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Thread: Star Nation Teachings - Wisdomkeepers

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    Wallace Black Elk

    When he was "just a little guy" Black Elk began his work. In his biography Black Elk: The Sacred Ways of a Lakota, he claims that his birth and mission were predicted 19 generations ago. When he came "the old people were ready and waiting for me." At the age of five he received his first vision. He was given then "one drop of wisdom and one drop of knowledge ... something that I could hold onto for our little ones and the unborn behind me." Also he learned that he would not be elevated or promoted by his gifts but would instead be "under the feet of everything that exists.
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    Star Nation Teachings - Wisdomkeepers

    Lakota WisdomKeepers

    Home | One World In Concert

    Wisdomkeepers are the guardians of nature's mysteries within the Lakota
    ceremonies and their practices, the medicine that is ruled by them, the
    songs that infuse our senses and our spiritual body, and the forces they
    produce that are identical to nature and its motivating power. These oral
    and entirely spontaneous transmissions, given by the three holy men, Joe
    Flying By, Dave Chief, and Leroy Curley, are a rare treasure of the highest
    generosity, directed for the greatest good. Their stories are told with
    complete equanimity, vividly conveying, without rancor or judgement, how
    Western civilization lacks connection to the natural world. Because passing
    on elders' wisdom in the oral tradition to the next generation is almost
    impossible, given the fact that the three important elements of the Lakota
    culture--the land, the people, and the language--are all but gone, the film's
    producer/director has provided a great service to those who have an
    interest in, and wish to learn from, ancient Native American teachings
    that have rarely been exposed.

    Producer/Director: Ora Abel-Russell






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    Legends, Stories and Teachings


    An Apache Legend











    In the beginning nothing existed: no Earth, no Sky, no Sun, no Moon. Only darkness was everywhere.

    Suddenly from the darkness emerged a thin disc, one side yellow and the other side white, appearing suspended in midair. Within the disc sat a small bearded man, Creator, the One Who Lives Above.

    As if waking from a long nap, he rubbed his eyes and face with both hands.

    When he looked into the endless darkness, light appeared above. He looked down and it became a sea of light. To the East, he created yellow streaks of dawn. To the West, tints of many colors appeared everywhere. There were also clouds of different colors.

    Creator wiped his sweating face and rubbed his hands together, thrusting them downward. Behold! A shining cloud upon which sat a little girl.

    "Stand up and tell me where are you going," said Creator. But she did not reply. He rubbed his eyes again and offered his right hand to the Girl-Without- Parents.

    "Where did you come from?" she asked, grasping his hand.

    "From the East where it is now light," he replied, stepping upon her cloud.

    "Where is the Earth?" she asked.

    "Where is the sky?" he asked, and sang, "I am thinking, thinking, thinking what I shall create next." He sang four times, which was the magic number.

    Creator brushed his face with his hands, rubbed them together, then flung them wide open! Before them stood Sun-God. Again Creator rubbed his sweaty brow and from his hands dropped Small-Boy.

    Creator, Sun-God, Girl-Without-Parents, and Small-Boy sat in deep thought upon the small cloud.

    "What shall we make next?" asked Creator. "This cloud is much too small for us to live upon."

    Then he created Tarantula, Big Dipper, Wind, Lightning-Maker, and some Western clouds in which to house Lightning-Rumbler, which he just finished.

    Creator sang, "Let us make Earth. I am thinking of the Earth, Earth, Earth; I am thinking of the Earth," he sang four times.

    All four gods shook hands. In doing so, their sweat mixed together and Creator rubbed his palms, from which fell a small round, brown ball, not much larger than a bean.

    Creator kicked it, and it expanded. Girl-Without-Parents kicked the ball, and it enlarged more. Sun-God and Small-Boy took turns giving it hard kicks, and each time the ball expanded. Creator told Wind to go inside the ball and to blow it up.

    Tarantula spun a black cord and, attaching it to the ball, crawled away fast to the East, pulling on the cord with all his strength. Tarantula repeated with a blue cord to the South, a yellow cord to the West, and a white cord to the North. With mighty pulls in each direction, the brown ball stretched to immeasurable size--it became the Earth! No hills, mountains, or rivers were visible; only smooth, treeless, brown plains appeared.

    Creator scratched his chest and rubbed his fingers together and there appeared Hummingbird.

    "Fly North, South, East, and West and tell us what you see," said Creator.

    "All is well," reported Hummingbird upon his return. "The Earth is most beautiful, with water on the West side."

    But the Earth kept rolling and dancing up and down. So Creator made four giant posts--black, blue, yellow, and white to support the Earth. Wind carried the four posts, placing them beneath the four cardinal points of the Earth. The Earth sat still.

    Creator sang, "World is now made and now sits still," which he repeated four times.

    Then he began a song about the sky. None existed, but he thought there should be one. After singing about it four times, twenty- eight people appeared to help make a sky above the Earth. Creator chanted about making chiefs for the Earth and sky.

