Blackfoot Lodge Tales
by George Bird Grinnell
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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 him."

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 gone."

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.




[Footnote 1: An account of the I-kun-uh'-kah-tsi, with a list of its different bands or societies and their duties, will be found in the chapter on Social Organization.]

The people had built a great pis'kun, very high and strong, so that no buffalo could escape; but somehow the buffalo would not jump over the cliff. When driven toward it, they would run nearly to the edge, and then, swerving to the right or left, they would go down the sloping hills and cross the valley in safety. So the people were hungry, and began to starve.

One morning, early, a young woman went to get water, and she saw a herd of buffalo feeding on the prairie, right on the edge of the cliff above the pis'kun. "Oh!" she cried out, "if you will only jump off into the pis'kun, I will marry one of you." This she said for fun, not meaning it, and great was her wonder when she saw the buffalo come jumping, tumbling, falling over the cliff.

Now the young woman was scared, for a big bull with one bound cleared the pis'kun walls and came toward her. "Come," he said, taking hold of her arm. "No, no!" she replied pulling back. "But you said if the buffalo would jump over, you would marry one; see, the pis'kun is filled." And without more talk he led her up over the bluff, and out on to the prairie.

When the people had finished killing the buffalo and cutting up the meat, they missed this young woman, and her relations were very sad, because they could not find her. Then her father took his bow and quiver, and said, "I will go and find her." And he went up over the bluff and out on the prairie.

After he had travelled some distance he came to a wallow, and a little way off saw a herd of buffalo. While sitting by the wallow,—for he was tired—and thinking what he should do, a magpie came and lit near him. "Ha! Ma-me-at-si-kim-i" he said, "you are a beautiful bird; help me. Look everywhere as you travel about, and if you see my daughter, tell her, 'Your father waits by the wallow.'" The magpie flew over by the herd of buffalo, and seeing the young woman, he lit on the ground near her, and commenced picking around, turning his head this way and that way, and, when close to her, he said, "Your father waits by the wallow." "Sh-h-h! sh-h-h!" replied the girl, in a whisper, looking around scared, for her bull husband was sleeping near by. "Don't speak so loud. Go back and tell him to wait."

"Your daughter is over there with the buffalo. She says 'wait!'" said the magpie, when he had flown back to the man.

By and by the bull awoke, and said to his wife, "Go and get me some water." Then the woman was glad, and taking a horn from his head she went to the wallow. "Oh, why did you come?" she said to her father. "You will surely be killed."

"I came to take my daughter home; come, let us hurry."

"No, no!" she replied; "not now. They would chase us and kill us. Wait till he sleeps again, and I will try to get away," and, filling the horn with water, she went back.

The bull drank a swallow of the water. "Ha!" said he, "a person is close by here."

"No one," replied the woman; but her heart rose up.

The bull drank a little more, and then he stood up and bellowed, "Bu-u-u! m-m-ah-oo!" Oh, fearful sound! Up rose the bulls, raised their short tails and shook them, tossed their great heads, and bellowed back. Then they pawed the dirt, rushed about here and there, and coming to the wallow, found that poor man. There they trampled him with their great hoofs, hooked him and trampled him again, and soon not even a small piece of his body could be seen.

Then his daughter cried, "Oh! ah! Ni-nah-ah! Oh! ah! Ni-nah-ah!" (My father! My father!) "Ah!" said her bull husband, "you mourn for your father. You see now how it is with us. We have seen our mothers, fathers, many of our relations, hurled over the rocky walls, and killed for food by your people. But I will pity you. I will give you one chance. If you can bring your father to life, you and he can go back to your people."

Then the woman said to the magpie: "Pity me. Help me now; go and seek in the trampled mud; try and find a little piece of my father's body, and bring it to me."

The magpie flew to the place. He looked in every hole, and tore up the mud with his sharp nose. At last he found something white; he picked the mud from around it, and then pulling hard, he brought out a joint of the backbone, and flew with it back to the woman.

She placed it on the ground, covered it with her robe, and then sang. Removing the robe, there lay her father's body as if just dead. Once more she covered it with the robe and sang, and when she took away the robe, he was breathing, and then he stood up. The buffalo were surprised; the magpie was glad, and flew round and round, making a great noise.

"We have seen strange things this day," said her bull husband. "He whom we trampled to death, even into small pieces, is alive again. The people's medicine is very strong. Now, before you go, we will teach you our dance and our song. You must not forget them."[1] When the dance was over, the bull said: "Go now to your home, and do not forget what you have seen. Teach it to the people. The medicine shall be a bull's head and a robe. All the persons who are to be 'Bulls' shall wear them when they dance."

[Footnote 1: Here the narrator repeated the song and showed the dance. As is fitting to the dance of such great beasts, the air is slow and solemn, and the step ponderous and deliberate.]

Great was the joy of the people, when the man returned with his daughter. He called a council of the chiefs, and told them all that had happened. Then the chiefs chose certain young men, and this man taught them the dance and song of the bulls, and told them what the medicine should be. This was the beginning of the I-kun-uh'-kah-tsi.



For a long time the buffalo had not been seen. The pis'kun was useless, and the hunters could find no food for the people. Then a man who had two wives, a daughter, and two sons, said: "I shall not stop here to die. To-morrow we will move toward the mountains, where we shall perhaps find deer and elk, sheep and antelope, or, if not, at least we shall find plenty of beaver and birds. Thus we shall survive."

When morning came, they packed the travois, lashed them on the dogs, and then moved out. It was yet winter, and they travelled slowly. They were weak, and could go but a little way in a day. The fourth night came, and they sat in their lodge, very tired and hungry. No one spoke, for those who are hungry do not care for words. Suddenly the dogs began to bark, and soon, pushing aside the door-curtain, a young man entered.

"O'kyi!" said the old man, and he motioned the stranger to a sitting-place.

They looked at this person with surprise and fear, for there was a black wind[1] which had melted the snow, and covered the prairie with water, yet this person's leggings and moccasins were dry. They sat in silence a long time.

[Footnote 1: The "Chinook."]

Then said he: "Why is this? Why do you not give me some food?"

"Ah!" replied the old man, "you behold those who are truly poor. We have no food. For many days the buffalo did not come in sight, and we shot deer and other animals which people eat, and when all these had been killed, we began to starve. Then said I, 'We will not stay here to starve to death'; and we started for the mountains. This is the fourth night of our travels."

"Ah!" said the young man. "Then your travels are ended. Close by here, we are camped by our pis'kun. Many buffalo have been run in, and our parfleches are filled with dried meat. Wait; I will go and bring you some."

As soon as he went out, they began to talk about this strange person. They were very much afraid of him, and did not know what to do. The children began to cry, and the women were trying to quiet them, when the young man returned, bringing some meat and three pis-tsi-ko'-an.[2]

[Footnote 2: Unborn buffalo calves.]

"Kyi!" said he. "To-morrow move over to our lodges. Do not be afraid. No matter what strange things you see, do not fear. All will be your friends. Now, one thing I caution you about. In this be careful. If you should find an arrow lying about, in the pis'kun, or outside, no matter where, do not touch it; neither you, nor your wives nor children." Having said this, he went out.

Then the old man took his pipe and smoked and prayed, saying: "Hear now, Sun! Listen, Above People. Listen, Under Water People. Now you have taken pity. Now you have given us food. We are going to those strange ones, who walk through water with dry moccasins. Protect us among those to-be-feared people. Let us survive. Man, woman, child, give us long life; give us long life!"

Once more the smell of roasting meat. The children played. They talked and laughed who had so long been silent. They ate plenty and lay down and slept.

Early in the morning, as soon as the sun rose, they took down their lodge, packed up, and started for the strange camp. They found it was a wonderful place. There by the pis'kun, and far up and down the valley were the lodges of meat-eaters. They could not see them all, but close by they saw the lodges of the Bear band, the Fox band, and the Badger band. The father of the young man who had given them meat was chief of the Wolf band, and by that band they pitched their lodge. Ah! That was a happy place. Food there was plenty. All day people shouted out for feasts, and everywhere was heard the sound of drums and song and dancing.

The new-comers went to the pis'kun for meat, and one of the children found an arrow lying on the ground. It was a beautiful arrow, the stone point long and sharp, the shaft round and straight. All around the people were busy; no one was looking. The boy picked up the arrow and hid it under his robe. Then there was a fearful noise. All the animals howled and growled, and ran toward him. But the chief Wolf said: "Hold! We will let him go this time; for he is young yet, and not of good sense." So they let him go.

When night came, some one shouted out for a feast, saying: "Wo'-ka-hit! Wo'-ka-hit! Mah-kwe'-i-ke-tum-ok-ah-wah-hit. Ke-tŭk'-ka-pŭk'-si-pim." ("Listen! Listen! Wolf, you are to feast. Enter with your friend.") "We are asked," said the chief Wolf to his new friend, and together they went to the lodge.

