| In the earliest times there
was no war. All the tribes were at peace. In those days
there was a man who had a daughter, a very beautiful
girl. Many young men wanted to marry her, but every time
she was asked, she only shook her head and said she did
not want a husband.
"How is this?" asked her
father. "Some of these young men are rich, handsome, and
"Why should I marry?" replied the girl. "I have
a rich father and mother. Our lodge is good. The
parfleches are never empty. There are plenty of tanned
robes and soft furs for winter. Why worry me, then?"
The Raven Bearers held a dance; they all dressed
carefully and wore their ornaments, and each one tried
to dance the best. Afterwards some of them asked for
this girl, but still she said no. Then the Bulls, the
Kit-foxes, and others of the I-kun-uh'-kah-tsi held
their dances, and all those who were rich, many great
warriors, asked this man for his daughter, but to every
one of them she said no. Then her father was angry, and
said: "Why, now, this way? All the best men have asked
for you, and still you say no. I believe you have a
"Ah!" said her mother. "What shame for us should
a child be born and our daughter still unmarried!"
"Father, mother!" replied the girl, "pity me. I have no
secret lover, but now hear the truth. That Above Person,
the Sun, told me, 'Do not marry any of those men, for
you are mine; thus you shall be happy, and live to great
age'; and again he said, 'Take heed. You must not marry.
You are mine.'"
"Ah!" replied her father. "It must always be as
he says." And they talked no more about it.
There was a poor young man, very poor. His
father, mother, all his relations, had gone to the Sand
Hills. He had no lodge, no wife to tan his robes or sew
his moccasins. He stopped in one lodge today, and
tomorrow he ate and slept in another; thus he lived. He
was a good-looking young man, except that on his cheek
he had a scar, and his clothes were always old and poor.
After those dances some of the young men met
this poor Scarface, and they laughed at him, and said:
"Why don't you ask that girl to marry you? You are so
rich and handsome!" Scarface did not laugh; he replied:
"Ah! I will do as you say. I will go and ask her." All
the young men thought this was funny. They laughed a
great deal. But Scarface went down by the river. He
waited by the river, where the women came to get water,
and by and by the girl came along. "Girl," he said,
"wait. I want to speak with you. Not as a designing
person do I ask you, but openly where the Sun looks
down, and all may see."
"Speak then," said the girl.
"I have seen the days," continued the young man
"You have refused those who are young, and rich, and
brave. Now, today, they laughed and said to me, 'Why do
you not ask her?' I am poor, very poor. I have no lodge,
no food, no clothes, no robes and warm furs. I have no
relations; all have gone to the Sand Hills; yet, now,
today, I ask you, take pity, be my wife."
The girl hid her face in her robe and brushed
the ground with the point of her moccasin, back and
forth, back and forth; for she was thinking. After a
time she said: "True. I have refused all those rich
young men, yet now the poor one asks me, and I am glad.
I will be your wife, and my people will be happy. You
are poor, but it does not matter. My father will give
you dogs. My mother will make us a lodge. My people will
give us robes and furs. You will be poor no longer."
Then the young man was happy, and he
started to kiss her, but she held him back, and said:
"Wait! The Sun has spoken to me. He says I may not
marry; that I belong to him. He says if I listen to him,
I shall live to great age. But now I say: Go to the Sun.
Tell him, 'She whom you spoke with heeds your words. She
has never done wrong, but now she wants to marry. I want
her for my wife.' Ask him to take that scar from your
face. That will be his sign. I will know he is pleased.
But if he refuses, or if you fail to find his lodge,
then do not return to me."
"Oh!" cried the young man, "at first your words
were good. I was glad. But now it is dark. My heart is
dead. Where is that far-off lodge? where the trail,
which no one yet has traveled?"
"Take courage, take courage!" said the girl; and
she went to her lodge.
Scarface was very sad. He sat down and covered
his head with his robe and tried to think what to do.
