Trickster and the Mothers (§12 of the Trickster Cycle)

translation based on the interlinear text of Oliver LaMère

Hočąk Syllabic Text with an English Interlinear Translation


(269) He washed his coonskin blanket, and again he also washed his box. Thus he did, and he looked into the water, and unexpectedly, he saw things that were red. (270) He looked over them carefully, and unexpectedly, there were many plums, a whole bunch of them in the water. He dove in and tried to get some, but all he got was a hand full of gravel. (271) He did it again and again. As he did it, he bumped against a rock there, and banged his head. This knocked him unconscious. He floated up. He came to. He was flat on his back in the water when he regained consciousness. (272) After he came to and got his eyes open, there unexpectedly, on top of the bank were a great many plums. Only then, seeing this reflection there in the water, did he know. (273) "Hohó, yes, what a foolish thing I am, and I ought to have known better. I have put myself in pain," he was saying. He got out and he ate a lot of plums there. (274) When he was through, he put a belt around his coonskin, and having put some inside it, he went downstream.

As he went along there, unexpectedly, there sat an oval lodge. (275) He went over to peep in, and unexpectedly, there were two women and a great many children. Then he did this: he threw one of these plums into the lodge. (276) Indeed, it made quite a noise. Then he would throw yet another one. One of these women peeped out, and there, unexpectedly, was a man who was doing it. (277) "Waną́, it's my older brother who's doing this." They asked him to come in, so he went in. He gave them one apiece. "Where, brother, did you pick these?" they asked him. (278) "There are a great many of these, my dear sisters. I will tell you about it if you really want to go and pick some." (279) "Brother, we long to very much, but it would not be good to leave our babies alone. They are wild," she said. "My dear sisters, if you want to go, I'll take care of the children for you," he said. (280) "Brother, you've spoken well," they said. "It's not possible to miss them. There are a lot of them. It's not possible to pick them all. (281) If you used to see the sky turn red with the setting of the sun in the evening, that was what caused it. Don't turn back, you'll find them," he told them. Right then they left.

(282) As soon as they got out of sight, he killed their children. Thus he did, and he singed them. He boiled them. They were raccoons. "Hąhą́, after all this time, finally I'll have a good meal," he said. (283) He ate a lot of food there. He ate the singed little raccoons. Thus he did, and he did this: one of him he cut clean through his neck. He did this to him: he stuck a stick in his neck and placed him so that he was peeping out the lodge door. (284a) He made it so that it was as if the little raccoon head were laughing.

The American Badger

Then thus he did, and then he went to a hill there. There, unexpectedly, he saw Miss Badger. (284b) "Grandmother, I wish to ask you to work, right away," he said. "What are you asking me to do?" she said. (285) "Grandmother, I want you to dig a hole through this hill. Do it right away," he said. "All right," she said. Then it was done right away. In earth digging, she was really fast. (286) There he sat and looked on. She was very fast. Already she had dug in very deeply. He followed her in. He sat behind her and looked. He hurried her. (287) "Sister, hurry up! Sister, hurry up! Sister, hurry up!" he was saying. Now she dug in very deep. Again he said, "Sister, hurry up! Sister, hurry up! Round vulva," he said. (288) There Miss Badger stopped. "What grandson, what did he do? Did you say, 'round vulva (šą poroporo)'?" she said. (289) "Not at all, grandmother, what I'm saying is, 'Hurry up, tear up the earth long, tear it up (s’í mirupara paraš)!' Hurry to get there," he said. She started in again. He was already saying again. He sat there looking and said it. (290) As she was digging with her buttocks facing him, he sat watching her and said it. Again he said, "Sister, hurry up! Sister, hurry up! Round vulva." "Ąhą grandson, what did you say?" she asked. (291) "Te, 'Grandmother, do it immediately! Grandmother, hurry up! I am getting warm (Hotaipurupuruną),' is what I was saying. It is because I am getting very warm that I said that," he said, (292) so she started in once more. Again he said it. Once more she stopped and asked, but again he told her politely to say no more. Four times he said it to her. (293) By then she had burrowed through the hill. She had done it in no time. And thus she did, and then he gathered up dead grass. He placed some at each end of the hole. (294) Then he went and stood around waiting there.