Within, the fire burned brightly, and many men were already there, the old and wise of the Raven band. Hanging behind the seats were the writings[1] of many deeds. Food was placed before them,—pemmican of berries and dried back fat; and when they had eaten, a pipe was lighted. Then spoke the Raven chief: "Now, Wolf, I am going to give our new friend a present. What say you?"

[Footnote 1: That is, the painting on cowskin of the various battles and adventures in which the owner of the lodge had taken part.]

"It is as you say," replied the Wolf. "Our new friend will be glad."

Then the Raven chief took from the long parfleche sack a slender stick, beautifully dressed with many colored feathers; and on the end of it was fastened the skin of a raven, head, wings, feet, and all. "We," he said, "are the Mas-to-pah'-ta-kiks (Raven carriers, or those who bear the Raven). Of all the above animals, of all the flyers, where is one so smart? None. The Raven's eyes are sharp. His wings are strong. He is a great hunter and never hungry. Far, far off on the prairie he sees his food, and deep hidden in the pines it does not escape his eye. Now the song and the dance."

When he had finished singing and dancing, he gave the stick to the man, and said: "Take it with you, and when you have returned to your people, you shall say: Now there are already the Bulls, and he who is the Raven chief says: 'There shall be more, there shall be the I-kun-uh'-kah-tsi, so that the people may survive, and of them shall be the Raven carriers.' You will call a council of the chiefs and wise old men, and they will choose the persons. Teach them the song and the dance, and give them the medicine. It shall be theirs forever."

Soon they heard another person shouting for a feast, and, going, they entered the lodge of the Sin-o-pah chief. Here, too, were the old men assembled. After they had eaten of that set before them, the chief said: "Those among whom you are newly arrived are generous. They do not look at their possessions, but give to the stranger and pity the poor. The Kit-fox is a little animal, but what one is smarter? None. His hair is like the dead prairie grass. His eyes are sharp, his feet noiseless, his brain cunning. His ears receive the far-off sound. Here is our medicine, take it." And he gave the stick. It was long, crooked at one end, wound with fur, and tied here and there to it were eagle feathers. At the end was a fox's skin. Again the chief said: "Hear our song. Do not forget it; and the dance, too, you must remember. When you get home, teach them to the people."

Again they heard the feast shout, and he who called was the Bear chief. Now when they had smoked, the chief said: "What say you, friend Wolf? Shall we give our new friend something?"

"As you say," replied the Wolf. "It is yours to give."

Then said the Bear: "There are many animals, and some of them are powerful. But the Bear is the strongest and bravest of all. He fears nothing, and is always ready to fight." Then he put on a necklace of bear claws, a belt of bear fur, and around his head a band of the fur; and sang and danced. When he had finished, he gave them to the man, saying: "Teach the people our song and dance, and give them this medicine. It is powerful."

It was now very late. The Seven Persons had arrived at midnight, yet again they heard the feast shout from the far end of camp. In this lodge the men were painted with streaks of red and their hair was all brushed to one side. After the feast the chief said: "We are different from all the others here. We are called the Mut-siks[1] We are death. We know not fear. Even if our enemies are in number like the grass, we do not turn away, but fight and conquer. Bows are good weapons. Spears are better, but our weapon is the knife." Then the chief sang and danced, and afterwards he gave the Wolf's friend the medicine. It was a long knife, and many scalps were tied on the handle. "This," he said, "is for the I-kun-uh'-kah-tsi."

[Footnote 1: Brave, courageous.]

Once more they were called to a feast and entered the Badger chief's lodge. He taught the man the Badger song and dance and gave him the medicine. It was a large rattle, ornamented with beaver claws and bright feathers. They smoked two pipes in the Badger's lodge, and then went home and slept.

Early next day, the man and his family took down their lodge, and prepared to move camp. Many women came and made them presents of dried meat, pemmican, and berries. They were given so much they could not take it all with them. It was many days before they joined the main camp, for the people, too, had moved to the south after buffalo. As soon as the lodge was pitched, the man called all the chiefs to come and feast, and he told them all he had seen, and showed them the medicines. The chiefs chose certain young men for the different bands, and this man taught them the songs and dances, and gave each band their medicine.


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 travelled 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 you come?"

"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 lodge."

"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 travelled?"

"No," he replied, "my heart is sad. I did not count the days. The berries have grown and ripened since I left."

"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 lodges.

"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 door-way. 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 people."

Thus the people got the first medicine pipe. It was long ago.


This story goes back many years, to a time before the Indians went to war against each other. Then there was peace among all the tribes. They met, and did not kill each other. They had no guns and they had no horses. When two tribes met, the head chiefs would take each a stick and touch each other. Each had counted a coup on the other, and they then went back to their camps. It was more a friendly than a hostile ceremony.

Oftentimes, when a party of young men had gone to a strange camp, and had done this to those whom they had visited, they would come back to their homes and would tell the girls whom they loved that they had counted a coup on this certain tribe of people. After the return of such a party, the young women would have a dance. Each one would wear clothing like that of the man she loved, and as she danced, she would count a coup, saying that she herself had done the deed which her young lover had really done. Such was the custom of the people.

There was a chief in a camp who had three wives, all very pretty women. He used to say to these women, whenever a dance was called: "Why do not you go out and dance too? Perhaps you have some one in the camp that you love, and for whom you would like to count a coup" Then the women would say, "No, we do not wish to join the dance; we have no lovers."

There was in the camp a poor young man, whose name was Api-kunni. He had no relations, and no one to tan robes or furs for him, and he was always badly clad and in rags. Whenever he got some clothing, he wore it as long as it would hold together. This young man loved the youngest wife of the chief, and she loved him. But her parents were not rich, and they could not give her to Api-kŭnni, and when the chief wanted her for a wife, they gave her to him. Sometimes Api-kŭnni and this girl used to meet and talk together, and he used to caution her, saying, "Now be careful that you do not tell any one that you see me." She would say, "No, there is no danger; I will not let it be known."

One evening, a dance was called for the young women to dance, and the chief said to his wives: "Now, women, you had better go to this dance. If any of you have persons whom you love, you might as well go and dance for them." Two of them said: "No, we will not go. There is no one that we love." But the third said, "Well, I think I will go and dance." The chief said to her, "Well, go then; your lover will surely dress you up for the dance."

The girl went to where Api-kŭnni as living in an old woman's lodge, very poorly furnished, and told him what she was going to do, and asked him to dress her for the dance. He said to her: "Oh, you have wronged me by coming here, and by going to the dance. I told you to keep it a secret." The girl said: "Well, never mind; no one will know your dress. Fix me up, and I will go and join the dance anyway." "Why," said Api-kŭnni, "I never have been to war. I have never counted any coups. You will go and dance and will have nothing to say. The people will laugh at you." But when he found that the girl wanted to go, he painted her forehead with red clay, and tied a goose skin, which he had, about her head, and lent her his badly tanned robe, which in spots was hard like a parfleche. He said to her, "If you will go to the dance, say, when it comes your turn to speak, that when the water in the creeks gets warm, you are going to war, and are going to count a coup on some people."

The woman went to the dance, and joined in it. All the people were laughing at her on account of her strange dress,—a goose skin around her head, and a badly tanned robe about her. The people in the dance asked her: "Well, what are you dancing for? What can you tell?" The woman said, "I am dancing here to-day, and when the water in the streams gets warm next spring, I am going to war; and then I will tell you what I have done to any people." The chief was standing present, and when he learned who it was that his young wife loved, he was much ashamed and went to his lodge.

When the dance was over, this young woman went to the lodge of the poor young man to give back his dress to him. Now, while she had been gone, Api-kŭnni had been thinking over all these things, and he was very much ashamed. He took his robe and his goose skin and went away. He was so ashamed that he went away at once, travelling off over the prairie, not caring where he went, and crying all the time. As he wandered away, he came to a lake, and at the foot of this lake was a beaver dam, and by the dam a beaver house. He walked out on the dam and on to the beaver house. There he stopped and sat down, and in his shame cried the rest of the day, and at last he fell asleep on the beaver house.

While he slept, he dreamed that a beaver came to him—a very large beaver—and said: "My poor young man, come into my house. I pity you, and will give you something that will help you." So Api-kŭnni got up, and followed the beaver into the house. When he was in the house, he awoke, and saw sitting opposite him a large white beaver, almost as big as a man. He thought to himself, "This must be the chief of all the beavers, white because very old." The beaver was singing a song. It was a very strange song, and he sang it a long time. Then he said to Api-kŭnni, "My son, why are you mourning?" and the young man told him everything that had happened, and how he had been shamed. Then the beaver said: "My son, stay here this winter with me. I will provide for you. When the time comes, and you have learned our songs and our ways, I will let you go. For a time make this your home." So Api-k)u]nni stayed there with the beaver, and the beaver taught him many strange things. All this happened in the fall.

