Worúxega

narrated by R. W.

translated from the partial interlinear text of Paul Radin


Hočąk-English Interlinear Text


(1) And there was a Hočąk village. There was a man there amongst the villagers who was not particularly notable. Once he saw his wife courting another man. He strictly forbade her to do this. Again a second time she did it. Very strongly he forbade her. A third time, then, he went away, so when he returned, these men were in his lodge. He said to her there, (2) "I forbade you in a nice way, but you did not listen to me. Therefore, the next time if thus you do it, then what you are looking for is the kind that you'll be. I will kill you," he said to her. Thus he did and the next morning he went hunting. There at a spot where he could see his lodge, he stood and watched his wife. The man came there. He came towards home. When he returned, his wife was laying with a man. He said to her, "I've told you what I would do to you the next time you did such a thing," he said. That (other) man went out and ran away. There he killed his wife. Thus he did and that man went off to his parents. When he got there he said, "My dear parents, I have done wrong." He fled from his deed. He told them that he had killed his wife. "I don't want them to kill me within this village. Somewhere in the wilderness I will go to die," he said.

(3) Then that man thus he went. The only thing that he took along with him was a warclub that belonged to him as he went into the wilderness. He went along until finally he became tired. He had gone very far and now finally he could not move any farther. Now the time was near for his death. He had never eaten anything and was almost dead. There he collapsed. There, right in the direction that he was looking, lay a little hill. It was very scenic. There he went to die. He crawled, moving feebly. He stayed there. It turned out that there was a road there with tracks on it. He got to it. He looked around carefully. They had been through only recently. Men had made the tracks. "My father told me that it was good to die in war. If I had seen them and they had then again killed me, it would have been a good thing," he thought. (4) He took after them to the other end of the road in the direction they had gone. The man had been almost dead, but this made him strong. As he went along, there they were. He came up to them. "Ho, someone has caught up to us," they said. And so he went into their midst. They fed him. There they ate. It made him grow stronger.

In the morning when they started, he went with them. They used to tell him they were going on the warpath. They called him "Ghost" (Wanaǧi). A large warrior among them used to tell them not to say that. He did not say it to him. "You don't know what kind of a man he is," he used to tell them. That warrior always stood up for him. "Koté, what are you always fussing about that one for? You think too much of this ghost," they said to him. "For as long as there is, he has not eaten. He is in a bad way." They were calling him, "Ghost," they were calling him. Eventually, they named the scouts. (5) The warleader said that the very foremost warrior who was among them, they would call on him to be the first scout. And then the second time they called out "Ghost," selecting him. Those two he selected as scouts. They took off. The warrior was swift. The one they called "Ghost" was not that fast, but whatever warriors he went scouting with, he always left behind. He tried to do this again, but he could not leave him behind as he usually did. Finally, they turned around there, "You, young man, let's make some sign, then we'll go back. To here we came. They will know that we came very far. Not one of those men could do that," he said. And when they returned, they told how they had made a mark on the ground there, and "There we turned back," they said. "If that's so I say this, 'Don't make fun of that man,' I had said. (6) My entire life I have known the way I came back with him. He was fast and did not know what it was to get tired," he told them. From then on they quit calling him that. "Ghost" they called him and then when they told them, they reached it. Where they turned back, they had made the sign, and in two nights distance they had reached it. They thought they were holy. They had gone very far.

