by Charlie N. Houghton
translated by Richard L. Dieterle,
based on the interlinear translation of Oliver LaMère
(1) There was a village. The chief’s lodge was there. The chief’s lodge being there, there were ten men within. And there being two women, one was older and one was younger, that way they used to be. An old woman was there at the end of the village and so she had a little granddaughter. It happened that she got married to someone, a man who used to kill plenty of game. (2) Her granddaughter was receiving help from the good hunter in order to make do. The good hunter gave things to her. In time he became sick. When he was sick never did he lay down for three nights. There he died. He died, and he died before the young woman gave birth. There, in time, the young woman became big-bellied. When she gave birth, she gave birth to a boy. At any rate, after she gave birth to a boy, she fed him on deer brains. Yet again here she let him suckle. (3) Inasmuch as she was doing this, now it happened that he never got sick. Now doing this she did very well at making him grow large. Now, as he was grown, he was able to shoot arrows. And then his mother also died. The old woman alone — ho! — he lived with and so finally, then, he acquired real arrows to shoot with. Around about he played with the boys. He could now play with arrows to shoot, that was the way he would be.
He knew that the chief’s daughter, the younger one, was about of marriageable age. (4) Then her breasts were strong. Finally, she saw the boy. Kora! Greatly did she like men. She loved him. She loved this boy. Now she did this, the young woman, she tried to throw herself in his way. Sometimes, indeed, she would meet him. She yearned intensely for a joking relationship with him, and, "Say a word to me and court me," like that she would intensely yearn. Kora! she wished for him often. The boy was quite young and yet he never said anything to her. And then also the girl would consider courting indirectly herself. (5) Now she dreaded it, and now she was just very much in want of him only. Now thus they were. Over time — ho! — her mind was really that way. "Now I’ll marry him; I’ll ask him," she would think, but the woman [would say], "Now then, I will make my older brothers ashamed," she would think, then she would not say anything. Again, "I will tell my mother," she would think, but "Ho! again she would object: 'He is an orphan,' she would say, she would say that he is not equal to me," she would think. Now — ho! — again she would not tell her.
(6) Kora! in time then her mind was this way for a number of years. "I don’t know whether I should do that." Finally, thus she went on until she became sick. Now that the young girl had become sick — ho! — they gave reverential greetings (ruhįč). They told them to apply a little medicine. They gave ruhįč to a man. He also gave her medicine, but he did not make her any different. And so again he gave ruhįč to a holy (wákąčąk) man and again he began doing it. Ho-o-o! He would say that he examined her all over, but he never learned anything about her. (7) Then really indeed again to the third one they gave ruhįč. Three of them had worked on her. Then they worked very hard. But in reality, they didn’t know anything. Now finally they failed to do it. The young girl died.
When she died — ho! — it was about fall. Then they buried her. Gwo! the clothes that she had now, she put all of them on, and some that she did not have on, there they put all of them in a large black bag and (8) now they laid her with her head on it as a pillow. The put her with her head reclining on it and on top, there they laid wood over her. And now then, on top they just made a mound of dirt, (so that it would) not leak. That way they laid her. That way they did and then — ho! — again they erected poles on top — ho! — they filled it with everything pertaining to the grave (including its house). After she had gone through the [Four] Slumbers, they said it. The chief said, "I am not like anything. I sit looking at the grave. I am not like anything. Let us go away, as it would be good to be out of sight of it. It would be good just about two slumbers away, there we can live. So the crier said that sort of thing. (9) And how they now got ready! But the old woman’s grandson said, "Grandmother, I don’t like this that they are saying very much, considering how I am killing a little something again. Again, I can probably act on our little mouths for you. Truly I would hate to go. Ask the chief, how it would be if we waited at the lodge?" he said. "All right, then, I’ll ask him." And so the old woman went to the chief’s lodge and she told him that. (10) "My dear grandson said not to go. So I came just that they might drive the animals here to grandmother. Surprisingly, to this timber, there an animal might come instead. 'It is good that sometimes I am killing a little something,' he said. My grandson said not to go." "Ho! my dear niece (hičųjąk), you have spoken well on what to do if you do not to go; also if they kill some elk, we will come and see you. And anyhow you can take care of the grave here," he also said. (11) "Well, my grandson — ų́sge! — the planned repair of my lodge, if the girls just helped me, it would be good." "All right, my nieces will come over there." And so — ho! — she fixed up the bark lodge. Now the women came and — ho! — they helped her. Gwo! now high up to that far, they also piled up dirt at the bottom and now they did it in such a way as to make it very warm for her. She was doing it that way. When they finished, indeed they went on a move for four times (nights).
Now from this side he might overlook the village that he used to go around. It was night, so instead — ho! — he came straight on. Now he came right through the middle of the village. When he got there on the opposite side — ’ų́sge! — the chief’s lodge was lit up. Thus it was lit up. "Korá! they would come and see us, they had said. They must have come," he thought. Now then, there he now went and peeped in. When he peeped in there, the woman there was sitting up. "Why are you doing thus? You came but you’re peeping in, you do not come in," she said. (15) Now then, so he put his pack down outside. Now, then he went in. He went in and sat down there opposite her. "Why did you do that? You did that for the measure of the earth (forever), all the time you disliked me," she said. And so — ho! — there beside her he sat. He sat beside her. And she said to him, "Thou dear man, hagagasgéžąxjį (thus has it been). Hagagasgéžąxjį! You are the reason that I died. So at this time — náįxjį! — you would try me, I think," she said. "Hagagasgéžą! how was I the cause of doing such a thing to you?" (16) "You didn’t exactly do anything." "But what did I do?" "Well, you didn’t do anything to me, but now I wish to marry you. I liked you. And so I died of a flattened heart." "Hąhą’ą, why didn’t you tell me about it?" "Well, I would think that you would have a joking relationship with me, or now you would say something to me, but not at any time did you have a joking relationship with me. So again I would think to tell mother of it, but I would think that maybe she would perhaps reprove me for it. (17) And so now here again, 'Now I should do it myself and marry you,' I would say, and now I would think to follow you back, but I would think that I would make my brothers ashamed. And so now I went on doing this, doing this that way. A flattened heart is the cause of my being dead, but I have not gone there, where the ghosts (wanąǧi) are. ’Ų́ha! I think this time you should really do good for me," she said to him. "Hohó! hagagasgéžą! (18) What did I do, and did you try? and what could I do? You ought to have told me. It would not have been so frightening. If you had told me, I would have asked my grandmother to come and she would have told someone and that way we could have done it. Really, you did not do good. You should have told someone. You ought to have told." "That’s right. I was ashamed and in that way I did it to myself," the woman said. "Now, now — ho! — I mean that you should stay here all night. I mean beginning with this night to try for me," she said. "All right! whatever you intend, hišją́ge, I’ll try it," he also said.
(19) And so, now then — ho! — she said to him, "It would be good to gather up wood. It would be good to keep the fire burning." Now then, one night he gathered in all the pieces of wood. Now he gathered a great many of them. And the woman said to him, she said, "Now at all times, keep the fire blazing up," she said to him. So the boy did it that way. He still put very much of it into the fire and, now then, the blaze would reach high up. The woman said, "Any time that you get sleepy, just tell me something," she said. (20) "All right." And so now, not being sleepy, he did not sleep. He just told her things. Now the woman, then — ho! — that’s the way she was and she constantly reproved herself: "Now, I ought to have told it to someone. Hagagasgéžą! I did it to myself and my body is not good," the woman would constantly say. "Finally, now then, now — ho! — now then, I am getting sleepy," he said. And the last time he put quite a bit into the fire. And so, now then — ho! — now he put in very much. Now he did and now then — ho! — he laid down. "However, just lay down, but if you would sleep, don’t. (21) You’re not going to sleep for four nights," she said. And it will not be insects that are doing this to you, just the body feeling crawling sensations. Never touch there," the woman said. "Well, I will try hard," he said. "And then all day tomorrow, if you want to sleep, you can," they [the ghosts] had told her. So he did it, they say.
Now, when he got sleepy, he laid flat on his back and he liked the way that he laid. In this way he did and he became quiet. Now then, now — ho! — he laid very still. (22) Kora! wirakirakúni! just then the fire became rather low. Wirakirakúni! now on his face it now got kind of itchy. Just then something which walked kind of like an insect, he now imagined was the same, he thought. Now he never felt there. And that was the way he was. He never did that way. It began to get worse. Now finally, they began doing it on the corners of his eyes, also now something began to sort of itch. Finally, his ears were also that way. Now doing this again on him, his whole body was that way. (23) Sometimes, when he was covered with them, he would be very tempted not to be covered with them. Doing thus, now then, day finally came. Kóra! just when the dawn of the day got there, now they left him. Now when they left him, the woman said, "Hąhą́! this is one down. You have overcome them all. Go home now." And so the man got up and now then — ho! — he dressed and picked up his pack that had been outside and he was ready to go home. "Hąhą́! now try hard inasmuch as you have now overcome this. (24) Come again just when the sun begins to get low. Three more times are left for you," She said to him. "When you get home you must day-sleep all day long. When the sun gets low again, you are to come back." Ho! now then, he now got home. There he went home to his grandmother’s. "Wáu, little grandson, how you made me worry. Why were you lost?" "Hąhó, grandmother, I killed this deer way off yonder. I slept on the way home," he said. She had no reason to say this, as the old woman knew all about it, they say. Now she didn’t say anything. Now — ho! — when he got through eating, he slept all day long. There he had been. (25) Old Man, the boy, finally woke up and there the sun was low. "Ha, grandmother, I want to eat." "Hohó! grandmother, hagagasgéjąxjį! I’ve really gotten myself into something." "Wau-u-u! that is the way you a going to be: I cautioned you about coming that way, but you came that way anyhow. Hehé, grandson, it is hard. How can you conquer that spirit to make it live? That is what she means you to do. How can you do it?" "Hąhá, grandmother, that is so. This night, grandmother, I overcame it." (26) "Waú, grandson, you did well. If you conquer it, you will have succeeded in helping me," she said. She said, "I will have my mind on it, but not a thing can be done about it," she said.
Again, then for a second night, there he went. Again the same sort of thing happened. Again, he gathered a great deal of wood and it seemed just fun. Midnight was over. He tried very hard, but however, then what could he do? He was failing. Kóra! finally, again, he got sleepy. (27) "Hąhá! thou woman, I am sleepy." And now he again put a great deal of wood in. Whenever that fire was properly lit up, nothing would happen to him. And so he put in a great deal of wood. Now, again he laid flat on his back, face upwards, the way he liked to lay. Ho! now he was thus. Ho! now again, right away, the fire began to get low. Ho! again now — ho! — they began to walk over him like they had done before. Kóra! now again it had been — kóra! — again it was worse this night. Gwo! he came with great effort to daylight. "Hąhó! thou man, well — really well — you have overcome these two nights. (28) With might you did it, and just to conquer me; and now as long as I live, up to (the end of) the life I live, again I will work for your grandmother as long as she lives," she said. "You must try hard." "Hąhą́! it is really very hard. What could I do?" "It is hard and that way it is, but — naįxjíną — I am thinking of marrying you, that’s why I’m saying this," she said.
