Porcupine and His Brothers

retold by Richard L. Dieterle

It was fall and Porcupine was out looking for a good place to hole up for the winter when he ran across Squirrel who was out on the same mission. So they joined fores and hiked down to the edge of a lake. There they encountered Turtle and his younger brother, Red Breasted Turtle. "What brings you down here?" Turtle asked. Porcupine told him, "We're both looking for a place to spend the winter." "Well," replied Turtle, "so are we. Let's lodge together." And so they did, the four brothers.

Red Breasted Turtle was out foraging for food on a hill, when he found a berry bush. Then, unexpectedly, a forked-antlered deer came up to him. "Those berries look good," said the deer, "could I have one?""Here," said Red Breasted Turtle, "you can have this one." The deer ate it and found it to be delicious. "How about another?" he asked. "The problem is," replied Red Breasted Turtle, "I can't reach any more of them, but with your help, we could take down quite a pile of them." "How can I help?" the deer asked. Now it happened that this bush grew out of the steep side of a cliff, and that is why Red Breasted Turtle could not reach any more berries. So he told the deer, "It's easy: all you have to do is take a good running start and leap onto the bush, then you will shake all the berries loose." Deer started several times, but fear made him hesitate. Finally, with a great bound, he leapt off the cliff with reckless abandon. Red Breasted Turtle gave a loud whoop. "That's the way men do when they want some real food!" he declared. The deer's neck had broken even before he landed on the bush. So Red Breasted Turtle hoisted him up and packed him; but no sooner had he proudly set off to show his brothers what he had accomplished, than a man came up and said, "That deer is mine!" When Red Breasted Turtle resisted, the man threatened to kill him if he didn't surrender the deer immediately. So Red Breasted Turtle gave up the deer and went away in tears. When he arrived back at the lodge, Turtle said to him, "Little brother, it looks like you've been crying. What happened?" "Oh, it's only the wind blowing in my eyes that made them water," he said. The next day he went to the same place, and once again a forked-antlered deer approached. He played the same trick on him, but before he could carry off his prize, the same man suddenly reappeared and took it away from him. When Red Breasted Turtle returned, he told his older brother nothing of what had happened, although Turtle sensed that something was wrong. The next day when his little brother went out, Turtle followed after him unseen. Turtle found a good hiding place where he could see, and covered himself up. Red Breasted Turtle again encountered a deer and everything happened as before. The man came walking up and arrogantly said to Red Breasted Turtle, "You always pack my deer when I come to pick it up, but you can't have this one either." Red Breasted Turtle replied in a defiant tone, "I'm not going to let you have this one!" "Well," he replied confidently, "maybe you think your brother will help you. You know who I mean, the one that stinks and is covered in leeches." Then the man raised his club to strike, but Red Breasted Turtle cried out, "Turtle, help! I'm about to be killed!" Immediately, Turtle jumped up from his hiding and confronted the man. "Oh, Turtle," he said nervously, "I was just joking." With a single stroke of his club, Turtle lopped off the man's head. Then, unexpectedly, the man changed into a bear. Turtle packed the bear and Red Breasted Turtle packed the deer. When they got back to their lodge, Turtle used the bear's head as a base for his flag pole. It turned out that the were-bear was the son of a chief.