And they were still coming, and when they saw him, he went into the hill. Then as they came back near the lodge, they became angrier and angrier, (295) since they had found nothing. When they got back to the lodge, unexpectedly, one of their children was standing there smiling. "What fun did we have as we went? (296) Since we found nothing, I am angry," she said, and she slapped his cheek and knocked it over. Unexpectedly, it was only the head. (297) They cried out, "Our children, he has destroyed them for us! Trickster must have done this. He did it. He was the one who went into the hill," they said. They wept.

Then Trickster came over to them again. (298) He had made himself into another man and blackened his face, and when he got to them, he said, "My sisters, why are you talking this way?" he asked them. "Trickster has destroyed our children. (299) He has eaten all of them," they said. "Hagagasgéžą, I wish I could meet him on the warpath. So whenever they mention him, I long to get him. (300) Don't you know in what direction he went?" he asked them. "At the time, someone went into the hill. I think that it must have been him," one of them said. "He will know. (301) Show me where you mean." So they went. Unexpectedly, there was a large hole, and the cut in the ground was fresh. "He will know, he it was who did it," he said. (302) He went inside. He made stamping and rattling noises. There also someone seemed to have groaned. After awhile, he came out. He came out covered in blood. (303) He came out with the area around his nose cut open. He had bruised his own nose, and he was the one who had done it. "This one was very great. That's why they are always telling so much about him. He fought me hard," he said. (304) "I killed him, and there we went at it. You must have heard us. He is there inside. Go get him. He is dead, so don't be afraid," he said. Now they went in there. They kept turning back. "He's in a little farther. (305) Don't be afraid," he told them. Finally, they went in deeper, then he put the hay in, and he set it on fire. (306) Again he ran to the other side. Again he put the hay there and lit it on fire. And once the hay was burned, he went in and brought them out, singed really well. (307) "Hohó, it's been a long time, but I'm going to eat fat." He went there to get some water. And when he was through washing them, he built a fire and boiled them.1

Commentary. "into the lodge" — that is, through the smoke hole. An inversion is found in the episode in which Trickster throws plums as offerings to the raccoons inside the lodge — ordinarily, the mortals make use of the smoke hole to hoist up offerings to the spirits (of emblematic deerskins, typically). When animal spirits accept an offering, they become obliged to go to earth and be hunted as food. However, the recipients of the offering leave and their children end up being taken as food where they live. When they leave, it is not to offer themselves, but to get more of what they were offered. Those seeking the aid of a spirit will fast and go up a hill to exhibit themselves as worthy of pity. In this story, the spirit being comes down the hill with his face blackened and not with any view to fasting, but to having a feast. The raccoons secure the "aid" of a spirit without having to ask for it, and the "aid" turns out to be a fatal trick of which they are the victims.

"the sky turn red" — Radin says that the sky turning red presages death, but the opposite is the case: the red color of clouds or the sky disappears when someone dies (see 1, 2), showing that we have another inversion from the expected norm. Red normally is the color of life. Radin remarks that the episode in which the child's head is put on the stake and made to look like he is greeting them, "This is a Winnebago war custom which, however, they ascribe to their enemies." In any case, Native Americans were never known for slapping their children, so the raccoon's behavior would seem very odd.