And so, now then, again he day-slept there all day long. (29) Ha, again for the third time when night came, now then, now from the old lodges there he gathered all of the wood. He gathered it and now he filled up the back of the lodge with it. He filled it and now — ho! — he sat down right beside her and all night he told her stories, just funny things, that sort of things he was telling her. With little more than just hope, he would not get sleepy, he thought, as he was doing it. Kóra! now while he was doing just this, it was midnight and as it was wintertime, the nights were long. Just about midnight, finally, (30) "Hąhó! thou woman, up until now I have been able, but now I’m sleepy." "All right, then feed the fire." And so now again he built the fire for a third time. Huhú! very much he did the third time. Now then — ho! — when he was ready to lie down, he put a lot into the fire. Now thus it was. "It will help a little, since the night will last longer," he thought. And so the fire went through the top of the lodge. Now then, he was awake. Finally, he was again doing it very near midnight, then the fire got low. Ho! right away again he took to it. Kóra! again it was much more. Yet sometimes, just to reach for them seemed very good, but he controlled himself. (31) He was trying to marry the woman. Now at night, finally the third time, he stayed up all night. "Hohó! thou man, it is good. Now then, I’m beginning to think that now I’m really going to marry you. Only thus I am," she said she was thinking. "Yet it still bothers me that you did not tell your mother of it and if she had told my grandmother, we could have been this way long ago, and I would not have suffered such a time." "Hąhą́! you speak the truth, but for as long as I live, I will always work for you," she said.
Now the young man went home and slept there the whole day. Thus it had been, and the fourth time, now then — ho! — in the evening he went again. (32) Now then, the old houses, these he was doing, as much wood as they had left that they had saved was now gone. Now then, he did all of them. Now he gathered it and filled the area next to the door. Thus, now when the sun went down — ho! — just for a little time, he did not come into the lodge. Just when the sun went down, now — ho! ’ų́sge! — his actions became kind of clumsy. Finally, now he came in. He readily piled up the wood and, now then, he went in and built up the fire and — huhú — did he speak to her and tell her woraks. (33) Did he speak to her and tell stories! Now — ho! — he was telling them. Now then, he stayed awake a really long time. Now then, finally, "Hehé-e-e! you said that it was the last time so I’m trying very hard, but I just can’t seem to amount to anything. Hąhą́! so far I’m sleepy," he said. "Hąhą́! well, you have been doing well. Build the fire up mightily," she said. And so again now — ho! — the boy built a powerful fire. Now then, it now burned, now over the top of the lodge, now it reached beyond that. Now so there is lay down. Kóra! just now he was lying on his back. Now then, in time the fire began to burn low. Now at that time he was very peaceful. Then it seemed as if they were grabbing him. Thus it was. (34) It began to be the way it had been with his body itching. It was the fourth time and they did not want him to be victorious. Now with great might they did it to him. Just then the corner of his eyes, all the places on his body where there were corners, now all of them began to itch. Sometimes he thought that he would reach out for it, but she had said not to, nevertheless, his mind must have jumped all around. Koté! he conquered, they say. Wó! wérakírakúni! for the fourth time the day grew light. Now they left him. And that however it was, they mean that they were ghosts, it is said. (35) When they got through with him, now — ho! — the woman said, "Hąhą́! you’ve conquered! You know the grave, dig me out. I am not dead: the way you see me now, I will be that way," she said, they say.
And so — ho! — now then — ho! — he got up and first — ho! — he took down the poles over the grave. (36) When he was through with that — ho! — now then again he threw the dirt out, digging her out. When he dug through the grave, there was the woman, laughing. Now she got up and — ho! — she took the bundle that she had for a pillow and now got out of the grave. Now she did thus and the boy repaired the grave to the way it had been. Again that way he did. That way he did and now — ho! — he went home, the woman with him. He married the woman. Finally, they got home. "Hehehiá! quite terribly did I make myself suffer. Quite, grandmother, did I torment myself," he said. "Ha-a, my grandson, then what I told you not to do, you did, so you’ve gotten yourself into it." "No at all, grandmother. Well, I took pity on you, that’s why I am doing this. (37) Now, I’ve brought her so that you can make her work for you." "Hų-m-m," the old woman said. Now she used her staff and now poked open the door flap to one side. "New woman, come in now. Why are you standing out there now?" Gwó! now the woman was very fixed up. Now she came on in. She was beside, but facing, this man. There she left her bag for his grandmother. After she sat down — ho! — she took her clothes off and now she put them all there for the old woman. The old woman now opened her old bag and now the new woman also put on different clothes for her. (38) And thus once it was done, he married her. He had tormented himself for her.
Once it was thus, in time he began to peacefully hunt. And now they had plenty of things and food and so then that way they used to be, it is said. Just when the old woman was ready to wash herself, the woman would put out the wash pan for her. Hąhá! now then, finally Kunuga, one of the chief’s two sons, said, "Koté! nephew, let us go up to our grandmother." "Okay." (39) And so they say that deer spare ribs, four of that kind, they packed up for the grandson. Ho! he came to see the old woman, and the nephew was with him. Finally, they came to the old village, and when they got there now at the lodge they looked at, the chief’s lodge, absolutely all the wood there had been burned up. "Hąhą́! why is it like this?" Again they came to where they were around their sister’s grave but now it looked as if the dirt had been disturbed. He rather thought that just an animal had done it. Kóra, hagagasgéžą! what, didn’t the old woman and her grandson, the home sitters, never look after them?" he was saying this. "Ha, koté! let’s go thus far," he said.
(40) And so, now then, as they now started in there, just this way as he opened the door there, there was his sister’s black bag, the old woman had sitting in back of her. "Hohó! this, again, how can it be?" he thought. And he knew it. The face of this woman as she was now sitting in back of the man, having laid down, her face was not visible. Now she laid down. Now then, even so since he started to come in, "Hąhoí! thou lad, here your sister became alive and thus she sits in our lodge," said the young man. Now then, he now looked at his sister. There she lay. (41) The man was scared. "Hohó! maybe my eyes are thus." Now then, now — ho! — he fixed over his eyes and looked at his sister. In reality now, in reality now, he saw her. Then and there, this woman now cried. And so there this young man said, "Koté! how uneasy you will make their hearts. You’re making their hearts feel bad, and nothing more," he said. "Give them something to eat. Now let them eat," he said. And so the woman stopped crying and now then — ho! — she now sat upright. (42) There — ho! — his sister was really alive. "Hąhą! my dear sister," and he shook her hand over and over again. Now the woman then put several kinds of food out for them. There she laid out very carefully what happened to her. "Hąhą́! brother, it was my fault that I died. This man I have liked all along. Now if I had my way and did it, I thought I would make you ashamed, and so I didn’t do it. Again I would think to tell my mother, but that how (she would say) that he, an orphan, was not equal to me. I thought she would say, 'There are lots of men,' so I never did tell my mother about it. (43) Then I died from a flattened heart." "Hoho! hagagasgéžą, my dear little sister, why indeed did you not tell of it? You ought to have told it. Hągágaskéją! you were almost a great loss." "And that is so, but as I say, my mind was that way, so I never told it." And now having finished eating, he said, "Hąhą́! my dear little sister, our mind is not the very best. Still, mother, father also, cry sometimes in the evenings. We’ll go home right away, as I am not too tired. (44) Yet on account of the time we took walking down here, we arrived without being tired. Now, once we get home, we’ll move back here." "Okay, given how plentiful food is, if you proceed that way, it would be good." Ho! and so — ho! — now they went home.
Now when they went home there night overtook them, but — ho! — all night they went on. Wérakírakúni! just then they began to walk fast. And they say — gwo! — when daylight came then they got home. At home, this way he spoke: "Hohó! father, hagagasgéžą! mother, hagagaskéją! the story seems incredible, (45) but my little sister has been made to live! There she is married to the old woman’s grandson," he said. In truth, now, just that kind of doubt — ho! — they had, but then now both people — hąhą́— told it. "I really mean it." Yet the nephew too, he also said it. And he told of her mind, also how she died, he told all of it, and again how the boy he had done it and how he had made her live, and also again all that he told. "It would be good if now, right away, we would go move home. Now there are plenty of deer and also bear, so if we go home, it would be good." (46) "Hoho, my dear son, well, it will be so. Then tell the crier and he can call it out. It will be this very day. Even if night overtakes us, we will not stop," the chief said. And so, they say, now — ho! — that kind of thing the crier called about. "Now, this very day, we will go home. Even if night falls, we will go on anyhow," he said.
Ho! so that way they did. Ho! now doing thus, they finally got home. (47) When they got home, there — woírakírakúni! — their daughter, there she was. And how else would they be? They cried incessantly. Ho! now then, that woman of theirs, and her folks, were together in one place, the lodge. She lived with them. They had the old woman sit opposite to her, and she sat there alongside her younger brothers, her mother, and also her older brothers. Hą, that’s the way they always were. Finally — ho! — now then, thus far their minds had now become settled. At one time their hearts had been flattened, but not anymore. And so the men began to peacefully hunt.
(48) Finally, it is said, she had a child. After she had the child, then he was able to shoot arrows. She had one and only one child with him, a male. There he shot arrows when he was able.
And finally, he said, "Hąhą́! now then, I am not yet old, but — hąhą́! — thus far is as far as I can go. My father said for me to come home, so I’m going home. However, I will not die in the way that you do. Just this way I am going home," the young man said, they say. She cried after her husband. (49) Then the man said, "Well, ask your old folks if they like it for you and do not get lonesome for you, then we will try it. I don’t think that they will be able to, but we will try it anyhow," he said. So the woman asked her folks. "Hohó! my dear daughter, I have just barely gotten to see you, I thought. How very bad this will be again." "Well father, there is nothing we can do about it. At any rate you will still always be able to see me, yet you will depend upon me all the time." Ho! now then, it is said that now — ho! — they also thanked her for it. (50) The people, the old folks, the old man, the woman, "Ųhá! well daughter, it is your wish, so you say it. That way had the son-in-law come to his life, that is why you say it. And we liked it very much just to see you, as he said we did. So I said it. Hą, now — ho! — you will go with him," he told her.
"And the body of the young man will always be like his own father’s. He will be able to kill plenty of game, and he will be capable in wars also. And whatever trouble they should have at anytime, this man will come, and he will go to help," he said.
(51) And so, now then, now — ho! — finally, now — ho! — the people were just about asleep then, when in the direction where the day comes from, there a wolf howled, and then again soon after, at the spring, then again one howled. Yet again, after awhile, where the sun goes down (one howled); where the sun straightens, for the fourth time one again howled (four wolf howls). Ho! that way it was. This man went out and this woman knew it herself, but she went out, not being able to help herself from following after him. (52) Having been told, they knew about it, and therefore did not run after them. Ųhá, they were wolves. Earthmaker had created a wolf, and the boy said that he was his father. So they went back. There they are lying under the earth and their young ones were to be on this earth so that sometimes should one of the people — ho! — make himself suffer (by fasting), they say that the young ones, if one of the people were blessed, they would be the ones who would do it, they used to say.
There is the end.1
Commentary. "ten men" & "two women" — the nine sons of the chief could represent the nine clans, at least according to one way of counting them:
The two women probably represent the moieties, the older being the Upper Moiety (Bird Clan) in blue, and the younger the Lower Moiety in red. The numbers help to reinforce the feeling, unstated, that these people are Hočąk.
"a boy" — the narrative takes us through five generations and can be confusing, so the genealogy of this boy, who later turns out to be a Wolf Spirit incarnate, is given below.
Since the boy in this story is a Wolf Spirit who turns into a terrestrial wolf, we can with great confidence assign him to the Wolf Clan. The Wolf Clan belongs to the Lower, or Earth, Moiety. The primary function of the moieties is exogamy, so members of the Lower and Upper Moieties intermarry with one another. In this case, the boy, a member of the Lower Moiety, marries the daughter of the chief. The chief belongs to the Thunderbird Clan, which is in the Upper Moiety, so the marriage is conventional in that respect. Working backwards, the boy's father, and the male line generally, would have been of this same clan and moiety, but his mother would have been of the Upper Moiety. Her mother would have been of the Lower Moiety, and her mother's mother, here called the "old woman", would have been of the Upper Moiety. The complicating factor that enters in here is the fact that the Wolf Clan, alone among all other clans, can marry within itself, reflecting the anomalous spiritual character of the wolf.
