Myths and Legends of the Great Plains
Page: 9Then Sun created a patch of beautiful ripe strawberries. They were the first strawberries. When the woman saw those, she stopped to gather a few. As she gathered them, she turned her face toward the west. Then she remembered the man. She turned to the Sunland but could not go on. She could not go any further.
Then the woman picked some of the strawberries and started back on her trail, away from the Sunland. So her husband met her, and they went back together.
In the beginning the people were in water. They opened their eyes, but they could see nothing. As the people came out of the water, they first saw the daylight. They had no clothing. Then they took weeds and grasses and from them wove clothing.
The people lived near a large body of water; it was in a wooded country where there was game. The men hunted the deer with clubs; they did not know the use of the bow. The people wandered about the shores of the great water. They were poor and cold. The people thought, “What shall we do to help ourselves?” So they began chipping stones. They found a bluish stone that was easily flaked and chipped; so they made knives and arrowheads out of it. But they were still poor and cold. They thought, “What shall we do?”
Then a man found an elm root that was very dry. He dug a hole in it and put a stick in and rubbed it. Then smoke came. He smelled it. Then the people smelled it and came near. Others helped him to rub. At last a spark came. They blew this into a flame. [Pg 35] Thus fire came to warm the people and to cook their food.
After this the people built grass houses; they cut the grass with the shoulder blade of a deer. Now the people had fire and ate their meat roasted. Then they grew tired of roast meat. They thought, “How shall we cook our meat differently?”
A man found a piece of clay that stuck well together. Then he brought sand to mix with it. Then he molded it as a pot. Then he gathered grass until he had a large heap of it; he put the clay pot into the midst of the grass and set it on fire. This made the clay hard. After a time he put water into the pot; the water did not leak out. This was good. So he put water into it and then meat into it, and put the pot over the fire. Thus the people had boiled meat to eat.
Now their grass coverings would grow fuzzy and drop off. It was hard to gather and keep these coverings. The people were not satisfied. Again they thought, “What can we do to have something different to wear?”
Before this, they had been throwing away the hides from the game which they killed. But now they took their stone knives to scrape down the hides and make them thin. They rubbed the hides with grass and with their hands to make them soft. Then they used the [Pg 36] hides for clothing. Now they had clothing and were warm.