl took her little brother out, leaving half of her robe inside the tent. When she was outside, she stuck an awl in the ground. She hung her robe on this, and, taking her little brother, fled. The old woman called, "Hurry!" Then the awl answered, "My grandmother, my little brother is not yet ready." Again the old woman said, "Now hurry!" Then the awl answered again, "My little brother is not ready." Then the old woman said, "Come in now; else I will go outside and kill you." She started to go out, and stepped on the awl. The little girl and her brother fled, and came to a large river An animal with two horns lay there. It said, "Louse me." The little boy loused it. Its lice were frogs. "Catch four, and crack them with your teeth," said the Water-monster. The boy had on a necklace of plum-seeds. Four times the girl cracked a seed. She made the monster think that her brother had cracked one of its lice. Then the Water-monster said, "Go between my horns, and do not open your eyes until we have crossed." Then he went under the surface of the water. He came up on the other side. The children got off and went on. The old woman was pursuing the children, saying, "I will kill you. You cannot escape me by going to the sky or by entering the ground." She came to the river. The monster had returned, and was lying at the edge of the water. "Louse me," it said. The old woman found a frog. "These dirty lice! I will not put them into my mouth!" she said, and threw it into the river. She found three more, and threw them away. Then she went on the Water-monster. He went under the surface of the water, remained there, drowned her, and ate her. The children went on. At last they came to the camp of the people who had deserted them. They came to their parents' tent. "My mother, here is your little son," the girl said. "I did not know that I had a son," their mother said. They went to their father, their uncle, and their grandfather. They all said, "I did not know I had a son," "I did not know I had a nephew," "I did not know I had a grandson." Then a man said, "Let us tie them face to face, and hang them in a tree and leave them." Then they tied them together, hung them in a tree, put out all the fires, and left them. A small dog with sores all over his body, his mouth, and his eyes, pretended to be sick and unable to move, and lay on the ground. He kept a little fire between his legs, and had hidden a knife. The people left the dog lying. When they had all gone off, the dog went to the children, climbed the tree, cut the ropes, and freed them. The little boy cried and cried. He felt bad about what the people had done Then many buffalo came near them. "Look at the buffalo, my brother," said the girl. The boy looked at the buffalo, and they fell dead. The girl wondered how they might cut them up. "Look at the meat, my younger brother," she said. The boy looked at the dead buffalo, and the meat was all cut up. Then she told him to look at the meat, and when he looked at it, the meat was dried. Then they had much to eat, and the dog became well again. The girl sat down on the pile of buffalo-skins, and they were all dressed. She folded them together, sat on them, and there was a tent. Then she went out with the dog and looked for sticks. She brought dead branches, broken tent-poles, and rotten wood. "Look at the tent-poles," she said to her brother. When he looked, there were large straight tent-poles, smooth and good. Then the girl tied three together at the top, and stood them up, and told her brother to look at the tent. He looked, and a large fine tent stood there. Then she told him to go inside and look about him. He went in and looked. Then the tent was filled with property, and there were beds for them, and a bed also for the dog. The dog was an old man. Then the girl said, "Look at the antelopes running, my brother." The boy looked, and the antelopes fell dead. He looked at them again, and the meat was cut up and the skins taken off. Then the girl made fine dresses of the skins for her brother and herself and the dog. Then she called as if she were calling for dogs, and four bears came loping to her. "You watch that pile of meat, and you this one," she said to each one of the bears. The bears went to the meat and watched it. Then the boy looked at the woods and there was a corral full of fine painted horses. Then the children lived at this place, the same place where they had been tied and abandoned. They had very much food and much property. Then a man came and saw their tent and the abundance they had, and went back and told the people. Then the people were told, "Break camp and move to the children for we are without food." Then they broke camp and traveled, and came to the children. The women went to take meat, but the bears drove them away. The girl and her brother would not come out of the tent. Not even the dog would come out. Then the girl said, "I will go out and bring a wife for you, my brother, and for the dog, and a husband for myself." Then she went out, and went to the camp and selected two pretty girls and one good-looking young man, and told them to come with her. She took them into the tent, and the girls sat down by the boy and the old man, and the man by her. Then they gave them fine clothing, and married them. Then the sister told her brother, "Go outside and look at the camp." The boy went out and looked at the people, and they all fell dead.3

