Myths and Legends of the Mississippi Valley and the Great Lakes

Page: 34



A MAN found himself standing alone on the prairie. He was very large and strong. He thought to himself, “How did I come here? Am I all alone on the earth? I must travel until I find the abode of men.”

So he started out. After a long time he came to a wood. There were decayed stumps there, very old, as if cut in the olden times. Again he journeyed a long time. He came to a wood in which there were more stumps, newly cut. Then he came to the fresh trail of people. He saw wood just cut, lying in heaps. At sunset he came out of the forest. He saw a village of many lodges standing on rising ground.

He said, “I will go there on the run.” He ran. When he came to the first lodge, he sprang over it. Those within saw something pass over the smoke hole. They heard a thump on the ground.

They said, “What is that?” They ran out. They invited him to enter. Many warriors were in the wigwam, and an old chief.

The chief said, “Where are you going? What is your name?”

[96] He said, “I am in search of adventures. I am Pau-puk-kee-wis.” Then they laughed.

After a short time he went on. A young man went with him as his mesh-in-au-wa, as his pipe bearer.

As they journeyed, Pau-puk-kee-wis did strange things. He leaped over trees. He whirled on one foot until dust clouds were flying.

One day a large village of wigwams came in their trail. They went to it. The chief told them of evil manitoes who had killed all the people going to that village. War parties had been sent against them. The warriors were all killed.

Pau-puk-kee-wis said, “I will go and visit them.”

The chief said, “Oh, no. They are evil. They will kill you.”

Pau-puk-kee-wis said, “I will go and visit them.”

Then the chief said, “I will send twenty warriors with you.”

So Pau-puk-kee-wis, with his pipe bearer and twenty warriors, started off at once. They came near that lodge. Pau-puk-kee-wis said, “Hide here. Thus you will be safe. You will see what I do.” He went to that lodge. He entered.

The manitoes were very ugly. They were evil looking. There were a father and four sons. They offered him food. He refused it.

[97] The old manito said, “What have you come for?”

“Nothing,” said Pau-puk-kee-wis.

“Do you want to wrestle?” asked the manito.

“Yes,” said Pau-puk-kee-wis.

At once the eldest brother rose and they began to wrestle. These manitoes were very evil. They wished to kill Pau-puk-kee-wis in order to eat him. But that man was very strong. He tripped the manito. Then he threw him down. His head struck on a stone.

The next brother wrestled with Pau-puk-kee-wis. He fell. Then the other two wrestled. All four fell on the ground. The old manito began to run. Pau-puk-kee-wis pursued him. He pursued him in a very queer way, just for fun. Sometimes he leaped over him and ran ahead. Sometimes he pushed him ahead from behind.