Indian Mythology | Blackfoot Mythology

The Rock


     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 Sun

     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 head."

     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.

The Wolf Man

     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 good time."

     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: "Bad-you-give-us-o-o-o! Bad-you-give-us-o-o-o-o!"

     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 do."

     After that night the two women were never seen again.

Blackfoot Mythology

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