That night Turtle tossed and in his sleep as he was in the grip of a nightmare. Squirrel woke him up and asked him, "Turtle, what were you dreaming?" Turtle said, "I saw a big warparty coming towards us. Little brother, catch my dog and prepare a feast." His "dog" proved to be a toad. They gave a feast for their war weapons, during which Turtle kept his two-edged knife stuck in the ground. When it was over, they made a fort of logs. The next morning the enemy approached the fort and began yelling at them. The two youngest brothers were not very good fighters, so Turtle and Porcupine took up the corner positions. Squirrel had to borrow arrows from Porcupine, who had more than he could ever shoot. Squirrel would sneak up on the enemy and shoot at them; other times he would run atop the logs and fire down on them. After that, the enemy fell back and retired for the night. That night Turtle again had a bad dream. When they woke him, he said, "Go get my bull dog and we'll sacrifice him to the spirits with an offering of tobacco." His "bull dog" turned out to be a bull frog. That morning the enemy attacked again, and this time there was a fierce fight, but the warparty again retired without taking the fort. That night Turtle had a frightening nightmare, and when he awoke, he ordered the sacrifice of his bear-scenting dog to the spirits. The "dog" was in fact a long-legged prairie frog. Before dawn, they busied themselves building a forward barricade of logs, as they expected a more determined attack on the morrow. After the sun rose, the enemy attacked with great ferocity, breaking down the first line of defense which they had built during the night. Turtle yelled out to his brothers, "Fall back to the second barricade!" As Turtle was trying to crawl through a gap in the logs, two men rushed up and grabbed his legs. Turtle dug his claws in, and they had a hard time budging him. While they were struggling to pull Turtle out, squirrel snuck around and shot both of them dead. Nevertheless, the enemy broke down the second barricade. Turtle yelled, "Retreat!" and as he fled, once again two men tackled him. Squirrel came to his rescue again by sneaking up and killing both warriors. After this the enemy retired from the field. That night Turtle had another one of his nightmares. This time it was very hard to wake him up. Turtle told them, "This time they will send a very large force against us. We have no choice now but to split up and flee." So they all went their separate ways to find a place to hide. Porcupine climbed into the hollow end of a leaning tree. Squirrel climbed up a cliff and hid in a crack in the precipice. Turtle and Red Breasted Turtle dove into the lake.

The next day four bands descended on the fort. When they got to the lodge, they found it abandoned. Their war leader said, "The lodge is empty, but they must be around here somewhere." One of the enemy stumbled upon the hiding place of Porcupine, but was promptly shot dead. "Thus will I always do," he said, and shouted to the others, "Give me first war honors!" When Turtle heard this he rose up from the lake and gave a war cry, patting his mouth with his hand. Eventually, someone even found Squirrel, but he got nothing more than an arrow for his trouble. Turtle leapt up and gave another war whoop. "Forget the squirrel," said the warleader, "let's get some help from Ocean Sucker." Ocean Sucker was a bird who was Turtle's son-in-law. Ocean Sucker stood by the edge of the lake and began to draw in the water. He drank up so much water that they could see Turtle's back. "Let's kill him!" they said, but the warleader replied, "No, wait and we'll take him alive. Then we can make him suffer." Ocean Sucker's stomach was huge, but he sucked up the water again, and this time he sucked up all the water in the lake. He looked like a hill, he had drawn up so much water. Now Turtle just lay there in the mud where everyone could see him. However, Squirrel snuck up and shot his arrow right into Ocean Sucker's stomach. Water shot out in such a jet that it soon refilled the lake. The men complained, "We should have killed Turtle straight out." They took Ocean Sucker and sewed his belly back up water tight and set him by the shore again. This time, too, Ocean Sucker swallowed up the entire lake leaving Turtle high and dry. Ocean Sucker never saw what hit him, as Squirrel snuck up on him again and shot him in the stomach. Water spewed everywhere and the lake filled right back up. This time the enemy gave up their attempt to kill Turtle, and went looking for Porcupine. They thought they would be able to kill him for sure, but when it was all over, Porcupine had shot more arrows than all of the enemy combined. Now so many of the warparty lay dead, pierced by Porcupine's arrow quills, that they gave up altogether and went home. When spring came, the brothers split up, each going his own way.1

Commentary. The claws of the snapping turtle are used for arrowheads, and Turtle's claw was the first of these. In this, the porcupine also has natural arrows, and is therefore thought to possess warrior skills more on par with Turtle's. So Turtle : Red Breasted Turtle :: Porcupine : Squirrel. If it was not for their natural arrows, Turtle would be a red breasted turtle, and Porcupine would be a squirrel. When Squirrel gets a hold of Porcupine's quills, he becomes as effective as Porcupine himself. If a squirrel had quills it would act like a porcupine. Yet this same comparison extends to human beings: for by our nature we are the least of creation, the last and weakest being that Earthmaker created. In many ways we are not much more formidable by nature than a squirrel. Nevertheless, we are able to intimidate other animals because we have bows and arrows. Thus, as in the intimidation episode, the man turns out to be secretly a bear. It is in fact the bow and arrows that turn a man into the equal of a bear, just as the claws or quills — natural arrows — elevate Turtle and Porcupine above their brothers. The weak have two things going for them, however: ingenuity and the help of powerful (spirit) allies. In the first episode, we see Red Breasted Turtle kill without a weapon through the use of pure ingenuity. When he comes up against a formidable opponent, he can only win with the help of spirit allies, who are moved by tears and deprivation of food. Sacrifice of dogs ("dogs") is another avenue by which the weak can get aid in defending themselves against the strong.

