Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp (§13 of the Hare Cycle)
retold by Richard L. Dieterle
"There's a little rabbit, let's get it." Hare tried every means of escape he could think of, but his pursuer always yelled, "There he is!" Finally, Hare ran by a lodge, and a voice came from inside, saying, "Grandson, come in here." Hare went inside where he found an old man sitting there with a bandage over his head. He reached up and plucked a tick from Hare's ear, and told him, "It was this little tick that kept telling me where you were. I had planned that you should come here all along." As the old man began to prepare food for his guest, he said to the kettle, "Fill yourself with water and hang yourself over the fire." The kettle did this automatically. "Now, plate," he said, "go get some corn and bear ribs and put them in the kettle," and the plate did exactly what it was told. When the food was cooked, the old man said, "Plate, fetch some food for us," and the plate put food before Hare and the old man. He said, "Hare, I have brought you here for a reason. I have been scalped — that is why my head is bandaged. I have enlisted many able people to retrieve it for me, but no one has so far succeeded. I think that you may be the one to bring it back for me, that is why I have brought you here. If you can bring it back from beyond the ocean where it is kept, I shall bless you with this power to order inanimate things about and you may bestow it upon your aunts and uncles. Hare agreed to attempt this feat. The old man then told Hare what he must do to cross the ocean.
The next morning Hare set out for the lodge of a family of beavers. He carried an ax and a hoe with him. When he got to the shore of the ocean, the father of the beaver family said, "Hello grandson, come in." Hare entered the beaver lodge, and told them that he needed to cross over the ocean. "I usually ferry people on my back," said the father, but his wife interrupted and said, "If Hare is to get there in a decent amount of time, I had better carry him, since you are far too slow." So it was agreed that Hare would leave the next day on the back of the mother beaver. Hare gave the beaver family a hoe as a present. The beavers asked Hare to sit down and eat and asked him, "Which of our children would you like to eat, Hare?" "I'll have that one, thank you," replied Hare, pointing to one of the little beavers. So they cooked up that child and fed him to Hare with one important admonishment: "Be very careful not to break any of his bones or sinews." Hare, however, was reckless, and chewed off the sinews attached to the front paws. When the bones were collected, they caused the beaver child to come back to life, but when it returned, it was crying. When they inquired, they found out that the little beaver's paws now pointed inward because Hare had not been careful in his eating. Thus are the paws of all beavers even to this day.
So the next morning, Hare got on the female beaver's back and rode her over the ocean. She told him, "It will be very difficult for you, but I will concentrate my mind. On the other side is a village whose chief wears the scalp you want on his own head. If you should have to flee, jump out as far as you can into the ocean, I will be waiting there to pick you up. Meanwhile, I will chew holes in their boats." Hare got off on the far shore and walked towards the village. On the outskirts he encountered a bunch of birds, and as he walked through the area all of them took flight. Then, unexpectedly, from behind some bushes a man said, "Young man, come over here. This is a place where we always hunt birds and you are scaring them off. So Hare got behind the bushes with the man while he shot the birds that returned. Hare asked him who he was, and the man replied, "I am the chief of this village. We shall go back there after I have shot four braces of birds. On the way we will pass some women who stand watch over a field, and I shall give each of them a pair of birds. They always want me to stay, but I never do. Instead I go to the outskirts of the village where an old woman lives. I don't stay there either, but just drop off a brace, then go on to the large lodge at the center of the village. I throw my moccasins on the lodge pole and my arrows against the wall, and the moccasins and arrows all land perfectly even. My mother serves me some food, and I eat only a little and then set the rest aside. On occasions I will tell my father that I have a headache and would like to put on my headdress if the people are willing to join me in the dances. After the criers announce to the village that there will be a dance, I put on my headdress and begin dancing."