A story from the Wahpeton Dakota shows some similarities. A man with a wife and two children went out to hunt, but was killed by accident. His wife found him, but deserted her children and married a man in a distant village. The eldest child, a girl, went looking for her, but when she found her mother, she denied knowing her, so the girl threw dirt on her causing her suddenly to became old. This made the people angry, so they tied the children to stakes and abandoned them to their fate. However, an old woman cut their straps and left them an abundance of food in her deserted tipi. As the children lived there, the girl was visited by a stranger at night, who turned out to be the Moon. Now the people who had left were starving, so Moon had an eagle drop food into their village. Spider (Iktomi) told them that it was the deserted children who had done this. The children found their way to the encampment, and when their mother came out to greet them, they gave her a dried liver to eat. She ate with such greed that it killed her. Moon resolved to kill the rest of the people, and that night they were all consumed by fire as they slept in their tipis. The Moon returned to the sky, since he was only on earth during that period when the Moon cannot be seen.4

Another Dakota story has many of the same themes. A young man's sister-in-law tries unsuccessfully to seduce him. Finally, out of a motive of revenge, she tells her husband that the young man has assaulted her, so her husband asks aid from Uŋktomi. Uŋktomi goes hunting with the young man, but maroons him on Unvisited Island. There the young man has many harrowing adventures, and marries two women who originally had tried to kill him. They rid an Uŋkteḣi back to the mainland. As the Uŋkteḣi tries to return, he is attacked by a Thunderbird. The two wives of the young man give birth to two boys. They discover that Uŋktomi has destroyed the whole village. Eventually, they capture him, and the young man smokes him to death over the fire. He removes Uŋktomi's heart, and powdered it. His sons scatter this powder about the old village site. Eventually, the powder turns into all the people who had been destroyed by Uŋktomi.5

The Kickapoo also have a similar story. One day the chief's son went out with his aunt, who did not like him. At that time he shot a red bird, but it turned out not to be dead. The aunt carried the bird, but it revived and scratched her in the groin. When they got back, she told the chief that his son had tried to rape her. So one day when the boy was out hunting, the chief moved his camp to the other side of the ocean. When the boy got back, he could hear his mother crying, "Where I once slept, I have left you a moccasin peg, a skin patch, and a sinew." He found these objects and attempted to follow their trail. At one point he climbed a tree where he heard a man say, "My pets, when you see One Left Behind, eat him." Two lions appeared and the man himself climbed the tree, but the boy kicked him down and called to the lions, "Here is One Left Behind, eat him," and they did. The boy killed both the lions. Then he came to where two old men were arguing. They said to one another, wait a moment, I think I smell One Left Behind. Let's eat him." Then One Left Behind appeared and said, "I'll sit between you, and you can both club me simultaneously." Then he sat there and said, "Now!" and suddenly jumped towards one of the men. The result was that the two men clubbed each other with fatal blows. He went on until he met Buzzard. He tried to hitch a ride across the ocean on his back, but he smelled so bad that they had to return. The buzzard told him to look up Garfish and get a ride on his back. When he met Garfish, the latter told him that he could ride on his back and was to hold on to his horn. "When you want me to go, hit me three times with the stick, but make a fourth stroke only lightly." So the boy mounted him, holding on to his horn. He struck him three times with the stick, but on the fourth time, he struck him hard. The garfish crossed the ocean and pulled up to a lagoon. There Garfish gave him powerful medicine. He soon ran across his own mother who was carrying a baby boy who had been given her to adopt. He told his mother, "Burn this boy." She did so, and the villagers charged after angrily. However, the boy suddenly made his appearance. The ceremonial attendant called out, "Lay out bearskins, our chief has returned." They did this and the boy walked upon them. Then the boy put the medicine on one of his feet and walked around the village. When he had completed a circle, a wall of flame suddenly shot up. The people cried for mercy, but he threw each of them into the fire. He showed mercy only to the ceremonial attendant. The ceremonial attendant was made to carry the boy's mother with a bowstring strung across his head. Finally, the string cut his head open. "Be gone!" said the boy, "and from now on they shall call you 'Crow'," he said. And that one flew away as a crow.6

