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 as he went into the wilderness was a warclub that belonged to him. 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 wanted 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 were always telling him they were going on the warpath. They called him "Ghost." A great 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 corpse," 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 the warrior always left behind whomever he went scouting with. 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 where 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 great 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 if 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. And indeed, it was Worúxega. Thus he poured tobacco, and thus he did. Then a very white wolf [who was Worúxega] started to run. The warrior had [also] turned himself into a wolf and there he was running in that direction, and to that direction he [Worúxega] 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 what you're doing, I am going to do," 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 offered tobacco and when he was done, he flew as a hiwizík 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. From then on they flew straight ahead, fast. There, at the place they were going for, they arrived. The men went over there to that village. Everyone definitely saw them, and then they came back. And they said, "Boy, what are we going to do?" they said. "He takes with him just one, and he loosens a portion, then he goes home," 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 (wámąšižire) their heads and went home. They saw them clearly. Then they took after them. "Boy, we must hide 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 then 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. They 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. This 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, get 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 there. And again, they would always came back to the Hočągara.1
Commentary. "a Hočąk village" — this myth turns out to be about the coming together of the moieties, the two halves of Hočąk society that together form its present day whole. In the pre-moiety era, the primaeval Hočąk tribe will have consisted of just one moiety, which is to say, no moiety at all. The Upper Moiety, collectively the Bird Clans, claim to have been first to touch down upon the earth after Earthmaker created them, but both the Wolf Clan and the Waterspirit Clan have claimed that their progenitors were there all along. As the present story unfolds, it becomes clear that Worúxega is of the Lower Moiety. We see, for instance, that he first transforms himself into a wolf.
"not particularly notable" — this informs us that this man, who is later to achieve extraordinary feats, was not at this time at all holy: he had not been blessed by the spirits with any notable power or virtue.
"his wife courting another man" — there is more to a marriage than just reproduction. There is also social alliance.
"what you are looking for is the kind that you'll be" — this is a fairly literal translation of the Hočąk. It could be taken to mean, "you'll get what your asking for"; but taken esoterically and literally, it says that she is looking for dead people, that is, people like what she will be after he kills her. This might seem like a bizarre interpretation, except on the hypothesis that the myth concerns the origins of the moieties, whose purpose is fundamentally exogamy. The upper and lower moieties marry only outside their own moiety. It is like marrying into another world. The woman is looking to marry a ghost, if we take the sentence literally. It is the marriage of ghost and flesh. In a pre-moiety tribe, marriage would be between members of the same world domain. As it becomes clear, the husband is from the Lower Moiety, and in this primaeval society, his wife will have been of the same ancestry, the same world domain. Therefore, it is natural that she seeks to marry outside her world.
"he stayed there" — in order to be blessed by the spirits, a person must fast and make himself "pitiable." The spirits, seeing the suffering conjoined with mortality, are moved to take action to compensate the human for the misery of his inherent condition. Here we have someone who had no intent to seek a blessing reach a stage far in excess of what ordinarily is sufficient to move the spirits to pity and to evoke from them a blessing. As the story progresses, it can be seen in retrospect that this is the point and the place at which Worúxega was blessed by the spirits, for the story tells us initially that he was just an ordinary man, that he was not in any way holy; yet as soon as he leaves the hill, he not only regains his strength, but shortly achieves feats unmatched by even the greatest of warriors. Nor is it a coincidence that this transformational moment occurs at the summit of a hill. Eliade says, "Mountains are often looked on as the place where sky and earth meet, a 'central point' therefore, the point through which the Axis Mundi goes, a region impregnated with the sacred, a spot where one can pass from one cosmic zone to another."2 Hills are places in which powerful spirits of the earth reside, yet the summit of a hill reaches into the Above World. So the unity of the Upper and Lower Moieties is nicely foreshadowed and exemplified in the image of the hill. This corresponds to the tree inasmuch as it is said that descendants are "roots," the tree growing up and down simultaneously. The tree grows upwards from its roots in the earth, then drops its seeds from the sky to the ground. On the relationship between the mountain and the tree, Eliade remarks, "... the symbolism of the World Tree is complementary to that of the Central Mountain. Sometimes the two symbols coincide; usually they complete each other. But both are merely more developed mythical formulations of the Cosmic Axis (World Pillar, etc.)."3
|BAE 37: Pl. 45|
|The Warclubs of the Upper
and Lower Moieties
"a warclub" — exoterically, this would make no sense, since his purpose is to die, not to defend himself, or even to hunt. Otherwise, from an esoteric point of view, a warclub is moiety-specific. The ballheaded warclub belongs to the Upper Moiety, and the flat warclub, resembling a hockey stick, is exclusive to the Lower Moiety. Since the warclub cannot be visualized without knowing the moiety, it must evoke in the mind of the culturally informed listener the question of the man's moiety identity.
