Shakes the Earth (Manáksųcnįka)

by James StCyr

as told to him by a Frenchman

Hocąk-English Interlinear Text

(1) There was a village. They had two chiefs. One chief had a son and the other chief had a son. Princesses married the chiefs' children. Every fall the father (of the princesses) used to give a feast. The village lay by a lake and on the other side lay a big river. They used to go boating in this river.

The newlyweds went hunting. (2) They went about four days journey riding in a boat. There they landed and made camp. At night that man lay near the waters. He was going to watch for deer. About this time deer came and drank water. Thus he laid there. They came, and as they came, he watched. He would shoot at them. This one was lying there near the waters. (3) About the middle of the night a Giant was sitting. He saw him. He was looking at the camp. Therefore, he crawled back. The man went back to his wife. When he got there, he told his wife about it. Therefore, they crawled, crawling towards their canoe. When they got there they very quietly got into their boat. They pushed it out. When it got to the middle of the stream, the Giant jumped over their little camp. They weren't there. (4) Then he twisted up some dry hay. He lit up all he had. The little people were going to the edge of the waters. When he saw them he started into the water, walking into the river after them. When he went after them, up to his waist, that far he went out into the river. When he was very near, the man did it. When he pointed his gun at the Giant, he laughed. He came forward just a little ways. When he got there he shot him under the arm with his gun. The impact killed him. (5)

And so having killed him, right away he went back with his wife and told them. When they got home, they told the story. Having killed a Giant, therefore, he went back again with about forty men able to fight. Then they got this one. There Man Eater lay dead. Therefore, they gathered wood all day long. Man Eater got burned up. After they burned this one, his bones became very white. So the man who killed the Giant took his knee cap for a dish. (6) And there was a warclub and a pipe, and the one who killed him took the pipe and warclub for his father and the one who killed him also made a name for himself: "He who has a Giant's Knee Cap for a Dish," they called him.

It was again fall when the father of the two princesses said that he wanted once again to give a feast. And so again they were getting ready to go hunting in the river downstream. (7) That father of the princesses, there he's going along. They left. It snowed a little. Four slumbers, that far they had come when they arrived. In the morning, He who has a Giant's Knee Cap for a Dish went hunting. He shot a deer. Having crippled it, he went after it. As he was doing it, this one came onto his own tracks again. This Giant was in his tracks. And so after the two of them thought about it, (8) this one [remembered that he] once had seen a hole near the bluffs. He ran for it. The Giant was coming with stamping behind this one. And getting to the hole there, he went in. That Giant came and said, "Kora! He who has a Giant's Knee Cap for a Dish has a nice place, hasn't he?" he said. And he looked in and breaking down a tree, he tried to poke it in, but that man stepped in between the rocks. (9) And so he didn't touch him. He peeped in, searching again at the hole. After he looked in, he did it again. He shot him under the jaw with his gun. He went down towards the foot of the bluff roaring as he went. He who has a Giant's Knee Cap for a Dish came out. He started to run for his camp. When he got there he again told his story. They went back. They arrived there. Again he went with some of those who came and again piled wood on top of the Giant. (10) And again they burned him up. This Giant had a pipe and he had a warclub. This time the daughter's father was going to have them.

When fall came again, the old man said that it was time for the feast. And so the son-in-law again went down the stream with his wife. And again for the fourth time he arrived as far as where they lived. Not so very late in the evening, (11) the wife put the camp up and the man already went hunting. Having killed a deer, he returned carrying it on his back. A certain Giant thought of a place where there were trees, and he stood behind a particular tree and every now and then looked at the lodge. When the Giant saw the small person, he laid down. The hunter came back. He chopped down a big tree and cut it into four pieces. He placed fire next to the roots of the stump. Then he went and placed the other three around as fire guards. (12) They retired. In the middle of the night the Giant came to this one. He came and peeped in through the top of the tent. The man, who was awake, said to him, "Why are you sneaking around at this time of the night and looking at me as you do? Over there — someplace there — make a fire for yourself. Tomorrow there will be a game, whatever kind of one you say we'll do, we're going to do that. I've been trying to sleep and you're bothering me," he said to him. The Giant went some ways off. (13) Over there he made a fire for himself, making it there so that they could see his silhouette. He laid down in the light.