To the episode in which the Giants have their external hearts destroyed, we have an Arapaho parallel. Here Dwarves replace the Giants, and it is sufficient to merely puncture their hearts to destroy them completely. The people had gone out on a buffalo hunt and had good success. Hacacihi (Dwarves) had come to beg for food. They were allowed to pick the meat that they wanted, so they chose the lungs. However, one of the people had gone to the Dwarves' camp and found their hearts hanging up, so he pierced each with an awl that he was carrying. This caused all the Dwarves to fall dead.7 In a variant, a man come to a Dwarf and tells him that he is submitting himself to the Dwarves as food, but sharpens a stick and punctures each of the hearts hanging up in the teepee. This kills all the Dwarves.8

It is said that the Jicarilla Apaches have a similar story,9 and the Wichita have two versions in which the hearts are suspended in caves.10

Bogoras gives a story plot common to both the American Eskimo and the Siberian Chukchees that has many similarities to the story of Ocean Duck. "A young boy is left alone in the wilderness, or starved and despised by his village neighbors. His bad luck is often shared by his old grandmother. With the gradual increase of his strength and nimbleness, or by means of magic help, or in some other way, he becomes a successful hunter and warrior, and ultimately, out of revenge, kills all the other inhabitants of the village, leaving only a few survivors."11

Links: Ducks, Thunderbirds, Nightspirits, Waterspirits, Kaǧi, Bird Spirits, Mice, Giants.