Hare now knew everything he needed to know and when the young chief turned his head for a moment, Hare clubbed him to death. After skinning him, Hare put on the chief's skin so that he looked just like him. He took the birds and gave some to the women that the chief always visited, but did not tarry, going straight to the chief's lodge. When he arrived, he threw his arrows at the wall, but the mother remarked, "It is very unlike my son to have one of his arrows just a little higher than the rest." The old chief, her husband, said, "Be quiet old woman, our son can set his arrows down any way he likes." Then Hare successfully tossed his moccasins so that they landed evenly over the lodge pole. Then the mother set food before him, but Hare was so hungry that he forgot himself and gobbled up every bit of the meal. "It is unlike my son to eat so much," said the surprised mother. The old chief scolded her: "Leave our son alone, he has gotten so little lately that he is bound to be famished." Hare advised the old man, "I have a headache, so I'll put on the headdress if the people can make ready for the dance." The preparations having been made, Hare put on a red-haired scalp and began to dance with the crowd, but as he got near the exit, he unexpectedly bolted out the door. People cried out, "Stop him! He's got the scalp," and gave chase. Hare jumped into the ocean and landed squarely on the mother beaver's shoulders, while the people jumped into their boats. They quickly discovered, however, that they had been sabotaged, but they remember two boats that they kept away inland. They got these and soon gave chase, finally pulling up on either side of Hare. Just as they were about to get him, the beaver raised her tail and flapped it so hard on the surface of the water that the waves that she created capsized both boats. Now they were able to return home without any more trouble.
Hare walked back to the grandfather's lodge and when he was near he yelled, "Grandfather, get ready!" When the old man heard this he removed the wrappings from his head and sat in the doorway of the lodge. As Hare came up, he took the scalp and threw it on the old man's head, the scalp not only landed perfectly, but instantly reattached itself to his head. The old man gave Hare many thanks and told him, "Now as I promised you I will give you the power I used when we last ate together. But there are two restrictions on this power: you must not utter the same command more than three times in succession; and you must never lay your hands on the woman who lives behind the partition in my lodge. It is she who controls the power over these things, this and yet another power she has: she can cause any woman that you want to seduce to sleep with you. Now that my mission has been accomplished, there is no point in my staying around any longer on earth. With this he rose into the welkin with a clap of thunder, and was seen no more.
That evening Hare tried his new powers and found that they worked as well for him as they had for the red-haired spirit. Then he said aloud, "I would like to have a beautiful woman to lie by my side," and no sooner had he said this than a strikingly beautiful woman entered his lodge. Hare was not satisfied: "I said a really beautiful woman!" Another woman entered in the former's place, and as beautiful as the first had been, she was ugly when compared to the second. Still Hare was not content. "When I said a beautiful woman," he reiterated, "I meant the genuine article." Then a third woman came into the lodge who surely had no equal on earth, yet Hare considered that he could get better. "I want a truly beautiful woman," Hare insisted. So a fourth woman came in whose beauty was so radiant she looked like one of the great spirits. Hare spent the night having sex with her. In his greed he had forgotten what the old man had said about not commanding anything four times; and in his ignorance he had more than set his hands upon the woman behind the partition, for it was she with whom he was even now having sex. Because of his disobedience he lost for humanity the powers given him by the old man, and that is why people today have to work for everything that they want. The woman got up and went behind the partition. Hare pulled the curtain aside and saw her lying in a bed of white feathers. She was a completely fair woman, the only thing dark on her was her eyes. Then unexpectedly, the lodge began to roar louder and louder until Hare turned and ran for his life. Then suddenly, the noise stopped, and Hare returned only to discover that the lodge and everything in it had vanished utterly.
Hare was grief-stricken over his sin and how he had lost an important power for his uncles and aunts. He told Grandmother what he had done, and she was enraged: "You big-footed, big-eared, big-eyed, split-nosed, burnt tailed varmint! You have lost something for you uncles and aunts that they will miss for all time!" Then she took a wooden poker and whacked Hare repeatedly as he yelled, "Ouch, ouch!" Then Hare said to his grandmother, "You are only jealous because I lay with another woman."1
told by Peter Menaige
"There was a being in the beginning of time styled 'The Rabbit' (Wašjinkéka) who was magical or supernatural in his attributes, and possessed the power of being either man or rabbit, or of assuming any other shape he pleased. His grandmother was the Earth (Mą́na) and he lived with her in a country that was all winter.
One day in the morning, as he was on his customary travels 'from one end of the earth to the other,' he heard a voice hallooing to him, and calling, Wašjinkéka, Wašjinkéka! This alarmed him and he ran in an opposite direction from where the voice appeared to come. This was repeated four times, when, in his surprise, he came to a region where it seemed to be perpetual summer, and he found there a long lodge, pleasantly situated, and he peeped into it and saw a woman sitting, her back towards him and her head covered. She said, "You have come. I was expecting you. Rabbit, feel in your ear!" He did so, and pulled out something that looked like a bug; and the woman, whose name was Wakšexíwįka ('Waterspirit Woman', cf. 1), told him, 'That was the voice which had alarmed you,' and this had guided him on the road to the long lodge. She then commenced providing a meal for him, and did it in a very singular way. She simply commanded everything to be done, and it was straightaway accomplished without labor or further agency on her part. She said, 'Fire burn!' and it immediately blazed. 'Kettle, go get water!' and it went and returned with it. 'Kettle, sit on the fire!' and it sat there. Then she directed food to be put in the kettle and it was filled accordingly. When the food was cooked she issued the commands: 'Wooden dish come forth!' and 'Ladle, fill up the dish!' and 'Dish, place yourself before him!' and it was all done as she directed, and she then said to him, 'Eat!'
