Myths and Legends of the Great Plains

Page: 61

On another day, Ictinike said to his wife, “Hand me that tobacco pouch. I must go call on your grandfather, Muskrat.” So he departed. As he was entering Muskrat’s lodge, the host said, “Ho, pass around to one side.” And Ictinike was seated on a pillow.

Muskrat’s wife said, “We have been without food. How can we give your grandfather anything to eat?”

Muskrat said, “Fetch some water.”

The woman brought the water. He told her to put it in the kettle and hang the kettle over the fire. When the water was boiling very fast, the husband upset the kettle, and instead of water, out came wild rice! So Ictinike ate the wild rice.

When Ictinike departed he left his tobacco pouch, as before. Then Muskrat called one of his children, and said, “Take that to him. Do not go near him! Throw it to him when you are a great distance from him, as he is always very talkative.”

So the child took the tobacco pouch to return it to Ictinike. When he was about to throw it to him, he said, “Come closer! Come closer!” When the child [Pg 184] took the pouch closer, Ictinike said, “Tell your father he is to visit me.”

When the young Muskrat reached home, he said, “Oh, father, he said that you were to visit him.” Muskrat replied, “As I feared that very thing, I said to you, ‘Throw it to him while standing at a great distance from him.’”

Then Muskrat went to see Ictinike. And Ictinike said to his wife, “Fetch water.” The woman went after water. She filled the kettle and hung it over the fire until it boiled. When Ictinike upset the kettle, only water came out. Ictinike wished to do just as Muskrat had done, but he was unable. Then Muskrat had the kettle refilled, and when the water boiled he upset it, and an abundance of wild rice was there, which he gave to Ictinike. Thereupon Muskrat departed, leaving plenty of wild rice.

On another day, Ictinike said to his wife, “I am going to see your grandfather, Kingfisher.” When he arrived there, Kingfisher stepped on a bough of a large white willow, bending it down so far that it was horizontal; and he dived from it into the water. He came up with a fish, which he gave to Ictinike to eat. And as Ictinike was starting home, he left one of his gloves, pretending he had forgotten it. So Kingfisher directed one of his boys to take the glove and restore it to the [Pg 185] owner. But he charged the boy not to go near him, as Ictinike was very talkative and might detain him too long. Just as the boy was about to throw the glove, Ictinike called, “Come closer! Come closer!” So the boy carried the glove closer. And Ictinike said, “Tell your father that he is to visit me.”