Now the chief in the camp missed this poor young man, and he asked the people where he had gone. No one knew. They said that the last that had been seen of him he was travelling toward the lake where the beaver dam was.

Api-kŭnni had a friend, another poor young man named Wolf Tail, and after a while, Wolf Tail started out to look for his friend. He went toward this lake, looking everywhere, and calling out his name. When he came to the beaver house, he kicked on the top and called, "Oh, my brother, are you here?" Api-kŭnni answered him, and said: "Yes, I am here. I was brought in while I was asleep, and I cannot give you the secret of the door, for I do not know it myself." Wolf Tail said to him, "Brother, when the weather gets warm a party is going to start from camp to war." Api-kŭnni said: "Go home and try to get together all the moccasins you can, but do not tell them that I am here. I am ashamed to go back to the camp. When the party starts, come this way and bring me the moccasins, and we two will start from here." He also said: "I am very thin. The beaver food here does not agree with me. We are living on the bark of willows." Wolf Tail went back to the camp and gathered together all the moccasins that he could, as he had been asked to do.

When the spring came, and the grass began to start, the war party set out. At this time the beaver talked to Apikunni a long time, and told him many things. He dived down into the water, and brought up a long stick of aspen wood, cut off from it a piece as long as a man's arm, trimmed the twigs off it, and gave it to the young man. "Keep this," the beaver said, "and when you go to war take it with you." The beaver also gave him a little sack of medicine, and told him what he must do.

When the party started out, Wolf Tail came to the beaver house, bringing the moccasins, and his friend came out of the house. They started in the direction the party had taken and travelled with them, but off to one side. When they stopped at night, the two young men camped by themselves.

They travelled for many days, until they came to Bow River, and found that it was very high. On the other side of the river, they saw the lodges of a camp. In this camp a man was making a speech, and Api-kŭnni said to his friend, "Oh, my brother, I am going to kill that man to-day, so that my sweetheart may count coup on him." These two were at a little distance from the main party, above them on the river. The people in the camp had seen the Blackfeet, and some had come down to the river. When Api-kunni had said this to Wolf Tail, he took his clothes off and began to sing the song the beaver had taught him. This was the song:—

I am like an island, For on an island I got my power. In battle I live While people fall away from me.

While he sang this, he had in his hand the stick which the beaver had given him. This was his only weapon.

He ran to the bank, jumped in and dived, and came up in the middle of the river, and started to swim across. The rest of the Blackfeet saw one of their number swimming across the river, and they said to each other: "Who is that? Why did not some one stop him?" While he was swimming across, the man who had been making the speech saw him and went down to meet him. He said: "Who can this man be, swimming across the river? He is a stranger. I will go down and meet him, and kill him." As the boy was getting close to the shore, the man waded out in the stream up to his waist, and raised his knife to stab the swimmer. When Api-kŭnni got near him, he dived under the water and came up close to the man, and thrust the beaver stick through his body, and the man fell down in the water and died. Api-kŭnni caught the body, and dived under the water with it, and came up on the other side where he had left his friend. Then all the Blackfeet set up the war whoop, for they were glad, and they could hear a great crying in the camp. The people there were sorry for the man who was killed.

People in those days never killed one another, and this was the first man ever killed in war.

They dragged the man up on the bank, and Api-kŭnni said to his brother, "Cut off those long hairs on the head." The young man did as he was told. He scalped him and counted coup on him; and from that time forth, people, when they went to war, killed one another and scalped the dead enemy, as this poor young man had done. Two others of the main party came to the place, and counted coup on the dead body, making four who had counted coup. From there, the whole party turned about and went back to the village whence they had come.

When they came in sight of the lodges, they sat down in a row facing the camp. The man who had killed the enemy was sitting far in front of the others. Behind him sat his friend, and behind Wolf Tail, sat the two who had counted coup on the body. So these four were strung out in front of the others. The chief of the camp was told that some people were sitting on a hill near by, and when he had gone out and looked, he said: "There is some one sitting way in front. Let somebody go out and see about it." A young man ran out to where he could see, and when he had looked, he ran back and said to the chief, "Why, that man in front is the poor young man."

The old chief looked around, and said: "Where is that young woman, my wife? Go and find her." They went to look for her, and found her out gathering rosebuds, for while the young man whom she loved was away, she used to go out and gather rosebuds and dry them for him. When they found her, she had her bosom full of them. When she came to the lodge, the chief said to her: "There is the man you love, who has come. Go and meet him." She made ready quickly and ran out and met him. He said: "Give her that hair of the dead man. Here is his knife. There is the coat he had on, when I killed him. Take these things back to the camp, and tell the people who made fun of you that this is what you promised them at the time of that dance."

The whole party then got up and walked to the camp. The woman took the scalp, knife and coat to the lodge, and gave them to her husband. The chief invited Api-kunni to come to his lodge to visit him. He said: "I see that you have been to war, and that you have done more than any of us have ever done. This is a reason why you should be a chief. Now take my lodge and this woman, and live here. Take my place and rule these people. My two wives will be your servants." When Api-kunni heard this, and saw the young woman sitting there in the lodge, he could not speak. Something seemed to rise up in his throat and choke him.

So this young man lived in the camp and was known as their chief.

After a time, he called his people together in council and told them of the strange things the beaver had taught him, and the power that the beaver had given him. He said: "This will be a benefit to us while we are a people now, and afterward it will be handed down to our children, and if we follow the words of the beaver we will be lucky. This seed the beaver gave me, and told me to plant it every year. When we ask help from the beaver, we will smoke this plant."

This plant was the Indian tobacco, and it is from the beaver that the Blackfeet got it. Many strange things were taught this man by the beaver, which were handed down and are followed till to-day.


A small stone, which is usually a fossil shell of some kind, is known by the Blackfeet as I-nis'-kim, the buffalo stone. This object is strong medicine, and, as indicated in some of these stories, gives its possessor great power with buffalo. The stone is found on the prairie, and the person who succeeds in obtaining one is regarded as very fortunate. Sometimes a man, who is riding along on the prairie, will hear a peculiar faint chirp, such as a little bird might utter. The sound he knows is made by a buffalo rock. He stops and searches on the ground for the rock, and if he cannot find it, marks the place and very likely returns next day, either alone or with others from the camp, to look for it again. If it is found, there is great rejoicing. How the first buffalo rock was obtained, and its power made known, is told in the following story.

Long ago, in the winter time, the buffalo suddenly disappeared. The snow was so deep that the people could not move in search of them, for in those days they had no horses. So the hunters killed deer, elk, and other small game along the river bottoms, and when these were all killed off or driven away, the people began to starve.

One day, a young married man killed a jack-rabbit. He was so hungry that he ran home as fast as he could, and told one of his wives to hurry and get some water to cook it. While the young woman was going along the path to the river, she heard a beautiful song. It sounded close by, but she looked all around and could see no one. The song seemed to come from a cotton-wood tree near the path. Looking closely at this tree she saw a queer rock jammed in a fork, where the tree was split, and with it a few hairs from a buffalo, which had rubbed there. The woman was frightened and dared not pass the tree. Pretty soon the singing stopped, and the I-nis'-kim [buffalo rock] spoke to the woman and said: "Take me to your lodge, and when it is dark, call in the people and teach them the song you have just heard. Pray, too, that you may not starve, and that the buffalo may come back. Do this, and when day comes, your hearts will be glad."

The woman went on and got some water, and when she came back, took the rock and gave it to her husband, telling him about the song and what the rock had said. As soon as it was dark, the man called the chiefs and old men to his lodge, and his wife taught them this song. They prayed, too, as the rock had said should be done. Before long, they heard a noise far off. It was the tramp of a great herd of buffalo coming. Then they knew that the rock was very powerful, and, ever since that, the people have taken care of it and prayed to it.

[NOTE.—I-nis'-kims are usually small Ammonites, or sections of Baculites, or sometimes merely oddly shaped nodules of flint. It is said of them that if an I-nis'-kim is wrapped up and left undisturbed for a long time, it will have young ones; two small stones similar in shape to the original one will be found in the package with it.]


There was once a man who was very fond of his wife. After they had been married for some time they had a child, a boy. After that, the woman got sick, and did not get well. The young man did not wish to take a second woman. He loved his wife so much. The woman grew worse and worse. Doctoring did not seem to do her any good. At last she died. The man used to take his baby on his back and travel out, walking over the hills crying. He kept away from the camp. After some time, he said to the little child: "My little boy, you will have to go and live with your grandmother. I am going to try and find your mother, and bring her back." He took the baby to his mother's lodge, and asked her to take care of it, and left it with her. Then he started off, not knowing where he was going nor what he was going to do.

