Myths and Legends of the Great Plains

Page: 26

Off they all flew with a whirring sound.

Rabbit took home those he had in his bag, saying to his grandmother, “Do not look at what is in that bag! I have brought it home on my back and I wish you to guard it!”

Then he went out to cut spits on which to roast the Turkeys. When the old woman was alone, she thought, “What could he have brought home on his back?” So she untied the bag, and when she looked in out flew all the Turkeys, hitting their wings hard against the grass lodge, and flying out the smoke hole. The old woman barely killed one by hitting it. At length Rabbit came home.

“Oh I have inflicted a severe injury on my grandchild,” she said.

“Really,” he answered. “Grandmother, I told you not to look at it.”

But that is why Turkeys have red eyes.

From Report of the Bureau of Ethnology

Line drawing of a horse’s head. Old Horse

Name of an Indian Chief, as shown in Red Cloud’s census.
Old age is represented by the wrinkles and projecting lips.

Enlarged from a sketch in Report of the Bureau of Ethnology

[Pg 84]



Unktomi was going along; his way lay along by the side of a lake. Out on the lake there were a great many ducks, geese, and swans swimming. When Unktomi saw them he went backward out of sight, and picking some grass, bound it up in a bundle. He placed this on his back and so went again along by the side of the lake.

“Unktomi, what are you carrying?” asked the ducks and the geese and the swans.

“These are bad songs I am carrying,” said Unktomi.

The ducks said, “Unktomi, sing for us.”

Unktomi replied, “But the songs are very bad.”

But the ducks insisted upon it. Then Unktomi said, “Make a grass lodge.” So they went to work and made a large grass lodge.

“Now, let all the ducks, geese, and swans gather inside the lodge and I will sing for you,” said Unktomi. So all the ducks and the geese and the swans gathered inside and filled the grass lodge. Then Unktomi took his place at the door of the lodge and said, “If I sing [Pg 85] for you, no one must look, for that is the meaning of the song.”