    He sent Lightning-Maker to encircle the world, and he returned with three uncouth creatures, two girls and a boy found in a turquoise shell. They had no eyes, ears, hair, mouths, noses, or teeth. They had arms and legs, but no fingers or toes.

    Sun-God sent for Fly to come and build a sweat house. Girl-Without-Parents covered it with four heavy clouds. In front of the East doorway she placed a soft, red cloud for a foot-blanket to be used after the sweat.

    Four stones were heated by the fire inside the sweat house. The three uncouth creatures were placed inside. The others sang songs of healing on the outside, until it was time for the sweat to be finished. Out came the three strangers who stood upon the magic red cloud-blanket. Creator then shook his hands toward them, giving each one fingers, toes, mouths, eyes, ears, noses and hair.

    Creator named the boy, Sky-Boy, to be chief of the Sky-People. One girl he named Earth-Daughter, to take charge of the Earth and its crops. The other girl he named Pollen-Girl, and gave her charge of health care for all Earth- People.

    Since the Earth was flat and barren, Creator thought it fun to create animals, birds, trees, and a hill. He sent Pigeon to see how the world looked. Four days later, he returned and reported, "All is beautiful around the world. But four days from now, the water on the other side of the Earth will rise and cause a mighty flood."

    Creator made a very tall pinion tree. Girl-Without-Parents covered the tree framework with pinion gum, creating a large, tight ball.

    In four days, the flood occurred. Creator went up on a cloud, taking his twenty-eight helpers with him. Girl-Without-Parents put the others into the large, hollow ball, closing it tight at the top.

    In twelve days, the water receded, leaving the float-ball high on a hilltop. The rushing floodwater changed the plains into mountains, hills, valleys, and rivers. Girl-Without-Parents led the gods out from the float-ball onto the new Earth. She took them upon her cloud, drifting upward until they met Creator with his helpers, who had completed their work making the sky during the flood time on Earth.

    Together the two clouds descended to a valley below. There, Girl-Without- Parents gathered everyone together to listen to Creator.

    "I am planning to leave you," he said. "I wish each of you to do your best toward making a perfect, happy world.

    "You, Lightning-Rumbler, shall have charge of clouds and water.

    "You, Sky-Boy, look after all Sky-People.

    "You, Earth-Daughter, take charge of all crops and Earth-People.

    "You, Pollen-Girl, care for their health and guide them.

    "You, Girl-Without-Parents, I leave you in charge over all."

    Creator then turned toward Girl-Without-Parents and together they rubbed their legs with their hands and quickly cast them forcefully downward. Immediately between them arose a great pile of wood, over which Creator waved a hand, creating fire.

    Great billowy clouds of smoke at once drifted skyward. Into this cloud, Creator disappeared. The other gods followed him in other clouds of smoke, leaving the twenty-eight workers to people the Earth.

    Sun-God went East to live and travel with the Sun. Girl-Without-Parents departed Westward to live on the far horizon. Small-Boy and Pollen-Girl made cloud homes in the South. Big Dipper can still be seen in the Northern sky at night, a reliable guide to all.





    pottery and storytellers - First People of America and Canada - Native American Indians. Turtle Island. Legends, Treaties, Clipart.
    Native American Indian Legends - Apache Creation Legend - Apache

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    Star Nations Teachings - A Huron Legend





    Native American Legends
    Big Turtle
    A Wyandot (Huron) Legend




    Many years ago the world had two parts. Animals lived in
    the lower part, which was completely covered in water and
    had no land or soil. Above was the Sky World, where the sky
    people lived. The Sky World had lots of soil, with beautiful
    mountains and valleys. One day a girl from the Sky World
    went for a long walk and became very tired.



    "I'm so tired, I need to rest," she said. She sat down under
    the spreading branches of an apple tree and quickly fell
    asleep. Suddenly, there was a rumbling sound like thunder
    and the ground began to crack. A big hole opened up next
    to the apple tree.



    "What's happening?" screamed the frightened girl. She tried
    to move but it was too late. She and the tree slid through
    the hole and tumbled over and over towards the watery
    world below.







    "Help me! Help me!" screamed the girl. Luckily two swans
    were swimming below and saw the girl tumbling down from
    the sky. "Come on!" yelled one swan. "Let's catch her before
    she hits the water." "Okay!" yelled the other. The swans
    spread their wings together and caught the girl on their soft
    feather backs. "Whew! That was lucky," said the girl. "But
    what do I do now? I can't get back up to the Sky World and
    I can't stay on your backs forever."



    "We'll take you to Big Turtle," said the swans. "He knows
    everything." After hearing what happened, the Big Turtle
    called all the animals in the water world to a meeting. He
    told them an old story about soil being found deep under
    the water. "If we can get some of that soil, we can build
    an island on my back for you to live on," said the Big Turtle.

    "Sounds good to me," said the young girl.



    The Otter, Beaver and Muskrat started arguing over whom
    would dive for the soil. "I'll go," said the sleek Otter, brushing
    his glossy fur. "No! I'll go," said Beaver, slapping the water
    with his big flat tail. "I'm the best swimmer," said Muskrat "I'll go."