While eating she called to him to notice how handy all this was, wherein everything was produced as desired at the word of command; without labor or inconvenience of any kind. Then she told him that she was without her scalp, which the Man-Eaters (the Giants), had taken from her head; that her hair upon it was red; and she "commanded" him to go at once and get her hair and scalp back for her. The Rabbit thereupon went across a lake water to an island, destroyed the Man-Eater and recovered 'The Red-Haired Scalp,' and the woman put it on her head again, and it was as whole as ever. She was very much rejoiced at this, and he saw that the restoration of her scalp and hair made her extremely beautiful. 'Now,' said she, 'I shall leave you in this beautiful Summer Land, and I shall also leave with you my power to obtain or produce of the word of command everything you need or wish — you have only to order it and it will come to you the same as you have seen it given or come to me, provided, you strictly follow my injunctions and do as I bid you.' She then called him to notice that the "Long Lodge" had a partition in it, which separated one end of it from the room in which they then were, and she said: 'Never do you open the door, nor look into that other room, for if you do, it will cause a Curse to fall on you and all the wąkšik (people) who may come after you, and they will often suffer.' She now went away. The Rabbit returned to the Cold Country and brought his Grandmother to the Summer Land, and he lived with her in the 'Long Lodge' with everything at his command, without hunting for it, and without labor or exertion beyond what he chose, enjoying and pleasing himself, having no care or anxiety about his existence in anyway.
One day, however, when his Grandmother was out, he took it into his head to see what was in the other room of the Lodge — his curiosity having been frequently excited before to do so, but without the opportunity of no one but himself being present. He thought that if he did so now it would not be known, and so the Curse, whatever that might be, could not follow from his intrusion upon the forbidden apartment. So he looked into it. He saw there a beautiful naked woman prostrate on the ground. And he could not resist going in unto her. Then speaking to him, she reproached him saying: 'What a fool you are! — your curiosity and your actions have brought a curse and misery on yourself and on all the wąkšik (people) forever.' He scarcely yet understood what this curse was, until he went to his own end of the 'Long Lodge' when beginning to feel cold from the weather seeming to change, he commanded the 'fire to burn!' but discovered that it would not burn as of old at his mere say so; nor were any of his other commands fulfilled. About the time his Grandmother came back, and seeing him so powerless, she knew at once he had disobeyed the direction and warning of the Red-Haired Woman, and that he had gone into the other end of the Lodge and that therefore the Curse of Labor had come upon him and all his forever. She reproached him for this, and said: 'See how it is, and see what you have done. Hereafter, if you want fire or food or things that your life or your comfort require, you will have to procure them by your own exertions: you would do what was forbidden, and now you must work.' Being still cold, and finding there was no other way of it, he went out and got wood and went through with all the labor of building a fire to warm himself. He now thought, that as the mischief was done anyhow, he would pay another visit to the inner apartment. He went in, but alas! the beautiful woman had disappeared."2
Commentary & Comparative Material. This is the Hočąk myth of Original Sin and the Forbidden Fruit. In both the Hebrew and Hočąk versions of this kind of myth, the curse is the result of curiosity and temptation getting the better of a prohibition set down by a spirit. Both are set in a land of summer where there is no labor.
