Myths and Legends of the Great Plains
Page: 20[Pg 62] “Come, go there. Open the door of that stable. When you wish to see us again, you shall see us. When you will go homeward, you will say, ‘Come, O father, I desire to go homeward,’” said the father.
The young man went homeward. He made the rocks open suddenly by pointing at them with the iron. He went up, making the ground echo under the horse’s feet. When he pushed aside a very large rock which was in his way, he found himself again on the surface of the earth. The horse and mule were very sudden in their movements. They shied at every step. They sniffed the odor of a bad land.
The young man found his nation that he had left. Behold! they had recently removed and departed. After they waited some time for him to appear, they had removed their camp and departed. The horse and mule went along, fearing the sight of the old camping ground. They followed the trail of the departing village.
Then the young man saw two people on a large hill, walking in the trail. They were the head chief and his wife who were walking along, mourning for the dead.
They looked behind and said, “Yonder comes one on horseback, following the trail made by the departing village.”
He drew near. They sat waiting for him to appear. [Pg 63] The horse and mule feared the sight of them; they sniffed a bad odor.
“Why! Of what nation are you?” asked the chief.
“It is I,” said the young man.
“But which one are you?” said the chief.
“Your son went headlong into a pit when they surrounded the herd,” said the young man. “And I went down to get him. You did not bring me back. It is I.”
As he was very much changed, the old man doubted.
“Fie! Tell the truth about yourself.”
“When they surrounded the herd, your son went headlong as well as the buffalo, and he was killed by falling into a pit. When you commanded them to get him, they drew back through fear. I am he who went to get him when you offered your daughter as a reward,” said the young man. “I have hardly been able to come again to the surface.”
Then they recognized him. The two men stood talking together on the large hill. The chief’s son looked back from the camp.
“Why! The chief and his wife have come as far as the large hill and a man on horseback has come, too. He stands talking to them. I will go thither. Let me see! I will go to see them.”
[Pg 64] He went back on horseback and came to his father.
“With what person do you talk?” said the son.
“Why! He who went to get your elder brother has come back!” said the head chief.
They shook hands. And the head chief gave his daughter to the young man.
“Let all the men and chiefs assemble. Let all the stout-hearted young men assemble. They can look at my daughter’s husband,” he said.
They assembled. They came to see the young man and brought the things they intended giving him.
“He says that he who went to get the man who was killed by falling has come back. The chief says that as he has made the young man his daughter’s husband you shall go to see the young man. He says that you will take to him what things you wish to give him. The chief says he will give thanks for them.” So shouted the crier.
All the young men and those who were brave and generous went thither. They all gave him clothing and good horses. His wife’s father made him the head chief.
“Make ye a tent for him in the center,” said the old chief.
They set up a tent for him in the center. They finished it.
[Pg 65] “The people did not eat. As they sat waiting for you to appear, the nation did not eat. You came back when they were just removing camp,” said the old chief.
“Ho!” said the one who had just reached home. “Let two old men go as criers.”
So the criers shouted: “The chiefs daughter’s husband says that you will rest tomorrow. He says you will not go in any direction whatever.”
The next day he commanded those who had come back on horseback to act as scouts. And the scouts came back very soon; because by means of the iron rod which he had asked of his father, he made a great many buffaloes very quickly. He spoke of surrounding them. They shot down many of the buffaloes. He went to take part in surrounding them.
His wife said, “I desire to go to see them surround the herd. I must go to see the buffaloes. When they are killed, I will be quite likely to come back.”
When they killed the buffaloes she was coming back; the wife stood on the hill. Her husband came to that place.
“Though I killed the buffaloes, they will cut them up,” he said. They who surrounded them reached home.
Again they spoke of a buffalo hunt. “The chief’s [Pg 66] daughter’s husband speaks indeed of sending them to act as scouts,” said the criers.
Again the herd of buffaloes had come to that country. They surrounded them. Again they shot down many of them.