    "Aaaachooo!" sneezed the young girl." Guys, guys, would just
    one of you go. These swan feathers are getting up my nose
    and making me sneeze."

    "Sorry" said the swans.

    "That's alright," said the young Sky girl.



    Then Toskwaye the little Toad popped up out of the water.
    "I'll go. I can dive very deep," she said. The other animals
    started laughing and pointing at Toskwaye. "You! You're
    too small and ugly to help." Cried the others, laughing.

    "Be quiet!" said Big Turtle in a loud, stern voice. "Everyone is
    equal and everyone will have a chance to try". The sleek Otter
    smoothed his glossy fur, took a deep breath and slid into the
    water. He was gone for a long time before he came up gasping
    for air. "It was too deep," he said. "I couldn't dive that far."



    "Now it's my turn," said Beaver. He slapped the water with his
    tail as he disappeared. After a long time he came to the surface
    again. "It's too far" he gasped. "No one can dive that deep.
    " Muskrat tried next and failed.

    "Aaaachoo!" sneezed the young girl. "This is not looking good."



    "Now it's my turn," said little Toskwaye the Toad. She took a
    deep breath and jumped into the water. She was gone a very
    long time and everyone thought they wouldn't see her again.

    Suddenly Otter pointed at the water, shouting, and "Look,
    look bubbles!" Toskwaye's small, ugly face appeared through
    the water. She spat a few grains of soil onto the Big Turtle's
    back, then fell back into the water - dead.



    The Turtle ordered the others to rub the soil grains and spread
    them around on his shell. The grains grew and grew, until a
    large island was formed - big enough for the girl to live on. It
    grew into our world, as we know it today. And the descendants
    of the Sky girl became the Earth's people.



    Today, some people say the whole world still rests on Big Turtles
    back. When he gets tired and changes his position,
    we have earthquakes.

    Toad has not been forgotten either.
    American native Indians call her "Mashutaha",
    which means 'Our Grandmother'.



    No one is allowed to harm her.









    First People of America and Canada - Native American Indians. Turtle Island. Legends, Treaties, Clipart.




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    Star Nation Teachings - Black Elk Speaks

    Last edited by day; October 21st, 2009 at 07:30 PM.

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    Re: Star Nation Teachings - Black Elk Speaks

    THE SPIRIT OF BLACK ELK LIVES

    Black Elk: Wicasa Wikan of the Oglala Sioux, 1863-1950

    "Sometimes dreams are wiser than waking."

    "I cured with the power that came through me. Of course, it was not I who cured, it was the power from the Outer World, the visions and the ceremonies had only made me like a hole through which the power could come to the two-leggeds." "If I thought that I was doing it myself, the hole would close up and no power could come through. Then everything I could do would be foolish."




    Earth Prayer

    "Grandfather, Great Spirit, once more behold me on earth and lean to hear my feeble voice. You lived first, and you are older than all need, older than all prayer. All things belong to you -- the two-legged, the four-legged, the wings of the air, and all green things that live.
    "You have set the powers of the four quarters of the earth to cross each other. You have made me cross the good road and road of difficulties, and where they cross, the place is holy. Day in, day out, forevermore, you are the life of things."
    Hey! Lean to hear my feeble voice.
    At the center of the sacred hoop
    You have said that I should make the tree to bloom.
    With tears running, O Great Spirit, my Grandfather,
    With running eyes I must say
    The tree has never bloomed
    Here I stand, and the tree is withered.
    Again, I recall the great vision you gave me.
    It may be that some little root of the sacred tree still lives.
    Nourish it then
    That it may leaf
    And bloom
    And fill with singing birds!
    Hear me, that the people may once again
    Find the good road
    And the shielding tree.


    The Sunset

    Then I was standing on the highest mountain of them all, and round about beneath me was the whole hoop of the world. And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being.

    And I say the sacred hoop of my people was one of the many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of one mother and one father. And I saw that it was holy...
    But anywhere is the center of the world.





    Square Gray Houses

    A long time ago my father told me what his father had told him, that there was once a Lakota holy man, called "Drinks Water", who dreamed what was to be... He dreamed that the four-leggeds were going back to the Earth, and that a strange race would weave a web all around the Lakotas. He said, "You shall live in square gray houses, in a barren land..." Sometimes dreams are wiser than waking. (1932)


    HEYOKA MAGAZINE. BLACK ELK
    Last edited by day; October 21st, 2009 at 07:30 PM.

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    Re: Star Nation Teachings - Black Elk Speaks

    [The following is taken from the book Black Elk Speaks, by John G. Neihardt (New York: Washington Square Press, 1972) originally published in 1932. The book is Neihardt's recreation in English of the oral history that Black Elk, a medicine man (or "shaman," of the Oglala Sioux Indians, recounted for him in the Sioux language in 1931.