"Miss Badger" - LaMère translates this as "a female skunk." The standard word for female skunk is, Ko dKe wi (gųšgewį). The form, x[oA]o Ke wi (xogewį) would mean, "female badger." The only source that gives xok as the term for skunks is Marino, and that conclusion is based on precisely this translation. Since all other sources translate this as "badger," it is very likely that LaMère was merely unfamiliar with the standard meaning of the word. This conclusion is reinforced by the fact that a badger is paradigmatically an excavating mammal, much more so than its relative the skunk. The suffix -ga appended to the word indicates that it is a personal name, and the penultimate suffix -, indicates the female gender.

"very warm" — this is, of course, meant to be a joke, since he was saying this because he was indeed getting, as we would say, "hot" (sexually stimulated).

"blackened his face" — also odd is the fact that it is Trickster, rather than the women, who blackens his face in apparent mourning.2

"he will know" — a Hočąk idiom very close to the English expression, "we will teach him a lesson."

"lit it on fire" — in hunting raccoons or other animals that may hide in holes, the usual course is to chase them into a hole, then smoke them out, killing them when they emerge. Trickster does this backwards: the raccoons go hunting for the hunter, believing him to be cornered in a hole. The hunter-avenger then goes in to kill himself, forcing the raccoons to go into the hole to retrieve the actual hunter. Instead of being smoked out, they are, as it were, "smoked in." Then the real hunter has to go in and retrieve their bodies.

"washing" — the final inversion occurs when Trickster takes the food to the water and washes it thoroughly, an action for which raccoon's are famous.

Comparative Material. The closest parallel is an Arapaho story, which is almost identical to the present Trickster tale. The only significant difference is that the raccoons have been replaced by she-bears, otherwise the sequence of actions is essentially the same.3

In another Arapaho tale, the role of Trickster is played by a cannibal. "A man once went into some tents and told the women there were many plums across the river, and they should go and pick them. He would stay, and in the mean time watch their babies. So they went: and while they were gone, the man cut off the babies' heads, and left them in their cradle swings. The bodies he took away. Presently the women came back and told some of their girls to go in and see how the babies were. They came running out, and said that only the heads were in the swings. The women came crying: and when they looked, they saw the man at a distance. They pursued him; and when he saw them coming, he wished there were a big hole there. At once the hole was there. He ran into the hole; and when the women came there, they sat around the hole and cried. The man, finding some paint in the hole, painted his face, and then came out and asked them why they were crying. The women, not knowing him, said a man and killed their babies, and they thought he was in that hole. He came out, and said they should go in and see. They did so; and when they were in the hole, the man threw fire in, and thus killed them. He then got out the bodies, built a large fire, laid the bodies around it, and roasted them, in order to eat them. Just then a Fox came there, and said he was sick and wanted to get something to eat. The man proposed to the Fox that they go on a hill and then run towards the fire. Whoever should get there first should eat first. To this the Fox agreed; and he got there first, and ate up all the bodies. When the man got there, he found nothing, and went home."4

The Gros Ventre story has the episode where the trickster traps the women in a hole. "Then he got up and ran off, all the women running after him. He said, 'I wish there were a hole I could enter.' Then there was a hole and he went in. He came out on the other side. He found white clay. He put some over his right eye. He took a stick, peeled the bark off so that it looked white, and laid it across his arm. Then he went back to where the women were, and asked them what they were doing. They told him. Then he abused Nix’aⁿt. He said, 'He is always doing such things. Why do you not dig him out? Then you can pound him to pieces.' Then all the women crawled into the hole. He blocked the entrance with wood, and set it on fire. Then he smothered them."5

In the Hidatsa story, Coyote finds two plums and throws them into the lodge of the women. They ask him where he got them, and while Coyote watched their children, they went out to get more. After they had gone, Coyote killed and cooked the children, and when the mothers returned, he fed them to them. Coyote snuck away, and hid himself in a hole. They women came after him with their canes, but he came out the other side, and in disguise, said, "What's going on here?" "Coyote killed our children, and now he must die!" they replied. So Coyote went into the hole and pretended to deal with its occupant, and when he came out, he let it be known that Coyote was inside incapacitated. The women went into the hole, and while they were in there, Coyote started a fire. Both women were burned to death.6