Stories: featuring ducks as characters: Trickster's Anus Guards the Ducks, Origin of the Name "Winnebago" (Menominee), The Foolish Hunter; mentioning Thunderbirds: The Thunderbird, Waruǧápara, How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds, Traveler and the Thunderbird War, The Boulders of Devil's Lake, Thunderbird and White Horse, Bluehorn's Nephews, How the Hills and Valleys were Formed (vv. 1, 2), The Man who was a Reincarnated Thunderbird, The Thunder Charm, The Lost Blanket, The Twins Disobey Their Father, The Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth, Story of the Thunder Names, The Hawk Clan Origin Myth, Eagle Clan Origin Myth, Pigeon Clan Origins, Bird Clan Origin Myth, Adventures of Redhorn's Sons, Brave Man, Turtle's Warparty, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, The Quail Hunter, Heną́ga and Star Girl, The Twins Join Redhorn's Warparty, Redhorn's Sons, The Dipper, The Stone that Became a Frog, The Race for the Chief's Daughter, Redhorn Contests the Giants, The Sons of Redhorn Find Their Father, The Warbundle of the Eight Generations, Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Origin of the Hočąk Chief, The Spirit of Gambling, Wolf Clan Origin Myth, Aračgéga's Blessings, Kunu's Warpath, The Orphan who was Blessed with a Horse, The Glory of the Morning, The Nightspirits Bless Čiwoit’éhiga, The Green Waterspirit of the Wisconsin Dells, A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Big Stone, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, Song to Earthmaker, The Origins of the Milky Way, about the interrelationship between Thunderbirds and Nightspirits: How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, The Big Stone, Sun and the Big Eater, The Nightspirits Bless Čiwoit’éhiga; mentioning Nightspirits: The Nightspirits Bless Jobenągiwįxka, The Nightspirits Bless Čiwoit’éhiga, The Origins of the Sore Eye Dance, The Rounded Wood Origin Myth, The Big Stone, How the Thunders Met the Nights, Fourth Universe, Battle of the Night Blessed Men and the Medicine Rite Men, The Race for the Chief's Daughter, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, The Origins of the Nightspirit Starting Songs, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, Sun and the Big Eater; 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 Hočągara Contest the Giants, 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, The Blessing of a Bear Clansman, Wears White Feather on His Head, cf. The Shaggy Man; mentioning mice: The War among the Animals, Trickster Takes Little Fox for a Ride, Fable of the Mouse, Waruǧápara, Hare Kills Wildcat, The Two Boys, The Lost Blanket; 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, Holy One and His Brother, 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, Įčorúšika 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, Waruǧápara, 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, 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; 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, Earthmaker Sends Rušewe to the Twins, The Quail Hunter, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Hočąk Arrival Myth, Trickster Gets Pregnant, Trickster and the Geese, Holy One and His Brother (kaǧi, woodpeckers, hawks), 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, Waruǧápara, 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), Hočąk Clans Origin Myth, Hawk Clan Origin Myth, The Hočąk 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, Įčorúšika 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 Fleetfooted Man, The Journey to Spiritland (v. 4) — see also Thunderbirds; mentioning kaǧi (crows & ravens): Kaǧiga and Lone Man, Bear Clan Origin Myth (vv. 2, 3), The Hočąk Arrival Myth, The Spider's Eyes, The Old Man and the Giants, Turtle's Warparty, The Shaggy Man, Trickster's Tail, The Healing Blessing, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, The Stench-Earth Medicine Origin Myth, A Snake Song Origin Myth; mentioning lice (and nits): Little Human Head, Trickster Gets Pregnant, The Spotted Grizzly Man, Journey to Spiritland (v. 8); in which defecation plays a role: Trickster Eats the Laxative Bulb, Trickster Soils the Princess, Mink Soils the Princess, Little Human Head; mentioning drums: The Descent of the Drum, The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, The Buffalo's Walk, The Spirit of Maple Bluff, Tobacco Origin Myth (v. 5), Young Man Gambles Often, Trickster and the Dancers, Redhorn's Father, Ghost Dance Origin Myth II, The Elk's Skull, Ghosts, The Four Slumbers Origin Myth, Great Walker's Medicine, Redhorn Contests the Giants, Buffalo Dance Origin Myth, Soft Shelled Turtle Gets Married, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Journey to Spiritland (v. 1b), Wolf Clan Origin Myth, Trickster's Anus Guards the Ducks, Trickster and the Geese, Turtle's Warparty, Snowshoe Strings, Įčorúšika and His Brothers, A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga, Hog's Adventures, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts; mentioning red yarn (as an offering to the spirits): The Elk's Skull, The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, Trickster Soils the Princess (Trickster's turban), The Spotted Grizzly Man, Soft Shelled Turtle Gets Married; mentioning poisons: Hare Visits the Blind Men, The Creation of Evil, The Island Weight Songs, The Seer, The Shaggy Man, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth (v. 3), Thunder Cloud Marries Again, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth (v. 1), The Diving Contest, A Wife for Knowledge, Great Walker's Medicine (antedote).

