Old Man and Wears White Feather
retold by Richard L. Dieterle
Hočąk Syllabic Text with an Interlinear English Translation
HERE was a longhouse there. An old man lived with his grandson. The grandson was fasting all the time. Finally, that old man said, "Grandson, about now you will be awakened by one of the little things," he said. (2) "They will continually try you. That is why I am trying to get you to dream." "Grandfather, in the Above world they counseled me. They called me 'Wears White Feather for a Headdress.' (3) On the earth they did the same, and called me 'Wears Sparrows for a Coat'," he said, and he shook the coat which he had, and the sparrows began to make a din. The whole coat was made of sparrows. (4) As they cried out, they made a din. And a loon, they say, is the sort of thing he wore on his head. And he wore a very white feather vertically on his head. The old man was thankful. "It is good, my grandson, (5) even if it is this alone, you will be strengthened," he said. "Grandson, beginning in the morning, they will test you," he said.
And right away the next morning, "Hąhó, Wears White Feather, I have come to invite you to gamble." (6) "Howo!" he said, and he went. As soon as he arrived there, immediately they said to him, "We will run races," they told him. "And we will go to the end of the earth, then return," they said to Wears White Feather. (7) "You will lie on this tree," they said to him. As they said it, they bent over a tree. There they let the tree spring. "There was standing by the seashore a great oak, there in a fork of the tree, looming large, (8) there you will fall," they said, and ran. After awhile, it was the fork of a tree that they mentioned, there he was caught. He could not extricate himself. He did much, but as he struggled, unexpectedly, a hawk (gąkek) flew around there. (9) So he called, "Grandfather, hurry soon. Make this tight place loose for me," he said, and he split it. As soon as he got out, he took off running. (10) He was already near. On the way, he caught up. He passed him on the way. "I will go on to smoke," he said. He got back there. He came to the pipe. There it was. At the goal he took a warclub and the pipe and had a smoke. (11) The other returned. "Wears White Feather, since I am going to die, let me smoke for the last time," he said. "Guwa, I wonder if that's what my brothers said," he said, (12) and he blew it out, and took the warclub and knocked him down. Thus he did, and went home. In the evening, unexpectedly, the cry of the loon could be heard in the distance. (13) The old man thought, "Hohó hagaišgera, could it be my grandson who is coming, since he also has something of that kind on his head." It came ever closer. Now then, he thought that maybe it was like him. Unexpectedly, he returned. (14) "Hohó grandson, it is good," he said. "Grandson, this one is dead, but as they continue on, the worse they will get. You must do mightily," he told him.
(15) Right away in the morning, he had already arrived. "Hakoté, I came to invite you to gamble. You stay at home and smell like a woman," he was told. He thought, "Why did he say that?" (16) But then at the very edge of the lodge he used to see a fire. He saw that at night the second fireplace had moved. Again he gambled. This time the other one sprang the tree, (17) but a gray squirrel ran down the tree in a curling motion. They started out running. Onward they went. He must have outrun them. By the time he got back there, he was already smoking. (18) "Wears White Feather, since I am going to die, let me smoke for the last time," he said. "I wonder if my brothers used to say this," he said, and he took his warclub and knocked him down. (19) Thus he did, and again he went home. Again in the distance they heard the cry of the loon. "Hohó, the first time this happened, my grandson came home. I hope he is coming," he thought. Ever nearer it came. Unexpectedly, he had come back. (20) "Hohó grandson, it is good even if this was all there was.
Again, sometime in the night, he woke up, and again the fire that had shone before, once more moved nearer. (21) In the morning, he had already come again. "Koté, you are fond of smelling a woman's thing, let's do some gambling right away," he said. As he had done before, so he did again. Thus it was. (22) Now, when they were to spring the tree, he would also transform himself into a squirrel. Thus, whenever he had returned, he had caused them to be rubbed out. Now only the youngest was left. Now, as he had seen here before, (23) he saw it shine at the end of the lodge. It was a woman. This is the one who had fought with his brothers, and who had beaten them, and all were caused to be killed. That's why he had to live alone in a longhouse. (24) He had also killed all the ones who did the killing, but it was the youngest of them who had actually done it to them. That is why the woman had come there. And now he was about to contest the last one, so he went over.
(25) And they were about to start the race. Wears White Feather was in the lead, but he made a grape vine twine around him. He couldn't unwind it until he came by. (26) "I am going by, but you are married to a woman, so you are fond of it, therefore, you are picking fruit. So I will go on, and I’ll smoke," he said, (27) and went on by. "Hohó," he said. Now then, it was not like anything, but he broke off a piece of grape vine and threw it. There he rolled over and over. In turn this one started back, (28) and he passed him. Then once again a bone was shot at him. It had pierced his ankles together. Again he rolled over and over there. Again he went by him there. (29) "Hąhó, I'm going by, and I'm going to smoke while you fix your moccasin strings," he said. "Hohó," he said. Again, finally, he pulled it and and threw it back in turn. (30) There he was sent tumbling. In turn, on his way he passed him. "I'm going by, and I'm going to smoke while you fix your moccasin strings," he said, (31) and he passed by him. "Hohó," he said. There he was beaten. Wears White Feather won it. He returned, and was smoking. "Hohó, Wears White Feather, since I am about to die, (32) let me have a smoke for the last time," he said. "Kará, I wonder if my brothers might have said that," he said, and blew out the pipe.
Thus he did, and he took up his warclub. Now he was about to kill him. (33) He was about to strike him with his warclub, when suddenly before him was an old woman pleading with her outstretched hands. So he did not kill her. The second time he did it, (34) a very beautiful woman cried out, and, "Jačą́že!" she said, and got up. The fourth time, therefore, he did not kill her. Then she said, "Now, if you do not kill me Wears White Feather, (35) I will tell you something." "All right," he said. "Over here there are two princesses who are fasting. They want to dream of you. (36) Let's go over there, as I am at your command," she said. "All right," he said. "Koté, they are mighty pretty women," she said. Thus it was. It was this very one who had done in his brothers. By proceeding this way, she was able to kill them. (37) She was, in any case, defeated, but after that this is why she was there. That woman knew that this would happen.
Then evening came. (38) There he fired one of his arrows. Then a forked-horn deer he killed. Wears White Feather did this. "Koté, I'll gather wood, you dress it," she said. So he skinned it. (39) And a heavy snow began to fall. "I’ll make a grass lodge, you cook the deer," she said again. There they built a grass lodge. When they had eaten, they sat opposite one another. They bedded down. (40) After awhile, a very pretty girl came in. She wanted to lie with him. He objected. She came in again. "The reason that I said that is that I'm cold," she said. It was indeed very cold. By saying this, she persuaded him. (41) The girl laid with him. All night long she teased him. He played with the girl. In the morning, he fell asleep. The other one got up, and as he slept, he broke his back. (42) Thus, he laid groaning. And again he did something and pulled his tongue out, and he also pulled his mouth to one side, and elongated his elbows. Whatever was bad, that is what he did. (43) Thus he did, and he took his cloak away. His headdress and pipe, and everything else he had, he took away from him. He could not speak, so all that he could say was, "Hą (yes)." (44) And his heels also were elongated.
In the morning, he lead forth, and they started out. Then they came to the women there. (45) Unexpectedly, Wears Sparrows for a Coat went on in. The women were siblings. They were respectively, Hinų (the first born) and Wiha (the second born). This one went to Hinų and sat down. (46) "Wiha, didn't I tell you that I dreamt of Wears Sparrows as a Coat?" Hinų said. Hinų was not much of anything. After awhile, Wiha went outside, and unexpectedly, here was an old man. (47) "How is it, Hinų, that someone seems to have come with your husband and sits outside?" she said. "That one naturally always sits outside. It is my dog," he said. (48) "He is not any such things, he's a human being and not a dog, and never has anything like this been told, (49) they do not say that Wears Sparrows as a Coat made or had a human being for a dog, instead they say that he has an old man for a grandfather, and an old man is to be pitied, (50) so he must come in the lodge," she said, and, "Come in," she said to him, but he would not do it. He pointed and shook his head. "Are you afraid of him?" she said, and, "Ho," he said, nodding his head. Then she said, "Come in." (51) Where she sat, there she brought and placed down hay, spreading it out, and there she sat him. Then she boiled something and gave it to him. Hinų was angry about it. (52) "He said that it was a dog, and ja, again now, you use a plate for him — you don't seem to despise anything," she said. Wiha said, "What is it to you? He has never been a dog." (53) When he was done eating, he smoked. He used a weed pipe with the leaves mashed up. Then Wiha did it. She took a pipe, filled it with a mix, and gave it to him. (54) Again she scolded her, "He is a dog, and if you keep it up, you will be laying with him. Furthermore, you have ruin older brother's pipe," she said. (55) Then Wiha said, "What are you going to do about it? How can you say this? I haven't done anything to you," she said to her.
|The Wildcat (Bobcat)|
And in the morning he went hunting. (56) In the evening he brought back a spotted wildcat on his back. Hinų immediately tended to it, and already had the kettle on the fire. Once she had cooked it, she placed a piece of it there on a plate, and and passed it to Wiha. (57) When she reached for it, she suddenly pulled it back. The one that you dislike, he himself killed it," she said. Wiha's heart hurt. She cried.
(58) In the morning, Hinų's husband went out hunting again. And the homely old man suddenly uttered the sound, "Ho!" He made a motion to indicate the chopping of wood. "Do you mean an ax?" she said, (59) and he replied, "Ho!" and nodded his head. She handed him an ax. Again he signed that he would pack on his back, and she said, "Do you mean a pack strap?" and he said, "Ho!" and nodded his head. (60) She handed him a packing strap. He took it and went out. There stood a burnt stump, and he struck it and split it with his ax. He began to knock on it. A bear fell to the ground. He carried it back. (61) When he got back, Wiha was very thankful. Right away she put on a kettle there. Once she was done cooking it, she placed a piece on the plate, and passed it to her sister. (62) "Waną́ my little sister," she said, but when she reached for it, she pulled it back. "Something you won't eat. A thing that you hate, he himself killed it," she said, and she took it back. (63) This hurt Hinų's heart very much. He continued to get many bears. He also helped her dress them, and they had caches here and there. (64) And a creek ran there, and as he was there, he dipped moss into it, and there were many beavers. Again they dressed these. When Hinų's husband got back, she said to him, (65) "What have you been doing? You stood here having come back packing nothing but spotted wildcats. The one that you call a 'dog' is out getting many things," she said. (66) He said, "What's the problem? This kind is not to be killed as they themselves are scarce animals. If one is a son-in-law (watohóči), they should not kill anything of this kind for four days, they say, so that is why I have done this; but anyway, I might go out in the morning," he said.