"the good hunter" — as will be seen more clearly as events unfold, the male line consists of incarnate Wolf Spirits, who because of their predatory nature, are naturally highly skilled in hunting.
"deer brains" — deer brains are a delicacy and are thought to bestow a resistance to disease as we see also in the story "The Two Boys," where it is said, "The man did everything he could to keep the other child in good health. He filled a bladder with deer brains and let the child suckle on its contents." Beginning here, themes relating to deer recur several times (see 1, 2).
"the younger one" — this is the same one referred to in the third sentence. As the daughter of the chief, she is a member of his clan, the Thunderbird Clan.
"a joking relationship" (hįražič) — a relationship enjoyed among people having a specially intimate kinship tie, such as husband and wife, nephew and maternal uncle; but also in the artificial kinship relation of friendship. The "jokes" were often playfully insulting references to their intimate at which the other party was not to take offense in any way. Such "jokes" would be an insult if delivered to someone outside this special relationship.2 Ražič is verbal teasing, ružič is physical teasing.
"the girl would consider courting indirectly herself' — the notion that any direct courting by her would embarrass her brothers, reflects the fact that female assertiveness in affairs of the heart was considered shameful. Nevertheless, there were female love songs. An example collected by Amelia Susman shows how restrained its message is:
|Mother, uncles,||Nąnį́, tekáka,|
|There I will go;||Éja tekjé;|
|Mother, something far it is,||Nąnį́, wažą háriže,|
|There I will go.||Éja tekjé. 3|
The lyrics refer to the fact that at some point a new bride will follow her husband to where he lives. The lyrics almost suggest a lament, but it is probably designed to show that her sacrifice expresses her total commitment to him.
"she dreaded it" — this might be described as the "theme of diffidence." The fact that the boy turns into a wolf associates him with the Wolf Clan, whose members evolved from four primordial Spirit Wolves. The chief's clan, and therefore that of his daughter, is the Thunderbird Clan. These two clans seem to have a rather strained relationship. The Thunderbird Clan gives this version of the origins of the Wolf Clan:
After the first four Thunderbirds had established their lodge, something strange was seen lurking outside the camp. The Thunderbirds agreed that they would simply leave it alone. Gradually it moved nearer to the camp and began to feed on deer bones. The Thunders took it into their lodge and made it the Dog or Wolf Clan. They took one of the dogs and gave him a message to take to Earthmaker, and dispatched it by killing him. The Thunderbird people were originally as powerful as the Thunderbirds of the heavens, and this is why their clan is first among those on earth. The Dog Clan, however, is the least of them.4
The suggestion that the Wolf (Šųk-čąk) Clan, here called the "Dog (Šųk) Clan", is the least among the clans, betrays a measure of hostility. This account also makes the wolf seem diffident, so that it became necessary for the Thunder clansmen to go out and lead it into their lodge. The Wolf Clan, however, begs to differ. They say that it was, in fact, the Thunder Clan that was diffident.
At first the Thunders were afraid of the Wolf people and they would not enter their lodge. That is why we have a name "He who is Afraid." They asked the Thunders to come into their lodge and they had great difficulty in persuading them. After they entered the Wolf lodge they wanted to go home again immediately, but the Wolf Clan people asked them to stay over for four days. From that fact a name has originated, "One who is Waited for by the Thunders." The Thunders stayed, but not in the lodge of the Wolf people. They built themselves one just outside their door.5
Here the Thunder Clan is not just diffident, but seemingly frightened. In our present myth, just as in the origin myth, the daughter of the chief (yųgiwį) is very diffident about approaching the wolf-boy, despite the fact that he is perfectly open to it. So the myth is being told from a Wolf Clan point of view.
|An Oak Shattered by Lightning, 1899|
What are the grounds for this mutual distrust? Here we are probably dealing with ideology, rather than the real dissonance of civil strife between these two clans. It is clear enough how, on an ideological level, there could be tension between the Wolf and Thunderbird Clans. Each clan has various sacred objects, powers, and taboos associated with it. The Wolf Clan holds water to be sacred, and it is highly improper for anyone to look into a jar of water housed within a Wolf Clan lodge. The corresponding sacred object for the Thunderbird Clan is fire, inasmuch as the divine Thunders shoot the fire of lightning from on high. Fire is the manifestation of sovereignty, and cannot be taken from the fireplace of the clan without the due observance of proper ritual. So the sacred objects of the Thunder and Wolf Clans are elemental opposites. The sovereignty that comes with the possession of fire is also contrasted with the opposite status assigned to the Wolf Clan, whom the Thunderbird clansmen describe as the least of the clans, as if they exemplified the property of water to seek its lowest level. The celestial Thunders have command over the rain and wind and fire of thunderstorms. The Wolf Clan has command over the wind where a crossing of a river is concerned. This reveals a level of competing control. The divine Thunders often shatter and burn trees by their lightning strikes, yet the log, when placed in a Wolf Clan lodge, has a special sacred status, since only a Wolf Clansmen may sit upon such a log. So the sacred element of the Thunders is destructive of the sacred objects of the Wolf Clan. The supernatural environments of the Thunders and Wolves stand in opposition, and the contrast can only be reflected as an ideological tension between the two clans.
"not say anything" — the theme of communication is repeated and stressed throughout this waiką, culminating at the end of the story in the most forceful of all forms of communication, the howl of the wolf. The concomitance of (mis-)communication and marriage at the beginning of the story is not a coincidence. Marriage itself, among the Hočągara with their moieties, is a model of communication. Communication is a conveyance of information or mental states. In successful communication, the information is recorded in memory so that it can be reproduced and made available for further communication. Similarly, when a clan of one moiety gives a woman to a man from the other moiety, a conveyance is made in which the woman is integrated into the new clan for the sake of reproduction and eventually making a woman available for conveyance to a man of the opposite moiety. It is the "communication" of women through marriage that keeps the clans knit together despite centrifugal forces that lead to distrust. There is probably no more extreme instance of this than the relationship exemplified in this story between the Thunderbird Clan and the Wolf Clan. As marriage is a unity between opposite sexes, so marriage, by being a communication of women, is a unity between opposite clans.
"he is not equal to me" — this is reiteration of the inequality theme, expressed in the Thunder Clan's idea that the Wolf Clan is the least of the clans. However, the rejection here is framed in terms of his being an orphan. Orphans typically live at the end of the village because they are poor and without the influence of their father's station as a warrior and hunter. The poor live at the edge because the outskirts of a village are the most vulnerable to enemy attack, and therefore are the worst position in the village layout. Orphans — at least those living with their grandmothers — are dependent upon charity, typically from the chief of the village, to whom everyone makes donations so that the goods and food might be redistributed to the poor. The orphan, therefore, is like the original wolf/dog who lurked around the outskirts of the village eating deer bones (the throwaways of the other clans). It is the chief-clan (Thunder Clan) that goes out and brings the poor wayward creature into the circle, rather like an act of charity. The model developed here is that the Wolf Clan is the orphan among the Hočąk clans. This also plays to one of the great themes of Hočąk thought, the opposition between entitlement by birth and entitlement by merit. Stories about orphans are models of how merit can overcome the handicaps of birth, a theme popular with Lower Moiety clans (like the Wolf Clan) who have the psychological need to offset the inherent rank of the Upper Moiety clans.
"reverential greetings" (ruhįč) — ruhįč was performed by slowly raising the outstretched right arm before the face of the person being greeted or shown respect.6 Radin says in a note in "Hog’s Adventures", "When going to a doctor the Indians always showed their respect by placing tob[acco] in his hand and in his hair and gently rubbing it [in]".7 Because the ruhįč was used and elaborated upon so extensively when supplicating a holy man for medical aid, Miner records that today it also means, "to fetch a medicine man and give him a gift for healing; to beseech anyone for his power to heal; to recognize ceremonially (similar to watųné)." For more on ruhįč, see the Commentaries to "Sweetened Drink Song," and "Tobacco Origin Myth".
"worked" — this work would usually involve songs to the spirits, such as this one collected by Amelia Susman, which was sung with a gourd accompaniment:
|Right now, tell me, I say,||Hįguą́ną woíkirágnąre, wihéną,|
|Right now, tell me, I say;||Hįguą́ną woíkirágnąre, wihéną;|
|The ones on earth,||Mąrégirerá,|
|Right now, tell me, I say, ho!||Hįguą́ną woíkirágnąre, wihéną, ho!|
|Right now, tell me, I say,||Hįguą́ną woíkirágnąre, wihéną,|
|Right now, tell me, I say;||Hįguą́ną woíkirágnąre, wihéną;|
|The ones up above,||Wągrégirera,|
|Right now, tell me, I say, ho!||Hįguą́ną woíkirágnąre, wihéną, ho!8|
The song appeals to the spirits of the upper and lower worlds to give the doctor insight.
"they laid wood over her" & "an animal had done it" — this seems to suggest a chamber rather like that formed by a coffin among whites. This would have been formed by branches in the time of stone axes, rather than the boards available later from saw mills. The idea would have been to keep the earth off her body. Not being encased in loose soil makes it difficult for worms to devour her flesh. This is part of the wikiri ("insect") resistance theme, worms being called wikiri-gíriríš, "coiled wikiri" (Miner), and sometimes wikiri-sereč, "long wikiri" (Jipson). For wikiri, see below. Logs, of which thick, stripped branches are miniatures, are sacred objects when placed as a seats in a Wolf Clan lodge. Since logs (nąxa) are just tree (ną) branches (xa), we can say that she was covered over with the kind of object akin to the lodge log sacred to the Wolf Clan. She is, however, not resting on the wood-branches (nąxa), rather they are the lid to her burial chamber.
There is in this an important connection to wolves. Canines of every sort are known to dig up shallow graves and eat the corpses.9 Much the same procedure used to bury the daughter of the chief in our story is also used in distant Bulgaria where long planks of wood were placed over the coffin of the deceased precisely to prevent wolves from digging up the body and devouring it.10 The wolf digging down into this grave would hit "logs" in the Hočąk sense of nąxa, and his technique of scratch-digging would not be sufficient to penetrate such an obstacle. He would be sitting atop the nąxa, just as his human counterpart does as his exclusive privilege inside a Wolf Clan lodge. The aspects of the grave that defend the body against the sacred elemental associations of the Wolf Clan, and by extension the wolf itself, is also used as a defense against scavenging by wolves.
"a mound of dirt" — a bare hill (xe hašara) is associated both with wolves and the Wolf Clan as attested by the name Xe-hašaramįnąka, "He who Sits on a Bare Hill." Similar associations are expressed by the names Xe-horajega, "He who Travels to the Hill," and Xe-homįka, "He who Lies Down on a Hill." When dogs or wolves dig with their feet, they create small mounds of dirt. A mound of dirt over a grave also has relevance to wolves. Dogs and wolves usually attack only shallow graves, so putting a mound of dirt above the grave would also tend to guard against the scavenging of the corpse by canines. With respect to digging and burial, it should be added that members of the genus Canis are in the habit of not only digging up food, but burying excess food to be exhumed later. Like a canine does with his most valued possession, the wolf-boy causes the girl (indirectly) to be buried, then digs her up and restores her to himself.
"not leak" — keeping her protected from water should have the effect of retarding decomposition. The exclusion of water (and wind) is a theme also seen again in the construction of the lodge for the boy and his grandmother (see below). Water can be a serious problem in shallow graves, as we see from incidents that occurred during a plague in North Africa in 1874, when circumstances of the epidemic made it necessary to dig shallow graves.
The graveyard is in the center of the village, beside a pool of standing water: the graves are shallow, and the corpses are sometimes unearthed by jackals. Both in the village and in the encampments a fall of rain was followed by a new series of attacks. The advice of the sanitary commissioner was to make graves at least six feet deep, and to cover them with lime. 11
This shows that water under these circumstances can be a catalyst for the eating of corpses by wolves and other canines. Both deep burial, as exemplified by the mound over the girl's grave, and protection from flooding therefore also prove to be defenses against scavenging by canines.
