Myths and Legends of the Great Plains

Page: 59

“Younger brother, what has made you fat?” “Elder brother,” said the Gray Fox, “I lie down on the trail in the way of those who carry crackers, and I pretend to be dead. When they throw me in the wagon, I lie there, kicking the crackers out. Then I leap out and start home eating. It is the crackers which make me fat. Elder brother, I wish you would do likewise. Elder brother, you have large feet, so I think will knock out a great many crackers.”

Coyote went to the place and lay down in the trail. When the white man came along, he threw Coyote into the wagon. The white man thought, “It is not the first time he has acted in this way,” so he tied the feet of Coyote. Having put the Coyote in the wagon, the white man went to his house. He threw Coyote out near an old outhouse. Then the white man brought a knife, and cut the cords which bound Coyote’s feet. He acted as if Coyote was dead, so he threw him over his back and started off for the house.

[Pg 177] But Coyote managed to get loose and ran homeward. He went back to get even with Gray Fox.

“Oh, younger brother,” said Coyote, “you have made me suffer.”

“You yourself are to blame,” said Gray Fox. “Be silent and listen to me. You brought the trouble on yourself as you lay down in the place where the white man came with his load of goods.”

“Oh, younger brother, you tell the truth,” said Coyote. But Gray Fox had tempted him.

[Pg 178]



Ictinike was journeying. When he came in sight at a bend of a stream, Big Turtle was sitting there in a sheltered place warmed by the sun. Ictinike drew himself back out of sight, crouching at intervals as he retraced his steps, and ran down the hill to where Big Turtle was.

“Why! How is it that you continue to pay no attention to what is going on? It has been said that yonder stream is to dry up so that all the four-footed animals that frequent the water have kept close to the deep water,” said Ictinike.

Big Turtle said, “Why! I have been coming here regularly, but I have not heard anything at all. I usually come and sit in this place when the sun gets as high as it is at present.”

“Hurry!” said Ictinike, “for some of the young men died very soon for want of water. The young otters died, so did the young muskrats, the young beavers, and the young raccoons.”

“Come, let us go,” said Big Turtle. So Ictinike [Pg 179] departed with him. As he accompanied him, Ictinike sought for a dry bone. Having found one that would be good as a club, Ictinike said, “Friend, go on. Mingam.

When he was alone, Ictinike seized the bone, and before long overtook Big Turtle, walking along beside him.

“Friend,” said he, “when a person walks, he stretches his neck often.”

So Big Turtle began to stretch his neck very far, and he was walking with his legs bent very much. As he was going thus, Ictinike gave him a hard blow on the neck, knocking him senseless, and he did not stop beating him until he had killed him.

“Ha, ha!” said Ictinike, as he carried Big Turtle away. “There are some days when I act thus for myself.”

He kindled a fire and began to roast Big Turtle. Then he became very sleepy, and said, “Ho! I will sleep, but you, O, Ijaxe, must keep awake. Big Turtle, when you are cooked, you must say, ‘Puff!’”

So he went to sleep. Now Coyote came along, very cautiously. He seized Big Turtle, pulled one of the legs out of the fire, and sat there, biting off the meat. When he had eaten all the meat on all the legs, he pushed the bones back just as they had been before, [Pg 180] arranged the fire over them, and left after putting everything just as he had found it.