Ocean Duck (Tejąwįǧega)

translated by Richard L. Dieterle

Hočąk Syllabic Text with English Interlinear Translation

(1) There was a village. The chief was there. He had a son whom he kept behind a partition. He never traveled around. The only time that he would go out is to answer a call of nature, then he would return. Then the chief would say, "My dear son, this village is yours to command. You yourself are in charge of the people. They will do every single thing you say," it is said that he would say to him. (2) Then this occurred one day: the chief said to his son, "My dear son, young men exactly like you go about daily, but you never get out; to go about some day would be good for you," he said to him. "You ought to associate with your people," he said. However, still he would not visit around. Again he spoke to him about it. (3) He told him to visit. What he had said before is the kind of thing that he said again, but he would still not go about. It was four times that he said this to him. "Korá, why is my father saying that?" he thought. He went out.

Then he went out to another place. He was doing it to relieve himself. There was a little hill, and he went to the foot of it to defecate. On the side of this, the little hill, little children were playing. (4) One of them saw him. He told the others about it. "It's the chief's son and he is here relieving himself," he said. All of them watched him. He did it with is backside facing them there. The children said, "The chief also has a red anus," they said. They spoke secretly, it is said, and they laughed. They said it because they wanted to make themselves laugh, (5) and other things that he said, they said. One of them was wayward. He said, and loudly he said it, "The chief also has a red anus," he said. He turned around, and there, unexpectedly, were a lot of children looking at him. "Hohó, what a shameful thing was done by the one who did this." He was greatly ashamed. "Thus it is that I never visited around. (6) There was my father's talk, and then I came, I came far out. I am ashamed of something, I am thinking." And thus he went home. When he got home, he entered his partition, and thus it was. He never answered anyone. He would never come out of his partition. He was worried. He knew of it. His father said to him, in a whisper, (7) "My dear son, you did not used to be this way. Why are you doing this? You are so quiet. I don't like it. If anything has made you the way you are, tell me. If something here was not good for you, whatever you think, that will be the case," he said to him. He did not say a thing. Again he asked him a second time. Again the third time he asked him. (8) A fourth time he asked him. "My dear son, if there is anything you do not like, tell me about it. They did something there that was done to harm you," he said. "My dear son, tell me why you are the way you are," he said. Then, at last, he said, "Father, well then, I shall say something. I desire that we abandon all those children who are able to play. (9) Father, I am ashamed," he said. "Let us go away from here and leave them," he said. "Hąhą́, my son, yes, I mean that I thought that it must be something like this. This is the sort of thing that we will do. I told you that they were yours," he said. Then they went and called the attendants. Then they told them. (10) "In the morning, all the children who are able to play, absolutely all the ones who play, they must go far away, it has been declared. You must also make them lunch, and tell them to take it along, it is said. Thus they went and told them that sort of thing.

In the morning, all the children, all those who were able to play, left with their lunches. Over the second hill they went. (11) Then they moved the village. There was an old woman whose little grandson was left behind with the rest, and she did not want to leave, but they bound her and put her in a canoe. Since she refused to go, they forced her. One of the children came towards home, but unexpectedly, the village was all in smoke. (12) He had come towards the smoke, and they had set all things on fire. The child there cried out and ran back. "Not a single person was in the village. It is burning. It is all in smoke" he said. They all cried out and ran home. Then how will it be? They ran down below, and unexpectedly, out in the center, the oars shined as they moved to and fro. (13) Unexpectedly, there was one who fell out. As they listened, unexpectedly, she said,

Čų́wįga!       My grandson!
Časį́čkuhą!   Under my buttocks!

she said, expressing it in a little song. He sat crying as she, the old woman, said these things.

Where she used to sit, there the old woman's grandson uncovered the earth. (14) And it is said that there, unexpectedly, was a little "lightning pot," a little one of this kind of thing, there it was. A fire-starter was there, and also a little knife, there it was. They were still there, when night came there. There the old woman's grandson built them a fire, and there they lay down to sleep.

In the morning, they went to the edge of the lake. (15) Some of the children were very small. Walking to exhaustion, they fell over. And some of the little ones went with older ones. The older children took care of the little ones. They carried the little ones on their backs. There was a large number of little ones. They went around the edge of the lake. In the course of time, when it was about evening, when the sun was still going home, unexpectedly, (16) in the direction they were going, there something came into view. "Hąhó, what can that be?" they were saying. When it came into view, unexpectedly, it was a person. One of them said, "My father used to say that he loved me, perhaps it is he," he said. And others said the same. "My uncle used to say that he loved me, perhaps it is he," they said. Their grandfathers, they also said. When it got near, unexpectedly, it turned out to be a woman. (17) Again they said, "My mother used to say that she loved me, perhaps it is she," they said. They also said their aunts. They also mentioned their grandmothers. Yet others also said, "My older sister used to say that she loved me, perhaps it is she," they said. They were delighted. The one who came to meet them, unexpectedly, when it came, it was an old woman, and she was very big. (18) She said to them, "Waną́, my little granddaughters must be a bit tired, my little grandsons as well," she said. Your grandfather here, when you were abandoned, heard about it. He told me to go over, so I came. So we made ourselves be here nearly all alone," she said. (19) Then, finally, they came back to her lodge there, a big oval lodge. The two of them had started off by living here alone. "Hagáwažą, what a good thing we did in having you come to us. No need to worry. Hoją́, in any case, you have come to us," she said. Then she said to them, "We are alone and do not require anything, and we are not trying to get anything to eat. (20) It was to pass the time. So your grandfather has gone hunting as you must eat," she said. The lodge was completely empty. This place was not prosperous. A big kettle was boiling there. "Your grandfather is coming back. We will eat, provided this one returns with one of the things. Therefore, I set aside the water," she said. (21) Some of the children were a bit tired, and they were also hungry, so they laid down to sleep. She said to them, "Let those who have lain down to sleep place their heads towards the fireplace at the center of the lodge. We have lived here a long time, and there are many mice in the lodge wall. They have always gnawed the hair off the top of our heads when we sleep with our heads next to the wall," she said. (22) "And this is what they have done to me," she said, and when she showed them the top of her head, unexpectedly, the top of her head was bald. So they made them place their heads next to the fireplace. Thus it was as they went to sleep.

He had not returned for sometime. By now it was night, and nearly all of them were asleep. And now only the old woman and the grandson were not asleep. (23) Now she told him, "Grandson, now you should go to sleep. Your grandfather has killed something, so he is detained, that is why he is absent. When he comes back, I'll cook something, then I'll wake you up. So you might as well go to sleep," but he had a premonition, so he did not go to sleep. He laid down, but only pretended to sleep, and secretly watched her. He must have fallen asleep. After he had done so, she did this: she took a long knife and came towards them. (24) However, the old woman's grandson began to move. The big old woman said, "What bad ones are those ones who are mice. You bad ones who are mice, I will kill you. My little grandsons, my little granddaughters, are trying to sleep, but they must be bothering them," she said. She scolded the mice. Three times she did it. (25) Thus she did. The fourth time he pretended to be asleep. Unexpectedly, she cut clean through the neck of the one next to her. There again the old woman's grandson pretended to be suddenly awakened from a deep sleep. Again the old woman scolded the mice. Then he became frightened. He thought, "What is the best thing I could do?" Then he said, "Grandmother, I wish to go outside," he said. (26) "Grandson, you can still do it there next to the fireplace," she said. "I mean that I wish to defecate," he said. "So do it there, I'll rake it up," she said. "Grandmother, I don't care to do it that way. But just the same, I will do it outside," he said. She objected very much, but finally he got her consent. "Well, grandson, evil things are going about. I will go sit and hold you," she said. (27) Then she sat holding on to a little blanket he wore. And he had some arrows that he would not let go of. Then he laid one of the arrows there and fled from the place. He also left his blanket there. Then the big woman said, "Grandson, aren't you done yet?" she said. "Grandmother, I am not finished," was the reply. There was an arrow he had left there, and it itself was the one who said it. (28) She spoke, and again, for the second time, she asked him, "Aren't you done yet, grandson?" she said. "I'm not done yet, grandmother," it said. For a third time she asked him. Yet again it said the same. Yet again for the fourth time she said, "Aren't you done yet, grandson?" she said. "Grandmother, I have a stomach ache. So you may go in, but when I am done, I will come in," it said. (29) "Howá, hoją́, what kind of thing is this?" she said, and when she jerked the blanket, only the blanket came forth. She ran out, and unexpectedly, it was one of his arrow who had said it, the one who spoke. "That homely, rotten thing, how clever of him, but where will he get back to his life?" she said. "Now I will eat the fresh meat of the little ones," she said. (30) She went in and cut the heads off all the rest of them, and put them in the kettle. There she ate them.

The old woman's grandson traveled until it was day. He still went along the edge of the lake. Unexpectedly, there at the edge of the lake, someone was visible. "Hohó, it must be that someone has started out to look for us," he thought. As he came, it was a man, and, (31) "I will go with him as he goes back there," he thought. When he got there, unexpectedly, he was a man, and he was big. Unexpectedly, he said, "Hohó, my older sister loves me. When she said what she said, I used to think, 'Does she really mean it?' She thought that I would eat a little of this young meat, so she let him come on," he said. Then he said, "Let's gamble. (32) Whenever men meet one another anywhere, they will always gamble," he said. What one of them said was, "I've never learned anyone of the games. Besides, what would I put up? Look at what is left for me to get. I have nothing to bet," he said. "Koté, boy, here's something unexpected: you should make a really good head-bet," he said. (33) "We will wrestle," he said. Then he placed a stone there. "On this we will throw one another," he said. So then, they stood taking hold of one another. He began to lift the boy, and he threw him at the stone, but as he approached it, he made a turn. A little swallow flew away. "Hohó!" he said. "When wrestling goes this way, it's always interesting," he said. (34) They kept on until the Giant was exhausted. There he was thrown to the ground. There he did it. The Giant was packing a very large kettle, and so he took and boiled him. Then he dished it out onto twigs and ate. And then he started on. Again he met one of them. Again he said, (35) "Hohó, my older sister, my older brother Kųnų, they love me. When he said, what she also said, I used to think, 'Do they really mean it?' My older brother [said,] 'Heną́ can make a soup for himself out of this tender meat,' it must have been intended," he said. Then he said, "Hąhó, Ocean Duck, we will gamble. Whenever men meet one another anywhere, they will always gamble," he said. (36) "We will wrestle one another," he said. Again he placed the stone there. And again, they did the same as they had done before. Again, finally, he got tired and he threw him to the ground. Again he boiled him, and dished it out on twigs, and ate it up. Thus he did, and again he went along the edge of the lake. Again, in the morning, about noon, he met one of them, the third one. (37) Again he thanked them. "My older sister, my older brother, they loved me. "My older sister, my older brother, they loved me, they said, but what they said, I used to think, 'Did they really mean it?'" he said. 'This', our older brother Hagá must have wanted, 'he can make soup out of it for himself'," he said. Again, what they did was the same. He threw him to the ground, then ate. (38) Again, in the morning, about the middle of the day, he met one. For the fourth time, he again thanked them. "Hohó, it's the Ocean Duck," he said. "When my sister, my older brothers, said they loved me, when they said what they said, I used to think, 'Do they really mean it'?" he said. Then again he wrestled him, but again he threw him to the ground. (39) Thus he did, and he ate him up. Then again he went on. He went along the edge of the lake. There, on the way in the evening, he slept there, and in the morning he went on. In the morning, about the middle of the day, unexpectedly, there he came to a long lodge. He went to it. Unexpectedly, there was a woman outside tanning a deerskin. There he went over and stood, and he looked at her, and when he saw her, she saw him. (40) Again she thanked them. "When my sister, my older brothers, said they loved me, when they said what they said, I used to think, 'Do they really mean it'?" she said. "Hąhó, we will wrestle one another," she said. Initially, their contest was the same as what they had done before. This one was stronger, and fought longer. Finally, he threw her to the ground. (41) Then he killed her, and again he boiled her. He boiled her flesh. Her hindquarters, in any case, he threw out.

Then he did it. And there was a platform, and he climbed up there. It was very, very high. There he climbed up. When he got there, unexpectedly, there were six human hearts there. She had placed them in very fine down feathers, and just then, the woman whom he had just killed, was coming very near. (42) As she advanced, she pleaded with him intensely. "Young man, come down. Whatever thing you want, that you will get," she said. They flattered Ocean Duck. The woman started to climb. Once she had spoken, right away he took his knife, cutting her heart open by stabbing it. (43) The woman collapsed. One after another they climbed up. When they came very close, he would make them fall. Finally, he killed them all. It was their hearts that he had captured, and he did it to them. It was impossible for him to kill them. They had placed their hearts there and had done it, but he got to them and killed them. (44) Then he burned them up in their lodges.

