Myths and Legends of the Great Plains

Page: 68

He arrived there. Some ashes had been poured out. They were extinguished. At length Big Turtle pushed his way through. He went within. He sat within, with his eyes sticking out, looking around. A woman approached when it was morning. She stood very close to where Big Turtle sat.

“You will tread on my shield,” he said. The woman looked around. “From what place does he speak?” she thought; therefore she looked around. Again he [Pg 199] said to her, “You will tread on my shield. Stand further away.” And the woman found him.

“Oh!” she said.

“Stand still. I send you with a message,” said Big Turtle. “Go home and say, ‘Big Turtle says he has come to war. He says he has come desiring the chief’s daughter, whose body has been placed on the bough of a tree.’”

The people came. All the people said, “Break in his skull suddenly.” He said, “How is it possible for you to break in my skull suddenly? If you let your weapons slip off suddenly from me each time, you will break your legs with the blows.”

They said, “When the water is hot, it will be good to put him in it.”

“Fie!” said Big Turtle. “When the water is hot and I scatter it with kicking, many of you will be scalded to death.”

“He tells what is probably true,” they said.

“And if it be so, it is good to burn him,” said the people.

“For shame! If I scatter the fire by kicking, I will cause all the land to blaze. Beware lest many of your children, too, die from the fire,” he said.

“He tells what is probably true,” they said.

A child begged for water. “O mother, some water,” [Pg 200] it said. Big Turtle said, “Oh!” He tempted them with reference to water.

“Cause the child to ask for water,” said one.

“What do you mean by that?” said others.

“When the child said, ‘O mother, some water,’ this one, Big Turtle, said ‘Oh!’” answered one.

“Wonderful!” they said. “He is fearing the sight of water.” They took him to the water, holding him by the tail. Notwithstanding Big Turtle clung to the ground with his forelegs, they held his tail, and reached the water with him. They threw him forcibly right into the water. He walked the water for a while, crying a little, and pretended he did not know how to swim. He said, “Wi! wi! wi!

“Wonderful! Throw him out into the middle of the stream,” they said. Again they sent him headlong. He was wandering around. At length he sank. They said, “He is dead,” and went homeward. “You should have done that to him at first,” said the people.