Myths and Legends of the Great Plains

Page: 18

Though he sat waiting for the hollow skin to come down again, he was not drawn up. So he sat wailing.

Now the chief had promised him his daughter to go down into the pit. “If you bring my son back, you shall marry her,” he had said.

The young man wandered about in the darkness. At [Pg 60] length when walking along the trail, he came suddenly upon an old woman.

“Venerable woman, though this land is very difficult to reach, I have come hither. I came to the hole in the ground above. One person came hither, having fallen into this pit. I came to take him back. They have not drawn me up; and I have no way of going back. Venerable woman, help me.” So he spoke.

“There is nothing that I can do to help you,” she said. “A person is in that place, out of sight. Go there. He is the one who will do it for you.”

He went there. When he arrived, he knocked repeatedly on the door. Though he stood hearing them speaking, they did not open the door for him.

The woman said, “Fie! A person has come. Open the door for him.”

Behold! The man’s child was dead, and therefore he sat without speaking. He sat still, being sad. Then the young man arrived within the lodge, the woman having opened the door for him. Yet her husband sat without speaking. The young man was impatient from hunger. The husband questioned him:

“From what place have you walked?” he asked.

The young man told his story. “I walked up above, but a man headed off the herd, and having fallen, he came here. I came here to take him back. They did [Pg 61] not take me back; I have no way of going back. Help me,” he said.

The man said, “We had a child, but it died. We will treat you just like the child who died.” He meant he would adopt him. “All things which I have are yours,” said the father.

The young man did not speak. He wished to go homeward.

“Whatever you say I will do it for you,” said the father. “Even if you desire to go homeward, it shall be so,” he said.

At last the young man spoke of going homeward.

“If you say, ‘I will go homeward riding a horse of such a color, O father!’ it shall be so,” said the father.

“Fie!” said the woman. “Heretofore we were deprived of our child. The young man who has just come home is like him. Give him one thing which you have.”

“I make you my child. I will give you something. Whatever I desire I always make with it, when I wish to have anything,” said the father. He had a piece of iron and when he wished anything he used to point at the iron.