The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head
Hočąk Syllabic Text with an Interlinear English Translation
HERE one lived with his older sister. They lived in an oval lodge. He loved her very much. This was a great man. There was nothing he could not get. He was prodigious in hunting. Every day he would pack home all kinds of animals. When he came back from hunting, when he got near home, this would always happen. (2) A great multitude of black swallows would rush into his lodge. They would always come in with a loud noise. These went in front of him wherever he went. And when he got home, when he threw his arrows against the back of the lodge, they would lay as various snakes coiled around one another. (3) Then again he took off his moccasins and when he hung them on the ceiling of the lodge, two bull snakes would begin to coil around one another. And they would always make a squeaking sound. They would always cry repeatedly, and he would always do it this way. It was done just this way. Whenever he came back and undressed himself, when he would put his things up somewhere, (4) it would always be that way.
|The Bank Swallow (Riparia riparia)|
Then one day when the older brother went out hunting, as soon as he had gone out of sight, the swallows returned again and came back in. Then he returned and came back in. He put his arrows back next to the wall. (5) The snakes then began to coil around one another, snakes of many different kinds. Again he took off his moccasins, and after he hung them up, two bull snakes began to coil around one another. And they made squeaking sounds. Unexpectedly, he began to tease her. All day long he teased her. The woman was embarrassed. (6) She never so much as looked at him all day long. She was very embarrassed. Thus it was that all day she sat down at work. And in the evening he said, "Hąhą́, about now I will go home. I will have to do it, as something is not liked about me. She refused to even look at me," he said. (7) Then he left.
Then right away again it became boisterous with swallows. He returned with his pack. When he came in, it seemed that she had not done her usual boiling as the one for whom she used to boil had been here teasing her. That is why she did not boil anything. He carried his pack to the lodge and he boiled it and ate it. (8) His sister, in any case, sat facing the wall and thus she did. She also dreaded to look at her brother. She was greatly embarrassed.
The next morning he again went hunting. Once he was out of sight, the birds returned again. Again he came back in. Again he did it. When he would put his arrows back against the wall, the snakes began to coil around one another. (9) Again, after he hung his moccasins up, two bull snakes began to coil around one another. And they made squeaking sounds. Thus he did, and again he began to tease her. Even now he would also throw little things at her. Again she worked all day. (10) She sat facing the wall, and when it was evening, he said, "Hąhą́, about now I will go home. Something is not liked about me. She will refuse to even look at me," he said, and he went out.
And again right away, it became noisy with black swallows. (11) Again her older brother came back. He arrived with his pack. Again, thus it was. Also, she did not look at him there. She sat with her face towards the wall, and thus it was. And again he boiled it and ate it, and in the morning, he went hunting. He did the same as he had done before. This time he threw charcoal at her for some time, (12) so that it was scattered around where she sat. Then again he went out, but right away he returned. And when he returned, he said, "My dear younger sister, you and I used to sit alone and talk freely to one another a little, (13) so why are you doing this? You have done this for three days now," he said. And his younger sister said, "What good are you doing? I am embarrassed, greatly," she said. And he said, "Hąhą́ my younger sister, you ought to have known, but you didn't know it. I thought you would know, so I didn't say anything," he said. (14) "There is an evil thing on this earth, and all the most valued women, he is gathering all of them. He is marrying them, but he makes slaves out of them. He impoverishes them. He is the one who came. He is like me. He is one of the Great Ones. As to how it is going to be, my knowledge is not good. (15) Even though I am one of the Great Ones (Xete) whom Earthmaker created, will I overcome him? He means to take you away with him. It is tomorrow that he would take you. My dear younger sister, he will do it only if somehow he overcomes me here," he said.
The next morning he said, (16) "My dear younger sister, nothing will be like it. Go and offer tobacco to our Grandfather. "Grandfather, help us. Pity us, for we are taken with difficulties," you must say. "When you pour the tobacco, do it towards the south, there is an oak tree of smooth bark, (17) it is this one that the Creator of Things created first among trees. Go and ask that," he said to her. And there were four tobacco bags and four white deerskins. And again there were four eagle feathers, tail feathers. And she made buffalo hair and this was what she was working on. She was working on buffalo hair. (18) Then she went. And when she got there, she placed the offerings at the base of the tree. "Grandfather, help us. We are in difficulties," she said. And he nodded slightly in affirmation. And two pieces fell a short distance from him. These she packed and came home. When she got back, she threw them in the fire. (19) The fire burned intensely. It stood reaching up to the heavens.
"Hąhą́, I am going, but I will come back when he comes," he said, and he went out. Right away he came in again. When the man came in again, the swallows also entered into the lodge. (20) He came in. "Hąhó young man, you have returned," he said. "Hąhą'ą," he said. "Young man, you have come," he said. "Hąhą'ą," he said. " Korá, young man, you are begrudging me your sister, or are you challenging me?" he said. "It will be whatever you say. (21) It is your sister that I will take away with me, this very day. As she is willing, she is a new one. They always do that sort of thing when their sister is being courted," he said. And he said, "Well young man, you also do not fill up the pipe. When men visit each other, they usually offer tobacco," he said. "I was thinking that you would fill it up for me. (22) It's the visitor, he is the one who fills it with tobacco for them," he said. On they talked, trying to induce one another to fill the pipe. Yet they were identical. Nowhere were they different. They painted themselves in exactly the same way. Then the visitor did this. (23) He wrapped his arms in leather, and when he unwrapped them, after he untied it, unexpectedly, they were inlaid with knives. The blades of the knives were terrifying. The blades were red. They were even with the wrists at the hands and came up to his elbows. They lay on the back of his arms. The knives were on both arms. (24) The one who lived with his sister also unwrapped his arms. They were wrapped in leather, and he was just like him. He was no different.
They were still saying it. They were asking one another to fill the pipe. Finally, they talked louder, "You are not my equal," they said to one another. "Of the Great Ones that the Creator created, I myself am one!" each would say. (25) On and on they talked. Finally, the one who lived with his sister got angry. It was not good. He took his pipe. He did it thinking, "I am one of the Great Ones who were created." It was not right, that's why he was enraged to hurt him a lot. He filled his pipe. (26) Then he lit it and took a few strong puffs. Then that man bounced up. The other one puffed and drew a long draft. Again he bounced up higher. Again for the third time he did it, and he bounced hard. The fourth time he drew on it very hard and (27) he fell into the fire. He tried to grab him, but he raised himself up, it is said.
This time the other one filled the pipe. The other puffed and took a draft. Then he bounced up. He did it again a second time. Then he bounced up still higher. (28) Again, when he did it for the third time, he came up very high. The fourth time he drew on it very hard. He fell into the fire. As soon as the other one began to fill his pipe, the fire started to darken. There he tried to blow off the coals to restart it, but now it was still going dark. (29) In any case, when he fell into the fire, he attacked him on the ground, and kicked his head off at the neck. Thus it was, and he gave a whoop, and ran away. Indeed the earth shook. The one whose head was cut off arose, it is said. With his body only, he chased after his head, but he kept his head away from him, (30) less it should get back into place. He would not let him get near it. He kept on chasing him. Also his sister was whimpering and holding on to her man. He kept on chasing him. To the fourth hill, that far he chased him. His sister did this from fear. (31) She thought his body might go off somewhere, so she held onto him. So there was as far as he went. Then they no longer kept chasing one another.
She brought her older brother back from there. The woman cried a great deal. She brought him back to the lodge. She would be crying every day there. Her headless man was sitting opposite her. (32) She never felt good. And she gave her older brother something to eat. One day she put a little soup into his throat hole, and she put it in there and he drank it. Again she mashed up meat and she put it in there and he swallowed it. Finally, when he was done, he made signs with his hands. (33) Thus he did. She always did it that way. There she would put food in for him. At his neck where it was cut off was his throat hole, and there she would feed him. In the course of time, it is said that four years had passed. Then they ate up all the dried venison that there was. (34) And furthermore, they ate up all that was on every meat rack that they had. There she did this again. She would break up the bones and make soup of them and she would make her older brother drink it. There, from that time on, she never ate. She would only feed her brother. She thought her brother must not be the first to die. The woman thought that she ought to die first. (35) If any single thing was not good, she did not want it to happen to her brother first. Then she finally boiled out all the bones. Again they began to do all the deerskins that remained there. She dug Indian potatoes and used it with this. Finally, now, she used it up. (36) She was using the leather as flavoring, but now it was exhausted. From that time on, they used only potatoes.
And there was one there who created one thing here on earth, a Creation Lodge that extended east-west for the entire breadth of the earth. And there he told them to gather. (37) There was a pure white blackhawk, and a pure white shrieking swan, those two he sent upwards. "Do not miss anything," he said to them. Then a wolf and a bear, these were the ones that were to travel the earth. He told them to go over the whole earth and even below it. (38) They were not to miss anything, not even the smallest insects. They went to everything, the trees and even the grass and weeds, as many of them as there were. Even though the longhouse reached from the very end of one side of the earth to the very end of the other, it was full to the brim. (39) Then Trickster, Turtle, Bladder, Hare, the Sun, Redhorn, and their Grandmother (Earth), these very ones were the Great Ones (Xetera).
Then Hare stood up and said, "Hehé, all you diverse spirits sitting here, I told you that I would point something out, therefore I told you to gather. (40) This you know, of all the ones whom the Maker of Things created great here on earth, the Great Ones are eight in number. One of them is injured. That should not be, I thought. That is why I told you to gather here. The Evil One (Wowąkra) did this. Herešgúnira did this. I thought it should not be this way. You have done it. (41) One of the beings among the evil spirits injured the one that he (Earthmaker) created. It is possible to fix a thing or two, I thought. If we take up a collection and go take it to the Creator himself, and if there we ask him to take pity, if he is willing, then we can make him live. "Hąhó," they said. (42) They all answered nodding their approval.
Then he did this. In the center of the lodge he spread out a white deerskin. Then he did this. He drew something from the seat of his heart. Much did it glitter. There on the head of the deer he put it. There it lay glittering and then the light rested there like daylight. "Hąhą́ Kunu, you yourself ought to do it," he said to him. Trickster also did it. (43) As he did it, he made that sort of thing. Then he made one like what he had placed there. Then Turtle did it as well. Then he also made that sort of thing. When Bladder did it, he also made that sort of thing. When the Sun did it there, he also made that sort of thing. When Redhorn did it there, he also made that sort of thing. (44) Then when their Grandmother did it, she also made the same sort of thing. And when the others did it, they all made the same kind of thing, but they did less. They would always do but a small portion. Finally, they all finished up, all who were present. "Hąhą́," he said, when they were finished, "you will get these back again sometime. (45) Now, Horešgúniga has injured one of the Great Ones. That we might avenge him, you have added bits and pieces of your powers. It cannot be defeated. It's power is the same as Earthmaker's, but the one who did it is of a like kind as he. He is one alike in powers to the Creator of Things. (46) Therefore, we should have a little more. Thus it is. Therefore, we are going to take it to the Maker of Things. If we are pitied there, we shall overcome him. If it is thus, we shall accomplish this," he said. Then the eight Great Ones left. Six of them were the ones who did it. (47) These were the ones who went to the Maker of Things — Trickster it was, and also Turtle, and Bladder, and Hare, and Redhorn, and the Sun — this many were the ones who did it. After they left for the Creator, finally they arrived. And when they arrived there, he permitted them to come into his lodge. "Hąhą́," he said. (48) "It is not for nothing that you came here. It is not in any way for nothing, it is for a certain one that you came here now. It is on account of some great thing that you have come, I am thinking," he said. Then Trickster did this. He placed before him the white deerskin bundle of holiness. He looked at it. (49) "Hąhą́, it is good, my dear children. I have known about the matter. I have been thinking about it, but I did not know [what to do]. It is good. Thus it is. When I created this one, I created him with good thinking qualities. Even I am not his equal. Without doubt his thinking qualities are good. It is good. (50) Hąhą́, I also will help you," he said. He brought something blue forth from his seat-of-thought. He added twice as much to it as they had taken over there. Then he said, "You will do it. Your knowledge is good. That one I created great, I created one here whose powers remain equal to mine. (51) He injured one of them, and I knew it not should be so, but when it was time for something, I had not done well. It is good that you have come," said Earthmaker. Horešgúnira was to the left of where he was situated. His lodge was just the same.
(52) Then, having been thus, Trickster thanked him. "Father, it is good. You created exactly what we wanted, without hesitation, and my friend he himself will do it. He is the only one. They all listen to him. Where we came from, he is the only one who knows. His thoughts are good. (53) He alone has helped the two-legged walkers. He himself will do this. Again we shall have him take charge of what was donated," he said, and he gave him the white deerskin bundle. "Hąhó, it is good," he said. Hare thanked him. "When we return to the Creation Lodge, I will give it to the one who will really do it. (54) In returning from here, I will bring it," he said. Then the Maker of Things thanked him.
Then the Maker of Things said, "Hąhą́ my dear son Kunu, you are the oldest one. I made you a good man and holy (wákąčąk). I made you go to earth. (55) When you went to earth, they were to listen to you, honor you, and obey you, and you were to tell them what they should live by. You are cursed. I created you for this. You brought this on yourself. You, on account of your own poor actions, have become the butt of everyone's ridicule. They abused you, (56) even the smallest insects; and this one who did what I told him that he should do, this one alone are you to hold in front. You have made light of my creation. You are the oldest, but it is childish. You yourself have done this. I did not tell you to do this. (57) It is on account of your deeds that they call you "foolish one" (Wakjąkaga). Do as your friend Hare, it was for that that I created you. I did not create you thus to play around," he said. He also said it to Turtle. Again he gave good counsel to all those who had come there. (58) Then they came away.
Since then, it is as it was when he started to come. And the created ones still sat quietly in the lodge. Then they returned. Then Hare stood in the middle of the lodge. He stood holding the white deerskin bundle. "Hąhą́ you best of spirits, what you have done here has become a reality. (59) Our father has made it a reality for us. And as much power as we took over there, he has doubled it, and there he filled it. And our friend, he himself will do it. I will give him what I have," he said. And he gave the white deerskin to Sun. And there it was.
(60) When the sun stood straight up, he stopped there. The woman dug up potatoes there as she went along. There at that place he caused the earth to dry out. She was on the hillside there. As the woman dug potatoes there, thus did he make the earth very warm. Thus as she brought out potatoes with her hoe, many remained to be dug out. (61) The really big ones she kept. As she stood on the hillside digging potatoes basking in the sun, she liked it very much. When she was basking her buttocks, she liked it a lot. And so the sun warmed her up everywhere, and standing there turning her buttocks as he did it, she liked it greatly. (62) Also the sun, having taken her buttocks, he did it. And there all the holiness that had been gathered together and sent, he caused to enter into her. There, at just one time, the woman became pregnant, but afterwards she was not aware of it. And the woman liked it very much. She became happy in her mind. (63) Also here she got many of the potatoes. As she went along she also dug up great big potatoes. As she went along she obtained potatoes that were new. Also the potatoes were smooth. She made the bag that she brought with her full. When she got back to her older brother, she let him eat them. He was very delighted. He was very happy. (64) He would use his hand and talk to his younger sister. She did the same to her older brother by taking hold of his hand, and whenever she said something, he would understand it. Heretofore, the woman had never eaten much. She only looked out for her brother. (65) He told her to eat, but she would not do it. Therefore, now the woman was also very thin. Therefore, the spirits with them took pity on them, and when she boiled, after she made it, she gave him some, and after making him eat, she told him to eat a lot. He ate a good deal. (66) Also she told him that she would eat. He liked that. From that time on, they ate as many potatoes as they liked.
And one day, it felt like something, something just then in her abdomen. And it was true. It began to get bigger. (67) Finally, after awhile, something would also move around in her abdomen. There she knew. She liked that she was pregnant. "If I am really thus, and have children, I will make it so that they will be companions to my older brother," she thought. She was thinking that she would tell her older brother. "What can I do to let him know?" she thought. (68) She held his hand and tried to tell him, but he did not understand. And now she did this. She took his hand and tried to have him touch her abdomen, but when he knew, he would take his hand and pull it away. He was afraid to touch his younger sister's abdomen. The woman was frightened. (69) She thought that he believed that she was doing something shameful. So she wanted him to know even more. Finally, he felt her. Unexpectedly, her abdomen was heavy with child. As a result, he was very pleased. Then she split wood and gave it to him, and he would try to make a cradle by feeling. (70) Finally, he made one. Every day he would be at it, so he made a good one. Finally, it was the ninth month. And when it was her time to be confined, unexpectedly, something was passed through the door. It made a ringing noise. It was an intense yellow color. It was a metal cradle, and it was gold. (71) It was completely full [of wrappings]. Again it was done. Again there was one like it, except that it was a brilliant white. It was of pure silver. She had her older brother feel them. He was very much delighted. He held the empty cradle. He also took a poker and began to tap on the fire rails. He was doing this [as music] for the child.
(72) And when she knew it was her time, the woman went out. After she had given birth, she washed them and put them in the cradles, and then she returned. And she had gone out a little way. She had given birth to two boys. (73) Again he was even more so [delighted]. He would never let go of them. He would always have them. Only when one of them would cry and she would nurse him, would she take him, and once she had nursed him, he would always take him back again right away. He loved him a great deal. He was delighted as he started to get larger. (74) They were getting used to him, and even their mother herself was not more to them than their uncle. Then after awhile, they began to crawl, and even then they were very mischievous. (75) They were always piling on top of him. Therefore, she was able to dig for Indian potatoes in peace. They themselves would rather be with their uncle. And as winter came on, they were even bigger. They were mischievous. They would not take a step away from their uncle. (76) Also, they would not pay any attention to their mother. Then finally, when they were good at shooting bows and arrows, then he said that he wanted to make them arrows. The woman split off some arrow wood. She put them there with her older brother, so he made arrows. And he made just four ruxįnixįni arrows. (77) Then they were even more [mischievous].
And one of the boys said, "Why is uncle the way he is? He is not as we are. He does not have a head. It is difficult to feed him. It would be better if he had a head," he said. (78) "Mother, why is he that way?" he said. "My dear son, he is just naturally that way," she said. And thus he would be. Now they also came to understand well their uncle's motions. Yet again one of them asked her, "Mother, uncle's head seems to have been cut off. (79) Why is it thus?" he said. Again she said, "My dear son, he is just naturally that way," she said. Then they asked a third time. Again she would not tell them. They asked her yet again for the fourth time, and she would not tell them. Then they spoke, as they stood outside, and it was this, (80) "Koté, let us go to the old man, mother is not going to tell us, but perhaps he might. I don't think that our uncle is naturally this way," they said. They said this very early in the morning. Their mother overheard them. She said to them, "Don't go anywhere far away; (81) don't stray too far from your uncle," she said to them, but they started off running anyway.
