Myths and Legends of the Great Plains
Page: 42The two men went. They arrived at the lodge, they say.
“We have seen your child; the wakanda’s wife has him. We saw him alive, but he has eaten of the food of the wakandas. Therefore the wakanda says that if we bring the child back with us out of the water, he shall die.”
Still, the father wished to see him.
“If the wakanda’s wife gives you back your child, she desires a very white dog as pay.”
“I promise to give her the white dog,” said the father.
Again the two men painted themselves; the one made himself very black, the other made himself very yellow. Again they went beneath the water. They arrived at the place again.
[Pg 128] “The father said we were to take the child back at any cost; he spoke of seeing his child.”
So the wakanda gave the child back to them; homeward they went with him. When they reached the surface of the water with him, the child died. They gave him back to his father. Then all the people wailed when they saw the child, their relation.
They plunged the white-haired dog into the water. When they had buried the child they gave pay to the two men.
After a while, the parents lost another child, a girl, in the same way, they say. But she did not eat any of the wakanda’s food, therefore they took her home alive. But it was another wakanda who took her, and he promised to give her back if they would give him four white-haired dogs.
THE SPIRIT LAND
The spirit world is toward the Darkening Land, higher up, and separated from the world of living by a great lake. Now when the spirits came back to this world [in the ghost-dance excitement] Crow was their leader. That is because Crow is black; his color is the same as that of the Darkening Land. Crow was followed by all the Indians. But when they reached the edge of the shadow land, below them was a great sea.
Far away, toward the Sunrise Land were their people in the world of living. So Crow took a pebble in his beak. He dropped it into the water, and it became a mountain, towering up to the shadow land. So the Indians came down the mountain side to the edge of the water.
Then Crow took some dust in his bill. He flew out and dropped it into the water, and it became solid land. It stretched between the spirit land and the world of living.
Then Crow flew out again, with blades of grass in [Pg 130] his beak. He dropped these upon the new made land. At once the earth was covered with green grass.
Again Crow flew out with twigs in his beak, and he dropped these upon the new earth. At once it was covered with a forest of trees.