He travelled toward the Sand Hills. The fourth night out he had a dream. He dreamed that he went into a little lodge, in which lived an old woman. This old woman said to him, "Why are you here, my son?" He said: "I am mourning day and night, crying all the while. My little son, who is the only one left me, also mourns." "Well," said the old woman, "for whom are you mourning?" He said: "I am mourning for my wife. She died some time ago. I am looking for her." "Oh!" said the old woman, "I saw her. She passed this way. I myself am not powerful medicine, but over by that far butte lives another old woman. Go to her, and she will give you power to enable you to continue your journey. You could not go there by yourself without help. Beyond the next butte from her lodge, you will find the camp of the ghosts."

The next morning he awoke and went on to the next butte. It took him a long day to get there, but he found no lodge there, so he lay down and went to sleep. Again he dreamed. In his dream, he saw a little lodge, and an old woman came to the door-way and called him. He went in, and she said to him: "My son, you are very poor. I know why you have come this way. You are seeking your wife, who is now in the ghost country. It is a very hard thing for you to get there. You may not be able to get your wife back, but I have great power, and I will do all I can for you. If you do exactly as I tell you, you may succeed." She then spoke to him with wise words, telling him what he should do. Also she gave him a bundle of medicine, which would help him on his journey.

Then she said: "You stay here for a while, and I will go over there [to the ghosts' camp], and try to bring some of your relations; and if I am able to bring them back, you may return with them, but on the way you must shut your eyes. If you should open them and look about you, you would die. Then you would never come back. When you get to the camp, you will pass by a big lodge, and they will say to you, 'Where are you going, and who told you to come here?' You will reply, 'My grandmother, who is standing out here with me, told me to come.' They will try to scare you. They will make fearful noises, and you will see strange and terrible things; but do not be afraid."

Then the old woman went away, and after a time came back with one of the man's relations. He went with this relation to the ghosts' camp. When they came to the big lodge, some one called out and asked the man what he was doing, and he answered as the old woman had told him to do. As he passed on through the camp, the ghosts tried to scare him with all kinds of fearful sights and sounds, but he kept up a brave heart.

He came to another lodge, and the man who owned it came out, and asked him where he was going. He said: "I am looking for my dead wife, I mourn for her so much that I cannot rest. My little boy, too, keeps crying for his mother. They have offered to give me other wives, but I do not want them. I want the one for whom I am searching."

The ghost said to him: "It is a fearful thing that you have come here. It is very likely that you will never go away. There never was a person here before." The ghost asked him to come into the lodge, and he went.

Now this chief ghost said to him: "You will stay here four nights, and you will see your wife; but you must be very careful or you will never go back. You will die right here."

Then the chief went outside and called out for a feast, inviting this man's father-in-law and other relations, who were in the camp, saying, "Your son-in-law invites you to a feast," as if to say that their son-in-law was dead, and had become a ghost, and had arrived at the ghost camp.

Now when these invited people, the relations and some of the principal men of the camp, had reached the lodge, they did not like to go in. They called out, "There is a person here." It seems as if there was something about him that they could not bear the smell of. The ghost chief burned sweet pine in the fire, which took away this smell, and the people came in and sat down. Then the host said to them: "Now pity this son-in-law of yours. He is seeking his wife. Neither the great distance nor the fearful sights that he has seen here have weakened his heart. You can see for yourselves he is tender-hearted. He not only mourns for his wife, but mourns because his little boy is now alone with no mother; so pity him and give him back his wife." The ghosts consulted among themselves, and one said to the person, "Yes, you will stay here four nights; then we will give you a medicine pipe, the Worm Pipe, and we will give you back your wife, and you may return to your home."

Now, after the third night, the chief ghost called together all the people, and they came, the man's wife with them. One of them came beating a drum; and following him was another ghost, who carried the Worm Pipe, which they gave to him. Then said the chief ghost: "Now, be very careful. Tomorrow you and your wife will start on your homeward journey. Your wife will carry the medicine pipe, and some of your relations are going along with you for four days. During this time, you must not open your eyes, or you will return here and be a ghost forever. You see that your wife is not now a person; but in the middle of the fourth day you will be told to look, and when you have opened your eyes, you will see that your wife has become a person, and that your ghost relations have disappeared."

His father-in-law spoke to him before he went away, and said: "When you get near home, you must not go at once into the camp. Let some of your relations know that you have arrived, and ask them to build a sweat house for you. Go into this sweat house and wash your body thoroughly, leaving no part of it, however small, uncleansed; for if you do you will be nothing [will die]. There is something about us ghosts difficult to remove. It is only by a thorough sweat that you can remove it. Take care, now, that you do as I tell you. Do not whip your wife, nor strike her with a knife, nor hit her with fire; for if you do, she will vanish before your eyes and return to the Sand Hills."

Now they left the ghost country to go home, and on the fourth day, the wife said to her husband, "Open your eyes." He looked about him and saw that those who had been with them had vanished, but he found that they were standing in front of the old woman's lodge by the butte. She came out and said: "Here, give me back those mysterious medicines of mine, which enabled you to accomplish your purpose." He returned them to her, and became then fully a person once more.

Now, when they drew near to the camp, the woman went on ahead, and sat down on a butte. Then some curious persons came out to see who it might be. As they approached, the woman called out to them: "Do not come any nearer. Go tell my mother and my relations to put up a lodge for us, a little way from camp, and to build a sweat house near by it." When this had been done, the man and his wife went in and took a thorough sweat, and then they went into the lodge, and burned sweet grass and purified their clothing and the Worm Pipe; and then their relations and friends came in to see them. The man told them where he had been, and how he had managed to get back his wife, and that the pipe hanging over the door-way was a medicine pipe, the Worm Pipe, presented to him by his ghost father-in-law. That is how the people came to possess the Worm Pipe. This pipe belongs to that band of the Piegans known as Esk'-sin-i-tup'piks, the Worm People.

Not long after this, in the night, this man told his wife to do something; and when she did not begin at once, he picked up a brand from the fire, not that he intended to strike her with it, but he made as if he would hit her, when all at once she vanished, and was never seen again.


A long time ago there were four Blackfeet, who went to war against the Crees. They travelled a long way, and at last their horses gave out, and they started back toward their homes. As they were going along they came to the Sand Hills; and while they were passing through them, they saw in the sand a fresh travois trail, where people had been travelling.

One of the men said: "Let us follow this trail until we come up with some of our people. Then we will camp with them." They followed the trail for a long way, and at length one of the Blackfeet, named E-kūs'-kini,—a very powerful person,—said to the others: "Why follow this longer? It is just nothing." The others said: "Not so. These are our people. We will go on and camp with them." They went on, and toward evening, one of them found a stone maul and a dog travois. He said: "Look at these things. I know this maul and this travois. They belonged to my mother, who died. They were buried with her. This is strange." He took the things. When night overtook the men, they camped.

Early in the morning, they heard, all about them, sounds as if a camp of people were there. They heard a young man shouting a sort of war cry, as young men do; women chopping wood; a man calling for a feast, asking people to come to his lodge and smoke,—all the different sounds of the camp. They looked about, but could see nothing; and then they were frightened and covered their heads with their robes. At last they took courage, and started to look around and see what they could learn about this strange thing. For a little while they saw nothing, but pretty soon one of them said: "Look over there. See that pis'kun. Let us go over and look at it." As they were going toward it, one of them picked up a stone pointed arrow. He said: "Look at this. It belonged to my father. This is his place." They started to go on toward the pis'kun, but suddenly they could see no pis'kun. It had disappeared all at once.

A little while after this, one of them spoke up, and said: "Look over there. There is my father running buffalo. There! he has killed. Let us go over to him." They all looked where this man pointed, and they could see a person on a white horse, running buffalo. While they were looking, the person killed the buffalo, and got off his horse to butcher it. They started to go over toward him, and saw him at work butchering, and saw him turn the buffalo over on its back; but before they got to the place where he was, the person got on his horse and rode off, and when they got to where he had been skinning the buffalo, they saw lying on the ground only a dead mouse. There was no buffalo there. By the side of the mouse was a buffalo chip, and lying on it was an arrow painted red. The man said: "That is my father's arrow. That is the way he painted them." He took it up in his hands; and when he held it in his hands, he saw that it was not an arrow but a blade of spear grass. Then he laid it down, and it was an arrow again.

Another Blackfoot found a buffalo rock, I-nis'-kim.