The Ponca trickster cycle, as summarized by Radin, has a strong parallel to the initial episode: "Ictinike mistakes reflection of plum tree in water for the tree itself and dives into water for plums." Then he "kills young raccoons entrusted to his care."7

The story is also found among the neighboring Menominee. One day Manabush came to a stream. There he saw a myriad of cherries floating on its surface, so he jumped into the water to get as many as he could before they floated away. However, he landed on a large submerged rock, which was very painful. He pulled himself out of the water and lay on his back to recuperate, but when he looked up, he saw that above him were the fruit laden branches of a cherry tree. At least in consolation for his foolishness, he was able to get his fill of cherries from the tree itself.8

The Assiniboine have a parallel to the episode of the reflected plums in one of the stories about their own trickster figure:

Fisher has escaped with some of Sitcóⁿski's meat. Sitcóⁿski sees Fisher in the water, dives after him, but misses him. He discovers that it is only Fisher's reflection, and finds Fisher on a tree. Fisher offers to give him some meat if he shuts his eyes and opens his mouth, then drops a knife and kills him.

Inktumni plunges into the water to get berries, but the real berries are above him and he has been deceived by their reflection.9

The Assiniboine Fisher episode more resembles the several stories in which some animal steals Trickster's meat. The Assiniboines also have a parallel to the end of the story:

Sitcóⁿski kills his sister's children. The women pursue him. He builds a tunnel and suffocates them in it.10

Sitcóⁿski is the same as Inktumni.

For the episode in which Trickster dives into the lake because he is fooled by a reflection, see the corresponding Oto myth summarized in the Markings on the Moon.

Another Oto myth is very like the Hočąk, except it omits the last episode involving the skunk. "Once while Īśṫhíṇke was traveling through the country he came to the banks of a creek where the water looked so clear and cool that he hastily took off his clothes for a swim. Just as he was about to plunge in, he saw some fine large plums resting on the sandy bottom. They looked so ripe and juicy that they made him feel hungry. He dived in and reached bottom, but as he stretched out his hand for the plums, they disappeared, leaving him nothing but a handful of sand. He came up on the bank again, greatly mystified, and looked into the water. There again on the sandy bottom were the fine large plums. As Īśṫhíṇke was about to plunge in a second time, his attention was directed to a plum lying on the bank. This he took and ate, finding it very good. When he looked around him, he saw plenty of plums on trees. Then he laughed at himself, for he had seen before only their reflection in the water. Īśṫhíṇke gathered some of the fruit and went along his trail, coming at last to a lodge in the forest. On hearing voices within, he mischievously threw some plums down the smoke hole. When two women came out to see who had thrown them, they noticed Īśṫhíṇke laughing at them, with his arms full of plums. The sight made their mouths water, and they asked him where he had found them. They wanted to go after some, but said regretfully that they could not leave their babies behind and would have to stay at home. Īśṫhíṇke volunteered to watch the babies while they were gone, so the mothers went away happily. He began to get hungry again, but there was no meat in the lodge; he was hungry for meat. The sight of the fresh young babies so increased his hunger that he killed one of them and ate all of it but the head, which he stuffed back into the baby-carrier so that no one would at once notice the difference. Soon the women returned after having gathered the plums and taken a swim in the creek. The mothers were grateful to Īśṫhíṇke for caring for their babies. But he told them that he had not minded the babies at all; in fact, he rather enjoyed one of them, but he had to go now, for he was expected soon at one of the villages. After he had departed, one of the mothers, thinking her baby had been quiet for a long time, went over to look at it. When she found only the head, she set up a loud wailing. Meanwhile Īśṫhíṇke had followed the trail until he reached a bend in the creek where he saw a man in swimming. He stole the man's clothes and left his own in their place. Then he painted himself so that no one could recognize him, for he felt guilty and did not want to be caught. He returned down the stream and soon met the two mothers, running, panting, and crying, all at the same time. Īśṫhíṇke stopped them, asking: 'Ho, sisters! What are you crying about, and why are you running so?' They did not recognize him, and answered: 'Īśṫhíṇke has killed one of our babies and eaten it! Then he ran away, so we are going to get help to catch him.' 'Which way did he run? I'll go ahead and catch him or else set the village on his trail.' They pointed upstream, and off he ran, laughing to himself at the trick he had played."11