Comparative Material. The Ioway have a story that bears a good resemblance to the Hočąk. One day the youngest of four brothers, who was home alone, observed a great bird, so he went in and took his brother's sacred arrow and shot the bird. He only wounded it, and had to chase it all day long. Finally, at nightfall he came to an old woman's lodge at the outskirts of a village and spent the night there. The next morning the old woman announced that someone had come to court the chief's daughter, and that very day the chief invited him to become a son-in-law. The next day he went chasing after the bird again, and the same thing happened once more, and he became married to yet another princess. Finally, this process repeated itself for four consecutive days so that he ended up with four wives in four different villages. Nevertheless, on the fifth day he renewed his chase. The bird flew into a cave on the bank of a stream, and when the boy entered, there he found an old man inside a great lodge. This man had been scalped. "Grandson, I am he who sent for you. Here is your brother's sacred arrow. The people across the river have scalped me and I have sent for you that you may get it back for me. About this time the chief's son goes out to shoot birds. When he returns he always has a headache, and to soothe him they place my scalp upon his head and play a game of lacrosse." The boy knew immediately what he should do. When he encountered the son of the chief, he slew him and skinned him. He donned the son's skin and went into his village. He complained of a headache, so they put the scalp on his head and allowed him to throw the ball to start the game of lacrosse. He threw it far away, and while the whole village ran after it, he rushed to the water's edge. There he called upon his guardian spirit, the Ičéxi (underworld water panther), to ferry him across the river. He escaped and returned to the old man. There he soaked the scalp until it was pliable again. He threw it upon the head of the old man, and it fell upon him in a perfect fit. So the old man gave him valuable gifts that he could take to his wives.3
The Ioway also have a couple of myths that tell versions of the beaver episode. A young woman on her way home came to a beaver lodge. The mother beaver said to her children, "You grandmother has come back. Who will volunteer to be eaten by her?" One did volunteer and was cooked up. "Be careful," the old beaver warned, "and don't gnaw on any of the bones." However, when the girl ate she was careless and bit one of the bones. They took the bones and threw them into the river, and the young beaver came back to life. However, it complained that one of its little fingers had been broken.4
The Ioway have a close variant to the episode of Hare's meal with the beaver family. Here the role of Hare is played by Ictinike, the Ioway trickster. "In the course of time Ictinike married and dwelt in a lodge of his own. One day he intimated to his wife that it was his intention to visit her grandfather the Beaver. On arriving at the Beaver's lodge he found that his grandfather-in-law and his family had been without food for a long time, and were slowly dying of starvation. Ashamed at having no food to place before their guest, one of the young beavers offered himself up to provide a meal for Ictinike, and was duly cooked and served to the visitor. Before Ictinike partook of the dish, however, he was earnestly requested by the Beaver not to break any of the bones of his son, but unwittingly he split one of the toe bones. Having finished his repast, he lay down to rest, and the Beaver gathered the bones and put them in a skin. This he plunged into the river that flowed beside his lodge, and in a moment the young beaver emerged from the water alive. 'How do you feel, my son?' asked the Beaver. 'Alas! father,' replied the young beaver, 'one of my toes is broken.' From that time every beaver has had one toe—that next to the little one—which looks as if it had been split by biting."5
The Lakota version omits the beaver episode. 337. So he was sitting within the child-beloved tent eating, when from back of the tipi someone came and called out through the tipi walls, "Iron Hawk, will you come outside?" So he went, and there was a man from away, and he stood there so; so, "What is it?" he asked, and the man answered, 338. "Alas, friend, you have just returned, it is said, so I am reluctant to trouble you, yet over here towards the west a grandfather sends for you. 339. "'I pin my hopes only on my grandson, so call him,' he says. A terrible thing has happened to him, and he sits in great misery," he said. 340. "Very well, go and tell the grandfather I will arrive shortly," he said and came back in. So the messenger left for the westland. 