Unexpectedly, they entered. "Hohó, it is my sons," he said. "Jáha-á my dear sons, you must have come for something," he said. "Hąhą'ą," they said. "Uncle's head seems to have been cut off. (82) And so we asked our mother why he was thus, but she would never tell us. The reason that we ask is that it seems to have been cut off. It is hard to feed him. Therefore, we have come to ask you about that. Uncle has become very pitiable. Tell us father," they said. (83) "Hehé my dear sons, you are not yet grown up is why your mother would not tell you. However, no matter what happens, since you're going to find out anyway, I might as well tell you. Your uncle is one of the Great Ones (Xetera) here on earth. He alone is the good spirit. (84) Therefore, the Evil Spirit was jealous. He provoked your uncle with talk. Therefore, he did it to him. Therefore, he cut his neck in two with a knife there. The one who did it became very great. He does not leave the spirits in peace. Your uncle is the cause of it. He also used his head, (85) but he is trying to kill him. And now he is getting weaker. That is why your uncle is so poor in health, and when he kills the head, the body will fall down. Now his face is something unrecognizable. His face is all scratched up. (86) And if you wish to try him, I'll tell you what you should do. Just at noon, he comes here. On a sand bar in the middle of the Ocean Sea, he clears a spot and lies down. Precisely at noon he drinks there. Then he would do this. As he comes there, he would dive into the water, and right away he would come up again and say, (87) 'Jáha-á you dog, I seem to smell your nephews,' he would say, and then he would do this. He did it with his fingernails, and tore out pieces from his face. And he would say, 'If they were my nephews, able to come this far, if they came here, you would surely know it,' he would say. (88) Thus he would do four times and the fourth time he would dive in and drink for a long time. When he does it for the fourth time, it is the only time he does it there," he said.
Korá, when the youngest began to speak, he was mighty angry. Even right then he really wanted to go to him. (89) Then he asked them, "How would you do it?" he asked them. "When he clears the sandbar, we would make ourselves into small snakes under the earth and lie there," they said. "A, it will never work, he will see you," he said. "Well, we could lie in the water, making ourselves into fish," they said again. (90) "A, it is not to be, as he will see you as if it were broad daylight," he said. Well, we will do this, on a nice day, we'll be floating spiders, and in this way we will make ourselves," they said. "A, it is not to be, for he will see you plainly," he said. (91) Then again for the fourth time they said to him, "Well father, if you make it hot, we would make ourselves be that warmth," they said. "Hąhą́ my sons, that is it, that is what I wanted you to say, is why I am saying this. It is the only way. But take your uncle's mirror and fill his paint bundle. (92) If you have these, if it were that way, your uncle would not say anything at this place. He himself is really on the alert. It is not likely that he will be taken by surprise," he said. "You should have them in front of you," he said. (93) "Hąhą́ my sons, I will also help you," he said. "I will stop, and when I stop and smoke, just then he always comes," he said. "Hąhą́, take these back. Have them ready to heat there. Tell your mother that the prayers that she went and said to grandfather, she must say again to him. (94) She knows it. Also her grandfather knows it." He let them bring back four irons. They were live iron. "Hąhą́ my sons, go home. I am set to move west," he said. "Hąhó," they said and came away.
Unexpectedly, they had arrived back home. (95) As the sun first appeared, "Hąhą́ mother, why did you keep it a secret? Didn't you know how it was that uncle was so pitiable? I know from father why he is thus," they said. "That homely one, the bad old man that said this, I was keeping it from them until they became old enough to run off someplace. One of them might be injured someplace, (96) he was in such a hurry to tell them," she said. And they said to her, "Mother, we will return at noon. Go and say it again to your grandfather that you prayed to before, and lay these there to be heated red hot," they said. (97) And by the sign you will know it at noon. He said to open the door and have uncle turn in the direction of the day. And now we will go," they said and went on out there.
And the woman took the tobacco and the offerings and went south. When she got to the tree, (98) "Grandfather, I have come to pray to you. Help us. Again the children have gone to try him," she said. After he said, "Korá," two pieces of wood fell off. She packed these and came home. When she got back, she put them into the fire. The light that came from the fire was intense. It stood reaching up to the fireplace of the Maker of Things. (99) As soon as she put the irons there, they already had become red hot.
And immediately they were there. They went and sat beneath their father. The younger one was very angry. So their father said this, (100) "That's what your uncle did. There he was taken unaware. Don't do that. Your uncle was one of the Great Ones, but he did it to him," he said. Then finally it was noon. Then his father put away his pipe. (101) Just after he had quit smoking, from above there came a loud noise. Doubtless he controlled it. Then it became foggy. The atmosphere became yellow. There was a roar. Then he alighted there on the island. There he lay and drank the water. But he got up in a hurry and was knocked down (?) they say. "Jáha-á you dog, there are nephews nearby," he said. (102) He did this. He tore out a piece of his face. He used his fingernails and, korá, the younger one could not help moving. He was very angry. They lay there forbidding him. Again a second time he did it. Again he did the same. Again a third time he did it. (103) The fourth time when he dove into the water, they started to go. His head was tied to his back. Therefore, there was also a face behind him. Then he saw his things. "Hohó, my mirror, my paint bundle that was taken to be filled," he said. "Hąhó," he said. He raised up and came back. "Why did you say that?" he said. (104) He replied, "Why would I say it? When I used my mirror, I used to like to look at my face. That's why I said it," he said. "Hoho-o, you frightened me for nothing," he said and he used both arms and scratched his face.
Thus he did, (105) and just before he dove into the water the eldest one did it. He sent his head tumbling off. And he held a head in each arm. Then he said to the younger one, "Fight him. I will take care of these," he said. Immediately he took off running. Then the earth rumbled. (106) The earth shook. The young one fought him there as he ran. And the old man sat there with him. There was nothing like it. He would stop there only when he was shot, and right away he would fight once again. When he shot him with one of the ruxįnixįni arrows, he was becoming it. (107) And so even the first time, he plucked out his heart. They kept on doing it. "Hąhó, did you not seek his body? Now kill him," his father said. When he would say that, he would make his body into an arrow and he would take the things out from his stomach one by one. (108) And then the earth shook.
And as they got near their lodge, the older one started to shout as he went. So his mother did this. She put her older brother facing the door. Then the one having the head did this. He came there and threw the head. (109) "However strong you had been at first, be stronger now," he said. It struck him with a sound like a clapping hand. "Hohohowá," his uncle said. Then he gave his uncle the man's head. "This is the one who did it," he said to him. "Yes, you must have been made very weak from something," he said to him. Then right away the body had already come up. (110) Then he said to the woman, "Mother, you have said that you have been shamed for a long time. In whatever way you can make it suffer, do so," they said to her. Therefore, she took one of the heated irons and when the body came, she stabbed it over and over, many times. And she also did the same to the face. Finally, she exhausted them. Finally, she killed them.
Then their uncle thanked them. "It is good, my nephews." Thus he kept saying. "At the outset, I think that I had a lot of confidence in myself, but there he took me by surprise." He kept saying, "He is dead." Then he was as he used to be, but he was not fat. He was thin. Their mother was also this way. (112) Then the younger one did this. He stood up. "Let's eat," he said. Then he did this. He used a ruxįnixįni arrow to shoot one of the standing poles there. And he shot down a bear there. They took hold of this and singed it. (113) They did this although it was small. They were made holy. No one was equal to them in strength. And when they had finished singeing it, they cut it up, placed it in a kettle, and put it on the fire. There they ate. The four of them did it. With all their xop they ate it. (114) Then the one whom they had killed, they burned in the fire there. And they even burned up his bones to nothing, along with his head and body.
|A Prairie Fire|
And so because they did it that way, that's the reason it does it. When it has a vision, somewhere the fire of its own accord ignites, burning up everything in its path. (115) When the fire is angry there, it is thus. Because he was made to burn up one of the bad spirits, a Great One, it is for this reason that he does it, it is said. When this fire burns really hard someplace, when it burns in anger, it stops for nothing. Even now sometimes, when it burns someplace, it does it in anger, it is said. (116) Sometimes when the fire is angry, it destroys a part of a town. Therefore, when a fire burns a place very hard, they always say that it is because of the wind, that it is so intense. It is not because of the wind, but rather it is the fire itself that does it. (117) Therefore, thus it is. Sometimes it will get angry. In the large towns of the Big Knives, they never put tobacco with the fire and furthermore, they make it work very hard. Therefore, it is because they get it angry that it does it to them. It is because it burns villages that they tell of it. (118) If they put tobacco with it and sometimes one of the boiled food items, they would use it in peace. It would help them. This fire is a man. Of all things, tobacco is particularly his favorite. Tobacco is a habit. Thus it is, they say. It is said that there he is angry.
(119) There, they say, these boys killed many kinds of animals. Then, as their uncle used to be, thus he was again. And once more as their mother used to be, thus she was again. Then their uncle said, "Hąhą my younger sister and my nephews, (120) about now I will go and sit down there and do what the Creator created me for," he said. "And I came to this earth, coming to help the humans because they were poor in life. But he overcame me, that most evil thing. It is because of what you did for me that I am alive," he said. Then the man went back. (121) He who spoke was the Red Star (Evening Star). He is the youngest of the eight Great Ones that the Creator fashioned with his own hands. That is he himself who is there, a red star that is visible at night. And the woman was the moon. (122) Therefore, the sun and the moon are married. Then the boys said, "Hąhą, we will be going about the earth. Some bad things still remain. We will go and look them up. From time to time we will come and see you," they said. They have always told of the Twins. They are still there. They always tell of a ghost and Flesh.1
Commentary. "black swallows" — these are called nąražožopgesepra in Hočąk. The only black swallow is the Bank Swallow (Riparia riparia) that nests along the banks of rivers or lakes. These birds are associated with Red Star (the uncle) because he is shown elsewhere to be a Waterspirit (in that context, he is called "Bluehorn"). Bank Swallows are a veritable avian counterpart to Waterspirits. They nest on the upper parts of banks flanking lakes or streams. "The holes look simple from a distance. But those who have examined them in detail have been amazed at the lengthy intricate tunnels the birds have excavated, leading to the nests."2 Waterspirits, of course, like to sun themselves on the banks of bodies of water, and have intricate tunnels under the earth. Waterspirits are also known for traveling far and wide through these tunnels, and the birds mimic this propensity for travel by being migratory. They begin arriving from mid-April through mid-May, and return south from early July to mid-September.3 Bank Swallows seem to be particularly numerous in the region around Lake Winnebago.4 The black swallows may not just be the counterpart to Red Star, but to the host of stars that rise and set in the great surrounding Ocean Sea (Te Ją). If the question be asked, "How can (a) star(s) be of the Waterspirit race?," it can be answered on the analogy of the black swallows, who are denizens of the underworld of tunnels and yet launch themselves aloft for extended periods. However, the swallows also fly ahead of Morning Star as well. The fact that they fly yet burrow in the earth, is also a model of what happens to stars like Morning Star and Evening Star who come into conjunction with the sun and do not rise for a period of time. Nature reveals that there are flyers who spend time residing in the earth, so the disappearance of Morning Star and Evening Star is less mysterious.
"they would lay as various snakes" — the Hočąk word for arrow is mą, which is a rich homonym meaning, "earth," "spring (of water)," and "year, time." Red Star is Evening Star, also known as "Bluehorn" (Hečoga). His return to his lodge after being out is a clear allegory of his return to earth after his 263 day period in the sky or his return after his nightly ascent. His arrows, mą, become creatures of the earth (mą), just as he himself does. These earth dwelling snakes slither through the underworld like the springs (mą) that are the essence of the allied Waterspirits, who are often represented as if they were snakes with legs [inset]. They are the time (mą) of Red Star, who over time is reborn (to rise again into the sky) just as the serpent is able to shed its skin and live anew. For the coiling of these snake, see below.
"the ceiling" — that Red Star hangs his moccasins from one of the arching lodge poles of the ceiling, connects this footwear with the upper world. It may be said that moccasins do the walking although they are not the source of propulsion. They are the interface between the person and the ground. However, these moccasins are not touching ground. They are in midair. The ceiling of Red Star's lodge is an obvious metaphor for the over arching heavens, and it is to this upper region that Evening Star treks. His moccasins tread near the ceiling of the world. So they belong suspended from the ceiling of the lodge. However, he is no longer in them. The return to his home on earth is a setting from the sky, the place where he has been out "hunting." The symbolism of the Hočąk treatment of stellar footwear appears to be an alternate way of capturing the same meaning as the winged sandals of Hermes in Greek mythology, for instance.
"bull snakes" — the Pituophis melanoleucus, also called the "pine snake" or "gopher snake," reaches a length of 5 feet, and consequently is known in Hočąk as waką́ serečra, "the long snake." They have a large nose shield which aids them in burrowing. They typically eat burrowing mammals (mice, rabbits, gophers, and ground squirrels), as well as ground nesting birds and their eggs. They kill their prey by constriction. That they live and hunt in burrows makes them similar to Waterspirits, of which Red Star is one. Waterspirits travel through underground tunnels, so it is appropriate that Red Star's moccasins are bull snakes, which also travel through burrows. On particularly hot days, the bull snake may become active even through the first hour of darkness. This is also in conformity with the nature of Red Star, whose moccasins touch the evening sky. Just as the Evening Star never ascends very high into the sky, so the bull snake climbs only bushes and small trees. The lodge itself is a kind of bush, since it is fundamentally constructed of interwoven twigs and branches, many from bushes, and not reaching a height much surpassing the upper range of the climbing bull snake.
|The Bull Snake (Pituophis melanoleucus)||Timucuan Offering Poles|
"to coil around one another" — the Hočąk expression for coiling is hirakiweja mįgire, "they lay around each other," or hirakiweja jirawi, "the two came to be around each other." The entwined snakes hanging from the ceiling form a double helix. Spirals, whether single or double helices, are widespread. It is said that in some Mississippian cultures, "they strike with fury and vengeance the spiral-striped war pole — a symbolic axial conduit between the Sun and the sacred fire."5 The spiral and its twinning form, the double helix, represent the supernatural force communicated from the world above to that below. This is particularly well illustrated among the Mississippian Timucua, as I noted in the Gottschall page:
The inset shows part of De Bry's engraving of Le Moyne's "Trophies and Ceremonies after a Victory."6 Illustrated are three of the poles upon which "trophies" were suspended. Flanking a pole with a scalp at its top is a pole with an arm tied to it and another with a leg fastened to it in the same way. Of particular interest are rigid strands (vines?) that spiral down the poles, connecting the top of the trophy to the ground. The "trophies" are meant to be the surviving physical attachments to which the souls of the slain warriors remain fixed. The arm, scalp, and leg probably represent respectively, executive power, spirit, and motion. The two poles with limbs attached have single helices or power lines that send down the spiritual power possessed by the slain warrior in these appendages to the sacred earth of the victorious tribe.
In the Timucuan rite, there is one pole with a double helix descending from a detached human leg. This is very similar to the two moccasins of Red Star transforming themselves into two entwining snakes, a kind of temporal version of the ritual structure erected by the Timucua. The coiling also unfolds in time as well as space. This downward double spiral expresses the circle in motion. The unfolding of holy power in the form of circular motion is seen in the seminal act of all creation. In the Hočąk Genesis, Earthmaker sent the substance of the earth down from his perch in heaven with a spinning motion. If we traced two edges of the proto-earth as it plummeted into the lower world, they would inscribe a double helix of just the form that we see ritually realized in the Timucuan examples. Something similar is seen in the description of the journey to Spiritland of the Hočąk Medicine Rite. The ghost in its trek to paradise encounters a ladder whose right side is "like a twisted frog's leg." Here the ghost himself is transported from the lower to the upper world by a ladder that exemplifies this very spiral of cosmic transmission (see the Commentary to "The Journey to Spiritland"). Among the Micmac, this process of the transmission of the ghost from one world to the other is shown using the double helix. This is found in a petroglyph occurring within their territory [see inset]. The Micmac tell us that it represents the Spirit Road of the Milky Way.7 This is not a realistic representation of the Milky Way, but a symbolic rendering of a road of supernatural power, a connection between worlds like the twisted frog's leg of the Hočąk Medicine Rite, the rotating, double helix pathway to the Otherworld. The double helix generated by the moccasins of Red Star displays the supernatural power of the Evening Star, whose moccasins suspend him in the air beneath the "lodge" (celestial vault). This is the power of his fleetness by which he is able to overtake and achieve conjunction with the sun, a fleetness that is homologized to the wind that knocks over trees. It is the power of being fleet afoot with which Red Star can bless those who suffer for his favor.8 The serpentine double helix also represents the extraordinary power of the Evening Star to ascend night by night into the sky in a direction contrary to that of the surrounding stars. These are the powers of his moccasins, a power like the bull snake, who unlike the other snakes in regards to ascent and descent, can climb upwards from the ground, and not merely into and out of the subterranean realm. The squeaking snakes also exemplify the power of a light (a life power as hąp) that shines so brightly that it can even be seen in the day. This is a light that reaches down to earth and terminates there analogous to the way in which moccasins are the terminations of the downward extensions of the limbs.
The double helix, however, offers something more than the spiral or single helix. A double helix, like the blue and red stripes on a barber pole, can also run in parallel; yet every case of the double helix used as the symbol of the transmission of power takes the form of crossing spirals. These are spirals not in parallel or in concert, but configured in opposition to each other. This pattern is paradigmatically represented in the caduceus (kerykeion) of the Greek Hermes (Mercury), which like the Hočąk example, is formed from the entwined bodies of serpents. There is an instructive myth on the origins of the caduceus.
