Myths and Legends of the Great Plains

Page: 32

Nearly all night the hunter lay awake. He had little food. He felt sorry he could not reach the buffalo. Before the sun rose, he hurried to the top of the hill. The buffalo stood just where it had, but it faced the east. Again he waited for it to move. He waited all day. When the sun went down, the buffalo still stood in the same place.

[Pg 102] Nearly all night the young man lay awake. He had very little food indeed. The next morning he rose early, and came to the top of the hill, just as the sun came up. The buffalo was still standing in the same place; but now it faced the south. He waited all day. Then the sun went down.

Now the next morning, when he arose early, the buffalo stood in the same place; this time it faced the west. All day the young man waited, but the buffalo did not move.

Now the young man thought, “Why does not the buffalo move?” He saw it did not drink, did not eat, did not sleep. He thought some power must be influencing it.

Now the next morning, the young man hurried to the top of the hill. The sun had risen and everything was light. The buffalo was gone. Then he saw where the buffalo had stood there was a strange bush.

He went to the place; then he saw it was a plant. He looked for the tracks of the buffalo. He saw where it had turned to the east and to the south and to the west. In the center there was one track; out of it the small plant had grown. There was no track to show where the buffalo had left the place.

Then the hunter hurried to his village. He told the chiefs and the people of the strange buffalo and the [Pg 103] plant. So all the chiefs and the people came to the place. They saw the tracks of the buffalo as he had stood, but there were no tracks of his coming or going.

So all the people knew that Wahkoda had given this strange plant to the people. They knew of other plants they might eat. They knew there was a time when each plant was ripe. So they watched the strange plant; they guarded it and protected it.

Then a flower appeared on the plant. Afterwards, at one of the joints, a new part of the plant pushed out. It had hair. At first the hair was green; then it was brown. Then the people thought, “Perhaps this fruit is ripe.” But they did not dare touch it. They met together. They looked at the plant.

Then a young man said, “My life has not been good. If any evil comes to me, it will not matter.”

So the people were willing, and the young man put his hand on the plant and then on its fruit. He grasped the fruit boldly. He said to the people, “It is solid. It is ripe.” Then he pulled apart the husks, and said, “It is red.”