The Scenting Contest (§19 of the Trickster Cycle)

translation based upon the interlinear of Oliver LaMère

Hocąk-English Syllabic Interlinear Text

(404) Then Trickster was going about there. He encountered Little Fox there. (405) He said, "Hohó, it seemed impossible to go about, but my little brother is going about here," he said. "Little brother, I am thinking of something. Let's go to the top of that hill," he said. (406) They climbed up the hill. When they got to the top, the whole surrounding country was visible. "Hąhą́, my little brother, let's play Keen Scenter here. You are always letting on to be a keen scenter. (407) I too always think of myself that way. Where there are any people nearby, we shall scent them," he said. So then they held up their noses and (408) began to smell. Little Fox was quite something. But on the other hand, Trickster was not made to be much of anything. There was absolutely no way that Trickster could do it. (409) The reason why he did it was just to observe Little Fox. Now at this place he would stop for some time. A forest lay there. He might try something there, he thought. (410) So Trickster said, "My little brother, there at that timber some are living. My younger brother, I am your equal when it comes to scenting," he said. He did not know anything, (411) but it was just because Little Fox seemed to perceive something there, and he showed it in his actions, that is why he said it. "Jáha-á! my little brother, don't you also detect something somewhere?" he asked him. (412) Also he (Little Fox) said, "I think there may be something there," he said. "Hohó, little brother, you are also one who can still scent a little," he said. (413) "Hohó, little brother, I will be going there."

Then where he meant, there he went to. When he got there, sure enough a human village was there. There he went and stayed. (414) Finally, he also got married. Then, thus it was. A long time had past. He also had a child. When they went on the fall move, he therefore went and lived alone at a certain place. (415) There, now, he would be. Now truly there he made his permanent home. He would never move back to the village. Then he finally said, "My younger brother, (416) about now I will go about visiting," he said.1

Commentary. "the fall move" — a period in October and November (Deer Paw the Earth Month, and Deer Breeding Month) when the whole tribe leaves its villages to hunt larger game.

Links: Trickster, Little Fox, Foxes, The Sons of Earthmaker.

Links within the Trickster Cycle:§18. Trickster Loses His Penis, §20. The Bungling Host.

Stories: featuring Trickster as a character: The Trickster Cycle, Trickster Gets Pregnant, Trickster's Warpath, Trickster's Anus Guards the Ducks, Lake Winnebago Origin Myth, The Mission of the Five Sons of Earthmaker, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, Trickster Soils the Princess, Trickster, the Wolf, the Turtle, and the Meadow Lark, Soft Shelled Turtle Gets Married, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Trickster Concludes His Mission, The Abduction and Rescue of Trickster, The Elk's Skull, Trickster and the Plums, Trickster and the Mothers, The Markings on the Moon, The Spirit of Gambling, The Woman who Became an Ant, The Green Man, The Red Man, Trickster Takes Little Fox for a Ride, Trickster Loses His Meal, Trickster's Tail, A Mink Tricks Trickster, Trickster's Penis, Trickster Loses Most of His Penis, The Bungling Host, Mink Soils the Princess, Trickster and the Children, Trickster and the Eagle, Trickster and the Geese, Trickster and the Dancers, Trickster and the Honey, Trickster's Adventures in the Ocean, The Pointing Man, Trickster's Buffalo Hunt, Trickster Eats the Laxative Bulb, Trickster Visits His Family, The Coughing Up of the Black Hawks, The Petition to Earthmaker, Waruǧábᵉra, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge; in which Little Fox is a character: Trickster Takes Little Fox for a Ride, Little Fox and the Ghost, Little Fox Goes on the Warpath, Trickster Gets Pregnant; mentioning foxes: Trickster Takes Little Fox for a Ride, Little Fox and the Ghost, Įcorúšika and His Brothers, Redhorn's Father, Trickster's Anus Guards the Ducks, Trickster Gets Pregnant, Hare Recruits Animals (v. 2), Little Fox Goes on the Warpath, Holy One and His Brother.

The story of Little Fox and Trickster is resumed in Trickster Takes Little Fox for a Ride.

Themes: Trickster wins a contest by cheating: The Spirit of Gambling, The Green Man; Trickster fools Little Fox: Trickster Takes Little Fox for a Ride; a person falsely claims to be able to scent human beings: How a Whiteman was Sniffed Out.


1 Paul Radin, The Trickster: A Study in American Indian Mythology (New York: Schocken Books, 1956) 40-41. The original text is "Wakdjukaga," in Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks, Freeman #3897 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, ca. 1912) Winnebago V, #7: 404-416.