And so another time they went out, and so they knew the scouts. The large warrior was the very first one that they called, and then Worúxega they selected. They arrived. They hadn't gone very far. The great warrior said, "You boy, when I scouted, I did not travel on the ground," he said. "Boy, do it the way you used to, and ift you happen to leave me, I'll give up and return," he said to him. "Ho!," he said. That warrior did it. (7) There he poured tobacco. A wolf ran (for the human). He was near Worúxega. Thus he poured tobacco, and thus he did. Then a very white wolf (who was Worúxega) started to run. The warrior had turned himself into a wolf and there he was running in that direction, and to that direction he too went and passed him. "Boy, it is good," he said. The warrior there became human again, and he laughed, "Boy it is good," he said. "For as long as I have lived, never have I known a man of that kind. Only I could do that, I used to think," he said. "Boy, when I scouted, I never used to travel alone. Traveling, I do not usually stay in place for a time," he said. "Boy, what have you been doing?" he said to him. Worúxega said, "Now I am going to do whatever," he said to him. (8) That warrior did it. "Boy, it is good," he said. "These things I used to do when I went scouting," he said. He offerred tobacco and when he was done, he flew as a bird. Up above he circled around. Worúxega did this. Thus he did. He flew as a very white eagle, flying by the side of that warrior. Since then they fly straight ahead, fast. There, at the place they were going for, they arrived. That village above, over there, they were. Everyone definitely saw them, and then they came back. And they said, "Boy, what are we going to do?" they said. "We each go home without the other," he said. The great warrior said, "Whatever it is, I'm going to do it," he said to him. Worúxega said, "And so we'll take home one apiece," he said. Then they landed on the ground and sat there. (9) They watched a big trail that lay at the edge of the village. Finally, two men came. They killed each one and broke off (wámąšižiránąga) their heads and went home. They saw them clearly. Then they took after them. "Boy, we must hide one here," that warrior said. He said, "All right." He said to him, "In whatever way you are going to conceal yourself, I will also do it," he said, Worúxega said. Then that warrior did it. He turned himself into a garden snake to hide there. Also Worúxega did the same. He turned himself into a small, gray snake and there he hid. When the men chasing came, they hunted around there. They stood around. They went by running a great deal. Then they did it. They got up and the they turned themselves into birds there and traveled up above and went back. They got home.

That warrior said, (10) "For this reason I cautioned you about the one you used to call "Ghost" — even I myself am not his equal. I am not up to him. He did every bit of whatever was undertaken, and I wasn't even close to him. Then, "I am going to make a friend," that warrior said. He said, "I'm going to make friends with him at the lodge when we get back," he said. Worúxega liked it. When they had gotten to that village where they had fought, Worúxega alone was the best. That big warrior also did very much, but Worúxega did not like being his equal. And thus it was, and they went home after the fight. They got back. Once they had gotten back there, the great warrior went to his lodge there. And there a friend he made. All the horses that that great warrior had, he told them to go after them. They came back driving them. The drove back a very large herd. (11) He gave him half of the herd. And so that great warrior's wife had a sister, who was a good woman. That very great maiden he gave to him in addition. He lived with his friend. Whenever they went to war there, they always did more as they went along. The braves went forth. They would always say, "I ought not to make myself equal to the others."

There in the course of time Worúxega became a parent to a baby, and in time his wife's parents said to her, "It must be time for the son-in-law to return. His relatives must be lonesome perhaps. It's time that you two should go there," he said. Then he said, "Worúxega told his story here. What he had done when he intended to die. Then his coming to the wilderness to live on his way there. He was only one of limited gifts, but he tried to die in the wilderness. (12) There on the way he accomplished for himself his holiness. How he hid that way, and at first how he used a little gray snake. The was all he ever dreamt of. When he was trying to die, it was then that he became holy (wakąčąk). He told of just this thing." And he said to him, "Friend, let us go." That great warrior said, "Warok'óno, I don't think they'll kill you. Very many men have tried to kill you, but they haven't done it," he said to him. That's why they came.

