Rich Man, Boy, and Horse
narrated by Philip Longtail (Sįčserečka), Buffalo Clan
translation from the interlinear text of Rev. James Owen Dorsey
Hočąk-English Interlinear Text
(1) There lay a village. That village was not rich in everything. Nevertheless, many people lived there. A man lived there who was rich in everything. Every day he went around the village repeatedly. He always went around looking for a small boy. Every day he stood there, standing repeatedly. Once he went to the end of the village. He had always failed to reach there. He reached a lodge there. And in the evening when he was coming home, when he had come back to a lodge there, he saw a little boy. He made some means of distinguishing it and came home. (2) And that morning he went out. He came to the lodge where he had made the distinguishing mark. He tied the horse to something and having reached there, he entered into the lodge. He said to the boy's father that he had come to buy the small boy, he said. And the other man said that he could not sell him his son, he said. And that man rich in everything persisted in asking them all day long. And the man rich in everything repeatedly came every day. And once at night the man talked to his own wife and said that (3) tomorrow if the man comes, they will sell their own son, they said. In the morning when the man came, the other one said, "How much money will you give me?" he said. And the man rich in all things said that he will give to him four boxes, he said. And the man rich in all things said that he had no companion and so he was trying to buy a boy, he said. Then finally they said, "Yes." The man rich in all things was bring that boy back. And when he had brought him back, he paid the man.
And the little boy had a good plan. (4) That man rich in all things was always going around that village. He was always looking for a good small boy. Every morning when he went out, that little boy always locked himself in. And at length the boy became older. He always took care of the keys. And once when that man he went again to the village, he came to a door where he knocked often. And the boy unlocked the door. Then a very white horse was standing there. There a big wolf was lying beside him. (5) And this white horse said, "I have come in order to run away," he said. And so he said, "And so in order to run away, I have come to do it tomorrow when he will wake you from sleep" he said. And the boy began to get ready. And when he finished getting ready, that horse did it — he directed him to take the door key. He ordered him to take matches and he ordered him to take a knife. He ordered him again to take awls. And so they started out. And the horse said, "O grandson, this man rich in all things, when he runs after us, it shall suddenly become red across the west," he said. (6) And he directed him to watch. The boy said, "Yes." And when the sun passed a little beyond standing straight, then it was suddenly red across the west. His grandfather had told him. His grandfather ordered him to sit looking back.
And soon the man rich in all things came up the hill. And his grandfather said that when he came a little nearer to take the keys and throw them away behind, he ordered him. And the man rich in all things was coming a little nearer. The boy did it: he threw the door key behind him. The man turned back. (7) And again in a very short time he overtook them. And again he threw the knife behind him. The man turned back. Again he soon came and overtook them. And the boy threw the matches behind him. And it set the ground right across on fire, and it came across suddenly. And the man did not cross it. In time the man did get across it. Then again he came on and overtook them. And the boy strew the awls behind him. And the awls stretched across the ground points up. (8) And the man did not get across. At length the horse became weary. And his grandson said to him: "That hill standing over there, we will go to it." When they arrived there at the hill, behold, a spring lay there. And the horse said that there he would be staying. And he said to his grandson: "On the other side of the hill, there stands a village; there you will go." There the two of them slept. And in the morning he talked to his own grandson, saying: "O grandson, you will go to the village today." At length when he told him what he should do, (9) he told it to him: "You will go to the lodge of the chief," he said. "When you arrive there, you will say as follows: that you have come to work for the chief, you shall say," he said. "Then he will say that he will make food," he said. Salt and pepper, thus he gave it to him.
And at length the boy started off. And when he arrived at the village, he asked a question: where stood the chief's lodge? Then when he said this, they told him. And when he arrived there, he said that he had come to seek work, he said. And the other men told it to the chief. (10) The chief said that he would see the boy, he said. And then the boy came. The chief said that he would cause him to work, he said. There he worked. They did not like the fellow. Once the chief was sick. He never ate anything. And those other young men did not like the boy. And those men talked together and said that they would kill the boy, they said. The chief was still lying sick. (11) Those men said "In this manner we shall say it," one of them said, "we shall say, 'Chief, you should eat'," he said. All of them said, "Yes." And in the morning the chief brought the youth to his lodge. And the chief said, "You can make me food," he said, they say; and, "I have invited you," he said. The youth said that he had never said that he could do it, he said. Nevertheless, one of those who was there said as follows, "Thus indeed you did say it," he said. The chief said: "He will do it," he said.