    From Chapter 2: Early Boyhood
    I was four years old then, and I think it must have been the next summer that I first heard the voices. It was a happy summer and nothing was afraid, because in the Moon When the Ponies Shed (May) word came from the Wasichus [the White Men] that there would be peace and that they would not use the road any more and that all the soldiers would go away. The soldiers did go away and their towns were torn down; and in the Moon of Falling Leaves (November), they made a treaty with Red Cloud that said our country would be ours as long as grass should grow and water flow. You can see that it is not the grass and the water that have forgotten.

    Maybe it was not this summer when I first heard the voices, but I think it was, because I know it was before I played with bows and arrows or rode a horse, and I was out playing alone when I heard them. It was like somebody calling me, and I thought it was my mother, but there was nobody there. This happened more than once, and always made me afraid, so that I ran home.

    It was when I was five years old that my Grandfather made me a bow and some arrows. The grass was young and I was horseback. A thunder storm was coming from where the sun goes down, and just as I was riding into the woods along a creek, there was a kingbird sitting on a limb. This was not a dream, it happened. And I was going to shoot at the kingbird with the bow my Grandfather made, when the bird spoke and said: "The clouds all over are one-sided." Perhaps it meant that all the clouds were looking at me. And then it said: "Listen! A voice is calling you!" Then I looked up at the clouds, and two men were coming there, headfirst like arrows slanting down; and as they came, they sang a sacred song and the thunder was like drumming. I will sing it for you. The song and the drumming were like this:

    Behold, a sacred voice is calling you;
    All over the sky a sacred voice is calling.

    I sat there gazing at them, and they were coming from the place where the giant lives (north). But when they were very close to me, they wheeled about toward where the sun goes down, and suddenly they were geese. Then they were gone, and the rain came with a big wind and a roaring. I did not tell this vision to any one. I liked to think about it, but I was afraid to tell it.

    HEYOKA MAGAZINE. RED ELK interview with John LeKay

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    Star Nation Teachings - The First Medicine Lodge





    The First Medicine Lodge





    GREAT many winters ago the Piegans were camped near a small creek. Their lodges were arranged in a circle, enclosing a large open space. This was long before they had horses. They used dogs to pack with.

    The head chief had a daughter. She was good and beautiful. Many young men had asked to marry her, but she had refused them all. One day she went to the stream for water. There she met a boy, well known through the camp, because of a great scar on his cheek, which made him very ugly. From this the people called him Scarface. He was very poor. His mother and father were dead, and he lived with his grandmother. His clothes were old and torn, and he wore about him part of a worn buffalo robe. Yet, though his clothes were poor and his face was ugly, his heart was good, and the cruel taunts of his people often made him very sad.

    When Scarface met the beautiful girl, he asked her if she would marry him. She looked at him in scorn and said: "Do you think I would marry such an ugly person as you? When you remove that great scar from your face, come and ask me." Then she left him. He sat for a long time thinking over the cruel words the girl had spoken. His heart was sad. At last he went slowly to his grandmother's lodge.

    When he entered he said: "Grandmother, make me some moccasins and put some dried buffalo meat in a sack for me. I am going away and may be gone a long time." She gave him the things he asked for, and he left the lodge and started to go to a butte not far from the camp.

    When he reached the top of the butte, he threw himself upon the ground and wept and prayed to the Sun to have pity on him and remove the scar. At last he stood up and made a bed of the stones which he found on the side of the butte. Then he lay down to sleep. While he slept a voice said to him: "My son, rise, and go to the butte to the right of you. There you will find your father." He did as the voice had said.

    When he reached the place, he threw himself on the ground and wept as before, and prayed the Sun to help him. He made a bed of stones like the one he had lain on before, and while he slept another voice said: "My son, your journey is not yet ended. Rise and go to that butte still farther to the right. There you will find one who will direct you on your way." Again he obeyed the voice.

    When he reached this butte he made his bed as before, and slept, but no voice spoke to him. In the morning he awoke. As he sat on the ground, he was wondering what he should do next. Again a voice spoke, saying, "My friend, shut your eyes." He did so, and in a short time the strange voice said, "Open your eyes and look about you."

    When he opened his eyes, he was far up in the blue sky, in another world. It was all a wide prairie. There were no mountains, no trees. There were only rivers, with a few bushes upon their banks. He could now see the person who had spoken to him. He was a young man about his own age, but he was very handsome. He wore a shirt, leggings, and robe of some strange animal's fur, and his moccasins were embroidered in strange and beautiful colors and patterns. The young man said to Scarface: "My name is Sun Dog. The Sun is my father and the Moon my mother. Yonder is my father's lodge. Let us go to it. My father is not now there. At night he will enter."

    They reached the lodge. Very large it was and very beautiful. Many unknown animals were painted on it, and behind it, hanging from a tripod, were the war clothes of the Sun, made of the skins of strange animals, and trimmed with fine feathers. Scarface was ashamed to enter this beautiful lodge, for his clothes were poor and his moccasins were worn with travel; but Sun Dog said to him, "Enter, my new friend, and fear nothing."