Some time after this, the men got home to their camp. The man who had taken the maul and the dog travois, when he got home and smelled the smoke from the fire, died, and so did his horse. It seems that the shadow of the person who owned the things was angry at him and followed him home. Two others of these Blackfeet have since died, killed in war; but E-kūs'-kini is alive yet. He took a stone and an iron arrow point that had belonged to his father, and always carried them about with him. That is why he has lived so long. The man who took the stone arrow point found near the pis'kun, which had belonged to his father, took it home with him. This was his medicine. After that he was badly wounded in two fights, but he was not killed; he got well.

The one who took the buffalo rock, I-nis'-kim, it afterward made strong to call the buffalo into the pis'kun. He would take the rock and put it in his lodge close to the fire, where he could look at it, and would pray over it and make medicine. Sometimes he would ask for a hundred buffalo to jump into the pis'kun, and the next day a hundred would jump in. He was powerful.



All animals of the Plains at one time heard and knew him, and all birds of the air heard and knew him. All things that he had made understood him, when he spoke to them,—the birds, the animals, and the people.

Old Man was travelling about, south of here, making the people. He came from the south, travelling north, making animals and birds as he passed along. He made the mountains, prairies, timber, and brush first. So he went along, travelling northward, making things as he went, putting rivers here and there, and falls on them, putting red paint here and there in the ground,—fixing up the world as we see it to-day. He made the Milk River (the Teton) and crossed it, and, being tired, went up on a little hill and lay down to rest. As he lay on his back, stretched out on the ground, with arms extended, he marked himself out with stones,—the shape of his body, head, legs, arms, and everything. There you can see those rocks to-day. After he had rested, he went on northward, and stumbled over a knoll and fell down on his knees. Then he said, "You are a bad thing to be stumbling against"; so he raised up two large buttes there, and named them the Knees, and they are called so to this day. He went on further north, and with some of the rocks he carried with him he built the Sweet Grass Hills.

Old Man covered the plains with grass for the animals to feed on. He marked off a piece of ground, and in it he made to grow all kinds of roots and berries,—camas, wild carrots, wild turnips, sweet-root, bitter-root, sarvis berries, bull berries, cherries, plums, and rosebuds. He put trees in the ground. He put all kinds of animals on the ground. When he made the bighorn with its big head and horns, he made it out on the prairie. It did not seem to travel easily on the prairie; it was awkward and could not go fast. So he took it by one of its horns, and led it up into the mountains, and turned it loose; and it skipped about among the rocks, and went up fearful places with ease. So he said, "This is the place that suits you; this is what you are fitted for, the rocks and the mountains." While he was in the mountains, he made the antelope out of dirt, and turned it loose, to see how it would go. It ran so fast that it fell over some rocks and hurt itself. He saw that this would not do, and took the antelope down on the prairie, and turned it loose; and it ran away fast and gracefully, and he said, "This is what you are suited to."

One day Old Man determined that he would make a woman and a child; so he formed them both—the woman and the child, her son—of clay. After he had moulded the clay in human shape, he said to the clay, "You must be people," and then he covered it up and left it, and went away. The next morning he went to the place and took the covering off, and saw that the clay shapes had changed a little. The second morning there was still more change, and the third still more. The fourth morning he went to the place, took the covering off, looked at the images, and told them to rise and walk; and they did so. They walked down to the river with their Maker, and then he told them that his name was Na'pi, Old Man.

As they were standing by the river, the woman said to him, "How is it? will we always live, will there be no end to it?" He said: "I have never thought of that. We will have to decide it. I will take this buffalo chip and throw it in the river. If it floats, when people die, in four days they will become alive again; they will die for only four days. But if it sinks, there will be an end to them." He threw the chip into the river, and it floated. The woman turned and picked up a stone, and said: "No, I will throw this stone in the river; if it floats we will always live, if it sinks people must die, that they may always be sorry for each other."[1] The woman threw the stone into the water, and it sank. "There," said Old Man, "you have chosen. There will be an end to them."

[Footnote 1: That is, that their friends who survive may always remember them.]

It was not many nights after, that the woman's child died, and she cried a great deal for it. She said to Old Man: "Let us change this. The law that you first made, let that be a law." He said: "Not so. What is made law must be law. We will undo nothing that we have done. The child is dead, but it cannot be changed. People will have to die."

That is how we came to be people. It is he who made us.

The first people were poor and naked, and did not know how to get a living. Old Man showed them the roots and berries, and told them that they could eat them; that in a certain month of the year they could peel the bark off some trees and eat it, that it was good. He told the people that the animals should be their food, and gave them to the people, saying, "These are your herds." He said: "All these little animals that live in the ground—rats, squirrels, skunks, beavers—are good to eat. You need not fear to eat of their flesh." He made all the birds that fly, and told the people that there was no harm in their flesh, that it could be eaten. The first people that he created he used to take about through the timber and swamps and over the prairies, and show them the different plants. Of a certain plant he would say, "The root of this plant, if gathered in a certain month of the year, is good for a certain sickness." So they learned the power of all herbs. In those days there were buffalo. Now the people had no arms, but those black animals with long beards were armed; and once, as the people were moving about, the buffalo saw them, and ran after them, and hooked them, and killed and ate them. One day, as the Maker of the people was travelling over the country, he saw some of his children, that he had made, lying dead, torn to pieces and partly eaten by the buffalo. When he saw this he was very sad. He said: "This will not do. I will change this. The people shall eat the buffalo."

He went to some of the people who were left, and said to them, "How is it that you people do nothing to these animals that are killing you?" The people said: "What can we do? We have no way to kill these animals, while they are armed and can kill us." Then said the Maker: "That is not hard. I will make you a weapon that will kill these animals." So he went out, and cut some sarvis berry shoots, and brought them in, and peeled the bark off them. He took a larger piece of wood, and flattened it, and tied a string to it, and made a bow. Now, as he was the master of all birds and could do with them as he wished, he went out and caught one, and took feathers from its wing, and split them, and tied them to the shaft of wood. He tied four feathers along the shaft, and tried the arrow at a mark, and found that it did not fly well. He took these feathers off, and put on three; and when he tried it again, he found that it was good. He went out and began to break sharp pieces off the stones. He tried them, and found that the black flint stones made the best arrow points, and some white flints. Then he taught the people how to use these things.

Then he said: "The next time you go out, take these things with you, and use them as I tell you, and do not run from these animals. When they run at you, as soon as they get pretty close, shoot the arrows at them, as I have taught you; and you will see that they will run from you or will run in a circle around you."

Now, as people became plenty, one day three men went out on to the plain to see the buffalo, but they had no arms. They saw the animals, but when the buffalo saw the men, they ran after them and killed two of them, but one got away. One day after this, the people went on a little hill to look about, and the buffalo saw them, and said, "Saiyah, there is some more of our food," and they rushed on them. This time the people did not run. They began to shoot at the buffalo with the bows and arrows Na'pi had given them, and the buffalo began to fall; but in the fight a person was killed.

At this time these people had flint knives given them, and they cut up the bodies of the dead buffalo. It is not healthful to eat the meat raw, so Old Man gathered soft dry rotten driftwood and made punk of it, and then got a piece of hard wood, and drilled a hole in it with an arrow point, and gave them a pointed piece of hard wood, and taught them how to make a fire with fire sticks, and to cook the flesh of these animals and eat it.

They got a kind of stone that was in the land, and then took another harder stone and worked one upon the other, and hollowed out the softer one, and made a kettle of it. This was the fashion of their dishes.

Also Old Man said to the people: "Now, if you are overcome, you may go and sleep, and get power. Something will come to you in your dream, that will help you. Whatever these animals tell you to do, you must obey them, as they appear to you in your sleep. Be guided by them. If anybody wants help, if you are alone and travelling, and cry aloud for help, your prayer will be answered. It may be by the eagles, perhaps by the buffalo, or by the bears. Whatever animal answers your prayer, you must listen to him." That was how the first people got through the world, by the power of their dreams.

After this, Old Man kept on, travelling north. Many of the animals that he had made followed him as he went. The animals understood him when he spoke to them, and he used them as his servants. When he got to the north point of the Porcupine Mountains, there he made some more mud images of people, and blew breath upon them, and they became people. He made men and women. They asked him, "What are we to eat?" He made many images of clay, in the form of buffalo. Then he blew breath on these, and they stood up; and when he made signs to them, they started to run. Then he said to the people, "Those are your food." They said to him, "Well, now, we have those animals; how are we to kill them?" "I will show you," he said. He took them to the cliff, and made them build rock piles like this; and he made the people hide behind these piles of rock, and said, "When I lead the buffalo this way, as I bring them opposite to you, rise up."