Thus he did, and again he went on, going along the edge of the lake. Again, when night overtook him on the way there, he slept there on the way. Then again in the morning, he went on. Unexpectedly, as he went along, he came to an oval lodge there. "Nephew, as you have come, (45) why not come in instead of doing that?" she said. He went in. "Hihó, nephew, as you have come, we will gamble," she said. "Hihó," he said. "I am going about gambling," he said. "Nephew, I will boil something for you. After you eat, then we will have the contest. Then I'm boiling rice," she said. He looked at her, and unexpectedly, she had meant lice. She dished it out and gave it to him. He took it and poured it into the fire. (46) "I," she said. "My nephew, you must be Kųnųga's son," she said. "Hąhó, we will wrestle," she said. "I usually like wrestling, but I have never wrestled an old woman, but since you have challenged me, I will wrestle with you," he said. "I accept the challenge," he said. "Alright," she said. "We will do it," she said. (47) Then she said, "What, are you not going to tell of your dreams?" she said. "You may speak first," he said. The old woman said that all things that are mighty, she told him, had blessed her when she first had her menses, she said. "Hąhą́, you may also speak," she said. "Yet the same with which they blessed me, were things of which I also was blessed," he said. "I," she said, "nephew, (48) I believe that you must be Kųnųga's son," she said. "So, nephew, we should not do it," she said. "Hąhó, it's still valid, let's do what you yourself have said," he said. "Hąhó, maybe we should do it," she said, and next to the wall, she pulled back the spread, and there the ground was cracked. "Hąhó, here we will throw one another," she said. Now they did it. Ocean Duck was thrown in there. (49) Through the crevasse he went. The crevasse contained sharp rocks sticking out here and there. Human flesh was hanging here and there. He chose to go and see the bottom of the crevasse. The crevasse itself was designed to be a lodge for boiling, and here there was a kettle. Whenever she threw one of them there, he would drop into the kettle. (50) There they ate them. Then the old woman was saying, "Jáha-á, a while ago this one was so froward, I thought, so where has he gone?" she was saying. "I told him we should not do it, perhaps he should have taken advantage of it, but he did nothing from the moment I spoke. He will be another one — where has he gone?" she was saying. Just then he climbed out. "Hąhó, you bad old woman who has spoken, again what you have been saying is right, (51) so right now let's wrestle," he said. She turned around, and unexpectedly, there he was standing. He stripped off a kaǧi skin that she wore around her neck. She was using this very thing (as a form). So then Ocean Duck did it. When he grasped her, she said, "Nephew, I am thinking that you must be Kųnųga's son. Let us not do it," she said. (52) "Again it is alright, given as how you gave me a swing, what am I to do, and not look for you? So we shall do it," he said. "I shall swing you in turn," he said. Then he stripped her of the things that she was wearing, and threw her into the crevasse. "Without doubt, you are not advisable, so there is revenge with fire. You tried to abuse the humans. He did not create us for this," he said. (53) She was an acquaintance of his. That is why she said, "My nephew, you must be Kųnųga's son," she would say, and because she gambled, that was why he came to live among the humans, because this one had destroyed so many people there. She was an aunt that he had had. He was Chief of the Thunderbirds, and he [Kųnųga] was his son, and the oldest one was his father. (54) And the old woman whom he had killed, she was herself related to his father. That was why she was saying, "Nephew, you must be Kųnųga's son, I think," she said. She was saying this because she recognized him. He was a clever one. So, because she knew him, she was afraid, but then she fought him. Then, after this, he burned up her lodge.

And so he did, and again he started off. He again went along the edge of the lake. (55) On the way there, when night overtook this one, he slept, and in the morning, there again he came to an oval lodge. He went and peeped in. "Grandson, come in. Why do you peep in?" she said. "Now then, grandson, you are a pitiable traveler. One side of your village is in high spirits, but about half are in mourning," she said. (56) Then she did this. That old woman took a little pot there and put it on. Then she did this. She put in four wild beans. "Grandson, what will you eat? It could only be to lay out to eat one of the little beans," she said, and then she did it. Then, after awhile, she dished it out for him. (57) "How is this enough?" he thought. He dished up all four of them, and putting them in his mouth, after having gotten them in, yet there they were. He kept on. He would put them in his mouth, but they would repeatedly reappear there. Finally, he got his fill. "Grandmother, there it is," he said. All four of them he gave back. "I," she said. "What you were doing, nephew, you were unable to do, and you failed," she said. (58) Then she took them and when she put them in her mouth, thus it was that they were caused to be consumed. Then the old woman said, "Grandson, they are across the way, some of your relatives, but my younger sister is ahead. Surely, this one knows something. After you set out in the morning, you will arrive there in the evening," she said to him. (59) Then he slept there. In the morning, she boiled beans again. Once more, he was unable to eat them up. Then, when he was ready to go, she said, "Grandson, you must take your time, as you will get there late in the evening anyhow, so you will get there. You must take your time."

He went on. "Korá, why did grandma said that? I will get there sooner," (60) he thought, so he ran all day long, but it had become evening. Just at the time that she meant, he went and peeped in. "Grandson, why don't you come in instead of doing that?" she said. He went in. "A, grandson, what will you eat? I only have beans to eat," she said. Again she boiled four beans. (61) Once again, he was unable to eat them up. He had gotten his fill. There again she informed him. "Grandson, half of your village is experiencing enjoyment. Again, half is in mourning. And those that dance are singing about you," she said. "And your grandmother is situated ahead," she said. "And they will inform you of one of the things," (62) she said to him. In the morning, when he was ready to start, she said, "Grandson, the first time you doubted it. You must not do that a second time. Yet whatever you do, you will only get there in the evening. Lay down and rest anywhere, and go on whenever you please, it will be the same time that you will get there," she said.

Thus he did. (63) Someplace during the day he would take a nap. He did not travel far, but just at the time that she meant, he came to an oval lodge. He went and peeped in. "Grandson, come in," she said. He went in. Again she boiled four beans. Then she said, "Grandson, before you my younger sister is living. When you get there, you will find your relatives living just across the way," (64) she said. "Then you can ask your grandfather to take you across. You can ask, 'Grandmother, grandfather, if you take me across, for as long as I live, I will furnish you with tobacco, and I will tie a red woven yarn belt to each of your own horns. I will furnish you with white deerskin,' you must tell him," she said.

In the morning he started out again. (65) Where she meant, he got to in the evening. Again he came there. Then in the morning, he said to him, "Grandmother, grandfather, if you take me across, for as long as I live, I will furnish you with tobacco, and I will tie a red woven yarn belt to each of your own horns," he said. He also mentioned the white deerskin. The old man did not answer, (66) but the old woman said, "Jáha-á, what, old man, do you not have anything to say? Our grandson had such great good things to say, but you don't answer? If you're not going, then I'll go," she said. "," he said. "In the morning, if it's a good day, I might go," he said. Then he slept there. And in the morning, the day proved to be fine. (67) "Hąhó, old man, let's go, it's a nice day," he said. "Hąhó, I'll go," he said. Then he said, "Grandson, make yourself a club. If you think that I'm slow, then you can hit me between the horns, then I would go with power," he said. "Grandson, you must watch the sky closely. If clouds form anywhere, (68) we will head back. Tell me if you see clouds forming anywhere," he said. "And grandson, it began with me doing this one in just one run, but now I am old," he said. Just when he was about to do better, he would strike him very hard, and again he would go faster. As he chopped through, the water extended above each of them. He was very fast. He said, "Grandson, when the shore comes into view, don't drive me so fast (69) that I will be so far distant on the shore," he said. "Alright," he said. He told him to watch the sky. "Grandfather, I have not seen any clouds anywhere," he said. He was deceiving him. He was because many clouds were forming. Finally, the opposite side was visible, but instead he came on harder. (70) Before long, they got to the shore, but instead, he struck him hard. He slid on shore for a long distance. He even downed trees. Then he jumped off and said, "Hąhó, you Thunderbirds are always longing for Waterspirits. Here is one of them, a Waterspirit!" he said. The old man started back for the water, but the Thunderbirds killed him before he could get there. Only the scent gland remained there in a pile. (71) He made himself tools from it. He made himself bad medicines.

As he was going along there, unexpectedly, there was someone audible, chopping wood. He went towards it. It was a woman doing it. Unexpectedly, she was crying. Unexpectedly, it concerned a boy friend of his, and it was his mother doing it. She saw him. "Waną́, my little son," she said, (72) and again burst out crying. "Thus it is, my son, one side of the village is in celebration. They are making songs to have for you. And he told her how, when they were going around, the children there were all killed, and he told her about it. He said, "Therefore, it was impossible for anyone of them to have turned back," he said. Then she went home with him to the place where she lived, (73) and the woman came back there. Then all that were in mourning came there. There he told them what he had done. Then at night they came to invite him. As they knew when he had gotten back, four times they came, but he would not do it. They even told him that he himself could beat the oval drum, but he would not even do that. (74) Then during the night, there was a sound that set everything vibrating. At night, when he thought that the earth trembling noise had stopped, he did this. He went about the lodges doing this. He put those bad medicines within the lodges. The next morning, he went to see them, and unexpectedly, all their stomachs had burst. "Hehé, something has happened to one side of our village," they said. Then they said, "Even now, let's move away from here," they said. (75) So they live in another place. And Ocean Duck himself was in charge of the village. He was the chief. And there they remained. They had crossed the Ocean Sea. And in the country over here, there they lived. They came from across the sea. Once upon a time, these Indians threw away their children there, and they came across here.

(76) And this Ocean Duck was one of the Thunderbirds, when he was in charge of them. The one who had him for a son, the first born, he was his father. Therefore, the bad old woman with whom he had gambled, the one whom he had thrown into the chasm, she was his aunt. The father himself had her as a sister. He was forbidding her, but she came on. She did those kinds of things. Except for this one, she was holier than the second generation, but she was not the equal of this one. (77) That is why she was afraid, but she fought him. Ocean Duck's father was the oldest son of the Chief of the Thunderbirds. There was a chief of the Nightspirits whose daughter was his mother. He was the cause of their living here on the Island.

It is ended.1


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The Wedge-Shaped Hyades (Including Aldebaran)   The Relationship Between the Hyades and the Pleiades

"a son" — it will be seen that this myth is largely about the Hyades and Pleiades especially with respect to the progress of the Moon through its rising and falling course through the Major and Minor Standstills. The son plays the role of the Hyades (in which I am including the star Aldebaran). Aldebaran's Flamsteed designation is α Tauri, the brightest star in the constellation Taurus, and the fourteenth brightest star in the firmament. This bright star is noticeably reddish.

"a partition" — the partition is the horizon.

"he never traveled around" — in the spring just prior to the heliacal setting of Aldebaran, it is in the sky for ever shorter times as it progresses towards its heliacal setting. On 1 March 1681, Aldebaran was in the sky for 6 hours and 49 minutes. By 1 April it was up for 4 hours and 11 minutes. Contrast that with 1 December 1681, when Aldebaran was in the sky for 14 hours and 7 minutes. Allegorically, then, the chief's son (the Hyades) is only out for a short time in the spring of the year, the time at which this episode is set. So at this time he does not travel much at all.

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The Milky Way as the Little Hill, with the Moon in the Hyades Occulting Aldebaran
Sunset, 1846 hrs., 20 April 1681

"a little hill" — in the spring, when in the early evening the Hyades are about to set, the Milky Way arches over the horizon at a low altitude forming the contour of a rounded hill. This is clearly seen in the reconstruction above for April, 1681.

"on the side" — the Hočąk is sanįgéja, from sanįk-éja, where éja means, "at, on." LaMère translated sanįgéja as, "on the other side." When sanįk is used, it often refers to the opposite side of anything. However, the fundamental meaning of the word is without doubt precisely "side, direction." Clearly, the children cannot be on the opposite side of the hill, since the hill would then obstruct their view.

"little children" — the actors in this allegorical drama are celestial objects, primarily stars. Between the Milky Way hill and the Hyades are a myriad of stars, generally of small magnitude, yet still readily visible. They most naturally can be homologized as children.

"he did it with is backside facing them there" — we have already seen that the hill is the Milky Way as it is arched over the horizon at this time of the year when the Hyades have only a brief sojourn in the sky ("outside"). Aldebaran is the first star of this group to emerge from the dimming light at dusk, then the rest gradually appear according to their magnitude as the sun sets below the horizon. The Hyades form a wedge, the point of which is facing the Moon as that celestial body moves towards these stars. When English speakers see a wedge today, we are likely to think that it looks like an open mouth with its lips at Aldebaran's end, but in Hočąk, the word for head is pa, whose fundamental meaning is "point." It also means, "the front end of anything." Pa is also the standard word for nose. So it is natural in Hočąk to think of the point as the head or nose end, leaving Aldebaran at the tail end. The star cluster "swallows" the moon with the pointed end of its wedge formation first, which makes Aldebaran the tail end. As the Hyades set, the open end of the wedge, the part anchored by Aldebaran, faces the arched Milky Way, here homologized to a hill.

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Aldebaran Excretes the Moon
Sunset (1846 hrs.), 20 April 1681

"a red anus" — the Moon, which plays the role of the excrement of the chief's son, initially appears inside the Hyades. Aldebaran's position at the opposite end from the literal point, the pa or "head" where the Moon is swallowed, makes it the natural counterpart of the anus. Aldebaran is a red star, which explains why the chief's son is said to have a red anus. And, at certain times, it is precisely this star that the moon occults as it passes from the body of the Hyades. As we see in the reconstruction above, at sunset on 20 April 1681, the lunar excrement has passed out the Hyades' red anus, whose star Aldebaran can now be clearly seen. The little stars behind him, in front of the Milky Way hill, are the children situated behind him who can be seen before the Hyades set. After passing his lunar leavings, he heads for home, which is expressed astronomically by the Hyades moving towards the horizon. The horizon plays the role of the partition, as we have seen, and it is behind this partition that the Hyades soon conceal themselves after only a brief period in the sky. This precise sequence of events can only occur when the Moon is near its Minor Standstill, and when the Moon occults, or nearly occults, Aldebaran before setting. This only occurred this once during the period in which the Moon passed through the Hyades in the 1680's.

The excrement of birds, called "guano" when sold as fertilizer, is typically white. Among sea birds, guano can be laid down as a massive deposit at their nesting sites, as seen below. This at least partially explains the association of the Moon with excrement, for, as we shall see below, the chief's son is also known as "Ocean Duck," and ducks produce guano.

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Sea Bird Guano   Aldebaran as a Red Anus and the Moon as Guano
20 April 1681, 2046 hrs.