"a road there with tracks on it" — it would be odd for a trail to go up and down a hill. That the tracks are seen at the summit of this hill and therefore descending down it, is consistent with the idea that this party is connected in some way to the upper world.
"Ghost" — Wanaǧi, a word which can also mean "corpse," so they may be calling him "dead man." The term suggests that he is from another world. One of the Twins, otherwise known as "Stump," is also called "Ghost." Wolves have some connection to ghosts, and Worúxega later changes himself into this kind of animal.
"not that fast" — since he overtook the warrior in the end, it follows that he did so through some unstated supernatural agency, and that, therefore, he was holy all along.
"Worúxega" — this name may be analyzed as wa-haruxe-ga: wa-, "them"; haruxe, "to begin, commence, continue, keep on"; and -ga, a personal name suffix. According to Lipkind, the combination wa-ha resolves to wo-. The name would mean, "He Who Began and Sustained Them," an appellation appropriate to the founder of a line of descent or an institution. It forms a strong assonance with the Wolf Clan name, Warúxega, "He Who Chases After Them."
"I did not travel on the ground" — this is consistent with the idea that the great warrior has affinities to the Upper Moiety, since his prowess expresses itself in detachment from the earth whose nature informs the essence of the Lower Moiety.
"a very white wolf" — for want of names or subject nouns, these sentences pertaining to the wolves are rather confusing. Worúxega poured tobacco and changed himself into a wolf. Then the great warrior did the same. The warrior took off in the lead, but Worúxega ended up passing him. White is the color of holiness, and the intensity of his color is meant to accentuate his status.
|U.S. Dept. of Agriculture|
|Chicken Hawks: Cooper's Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Western Red-tailed Hawk|
"a hiwizík bird" — specifically a hiwizík. The following note at the top of the page is connected to this point with a line: "about size of [quail?]. Sings pretty loudly in the timber." Sam Blowsnake and Marino's dictionary say only that it is a hawk, but Lipkind says that it is specifically a chicken hawk. Hiwi means "bird tail," and zik means "to stretch," so the bird is called the "stretched tail." There is little doubt that it is a raptor of some kind since it proceeds to fly in a circular pattern. The problem with the identification as a "chicken hawk" is that this is an informal designation that has been applied to three different species of hawks: Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii), Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus), Western Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis calurus). There also happen to be three names for "the" chicken hawk in Hočąk: hiwizík [Lipkind], manowįke [Dorsey], wanįgᵋrú’ą (Marino and Miner).
|Rays of Wisdom|
|A Legendary White Eagle|
"a very white eagle" — this is a larger and more powerful bird than a hiwizík, and once again he assumes the color of holiness, white.
"the men went over there to that village" — Činą́gᵋnąka wągᵋrá hahí ho’úiṇeže. In the original orthography, uañge-́ was translated as "the man" but that had been crossed out and "above" written above it. The form wągerá (in any orthography) is unattested with that meaning. The word wąge means "above," but is usually found in the form wągeja or wągeregi. The word for man is wąk. Adding the definite article -ra yields the meaning, "the man," "men," or "the men." Radin in effect has the translation, "they were over there in that village above," which would imply that the village was in the Upper World. That would make a very profound difference in the meaning of the myth. However, given that the original translation ("the man") was more nearly correct, and given the standard translation of ho’úiṇeže is "they went over," we have the translation given here.