According to the fable, Mercury, when traveling in Arcadia, saw two serpents fighting with one another, and threw the rod of peace between them, whereupon they instantly ceased from the contest, and wound themselves around the staff in friendly and lasting union.9
The two snakes are engaged in the ultimate form of opposition — combat. They are physically opposing each other, attempting to engage in mutual annihilation. The herald's staff that he lays between them is symbolic of the power that the god has to create communication and harmony between worlds. Communication by its nature transcends and mediates the opposition between worlds, here symbolized by the serpentine combat. The worlds of heaven and earth remain distinct and opposed, but still capable of mutual transmissions of power and meaning. It is a transcendence of the boundary. The snakes themselves are not just in opposition, but by being entwined especially around the herald's staff, are also in unity. They represent coincidentia oppositorum. To unify what is separated by a boundary is the essential act of unifying opposites. Indeed, it is said that the entwined snakes of the caduceus trace back to the Middle East, where the snakes wrap around one another in copulation, the unity of two opposites into one.10 Among the Hočągara, both the Evening and Morning Stars are here identified with the bull snake, as they are climbers who, when they reach conjunction, return to the ground. In the old theory, the two stars cross paths at conjunction, since both are with the sun and also on earth. When this happens, they are like the crossing bull snakes suspended from the lodge roof. They do a spinning dance from conjunction to opposition and back again. The Hočągara do not recognize the identity of the Morning and Evening Stars, only their coincidence. This must once have been true of the Greeks with respect to Mercury, the other inner orbit "star" which has a morning and evening phase. As "stars" the Greek Mercury (Hermes) has winged sandals, and the Hočąk Morning and Evening Stars have moccasins that climb (in the form of climbing snakes). In the "Green Man," Bluehorn (Evening Star) acts just as he does in this story —
(14) Then he took off his moccasins and he tied them together and threw them up against the top of the lodge. (15) And two owls began to fly around one another, hooting as they did so.11
So the moccasins of the Hočąk stars are in this variant much closer to the sandals of the Greek Hermes (Mercury). They even remind us of the wings so frequently found affixed to the caduceus. Among the Hočągara, owls, as night fliers, are frequently used to represent stars. The two moccasins illustrate the unity and opposition between left and right, bird and snake, top and bottom, center and periphery. Nothing so unites the center and periphery like the office of the herald. As Burkert observes,
As messenger of the gods, Hermes carries the herald's staff, the kerykeion [caduceus], which is really the image of copulating snakes taken over from ancient Near Eastern tradition. The same symbol is carried by earthly heralds who all stand under the protection of Hermes. Hermes is also the ancestor of the Eleusinian Kerykes, heralds and sacrificial priests. Successful communication with enemies and strangers is the work of Hermes, and the interpreter, hermeneus, owes his name to the god.12
In another story about Evening Star, we are told, "He was one of the chief Waterspirits, that was why he was called 'Bluehorn'. He was a Buffalo Spirit. He was the chief of the buffaloes, but he was a Waterspirit, it is said."13 In the Hočąk nation, the Waterspirit and Buffalo people are friendship clans.14 Because of the wide roaming nature of buffalo, it is from the Buffalo Clan that the criers (heralds) are drawn.15 It is their responsibility to announced to all the will of the chief. So Bluehorn (Evening Star) as chief of the buffalo, is the patron of the tribal heralds. It is the traversing of the ground, symbolized by the buffalo and the moccasin, that stands out in the Hočąk mind in thinking of the office of herald. So it is fitting that it is the moccasins that form the Hočąk counterpart to the wand of the Greek herald, the caduceus of their patron god Hermes. Like the crossing helices of serpents, the crier goes from center to periphery and back again, uniting these opposites in his person and office.
Another unexpected parallel between Hermes and Red Star is their power to induce a hypnotic-like sleep. By touching the myriad-eyed Argos with his caduceus, Hermes was able to cause him to fall asleep so that even his last eye shut, whereupon the god slew him, freeing the captive Io.16 In the story "Brave Man," Bluehorn frees his uncle by merely uttering a command,
(9) Finally, he said to them, "Go to sleep." After he said this to them, some of them went to sleep. Having said it to them again, more again went to sleep. Again, after saying it to them for a third time, again nearly all of them went to sleep. (10) Again, the fourth time, after he said it to them, this time all of them went to sleep.17
Both Hermes and Bluehorn have the capacity to cause others to cross the boundary between consciousness and unconsciousness. So Hermes is also Psychopomp, leader of the ghosts; and Bluehorn is the devoted leader of his nephews, Ghost and Flesh.
"a squeaking sound" — this is an odd statement, as it is well known that snakes have no voice. However, the bull snake makes a very loud hiss which is likened to the bellow of a bull, although it could hardly be described as "squeaking," a sound more appropriate to birds. An attempt is made to clarify the matter in a gloss on page 9 which says the noise stems, "i.e., from pressure," that is, the tight squeezing of these constrictors is so strong that their skins squeak from rubbing against one another. The Hočąk for this word is rugįgįš, here said to mean, "to squeak," but in Marino-Radin it is given the broader meaning, "to make a noise." Its stem is gįš, to which Marino gives the meaning, "to squeak," which is compared to gįs, "to squeak" (cf. gigįgįs, "to squeak"). Miner records gigįš´, "to be squeaky like shoes." The form gigįš, gįgįš is a mere reduplication. The prefix ru- is more puzzling. As an instrumental prefix it means, "with the hand, by pulling toward the body" (Lipkind). This does not seem to fit the meaning very well, as it could not explain the creaking of shoes, or the actions of snakes, who have no hands. On the other hand, we find a prefix ru- that seems not to have an effect much different than reduplication. Just as gis, gigis, and rugigis all mean, "full, round," so we find that gįš, gįgįš, and rugįgįš all mean, "to squeak." However, the idea that the squeaking is produced by the friction of skins rubbing together seems less likely given the next entry. It should also be observed that the stem forms an interesting pun with gíš, "to tie together, to hang" (Marino). The hanging (gíš) of the shoes, which we may imagine as having been tied together (gíš) at the laces, may have influenced the choice of words to describe the sound that the bull snakes made when they were hanging from the ceiling.
"cry repeatedly" (ǧaǧak) — in one story ǧaǧak is translated as "he made some noise," but this is understood as noises coming from his voice. The crying isn't necessarily that of weeping, as the term is sufficiently broad to apply to the squawking of a goose (see the "Fox-Hočąk War"). However, there are no examples where it is not a noise produced by a voice box, so it is difficult to understand the noise of the entwining snakes as the sound made by their flesh rubbing together under pressure. Since sound usually represents light, it may be supposed that the bull snakes' squeaking sounds are light. Snakes are often homologized to lightning bolts whose serpentine path evokes the image of the serpent itself. Perhaps the rays of light, which travel seemingly in a more direct route, are homologized to snakes because of their great length and narrowness. The moccasins are where Red Star touches the ground, which is to say, the termini of his light.
"went out hunting" — this scene takes place when Evening Star and his sister the Moon are "living together," which is to say, they are in proximity to each other. This occurs as Evening Star is in the sky and the crescent moon is near the sun, leaving conjunction. Evening Star is out "hunting" — in terms of his path across the sky, he trails the sun. It might be said that he is hunting light, since hąp means not only "light," but also metaphorically, "life." A hunter seeks to bag things having hąp, which he hopes to ingest. That Evening Star is a successful hunter is seen by the fact that as time progresses, he gets brighter (ingests more hąp). He also feeds the moon, who gradually gets fatter.
"out of sight" — Evening Star is in the blue sky (partly why he is called "Bluehorn"), but is out of sight because of the light of the sun. He appears out of the blue as the sun begins to set.
"the swallows returned" — the man who returns, of course, is not the brother but his mysterious doppelgänger. The identical twin of Red Star, elsewhere said to be the brother born just after him, is Morning Star, there being no other celestial body that is truly identical to Evening Star. In every detail they are the same, even the swallows precede the brother's double.
"he began to tease her" (ražijire) — ražič refers to purely verbal teasing, in contradistinction to ružič, which denotes teasing done through action (see below). The word derives from the stem, žič, which means, "to tease, show disrespect, court."18 Hįražič means "to practice the joking relation,"19 which is an institution, based on engaging in žič, by which certain kinsman maintain an intimate relation with one another. The joking relation obtained for one's father's sister's children, mother's brother's children, mother's brothers, sisters-in-law, and brothers-in-law. Radin tells us, "In the two cases last named not only was a man permitted to joke with those relatives but he was supposed to do so whenever he had an opportunity. Under no circumstances were any of these individuals supposed to take offense. This relationship was of course reciprocal."20 Marriage to any joking relative was considered incest with the sole exception of the sister-in-law, although such a marriage might be considered improper on other grounds.21 So in our story when her apparent brother approaches her engaging in žič, because he is not a joking relation to her, he is getting very dangerously close to incest.
"all day long" — this "day" is the period during which Evening Star is in the sky ("hunting"). Morning Star is thought to be in conjunction this whole time. Morning Star is now very close to where the moon sits in the "lodge" (sky), close enough to tease her by voice.
"embarrassed" — as the moon moves towards conjunction, it tends east towards where the sun rises. She is still in the "lodge" of Evening Star (the sky), but now she is within range of Morning Star. This is low on the horizon, so she too is bathed in the red light of the nascent sun, which makes her blush.
"looked at him" — if the moon is thought of as an eye, as it is apparently in Hare Kills Wildcat, it would be fully open at opposition (when she is full) and completely closed when she is in conjunction. This suggests that the moon at this point in the story is in conjunction.
"she sat down" — that is, she never rose. The moon in conjunction, of course, never rises into the sky. It is only because both the moon and Morning Star are in conjunction, which is to say on earth by the sun, that they are meeting at all.
"I will go home" — Morning Star's home is in the east, which is the only sky in which he is seen. Evening Star resides in the west where the moon will emerge from conjunction.
"right away" —Evening Star is now setting at the place where the moon resides in conjunction with the sun.
"his pack" — as time progresses, Evening Star gets brighter, which is the opposite of what happens with Morning Star. It is as if Evening Star is collecting light. Once he sets, he consumes the light that he has hunted and adds that to his own body. Since Moon, once it emerges from conjunction is also waxing, it is as if he is feeder her on this light as well. Now, however, Moon is in conjunction, so she is not eating.
"she had not done her usual boiling" —when she was in the eastern sky, she would set nearby the sun. The sun would be the fire and the waters in which it set would be the water to which its heat was applied. The moon would be tending this fire. In this case, the moon is in conjunction, so she is not in the sky tending the fire.
"as the one for whom she used to boil had been here" — The only way that she could be with Morning Star is if they were both in conjunction. It is because she is in conjunction that she does not do her boiling.
"he boiled it" — the Evening Star is getting sufficiently close to the sun that he has assumed the role and situation that his sister Moon had just before her conjunction.
"facing the wall" — that is, she is facing a part of the lodge where there is no exit door. This expresses the fact that the moon is "locked in" during conjunction and cannot exit to rise in the sky. A Hočąk lodge has the fire in the middle, so people tend to sit on opposite sides of the fire. We should understand also that Moon is on the other side of the sun ("Fire") from Evening Star. The door is in the west, so she is now on the eastern side of the sun (like Morning Star).
"he began to tease her" (p. 9) (ružijire) — this is the teasing of the ružič sort, which is a teasing not of words, but of actions. The word ružijire is the indefinite third person plural used as a passive voice. It is better translated as, "she was teased physically." The next sentence reveals that he does this by throwing little things at her. Some hands on ružič could cross the line into incestuous behavior.
"charcoal" — this image evokes in the Hočąk mind the experience that everyone undergoes at puberty. When a person is old enough to fast, and to thereby gain blessings from the spirits, they need to stop eating and paint their face black with charcoal. If the young person is reluctant, a piece of charcoal may be thrown at them:
One old Indian informed the author [Paul Radin] that in former times the young boys and girls were offered either bread or charcoal for their fast. If they took the charcoal, well and good; but it they took the bread, they were unceremoniously kicked out of the house and the charcoal was thrown after them. ... My informant was of the opinion that the parents purposely treated their children roughly, so that they might feel all the more miserable while fasting and thus pray all the more intensely.22
The moon's face is already blackened — she is in conjunction and cannot be seen. She is also completely starved, not even a crescent remaining, so the charcoal reminds us that her face is blackened and that she has nearly fasted herself to death, making herself, as the Hočągara say, "very pitiable."
"talk freely" — the Hočągara use sound to symbolize light. When Evening Star and Moon were in the sky together, they would shine on each other, here expressed as conversation. Now that Moon is in conjunction, she is without light and therefore, in this symbolism, without voice.
"for three days" — this is the maximum time that the moon is in conjunction.
"he is marrying them" — Morning Star wants to "marry" her, which is to say, to come into conjunction with her, which sometimes happens. Conjunction is often homologized to sexual relations or "marriage." Once the moon comes close enough to the sun, it occupies almost the sameplace as Morning Star.
"slaves" — the moons that have come to rest in conjunction are unable to rise for a period. It is as if Morning Star has held them in captivity.
"he impoverishes them" — the Hočąk is wanąčojaįsge, which means that he is making them poor, pitiable, and/or diminished in status. Morning Star only meets the moon when it is near conjunction. It is a slender, impoverished version of its full self, and it is destined to decline to nothing and disappear into the sun. This is put to the agency of Morning Star, who thus abuses his wives.
"the Great Ones" — that is, one of the group of eight Great Spirits created by Earthmaker himself. For a list, see below. Critics might suppose that there are a number of candidates for Red Star's doppelgänger — not only Morning Star, but Jupiter, Saturn, and Sirius all strongly resemble Evening Star. However, this passage excludes all of them, as only Morning Star could belong to the Great Ones where they include Evening Star (Bluehorn, Red Star).
"the south" — in making circuits in religious rites such as the Medicine Rite, the established procedure is to begin in the east, then advance to the north, west, and south before returning to the east to complete the circuit. The south therefore represents the last stop in a circuit. In The Children of the Sun, the sister asks other Tree Spirits for help, but it is granted only by the last one that she asks, a small oak growing at the edge of a swamp.
"an oak" — this oak is elsewhere said to be the Chief of Trees. The oak is of particular interest because it is the tree most often struck by lightning. In Eurasia, the connection among deities, lightning, and the oak, is widespread and of great antiquity. From the common Indo-European root *perkʷu-s (< *kʷerkʷu-s) come various words for oak (> Latin, quercus), 23 and from this same root came the name for the common Indo-European Thunder God, *Perkʷúh₃nos (Lithuanian, Pȩrkuôns; Russian, Perunъ; and from variant roots, Sanskrit, Parjánya; Old Norse, Fjǫrgynn; etc.).24 The oak is also the sacred tree of the ancient Greek Zeus, a god who wields lightning.25 Similarly, it is said among the Hočągara that the first fire was made on earth by the progenitors of the Thunder Clan, who were placed upon the branches of an oak tree for this purpose by their patrons, the Thunderbirds. So fire obtained from the oak might well be considered to be imbued with at least a tincture of the sacred fire of the clouds.
"smooth bark" & "smooth (potatoes)" — Radin tells us, "Smoothness is an attribute of perfection and sacredness."26 Perfection seems to be exemplified by that which extends in a uniform line. Roughness is a surface such that if a line were drawn over it, it would move up and down over the contours of the surface. Analogously, flames that are not straight over time, that waver due to the wind, are considered unpropitious (see below). Smoothness is the spatial counterpart to unwavering flames — it exemplifies extension in a uniform line in every direction, just as propitious flames exemplify extension in a uniform line over time. This uniformity of extension need not be straight, as one of the sacred forms is a circle, which curves in a uniform direction (its curvature), and is especially sacred because it has neither beginning nor end. A spiral, which is also sacred, has uniform extension in two dimensions, in one a straight line, in the other, a uniform curvature. A funnel is also sacred, inasmuch as its curvature changes uniformly along its axis, and is to a tubular spiral as acceleration is to velocity. Perhaps more fundamentally, this uniformity is a kind of purity in the sense that it is unadulterated by alien influences. White, for instance, is the color of sacredness because it is "blank" or unadulterated, having neither tone nor tint (gray is not white), that is, having no intrusive color added to itself. All this is a special case of ritual purity, which Mary Douglas analyzed as everything being in its proper place.27
"Creator" & "Creator of Things" & "Maker of Things" — there are three terms used in this story for Earthmaker: Wagųsra (pp. 24, 41, 47), Wažągųsra (pp. 16, 45), and Wažą’ųra (pp. 40, 46, 47, 54 [twice]). In all three, the suffix -ra is the definite article. Normally in names, the suffix -ka/-ga is used in all but the vocative (direct address). So if someone is speaking to Flesh, he will address him as Warora, but if he is speaking about him to someone else, he will mention him as Waroga. The striking exception to this is the set of names for the High God. It is always Mą’ųna or Mą’ųra, "(the) Earthmaker," and emphatically never Mą’ųga. This is almost always true of his evil counterpart, Herešgúnina (Herešgúnira), but there are a very few instances of Herešgúniga. Wagųsra means, "the one such that (-ra) he created (gųs) it (wa-)," which is most naturally translated as "Creator." The stem gųs means, "to make, to create." The prefix wa-, as Lipkin puts it, "indicates the object of a transitive verb." It is best translated as "it" or "this," as in égi wa'ųže, "he did it" or "he did this: —." Wagųsra is not as common as Wažągųsra (or Wažągųzera), which replaces wa- with wažą, "things." Consequently, I have translated it as "the Creator of Things." With the exception of the present story, the expression Wažą’ųra is very rare, there being as yet only one other instance of it found ("Twins Get into Hot Water, V. 1"). The stem 'ų means, "to be, to do, to make," so that Wažą’ųra is best rendered as "the Maker of Things."
"buffalo hair" — that is, yarn. Red yarn is one of the standard sacrificial offerings.
"he nodded slightly" (honįgíha) — trees naturally nod only when a wind passes through them. Wind is, besides wood, the other fuel of fire. Although wind may cause the fire to be fanned, it also causes the flames to bend from their natural upward course, which makes wind in relation to fire an ill omen. Although the "nodding" causes wood to fall from the tree, it also functions to remind us that the flames of the fire which this wood fuels will not favor Moon's brother.
"she packed and came home [and] ... threw them in the fire" — many lunar figures are depicted packing home wood (1, 2, 3), and this has two obvious sources: 1) lunar figures including Moon herself, are female, and packing wood is a woman's job; 2) the moon in its gibbous and crescent phases seems to be moving along with something on its "back," something dark like twigs and branches destined for the fire. Finally, all her light is converted into wood just as she unites with the sun in conjunction. It is as if her light were turned into "wood," that is, fuel for the Fire (Sun). The myth asserts that she feeds the fire with the dark things that she is carrying on her back, and we know that her return to the fireplace is a return to the sun and earth and to conjunction. This would be to say that the sun consumes the light of the moon, just as the evil spirits are said to do as the moon declines from full to dark. Her own cold light is somehow renewed during her stay on earth as the dark moon. Some of these themes are seen in radically different imagery in the story "Hare Kills Wildcat." There Hare mates with Grandmother (Earth) disguised as the one-eyed traveller, so strikingly like the one-eyed travelling Óðinn of Norse mythology. Hare's two eyes are the sun and the moon, and one of these he takes out and hides under a bush. This is the moon. So the moon in that story is buried under a stack of twigs, albeit the living twigs of a bush. This hidden, dark moon, is with the earth, lying prostrate upon the ground (and therefore not rising). The face of Hare is therefore the sky, and when he mates with earth in a hierogamy, he is the day sky laying over the earth. However, Grandmother is menstruating, which is to say, that she is with the moon, a co-incidence that we saw portrayed in the image of the second eye lying on the earth under the bush. The mice gnaw on the "eye" thus creating the mare that we see in the moon once it is put back into the head of Hare (see the Commentary to "Hare Kills Wildcat").