(67) In the morning, there on the way he concealed himself. Unexpectedly, there he was going. Lanky One came, and struck a stump there, and a bear fell to the ground. (68) When he went out of sight, he stole it. He carried it on his back, and came home. He went and unloaded it outside. He went inside. "Hąhó, you’ve been talking about bears, (69) there you can get your fill. I packed one home. Killing these is not difficult," he said, so Hinų ran outside, but she didn’t see a piece of anything. There lay a packed up burnt stump. (70) He went out and, unexpectedly, there lay a packed up burnt stump. He just picked up the packing straps and went on again. Unexpectedly, there he was doing it along a creek bank as he went along. (71) Unexpectedly, there were many beavers along the creek bank. There again he stole two of them. Again he packed them on his back and went home. Again Hinų ran outside, but unexpectedly, he had just picked up moss. (72) Again the man went outside, and unexpectedly saw it. Then once more he took his strap, and went on. Finally, the old man went home. (73) He had tied together the beavers and dragged them, and, "Ho, ho, ho!" he said, pointing at them as he spoke. Wiha said, "Did he steal them from you?" and he nodded his head. He took a burnt stump, then laid it aside, (74) and it was a bear. Again he put the moss aside, and they were beavers. There were many caches.
Then she said, "It is in the morning that our mother might come. You are not to go anywhere," Hinų said to her own husband. (75) In the morning, the old man hid. He went out in the wilderness, and when their mother came, immediately she said inappropriately, (76) "Mother, I married Wears Sparrows for a Coat," she said. "Mother, I think that Wiha, well, she may also have married one of his dogs," and Hinų said many other things. She gave her some of her husband's wildcat, (77) but she did not eat it. Wiha gave her something, and she would only eat that. "But mother, it's a very bad thing," she said, but, (78) "My dear daughter, she does as she thinks, so why do you say that?" she said to her. "In the morning, they will come after you from the village of which you have dreamt," she said to them. She packed up a bundle and went home. (79) When she got home, she told them what they had done. "Our brother-in-law must be funny," they said. Instead, they became concerned for him. The old man said, "Never was it told that Wears White Feather, (80) Wears Sparrows for a Coat, was such a thing as a dog, and they say that an old man was said to be his grandfather, they always told this." (81) In the morning, when they were about to come, again he went away somewhere. He hid himself. They did a very great deal of hunting for him, but thus they could not find him. So the young woman did not go home. She went around crying.
(82) There she was, the woman who had come to him before. She told him to come out. He came out. Unexpectedly, there she was. She scolded him. "Thus matters stood, so I thought I would let you go. (83) Because a woman is very pitiable, I have come to do this. I told you of this, yet you did wrong. Thus I thought to do, that I would let you go. Here there is a spring. You must dive into it four times. (84) Then put these clothes on," she said to him, and gave him clothing. Where the girl was, there he returned. She was crying. When she saw him she stopped crying. (85) "Long ago they all went home. I alone have been looking for you," she said. At the place where they went at the spring, he made a motion to go on from there. "Do you mean that I should go on from there?" she said, (86) and "Ho," he said and nodded his head. She went on from there. He dove in there four times, and he cast it off. There he was. "Hohó, so that's the way I looked," he said, and his heart ached. (87) Then he put his clothes on. There he stood. As handsome a man as he had once been, now he was all the more so.
After he started on, he met the young woman there. He stopped, (88) but she passed right by. She didn't even look at him there. Again, "Where are you going off to? Let's go back now," he said. "Hąhą, I and certainly not keeping company with you," she said. "It's me," he said, (89) but she just turned around and went on. They went to the spring there. "There it is, what you came back for," he said to her. Unexpectedly, his outer form lay there. Only then did she really believe what he was saying. (90) The young woman was very happy. "Take it," he said to her, so she took it. She rolled it up and carried it. They went home. They arrived there. Unexpectedly, she came home with a man, (91) and he was a really handsome man. He was there. This he did. When he first got there, he told them that they should make a club. "I am going to smoke tobacco," he said. So they made clubs, (92) and there they waited, and as he smoked, a myriad of insects appeared. Therefore, he stopped. Then they got home. As this man sat, the thing that was his outer form was thrown at him. (93) The way he had been before, this was the way he was now. They threw him outside. As they went, they kept shouting at him. When he reached the outskirts of the village, there he flew away. He hooted like an owl, "o-o-o," and flew away. (94) "You homely thing that hoots, you will live all your days in want, as you abused the humans. Whenever a baby cries, they will use you as a scarecrow. (95) You shall be the least of them," he said firmly.
His coat had become very dirty. He shook it off, and put it over his shoulders, (96) and the little birds cried out noisily. Again he shook out his headdress and put it on his head, and the loons with their beautiful voices began to cry out. (97) Then he said, "I am going to smoke tobacco, so make ready some clubs," he said so they made some clubs. Then he filled his pipe. He lit it, and as he blew the smoke out, a multitude of turkeys appeared. (98) Thus there were many throughout the villages streets. They did a lot of turkey killing. Then he said, "Put the outer covering of feathers into sacks, but make sure that you don't overfill them," he said. (99) Even then, however, Kunu overfilled his own sacks. In the morning, when they opened them, unexpectedly, their sacks were full of wampum. (100) When Kunu opened his sacks, all his wampum was shattered. "Hohó," he said. He was very embarrassed. (101) He gathered up an enormous herd of buffalo and drove them, and near the lodge he corralled them and killed them. Then again the people had a great time. Thus he would do, (102) whenever they wanted meat.
Hinų fell in love with him. She tried to marry him, but because he did not do it, her heart was flattened. She pestered him, but he would not do it. (103) Then one day she thought she would go home. Then, once the women got home, she said, "I have been defeated, so I will not stay here any longer," she said. "I am going to ask something of you," she said. (104) "The first child that you have, you must give to me," she told them. Then she went home. She was a Waterspirit woman. And in time they had one, (105) and it was a male. And they took care of him until he could walk swiftly, then he went to the water, and there in the water he was taken under. And thus it was. They knew who had done it, (106) but the man was lonesome, so as he went to the edge of the water, unexpectedly, there he saw him. There he talked to him. "Father, you must give up," he said. (107) "In the course of time, when your life has ended, you may return," he told him. And finally they went to the Waterspirits.
All of it has been told, all.1
Commentary. "old man" — the grandfather of this story, judging from the other myth about Wears White Feather, is probably Flint, who is likely the Hyades cluster.
"Wears White Feather for a Headdress" — the Hočąk is Mąšųsgakerega, from mąšų, "feather(s)"; sga, "white"; and hakere, "to wear on the head vertically." The suffix -ga indicates a personal name. In his other known waiką, he is said to be chief of the white cranes, by which is meant egrets. Among the Ioway (borrowing from the Osage) he is Wagre Kagre (< Osage, *Wagthe Çkagthe), "White Plume," and among the Dakota, Tawaćehiska, "White Plume." See Comparative Material below. He plays a role in an astronomical code, but his identity has never been explicitly stated. His mythology matches neither Bluehorn (Evening Star) nor Morning Star. The most likely candidate is Sirius, which is near Orion. This conjecture can now be confirmed from the star map of Picture Cave.
"Wears Sparrows for a Coat" — the Hočąk is Hišjaširiričge-honązįga, from hišjaširiričge, "sparrow"; honązį, "to wear over the shoulder"; and -ga, a definite article used for personal names. Superficially, there would seem to be no connection between egrets and sparrows. However, small birds will tend to mob any very large bird, and this should include egrets. The sparrows would then form a "coat" around him.
"loon" — loons are noted for their clarion voices. Here we have a well established practice of using sound to symbolize light and vice-versa. That he has a beautiful and loud voice means that as a star he has a beautiful and bright light. He is white, as indicated by the color of his plume.
"you will be strengthened" — the loud sound, which symbolizes bright light, is the very definition of the strength (magnitude) of a star.
"I have come" — normally the opponents against whom the good spirits struggle are the Giants, but here the opponents are never identified. These opponents, in celestial terms, may be clouds.
"lie on this tree" — the tree is the Milky Way, as it almost always is in Hočąk astronomical codes. On the hypothesis that Wears White Feather is Sirius, this star rests on the edge of the Milky Way, and therefore, when the Milky Way is inclined, it "lies" on it.
"they bent over a tree" — the Milky Way forms a great arch in the southern sky, and since it is in mythological symbolism a tree, it therefore can be seen as a tree that has been bent over all the way to the ground. It is on this bent tree that Sirius lies.
"the seashore" — this is the Ocean Sea, envisioned as surrounding the land mass of the earth exactly as it was also conceived in the ancient West. Here it is simply called te, "lake," but more usually is called Te Ją, "the Surrounding Lake." In the use of the word te, no distinction is made between a lake and a sea. We know that this is not the shore of some unidentified lake because we were told that it was "at the end of the earth" (možejaija).
"he was caught" — when Sirius "lands" on the other side of the world (the west), the Milky Way lies flat on the horizon, the position it has when Sirius sets. So night after night it sets in this oak limb that extends horizontally across the horizon in the south.
"hawk" — in world mythology, the hawk is the bird of the sun (vide, for instance, Apollo and Horus). How does the hawk-sun get Sirius to the earth? At a certain point on the calendar, the oak branch (the horizontal Milky Way) is seen, but Sirius is not. This is because the star has set with the sun. In mythological terms, the hawk has come to Sirius, and from that moment on, Sirius is no longer in the branch, but on the ground. Sirius is absent from the sky (on the earth) from May 22 - July 31 (1751).
"a warclub and the pipe" — this is certainly Orion, which is near Sirius and is shaped like a warclub and a pipe. Later on it is homologized to an ax.
"smoke" — smoke is isomorphic to clouds, but in this case it is the Milky Way that is homologized to smoke. Sirius sits at its edge, and the galaxy's myriad of stars trail from it like a plume of tobacco smoke. The other planets pass through and away from Sirius, who thus, relatively speaking, "passes" them. They fall into conjunction with the sun, and do not get to linger at the Milky Way.
"I wonder if that's what my brothers said" — since he is a star himself, his brothers may be presumed to be stars. This implies an element missing in this story, but familiar from other myths: a set of brothers going out one at a time to meet a challenger, but never returning. They may now be in the underworld, since the consequence of defeat in this contest is death, and for a star death means to set with the sun and not to appear back in the above-world.
"warclub" — in the Dakota versions (see below), which are very similar to the Hočąk, one of the names given to the protagonist with a white plume is Ćáḣpi, which means "warclub." In recent times when steel was introduced, bright metal spikes were usually affixed to warclubs (called hikixwajkra). The glint of light from the edge of this warclub blade may be homologized to the twinkle of bright stars. The warclub is actually Orion (for which, see below).
"in the evening, unexpectedly, the cry of the loon could be heard" — that is, once the sun sets and the star once again begins to rise above the horizon, it can be seen. Crossing the finish line is crossing above the horizon.