"poles" — the poles spoken of may be commemoration posts, the use of which was widespread among the Central Algonquian tribes.12 These posts displayed pictures of military achievements, appropriate to funerary concerns, since those that the participating warriors conquered (beheaded) were servants expected to aid the deceased in the journey to Spiritland. However, a picket fence might also be erected as a series of poles, as we see in this account of the burial of Four Legs:
After the interment of the body a stake was planted at its head on which was painted in vermillion a series of hieroglyphics descriptive of the great deeds and events of his life. The whole was then surrounded with pickets of the trunks of tamarack trees, and hither the friends would come for many successive days to renew the expression of their grief, and to throw over the grave tobacco and other offerings to the Great Spirit." 13
The pole of hieroglyphs actually depicted the achievements of the warriors who recounted their deeds at his funeral. A picket fence would also act as something of a deterrent to the molestation of the grave by animals.
"I can probably act on our little mouths for you" — the Hočąk is inį́gera nįkúruxurukšguniną́, an idiomatic expression for being able to feed themselves. The word inįgera (< i-nįk-ra) means "little mouths". On the model of "little eyes" (hišja-nįk) meaning "blind," and "little ears" (nųǧ-nįk) meaning "deaf," i-nįk usually means "mute." However, on much the same model, substituting intake for outgo, here it means "starving."
"you can take care" — one of the important roles in society is the guard dog. Ironically, he would be chiefly protecting the grave against members of the genus Canis. Gray Wolf, who is probably to be identified with the young man, is said to be the guardian of humanity.
"the bark lodge" — the basic lodge is a set of poles tied at the top through which are woven branches, so the whole is rather like an inverted bird's nest. However, such a structure is porous, and does not keep out draft or water sufficiently well. As a result, the lodge is usually covered in animal skins. However, in this case, it is covered in bark, rather like a birch bark canoe. Consequently, in this mythological context, the lodge becomes like a log, a structure of wood encased in bark. This evokes the theme of wood, and recalls the sacred object of the Wolf Clan, the log upon which no one outside the clan may sit. It also gives an initial exposition to the theme of the repelling of water and wind, themes which are repeated several times thereafter.
"they also piled up dirt at the bottom" — this seems to describe a "platform lodge". Radin says, "As far as can be learned at the present time, the platform lodges were merely gable lodges on platforms. What purpose the platform served is now difficult to determine, but most Winnebago questioned said that it was provided as a protection against the dampness of the ground and insects."14 In a personal communication to Charles E. Brown, Radin spoke of this in connection with the many mounds whose construction has been widely attributed to the Hočągara: "Some of them are unquestionably snake effigy mounds and some especially the lowest ones may be bases of houses that were raised in order to make them shed rain."15
"very warm" — by which is meant that the elevated floor would cut the draft that ordinarily occurs where the lodge walls meet the ground (or rather fail to meet it exactly). The obvious connection of warmth to death is that the living body is warm and immediately at death begins to grow cold.
"the old man" — wągenúnįk-jé-ga, literally, "the standing old man," "standing" (-je) being an auxiliary used to characterize upright things. As it happens, the original interlinear translation is "the old man." Nevertheless, the expression refers to the boy. The "old boy" is not an Anglicism and artifact of translation, but reflects the Hočąk's literal "old man", leaving us wondering why a teenager is so styled. The reasons for this are explored below.
"a buck" — his hunting prowess greatly improves in just a four day period. The animals are larger and larger in size: rabbits > fawn > straight-horned deer > forked-horn buck. Such prowess would be expected of an incarnate Wolf Spirit.
"late in the evening he caught up to it" — clearly we have a theme found in world mythology, of the spirit animal who leads the hunter astray in order that he might make a great discovery foreordained by the spirits (see Comparative Material). In our story, the young man starts out on the periphery of the abandoned village where he lives, and is drawn to the very limits of his hunting range, which in some sense is the periphery of his outer world. The buck has caused him to find it necessary to go through the center of the village instead of remaining on its periphery as was his custom. As we have seen, the wolf is an animal of the periphery, and even the progenitor of the Wolf Clan was the last to arrive and had to be led into the lodge by the chief. In this respect, as will be explored in more detail below, the Deer Clan is complementary to the Wolf Clan. The Deer Clan's progenitor traveled the world, having started at its center, and at the end of its journey, it found itself back in the center where it had begun. There it found a chief's medallion. It is also said that the first Deer Clansman blew on the primordial fire, which was in danger of going out, and caused it to light up. For this they are said to have a "share in the sovereignty." It is clear from this that the Deer Clan sees itself as being in the center, which is the opposite of the Wolf Clan's situation. The young man, true to his Wolf Spirit nature, keeps ever to the periphery until his prey, dead though it be, has caused him to move to the position natural to the deer: the center. The slain deer has come back to the center, indeed the exact center defined by the place where the chief's lodge is found. There the deer's trek leads not to the chief's medallion, but the dead chief's daughter, equally a prize to be had. The deer, behaving in accord with Deer Clan ideology, has bridged the gap between the Wolf Clan of the periphery and the Thunderbird Clan of the center.
|Stars from Sirius to the Pleiades
Four Lakes, 0256 Hours, January 9, 1750
|Starry Night Software, www.starrynight.com|
We have some reason to believe that the wolf-boy is to be identified with the star Sirius, which is a dog or wolf star itself. When Sirius sets with the sun, it appears to go dwell in the earth. It is on this occasion that the boy meets his lover in her lodge on earth. She herself is buried. The Thunders are in the west, and the daughter of the chief of the Thunders, Yųgiwį, is said to wrap herself in the polychrome blanket of the sunset. Sirius chases after the "V"-shaped Hyades, led by the Pleiades, known to the Hočągara as "the Deer-Rump" (Ča-šįč). During the year, Sirius chases this deer in the east and the south, until finally in spring he is at the western horizon just after sunset. As the year progresses, this chase leads Sirius right towards the place where the sun sets, and by May 21 (1750), it sets with the sun at 1920 hours. Sirius, following this deer, is led to the place (the sunset) where is found the lodge of the daughter of the Thunder chief.
"you’re peeping in, you do not come in" — this is an allusion to another Upper Moiety myth about the Wolf Clan. The Hawk, or Warrior, Clan recounts how the Wolf Clan joined the nation in primordial times:
There as they sat down, thus it was. One came and peeped in. It was a dog at the door. He stuck in only his nose. So they said, "Whose nose does it look like?" The chief said, "If we own one of the dogs, and if we want to really own him, we shall call it 'Whose Nose Does It Look Like'."16
This account agrees with the Thunderbird Clan version in ascribing to the Wolf Clan a certain diffidence. Here the boy exhibits precisely this same kind of timidity when approaching the girl, just sticking part of his head in and no more.
"flattened heart" — 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.
"keep the fire burning" — this repeats the dry and warm theme that was the reason for creating the raised floor of his own lodge. The burning of large quantities of wood also produces a large quantity of ash. Ghosts are particularly averse to ash (see "Ghost Dance Origins II").
"not going to sleep" — sleep is a state akin to death, since it is often a form of unconsciousness. Resisting sleep, therefore, is a symbolic resistance to death. The Four Nights' Wake, as the funerary ceremonies are called, are in Hočąk actually termed the "Four Slumbers" (Honąra Jobohąra), a further association between death and sleep. The young man's contrarian four nights of wakefulness seems to be intended to undo the Four Slumbers.
"insects" — in Hočąk the term wakiri ~ wikiri denotes insects (in our sense), worms (wikiri-gíriríš), spiders (wikiri-hókeré), daddy long legs (wikiri-xų́wį), lizards (wikiri-hújop), and even crocodiles (wikiri-háčep), among many other things. The key to its meaning is found in the Hočąk Bible where wikiri is the translation for "creeping things." Genesis 1: 25 says, "And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good," which is rendered into Hočąk as, Egi Maura wanoijge manegi herera wauna hokirajra, egi je hokirajra, egi wikiri manegi kikurutira hokirajra, egi Maura hajarna phira. 17 The expression, égi wikiri mąnegi kikúrutíra hokirájera, is rendered more literally as, "... and wikiri of the earth, the creeping ones, all of this kind ..." The word kikúrutí means, "to creep, to crawl", and translates "creeping things"; but since Hočąk has a word for such things, the word wikiri is introduced to keep parallel construction with "beasts ... after their kind," "cattle ... after their kind." So wikiri are those animals that creep or crawl. The term kikúrutí applies also to worms and snakes, as is shown by the fact that the Snake Clan has the name Kikúrutimąniwįga, "She who Crawls as She Walks." Snakes (waką) are, however, not considered wikiri, being set apart in a class by themselves since they are by name waką, "holy". The wikiri imagined are no doubt insects, but it is important to note that the term does not imply that they are six-legged or have exoskeletons.
The wikiri that we call "worms" are involved in the process of the disintegration of the flesh of the buried corpse. So in resisting the effects of wikiri on his own flesh, he is vicariously resisting the physical claims of the grave upon his beloved. However, those that plague the boy are false wikiri. In reality they are the dead (wanąǧi) who are trying to prevent the reclamation of one of their own. Just as wikiri claim the flesh, so the ghosts wish to claim the soul of the departed.
"the fire became rather low" — since the fire produces light (hąp), it is associated with life, which is the metaphorical meaning of hąp. The fire also represents heat, which is antithetical to the nature of the dead, who are cold. The fire produces ashes, which ghosts fear to have cast at them. Ghost only come out at night, when the great celestial fire no longer burns in the sky. For these reasons at least, the ascendancy of ghosts should be correlated with the diminution of the powers of the fire.
"itchy" — in other myths of retrieving someone from Spiritland, the escort must resist temptations tendered by the ghosts or he will fail. These may all be viewed as various forms of seduction. The failure of the relationship between the boy and girl derives from the fact that neither of them had taken any steps to seduce the other, in spite of physical attraction. The attraction of the Wolf boy and Thunder girl are, at least initially, basically sexual. The ghosts who behave like insects, represent the opposite extreme when it comes to seduction: unlike the shy girl, they are trying to seduce the boy into succumbing to their physical stimulation. The itch is an interesting model of the sexual urge and its expression. The itch is a physical sensation which causes discomfort unless relieved by friction. However, when friction is employed, the result is sensual pleasure. Just as the appeal for sensual pleasure and relief failed to induce seduction in this couple, so the attempt of the ghosts to appeal to sensual pleasure and relief must also fail to induce seduction. The difference is that the itch is like that caused by an insect, and the normal course of events is to brush off the insect and obtain self-relief. She must be made certain that, metaphorically speaking, this is not what he had done to her.
"he never felt there" — he will be victorious if he does not succumb to the temptations offered by the ghosts-as-wikiri. This is a special case of the general principle that spirits (both waxopini or wanąǧi) have no power over those who ignore them. This is seen in a story told of James Smith, a Hočąk, who refused to take Disease Giver seriously.
He would always say, "Why do you give offerings and feasts to Disease Giver? What good is he? All he ever gives you is disease; but I will tell you this: he will never strike me down, and if I ever see him, I will kick him off the face of the earth!" ... [In time] a man suddenly appeared and walked right up and sat on the opposite side of the fire. "I am the one," said the stranger, "that you said you would kick off the face of the earth. I am he whom you claim cannot kill you." Then the stranger slowly raised his arm and pointed his finger at the man's heart, but the man remained motionless beside the fire just as if no one was there. So the stranger lifted his hand again and pointed it at the man's heart. Still the man did not react. Now Disease Giver was becoming frustrated, so again he pointed his finger and said, "James Smith, right in the center of the heart." Nevertheless, Smith remained motionless as he sat before the fire. Disease Giver snapped, "Who are you that you do not fall before my power?" Then he pointed for a fourth time, but this had no more effect than his other efforts.18
It is because he failed to react to Disease Giver that the spirit had no power over him. Had he shown fear and reacted to the power of Disease Giver as if it were real, he would have instantly succumbed.