They had their wives with them and they came there to the village in which he had committed murder. At night he knew where his parents lived. At night they came there. They came in because that's when men sleep. They sat directly opposite the door. The old man got up and looked about. "You young men have come visiting. It is good," he said. "Old woman, bet up and warm up something for them," he said to her. (13) "Young man, you have come as two to visit us." She got up and boiled something. And he told them, "You young men, take a smoke. Tobacco mixed with something else (kinnikinnick) he placed there before them. After they smoked, they quit and the old man said, "It's been a long time since my son disappeared. I have never forgotten him," he said. Then that great warrior said, "Friend, this is he, this is your son," he said to him. That old man was surprised. He had thought that his son was likely killed a very long time ago. Seeing his son again he like very much. His mother liked it very much too. "You will see your sisters," he said to him. They went to call on them at night. Worúxega gathered together with everyone of his sisters at night. (14) They came to see Worúxega. They liked it. They told him, "Your older brothers-in-law don't think anything of it. You had reasons for what you did, they said, but your youngest brother-in-law still will kill you at anytime you return, he has said," they said. Then that great warrior said, "My friend is invulnerable. He is something great as no man alone can kill him. He is my friend," he said. "And so wherever you get along well, you ought to stay there," they said to him. "Now where I stayed left my heart without worry," he said. His older brothers-in-law came by. They were thankful. They thought that this living one might have been killed. He was alive. Then he liked it. "Brother-in-law, I myself did not care anything about it. Seeing you, we liked it; (15) but our younger brother will still try to kill you whenever he sees you, he was saying. Maybe he might come now," he said. "So here he is coming," they said, "a gun with him and here he is coming. To kill Worúxega is why he is coming." When he came there, Worúxega got up and, "Brother-in-law, take good aim when you shoot me," he said. He raised his arm and showed him his chest. He fired. But the cap did not go off. When he shot again, the cap did not go off. When he fired a third time, the cap did not go off. The fourth time he shot but again the cap did not fire. Then he meant to send the bullet away. When he pointed it up to pull the trigger, it went off perfectly. He threw the bullet towards him. And that warrior said, "My friend is someone who can't be killed. There you did something. You could not kill him even though you did something," he said to him. And he told them to go after his brothers-in-law's horses for themselves. (16) They went after the horses. They liked it. Since that time, both sides visit each other. Once in awhile some of the tribe would be here after awhile, so they always came back to the Hočągara.1


Commentary. "They used to call him "Ghost" (Wanaǧi)" — his actual name is Worúxega. We find prefixes wo-ru- in woruxáb, "that which is hung up, the warbundle." So woru- (commonly waru-) means "that which is ..." The word xe means, "to bury," so worúxe would seem to mean, "that which is buried." This might apply to a dead body most particularly. One of the Twins, otherwise known as "Stump," is also known as "Ghost." His twin brother is called "Flesh." The names Wanaǧi and Woruxe suggest this same duality. Wolves have some connection to ghosts, and Worúxega changes himself into this kind of animal. The Wolf Clan has the name Warúxewįga, "She who Chases Them Off" — the masculine version being Warúxega — which may reflect another symbolic dimension to the name. It may well be the case, given the alternance between waru- and woru-, that Worúxega is just a variant of the name Warúxega.

"'You think too much of this ghost (wanañǧinañgre),' they said to him" — This sentence could also read, "'You think too much of him,' the ghosts said to him." Radin has at the top of MS page 4, "wanañǧi-nañgre = the ghosts, wanañǧinañgre = this ghost." However, it should be clear that the warparty elsewhere refers to Worúxega as "Ghost," and that this is viewed as a form of disapprobrium. They themselves, under these circumstances, could hardly be ghosts. They may have called him "Ghost" because he looked dead, although this does not by any means preclude an esoteric interpretation of its use in this context.

[parallels with the Moiety Myth]


Links: Ghosts, Wolf & Dog Spirits, Bird Spirits.


