The Twins Visit Their Father's Village

(§5 of Sam Blowsnake's Twins Cycle)

Version 1

based on the translation of Oliver LaMère

Sam Blowsnake   Oliver LaMère, Translator

Hocąk Syllabic Text with an Interlinear English Translation

(200) There they went to another place. (201) Then they said, "Koté, about now let's go to father. About now they must be lonely for us," they said. "Thus it will be," they said, so they went. (202) Finally, they reached him. Unexpectedly, the old man thought, "Jacą́žé!". He liked it very much. While he was there, he had been very lonely for them. And when they knew that they were his sons, they loved them very much. (203) And again they knew what they were. Those men who were in-laws told everyone what they were to have done. That is how they knew of them.

(204) Then, "Father, when you are a son-in-law, you go hunting, but for no reason for some time you have not hunted; also all the time you used to invite those who visited. (205) Well, of the animals nearby, none of them roams around here. I think that they have all been driven far away. They are hunting here all the time. They are hunting here all the time. (206) Father, we will go out in the morning."

In the morning he went with them and they told him, "Father, wait for us here a short distance out. We will go after some buffalo. (207) And when we bring them back, And when we bring them back, we will kill them," they said to him. So there he waited for them. Before long, he came back driving a four cornered herd of buffalo. (208) There they came, and killed all of them. And they took out all the tongues of the buffalo, and they returned packing them alone. Each of the three of them had a large pack. (209) They arrived home. "The sons of the husband of the princess they brought back with them from their hunting large packs," they were saying. When they got back, they set them outside. (210) They tried to set them in the lodge, but they were too heavy. When they packed them, they had thought them small, but they (the people) could not pack them. (211) When they opened them up, unexpectedly, there were only buffalo tongues. They were overjoyed. Then they reported it, telling the crier that there they had killed buffalo. (212) He went forth crying it as he went up and down the village. "Hąhó, all who are able to pack, and all who are able to dress animals, get ready. (213) The husband of the princess with his sons has killed a four cornered herd of buffalo at the outer edge of where they pack wood. (214) They are saying that we can do it for ourselves, if we all take on the job," he said. Even my wife and myself are already on the way as I speak," he said. "All right," and much was said.

(215) Then they did a great deal of work on the buffalo. And some boiled buffalo, then again others broiled it, and (216) some of it they jerked, and they also dried it. Again, some also made themselves racks, and they did much in stacking the buffalo on top. Again, some also cut the buffalo in strips. (217) Also the old women attended to the buffalo entrails. They also emptied the buffalo paunch and then they stripped the fur off them. And again they filled the buffalo intestines. (218) And again they also unravelled the buffalo intestines and fixed them. And from the buffalo hide, some of them also made robes, and again some of them removed the buffalo fur. (219) Then after they had done this, they offered the buffalo tobacco. Then they performed a ceremony. They also prepared red feathers, red buffalo hide robes, tobacco, (220) and deer tail headdresses; and they prepared eagle feathers and all the dressing materials. And thus it was.

The whole village had acquired great wealth. (221) Now the Twins were even more. So they wanted to make them into chiefs, but they would not accept. "We have come here only for a short time. We are visiting around the earth, (222) as indeed it is this way," they said to them. "Now we are going away. Already we have stayed here a long time," they said. (223) The old man dreaded it, but what could he do? They came away anyway.1

The Twins Visit Their Father's Village

(§5 of Jasper Blowsnake's Twins Cycle)

Version 2

by Jasper Blowsnake

Jasper Blowsnake

Hocąk-English Interlinear Text

(35) They began to go over absolutely all of the world as much as there is. They went to their father. At the place where there father had become a son-in-law, (36) they went outside and stood. When they saw them, "Niží, two very small boys are standing outside," they said. "Tell them to come in. They are my sons." And so they asked them to come in. They entered. Very early the next morning, they ran off somewhere and they placed their father there and then they drove a four-cornered herd of buffalo back there and they killed all of them at the edge of the village. The next morning that village attended to absolutely all the animals, doing very much. Thus they did. They started home. At another time, again they went there. There killed for him a four-cornered herd of elk there. Again in time, sometime again, they killed very many deer for him. In time, sometime long after, they killed a great many bear for him. Hąhą́ father, we will not come here a fourth time. (37) From now on we will not even live at our lodge. We are going to roam over the earth." They went back home. They began to go about over the face of the earth, as far as it is.2

The Twins Visit Their Father's Village

(§6 of Susman's Twins Cycle)