"Old Man" — this is the second time that he has been called "old man," wąk-nu-nįk (see above). It could, therefore, hardly be a verbal slip. The Hočąk is Wągenúnįgega, from wągenunįge, which itself is from wąk-nú-nįk-e, where -e is a suffix meaning something like, "the estemed". The -e- is usually followed by the definite article that is always used for oblique declinsions of personal names. The two together seem to be found only in the names of spirits. From kečąk, "turtle", we have Kečąg-e-ga, "Turtle"; wašjįk, "hare", Wašjįg-e-ga, "Hare"; and likewise with Horajegega, Traveler; Jająksigega, Mink; Šųkjągéga, Wolf ; and Tošanagega, Otter. So Wągenúnįgega would mean, "the estemed Mr. Old Man", unless the definite article -ga is being used in place of the standard definite article -ra. The problem is that the form wągenúnige exists meaning, "old man". It seems rather probable that Wągenúnįgega is a personal name, but even if it is a mere designation, it raises questions. Under that assumption, how is it that the boy is suddenly called "the old man"? LaMère attempts to dodge this by translating it as "old chap", but this Anglicism is not attested in Hočąk anywhere else. Having called him "the old man" the narrator then immediately clarifies himself by placing hočįčįnįka, "the boy," in apposition, although this too could be a personal name, "Boy". In either case, he seems to invite us to consider the boy as being in some sense at the same time an old man. We know that in the end he is a wolf, so is he to be identified with the dog form of Wears Sparrows for a Coat, as related in the story, Old Man and Wears White Feather? In this story, Wears Sparrows for a Coat (more commonly called "Wears White Feather on His Head"), spared the life of an enemy, only to have this person magically stretch parts of his body so that he looked like a dog. After this travesty, this man assumed White Feathers' identity. Having robbed him of speech (save that he could say hą or ho), he tried to pass him off as his dog. However, others considered him to be an old man who had been unjustly relegated to the role of a dog. In the end, White Feathers regained his identity, and cursed his opponent to fly away as an owl. Esoterically, White Feathers is the Dog or Wolf Star, Sirius. Perhaps it is a reference to this canine that is meant by calling the boy "Old Man" (see also below).
"my mind on it" — it was a common belief that if a person had the right blessings or the right ritual, they could influence certain events by concentrating the mind on the matter. She clearly has these powers, but goes on to say that they are probably inadequate to the scale of the problem.
"he told her stories" — the fact that he is telling her stories, woragera (sg. worak), revisits the communication theme. He is now communicating with her, albeit in a unidirectional way. In the realm of communication, the dog has a special role, also unidirectional, although some return of a different sort is expected. When a message needs to be sent emphatically and quickly to a spirit, particularly Disease Giver, a dog is given the message, then hanged. His spirit travels with the dispatch of which the genus Canis is capable, and communication with the spirit is accomplished. It was also thought that dogs had a speech of their own which could be understood by those who had the proper blessing for this expertise. A dog that tried to report the onset of an enemy warparty, for example, would communicate in excited barks and other sounds, at which point the šųkit’énąxgų would be called for, and that person would act as an interpreter.
"just funny things" — this is akin to ražič, verbal teasing, by which a joking relationship is practiced (see above). The telling of entertaining stories is a way of forming a bond, and of overcoming the forces of death who want to prevent the marriage and the life-through-reproduction that it represents.
"he threw the dirt out, digging her out (mąkaǧera wajikšgúni giparašgúni)" — as already noted, dogs and wolves are digging animals, hence the Wolf Clan name Mąnąkoga, "He who Throws up the Earth with his Feet.". Instead of the girl merely materializing back into the world of the living, the boy engages in the digging behavior that is so a part of the lupine nature.
"he married her" — there is no ceremony or official procedure to establish a marriage. The marriage is its own consummation. The couple lie down together and a blanket is placed over them, after which they have sexual intercourse. Once this is accomplished, the couple is considered to be married. It is important that they are married, since the very purpose of the moiety division is exogamy. Much is said in the mythology of the Thunderbird and Wolf Clans about their opposition (as we have seen), but the fundamental reality is that these two clans, being of different moieties, are destined to intermarry. Their mutual distrust and diffidence in the end is bridged to create descendants who are a blessing to society as a whole, and perhaps most of all, contribute to its unity.
Since this myth is told from the Wolf Clan point of view, the male sex is assigned to the representative of the Wolf Clan, and the female sex to the representative of the Thunderbird Clan. The first part of the story establishes that failure to marry implies death (~M ⊃ ~L), and the second part of the story developes the equivalent contrapositive proposition, that life implies marriage (L ⊃ M). To say, "life without marriage is impossible," is certainly a platitude, at least in the sense meant. However, the interesting caveat is that it is the death of the Thunderbird Clan, not the Wolf Clan. Alone among the clans, the Wolf Clan can intermarry among its own members. So the ordeal that the young man undergoes to gain the Thunderbird woman is a resistance to the urge to self-gratification, so constructed as to be an image of sexual intercourse itself. It is appropriately the dead (wanąǧi) who urge him on to this solution so that they can claim the Thunderbird woman for themselves. But the Wolf clansman does not have sexual intercourse, which is marriage, within his own social body ("self gratification"), but resists the appeal of the dead, and eschews this course of action. That the myth makes the woman come from the Otherworld, albeit in a state of limbo, creates a model in which the other moiety is like a relative Spiritland. To obtain a woman from another moiety which cannot practice endogamy, is like bringing someone from Spiritland to the land of the living, since it is only by this means that her life can be continued by reproduction.
"nephew" — the relationship between uncle (hiték), the mother's brother, and his nephew (hičųšge), is the strongest of social bonds, rivaling or even surpassing marriage. Since the hiték is the nephew's mother's brother, it follows that the hiték and hičųšge belong to different moieties, just like man and wife. Therefore, the pairing of these two males is a model of the pair that is effected by the young man and their sister, and evokes the theme of unity in difference in which the bonds between moieties overcome the effects of the centrifugal force of the rivalries of the clans.
"deer spare ribs" — another repetition of the deer theme. Just as the young man had killed a buck and carried it to the old residence of the chief, so now his future brothers-in-law and his nephew carry the remains of a deer to the same place. The rib, or ruhi, foreshadows the use of rohi, "body; spiritual make-up" (see below). They form a pun, especially given the closeness of the phonemes /o/ and /u/ in Siouan languages generally, exemplified by the fact that both words are spelled "so Ai" in syllabic script. Even in death, the deer is destined to find the Centre because of its spiritual make-up. The deer spare ribs (ča-ruhí-haixóruč) cover the heart and lungs, the seats of its mind and breath, the essentials of its spiritual make-up, making it a synecdoche for the rohi of the dead buck who forces by circumstance, the travel of the young man to the Centre.
"they came to the old village" — the brother-in-law, as son of the chief, is also of the Thunderbird Clan of the Upper Moiety, but his nephew, who is the son of one of his sisters, necessarily belongs to the Lower Moiety. In the aforementioned Wolf Clan Origin Myth, the primordial wolves arrive from the sea, then evolve into humans. They alone build a lodge, and only then do the four primordial Thunders show up. This is a de facto claim to priority on behalf of the Wolf Clan. It is here repeated symbolically by representatives of the two moieties arriving at the Wolf clansman's lodge. They come with an attitude similar to the primordial Thunders, thinking that the Wolf clansman has failed to fulfill his mission to watch over the grave, whereas in fact he has performed a miracle with it.
"the lodge" — given the large number of people living there, this could only be the lodge of the chief, not that of the orphan and his grandmother. The Wolf Clan people, not just the orphan son-in-law, but also his grandmother, are invited to move in with the chief. This, again, recalls the myth of the origin of the clans, in which the chief invites the last of the clans, the Wolf Clan, into his lodge. Even so, it is the Wolf clansmen who are established in the village, and it is the rest of the people who come to them, more in keeping with the Wolf Clan version of the first meeting of their clan with the Thunders. What is gone, due to marriage, is the distrust that these clans had felt for one another.
"the body of the young man will always be like his own father’s" — the word for "body", rohí, is said by Miner to also mean, "soul, spiritual make-up." The boy's father becomes a wolf, so this remark seems to suggest that the boy will become a wolf himself, if not in form, then in spirit. This also suggests that since terrestrial wolves are gray, that they are so on account of their progenitor being of the same color. For reasons set out below, this progenitor should be the primordial Wolf Spirit, Gray Wolf.
The body of the son is a reflection (naǧirak) of that of the father, and vice-versa. This idea is very close to the theme of resurrection, in which someone's image/soul (naǧirak) is restored to their body. Here the naǧirak is, as it were, passed on to the next generation (like the genius of the ancient Romans). In both cases, reproduction and resurrection, we have regeneration. Both forms of renewal are bound up with marriage.
"at the spring" — the Hočąk is niwagúregi. This is ordinarily translated as "at the well," from ni, "water", wagu, "to extract something," and -regi, "where, when." So niwagúregi means, "where they dip for water." This is usually a well, but here it is translated as "spring". The reason for this is that springs are places where animals enter into the spirit world.
Springs are the openings through which the animals enter the spirit world. The Winnebago in former times made offerings of tobacco, food, and stone and bone implements to the animals at these places to obtain their "blessings." One of the springs at Merrill Springs was a "medicine" spring and its waters were believed to possess special healing properties. Wishes made while drinking its waters might be fulfilled.19
In the Medicine Rite, there are many occasions in which members make a circuit of the lodge, which is always done in the sequence, east-north-west-south-east. Since all the other cardinal points are named except for that of the spring we may deduce that the spring is in the north.
Reference to a place where water is drawn is a reiteration of the theme of water, the sacred possession of the Wolf Clan. It may be recalled that any water contained inside a Wolf Clan lodge may not be viewed except by a member of the clan. Such containers could be called niwagura, as they are meant to be dipped into. Nothing is said of a prohibition to dipping into water held inside a Wolf Clan lodge, what is prohibited is looking into such a container. All there could ever be to see in a water container is a reflection, a reflection or naǧirak of the viewer himself. It is essential to note that naǧirak not only means "reflection", but is the term for the life-soul. It is this soul that dwells in the essentially liquid medium of the marrow and brain (which are both viewed as the same kind of substance, the woruǧop). The woman who sits before the young man, the wolf, is not in the flesh. We know this because when the young man triumphs over the ghosts, he must dig up his bride's body from the grave. So she sits before him as an image, a naǧirak.
It is also interesting to note that at least Merrill Springs contains water that is believed to effect medicinal cures. The young man who is in reality a Wolf Spirit is able to perform the greatest of all cures: the revival of a dead person.
It should be recalled in this connection that the Wolf Clan has special powers when there is a coincidence of water and wind. This must be ascribed to the perceived nature of wolves. In ancient Greece, wolf toponyms often coincided with sinkholes into and out of which water issued.20 They reflected the fundamental relationship of the wolf to wind,21 an association seen among the Hočągara as well.
The connection of the naǧirak, and by extension the dead, with wolves is seen in the widespread Algonquian myth of the death of Hare's brother, Wolf, who becomes the ruler of the land of the dead. 22 This role is assumed by the eldest brother of the first four Thunder clansmen, who being the first to die, becomes first in power among the dead. Here again the Thunder Clan has a myth at odds with a well-known myth (of the neighbors of the Hočągara) in which a wolf plays the role taken (usurped ?) by a Thunder clansman. The most immediate association of wolves with the dead is found in the fact that wolves will dig up a corpse and eat it (see above).