"he takes with him just one, and he loosens a portion, then he goes home" — hižašána hánikaranąga nįgéšge žegų kereną́kše, presents a translation problem. Radin has as a literal translation, "Each we take with us, and without [then] to go home." The last part is also translated, in an attempt to be more idiomatic in English, as, "take me home, or: we just go home, without." This is an oddly defeatist sentiment. First, hižašána is translated "each," when it literally is hižą, "one," and šána, "only": together translated as, "one only" or "just one." Hánikaranąga is to be analyzed as, hánikare-ánąga, where hánikare is the third person singular, "he takes with him," and -ánąga means, "and." So the warrior is speaking in the third person about what each of them is going to do. The translation renders nįgéšge as "without," which is not attested anywhere. Nįgéšge usually means "or," but since it follows -anąga, that makes little sense either, and is also unidiomatic. Given subsequent events, what makes better sense is nįgé-šge, where nįgé means, "piece, portion," and šge is an obscure word recorded by Marino-Radin as meaning, "to loosen, untie." This makes reference to beheading their victims. This is an odd way to speak, but when they actually do behead their opponents, it is described in an equally odd way as "breaking off" their heads. Kere does mean, "to go home," but given that the infinitive and the third person singular are the same, in light of the use of the third person singular with hánikare, it too should be in the third person singular, "he goes home." The -nąk appended to kere is a neutral positional auxiliary, neutral because the somatic form in which they will depart has not been referenced. The suffix -še which ends the sentence means, in contradistinction to -šąną, that the matter is not known to be true from the speaker's own experience. In other words, the matter is not necessarily settled, and that the statement can be construed as a polite and deferential suggestion.
|M. O. Stevens|
|A Green Garter Snake|
"garden snake" — waką́jùsek is translated as "garden snake," a synonym for the garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis). This snake is very common, and is capable of swimming and climbing to some extent. It has long vertical stripes down its body and is often confused with the queen snake discussed next.4
|Patrick Coin||Patrick Coin|
|The Queen Snake||The Ventral Stripes|
"gray snake" — he turned himself into a waką́xoč, specifically a little one (waką́xojᵋnįk). Of the limited number of species of snakes in Wisconsin, the one that is gray, varying in tones and tints of that color and tending into brown, is the queen snake, Regina septemvittata. The little queen snakes, the juveniles, have a full set of vertical stripes which typically fade with age. There are three stripes on top and four dark ones on its yellow stomach, for a total of seven stripes, giving rise to its species name, septem-vittata, "seven stripes." Under certain schemes of the Hočąk clan system, they can be numbered as seven:
|1. Bird Clan
2. Buffalo Clan
3. Bear Clan
4. Wolf Clan
5. Waterspirit Clan
6. Deer-Elk Clan
7. Snake-Fish Clan
However, if we count only the ventral stripes as alternating gray and yellow, we get a total of 9, which corresponds to the full set of clans. Furthermore, the queen snake extends into all three realms associated with the clans. It basks in trees, its arboreal nature making it a denizen of the upper world; it is aquatic, capable even of traveling faster in water than on land, which makes it a member of the water world; and it not only chases its prey under rocks, but often hides there as a favorite place of ambush, thus making it a member of the lower world. The queen snake also has a peculiar correspondence of another kind. Its principal prey animal is the crayfish (also known as the crawfish).5 The crawfish (wajųsgé), is a crustacean who was created by the actions of the Devil, Herešgúnina. The crawfish walks backward, a form of locomotion known as the "Devil's walk," since Herešgúnina himself has his feet on backwards, leaving tracks that go the wrong way. Pedal locomotion symbolizes progress through life, the means by which men and animals progress down the Road of Life and Death, the proper course on which was set out by Hare in his founding of the Medicine Rite. Thus, those who follow the reverse tracks of Herešgúnina are morally backward. Perhaps for this reason, it is taboo to eat crawfish, just as it is to eat snakes. The queen snake, however, has the crawfish as its primary prey. As a killer of the agent of the Devil, the queen snake must be considered an exemplar of virtue.
"friend" — friendship is not in any way superficial in Hočąk culture. A friend holds a status similar to a close kinsman, and if a man were killed in action, his friend could well be expected to sacrifice himself as well. What this does is to homologize the relationship between the two moieties to that of the relationship between two friends. They are expected to stand with one another in battle, and to share what they have.