"they laughed" — it is common in Hočąk symbolism to represent light by sound since these two phenomena are isomorphic in many ways. Laughter is an intermittent sound pattern, with a burst of sound followed by little or no sound at all, all happening in a rapid repeating series. It finds a good analogue in twinkling, such as we see in star. This too is a rapid repetitive temporal series of intermittent alternating light and darkness. The isomorphism of these phenomena is easy to see in a chart:

Laughter     Twinkling
sound   light
alternating loud/quiet   alternating bright/dim
rapid   rapid
repetitive   repetitive
temporal series   temporal series
exhaling   radiating

Obviously, laughter is a good representative of stellar twinkling. In stellar terms, the giggling of children is in contradistinction to the steady light of planetary "stars" like Venus and Jupiter. The emphasis here is on the small stars in between the Milky Way and the Hyades and it is useful to exclude the planets that occasionally drift by on the nearby ecliptic, although none of them pass through the Hyades themselves.

"he would never come out of his partition" — this represents the period between the helical setting of the Hyades and their heliacal rising. In the year 1681, the Hyades are on the horizon with the Sun on May 21. However, this is not sufficient to tell us when the Hyades, here represented by their brightest star Aldebaran, have their heliacal rising. This is because if a star is too close to the Sun when it rises, its light will be washed out by the glare of the Sun. Aveni shows how this should be calculated:

Observations show that the brightness of a star relative to the sky-glow in the vicinity of the horizon along which it rises will determine when that star will first be observed. Stars of the first magnitude on the same horizon as the sun are found to be visible when the sun lies about 10° below the horizon; stars of the second magnitude, when it is depressed by about 14°. In the absence of morning haze, a dense clustering of third-magnitude stars like the Pleiades becomes visible when the sun is 16° or 17° below the horizon.2

Aldebaran has an apparent magnitude of 0.84, therefore, in order for the setting Aldebaran to be visible, the Sun must be lower than -10° altitude. This occurs 8 May 1681 when Aldebaran sets at 2010 hrs. with the Sun at a -10° 43' altitude. Using this same technique of measurement, it is not until 22 June 1681 that the Sun is 10° 17' below the horizon when Aldebaran rises. It is only then that the most prominent star of the Hyades alone can be seen in the morning sky. So the period in which the brightest star of the Hyades could not be seen in the sky was from 8 May to 21 June 1681. Allegorically, this is when the chief's son goes behind his partition (the horizon) and ceases to come out.

"quiet" — here, again, we have sound for light. Since the Hyades are not in the night sky at all, they emit no light. Hence, they are said to be "quiet."

"absolutely all"haną́čį, "everyone, everybody, totally, completely" (Helmbrecht-Lehmann). This turned out to include the chief's own son, so this emphatic form of haną́č, "all," is of special significance.

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Position of the Village
Sunrise, 9 June 1681
  The Village in Motion
Sunrise, 4 July 1681

"they moved the village" — as we see from the next entry, the village was located where the smoke later comes. The smoke is the Milky Way. The only way that the village could move is if at least some of its members are capable of moving with respect to the Milky Way. The only moving celestial bodies in relation to the galaxy are the Sun, the Moon, comets, and the planets. It can be seen from the reconstructions above, that by 4 July 1681 all the visible planets, Saturn, Jupiter, Venus (Morning Star) and Mercury have assembled around their chief, and will follow his lead by traveling down the ecliptic. These are the only "stars" that can leave the Hyades and associated fixed stars behind. They are also the largest stars, and therefore represent the adults. The Sun, who is in charge of the various other celestial bodies that follow in its train, is the chief. Despite the fact that the Sun is the source of light, here it plays the role of the Thunderbird Chief. This can be rationalized on the grounds that the internal light that Thunderbirds shoot from their bodies as they traverse the sky hidden within the dark clouds is of the same substance as the Sun itself. In Hočąk culture, the Thunderbird Clan owns fire as its sacred object, and all fire used in fireplaces must initially be obtained from the fireplace of the Thunderbird Chief. The chiefdom resides in the Thunderbird Clan because the original members of that clan, in primordial times, created the first fire. Power over fire is a Thunderbird monopoly and the foundation of their sovereignty. Therefore, despite being fundamentally associated with the darkness exemplified by the gray clouds, they are nevertheless simultaneously associated with the prime and sovereign fire of the Sun, whose luminous substance paradoxically and mysteriously resides in rain clouds.

"the village was all in smoke" — as the Sun picks up and leaves the area of the Hyades, it moves westward passing through the Milky Way into the constellation Gemini. At this time the Milky Way, after the Sun sets, stands up as a column, and being mist-like, it creates the impression of being a pillar of smoke. The Sun, of course, is conceptualized as a fire, so as it passes through the area where the Hyades lived, it sets it aflame, and the Milky Way column of smoke rises above it.

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Aldebaran, 30 June 1681, 0240 hrs.

"he had come towards the smoke" — as we saw above, the Hyades do not rise into a dark sky from 8 May to 22 June 1681. The reconstruction above shows the sky just after Aldebaran rises, 0240 hrs., 30 June 1681. Some of the children/stars have risen earlier in the morning and earlier in the month. They all move towards the Milky Way smoke column, but the light of the rising Sun soon draws a bright curtain of invisibility over them.

"they had set all things on fire" — the Sun, who is appropriately enough, the chief, has set his fire directly under the Milky Way as he moves away from Taurus and its hoard of children/stars about the Hyades.

"cried out and ran back" — the only little "star" in the children's area that satisfies this allegorical description would be Mercury. At sunrise on 5 June 1681, Mercury reached its highest altitude of 9° 27'. It had a magnitude of -0.22, far brighter than the fixed stars. At that point it was surely visible, if it were known at all. In terms of the coded language of the allegory, this child/star "cried out," which is to say, emitted visible light. Day by day, it races down the ecliptic passing in front of the invisible Hyades among the children/stars, who are also invisible, all the while becoming brighter. When, on June 22, Aldebaran becomes visible, Mercury (now magnitude -1.76) is still up at an altitude of 3° 37', which by then may be too close to the Sun to be seen. However, an observer would know that Mercury, during the period immediately preceding, had passed through the relevant stars just before they had come into view. Mercury, itself a small star, could certainly count as one of the children while it is a morning star in this area of the celestial sphere. Otherwise, there is no fixed star that races from the scene in the west at sunset, to the scene in the east at sunrise before Aldebaran becomes visible along with the smoking Milky Way column.

"they all cried out" — after the messenger Mercury passed through, the children/star gradually became visible, day by day. In the code language this is expressed as crying out.

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Putting the Oar into the Water
Near Sunrise, 12 April - 22 April 1681
  The Stroke of the Oar
Near Sunset, 7 July - 21 July 1681
  The Return of the Oar
Near Sunset, 21 July - 23 August 1681

"the oars shined as they moved to and fro" — this odd statement makes the dating of this allegory nearly certain. In dealing with fixed stars, we would not expect to find two aligned stars (like Castor and Pollux) moving back and forth like an oar. However, here we have both Jupiter and Venus inside the Milky Way in its role as the Ocean Sea, and Venus is undergoing its retrograde motion in such a way that it passes Jupiter twice in different directions. This causes any line connecting them to swivel back and forth like an oar. Jupiter returns to this spot every 12 years, and since the Venus cycle is 8 years, they coincide every 24 years. Venus is also seen to be present at 12 year intervals as well, but in either case its retrograde motion rarely sends it past Jupiter twice, which is required to produce the swivel effect. The brightness of the oar stars is referenced by the allegory because, as planets, they are a good deal brighter than fixed stars.

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The Old Woman (Waning Moon) in the Water
Moonrise, 14 July 1681

"there was one who fell out" — we see the stroke of the oar on the invisible canoe executed between 7 and 21 July 1681. In the middle of this journey, on 14 July 1681, the grandmother falls out into the water. This elderly woman is the waning old Moon 28.4 days old and barely visible. On this date, at moonrise, we see the old Moon now below the boat of Jupiter and Venus, and situated in the waters of the Milky Way. Allegorically, this can be characterized as her having fallen out of the boat. She then makes reference to where she used to sit (ho-miną́k-s’a), which was where the moonrise took place the day before, as shown in the next entry, and as seen in the reconstruction for this date below.

"where she used to sit" — the Milky Way at other times arches at not too high an altitude over the horizon in a way reminiscent of the contour of an oval lodge. She will have sat next to the wall, which is where we in fact find her on 13 July 1681 at moonset (see below).

"uncovered the earth" — before sunrise on 13 July 1681, all the items lay buried (see the reconstruction below). As time progresses, they all come to light, having been extracted, as it were, from the ground.

"lightning pot" — this is a literal translation of reǧᵋjąpge, from rex (> reǧᵋ-), "kettle, pot"; jąp, "lightning"; and -ge, a suffix indicating a kind of thing. The suspicion is that this is not the name for a kind of ceramic, but is designed specifically as a symbolic characterization of one of the components of the situation found on 13 July 1681. The Sun itself would seem to be the obvious associate of lightning. The stars below the presumed fire-starter (Castor-Pollux) are low magnitude and do not form anything resembling a pot. The Sun itself, however, being perfectly circular, is like a pot or kettle viewed from above. That the stuff of the Sun is the same as the essence of lightning would not have been considered too radical an idea to embrace (see above). The point of introducing the lightning pot is to contribute to the allegorical description of the events taking place at that time. From the standpoint of conventional mythology, it is an odd fact that the lightning pot is never used by the protagonist thereafter, nor is it so much as mentioned. Its sole function seems to be as an identifier in the astronomical code of the story.

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Castor and Pollux as a Fire Stick
0245 hrs., 13 July 1681
  A Fire Stick

"a fire-starter" — given the position of the Moon in Gemini only a year after the Minor Standstill, we are not surprised to find that Castor and Pollux are here, as they are elsewhere, homologized to a fire-starter. The reason for this is that these two stars align perfectly vertically at the very time at which the Sun enters the constellation Gemini around the Sumer Solstice. Thus, they appear like a fire stick drilling the solar fire that rises from the ground beneath them.

"a little knife" — the Moon as it rose at 0250 hrs. on 13 July 1681, was a narrow sliver, just 6% of its disk illuminated. Consequently, it resembled a small knife. Unlike the lightning pot, the Moon-as-knife goes on to play a role in subsequent events.

"they went around the edge of the lake" — the "lake" (as te is conventionally translated), or rather the Ocean Sea, is here a representation of the Milky Way in the neighborhood of the Hyades cluster. The fixed stars are, obviously, fixed in relation to the Milky Way; yet, the part of the Galaxy that extends over the region of the Hyades has a fairly uniform appearance to the naive observer, so that it creates the illusion that the Hyades, as they move in an arch, are passing by a stationary object. In any case, it can hardly be denied that as they travel, they follow the arch of the Milky Way, and being fixed, never deviate from that pathway.

"evening, when the sun was still going home" — in this story, as expected, everyone travels during the day. However, visible stars travel at night, so the allegory switches night for day, and conversely. So by this inversion, the Sun was not going home, but rather preparing to leave home, that is, it was just below the horizon in the east during the morning hours.

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The Moon Approaching the Hyades
Midnight, 31 August - 4 September 1681

"in the direction they were going" — the Hyades and attendant stars were rising in the east just after their sojourn below the horizon. Their motion night by night is upward. The Moon gradually descends upon the Hyades, going in the opposite direction until it finally meets up with them.

"aunts" — the čų́wįga, the father's sister.

"an old woman" — the Hyades are now rising in the east then shortly afterwards disappearing into the morning solar glare. The Moon that they meet when they rise at this time is the one that descends close to the horizon on its way to conjunction with the Sun. At this conjunction, the Moon, after becoming increasingly emaciated, finally disappears into its monthly death. Therefore, it is an elderly Moon, and is so portrayed in human terms.

"she was very big" — obviously, the natural way to characterize the largest object in the night sky is as a Giantess.

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The Milky Way as the Old Woman's Big Oval Lodge
2152 hrs., 4 September 1681

"a big oval lodge" — the arching Milky Way is often compared to an oval lodge, but in the present case, in early September 1681, it stretches from one horizon to the other and barely fits in part under the zenith. So at this time, as the Moon and the Hyades are about to enter it (rise into the sky), it is at its largest extent.

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Grandfather (Venus) and
Grandmother (Moon) Living Together
0323 hrs., 13 July 1681
  Grandfather Venus Starts Off on a Hunt
0423 hrs., 9 August 1681
  Grandfather Venus Away on a Hunt
0423 hrs., 5 September 1681

"your grandfather has gone hunting" — at the time when the grandson was digging up the objects that his grandmother had left him (13 July 1681), Venus was a Morning Star in proximity to the Moon, as it so frequently is. When the Moon rests against the "wall" (Milky Way) of her lodge, she and her husband are there together. However, thereafter, when she is in her lodge, her husband Venus has moved off. As it happens, between July 13 and July 21, Grandfather Venus is actually undergoing retrograde motion, and he remains within the "lodge" until that date, after which he begins heading down the ecliptic trail. He plays no further role in the myth. His function here is an identifier for the alignment of Venus, the Moon, and the Hyades in the allegory.

"boiling" — during the period when the Moon is near the Gemini Milky Way and the Hyades have risen, the Milky Way there stands upright, resembling a column of smoke or steam.

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The Baldness of Grandmother (Moon)
0350 hrs., 5 September1681

"the top of her head was bald" — before 12 July 1681, the Moon sets before it reaches the Gemini Milky Way. After 5 September, it is no longer a crescent when in that vicinity. At the times set out on this table, Grandmother Moon is in a waxing crescent stage with the illuminated convex side pointed towards the Milky Way "wall."