"you stay at home and smell like a woman" — in numerous waiką, an especially holy (wákąčąk) person always stays at home. Such people are found invariably to be incarnate spirits. Spirits are said to have a distinctive odor.
"the second fireplace had moved" — in Hočąk mythology, the fireplace in the astronomical code is reserved for the sun. The second fireplace, which would represent the second brightest object (apart from the moon, which is not associated with fire), and which would be near the first fireplace in the same lodge, ought to be Morning Star. This is reinforced by the fact that it had moved. The motion of the Morning Star is not only relative to the horizon, but because it is a planet, its motion is also relative to the fixed stars and the sun itself.
"a gray squirrel ran down the tree" — continuing with the hypothesis that Wears White Feather is Sirius, as can be seen, Sirius gets higher and higher in the Milky Way "tree," but as the night progresses, it starts to descend. The Milky Way is, of course, moving with Sirius, but if we treat it as a stationary tree, the relative motion of Sirius is up and down in a curved path.
|2332||119° 29'||6° 21'||⬆|
|0032||131° 0'||15° 8'|
|0132||144° 6'||22° 26'|
|0232||158° 59'||27° 36'|
|0332||175° 17'||30° 1'||-|
|0432||191° 57'||29° 20'||⬇|
|0532||207° 43'||25° 39'|
|0632||221° 50'||19° 28'|
This is the situation at Four Lakes on November 1, 1750, when 0632 was the time of sunrise. The path of Sirius is curved, although not properly corkscrew like that of a squirrel.
"a woman's thing" — the Hočąk is wažą hinųk, without definite or indefinite articles and no indication of plurals. The "woman's thing" is undoubtedly her private parts.
|The Course of Morning Star through the Milky Way|
|Four Lakes, June 22 - Aug. 31, 1750|
|Starry Night Software, www.starrynight.com|
"a squirrel" — when the Milky Way is homologized to a tree, the descent of Morning Star down the galaxy is like a squirrel descending a tree.
"he saw it shine at the end of the lodge" — the lodge is the Milky Way, and the light is that of Morning Star, whose beauty lends itself naturally enough to comparisons with a pretty woman. Morning Star enters the lodge at the opposite end from where Sirius is situated, and gradually moves down the "lodge."
"he had to live alone in a longhouse" — Sirius is just at the edge of the Milky Way, and for that segment, there are no significant stars that are actually inside the Milky Way, so Sirius is living there alone.
"he made a grape vine twine around him" — a vine is a sun-loving plant that is parasitic, twisting itself around its victim and crippling it. This is just another botanical homologue to the Milky Way which is at the foot of Sirius. However, since Morning Star is also going through the Milky Way, he too is subject to the same foul.
"bone" — this is just another view of the Milky Way, which is elongated and white. Wears White Feather cannot throw the bone back at his opponent the way he did with the vine stick, since Morning Star eventually leaves the Milky Way.
"he passed him" — during the period that Morning Star descends through the Milky Way, Sirius is rising higher and higher in the sky. Eventually, on this course, Morning Star will reach the sun and the horizon in conjunction and disappear from the sky altogether.
"his warclub" — this is Orion, which is also homologized to an ax. See the remarks and illustrations below (1, 2). As Morning Star passes beyond the Milky Way, it comes level with the sector running from Sirius up to Orion.
"when suddenly before him" — Morning Star is a shape changer, since its apparent magnitude changes from time to time as we now know from the phases of Venus and its distance from the Earth. Morning Star can also change colors near the horizon.
"cried out" — here again we have sound for light, reflecting the brilliance of Morning Star.
"the fourth time" — the narrator has lost track of how many times this episode has been repeated. This shows that the narrator did not quite understand all the details of the myth. The other two opponents were Mars and Saturn, who follow the same course (the ecliptic) as Morning Star through the Milky Way. There are no other stars that do this except Jupiter, which plays the role of the mystery woman. That there are only three violates the usual standard number for repetition, four, leaving the narrator following a habit that led to a counterfactual result.
"There he fired one of his arrows. Then a forked-horn deer he killed" — as the stars rise, Sirius is just behind Orion, which contains a star that is said to be the Chief of the Heroka. These are diminutive hunters, spirits of the arrow. Redhorn himself could turn into an arrow at will. Redhorn is identified elsewhere with the star Alnilam in Orion. In front of Orion is the constellation that the Hočągara call Čašįč, the "Deer Rump," and which we know as the Pleiades. Just before the Pleiades are the "V" shaped Hyades, the two clusters combining to form forked horned deer. So, as in other foreign myths, Sirius shoots an Orion arrow at a deer in the Hyades-Pleiades clusters. These events take place in the evening, so the Pleiades and Hyades are the first to set, followed by Orion and finally by Sirius.
"a grass lodge" — during the winter, when it snows, Sirius rises low on the horizon at or after sunset, almost at the same place on the horizon that Morning Star rises before the sun, so they occupy the same lodge. Sirius is "in the grass" so to speak, since it is so low on the horizon.
"they sat opposite one another" — on the hypothesis that White Feather's (Sirius') opponent is Morning Star, Sirius and Morning Star occupy the same lodge, but at opposite times of the night, with space in this instance representing time.
"a very pretty girl came in. She wanted to lie with him" — since the role of the full moon is taken by Wiha, the obvious candidate for this woman is Jupiter (magnitude -2.52), which is to be found on the western horizon at this time along with Sirius, Orion, and the Pleiades. They are of course reclined since they are on the horizon at this time.
"the girl laid with him" — they come into proximity, but never conjunction, since Sirius lies well off the ecliptic. However, Jupiter occupies about the same position as the full moon which is identified with Wiha, the true bride of Sirius.
"teased" — this is ružič,, "teasing by actions," as opposed to ražič, "teasing by words."
"he fell asleep" — sleep and death are often homologized. Here the closing of his eye, which is his light going out, is his sinking below the horizon. As we have seen, at this time of the year, that would occur exactly after sunrise, which is to say, as the myth does, "in the morning."
"the other one got up" — here it seems more reasonable to identify the opponent of White Feather (Sirius) with Morning Star, inasmuch as when Sirius sets in the winter in the west, Morning Star will rise. So as Sirius "falls asleep" the Morning Star "gets up."
"he broke his back" — the broken back is a symbol of the buffalo, whose large hump gives him the appearance of one whose back is broken. Buffaloes are identified with stars in some contexts, because they travel in vast herds across the plain of the night sky, but also go to ground. Their chief is Bluehorn (Evening Star). See Bluehorn's Nephews.
"what he did" — these characteristics are consistent with his having been transformed into a dog. His mouth is pulled back, his tongue drawn out, his elbows elongated, and his back broken so that he is in effect like a quadruped.
"everything else he had" — as Sirius sinks below the horizon, he does indeed lose everything. All his attributes now belong to Morning Star, and Sirius is not seen in the sky at all. When he does appear, he trails behind Morning Star like a trailing dog. Morning Star is more brilliant and "taller" in the sky. Before the advent of Morning Star, it was Sirius who was the most brilliant of stars.
"he could not speak" — here again we have sound for light. Sirius (mag. -1.47) is dim when compared to Morning Star (mag. -3.92).
"hą (yes)" — in a foreign parallel (see below), he is made completely mute. That this is what was once said of him in an earlier version of this story is made clear by the fact that more than once he is said to nod without making any sound. Despite the fact that the narrator says that his only word was hą, ever after in numerous instances, what he actually says is Ho!, an exclamation of the same meaning. This is something of a scherzo, as the word ho in Hočąk also means "voice."
"he lead forth, and they started out" — now Morning Star leads and Sirius follows as the dog star.
"Wears Sparrows for a Coat" — this is, of course, the impostor. Morning Star, being about 2 ⅟₂ times the magnitude of Sirius, can easily pass himself off as that star. He now occupies the place of Sirius who has not yet entered the "lodge" (night sky).
"siblings" — oddly enough the word kikínųp is used here to refer to sister, and is so translated in the interlinear, but everywhere else this word means "brothers." Perhaps this may count as evidence that it actually means "siblings." The two sisters are likely a first born moon and a second born moon. The older moon, Hinų, is the lesser, and is a crescent about to set with the sun. It is at this time that it is close to Morning Star. In the winter, when Sirius starts to rise after sunset, the moon in that region is full. The full moon is younger that the fourth quarter crescent, so it is to be identified with the younger sister, Wiha. The full moon is near Sirius, but nowhere around Morning Star.
|Hinų as Crescent Moon in Proximity to the Morning Star||Wiha as Full Moon in Proximity to Sirius|
|Four Lakes, Sunrise, Aug. 28, 1750||Four Lakes, Sunset, Feb. 17, 1750|
|Starry Night Software, www.starrynight.com|
"Hinų was not much of anything" — this translates, Hinųga hįké wažį́ rokana hinįže, which is a Hočąk idiom rendered in the interlinear as, "Hinų was very happy." However, taken literally, it applies nicely to the crescent moon, with which Hinų is identified.
"outside" — here again outside = beneath the horizon, that is, periphery = underworld. Sirius does not rise from late May to early August, and so is "outside the lodge."
"she brought and placed down hay, spreading it out" — this seems to describe the initial phase of the rising of Sirius — it is still in the grass of the horizon, but it is at least inside the lodge, albeit at the edge of the lodge.
"a mix" — rather than the leaves that he was smoking before, she mixed in tobacco. Such mixtures, which may even include smokable bark, are called "kinnikinick." The smoke represents the clouds of the horizon, and the leaves are the trees out of which Sirius emerges. As he rises higher, and time passes, he is to be found in the clouds of the sky well above the tree leaves.
"wildcat" — wildcats (bobcats) are associated with menstruation and the moon. That sort of symbolism, however, is obscure in this context. Nevertheless, we learn from the related Omaha (splitting off from the ancestors of the Hočągara, ca. 1000 AD), that one of their clans, the Ṭapá (Deer's Head = Pleiades), used to conduct certain rites now lost, but which seem to have pertained to stars, the night sky, and creation. "In them the wildcat skin and the fawn skin were used, their spotted appearance having a symbolic reference to the heavens at night."2 The Pawnee also assign the wildcat the same valence. "It is conceived that there are four great powers in the heavens: the Bear, Mountain Lion, Wild Cat, and Wolf. The first two are represented by constellations, but the cat skin, because of its spots, was, in its extended form, taken as representing all the stars. The wolf is a definite star (Sirius)."3
"an ax" — the ax asterism appears in another story, Įčorúšika and His Brothers. This is the nearby Orion constellation, which Sirius could be thought of as wielding.
|Orion as an Ax, Warclub, or Pipe<||Orion as a Packing Strap|
"a packing strap" — this concept of Orion is also found in the same myth as the ax image, where more particularly, it is said to be a packing strap hanging on a wall.