The man asked his wife to go out. He was getting ready. And the wife went out. After awhile, this one said, "You will have to pull down the tent," he said. The wife pulled the tent poles out. This one, her husband, there he was! He was as big as the Giant! This one, the real Giant, looked back. (14) He was surprised. There he was really the same one. He sat down there. "Hello," said the one who has a Giant's kneecap for a dish, and "We're going to wrestle a little. Both the warclub and the pipe, here I will place them. The one who gets them will be the one who throws his man. He will fill the pipe. He will smoke it. And when he gets done, taking the warclub, we'll use it on each other. This is the way to play a man's game." And they began to wrestle. (15) After the sun had come over the top of the trees, the earth roared and shook violently. When this one, the sun, reached over the tops of the trees, he fell about half over the Giant. The earth shook rapidly. And the one who has a Giant's kneecap for a dish said to him, "They might call you 'Good Giant'. For the last time, fill the little pipe up for me please. Let me have a puff," said He who has a Giant's Knee Cap for a Dish. (16) As the warclub was sticking in the ground, he took it and split his head off. He pitied the little people, and so he did it. A Man Eater (Giant) he made himself. This one then went back to us and sat down with his back facing out. He made himself holy. He tired to reduce himself in size. (17) Nevertheless, had it not been for his wife, he came near to not doing it. He made himself like a human. And again after telling them of it, he went back with some others and again they piled wood on top of the Giant and burned him up.

When they got the Bad Giants, this Giant was all there was in the land. And that is why the Giant who was in charge blessed the little people. They used to say that this was the last Giant that they killed. Thus they did. This is a true story (worak), they say. They say that this happened about 70 years ago.1

Commentary. They had two chiefs — it was a big enough village that they had both a Peace (Thunder) Chief and a War Chief, the latter usually of the Hawk Clan. It is (deliberately ?) left obscure as to which of these two Shakes the Earth was born, making it difficult for either of the two clans to claim him as exclusively their own.

impact — the Hocąk word is git'éhí, the stem t'ehí meaning "to kill," and the prefix gi- meaning "by striking." The Hocąk expresses the idea that he died by being struck with something, an idea rather inelegantly approximated by the use of the word "impact."

roaring — the word for roaring is cįwį. Elsewhere, this is meant to approximate the sound made by raptorial birds, for which see Ciwįcikerehiga, "Comes Making the Sound Ciwį, a personal name in the Bird Clan." However, there is an extensive vocabulary that ties it to roaring and rumbling: cįwį́, "rumbling sound"; ciwįcikereje, "to spread (of noise) ," ciwįcikereje, "noise of a drum"; ciwiji, cįwiji, "to rumble"; maįšicįwį hires'aje, "they destroy"; mąz´cįwį́cįwį́ , "open bell"; Mocįwįga, "Noise Made in the Earth, a Waterspirit Clan personal name"; másciwį́ciwį́, "an open bell" (Dorsey); mązciwiciwixatera, "a church bell" (George). The connection between the sound made by raptors and the noise of roaring and rumbling, is of course the thunder of the Thunderbirds.

Good Giant (Wągerúcgep’įga) — a Man Eater that does not eat people. See what is said under Giants.

Giant who was in charge — we learn from this passage that He who has a Giant's Kneecap for a Dish is the chief of the Giants. The title tells us, without too great a leap of inference, that he is also (better?) known by the name Manáksųcnįka, "[Little] Shakes the Earth." Compare the Bird Clan name Mąnąksųcga, "He who Makes the Earth Shake by Walking."

about 70 years ago — this would be ca. 1840. Given that's it's a round number, and our ignorance of whether the number had been updated, it might indeed refer to the year 1832, the time when the Hocągara were removed from their lands.

Links: Giants.