    They entered. All about were seats covered with white robes, and everything was strange. The Moon was there. Sun Dog approached her and said: "Mother, I have brought a young man to our lodge who is very poor. I beg you to have pity on him and help him in his trouble." The Moon spoke kindly to Scarface, and gave him something to eat.


    When it was time for the Sun to come home, Sun Dog hid Scarface and covered him up with robes. When the Sun came to the door, he stopped and said, "There is a person here." "Yes, father," said Sun Dog, "a good young man, who is in trouble, has come to see you." The Sun said, "Bring him to me." Sun Dog removed the robes and brought Scarface before the Sun. The Sun looked at Scarface a short time, and turning to the Moon, bade her make Scarface as handsome as their own son, and give him some nice clothes to wear. The Moon made some medicine and rubbed it over Scarface. In a short time he was changed into a very handsome young man. The Moon took Sun Dog and Scarface before the Sun and said, "O Sun, tell me which is Sun Dog." The Sun looked at the two boys for a moment, and then pointed to Sun Dog, and said, "This is our son." Again the Moon rubbed the medicine on Scarface, until she was sure that the two young men looked alike, and again she took them before the Sun and said, "O Sun, tell me now which is our son." He looked at them a long time, and, pointing to Scarface, said, "This must be our son."

    In the morning before leaving the lodge, the Sun called the young men to him and said, "My children, do not go near that lodge by the river, for in it live four large white birds with long bills with which they pluck out people's hearts. I have had four other sons, but they have all been killed by these birds." Then he left them.

    The two young men went out hunting. They went on and on, when suddenly Sun Dog cried out, "This is the place where my brothers were killed! See! there are the birds coming one after another towards us. Let us make haste to get away." He ran away, but Scarface waited until the birds came near him. As they came up, he struck each on the head with a club which he carried, and killed them. After some time Sun Dog returned, and the young men took the birds home to the lodge.

    The Moon was very happy when she saw that the destroyers of her sons were dead. When the Sun returned in the evening, Sun Dog said, "Father, my friend killed the bad birds today," and he showed them to him. The Sun called Scarface to him and dressed him in clothes made of white buffalo skins and painted

    his face and said: "It is now time, my son, for you to return to your people, for they need your help. They are beneath us, and not far from here. Sun Dog will take you and will tell you what I wish you to do." After shaking hands with the Sun and Moon, the two young men started on their journey.

    After they had gone some distance, they stopped. Sun Dog said: "Soon we will have to part, but first I must tell you what the Sun has commanded you to do. If there are any sick or dying among your people, in order to make them well you must build the Medicine Lodge. First you must get one hundred buffalo tongues. Select four pure women of your tribe to help. Let one woman make the medicine, another cut thin and dry the tongues, and the other two boil the tongues. Go into the tall brush and clear a place for the Medicine Lodge. When everything is ready, call the people together to take part in the dance. Let each take a piece of the tongue, and let all say together, 'Great Sun, let us eat together, and grant to us that our people may recover.' If the women you select to make the medicine and to cut and boil the tongue are pure women, the sick and the dying among your people will recover; if not, they will die.

    "Now, my brother," continued Sun Dog, "you have heard the commands of the Sun. You will soon find yourself on the butte you came from. We must now part." They shook hands. Sun Dog said, "Shut your eyes." Scarface shut his eyes, and when he opened them he found himself sitting at the foot of the butte from which he came. The circular camp lay before him.

    He went to his grandmother's lodge, but no one recognized in the handsome young man the one who had left them so poor and ugly. All gathered about him to listen to his wonderful story. He told them of the commands of the Sun, and a short time after made the Medicine Lodge as the Sun had commanded. This was the first Medicine Lodge.

    Scarface became a great chief and all listened to his wise words. The beautiful girl came to him and said, "You are very handsome now, and a great chief, and I will marry you." But he sent her away. He married good women and lived a long time. When he died Sun Dog took him back to the Sun, where he lives forever.



    The Punishment of the Stingy: The First Medicine Lodge

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    Star Nation Teachings - Nothing Child


    Nothing Child





    LONG time ago there lived in the Blackfoot camp a young man who did not like company. He preferred to be alone. He had a wife but no children, and one young brother who lived with him. This was his only close relation. This man had a tame bear, which he had caught when it was a little cub. During the day he went hunting, and set traps and snares for game, and at night, when he returned to the camp, he did not go about visiting at the other lodges, but stayed at home by himself.

    One day he thought he would move away from the village and camp alone—just his own lodge. They started, the man and his wife, and the young brother and the bear. They went up towards the mountains, and camped in the timber. The man hunted and killed plenty of game, and they stayed there for a long time, While the older brother was hunting, the younger one used to stay at home, making arrows and shooting with them, and at length he became a very good shot.

    After a time the younger brother had grown big, and he was a handsome boy, and the woman fell in love with him, but he took no notice of her.

