Myths and Legends of the Mississippi Valley and the Great Lakes

Page: 62

Some said, “Let us burn a hole through the trunk,” but in this they did not succeed.

Therefore they had to turn back home, but it was a long time before they came near the Indian village again. They wanted to appear as successful warriors, so as they came near, they set up the war song. The Indians heard them. They at once ran out to see the scalps and the spoils. But when they came near, the Turtles each seized an Indian by the arm and said,

“We take you our prisoners. You are our spoils.”

[183] The Indians who were captured in this way were very angry. Now the Turtle chief had captured the young woman he said he was going to marry. He said to the Indian girl, “Now that I have you I will keep you.”

Now it was necessary to organize a dance to celebrate the victory over the Indians. Everyone dressed in his best robe and beads. Turtle sang,

“Whoever comes near me will die, will die, will die!” and the others danced around him in a circle. At once the Indians became alarmed. Each one fled to his own lodge, in the village. Turtle also went to the village, but he arrived much later because he could not travel so fast.

Someone said to him, “That girl has married another man.”

“Is that true?” stormed Turtle. “Let me see the man.”

So he went to that wigwam. He called, “I am going for the woman who promised to be my wife.”

Her husband said, “Here comes Turtle. Now what is to be done?”

“I shall take care of that,” said his wife.

Turtle came in and seized her. He said, “Come along with me. You belong to me.”

She pulled back. She said, “You broke your [184] promise.” The husband said also, “Yes, you promised to go to war and bring back some prisoners. You failed to do so.”

Turtle said, “I did go. I returned with many prisoners.” Then he picked up the young woman and carried her off.

Now when Turtle arrived at his own wigwam, the young woman went at once to a friend and borrowed a large kettle. She filled it with water and set it on to boil. Turtle became afraid. He said, “What are you doing?”

She said, “I am heating some water. Do you know how to swim?”

“Oh, yes,” said Turtle. “I can swim.”

The young woman said, “You jump in the water and swim. I can wash your shell.”

So Turtle tried to swim in the hot water. Then the other Turtles, seeing their chief swimming in the kettle, climbed over the edge and jumped into the water. Thus Turtle and his warriors were conquered.