"maiden he gave to him" — the important defining characteristic of the moiety system is that the two halves exchange women as wives to insure the benefits of exogamy. Such an episode would be required of a myth about the origins of the moiety system. In relation to the events depicted in this myth, his friend is now his b=, whereas his old b=s were now expected to be antagonists.
|Metropolitan Museum of Art||Engineer comp geek||Engineer comp geek|
|Caps on an 1831 Revolving Barrel Pistol||The Nipple Where the Percussion Cap Sits||The Previous Flintlock Design|
"the cap" — in the early XIXth century, pistols and muskets were flintlocks, a design in which the main charge of the weapon was ignited by primer situated in a pan just behind the barrel. As a result, a flash and puff of smoke would fire off just before the weapon discharged. This was problematic for bird hunters, since the noise of the primer flash would alarm birds who would take flight in time to evade the ball sent their way. To solve this problem, the flint and the pan were replaced with a cone on which a copper cap filled with primer explosive was placed. The primer cap could be ignited by percussion which avoided the visible flash and bang of the charge in the primer pan. This also made the weapon proof against rain causing the primer charge to fail because its powder was not dry. Once the manufacture of caplock weapons was fully underway in the 1830s, it soon displaced the old flintlock system. However, it is a short inferential jump from a percussion cap to a cartridge, and the caplock design was itself displaced by the cartridge loading round after the Civil War. So this myth, with its caplock technology, probably dates in this form from 1830 to ca. 1870.
"Hočągara" — if this were really about the affiliation with another tribe, we would expect that tribe to be either the Ioway, who are both proximal and related by blood, or their friendship tribe, the Menominee; yet there is not symbolic allusion to either tribe. This really does appear to represent the coming together of the two halves of the tribe as an integration, here portrayed as rather loose, of what were once two separate tribes. The perspective taken here resembles an account given by the Wolf Clan, who contend that they were present on earth first, and were visited in a very tentative way by the Bird Clans, who were greatly in fear of them. This may account for why the warriors first turned themselves into wolves.
Parallels with the Moiety Origin Myth
|Common Elements||Worúxega||Moiety Origins|
|A man, for the sake of honor, kills another person.||A man kills his wife for extreme infidelity.||The son of the chief goes on the warpath and kills an enemy, but does not win the first war honor.|
|However, he is denigrated for his actions in spite of his virtue.||He is sensible of having committed a crime.||His father ridicules and denigrates him.|
|He feels despair and flees his village to die in the wilderness.||He feels despair and flees his village to die in the wilderness.||He feels despair and flees his village to die in the wilderness.|
|He works his way to the top of a hill, there to die.||He works his way to the top of a hill, there to die.||He works his way to the top of a hill, there to die.|
|He sees the signs of a foreign people nearby.||He sees tracks of a warparty.||He sees a village not far below.||He and his friend track a warparty.|
|He goes down the hill and joins up with the foreigners.||He joins the warparty.||He enters the village.||They catch up to the warparty|
|They think that he is, in some sense, a ghost.||They think he is a ghost.||Since he resembles the chief's son who just died, so they think that he is his ghost come back to life.|
|They refer to him by a denigrating name that implies he is from the outside world.||Some in the warparty denigrate him and call him "ghost."||➙||Some members of the warparty denigrate him by calling him "prisoner."|
|The warleader appoints the foremost warrior and the new man to close on the enemy.||The warleader appoints the foremost warrior and the new man ("Ghost") to be scouts.||The warleader appoints White Eagle Feather, the most outstanding warrior, and the chief's son to kill the enemy.|
|The two ran a long ways but the new man kept up.||The two ran a long ways but the new man kept up.||The two ran a long ways but the chief's son kept up.|
|Everything that the warrior did, the new man also did.||Everything that the warrior did, the new man also did.||Everything that White Feather did, the chief's son also did.|
|They possess holy powers.||They both change into animal forms repeatedly.||White Eagle Feather says that he has the power of invisibility.|
|Using their holy powers, they enter into the village.||They change into birds, and enter the village.||They enter the village. They are undetected.|
|They kill and behead two of the enemy who came towards them.||They ambush two men and behead them.||They kill and scalp the chief and a relative who come out of the lodge.|
|They are pursued.||They are pursued.||They are pursued.|
|They evade their pursuers.||They turned into snakes and evade the pursuit.||They outran their pursuit.|