341. When he told this, his wife tried to restrain him with her tears; "You shall not go ... no! Only now and with great difficulty have you returned ..." she cried. But their son said, "No, Mother, do not say that, my father must go where men need him," and he returned the magic cap and knife and weapons, so he took them and left. 342. And it was a blackbird who had come for him. 343. So after he had left, Iron Hawk followed him, and at the western edge of the earth there was a tipi pitched towards the east, and inside sat an old man with his blanket over his head in spite of the warm day, he sat. 344. So Iron Hawk went in and said, "Now, Grandfather, you summoned me and now I am here. What is it?" And it was plain on the poor old man's face that his heart was sad. 345. "Alas, Grandson, across the water there is a tribal camp, and some men came from there to war on me, and they scalped me and took my scalp with them, so I suffer horribly. 346. So I sat here thinking, 'Would that I might somehow or other get it back!' and so I sent for you." 347. So saying he opened out the blanket and exposed his scalped head, a red, wet spot that was ugly to see. 348. Iron Hawk gave some bear-cries of anger, and went out. "Just let me get at those wretches! ... wait. Grandfather, I will be back," he said, and he caught such utterances from within as "ha-ye-ha-ye!" breathed out, but he went on (without stopping to acknowledge his thanks.) 349. " He went a while, then he put on his cap with the little claws of the hawk on it, and he suddenly was himself a hawk, so he went flying and circled the tribal camp. 350. They were holding a war dance and dancing gaily, so he flew low and there on the center sacred pole, set upright, was the old man's scalp, tied to the top. 351. So he bided his time, and when they turned to the shinny game, and used the pole for a starting point, and were now running away from it so that all eyes were turned that way, he flew swiftly and wrested the scalp from the pole and started back, so instant confusion reigned and everyone was up in arms, and they started to chase him. 352. And one wise old man said, "You'll never touch him. let him go. That is the one who calls himself Iron Hawk!" 353. So he came on with it and assumed his own form, and came to the home of the old man. He would have fitted the scalp back on, but it was dry by the wind striking against it out there, and it had hardened into a wrinkled knot, so he had to take time out to soak it in water, and when it was again wet and elastic, he glued it back on for the old man and healed him. 354. The old man was very grateful. "Ha-ho, ha-ho, (Thank you!) It was for that I chose you, Grandson, and sent for you! Now, Grandson, I am going to make you a present, for what you have done to win my favor is beyond measure. 355. "Yonder hang ten ropes, coiled. Choose and take one." So he took one that was not the best, hanging at the end. And then the old man said, "Now, Grandson, outside stand ten holy dogs (horses); catch one, and it is yours." So he went out and took a smallish one, buckskin colored, which he selected.6
A Crow tale also belong in this group. Yellow Leggings gets trapped in an eagle hunter's pit when a great stone rolls over it. Then he sees a mouse from whom he asks for help. It leads him into ever widening holes until he is able to walk standing up. He comes outside into a new world, and sees a white lodge where an old man lives who is named "White Owl." He gives the young man a Bellerophonic mission to kill a giant elk, which he does with the help of moles. The old man wanted him to get the head of someone named "Red Hair." Red Hair lived with his mother Red Woman on an island across a lake. A snowbird tells Yellow Leggings to get help from a woman named "Red Ant." Yellow Leggings and Red Ant rubbed their bodies together and exchanged body forms. On Red Ant's advice, he crosses the water on the back of a big eared dog. Red Woman voices her suspicions, but Red Hair tells her to be quiet. In his Red Ant disguise, Yellow Leggings sleeps with Red Hair, then cuts off his head and replaces it with a louse that speaks for him. Every time that Red Woman asks her son if he is alright, the louse answers with, "Be quiet. I'm alright." Yellow Leggings makes a run for it while the louse covers for him, but the louse's voice gets weaker and weaker, and Red Woman discovers what has happened. Yellow Leggings crosses back over the water with Red Woman in pursuit. She knocks against Red Ant's lodge with her arrow-shaped magical weapon, but Red Ant repairs the damage with saliva. They behead Red Woman by slamming the door on her. He brings the heads to White Owl , who gives Yellow Leggings all his powers. White Owl warns him that he will be approached by three treacherous women, then a fourth who will become his wife. He sleeps with three women in succession, but each turns into an animal and flees. Only the fourth is human, and she marries him. The seven brothers of his wife are the seven stars of the Big Dipper.7
