Long ago, down where Two Medicine and
Badger Creeks come together, there lived an old man. He
had but one wife and two daughters. One day there came
to his camp a young man who was very brave and a great
hunter. The old man said: "Ah! I will have this young
man to help me. I will give him my daughters for wives."
So he gave him his daughters. He also gave this
son-in-law all his wealth, keeping for himself only a
little lodge, in which he lived with his old wife. The
son-in-law lived in a lodge that was big and fine.
At first the son-in-law was very
good to the old people. Whenever he killed anything, he
gave them part of the meat, and furnished plenty of
robes and skins for their bedding and clothing. But
after a while he began to be very mean to them.
Now the son-in-law kept the buffalo
hidden under a big log jam in the river. Whenever he
wanted to kill anything, he would have the old man go to
help him; and the old man would stamp on the log jam and
frighten the buffalo, and when they ran out, the young
man would shoot one or two, never killing wastefully.
But often he gave the old people nothing to eat, and
they were hungry all the time, and began to grow thin
One morning, the young man called
his father-in-law to go down to the log jam and hunt
with him. They started, and the young man killed a fat
buffalo cow. Then he said to the old man, "Hurry back
now, and tell your children to get the dogs and carry
this meat home, then you can have something to eat." And
the old man did as he had been ordered, thinking to
himself: "Now, at last, my son-in-law has taken pity on
me. He will give me part of this meat." When he returned
with the dogs, they skinned the cow, cut up the meat and
packed it on the dog travois, and went home. Then the
young man had his wives unload it, and told his
father-in-law to go home. He did not give him even a
piece of liver. Neither would the older daughter give
her parents anything to eat, but the younger took pity
on the old people and stole a piece of meat, and when
she got a chance threw it into the lodge to the old
people. The son-in-law told his wives not to give the
old people anything to eat. The only way they got food
was when the younger woman would throw them a piece of
meat unseen by her husband and sister.
Another morning, the son-in-law got
up early, and went and kicked on the old man's lodge to
wake him, and called him to get up and help him, to go
and pound on the log jam to drive out the buffalo, so
that he could kill some. When the old man pounded on the
jam, a buffalo ran out, and the son-in-law shot it, but
only wounded it. It ran away, but at last fell down and
died. The old man followed it, and came to where it had
lost a big clot of blood from its wound. When he came to
where this clot of blood was lying on the ground, he
stumbled and fell, and spilled his arrows out of his
quiver; and while he was picking them up, he picked up
also the clot of blood, and hid it in his quiver. "What
are you picking up?" called out the son-in-law.
"Nothing," said the old man; "I just fell down and
spilled my arrows, and am putting them back." "Curse
you, old man," said the son-in-law, "you are lazy and
useless. Go back and tell your children to come with the
dogs and get this dead buffalo." He also took away his
bow and arrows from the old man.
The old man went home and told his
daughters, and then went over to his own lodge, and said
to his wife: "Hurry now, and put the kettle on the fire.
I have brought home something from the butchering."
"Ah!" said the old woman, "has our son-in-law been
generous, and given us something nice?" "No," answered
the old man; "hurry up and put the kettle on." When the
water began to boil, the old man tipped his quiver up
over the kettle, and immediately there came from the pot
a noise as of a child crying, as if it were being hurt,
burnt or scalded. They looked in the kettle, and saw
there a little boy, and they quickly took it out of the
water. They were very much surprised. The old woman made
a lashing to put the child in, and then they talked
about it. They decided that if the son-in-law knew that
it was a boy, he would kill it, so they resolved to tell
their daughters that the baby was a girl. Then he would
be glad, for he would think that after a while he would
have it for a wife. They named the child K[)u]t-o'-yis
(Clot of Blood).
The son-in-law and his wives came
home, and after a while he heard the child crying. He
told his youngest wife to go and find out whether that
baby was a boy or a girl; if it was a boy, to tell them
to kill it. She came back and told them that it was a
girl. He did not believe this, and sent his oldest wife
to find out the truth of the matter. When she came back
and told him the same thing, he believed that it was
really a girl. Then he was glad, for he thought that
when the child had grown up he would have another wife.
