Myths and Legends of the Great Plains

Page: 17

Now the father sent out criers. “He says that his son reached the buffaloes, but he has not come home. He says that ye who have seen his son will please tell it,” shouted the criers.

One said he had seen him. “I saw him very distinctly. He went in pursuit. Perhaps he went headlong into a sunken place, for when on very level ground he vanished altogether. I did not see him again,” he said.

The father commanded the people to join him in [Pg 58] seeking his son. When the man who had seen him said, “It was just here,” the people scattered far and wide, seeking the chief’s son. All the people sought him. Behold, he had gone down the pit some time before. The buffalo had gone down, having kicked off a piece of the soil. The horse, too, had gone down, having kicked off a piece of the soil.

There was no trail beyond the pit. All the people went directly to it, without hesitation.

The pit was very large and extended far downward. The chief spoke of removing the village there, at once. So there they camped. They camped around the pit.

Then the chief implored the young men and those who had been his friends. If there was one man who was stout-hearted, one who had a firm heart, the father wished him to enter the pit and go after the young man. So he implored them.

At length one rode round and round the village. Then he promised to enter the pit and go after the missing son.

“Tell his father. He must also collect cords,” he said.

Having cut buffalo hides in strips, he collected the cords.

“Make a round piece of skin for me, and tie the long line of cord to it,” he said. So they finished it.

[Pg 59] “Now it matters not to what place I go, I will put the body in the skin bucket. I go to take hold of him. When I reach the ground at the bottom, I will pull suddenly on the cord. When I pull on it many times, you will draw it up.” Thus he said.

At last he reached the ground inside the pit. It was very dark. When he felt around in the dark, the buffalo was lying alone, being killed by the fall. The horse, too, was lying by itself, having been killed by the fall. And the man lay apart from them, having been killed by the fall.

Picking up the body of the chief’s son, he put it in the hollow skin. Then he pulled many times on the cord.

But when the young man went down, strange to say, he did not ask favors for himself. And they rejoiced because he had put the chief’s son in the hollow skin. Having brought up the dead man they forgot the living one.