The beaver episode finds a good parallel among the Osage. "The Bear and the Wolf once met by a creek. The Wolf said, 'Hello, brother.' 'The Bear said, 'Hello, brother.' 'Where do you live?' said the Wolf. The Bear said, 'Quite a way along the creek.' The Bear said, 'Well, I must go. Come over and see me.' So the Wolf said, 'All right.' Next morning, the Wolf went over to see the Bear. The Bear had some young ones. He killed four of them and cooked them for the Wolf. The Bear said to his wife, 'Brother has come.' So she prepared the meal for him. The Bear said: 'Go ahead and eat your dinner. Swallow no bones, because it would make my young ones crippled.' The Wolf said,'All right,'but he swallowed two [three] bones, one knee, one wrist, and one ankle. When they were through eating they were talking, and the Bear told his wife to call in his young ones. She did so, and everyone was crippled. One was crippled in the rib, another in the wrist, another in the ankle, and another in the knee. The Wolf said, 'Brother, I am going; the young ones must be afraid of me.' He went, but told his brother, the Bear,to come and see him. The Bear said, 'All right.' The next morning the Bear went to see the Wolf. Old she Wolf was with him. When the Bear got there, the Wolf said, 'I have not got much to eat, but I will do the best I can.' So he cooked four of his young ones. When they were done the Bear began to eat, and the Wolf said, 'Brother, do not swallow any bones; it makes my young ones crippled.' The Bear said, 'All right.' He got through eating without swallowing a bone. He handed the dish back, and the Wolf said to his wife, 'Well, go and get the young ones.' So she went after them, but could not get them back. The Bear said, 'Well, brother. I must go; those young ones must be afraid of me'."8
Something of the beaver episode is captured in a Kickapoo tale. Wiza'ka'a went to visit Beaver. After Beaver greeted him, he killed one of his children so that they would have something to eat. After the beaver child was cooked, Wiza'ka'a ate every bit of him except the bones. These were thrown into the river, and no sooner than they hit the water, the young beaver came back to life.9
The Cherokee too believe that there was a time when people could hunt and gather with great ease. The father of the Little Men (corresponding to the Hočąk Twins), used to succeed whenever he went hunting. His two sons followed after him to see how he did it. He lifted up a stone (covering the hole to a cave), and out came a deer, which he shot with ease. Later they removed the stone, but all the animals inside fled. Ever after the animals have been scattered about the world and are harder to find. Their mother used to be able to produce ears of corn by a simple ritual, but her sons thought her to be a witch and killed her. Ever after corn has had to be meticulously planted and cultivated.10
In a Seneca and Cayuga tale, a man loses his powers because he violated the stipulation that he never allow himself to be seduced by any woman he met in the wilderness. A hunter always had good luck and had plenty of furs and meat. One night a woman of the little people appeared before him, and they decided to marry. One day the woman prepared a very small meal, and her husband said, "I don't think that will fill us up," but even though he took nothing but a small bite, it was all he could eat. His hunting was now luckier than ever, but his spirit wife told him that he must never interact with anyone he met in the wilderness. One day he ran across a beautiful woman while he was out hunting. He could not resist her charms, and allowed her to put her arms around him. He fainted away, and when he woke up and returned to his lodge, he found that his wife was gone. Ever after he had no luck in hunting.11
The Maya have a story about little people who had the power to do things by automation. All the stone pyramids and roads that are seen today were built by little people. All they had to do to put a great stone in place was to whistle. By whistling they could cause firewood to float in the air and drop into the fireplace. There was no task they could not do by simply whistling. These little people lived in darkness before the sun was made. Once the sun rose and there was daylight in the world, these people lost their powers.12
For an essay on Mesoamerican and Siouan parallels, see
Paradise Lost ➡
Links: Hare, Earth, Waterspirits, The Sons of Earthmaker, Beavers.
Links within the Hare Cycle: §12. Hare and the Dangerous Frog, §14. Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans.
Stories: featuring Hare as a character: The Hare Cycle, Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Necessity for Death, The Mission of the Five Sons of Earthmaker, Hare Acquires His Arrows, Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans, Hare Kills Wildcat, The Messengers of Hare, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, Hare Kills Flint, Hare Kills Sharp Elbow, Hare Visits His Grandfather Bear, Grandmother Packs the Bear Meat, Hare Visits the Bodiless Heads, Hare Visits the Blind Men, Hare Kills a Man with a Cane, Hare Burns His Buttocks, Hare Gets Swallowed, The Hill that Devoured Men and Animals, Hare Establishes Bear Hunting, Grandmother's Gifts, Hare and the Grasshoppers, The Spirit of Gambling, The Red Man, Maize Origin Myth, Hare Steals the Fish, The Animal who would Eat Men, The Gift of Shooting, Hare and the Dangerous Frog, Thunder Cloud is Blessed, The Coughing Up of the Black Hawks, The