A story is told of Old Man, a trickster figure among the Blackfeet. One day Old Man saw the reflection of berries in the water. He dove in, but could not find the berries, so he tied rocks to his ankles and jumped in again. This time he almost drowned. Exhausted, he collapsed under the shade of some bushes; but when he looked up, there he saw the berries dangling above him. He got so mad that he clubbed the tree until every berry was knocked to the ground. This is why, ever since, people hit such bushes with sticks to collect the berries.12

In another Blackfoot story, Old Man persuades two women to go fetch some animal that he killed, but it was a trick. All they found was some buffalo hair from his robe and some of Old Man's blood which he spread on the snow, leading them to think that coyotes had carried off the kill. Meanwhile, Old Man kills and eats their two babies, leaving their heads in their cradles. When the women come back, he shuts them in the lodge and runs away down a hole in the ground. The two women wait for him to come out, but he exits, disguised, from another hole. He tells the women that he will go down the hole and kill Old Man, and after feigning a great fight, he returns to tell them that Old Man is dead. He asks them to fetch the body, but while they are down the hole, he seals it up and suffocates them with smoke.13

The neighboring Anishinaabe have a story with many shared elements. Manabozho killed the King of the Serpents. He fled for his life in close pursuit by his grandsons. He made it to the mountains where he met a badger whom he persuaded to dig a hole into the side of a hill. He did so, and Manabozho persuaded him to dig another hole out to the other side. The snakes finally caught up and waited patiently in front of the badger burrow. One day Manabozho got tired of the company of the badger and killed him. He went out the back hole and revisited the body of the King of Serpents, which he skinned and donned on his own person. He then approached the other side of the mountain, and when the snakes saw him they scattered. He killed many of them, however.14

The nearby Kickapoo have a parallel to the reflection episode in which the fruit is replaced by an animal. One day Wiza'ka'a came to a deep creek were he saw a deer under the water. He was hungry, so he decided to grab the deer. He jumped in and felt around for the animal but could not seem to get a grip on him. Then Wiza'ka'a thought of tying a stone around his neck and jumping in. Soon he found himself drowning, and after quite a struggle, managed to get the stone off his neck. When he struggled to the shore, there he saw a deer standing in the grass nearby. Only then did he realize that he had seen a mere reflection in the water.15

The reflection episode has an interesting version among the Chiricahua Apache. Coyote had cooked a mess of prairie dogs, but while he was sleeping, Mountain Lion stole all the good ones. Coyote was so furious that he threw the remainder in every direction. He then went to take a drink, when he looked in the water and saw a prairie dog. He thought to himself that it would be good eating so he dove in after it, but all he got for his trouble was a belly full of water. Then he lay down on his back to rest and suddenly noticed the prairie dog that had landed in the branches above. He had to confess to himself that he was quite the fool.16

In a Hopi story we have the two main episodes greatly transformed and juxtaposed. After Coyote stole Fox's prairie dog meal [story], Fox went after him with the intent of killing him. When he found him, Coyote was pretending that he was holding up an overhanging cliff — "You fool," he said to Fox, "can't you see that if I let go, this overhang with crush us both. Hold this up while I go get a log to use as a prop." Fox foolishly obliged, and Coyote was long gone before Fox realized that he'd been had. So Fox followed his trail and came upon Coyote while he was sitting by a tree stump overlooking a stream. The sun was setting and made a red reflection on the water. Fox was about to seize Coyote when his victim suddenly said, "You fool, can't you see the fine red meat in the water? Better get it before it floats away! I'll hold your tail while you get in there and pull it up." So Fox obliged, but while he was under, Coyote tied a heavy rock to his tail, and Fox drowned.17