    One day, while the young brother was sitting in the lodge making arrows, and the woman was outside tanning a hide, she called to him and said, "Oh, brother, come out and kill this pretty bird that is here," but the boy was busy smoothing his arrows, and paid no attention. Pretty soon she asked him again, and then a third time, and when she called him the fourth time he got up and went outside and killed the bird and gave it to her, and then went into the lodge again and kept on working at his arrows. He did not stop and talk with her. Pretty soon the boy went off into the timber to try his arrows. The bear was lying by the door of the lodge.

    The woman was angry at the boy because he took no notice of her, and she made up her mind that she would be revenged on him. So while he was gone she scratched and bruised her face and tore her hair.

    At night her husband came home, and when he looked at his wife he saw that her face was scratched and swollen and her hair all pulled about. He sent out his young brother to hang up the meat that he had brought in, and the boy went leaving arrows lying by the fire to dry. While he was gone the woman said to her husband, "Your brother has beaten me because I asked him to shoot a pretty bird for me." She showed her husband the scratches and bruises she had made on herself, and said, "See how he has used me."

    When the man heard this he was angry, but he said nothing. When the boy came back from hanging up the meat, he looked for his arrows but did not see them. Then he asked, "Where have you put my arrows?" but no one answered, and at length he saw the ends of them among the ashes, for his brother had thrown them into the fire. When the boy saw that his arrows had been burned he cried, and taking his robe and his bow and what arrows he had left, he went out of the lodge. He made up his mind that he could not live here with his brother any longer, and decided to go away. The bear, which all this time had been lying by the door of the lodge, listening, was angry at the lies the woman had told, and at what her husband had done, and he got up and went out and followed the boy. They travelled for a while and then slept, and the next day went on again, going towards the mountains.

    For two days they travelled, and on the third day, as they were going along, the boy saw sitting in a tree-top a bird that was white as snow, and different from any bird that he had seen before. He took an arrow from his quiver and shot the bird, and as it fell, it caught among the branches and lodged there. He threw sticks at it, but could not knock it down, so he made up his mind that he would climb the tree and get the bird and his arrow. When he had tightened his belt and was just about to climb the tree, the bear spoke to him and said: "You had better not do this. If you go up there something bad may happen. It will be better to let the things go." But the boy was very anxious to get that bird and his arrow, and would not listen to the bear's words, but began to climb the tree.

    He reached the branch where the arrow was, but when he stretched out his hand to take it it moved up a little higher, just beyond his fingers. So he climbed higher and again reached for the arrow, and again it moved up a little higher. He kept climbing and climbing, with the arrow always moving in front of him, until at last he climbed out of sight.

    For the rest of the day the bear stood at the foot of the tree, looking upward and whining and moaning for his friend, but he saw nothing of him. About sundown all the boy's clothing came tumbling down together, but nothing was seen of the boy. The bear would not leave the tree. He waited there, hoping to see what had become of the boy, but that was the last of him. He saw him no more.

    After the boy and the bear had left the camp, the older brother kept thinking of what had taken place. When they did not come back he felt lonesome and sad, and began to fear that something would happen to his young brother, and at last he made up his mind that he would start out and learn what had become of him. He left his lodge and set out in the direction the two had taken. He found their trail and followed it, and after two days came to the tree and there saw the bear, standing on his hind feet and resting his paws against the tree. The man asked the bear what had become of the boy, but the bear would not reply to him. He asked him the same question again, and a third and a fourth time, and then the bear answered and said: "All this trouble has come upon us through your fault, because you listened to the lies your woman told you. Your brother has climbed this tree and has gone out of sight, and now for three days I have stood here, waiting for him to come down. His clothing has fallen down from up above, but he does not return." They waited by the tree longer, but the boy did not come down, and at length the man said to the bear: "My brother is gone. He will never come back. We had better go back to the camp where we can live." The bear went back with him.

    On their way the bear told the man how it really had been, and that it was not the boy who had hurt the woman, but that she had done it herself, and in this way had caused his brother to lose his life. Then the man was angry, and when they came near to the lodge he took an arrow from his quiver and shot his wife, and her shadow went to the sand-hills.

    That night the man said to the bear, "Well, we are only two now, and for myself, I have decided to stay here and starve to death, and as for you, you had better leave me and go your way and make your living as all bears do." So the bear went away and did not return.

    One night while the man was lying asleep, he dreamed of the bear; and the bear spoke to him and said: "My brother, listen to the words that I speak to you, and do now what I tell you to. Go back to the old camp of your people, to the cliff where they drive the buffalo, the pis´ kun, and wait there. A camp of your people is moving towards that place. They are very poor and have but little to eat. It may be that you can help them. Be sure to do exactly as I tell you from this time on, and in the days to come you will be unhappy no longer, but will have plenty of everything and will have full life. Now I wish you to-morrow, when you awake, to eat up your lodge and everything that is in it. This seems to you like a hard thing, something that cannot be done, but, by the power that I give you, you will be able to do it."

    When the man awoke, in the morning, he thought for a long time over what the bear had said to him in his sleep, and how it had said that in the time to come he would be poor no longer, but would have full life, and how it had said that it would give him that power, and he made up his mind to do as the bear had told him. He tore down his lodge and began to eat it, and found that this was not a hard thing to do. He ate the lodge and the lining, his clothing, his wife's things—everything that he could find in the lodge, and then took his bow and arrows and started to go to the cliff as the bear had told him to.

