Turtle and the Giant

by Charlie Houghton

translation based on the interlinear of Oliver LaMère


Hočąk-English Interlinear Text


(160) "They said, 'Today as a lesson I will make for you a good Giant.' The one who said it they call 'Moon' (Hąhé). They lived very close to this one. The Giant said, 'My friend, I wish to go eat people.' 'If you eat that kind, Earthmaker will not like it,' he said. (161) Nevertheless, now he came, and when he arrived, he tried to find people. Kečuñgega (Turtle) fought him using a two-edged knife, and they cut him in two. They broke open that Giant's head and it is said that it was full of all kinds of wampum (worúšigra). Turtle took all of it and wore it home around his neck. Only Turtle could use the Giants anyway he wished. Earthmaker gave him this power."1


Commentary. This is a highly abbreviated form of the story which leaves some confusing points. The Moon is a goddess, but the Giant speaks to an unnamed friend who is a male, even though the context suggests that he is speaking to Moon. The raconteur and the translator took the name Hąhé to refer to the moon, which is probably legitimate. The name means properly, "Night," literally, "Light-Go." Night is associated with a tribe of spirits called "Nightspirits," and is ultimately caused by their activities.


Links: Earthmaker, Giants, Turtle, Moon, Nightspirits.


Stories: featuring Giants as characters: A Giant Visits His Daughter, 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 the Star Girl, Rich Man, Boy, and Horse, 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; featuring Turtle as a character: The Mission of the Five Sons of Earthmaker, Turtle's Warparty, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, Soft Shelled Turtle Gets Married, Turtle and the Merchant, Redhorn's Father, Redhorn's Sons, Turtle and the Witches, The Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, Trickster Soils the Princess, Morning Star and His Friend, Grandfather's Two Families, The Race for the Chief's Daughter, Kunu's Warpath, Redhorn Contests the Giants, Redhorn and His Brothers Marry, The Skunk Origin Myth, The Hočąk Migration Myth, Porcupine and His Brothers, The Creation of Man, The Twins Join Redhorn's Warparty, The Father of the Twins Attempts to Flee, The Chief of the Heroka, The Spirit of Gambling, The Nannyberry Picker, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, The Markings on the Moon (v. 2), The Green Man, The Hočągara Contest the Giants, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Coughing Up of the Black Hawks, The Petition to Earthmaker, The Origins of the Milky Way; pertaining to the Moon: The Markings on the Moon, Black and White Moons, The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, Sunset Point, Sun and the Big Eater, The Big Eater, Hare Kills Wildcat, Grandfather's Two Families, Berdache Origin Myth (v. 1); mentioning Earthmaker: The Creation of the World, The Creation of Man, The Commandments of Earthmaker, The Twins Get into Hot Water, The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, The Lost Blanket, Earthmaker Blesses Wagíšega (Wešgíšega), The Man Who Would Dream of Mą’ųna, The First Snakes, Tobacco Origin Myth, The Creation Council, The Gray Wolf Origin Myth, The Journey to Spiritland, The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter, The Seven Maidens, The Descent of the Drum, Thunder Cloud Marries Again, The Spider's Eyes, The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion, Hawk Clan Origin Myth, Fourth Universe, Šųgepaga, The Fatal House, The Twin Sisters, Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth, Elk Clan Origin Myth, Deer Clan Origin Myth, Bear Clan Origin Myth, Wolf Clan Origin Myth, The Masaxe War, The Two Children, Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Petition to Earthmaker, The Gift of Shooting, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, Bluehorn's Nephews, The Stone Heart, The Wild Rose, Earthmaker Sends Rušewe to the Twins, The Lame Friend, How the Hills and Valleys were Formed, The Hočąk Migration Myth, The Necessity for Death, Hočąk Clans Origin Myth, The War among the Animals, Lake Winnebago Origin Myth, Blue Mounds, Lost Lake, The Hočągara Migrate South, The Spirit of Gambling, The Shawnee Prophet — What He Told the Hočągara, The Hočągara Contest the Giants, Ghost Dance Origin Myth II, Bird Origin Myth, Black and White Moons, Redhorn's Sons, Holy Song, The Reincarnated Grizzly Bear, The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, Death Enters the World, Man and His Three Dogs, Trickster Concludes His Mission, Story of the Thunder Names, The Origins of the Milky Way, Trickster and the Dancers, Ghost Dance Origin Myth I, East Enters the Medicine Lodge, The Creation of Evil, The Blessing of Kerexųsaka, Song to Earthmaker, The Blessing of the Bow, The Origin of the Cliff Swallow; mentioning wampum: The Meteor Spirit and the Origin of Wampum, Young Man Gambles Often, Morning Star and His Friend (v. 2), Little Human Head, Snowshoe Strings, The Chief of the Heroka, The Markings on the Moon, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth (v. 2), Mijistéga’s Powwow Magic and How He Won the Trader's Store, Bird Clan Origin Myth, The Blessing of Kerexųsaka.


Themes: Turtle has a sacred, double-edged knife: Redhorn's Sons, The Chief of the Heroka, Turtle's Warparty, The Sons of Redhorn Find Their Father, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Turtle; anthropophagy and cannibalism: A Giant Visits His Daughter, The Witch Men's Desert, The Were-Grizzly, Grandfather's Two Families, The Roaster, Redhorn's Father, Hawk Clan Origin Myth, The Lost Blanket, Young Man Gambles Often, White Wolf, The Shaggy Man, The Twins Get into Hot Water, Partridge's Older Brother, The First Fox and Sauk War, The Fox-Hočąk War, The Hočągara Contest the Giants, Morning Star and His Friend, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Seven Maidens, Šųgepaga, The Reincarnated Grizzly Bear, The Woman who Loved Her Half-Brother, The Blessing of a Bear Clansman, Shakes the Earth, The Stone Heart, Thunder Cloud is Blessed; the heads of Giants are found to be full of wampum: Young Man Gambles Often, The Meteor Spirit and the Origin of Wampum, Morning Star and His Friend (v. 2); Earthmaker acts against those who are not doing right: The Fatal House, Earthmaker Sends Rušewe to the Twins, The Mission of the Five Sons of Earthmaker, The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, Šųgepaga, The Seven Maidens, The Origins of the Milky Way.


Notes

1 Charlie N. Houghton, "A Story about Turtle and a Giant," in Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks, Freeman #3894 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) Winnebago III, #9: 160-162.