Date in
Time Disk
July 12 0350 12.63%
July 13 0350 5.73%
August 9 0150 24.73%
September 5 0150 49.42%

It is this rounded top of the Moon that is being homologized to baldness.

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The Taurid Stars Sleeping with Their Heads Towards the Fire, Sunset, 8 May 1682

"place their heads next to the fireplace" — our first problem is, Which side of a round star is its head? This, of course, has no answer, but we can tell which way a star is facing, so to speak. The stars rise in the east and set in the west. This means that they are heading west. Therefore, since they are facing the direction that they are heading, they are facing west. We are also told that the fireplace, as is usual for a lodge, is in its center. Not at every time of the year does the Milky Way form the contour of an oval lodge over the horizon; and not at each of these times does the "fire" (the Sun) situate itself in the center of this configuration. Under an arching Milky Way, the Sun gets closest to its center near the time that Aldebaran sets with the Sun. On 8 May 1682, Grandmother Moon is present and the Hyades and the Children-Stars are all still visible at sunset (1906 hrs.). Grandmother Moon is facing the solar fireplace since her bald head (waxing crescent, 3.44% illuminated) is pointed towards the Sun. Since all the Children-Stars are headed towards the horizon, and are very close to the Sun (almost setting with it), their heads are therefore next to the fireplace. The allegory now shows us that we have moved out of the year 1681 and towards the middle of 1682.

"mice" — the lodge wall is formed of the mist-like field of very small stars that make up the Milky Way, but interspersed among the myriad of granular stars are a few a little larger that can be made out here and there. These are smaller than the Children-Stars but larger than the Milky Way background stars and are thus appropriately homologized to mice.

"they went to sleep" — sleep is conceived as the light of consciousness going out. This would normally occur for stars when the sun rises, as their light is washed out by the superior glare of the Sun. However, in this instance, the stars set soon after the Sun, and by being below the horizon, their light is extinguished in this world. Therefore, they may be said to have gone to sleep.

"it was night" — the stars are alight, that is allegorically "awake," during the night, and are invisible ("asleep") during the day. Consequently, our night is their day, and conversely.

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Moonrise, 0308 hrs., 3 July 1682   Sunrise, 0422 hrs., 3 July 1682

"only the old woman and the grandson were not asleep" — our last event was dated 8 May 1682. Aldebaran is with the Sun from around 10 May - 12 June 1682. The next moon to appear in this area after 12 June is the one of July 2-3. On the second of June, she crosses over Grandson Hyades, and by the third of the month, she is at the wall addressing the "mice" (the visibly distinct stars embedded in the Gemini Milky Way). The Moon rises next to the Milky Way "wall", and a little over an hour later, at sunrise, she is barely visible (waning crescent, 4.04% disk illumination), and only Aldebaran is left showing in the sky among the Hyades. All the Children-Stars have gone to "sleep," and their light is but a dream. The Hyades are not visible in the sky for very long at this time of the year, so allegorically, it is difficult for Grandson to stay awake.

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Grandfather Venus Kills η Cancri
2045 hrs., 2 July 1682

"your grandfather has killed something" — a reference to the previous evening (July 2) when Venus, after sunset (1939 hrs.) and before Venus itself set at 2055 hrs., comes into conjunction with η Cancri, a star of 5.31 magnitude.

"a long knife" — as we have seen, the sliver of a moon is homologized into a knife. The Moon in early July by the Gemini Milky Way is just such a sliver, being only about 4% illuminated.

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First Time
Moonrise, 0308 hrs., 3 July 1682
  Second Time
Moonrise, 0126 hrs., 20 July 1683
  Third Time
Moonrise, 0036 hrs., 6 August 1684

"three times" — these are the three successive years that the Moon is situated near the "wall" of the Gemini Milky Way at this time of year.

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Fourth Time
Moonrise, 0116 hrs., 27 July 1685
  Moon Cutting Through the Neck of ζ Tauri
0316 hrs., 27 July 1685

"she cut clean through the neck of the one next to her" — at moonrise on 27 July 1685, the Moon is parked very near to ζ Tauri, a fairly bright 2.96 magnitude star. Ζ Tauri is right at the edge of the Milky Way, and can just barely count as one of the Child-Stars, rather than as a "mouse." The thin knife of the Moon (see above), cuts right through this star, as may be seen from the red reference star 119E Tauri nearby.

"defecate" — as we have seen, defecation in this story is about the Moon passing through the body of the Hyades and out through the star Aldebaran. However, some time has passed since the Moon passed out of Aldebaran. In the course of time, the Moon tends to travel ever higher in the Hyades, until finally, it passes above them. Therefore, it is not likely that the Hyades are now going to "defecate" the Moon. We now will see that he was only pretending to answer such a call of nature.

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Moon Holding on to the Hyades Blanket by Occulting ε Tauri
0225 hrs., 22 August 1685

"she sat holding on to a little blanket he wore" — the straight string of stars running from ε Tauri to the "point" at γ Tauri is homologized to a blanket seen on edge. From 28 June to 22 August 1685, the lunar old woman holds onto Ocean Duck's blanket, whose corner edge is ε Tauri in the Hyades.

"one of the arrows" — the Hyades "V" itself brings to mind an arrowhead, and the arrangement of its left line of stars is nearly a strait line, so it can be homologized readily enough to an arrow. The word for arrow, , is a rich homonym in Hočąk. , for instance, has a rather less common meaning as "nest, to nest." We are about to learn that the chief's son is also known as "Ocean Duck," so an avian denotation for the word signifying an arrow is interesting. However, more pertinent is the homonym, "year, time." For the Hočągara, the arrow of time is time. It is his setting down of time that allows the Hyades to escape the grasp of the Moon. It is the passage of the year that makes the Moon rise in altitude, and it is the Hyades' grasp of time that separates him from the Moon's grip. To say that he escapes the hold of the Moon, rather than the converse, is merely the relativity of motion.

"stomach ache"nįxara hiték, more usually the contracted nįxátek. Formerly, he had defecated a Moon out of his red anus, the star Aldebaran. Now, oddly, he says his constipation is due to an ache higher up, in his stomach. As time progresses, the Moon works its way from the lowest part of the Hyades' body to its center. This is his stomach. That his difficulties had moved higher up is now causing the Giantess Moon to become suspicious.

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The First Observable Separation of the Hyades from the Moon
0410 hrs., 12 November 1685
  The Minor and Major Standstills of the Moon
12 June1680 and 4 October 1689

"she ran out" — she goes to where he had been and discovers that he has fled. Allegorically speaking, she is no longer holding on to him, which is to say, that the Moon now passes over the Hyades without touching any of its stars. One can say that the Hyades has left the Moon, although astronomically, it is the Moon that is doing the actual shift of position. It is not until 12 November 1685 that the Moon can be observed passing by the Hyades without touching any of its stars. The odd rising and falling of the Moon through the background stars is connected to the Lunar Standstills, which are discussed in the frame following.

Lunar Standstills. The Lunar Standstills are analogous to the Sun's Solstices. Because the plane of the Earth's equator is tilted with respect to the plane of the Earth's rotation around the Sun (the ecliptic), at the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere the Sun will appear at its highest when it crosses the Meridian, and conversely during the Winter Solstice it will appear at its lowest as it crosses the Meridian. At the Solstice, the Sun in the Northern Hemisphere also sets as far north as it will get, and rises as far south as it will get. These features of the Sun's progress owe to the fact that the plane of the earth's rotation is tilted 23.5°. The Moon's orbital plane is pitched at 5° in relation to the ecliptic. Therefore, the Moon's path will cross the ecliptic once a month in a descending path and once more on the opposite side of the Earth in an ascending path. Where the Moon intersects the ecliptic in relation to the background stars is called a "node." Since the Moon, month by month, crosses the ecliptic a little farther west, we may re-describe this as the nodal points shifting westward. This precession, as it is called, takes 18.63 years to complete a revolution ending up at its starting point. About a fortnight before the Summer Solstice, the pitch of the Moon's orbit, its declination, is as low as it will get, as is its altitude as it crosses the Meridian; so too is its farthest southward progression at Moonrise, and its farthest eastward progression at Moonset. From a night by night perspective, the Moon stands still on the horizon at this time, just like a ball when thrown upwards will momentarily stand still while it is suspended between going up and going down. When this happens to the Moon on the horizon, it is called a "Lunar Standstill." When the Moon has the lowest altitude at the Meridian and the declination of the Moon reaches it minimum, this is called the "Minor Standstill." This Standstill occurs about 14 days before the Solstice. When the Moon reaches its highest altitude and the declination of the Moon is at its maximum, it is referred to as the "Major Standstill." This latter Standstill occurs about a fortnight after the Equinox. The time from Minor Standstill to the next Minor Standstill (and from Major Standstill to the next Major Standstill) is the aforementioned 18.63 years; so the time required to move from Minor to Major Standstill is half that, or 9.3 years. The greatest cycle, going from Minor Standstill of the Summer Solstice and back again would be 2 x 18.63 years, or 37.26 years.

Date Max./Min.
of the Moon
Farthest S/N
Azimuth of
Farthest E/W
Azimuth of
Lowest/Highest Transit
of the Moon
at the Meridian
Minor Lunar Standstill of the Summer Solstice
11 June 1680 -19 10.914' 115° 28.329' 245° 20.527' 27° 47.398' Summer
20 June 1680

12 June 1680 -19° 13.155' 115° 47.705' 244° 14.261' 27° 44.931'
13 June 1680 -18° 24.331' 114° 45.741' 244° 27.141' 28° 39.758'
24 June 1680 17° 19.445' 66° 38.212' 294° 44.837 63° 59.152'
25 June 1680 18° 2.527' 64° 41.416' 295° 34.076' 64° 58.354'
26 June 1680 17° 42.953' 64° 38.883' 294° 29.038' 64° 35.815'
27 June 1680 16° 37.555' 66° 27.545' 294° 29.034' 62° 57.821'
Major Lunar Standstill of the Autumnal Equinox
20 September 1689 -29° 5.124' 129° 59.477' 229° 19.901' 17° 57.157' Autumnal
22 September 1689
21 September 1689 -29° 36.184' 131° 16.834' 228° 48.217' 17° 22.622'
22 September 1689 -28° 47.177' 130° 13.387' 230° 39.676' 18° 17.555'
3 October 1689 27° 53.908' 49° 56.724' 309° 2.701' 73° 17.609'
4 October 1689 28° 4.103' 49° 6.399' 310° 58.929' 75° 14.623'
5 October 1689 28° 11.545 51° 27.037' 309° 40.173' 75° 4.677'
Minor Lunar Standstill of the Winter Solstice
30 December 1698 -19° 10.840' 115° 28.331' 244° 13.642' 27° 47.546' Winter
11 December 1698
31 December 1698 -19° 15.702' 115° 50.942' 244° 21.102' 27° 42.197'
1 January 1699 -18° 32.998' 114° 58.054' 245° 44.258' 28° 29.654'
12 January 1699 17° 39.166' 65° 39.816' 293° 18.721' 64° 31.544'
13 January 1699 17° 39.226' 64° 28.448' 295° 16.991' 64° 57.017'
14 January 1699 17° 10.032' 65° 17.978' 295° 16.622' 63° 56.614'
Major Lunar Standstill of the Vernal Equinox
14 March 1708 -29° 23.494' 130° 41.217' 228° 55.550' 17° 36.373' Vernal
21 March 1708

15 March 1708 -29° 24.732' 131° 5.868' 229° 15.915' 17° 13.002'
16 March 1708 -28° 9.995' 129° 15.995' 231° 50.530' 18° 58.948'
27 March 1708 28° 1.379' 50° 47.227' 307° 54.738' 74° 53.041'
28 March 1708 28° 23.510' 49° 2.851' 310° 43.887' 75° 18.641'
29 March 1708 27° 50.407' 50° 34.232' 310° 17.903' 73° 39.151'

The Lunar Standstills, because they occur at a different point on the lunar orbital plane, do not correspond to the dates at which the Moon is highest or lowest in the combined Hyades-Pleiades asterism. The following table gives a good overview of the progress of the Moon during the Standstill Cycle as it progresses from the Hyades to the Pleiades, then back again. Many of these events could not be observed at the date indicated since they either occurred during daylight hours, or transpired below the horizon. It can be seen that while the dates do not coincide with the several Standstills, if we subtract the first date on which the Moon descends to its lowest point below Aldebaran in the Hyades (19 Jan. 1682, Julian Day 2335416.5) from the next time it reaches this station (2 Oct. 1700, Julian Day 2342246.5), the difference is 6,830 days, or 18.7 years, which is at least very close to the Standstill Cycle. The reason why this temporal interval does not match the Standstill Cycle interval of 18.63 years is that the nodal points (the intersection of the plane of the Moon's orbit with the ecliptic) fall in between the Hyades and the Pleiades, and the interval would have to be measured from a nodal point situated there. However, the matter is further complicated by the fact that the Moon's nodes retrograde periodically, a process which is expressed in the retrograde motion of the Moon through the Hyades-Pleiades asterism. This retrograde occurs for four or five months, then reverses itself.

The yellow highlighting on the table indicates times at which significant events occurred in this cycle. On 18 September 1685, we have the final departure of the Moon from the Hyades, but, the first observable departure of the Moon from the Hyades was on 12 November of that year. On 2 October 1689, very close to the Major Lunar Standstill of the Autumnal Equinox, the Moon first enters into the Pleiades cluster. The next significant date is the passage of the Moon above the Pleiades on 27 January 1692. After that, the Moon passes back down through the Pleiades until it leaves them on 5 May 1693. On 7 December 1696, the Moon reaches the Hyades again. The Moon finally reaches the "bottom" of the Hyades on 2 October 1700, after which it begins to rise through them once more.