Themes: the chief's son lives behind a partition in the lodge and never goes outside except out of necessity: The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy; humans (or good spirits in human form) eating Giants: The Shaggy Man; anal shame: Mink Soils the Princess, Trickster Soils the Princess; crossing a body of water on the back of an animal: Hare Visits the Bodiless Heads (crabs), The Seduction of Redhorn's Sons (leeches), The Hočąk Migration Myth (turtle), Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp (beaver), Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts (horse), cf. The Shaggy Man; traveling by riding atop a water monster (or Waterspirit): Hare Gets Swallowed; head hunting: White Fisher, Big Thunder Teaches Čap’ósgaga the Warpath, A Man's Revenge, How Little Priest went out as a Soldier, Little Priest's Game, Bluehorn's Nephews, The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion, Young Man Gambles Often, Morning Star and His Friend (v. 2), The Dipper, The Four Slumbers Origin Myth, Porcupine and His Brothers, Turtle's Warparty, The Markings on the Moon, Wears White Feather on His Head, The Red Man, The Chief of the Heroka, Thunderbird and White Horse, The Man with Two Heads, Brave Man, The Sons of Redhorn Find Their Father, Redhorn's Sons, Fighting Retreat, The Children of the Sun, Heną́ga and Star Girl, Mijistéga’s Powwow Magic and How He Won the Trader's Store, The Were-Grizzly, Winneconnee Origin Myth; a person endows an inanimate object with the power of speech and orders it to speak for him/her while he/she escapes: Little Human Head (a doll), Hare Kills Wildcat (acorns), cf. Hare Visits His Grandfather Bear (piles of dung); striking an object to make it move faster in the water: Wojijé (a boat); one small morsel of food when put in a kettle becomes sufficient to feed everyone present: Redhorn's Father (bean), The Chief of the Heroka (deer tail), The Red Man (deer tail), The Raccoon Coat (kernel of corn), cf. The Lost Blanket (food > tobacco, kettle > tobacco pouch); rodents gnaw on parts of people's bodies: Trickster Loses Most of His Penis, Hare Kills Wildcat; an organ of the body is removed and left somewhere (for safekeeping): The Stone Heart (heart); The Raccoon Coat (heart), The Green Man (heart), Hare Kills Wildcat (an eye); a spirit being cannot be killed because his death lies outside his body: The Green Man, Partridge's Older Brother; a man kills an adversary by getting rid of the external object that serves as the seat of the adversary's soul: The Raccoon Coat, The Green Man; summoning the spirits to take an opponent as a sacrifice: Bluehorn's Nephews, The Shaggy Man; in the course of his travels, a man enters a lodge where he finds a grandmother who helps him: The Seduction of Redhorn's Son, Waruǧápara, Trickster Gets Pregnant, Trickster Soils the Princess, Wojijé; an old woman cooks a meal of rice which turns out in reality to be lice: Journey to Spiritland (v. 8); a woman causes a hero to fall down a great crevasse: Įčohorucika and His Brothers; the war between Thunderbirds and Waterspirits: Traveler and the Thunderbird War, How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Boulders of Devil's Lake, The Twins Join Redhorn's Warparty, Brave Man, The Lost Blanket, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga, The Thunderbird, Heną́ga and Star Girl, Waruǧápara, Bluehorn's Nephews, The Waterspirit of Sugar Loaf Mounds; when someone who had been missing for a long time returns to his village, he finds that they are in mourning over his presumed death: The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy; a hero kills iniquitous people by feeding them poison that bursts their stomachs: The Shaggy Man, The Dipper; a little boy is made chief: Young Man Gambles Often, The Reincarnated Grizzly Bear.

Genealogy: Thunderbirds.


1 Paul Radin, "Ocean Duck," Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) #13: 1-77 (Hočąk Syllabic Text); Paul Radin, "Ocean Duck," Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) Winnebago V, #14: 1-77 (English translation).

2 Paul Radin, The Winnebago Tribe (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990 [1923]) 114.

3 Watches All, "26. The Deserted Children," in Alfred L. Kroeber, Gros Ventre Myths and Tales. Anthropological Papers of American Museum of Natural History (New York: Trustees of the American Museum of Natural History, 1907) Volume 1, Part 3, p. 102-105.

4 Wilson D. Wallis, "Beliefs and Tales of the Canadian Dakota," Journal of American Folk-Lore, 36, #139 (Jan. - Mar., 1923): 36-101 [41-43].

5 Stephen Return Riggs, Dakota Grammar: with Texts and Ethnography, in Contributions to North American Ethnology, Vol. 9 (Washington, D.C.: Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey of the Rocky Mountain Region, 1893) 130-139 (interlinear Dakota-English text), 139-143 (English translation).

6 Kickapoo Tales, collected by William Jones, trs. by Truman Michelson. Publications of the American Ethnological Society (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1915) IX:75-89.

7 "How the Dwarfs were Killed," in George A. Dorsey and Alfred L. Kroeber, Traditions of the Arapaho (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1997 [1903]) 122.

8 Adopted, "How the Cannibal Dwarfs were Killed," in Dorsey and Kroeber, Traditions of the Arapaho, 122-123.

9 Russell, Journal of American Folk Lore, 11, p. 262.

10 Dorsey and Kroeber, Traditions of the Arapaho, 123, note.

11 Waldemar Bogoras, "The Folklore of Northeastern Asia, as Compared with That of Northwestern America," American Anthropologist, New Series, 4, #4 (Oct. - Dec., 1902): 577-683 [605].