|Upon their return, the new man is recognized as the foremost warrior.||When they returned, the warrior heaped praise upon Worúxega saying that he was superior to all.||Upon their return, the chief's son received the first war honors.|
|The warrior makes friends with the new man.||The great warrior makes friends with Worúxega.||White Eagle Feather makes friends with the new man.|
|The new man marries into this community and is personally close to his friend.||Worúxega marries the warrior's sister.||White Eagle Feather and the new man live together in the same lodge and are married.|
|The holiness of the two friends is made known.||How Worúxega became holy is recounted.||These two friends could presage the coming of enemies.|
|The friends move to the new man's village.||The friends move to Worúxega village.||The friends move to the new man's village.|
|His antagonists there do not condemn him.||The father is glad to see his son again. The brothers-in-law are forgiving (except the youngest).||The father is repentant.|
|Someone acquainted with the new man's holiness tells his antagonist of the character of his holiness, and its reality is demonstrated.||The warrior says that Worúxega cannot be killed. The youngest brother-in-law proves it by failing to shoot him.||The mother says that his father failed to respect his son's holiness, as he could foresee an enemy attack.|
|The warrior's tribe joins up with the new man's tribe while still retaining its identity.||The other tribe frequently joins up with the Hočągara.||The two tribes move together. They are the two moieties of today,|
The divergences are so striking that there is some hesitation in saying that they are two versions of the same myth, but the core story in both can be extracted and is sufficient to establish that they are at least stories on the same subject.
Comparative Material: Our story resembles the Hebrew myth of Jacob and Esau. The two are twin brothers, but Jacob is a herder and Esau is a hunter. Esau was to be the true heir of Israel but Jacob cheated him out of his inheritance. Forced to flee to escape Esau's wrath, Jacob ends up living among a foreign people. There he excels and becomes a wealthy man. He returns to his home and makes all that is his a gift to his brother. The two opposing factions and lifestyles are reintegrated.6 See also, "Esau was an Indian," which contains the full text.
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, Sunset Point, The Message the Fireballs Brought; 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, Mighty Thunder; 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, Waruǧábᵉra, 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), Heną́ga and Star Girl (black hawk), The Stench-Earth Medicine Origin Myth (black hawk, kaǧi), 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 Story of the Medicine Rite (loons, cranes, turkeys), 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 Stench-Earth Medicine Origin Myth, The Old Man and the Giants, Rich Man, Boy, and Horse, Kunu's Warpath, Morning Star and His Friend, Chief Wave and the Big Drunk; 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), Waruǧábᵉra (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), Waruǧábᵉra (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: Waruǧábᵉra (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.
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.
2 Mircea Eliade, Patterns in Comparative Religion (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1996) 99-100. See also, Mircea Eliade, Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy, trs. Willard Trask. Volume 76 of Bollingen Series (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1964) 266-269.
3 Eliade, Shamanism, 269. For the concept of the Centre and its associated symbolism, see Eliade, Patterns in Comparative Religion, 81, 367-387; Mircea Eliade, The Sacred and the Profane. The Nature of Religion. The Significance of Religious Myth, Symbolism, and Ritual within Life and Culture (New York: Harcourt, Brace, & World, Inc., 1959) 40-42, 49, 57-58, 64-65; Mircea Eliade, Images and Symbols: Studies in Religious Symbolism (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1969) 42-43; William C. Beane and William G. Doty, edd., Myths, Rites, Symbols: A Mircea Eliade Reader, 2 vols. (New York: Harper & Row, 1975) 2:373; Alwyn Rees and Brinley Rees, Celtic Heritage: Ancient Tradition in Ireland and Wales (London: Thames & Hudson, 1961) Ch. VII.
4 Jeffrey C. Beane, Alvin L. Braswell, Joseph C. Mitchell, William M. Palmer, Amphibians and Reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia, 2nd ed. (Hong Kong: Univ of North Carolina Press, 2010) 245.
5 James H. Harding, David A Mifsud, Amphibians and Reptiles of the Great Lakes Region, Revised Ed. (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2017) 271. Timothy J. Brust, Dietary Preference of the Queensnake (Regina septemvittata) (Marshall University: Theses, Dissertations and Capstones. Paper 546) 2-3. "Queensnake (Regina septemvittata) Species Guidance," Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, August 24, 2017.
6 Genesis 25:20 - 33:16.