The Beaver Man
A young man, who had never been married, always had dreams. He told
his father, "When you go hunting, don't walk close to the lake." The
old man forgot his warning and once, while returning from the chase,
he walked by the lake. He beheld some beavers, and among them a
beaver-woman, who said to him, "I want to marry you, my house is
below there." The old man undressed, and followed her, after hanging
up his clothes by the dam. Then the people dreamt about what had
happened, and the young man helped his father to get out. Another
man, who had dreams, challenged the young man to find the
beaver-woman. Accordingly, he went to the lake, entered her house,
and never came back.
A man found several beavers at work. He heard them laughing like
women and thought he should like to marry them. He doffed his
clothes and was going to dive into the water, but one of the beavers
said, "Wait awhile, I'll first see my father." The old beaver said,
"First give him some beaver-grease to paint his body with, then you
can have him." They gave him the grease, for without it he could not
have stayed in the water. He lived with them for a year and had a
child by one of his wives. They built a strong house in the water.
The people tried to kill the beavers, but could not catch them. One
young man knew where the beavers dwelt and told all the people. He
had seen and recognized the beaver-man, and announced that he had
seen the lost tribesman. The people then killed all the beavers
except the beaver-man and one female, whom they allowed to go.
A man wanted some eagle-feathers. He got to an eyrie, found four
young birds there, and plucked off their wings. The old eagle
attacked him, but was killed in the struggle. The chief of the
eagles, Big-Eagle, then pursued the man and, catching hold of his
head, flew with him to a mountain-top, where he left him astride a
crag. The man was nearly starved. After ten days the eagle returned,
gave the man two feathers from each wing, and took him down to a
buffalo-trail. "You will meet an old buffalo-chief. He will be wild,
but don't run away. Put one of the feathers in his head, and he
won't hurt you."
When the buffalo came, the man followed the eagle's directions. The
buffalo told the man he would meet another wild buffalo and bade him
put a feather in his head also. The man obeyed. The second buffalo
then said, "My youngest brother is coming behind me. Put a feather
in his head." The man obeyed, and though the bull was preparing to
kill him, he left him alone as soon as he was offered the feather.
The bull said, "At the end of this road you will find a spring and
you will see the tracks of a buffalo cow. Don't tell her about the
tracks (?)." When the man got to the tracks, he said, "I should like
to eat kidneys, I should like to eat buffalo feet." The cow appeared
and asked, "What did you say about me?" "I did not say anything
about you." "I heard what you said; I want to take you home." She
took him to the camp as her husband. There they gave him his
brother-in-law's kidneys to eat.
The Indians were making a buffalo-pound. The man's father-in-law
told him not to look outside his tent. But when the man heard the
buffalo running he looked out and saw his brother chasing buffalo.
Then he made bows and arrows, saying, "I am also going to catch
buffalo." The next morning he went to the Indian camp and gave each
man two arrows. Then they killed most of the buffalo.
The man picked up grass, willow-leaves, and other kinds of food, and
asked the old buffalo, "What would you like to live on?" The old
buffalo tried the different kinds of food. He said, "I prefer
grass." Then the man asked the moose to choose, and he picked out
willow-leaves. The bear chose berries and roots, the deer grass and
leaves. This is how the animals got their food.
The man had a calf by his buffalo-wife. He also married a
moose-woman. His brother, Magpie, was lusting for one of the wives.
One day the man was out hunting. Magpie asked the women to race. The
buffalo-woman won. The second time the moose made a mud-hole in her
rival's path. The buffalo-woman stuck in the mud, and the moose won.
The buffalo-woman was angry, and when she had gotten out she
returned to her father, accompanied by the calf. When her husband
came home, he found one of his wives gone and pursued her. When he
got to the buffalo camp, the old buffalo got up a dance of the
buffalo, in the course of which they trampled the man to death.