After a while he got up, and went to an old woman who
had been kind to him. "Pity me," he said. "I am very
poor. I am going away now on a long journey. Make me
"Where are you going?" asked the old woman.
"There is no war; we are very peaceful here."
"I do not know where I shall go," replied
Scarface. "I am in trouble, but I cannot tell you now
what it is."
So the old woman made him some moccasins, seven
pairs, with parfleche soles, and also she gave him a
sack of food, pemmican of berries, pounded meat, and
dried back fat; for this old woman had a good heart. She
liked the young man.
All alone, and with a sad heart, he climbed the
bluffs and stopped to take a last look at the camp. He
wondered if he would ever see his sweetheart and the
people again. " Hai'-yu! Pity me, O Sun," he prayed, and
turning, he started to find the trail.
For many days he traveled on, over great
prairies, along timbered rivers and among the mountains,
and every day his sack of food grew lighter; but he
saved it as much as he could, and ate berries, and
roots, and sometimes he killed an animal of some kind.
One night he stopped by the home of a wolf. "Hai-yah!"
said that one; "what is my brother doing so far from
"Ah!" replied Scarface, "I seek the place where
the Sun lives; I am sent to speak with him."
"I have traveled far," said the wolf. "I know
all the prairies, the valleys, and the mountains, but I
have never seen the Sun's home. Wait; I know one who is
very wise. Ask the bear. He may tell you."
The next day the man traveled on again, stopping
now and then to pick a few berries, and when night came
he arrived at the bear's lodge.
"Where is your home?" asked the bear. "Why are
you traveling alone, my brother?"
"Help me! Pity me!" replied the young man; "because
of her words1 I seek the
Sun. I go to ask him for her."
"I know not where he stops," replied the bear.
"I have traveled by many rivers, and I know the
mountains, yet I have never seen his lodge. There is
some one beyond, that striped-face, who is very smart.
Go and ask him."
The badger was in his hole. Stooping over, the
young man shouted: "Oh, cunning striped-face! Oh,
generous animal! I wish to speak with you."
"What do you want?" said the badger, poking his
head out of the hole.
"I want to find the Sun's home," replied
Scarface. "I want to speak with him."
"I do not know where he lives," replied the
badger. "I never travel very far. Over there in the
timber is a wolverine. He is always traveling around,
and is of much knowledge. Maybe he can tell you."
Then Scarface went to the woods and looked all
around for the wolverine, but could not find him. So he
sat down to rest "Hai'-yu! Hai'-yu!" he cried.
"Wolverine, take pity on me. My food is gone, my
moccasins worn out. Now I must die."
"What is it, my brother?" he heard, and looking
around, he saw the animal sitting near.
"She whom I would marry," said Scarface,
"belongs to the Sun; I am trying to find where he lives,
to ask him for her."
"Ah!" said the wolverine. "I know where he
lives. Wait; it is nearly night. Tomorrow I will show
you the trail to the big water. He lives on the other
side of it."
Early in the morning, the wolverine showed him
the trail, and Scarface followed it until he came to the
water's edge. He looked out over it, and his heart
almost stopped. Never before had any one seen such a big
water. The other side could not be seen, and there was
no end to it. Scarface sat down on the shore. His food
was all gone, his moccasins worn out. His heart was
sick. "I cannot cross this big water," he said. "I
cannot return to the people. Here, by this water, I
Not so. His Helpers were there. Two swans came
swimming up to the shore. "Why have you come here?" they
asked him. "What are you doing? It is very far to the
place where your people live."
"I am here," replied Scarface, "to die. Far
away, in my country, is a beautiful girl. I want to
marry her, but she belongs to the Sun. So I started to
find him and ask for her. I have traveled many days. My
food is gone. I cannot go back. I cannot cross this big
water, so I am going to die."
"No," said the swans; "it shall not be so.