Kroeber in a footnote says, "This tale is found among the Gros Ventre, Omaha-Ponka (J. O. Dorsey, Contr. N. A. Ethn., VI, 562), and, according to Meeker, who thinks it is of Arapaho origin (Journ. Am. Folk Lore, XV, 84), among the Sioux, Winnebago, and Chippewa. For diving into the water for the reflection of an object, see Russell, Expl. Far North, 214 (Cree), Hoffman, Ann. Rep. Bur. Ethn., XIV, 165 (Menomini), Russell, Journ. Am. Folk Lore, XI, 264 (Jicarilla Apache)."18

In a Zapotec version collected by Paul Radin, the victim mistakes a reflection of the moon for a wheel of cheese. "Rabbit, the instead of going where coyote was (waiting), on the contrary, went in another direction and ate up the cheese alone. After coyote had gotten tired of waiting for him he went to look for him. After two days he met rabbit sitting at the opening of a well. "Say, friend," he said to him, "what are you doing here?" "Why did you deceive me?" "Say, my friend, that man followed me even here. He came to seize the cheese. Out of fear (I threw it in here); look, see, there it is?" As it was then night and there was a moon in the middle of the sky, unquestionably one saw the reflection of the moon over the water. It looked like an entire cheese. When coyote saw the reflection of the moon over the water he believed that certainly it was a cheese that he saw. Then he spoke to rabbit, "How can we get it out?" Then rabbit said, "Tie yourself to the end (head) of this rope. I will lower you slowly and then when you have seized the cheese I will pull you up." "Good," said coyote. Then that very person tied the rope around his stomach and began to lower him. When he was in about halfway down the well rabbit purposely let go the rope and he fell to the (bottom of) the well. While rabbit was dying of laughter, poor coyote perished there from swallowing (taking) too much water."19

In a very similar Mayan version, the plums are replaced by the moon. One day Hare was going about and no matter where he went, Coyote was always following him around. Now Coyote was a rather dull-witted guy, so Hare decided to play a trick on him. He stopped at a pool and began drinking. Coyote came up immediately and asked, "What are you doing Hare?" "I'm trying to drink down this pond — can't you see all that cheese down there? Maybe if you helped me, since you're so much bigger, we can reach the bottom." So Coyote began drinking as quickly as he could. Meanwhile, Hare went off for a walk. Coyote kept drinking and drinking until his stomach began to swell and his entire abdomen ached beyond description. Finally, he had to quit. He left in agony, wondering how he could ever have gotten to the cheese at the bottom of the pond.20

Links: Raccoons, Trickster, The Sons of Earthmaker, Skunks.

Links within the Trickster Cycle: §11. Trickster Eats the Laxative Bulb, §13. Trickster Loses His Meal.

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, 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 Scenting Contest, 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, Waruǧápara, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge; featuring raccoons as characters: The Abduction and Rescue of Trickster, The Raccoon Coat, Raccoon and the Blind Men, The Spirit of Maple Bluff, The Were-fish, Lake Wąkšikhomįgra (Mendota): the Origin of Its Name, Bladder and His Brothers, Grandfather's Two Families; mentioning plums: Mijistéga and the Sauks, Migistéga’s Magic.