Stories: featuring Giants as characters: A Giant Visits His Daughter, Turtle and the Giant, The Stone Heart, Young Man Gambles Often, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, Redhorn Contests the Giants, The Sons of Redhorn Find Their Father, Morning Star and His Friend, The Reincarnated Grizzly Bear, The Old Man and the Giants, White Wolf, Redhorn's Father, The Hocągara Contest the Giants, The Roaster, Grandfather's Two Families, Redhorn's Sons, The Meteor Spirit and the Origin of Wampum, Thunder Cloud is Blessed, Little Human Head, Heną́ga and Star Girl, Rich Man, Boy, and Horse, Sun and the Big Eater, The Big Eater, How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Origins of the Milky Way, Ocean Duck, The Blessing of a Bear Clansman, Wears White Feather on His Head, cf. The Shaggy Man; featuring Good Giants as characters: White Wolf, Young Man Gambles Often; mentioning the patella (kneecap) bone: White Wolf; mentioning snow: Waruǧábᵉra, The Glory of the Morning, Holy One and His Brother, Wolves and Humans, Grandfather's Two Families, The Four Steps of the Cougar, Brave Man, Redhorn's Father, Bladder and His Brothers, The Stench-Earth Medicine Origin Myth, The Old Man and the Giants, Old Man and Wears White Feather, Great Walker's Warpath, White Wolf, North Shakes His Gourd, The Fleetfooted Man, Lake Wąkšikhomįgra (Mendota): the Origin of Its Name, Witches, Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth, Trickster Gets Pregnant, The Raccoon Coat, Silver Mound Cave, Soft Shelled Turtle Gets Married.

Themes: marriage to a yųgiwi (princess): The Nannyberry Picker, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Race for the Chief's Daughter, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, The Big Stone, Partridge's Older Brother, Redhorn's Sons, The Seduction of Redhorn's Son, The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter, River Child and the Waterspirit of Devil's Lake, The Roaster, Soft Shelled Turtle Gets Married, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, White Wolf, The Two Boys, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, The Shaggy Man, The Thunderbird, The Red Feather, The Orphan who was Blessed with a Horse, The Birth of the Twins (v. 3), Trickster Visits His Family, The Woman who Loved Her Half-Brother, Redhorn's Father, Old Man and Wears White Feather, Morning Star and His Friend, Thunderbird and White Horse, Rich Man, Boy, and Horse, The Nightspirits Bless Ciwoit’éhiga; anthropophagy and cannibalism: A Giant Visits His Daughter, Turtle and the Giant, The Witch Men's Desert, The Were-Grizzly, Grandfather's Two Families, The Roaster, Redhorn's Father, Hawk Clan Origin Myth, The Lost Blanket, Young Man Gambles Often, White Wolf, The Shaggy Man, The Twins Get into Hot Water, Partridge's Older Brother, The First Fox and Sauk War, The Fox-Hocąk War, The Hocągara Contest the Giants, Morning Star and His Friend, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Seven Maidens, Šųgepaga, The Reincarnated Grizzly Bear, The Woman who Loved Her Half-Brother, The Blessing of a Bear Clansman, The Stone Heart, Thunder Cloud is Blessed; newlyweds are attacked by enemies: Kunu's Warpath; someone fleeing enemies hides in a crevice of a cliff: The Woman Who Became an Ant, Turtle's Warparty, Porcupine and His Brothers, Little Human Head, Heną́ga and Star Girl; contests with the Giants: Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, Redhorn's Father, White Wolf, The Roaster, Young Man Gambles Often, Little Human Head, Redhorn Contests the Giants, Redhorn's Sons, Morning Star and His Friend, The Reincarnated Grizzly Bear, Sun and the Big Eater, The Big Eater, The Hocągara Contest the Giants, The Old Man and the Giants, The Meteor Spirit and the Origin of Wampum, The Origins of the Milky Way, The Shaggy Man, Grandfather's Two Families.


1 James StCyr, "Shakes the Earth," in Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) #19, Story 1: 1-18.