    Now since the bear had left, the man had had no food to eat, and on his journey he found himself getting weak and growing smaller. When he reached the cliff there was no camp there, so he waited, and all the time he kept getting weaker, and smaller and smaller, until he was no bigger than a year-old child. He thought now that he would surely die, and hid himself under a bunch of rye grass.

    The next day the people moved in and camped at this place. An old woman went out to get some grass for her bed, and while she was gathering it, she heard a sound as if a little child were crying. She went in the direction of the sound, and under a bunch of rye grass she found a little child. She carried him into the camp and took good care of him. When the chief of the camp heard of how she had found the child, he said to the old woman, "Take good care of that child; he was put there for some good purpose."

    As time passed the child grew fatter and stronger, and the old woman grew fond and proud of him. They called him Kis´ tap i pokau (Nothing Child.)

    Near this camp stood a tree, and every day an eagle came and alighted in the tree. The chief had tried many times to kill this eagle, and so had other men, but no one could kill it. When they found that no one could kill it, they wanted it all the more. The chief had two very pretty daughters, and at length he said that he would give his daughters to any one who would kill this eagle. When this was called out through the camp by the old crier, all the young men came out to try to kill the eagle, but no one could do it. At last Nothing Child said to the old woman, "Grandmother, make me some arrows so that I can kill the eagle." The old woman laughed when he asked her this, but she was very fond of him, so she tied a string to a deer's rib for a bow and made him some little arrows, and he set out to kill the eagle. When the young men who had been shooting at the eagle saw the child coming with the tiny bow, they laughed and made fun of him, but Nothing Child fitted a little arrow on the string of his bow, and shot and killed the eagle. Then all who were standing by were astonished, but they said, "It must have been a chance shot." The eagle was taken to the chief's lodge, and they told him it had been killed by the Nothing Child. So he told his daughters to go and marry the found boy.

    But the young men were not satisfied with this decision. They said that it was not fair, that the boy had made a chance shot, and they asked the chief to try their skill in some other way. So the chief told the young men that they might again try their luck for the young girls, and that whoever killed a white wolf with a black tail should have his daughters. All the men went out from the camp and built their wooden traps, and Nothing Child also went out and made a wooden trap. The next morning they all went out to visit their traps, and in almost all the traps they found something—wolves, foxes, badgers, and other animals. Some of the wolves were white all over, and some were white with gray tails, but no one had a white wolf with a black tail. The Nothing Child, with his grandmother, went out from the camp to his trap in a different direction from the rest, and in their trap they found a white wolf with a black tail. They took it into camp and to the chief's lodge, and when he saw it he said that this was the wolf he wanted.

    Now all the young men in the camp were jealous of the Nothing Child, for it was certain that he would get the chief's daughters for his wives. So they went to the chief and asked him to try his people once more, that they thought that the Nothing Child had not killed the wolf fairly. So the chief now said: "Whoever will bring me a white fox with a black-tipped tail shall have my daughters. This will be the last trial, and after this no one need complain."



    The young men set their traps all over the prairie, but Nothing Child asked his grandmother to go with him, and he went to a place far from all the others and there set his trap. The next morning the young men all went out to look at their traps. Some had foxes and some had other animals, but when Nothing Child went to his trap, he found in it a white fox with a black-tipped tail, and when it was taken to the chief's lodge he said that this was the fox he meant, and he told his daughters to get ready and go and marry the Nothing Child. The youngest girl was willing to do what her father ordered, but the elder was not.

    They put on their finest clothing and left their father's lodge and started for Nothing Child's home. As they walked along, the elder girl said to her sister, "I am not going to marry this child, to be laughed at by everybody." The younger sister said, "I am going to do what my father told me to. It is better to do so. Besides that, the Nothing Child must be a very powerful person. See how many wonderful things he has done." The elder girl said, "Well, I am not going to his lodge. I am going to marry Masto pau (Raven Arrow)." This was a young man who had the power to turn himself into a raven whenever he wished. So the elder girl went her way to Raven Arrow, but the younger kept on towards Nothing Child's lodge.

    When the girl came to the lodge and went in, the old woman told her to sit down. Nothing Child was playing at the back of the lodge. The girl said, "My father sent me to sit beside the person who killed the eagle, the white wolf with the black tail, and the white fox with the black-tipped tail." Nothing Child said, "I am the person who did that, but I do not want any woman to sit beside me." The girl answered: "My father sent me to sit beside you, and I shall stay here. I am not going home any more." When the boy saw that the girl was resolved to stay, he said, "Very well, you shall be my wife." So she stayed, and was pleasant and nice with the boy and played with him, and he liked her. She saw that he was very poor, but she seemed to take no notice of that.