In the end, there is an identity of ingenuity with natural weaponry: the most ingenious act is that Squirrel borrows the weapon-quills of Porcupine, and by this means saves his brothers from capture when the were-bears take away the water (just as they had once taken away the food). Here, Squirrel : Porcupine :: Man : Turtle — man uses ingenuity to create strength by taking the natural weapon of the turtle (the claw) and making it his own (an arrowhead). Man makes this turtle-weapon into an artificial porcupine quill. Thus, the opposition between natural and artificial is blurred. The story ends with the porcupine proving his defensive superiority and invincibility over all opponents. Here Porcupine is man transposed.

For a story with a similar symbolic content, see The Brown Squirrel.

Comparative Material: The Omaha have a version of this story which is blended with "Turtle's Warparty." After an enemy raid on the village in which he was living, Big Turtle called for a Warparty. Red-breasted Turtle and Gray Squirrel were invited. He also called to him Corn-crusher, Comb, Awl, Pestle, Fire-brand, and Buffalo-bladder. (From this point, the story proceeds in accord with the plot of "Turtle's Warparty, until Turtle finds himself buried at the bottom of a lake.) The enemy called upon two great pelicans to drink the lake dry. The first nearly did so, but Gray Squirrel punctured his pouched, and the water spilled back into the lake. The same thing happened to the second pelican. Big Turtle escaped during the night, and the whole warparty returned home, bragging to the village how they had killed so many of the enemy.2