(12) When the youth began to cry, his grandfather went to him. And when he had come back there, his grandfather was standing there. And he said, "Why do you stand there crying, O little grandson!?" And that youth told it to him. And his grandfather said, "That is a difficult thing," he said. "You will go back," he said. "When you reach there again and when you cook for him, this time use salt and pepper," he said. And the youth started back. And when he reached there again, he did what his grandfather had told him. He continuously smelled the strong odor of something good. When the youth finished making the food, the chief ate it. (13) They say that this was the very first time that the youth used salt and pepper. And ever after they import them to use them they say. And the chief loved that youth.
And again in time those men planned something again. When the horses the chief owned were out, they were never able to catch them. They were very bad. They [the horses] were always killing people. And these men said that they would say that the youth could catch them, they said. And again they told it to the chief. Again the youth saw the chief. (14) He never said anything of the kind, he said. The chief said that he should try it, he commanded him. And when the youth cried again, his grandfather went to him. And behold, he was still there. And again he told it to him. The grandfather said, "That is a difficult thing," he said. "In the morning, you will go for them," he said. What the youth would do he told him in the morning. The youth started back. And when he reached there again, the chief said to him that he will go for the horses. So when he said it, (15) the chief was thankful. And in the morning after the youth took salt, he went after the horses. When he reached the top of the hill, behold, there were many horses staying there. He told his grandfather what he had done. He went forward up wind from where the horses were staying. Soon all those horses lifted up their heads. And the youth frequently whistled to them. All the horses began coming to him. And that youth did it. He gave them salt. (16) After having taken hold of one, he brought them back. And he had come back to the lodge. The chief was thankful. And the chief loved him all the more. In the end, the youth never did work. Again the men hated him even more.
Once these men found out something. They said: "'He can renew those horses,' we shall say," they said. Again those men told it to the chief. The chief again invited the youth. He said, "They say that you can renew the horses," he said. (17) The youth said that he never said that he could do that, he said. The chief said that he would go, he said that to him. And the youth went again to his grandfather. When he arrived there again, he was standing there. And again he told it to him. He said, "You shall go," he said. "That is a difficult thing," he said. He told him how he would go about it. And the youth had come back to the lodge. And when he arrived at the lodge again, the chief said to him that in the morning he would go, he said. In the morning, having taken the horses, the youth went off somewhere. (18) And when the sun stood very straight up, he came unexpectedly to a village. And he said that he had come to exchange horses, he said to them. It was not yet sunset and he had not traded them all. Once he did so, he began coming back. By evening, he had arrived home. The chief was thankful. But those men never gave up.
Once the chief said that he must marry a certain woman. He must marry the yųgiwi (princess) who lived across the lake, he said. He said that he would marry her, the princess that lay across the lake. And those men said that the youth would go for the princess, they said. The chief said that he must see the youth. (19) And there he came. The chief said that he would go for the princess, he ordered him. And the youth went to his grandfather. His grandfather said, "You will go for her," he said. He told him how he would do it. And when he arrived there again, the chief said to him that he ordered him to make a canoe for him. And they made a canoe for him. He went out to obtain the princess. The princess said that she would not marry the chief. When they bring the lodge to her, only then would she have a husband, she said. (20) And the youth said that he could go for the lodge, he said. And the chief ordered him to go. He ordered the man to put the box of fire water (whiskey) into the canoe. In time the youth left. And before he had crossed the lake, behold, he saw four Giants. He said to them that he was going for a lodge, that he was doing, he said. Those Giants said, "If you give us some of the fire water, we will put the lodge in the canoe for you," they said. And the youth gave them some whiskey. They put the lodge in the canoe for him. Again he said to them (21) that again he would give them some whiskey if they would help him again. The Giants walked completely around the lake. And when the youth arrived there again, behold, the Giants were there waiting. When he told them where to put the lodge, there the Giants put it. And the princess reached the lodge, entered and locked herself inside. She did not marry the chief.
And the youth went to his grandfather. His grandfather said that he would kill those men, he said. And he told him the way in which he would do it. (22) The youth went back. And when he reached there again, he gave the order to make a fire. He said he would make himself good. When those men made a fire, in the middle of it they set up a tree as a post. And when they had done so, they painted it black. And the youth climbed the post. When he arrived at the top, he lept into the fire. Soon he got up and went his way. More than before he was a good young man. And the chief shall do it, he said. And when they all helped him, he climbed up the tree. And the youth gave them the order to watch very closely. (23) And the chief lept into the fireplace. He was coming back, and those men all watched him very closely. As they were doing so, he sent them off by pushing them into the fire. He killed them all. And the youth married that princess. This is the end.1
Commentary. "four boxes" — in Hočąk this is kók jóp. Dorsey's wordlist gives, "kokižą — one box; one thousand (dollars in a box)." On the Siouan List the following explanation was given for the use of "box" in this sense: "It's generally reported that Omaha-Ponca kkuge 'box, thousand', derives from the practice of delivering treaty payments in boxes of a thousand dollar coins. ... I see that Ioway-Otoe has a similar usage involving a term khoge."