After he had told them how to act, he started on toward a herd of buffalo. He began to call them, and the buffalo started to run toward him, and they followed him until they were inside the lines. Then he dropped back; and as the people rose up, the buffalo ran in a straight line and jumped over the cliff. He told the people to go and take the flesh of those animals. They tried to tear the limbs apart, but they could not. They tried to bite pieces out, and could not. So Old Man went to the edge of the cliff, and broke some pieces of stone with sharp edges, and told them to cut the flesh with these. When they had taken the skins from these animals, they set up some poles and put the hides on them, and so made a shelter to sleep under. There were some of these buffalo that went over the cliff that were not dead. Their legs were broken, but they were still alive. The people cut strips of green hide, and tied stones in the middle, and made large mauls, and broke in the skulls of the buffalo, and killed them.

After he had taught those people these things, he started off again, travelling north, until he came to where Bow and Elbow rivers meet. There he made some more people, and taught them the same things. From here he again went on northward. When he had come nearly to the Red Deer's River, he reached the hill where the Old Man sleeps. There he lay down and rested himself. The form of his body is to be seen there yet.

When he awoke from his sleep, he travelled further northward and came to a fine high hill. He climbed to the top of it, and there sat down to rest. He looked over the country below him, and it pleased him. Before him the hill was steep, and he said to himself, "Well, this is a fine place for sliding; I will have some fun," and he began to slide down the hill. The marks where he slid down are to be seen yet, and the place is known to all people as the "Old Man's Sliding Ground."

This is as far as the Blackfeet followed Old Man. The Crees know what he did further north.

In later times once, Na'pi said, "Here I will mark you off a piece of ground," and he did so.[1] Then he said: "There is your land, and it is full of all kinds of animals, and many things grow in this land. Let no other people come into it. This is for you five tribes (Blackfeet, Bloods, Piegans, Gros Ventres, Sarcees). When people come to cross the line, take your bows and arrows, your lances and your battle axes, and give them battle and keep them out. If they gain a footing, trouble will come to you."

[Footnote 1: The boundaries of this land are given as running east from a point in the summit of the Rocky Mountains west of Fort Edmonton, taking in the country to the east and south, including the Porcupine Hills, Cypress Mountains, and Little Rocky Mountains, down to the mouth of the Yellowstone on the Missouri; then west to the head of the Yellowstone, and across the Rocky Mountains to the Beaverhead; thence to the summit of the Rocky Mountains and north along them to the starting-point.]

Our forefathers gave battle to all people who came to cross these lines, and kept them out. Of late years we have let our friends, the white people, come in, and you know the result. We, his children, have failed to obey his laws.


This happened long ago. In those days the people were hungry. No buffalo nor antelope were seen on the prairie. The deer and the elk trails were covered with grass and leaves; not even a rabbit could be found in the brush. Then the people prayed, saying: "Oh, Old Man, help us now, or we shall die. The buffalo and deer are gone. Uselessly we kindle the morning fires; useless are our arrows; our knives stick fast in the sheaths."

Then Old Man started out to find the game, and he took with him a young man, the son of a chief. For many days they travelled the prairies and ate nothing but berries and roots. One day they climbed a high ridge, and when they had reached the top, they saw, far off by a stream, a single lodge.

"What kind of a person can it be," said the young man, "who camps there all alone, far from friends?"

"That," said Old Man, "is the one who has hidden all the buffalo and deer from the people. He has a wife and a little son."

Then they went close to the lodge, and Old Man changed himself into a little dog, and he said, "That is I." Then the young man changed himself into a root-digger,[1] and he said, "That is I."

[Footnote 1: A carved and painted stick about three feet long, shaped like a sacking needle, used by women to unearth roots.]

Now the little boy, playing about, found the dog, and he carried it to his father, saying, "Look! See what a pretty little dog I have found." "Throw it away," said his father; "it is not a dog." And the little boy cried, but his father made him carry the dog away. Then the boy found the root-digger; and, again picking up the dog, he carried them both to the lodge, saying, "Look, mother! see the pretty root-digger I have found!"

"Throw them both away," said his father; "that is not a stick, that is not a dog."

"I want that stick," said the woman; "let our son have the little dog."

"Very well," said her husband, "but remember, if trouble comes, you bring it on yourself and on our son." Then he sent his wife and son off to pick berries; and when they were out of sight, he went out and killed a buffalo cow, and brought the meat into the lodge and covered it up, and the bones, skin and offal he threw in the creek. When his wife returned, he gave her some of the meat to roast; and while they were eating, the little boy fed the dog three times, and when he gave it more, his father took the meat away, saying, "That is not a dog, you shall not feed it more."

In the night, when all were asleep, Old Man and the young man arose in their right shapes, and ate of the meat. "You were right," said the young man; "this is surely the person who has hidden the buffalo from us." "Wait," said Old Man; and when they had finished eating, they changed themselves back into the stick and the dog.

In the morning the man sent his wife and son to dig roots, and the woman took the stick with her. The dog followed the little boy. Now, as they travelled along in search of roots, they came near a cave, and at its mouth stood a buffalo cow. Then the dog ran into the cave, and the stick, slipping from the woman's hand, followed, gliding along like a snake. In this cave they found all the buffalo and other game, and they began to drive them out; and soon the prairie was covered with buffalo and deer. Never before were seen so many.

Pretty soon the man came running up, and he said to his wife, "Who now drives out my animals?" and she replied, "The dog and the stick are now in there." "Did I not tell you," said he, "that those were not what they looked like? See now the trouble you have brought upon us," and he put an arrow on his bow and waited for them to come out. But they were cunning, for when the last animal—a big bull—was about to go out, the stick grasped him by the hair under his neck, and coiled up in it, and the dog held on by the hair beneath, until they were far out on the prairie, when they changed into their true shapes, and drove the buffalo toward camp.

When the people saw the buffalo coming, they drove a big band of them to the pis'kun; but just as the leaders were about to jump off, a raven came and flapped its wings in front of them and croaked, and they turned off another way. Every time a band of buffalo was driven near the pis'kun, this raven frightened them away. Then Old Man knew that the raven was the one who had kept the buffalo cached.

So he went and changed himself into a beaver, and lay stretched out on the bank of the river, as if dead; and the raven, which was very hungry, flew down and began to pick at him. Then Old Man caught it by the legs and ran with it to camp, and all the chiefs came together to decide what should be done with it. Some said to kill it, but Old Man said, "No! I will punish it," and he tied it over the lodge, right in the smoke hole.

As the days went by, the raven grew poor and weak, and his eyes were blurred with the thick smoke, and he cried continually to Old Man to pity him. One day Old Man untied him, and told him to take his right shape, saying: "Why have you tried to fool Old Man? Look at me! I cannot die. Look at me! Of all peoples and tribes I am the chief. I cannot die. I made the mountains. They are standing yet. I made the prairies and the rocks. You see them yet. Go home, then, to your wife and your child, and when you are hungry hunt like any one else, or you shall die."


Now Old Man was walking along, and far off he saw many wolves; and when he came closer, he saw there the chief of the wolves, a very old one, and sitting around him were all his children.

Old Man said, "Pity me, Wolf Chief; make me into a wolf, that I may live your way and catch deer and everything that runs fast."

"Come near then," said the Wolf Chief, "that I may rub your body with my hands, so that hair will cover you."

"Hold," said Old Man; "do not cover my body with hair. On my head, arms, and legs only, put hair."

When the Chief Wolf had done so, he said to Old Man: "You shall have three companions to help you, one is a very swift runner, another a good runner, and the last is not very fast. Take them with you now, and others of my younger children who are learning to hunt, but do not go where the wind blows; keep in the shelter, or the young ones will freeze to death." Then they went hunting, and Old Man led them on the high buttes, where it was very cold.

At night, they lay down to sleep, and Old Man nearly froze; and he said to the wolves, "Cover me with your tails." So all the wolves lay down around him, and covered his body with their tails, and he soon got warm and slept. Before long he awoke and said angrily, "Take off those tails," and the wolves moved away; but after a little time he again became cold, and cried out, "Oh my young brothers, cover me with your tails or I shall freeze." So they lay down by him again and covered his body with their tails.

When it was daylight, they all rose and hunted. They saw some moose, and, chasing them, killed three. Now, when they were about to eat, the Chief Wolf came along with many of his children, and one wolf said, "Let us make pemmican of those moose"; and every one was glad. Then said the one who made pemmican, "No one must look, everybody shut his eyes, while I make the pemmican"; but Old Man looked, and the pemmican-maker threw a round bone and hit him on the nose, and it hurt. Then Old Man said, "Let me make the pemmican." So all the wolves shut their eyes, and Old Man took the round bone and killed the wolf who had hit him. Then the Chief Wolf was angry, and he said, "Why did you kill your brother?" "I didn't mean to," replied Old Man. "He looked and I threw the round bone at him, but I only meant to hurt him a little." Then said the Chief Wolf: "You cannot live with us any longer. Take one of your companions, and go off by yourselves and hunt." So Old Man took the swift runner, and they went and lived by themselves a long time; and they killed all the elk, and deer, and antelope, and moose they wanted.