Themes: Trickster takes care of someone else's children, but causes their death: Trickster and the Children; someone kills children, then sets them upright in front of their lodge with smiles on their faces so that their parents will think that they are greeting them: A Man's Revenge; the red of the sky disappears when someone is about to die (inverse theme): Chief of the Heroka, Red Man; the sky turning red indicates misfortune: Rich Man, Boy, and Horse; 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), Rich Man, Boy, and Horse (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); someone makes an insulting remark to an animal, then pretends he said something else that sounds similar: Hare Kills Wildcat, Holy One and His Brother; a spirit assumes the form of another person: Old Man and Wears White Feather, Trickster, the Wolf, the Turtle, and the Meadow Lark; someone tricks an enemy into a hole in order to kill and eat him: Hare Kills Wildcat; someone stuffs dry grass down the opening of a hole in which a person is trapped, then lights it on fire: Hare Kills Wildcat.


1 Paul Radin, The Trickster: A Study in American Indian Mythology (New York: Schocken Books, 1956) 28-31. The original text is in "Wakdjukaga," in Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks, Freeman #3897 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, ca. 1912) Winnebago V, #7: 269-307.

2 Radin, The Trickster, 57-58 ntt. 70-73.

3 Caspar Edson, "Nih’āⁿçaⁿ and the Bear-Women," in George A. Dorsey and Alfred L. Kroeber, Traditions of the Arapaho (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1997 [1903]) Story 49: 101-103. Cf. the somewhat different variant, Cut Nose, "Nih’āⁿçaⁿ and the Bear-Women," Traditions of the Arapaho, Story 50: 103-105.

4 "11. The Cannibal and the Fox," in H. R. Voth, "Arapaho Tales," Journal of American Folk-Lore 25 (1912): 43-50 [48.

5 Assiniboine, "15. Nix’aⁿt's Adventures, (a) With the Mice's Sun-dance," in Alfred Louis Kroeber, Gros Ventre Myths and Tales, Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History (New York: Trustees of the American Museum of Natural History, 1907) Volume 1, Part 3, p. 72.

6 Mrs. Good Bear, "43. Coyote Feeds the Women on Their Own Babies," in Martha Warren Beckwith, Mandan and Hidatsa Tales: Third Series (Poughkeepsie: Vassar College, 1934) 293-295.

7 Radin, The Trickster, 129, #14-15; the Ponca trickster cycle is found in James Owen Dorsey, ¢egiha Texts, in Contributions to North American Ethnology (Washington, D. C.: 1890) vol. 6.

8 Dorothy Moulding Brown, Manabush: Menomini Tales, Wisconsin Folklore Booklets (Madison: 1948) 4.

9 Radin, The Trickster, 98-99, #12-13. These tales are collected in R. H. Lowie, The Assiniboine, in The Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History (New York: American Museum of Natural History, 1909) 4:239-244.

10 Radin, The Trickster, 102, #36.

11 Edward S. Curtis, The North American Indian (Norwood: The Plimpton Press, 1930) 19: 175-176.

12 Mythology of the Blackfoot Indians, compiled and translated by Clark Wissler and D. C. Duvall (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1995 [1908]) Story 12, p. 29.

13 Wissler and Duvall, Mythology of the Blackfoot Indians, Story 17: 33-34.

14 "Manabozho, or the Great Incarnation of the North," in Henry R. Schoolcraft, Schoolcraft's Indian Legends, ed. Mentor L. Williams (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1991 [1956]) 77-79.

15 Kickapoo Tales, collected by William Jones, trs. by Truman Michelson. Publications of the American Ethnological Society (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1915) IX:13-14.

16 Morris Edward Opler, Myths and Tales of the Chiricahua Apache Indians (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1994 [1942]) 39.

17 Richard Erdoes and Alfonso Ortiz (edd.), American Indian Trickster Tales (New York: Penguin-Putnam, Inc., 1998) 37-38.

18 Traditions of the Arapaho, 103, nt. 1.

19 Paul Radin, Zapotec Texts: Dialect of Juchitan-Tehauno, International Journal of American Linguistics, Vol. 12, #3. (July, 1946): 152-172 [159-160].

20 Glenn Welker, "Rabbit and The Coyote" at the Indigenous Peoples Literature Website,