Stories: mentioning ghosts: The Journey to Spiritland, The Four Slumbers Origin Myth, The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter, Holy One and His Brother, Little Human Head, Little Fox and the Ghost, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, The Lame Friend, Ghost Dance Origin Myth I, Ghost Dance Origin Myth II, Hare Steals the Fish, The Difficult Blessing, A Man's Revenge, Thunder Cloud is Blessed, Two Roads to Spiritland; about two male friends: Wazųka, The Four Slumbers Origin Myth, The Lame Friend, Brass and Red Bear Boy, Morning Star and His Friend, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, The Fleetfooted Man, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds, Lake Wąkšikhomįgra (Mendota): the Origin of Its Name, The Spirit of Maple Bluff, Hare Kills Sharp Elbow, Tobacco Man and Married Man; about Bird Spirits: Crane and His Brothers, The King Bird, Bird Origin Myth, Bird Clan Origin Myth, Wears White Feather on His Head, Old Man and Wears White Feather, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds, The Thunderbird, Owl Goes Hunting, The Boy Who Became a Robin, Partridge's Older Brother, The Woman who Loved Her Half-Brother, The Foolish Hunter, Ocean Duck, Earthmaker Sends Rušewe to the Twins, The Quail Hunter, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Hočąk Arrival Myth, Trickster Gets Pregnant, Trickster and the Geese, Holy One and His Brother (kaǧi, woodpeckers, hawks), Porcupine and His Brothers (Ocean Sucker), Turtle's Warparty (Thunderbirds, eagles, kaǧi, pelicans, sparrows), Kaǧiga and Lone Man (kaǧi), The Old Man and the Giants (kaǧi, bluebirds), The Bungling Host (snipe, woodpecker), The Red Feather, Trickster, the Wolf, the Turtle, and the Meadow Lark, Waruǧápara, The Race for the Chief's Daughter, Black and White Moons, The Markings on the Moon, The Creation Council, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, Earthmaker Blesses Wagíšega (Wešgíšega), The Man Who Would Dream of Mą’ųna (chicken hawk), Hare Acquires His Arrows, Keramaniš’aka's Blessing (black hawk, owl), The Arrows of the Medicine Rite Men (eagle), The Gift of Shooting (eagle), Hočąk Clans Origin Myth, Hawk Clan Origin Myth, The Hočąk Migration Myth, Blue Jay, The Baldness of the Buzzard, The Abduction and Rescue of Trickster (buzzards), The Shaggy Man (kaǧi), The Healing Blessing (kaǧi), The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth (kaǧi), Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, Įčorúšika and His Brothers (Loon), Great Walker's Medicine (loon), Roaster (woodsplitter), The Spirit of Gambling, The Big Stone (a partridge), Trickster's Anus Guards the Ducks, The Fleetfooted Man, The Journey to Spiritland (v. 4) — see also Thunderbirds; relating to dogs or wolves: The Gray Wolf Origin Myth, A Man and His Three Dogs, White Wolf, Wolves and Humans, The Wolf Clan Origin Myth, The Old Man and His Four Dogs, The Dogs of the Chief's Son, The Dog that became a Panther, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Wild Rose, The Man Whose Wife was Captured, The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter, The Canine Warrior, The Dog Who Saved His Master, The Raccoon Coat, Wojijé, The Big Eater, Why Dogs Sniff One Another, The Healing Blessing, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Trickster Loses His Meal, Sun and the Big Eater, Redhorn's Sons, Trickster, the Wolf, the Turtle, and the Meadow Lark, Hog's Adventures, Holy One and His Brother, The Messengers of Hare, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, Grandmother's Gifts, The Hočąk Migration Myth, Bladder and His Brothers, The Old Man and the Giants, Rich Man, Boy, and Horse, Kunu's Warpath, Morning Star and His Friend, Peace of Mind Regained (?); mentioning white wolves or dogs: White Wolf, The Gray Wolf Origin Myth, The Old Man and His Four Dogs, The Man Whose Wife was Captured, The Messengers of Hare, Wolf Clan Origin Myth (vv. 1, 2), Wolves and Humans, A Man and His Three Dogs, Grandmother's Gifts, Peace of Mind Regained (?); mentioning kinnikinnick: The Lost Blanket, The Old Man and the Giants, Peace of Mind Regained, Redhorn's Father, Grandmother's Gifts.