A Lakota story from Zitkala-Ṣa has a number of interesting parallels: "Once seven people went out to make war, — the Ashes, the Fire, the Bladder, the Grasshopper, the Dragon Fly, the Fish, and the Turtle. As they were talking excitedly, waving their fists in violent gestures, a wind came and blew the Ashes away. 'Ho!' cried the others, 'he could not fight, this one!' The six went on running to make war more quickly. They descended a deep valley, the Fire going foremost until they came to a river. The Fire said 'Hsss — tchu!' and was gone. 'Ho!' hooted the others, 'he could not fight, this one!' Therefore the five went on the more quickly to make war. They came to a great wood. While they were going through it, the Bladder was heard to sneer and to say, 'He! you should rise above these, brothers.' With these words he went upward among the tree-tops; and the thorn apple pricked him. He fell through the branches and was nothing! 'You see this!' said the four, 'this one could not fight.' Still the remaining warriors would not turn back. The four went boldly on to make war. The Grasshopper with his cousin, the Dragon Fly, went foremost. They reached a marshy place, and the mire was very deep. As they waded through the mud, the Grasshopper's legs stuck, and he pulled them off! He crawled upon a log and wept, 'You see me, brothers, I cannot go!' The Dragon Fly went on, weeping for his cousin. He would not be comforted, for he loved his cousin dearly. The more he grieved, the louder he cried, till his body shook with great violence. He blew his red swollen nose with a loud noise so that his head came off his slender neck, and he was fallen upon the grass. 'You see how it is, said the Fish, lashing his tail impatiently, 'these people were not warriors!' 'Come!' he said, 'let us go on to make war.' Thus the Fish and the Turtle came to a large camp ground. 'Ho!' exclaimed the people of this round village of teepees, 'Who are these little ones? What do they seek?' Neither of the warriors carried weapons with them, and their unimposing stature misled the curious people. The Fish was spokesman. With a peculiar omission of syllables, he said: 'Śu . . . hi pi!' 'Wan! what? what?' clamored eager voices of men and women. Again the Fish said: 'Śu . . . hi pi!' Everywhere stood young and old with a palm to an ear. Still no one guessed what the Fish had mumbled! From the bewildered crowd witty old Iktomi came forward. 'He, listen!' he shouted, rubbing his mischievous palms together, for where there was any trouble brewing, he was always in the midst of it. 'This little strange man says, 'Zuya unhipi! We come to make war!'' 'Uun!' resented the people, suddenly stricken glum. 'Let us kill the silly pair! They can do nothing! They do not know the meaning of the phrase. Let us build a fire and boil them both!' 'If you put us on to boil,' said the Fish, 'there will be trouble.' 'Ho ho!' laughed the village folk. 'We shall see.' And so they made a fire. 'I have never been so angered!' said the Fish. The Turtle in a whispered reply said: 'We shall die!' When a pair of strong hands lifted the Fish over the sputtering water, he put his mouth downward. 'Whssh!' he said. He blew the water all over the people, so that many were burned and could not see. Screaming with pain, they ran away. 'Oh, what shall we do with these dreadful ones?' they said. Others exclaimed: 'Let us carry them to the lake of muddy water and drown them!' Instantly they ran with them. They threw the Fish and the Turtle into the lake. Toward the center of the large lake the Turtle dived. There he peeped up out of the water and, waving a hand at the crowd, sang out, 'This is where I live!' The Fish swam hither and thither with such frolicsome darts that his back fin made the water fly. 'Ehan!' whooped the Fish, 'this is where I live!' 'Oh, what have we done!' said the frightened people, 'this will be our undoing.' Then a wise chief said: 'Iya, the Eater, shall come and swallow the lake!' So one went running. He brought Iya, the Eater; and Iya drank all day at the lake till his belly was like the earth. Then the Fish and the Turtle dived into the mud; and Iya said: 'They are not in me.' Hearing this the people cried greatly. Iktomi wading in the lake had been swallowed like a gnat in the water. Within the great Iya he was looking skyward. So deep was the water in the Eater's stomach that the surface of the swallowed lake almost touched the sky. 'I will go that way,' said Iktomi, looking at the concave within arm's reach. He struck his knife upward in the Eater's stomach, and the water falling out drowned those people of the village. Now when the great water fell into its own bed, the Fish and the Turtle came to the shore. They went home painted victors and loud-voiced singers."3

The episode of Ocean Sucker has a Kickapoo parallel. When Snapping Turtle led a warparty against a village, it was routed but he had managed to get himself safely into a lake. The villagers now called upon Bittern to suck the lake dry. Bittern drew in all the water of the lake, but Snapping Turtle snuck up and bit a hole in his stomach from which all the waters of the lake rushed back into their bed. Thus did Snapping Turtle escape death at the hands of the villagers.4 The first part of the Kickapoo story.

The episode of the bird drinking up the lake also has a good parallel in a Slavey story. One day Yamonhdeyi was being chased by a woman who had turned into a grizzly bear. He turned around and shot her dead with his single arrow. When her parents saw this, they too began to chase him, so he jumped into a pond and turned into a fish. The old man called upon two pelicans to help him. Between the two of them, they took up the whole pond in their bills. Yet Yamonhdeyi found a pocket of water under a small piece of wood, and there he hid. The old man and his wife began killing everything in the pond. Just then a yellowlegs (a bird) came walking by. Yamonhdeyi asked him for help in getting the water back into the pond, so the yellow legs approached the nearest pelican and suddenly jumped into its mouth, bursting its pouch. A great deluge ensued, and the old people drowned. In this way Yamonhdeyi escaped.5

Links: Turtle, Turtle Spirits, Squirrels, Were-Grizzlies and Other Man-Bears, Bird Spirits, Frogs.