"bear" — the astral bear appears in a number of stories (1, 2, 3). It may coincide with the Lakota Bear Lodge constellation. It is found right opposite the "ax" Orion. The Milky Way of this region is the burnt stump. The events of this episode take place during the winter. The moons of December and January are called respectively, First Bear Moon (Hųjwičonįną) and Last Bear Moon (Hųjwioragnįna). This is the time of the Bear Feast when bears are most easily hunted by flushing them out of their hibernation dens.
|The Bear Lodge Constellation|
|Four Lakes, 0330 Hours, Sept. 3, 1753|
|Starry Night Software, www.starrynight.com|
"creek" — this is another image of the Milky Way.
"he dipped moss into it, and there were many beavers" — this probably refers to the larger stars that are found within the Milky Way. This same procedure is done by Turtle in the Orion myth, "Redhorn's Father." The beaver may also correspond to the otters in "The Dipper."
"Lanky One" — Sereserečka, since it ends in the definite article -ka, usually reserved for personal names, could be his name, translated loosely as "Long Shanks." It is an emphatic reduplication of sereč, "long." Such a name probably refers to White Feather' other identity as a white crane or egret.
"struck a stump there, and a bear fell to the ground" — the illustrations below show Sirius at the base of the Milky Way at sunrise where he kicks the stump. After the passage of a few days, the bear comes to the ground. Wiha as a full moon stands by.
|Sirius at the Base of the Milky Way||Descent of the Bear Lodge||Morning Star and the Crescent Moon|
|Four Lakes, Sunrise, Nov. 20, 1753||Four Lakes, Sunrise, Dec. 12, 1753||Four Lakes, Sunrise, Dec. 21, 1753|
|Starry Night Software, www.starrynight.com|
"there lay a packed up burnt stump" — when the Morning Star gets together with Hinų, the crescent moon, there is no Bear Lodge asterism such as Wiha received (in the west), but only a stump of the Milky Way burnt by the sun as it is about to rise within it (as seen in the illustration above, panel 3).
"he had just picked up moss" — this strange degenerative magic is characteristic of the Hočąk devil, Herešgúnina, who is esoterically identified with Morning Star under Christian influence, where Morning Star is Lucifer (Satan). When Herešgúnina saw what Earthmaker had done, he attempted to imitate him. He tried to make a black bear, but it came out as a grizzly; he tried to make snakes, but they were all venomous. Herešgúnina fared no better in botany: he made all the worthless trees, the thistles, and the weeds.4 The moss probably represents the fuzzy character of the Milky Way, as the micro-stars of the Milky Way are to stars elsewhere as the individual stalks of moss are to other plants.
"our mother" — since Hinų and Wiha are moons, their mother must be the entity out of which they originated. The new moon comes out of conjunction with the sun, which seems to take place in the earth. The sun is male, but the earth is female, so the mother of the two moons ought to be the earth.
"she did not eat it" — where Morning Star and Hinų stand is in the east. There stars only come out of the earth, not into it. So if the wildcat represents the night sky, then she cannot eat it, since the elements of that sky leave her in the presence of Hinų and Morning Star. When Hare covertly sprinkled the blood of the wildcat onto grandmother Earth, this marked the first menstruation. Grandmother had to leave for the menstrual hut without eating the wildcat. See, "Hare Kills Wildcat."
"she would only eat that" — where Wiha and White Feather are, the place of the full moon and Sirius, in the west, the stars set into the earth. Therefore, what Wiha and Sirius give Earth she "eats."
"he came out" — in early winter, Sirius rises after sunset, so he comes "out of hiding" from the tree line. The woman is Jupiter. She comes to this position in the sky every 12 years. In late January, Sirius rises as the sun sets, so its light is washed out by the sun, but a month later it is high enough in the sky at sunset that it can be easily seen even in the twilight.
|The Jupiter-Woman Coming into Proximity
to White Feather as Sirius
| Wiha as Full Moon in Proximity
to White Feather as Sirius and the Jupiter-Woman
|Four Lakes, Sunset, Feb. 11, 1753||Four Lakes, Sunset, Feb. 14, 1753|
|Starry Night Software, www.starrynight.com|
"here there is a spring" — this is the Milky Way. For the Milky Way as a body of water, see "The Origin of the Milky Way," and the links and sources there.
"she was crying" — this is the standard way of expressing the brightness of an object, substituting sound for light. The moon at this time of the year in the vicinity of Sirius is full, and therefore at its "loudest."
"she went on from there" — the moon gradually moves on from its place near the Milky Way where Sirius is situated.
"four times" — these are the four quarters of the moon.
"he was all the more so" — when the sun sets, Sirius is now high in the sky, since it rises before sunset, so that its light is not washed out by the sun.
"she rolled it up and carried it" — the moon will eventually travel to where Morning Star is found. The old man form is the form that Sirius had when its light was washed out by the sun. The ultimate destination of the moon, and for Morning Star as well, is conjunction with the sun. When this happens, the light of Morning Star will itself be washed out by the sun, and he will then have the old man form that once afflicted Sirius.
"he was there" — Radin remarks on page 90, verso, "he was there means the first man that was there or the false one."
|A Flat-Headed Warclub||A Tomahawk Pipe|
"club" — here pipes are being called "clubs." This no doubt has some connection to why in the Dakota version of this story, which is quite close to the Hočąk, the hero is called Ćáḣpi, "Warclub." The reason for this is obvious enough: as we have seen in the ax analogy above, the succeeding star group, Orion, is shaped like an ax, which is a common warclub shape as well. That there were pipes that doubled as tomahawks is suggested by the existence of the word mąztanihura, which literally means "iron pipe," but which Kinzie translates as "pipe tomahawk."5 The tomahawk pipe is well known and widespread among the tribes, as Fairholt observes:
With a brief notice of the War Pipe and the Peace Pipe we will conclude this section of our labour. The first, a true tomahawk, is smoked through the reed handle, the tobacco being placed in the small receptacle above the hatchet; the smoke is drawn through the handle, which is perforated in its entire length, making it the pipe-stem.6
So the imposter calls for the creation of a war pipe, which he smoked, presumably in anticipation of imminent combat with the man whom he wronged. The results of this smoke were not exactly auspicious. In astronomy codes, smoke usually corresponds to clouds. Morning Star, who is associated with the Thunders, and who is called, "Girded in Clouds," might well wish to use them in an act of war to occlude the rising Sirius, but this is to contest fate itself. However, hydrous clouds are not the only kind visible in the sky — there are also stellar clouds, the most conspicuous of which is the Milky Way. As Morning Star approaches Sirius, it descends into the Milky Way cloud, which can be homologized to the smoke that arises from the pipe.
"a myriad of insects" — this matches the theme of the Herešgúnina-like degenerative magic of creation that we have seen before. The Hočąk word that refers to insects is wakiri-ra, which literally means, "creeping things." (For more on wakiri, see the Commentary to "The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter"). This is quite nearly the opposite of the turkeys that White Feather will create when he smokes. Yet the smoke of countless small insects is a symbolic description of the Milky Way, which looks like smoke, but upon inspection is seen to be a myriad of tiny stars, so small that they are like the flying insects of celestial objects.
"the thing that was his outer form was thrown at him" — this gave him the appearance of age. Just before Morning Star disappears, he reaches conjunction with the sun. This would ordinarily be expressed as his death. Therefore, as Morning Star approaches conjunction, he becomes as old as he will get. Therefore, at this time, the form of an old man is appropriate to him.
"threw him outside" — this symbolizes the disappearance of the Morning Star from the sky after a period of 265 days. His disappearance from the lodge coincides with his assumption of the form of an old man.
"outskirts" — the village is the night sky, so its outskirts would be the horizon. When Morning Star reaches the horizon, he is coming into conjunction with the sun, and disappears from the sky ("flies away").
"an owl" — the owl often stands for celestial objects of the night, stars in particular, since it is a night flier. Esoterically, Morning Star is frequently portrayed as a bad spirit, and also seems to be an owl. Elsewhere it is said that Wears White Feather is chief of the white cranes (which probably includes egrets), and another myth lays out the origins of the animosity between the cranes and owls, who seem in lore to be natural enemies.
"dirty" — this is because Morning Star, when he turned into an owl and flew away, had reached conjunction, which is his apparent arrival at the horizon, which is to say, the ground. Thus the coat was left on the ground.
"the little birds cried out noisily" — the symbolism of sound alerts us to the identity of the birds as a source of celestial light. It is not too difficult to decipher what these birds represent. Since they are little, they must be small stars; but since they collectively make a loud noise, these stars together must be reasonably bright. They form a cape that Sirius wears. The "back" of Sirius actually touches the Milky Way, which is a readily visible collection of very small stars. Therefore, the cape of sparrows is the Milky Way.
"their sacks were full of wampum" — turkeys and crustaceans have interesting things in common. The wampum (Hočąk, worušik) consists of small crustacean shells, ideally white in color. These are the exoskeleton of an aquatic animal that dwells on the floor of the sea. The feathers of a turkey are the external covering of a bird that dwells on the forest floor. So the crustacean is an aquatic counterpart to the turkey, and specifically, therefore, the feathers of the turkey are the counterpart to the shells of the crustacean. These turkeys are created in an unusual way. They are produced when a star, Sirius, smokes tobacco in a pipe, then blows out the smoke, which then precipitates turkeys. The word for smoke is xi. It also means "fog, mist." So the smoke of the heat with which Sirius is so strongly associated, is also correlated with the watery mist and fog of clouds. The smoke is drawn through the tube of the pipe, and one word for tube is čop. Then Sirius expels it from his mouth. The word for breath is ni, the same word that denotes water. So the smoke coming out is also ni, breath and water, a reflection of the xi that is both smoke and mist. The strange unity of a water cloud and a fire cloud, the kind of cloud common during the dog days, then precipitates turkeys. The windpipe from which the xi is exhaled is a pa-čop, a head-tube. The turkey feathers are then overloaded (xi) in a bag (pą). This causes the wampum that is produced to be crushed, the word for which is pačop. The product of this process is crushed wampum, which in many ways parallels snow, a feather-like entity that mediates between the wet and the dry, and precipitates from clouds.
However, turkey feathers have a special meaning. Since they are used as the vanes on arrows, they are responsible for allowing arrows to fly. The word for arrow in Hočąk is mą. However, mą is a homonym, and also means "year, time." So the arrow becomes the symbol of time, and the turkey feather is the means by which it can "fly." Given the stellar code predominant in this waiką, it should be clear that White Feather's wampum, in its shattered form, represents stars. Stars function as keepers of time, and especially in this waiką of the time of seasons and annual cycles. We see that when Sirius is on the western horizon in alignment with Orion and the Pleiades, the snow falls and the season of cold prevails. So Sirius, White Feather, functions to indicate the beginning of winter; just as on the opposite horizon at the opposite time of the year, this same configuration serves to mark off the hottest time of the year, the dog days. Here is where we encounter another fortuitous homonym: in a rare meaning of the word, mą can also mean "shells." The stellar shell flecks are time incarnate, shell-time, mą. His shattered shells are therefore the counterparts of turkey feathers which give wing to mą, "arrows, years (time)," becoming themselves the means of flight for the Arrow (Mą) of Time (Mą).