The Course of the Moon Through the Hyades and Pleiades
Date Course of the Moon
31 July 1679 occults δ1 and δ2 Tauri of the Hyades, and exits below ε Tauri
since they as clearly descending through the Hyades at this point,
the moons listed up to 29 Oct. 1681 are just samples of lunar progress
30 April 1680 passes through the middle of the Hyades, skimming the top of Aldebaran
28 Jan. 1681 occults γ Tauri, passes 0° 4' above θ1 Tauri, and occults Aldebaran
29 Oct. 1681 occults γ, θ1, and θ2 Tauri, as well as Aldebaran
25 Nov. 1681 occults the upper part of γ Tauri, occults θ1 Tauri and θ2 Tauri, but passes 2' below Aldebaran
22 Dec. 1681 occults γ, θ1, and θ2 Tauri, as well as Aldebaran
19 Jan. 1682 occults γ Tauri, θ1 Tauri, θ2 Tauri, but passes 16' below Aldebaran []
15 Feb. 1682 passes below γ Tauri, occults θ2 Tauri, but passes 6' 45" below Aldebaran
14 March 1682 occults γ, θ1, and θ2 Tauri, as well as a small part of the bottom of Aldebaran
11 April 1682 occults γ Tauri, θ1 Tauri, θ2 Tauri, but passes 9' 43" below Aldebaran
8 May 1682 occults γ Tauri, θ1 Tauri, θ2 Tauri, and Aldebaran
4 June 1682 occults θ1 and Aldebaran
29 July 1682 occults γ, θ1, θ2 Tauri, and passes 0° 5' below Aldebaran
25 Aug. 1682 occults the bottom half of γ, occults θ1, θ2 Tauri, and passes 0° 15' 30" below Aldebaran
21 Sept. 1682 occults γ, θ1, and θ2 Tauri, as well as Aldebaran
19 Oct. 1682 passes above γ, θ1, and θ2 Tauri, but occults Aldebaran
15 Nov. 1682 occults γ, θ1, and θ2 Tauri, as well as Aldebaran
since they as clearly ascending through the Hyades at this point,
the moons listed up to 25 Oct. 1684 are just samples of lunar progress
28 April 1683 passes through the middle of the Hyades, 0° 11' above Aldebaran
27 Jan. 1684 passes through the middle of the Hyades, 0° 40' above Aldebaran
25 Oct. 1684 occults δ1 and δ3 Tauri
22 Nov. 1684 passes between δ3 Tauri and ε Tauri
19 Dec. 1684 skims above δ1 and occults δ3 Tauri, then exits below ε Tauri
15 Jan. 1685 occults δ3 and most of δ1 Tauri, then exits below ε Tauri
12 Feb. 1685 passes 0° 8' above δ3 and exits below ε Tauri
11 March 1685 passes just above δ3 and exits below ε Tauri
7 April 1685 occults ε Tauri
5 May 1685 passes about 0° 04' below ε Tauri
1 June 1685 skims below ε Tauri
28 June 1685 occults ε Tauri
25 July 1685 nearly skims ε Tauri from below
22 Aug. 1685 occults ε Tauri
18 Sept. 1685 passes about 0° 7' above ε Tauri []
15 Oct. 1685 passes just above ε Tauri
12 Nov. 1685 passes 0° 41' above ε Tauri
9 Dec. 1685 passes 0° 16' above ε Tauri
5 Jan. 1686 passes 0° 12' above ε Tauri
1 Feb. 1686 passes 0° 50' above ε Tauri
1 March 1686 passes 0° 36' above ε Tauri
28 March 1686 passes 1° 08' above ε Tauri
24 April 1686 1° 09' above ε Tauri
some moons are skipped as it is clear that they are passing above the Hyades
22 Jan. 1687 on the ecliptic, 2° 31' above ε Tauri
18 March 1687 on the ecliptic between the Hyades and the Pleiades
8 June 1687 centered on the ecliptic between the Hyades and the Pleiades
22 Oct. 1687 just above the ecliptic
21 July 1688 2° 21' below Alcyone of the Pleiades
21 April 1689 1° 13' below Alcyone
18 May 1689 passes 0° 34' below Merope
15 June 1689 passes well below the Pleiades, 1° 12' below Alcyone
12 July 1689 passes 0° 17' below Merope
8 Aug. 1689 passes 0° 33' below Merope
4 Sept. 1689 passes 0° 34' below Merope
2 Oct. 1689 occults Merope, Alcyone, Atlas, and Pleione []
29 Oct. 1689 passes 0° 36' below Merope
26 Nov. 1689 occults Merope, Atlas, and Pleione, skims below Alcyone
23 Dec. 1689 passes 0° 32' below Merope
19 Jan. 1690 occults Electra, Merope, Alcyone, and Atlas
some moons are skipped as it is clear that they are passing up through the Pleiades
19 Oct. 1690 occults Taygeta, Maia, and Electra
16 Nov. 1690 passes through the lower part of the Pleiades
13 Dec. 1690 passes through the upper part of the Pleiades
10 Jan. 1691 passes through the center of the Pleiades
6 Feb. 1691 passes through the upper part of the Pleiades
5 March 1691 passes 0° 4' above Taygeta
2 April 1691 passes through the center of the Pleiades
29 April 1691 passes through the upper part of the Pleiades
26 May 1691 passes through the upper part of the Pleiades
June 1691 passes through the center of the Pleiades
18 July 1691 occults Taygeta and Maia
16 Aug. 1691 occults Sterope, Maia, Taygeta, and Electra
13 Sept. 1691 passes 0° 6' above Taygeta
11 Oct. 1691 occults Taygeta and Maia
6 Nov. 1691 passes through the center of the Pleiades
3 Dec. 1691 occults Sterope
31 Dec. 1691 passes through the center of the Pleiades occulting the upper part of Alcyone
27 Jan. 1692 passes 0° 16' above Taygeta []
24 Feb. 1692 occults Celaeno, Taygeta, Maia, and Sterope
22 March 1692 passes through the upper part of the Pleiades
18 April 1692 skims upper part of Taygeta
15 May 1692 passes through the center of the Pleiades
12 June 1692 occults Electra, Maia, and Taygeta
9 July 1692 occults Celaeno, Maia, and Taygeta
5 Aug. 1692 passes through the upper part of the Pleiades
2 Sept. 1692 skims the top of Taygeta
29 Sept. 1692 passes through the lower part of the Pleiades
26 Oct. 1692 passes through the lower part of the Pleiades
23 Nov. 1692 passes through the upper part of the Pleiades
20 Dec. 1692 passes through the lower part of the Pleiades
16 Jan. 1693 occults Taygeta and Maia
13 Feb. 1693 passes through the lower part of the Pleiades
12 March 1693 passes through the lower part of the Pleiades
8 April 1693 passes through the middle of the Pleiades occulting every star except Taygeta and Sterope
5 May 1693 passes below the Pleiades 0° 6' below Merope []
2 June 1693 passes just below Merope, but occults Atlas
29 June 1693 passes through the lower half of the Pleiades
26 July 1693 passes below the Pleiades 0° 4' below Merope
23 Aug. 1693 passes through the lower half of the Pleiades
19 Sept. 1693 passes below the Pleiades about 0° 15' below Merope
16 Oct. 1693 passes 0° 39' below Alcyone
some moons are skipped as it is clear that they are descending below the Pleiades
16 July 1694 passes 1° 16' below Alcyone
15 April 1695 passes 2° 39' below Alcyone
13 Jan. 1696 just above the ecliptic
16 Sept. 1696 passes 0° 40' above ε Tauri
13 Oct. 1696 skims above ε Tauri of the Hyades
10 Nov. 1696 0° 6' above ε Tauri
7 Dec. 1696 occults a small part of ε Tauri []
14 July 1697 0° 14' below ε Tauri
13 April 1698 passes through the middle of the Hyades, partly occults the lower part of δ2 Tauri
12 Jan. 1699 passes 0° 8' above Aldebaran
12 Oct. 1699 occults Aldebaran
8 Nov. 1699 passes through the lower part of the Hyades occulting the lower half of Aldebaran
6 Dec. 1699 passes through the lower part of the Hyades occulting Aldebaran
2 Jan. 1700 occults γ Tauri, θ1 Tauri, and θ2 Tauri; passes below Aldebaran
29 Jan. 1700 occults γ Tauri, θ1 Tauri, and Aldebaran
26 Feb. 1700 occults γ Tauri, θ1 Tauri, and θ2 Tauri; passes below Aldebaran
25 March 1700 occults γ Tauri, θ1 Tauri, and θ2 Tauri; passes below Aldebaran
21 April 1700 occults γ Tauri, skims above θ1 Tauri, and occults Aldebaran
19 May 1700 occults γ Tauri, θ1 Tauri, and θ2 Tauri; passes a little below Aldebaran
15 June 1700 occults γ Tauri, θ1 Tauri, θ2 Tauri, and Aldebaran
12 July 1700 occults γ Tauri, occults θ1 and θ2 Tauri, then passes 0° 12' below Aldebaran
9 Aug. 1700 passes just below γ Tauri, occults θ1 Tauri and θ2 Tauri, then occults the lower half of Aldebaran
5 Sept. 1700 occults γ Tauri, occults θ1 and θ2 Tauri, then passes 0° 10' 47" below Aldebaran
2 Oct. 1700 occults γ Tauri, occults θ1 and θ2 Tauri, then passes 0° 15' 36" below Aldebaran []
30 Oct. 1700 occults γ Tauri, θ1 Tauri, θ2 Tauri, and Aldebaran
26 Nov. 1700 passes just above γ Tauri, skims the top of θ1 Tauri, then occults Aldebaran
23 Dec. 1700 occults γ Tauri, occults θ1 and θ2 Tauri, then occults the lower part of Aldebaran
20 Jan. 1701 occults γ Tauri, occults θ1 and θ2 Tauri, then passes 0° 3' below Aldebaran
16 Feb. 1701 passes just below γ Tauri, occults θ2 Tauri while skimming below θ1, then passes 0° 13' 25" below Aldebaran
15 March 1701 occults γ Tauri, θ1 Tauri, and the top quarter of θ2 Tauri; then occults Aldebaran
12 April 1701 passes just above γ Tauri, occults θ1 Tauri while skimming the top of θ2, then occults almost all of Aldebaran
8-9 May 1701 occults γ Tauri, θ1 Tauri, θ2 Tauri, and Aldebaran
5 June 1701 occults γ Tauri, passes above θ1 Tauri and θ2 Tauri, and occults the upper half of Aldebaran
2 July 1701 occults γ Tauri, θ1 Tauri, θ2 Tauri, and almost all of Aldebaran
30 July 1701 occults γ Tauri, θ1 Tauri, θ2 Tauri, and Aldebaran
26 Aug 1701 skims the top of γ Tauri, occults θ1 Tauri and the top half of θ2 Tauri, and almost all of Aldebaran
22 Sept. 1701 occults γ Tauri, θ1 Tauri, θ2 Tauri, and Aldebaran
20 Oct. 1701 nearly skims γ Tauri, then passes above θ1 Tauri and Aldebaran
16 Nov. 1701 passes above γ Tauri and θ1 Tauri, then occults the upper half of Aldebaran
13 Dec. 1701 nearly skims γ Tauri, occults the upper part of Aldebaran
10 Jan. 1702 passes through the lower Hyades without occulting any major star
6 Feb. 1702 nearly skims the top of γ Tauri, skims the top of θ1 Tauri, and occults Aldebaran
5 March 1702 passes through the lower Hyades without occulting any major star
some moons are skipped as it is clear that they are now ascending through the Hyades
12 Sept. 1702 passes through the middle of the Hyades 0° 29' above Aldebaran

"put them in the kettle" — this would have occurred 22-23 May 1686 when the Moon, as it sets early for the night, is among the field of stars above the Hyades, and escorts them down to the horizon, where they are very near the setting Sun. The Sun is the fire and the pot into which they are placed and cooked as they heliacally set at this time.

"there she ate them" — the Giantess Moon is now in the field of stars above the Hyades. When it passes over a star occluding it, the star disappears, swallowed up by the Moon. This metaphorical swallowing of star is appropriately homologized as the Moon eating it. This begins shortly after they are "cooked" and taken out of the kettle, which would be in mid-June, 1686.

"head-bet"pe-warehí, literally translated as "head-bet." The head here stands for the person, so a "head-bet" is just a way of saying that they will bet their lives on the outcome.

 1   2   
 3   4     
  StarryNight Pro Plus 7   StarryNight Pro Plus 7   NASA (Espenak & Meeus)
  The Eclipse of the Moon near the Hyades, 29 November 1686
1. 1639 hrs., 2. 1730 hrs., 3. 1815 hrs., 4. 1942 hrs.
  Five Millennium Canon of Lunar Eclipses
NASA TP-2009-214172

"he placed a stone there" — the next Giant to appear would have to be a Moon that is in the sky later than the Summer of 1686 (our last date). That Moon arrived in conjunction with the Hyades on 29 November 1686. When this Moon rose on that day, something extraordinary happened. As it was coming over the horizon in the morning in lockstep with Aldebaran, it was in the process of undergoing a partial lunar eclipse. The basic character of this eclipse can be seen in the diagram above. Directly below we have the details of this event set out from the relatively nearby location of Milwaukee.

