Myths and Legends of the Mississippi Valley and the Great Lakes

Page: 47

She said, “The animals who live in such a place have killed all our relatives. You must never go there.” Therefore he went in that direction.

Now he walked a long while and met no one. Then he lay down on a knoll where the sun had melted the snow. He fell asleep. Then Sun looked down at him and burned his bird-skin coat. He tightened it so that the boy was bound into it. When he awoke, the boy said to Sun, “You are not too high. I will pay you back.”

He went home. He said to his sister, “Sun has spoiled my coat.” He would not eat. He lay down on the ground. He lay ten days on one side. Then he turned over and lay ten days on the other side.

At last he rose. He said to his sister, “Make me a snare. I shall catch Sun.”

She said, “I have no string.” The boy said, “Make a string.” Then she remembered a bit of dried sinew which her father had had. So she made a snare for him.

The boy said, “That will not do. Make a better [132] snare.” She said, “I have no string.” At last she remembered. She cut off some of her hair. She made a string from that.

The boy said, “That will not do. Make me a noose.” She thought again. Then she remembered. She went out of the wigwam. She took something. She made a braid out of that thing.

The boy said, “This will do.” He was much pleased. When he took it, it became a long red cord. There was much of it. He wound it around his body.

The boy left the wigwam while Sun was at home. He did this so that he might catch him as he came over the edge of the earth. He put the noose at the spot just where Sun came over the edge. When Sun came along, the noose caught his head. He was held tight, so that he could not follow his trail in the Sky-land.

Now the animals who ruled the earth were frightened because Sun did not follow the trail. They said, “What shall we do?” So they called a great council. They said, “We must send someone to cut the noose.” Thus they spoke in the council.

Now all the animals were afraid to cut the cord. Sun was so hot he would burn them. At last Dormouse said, “I will go.” He stood up in the council. He was as high as a mountain. He was the largest of all the animals.

[133] When Dormouse reached the place where Sun was snared, his fur began to singe and his back to burn. It was very hot. Dormouse cut the cord with his teeth. But so much of him was burned up, he became very small. Therefore Dormouse is the smallest of animals. That is why he is called Kug-e-been-gwa-kwa.




ONCE there was a little white hare, living in a wigwam with her grandmother. Now Grandmother sent Hare back to her native land. When Hare had gone a short way, Lynx came down the trail. Lynx sang:

Where, pretty white one,
Where, pretty white one,
Where do you go?

Tshwee! Tshwee! Tshwee! Tshwee!” cried Hare, and ran back to Grandmother.

“See, Grandmother,” she said, “Lynx came down the trail and sang,

Where, pretty white one,
Where, pretty white one,
Where do you go?”

“Ho!” said Grandmother. “Have courage! Tell Lynx you are going to your native land.”

[135] Hare went back up the trail. Lynx stood there, so Hare sang,

To the point of land I go,
There is the home of the little white one,
There I go.