Myths and Legends of the Mississippi Valley and the Great Lakes

Page: 55




THE Ancient of Wildcats had been creeping up on the Wild Turkeys trying to catch some. He tried in vain. Then he got a bag, crawled inside, and rolled himself along. He rolled himself to the Ancient of Turkey Gobblers.

Wildcat said, “Get into my bag and see what fun it is to roll.”

The Ancient of Turkey Gobblers crawled into the bag. Wildcat tied up the end and rolled it along for some time. After he had rolled it quite a distance, he stopped and untied the bag.

“It is very good,” said the First of All the Turkey Gobblers. Then he said to the other Wild Turkeys, “Get in the bag and see how pleasant it is.”

But the young Turkeys were afraid. Gobbler urged them to try the new game. At last one young Turkey stepped into the bag. Wildcat tied the end and pretended that he was going to roll it. It would not go.

“It will not go because it is too light. There is only [160] one in it,” said Wildcat. “Let another young Turkey step in.”

At last another young Turkey stepped in. Wildcat tied the bag, threw it over his shoulder and ran home. When he reached home he laid the bag down.

Then Wildcat said to his mother, “I have brought home something on my back, and placed it outside. Beware lest you untie the bag.”

His mother said to herself, “I wonder what it can be.” So she untied the bag. One of the turkeys flew out. She managed to catch the other one. She caught both feet with one hand, and both wings with the other. She cried out, “Help! Help! I have caught four!”

The Ancient of Wildcats scolded his mother. Then he killed the turkey and cooked it. His mother went into another room.

Then Wildcat spread his feast. As he was eating the Turkey he made a constant noise. He walked back and forth. He talked continually and kept up a steady rattling. When he stopped the noise a little he said, “I am going home,” as if a guest were speaking. He said this again and again. He made a noise with his feet as if people were walking about. He ate all the turkey except the hip bone.




ONCE upon a time the Ancient of Brants and the Ancient of Otters were living as friends. One day the Ancient of Otters said to the Ancient of Brants, “Come to see me tomorrow,” and departed.

Brant went to make the call. When he arrived, the Ancient of Otters said, “Halloo! I have nothing at all for you to eat! Sit down!” Then he went fishing. He used a “leather vine” which he jerked now and then to straighten it. He caught many fish. When he reached home he cooked them.

When the fish were cooked, ready for the feast, the Ancient of Otters put some into a very flat dish. But the Ancient of Brants could not eat from a flat dish. All he could do was to hit his bill against the dish, and raise his head as if swallowing something. But Otter ate rapidly.

Otter said to his guest, “Have you eaten enough?”

“Yes, I am satisfied,” said Brant.

“No, you are not satisfied,” said Otter. He took more fish and placed them in the flat dish, eating [162] rapidly as before. Brant could only hit his bill against the side of the dish.

When the Ancient of Brants was departing, he said to Otter, “Come to see me tomorrow.”

When Otter reached the house of the Ancient of Brants the next day, Brant cried, “Halloo! I have nothing at all to give you to eat! Sit down!”

Then the Ancient of Brants went fishing, using a “leather vine” which he jerked now and then to straighten it. He caught many fish and took them home to cook them. When the fish were cooked, they began to feast. But the Ancient of Brants had put some into a small round dish. Ancient of Otters could not get his mouth into the dish. But Brant ate rapidly.

“Have you eaten enough?” Brant asked, after a while.

Otter replied, “Yes, I am satisfied.”

“Nonsense!” said the Ancient of Brants. “How could you possibly be satisfied! I have served you as you served me.”

But this ended their friendship.




THE Ancient of Tiny Frogs[24] was shut up by his grandmother, so that he might learn magic. Then she took him on a journey.

[24] The tiny frog, called péska, is a black one, not more than an inch long, living in muddy streams in Louisiana. It differs from the bullfrog, common frog, and tree frog.

First they met the Ancient of Panthers. The grandmother said to him, “This is your sister’s son. Look at him and wrestle with him.” The Ancient of Panthers was very brave. To show his strength, he climbed very high up a tree which he tore to pieces, falling to the ground with it.