Comparative Material. At least part of a Kickapoo tale is similar to this story. A boy and his sister were hidden under ashes during a raid by a Giant in which their parents were taken and eaten. The boy went looking for this Giant, and on the way met an old lady who fed him from an inexhaustible kettle. She gave him four objects to aid him in his struggle against the giant: a fire stick, a plaited string, an awl, and a whetstone. He went on and transformed himself into a spider web and descended on the Giant's lodge. When he landed, he made himself into a baby, and the Giant's wife decided to adopt him. He grew up there, and the Giant put him to work feeding his two pets. The lion he fed straw, and the horse he fed blood. One day he decided to switch their diets, and the pets were very grateful for the change. Things went well until he dropped the Giant's key into the blood, which ruined it. It was decided that he would flee on horseback. That night he killed the two sons of the Giant and all his geese, then mounted his horse and rode off. When the Giant found out what he had done, he was furious, and mounted the lion and set off in pursuit. As he was about to be caught, the boy threw behind him the fire stick and it created a line of fire that extended from one end of the world to the other. However, when the fire burnt out, the Giant caught up again. The boy threw the awl, which became a log extending from one end of the earth to the other, but eventually the Giant overcame that as well. He threw all his object one at a time, and each made a barrier, but every time the Giant would find a way through. Then the boy threw the last of his objects, and there arose a great thicket of vines, and this the Giant could not get around, so he gave up and went home. The horse gave the boy the gift of being able to conjure up a feast at will. He traded this with a white man for a hat from which an army could be conjured up, and then he took those soldiers and had them seize his food producing objects. Then he met a white mayor of a town and fell in love with his daughter. The mayor kept trying to take his food making objects from him, but the boy's soldiers would always win it back for him. Finally, the boy took his new wife home and reunited with his sister.2
Links: Horses, Wolf & Dog Spirits, Giants.
Stories: mentioning horses: The Big Eater, Thunderbird and White Horse, The Orphan who was Blessed with a Horse, Sun and the Big Eater, Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans, The Horse Spirit of Eagle Heights, Trickster Takes Little Fox for a Ride, James’ Horse, The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion, The Boy who Flew, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, They Owe a Bullet, The Man Whose Wife was Captured (v. 2); relating to dogs or wolves: The Gray Wolf Origin Myth, A Man and His Three Dogs, White Wolf, Wolves and Humans, The Wolf Clan Origin Myth, The Old Man and His Four Dogs, Worúxega, The Dogs of the Chief's Son, The Dog that became a Panther, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Wild Rose, The Man Whose Wife was Captured, The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter, The Canine Warrior, The Dog Who Saved His Master, The Raccoon Coat, Wojijé, The Big Eater, Why Dogs Sniff One Another, The Healing Blessing, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Trickster Loses His Meal, Sun and the Big Eater, Redhorn's Sons, Trickster, the Wolf, the Turtle, and the Meadow Lark, Hog's Adventures, Holy One and His Brother, The Messengers of Hare, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, Grandmother's Gifts, The Hočąk Migration Myth, Bladder and His Brothers, The Stench-Earth Medicine Origin Myth, The Old Man and the Giants, Kunu's Warpath, Morning Star and His Friend, Chief Wave and the Big Drunk; Peace of Mind Regained (?); featuring Giants as characters: A Giant Visits His Daughter, Turtle and the Giant, The Stone Heart, Young Man Gambles Often, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, Redhorn Contests the Giants, The Sons of Redhorn Find Their Father, Morning Star and His Friend, The Reincarnated Grizzly Bear, The Old Man and the Giants, Shakes the Earth, White Wolf, Redhorn's Father, The Hočągara Contest the Giants, The Roaster, Grandfather's Two Families, Redhorn's Sons, The Meteor Spirit and the Origin of Wampum, Thunder Cloud is Blessed, Little Human Head, Heną́ga and Star Girl, Sun and the Big Eater, The Big Eater, How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Origins of the Milky Way, Ocean Duck, The Blessing of a Bear Clansman, Wears White Feather on His Head, cf. The Shaggy Man; mentioning whiskey (fire water): Little Fox and the Ghost, Turtle and the Merchant, Mijistéga’s Powwow Magic and How He Won the Trader's Store, Soft Shelled Turtle Gets Married, Brawl in Omro, Chief Wave Tries to Take the Whiskey, Chief Wave and the Big Drunk; mentioning springs: Trail Spring, Vita Spring, Merrill Springs, Big Spring and White Clay Spring, The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter, Bear Clan Origin Myth, vv. 6, 8, Bird Clan Origin Myth, The Woman Who Fought the Bear, Bluehorn's Nephews, Blue Mounds, The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion, The Lost Child, Old Man and Wears White Feather, The Wild Rose, The Omahas who turned into Snakes, The Two Brothers, Snowshoe Strings, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Nannyberry Picker, The Orphan who was Blessed with a Horse, The Two Boys, Waruǧábᵉra, Wazųka, The Man Who Fell from the Sky, Turtle and the Witches.