"I am going, but I will come back" — the period of Evening Star's sojourn into the sky ("hunting") is becoming briefer and briefer, as he gets ever closer to conjunction. His return is the inferior conjunction.
"I will take away with me" — Morning Star is making the proposition that when he ascends into the sky, the moon will emerge from conjunction along with him, and appear at his side. However, the opposite is the case: when the moon emerges from conjunction, it does so in the western sky, the region occupied by Evening Star. So the moon does not "run away" with Morning Star. This is one way in which Morning Star is actually defeated.
"painted" — this paint is the red of the horizon at sunset, whence Red Star gets his name.
|The Snowy Owl|
"the blades were red" — the knives are said to be red no doubt because it is meant to suggest that they were used for cutting flesh. However, flint, obsidian, and steel all have their shine and glint from the borrowed light of the sun. So if they are red, it is from the sun low on the horizon, where its light becomes red. Like the two arms, the red glow extends to the right and the left of each star. At the horizon, where these stars come into conjunction with the sun, the sky is bathed in red, the very source of the name "Red Star."
"wrapped" — it is only when the Morning and Evening Stars get close to the horizon, which is to say, close to the sun, that they are bathed in red. This occurs just before and just after conjunction. So, at all other times, the shining red knives that form the arms of each of these stars are under wraps, which is to say, not visible. Since the scene is set before the fireplace (the place of the sun), the two stars are coming into conjunction with the sun, and consequently, their red arms are now exposed. For more on the question of the somatic knives, see below.
"then he lit it and took a few strong puffs" —the head controls the soul, as we see in the idea that even in death a warrior who has been beheaded by the enemy will, in the form of his ghost, chase after his triumphant opponent. However, whoever owns the head has control over that soul, and in the funerary theology, the victim whose head belongs to another must serve him, and may be compelled to guide the victor's kinsmen along the path to Spiritland. The pipe unites the fire with the head, and by extension, the pipe makes the fire part of the head. This is another way of saying that the Morning and Evening Stars are in conjunction with the sun-as-fire. Furthermore, both the passage of air and the rise of smoke also play into themes associated with these stars. In Grandfather's Two Families, where the grandfather is Sun, it is said,
(32) And he [Red Star] came running home, he even knocked all the trees down in his path, it is said. So they told him to come slower, so he stopped and the wind became calmer. ... (40) The second to the youngest said, "Grandfather! the Red (41) Star blessed me with fleetness," he said. "Hohó grandson, it is quite fair, but not the best," he said. Then he asked the youngest one, "Grandson, how are your running qualities?" he asked. "Grandfather, the Morning Star blessed me with fleetness," he said. (42) "Hąhą'ą grandson, that is the one, so stop right there," he said. ... (93) The two youngest ones were stars. So they went back up above. They were the Big Star [Morning Star] and the Red Star [Evening Star]. It is ended.28
So the motion of the Evening Star is associated with the wind, and is expressed in the image of his motion knocking over trees, which is what high winds do. This is no doubt an esoteric doctrine that the motion of at least certain celestial bodies is effected by the action of the wind, the only invisible agent of imparted motion that is known to common experience. Yet as fast as Evening Star is, his (twin) brother Morning Star is fleeter still. The pipe, besides associating fire and wind with heads, also creates clouds of smoke that can be rather obviously homologized to clouds. The Morning Star is know as He Who is Girded in Clouds. Similarly, it can only be the reddening of the thin clouds at sunset that could given Evening Star the name "Red Star." The pipe, therefore, is a powerful image that unites Sun with his grandsons Morning and Evening Star through the agency of fire, wind, cloud, and heads.
"again he bounced up higher" — the peculiarity of the 8 year Venus cycle is that some years the Morning or Evening Star "bounces" up higher in the sky than other years; but eventually is drawn back into the "fire" (conjunction with the sun).
"he tried to grab him, but he raised himself up" — in other words, he was not able to get him on the ground before he could get up. In the Venus Code, as we might term it, this is easily explained. Both Evening and Morning Stars are at the fireplace (the sun), and are therefore in solar conjunction. Venus has two conjunctions, a superior conjunction in which it is on the far side of the sun for 50 days, and an inferior conjunction, in which it is in front of the sun for a mere 8 days. Clearly this episode makes allegorical reference to the inferior conjunction. Both stars are together at the fire, but very quickly Morning Star is able to extract himself from this situation before Evening Star can behead him. Once the Evening Star comes into conjunction, it is only 8 days before the Morning Star rises and separates itself from the sun. Therefore, his reaction time is quicker than Red Star's.
"the fire started to darken" — here we begin to encounter the astronomical code in which the two doppelgängers act out their cosmic parts as the Morning and Evening Stars. Bluehorn, the brother (as we learn from other parallel stories), is the Red Star, the name that the Hočągara give to the Evening Star. His identical looking opponent is the exact counterpart of the Evening Star, the "Great Star," as the Hočągara call the Morning Star. However, Bluehorn is a complex deity also identified with the blue sky and is by his essential nature a Waterspirit. The fire is the sun. To purely naked eye astronomy, the Morning Star leads the sun, but disappears ahead of it as the sun gains its ascendancy. The Evening Star is in the sky, it appears as if it were trailing behind the sun. So the Morning Star and the Evening Star are on opposite sides of the "fire," as they are on opposite sides of the celestial vault (the "lodge"), and indeed are on opposite sides of time. They are never in the sky at the same time. When the Evening Star is present, the Morning Star never rises, and when the latter is seen, the Evening Star is missing from the night sky. There are two periods in which neither is seen: inferior conjunction (8 days), and superior conjunction (90 days). During these periods, they are with the sun, and are here portrayed as being seated together on opposite sides of the fire. When the Morning Star falls into the fire, the sun and its light are in their ascendancy and there is no question of the fire going out. However, Morning Star regains his footing and manages to come up again on the horizon the next day. Being in the fire does not stop it from moving: it still has the power of its feet. Evening Star, however, falls into a fire that is going out. This is the setting sun. The blue sky in like manner follows after the setting sun, its blueness fading at last in the west. The Evening Star cannot relight his pipe as the fire-sun has set. Morning Star, as always, runs away from the fire (sun). It is now his turn to rise after having been with Evening Star in conjunction with the sun. Evening Star is left behind, and Morning Star now possesses his head, just as any warrior who is victorious will possess the head of his enemy, who is now reduced to being his slave. When Evening Star pulls himself out of the ashes, he finds that he no longer has the means to go hunting, a metaphor for being able to ambulate into the sky. It is now Morning Star alone who can travel about.
"to blow off the coals" — the whole clause is expressed by a hapaxlegomenon, boxįnįxį. The stem is xį́nį, reduplicated for emphasis, and means, "to knock off coals to make a better blaze" (Lipkind). The prefix bo- in this context means, "by blowing." So the brother attempts to restart the fire by blowing on the coals hard enough to remove a surface of ash.
"kicked his head off" — the translation says only that "he cut his head off." However, the word translated is nąkųnųknehi (for nąkųnųkrehi), which J. O. Dorsey's informant, who was identified as "D" (David StCyr ?), defined as, "to kick and knock off a large piece from an object," which essentially agrees with Miner's nąkųnųk, "to break with the foot something having length, making a clean break." Ną- is an instrumental prefix meaning "by use of the foot," showing that although the brother's opponent has arms inlaid with knives, he does not use them to sever the brother's head, but actually kicks it off. This recalls the beheading and kicking contests in Bladder and His Brothers. In the version of Charlie Houghton, Bladder and Herešgúnina confront each other and have a smoking incident just as in our present episode. When they are done, they have a kicking contest in which Bladder ends up kicking Herešgúnina to pieces. In the Meeker version, the contest is between Bladder and One Legged One, who is an avatar of Herešgúnina. There they bat each other's heads with lacrosse sticks, until finally Bladder gets permission from Earthmaker to push One Legged One's body away as his head falls. As a result he is destroyed. Our story mediates between these versions, having Herešgúnina kick off the head of Red Star and flee with his head, leaving the body behind.
"he gave a whoop, and ran away" — in Hočąk symbolism, sound can function as a symbol of light, since sound and light are analogous. His whoop therefore indicates his renewed visibility in the sky just ahead of the sun. Indeed, his brother's head has been extracted from the fire that Morning Star leaves behind him. Coincident to his renewed visibility is the fact that he is running away from the horizon and the earth generally.
"he chased after his head" — this recapitulates the last sequence of events in a new imagery. As Evening Star approaches conjunction, as always, he follows after the sun, getting closer and closer to it. Every day, however, he trails the sun as it sets below the horizon, which is the darkening of the fire of the last image. At this time his sister, who is the moon, is also approaching him, as she is coming into conjunction herself. She too is now setting in the west near the sun. They both come to ground "arm in arm" so to speak. So she too is chasing the "head" (which is in conjunction with Morning Star).
"whimpering" — the Hočąk is ijanįk, from i, "mouth"; ja, "to exert"; and nįk, "small" — "a small exertion of the mouth." It is translated as, "to cry out, to whine"; and of horses, "to whinny." Since it is a small vocalization, I have translated it in this context as "to whimper." In Hočąk, as noted above, sound can symbolize light. On her way to conjunction, the moon is but a sliver of her former light, a lamentable condition expressed in the weakened sound of whimpering that escapes her lips.
"the fourth hill" — in funerary allegories, the fourth hill is the last hill before entering Spiritland. Four is the number of completion, exemplified most paradigmatically by the four cardinal points. His failure to exceed the limit of the last hill shows that he was unable to escape earth. He is now on earth and will not rise for 271 days. Arithmatically, the numbers 3 and 4 can come into play here. In a four season system, each season lasts 91 days, and three seasons essentially are the time at which Evening Star remains on earth. However, it is impossible to believe that the Hočągara had even this level of arithmetic. Both Morning Star and Evening Star are in (inferior) conjunction with the sun and therefore "in" the sun as it seems to visible astronomy. However, this shared conjunction lasts only 2 x 4 days before Morning Star rises with augmented light, and separates itself from the sun.
"cried a great deal" — the Evening Star is in the earth for an extended period of time (271 days), while the moon waxes and wanes as it nightly rises and sets. Inasmuch as sound symbolizes light, she continues to shine in cycles, but always sets in the west where her brother's body lies. Her visibility is her crying.
"headless man" — with the loss of his head, Evening Star has lost his light, which is like his life, although strictly speaking he is still alive. He has become like the Moon, his sister, since in conjunction he lives yet has no light (head). The head is strongly identified with the ghost, and light (hąp) is identified with life as well. It is like the dichotomy of ghost and flesh, the flesh has a kind of life, but it is not the life of speech and hearing. It seems to be the life of touch. For spirits, the head : the body :: ghost : flesh. The irony is that Evening Star is at the peak of his powers when he falls into the fire (sun) and is beheaded, that is, separated from the light in his existence. What happened to this light? Briefly (about 8 days), it was in the fireplace (sun), but then it comes into the possession of is doppelgänger, the Morning Star. The basic problem in the theories of conjunction is the brute fact that the Evening Star and the Morning Star are just temporal segments of the single planet Venus. This was unknown in the north. It seemed that Evening Star at the height of its luminance suddenly disappeared from the sky for 271 days, apparently falling into the sun and the earth simultaneously. This too leads to a dichotomy. So where is he, in the earth or in the sun? The solution to the puzzle is to suggest that like humans, spirits have a kind of ghost/flesh duality, and the flesh resides with the earth, something like the human corpse, and the ghost goes off with the light. Here is where the theory takes on a new wrinkle. The superficially obvious solution is to say that the head of Evening Star must go off with the sun, its small light augmenting that of the Day Luminary (Hąp-wi-ra). However, that leaves another puzzle unsolved. In the case of the Moon, when it goes into conjunction, there is no light left for which to account; but when Evening Star falls, he does so at the height of his powers. As we now know, Venus is closest to the earth at inferior conjunction, and so relative to visual astronomy, it is at its brightest. So where did this light go? Furthermore, Morning Star begins its life in the sky by starting off at its brightest, then gradually fading. This is very unlike the moon as well, which starts off as a thin crescent, barely visible, then gradually builds to its crescendo of light. Where did Morning Star get all this light? The answer is clever. It must be that the Evening Star does not add its light to the sun, but to the Morning Star. It is not Sun who holds the head of Evening Star, it is his doppelgänger, Morning Star. Succinctly, this is the theory that Evening Star comes into conjunction with Morning Star. This explains Morning Star's magnitude at its rebirth in the sky. There is no way to settle the issue by observation — the "head" of Evening Star is last seen falling into the fire (the sun), but it is out of this same fire a few days later that Morning Star emerges. It is like a celestial cup-and-ball game, under what cup the ball is hidden is not open to direct observation. However, given the great light of Morning Star at its inception, the obvious deduction, once this is appreciated as a problem, is that the head of Evening Star is with Morning Star. This is a window into the early science of North America, which cannot be disentangled from religion. For more on this theory, see below.
"she would feed him" — the mystery is how Evening Star's earthly existence in the flesh alone is led and sustained. His light is suddenly gone, carried off by Morning Star. Clearly the theory is that he is "fed" by the moon. Somehow, when the moon is waxing, every night it rises larger and brighter than when it set the night before. So where did this light come from? Somehow, in the underworld, there must be a source of sustenance that restores luminance. Likewise, when the moon wanes, it is said to be eaten by evil spirits. So light is something that can be eaten and can be lost when the luminous body sojourns in the underworld in the earth. If the moon is feeding Evening Star, she must be feeding him her light which is lost little by little every night that she wanes. As we see below, she is out digging Indian potatoes when she is waxing, that is, when she is not in Evening Star's lodge. Otherwise, she is there feeding him (with the light whose loss is her waning).
"four years" — 4 is the number of completion, like 3 among the Indo-Europeans and 7 or 40 among the Hebrews. All that is being asserted is that a complete unit of time has passed. The actual time that Evening Star is missing from the sky is, 8 (inferior conjunction) + 50 (superior conjunction) + 263 (Morning Star's ascendancy) = 321 days.
"she never ate" — as the moon wanes it wastes away. Allegorically, it seems to suggest that she is feeding her brother on her own light. The things that they eat in desperation, bones, deerskin, and even Indian potatoes, are all white like the moon and Evening Star. Somehow, in the underworld, Evening Star can feed on mysterious sources of light to keep him alive until the radiance of his head is restored to him. See above.
"Indian potatoes" — (Hočąk, do; Omaha, nu; Dakota, mdo; Menomini, máčetaupä́niųk, "Indian potato"; Potawatomi, mųkwópįnik, "bear potato"; Delaware, hopniss; Pawnee, its; openauk by unknown Virginian tribes.)29* This plant has a host of names in English: groundnut, groundnut vine, ground pea, wild bean, Indian bean (New Jersey), American potato bean, pig potato, Dakota potato (Minnesota), Dakota peas, traveler's delight (Mississippi), penac (Canada).30 Its scientific name is Apios americana Medikus (also, Apios tuberosa Moench, Glycine apios Lynnaeus, but the binomial A. americana is found as early as Canut, who was the first to make an illustration of the plant [see below]).31 A relative of the soybean,32 it is actually a legume, and has small clumps of long pods rather like string (green) beans, but containing a fruit like a pea.33 That the beans were also eaten is attested by a Mr. Bartram, "who told me that the Indians who live farther in the country do not only eat these roots, which are equal in goodness to potatoes, but likewise take the peas which lie in the pods of this plant and prepare them like common peas."34 In the Twins Cycle, Ghost is said to eat wild beans, so there is here a connection between the plant and one of the Twins. The Indian potato grows as a climbing vine, reaching a maximum height of eight feet. They are often found growing at the edge of muskegs where trail over alders and cattails.35 In Wisconsin they are seen growing in tussock meadows formed by sedge grasses.36 A single leaf is formed of five leaflets in perfect twin pairs, except for the last, which points in the same direction as the stalk. The "fragrant, dark purple flowers"37 occur in clusters, blooming from July to September, and have a fragrance similar to violets. The "potatoes" are actually found not on the roots, but on rhizomes, which are branches that send shoots underground. Shown in the inset is a photograph of a single rhizome of Indian potatoes collected by the neighboring Menomini tribe. H. H. Smith, in connection with their use among the Menomini, says, "The root-stocks are moniliform, that is, like a chain of beads, running in every direction for from fifteen to twenty-five feet, at five or six inches below the surface. ... They run from marble size to three inches in diameter."38 Because of their structure, they called them "rosaries" in New France.39 Early explorers found this moniliform structure remarkable, and one enthusiastically declared that they were found "fortie together on a string, some of them as bigge as hennes egges; they grow not two inchs under ground: the which nuts we found as good as Potatoes,"40 and goes on to say that, "boiled or sodden they are very good meate."41 Earlier on, Hariot when he was in Virginia in 1584 described the plant as "a kind of round root, some as big as walnuts, some far greater, found in moist and marshy grounds, growing many together in ropes as though they were fastened with a string."42 In the XVIIIth century, "the Swedes ate them for want of bread and that in 1740 some of the English ate them instead of potatoes."43 The English colonists in Massachusetts subsisted on groundnuts and mussels their first year in America (1621).44 They are generally eaten during the winter, and in contemporary times, where they are cultivated, they are harvested around the time of the first frost. In France as early as 1635, attempts were made to cultivate them, but their tubers grew too slowly to make them a commercial success,45* although "... in preliminary trials at Louisiana State University some plants have annually yielded more than a kilogram of tubers"46 Nevertheless, they were cultivated by the Creek Indians.47 The tubers are either boiled or roasted, and taste rather like a white potato. "These 'potatoes' are sweet, starchy and quite palatable raw. They are peeled, parboiled, sliced and dried for winter use."48 Perrot says of the neighboring Potawatomi, "That country also produces potatoes; some as large as an egg, others are the size of one's fist, or a little more. They boil these in water by a slow fire, during twenty-four hours; when they are thoroughly cooked, you will find in them an excellent flavor, much resembling that of prunes—which are cooked the same way in France, to be served with desert."49 The Dakota like to prepare them by boiling them with dried buffalo meat.50 The Rappahanock dried them and ate them raw, or slowly roasted them in the embers of the fire.51* They are a good source of nutrients, being about 18% protein.52* Humans are not the only ones interested in groundnuts. "Major Long ... tells in his journal of his soldiers' finding the little tubers in quantities of a peck or more hoarded up in the brumal retreats of the field mice against the lean days of winter."53 Dakota women used to collect as much as a half bushel from a single mouse nest.54 This anecdote also connects the potato to Ghost, who in the story of the lost blanket (see its Commentary), is said to wear a wrap made of mouse fur. For more on the symbolism of the Indian potato, see below.