"where the sun straightens" — the Hočąk is (wi) horočájeregi, the standard word for the south; from ho-, "the place where, the time when"; ročá, "to straighten"; je, "to stand"; -regi, "while, as, when; where". The south is the holiest quarter, since it is seen to be the place where the sun dwells (from the point of view of those who live in the Northern Hemisphere at a higher latitude than the Torrid Zone). It should be noted that the howls of the wolves, presumably the two wolf people, move through the cardinal points withershins, in the ritual order in which the cardinal points are traversed in the Medicine Rite: East > North > West > South. During the day, the shadows cast by the sun, as we would say today, move in a "clockwise" direction. So sunwise is in the opposite order from the ritual order of the Medicine Rite circuit. This is because the Medicine Rite is about renewing life, about "turning back the clock" as we would say today. So it goes against the course of time, since time, which flows according to the dictates of the sun, is in the end the destroyer of life. So the Medicine Rite circuit symbolically reverses the course of time to achieve rejuvenation. Consequently, the wolves leave in this same time-reversing order, since they have undone the effects of time by reversing death itself.
That the last howl came from the south suggests that this is where they entered the underworld. If the young man, as suggested, is to be identified with Sirius, a disappearance into the underworld of the south is just what that star does every summer when it sets with the sun.
"howled" — the wolf howl is its most pronounced form of vocal communication. Moreover, the strong voice has a connection to the symbolism of the four quarters. In this, the wolf finds itself bound up with its primary prey, the deer. Deer Clan ideology is very much founded on the relationship of the voice and the cardinal points. The ideology of this clan focuses on the Centre, reflected by the lungs, which are the origin of the breath that carries the sound while at the same time being located in the center of the body. Breath, nį, is a powerful symbol in Hočąk because it is a metaphor for "life". In the Deer Clan, it is evoked as an expression of this clan's central position. It is the breath of the primordial Deer clansman that caused the original dying Fire of Sovereignty to flare up. For this achievement, they declare that they have a "share of the sovereignty". This places them at the Centre, whence the Great Voice radiates out to the four quarters over which sovereignty has sway. The Wolf Clan, on the other hand, being the most peripheral of clans, according to the Upper Moiety's ideology, here gives voice from the four directions, not from the center, but from the periphery. In the village, the mundane, temporal power reigns supreme, and weakness is found at its periphery, the only place where orphans and the vulnerable can establish themselves. Yet in the far periphery is found the mysteries that lurk deep in the wilderness — the springs, sinkholes, and caves; the special sacred spots at unique hills, stones, and groves, where seekers can commune with otherworldly spirits. Here, ironically, lie Centres that are not the temporal hub with its radiating spokes, but an axis where worlds above and below intersect with the plane upon which the living dwell. It is into one of these Centres that the wolf couple descends into the potent world below, where the force of their otherworldly power radiates out like a voice to penetrate with blessings those who reside on this middle plane of earth. This is the communication of power, the conveyance of blessings, from the Otherworld, which because of its otherness, is necessarily a thing of the periphery, the domain of the Wolf Spirit. To obtain any blessing, whether from the spirits, or the wolves who live beyond the pale of the human village, the seeker must go out into the wilderness, and receive the communication of power found only at the periphery, and return strengthened with it to the central abode of the village. It is precisely by this pattern that the first wolf was brought into the fold of the clans: the chief, the human center, went out to the wolf who had lingered at the periphery, and brought him back to the central lodge. And so the nation was strengthened.
The hub of the world, where the Thunderbird chief lives, would not be in and of itself a Centre in Eliade's sense, since it is not a place where different planes of existence meet, although it is certainly central in topography and a crossroads of the profane world. Like a true Centre, it represents power, not a supernatural place of power, but a secular focal point of political control. Therefore, it is not surprising that those with enough political power will try to transform their hub into a Centre, by building an artificial edifice that forms a supernatural nexus, such as the ziggurats of the Old World, or the temples in the urban centers of the New. The Hočąk solution to this problem of integration is elegant. The fire in the center of the lodge also functions as a Centre, since it is through this medium that sacrifices are made to the Upper World, carried there by the rising smoke of the flames. The fireplace of the chief of the Thunderbird Clan is a sacred fire, whence all other fires are derived. It is original and primordial. This is the fire of sovereignty. In this fire, the hub of political power becomes a Centre where supernatural transactions are made, and power transferred to the temporal world. The Deer Clan attempts to model this source of light in the form of sound, the voice that radiates to the four quarters. The Wolf Clan makes no claim to these central lights/voices, but to the Centres falling within the outside world, whose powers radiate towards the central hub.
Wolf (Šųkčągega), the eponymous representative of the spirit of wolves, has his own special and unique sacred possession, which today is widely known as a "dream catcher." The warleader, who turns out to be Redhorn (Herokaga), asks each participant in a raid against the bad spirits to contribute a sacred object to a Warbundle.
The next morning before they were to set out, the warleader said, "Now then, my attendants, whatever you have brought to strengthen yourselves, that you must now present." ... Wolf set down a circle of wood with a cross of string within it; and attached to the center of this cross was a shrunken piece of buckskin. Many holy things were placed before the warleader. Now the warleader had brought his daughter along to offer as a prize to whoever won the first war honor. Turtle had wanted her, and thought he should have her, but he could not really match the prowess of the others. He was especially jealous of Wolf. The holy object that he owned derived its power from this: the circle was the earth, and the cross was the path to anywhere on its surface. The shrunken leather at the center meant that whatever the distance to any place on earth, Wolf could shrink it so that there was no place that he could not quickly reach.23
Wolf wins the daughter of Herokaga, who is so diminutive, as is the nature of the Heroka, that he places her in his quiver. The Heroka are hunting spirits, and most particularly spirits of the bow and arrow. Notice that it is the hide of the deer that is affixed to the cross that defines the hub or center. Like the voice of the wolves, the strings are anchored at the rim, which symbolizes the periphery of the world. The deer in the center has a voice that reaches to the periphery. Both these kinds of spirits have the capability to reach over the whole world, although the Deer Clan says that the primordial deer kept arriving at the center, and our own myth tells us that the wolves end up at the periphery that symbolizes the four quarters of the world. This is modeled in the voice, which shrinks space and time by traveling great distances in a short time, and achieving communication between those who stand distant from one another. Wolf treats the Heroka woman as an arrow, inasmuch as that is her spiritual identity. Since all space is within his reach, so he is also in command of time, so often symbolized by the arrow. As we have seen in our own story, he brings a woman back to life, and they leave this earth by walking against the path of the sun, the path of time, which he has reversed to bring the dead back to life.
"their young ones were to be on this earth" — the parents are Wolf Spirits that dwell under the earth. Since their offspring ("their young ones") are actually on this earth, the natural inference is that they are the common (gray) wolves with which we are familiar; but it is clearly stated that it is these terrestrial wolves that give blessings to people who fast. Therefore, ordinary wolves have spiritual powers that they can use on behalf of humans. David Lee Smith says that the last of the primordial wolves, Gray Wolf, also known as "Gray Fur" (Hįxočka), was made the protector of humanity.24 Dorsey's source says that all terrestrial wolves are descended from the primordial Gray Wolf.25 The boy's progeny stay on earth and are descended from wolves. From this we can infer that the young man/wolf who stayed behind was Gray Wolf himself. Gray Wolf is also one of the founders of (one of the four subclans of) the Wolf Clan, which though complicated, is also held to be true. This is seen in a story in which the sons of a man are abducted but rescued by a black and a white Wolf Spirit.
And the young people said that they would remain behind on earth. They said they would feed upon the earth. "And we will not go about together. We went about together, and it was not good. We were poor," they said. Therefore, they are the wolves. That was their first existence. There these ate things raw from that time one and from that time on they wandered about in the wilderness. In the beginning they were human. Therefore, from there they came, the redskin [xe-šuč] people came. Also some people originated from them. That is why they are of that clan. They originated the names. In time the animals separated from them there. Some became humans. Therefore, in that way they originated from them.26
So the gray wolves of earth and the humans of the Wolf Clan are brothers.
|Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter||A Man and His Three Dogs|
| A boy is from a long line of good hunters, and is one himself.||A man is a good hunter by virtue of the ability of his white dog.|
| He is an orphan who lives with his grandmother on the outskirts of the village.||He lives with his wife and mother-in-law and three dogs at some distance from the village.|
| A chief's daughter fell in love with the boy.||His fortune in the hunt was the result of a blessing that he had received (from the white dog, as it happened). The man always fed his dogs before he fed himself.|
| She could not express her love and the boy did not notice her affection for him.||The man could not understand the speech of the dogs [and did not know that his blessing had come from the white dog].|
| The girl falls sick.||The ability of the man to find game suddenly ceases.|
| She dies.||The family is at the point of near starvation.|
| The medicine men had been unable to save her.||The other two dogs could do nothing for him, since one was too old and the other too young.|
| One night the orphan boy passed through the village after hunting, and discovered the girl's ghost sitting in the chief's lodge. She told him how she had pined for him.||One night the man lay awake thinking [about the hunt?] when for the first time he was able to hear his dogs conversing. The white dog tells how he had been helping his master on the hunt, but not any more.|
| She tells him that he had caused her death by not noticing her love.||The white dog says that he had stopped helping his master because his mother-in-law had beaten him.|
| The boy agrees to help her return to life, which he can do if he fulfills certain conditions, one of which is to feed the flames with wood.||The white dog agrees to help him if he will feed the dogs the deer lung.|
| He begins the ritual by feeding the fire.||He feeds the dogs the deer lung.|
| He piled up the wood and the fire blazed high.||The family is re-provisioned.|
| She tells him that he will feel as if a myriad of insects were crawling over him, but he must do nothing.||The dogs tell him that he is surrounded by enemies and that he can do nothing about it.|
| She tells him what he must do to save her life.||The white dog tells him what his wife must do if she is to escape.|
| If he feels sleepy, he should tell her stories.||She will send her family a message describing their plight.|
| This took place.||This took place.|
| The ordeal was to last four nights, but he would be free to return to his lodge during the day, returning the next night to resume the struggle.||They could only win by taking turns: one would fight, while the other would rest. They are to retreat to the lodge when it gets difficult and continue to fight in the same manner.|
| His grandmother concentrates her mind upon his success.||The other two dogs concentrate their minds upon his success.|
| She rebukes herself for not having expressed her love.||The white dog says he is chief of the wolves and that he had tried to come back to life as a human, but only succeeded in becoming an ordinary dog.|
| The ordeal went as described.||The battle went as described. Greatly he exerted himself.|
| He rescues the girl by lying down without going to sleep, and resisting the legions of ghosts crawling over him for four nights.||The wife gets through and brings reinforcements to the rescue. Both the man and the dog collapse exhausted, but the man regains consciousness while the fighting continues. The dog, however, remains unconscious for four days.|
| The family of the chief returns.||The wife's family arrives.|
| The girl says that she was wrong not to have confessed her feelings.||The white dog says that he has done wrong, since his coat is reddened with the blood of humans.|
| The boy says that he must go where he has been placed.||The white dog says he must go where Earthmaker has placed him.|
| He may take his new wife with him.||The man shall remain behind since he is human.|
| They change into wolves.||The white dog shall ever after be known as "Red Wolf".|
| They howl from the four quarters.||"... as the years roll on they will tell of my conduct."|
There are, of course, many divergences as well as similarities, but there are enough of the latter to conclude that there is significant overlap of subject matter between the two myths.
