Myths and Legends of the Great Plains
Page: 41When he had finished smoking, the ghost said, “Ho! we must wrestle together. If you can throw me, you shall kill the enemy without hindrance and steal some horses.”
The young man agreed. But first he threw an armful of brush on the fire. He put plenty of brush near the fire.
Then the ghost rushed at the man. He seized him with his bony hands, which was very painful; but this mattered not. The man tried to push off the ghost, whose legs were very powerful. When the ghost was pulled near the fire, he became weak; but when he pulled the young man toward the darkness, he became [Pg 125] strong. As the fire got low, the strength of the ghost increased. Just as the man began to get weary, the day broke. Then the struggle began again. As they drew near the fire again, the man made a last effort; with his foot he pushed more brush into the fire. The fire blazed up again suddenly. Then the ghost fell, just as if he was coming to pieces.
So the man won in wrestling. Also he killed his enemy and stole some horses. It came out just as the ghost said. That is why people believe what ghosts say.
THE WAKANDA, OR WATER GOD
A man and his wife had only one child, they say, whom they loved very much. He used to go playing every day, they say; and one day he fell into the water. His father and mother and all his relations wailed regularly. His father was very sad, they say. He would not sleep within the lodge; he lay out of doors, without any pillow at all. When he lay on the ground with his cheek on the palm of his hand, he heard his child crying. He heard him crying down under the ground, they say. Having assembled all his relations, he spoke of digging into the ground. The relations collected horses to be given as pay; they collected goods and horses. Then came two old men who said they were sacred. They spoke of seeking for the child. An old man went to tell the father. He brought the two sacred men to the lodge. The father filled a pipe with tobacco. He gave it to the sacred men, and said, “If you bring my child back, I will give all this to you.”
So they painted themselves; one made his body very [Pg 127] black, the other made his body very yellow. Both went into the deep water. So they arrived there, they say. They talked to the wakanda. The child was not dead; he was sitting up, alive.
The men said, “The father demands his child. We have him; we will go homeward,” they said.
“You have him; but if you take him homeward with you, he shall die. Had you taken him before he ate anything, he might have lived. Begone ye, and tell those words to his father.”