Stories: featuring Turtle as a character: The Mission of the Five Sons of Earthmaker, Turtle's Warparty, Turtle and the Giant, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, Soft Shelled Turtle Gets Married, Turtle and the Merchant, Redhorn's Father, Redhorn's Sons, Turtle and the Witches, The Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, Trickster Soils the Princess, Morning Star and His Friend, Grandfather's Two Families, The Race for the Chief's Daughter, Kunu's Warpath, Redhorn Contests the Giants, Redhorn and His Brothers Marry, The Skunk Origin Myth, The Hocąk Migration Myth, The Creation of Man, The Twins Join Redhorn's Warparty, The Father of the Twins Attempts to Flee, The Chief of the Heroka, The Spirit of Gambling, The Nannyberry Picker, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, The Markings on the Moon (v. 2), The Green Man, The Hocągara Contest the Giants, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Coughing Up of the Black Hawks, The Petition to Earthmaker, The Origins of the Milky Way; mentioning turtles (other than Turtle): Turtle's Warparty, Soft Shelled Turtle Gets Married, Redhorn Contests the Giants, The Race for the Chief's Daughter, Redhorn's Sons, Trickster, the Wolf, the Turtle, and the Meadow Lark, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, The Healing Blessing, The Spider's Eyes, The Stench-Earth Medicine Origin Myth, The Mesquaki Magician; featuring Little Red Turtle as a character: Turtle's Warparty; mentioning porcupines: Turtle's Warparty; mentioning squirrels: The Brown Squirrel, Old Man and Wears White Feather, Wears White Feather on His Head, The Animal Spirit Aids of the Medicine Rite, The Arrows of the Medicine Rite Men, Trickster and the Eagle; featuring were-bears as characters: The Were-Grizzly, The Reincarnated Grizzly Bear, The Spotted Grizzly Man, Brass and Red Bear Boy, Partridge's Older Brother, Turtle's Warparty, The Woman who Loved her Half-Brother, The Roaster, Wazųka, The Shaggy Man; featuring deer as characters: Deer Clan Origin Myth, A Deer Story, Little Fox and the Ghost, Wolves and Humans, The Green Man, The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter, Trickster's Tail, Fireman's Brother, cf. The Race for the Chief's Daughter, mentioning frogs: The Stone that Became a Frog, Hare and the Dangerous Frog, The Two Boys, The Woman Who Became an Ant, Snowshoe Strings, Turtle's Warparty, Young Rogue's Magic; mentioning prairie frogs: The Woman Who Became an Ant; about Bird Spirits: Crane and His Brothers, The King Bird, Bird Origin Myth, Bird Clan Origin Myth, Wears White Feather on His Head, Old Man and Wears White Feather, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds, The Thunderbird, Owl Goes Hunting, The Boy Who Became a Robin, Partridge's Older Brother, The Woman who Loved Her Half-Brother, The Foolish Hunter, Ocean Duck, Earthmaker Sends Rušewe to the Twins, The Quail Hunter, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Hocąk Arrival Myth, Trickster Gets Pregnant, Trickster and the Geese, Holy One and His Brother (kaǧi, woodpeckers, hawks), Turtle's Warparty (Thunderbirds, eagles, kaǧi, pelicans, sparrows), Kaǧiga and Lone Man (kaǧi), The Old Man and the Giants (kaǧi, bluebirds), The Bungling Host (snipe, woodpecker), The Red Feather, Trickster, the