Magpie was living with the moose-woman. When his brother did not
return, he went to look for him. The calf told him how the buffalo
had killed his father. Magpie looked for his brother's hair. At
last, he found some of it, took it back to the camp, and restored
his brother to life. Then the man said to the calf, "Tell your
grandfather to get all the buffalo after me. We shall fight." When
the buffalo came after them, the moose-woman began to cry. Magpie
said, "Give me some red iron (?)." He chewed it, threw it in the air
and thus made an iron house. The buffalo ran against it, but only
killed themselves. Some were scared and ran home.
Magpie married a buffalo and a moose-woman. The buffalo gave birth
to a calf. The two women were jealous of each other, each wishing to
stay alone with her husband. Magpie once declared that he would stay
with the one that would defeat the other in a race. They began to
run on level ground, and the buffalo ran ahead. Then the moose said,
"I wish you would get stuck in a mud hole before you get back." On
their way back, the buffalo got stuck and lost the race. When she
extricated herself, she was very angry and returned to her father.
When Magpie found that the buffalo-woman had deserted him, he
followed after her. The buffalo-calf was lingering behind his
mother. When the man got near him, he said, "Look, my son, I am
thirsty and exhausted." The calf said, "Follow my footsteps and you
will get to a good spring." The man obeyed and found good water. The
calf said, "You will get thirsty three times before we reach the
buffalo camp." The man continued following his wife and got thirsty
again. Again his son directed him to a spring. After drinking, he
ran after his wife, thinking he might catch her, but he never even
caught sight of her. At last they got to the buffalo camp, where
there were many lodges. The buffalo-woman went to her father's
lodge. "What is the matter, my daughter? Why do you come back?" "I
had a race with the moose-woman, and got stuck in a mud-hole. She
has my husband all to herself now." The man was afraid at first, but
finally he went to his father-in-law. The old buffalo said, "We are
going to have a war dance now. Put on your headdress and your best
clothes. Watch the buffalo and act like them." Before dancing,
Magpie said, "I am hungry." The old buffalo said, "I'll give you
something to eat." Then he allowed him to eat one of his
brothers-in-law, but ordered him not to cut his legs and to pile up
the meat after skinning him. After the man had eaten, the dance
began. They danced three times without hurting him, the calf dancing
beside his father. The fourth time all the buffalo jumped up, hooked
him, threw him continually in the air, and killed him.
When Magpie did not return, the moose-wife began to cry. Her
brother-in-law said, "Stay where you are, I'll go to look for my
brother." He started out. At last, he found a buffalo trail. He was
afraid to enter the buffalo camp, but, seeing a young calf, he asked
him, "Where is my brother?" "The buffalo have hooked him to death in
their war-dance." Magpie's brother stayed outside the lodges and
listened here and there. He heard his nephew crying. The calf told
him how his father had been hooked and trampled to pieces. He walked
on the dance-ground until he found a small bit of Magpie's hair. He
wrapped it up in his blanket, blew smoke at the blanket, and said,
"Wake up!" Thus he restored his brother to life. Magpie got angry at
the buffalo, seized one of the buffalo by his horns, and made a fire
that burnt up his hair. That is why the buffalo have curly hair.
The moose was staying with Magpie and his parents. One day all the
buffalo came to attack them. The old man went outside the lodge and
saw the buffalo thundering along. All were terrified except Magpie,
who continued to sleep. "Look, all the buffalo are coming, get up!"
For a long time he paid no attention to them. At last, he got up,
asked for water, washed himself, and asked his mother for some iron.
She said there was none. Magpie looked for it himself, found a small
piece, and chewed it up. Thus he transformed their lodge into one of
heavy iron. The buffalo ran against it, but could not destroy it,
while Magpie, sitting on their roof, shot many of the buffalo.
Sitcon'ski joined the buffalo, saying, "I'll try to kill Magpie,
give me some iron horns and I'll hook his house." For a long time
Magpie did not notice him. At last, he 'said, "What is Sitcon'ski
doing there?" "Oh," answered Sitcon'ski, "I was only joking."
Long ago the Stoneys were fighting with a hostile band. One Stoney
boy had a beaded jack-rabbit tail stuck in his head. He had a bone
knife, with which he used to cut off people's heads. Both his own
people and the enemy were afraid of him. He was called Jack-Rabbit.