The other shells into which the feathers transmute, given the village in which Sirius lives (the night sky), ought to be stars. The feathers themselves are hį-są, "down feathers" (Marino), from hį, "fur, hair, feathers" (Marino), and są, "white, pale, the look of white things at night" (Miner). So it is the small white feathers that are put in the sack and transmute into small white shells. The sack (pą) recalls the bladder (watexu) whose personification, Bladder, was the vault of the sky. At just one place the word pe is used for "sack." This word is a homonym which also means "head"; and the word pą forms an assonance with pa, which also means "head." These facts recall an episode in "Young Man Gambles Often," in which the heads of the Giants defeated in competitions were hung over the fire overnight, then the next day were broken open. The inside of the head was full of wampum. The cranium may be, therefore, the same as the sack: the vault of the sky; in which case, the wampum of the Giants would also be stars. However, the cranium contains the brain, which is the stuff in which the soul is particularly attached. Also, when a Giant is burned up and his bones crushed to powder, his victims return to life from these remains. So cooking the head and cracking open its bone sheath might be expected to present the substance out of which the Giant's victims could be regenerated. So the shells, if they are stars, and if they are souls as well, seem to suggest the identity found in Mexico of souls and stars.
"shattered" — the flecks of shell make a suitable image of the little stars of the heavens, and in particular, the Milky Way which is the "sack" of Sirius and another form of his cape which he wears on his back.
"an enormous herd of buffalo" — the buffaloes represent stars. It is in this sense that Evening Star is said to be the chief of the Buffalo Spirits. When Sirius finally emerges from below the horizon it brings up the rear of all the stars, since when the sun sets, it is on the horizon. All the buffaloes that it drives before it will set, which is symbolically expressed by death, as we have seen.
"her heart was flattened" — in European languages, death from extreme tragic depression is ascribed to a broken heart. In Hočąk the heart is said to be "flattened" (stak), as if someone had stepped on it.
"home" — by which is meant, her spirit home.
"Waterspirit" — the Hočąk Wakcexi does not literally mean "Waterspirit," it means instead, "the Difficult One." However, since they are in fact the spirits of water itself, such that if they did not exist there would be no water, they are appropriately so-called.
"and there in the water he was taken under" — genealogy among the Hočągara is rather like that in the West, with a "family tree" containing the ancestors in the highest branches. The creative process usually proceeds from the top down, so that genealogical descent is expressed in arboreal terms by sinking roots. The word rejų means both "roots" and "descendants." So, in stellar terms, a child of Sirius would be one of the smaller stars below him. So as the stars of Canis Major begin to sink below the horizon for the year, the lower stars will be the first to disappear and the last to reappear. It is as if they slipped below the Ocean Sea.
"return" — the stem kiri means, "to arrive coming back" (Miner). It therefore implies that he has arrived where he originated. Therefore, he originated among the Waterspirits, one of whom, he may be supposed to be.
"they went to the Waterspirits" — the sojourn of Sirius in the sky above must come to an end, and when it does he slips like his son into the Ocean Sea, disappearing from the sky for a number of months. Since Wears White Feather is a wading bird, it is not surprising that he is a Waterspirit, a conclusion reinforced by the fact that elsewhere his headdress animal, the loon, is also said to be a Waterspirit. His enemy in this story, who is Morning Star, is strongly associated with the Thunderbirds, who are the mortal enemies of the Waterspirits.
"all" — since waikąra were purchased, when the offering price was too low, a shorter version of the story might be sold. Many stories in our possession are shortened versions. This however, as indicated by the emphatic repetition of the word "all" (haną́č) means we have the full and complete myth with nothing left out.
Comparative Material. The closely related Ioway have a good parallel to this story, although its ultimate provenance seems to be Osage. Two young women went out to the wilderness to cry to the spirits that they might be blessed to marry White Plumed Man (Wagre Kagre). Many animals came forth and pretended to be him, but when questioned, they could not hide their real identity, so the sisters continued on. Finally, a man came to them wearing a white plume. The girls asked him, "What sort of things do you normally kill?" He replied, "I kill such things as deer, bears, turkeys — those things that people normally eat." The older sister accepted him immediately, but her younger sister remained skeptical. They argued, and in the end, the younger sister said, "Then you marry him. I'm going to wait." So the older sister married this man, but the only game animals he ever brought home were rabbits. One day a voice came to the younger sister and announced that at noon the next day White Plume would appear. Just as it had presaged, White Plume appeared with a chorus of birds announcing his arrival. The younger sister accepted him. The next day the two who claimed to be White Plume went out hunting, and the second one brought home deer and bears, but the first could only manage rabbits. His father-in-law quickly appreciated who he was, and even the elder sister realized that her husband was an imposter, but this only made her jealous. The next day the two of them went hunting again. While they were out the imposter changed White Plume into a dog, and when he returned he said that White Plume had gone in another direction, but that he had found his dog. The younger sister treated the dog well and even let it sleep in the lodge. When they went hunting, this dog could flush out bears, but the imposter, who in reality was a Giant, could only get rabbits. One day the dog spoke to the younger sister and instructed her on how to help him. She took him to a hollow log, where he entered at one end, and upon emerging at the other, he had shed his skin like a snake, and now he had returned to his human form. Once again the two went out hunting, but during the expedition the Giant froze to death.7 [continuation of the story].
Among the Dakota we find a very extensive parallel to our Hočąk story. A young boy named Ćáḣpi (Chacopee, "Warclub"), lived alone with his grandfather and long believed that they were the only people around. One day he came upon the ruins of a village that had been burned out, and when he told his grandfather of it, the old man would say nothing. The next day when the boy was wandering about, a voice called to him, "Wearer of the White Feather!" Ćáḣpi turned and saw a man whose head alone was made of flesh, the rest of his body was of wood. The wooden man told him of his parents and how the Giants had destroyed their village leaving only him and his grandfather alive. Man of Wood urged him to avenge himself against the Giants. He gave him an invisible vine to throw around the legs of his competitors. The wooden man told the boy to go home and dream, and when the boy had dreamt, he found beside him a large white feather, a pipe, and a sack. When he smoked the pipe, a flock of pigeons issued from the smoke. He put the white feather on his head. The next day he set out for the lodge of the Giants, which he found in the middle of the forest. He raced the youngest Giant, whom he tripped up with his invisible vine. As the price of victory, he cut off the Giant's head. He won four more times, and beheaded each of his opponents. Then, as he was headed off to play the last Giant, he encountered the Man of Wood, who told him that he would meet the most beautiful woman in the world. But the Man of Wood cautioned him that she would be his downfall unless he turned himself into an elk. Shortly thereafter, he did meet the most beautiful woman in the world, but "she" was really the sixth Giant in disguise. She wept copious tears and said that she had come to marry him, but because he had turned into an elk, she would be without a husband. So he returned to his normal form and soothed her grief. He ended up sleeping with his head in her lap. However she turned back into a Giant, and taking an ax, the Giant broke Ćáḣpi's back. Then he turned Ćáḣpi into a dog. He took the white feather and put it on his own head. The prophecy that Wearer of the White Feather (Ta-waćiñhe-ska) would achieve unparalleled greatness had reached far and wide. He was spoken of in a village in which lived the two daughters of the chief. Each of these girls had resolved to marry Wearer of the White Feather. When the elder saw a man approaching with a single white feather in his hair, she ran to him and induced him to marry her. The younger sister, who was kind and gentle, took the dog into her own lodge and took good care of it. As the Giant went hunting, he chanced upon the dog and saw him throw a stone into the river. The stone turned into a beaver, which the dog promptly killed. The Giant did the same thing, and he too obtained a beaver. He brought it home to his wife, but when she went outside the lodge to fetch it, all she found was a stone. The next day the dog pulled down a withered branch which turned into a deer. The dog then killed the deer. The Giant duplicated this feat perfectly, but when his wife went out to fetch the venison, she found only a withered branch. The older daughter visited her father the chief and told him of the hunting skill of her husband and his dog. The chief summoned the two of them to his lodge. However, the messengers found not a dog but a magnificent warrior; one who, unfortunately, was completely mute. When they arrived at the chief's lodge, they began to smoke the pipe that the man wearing the white feather produced. Nothing unusual happened until they passed it to the mute warrior, Ćáḣpi, whose smoke soon turned into a flock of pigeons; and no sooner had this happened, than he recovered his speech. He told the assembly of all that had happened to him. As to the Giant who had masqueraded as Wearer of the White Feather, the chief transformed him into a dog, and had his people stone it to death. Then Ćáḣpi proved his powers by taking a buffalo hide and cutting it into small pieces. These he strew over the prairie, and on the following day, each piece became a buffalo. They were able to slay numerous buffalo that day. Then Ćáḣpi took his wife home to meet his grandfather, who was overjoyed at the great achievement of his grandson.8
Here's another and very lengthy variant of the Ćáḣpi tale, probably from the Mdewakaton band of Dakota. There once lived a young couple who were very happy. The young man was noted throughout the whole nation for his accuracy with the bow and arrow, and was given the title of "Dead Shot," or "He who never misses his mark," and the young woman, noted for her beauty, was named Beautiful Dove. One day a stork paid this happy couple a visit and left them a fine big boy. The boy cried "Ina, ina" (mother, mother). "Listen to our son," said the mother, "he can speak, and hasn't he a sweet voice?" "Yes," said the father, "it will not be long before he will be able to walk." He set to work making some arrows, and a fine hickory bow for his son. One of the arrows he painted red, one blue, and another yellow. The rest he left the natural color of the wood. When he had completed them, the mother placed them in a fine quiver, all worked in porcupine quills, and hung them up over where the boy slept in his fine hammock of painted moose hide. At times when the mother would be nursing her son, she would look up at the bow and arrows and talk to her baby, saying: "My son, hurry up and grow fast so you can use your bow and arrows. You will grow up to be as fine a marksman as your father." The baby would coo and stretch his little arms up towards the bright colored quiver as though he understood every word his mother had uttered. Time passed and the boy grew up to a good size, when one day his father said: "Wife, give our son the bow and arrows so that he may learn how to use them." The father taught his son how to string and unstring the bow, and also how to attach the arrow to the string. The red, blue and yellow arrows, he told the boy, were to be used only whenever there was any extra good shooting to be done, so the boy never used these three until he became a master of the art. Then he would practice on eagles and hawks, and never an eagle or hawk continued his flight when the boy shot one of the arrows after him. One day the boy came running into the tent, exclaiming: "Mother, mother, I have shot and killed the most beautiful bird I ever saw." "Bring it in, my son, and let me look at it." He brought the bird and upon examining it she pronounced it a different type of bird from any she had ever seen. Its feathers were of variegated colors and on its head was a topknot of pure white feathers. The father, returning, asked the boy with which arrow he had killed the bird. "With the red one," answered the boy. "I was so anxious to secure the pretty bird that, although I know I could have killed it with one of my common arrows, I wanted to be certain, so I used the