Themes: adultery: The Red Man; a woman violates her husband's prohibitions: The Red Man; someone kills his own kinsman: The Chief of the Heroka (wife), The Red Man (wife), The Man Whose Wife was Captured (v. 2) (wife), Bluehorn's Nephews (mother), The Green Man (mother), Waruǧápara (mother), Partridge's Older Brother (sister), The Woman who Loved Her Half-Brother (sister), The Were-Grizzly (sister), Crane and His Brothers (brothers), White Wolf (brother), The Diving Contest (brother), The Twins Get into Hot Water (grandfather), The Chief Who Shot His Own Daughter (daughter), The Birth of the Twins (daughter-in-law), The Woman's Scalp Medicine Bundle (daughter-in-law), Snowshoe Strings (father-in-law); a human turns into a (spirit) animal: How the Thunders Met the Nights (Thunderbird), Waruǧápara (Thunderbird), The Dipper (hummingbird), Keramaniš’aka's Blessing (blackhawk, owl), Elk Clan Origin Myth (elk), Young Man Gambles Often (elk), Sun and the Big Eater (horse), The Reincarnated Grizzly Bear, The Were-Grizzly, Partridge's Older Brother (bear), The Woman who Loved her Half-Brother (bear), Porcupine and His Brothers (bear), The Shaggy Man (bear), The Roaster (bear), Wazųka (bear), The Spotted Grizzly Man (bear), Brass and Red Bear Boy (bear, buffalo), White Wolf (dog, wolf), Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle (buffalo), The Brown Squirrel (squirrel), The Skunk Origin Myth (skunk), The Fleetfooted Man (otter, bird), A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga (otter), The Diving Contest (Waterspirit), The Woman who Married a Snake (snake, Waterspirit), The Omahas who turned into Snakes (four-legged snakes), The Twins Get into Hot Water (v. 3) (alligators), Snowshoe Strings (a frog), How the Hills and Valleys were Formed (v. 3) (earthworms), The Woman Who Became an Ant, Hare Kills a Man with a Cane (ant); something is of a (symbolic) pure white color: White Bear, Deer Spirits, The Journey to Spiritland (v. 4), White Flower, Big Eagle Cave Mystery, The Fleetfooted Man, Thunderbird and White Horse, The Orphan who was Blessed with a Horse, The Two Boys, The Lost Blanket (white spirits), Skunk Origin Myth, He Who Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, White Wolf, A Man and His Three Dogs, The Messengers of Hare, The Brown Squirrel, The Man Who Fell from the Sky, Bladder and His Brothers, White Thunder's Warpath, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth, The Dipper, Great Walker's Medicine (v. 2), Creation of the World (v. 12), Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, The Descent of the Drum, Tobacco Origin Myth (v. 5), The Diving Contest, Otter Comes to the Medicine Rite, The Arrows of the Medicine Rite Men, The Animal Spirit Aids of the Medicine Rite, Grandmother's Gifts, Four Steps of the Cougar, The Completion Song Origin, North Shakes His Gourd, Lifting Up the Bear Heads, Thunder Cloud is Blessed, Peace of Mind Regained; people turn into birds: Waruǧápara (owl, Thunderbird), The Thunderbird (black hawk, hummingbird), The Dipper (black hawk, hummingbird), Keramaniš’aka's Blessing (black hawk, owl), The Hočąk Arrival Myth (ravens), The Annihilation of the Hočągara I (turkey), The Quail Hunter (partridge), The Markings on the Moon (auk, curlew), The Fox-Hočąk War (goose), The Fleetfooted Man (water fowl?), The Boy Who Became a Robin (robin); scouts spy on the enemy (from a hill) without being seen: The Twins Join Redhorn's Warparty, Moiety Origin Myth, How Little Priest went out as a Soldier, White Thunder's Warpath, The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion; someone changes himself into a snake in order to hide from enemies: The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, The Children of the Sun, The Man with Two Heads; a being is invulnerable: Tecumseh's Bulletproof Skin, The Canine Warrior, The Blessing of a Bear Clansman, The Man who was a Reincarnated Thunderbird, Battle of the Night Blessed Men and the Medicine Rite Men.


Notes

1 R. W., "Worúxega," in Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, ca. 1911) Notebook 72: 1-16. The text and partial interlinear translation are by Paul Radin. The "R. W." I take to be the initials of the informant.