Wolf, the Turtle, and the Meadow Lark, Waruǧábᵉra, The Race for the Chief's Daughter, Black and White Moons, The Markings on the Moon, The Creation Council, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, Earthmaker Blesses Wagíšega (Wešgíšega), The Man Who Would Dream of Mą’ųna (chicken hawk), Hare Acquires His Arrows, Keramaniš’aka's Blessing (black hawk, owl), Heną́ga and Star Girl (black hawk), The Stench-Earth Medicine Origin Myth (black hawk, kaǧi), Worúxega (eagle), The Arrows of the Medicine Rite Men (eagle), The Gift of Shooting (eagle), Hocąk Clans Origin Myth, Hawk Clan Origin Myth, The Hocąk Migration Myth, Blue Jay, The Baldness of the Buzzard, The Abduction and Rescue of Trickster (buzzards), The Shaggy Man (kaǧi), The Healing Blessing (kaǧi), The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth (kaǧi), Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, Įcorúšika and His Brothers (Loon), Great Walker's Medicine (loon), Roaster (woodsplitter), The Spirit of Gambling, The Big Stone (a partridge), Trickster's Anus Guards the Ducks, The Story of the Medicine Rite (loons, cranes, turkeys), The Fleetfooted Man, The Journey to Spiritland (v. 4) — see also Thunderbirds; mentioning feasts: Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth (Chief Feast), The Creation Council (Eagle Feast), Hawk Clan Origin Myth (Eagle Feast), Waterspirit Clan Origin Myth (Waterspirit Feast), A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga (Mąką́wohą, Waną́cĕrehí), Bear Clan Origin Myth (Bear Feast), The Woman Who Fought the Bear (Bear Feast), Grandfather's Two Families (Bear Feast), Wolf Clan Origin Myth (Wolf Feast), Buffalo Clan Origin Myth (Buffalo Feast), The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits (Buffalo Feast), Buffalo Dance Origin Myth (Buffalo Feast), Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle (Buffalo Feast), The Blessing of Šokeboka (Feast to the Buffalo Tail), Snake Clan Origins (Snake Feast), Blessing of the Yellow Snake Chief (Snake Feast), Rattlesnake Ledge (Snake Feast), The Thunderbird (for the granting of a war weapon), Turtle's Warparty (War Weapons Feast, Warpath Feast), Earthmaker Blesses Wagíšega (Wešgíšega) (Winter Feast = Warbundle Feast), Big Thunder Teaches Cap’ósgaga the Warpath (Winter Feast = Warbundle Feast), The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion (Winter Feast = Warbundle Feast), White Thunder's Warpath (Winter Feast = Warbundle Feast), The Fox-Hocąk War (Winter Feast = Warbundle Feast), Šųgepaga (Winter Feast = Warbundle Feast), The Man Whose Wife was Captured (v. 2) (Warbundle Feast, Warpath Feast), Black Otter's Warpath (Warpath Feast), Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth (Warpath Feast), Kunu's Warpath (Warpath Feast), Trickster's Warpath (Warpath Feast), The Masaxe War (Warpath Feast), Redhorn's Sons (Warpath Feast, Fast-Breaking Feast), The Girl who Refused a Blessing from the Wood Spirits (Fast-Breaking Feast), The Chief of the Heroka (Sick Offering Feast), The Dipper (Sick Offering Feast, Warclub Feast), The Four Slumbers Origin Myth (Four Slumbers Feast), The Journey to Spiritland (Four Slumbers Feast), The First Snakes (Snake Feast), Spear Shaft and Lacrosse (unspecified), Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts (unnamed).