Animal Spirit Aids of the Medicine Rite, The Petition to Earthmaker; about scalping: The Woman's Scalp Medicine Bundle, The Scalping Knife of Wakąšučka, The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, Moiety Origin Myth, Turtle's Warparty, White Fisher, The Dog that became a Panther, Wazųka, Great Walker's Warpath, The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion, The Fox-Hočąk War; mentioning beavers: White Wolf, Old Man and Wears White Feather, The Dipper, The Animal Spirit Aids of the Medicine Rite, The Chief of the Heroka, The Arrows of the Medicine Rite Men, Turtle and the Merchant; in which Waterspirits occur as characters: Waterspirit Clan Origin Myth, Traveler and the Thunderbird War, The Green Waterspirit of Wisconsin Dells, The Lost Child, River Child and the Waterspirit of Devil's Lake, A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga, Bluehorn's Nephews, Holy One and His Brother, The Seer, The Nannyberry Picker, The Creation of the World (vv. 1, 4), Šųgepaga, The Sioux Warparty and the Waterspirit of Green Lake, The Waterspirit of Lake Koshkonong, The Waterspirit of Rock River, The Boulders of Devil's Lake, Devil's Lake — How it Got its Name, Old Man and Wears White Feather, The Waterspirit of Sugar Loaf Mounds, Lakes of the Wazija Origin Myth, Waterspirits Keep the Corn Fields Wet, The Waterspirit Guardian of the Intaglio Mound, The Diving Contest, The Lost Blanket, Redhorn's Sons, The Phantom Woman, Įčorúšika and His Brothers, Great Walker's Warpath, White Thunder's Warpath, The Descent of the Drum, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, Snowshoe Strings, The Thunderbird, The Two Children, The Twins Join Redhorn's Warparty, Earthmaker Sends Rušewe to the Twins, Paint Medicine Origin Myth, Waruǧábᵉra, Ocean Duck, The Twin Sisters, Trickster Concludes His Mission, The King Bird, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Great Walker's Medicine (v. 2), Heną́ga and Star Girl, Peace of Mind Regained, The Story of the Medicine Rite, How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Spiritual Descent of John Rave's Grandmother, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds, The Shaggy Man, The Woman who Married a Snake (?), Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, Ghost Dance Origin Myth I, The Sacred Lake, Lost Lake; featuring Grandmother Earth as a character: Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Maize Origin Myth, Grandmother Packs the Bear Meat, Grandmother's Gifts, Owl Goes Hunting, Hare and the Grasshoppers, Hare Acquires His Arrows, The Plant Blessing of Earth, The Stench-Earth Medicine Origin Myth, Hare Visits the Blind Men, Hare Visits His Grandfather Bear, Hare Visits the Bodiless Heads, Hare Burns His Buttocks, Hare Gets Swallowed, Hare Kills Wildcat, Hare and the Dangerous Frog, Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans, The Necessity for Death, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, Hare Steals the Fish, Hare Kills Sharp Elbow, Hare Kills Flint, The Gift of Shooting, The Creation of the World, The Creation of Man (vv 4, 6), Hare Establishes Bear Hunting, Redhorn's Father (?); mentioning the Ocean Sea (Te Ją): Trickster's Adventures in the Ocean, Otter Comes to the Medicine Rite, The Rounded Wood Origin Myth, The Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, Trickster and the Children, The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, 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.
Themes: someone hears a disembodied voice and only later discovers its source: Trickster Eats the Laxative Bulb, The Orphan who was Blessed with a Horse, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts; in order to get him to take refuge in his lodge, a great spirit causes another spirit to think that someone dangerous is pursuing him: Bluehorn's Nephews, Earthmaker Sends Rušewe to the Twins; in human form, Waterspirit women are extraordinarily beautiful: The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, The Phantom Woman, The Nannyberry Picker, Įčorúšika and His Brothers; inanimate things automatically respond to human commands: Spear Shaft and Lacrosse (corn plant), The Old Man and the Giants (boat), Wojijé (metal boat), The Raccoon Coat (metal boat), Big Eagle Cave Mystery (canoe), The Sky Man (knots), cf. How the Thunders Met the Nights (pontoon boat); a being has red hair: Redhorn's Sons, Redhorn's Father, The Hočągara Contest the Giants, Redhorn Contests the Giants, The Sons of Redhorn Find Their Father, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, Heną́ga and Star Girl, A Wife for Knowledge, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle; someone impersonates a man whom he has killed, but the man's mother is suspicious of the impersonator: The Green Man; a hero recaptures a red-haired scalp: The Sons of Redhorn Find Their Father; 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), The Race for the Chief's Daughter (hair), The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy (hair), Redhorn Contests the Giants (hair), Redhorn's Sons (hair), The Woman's Scalp