Eclipse Data for Milwaukee, Wisconsin3
29 November 1686
Latitude Longitude Altitude Time Zone:
43° 02' 00" N 87° 54' 00" W 204.8m 06:00 W

Eclipse Type Penumbral Magnitude Umbral Magnitude Penumbral Eclipse Begins Altitude Partial Eclipse Begins Altitude Total Eclipse Begins Altitude Mid. Eclipse Altitude Total Eclipse Ends Altitude Partial Eclipse Ends Altitude Penumbral Eclipse Ends Altitude
Partial 1.586 0.513 14:17 -16 15:40 -05 - - 17:00 +07 - - 18:19 +21 19:42 +36

As the table shows, the full Moon was 16° below the horizon when the penumbral, or lighter shadow of the earth first fell on the Moon. The darker, or umbral, shadow, judging from the diagram above, covered about 40% of the surface. This was visible as the Moon rose. By the time it reached an altitude of 21°, it had cast off this shadow, and shortly thereafter, lost the penumbral shadow as well, returning to its normal brightness. Since this all occurred very near the horizon, it will have looked as if the Moon had been packing a dark rock on its back, which it dropped off on the horizon before moving on.

StarryNight Pro Plus 7
The Swift Turn of the Hyades from the Moon
2000 hrs. 29 Nov. - 0200 hrs., 30 Nov. 1686

"he made a turn" — the reconstruction above shows the relative position of the Hyades and the Moon at two different times during the same 24 hour period. In this depiction, the position of Elnath remains constant, and the position of the Pleiades is accurate with respect to the second position of the Hyades. The other background stars are treated as irrelevant. The Hyades and the Moon rise together, with the Moon achieving its highest altitude of 69° 50.582' at 0001 hrs. on 30 November 1686. Aldebaran reaches its highest altitude of 62° 46.340' not long before, at 2337 hrs. on 29 November 1686. However, the Moon follows a different path than the stars, since it orbits the Earth. It treks along the ecliptic, whereas the stars appear to have a circular path around the Earth. In this instance, the Hyades reach their highest altitude, then curve rather sharply away from the path of the Moon, appearing to swerve away from it. The wedge > of the Hyades starts out as if it were two arms reaching out to the full moon at the same high level, but a mere two hours later, it has swung below the Moon with two upraised wings ⋁, not going in the straight direction that the Moon might have been expected to have cast it.

Audubon, No. 10, Plate 49
StarryNight Pro Plus 7
The Hyades as a Violet Green Swallow

"a little swallow" — the maneuverability of swallows is legendary, reflected in their aerodynamic forked tails. Not only do their split tails mirror the wedge > of the Hyades, but as we can see their sharp pointed wings in high speed flight often take on that same shape.

"Giant" — the term is Wągᵋrúčge, "Man-Eater." This is the conventional term for Giants, who, besides having very great height, have the unfortunate habit of eating humans, said to be caused by a fist-sized lump of ice fixed in their stomachs. They live on the far side of the Ocean Sea in the far north. This is the first time we are explicitly told what is clear to the audience in any case, that the woman, the older sister to whom this Giant had referred, was not merely large, but a member of the tribe of Giants.

"exhausted" — the throwing of the Giant Moon, initially full, to the ground at the horizon is a process that takes about two weeks. During this period, the Moon wanes, becoming thinner and thinner. Light is a metaphor for life, and as his light slips away from the Giant Moon, so does the power of his life-force.

"he was thrown to the ground" — the allegory demands a process in which the Moon falls to the ground at the place where it dropped the "stone," which is to say, in the east rather than in the west where the Moon sets. So the allegory cannot be about the setting of the Moon. What satisfies the allegory is another progressive decline of the Moon: its gradual drift, night by night, away from the Hyades to an ever lower altitude until it "crashes" at the eastern horizon, obliterated by the light of the Sun with which it rises and sets. The Moon-Giant's decline and fall can best be seen on a table:

Date in
Moonrise Sunrise Altitude
at Transit
at MR
Angular Separation
from Hyades at MR
Nov. 29 1615 0708 69° 51' eclipse
Nov. 30 1652 0709 72° 8" 98.9% 15° 50'
Dec. 1 1737 0710 73° 4' 95.9% 28° 03'
Dec. 2 1829 0711 72° 38' 91.0% 40° 50'
Dec. 3 1926 0712 70° 54' 84.6% 52° 53'
Dec. 4 2027 0713 68° 2' 76.8% 64° 54'
Dec. 5 2129 0714 64° 13' 68.0% 76° 50'
Dec. 6 2232 0715 59° 38' 58.5% 91° 01'
Dec. 7 2335 0716 54° 27'* 48.5% 102° 27'
Dec. 9† 0039 0718 48° 49' 38.3% 113° 54'
Dec. 10 0144 0719 42° 56' 28.3% 128° 05'
Dec. 11 0252 0720 36° 59' 19.0% 141° 58'
Dec. 12 0403 0721 31° 18' 10.9% 155° 59'
Dec. 13 0519 0722 26° 14' 4.7% 170° 29'
Dec. 14 0637 0722 22° 19' 0.9% H. below horizon
Dec. 15 0753 0722 20° 2' 0.2% H. below horizon
    * Lunar transits, being after midnight, occur the day after the date listed from Nov. 29 - Dec. 7.
    † Since Moonrise occurs after midnight beginning on this date, there is no Moonrise for Dec. 8.

The Moon-Giant eventually gets smashed on the eastern horizon whence he arose. The place where he set down the stone cannot be thought of as a spot on the horizon, since the eclipsed Moon rose at 58° azimuth (ENE), and is found on December 15 at 126° azimuth (ESE). However, if we consider the stone to have been placed at the ecliptic, then the Moon-Giant met his end precisely there by smashing upon it at mid-month. All the Giants come to an end at the "same place," the place where the ecliptic meets the horizon when the Moon rises with the Sun.

"a very large kettle" — as the Moon approaches the Sun, it becomes a small sliver, the bulk of its disk being dark. It is the dark circular object that is the kettle that he is packing on his back.

"boiled him" — when the sunrise and moonrise coincide, here around December 15, 1686, the sliver that was left of the Moon is not entirely in the kettle, and the kettle is applied directly to the fire, the Sun. The Moon may be conceived to have set in the Ocean Sea at the edge of the world, so it is appropriate to describe it as being "boiled."

"he dished it out onto twigs" — most horizons in Wisconsin are wooded, so that the Moon will have risen among the "twigs."

"he met one of them"ca. 16 December 1686, when the New Moon can be seen near the setting Sun, it appears to be far to the west of the Hyades. As time progresses, after sunset, the Moon moves closer and closer to the Hyades until, at 1824 hrs. (two hours after sunset) on 26 December 1686, the Moon is only 2° 19' angular separation from the top star of the Hyades, ε Tauri.

"Kųnų" — a birth order name for the eldest son.

"'Heną́" — a birth order name for the second oldest son.

"Ocean Duck"Tejąwįǧega, where wįx denotes a duck and Te-ją means, "the Surrounding Body of Water," which is to say, the Ocean Sea. Te usually refers to a lake, and it is probably the case that the Ocean Sea was not thought of as salt water. The "lake" whose shore the abandoned kids were following, we can now see, was really the littoral of the Ocean Sea, but furthermore, it is the shore of the far side, the land that holds in this sea and prevents it from dropping off the edge of the earth. We know this because this is where, in the north, the Giants live; and in the east live the Nightspirits; and in the west, the Thunderbirds. This is the first point in the narrative where the name of the surviving abandoned boy is given, the boy hitherto known by the description, "the old woman's grandson."

In the astronomical allegories, the Hyades can be (and often is) homologized to a bird.

Geoff Goode
StarryNight Pro Plus 7
The Hyades as Ocean Duck

Here the wedge-shaped Hyades are seen as a duck in profile, with its wings raised in flight.

"he placed the stone there" — this runs somewhat contrary to expectations, since the first stone was intimately connected to the dropping of the eclipse shadow near the horizon, but an eclipse does not occur on this occasion (26 December 1686). However, as was noted, the location of the stone was likely wherever the ecliptic at that time met the horizon. However, unlike the previous meeting, the Giant-Moon and the Hyades do not come into conjunction at the horizon, but at sunset Aldebaran is 17° 29' in altitude. However, the myth-maker may not have considered that too high above the stone's spot to count as not being close enough to the intersection point of the ecliptic and the horizon. It may also be the case, that this detail was added by mistake by someone late in the chain of its custody. This is, in fact, the last mention of the stone, as subsequent accounts of the Giant-Moon's demise merely say that he was "thrown to the ground" (mo-t’ųra).

"about noon" — for celestial Spirits, their night is day, and their day, night. The closest proximity of the Moon of 22 January 1687, the next one in sequence, to the upper star of the Hyades, ε Tauri, is 29° 29' (roughly) at around 2100 hours. Since by transposition of diurnal and nocturnal times, the "morning" would be the evening, and "noon" would be midnight, here we are about three hours before midnight, the allegorical noon. The word translated as "about noon," is wiraročą́jegają, which means literally, "when the Sun stood straight." Wira-ročą-je-xjį-gają, "when the Sun stands very straight," can be used to be more exact in specifying noon, but even that is sometimes translated as, "about noon." For people without watches, precise times are not easy to define, nor are they very often needed. Also the proximity of the Hyades to the Moon is also not going to be precisely measured. Therefore, we can be confident that the Moon of the night of 22-23 January 1687 satisfies the allegorical stipulations for the next meeting with a Giant-Moon.

"Hagá" — the birth order name of the third brother.

"he met one" — this should be the Moon of 19 February 1687. Both ε Tauri and the Moon set at about the same time, the former at 0226 hrs. and the latter at 0228 hrs. They are nearest to one another at about 3° 2' as they set. At midnight (the allegorical "noon"), they are 3° 33' of angular separation. It might well be difficult to a naked eye observer to tell the difference, and describing their conjunction as being "about noon" is probably close enough.

"he slept there" — since night and day are symbolically switched, "sleeping" occurs during the day. Specifically, sleep, being a kind of dormancy, takes place when the stars are inactive in the night sky and seem to lay on the ground, having become invisible (since they rise and set during the day). The disappearance of the Hyades occurred around 12 May 1687.

StarryNight Pro Plus 7
The Long Lodge
5 July 1687

"a long lodge" — Aldebaran and the Hyades probably first become visible at 0331 hrs. in the morning on 16 June 1687, when they rise while the Sun is at an altitude of -7° 21'. On July 5, the Giantess-Moon is standing outside the Milky Way lodge, as shown above. At this time of year, the Milky Way hangs low on the horizon, forming an image of an oval lodge. It is in front of this lodge that he meets the Giantess-Moon.

"tanning a deerskin" — this might simply be another reference to the Milky Way, which resembles the white hide of the Virginia deer. On the other hand, on 5 July 1687, the Moon was very close to the Pleiades, about 4° 14' angular separation from the lowest Pleiad, Atlas. The Pleiades star cluster is known to the Hočągara as the "Deer Rump," so this star group is intimately associated with cervids. So the reference may be to the Pleiades rather than to the Milky Way.

StarryNight Pro Plus 7
The Hyades and the Moon Become Visible Simultaneously
0200 hrs., 6 July 1687

"when he saw her, she saw him" — the Giantess-Moon and the Hyades see each other simultaneously. This is because the Moon and ε Tauri (the uppermost star of the Hyades) nearly rise together (0146 and 0154 hrs. respectively).

"fought longer" — the Giantess-Moon gets close enough to the Hyades by 6 July 1687, that the two can be said to "grapple" with one another. On the 7th, the Moon passes by the Hyades, so by then she has been "thrown." However, the problem arises that the Moon at this time and place is extremely close to setting with the rising Sun. In fact, this occurred on 9 July 1687, only three days later. So it took only three days to throw the Giantess-Moon to the ground, so in what sense was this fight "longer"? For one, the grappling may have been longer, since the Moon starts at about the same altitude as ε Tauri, so it takes the maximum time to be thrown free from the lowest star, Aldebaran. Furthermore, they begin "grappling" on July 6 at 0154 and are still not done when the Sun rises on them at 0424 hrs., and shortly thereafter they disappear into the light. Keeping in mind that symbolically in the allegory, night and day are switched, this fight occurred all "day" long, and it was not until the next day, 7 July, that this Giantess-Moon was thrown.

"he threw out" — this is because of the danger of possibly consuming menstrual fluid, which destroys the efficacy of war weapons, and weakens a man's strength overall. However, this remark has an important allegorical meaning. The waning crescent Moon has its dark side facing the Hyades, so it is this side with which Ocean Duck grapples, and by definition it must be her front side in this context. Therefore, the thin crescent of light defines her rump. During the next two days, 8-9 July 1687, this thin crescent disappears into the Sun. Since the process has already been homologized to throwing, it can be re-allegorized as the throwing away of the hindquarters of the Giantess-Moon. Before she is cooked in the solar fire, her crescent entirely disappears in this "throwing" process. It is this lunar rump that Ocean Duck tosses away, t’ųné, the same word used to describe the wrestling throw by which the Giantess-Moon had been cast to the ground (mo-t’ųné).

"he climbed up there" — the Hyades are preceded in their rise by the Pleiades, so the Hyades climb into the sky following the Pleiades. When they transit, they reach their greatest altitude, and there they rotate in a downward direction until they set in the west. The platform is the place where they level off. However, this ascent occurs after a great lacuna of time. The time between Lunar Standstills is 18.612958 years (6,798.383 days). One-half of this period is 3399.1915 days. So it takes about 9.3 years for the Moon to move from the bottom of the Hyades to the top of (or above) the Pleiades. Several years are spent moving through the space between the Hyades and the Pleiades. Although we left off in July 1687, it will take the Moon until 2 October 1689 to reach the lower reaches of the Pleiades (see the reconstruction immediately below).