Another isomorphic Wolf Clan myth is the "Wild Rose".
|Wild Rose||Res. of the Chief's Daughter 1||Res. of the Chief's Daughter 2|
| A lone wolf is found lurking on the periphery of the village.||An orphan boy lives on the outskirts of the village with his grandmother.||The boy goes to the periphery of the village.|
| Attempts to hunt him down are unsuccessful.||He is a very good hunter like his father before him.||The parents of his wife do not attempt to stop them.|
| The daughter of Witch Man, Hitcoga [a Wolf Clan name] sees the wolf in secret by the spring.||The daughter of the chief falls in love with the boy, but keeps the fact to herself.||They hear the howls of the two wolves from the four quarters, including from the spring.|
| Witch Man watches from hiding as his daughter meets the wolf, who transforms himself into a human being.||She tells no one of her feelings, and the boy fails to notice her. She falls sick from a broken heart.||They have been transformed into wolves.|
| Witch Man loses his daughter to the wolf,||The medicine men cannot save her, and she dies.||The chief's daughter goes with her husband into the lower world.|
| who takes her to wife. They move to his village.||The orphan and his grandmother stay behind to tend the grave while the girl's family moves away.||She lives with her husband in the lower world where he came from.|
| The wolf gave Hitcoga a deer skin pouch.||The boy meets the girl's ghost while carrying a deer.||-|
| The wolf sickens and dies.||The girl had died.||-|
| The wolf people blame the sickness on her, and attack her.||The girl says that the orphan caused her death. The ghost swarm over his body in the form of invisible insects.||-|
| Her husband had given her instructions on how she might save herself.||She gives the boy instructions on how he may save her.||-|
| The deer skin pouch is full of sticks which will form a hedge when cast upon the ground. This inhibited the attacking wolves.||He gathered up wood in great quantity and caused the fire to blaze up high. The fire dimmed when the evil spirits came upon him.||-|
| At Earthmaker's behest, she puts a drop of her blood in the deer skin pouch, and it turns to thorns. The rose is colored by her blood.||-||-|
| Throwing the thorns causes rose bushes to proliferate, and their thorns stop the pursuing wolves.||She and her husband have a child who will become the progenitor of wolves on earth.|
| By means of this aid from her former husband and Earthmaker, she returns alive to her people.||By means of this aid from her future husband she emerges alive. Her family returns and meets her.||-|
The first six points of the "Wild Rose" match the first part of "The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter" by opposition: the girl does not take the initiative to meet the boy, but is so secret that no one including him knows her feelings. As a result, she does not marry him and go away with him, but separates from him in death. However, this is the opposite of what happens in the second part of the myth, where the events match fairly well those of the "Wild Rose". They don't match at all at point , which must be included since it is essential to the myth of the rose.
The following story is excerpted from Marie McLaughlin’s book on Sioux myths. It is not clear whether any given story comes from the Mdewakanton Dakota from whom she is descended or the Lakota with whom she lived at a later date. There once lived an old couple who had an only daughter. She was a beautiful girl, and was very much courted by the young men of the tribe, but she said that she preferred single life, and to all their heart-touching tales of deep affection for her she always had one answer. That was "No." One day this maiden fell ill and day after day grew worse. All the best medicine men were called in, but their medicines were of no avail, and in two weeks from the day that she was taken ill she lay a corpse. Of course there was great mourning in the camp. They took her body several miles from camp and rolled it in fine robes and blankets, then they laid her on a scaffold which they had erected. (This was the custom of burial among the Indians). They placed four forked posts into the ground and then lashed strong poles lengthwise and across the ends and made a bed of willows and stout ash brush. This scaffold was from five to seven feet from the ground. After the funeral the parents gave away all of their horses, fine robes and blankets and all of the belongings of the dead girl. Then they cut their hair off close to their heads, and attired themselves in the poorest apparel they could secure. When a year had passed the friends and relatives of the old couple tried in vain to have them set aside their mourning. "You have mourned long enough," they would say. "Put aside your mourning and try and enjoy a few more pleasures of this life while you live. You are both growing old and can’t live very many more years, so make the best of your time." The old couple would listen to their advice and then shake their heads and answer: "We have nothing to live for. Nothing we could join in would be any amusement to us, since we have lost the light of our lives." So the old couple continued their mourning for their lost idol. Two years had passed since the death of the beautiful girl, when one evening a hunter and his wife passed by the scaffold which held the dead girl. They were on their return trip and were heavily loaded down with game, and therefore could not travel very fast. About half a mile from the scaffold a clear spring burst forth from the side of a bank, and from this trickled a small stream of water, moistening the roots of the vegetation bordering its banks, and causing a growth of sweet green grass. At this spring the hunter camped and tethering his horses, at once set about helping his wife to erect the small tepee which they carried for convenience in traveling. When it became quite dark, the hunter’s dogs set up a great barking and growling. "Look out and see what the dogs are barking at," said the hunter to his wife. She looked out through the door and then drew back saying: "There is the figure of a woman advancing from the direction of the girl’s scaffold." "I expect it is the dead girl; let her come, and don’t act as if you were afraid," said the hunter. Soon they heard footsteps advancing and the steps ceased at the door. Looking down at the lower part of the door the hunter noticed a pair of small moccasins, and knowing that it was the visitor, said: "Whoever you are, come in and have something to eat." At this invitation the figure came slowly in and sat down by the door with head covered and with a fine robe drawn tightly over the face. The woman dished up a fine supper and placing it before the visitor, said: "Eat, my friend, you must be hungry." The figure never moved, nor would it uncover to eat. "Let us turn our back towards the door and our visitor may eat the food," said the hunter. So his wife turned her back towards the visitor and made herself very busy cleaning the small pieces of meat that were hanging to the back sinews of the deer which had been killed. (This the Indians use as thread.) The hunter, filling his pipe, turned away and smoked in silence. Finally the dish was pushed back to the woman, who took it and after washing it, put it away. The figure still sat at the door, not a sound coming from it, neither was it breathing. The hunter at last said: "Are you the girl that was placed upon that scaffold two years ago?" It bowed its head two or three times in assent. "Are you going to sleep here tonight; if you are, my wife will make down a bed for you." The figure shook its head. "Are you going to come again tomorrow night to us?" It nodded assent. For three nights in succession the figure visited the hunter’s camp. The third night the hunter noticed that the figure was breathing. He saw one of the hands protruding from the robe. The skin was perfectly black and was stuck fast to the bones of the hand. On seeing this the hunter arose and going over to his medicine sack which hung on a pole, took down the sack and, opening it, took out some roots and mixing them with skunk oil and vermillion, said to the figure: "If you will let us rub your face and hands with this medicine it will put new life into the skin and you will assume your complexion again and it will put flesh on you." The figure assented and the hunter rubbed the medicine on her hands and face. Then she arose and walked back to the scaffold. The next day the hunter moved camp towards the home village. That night he camped within a few miles of the village. When night came, the dogs, as usual, set up a great barking, and looking out, the wife saw the girl approaching. When the girl had entered and sat down, the hunter noticed that the girl did not keep her robe so closely together over her face. When the wife gave her something to eat, the girl reached out and took the dish, thus exposing her hands, which they at once noticed were again natural. After she had finished her meal, the hunter said: "Did my medicine help you?" She nodded assent. "Do you want my medicine rubbed all over your body?" Again she nodded. "I will mix enough to rub your entire body, and I will go outside and let my wife rub it on for you." He mixed a good supply and going out left his wife to rub the girl. When his wife had completed the task she called to her husband to come in, and when he came in he sat down and said to the girl: "Tomorrow we will reach the village. Do you want to go with us?" She shook her head. "Will you come again to our camp tomorrow night after we have camped in the village?" She nodded her head in assent. "Then do you want to see your parents?" She nodded again, and arose and disappeared into the darkness. Early the next morning the hunter broke camp and traveled far into the afternoon, when he arrived at the village. He instructed his wife to go at once and inform the old couple of what had happened. The wife did so and at sunset the old couple came to the hunter’s tepee. They were invited to enter and a fine supper was served them. Soon after they had finished their supper the dogs of the camp set up a great barking. "Now she is coming, so be brave and you will soon see your lost daughter," said the hunter. Hardly had he finished speaking when she entered the tent as natural as ever she was in life. Her parents clung to her and smothered her with kisses. They wanted her to return home with them, but she would stay with the hunter who had brought her back to life, and she married him, becoming his second wife. A short time after taking the girl for his wife, the hunter joined a war party and never returned, as he was killed on the battlefield. A year after her husband’s death she married again. This husband was also killed by a band of enemies whom the warriors were pursuing for stealing some of their horses. The third husband also met a similar fate to the first. He was killed on the field of battle. She was still a handsome woman at the time of the third husband’s death, but never again married, as the men feared her, saying she was holy, and that any one who married her would be sure to be killed by the enemy. So she took to doctoring the sick and gained the reputation of being the most skilled doctor in the nation. She lived to a ripe old age and when she felt death approaching she had them take her to where she had rested once before, and crawling to the top of the newly erected scaffold, wrapped her blankets and robes about her, covered her face carefully, and fell into that sleep from which there is no more awakening.28
The Brulé Lakota have a version of this story. A man who was a skilled hunter greatly loved his wife. They had three children together, but when the fourth was to be born, she died in childbirth. At her death, her husband fell into a deep depression. One day as he was walking by his teepee at night, he saw the ghost of his wife, who appeared because she pitied his grief. She told him that he and the children could join her and walk the Milky Way together. He proposed instead that she return to the living. She returned four days later from Spiritland, where she had obtained permission to return to the living, provided certain conditions were met. She had to be concealed behind a curtain of buffalo robes, and he could not see or touch her for four days. He did as she had bidden him, and she returned to life just as she had been before. As they aged, the man decided to take an additional, younger wife. The two wives did not get along. The young wife told the other woman, "You are nothing but a ghost. Why don't you go back to the Milky Way where you belong?" The next day, she, her husband, and her children vanished. She had taken them to the Milky Way with her, and although the second wife regretted what she had said, they never returned from Spiritland.29