Medicine Bundle (hair), A Wife for Knowledge (hair), Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle (hair), The Hočągara Contest the Giants (hair of Giantess), A Man and His Three Dogs (wolf hair), The Red Feather (plumage), The Man who was Blessed by the Sun (body of Sun), The Man Whose Wife was Captured (v. 2) (body of the Warrior Clan Chief), Red Bear, Eagle Clan Origin Myth (eagle), The Shell Anklets Origin Myth (Waterspirit armpits), The Twins Join Redhorn's Warparty (Waterspirits), The Roaster (body paint), The Man who Defied Disease Giver (red spot on forehead), The Wild Rose (rose), The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth (warclub), Įčorúšika and His Brothers (ax & packing strap), Hare Kills Flint (flint), The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head (edges of flint knives), The Nannyberry Picker (leggings), The Seduction of Redhorn's Son (cloth), Yųgiwi (blanket); animals volunteer to be eaten: River Child and the Waterspirit of Devil's Lake (a sturgeon), Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans, Hare Establishes Bear Hunting (bears); future offspring of the same species can be generated from a small piece of a devoured animal: The Animal Spirit Aids of the Medicine Rite; crossing a body of water on the back of an animal: Ocean Duck (Waterspirit), Hare Visits the Bodiless Heads (crabs), The Seduction of Redhorn's Sons (leeches), The Hočąk Migration Myth (turtle), Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts (horse), cf. The Shaggy Man; after wheedling out how a man is going to proceed, a spirit kills him, puts on his skin, and thus attired goes on to impersonate his victim: Holy One and His Brother; 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: The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, The Children of the Sun, The Man with Two Heads; a person (or spirit) aids someone in a task by concentrating his mind upon it: Hare Establishes Bear Hunting, Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, The Petition to Earthmaker, Ghost Dance Origin Myth II, The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter; ascending to heaven with a clap of thunder: Fourth Universe, The Man Who Fell from the Sky, cf. The Glory of the Morning; violating the terms of a blessing does harm: The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Necessity for Death, White Wolf, The Dog that became a Panther, The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion, Disease Giver Blesses Jobenągiwįxka, The Greedy Woman, Trickster, the Wolf, the Turtle, and the Meadow Lark (meadow lark), Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle; greed spoils the blessing given by a spirit: The Greedy Woman, The Foolish Hunter.
1 Paul Radin, Winnebago Hero Cycles: A Study in Aboriginal Literature (Baltimore: Waverly Press, 1948) 107-111. Paul Radin, The Trickster: A Study in American Indian Mythology (New York: Schocken Books, 1956) §§18-21, pp. 81-87. The original Hočąk text is missing, but the English translation of Oliver LaMère is preserved in Paul Radin, "The Hare Cycle," Winnebago Notebooks, Freeman #3851 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, n.d.) Winnebago IV, #1: 96-134.
2 Thomas Foster, Foster's Indian Record and Historical Data (Washington, D. C.: 1876-1877) vol. 1, #3: p. 2 col. 4 - p. 3 col. 1. Told by Peter Menaige, interpreter at the old Minnesota Winnebago Reservation.
3 "12. The Scalped Man," in Alanson Skinner, "Traditions of the Iowa Indians," The Journal of American Folklore, 38, #150 (October-December, 1925): 427-506 [475-476].
4 "11. The Janus-Faced Man," in Skinner, "Traditions of the Iowa Indians," 427-506 .
5 Lewis Spence, Myths of the North American Indians (London: George G. Harrap & Company, 1916) 269.
6 Ella Cara Deloria, Dakota Texts (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2006 ) ss. 337-355. This version is paralleled quite closely by Martha Warren Beckwith, "Mythology of the Oglala Dakota," The Journal of American Folklore, 43, #170 (October-December, 1930): 339-442 .
7 Timothy P. McCleary, The Stars We Know: Crow Indian Astronomy and Lifeways (Prospect Hills,
8 "8. The Bear and the Wolf," in George A. Dorsey, "Traditions of the Osage," Field Columbian Musem, Anthropological Series, 7, #1 (Feb., 1904): 13.
9 Kickapoo Tales, collected by William Jones, trs. by Truman Michelson. Publications of the American Ethnological Society (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1915) IX:7.
10 "Kanáti and Selu: The Origin of Game and Corn," in James Mooney, History, Myths, and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees (Asheville, North Carolina: Bright Mountain Books, 1992 [1891/1900]) Story 3: 242-246, 248-249.
11 John Bierhorst, The Deetkatoo: Native American Stories about Little People (New York: HarperCollins, 1998) 93-99.
12 Bierhorst, The Deetkatoo, 55-57. Robert Redfield and Alfonso Villa Rojas, Chan Kom: A Maya Village (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1934) 330-331; Alfred M. Tozzer, A Comparative Study of the Mayas and Lacandones (New York: Macmillan, 1907) 153.