Myths and Legends of the Mississippi Valley and the Great Lakes
[Pg 199] Eleven times the boy thus failed to kill a manito, and thus he had but one arrow left. He held this in his hands a long while, looking around. Now these evil manitoes had very strong medicine. They could change their form in a moment. But they feared the boy’s arrows because they were also strong magic. And because they had been given to him by a good manito, they had power to kill.
At last the boy saw the chief of the evil manitoes. He drew his bow and shot his last arrow; but the chief saw it coming. At once he changed himself into a rock. And the arrow buried itself in a crack of the rock. The chief was very angry. He cried, “Now your arrows are all gone! And because you have dared to shoot at me, you shall become the trail of your arrow.”
Thus at once he changed the boy into Nazhik-a-wawa, the Lone Lightning.
THE Great Thunder and his sons, the two Thunder boys, live far in the West, above the Sky-plain. The lightning and the rainbow are their beautiful robes. Medicine men pray to Thunder, and call him the Red Man because there is so much red in his dress.
There are other thunders that live lower down, in the cliffs and mountains, and under waterfalls. They travel on bridges from one peak to another, but the Indian cannot see these bridges. The Great Thunders above the sky are kind and helpful when we make medicine to them, but the others are always plotting mischief. One must not point to the rainbow.
MONTHS OF THE YEAR
THE Natchez begin the year in March, each being a lunar month. Therefore there are thirteen.
1 Deer month
2 Strawberry month
3 Little Corn month
4 Watermelon month
5 Peach month (July)
6 Mulberry month
7 Great Corn month (maize)
8 Turkey month (October)
9 Bison month
10 Bear month
11 Cold meal month (January)
12 Chestnut month
13 Nut month (nuts broken to make bread, at the close of winter, when supplies run low)
WHY THE OAKS AND SUMACHS REDDEN
ONCE on a time, long ago, when it was winter, so they say, it snowed for the first time. And while the very first snow lay on the ground, so they say, three men went early in the morning to hunt for game.
In a thick growth of shrub on a side hill, a bear had entered in. They could see the trail in the snow. One went in after him, and started him going in flight.
“Away from The-place-whence-comes-the-cold he is making fast!” he called to the others.
But the one who had gone round by way of The-place-from-whence-comes-the-cold, cried, “In the direction From-whence-comes-the-source-of-midday is he hurrying away.” Thus he said.
The third, who had gone round by way of The-place-whence-comes-the-source-of-midday, cried out, “Towards-the-place-where-the-sun-falls-down is he hastening.”