|Indian Mythology | Assiniboin Mythology|
The Wolverene and the Wolves
The Wolverene And The Wolves1
In the winter, four big wolves and a wolverene were staying on a hill. The Wolverene did not like the place, because it was too cold there. When-ever the wolves wanted fire, they piled up wood and jumped across. The Wolverene wanted to learn how to make fire. The wolves taught him, but said, "Don't play too much." The Wolverene tried the trick once, and succeeded. He liked it, went off some distance, and tried once more. He performed the trick several times as he went along. At last he came to a river covered with ice. The Wolverene got to a spot where the cover was thin and fell in. He got cold, so he piled up wood and wanted to make a fire. But he could not make one by jumping now. He looked around for some flint, but could not find any. The wolves had stolen his flint. He chased them. At last he saw their fire from the top of a hill. One wolf said, "My friend, the Wolverene is coming." The Wolverene said, "I have lost my flint." The wolves replied, "We have not seen it," but he could see that they had it. The Wolverene was so cold that he had to walk up and down continually. The wolves said, "Sit in here, we will cover you with our blanket." When he got to them they covered him with their tails and began to break wind.2 "You are breaking wind, you are causing a foul odor." "No, we did not break wind; if you don't like it here, you can go to look for fire elsewhere." The Wolverene was very angry, but he stayed with them all winter.
Long ago Skunk was larger than a horse and was able to kill anyone. He had slain many people and the survivors were fleeing from him. One old marten could not run fast enough, and pretended to be dead at Skunk's approach. "I wonder how long he has been dead," said Skunk. He put his finger in his anus and -smelt it. "He must have died to-day," he said, and went on. He met a wolverine, working by a beaver-dam. "What are you doing?" "I am trying to kill beaver; what are you looking for?" Skunk said, "You are not telling me the truth." Wolverene said, "Let us smoke together." Skunk said, "I want to smoke alone." They got angry at each other. Skunk was about to kill Wolverene with his filth, but Wolverene went close, and closed his anus so that he could not void filth. As soon as Fox saw this, he ran away and told the other people, "He cannot defecate." All ran towards Skunk, only Lynx lingered behind. "Where is Lynx? Tell him to join us in killing Skunk." Lynx came along slowly. He said, "Take him into the timber." There he climbed a tree, and, seizing Skunk with his legs while the others held him, he bit his neck through, killing him. They built a large fire and burnt up Skunk. There was lots of fat in his body. From the small spots on his corpse, there developed the skunks of to-day. That is why the skunks are small now.
A man was living alone with his wife and child. The other people were jealous of him, because he was the best hunter and always had the best skins. Suddenly he became blind. He taught his wife to shoot, and for a time she hunted every kind of game. Once she shot a buffalo, but pretended not to have caught any game. Then she left her husband. The blind man walked about crying. He became thirsty, and went to look for water. After groping about, he got to a lake. Here he sat down and cried. A mno'za (gull?) heard him and approached. "Where is your wife? At her lodge there is plenty of meat." The man begged to be cured of his blindness. The mno'za told him to dive three times in the lake. He dived, and after the third plunge he came out seeing as well as ever. He looked about for his wife until he found her. She had plenty of meat. He cut off her breasts, killing her, and fed the mno'za with them. Then he took his child and looked for his people. After a while he found them. He married a second time, and lived in seclusion with his wife. Once he went to fight against another tribe and was killed. His wife and child were captured. The captors ran away, but met a party of Stoneys, who were about to kill the woman, but spared her when she was heard speaking Stoney. Thus she rejoined her tribe.
After some time had elapsed, the enchanted youth's
comrade said, "I am going to follow my comrade." He set out and
reached the white man's house. His friend's wife came to meet him
and mistook him for her husband. "Where is my comrade?" "It is
yourself." "No, tell me where he is." "No, it is yourself, let us
two go home and eat." She took him home, and he ate. She would not
let him go, thinking he was her husband, but finally he escaped.
1 Recorded by Mr. Skinner among the
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Anthropological Papers American Museum of Natural History, 1909
Copyright Indian Mythology, 2006