Version 3

collected by Sam Blowsnake

translated by John Baptiste

Hocąk-English Interlinear Text

(42) "Hąhą́ Flesh, after this much time we should go and see our father." (43) And they arrived there where their father was. Then when they got to the edge of the village, they asked of their father. One of them said, "I think he probably means the chief." One of them ran over there. Not long afterwards, someone came. They went with them. (44) They were taken to the center of the village to a longhouse there. Their father was there. So the boys were the chief's sons. (45) They got together and had a big feast. The whole village ate together with them, but they were not there very long. They told their father, "We're going out someplace. (46) We thought we would see you again sometime." Then they got back to the waters and they went back downstream to where the waters fork, where a big hill sits. (47) There they arrived. That's the end.

Postscript. True story — painting visible, but said that whites painted in it. Indians scraped paint off as far as they could reach for love, wars, and magic.3

Commentary. "a four cornered herd of buffalo" — the four cornered herd of buffalo recall the fact that the earth is a buffalo with four corners, the cardinal corner at which the four Island Weights situate themselves in order to keep the earth stable.

"stripped" — the word wi roAo roAo, which is written out in Latin script as wisóso, is untranslated. It is probably wa-hi-so-so, where wa- is a prefix indicating an unspecified object, hi means "fur, hair," and so, which is reduplicated, means "strip."

"where the waters fork" — this may be at the confluence of the Mississippi and the Wisconsin Rivers which is a short distance from McGregor, Iowa. (See next entry.)

painting visible — this is the painting otherwise referred to in Earthmaker Sends Rušewe to the Twins. It is said to be of the battle between the Twins and a Waterspirit. It was painted on a cliff near McGregor, Iowa.

Links: The Twins.

Links within Sam Blowsnake's Twins Cycle: §4. The Twins Get into Hot Water (v. 1); §6. The Twins Join Redhorn's Warparty.

Links within Jasper Blowsnake's Twins Cycle: §4. The Father of the Twins Attempts to Flee (v. 2); §6. The Lost Blanket (v. 2).

Links within Amelia Susman's Twins Cycle: §5. The Twins Kill a Waterspirit.

Stories: mentioning the Twins: The Twins Cycle, The Man with Two Heads, The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, The Children of the Sun, Bluehorn's Nephews, The Two Boys, The Two Brothers, The Lost Blanket; mentioning red feathers (as an offering to the spirits): The Red Feather, Bear Clan Origin Myth (v. 4), Big Thunder Teaches Cap’ósgaga the Warpath, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, The Elk's Skull, The Girl who Refused a Blessing from the Wood Spirits, The Nightspirits Bless Jobenągiwįxka, Great Walker's Medicine, The Reincarnated Grizzly Bear, A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga, The Waterspirit of Rock River, The Were-fish (v. 1), Disease Giver, The Stench-Earth Medicine Origin Myth.

Versions of this story are found embedded in The Two Boys, and The Two Brothers.

Themes: large quantities of game are killed where women pack wood: The Nannyberry Picker; hunters kill so much game that they can only pack the tongues: Redhorn's Father, The Roaster, The Nannyberry Picker, Grandfather's Two Families; hunters kill an entire four cornered herd of buffalo: The Nannyberry Picker, The Roaster; hunters kill an entire herd of animals: Redhorn's Father, The Roaster, Old Man and Wears White Feather, The Nannyberry Picker, Snowshoe Strings, Morning Star and His Friend, The Two Boys; a small item set on or driven into the ground by a great man cannot be lifted by anyone else: The Shawnee Prophet and His Ascension (warclub), The Shawnee Prophet — What He Told the Hocągara (a warclub), Wojijé (a dog), The Raccoon Coat (a dog), The Roaster (a pack).


1 Sam Blowsnake, "Warecáwera," in Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks, Freeman #3897 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, ca. 1912) Winnebago V, #11: 200-223. The published English translation is found in Paul Radin, The Evolution of an American Indian Prose Epic. A Study in Comparative Literature, Part I (Basil: Ethnographical Museum, Basil Switzerland, 1954) 94-95. Informant: Sam Blowsnake of the Thunderbird Clan, ca. 1912.

2 Jasper Blowsnake, "Waretcawera," in Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks, Freeman Numbers 3850, 3896, 3897 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, n.d.) Notebook 67: 1-40 [35-37].

3 Amelia Susman, Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, Aug. 30 - Oct. 10, 1938) Book 3.44-47.