One morning they awoke, and Old Man said: "Oh my young brother, I have had a bad dream. Hereafter, when you chase anything, if it jumps a stream, you must not follow it. Even a little spring you must not jump." And the wolf promised not to jump over water.

Now one day the wolf was chasing a moose, and it ran on to an island. The stream about it was very small; so the wolf thought: "This is such a little stream that I must jump it. That moose is very tired, and I don't think it will leave the island." So he jumped on to the island, and as soon as he entered the brush, a bear caught him, for the island was the home of the Chief Bear and his two brothers. Old Man waited a long time for the wolf to come back, and then went to look for him. He asked all the birds he met if they had seen him, but they all said they had not.

At last he saw a kingfisher, who was sitting on a limb overhanging the water. "Why do you sit there, my young brother?" said Old Man. "Because," replied the kingfisher, "the Chief Bear and his brothers have killed your wolf; they have eaten the meat and thrown the fat into the river, and whenever I see a piece come floating along, I fly down and get it." Then said Old Man, "Do the Bear Chief and his brothers often come out? and where do they live?" "They come out every morning to play," said the kingfisher; "and they live upon that island."

Old Man went up there and saw their tracks on the sand, where they had been playing, and he turned himself into a rotten tree. By and by the bears came out, and when they saw the tree, the Chief Bear said: "Look at that rotten tree. It is Old Man. Go, brothers, and see if it is not." So the two brothers went over to the tree, and clawed it; and they said, "No, brother, it is only a tree." Then the Chief Bear went over and clawed and bit the tree, and although it hurt Old Man, he never moved. Then the Bear Chief was sure it was only a tree, and he began to play with his brothers. Now while they were playing, and all were on their backs, Old Man leaned over and shot an arrow into each one of them; and they cried out loudly and ran back on the island. Then Old Man changed into himself, and walked down along the river. Pretty soon he saw a frog jumping along, and every time it jumped it would say, "Ni'-nah O-kyai'-yu!" And sometimes it would stop and sing:—

"Ni'-nah O-kyai'-yu! Ni'-nah O-kyai'-yu! Chief Bear! Chief Bear! Nap'-i I-nit'-si-wah Ni'-nah O-kyai'-yu!" Old Man kill him Chief Bear! "What do you say?" cried Old Man. The frog repeated what he had said.

"Ah!" exclaimed Old Man, "tell me all about it."

"The Chief Bear and his brothers," replied the frog, "were playing on the sand, when Old Man shot arrows into them. They are not dead, but the arrows are very near their hearts; if you should shove ever so little on them, the points would cut their hearts. I am going after medicine now to cure them."

Then Old Man killed the frog and skinned her, and put the hide on himself and swam back to the island, and hopped up toward the bears, crying at every step, "Ni'-nah O-kyai'-yu!" just as the frog had done.

"Hurry," cried the Chief Bear.

"Yes," replied Old Man, and he went up and shoved the arrow into his heart.

"I cured him; he is asleep now," he cried, and he went up and shoved the arrow into the biggest brother's heart. "I cured them; they are asleep now"; and he went up and shoved the arrow into the other bear's heart. Then he built a big fire and skinned the bears, and tried out the fat and poured it into a hollow in the ground; and he called all the animals to come and roll in it, that they might be fat. And all the animals came and rolled in it. The bears came first and rolled in it, that is the reason they get so fat. Last of all came the rabbits, and the grease was almost all gone; but they filled their paws with it and rubbed it on their backs and between their hind legs. That is the reason why rabbits have two such large layers of fat on their backs, and that is what makes them so fat between the hind legs.

[NOTE.—The four preceding stories show the serious side of Old Man's character. Those which follow represent him as malicious, foolish, and impotent.]


One day, as Old Man was walking about in the woods, he saw something very queer. A bird was sitting on the limb of a tree making a strange noise, and every time it made this noise, its eyes would go out of its head and fasten on the tree; then it would make another kind of a noise, and its eyes would come back to their places.

"Little Brother," cried Old Man, "teach me how to do that."

"If I show you how to do that," replied the bird, "you must not let your eyes go out of your head more than three times a day. If you do, you will be sorry."

"Just as you say, Little Brother. The trick is yours, and I will listen to you."

When the bird had taught Old Man how to do it, he was very glad, and did it three times right away. Then he stopped. "That bird has no sense," he said. "Why did he tell me to do it only three times? I will do it again, anyhow." So he made his eyes go out a fourth time; but now he could not call them back. Then he called to the bird, "Oh Little Brother, come help me get back my eyes." The little bird did not answer him. It had flown away. Then Old Man felt all over the trees with his hands, but he could not find his eyes; and he wandered about for a long time, crying and calling the animals to help him.

A wolf had much fun with him. The wolf had found a dead buffalo, and taking a piece of the meat which smelled bad, he would hold it close to Old Man. "I smell something dead," Old Man would say. "I wish I could find it; I am nearly starved to death." And he would feel all around for it. Once, when the wolf was doing this, Old Man caught him, and, plucking out one of his eyes, he put it in his own head. Then he could see, and was able to find his own eyes; but he could never again do the trick the little bird had taught him.


Once Old Man was travelling around, when he heard some very queer singing. He had never heard anything like this before, and looked all around to see who it was. At last he saw it was the cottontail rabbits, singing and making medicine. They had built a fire, and got a lot of hot ashes, and they would lie down in these ashes and sing while one covered them up. They would stay there only a short time though, for the ashes were very hot.

"Little Brothers," said Old Man, "that is very wonderful, how you lie in those hot ashes and coals without burning. I wish you would teach me how to do it."

"Come on, Old Man," said the rabbits, "we will show you how to do it. You must sing our song, and only stay in the ashes a short time." So Old Man began to sing, and he lay down, and they covered him with coals and ashes, and they did not burn him at all.

"That is very nice," he said. "You have powerful medicine. Now I want to know it all, so you lie down and let me cover you up."

So the rabbits all lay down in the ashes, and Old Man covered them up, and then he put the whole fire over them. One old rabbit got out, and Old Man was about to put her back when she said, "Pity me, my children are about to be born."

"All right," replied Old Man. "I will let you go, so there will be some more rabbits; but I will roast these nicely and have a feast." And he put more wood on the fire. When the rabbits were cooked, he cut some red willow brush and laid them on it to cool. The grease soaked into these branches, so, even to-day if you hold red willow over a fire, you will see the grease on the bark. You can see, too, that ever since, the rabbits have a burnt place on their backs, where the one that got away was singed.

Old Man sat down, and was waiting for the rabbits to cool a little, when a coyote came along, limping very badly. "Pity me, Old Man," he said, "you have lots of cooked rabbits; give me one of them."

"Go away," exclaimed Old Man. "If you are too lazy to catch your food, I will not help you."

"My leg is broken," said the coyote. "I can't catch anything, and I am starving. Just give me half a rabbit."

"I don't care if you die," replied Old Man. "I worked hard to cook all these rabbits, and I will not give any away. But I will tell you what we will do. We will run a race to that butte, way out there, and if you beat me you can have a rabbit."

"All right," said the coyote. So they started. Old Man ran very fast, and the coyote limped along behind, but close to him, until they got near to the butte. Then the coyote turned round and ran back very fast, for he was not lame at all. It took Old Man a long time to go back, and just before he got to the fire, the coyote swallowed the last rabbit, and trotted off over the prairie.


Once Old Man was fording a river, when the current carried him down stream, and he lost his weapons. He was very hungry, so he took the first wood he could find, and made a bow and arrows, and a handle for his knife and spear. When he had finished them, he started up a mountain. Pretty soon he saw a bear digging roots, and he thought he would have some fun, so he hid behind a log and called out, "No-tail animal, what are you doing?" The bear looked up, but, seeing no one, kept on digging.

Then Old Man called out again, "Hi! you dirt-eater!" and then he dodged back out of sight. Then the bear sat up again, and this time he saw Old Man and ran after him.

Old Man began shooting arrows at him, but the points only stuck in the skin, for the shafts were rotten and snapped off. Then he threw his spear, but that too was rotten, and broke. He tried to stab the bear, but his knife handle was also rotten and broke, so he turned and ran; and the bear pursued him. As he ran, he looked about for some weapon, but there was none, not even a rock. He called out to the animals to help him, but none came. His breath was almost gone, and the bear was very close to him, when he saw a bull's horn lying on the ground. He picked it up, placed it on his head, and, turning around, bellowed so loudly that the bear was scared and ran away.


Old Man was very hungry. He had been a long time without food, and was thinking how he could get something to eat, when he saw a band of elk on a ridge. So he went up to them and said, "Oh, my brothers, I am lonesome because I have no one to follow me."