Other stories in the Longtail/Dorsey set: I. Watequka and His Brothers; II. The Captive Boys; III. The Man who Visited the Upper and Lower Worlds; IV. The Fatal House; V. The Two Brothers; VI. Iron Staff and His Companions; VIII. The Man with Two Heads.
Themes: the sky turning red indicates misfortune: Trickster and the Mothers; red as a symbolic color: The Journey to Spiritland (hill, willows, reeds, smoke, stones, haze), The Gottschall Head (mouth), The Chief of the Heroka (clouds, side of Forked Man), The Red Man (face, sky, body, hill), Spear Shaft and Lacrosse (neck, nose, painted stone), Redhorn's Father (leggings, stone sphere, hair), The Sons of Redhorn Find Their Father (hair, body paint, arrows), Wears White Feather on His Head (man), The Birth of the Twins (turkey bladder headdresses), The Two Boys (elk bladder headdresses), Trickster and the Mothers (sky), The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits (Buffalo Spirit), Bluehorn Rescues His Sister (buffalo head), Wazųka (buffalo head headdress), The Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth (horn), The Brown Squirrel (protruding horn), Bear Clan Origin Myth (funerary paint), Hawk Clan Origin Myth (funerary paint), Deer Clan Origin Myth (funerary paint), Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth (stick at grave), Pigeon Clan Origins (Thunderbird lightning), Trickster's Anus Guards the Ducks (eyes), Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp (scalp, woman's hair), The Race for the Chief's Daughter (hair), The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy (hair), Redhorn Contests the Giants (hair), Redhorn's Sons (hair), The Woman's Scalp Medicine Bundle (hair), A Wife for Knowledge (hair), Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle (hair), The Hočągara Contest the Giants (hair of Giantess), A Man and His Three Dogs (wolf hair), The Red Feather (plumage), The Man who was Blessed by the Sun (body of Sun), The Man Whose Wife was Captured (v. 2) (body of the Warrior Clan Chief), Red Bear, Eagle Clan Origin Myth (eagle), The Shell Anklets Origin Myth (Waterspirit armpits), The Twins Join Redhorn's Warparty (Waterspirits), The Roaster (body paint), The Man who Defied Disease Giver (red spot on forehead), The Wild Rose (rose), The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth (warclub), Įčorúšika and His Brothers (ax & packing strap), Hare Kills Flint (flint), The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head (edges of flint knives), The Nannyberry Picker (leggings), The Seduction of Redhorn's Son (cloth), Yųgiwi (blanket); a spirit gives someone something to cast at her pursuers that will prevent them from catching her: The Wild Rose, Ghost Dance Origin Myth II; marriage to a yųgiwi (princess): The Nannyberry Picker, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Race for the Chief's Daughter, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, The Big Stone, Partridge's Older Brother, Redhorn's Sons, The Seduction of Redhorn's Son, The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter, River Child and the Waterspirit of Devil's Lake, The Roaster, Soft Shelled Turtle Gets Married, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, White Wolf, The Two Boys, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, The Shaggy Man, The Thunderbird, The Red Feather, The Orphan who was Blessed with a Horse, The Birth of the Twins (v. 3), Trickster Visits His Family, The Woman who Loved Her Half-Brother, Redhorn's Father, Old Man and Wears White Feather, Morning Star and His Friend, Thunderbird and White Horse, Shakes the Earth, The Nightspirits Bless Čiwoit’éhiga.
1 Philip Longtail (Sįčserečka), Buffalo Clan, "Rich Man, Boy, and Horse," with interlinear translation by James Owen Dorsey, 4800 Dorsey Papers: Winnebago 3.3.2 (Washington, D. C.: Smithsonian Institution, National Anthropological Archives, October and November, 1893) Story VII, 1-23.
2 Kickapoo Tales, collected by William Jones, trs. by Truman Michelson. Publications of the American Ethnological Society (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1915) IX:89-117.