Myths and Legends of the Great Plains
Page: 60At length Ictinike awoke. He pushed into the ashes to find Big Turtle, took hold of a leg, and pulled it out. Only that leg came out. “Pshaw!” said he. Then he tried another leg, with a like result, and still another, but only the bones appeared. When he had pulled out the fourth leg, he was astonished. All at once he exclaimed, “Surprising! I had already eaten the Turtle, but I had forgotten it.”
ICTINIKE AND THE CREATORS
Ictinike married and dwelt in a lodge. One day he said to his wife, “Hand me that tobacco pouch. I must go visit your grandfather, Beaver.” So he departed.
As he was entering Beaver’s lodge, Beaver said, “Ho, pass around to one side.” And they seated Ictinike on a pillow. Beaver’s wife said, “We have been without food. How can we give your grandfather anything to eat?” Now Beaver had four young ones.
The youngest Beaver said, “Father, let me serve for food.” So the youngest Beaver served for food. Beaver’s wife therefore gave some of the meat to Ictinike, who ate it. But before letting him eat it, Beaver said to him, “Be careful lest you break even a single bone by biting! Do not break a bone!” Yet Ictinike broke one of the toe bones.
After the meal, Beaver gathered the bones, put them in a skin, and plunged them beneath the water. In a moment the youngest Beaver came up from the water, alive again.
[Pg 182] When the father said, “Is all right?” the son said, “Father, he broke one of my toes by biting.” Therefore, from that time, every beaver has had one little toe (the next to the little one), which has seemingly been split by biting.
When Ictinike was about to go home, he pretended he had forgotten about his tobacco pouch, which he left behind. So Beaver said to one of the children, “Take that to him. Do not go near him, but throw it to him when you are at a great distance from him, as he is always very talkative.”
Then the child took the tobacco pouch and started after Ictinike. After getting in sight of the latter, Little Beaver was about to throw the pouch, when standing at a great distance; but Ictinike called to him, “Come closer! come closer!” When young Beaver took the pouch closer, Ictinike said, “Tell your father that he is to visit me.”
When young Beaver reached home, he said, “Oh, father, he said you were to visit him.”
Beaver replied, “As I feared that very thing, I said to you, ‘Throw it to him while standing at a great distance from him.’”
Then Beaver went to visit Ictinike. When he arrived there, Ictinike wished to kill one of his own children, as Beaver had done, and was making him cry by hitting [Pg 183] him often. Beaver was unwilling for him to act thus, so he said, “Let him alone! You are hurting him!” Then Beaver went to the stream where he found a young beaver that he took back to the lodge, and they ate it.