Themes: a group of animals is preparing for the cold of winter by looking for a more suitable place to live: Trickster and the Geese, Trickster Gets Pregnant; brothers meet by chance and decide to lodge together: Turtle's Warparty, Trickster Gets Pregnant, Crane and His Brothers; four brothers, Turtle, Porcupine, Squirrel, and Little Red Turtle, live together and go to war together: Turtle's Warparty; posing as a benefactor, someone tricks a game animal into making a fatal mistake so that he can make a meal out of it: Trickster's Buffalo Hunt; after a young man kills an animal, someone comes along and wrongfully claims it as his own: The Red Feather, the fruit of the hunt is stolen: Crane and His Brothers, The Spotted Grizzly Man, Old Man and Wears White Feather, White Wolf, The Brown Squirrel; someone gets into a fight but says nothing about it to his lodge mates: Iron Staff and His Companions; a young man who has been abused by someone comes home showing signs of sorrow, but when his eldest brother asks him about it, he does not tell him what really happened: Turtle's Warparty, The Brown Squirrel; the eldest brother (Turtle) realizes that one of his brothers has been abused but has said nothing to him, so he gets his brother to tell him about it, after which he avenges him upon his tormentor: Turtle's Warparty (Porcupine), The Brown Squirrel (Henu); head hunting: White Fisher, Big Thunder Teaches Cap’ósgaga the Warpath, A Man's Revenge, How Little Priest went out as a Soldier, Little Priest's Game, Bluehorn's Nephews, The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion, Young Man Gambles Often, Morning Star and His Friend (v. 2), The Dipper, The Four Slumbers Origin Myth, Turtle's Warparty, Ocean Duck, The Markings on the Moon, Wears White Feather on His Head, The Red Man, The Chief of the Heroka, Thunderbird and White Horse, The Man with Two Heads, Brave Man, The Sons of Redhorn Find Their Father, Redhorn's Sons, Fighting Retreat, The Children of the Sun, Heną́ga and Star Girl, Mijistéga’s Powwow Magic and How He Won the Trader's Store, The Were-Grizzly, Winneconnee Origin Myth; Turtle and his brothers kill an enemy who had been harassing them but find out that he is a prince among the bears: Turtle's Warparty; a human turns into a (spirit) animal: How the Thunders Met the Nights (Thunderbird), Waruǧábᵉra (Thunderbird), The Dipper (hummingbird), Keramaniš’aka's Blessing (blackhawk, owl), Elk Clan Origin Myth (elk), Young Man Gambles Often (elk), Sun and the Big Eater (horse), The Reincarnated Grizzly Bear, The Were-Grizzly, Partridge's Older Brother (bear), The Woman who Loved her Half-Brother (bear), The Shaggy Man (bear), The Roaster (bear), Wazųka (bear), The Spotted Grizzly Man (bear), Brass and Red Bear Boy (bear, buffalo), White Wolf (dog, wolf), Worúxega (wolf, bird, snake), Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle (buffalo), The Brown Squirrel (squirrel), The Skunk Origin Myth (skunk), The Fleetfooted Man (otter, bird), A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga (otter), The Diving Contest (Waterspirit), The Woman who Married a Snake (snake, Waterspirit), The Omahas who turned into Snakes (four-legged snakes), The Twins Get into Hot Water (v. 3) (alligators), Snowshoe Strings (a frog), How the Hills and Valleys were Formed (v. 3) (earthworms), The Woman Who Became an Ant, Hare Kills a Man with a Cane (ant); someone's head is used as the lodge flag or its base: Turtle's Warparty, Redhorn's Sons; a (spirit) animal uses one of its body parts as an arrow(head): Redhorn Contests the Giants (Turtle's claw); seeing the approach of an enemy warparty in a dream: Moiety Origin Myth, Wazųka, The Dogs of the Chief's Son, The Dog that became a Panther; concentric fortifications: Turtle's Warparty, How the Thunders Met the Nights; an enemy warparty breaks through successive barricades, but is not victorious: Turtle's Warparty, How the Thunders Met the Nights; in contesting his enemies, Turtle remains submerged under water for a very long time: Redhorn Contests the Giants; someone fleeing enemies hides in a crevice of a cliff: The Woman Who Became an Ant, Shakes the Earth, Turtle's Warparty, Little Human Head, Heną́ga and Star Girl; someone about to be killed cries out to a spirit to whom he is related, and is saved: Waruǧábᵉra, Bluehorn's Nephews, The Seven Maidens; despite the assistance of a great spirit, and a determined fight, a group of brothers must flee to a place of safety: Turtle's Warparty, Wears White Feather on His Head, The Man who went to the Upper and Lower Worlds; a warleader sets out to capture alive an enemy spirit: Turtle's Warparty, Šųgepaga; a spirit's "dogs" turn out to be another kind of animal: Old Man and Wears White Feather (human), Turtle's Warparty (frogs), Chief of the Heroka (grizzly, wolf, otter, beaver), The Red Man (alligators), Bladder and His Brothers (giant raccoon); birds are called by a warparty to drink up a lake in which their enemies are hiding: Turtle's Warparty.


1 Paul Radin, "Porcupine," Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) #11: 1-43.

2 ⊥e-úʞaⁿha, "How the Big Turtle Went on the Warpath," in Rev. James O. Dorsey, "¢egiha Texts," Contributions to North American Ethnology, 6 (1890): 271-277.

3 Zitkala-Ṣa, "The Warlike Seven," Old Indian Legends (Lincoln: Univesity of Nebraska Press, 1901) 158-164.

4 Kickapoo Tales, collected by William Jones, trs. by Truman Michelson. Publications of the American Ethnological Society (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1915) IX:43-45.

5 "The Young Man who Sought a Wife," in Patrick Moore and Angela Wheelock (edd), Wolverine Myths and Visions: Dene Traditions from Northern Alberta (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990) Story 9, p. 47-48.