red one." "That is right, my son," said the father. "When you have the least doubt of your aim, always use one of the painted arrows, and you will never miss your mark." The parents decided to give a big feast in honor of their son killing the strange, beautiful bird. So a great many elderly women were called to the tent of Pretty Dove to assist her in making ready for the big feast. For ten days these women cooked and pounded beef and cherries, and got ready the choicest dishes known to the Indians. Of buffalo, beaver, deer, antelope, moose, bear, quail, grouse, duck of all kinds, geese and plover meats there was an abundance. Fish of all kinds, and every kind of wild fruit were cooked, and when all was in readiness, the heralds went through the different villages, crying out: "Ho-po, ho-po" (now all, now all), Dead Shot and his wife, Beautiful Dove, invite all of you, young and old, to their tepee to partake of a great feast, given by them in honor of a great bird which their son has killed, and also to select for their son some good name which he will bear through life. So all bring your cups and wooden dishes along with your horn spoons, as there will be plenty to eat. Come, all you council men and chiefs, as they have also a great tent erected for you in which you hold your council." Thus crying, the heralds made the circle of the village. The guests soon arrived. In front of the tent was a pole stuck in the ground and painted red, and at the top of the pole was fastened the bird of variegated colors; its wings stretched out to their full length and the beautiful white waving so beautifully from its topknot, it was the center of attraction. Half way up the pole was tied the bow and arrow of the young marksman. Long streamers of fine bead and porcupine work waved from the pole and presented a very striking appearance. The bird was faced towards the setting sun. The great chief and medicine men pronounced the bird "Wakan" (something holy). When the people had finished eating they all fell in line and marched in single file beneath the bird, in order to get a close view of it. By the time this vast crowd had fully viewed the wonderful bird, the sun was just setting clear in the west, when directly over the rays of the sun appeared a cloud in the shape of a bird of variegated colors. The councilmen were called out to look at the cloud, and the head medicine man said that it was a sign that the boy would grow up to be a great chief and hunter, and would have a great many friends and followers. This ended the feast, but before dispersing, the chief and councilmen bestowed upon the boy the title of White Plume. One day a stranger came to the village, who was very thin and nearly starved. So weak was he that he could not speak, but made signs for something to eat. Luckily the stranger came to Dead Shot's tent, and as there was always a plentiful supply in his lodge, the stranger soon had a good meal served him. After he had eaten and rested he told his story. "I came from a very great distance," said he. "The nations where I came from are in a starving condition. No place can they find any buffalo, deer nor antelope. A witch or evil spirit in the shape of a white buffalo has driven all the large game out of the country. Every day this white buffalo comes circling the village, and any one caught outside of their tent is carried away on its horns. In vain have the best marksmen of the tribe tried to shoot it. Their arrows fly wide off the mark, and they have given up trying to kill it as it bears a charmed life. Another evil spirit in the form of a red eagle has driven all the birds of the air out of our country. Every day this eagle circles above the village, and so powerful is it that anyone being caught outside of his tent is descended upon and his skull split open to the brain by the sharp breastbone of the Eagle. Many a marksman has tried his skill on this bird, all to no purpose. "Another evil spirit in the form of a white rabbit has driven out all the animals which inhabit the ground, and destroyed the fields of corn and turnips, so the nation is starving, as the arrows of the marksmen have also failed to touch the white rabbit. Any one who can kill these three witches will receive as his reward, the choice of two of the most beautiful maidens of our nation. The younger one is the handsomer of the two and has also the sweetest disposition. Many young, and even old men, hearing of this (our chief's) offer, have traveled many miles to try their arrows on the witches, but all to no purpose. Our chief, hearing of your great marksmanship, sent me to try and secure your services to have you come and rid us of these three witches." Thus spoke the stranger to the hunter. The hunter gazed long and thoughtfully into the dying embers of the camp fire. Then slowly his eyes raised and looked lovingly on his wife who sat opposite to him. Gazing on her beautiful features for a full minute he slowly dropped his gaze back to the dying embers and thus answered his visitor: "My friend, I feel very much honored by your chief having sent such a great distance for me, and also for the kind offer of his lovely daughter in marriage, if I should succeed, but I must reject the great offer, as I can spare none of my affections to any other woman than to my queen whom you see sitting there." White Plume had been listening to the conversation and when his father had finished speaking, said: "Father, I am a child no more. I have arrived at manhood. I am not so good a marksman as you, but I will go to this suffering tribe and try to rid them of their three enemies. If this man will rest for a few days and return to his village and inform them of my coming, I will travel along slowly on his trail and arrive at the village a day or two after he reaches there." "Very well, my son," said the father, "I am sure you will succeed, as you fear nothing, and as to your marksmanship, it is far superior to mine, as your sight is much clearer and aim quicker than mine." The man rested a few days and one morning started off, after having instructed White Plume as to the trail. White Plume got together what he would need on the trip and was ready for an early start the next morning. That night Dead Shot and his wife sat up away into the night instructing their son how to travel and warning him as to the different kinds of people he must avoid in order to keep out of trouble. "Above all," said the father, "keep a good look out for Unktomi (spider); he is the most tricky of all, and will get you into trouble if you associate with him." White Plume left early, his father accompanying him for several miles. On parting, the father's last words were: "Look out for Unktomi, my son, he is deceitful and treacherous." "I'll look out for him, father;" so saying he disappeared over a hill. On the way he tried his skill on several hawks and eagles and he did not need to use his painted arrows to kill them, but so skillful was he with the bow and arrows that he could bring down anything that flew with his common arrows. He was drawing near to the end of his destination when he had a large tract of timber to pass through. When he had nearly gotten through the timber he saw an old man sitting on a log, looking wistfully up into a big tree, where sat a number of prairie chickens. "Hello, grandfather, why are you sitting there looking so downhearted?" asked White Plume. "I am nearly starved, and was just wishing some one would shoot one of those chickens for me, so I could make a good meal on it," said the old man. "I will shoot one for you," said the young man. He strung his bow, placed an arrow on the string, simply seemed to raise the arrow in the direction of the chicken (taking no aim). Twang went out the bow, zip went the arrow and a chicken fell off the limb, only to get caught on another in its descent. "There is your chicken, grandfather." "Oh, my grandson, I am too weak to climb up and get it. Can't you climb up and get it for me?" The young man, pitying the old fellow, proceeded to climb the tree, when the old man stopped him, saying: "Grandson, you have on such fine clothes, it is a pity to spoil them; you had better take them off so as not to spoil the fine porcupine work on them." The young man took off his fine clothes and climbed up into the tree, and securing the chicken, threw it down to the old man. As the young man was scaling down the tree, the old man said: "Iyashkapa, iyashkapa," (stick fast, stick fast). Hearing him say something, he asked, "What did you say, old man?" He answered, "I was only talking to myself." The young man proceeded to descend, but he could not move. His body was stuck fast to the bark of the tree. In vain did he beg the old man to release him. The old Unktomi, for he it was, only laughed and said: "I will go now and kill the evil spirits, I have your wonderful bow and arrows and I cannot miss them. I will marry the chief's daughter, and you can stay up in that tree and die there." So saying, he put on White Plume's fine clothes, took his bow and arrows and went to the village. As White Plume was expected at any minute, the whole village was watching for him, and when Unktomi came into sight the young men ran to him with a painted robe, sat him down on it and slowly raising him up they carried him to the tent of the chief. So certain were they that he would kill the evil spirits that the chief told him to choose one of the daughters at once for his wife. (Before the arrival of White Plume, hearing of him being so handsome, the two girls had quarreled over which should marry him, but upon seeing him the younger was not anxious to become his wife.) So Unktomi chose the older one of the sisters, and was given a large tent in which to live. The younger sister went to her mother's tent to live, and the older was very proud, as she was married to the man who would save the nation from starvation. The next morning there was a great commotion in camp, and there came the cry that the white buffalo was coming. "Get ready, son-in-law, and kill the buffalo," said the chief. Unktomi took the bow and arrows and shot as the buffalo passed, but the arrow went wide off its mark. Next came the eagle, and again he shot and missed. Then came the rabbit, and again he missed. "Wait until tomorrow, I will kill them all. My blanket caught in my bow and spoiled my aim." The people were very much disappointed, and the chief, suspecting that all was not right, sent for the young man who had visited Dead Shot's tepee. When the young man arrived, the chief asked: "Did you see White Plume when you went to Dead Shot's camp?" "Yes, I did, and ate with him many times. I stayed at his father's tepee all the time I was there," said the young man. "Would you recognize him if you saw him again?" asked the chief. "Any one who had but one glimpse of White Plume would surely recognize him when he saw him again, as he is the most handsome man I ever saw," said the young man. "Come with me to the tent of my son-in-law and take a good look at him, but don't say what you think until we come away." The two went to the tent of Unktomi, and when the young man saw him he knew it was not White Plume, although it was White Plume's bow and arrows that hung at the head of the bed, and he also recognized the clothes as belonging to White Plume. When they had returned to the chief's tent, the young man told what he knew and what he thought. "I think this is some Unktomi who has played some trick on White Plume and has taken his bow and arrows and also his clothes, and hearing of your offer, is here impersonating White Plume. Had White Plume drawn the bow on the buffalo, eagle and rabbit today, we would have been rid of them, so I think we had better scare this Unktomi into telling us where White Plume is," said the young man. "Wait until he tries to kill the witches again tomorrow," said the chief. In the meantime the younger daughter had taken an axe and gone into the woods in search of dry wood. She went quite a little distance into the wood and was chopping a dry log. Stopping to rest a little she heard some one saying: "Whoever you are, come over here and chop this tree down so that I may get loose." Going to where the big tree stood, she saw a man stuck onto the side of the tree. "If I chop it down the fall will kill you," said the girl. "No, chop it on the opposite side from me, and the tree will fall that way. If the fall kills me, it will be better than hanging up here and starving to death," said White Plume, for it was he. The girl chopped the tree down and when she saw that it had not killed the man, she said: "What shall I do now?" "Loosen the bark from the tree and then get some stones and heat them. Get some water and sage and put your blanket over me." She did as told and when the steam arose from the water being poured upon the heated rocks, the bark loosened from his body and he arose. When he stood up, she saw how handsome he was. "You have saved my life," said he. "Will you be my wife?" "I will," said she. He then told her how the old man had fooled him into this trap and took his bow and arrows, also his fine porcupine worked clothes, and had gone off, leaving him to die. She, in turn, told him all that had happened in camp since a man, calling himself White Plume, came there and married her sister before he shot at the witches, and when he came to shoot at them, missed every shot. "Let us make haste, as the bad Unktomi may ruin my arrows." They approached the camp and whilst White Plume waited outside, his promised