This Ottawa myth, quoted in full from Juliette Kinzie’s Wau Bun, is in many ways very close to the Hočąk story. It features a canine, a deer, a chief's daughter, and a suitor who causes her death unintentionally, but brings her back to life through his devotion. He rose and stole softly out of his lodge, and, pursuing his way rapidly towards the village of the chief, he turned his face in the direction of the principal lodge and barked. When the inhabitants heard this sound in the stillness of the night, their hearts trembled. They knew that it foreboded sorrow and trouble to some one of their number. A very short time elapsed before the beautiful daughter of the chief fell sick, and she grew rapidly worse and worse, spite of medicines, charms, and dances. At length she died. The fox had not intended to bring misfortune on the village in this shape, for he loved the beautiful daughter of the chief, so he kept in his lodge and mourned and fretted for her death. Preparations were made for a magnificent funeral, but the friends of the deceased were in great perplexity. “If we bury her in the earth,” said they, “the fox will come and disturb her remains. He has barked her to death, and he will be glad to come and finish his work of revenge.” They took counsel together, and determined to hang her body high in a tree as a place of sepulture. They thought the fox would go groping about in the earth, and not lift up his eyes to the branches above his head. But the grandmother had been at the funeral, and she returned and told the fox all that had been done. “Now, my son,” said she, “listen to me. Do not meddle with the remains of the chief’s daughter. You have done mischief enough already. Leave her in peace.” As soon as the grandmother was asleep at night, the fox rambled forth. He soon found the place he sought, and came and sat under the tree where the young girl had been placed. He gazed and gazed at her all the livelong night, and she appeared as beautiful as when in life. But when the day dawned, and the light enabled him to see more clearly, then he observed that decay was doing its work–that instead of a beautiful she presented only a loathsome appearance. He went home sad and afflicted, and passed all the day mourning in his lodge. “Have you disturbed the remains of the chief’s beautiful daughter?” was his parent’s anxious question. “No, grandmother,"–and he uttered not another word. Thus it went on for many days and nights. The fox always took care to quit his watch at the early dawn of day, for he knew that her friends would suspect him, and come betimes to see if all was right. At length he perceived that, gradually, the young girl looked less and less hideous in the morning light, and that she by degrees resumed the appearance she had presented in life, so that in process of time her beauty and look of health quite returned to her. One day he said, “Grandmother, give me my pipe, that I may take a smoke.” “Ah!” cried she, “you begin to be comforted. You have never smoked since the death of the chief’s beautiful daughter. Have you heard some good news?” “Never you mind,” said he; “bring the pipe.” He sat down and smoked, and smoked. After a time he said, “Grandmother, sweep your lodge and put it all in order, for this day you will receive a visit from your daughter-in-law.” The grandmother did as she was desired. She swept her lodge, and arranged it with all the taste she possessed, and then both sat down to await the visit. “When you hear a sound at the door,” said the fox, “you must give the salutation, and say, Come in.” When they had been thus seated for a time, the grandmother heard a faint, rustling sound. She looked towards the door. To her surprise, the mat which usually hung as a curtain was rolled up, and the door was open. “Peen-tee-geen n’dau-nis! [Come in, my daughter]" cried she. Something like a faint, faint shadow appeared to glide in. It took gradually a more distinct outline. As she looked and looked, she began to discern the form and features of the chief’s beautiful daughter, but it was long before she appeared like a reality, and took her place in the lodge like a thing of flesh and blood. They kept the matter hid very close, for they would not for the world that the father or friends of the bride should know what had happened. Soon, however, it began to be rumored about that the chief’s beautiful daughter had returned to life, and was living in the Red Fox’s lodge. How it ever became known was a mystery, for, of course, the grandmother never spoke of it. Be that as it may, the news created great excitement in the village. “This must never be,” said they all. “He barked her to death once, and who knows what he may do next time?” The father took at once a decided part. “The Red Fox is not worthy of my daughter,” he said. “I had promised her to the Hart, the finest and most elegant among the animals. Now that she has returned to life, I shall keep my word.” So the friends all went in a body to the lodge of the Red Fox. The bridegroom, the bride, and the grandmother made all the resistance possible, but they were overpowered by numbers, and, the Hart having remained conveniently waiting on the outside where there was no danger, the beautiful daughter of the chief was placed upon his back, and he coursed away through the forest to carry her to his own home. When he arrived at the door of his lodge, however, he turned his head, but no bride was in the place where he expected to see her. He had thought his burden very light from the beginning, but that he supposed was natural to spirits returned from the dead. He never imagined she had at the outset glided from her seat, and in the midst of the tumult slipped back, unobserved, to her chosen husband. One or two attempts were made by the friends, after this, to repossess themselves of the young creature, but all without success. Then they said, “Let her remain where she is. It is true the Red Fox occasioned her death, but by his watchfulness and care he caressed her into life again; therefore she rightfully belongs to him.” So the Red Fox and his beautiful bride lived long together in great peace and happiness. 30
This Osage story is more remotely similar, with the hero violently rejecting the woman's suit. In this story the male is the chief's offspring, and the woman is of no account. This story also appears to be incomplete. "There was once a village where lived a chief who had a boy and a little adopted orphan girl. The little girl had lice on her head. The little orphan said, 'I shall have a child from the chief's son.' In the morning she went where he urinated, and drank the urine, and in a fortnight she was pregnant, and the people said : 'That little orphan girl is pregnant. Somebody must have been very mean ; there are lice all over her head.' Next,they heard that the orphan was pregnant by the chief's son. People said the boy must have been crazy ; that he was too good for her. His mother said: ''Son, that little orphan girl is going to have a baby by you.' After awhile the girl had a baby, and she said the baby belonged to the chief's son and she was going to take it to him. The next morning, the chief's son ran off, and the people said, 'The chief's son has run off.' The little orphan girl told the boy's mother that the baby was her son's. She said : 'I will not keep it without a father. I will follow him.' So she started after him. The boy had killed two deer, and just as he was cooking and was about to eat, and as the girl was walking up toward him, he said : 'I ran away from that girl and she is coming. I will kill her.' So he took his bow and shot her and killed her. He went on, and at night, he killed a deer and was roasting it, when the girl walked up to him again. So he shot her down again, and went on. The boy was preparing to eat, when the girl came again. He shot her and went on and killed another deer. At evening, she came again to him, while he was cooking. He shot her again, and killed her. He cut her up, and the baby, too, and went on. The boy stopped again where he was going to stay over night, and the girl walked up to him again. She was all dressed up and was very pretty. He spoke to her, and she sat by him. She said: 'I am following you because this baby is yours.' He lived with her. One day she told him to go and find a good place to live. He found a place on a creek, and they moved there. He dragged trees all around, and made a corral. He also made a big lodge, and inside the lodge he dug a well. One morning they got up, and they were living in a big fine lodge, and they had a fine corral and a good many horses, their corn field was in good condition, and they had a good many negro slaves to wait on them. One day he went after his people, and his wife told him to bring his mother."31
"the spirit animal who leads the hunter astray" — a widespread Indo-European and even Eurasian story tells how a hunter chases after a buck (usually) and is led so far astray that he enters into a new land of great promise, a land to which he later leads many of his own people. There they founded a new nation.32 The Hočąk story relates how a young hunter is led far astray and has to return home by cutting through an abandoned village where a ghost awaits him. He brings her back to life, then through her he becomes the progenitor of new race of beings (wolves) who bless mankind.
1 Charles Houghton in Paul Radin, The Culture of the Winnebago: As Defined by Themselves, Special Publications of the Bollingen Foundation, #1: 73-119. This story is discussed in Claude Lévi-Strauss, "Four Winnebago Myths," Structural Anthropology, vol. 2, trs. Monique Layton (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976) 198-210.
The original text is found in Charles N. Houghton, "The Orphan who Conquered Death," in Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, n.d.) Notebook #70, 1-52 (interlinear phonetic text); Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, n.d.) Winnebago III, #11a: 141-223 (handwritten Hočąk text only).
2 Radin, The Culture of the Winnebago, 98 nt 22.
3 Amelia Susman, Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, March 3, 1939) Book 10, p. 88.
4 Paul Radin, The Winnebago Tribe (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990 ) 166.
5 Radin, The Winnebago Tribe, 190-191. The original text (it was told in English) is in Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks, Freeman #3862 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, n.d.) Winnebago I, #3: 75-79.
6 Radin, The Culture of the Winnebago, 99-100 nt 33.
7 Charles Houghton, Untitled, translated by Oliver LaMère, in Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks, Freeman #3892 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) Winnebago III, #11a: 129.
8 Amelia Susman, Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, Oct. 1, 1938) Book 3, p. 74.
9 Paul Barber, Vampires, Burial, and Death (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988) 92-93.
10 Philip V. R. Tilney, "Supernatural Prophylaxes in a Bulgarian Peasant Funeral," The Journal of Popular Culture, 4, #1 (Summer 1970): 213 - 229; cited in Barber, Vampires, Burial, and Death, 93.
11 Léonard Arnaud, Essai sur la peste de Benghazi en 1874. Rappport du Dr. L. Arnaud (Constantinople: l'Administration sanitaire ottomane, typographie et lithographie centrales, 1875); Essai sur la peste de Benghazi d'Afrique (Paris: F. Pickon, 1888); Une Mission pour la peste en Mésopotamie (Paris: F. Pickon, 1888); quoted in English by Charles Creighton, A History of Epidermics in Britain, from AD 664 to the Extinction of Plague. 2 vols. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1891) 1: 171; cited in Barber, Vampires, Burial, and Death, 92. Barber adds, "The correlation of a rainstorm with a new series of attacks on the graves is also not surprising. Rain has several relevant effects: it erodes the grave mound, loosens the soil, and may float the coffin (or body), while providing moisture that may encourage decay and also make it easier for scavengers to smell the body."
12 Radin, The Culture of the Winnebago, 100 nt 40.
13 Juliette Augusta McGill Kinzie, Wau-Bun, The "Early Day" in the North-west (Chicago & New York: Rand, McNally & Company, 1901 ) 86.
14 Radin, The Winnebago Tribe, 57.
15 Charles E. Brown, "The Winnebago as Builders of Wisconsin Earthworks," Wisconsin Archaeologist 10, #3 (October-December, 1911) 124-129 .
16 Radin, The Winnebago Tribe, 170-172. The original text is found in an Untitled Clan Myth (Hočąk-English Interlinear) in Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks, Freeman #3881 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1908) Winnebago V, #8: 36-41.
17 This text in contemporary orthography would be, Égi Mąʼųra wanoičge mąnegi herera waʼųna hokirájera, égi če hokirájera, égi wikiri mąnegi kikúrutíra hokirájera, égi Mąʼųra hačana pʼįra. (This style of speech should be considered "Biblical Hočąk" and not common idiom.) John Stacy and Jakob Stucki, Bible: Four Gospels, Acts, Genesis, and Exodus (Chs. 19 and 20), translated into the Winnebago Indian Language (New York: American Bible Society, 1907) Genesis 1: 25 (p. 358).
18 Paul Radin, The Winnebago Tribe (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990 ) 261-262. The original text (it was told in English) is in Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks, Freeman #3862 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, n.d.) Winnebago I, #3: 3-6.
19 Charles E. Brown, Lake Mendota Indian Legends (Madison: Wisconsin Archeological Society, 1933) 6. "At Merrill Springs there is an Indian medicine and wishing spring." Charles E. Brown, Lake Mendota Prehistory, History and Legends (Madison: The Wisconsin Archeological Society, 1933) 6.
20 Daniel E. Gershenson, Apollo the Wolf-god. Journal of Indo-European Studies, Monograph #8 (McLean, Virginia: Institute for the Study of Man, 1991) 48-51.
21 Gershenson, Apollo the Wolf-god, Ch. 2, "Evidence for the Wind-wolf," 24-44; see also 106-107.
22 Barber, Vampires, Burial, and Death, 94 (and sources cited there), who adds, "One need not look far to find myths that connect wolves with death. Odin, for example, who presides over battlefields, has two wolves at his feet; Charon is shown (in an Etruscan source) with wolf's ears; the Sabine priest of Soranus, the god of death, were called hirpi, or wolves; and in American Indian (Woodlands) mythology, Wolf is the ruler of the country of the dead."
23 John Rave, "A Wakjonkaga Myth," in Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) Notebook #37: 1-70.
24 David Lee Smith (Thunder Clan), "How Gray-Wolf Became Guardian of the World," in David Lee Smith, Folklore of the Winnebago Tribe (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1997) 158.
25 J. Owen Dorsey, "Winnebago Folk-Lore Notes," Journal of American Folk-Lore, 4 (1896): 140.
26 Paul Radin, "Wolves," Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) Notebook #5: 1-40 [39-40].
27 "The Ghost Bride," in George Bird Grinnell, Pawnee Hero Stories and Folk-Tales (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1961 ) 191-194.
28 Marie L. McLaughlin, "The Resuscitation of the Only Daughter", in Myths and Legends of the Sioux (Bismark: The Bismark Tribune Company, 1916) 145-150.
29 Leonard Crow Dog, "The Ghost Wife," American Indian Myths and Legends, edd. Richard Erdoes and Alfonso Ortiz (New York: Pantheon Books, ca. 1984) 462-463.
30 "This [the red fox] is an animal to which many peculiarities are attributed. He is said to resemble the jackal in his habit of molesting the graves of the dead, and the Indians have a superstitious dread of hearing his bark at night, believing that it forebodes calamity and death." Kinzie, Wau-Bun, 371-376.
31 "36. The Chief's Son and the Orphan Girl," in George A. Dorsey, "Traditions of the Osage," Field Columbian Musem, Anthropological Series, 7, #1 (Feb., 1904): 43-44.
32 Richard L. Dieterle, "The Thirty Brothers," Journal of Indo-European Studies, 15, #1-2 (1987): 169-214 .