"they used only potatoes" — the potatoes or groundnuts (do) (see above) are white, at least inside, like the light of the moon. Also like her, they are round. Her holiness is expressed not only in their roundness, but in their smoothness (see above). As she collects them, she becomes whiter and whiter, each one a little mirror of her own being adding its pale color to her own. During this gibbous phase, as the sun diurnally declines in the sky, the moon rises. After the moon sets it is absent from the sky for a time, but when it rises again, mysteriously, it is a little fuller than it was the day before. It is as if while she was on earth, she had collected to herself a little potato of light, a light not seen in the sky at the time that she collects it. So every day she is pulling a little bit more of her lunar light out of the ground whence she springs as she rises just before sunset. Furthermore, the light of the moon is also thought to be a kind of food, as it is said that the evil spirits, after the moon achieves fullness, begin to eat her until they finally consume her utterly (at conjunction). Thus the light of the moon, like its image the potato, is literally a food. The theory is that she is feeding this food, a round, smooth tuber made in her own image, to her brother. However, this image of the moon here stands for her light as she wanes. She comes to Evening Star with a full load of her white light, but she feeds it all to him one small piece at a time, leaving nothing for herself. Thus, as Evening Star sustains himself with light while on earth, a light hidden in his stomach, his sister Moon gets thinner and thinner. The Indian potato represents the light of the moon as it exists within the earth.
As we learn elsewhere, Evening Star, under the name Bluehorn, is a Waterspirit. Waterspirits are creatures that dwell in underground caverns lined in a luminous white substance. The caverns extend throughout the earth like a subterranean highway system through which the Waterspirits travel. The Indian potato behaves in a way reminiscent of this cavernous network. Its rhizomes extend underground for an immense distance, as much as 25 feet, radiating from the plant stalk like a network of highways. So the potato is not only like the moon, but grows in a way that reflects the living space of the Waterspirit race.
The Indian potato is also like the bull snake into which Red Star's moccasins turn (see above). The bull snake has the longest of tails, just as does the ground nut, whose rhizome extends upwards of 25 feet underground. The plant itself, like the bull snake, is a climber, but also like its herpetological counterpart, it only climbs bushes and shrubs, climbing no higher than 8 feet. It has tendrils that form the counterpart to constrictor snakes like the bull snake. Like the progeny of serpents, its offspring is the legume pod, in shape much like a snake, and inside which are found egg-shaped offspring. Just as the bull snake corresponds to the footwear of Red Star, so the Indian potato rhizomes are the footwear of the ground nut vine.
"and there was one there who created one thing here on earth" — this is Hare. He was made ruler of this earth, as opposed to various super- and sub-terranean paradises ruled over by his brothers. Hare was created directly by Earthmaker to rescue mankind from the depredations of the evil spirits.
"Creation Lodge" — this is a meeting place where something is created, whether it is a physical being of some kind or an institution such as a religious rite.
"east-west" — this is, of course, the path of the sun and stars.
"a wolf and a bear" — it is likely that these are paired because the Wolf and Bear Clans of the Hočąk nation are friendship clans, probably on account of the similar nature of wolves and bears. However, wolves and bears in the wild are not on good terms since they often compete for the same game.
"the Great Ones (Xetera) are eight in number" — that is, Evening Star (the injured brother), Trickster, Bladder, Turtle, Redhorn, Hare, Sun, and Grandmother Earth. Lists of the Great Spirits seldom agree completely. The choice of the number eight may be of interest. It is twice the number of completeness which is itself exemplified most prominently by the four quarters. However, the meeting of Evening and Morning Stars and the subsequent loss of the former to the spirits has a special tie to the number eight. From the standpoint of visual astronomy, both stars at conjunction with the sun appear to approach the sun and to reside on earth. This is like their meeting on opposite sides of the fireplace in a lodge on earth. Evening Star disappears from view after inferior conjunction, and is replaced in the sky by Morning Star. The inferior conjunction lasts eight days.
"a white deerskin" — white deerskins are among the more important offerings to the spirits. In making a medicine bundle like the one described, it is important to house it in a vehicle suitable to a Great Spirit.
"then the light rested there like daylight" — in the Medicine Rite, hąp, "light," also means "life." This power is conceived as a kind of life-force which physically expresses itself in terms of light.
"you have added bits and pieces of your powers" — Radin finds this scene somewhat alien to Hočąk thought. However, it is really a physical reflection of a typical blessing in which the vision seeker asks the spirits to take pity on him and is rewarded by a number of spirits each of whom gives him some measure of power. The mechanics of this transfer are not spoken of in other myths, but here it is understood that something is given up by the spirits at least temporarily and transferred to the recipient. Presumably, once the recipient dies, these powers return whence they came. Since these powers are destined to be used to create the Twins, they must also be conceived on the model of the creation of man by Earthmaker. This was, in one variant, done by his having taken some physical substance near his heart and fashioning the first man out of it. The heart, of course, is the seat of emotion, intellect, and life itself. Anything created from it, therefore, will possess its essential characteristics.
"Horešgúniga" — it is easy to mistake an /e/ for an /o/, but here and elsewhere (pp. 45, 51), where the form Horešgúni-ra/-ga (Ao se doKo ni ℒ/K.) occurs, there is no question that the vowel of the first syllable is /o/. The standard form is Herešgúnina. The terminal suffixes -ga, -ra, -na, are all forms of the definite article, and have the force of "the one such that ...". The penultimate suffix is -šguni, which expresses a degree of epistemological hesitation, and is often translated as "perhaps." The stem of the standard version of the name is here-, which is the verb "to be," which also means, "he is." So the name is usually taken to mean, "He who Might Be." Horešguniga ought to represent horé-šgúni-ga, where horé means "to set (as the sun), to go down," and as a noun, it means "west," which is also the meaning of wi-[h]ore-ra, literally, "sun - it goes down - the [place where]." So this whole version of the name ought to mean, "he who is perhaps at the place where the sun goes down," or even, "perhaps the one who sets" as if he were tentatively viewed as being the solar disc itself. This is consistent with what Meeker reports about the duel between Bladder and One Legged One, an avatar of Herešgúnina. In this story, Bladder bats the head of One Legged One into the heavens, and with Earthmaker's permission, pushes aside his body, so that the head fails to land back on its own neck. This is the death of One Legged One, but Meeker adds that it is an esoteric fact that the head bounced back into the heavens and continues to do so even today as the solar disc.55 This would make the head of Herešgúnina the solar disc and make sense of the name Horešguniga. This latter, then, would be the older name, with Herešgúnina being disguised to conceal the esoteric truth about his solar nature. But in this story, the head of Horešgúniga is not the sun, but the visible disc of the Morning Star. When this star "sets," it does so in the sun itself (inferior conjunction).
"these were the ones" — Grandmother Earth is the only one who has stayed behind.
"even I am not his equal" — the supposition that Herešgúniga is more powerful than Earthmaker himself is required to explain why Earthmaker did not take action to rectify matters himself. However, the two are thought at best to be equal, so what is being referred to here is Herešgúnina augmented by the head of Evening Star.
"blue" — the Hočąk is čo, which spans the spectrum from green through blue (sometimes called "breen" or "grue"). The translator adds, "(with lightning)." However, it might be the stuff of the sky as well.
"his seat-of-thought" — wiwewi homįnąkeja. Wiwewi denotes "mind, intelligence, thought" (Marino). The seat of intellection is the heart. It is said that the first man was created from a substance taken from the body of Earthmaker, near his heart. An earlier version says that the flesh used to create the first man came directly from Earthmaker's heart.
"I created one here whose powers remain equal to mine" — this is perhaps a more recent notion in which the powers of Herešgúnina, the Devil, are the same as that of the Creator. Nevertheless, it can hardly be of Christian provenience. It may contribute to solving the Problem of Evil, for which see the next entry.
"I had not done well" — this reveals Earthmaker to be a fallible god. His fallibility is best illustrated in his creation of man. His first attempt was defective, either because he put his legs on backward, or because one of his legs broke off (both symbols of an inability to properly navigate the Road of Life and Death). That Earthmaker is limited and finite offers an obvious solution to the Problem of Evil which so vexes the major monotheistic religions — evil is possible because the greatest of the Good Spirits does not have the power to completely prevent it. In fact, given the great power of Herešgúnina, there is about as much evil in the world as there is good. Apart from mankind, the Moon is probably the best illustration of the dynamic of good and evil as it operates in the world — Earthmaker created the Moon full, but the evil spirits eat it away, so that the Creator has to make it anew every month.
"the two-legged walkers" — this is a formulaic expression used in the Medicine Rite to denote human beings. This shows that some aspects of this myth, inasmuch as they are influenced by the Medicine Rite, are probably of recent vintage.
"the sun stood straight up" — the Hočąk is wiraročąče. This breaks down as wira, "the sun"; ročą, "straight"; je, "he stood." This is the normal expression meaning "noon." However, in this context it serves well as a double entendre, referring to Sun's sexual excitement. Noontime represents the sun's interstitial state between ascent and descent at which it has achieved it greatest height, its zenith. It is in this border time, when the sun is neither ascending nor descending, that magical potentiality is at its maximum. It is also at this moment that the sun's rays are their most potent, which is analogous to sexual potency. It is in this moment of both potency and suspension that Sun gives expression to its mysterious powers of magical impregnation for which it is known the world over.
"on the hillside" — while all this is going on, Evening Star is on the earth with the Sun, that is, in conjunction with the sun. Whenever his sister Moon is with him, she is also in conjunction. Therefore, when she is not with him, she is moving away from conjunction. This may be thought of as climbing a hill. Unlike her crescent stage, which she exhibits when near the earth and sun, she is now higher above the horizon, just as if she had climbed a hill.
"digging potatoes basking in the sun" — during the late gibbous to full phase, the moon is seen during the daytime, so she is literally "basking in the sun."
"basking her buttocks" — the roundness of the female buttocks especially is analogous to the full moon, itself conceived as being female. It is interesting that in recent times in America the expression "mooning" means "presenting one's bare buttocks to someone." However, in animal species particularly, this female presenting is a sexual invitation.
"everywhere" — when the moon is full, the light of the sun touches all of her. This is not the theory that the moon shines by the sun's borrowed light, nor that the moon is full because it is in opposition to the sun, but the idea that all there is to the moon, its maximum physical being, is present for a time in daylight and is therefore touched everywhere by the rays of the sun.
"turning her buttocks" — when the moon is fully in opposition to the sun, it rises as the sun sets. In days prior to this, however, the moon is slightly gibbous and when it rises, the sun is still up. Each day as the gibbous moon is visible in daylight, it gets rounder and rounder, as if it were rotating its buttocks from a more profile perspective to a "frontal" (rear in this case) perspective. So it seems day after day the moon is slowly turning its buttocks as the sun shines on her.
"pregnant" — the full moon is the most like a pregnant woman, since it is the largest moon as well as being the one most full of Light and Life (Hąp). Here both the sun and the moon are in a boundary condition: the sun is between sky and earth as is the moon. Here the moon is between ascent and descent for the month, just as diurnally at noon the sun is between ascent and descent. So too is the moon at its greatest potency and light for the month. When it comes to ascent vs. descent, and power of light vs. weakness of light, the moon : the sun :: mid-month : mid-day. Sexually speaking, the sun standing up corresponds to the moon presenting her buttocks (her widest).
"she was not aware of it" — the full moon rises when the sun sets, and is in the east when the sun is in the west. Therefore, unlike conjunction which is most usually homologized to sexual intercourse, the sun and moon are not in intimate contact, although the sun's rays can reach her. She is aware of the sun's rays, but she is not aware of being in physical contact with his body (as she would be at conjunction).
"new" — the light that the waxing gibbous moon digs up out of the earth each day is a new addition to its light.
"she let him eat them" — the potatoes represent the light of the moon which is devoured as she approaches conjunction. Her brother, as the Evening Star, is already in conjunction, so when she returns to him she is tracing the path back to the sun and earth that is realized in her own solar conjunction. The Evening Star is feeding on light even though he is not visible, since when he finally does reemerge into the sky, he is does so in fullness (seemingly, to the unaided eye), unlike the moon which begins as a sliver. So it is as if the Evening Star has been sustained on light ("potatoes") during his invisible sojourn under the earth.
"now the woman was also very thin" — in her return to her brother, they are both in solar conjunction, so the moon is a crescent at best. She is at her thinnest phase. The whole allegory of the potatoes is designed to preserve the notion that she is thin while imaging the process of her ascent to fullness and waning once again to her slim crescent. All this can be reexported in terms of collecting, then eating "potatoes" (white light).
"from that time on" — this denotes the completion of the cycle. Now, instead of describing the sister-moon as traveling away to collect "potatoes," her departure from conjunction, as well as his own, is now described as a constant eating of potatoes, a constant waxing and "ingestion" of light. Both the moon and Evening Star start out their renewed ascent into the sky at their weakest in terms of light. Venus as Evening Star, as we now know, is farthest from the earth when it is first seen in the sky, so its light is not as bright as it becomes as it approaches the end of its celestial sojourn. The same is true of the moon as it first ascends into the sky. Both are beginning a long period of waxing, of eating potatoes after they set diurnally, until having engaged in the constant ingestion of light from the subterranean world, they begin to grow fat with light.
"companions" — the most reasonable interpretation of the Twins in an astronomical context is that they are the twin stars of Mercury. Evening Star is very close to the sun, and here his kinship is that of brother-in-law, a joking relationship In "Grandfather's Two Families," both Red Star and Morning Star play the role of at least step-sons of the Sun. This should have been their relationship before the discovery of Mercury. As sons of the Sun, Evening Star and Morning Star were displaced by another set of twins, Ghost and Flesh. The Mercurial twins are much closer to the sun, and they are also much smaller, living in the form of children. They are said to resemble their uncle Evening Star. Astronomically, their duality is expressed in the matutine and vespertine Mercuries, the former the Evening Mercury and the latter the Morning Mercury. When the moon is coming in or out of conjunction, she passes very close to whichever Mercury is in the sky at the time. The two stars of Mercury are together only when Mercury is in conjunction with the sun.
"an intense yellow color" — the gold cradle represents the sun. The Twins who are within the womb of Moon are the Children of the Sun, but one of them is more so than the other. This one is Ghost. This is because the ghost is immortal, the stuff of Light (Hąp), and is dispatched to the lower world at conception, which is mysteriously effected by the sun. For his twin, see the next entry.
"a brilliant white" — this is Moon, the cradle of Flesh. Flesh is more like the moon since he is mortal, waxes and wanes, is less vital, less directive, and plays a passive role in conception. The Evening and Morning Stars (Red Star and Great Star) are themselves twins, and they are the offspring of the Sun as well, as we learn from "Grandfather's Two Families." The Twins, who are known as "the children of the Sun," are also like their own uncle(s), even down to having flint knives inlaid on their arms. However, they are smaller in stature, although more intimately bound to the Sun. These smaller, more solar versions of the Evening and Morning Stars of Venus, it would seem, could be nothing else than the matutine and vespertine stars of Mercury. Flesh, being close to the Moon like his uncle Red Star, ought to be the vespertine Mercury; Ghost, being closer to the Sun, should be the matutine Mercury.
"a poker and began to tap on the fire rails" — a poker is an instrument used to prod a dying fire in order to get it to blaze up. Although the sun is homologized to the fire, it is the uncle who is causing the light with the poker. He taps upon the (wooden) fire rails around the fireplace. These should, among other things, represent the trees out of which the sun seems to rise and set. We know from numerous examples that sound symbolizes light, so the tapping is merely another way of imaging the effects of the poker, only now the uncle, Evening Star, is producing the "noise." So Evening Star is just coming out of conjunction at this point. Tapping is a weak sound when compared to the normal percussion instrument, the drum. The light of Evening Star when it first comes out of (superior) conjunction is as dim as it will get, so his "noise" is a mere tapping sound, not a drum beat. As the sun is always setting when the Evening Star first comes up, this occurs very near the horizon, which is to say, the tree line, the wooden fire rail. The word for the fire railings is naįgikarasira, from ną-hįgikarasi-hi-ra, itself from ną, "wood"; hįgikaras, "to keep clear"; -hi, a causative; and -ra, "the (one such that)." It therefore means, "the wood that causes one to keep clear (of the fire)." The Evening Star appears in the sky and shines (makes a noise) only when he is kept apart from the "fire" (the sun), that is, when he emerges from conjunction. A poker is a nąroxiwi, which appears to be (perhaps homonymously) from nąra-hoxiwi, itself from ną, "wood"; -ra, "the"; hoxiwi, "to cough." A poker, therefore, makes "the wood cough." Evening Star is not using it to stir the Fire (the Sun), but he is using it to make the wood of the railings "cough." The coughing sound symbolizes his own light as he emerges from conjunction.
"for the child" — the tapping on the fire rail is for the edification of his nephew(s) who will imitate him, especially in keeping very close to the sun, as the Evening Star of Venus does when it just comes out of conjunction. The "rebirth" of Evening Star, which is like a childhood, is a permanent feature of the twin stars of Mercury, who are almost always in a state like the near conjunction of the twin stars of Venus. They remain forever children.
"only when one of them would cry and she would nurse him, would she take him" — being the source of sound, where sound = light, means that one of the stars of Mercury slips from conjunction and into the sky where it now shines. It is there with the moon when the Evening Star may still be in its lengthy conjunction with the sun. She is, of course, only with one of them at a time, since they do not both show up in the sky together. The white milk that she feeds the child is like the white Indian potatoes that she feeds their uncle. It is the substance of light, and their consumption of it causes them to grow. This is the same theory applied to the twin stars of Mercury that was applied to the corresponding twin stars of Venus, e.g., that they are fed on the light of the moon as they are setting beneaththe earth's horizon. When they are not in the sky, they are with their uncle Red Star who is in conjunction.
"take him back again right away" — the mean time in which either the matutine or vespertine Mercuries is in the sky is only 38 days. The whole Mercury cycle is but 116 days. So they are up for about one moon, then they are back in conjunction, the condition of their uncle Evening Star.