wife entered Unktomi's tent and said: "Unktomi, White Plume is standing outside and he wants his clothes and bow and arrows." "Oh, yes, I borrowed them and forgot to return them; make haste and give them to him." Upon receiving his clothes, he was very much provoked to find his fine clothes wrinkled and his bow twisted, while the arrows were twisted out of shape. He laid the clothes down, also the bows and arrows, and passing his hand over them, they assumed their right shapes again. The daughter took White Plume to her father's tent and upon hearing the story he at once sent for his warriors and had them form a circle around Unktomi's tent, and if he attempted to escape to catch him and tie him to a tree, as he (the chief) had determined to settle accounts with him for his treatment of White Plume, and the deception employed in winning the chief's eldest daughter. About midnight the guard noticed something crawling along close to the ground, and seizing him found it was Unktomi trying to make his escape before daylight, whereupon they tied him to a tree. "Why do you treat me thus," cried Unktomi, "I was just going out in search of medicine to rub on my arrows, so I can kill the witches." "You will need medicine to rub on yourself when the chief gets through with you," said the young man who had discovered that Unktomi was impersonating White Plume. In the morning the herald announced that the real White Plume had arrived, and the chief desired the whole nation to witness his marksmanship. Then came the cry: "The White Buffalo comes." Taking his red arrow, White Plume stood ready. When the buffalo got about opposite him, he let his arrow fly. The buffalo bounded high in the air and came down with all four feet drawn together under its body, the red arrow having passed clear through the animal, piercing the buffalo's heart. A loud cheer went up from the village. "You shall use the hide for your bed," said the chief to White Plume. Next came a cry, "the eagle, the eagle." From the north came an enormous red eagle. So strong was he, that as he soared through the air his wings made a humming sound as the rumble of distant thunder. On he came, and just as he circled the tent of the chief, White Plume bent his bow, with all his strength drew the arrow back to the flint point, and sent the blue arrow on its mission of death. So swiftly had the arrow passed through the eagle's body that, thinking White Plume had missed, a great wail went up from the crowd, but when they saw the eagle stop in his flight, give a few flaps of his wings, and then fall with a heavy thud into the center of the village, there was a greater cheer than before. "The red eagle shall be used to decorate the seat of honor in your tepee," said the chief to White Plume. Last came the white rabbit. "Aim good, aim good, son-in-law," said the chief. "If you kill him you will have his skin for a rug." Along came the white rabbit, and White Plume sent his arrow in search of rabbit's heart, which it found, and stopped Mr. Rabbit's tricks forever. The chief then called all of the people together and before them all took a hundred willows and broke them one at a time over Unktomi's back. Then he turned him loose. Unktomi, being so ashamed, ran off into the woods and hid in the deepest and darkest corner he could find. This is why unktomis (spiders) are always found in dark corners, and anyone who is deceitful or untruthful is called a descendant of the Unktomi tribe.9
The episode of body reshaping finds an interesting parallel in a Ute story. In the days when the world was young, Bobcat had a long snout and a very nice tail. One day Coyote came upon him while he was sound asleep. Coyote pushed in his face and flattened completely. Then he snipped off Bobcat's tail. When Bobcat awoke, he found that he had become a pug nosed, bobtailed creature, and he was furious. He discovered that it was Coyote who had done this to him. Now in those days coyotes had a flat face and a very short tail. When Coyote was himself lost in deep sleep, up came Bobcat to do his worst. First he took Coyote by the nose and pulled his whole face out; then he reached back and gave Coyote such a pull on his tail that when he stood up it touched the ground. When Coyote returned to his wife, she laughed at his ridiculous appearance.10
This Pawnee story is of interest because it portrays the confusion between Sirius and Morning Star. "In the story of the creation legend, the gods forgot to invite the Wolf Star to their council, and he continued to harbor deep resentment against all of them, particularly being jealous of the Evening Star in the west and of Paruksti, the personified storm out of the west that the gods sent to inspect their handiwork when the earth was complete. On his journey of inspection to earth, Paruksti carried the people in a whirlwind bag. Whenever Paruksti was tired or lonesome, he set down the bag and the people came out, set up camp, and had a buffalo hunt. Then he gathered them up again and went on his way. Wolf Star in his anger placed a wolf on earth to follow after Paruksti, and, one day while Paruksti was asleep with his head pillowed on his whirlwind bag, the Wolf, thinking he would get something good to eat, gently lifted his head and dragged the bag out onto the open prairie. The people came out and set up camp, but were unable to get any buffalo in this barren place. They entertained the Wolf at a feast of dry meat, not realizing his identity. When Paruksti awoke and came over the hill they realized that the Wolf was an impostor and chased him, succeeding, as a result, in surrounding and killing him. But this did not please Paruksti. He told them that they would have to take the Wolf's skin, dry it, and make a sacred bundle of it and ever after be known as the Skidi or Wolf People. Moreover, that while the gods had intended that they were to live forever, since they had killed the first animal on earth, they had brought death upon themselves and also the men with their lances to make war."11
"pierced his ankles together" — the same sort of thing occurs in the Greek myth of Oedipus. Since it was prophesied that his son would slay his father, Laios had him exposed shortly after his birth. For good measure, a golden pin was inserted through his ankles, or in some accounts, an iron spike. Thus, ever after he was "Swollen Foot" (Oedi-pus).12
"it is my dog" — the identification of Sirius with a dog is very widespread. The Greeks called Sirius "the Dog Star" (Σείριος Κὑων | Seírios Kúōn). He was said to be the hunter Orion's companion. As is the case in the Dakota version, in the Iowa-Osage version above, White Plume is literally turned into a dog. The Osage call Sirius, Shóⁿge Agak'egoⁿ, the "Dog as though Suspended in the Sky," as it says in this prayer:
Verily, the Chief Messenger
The side of the heavens,
Where lay Shóⁿge, the dog (Sirius) as though suspended in the sky,
And returned with him to the people,
They spake to him, saying: O grandfather,
The little ones have nothing of which to make their symbols.13
The Pawnee also recognize Sirius as a wolf. "Tirawahat placed Wolf Star eighth in the heavens because he himself was a god for the wolf family and through the wolves would help the people."14 As Jimm Goodtracks observes, "The Pawnee name for the star is Tskirixki Tiuhats (Wolf He is Deceived). It's said it appears in the southeast just before the rising of the morning star and 'deceives the wolves' by getting them to prematurely howl to greet the morning when Sirius appears, without waiting for the true beginning with the rise of Morning Star."15 This shows that the confusion is between Sirius and the Morning Star (of Venus). For more on Sirius as a dog, see "The Redhorn Panel of Picture Cave."
Links: Wears Sparrows for a Coat, The Redhorn Panel of Picture Cave. An American Star Map, Bird Spirits, Hawks, Squirrels, Waterspirits, Owls, Loons, Wildcats (Bobcats), Beavers.
Stories: about Wears White Feather (Wears Sparrows for a Coat): Wears White Feather on His Head; about two sisters: The Twin Sisters, Bluehorn Rescues His Sister, The Old Man and the Giants, The Dipper, Bluehorn's Nephews, The Markings on the Moon, The Man Who Fell from the Sky, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts; mentioning squirrels: The Brown Squirrel, Wears White Feather on His Head, The Animal Spirit Aids of the Medicine Rite, Porcupine and His Brothers, The Arrows of the Medicine Rite Men, Trickster and the Eagle; mentioning beavers:Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp, White Wolf, The Dipper, The Animal Spirit Aids of the Medicine Rite, The Chief of the Heroka, The Arrows of the Medicine Rite Men, Turtle and the Merchant; mentioning (spirit) bears (other than were-bears): White Bear, Blue Bear, Black Bear, Red Bear, Bear Clan Origin Myth, The Shaggy Man, Bear Offers Himself as Food, Hare Visits His Grandfather Bear, Hare Establishes Bear Hunting, The Woman Who Fought the Bear, The Wolf Clan Origin Myth, Hočąk Clans Origin Myth, The Messengers of Hare, Bird Clan Origin Myth, The Hočąk Migration Myth, Red Man, Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans, Lifting Up the Bear Heads, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, The Two Boys, Creation of the World (v. 5), Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, The Brown Squirrel, Snowshoe Strings, Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, East Enters the Medicine Lodge, Lake Winnebago Origin Myth, The Spider's Eyes, How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Race for the Chief's Daughter, Trickster's Tail, cf. Fourth Universe; in which wildcats (bobcats) are characters: Hare Kills Wildcat, The Choke Cherry Wild Cat, The Chief of the Heroka, The Warbundle of the Eight Generations, The Stench-Earth Medicine Origin Myth, Silver Mound Cave; 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 Hočągara I, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Red Feather, Wazųka, The Stench-Earth Medicine Origin Myth, Holy One and His Brother, The Orphan who was Blessed with a Horse; in which owls are mentioned: Owl Goes Hunting, Crane and His Brothers, The Spirit of Gambling, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, The Glory of the Morning, The Chief of the Heroka, Partridge's Older Brother, Waruǧápara, Wears White Feather on His Head, Keramaniš’aka's Blessing, The Annihilation of the Hočągara I, The Green Man; mentioning hawks: Hawk Clan Origin Myth, 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, Waruǧápara, The Race for the Chief's Daughter, The Magical Powers of Lincoln's Grandfather; mentioning loons: Įčorúšika and His Brothers, The Raccoon Coat, Great Walker's Medicine, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth; about turkeys: The Birth of the Twins, Earthmaker Sends Rušewe to the Twins, Bluehorn's Nephews, Black and White Moons, The Annihilation of the Hočągara I; mentioning sparrows: Turtle's Warparty; about Bird Spirits: Crane and His Brothers, The King Bird, Bird Origin Myth, Bird Clan Origin Myth, Wears White Feather on His Head, 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 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; 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, 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, 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, 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 Medicine Men: Visit of the Medicine Man, Big Eagle Cave Mystery, Holy One and His Brother, The Magical Powers of Lincoln's Grandfather, Yellow Thunder and the Lore of Lost Canyon, The Phantom Woman; mentioning oak: Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth, The Oak Tree and the Man Who was Blessed by the Heroka, Wolf Clan Origin Myth, The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, The Children of the Sun, Turtle's Warparty, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth, Waruǧápara, The Creation Council, The Man Who Would Dream of Mą’ųna, Young Man Gambles Often, Morning Star and His Friend (v. 2), Sun and the Big Eater, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, The Roaster, Little Human Head, The Shaggy Man, Wears White Feather on His Head, Peace of Mind Regained, The Dipper (leaves); mentioning snow: Waruǧápara, The Glory of the Morning, Holy One and His Brother, Wolves and Humans, Grandfather's Two Families, The Four Steps of the Cougar, Brave Man, Redhorn's Father, Bladder and His Brothers, The Stench-Earth Medicine Origin Myth, The Old Man and the Giants, Great Walker's Warpath, White Wolf, North Shakes His Gourd, The Fleetfooted Man, Lake Wąkšikhomįgra (Mendota): the Origin of Its Name, Witches, Shakes the Earth, Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth, Trickster Gets Pregnant, The Raccoon Coat, Silver Mound Cave, Soft Shelled Turtle Gets Married; mentioning springs: Trail Spring, Vita Spring, Merrill Springs, Big Spring and White Clay Spring, The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter, Bear Clan Origin Myth, vv. 6, 8, Bird Clan Origin Myth, The Woman Who Fought the Bear, Bluehorn's Nephews, Blue Mounds, The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion, The Lost Child, The Wild Rose, The Omahas who turned into Snakes, The Two Brothers, Snowshoe Strings, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Nannyberry Picker, The Orphan who was Blessed with a Horse, Rich Man, Boy, and Horse, The Two Boys, Waruǧápara, Wazųka, The Man Who Fell from the Sky, Turtle and the Witches; mentioning tomahawk pipes: The Fleetfooted Man.
