Once Old Man
was traveling, and becoming tired he sat down on a rock
to rest. After a while he started to go on, and because
the sun was hot he threw his robe over the rock, saying:
"Here, I give you my robe, because you are poor and have
let me rest on you. Always keep it."
He had not gone very far, when it
began to rain, and meeting a coyote he said: "Little
brother, run back to that rock, and ask him to lend me
his robe. We will cover ourselves with it and keep dry."
So the coyote ran back to the rock, but returned without
the robe. "Where is the robe?" asked Old Man. "Sai-yah!"
replied the coyote. "The rock said you gave him the
robe, and he was going to keep it."
Then Old Man was very angry, and
went back to the rock and jerked the robe off it,
saying: "I only wanted to borrow this robe until the
rain was over, but now that you have acted so mean about
it, I will keep it. You don't need a robe anyhow. You
have been out in the rain and snow all your life, and it
will not hurt you to live so always."
With the coyote he went off into a
coulee, and sat down. The rain was falling, and they
covered themselves with the robe and were very
comfortable. Pretty soon they heard a loud noise, and
Old Man told the coyote to go up on the hill and see
what it was. Soon he came running back, saying, "Run,
run, the big rock is coming"; and they both ran away as
fast as they could. The coyote tried to crawl into a
badger hole, but it was too small for him and he stuck
fast, and before he could get out, the rock rolled over
him and crushed his hind parts. Old Man was scared, and
as he ran he threw off his robe and what clothes he
could, so that he might run faster. The rock kept
gaining on him all the time.
Not far off was a band of buffalo
bulls, and Old Man cried out to them, saying, "Oh my
brothers, help me, help me. Stop that rock." The bulls
ran and tried to stop it, but it crushed their heads.
Some deer and antelope tried to help Old Man, but they
were killed, too. A lot of rattlesnakes formed
themselves into a lariat, and tried to catch it; but
those at the noose end were all cut to pieces. The rock
was now close to Old Man, so close that it began to hit
his heels; and he was about to give up, when he saw a
flock of bull bats circling over his head. "Oh my little
brothers," he cried, "help me. I am almost dead." Then
the bull bats flew down, one after another, against the
rock; and every time one of them hit it he chipped off a
piece, and at last one hit it fair in the middle and
broke it into two pieces.
Then Old Man was very glad. He went
to where there was a nest of bull bats, and made the
young ones' mouths very wide and pinched off their
bills, to make them pretty and queer looking. That is
the reason they look so today.
The Theft from the
Once Old Man
was traveling around, when he came to the Sun's lodge,
and the Sun asked him to stay a while. Old Man was very
glad to do so.
One day the meat was all gone, and
the Sun said, "Kyi! Old Man, what say you if we go and
kill some deer?"
"You speak well," replied Old Man.
"I like deer meat."
The Sun took down a bag and pulled
out a beautiful pair of leggings. They were embroidered
with porcupine quills and bright feathers. "These," said
the Sun, "are my hunting leggings. They are great
medicine. All I have to do is to put them on and walk
around a patch of brush, when the leggings set it on
fire and drive the deer out so that I can shoot them."
"Hai-yah!" exclaimed Old Man. "How
wonderful!" He made up his mind he would have those
leggings, if he had to steal them.
They went out to hunt, and the
first patch of brush they came to, the Sun set on fire
with his hunting leggings. A lot of white-tail deer ran
out, and they each shot one.
That night, when they went to bed,
the Sun pulled off his leggings and placed them to one
side. Old Man saw where he put them, and in the middle
of the night, when every one was asleep, he stole them
and went off. He traveled a long time, until he had gone
far and was very tired, and then, making a pillow of the
leggings, lay down and slept. In the morning, he heard
some one talking. The Sun was saying, "Old Man, why are
my leggings under your head?" He looked around, and saw
he was in the Sun's lodge, and thought he must have
wandered around and got lost, and returned there. Again
the Sun spoke and said, "What are you doing with my
leggings?" "Oh," replied Old Man, "I couldn't find
anything for a pillow, so I just put these under my
Night came again, and again Old Man
stole the leggings and ran off. This time he did not
walk at all; he just kept running until pretty near
morning, and then lay down and slept. You see what a
fool he was. He did not know that the whole world is the
Sun's lodge. He did not know that, no matter how far he
ran, he could not get out of the Sun's sight. When
morning came, he found himself still in the Sun's lodge.
But this time the Sun said: "Old Man, since you like my
leggings so much, I will give them to you. Keep them."
Then Old Man was very glad and went away.
