|Indian Mythology | Assiniboin Mythology|
First Meeting with the Cree
Once nearly all the Stoneys were sick. The sick ones were put into one lodge; nearly all of them died. The dead were not buried, but left on the ground, and the camp was abandoned. A few people ran away; only an old couple and two boys not related to them remained there. They subsisted on whatever food they could get. In the summer, the old man tried to kill beavers and was assisted by the boys. But, after skinning the animals, the old woman gave the boys no food, so they nearly starved. The next day they were given just a little piece. After the middle of the summer, the boys traveled a little. The older boy had a knife. They killed birds for food. From time to time they returned to the old couple. The second time they stayed with them longer than before. In the fall they went traveling again. They saw many ducks and geese, and also heard the sound of laughing and singing. Going nearer, they struck a big lake, where they found the birds making the noise. The birds felt lone-some, because they were unable to find people. They began to fly around. Their chief said, "We'll give some food to these poor boys." They went close to the boys, and one of them fell right down at the boy's feet to be eaten by them. When they were through eating, they returned to the old couple. They slept there one night, then they traveled again. This time a white goose heard them and supplied them with food as the other bird had done. They returned to the Stoney couple, but as they did not give them any food they went traveling again. They again went to the birds, and as they came nearer, they heard the sound of shooting. Walking in that direction, they found a horse's tracks, and going further some buffalo meat, which they cooked. Then they continued following the tracks and met a party of Cree making a buffalo-pen. The Cree adopted them, and they did not return to the old couple. The old people quarreled about them. The man said, "You did not give them enough to eat, that is why they did not return." The woman said, "We will track them." Accordingly, they tracked them to the Cree camp. They asked for the boys, but the Cree answered, "You did not feed them well, we will keep the boys." This is how the Stoneys first met the Cree.
First Meeting With Whites
The Punitive Expedition
Some people were camping in the winter. They had no
feathers for their arrows. An old man told his three sons and
son-in-law to try to get feathers from his brother, who lived in
another camp. On their way, they saw lots of feathers in a place
where geese had been killed. They picked them up. The youngest man
looked around and saw a crane's head. He struck it with his bow, and
it made a noise. He told his companions, "This crane's head is
saying that we'll get into trouble. You can get all the feathers you
want in the camp, but don't touch a lame girl there, or you'll be
killed." They all listened to what the crane was saying when he
struck its head again. They then Went to the camp. The three boys
told their uncle that their father had sent them to get feathers. He
gave them all he had. One of them, before going home, wanted to
steal the lame woman. His brother-in-law warned him, "Don't touch
the lame woman." Nevertheless, he abducted her. They went homeward,
pursued by their hosts. The lake was frozen; they caught up to them
there. The oldest was killed first. The second had shot off all his
arrows and asked his uncle for more arrows. "Yes, I'll give you a
spear too." He threw the spear at him and killed him. The old man
tried to kill the youth who had dreamt about the crane, but the
spear would not pierce him. He said, "If I wanted to live, you could
never kill me, but as my brothers are dead I also wish to be dead.
Cut my little fingers, and I shall die." They cut his fingers, and
thus killed him.
1 The following fragmentary version was also told at Morley: A man was living with his six children and his son-in-law. He was making bows and arrows, but had no feathers, so he asked two of his sons to get them. They went to the gulls' camp. One gull had died, and his corpse was lying there. The younger boy took up the skull and sounded it. It said that the boys would steal gull women and would have to fight. They tracked the gulls. When they reached the camp, the chief asked, "You bad boys, why are you tracking us?" "We are hunting for feathers." The chief asked the birds to give their feathers to the boys, then he moved camp. The boys stayed in the camp of an old woman, who lived with her granddaughter. The old woman joined her people and told them the boys had stolen the girl. The gulls returned, killed the boys, and took back the woman. The father of the boys wanted to fight the gulls, but his people were afraid and let them alone.
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Anthropological Papers American Museum of Natural History, 1909
Copyright Indian Mythology, 2006