He said to his youngest wife, "Take some pemmican over
to your mother; not much, just enough so that there will
be plenty of milk for the child."
Now on the fourth day the child
spoke, and said, "Lash me in turn to each one of these
lodge poles, and when I get to the last one, I will fall
out of my lashing and be grown up." The old woman did
so, and as she lashed him to each lodge pole he could be
seen to grow, and finally when they lashed him to the
last pole, he was a man. After K[)u]t-o'-yis had looked
about the inside of the lodge, he looked out through a
hole in the lodge covering, and then, turning round, he
said to the old people: "How is it there is nothing to
eat in this lodge? I see plenty of food over by the
other lodge." "Hush up," said the old woman, "you will
be heard. That is our son-in-law. He does not give us
anything at all to eat." "Well," said K[)u]t-o'-yis,
"where is your pis'kun?" The old woman said, "It is down
by the river. We pound on it and the buffalo come out."
Then the old man told him how his
son-in-law abused him. "He has taken my weapons from me,
and even my dogs; and for many days we have had nothing
to eat, except now and then a small piece of meat our
daughter steals for us."
"Father," said K[)u]t-o'-yis, "have
you no arrows?" "No, my son," he replied; "but I have
yet four stone points."
"Go out then and get some wood,"
said K[)u]t-o'-yis. "We will make a bow and arrows. In
the morning we will go down and kill something to eat."
Early in the morning K[)u]t-o'-yis
woke the old man, and said, "Come, we will go down now
and kill when the buffalo come out." When they had
reached the river, the old man said: "Here is the place
to stand and shoot. I will go down and drive them out."
As he pounded on the jam, a fat cow ran out, and
K[)u]t-o'-yis killed it.
Meantime the son-in-law had gone
out, and as usual knocked on the old man's lodge, and
called to him to get up and go down to help him kill.
The old woman called to him that her husband had already
gone down. This made the son-in-law very angry. He said:
"I have a good mind to kill you right now, old woman. I
guess I will by and by."
The son-in-law went on down to the
jam, and as he drew near, he saw the old man bending
over, skinning a buffalo. "Old man," said he, "stand up
and look all around you. Look well, for it will be your
last look." Now when he had seen the son-in-law coming,
K[)u]t-o'-yis had lain down and hidden himself behind
the buffalo's carcass. He told the old man to say to his
son-in-law, "You had better take your last look, for I
am going to kill you, right now." The old man said this.
"Ah!" said the son-in-law, "you make me angrier still,
by talking back to me." He put an arrow to his bow and
shot at the old man, but did not hit him. K[)u]t-o'-yis
told the old man to pick up the arrow and shoot it back
at him, and he did so. Now they shot at each other four
times, and then the old man said to K[)u]t-o'-yis: "I am
afraid now. Get up and help me." So K[)u]t-o'-yis got up
on his feet and said: "Here, what are you doing? I think
you have been badly treating this old man for a long
Then the son-in-law smiled
pleasantly, for he was afraid of K[)u]t-o'-yis. "Oh,
no," he said, "no one thinks more of this old man than I
do. I have always taken great pity on him."
Then K[)u]t-o'-yis said: "You lie.
I am going to kill you now." He shot him four times, and
the man died. Then K[)u]t-o'-yis told the old man to go
and bring down the daughter who had acted badly toward
him. He did so, and K[)u]t-o'-yis killed her. Then he
went up to the lodges and said to the younger woman,
"Perhaps you loved your husband." "Yes," she said, "I
love him." So he killed her, too. Then he said to the
old people: "Go over there now, and live in that lodge.
There is plenty there to eat, and when it is gone I will
kill more. As for myself, I will make a journey around
about. Where are there any people? In what direction?"
"Well," said the old man, "up above here on Badger Creek
and Two Medicine, where the pis'kun is, there are some
K[)u]t-o'-yis went up to where the
pis'kun was, and saw there many lodges of people. In the
centre of the camp was a large lodge, with a figure of a
bear painted on it. He did not go into this lodge, but
went into a very small one near by, where two old women
lived; and when he went in, he asked them for something
to eat. They set before him some lean dried meat and
some belly fat. "How is this?" he asked. "Here is a
pis'kun with plenty of fat meat and back fat. Why do you
not give me some of that?" "Hush," said the old women.