One day his food was all gone, so
he put on the medicine leggings and set fire to a piece
of brush. He was just going to kill some deer that were
running out, when he saw that the fire was getting close
to him. He ran away as fast as he could, but the fire
gained on him and began to burn his legs. His leggings
were all on fire. He came to a river and jumped in, and
pulled off the leggings as soon as he could. They were
burned to pieces.
Perhaps the Sun did this to him
because he tried to steal the leggings.
There was once
a man who had two bad wives. They had no shame. The man
thought if he moved away where there were no other
people, he might teach these women to become good, so he
moved his lodge away off on the prairie. Near where they
camped was a high butte, and every evening about
sundown, the man would go up on top of it, and look all
over the country to see where the buffalo were feeding,
and if any enemies were approaching. There was a buffalo
skull on the hill, which he used to sit on.
"This is very lonesome," said one
woman to the other, one day. "We have no one to talk
with nor to visit."
"Let us kill our husband," said the
other. "Then we will go back to our relations and have a
Early in the morning, the man went
out to hunt, and as soon as he was out of sight, his
wives went up on top of the butte. There they dug a deep
pit, and covered it over with light sticks, grass, and
dirt, and placed the buffalo skull on top.
In the afternoon they saw their
husband coming home, loaded down with meat he had
killed. So they hurried to cook for him. After eating,
he went up on the butte and sat down on the skull. The
slender sticks gave way, and he fell into the pit. His
wives were watching him, and when they saw him
disappear, they took down the lodge, packed everything
on the dog travois, and moved off, going toward the main
camp. When they got near it, so that the people could
hear them, they began to cry and mourn.
"Why is this?" they were asked.
"Why are you mourning? Where is your husband?"
"He is dead," they replied. "Five
days ago he went out to hunt, and he never came back."
And they cried and mourned again.
When the man fell into the pit, he
was hurt. After a while he tried to get out, but he was
so badly bruised he could not climb up. A wolf,
travelling along, came to the pit and saw him, and
pitied him. Ah-h-w-o-o-o-o! Ah-h-w-o-o-o-o! he howled,
and when the other wolves heard him they all came
running to see what was the matter. There came also many
coyotes, badgers, and kit-foxes.
"In this hole," said the wolf, "is
my find. Here is a fallen-in man. Let us dig him out,
and we will have him for our brother."
They all thought the wolf spoke
well, and began to dig. In a little while they had a
hole close to the man. Then the wolf who found him said,
"Hold on; I want to speak a few words to you." All the
animals listening, he continued, "We will all have this
man for our brother, but I found him, so I think he
ought to live with us big wolves." All the others said
that this was well; so the wolf went into the hole, and
tearing down the rest of the dirt, dragged the almost
dead man out. They gave him a kidney to eat, and when he
was able to walk a little, the big wolves took him to
their home. Here there was a very old blind wolf, who
had powerful medicine. He cured the man, and made his
head and hands look like those of a wolf. The rest of
his body was not changed.
In those days the people used to
make holes in the pis'kun walls and set snares, and when
wolves and other animals came to steal meat, they were
caught by the neck. One night the wolves all went down
to the pis'kun to steal meat, and when they got close to
it, the man-wolf said: "Stand here a little while. I
will go down and fix the places, so you will not be
caught." He went on and sprung all the snares; then he
went back and called the wolves and others, the coyotes,
badgers, and foxes, and they all went in the pis'kun and
feasted, and took meat to carry home.
In the morning the people were
surprised to find the meat gone, and their nooses all
drawn out. They wondered how it could have been done.
For many nights the nooses were drawn and the meat
stolen; but once, when the wolves went there to steal,
they found only the meat of a scabby bull, and the
man-wolf was angry, and cried out:
The people heard him, and said: "It
is a man-wolf who has done all this. We will catch him."
So they put pemmican and nice back fat in the pis'kun,
and many hid close by. After dark the wolves came again,
and when the man-wolf saw the good food, he ran to it
and began eating. Then the people all rushed in and
caught him with ropes and took him to a lodge. When they
got inside to the light of the fire, they knew at once
who it was. They said, "This is the man who was lost."
"No," said the man, "I was not
lost. My wives tried to kill me. They dug a deep hole,
and I fell into it, and I was hurt so badly that I could
not get out; but the wolves took pity on me and helped
me, or I would have died there."
When the people heard this, they
were angry, and they told the man to do something.
"You say well," he replied. "I give
those women to the I-kun-uh'-kah-tsi; they know what to
After that night the two women were
never seen again.