Thunder you have heard him,
he is everywhere. He roars in the mountains,
he shouts far out on the prairie. He strikes
the high rocks, and they fall to pieces. He
hits a tree, and it is broken in slivers. He
strikes the people, and they die. He is bad.
He does not like the towering cliff, the
standing tree, or living man. He likes to
strike and crush them to the ground. Yes,
yes! Of all he is most powerful; he is the
one most strong. But I have not told you the
worst: he sometimes steals women.
Long ago, almost in the
beginning, a man and his wife were sitting
in their lodge, when Thunder came and struck
them. The man was not killed. At first he
was as if dead, but after a while he lived
again, and rising looked about him. His wife
was not there. "Oh, well," he thought, "she
has gone to get some water or wood," and he
sat a while; but when the sun had
under-disappeared, he went out and inquired
about her of the people. No one had seen
her. He searched throughout the camp, but
did not find her. Then he knew that Thunder
had stolen her, and he went out on the hills
alone and mourned.
When morning came, he
rose and wandered far away, and he asked all
the animals he met if they knew where
Thunder lived. They laughed, and would not
answer. The Wolf said: "Do you think we
would seek the home of the only one we fear?
He is our only danger. From all others we
can run away; but from him there is no
running. He strikes, and there we lie. Turn
back! go home! Do not look for the
dwelling-place of that dreadful one." But
the man kept on, and traveled far away. Now
he came to a lodge, a queer lodge, for it
was made of stone; just like any other
lodge, only it was made of stone. Here lived
the Raven chief. The man entered.
"Welcome, my friend,"
said the chief of Ravens. "Sit down, sit
down." And food was placed before him.
Then, when he had
finished eating, the Raven said, "Why have
"Thunder has stolen my
wife," replied the man. "I seek his
dwelling-place that I may find her."
"Would you dare enter
the lodge of that dreadful person?" asked
the Raven. "He lives close by here. His
lodge is of stone, like this; and hanging
there, within, are eyes, the eyes of those
he has killed or stolen. He has taken out
their eyes and hung them in his lodge. Now,
then, dare you enter there?"
"No," replied the man.
"I am afraid. What man could look at such
dreadful things and live?"
"No person can," said
the Raven. "There is but one old Thunder
fears. There is but one he cannot kill. It
is I, it is the Ravens. Now I will give you
medicine, and he shall not harm you. You
shall enter there, and seek among those eyes
your wife's; and if you find them, tell that
Thunder why you came, and make him give them
to you. Here, now, is a raven's wing. Just
point it at him, and he will start back
quick; but if that fail, take this. It is an
arrow, and the shaft is made of elk-horn.
Take this, I say, and shoot it through the
"Why make a fool of
me?" the poor man asked. "My heart is sad. I
am crying." And he covered his head with his
robe, and wept.
"Oh," said the Raven,
"you do not believe me. Come out, come out,
and I will make you believe." When they
stood outside, the Raven asked, "Is the home
of your people far?"
"A great distance,"
said the man.
"Can you tell how many
days you have traveled?"
"No," he replied, "my
heart is sad. I did not count the days. The
berries have grown and ripened since I
"Can you see your camp
from here?" asked the Raven.
The man did not speak.
Then the Raven rubbed some medicine on his
eyes and said, "Look!" The man looked, and
saw the camp. It was close. He saw the
people. He saw the smoke rising from the
"Now you will believe,"
said the Raven. "Take now the arrow and the
wing, and go and get your wife."
So the man took these
things, and went to the Thunder's lodge. He
entered and sat down by the doorway. The
Thunder sat within and looked at him with
awful eyes. But the man looked above, and
saw those many pairs of eyes. Among them
were those of his wife.
"Why have you come?"
said the Thunder in a fearful voice.
"I seek my wife," the
man replied, "whom you have stolen. There
hang her eyes."
"No man can enter my
lodge and live," said the Thunder; and he
rose to strike him. Then the man pointed the
raven wing at the Thunder, and he fell back
on his couch and shivered. But he soon
recovered, and rose again. Then the man
fitted the elk-horn arrow to his bow, and
shot it through the lodge of rock; right
through that lodge of rock it pierced a
jagged hole, and let the sunlight in.
"Hold," said the
Thunder. "Stop; you are the stronger. Yours
the great medicine. You shall have your
wife. Take down her eyes." Then the man cut
the string that held them, and immediately
his wife stood beside him.
"Now," said the
Thunder, "you know me. I am of great power.
I live here in summer, but when winter
comes, I go far south. I go south with the
birds. Here is my pipe. It is medicine. Take
it, and keep it. Now, when I first come in
the spring, you shall fill and light this
pipe, and you shall pray to me, you and the
people. For I bring the rain which makes the
berries large and ripe. I bring the rain
which makes all things grow, and for this
you shall pray to me, you and all the
Thus the people got the
first medicine pipe. It was long ago.