"In that big lodge near by, lives a big bear and his
wives and children. He takes all those nice things and
leaves us nothing. He is the chief of this place."
Early in the morning, K[)u]t-o'-yis
told the old women to get their dog travois, and harness
it, and go over to the pis'kun, and that he was going to
kill for them some fat meat. He reached there just about
the time the buffalo were being driven in, and shot a
cow, which looked very scabby, but was really very fat.
Then he helped the old women to butcher, and when they
had taken the meat to camp, he said to them, "Now take
all the choice fat pieces, and hang them up so that
those who live in the bear lodge will notice them."
They did this, and pretty soon the
old chief bear said to his children: "Go out now, and
look around. The people have finished killing by this
time. See where the nicest pieces are, and bring in some
nice back fat." A young bear went out of the lodge,
stood up and looked around, and when it saw this meat
close by, at the old women's lodge, it went over and
began to pull it down. "Hold on there," said
K[)u]t-o'-yis. "What are you doing here, taking the old
women's meat?" and he hit him over the head with a stick
that he had. The young bear ran home crying, and said to
his father, "A young man has hit me on the head." Then
all the bears, the father and mother, and uncles and
aunts, and all the relations, were very angry, and all
rushed out toward the old women's lodge.
K[)u]t-o'-yis killed them all,
except one little child bear, a female, which escaped.
"Well," said K[)u]t-o'-yis, "you can go and breed bears,
so there will be more."
Then said K[)u]t-o'-yis to the old
women: "Now, grand-mothers, where are there any more
people? I want to travel around and see them." The old
women said: "The nearest ones are at the point of rocks
(on Sun River). There is a pis'kun there." So
K[)u]t-o'-yis traveled off toward this place, and when
he reached the camp, he entered an old woman's lodge.
The old woman set before him a
plate of bad food. "How is this?" he asked. "Have you
nothing better than this to set before a stranger? You
have a pis'kun down there, and must get plenty of fat
meat. Give me some pemmican." "We cannot do that," the
old woman replied, "because there is a big snake here,
who is chief of the camp. He not only takes the best
pieces, but often he eats a handsome young woman, when
he sees one." When K[)u]t-o'-yis heard this he was
angry, and went over and entered the snake's lodge. The
women were cooking up some sarvis berries. He picked up
the dish, and ate the berries, and threw the dish out of
the door. Then he went over to where the snake was lying
asleep, pricked him with his knife, and said: "Here, get
up. I have come to see you." This made the snake angry.
He partly raised himself up and began to rattle, when
K[)u]t-o'-yis cut him into pieces with his knife. Then
he turned around and killed all his wives and children,
except one little female snake, which escaped by
crawling into a crack in the rocks. "Oh, well," said
K[)u]t-o'-yis, "you can go and breed young snakes, so
there will be more. The people will not be afraid of
little snakes." K[)u]t-o'-yis said to the old woman,
"Now you go into this snake's lodge and take it for
yourself, and everything that is in it."
Then he asked them where there were
some more people. They told him that there were some
people down the river, and some up in the mountains. But
they said: "Do not go there, for it is bad, because
Ai-sin'-o-ko-ki (Wind Sucker) lives there. He will kill
you." It pleased K[)u]t-o'-yis to know that there was
such a person, and he went to the mountains. When he got
to the place where Wind Sucker lived, he looked into his
mouth, and could see many dead people there, some
skeletons and some just dead. He went in, and there he
saw a fearful sight. The ground was white as snow with
the bones of those who had died. There were bodies with
flesh on them; some were just dead, and some still
living. He spoke to a living person, and asked, "What is
that hanging down above us?" The person answered that it
was Wind Sucker's heart. Then said K[)u]t-o'-yis: "You
who still draw a little breath, try to shake your heads
(in time to the song), and those who are still able to
move, get up and dance. Take courage now, we are going
to have the ghost dance." So K[)u]t-o'-yis bound his
knife, point upward, to the top of his head and began to
dance, singing the ghost song, and all the others danced
with him; and as he danced up and down, the point of the
knife cut Wind Sucker's heart and killed him.