StarryNight Pro Plus 7
The Moon Reaching the Pleiades
3° x 1° Arc, 0410 hrs., 2 October 1689

"very fine down feathers" — a clear image of the Pleiades. As we have seen the progress of the Moons with whom Ocean Duck is dealing rise gradually above the Hyades, we can see that their next destination must be the Pleiades, so the characterization of this tightly packed set of stars that are easily seen with the naked eye are to be the next celestial object to be encountered. They do have the appearance of white downy feathers. They contain the hearts of the Moons that we have hitherto encountered. It is the number of these hearts that is of some interest. The Pleiades are usually counted as seven in myth. Nevertheless, many people can only count six of them. Here the major stars of the Pleiades are arranged by apparent magnitude:

The Brightest Stars of the Pleiades
# Name Flamsteed
1 Alcyone η (25) Tauri 2.86
2 Atlas 27 Tauri 3.62
3 Electra 17 Tauri 3.70
4 Maia 20 Tauri 3.86
5 Merope 23 Tauri 4.17
6 Taygeta 19 Tauri 4.29
7 Pleione 28 Tauri 5.09 (var.)
8 Celaeno 16 Tauri 5.44
9 Sterope 21 Tauri 5.64
10 18 Tauri 5.66
11 Asterope 22 Tauri 6.41

The usual limit of visibility to the naked eye is an apparent magnitude of 6.50. So the difficulty with the seventh star, Pleione, is not that its apparent magnitude is close to the limits; nor is the fact that it is a variable star a factor in its visibility, as that variability is minuscule. As can be seen in the upper left corner of the reconstruction above, Pleione is very close to the bright (mag. 3.62) star Atlas. As a result, it is often hard to disentangle them and to see Pleione as a distinct star. Those who have good eyesight and whose eyes are properly adapted to the night sky, can usually make out Pleione. Older people, people with weak eyesight, and those whose eyes are not yet adjusted to the darkness of night, cannot see this star. Consequently, the Pleiades are counted as being either six or seven in number. A myth-maker, therefore, has the option of counting the Pleiades as a cluster of six stars rather than the standard seven.

"just then" — it turns out to be rather difficult to determine the identity of the next Moon in the sequence. It turns out that the Moons that play a role in the Pleiades Episode must have certain characteristics that exclude many of the Moons that occult the Pleiades. The first Moon to meet all the criteria occurs on 19 January 1690. The reasons for this, and the criteria used, must be discussed below. The Moon of 2 October 1689, shown above, beginning at 0419 hrs. passes over the stars Merope, Alcyone, Atlas, and Pleione just before the Pleiades are obliterated by the light of the rising Sun.

"the woman started to climb" — the six hearts that make up the Pleiades are on a high platform, which means that the star cluster has a high altitude.

"he took his knife, cutting her heart open by stabbing it" — this episode's encoding is complex. It is clear that it is the Pleiades that are the six hearts of the Giants, and that at this time in the sequence of the allegory, the Moon approaches the occultation of the Pleiades. So we know that since these same Giants are now returning, they must be the Moons that are now approaching the Pleiades. On the other hand, we have already seen (1, 2) that at least the crescent Moon is homologized to a knife. Since the Hyades never actually touch the Pleiades, each of these distinct clusters being of fixed stars, the personification of the Hyades, Ocean Duck, must use something that moves in order to strike the individual stars of the Pleiades. Nothing can serve this function — certainly not the planets, since they do not stray far enough from the ecliptic to occult the Pleiades — except the Moons, which are also playing the role of the returning Giants. This forces the odd technique of using an aspect of the Moon as a weapon that destroys the Moon itself. The original knives were the illuminated crescent of the Moon, which presents itself first to the Pleiades when the Moon is waning. However, when it is waxing, it cuts with its dark side. Given that the crescent Moon is a knife, it must be recognized that the dark portion of a gibbous Moon is also a crescent, and when that Moon is waxing, this crescent plays the cutting (occulting) role of the knife in the allegory. So our lists contains two January Moons (1690, 1693) whose waxing dark sides form crescent knives that cut into the Pleiades as the Moons occult them. The six Moons that meet these criteria are set out in bold and red in the table below. Other Moons which suggest themselves as candidates, but were rejected, are in orange.

Yr Moon Dy Time Light Fu Pa 0 bh d/a Phase wx/wn    Yr Moon Dy Time Light Fu Pa 0 bh d/a Phase wx/wn
1689 Ja-Jn     -     l         1692 Jan 27 2125 n     h     G wx
July 12 0927 day     l     C wn Feb 24 0407 n h     x   H- wx
Aug 8 1640 n     l x   C wn Mar 22 0825 day h         C wx
Sept 4 2040 n     l     G wn Apr 18 1548 day h         C- wx
Oct. 2 0419 n   l     d1 G wn June 12 0404 n10 h       a11 C- wn
Oct 29 1350 day     l x   F- wn July 9 1620 day h         C wn
Nov 26 0147 n   l     d F2 - Aug 5 225012 n hc   -13   d C wn
Dec. 23 1147 day     l     F- wx Sept 2 0823 day h         G wn
1690 Jan 19 2047 n lc       a3
G wx Sept 29 1350 day c         G wn
Feb 16 0310 n   l   x   H- wx Oct 26 1812 n l   -14   a15 F-16 wn
Mar 15 0804 day       x   C wx Nov 23 0257 n hc         F -
Apr 11 1557 day c         C wx Dec 20 0950 day l     x   F- wx
May 9 0204 n     l x   N - 1693 Jan 16 1824 n h       a G wx
June 5 1148 day c         C wn Feb 13 0407 n c     x   H wx
July 2 2118 n   l   x   C wn Mar 12 0947 day c         C wx
July 30 0418 n c       a C wn Apr 8 183317 n/d c       d18 C wx
Aug 26 1218 day           H+ wn June 2 0419 n19     l   a C wn
Sept 22 1633 day lc         G wn June 29 1325 day c         C wn
Oct 19 2246 n c       a G4 wn July 26 2019 n     l     C wn
Nov. 16 0946 day c         F - Aug 23 0420 n lc       a20 H21 wn
Dec 13 1946 n hc       a F-5 wx Sept 19 1247 day     l x   G wn
1691 Jan 10 0707 n hc     x   G wx Oct 16 1830 n     l     F- wn
Feb 6 1307 day h         H+ wx Nov 13 0047 n     l     F -
Mar 5 2207 n     h6   d C wx Dec 10 0747 day     l x   F- wx
Apr 2 0227 n hc     x   C wx 1694 Jan 6 1350 day     l x   G wx
Apr 29 0735 day c     x   C wx Feb 2 2311 n     l     H+ wx
June 23 0310 n c       a7 C wn Mar 2 0632 n     l x   C wx
July 20 1422 day   h       C wn Mar 29 1420 day     l     C wx
Aug 16 2030 n h     x   H- wn Apr 26 2120 n     l     C wx
Sept 13 0150 n     h     G wn Abbreviations: - = slightly less than; + = slightly more than; 0 = no occultation; bh = below the horizon; c = center of (the Pleiades); C = crescent Moon; d/a = ascending/descending (before/after transit of the Hyades); Dy = day; F = full Moon; Fu = "full" occultation (all of the Moon is in the Pleiades); G = gibbous Moon; H = half Moon; h = high (above, or upper part of, the Pleiades); l = low (below, or lower part of, the Pleiades); N = new Moon; n = night; Pa = partial occultation; wn = waning; wx = waxing; Yr = year.
Oct 10 0955 day   h   x   F wn
Nov 6 1455 day c         F- wn
Dec 4 0130 n   h     d8 F-9 wx
Dec 31 1023 day c     x   G wx
1 the Hyades transited at 0329 hrs.
2 disc illumination of 99.2%.
3 transited at 2016 hrs.
4 disc illumination of 94.0%.
5 disc illumination, 98.6%.
6 grazes, but does not occult Sterope.
7 Aldebaran rose at 0310 hrs.
8 transited at 2323 hrs.
9 disc illumination of 97.7%.
10 the Sun rose at 0416 hrs.
11 the Hyades rose at 0344 hrs.
12 Moonrise was at 2242 hrs. 
13 the Hyades were below the horizon for the whole time that the Moon occulted the Pleiades.
14 occultation begins at 1718 hrs. while the Pleiades and the Moon are below the horizon. Atlas, the lowest of the Pleiades, rose at 1726 hrs. Occultation was completed at 1941 hrs. when the Moon passed over Atlas.
15 at 1941 hrs., the altitude of Aldebaran was 9° 7'. It rose at 1846 hrs.
16 disc illumination was 94.6%.
17 the Sun set at 1833 hrs.
18 the Hyades transited at 1505 hrs.
19 the Sun rose at exactly this time.
20 the Hyades transited at 0606 hrs.
21 disc illumination 54.7%.

The Moons in orange have some claim to have been selected as having occulted the Pleiades in a way that would have satisfied the criteria of the allegory for having cut into the stellar external souls of the Giant-Moons. This includes the very first Moon to reach the Pleiades and occult any of its members. This significant Moon falls short for two reasons: 1) the Moon is gibbous, but its "knife," the dark crescent, since the Moon is waning, is on the wrong side (the back side) of the Moon; 2) the Moon is descending rather than ascending, that is, the Moon transited (reached its highest altitude) at 0310 hrs., but did not occult the star Merope until 0419 hrs. This might be a problem, since the allegory makes a point of Ocean Duck ascending to reach the platform on which the Pleiades rest. However, this may not be much of a problem after all, since he must ascend before he can descend, and the amount of time that lapsed since the Hyades transited was only about an hour, so it may have been hard to detect just when the Hyades reached their highest altitude. There were a number of other descending Moons: 0147 hrs., 26 Nov. 1689; 2207 hrs., 5 March 1691; 0130 hrs., 4 Dec. 1691; 2250 hrs., 5 Aug. 1692; and 1833 hrs., 8 Apr 1693. The Moons of November and December failed to meet the criterion because they were both so close to being full (disc illumination of 99.2%, and 97.7% respectively) that they had no discernible crescent to present itself as a knife. The Moon of 5 March 1691 might have qualified except that it merely grazed the star Sterope without occulting it. As a result, it "cut" none of the Pleiades. In the case of the Moon of 5 August 1692, when it occulted the Pleiades, the Hyades had not yet risen, so Ocean Duck was not even on the "platform" when the Moon cut through the Pleiades. The Moon of 8 April 1693 narrowly qualified. It was descending, but its altitude at sunset was 34° 13', so that most of the Pleiades would have been visible. The waxing crescent Moon was beginning to occult the lowest star, Electra, as early as 1630 hrs., when the glare of the Sun made the Pleiades impossible to be seen. By sunset (1833 hrs.), the Moon was in the center of the cluster, and by 2006 hrs., when it was completely dark, it had just concluded passing over Atlas and most of Pleione. Since the lowest star of the Hyades, γ Tauri, was 18' higher in elevation than Atlas, the highest star of the Pleiades, they would have been present and visible before the Pleiades were. So the Moon of 8 April 1693 does satisfy the criteria of the allegory and is counted as one of the six Giants. The last Moon, which is seventh in the count, does not figure in this episode, but initiates the next set of actions. It is the last Moon to occult the Pleiades, since thereafter each Moon falls below this star cluster and begins a general lunar descent towards the Hyades.

"the woman collapsed" — the first Moon to get "knifed" is the waxing gibbous Moon of 19 January 1690. The Moon ascends briefly, then falls from the sky, reaching the horizon and the Sun on 8 February 1690, 20 days later.

"when they came very close" — since the knife is part of the Moon that it kills, the Moon can't get any closer than it does in this situation.

"he killed them all" — the easiest way to describe the astronomy of the Giganticides is to tabulate them:

Date of
Date Moon Falls
to Horizon
of Days
19 January 1690 8 February 1690 20
30 July 1690 4 August 1690 5
23 June 1691 26 June 1691 3
12 June 1692 14 June 1692 2
16 January 1693 5 February 1693 20
8 April 1693 5 May 1693 27

The time it takes for the Giant-Moons to fall to earth from the platform varies greatly, but in the end, they are all burned up in their lodges (they reach conjunction with the Sun).

"he slept there on the way" — following the last Giant-Moon of the series, that of 8 April 1693, the Hyades set with the Sun on 9 May and are not seen in the sky until 21 June. This is allegorized as his sleeping on the way to his next destination (Moon).

StarryNight Pro Plus 7
The Oval Lodge
Rise of Aldebaran, 2302 hrs., 22 August 1693

"he came to an oval lodge there" — the next Moon that belongs to this group, is the one that occurs in August. The Milky Way, as seen at this time, just barely fits under the zenith, and therefore can be seen as an arch in the night sky, an "oval lodge." The Moon of 2 June 1693 can be excluded because the Hyades are still with the Sun and are not visible in the sky on that date. The exclusion of the Moons of June 29 and July 26 will be discussed in the next entry. The August Moon that dwells there is, in fact, the seventh Moon and the very last one to occult the Pleiades. Yet this Moon is special and is not counted among those whose external souls are stored in the stars of the Pleiades. Therefore, it is rather like the seventh Pleiad, an anomaly that may or may not be perceived to fit into the group.

"rice" — since most people eat cultivated rice today, we think of generic rice as being by default a bright white in color. However, it is necessary to remember that in the olden times the tribes of the upper Midwest harvested wild rice. Wild rice is also sold widely today, but its color typically ranges from dark brown to black. Such rice could have no role as an analogue to any nocturnal celestial object, since it would not show up against the black background of the night. However, the commercially processed wild rice of contemporary times is not prepared in the way that it had been in the past. "Commercially grown rice is often cultivated in paddies and typically parched using a gas-fire system, ... [Stone House Farm] rice is then parched (roasted) over a wood fire. ... An easy way to differentiate between ‘real' wild rice and commercially grown wild rice is by color and grain size. Real wild rice is lighter and more varied in color with longer grain."4 This shows that the wild rice processed by the Hočągara in preassimilation times was of a lighter color, as shown in the photograph below. Therefore, it could be used as an analogue to at least tightly packed stars like the Pleiades cluster. The Pleiades, being rounded, can resemble a bowl of rice. Not just any Moon that passes by the Pleiades can be thought of as preparing this meal. Since preparation requires contact, the Moon must occult part of the Pleiades as it approaches them. The two previous Moons of June and July do not occult this star cluster at all, and can therefore be excluded.