"they began to crawl" — that is, they were slow and not very high off the ground, which can be said metaphorically of the twins stars of Mercury.
"piling on top of him" — since the Evening Star of Venus can only come into proximity with the vespertine Mercury, what is being described is their being in solar conjunction together. Considering that any absence of the Evening Star from the sky is taken to be its presence on earth, the Evening Star would be thought to be in conjunction for all but the time that he is in the sky himself. So the conjunction of the two Mercuries would most often coincide with that of the Evening Star of Venus.
"she was able to dig for Indian potatoes in peace" — this describes her waxing phase as she collects light ("potatoes"). When this occurs, the Moon goes farther and farther from the sun, and therefore, since the two stars of Mercury are always close to the sun, it follows that they have less and less of an interaction with her at this time. "Peace" no doubt refers to both noise and motion in her vicinity, the former being a symbol of light. So as she leaves the hearth fire (sun) and collects potatoes (light), she no longer has the motion or light of either of the twin stars of Mercury in her vicinity. However, since they are at the "hearth," they are in solar conjunction and therefore on earth like the body of their uncle Evening Star.
"four" — the word for arrows, mą, is also a homonym meaning "time." There are four temporal units of the twin stars of Mercury: 1) the matutine Mercury, which is in the sky for 38 days; 2) superior conjunction, 35 days; 3) vespertine Mercury, which is in the sky for 38 days; and 4) inferior conjunction, lasting only 5 days. The Mercury cycle as a whole lasts 116 days, which is about four moons.
"ruxįnixįni" — the translation says parenthetically, "with the wood whittled instead of feathers." The inset at left is an illustration of a mąruxįnixįni taken from the manuscript of "Bluehorn's Nephews" (cp. its Commentary).56 The replacement of feathers by wood is of interest in light of the opposition between the Twins and turkeys as shown in the Twins Cycle, where turkey bladders prevent the Twins from disappearing into water, and also where they flee to Earthmaker from fear of the turkey Rušewe. The vanes of arrows were ordinarily made from turkey feathers, so the strange carved vanes of the Twins' arrows represents another case of their opposition to turkeys. Wood is associated particularly with Ghost, since his grandmother was a stump and his teeth resemble those of the beaver, a wood-eating animal that is, like Ghost, aquatic. It turns out that the arrow itself is aquatic, as we learn from Radin, who says that
In shooting fish a long arrowlike stick (mąnuxįnixįni) with a pointed end, whittled and frayed at the base like the ceremonial staff of the Bear Clan, discharged from an ordinary bow in shooting fish.57
For more on this, see below.
"the old man" — this is their father the Sun, who is always thought of as an aged man, and is addressed as "Grandfather."
"Kunu" — Kunu(ga) is the name given to the oldest male child. Here it refers to Trickster. All the sons of Earthmaker, and most especially Trickster, failed in their missions to rescue mankind with the sole exception of Hare. For these misadventures, see The Sons of Earthmaker and the sources linked there.
"he is getting weaker" — the theory seems to be that Evening Star's light (head) has been added to that of Morning Star's, that is to say, that the two are in conjunction. However, it can be observed that as Morning Star tends towards conjunction, its light is reduced. Here, as elsewhere, the dimming is attributed to a physical decline in the life-force (hąp) of Evening Star's head. Morning Star remains as strong as ever, but it is Evening Star who is gradually weakening. On the "other side" of superior conjunction, Evening Star will emerge again in the sky, but his light will be weak and only gradually will it regain its lost life-force. To the science that subsisted within religion at that time, the mythological explanation appears to account for all the observable facts. See below.
"all scratched up" — when someone is scratched, the mark left on the flesh is red. The Red Star is so called by virtue of being bathed in the red of twilight, which turns his face partly red. This occurs most when Red Star is nearest the sun, that is to say, when he is leaving or entering conjunction but is very near the sun and the horizon. See below.
On the other hand, scratching the face and digging out its flesh, is taking out the lighter flesh of the skin and replacing it with dark blood and flesh underneath. The light of Morning Star began when it returned to the sky at its peak of brightness. As we saw above, this is because it carried with it the head of Evening Star, whose own light augmented its brightness. However, over time, Morning Star gradually fades in brightness as it approaches conjunction. It is as if Morning Star was scratching the face (the light) of Evening Star's head. This causes a combined loss of brilliance. This is most pronounced when Morning Star is approaching superior conjunction. So the reddening of Morning Star is not that of its own blood, but the blood of Red Star, whose head he carries behind his own. This explains why Evening Star is called "Red Star" and Morning Star is not. Although the two are identical in appearance, they do not have the same history.
"he drinks there" — the word niračga means "to drink," yet we are told that this is the Te Ją, the Encircling Lake, which is to say, the Ocean Sea that surrounds the world. This shows that, in the tradition of this story, it is not known that the water of the ocean is undrinkable. This is not particularly surprising, since the Hočągara have no direct knowledge of any ocean, a body of water which was to them just a kind of large lake (te).
"small snakes under the earth" — it may seem odd that the inner planet "stars" would be thought of in terms of snakes, but there is a surprising amount in common between them. In "The Man with Two Heads," we find the same identity. The correspondence can be tabulated:
The Inner Planet Stars
Some snakes are found in all three worlds: upper, middle, and lower.
Most stars are found in all three worlds: they rise into the sky, set in the earth or waters, and travel beneath the earth, coming up on the other side.
|Snakes never climb very high.||The inner planets never climb very high into the sky.|
Snakes have no legs or feet, yet locomote.
Stars have no legs or feet, yet locomote.
Snakes have sinuous motion.
The inner planets have retrograde motion.
Snakes are reborn through the shedding of their skin.
Most stars descend every night in the west, and other disappear from the sky for long periods, only to reappear, reborn at a later time.
Snakes are by nature cold.
Stars are by nature cold (shining with cold light).
Snakes are sun-loving and stay close to the sun's warmth.
The inner planets are usually sun-loving and in one case actually turn into its warmth. They travel along the ecliptic.
Snakes hibernate, disappearing for long periods of time.
Non-circumpolar stars and planets disappear from the sky for long periods.
The tongues of snakes are twinned.
The inner planets are twinned.
|The snakes are waką, possessed of supernatural power.||The inner planets are waką, possessed of supernatural power.|
When they lie "under the earth," neither will rise (into the sky). The choice of serpents as their alloform is perfect, since serpents always strike from ambush.
"lie in the water" — the question almost always entertained in traditional weltbilden is whether the stars set into the earth or into the Ocean Sea at the rim of the world. This represents the view that they set in the waters of this sea.
"floating spiders" — the coupling of "nice day" (hąpįxjį) with "floating spiders" (wakirihokere hoikara) recalls a line from the Medicine Rite:
|He made it a perfect day. What the web maker wrought seemed to stand suspended.
|Hąberášana karapiésgexjį kirijéhíže. Wakírihokéreų́na jágu rokaraíresge nąžį́že.58|
Radin has the following note to a similar line: "When spider is working it's [a] sign of nice weather."59 The name of the spider is wakirihokere which comes from wakiri, "creeping thing," and hokere, "queue." This calls to mind their uncle's name "Bluehorn" (Hečoga), where he denotes "horn," a word used in this case as a metaphor for a queue. The "floating" motif suggests that their conjunction is here seen in terms of the sun — they are in the air (or sky) but they are unseen. The queue as a hair horn fits the description of the double helices given above. But a spider's queue is not really a horn, but something far more elaborate. The spiders of symbolic interest spin target-like webs. These are used to "ambush" or trap creatures like themselves, other wakiri. Morning Star is one like themselves, almost exactly like them. It is he whom they hope to trap at his place of vulnerability and to ambush. The webs can function to symbolize the Center as it radiates out to the cardinal points, with the Sun here occupying the center (with the Twins in conjunction with him), a Center that acts as a trap into which the Morning Star will fall, since it is his fate and destiny to come into conjunction with the sun himself. As observations readily show, it is only after this snaring of Morning Star that Evening Star can eventually be made whole and liberated. The spider also has other important symbolic valences. The spider has eight legs and some have eight eyes (see The Spider's Eyes). The number eight has important associations with Venus symbolism. There are just eight days in its inferior conjunction, and the cycle as a whole take eight years. There are eight Great Ones counting Evening Star. Spiders are also known for having no voice and appropriate to their technique of ambush, they don't make any other kind of noise. As among the Hočągara, where sound symbolizes light, the spider's silence in this context can stand for the invisibility of the twin stars of Mercury as they stand with the sun in conjunction.
"smoke" — the smoke almost certainly refers to the clouds.
"warmth" — hatakač, the word here translated as "warmth," also means "light rays," capturing the idea that the heat is inherent within the beams of light that emanate from the sun. That the Twins would hide in these light beams is an allegorical reflection of the reality of the twin stars of Mercury, which are so close to the sun that they are usually difficult to spot. Of course, when they are both together, they actually appear to be in the sun, or so it seems to naked eye astronomy, as conjunction looks like a process in which a star falls into the solar disk. For another image of this relationship, see the Commentary to the corresponding episode in the variant story, The Children of the Sun.
"live iron" — this is an old term for magnetic iron. Since Herešgúnina in this story is playing the role of Lucifer (Morning Star), and the Hočągara knew that meteorites were made of black iron, it is not surprising that a celestial spirit would be associated with forms of iron that seem to have magical properties. See Iron Spirits. (For more on the identity of Morning Star and Lucifer, see the discussion at "Morning Star"; see also the variant of this story, The Children of the Sun, passim).
"it stood reaching up to the heavens" & "it stood reaching up to the fireplace of the Maker of Things" — this reflects communication with the Upper World and is an indication that an offering has been accepted. See Fire.
"they would always come in with a loud noise" & "a loud noise" — spirits often descend from above with a loud noise. Where noise stands for light, a loud noise should correspond to a bright light. Even though at superior conjunction Morning Star loses some of his brightness, he still remains the brightest "star" in the sky. In the theory of the conjunction of Evening Star and Morning Star, the loss of brightness owes not to Morning Star, but to the declining head of Evening Star.
"the younger one" — in the accounts of the birth of the Twins, the first born and eldest is Flesh, who was set aside by the wall of the lodge. The last born and youngest was Ghost, who was cast away.
"then it became foggy" — the Hočąk is žegų xiže. Xi as a noun means, "smoke, fog, mist," and as a verb, "to be or become smoky, foggy, misty." It seems that clouds roll in as Morning Star descends to the sand bar at the edge of the world. This matches his byname, "He who is Wrapped in Blankets," a reference to the clouds that typically gather about the horizon in the early morning, the time when Morning Star is in the sky. The sudden appearance of mist is typical of the advent of a Thunderbird on the scene. While Morning Star is not himself a Thunderbird, he is the founder of the Thunder Clan, as we learn from the story of Bladder and His Brothers.
"the atmosphere became yellow" — the Hočąk is zi hibopuruže. The color zi includes both yellow and brown. The word hibopuru comes from the prefix hi, which has the force, "by means of"; the instrumental prefix bo, which means, "by blowing, shooting, or great force"; and puru, which means, "to come up in waves, clouds" (Radin-Marino). So hibopuru means, "to billow forth by means of blowing." So a better translation might be, "the clouds in yellow and brown were billowing in the wind." The blowing wind is another process associated with Morning Star. When he comes running home to his grandfather Sun, "He even knocked all the trees down in his path, it is said. So they told him to come slower, so he stopped and the wind became calmer."60 The association of Morning Star with wind, clouds, and speed, places him in the realm of the Thunders.
"a roar" — where sound = light, this may allude to the sound of lightning, another connection of Morning Star to the Thunders. More fundamentally, when Morning Star reaches conjunction with the sun, he seemingly is engulfed by it. The very great light of the sun in which Morning Star is now engulfed, can only be represented by a roar.
"the island" — the symbolism here is very clever. As this episode unfolds, Morning Star has come to ground, which represents his solar conjunction. However, Morning Star is never seen to set on the horizon. Indeed, it might be said that Morning Star only sets in the blue sky. As he moves toward superior conjunction, every day he comes up a little less above the sun than the previous day. Finally, he comes to rest in the sun itself. This would be in the eastern edge of the world. This conjunction means that Morning Star is also now on earth, just as Evening Star had been. At the horizon of the world is the Te Ją, the Ocean Sea, where Morning Star prostrates himself to drink. The island, as we were told earlier, is a pųzake, a sand bar. It is yellow like the sun into which Morning Star has sunk, and at the same time, it is part of the substance of the earth. Indeed, as an island surrounded by ocean, it is the very image of the earth, and it is at its rim that he has reclined, just as Morning Star has come to both the earth and the sun simultaneously. Both the sun and the yellow earth meet at the shore of this ocean where the sun rises. The ocean itself is like the blue sky which surround the yellow sun, the sky into which Morning Star normally "sets." So the sand island is both earth and sun, the water both the Ocean Sea and the blue sky, and Morning Star's recline is both his conjunction with earth and with the sun.
"his head was tied to his back" — as the head of Morning Star looks forward, so the head of Evening Star looks backward. Morning Star runs ahead of the sun, and therefore does not see him; whereas Evening Star trails the sun and therefore is always looking at him. Now that Red Star is in conjunction with Morning Star, this remains just as true. For the head of Red Star, this is a kind of death. In Hočąk, the verbs of being are also verbs of doing — being is doing, existing is acting, so that one who has lost the power of action at his own initiative has in a profound sense ceased to be. So the head of Red Star is in a state like that of death, if not literal death. Therefore, his vista is no longer on the future, but only on the past. This is reflected by his head being turned around in the opposite direction. In a temporal model, this is a vista on the past alone. He never sees where the course of events are heading, but only where they have been. The rotation of the head to the back as an expression of a vista confined to the past is well illustrated elsewhere in the story of Hare and the Medicine Rite (see 1, 2). Also the Janus-like union of the two heads expresses what to the modern mind is a strange theory — the contention that the Morning and Evening Stars can come into conjunction with one another. After inferior conjunction (as we now call it), it is Morning Star that is the controlling star, but after superior conjunction, it is the Evening Star that is in control.
"my mirror, my paint bundle" — in nature there are not too many things that serve as a mirror. The best reflective source is a body of still water. The man and the uncle's head have arrived at the Te Ją, the Encircling Lake, which in the Western tradition is called the "Ocean Sea." This is the place in the west where the Evening Star, that is Red Star, would set. There he could see the reflection of his own light, the reflection of his "face" in the waters below. This spot at the edge of the world is also his mirror. There too he finds his paint bundle. He is, after all, called the "Red Star," even though he is not by nature that color, but a brilliant white. What paints the Red Star is the rosy color of the setting sun. When the Evening Star is once again about to appear in the sky, he will be very near the sun, since he is just coming out of conjunction. Therefore, he will be "painted" red by the diffuse light that also illuminates the clouds on the western horizon. This occurs in one of the boundary times of the sun, when it is neither day nor night, but twilight, a condition modelled by the boundary condition of the sun in this episode, where it hovers at noon, a time when it neither ascends nor descends.
"he used both arms" (a hinųbikexjį hi’ų-) — the word a in Hočąk means "arms," although the translation has "hands." It should be recalled that this spirit has knives running down both arms. What are these knives? First we should ask, what are his arms? The arms are normally the executive parts of the body, those organs most devoted to executing the will of the person apart from locomotion, the role of the legs. The arms are also the means by which things are touched through the hands. The arms of the Morning and Evening Stars have the unusual feature of being inlaid with knives. Whether of flint, obsidian, or steel, they will strongly reflect light. Light is like the projecting executive members of the body that reach out and touch things. The light of the sun, for instance, can act as the arms of both the Evening and Morning Stars. The idea of rays of light being arms has parallel sense development in ancient Egypt, where the Aten, the solar disk, is shown terminating in small hands, implying that the rays are arms and their termini, where they touch things, are like hands [see inset]. (For more on luminous hands, see The Man Who Fell from the Sky.) However, the kind of touching done via the sun's light, in the twilight context of the Evening and Morning Stars, is the touching which leaves things red. It is a cutting touch. It is also the touch of something that is not precisely part of their own bodies, but which lies at hand. The inlaid knives reflect light, that is, they emit light that is not their own, but which actually belongs to the sun. With this light in tow, Morning Star is able to touch the face of Evening Star leaving it red. The touch is with borrowed light, exemplified in the knives which replace the hands in this context as the executive organs which effect touch. We can see in another analogy the same phenomenon, the reddening of the horizon where Evening Star now dwells, when the Twins are described as picking away the scabs on Bluehorn's severed neck, causing the effusion of blood. So elsewhere we have already seen this reddening by the sun identified as the blood of Red Star which had also been shed by the knives of his doppelgänger Morning Star that were used to decapitate him.
Also analogous to the arm is the male generative organ, which is an appendage that is also expressed in terms of the sun's rays, as we saw when the sun's light made the Moon pregnant with the Twins. Something like this is also seen in the Aten image above, where some of the hands that form the termini of the rays of the sun hold the Ankh symbol denoting Life. Thus, too, the word for light in Hočąk, Hąp, also denotes Life, and is incorporated in the very name for the Sun, Hąpwira. For more on the question of the somatic knives, see above.
"and the old man sat there with him" (égi wąknura hija wakaraži nąkše) — the old man is the sun. He is sitting at the zenith at noon and watching the affair unfold; but as a spirit he is no doubt there with the younger one lending him whatever reserves of supernatural force that he can muster. Since he is midway between ascent and descent, he is in a boundary condition, and the interstitial place and time (noon) makes for an easier contravention of the mundane patterns of the temporal world. However, since the Twins, who are ex hypothesi the twin stars of Mercury, are together with the head of Red Star and the person of Morning Star, they must all be in conjunction together. The superior conjunction is the longest lasting, and for Venus it runs about 50 days. This can easily enough coincide with the superior conjunction of Mercury. All the principals are on the ground and they will not at this time rise into the sky. However, they are also in conjunction with the sun, the astronomical fact that brings them to the ground from which they no longer rise. Therefore, Sun is very literally "sitting" (nąk) there "with him" (wakaraži).