K[)u]t-o'-yis took his knife and cut through Wind
Sucker's ribs, and freed those who were able to crawl
out, and said to those who could still travel to go and
tell their people that they should come here for the
ones who were still alive but unable to walk.
Then he asked some of these people:
"Where are there any other people? I want to visit all
the people." They said to him: "There is a camp to the
westward up the river, but you must not take the
left-hand trail going up, because on that trail lives a
woman, a handsome woman, who invites men to wrestle with
her and then kills them. You must avoid her." This was
what K[)u]t-o'-yis was looking for. This was his
business in the world, to kill off all the bad things.
So he asked the people just where this woman lived, and
asked where it was best to go to avoid her. He did this,
because he did not wish the people to know that he
wanted to meet her.
He started on his way, and at
length saw this woman standing by the trail. She called
out to him, "Come here, young man, come here; I want to
wrestle with you." "No," replied the young man, "I am in
a hurry. I cannot stop." But the woman called again,
"No, no, come now and wrestle once with me." When she
had called him four times, K[)u]t-o'-yis went up to her.
Now on the ground, where this woman wrestled with
people, she had placed many broken and sharp flints,
partly hiding them by the grass. They seized each other,
and began to wrestle over these broken flints, but
K[)u]t-o'-yis looked at the ground and did not step on
them. He watched his chance, and suddenly gave the woman
a wrench, and threw her down on a large sharp flint,
which cut her in two; and the parts of her body fell
Then K[)u]t-o'-yis went on, and
after a while came to where a woman kept a sliding
place; and at the far end of it there was a rope, which
would trip people up, and when they were tripped, they
would fall over a high cliff into deep water, where a
great fish would eat them. When this woman saw him
coming, she cried out, "Come over here, young man, and
slide with me." "No," he replied, "I am in a hurry." She
kept calling him, and when she had called the fourth
time, he went over to slide with her. "This sliding,"
said the woman, "is a very pleasant pastime." "Ah!" said
K[)u]t-o'-yis, "I will look at it." He looked at the
place, and, looking carefully, he saw the hidden rope.
So he started to slide, and took out his knife, and when
he reached the rope, which the woman had raised, he cut
it, and when it parted, the woman fell over backward
into the water, and was eaten up by the big fish.
Again he went on, and after a while
he came to a big camp. This was the place of a
man-eater. K[)u]t-o'-yis called a little girl he saw
near by, and said to her: "Child, I am going into that
lodge to let that man-eater kill and eat me. Watch
close, therefore, and when you can get hold of one of my
bones, take it out and call all the dogs, and when they
have all come up to you, throw it down and cry out, 'K[)u]t-o'-yis,
the dogs are eating your bones!'"
Then K[)u]t-o'-yis entered the
lodge, and when the man-eater saw him, he cried out, "O'ki,
O'ki," and seemed glad to see him, for he was a fat
young man. The man-eater took a large knife, and went up
to K[)u]t-o'-yis, and cut his throat, and put him into a
great stone kettle to cook. When the meat was cooked, he
drew the kettle from the fire, and ate the body, limb by
limb, until it was all eaten up.
Then the little girl, who was
watching, came up to him, and said, "Pity me, man-eater,
my mother is hungry and asks you for those bones." So
the old man bunched them up together and handed them to
her. She took them out, and called all the dogs to her,
and threw the bones down to the dogs, crying out, "Look
out, K[)u]t-o'-yis; the dogs are eating you!" and when
she said that, K[)u]t-o'-yis arose from the pile of
Again he went into the lodge, and
when the man-eater saw him, he cried out, "How, how,
how! the fat young man has survived," and seemed
surprised. Again he took his knife and cut K[)u]t-o'-yis'
throat, and threw him into the kettle. Again, when the
meat was cooked, he ate it up, and again the little girl
asked for the bones, which he gave her; and, taking them
out, she threw them to the dogs, crying, "K[)u]t-o'-yis,
the dogs are eating you!" and K[)u]t-o'-yis again arose
from the bones.
When the man-eater had cooked him
four times, he again went into the lodge, and, seizing
the man-eater, he threw him into the boiling kettle, and
his wives and children too, and boiled them to death.
The man-eater was the seventh and
last of the bad animals and people who were destroyed by