Myths and Legends of the Great Plains

Page: 70

“Let the two birds drink the stream dry,” said the people. “Bring the Pelicans here.”

[Pg 203] When they came, the people said, “Drink the stream dry. A person came here to war and we killed him, but he is alive. He laughs heartily at us.”

The birds drank the stream dry. There was only a very small quantity left in which Big Turtle sat.

Big Turtle called, “Ho! warrior Gray Squirrel, be coming hither, wherever you may be moving. They have almost killed me.”

Gray Squirrel was coming back, crying loud. He was coming back to attack them. He attacked the two birds. He tore open their water pouches by biting. He bit holes in them. At length all the water returned to its former place. At the creek and the lake it was as before; they were filled with water.

“Sew up their pouches for them,” said the people. So they sewed up the water pouches of the Pelicans. They finished sewing them.

“Come, drink it dry again. Do your best. Beware lest we fail,” said the people. They drank the stream dry again. Again very little of the water was left.

“Ho! warrior Gray Squirrel, wherever you may be moving. They have nearly killed me. Be coming hither again,” said Big Turtle. He came back again. He bit and tore the throats in many places. It made their throats very bad. He made them bad to be sewed at all. It was difficult to sew them.

[Pg 204] “Yet we shall fail,” said the people. “Gray Squirrel is abominable! I think Gray Squirrel is the only one with Big Turtle. I think he is the only one siding with them. Therefore we have failed to hurt them,” said the people.

They ceased. When it was night, Big Turtle went back. He reached his comrades again.

“Ho! Warriors, when men get the better of their enemies in a fight, they usually go homeward. I suspect that your sisters are tired of waiting to dance!”

They went homeward. He walked around them, rattling his gourd.

“Warriors, I said that I would do thus, and so it is,” he said. He burnt the grass.

He burnt the grass so that they might think he was coming home after killing the foe. At length they arrived at the village. They tied scalps to a stick. Then those in the village said, “Yonder come those who went to war!” The returning warriors raced around and around as victorious warriors do. People said, “There they are coming home, having killed the people of the enemy.”

An old man shouted: “Corn Crusher says that he killed one. Halloo! He says he killed her right at the lodge. Halloo! Comb says he killed one right at the lodge. Halloo! Awl says he killed one right at [Pg 205] the lodge. Halloo!, Gray Squirrel says that he killed three right in the midst of the people. Halloo! It is said they held the war chief, Big Turtle, right among them, in a great uproar. Halloo! It is said they failed to injure him. Halloo!

Big Turtle walked very proudly, carrying his shield. He went homeward to enter the lodge. He sat there telling them about himself. As people wished to hear it, they continued arriving there.