"he was becoming it" — the translation has the less literal, "he changed himself into the arrow." This is a power otherwise only possessed by Redhorn, Chief of the Heroka. For the ruxįnixįni arrow, see above. It is Ghost who is becoming the all-wooden arrow. He has a special identity with wood: his grandmother is a stump, and he has beaver teeth. In Hočąk the word for wood and tree is the same, ną. In Hočąk symbolism, the tree stands as a model of genealogy, with the roots standing for the descendants on the basis of the homonym rejų, "roots; descendants." The wood of the arrow is made from the upper part of the tree, whence the seeds fall to the ground and germinate into the earth to create descendants. It is the ghost who also comes from this upper wood to make that germination a reality. In an astronomical code it is also appropriate that Ghost become a mąruxįnixįni, since it is essentially an aquatic arrow designed for shooting fish. The arrow is stripped of its turkey feathers in favor of wooden vanes. The turkey feathers stop the arrow from being used in water, recalling that the turkey bladder stopped Ghost from returning to the water. Ghost's opponent, Morning Star, dives into the waters of the Ocean Sea, becoming an aquatic target. Ghost, himself an aquatic being, then turns into an arrow appropriate for shooting such beings. The arrow (mą) represents time (mą), as the moment that Morning Star touches down in the waters, he comes into conjunction, here represented as his death.
"he plucked out his heart" — it is hard to see how the body could remain animate with the seat of its intellection as well as its brain removed. However, the supreme evil spirit has extraordinary magical powers.
"take the things out from his stomach" — this seems to suggest that as an arrow he penetrated the stomach and came out the other side carrying something of the stomach's contents with him. It is not clear what this means allegorically.
"shout" — in astronomical codes, sound stands for light. He gives a shout because he is coming with the sun. His destination is where the Evening Star lives, which is in the west, the place where the sun sets. It is there that Morning Star will achieve (its imagined) conjunction with the Evening Star.
"a sound" — when the head is united with the body, that part of the body that possesses speech, the head, now acquires that part of the body that possesses the executive functions including locomotion. The head, as the source of speech, is also the source of light (sound = light). The head is also associated with light because it contains the life-soul in the brain, and is the interface of the breath of life (ni), the site of initial of inspiration and final expiration. The moment of this reunification is the moment when the Red Star is about to become visible. The sound, as symbolic of light, is its initial visibility. Just the same, he is barely visible in the sky since Red Star is as yet so close to the sun. From now on, the source of his sound (light) can walk away from the sun. Now begins the phase of Evening Star's appearance in the sky after his long captivity under the rule of the Morning Star.
"hand" — according to the analysis above, the hand ought to represent the terminus of a light ray. It is capable of making a sound (= light), and a loud one at that, but only when it makes contact with another object. The clapping sound is made by contact with the body of a person. Thus the evocation of the symbolism of the hand in this context is another expression of visibility, the reaching of the light (expressed as sound) to the observing person who is touched by its terminus ("hand").
"he gave his uncle the man's head" — now the Evening Star is seen in the sky and the Morning Star is not. His source of light is now grounded (conjunction), and Red Star is in control.
"weak" — Fred Price has this to say about the variability in the brightness ("strength") of Venus during its period as the Evening Star:
In contrast to Mercury, Venus becomes brighter as it moves from superior conjunction through dichotomy to about a month before inferior conjunction. It becomes dim at inferior conjunction. This is because the apparent diameter becomes dim at inferior conjunction.61
This would explain the notion that although Evening Star (Red Star) was at the peak of his strength, he rather suddenly lost his edge, his power draining away or weakening in a short period of time.
"one of the heated irons" — the sister, as Moon, is also in conjunction at this moment. When any celestial object is in conjunction with the sun it appears not only to be on earth and incapable of rising into the night sky, but it also appears to be united with the sun or "fire." These irons are characterized as "red hot" (ta-šuč) (p. 99). At sunset, the time when the Evening Star begins to appear, the sun is most likely to be red. It is the red sun that the lunar sister of Red Star uses to extinguish the body of Morning Star. The pokers are made of iron (mąz), which is a very common main constituent of meteorites or "falling stars." They are stars like Morning Star, and they too are drawn to earth, just as Morning Star is at conjunction. So iron is the substance of stars that are drawn to earth. These pokers are also said to be "live iron" (mązni'ąp) (p. 94), that is to say, they are magnetic. A magnetic object can be thought of as something that draws to it its own kind, in this case iron. The sun, here homologized to red hot irons, is not only both red and hot, but like "live iron" it attracts to it its own kind, in this case Morning Star. Morning Star is elsewhere said to be the child of Sun, and as a celestial, luminous (wi) body, it is drawn into conjunction the way in which an iron object is drawn to a live or magnetic iron — an attraction of like objects one of which has a special magical force.
"she stabbed it over and over" — the body of Morning Star runs in effect to the iron pokers and there comes into contact with them. The stabbing means that the red hot magnetic poker, the sun, comes into contact with his flesh. This happens night after night for a period, and also happens year after year. After this, his body can no longer ambulate, and is therefore incapable of carrying the head (the source of light) into the sky. The body collapses on the ground. The face too is united with the iron poker, and is carried by the uncle, the Evening Star. It is there that he carries the head, just like his own head was once carried behind Morning Star, since the sun always trails it.
"to the face" — the live iron pokers are homologous to the red knives that are inlaid on the arms of both Morning and Evening Star. They are the light and here the heat as well, of the sun near the horizon when Morning Star is coming into conjunction. The stabbing of the face is the same here as it is when Morning Star does it to Evening Star. The result is exactly the same — Morning Star has his flesh seared black and red, taking away much of his brightness. Morning Star is at its dimmest just before superior conjunction, and at that time comes closest to the diffused red light of the horizon.
"she killed them" — it should also be noted that the bifurcation of Morning Star into head and body is analogous to the division of Ghost and Flesh. The head is the particular seat of the soul, which is the primary motive for head hunting, as the acquisition of the head insures the possession of the soul which can be directed to serve the purposes of the victor while it resides in Spiritland. In this story the head of the uncle sojourns in the world above, being united with the sun and the Morning Star; the body is entirely bound to earth and without its head, it cannot ascend into the upper world. The two have become separated in a model of death. Now this in turn happens to Morning Star. The body, ro in Hočąk, is united with the sun in conjunction, and in this allegory, the unity is expressed by the headless body being stabbed with a red-hot poker of live iron. The word ro also means "flesh" as we seen in the name "Flesh" (Wa-ro-ga), where it is the stem. It is Ghost who carries the head, and Waroga who fends off the ro.
"he was thin. Their mother was also this way" — his sister is the moon, whose wasting away is quite evident. When Evening Star first appears in the sky coming out of superior conjunction, it is farthest from earth, and therefore is dimmest. So when Evening Star is restored and reappears in the sky once again, he is at his "thinnest."
"with all their xop they ate it" (hiǧopi warujireže) — it is through the agency of (hi-, "by means of") xop that they ate their food. Xop is a kind of supernatural power, and those who are under its influence are perhaps best described as "possessed." Radin explains it this way,
. . . [xop] seems to be associated, in the eyes of the Winnebago, with the intensely emotional aspects of religion, where self is completely forgotten. Those ceremonies, in which the performers work themselves into a frenzy of excitement and dance naked, are always referred to as xop.62
This power that excites the person's energies is intimately associated with spirits generally, as is seen in the Hočąk term for spirit, waxopini, whose stem is xop. In our story, the Waxopini who eat this victory meal exert their inherent xop as they do so. A ceremony very similar in nature to the feast related in this story is the Feast to the Night Spirits. Nothing is wasted. "And the feasters would not spill anything" (Égi warújenąka hąké ruxexeranį́kje). Even the bones are buried in consecrated ground. Then xop enters into the rite when some become crazed (rujanįk) by the Nights. When this happens, those who have become possessed strip off their clothes and dance around the lodge naked. Then they rush for the food, and even pull it out of the boiling pot. Whoever got to the food first was destined for war honors. It is said that only holy people experience this, and that when someone becomes crazed, "it is because great holiness comes to him" (wakąčą́kjį wa’ųge).63 The feast of the Twins and their family appears to be very similar to that of the Fast Eating Contest, where consumption foreshadows the "swallowing" of enemy warriors on the upcoming warpath. The eating here foreshadows the complete consumption of the enemy spirit's body by the fire so that even his bones are incinerated. This is the only way in which he can be defeated. See also, Supernatural & Spiritual Power.
"they even burned up his bones to nothing, along with his head and body" — the theory suggested by the allegory is that Morning Star comes into conjunction with Evening Star during or after inferior conjunction. However, the corresponding conjunction of Morning Star with Evening Star during or following superior conjunction is not maintained. Morning Star - Evening Star conjunction explains how Morning Star starts out at its brightest; but since Evening Star starts out weak and gradually gains light, the theory that it begins by capturing the light of Morning Star cannot be maintained. Thus, the fate of Morning Star is to be engulfed by the sun ("fire") alone, and to disappear completely, suffering the fate of all avatars of evil spirits in Hočąk waikąra. However, as we see from other variants, he yet manages to resurrect himself over and over again, with each incarnation being like a new avatar.
"a vision" — this is actually a memory of having consumed the evil spirit.
"a Great One" — here is the first confirmation that he is one of the Xetera. His inclusion would make the list have nine members, but as noted, the list is probably confined to good spirits, to maintain the paradigmatic number eight. However, with Evening Star as one of the Xetera, and given the accepted belief that Morning Star is stronger still, it would have to be the case that he too is one of the Xetera.
"man" — the word wąkšik, "man," is really used more like "humanoid," and denotes not only people (paradigmatically males), but also spirits. In this respect it is like the Old Norse mann, of the same meaning, which also applies to gods and other semi-divine beings.
"a habit" — this translates the Hočąk hiksi, which is said to mean, "to develop a habit, to overdo something" (Marino), which clearly refers to addictive behavior. The assumption by all Indian nations acquainted with tobacco is that it is also addictive to the spirits, who will give generously to get even a small quantity.
"he was the youngest" — elsewhere Morning Star is said to be the youngest (see 1, 2). Generally, being the youngest means being the strongest. The reason that Morning Star is omitted in the series of brothers is that he is here identified with Herešgúnina, who was actually the first to be created.
"a red star" — it may seem strange that the Evening Star which is a bright white, should be called "Red Star." This appelation is not without precedence, as the Maya call Venus chac ek, "red star."64 There are times when it actually appears red. This is also a feature not just of Venus, but of the other inner planet, Mercury, of which it is said allegorically that the Twins look just like their uncle Red Star. The phenomena that make stars on the horizon look red is set out by Fred W. Price:
The planet Mercury is never seen far from the sun, is low down in the sky when it becomes dark enough to see it and its apparent movements are fairly rapid; hence it was named after the mythological swift-footed messenger of the Gods. It resembles a star and because it lies so close to the horizon it twinkles. The ancient Greeks therefore called it the Twinkler or Sparkler. It often has a rosy pink hue, an effect due to atmospheric dispersion.65
It usually looks like a twinkling rose-coloured star but the colour and twinkling are both due to the low altitude.66
Optical anomalies are also experienced for Venus when it is low in the sky.67
Because of its color fluctuations, the Crow also call the Morning Star of Venus, "Crazy Star."68 This is probably the simple solution to the very difficult problem of why the ancients referred to the star Sirius as being "red" when it was, as we see it today, a bright white.69 In addition to this consideration, a star near the horizon may be called "red" because it is bathed in the light of the sunrise or sunset (see the illustration below, showing the Evening Star's altitude during a year of the Venus Cycle). For that matter, its apellation as such may derive from both of these ideas. It is not a coincidence that the Pawnee in a rite paint the impersonator of the Evening Star completely red.70 The Morning Star is symmetrical in this respect, and the Pawnee depict him as a man completely painted red, from head to toe.71
"at night" — this reinforces the conclusion that he is the Evening Star, as opposed to being the Morning Star, as some have conjectured.
"married" — it is sufficient in Hočąk culture for a couple to have had conjugal relations to be considered married.
"a ghost and Flesh" (wanąǧižą, Waroga) — the name of Flesh is given as a proper name, Waroga. The first brother is not mentioned by name, but by a description, "a ghost." In Sam Blownsnake's account of the Twins Cycle, he is not mentioned by name at all. This suggests that there is a taboo, or at least a fear, of evoking him by merely saying his name.
Comparative Material: The closely related Ioway have a very similar story. "One time a family went out hunting. They camped by themselves in the woods, and while the man ranged the forest hunting for game, the woman, who was pregnant, stayed at home and kept house for him. One day while her husband was absent a man came to visit her. At first she paid no attention to the stranger, and would not even look at him. The man sat down opposite her and did everything to attract her attention; finally, as he was possessed of magic power, he caused a fire to spring up behind her. 'Oh my, there is a fire behind you!' he exclaimed, but the woman reached behind her and put it out with her hands without looking up or speaking. When her husband came home she told him about her strange visitor, and he said, 'You did well. This man has evil power over women. Do not pay any attention to him, and after the fourth visit he will cease to annoy you.' Each day thereafter the stranger visited her and tried in the same manner to frighten the woman with fire, but each time she made him go away without paying him the slightest attention. On the fourth and last day, after the man had left the lodge, the woman could not resist the temptation to see him before he vanished forever, so she peeped through a crack to see what manner of being he was. Although his back was turned, for he was going away, she saw that he had two faces, one in front and one in the back of his head, and that he had long sharp bones like daggers projecting from his elbows. He was Sharp Elbows (Itopa'hi). The being saw the woman with his rear face, and laughed and said 'I knew you would finally look.' He retraced his steps and stabbed her to death with his sharp elbows and went away leaving her lying there on the floor of the lodge."72 The remainder of the story follows the plot of "The Birth of the Twins." For the rest of the story, see the commentary to the latter story. For the Hočąk Sharp Elbows, see "Hare Kills Sharp Elbows."
The Kitkahahki Pawnee have an interesting parallel to this story. A witch hears of the deeds of Long Tooth Boy and resolves to kill the Twins. She enters the lodge of the Twins as a yellow bird. Long Tooth Boy tells his father to shoot the bird, but he misses. The bird seizes the father by the hair and carries him up into the sky, with the Twins following behind shooting arrows as they ascend. Finally, they arrive in the sky world where they find yellow feathers lying about. They come to a village. Long Tooth Boy disguises himself and drapes a buffalo robe over himself and asks directions to the witch's teepee. He enters while a ceremony is in progress, but sees his father sitting next to the witch. He returns to the outskirts where his brother is waiting for him. They take handfuls of dust at a gopher mound, and when they toss it in the air, a great dust storm sweeps the village. Under its cover, they infiltrate the settlement. Everyone in the teepee has their head covered. In the end, they cut off the witch's head and escape with their father in tow. As they run through the air, they bounce up and down, and the woman's head screams. Instead of scalping the witch as they had planned, they decide to stick her head on a pole outside their lodge where she can act as a guard.73
The Wichita version of this story replaces the Twins with a single person, but is otherwise fairly close. One day a woman went out from her village and was charmed by a man whom she followed to his far away abode. There she became his wife and lived with him for some time. Then she became pregnant, and her husband, Owns Black and White Flint Knives, decided that they would return to her people where she could give birth. On their travels, her husband said that he feared that he might be carried off by one of the Double Faced Monsters. The only way to prevent this was to build a great fire and keep it stoked. So she gathered up wood and built a great fire. That night the monster showed up and the husband wrestled with him. The monster tried to take him off into the darkness, and the husband tried to drag the monster into the fire. After struggling all night, they parted without a decision at dawn. This happened three more times. The fourth time they struggled, the woman began to run out of wood, and as the fire dimmed, the monster started to drag him away. He called for her to put on more wood, but she just ran out of it, so the monster carried him off. She went on to her village where she was greeted with surprise, as all had thought her dead. She gave birth to a boy whom she raised according to instructions given to her by her husband before he was abducted. She was to name her child, "Young Flint Knife." The boy grew fast, and according to instructions, he was given a meal consisting of a black flint stone and a white one, both of which he ate. When he had grown up, he asked his mother what had happened to his father, and she told him about the Two Faced Monsters. So the boy set out to find his father and liberate him from the monsters. In time he came to a steep canyon wall, and when he looked down, he saw his father there by a creek getting water. He slid down and told his father who he was and that he was there to free him. They went to a cave where the young monsters lived. The young man asked these monsters what the red objects hanging from the ceiling were. They told him that those were their hearts, and they were there so that they could not be killed. So the young man shot each and every heart, and all the Two Faced Monsters fell over dead. Thus he was able to free his father from captivity. The two returned to the village. They lived there a long time, but one night his father said that the two of them should go off and become something else. So the old man with his son Young Flint Knife ascended to the heavens, and there they became a pair of stars.74
The Hidatsa have a parallel that combines "The Birth of the Twins" with the present story. Charred Body and his sister lived alone. One day he went out hunting and warned his sister that if anyone showed up at the lodge not to let them in. When he was gone someone asked to come in and the sister forgot the warning of her brother and let the stranger in the door. He was a monster without a head and a large mouth running from shoulder to shoulder. He demanded to eat the fat of the stomach and that it must be served on the stomach of a pregnant woman. So the sister laid down on her back and when he put the hot fat on her stomach, she screamed and died, but as she died twins were born.75
The Gros Ventre version bears some resemblance to the Hidatsa story. A man and his wife were camping alone. He warned his wife that while he was out hunting, should a man come by, under no circumstances was she to invite him in. Just as he had said, a man showed up, and walked around the teepee, but she never said anything to him, even when he made as if he were about to enter. When the man came home, she told him about it. The next day he reiterated not to invite the man in, and then went hunting. The man returned and walked around the teepee, but she said nothing. He even opened the tent flap and closed it several times. Finally, the woman gave in and said, "Come in." She fixed him something to eat, and placed it on a dish, but he said, "That's not the kind of plate that I use." She kept changing plates, but he said the same thing. Then she tried a moccasin, then a legging, but to each of these he said, "That is nearly it." Finally, she laid down on her back and placed the food on her bare stomach. "That's it," he said. When he was done eating, he cut her open, killing her. She had been pregnant with twins, both of which he left behind.76
This Seneca tale gives the Twins a similar origin, but here it is the West Wind that impregnates their mother. "When the daughter had grown to young womanhood, the mother and she were accustomed to go out to dig wild potatoes. Her mother had said to her that in doing this she must face the West at all times. Before long the young daughter gave signs that she was about to become a mother. Her mother reproved her, saying that she had violated the injunction not to face the east, as her condition showed that she had faced the wrong way while digging potatoes. It is said that the breath of the West Wind had entered her person, causing conceptions When the days of her delivery were at hand, she overheard twins within her body in a hot debate as to which should be born first and as to the proper place of exit, one declaring that he was going to emerge through the armpit of his mother, the other saying that he would emerge in the natural way. The first one born, who was of a reddish color, was called Othagwenda; that is, Flint. The other, who was light in color, was called Juskaha; that is, the Little Sprout."77
The Navaho Twins have a birth somewhat like those of the Hočąk Twins. They are born of a virgin, White Bead Girl, who is visited by the sun without knowing that in these visits he has been having intercourse with her. The boys go off to visit their father Sun. The Sun wants to make certain that they are indeed his bastard sons, so he gives them a smoking ordeal to pass. They are able to smoke tobacco that would poison anyone else. Then they are placed in a sweat lodge heated by two large flint stones. It becomes so hot that it explodes, but the boys are unharmed. Then the Sun knew they were his children. They asked for a weapon, the lightning weapon, and would use it to kill their own relative, Yeitso, the One-Walking Giant.78
The next Navaho myth in the same sequence relates a strong parallel to the rest of the story. The Twins wait for the giant Yeitso to come to where he lives to get a drink. He drank four times, then spat it out, restoring the water source. Then he paced back and forth asking out loud, "What are those two beautiful things that I see? How shall I kill them?" The Twins answered in kind. Little Breeze, who was with the Twins warned them to jump up. As they did so, the power weapon Black Knife passed beneath them. Then Little Breeze told them to duck, and as they did so, the weapon Blue Knife passed over them. They dodged the Yellow Knife and the White Knife the same way. They struck Yeitso back with a blinding flash of lightning, but he remained standing. They threw each of the knives with no ill effect, but when they struck him with the fourth knife, White Knife, he fell crashing to the ground. The Twins had to use two of their weapons to stop his blood from flowing into the water. The effects of this can be seen today in the lava formations at the San Mateo Mountains. Then they scalped him (or, as some say, they cut his head off). They discovered that the giant was covered from head to toe in flint knives. They threw these knives in all the directions so that the people could make use of them. They returned home and hung the scalp on a pole to the east of the hogan. When First Woman was informed of it, she took it down and danced with it, since Yeitso had wiped out her people in the primordial times.79 This last incident is found in the Children of the Sun variant.