"Go on, Old Man," said the elk, "we will follow you." Old Man led them about a long time, and when it was dark, he came near a high-cut bank. He ran around to one side where there was a slope, and he went down and then stood right under the steep bluff, and called out, "Come on, that is a nice jump, you will laugh."

So the elk jumped off, all but one cow, and were killed.

"Come on," said Old Man, "they have all jumped but you, it is nice."

"Take pity on me," replied the cow. "My child is about to be born, and I am very heavy. I am afraid to jump."

"Go on, then," answered Old Man; "go and live; then there will be plenty of elk again some day."

Now Old Man built a fire and cooked some ribs, and then he skinned all the elk, cut up the meat to dry, and hung the tongues up on a pole.

Next day he went off, and did not come back until night, when he was very hungry again. "I'll roast some ribs," he said, "and a tongue, and I'll stuff a marrow gut and cook that. I guess that will be enough for to-night." But when he got to the place, the meat was all gone. The wolves had eaten it. "I was smart to hang up those tongues," he said, "or I would not have had anything to eat." But the tongues were all hollow. The mice had eaten the meat out, leaving only the skin. So Old Man starved again.


A pis'kun had been built, and many buffalo had been run in and killed. The camp was full of meat. Great sheets of it hung in the lodges and on the racks outside; and now the women, having cut up all the meat, were working on the hides, preparing some for robes, and scraping the hair from others, to make leather.

About this time, Old Man came along. He had come from far and was very tired, so he entered the first lodge he came to and sat down. Now this lodge belonged to three old women. Their husbands had died or been killed in war, and they had no relations to help them, so they were very poor. After Old Man had rested a little, they set a dish of food before him. It was dried bull meat, very tough, and some pieces of belly fat.

"Hai'-yah ho!" cried Old Man, after he had tasted a piece. "You treat me badly. A whole pis'kun of fat buffalo just killed; the camp red with meat, and here these old women give me tough bull meat and belly fat to eat. Hurry now! roast me some ribs and a piece of back fat."

"Alas!" exclaimed one old woman. "We have no good food. All our helpers are dead, and we take what others leave. Bulls and poor cows are all the people leave us."

"Ah!" said Old Man, "how poor! you are very poor. Take courage now. I will help you. To-morrow they will run another band into the pis'kun. I will be there. I will kill the fattest cow, and you can have it all."

Then the old women were glad. They talked to one another, saying, "Very good heart, Old Man. He helps the poor. Now we will live. We will have marrow guts and liver. We will have paunch and fat kidneys."

Old Man said nothing more. He ate the tough meat and belly fat, and rolled up in his robe and went to sleep.

Morning came. The people climbed the bluffs and went out on to the prairie, where they hid behind the piles of rock and bushes, which reached far out from the cliff in lines which were always further and further apart. After a while, he who leads the buffalo was seen coming, bringing a large band after him. Soon they were inside the lines. The people began to rise up behind them, shouting and waving their robes. Now they reached the edge of the bluff. The leaders tried to stop and turn, but those behind kept pushing on, and nearly the whole band dashed down over the rocks, only a few of the last ones turning aside and escaping.

The lodges were now deserted. All the people were gone to the pis'kun to kill the buffalo and butcher them. Where was Old Man? Did he take his bow and arrows and go to the pis'kun to kill a fat cow for the poor old women? No. He was sneaking around, lifting the door-ways of the lodges and looking in. Bad person, Old Man. In the chiefs lodge he saw a little child, a girl, asleep. Outside was a buffalo's gall, and taking a long stick he dipped the end of it in the gall; and then, reaching carefully into the lodge, he drew it across the lips of the child asleep. Then he threw the stick away, and went in and sat down. Soon the girl awoke and began to cry. The gall was very bitter and burned her lips.

"Pity me, Old Man," she said. "Take this fearful thing from my lips."

"I do not doctor unless I am paid," he replied. Then said the girl: "See all my father's Weapons hanging there. His shield, war head-dress, scalps, and knife. Cure me now, and I will give you some of them."

"I have more of such things than I want," he replied. (What a liar! he had none at all.)

Again said the girl, "Pity me, help me now, and I will give you my father's white buffalo robe."

"I have plenty of white robes," replied Old Man. (Again he lied, for he never had one.)

"Old Man," again said the girl, "in this lodge lives a widow woman, my father's relation. Remove this fearful thing from my lips, and I will have my father give her to you."

"Now you speak well," replied Old Man. "I am a little glad. I have many wives" (he had none), "but I would just as soon have another one."

So he went close to the child and pretended to doctor her, but instead of that, he killed her and ran out. He went to the old women's lodge, and wrapped a strip of cowskin about his head, and commenced to groan, as if he was very sick.

Now the people began to come from the pis'kun, carrying great loads of meat. This dead girl's mother came, and when she saw her child lying dead, and blood on the ground, she ran back crying out: "My daughter has been killed! My daughter has been killed!"

Then all the people began to shout out and run around, and the warriors and young men looked in the lodges, and up and down the creek in the brush, but they could find no one who might have killed the child.

Then said the father of the dead girl: "Now, to-day, we will find out who killed this child. Every man in this camp—every young man, every old man—must come and jump across the creek; and if any one does not jump across, if he falls in the water, that man is the one who did the killing." All heard this, and they began to gather at the creek, one behind another; and the women and children went to look on, for they wanted to see the person who had killed the little child. Now they were ready. They were about to jump, when some one cried out, "Old Man is not here."

"True," said the chief, looking around, "Old Man is not here." And he sent two young men to bring him.

"Old Man!" they cried out, when they came to the lodge, "a child has been killed. We have all got to jump to find out who did it. The chief has sent for you. You will have to jump, too."

"Ki'-yo!" exclaimed the old women. "Old Man is very sick. Go off, and let him alone. He is so sick he could not kill meat for us to-day."

"It can't be helped," the young men replied. "The chief says every one must jump."

So Old Man went out toward the creek very slowly, and very much scared. He did not know what to do. As he was going along he saw a ni'-po-muk-i[1] and he said: "Oh my little brother, pity me. Give me some of your power to jump the creek, and here is my necklace. See how pretty it is. I will give it to you."

[Footnote 1: The chickadee.]

So they traded; Old Man took some of the bird's power, and the bird took Old Man's necklace and put it on.

Now they jump. Wo'-ka-hi! they jump way across and far on to the ground. Now they jump; another! another! another! Now it comes Old Man's turn. He runs, he jumps, he goes high, and strikes the ground far beyond any other person's jump. Now comes the ni'-po-muk-i. "Wo'-ka-hi!" the men shout. "Ki'-yo!" cry the women, "the bird has fallen in the creek." The warriors are running to kill him. "Wait! Hold on!" cries the bird. "Let me speak a few words. Every one knows I am a good jumper. I can jump further than any one; but Old Man asked me for some of my power, and I gave it to him, and he gave me this necklace. It is very heavy and pulled me down. That is why I fell into the creek."

Then the people began to shout and talk again, some saying to kill the bird, and some not, when Old Man shouted out: "Wait, listen to me. What's the use of quarrelling or killing anybody? Let us go back, and I will doctor the child alive."

Good words. The people were glad. So they went back, and got ready for the doctoring. First, Old Man ordered a large fire built in the lodge where the dead girl was lying. Two old men were placed at the back of the lodge, facing each other. They had spears, which they held above their heads and were to thrust back and forth at each other in time to the singing. Near the door-way were placed two old women, facing each other. Each one held a puk'-sah-tchis,[1]—a maul,—with which she was to beat time to the singing. The other seats in the lodge were taken by people who were to sing. Now Old Man hung a big roll of belly fat close over the fire, so that the hot grease began to drip, and everything was ready, and the singing began. This was Old Man's song:—

[Footnote 1: A round or oblong stone, to which a handle was bound by rawhide thongs, used for breaking marrow bones, etc.]

Ahk-sa'-kē-wah, Ahk-sa'-kē-wah, Ahk-sa'-kē-wah, etc. I don't care, I don't care, I don't care.

And so they sung for a long time, the old men jabbing their spears at each other, and the old women pretending to hit each other with their mauls.

After a while they rested, and Old Man said: "Now I want every one to shut their eyes. No one can look. I am going to begin the real doctoring." So the people shut their eyes, and the singing began again. Then Old Man took the dripping hot fat from the fire, gave it a mighty swing around the circle in front of the people's faces, jumped out the door-way, and ran off. Every one was burned. The two old men wounded each other with their spears. The old women knocked each other on the head with their mauls. The people cried and groaned, wiped their burned faces, and rushed out the door; but Old Man was gone. They saw him no more.


Once Old Man was travelling, 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.

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