Themes: a boy lives alone with his grandfather: How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Dipper; a flock of birds are a man's constant companions: The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head (black swallows); a young man has a living bird with a clear voice as his headdress: The Dipper (black hawk); racing to the end of the world and back: Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, The Green Man, The Roaster, Young Man Gambles Often, Morning Star and His Friend (v. 2), Sun and the Big Eater, The Big Eater; contestants race to an oak tree at the edge of the world and back: Young Man Gambles Often, Morning Star and His Friend (v. 2), Sun and the Big Eater, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, The Roaster; one man finishes so far ahead of the competition in a foot race that he has time to smoke a pipe before they reach the finish line: Sun and the Big Eater, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, Moiety Origin Myth; in an athletic competition, one side throws objects at the other to impede their progress: The Green Man, Sun and the Big Eater; prisoners have their bones broken by their captors: The Green Man, The Raccoon Coat, The Meteor Spirit and the Origin of Wampum; two girls dream (have a fasting vision) of a particular spirit: The Markings on the Moon (v. 2); a great spirit changes his form in order to decieve someone: The Skunk Origin Myth (Turtle), The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, The Man with Two Heads, The Children of the Sun, The Baldness of the Buzzard, Trickster's Tail, Trickster Gets Pregnant, The Elks Skull, Trickster Soils the Princess, The Seven Maidens; a man assumes the role of a woman: Berdache Origin Myth, Trickster Gets Pregnant; a spirit turns into a person of radically different age: Morning Star and His Friend, The Messengers of Hare, The Dipper, The Chief of the Heroka; as someone is about to be killed, he changes into the kind of person that his opponent cannot bring himself to kill, and is thereby spared: The Dipper (a baby); a spirit assumes the form of another person: Trickster, the Wolf, the Turtle, and the Meadow Lark, Trickster and the Mothers; a spirit's "dogs" turn out to be another kind of animal: Porcupine and His Brothers (frogs), Turtle's Warparty (frogs), Chief of the Heroka (grizzly, wolf, otter, beaver), The Red Man (alligators), Bladder and His Brothers (giant raccoon); someone fires a "blind shot" with an arrow and fells a deer: Morning Star and His Friend; a woman abuses someone with whom she is living: Partridge's Older Brother, The Woman who Loved Her Half-Brother, The Quail Hunter, Snowshoe Strings, The Red Man, The Chief of the Heroka, Bluehorn's Nephews, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, Bluehorn Rescues His Sister, The Were-Grizzly; two (spirit) women twist the mouth and deform the face (and other body parts) of a sleeping man: Snowshoe Strings; a man kills a game animal by simply striking the knoll (or stump) in which it is hiding: Redhorn's Father, Bird Clan Origin Myth, Trickster and the Children, Snowshoe Strings; the fruit of the hunt is stolen: Porcupine and His Brothers, Crane and His Brothers, White Wolf, The Brown Squirrel; when someone throws moss into the water, it transforms into an abundance of beavers: Redhorn's Father; someone goes out searching for a missing person who was dear to them: The Woman who Married a Snake, Waruǧápara, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, A Man's Revenge, The Man Whose Wife was Captured, Bluehorn Rescues His Sister, Ghost Dance Origin Myth II, Snowshoe Strings, Brass and Red Bear Boy; a woman is forbidden to join her husband when he goes off to a place kept secret from her: The Markings on the Moon, The Chief of the Heroka, The Man who Defied Disease Giver, cf. The Sky Man; a repulsive looking, but holy person, is transformed into an attractive person after gaining the support (or rejection) of his or her lover: The Red Feather, The Skunk Origin Myth, The Chief of the Heroka; a man is transformed when he dives into the water from a particular place: The Woman who Married a Snake, The Diving Contest, The Nannyberry Picker; as a punishment, a spirit decrees that someone be transformed into an animal: The Skunk Origin Myth (skunk), The Brown Squirrel (squirrel), How the Hills and Valleys were Formed (v. 3) (worm), Brass and Red Bear Boy (grizzly), Waruǧápara (owl), The Chief of the Heroka (owl), Hare Kills a Man with a Cane (ant); human turns into a (spirit) animal: How the Thunders Met the Nights (Thunderbird), Waruǧápara (Thunderbird), The Dipper (hummingbird), Elk Clan Origin Myth (elk), Young Man Gambles Often (elk), Sun and the Big Eater, (horse), The Reincarnated Grizzly Bear, Partridge's Older Brother (bear), The Woman who Loved her Half-Brother (bear), Porcupine and His Brothers (bear), The Shaggy Man (bear), The Roaster (bear), Wazųka (bear), White Wolf (dog, wolf), Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle (buffalo), The Brown Squirrel (squirrel), The Skunk Origin Myth (skunk), The Woman who Married a Snake (snake, Waterspirit), The Omahas who turned into Snakes (four-legged snakes), How the Hills and Valleys were Formed (v. 3) (earthworms); an evil spirit is turned into an owl: Waruǧápara, The Chief of the Heroka; hunters kill an entire herd of animals: Redhorn's Father, The Roaster, The Twins Visit Their Father's Village, The Nannyberry Picker, Snowshoe Strings, Morning Star and His Friend, The Two Boys; a woman takes the initiative in courtship: The Seduction of Redhorn's Son, The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter, Trickster Gets Pregnant, Redhorn and His Brothers Marry, (see also, Redhorn's Father); frustrated love: White Flower, The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter, The Twin Sisters, The Phantom Woman, The Woman who Loved her Half-Brother, Partridge's Older Brother, The Stone Heart, Snowshoe Strings, Trickster Soils the Princess, Sunset Point, Rainbow and Stone Arch; marriage to a yųgiwi (princess): The Nannyberry Picker, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Race for the Chief's Daughter, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, The Big Stone, Partridge's Older Brother, Redhorn's Sons, The Seduction of Redhorn's Son, The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter, River Child and the Waterspirit of Devil's Lake, The Roaster, Soft Shelled Turtle Gets Married, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, White Wolf, The Two Boys, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, The Shaggy Man, The Thunderbird, The Red Feather, The Orphan who was Blessed with a Horse, The Birth of the Twins (v. 3), Trickster Visits His Family, The Woman who Loved Her Half-Brother, Redhorn's Father, Morning Star and His Friend, Thunderbird and White Horse, Rich Man, Boy, and Horse, Shakes the Earth, The Nightspirits Bless Čiwoit’éhiga; a Waterspirit demands a human sacrifice: The Seer, River Child and the Waterspirit of Devil's Lake, The Phantom Woman; someone is offered to a Waterspirit: The Shaggy Man, River Child and the Waterspirit of Devil's Lake, White Thunder's Warpath, Waruǧápara, The Seer; a Waterspirit takes a child: The Nannyberry Picker, The King Bird, Įčorúšika and His Brothers, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, The Phantom Woman.
1 Paul Radin, "Old Man and His Grandson," Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) Notebook #53, 1-107.
2 Alice C. Fletcher and Francis La Flesche, The Omaha Tribe (Lincoln: The University of Nebraska Press, 1992 [1904-1905]) 177.
3 James R. Murie, Ceremonies of the Pawnee. Studies in the Anthropology of North American Indians (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press for the American Indian Studies Research Institute, Indiana University, 1989) 45.
4 Henry Schoolcraft, Information respecting the Historical Conditions and Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States (J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1852-1854) 4:230.
5 Col. John Harris Kinzie (1803-1865), Notebook compiled at Prairie du Chien in 1826 (Chicago: Chicago Historical Society) s. v.
6 Frederick William Fairholt, Tobacco: Its History and Associations: Including an Account of the Plant and Its Manufacture; with its Modes of Use in All Ages and Countries (London: Chapman and Hall, 1859) 40.
7 "7. White Plume," in Alanson Skinner, "Traditions of the Iowa Indians," The Journal of American Folklore, 38, #150 (October-December, 1925): 427-506 [458-461].
8 "Tau-Wau-Chee-Hezkaw, or The White Feather," in Henry R. Schoolcraft, Schoolcraft's Indian Legends, ed. Mentor L. Williams (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1991 ) 34-38; Lewis Spence, Myths of the North American Indians (London: George G. Harrap & Company, 1916) 296-301.
9 Quoted from Marie L. McLaughlin, Myths and Legends of the Sioux (Bismark, North Dakota: Bismarck Tribune Company, 1916).
10 "Bobcat and Coyote Have Their Faces Done," in Richard Erdoes and Alfonso Ortiz (edd.), American Indian Trickster Tales (New York: Penguin-Putnam, Inc., 1998) 45-46.
11 Gene Weltfish, The Lost Universe: Pawnee Life and Culture (New York: Basic Books, 1965) 328-329, see also 108-109, 277.
12 Hesiod, Theogony 411; Plutarch, Theseus 6b; Carol Kerényi, The Heroes of the Greeks (London: Thames and Hudson, 1959) 93.
13 Francis La Flesche, A Dictionary of the Osage Language, Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 109 (Washington, D. C.: Government Printing Office, 1932) s.v. Shóⁿ-ge a-ga-k'e-goⁿ; Louis F. Burns, Osage Indian Customs and Myths (Tuscaloosa, Alabama: University of Alabama Press, 2005 ) 204.
14 Murie, Ceremonies of the Pawnee, 39.
15 Jimm Goodtracks, personal communication, 4.9.2006.