Across this water is the home of that Above Person. Get
on our backs, and we will take you there."
Scarface quickly arose. He felt strong again. He
waded out into the water and lay down on the swans'
backs, and they started off. Very deep and black is that
fearful water. Strange people live there, mighty animals
which often seize and drown a person. The swans carried
him safely, and took him to the other side. Here was a
broad hard trail leading back from the water's edge.
"Kyi" said the swans. "You are now close to the
Sun's lodge. Follow that trail, and you will soon see
Scarface started up the trail, and pretty soon
he came to some beautiful things, lying in it. There was
a war shirt, a shield, and a bow and arrows. He had
never seen such pretty weapons; but he did not touch
them. He walked carefully around them, and traveled on.
A little way further on, he met a young man, the
handsomest person he had ever seen. His hair was very
long, and he wore clothing made of strange skins. His
moccasins were sewn with bright colored feathers. The
young man said to him, "Did you see some weapons lying
on the trail?"
"Yes," replied Scarface; "I saw them."
"But did you not touch them?" asked the young
"No; I thought some one had left them there, so
I did not take them."
"You are not a thief," said the young man. "What
is your name?"
"Where are you going?"
"To the Sun."
"My name," said the young man, "is A-pi-su'-ahts2.
The Sun is my father; come, I will take you to our
lodge. My father is not now at home, but he will come in
Soon they came to the lodge. It was very large
and handsome; strange medicine animals were painted on
it. Behind, on a tripod, were strange weapons and
beautiful clothes the Sun's. Scarface was ashamed to go
in, but Morning Star said, "Do not be afraid, my friend;
we are glad you have come."
They entered. One person was sitting there,
Ko-ko-mik'-e-is3, the Sun's
wife, Morning Star's mother. She spoke to Scarface
kindly, and gave him something to eat. "Why have you
come so far from your people?" she asked.
Then Scarface told her about the beautiful girl
he wanted to marry. "She belongs to the Sun," he said.
"I have come to ask him for her."
When it was time for the Sun to come home, the
Moon hid Scarface under a pile of robes. As soon as the
Sun got to the doorway, he stopped, and said, "I smell a
"Yes, father," said Morning Star; "a good young
man has come to see you. I know he is good, for he found
some of my things on the trail and did not touch them."
Then Scarface came out from under the robes, and
the Sun entered and sat down. "I am glad you have come
to our lodge," he said. "Stay with us as long as you
think best. My son is lonesome sometimes; be his
The next day the Moon called Scarface out of the
lodge, and said to him: "Go with Morning Star where you
please, but never hunt near that big water; do not let
him go there. It is the home of great birds which have
long sharp bills; they kill people. I have had many
sons, but these birds have killed them all. Morning Star
is the only one left."
So Scarface stayed there a long time and hunted
with Morning Star. One day they came near the water, and
saw the big birds.
"Come," said Morning Star; "let us go and kill
"No, no!" replied Scarface; "we must not go
there. Those are very terrible birds; they will kill
Morning Star would not listen. He ran towards
the water, and Scarface followed. He knew that he must
kill the birds and save the boy. If not, the Sun would
be angry and might kill him. He ran ahead and met the
birds, which were coming towards him to fight, and
killed every one of them with his spear: not one was
left. Then the young men cut off their heads, and
carried them home. Morning Star's mother was glad when
they told her what they had done, and showed her the
birds' heads. She cried, and called Scarface "my
son." When the Sun came home at night, she told him
about it, and he too was glad. "My son," he said to
Scarface, "I will not forget what you have this day done
for me. Tell me now, what can I do for you?"
"Hai'-yu" replied Scarface. "Hai'-yu, pity me. I
am here to ask you for that girl. I want to marry her. I
asked her, and she was glad; but she says you own her,
that you told her not to marry."
"What you say is true," said the Sun. "I have
watched the days, so I know it. Now, then, I give her to
you; she is yours. I am glad she has been wise. I know
she has never done wrong. The Sun pities good women.