    At this time the camp was very short of food. The young men scouted far and near over the prairie, but could find no buffalo. It was a hard time; everybody was hungry. One day Nothing Child said to his wife: "Now you stay here for a while. I am going away for a time. I am going to try to find a band of buffalo and bring them into camp." He made ready for his journey and started. After he had travelled a long way he came to a wet, marshy place near the mountains, where in summer many buffalo had been. Here he gathered up buffalo chips, and made great piles of them in a row, and when he had finished, he went back some way, and then came running and shouting towards the piles of chips. When he got close to them he stopped, and then went back again, and again came running and shouting upon the chips, but nothing happened. He repeated this a third and a fourth time, and the fourth time, when he got near the piles, the chips turned into buffaloes and rushed off over the prairie, and Nothing Child ran them towards the camp and drove them over the cliff into the pis kun, so that once more the camp was supplied with meat.

    The next day Nothing Child told his wife to go to her father's lodge for the day, and not to return until night. After the girl had gone he spoke to his grandmother and said: "Grandmother, you have seen what strange things I have done, and you can see that I have some power. That power which I have was given to me by a bear that has helped me, and because I have done just what he told me to I have been able to accomplish the things that you have seen me do. I do not know the secret of my power, but I know that I have it. Now, Grandmother, I want you to do something for me. I want you to take a rope and tie me by the feet to the lodge poles, so that I may hang head downward from the poles. I am little, and you can easily hold me up." The old woman did as he had told her, and he hung there head downward. Pretty soon he opened his mouth, and a little piece of cowskin stuck out. Nothing Child took hold of this and began to pull on it, and more and more came out, and at last he had pulled out the whole of his old lodge, and then he pulled out the lining, and afterwards many of his old belongings. When he had eaten all these things they had been old, but now they were new and white, and finely ornamented. The lodge was painted, the woman's clothing was beautifully worked with porcupine quills; there was a new full set of war clothing for himself—all very fine.

    After he had done this Nothing Child asked the old woman to untie him, and when he was on his feet again it was seen that he was no longer a child, but a full-grown man, very handsome. He told the old woman to set up the new lodge, and she did so. When his wife returned she was surprised to see all the new things. They looked strange to her. Also her husband, who, when she last saw him, was a small boy and rather ugly, was now a big, fine-looking man. The girl was pleased with the change, and now they lived together for a long time very happily.

    After a time Raven Arrow became jealous of Nothing Child because of his power, but Nothing Child did not notice this, and, because Raven Arrow was poor, he asked him to come and live with him in his lodge. He did so, and they lived together for some time, and now the elder daughter of the chief was sorry that she had not done as her father, had told her to.

    One day, in the early summer, Nothing Child's wife said to him, "Oh, how much I would like some fresh berries to eat!" He said to her: "Do you want some fresh berries? Well, now, go out and gather a lot of sarvis berry branches and bring them to me here in the lodge." The woman did as he had told her, and brought in the bushes and threw them down on the floor of the lodge. Then Nothing Child took a tanned elk-skin and covered the bushes with it. In a short time he told his wife to take the skin off the brush, and when she did so she was astonished, for she found the twigs loaded with fine ripe berries, as though they were growing.

    Now, when Raven Arrow's wife saw this she felt that she too would like some berries, and she asked her husband if he could do this. But he said: "No. It is useless for me to try to do things that I know I cannot do. I can change myself into a raven and can do many other things, but I cannot make ripe berries grow in the spring, nor can I do many other things that Nothing Child does."

    After some time it happened that food again became scarce in the camp, and the chief sent word to his son-in-law, asking him if he could not again bring the buffalo into the camp, as he had done before. The hunters had been out and had travelled far over the prairie, but they could see nothing. Nothing Child sent word back that this was a hard thing he was asked to do; he feared he could not do it, but he would try.

    He made ready for his journey and started, travelling a long way looking for the buffalo, but he found none. He then went to the marsh where he had made buffalo before, and again made many little piles of buffalo chips in rows, and again went back some distance and then came charging down on the piles running and shouting. And the fourth time he did this the piles of chips changed into real buffalo and started running. And Nothing Child ran the herd over the cliff, as he had done before, and again the camp was supplied with meat. In this herd was one white buffalo. His wife met him at the cliff, and he told her that this white buffalo was hers. That she must be careful of the skin when she had taken it off.

    His wife told her husband that Raven Arrow had changed himself into a raven, and had flown away to look for buffalo, saying that if he found any he was going to drive them out of the country. This made Nothing Child angry, but he said nothing and waited. One day, as he was sitting by the fire, Raven Arrow, in the shape of a white raven, flew into the lodge and lit on the ground by him. When Nothing Child saw him he seized him and tied him by the feet to a lodge pole high up in the smoke and kept him there until he was nearly dead from the smoke. At last Nothing Child asked him if he would promise never again to drive the buffalo away from the people. Raven Arrow promised that he would never again do so, and Nothing Child untied him and let him down, when he changed into a man again. Up to that time ravens had always been white, but ever since the smoking that this raven got they have been black.

    Nothing Child and his wife lived to full age and always had plenty of everything.

    The Punishment of the Stingy: Nothing Child

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