'the enemy shot at him, but could not hurt him. He pursued them and
cut off their necks. They fled, pursued by the Stoneys. After a
while Jack-Rabbit went to look for another chance to fight. Before
he got to the enemy, he met a young woman. She was one of the
enemy's chieftainesses and warned him not to go near the camp,
"Don't follow me, or you will have a hard time." Nevertheless, he
followed, and hid in a coul6e by her camp. The girl called all her
people. "Watch, I have seen somebody." Jack-Rabbit heard what she
was saying. He lay down and began to shoot at her. The woman, whose
name was Porcupine, had never been hurt before, but Jack-Rabbit
killed her. The people wondered who had caused her death, but when
they went to look for him, they only found a rabbit in his
hiding-place. As soon as they were gone, he re-transformed himself
into a man and as such entered the camp. He went to an old woman's
lodge. She advised him to go away or he would get killed, but
Jack-Rabbit answered, "No one can kill me," and stayed there. He was
joined by another man, who had come a great distance and became his
Sodalis Leporem certiorem fecit virginem semper eodem loco mingere
quo minxisset juvenis et eomodo gravidam fieri. Lepus quodam loco
minxit, et eodem loco virgo. Jack-Rabbit went away. After a while,
the girl gave birth to a child. The people bade Jack-Rabbit go home.
Before lying down to sleep, he heard the woman saying, "Ha, ha, ha!
If your father kills a black-fox, we'll use the skin." Jack-Rabbit
killed her, but let the child live, and traveled on. The next night
he heard the woman saying the same words as before. Again he killed
her, sparing the child. The next day he journeyed on. In the night
he heard the same voice as before. He killed her and burnt her, then
he walked on, and killed an elk. In the night he heard the woman
coming again. She was saying to her child, "Your father has killed
an elk, we'll cut lots of meat." Jack-Rabbit said, "I won't kill her
any more." She asked him why he had done so before. He said, "I
can't kill you anyway, I'll marry you now."
When the boy was big, the woman said, "Your comrade is always angry,
I'll go back home." She went across the mountains. Jack-Rabbit
followed her, but could not overtake her. (There follows a
fragmentary version of the piqued buffalo-woman story. The calf
points out a spring, where his father may drink and prepares him for
the tests awaiting him. He arrives at the buffalo camp. Six buffalo
dance with him. He is to pick out his son from among other calves.
His son helps him by shutting one eye and lowering one ear. Thus,
Jack-Rabbit succeeds in the first recognition-tests, but in the last
he picks out the wrong calf and is killed.)3
The buffalo moved camp. The calf walked on crying. He stopped to
listen at every little hole. He found a piece-of his father's hair;
it groaned. He made a bow and arrows. Standing near the hair, he
shot an arrow into the air, crying, "Run away, you'll get hurt." The
first time there was another groan. The second time he cried again,
"You had better run, or you'll get killed." He heard a human sound
in reply. The third time there was a human body lying there, but it
did not getup. The fourth time Jack-Rabbit was alive again and rose.
The boy transformed the hair into a great many people. With them
Jack-Rabbit pursued the buffalo. He caught up to them. "We will play
to-day. First you played with me, now I'll play with you." He went
to his lodge and called on a big frost to come. The old buffalo was
shivering. "Hold on," he cried, "I'll let you have my wife, don't
make it so cold." The lodge-cover had a hole, in it and the sun was
shining through. Jack-Rabbit began to pull down the sun. While it
was frosty outside, it got hot within. The buffalo got hot, and
began to move around. Jack-Rabbit pulled it down further. The
buffalo got so hot that his guts burst. The lodge was getting burnt.
Then Jack-Rabbit let the sun go back again.
1 Found by Mr. Skinner among the
2 Cf. Grinnell, (c), p. 104 (Blackfoot); Dorsey and
Kroeber, p. 395 (Arapaho); Kroeber, (d), p. 186 (Cheyenne); Simms,
p. 289 (Crow); G. A. Dorsey, (d), p. 94 (Arikara); Id., (a) p. 284
3 Cf. Wissler and Duvall, p. 118 (Blackfoot).
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