They shall live a long time. So shall their husbands and
children. Now you will soon go home. Let me tell you
something. Be wise and listen: I am the only chief.
Everything is mine. I made the earth, the mountains,
prairies, rivers, and forests. I made the people and all
the animals. This is why I say I alone am the chief. I
can never die. True, the winter makes me old and weak,
but every summer I grow young again."
Then said the Sun: "What one of all animals is
smartest? The raven is, for he always finds food. He is
never hungry. Which one of all the animals is most
Nat-o'-ye 4? The buffalo is.
Of all animals, I like him best. He is for the people.
He is your food and your shelter. What part of his body
is sacred? The tongue is. That is mine. What else is
sacred? Berries are. They are mine too. Come with me and
see the world." He took Scarface to the edge of the sky,
and they looked down and saw it. It is round and flat,
and all around the edge is the jumping-off place [or
walls straight down]. Then said the Sun: "When any man
is sick or in danger, his wife may promise to build me a
lodge, if he recovers. If the woman is pure and true,
then I will be pleased and help the man. But if she is
bad, if she lies, then I will be angry. You shall build
the lodge like the world, round, with walls, but first
you must build a sweat house of a hundred sticks. It
shall be like the sky [a hemisphere], and half of it
shall be painted red. That is me. The other half you
will paint black. That is the night."
Further said the Sun: "Which is the best, the
heart or the brain? The brain is. The heart often lies,
the brain never." Then he told Scarface everything about
making the Medicine Lodge, and when he had finished, he
rubbed a powerful medicine on his face, and the scar
disappeared. Then he gave him two raven feathers,
saying: "These are the sign for the girl, that I give
her to you. They must always be worn by the husband of
the woman who builds a Medicine Lodge."
The young man was now ready to return home. Morning
Star and the Sun gave him many beautiful presents. The
Moon cried and kissed him, and called him "my son." Then
the Sun showed him the short trail. It was the Wolf Road
(Milky Way). He followed it, and soon reached the
It was a very hot day. All the lodge skins were
raised, and the people sat in the shade. There was a
chief, a very generous man, and all day long people kept
coming to his lodge to feast and smoke with him. Early
in the morning this chief saw a person sitting out on a
butte near by, close wrapped in his robe. The chief's
friends came and went, the sun reached the middle, and
passed on, down towards the mountains. Still this person
did not move. When it was almost night, the chief said:
"Why does that person sit there so long? The heat has
been strong, but he has never eaten nor drunk. He may be
a stranger; go and ask him in."
So some young men went up to him, and said: "Why
do you sit here in the great heat all day? Come to the
shade of the lodges. The chief asks you to feast with
Then the person arose and threw off his robe,
and they were surprised. He wore beautiful clothes. His
bow, shield, and other weapons were of strange make. But
they knew his face, although the scar was gone, and they
ran ahead, shouting, "The scarface poor young man has
come. He is poor no longer. The scar on his face is
All the people rushed out to see him. "Where
have you been?" they asked. "Where did you get all these
pretty things?" He did not answer. There in the crowd
stood that young woman; and taking the two raven
feathers from his head, he gave them to her, and said:
"The trail was very long, and I nearly died, but by
those Helpers, I found his lodge. He is glad. He sends
these feathers to you. They are the sign."
Great was her gladness then. They were married,
and made the first Medicine Lodge, as the Sun had said.
The Sun was glad. He gave them great age. They were
never sick. When they were very old, one morning, their
children said: "Awake! Rise and eat." They did not move.
In the night, in sleep, without pain, their shadows had
departed for the Sand Hills.
1: A Blackfoot often talks of what this
or that person said, without mentioning names.
2: Early Riser, i.e. The Morning Star.
3: Night red light, the Moon.
4: This word may be translated as "of
the Sun," "having Sun power," or more properly,