The confusing visit of the doppelgänger to the sister finds a parallel in another Navaho story. The Sun had impregnated a virgin, and she gave birth to the Gambler who won everything away from humanity in a series of games of chance. However, Gambler did not give the Sun what he asked for, so Sun impregnated another woman, and made this second son the perfect image of Gambler. The second son, in order to "split the mind" of Gambler, visited his wife at the spring. He took some water from Gambler's wife, then threw it all over her. She went back and accused her husband of having done this. The husband has to explain that there was someone who looked just like him.80
The Lakota version is actually more remote than the Navaho. A giant being called "Double-Face" had been abusing a couple and their small baby. One day he took this baby away. As he wandered about the wilderness, he cruelly beat the baby with a switch even as he sung him a lullaby. Hare (Mastin) went out hunting in the north country one day. As he was going along, he suddenly encountered Double-Face as he was abusing the child. With one shot of his poisoned arrow, he struck Double-Face just above the ear, and the giant fell to the earth dead. Hare took the little child back home to his parents who showered Hare with expressions of gratitude. During the night, Hare took hold of the child's toes and pulled them gently but firmly, then moved on to the fingers and to all the rest of the body until he had stretched the baby into a full grown man. The young man looked exactly like Hare himself. The two pledged eternal friendship and agreed if ever one of them was in trouble, the other would come to his aid. Hare's twin always carried with him an earth-ear by which he could hear his friend if summoned.81
The Taos people have the "children of the sun" theme with a twist. "People were living at the Canyon of the Red Willows. There was a girl also living there, she lived alone. Young men were very desirous to be her lovers, but she always refused them. She went everywhere alone, without the company of any one. She would grind corn and she sang her own song. The boys wanted to come in to sing for her; but she always denied them. Then one day she was grinding corn all day, at noon she stopped grinding, she sat at a little window where the sun shone in. She played with the sunshine. While playing she wanted to sleep. The sun was striking her hard on her body. She said, 'How good and loving is the heat of the sun.' She had her corn meal on her grinding stone; but it seemed to her she could not go back to finish grinding. She said, 'I will go on staying here. How good I feel playing in the sunshine. My father Sun, how good and kind you are to me! Is there any way I can go up to your home?' Then somebody whispered behind her, saying, 'You better not say that. The Sun is apt to make you sick. By and by you will have a baby by him.' So she removed from the sunshine, but she always wanted to go back. Finally in a short time she got full and she had twins, boy and girl. Those are the ones who live in the Sun house, in the west, in Sun House Mountain. Sun took them."82
The "children of the sun" motif is also found in Paiute. There was a virgin who longed to have children by the sun, so one day she went out to a tall hill and there presented herself to the celestial orb, praying to him that he might impregnate her. After some time, she became heavy with child and gave birth to twin boys. She explained to her parents that Sun was the father of the boys, and when her boys were old enough, she told them that they were the children of the sun.83 [the next episode of this story]
The Aztecs have a parallel to the flint inlaid knives found on the arms of the principals of this myth (see above). Seler says,
A goddess by the name of Itzpapalotl, "Obsidian-knife butterfly" corresponds to the Ciuateteo, the women who had become goddesses; she is meant to represent a butterfly whose wings are covered by obsidian knives. This goddess is pictured one time as a somewhat fantastically formed butterfly, at another as a human figure that has eagle claws as hands and feet and a skull as head, and shows up in the disguise of a butterfly, or a butterfly that has obsidian knives on its wings or similarly formed pendants.84
She is also a stellar figure.
Links: The Twins, Bluehorn (Evening Star), Gottschall, Waterspirits, Herešgúnina, Earthmaker, Swallows, Sun, Moon, Tree Spirits, Snakes, The Sons of Earthmaker, Hare, Trickster, Turtle, Bladder, Redhorn, Swans, Fire, The Redhorn Panel of Picture Cave. An American Star Map, Spiders.
Stories: mentioning the Twins: Bluehorn's Nephews, Brave Man, Children of the Sun, Bluehorn Rescues His Sister, Grandfather's Two Families, The Man with Two Heads, Sun and the Big Eater; about two brothers: The Two Children, The Twin Sisters, The Captive Boys, The Twins Cycle, The Two Brothers, The Two Boys, The Children of the Sun, The Lost Blanket, The Man with Two Heads, Bluehorn's Nephews, Snowshoe Strings, Sunset Point, The Old Man and the Giants, The Brown Squirrel, Esau was an Indian; with Bluehorn (Evening Star) as a character: Bluehorn's Nephews, Children of the Sun, Bluehorn Rescues His Sister, Grandfather's Two Families, The Man with Two Heads, Sun and the Big Eater, The Green Man (?), Brave Man (?); about stars and other celestial bodies: The Dipper, Įčorúšika and His Brothers, The Seven Maidens, Morning Star and His Friend, Little Human Head, Sky Man, Wojijé, The Raccoon Coat, Sun and the Big Eater, The Big Eater, The Star Husband, Grandfather's Two Families, Bluehorn's Nephews, The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, The Meteor Spirit and the Origin of Wampum, The Children of the Sun, Heną́ga and Star Girl, The Origins of the Milky Way, The Fall of the Stars; featuring Sun as a character: Sun and the Big Eater, Grandfather's Two Families, The Big Eater, The Children of the Sun, Hare Burns His Buttocks, The Birth of the Twins, The Man who was Blessed by the Sun, The Origins of the Milky Way, Red Cloud's Death; pertaining to the Moon: The Markings on the Moon, Black and White Moons, Sunset Point, Sun and the Big Eater, The Big Eater, Hare Kills Wildcat, Grandfather's Two Families, Berdache Origin Myth (v. 1), Turtle and the Giant; featuring Herešgúnina (the Bad Spirit or One Legged One) as a character: The Creation of Evil, The Creation of the World, The Creation of Man, The Twins Get into Hot Water, The Lost Blanket, The Woman Who Became an Ant, The Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Journey to Spiritland, Šųgepaga, The Spirit of Gambling, Bladder and His Brothers, The Two Brothers, The Origins of the Milky Way, The Buffalo's Walk; see also Black and White Moons, The Shawnee Prophet and His Ascension, The Shawnee Prophet — What He Told the Hočągara; mentioning Earthmaker: The Creation of the World, The Creation of Man, The Commandments of Earthmaker, The Twins Get into Hot Water, 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, Turtle and the Giant, 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 Stench-Earth Medicine Origin Myth, The Origin of the Cliff Swallow; in which fire plays a role: The Creation Council, Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth, The Warbundle of the Eight Generations, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, The Four Steps of the Cougar, East Shakes the Messenger, East Enters the Medicine Lodge, North Shakes His Gourd, The Descent of the Drum (v. 2), The Man Whose Wife was Captured (v. 2), Red Cloud's Death, see Young Man Gambles Often (Commentary); mentioning swallows: The Origin of the Cliff Swallow, The Death of Red Cloud; mentioning swans: The Green Man, The Messengers of Hare; mentioning snakes: The First Snakes, The Woman who Married a Snake, Blessing of the Yellow Snake Chief, Snake Clan Origins, The Omahas who turned into Snakes, A Snake Song Origin Myth, The Serpents of Trempealeau, Rattlesnake Ledge, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Twins Disobey Their Father, The Two Boys, Wears White Feather on His Head, Creation of the World (vv. 2, 3, 4), The Magical Powers of Lincoln's Grandfather, Lakes of the Wazija Origin Myth, Waruǧápara, The Green Man, Holy One and His Brother, The Man who was Blessed by the Sun, The Warbundle of the Eight Generations, Turtle and the Merchant, The Lost Blanket, A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth; mentioning bull snakes: The First Snakes; mentioning spiders: The Spider's Eyes, Hare Visits the Blind Men, Tobacco Origin Myth (v. 5), Descent of the Drum (v. 1), Arrows of the Medicine Rite Men (v. 1), East Shakes the Messenger; mentioning trees or Tree Spirits: The Creation of the World, The Children of the Sun, Visit of the Wood Spirit, The Boy who would be Immortal, The Commandments of Earthmaker, The Woman who Became a Walnut Tree, The Old Woman and the Maple Tree Spirit, The Oak Tree and the Man Who was Blessed by the Heroka, The Pointing Man, The Abduction and Rescue of Trickster, The Baldness of the Buzzard, Trickster Eats the Laxative Bulb, Trickster Loses His Meal, The Journey to Spiritland (v. 2), Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth, Waruǧápara, The Chief of the Heroka, The Red Man, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth, The Annihilation of the Hočągara I, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Blessing of the Bow, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, The Spirit of Gambling, Peace of Mind Regained, The Stench-Earth Medicine Origin Myth, The Necessity for Death; mentioning oak: Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth, The Oak Tree and the Man Who was Blessed by the Heroka, Wolf Clan Origin Myth, The Children of the Sun, Turtle's Warparty, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth, Old Man and Wears White Feather, Waruǧápara, The Creation Council, The Man Who Would Dream of Mą’ųna, Young Man Gambles Often, Morning Star and His Friend (v. 2), Sun and the Big Eater, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, The Roaster, Little Human Head, The Shaggy Man, Wears White Feather on His Head, Peace of Mind Regained, The Dipper (leaves); mentioning ruxįnixįni (whittled) arrows: Bluehorn's Nephews; mentioning live iron: How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Lost Blanket, The Raccoon Coat, The Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Lame Friend; mentioning silver: Silver Mound Cave, The Spanish Fight, The Tavern Visit, Soft Shelled Turtle Gets Married, see also Chief's Medallion; mentioning red yarn (as an offering to the spirits): The Elk's Skull, Ocean Duck, Trickster Soils the Princess (Trickster's turban), The Spotted Grizzly Man, Soft Shelled Turtle Gets Married; mentioning the Ocean Sea (Te Ją): Trickster's Adventures in the Ocean, Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp (v. 1), Otter Comes to the Medicine Rite, The Rounded Wood Origin Myth, The Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, Trickster and the Children, Wears White Feather on His Head, White Wolf, How the Thunders Met the Nights (Mąznį’ąbᵋra), Bear Clan Origin Myth (vv. 2a, 3), Wolf Clan Origin Myth (v. 2), Redhorn's Sons, Grandfather's Two Families, Sun and the Big Eater, The Journey to Spiritland (v. 4), The Sons of Redhorn Find Their Father (sea), The Dipper (sea), The Thunderbird (a very wide river), Wojijé, The Twins Get into Hot Water (v. 1), Redhorn's Father, Trickster Concludes His Mission, Berdache Origin Myth, Thunder Cloud is Blessed, Morning Star and His Friend, How the Hills and Valleys were Formed.
Shorter versions of most of The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head are found in The Children of the Sun and The Man with Two Heads.
Themes: a brother and sister live alone together: The Green Man, The Nannyberry Picker; a flock of birds are a man's constant companions: Old Man and Wears White Feather (sparrows); a man is accompanied by a flock of swallows: Red Cloud's Death; two people look (almost) exactly alike: The Children of the Sun, The Green Man, How the Thunders Met the Nights, Redhorn's Father, Big Eagle Cave Mystery; men whose bodies are (partly) covered with pieces of flint: Bluehorn's Nephews, Hare Kills Flint, Hare Gets Swallowed, The Children of the Sun, The Red Man, The Chief of the Heroka; 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), 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 Nannyberry Picker (leggings), The Seduction of Redhorn's Son (cloth), Yųgiwi (blanket); someone is deceived by a spirit: The Greedy Woman, The Girl who Refused a Blessing from the Wood Spirits, Earthmaker Blesses Wagíšega (Wešgíšega), The Man Who Would Dream of Mą’ųna, The Meteor Spirit and the Origin of Wampum, The Seven Maidens, Big Thunder Teaches Čap’ósgaga the Warpath, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, The Lost Blanket; violating the prohibitions laid down by an elder brother leads to disaster: White Wolf, Bladder and His Brothers (v. 3), The Green Man, The Children of the Sun; humans pray to a tree in order to obtain needed wood: Children of the Sun, The Blessing of the Bow; a man uses flint growing out of his arm to kill (or behead) someone: The Man with Two Heads, Hare Kills Sharp Elbow, The Children of the Sun, The Man with Two Heads; head hunting: White Fisher, Big Thunder Teaches Čap’ósgaga the Warpath, A Man's Revenge, How Little Priest went out as a Soldier, Little Priest's Game, Bluehorn's Nephews, The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion, Young Man Gambles Often, Morning Star and His Friend (v. 2), The Dipper, The Four Slumbers Origin Myth, Porcupine and His Brothers, Turtle's Warparty, Ocean Duck, The Markings on the Moon, Wears White Feather on His Head, The Red Man, The Chief of the Heroka, Thunderbird and White Horse, The Man with Two Heads, Brave Man, The Sons of Redhorn Find Their Father, Redhorn's Sons, Fighting Retreat, The Children of the Sun, Heną́ga and Star Girl, Mijistéga’s Powwow Magic and How He Won the Trader's Store, The Were-Grizzly, Winneconnee Origin Myth; a man continues to function without his head: The Man with Two Heads, The Children of the Sun, The Journey to Spiritland (v. 1a), The Red Man, White Fisher, The Chief of the Heroka; animal messengers are sent out to invite spirits to a council: Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, The Messengers of Hare, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth; a swan is sent to the upper world as a messenger: The Messengers of Hare; spirits meet in a council: Black and White Moons, Holy One and His Brother, The Creation Council, The Children of the Sun, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, Traveler and the Thunderbird War (v. 5), The Gift of Shooting, East Shakes the Messenger, The Descent of the Drum, East Enters the Medicine Lodge, South Enters the Medicine Lodge, The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, The Petition to Earthmaker, The Boy who would be Immortal; visiting Earthmaker: The Four Slumbers Origin Myth, The Journey to Spiritland, The Lame Friend, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Lost Blanket, The Twins Get into Hot Water, The Petition to Earthmaker, Trickster Concludes His Mission, Earthmaker Sends Rušewe to the Twins; 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, Turtle and the Giant, Šųgepaga, The Seven Maidens, The Origins of the Milky Way; a woman digs for Indian potatoes: The Lost Child, The Children of the Sun; a cradle for a newborn is thrust through the lodge flap (by the mother's mysterious spirit husband): Waruǧápara, The Shaggy Man; gifts are thrust through the flap of the lodge by someone that is not seen: The Shaggy Man, The Red Feather; multiple births: The Birth of the Twins, The Twin Sisters, The Man with Two Heads, The Children of the Sun, The Two Boys, The Lost Blanket, The Shawnee Prophet — What He Told the Hočągara, The Shawnee Prophet and His Ascension, The Two Brothers; a man goes about the heavens with a severed head in his possession: The Markings on the Moon, The Man with Two Heads, The Children of the Sun; a young man leaves his uncle and mother behind and goes off to visit the father he has never met in the spirit abode where he lives: The Shaggy Man, The Children of the Sun; flames that stand upright and unwaving are propitious: East Shakes the Messenger, South Seizes the Messenger, North Shakes His Gourd, Four Steps of the Cougar, The Descent of the Drum (v. 2); a great spirit changes his form in order to deceive someone: The Skunk Origin Myth (Turtle), The Man with Two Heads, The Children of the Sun, The Baldness of the Buzzard, Trickster's Tail, Trickster Gets Pregnant, The Elks Skull, Trickster Soils the Princess, Old Man and Wears White Feather, The Seven Maidens; someone changes himself into a snake in order to hide from enemies: Worúxega, The Children of the Sun, The Man with Two Heads; two brothers transform themselves to conceal themselves from the view of the enemy from whom they would retrieve their relative's head: The Sons of Redhorn Find Their Father, The Man with Two Heads, The Children of the Sun; a severed head speaks: Little Human Head, The Red Man, The Chief of the Heroka; a being is vulnerable in a highly unusual way: River Child and the Waterspirit of Devil's Lake, Snowshoe Strings, The Green Man, Partridge's Older Brother, The Dipper, Migistéga's Death (v. 2), The Shawnee Prophet and His Ascension; a nephew avenges the quasi-death of his uncle: Waruǧápara, The Man with Two Heads, The Children of the Sun, Bluehorn's Nephews; a spirit turns into an arrow and shoots himself from his own bow: The Race for the Chief's Daughter, Earthmaker Sends Rušewe to the Twins (v. 2); an heroic spirit recaptures a man's head or scalp and restores the victim's unity by throwing it exactly in its correct position on his body: Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp, The Children of the Sun, The Man with Two Heads; a man reunites the still living head and body of his relative: The Red Man, The Man with Two Heads, The Children of the Sun, The Chief of the Heroka; starvation: The Brown Squirrel, White Wolf, The Red Man, The Old Man and His Four Dogs, A Man and His Three Dogs, Sun and the Big Eater, Bird Clan Origin Myth, Kaǧiga and Lone Man, The Shaggy Man, The Bungling Host, Jarrot and His Friends Saved from Starvation; someone strikes a post or pillar with a sharp instrument and a game animal falls out dead: The Bungling Host, Little Children Spirits.