Stone House Farm   WebMD
Wild Rice   A Head Louse

"lice" — this strange meal of rice which is really lice, is also encountered in the story of Spirit Woman, who interviews ghosts who are treading the path to Spiritland. She offers them a meal of rice, which gives them a headache, whereupon she cracks their skulls open and scoops out their brains. The rice that they eat afterwards is actually lice, and it causes them to part "from all bad things." Lice were then, as they are now, considered pests. However, in the early day, lice were also thought of in positive terms. During times of starvation, people were reduced at the final extremity of eating one another's lice. Therefore, lice became symbols of prosperity (q.v.), since they disappear only in times of starvation. Although they are a nuisance, they may save your life. To internalize them is to internalize prosperity, and to part from all bad things. Nevertheless, in this context, offering Ocean Duck a bowl of lice is to present him with the dead man's meal. By rejecting this meal, he is rejecting the idea that he is going to be defeated and lose his life.

"poured it into the fire" — the bowl of rice/lice is the Pleiades. These stars have some altitude: on June 29 their altitude is 40° 32', on July 26 it is 67° 7', and on August 22 it has increased to 92° 30'. So at this time of the year, the Pleiades rice bowl is not particularly close to the "fire" (Sun). The Aunt-Moon prepares his meal by occulting the Pleiades at 0420 hrs., and by 0511 hrs., when the Sun rises, she has moved towards Ocean Duck (the Hyades) to serve them to him. The throwing of their contents into the fire must refer to the Sun's light washing out the Pleiades while the Moon and Aldebaran are still visible (due to their superior brightness). The higher the altitude of Aldebaran and the Moon, the longer they will remain visible, given their greater distance from the rising Sun.

"thrown in there" — here the situation has been reversed: instead of the Hyades remaining in the sky day after day while the Moon declines inevitably to its death in the Sun on the horizon, the "same" Moon remains in the sky while the Hyades decline inevitably to the horizon to fall into the kettle above the fire (the Sun) at the bottom of the crevasse (below the horizon). So what is the "same" Moon? This would have to be the anomalous half Moon that was facing Ocean Duck on 22-23 August 1693. The crescent Moons resemble knives. They cut either with their bright or dark sides. The dark sides of gibbous Moons that are waxing, resemble knives and also cut into stars by occultation. So crescent and waxing gibbous Moons can play the role of the knife used to kill the external soul of that same Moon. However, a half Moon, like the one were are now considering in August 1693, does not resemble a knife in either of its halves, and is thus not counted for the same reason that the full or nearly full Moons of November are also not counted. So the half Moon of August must be outside the set of six hitherto encountered Giant-Moons, and cannot double as a knife. Thus, the Aunt-Moon must have its own allegorical episode. In this episode, the tables are reversed, and the half Moon throws the Hyades until they fall into the kettle that is the Sun, and for a time disappear from the sky. This process is tabulated here (where the angular separation is measured from Aldebaran):

Date Sunset Hyades
Angular Separation from
Waning ½ Moon at Moonrise
Angular Separation
from Sun at Sunset
23 Aug. 1693 1846 1306 not in the sky (Conjunction) not in the sky at sunset
21 Sept. 1693 1755 1112 18° 53' not in the sky at sunset
21 Oct. 1693 1704 0914 51° 31' not in the sky at sunset
20 Nov. 1693 1629 0716 87° 06' not in the sky at sunset
20 Dec. 1693 1626 0522 114° 18' 153° 53'
18 Jan. 1694 1653 0328 135° 50' 124° 31'
17 Feb. 1694 1732 0130 168° 54' (Opposition) 95° 16'
18 Mar. 1694 1808 2336 not in the sky together 65° 24'
16 Apr. 1694 1841 2142 not in the sky together 36° 38'
9 May 1694 1907 2007 not in the sky together 16° 00'

The Hyades start off as morning stars and are not seen at all by sunset. They start out in conjunction with the half Moon, then gradually separate from it at Moonrise until 17 February 1694, they are on opposite sides of the horizon and setting when the half Moon rises. At the same time, the Hyades get ever closer to the Sun, until 9 May of that year, they set with the Sun and are no longer visible. In allegorical terms, Ocean Duck has reached the bottom of the crevasse where the cooking kettle is found.

"human flesh" — this may not mean anything in the allegory, but may simply indicate the cannibalistic nature of Ocean Duck's aunt and her allies. On the other hand, on 23 August 1693, the planet Mars, whose bright red color may have evoked the image of raw human flesh and blood, was only 19° 16' angular separation from Aldebaran.

"where has he gone?" — there may be a reason why she asks this question twice. He reaches the true bottom of his fall from the sky in May when the Hyades are in conjunction with the Sun. But before that time, the Hyades and the waning half Moon are not in the night sky at the same time after 17 February 1694, until they rise again in June. So there are two ways in which the Hyades disappear from the half Moon's view: 1) while they are still falling from the sky, they are not within the compass of the half Moon's field of view; and 2) having fallen to the horizon, they have disappeared into the light of the Sun, and are visible to no one.

"he climbed out" — around 14 June 1693 when Aldebaran had an angular separation from the Sun of 17° 25', it may have been briefly visible before Sunrise. From that time on, it gradually climbed in altitude until on 10 September 1694, he had reached the level of the half Moon.

Date Sunrise Hyades
Angular Separation from
Waning ½ Moon at Hyades Rise
Angular Separation
from Sun at Sunrise
16 May 1694 0432 0532 not in the sky together 13° 7'
14 June 1694 0416 0338 68° 42' 17° 25'
14 July 1694 0429 0140 49° 31' 42° 31'
12 Aug. 1694 0459 2342 10° 59' 73° 48'
10 Sept. 1694 0531 2149 10° 40' (Conjunction) 101° 37'

On 10 September 1694 the half Moon and the Hyades align with one another. This means that they now have each other in their grip.

"around her neck" — his aunt wears a kaǧi (raven, crow) skin around her neck. This normally signifies that a warrior has captured more than one woman.5 Here it is apparently inverted: she has captured (killed, and eaten) more than one warrior. In astronomical terms, the Hyades have been climbing in the night sky since June 14. The Moon with whom he is to rendezvous is the half Moon of September 1694. Before he pulls even with her, on 2 September, he first strips the dark necklace that the waxing gibbous Moon wears. After that, on 10 September he pulls even with her as a half Moon, and then can grasp her.

"he stripped her of the things that she was wearing, and threw her into the crevasse" — now Ocean Duck throws this Moon to the horizon where it falls into the allegorical kettle situated above the Fire. The decline of the Aunt-Moon is tabulated here:

Sept. 1694
Disk Illumination
at Transit
Altitude of the
Moon at Sunrise
Angular Separation of the
Moon from the Sun at Sunrise
10 0456 hrs. 0455 hrs. 60.3% 68° 43' 100° 28'
11 0452 hrs. 0544 hrs. 50.6% 70° 33' 97° 2'
12 0448 hrs. 0633 hrs. 40.8% 66° 46' 78° 5'
13 0442 hrs. 0721 hrs. 31.4° 59° 21' 66° 2'
14 0441 hrs. 0809 hrs. 22.5% 50° 10' 55° 35'
15 0436 hrs. 0855 hrs. 14.6% 40° 3' 43° 41'
16 0433 hrs. 0941 hrs. 8.1% 29° 19' 32° 29'
17 0429 hrs. 1026 hrs. 3.3% 18° 8' 20° 8'
18 0425 hrs. 1112 hrs. 0.7% 6° 37' 8° 55'
19 0421 hrs. 1159 hrs. 0.5% -5° 23' 4° 5' (Conjunction)
= Daylight Hours; ◼ = Not Visible.

In her decline, she is stripped of her "clothing," which is to say her light.

"an aunt" — a hičų́wį, a father's sister, or a maternal uncle's wife. In the human world, she would be, as the father's sister, in the same moiety as he is, and since the mother always comes from the opposite moiety as the father, her brother (the maternal uncle) will have married a woman from the same moiety as the father's. So in either case, the hičų́wį is going to be of the same moiety as the father. Ocean Duck is the grandson of the Chief of the Thunders, and therefore, a Thunder himself. Consequently, his hičų́wį is going to be a Thunder herself, rather than a Nightspirit, from among whom the Thunders always take their wives.

"the oldest one was his father" — the plethora of pronouns leads to confusion. The oldest one is Kųnųga, and he is the father of Ocean Duck, making the latter the grandson of the Chief of the Thunders. This makes it clear that the chief's son, who lived behind a partition, and who had a red anus, is one and the same as Ocean Duck. This means that Ocean Duck was sent out with the rest of the children when the village moved.

"he burned up her lodge" — when the Aunt-Moon on 19 September 1694 reaches conjunction with the Sun, Ocean Duck finally achieve his "vengeance by fire." Both the Moon and its surrounds are engulfed in the fire of the Sun.

"he slept" — sleeping consistently means the heliacal setting of the Hyades, which occurred on 12 May 1695.

"half" — it is of interest that the first part of this conjunction is expressed in spatial terms ("one side"), and the other in quantitative terms ("about half"). It is usually said that the villages were formed in a circle one half of which was comprised of the Upper Moiety, and the other half of the Lower Moiety. Spatially, each takes up one side of the village and encompasses about half its population. It is possible here that the division falls along the lines of the two moieties. The spatial term sanįkjį is purely directional, with sanįk meaning, "side, opposite side, direction, towards." Sanįkjį is formed by adding a version of -xjį, here modified to -kjį, to sanįk. Far from being an emphatic, it more usually functions as the opposite, transforming the precise into the imprecise. Sanįkjį, which is nowhere else attested, can be analyzed to mean, "roughly the opposite side." Notice that here too the term hokiwasikjį is used to re-characterize the two complementary parts. This word is translated by LaMère as "half," but given the suffix -kjį, it should be translated as "about half." Hokiwasik means, "half a quantity" (Miner, Radin). Therefore, in the first clause we are talking about an approximate half in space, and in the second clause, an approximate half in number. These two concepts coincide when we talk about the division of stars into those who inhabit the night sky, and those who inhabit the day sky. A conceptualization of the celestial vault as half a celestial sphere, which is what is being used here, sees the Sun's sojourn after it sets as continuing on through an underworld celestial hemisphere and coming out on the opposite side to rise. Since certain stars are sometimes exclusively in the lower hemisphere, and sometimes exclusively in the upper hemisphere, while others are found in both, the whole celestial sphere must rock back and forth, completing a cycle in a year. In the winter, when days are short and nights long, more stars are found in the upper hemisphere at night than during the daylight hours, and during the opposite time of year in summer, the converse is true. So proximal spatial and quantitative terms are used instead of absolutes meaning "precisely half" (sanįk, hokiwasik).

The Hyades reëmerge from the grasp of the Sun on 21 June 1695. This (along with the previous day) was the longest day of the year, which informally is recognized as the Summer Solstice. So from a temporal perspective, it is important to characterize it as being "about half."

Date in 1695 Sunrise Sunset Δ T
19 June 0417 hrs. 1939 hrs. 15.3667 hrs.
20 June 0417:14 1939:53 15.3775
21 June 0417:26 1940:05 15.3775
22 June 0417:40 1940:16 15.3767
23 June 0417:56 1940:24 15.3744

On 21 June, the "jaw" stars of the Hyades were visible at sunrise, but not its interior stars.

"that old woman" — the set of sisters that Ocean Duck is will now encounter represent the clear day sky.

"four wild beans" — these represent stars. Most of the time, four represents simply a complete set, or a totality; but here it may well be taken literally.

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The Four Interior Stars of the Hyades

"he would put them in his mouth, but they would repeatedly reappear there" — the Hyades are easily homologized to a mouth with open jaws since they are shaped like a wedge. Given that the four bean-stars were located inside this mouth, they would have to be four stars seen inside the V shaped jaws of the Hyades. There should be four and only four such stars. We find that within the range of visibility to the naked eye, which is to say an apparent magnitude of 6.50 or less, there are just four such identifiable stars, as shown in the reconstruction above. Of these, one (HIP21251) is actually just outside the mouth, as it is exterior to a straight line drawn from Aldebaran to ε Tauri. However, this is going to be less apparent when the Hyades are seen on the much smaller scale that obtains during their actual apparition in the sky to the unaided eye. It may also be the case that not everyone can see these stars, as two of them are barely within the range of visibility (6.21, 6.43). It might be that the fourth star was intended to be HIP21029, a brighter star of apparent magnitude 4.75, just to the left of 75 Tauri; but this is implausible, since it seems that its spatial position is better suited to being a jaw-star. The interior stars, being fixed, will always appear in Ocean Duck's mouth, except under one circumstance, a circumstance that will become apparent in the following discussion.

"he gave back" — since these are fixed stars, they can go nowhere. However, he obtained these stars from the twilight sky, so they still are in her possession in any case.

"in her mouth" — the day sky first appears at the twilight of dawn. As noted here and elsewhere, sound stands for light. Since the source of words is the mouth, one would expect the analog of the mouth to be the source of light. In the anatomy of the day sky, the source of light is the Sun. So the mouth of the twilight sky is the place where light is originating. This would be the section of the sky that is lighting up at twilight. The Hyades are situated in this section of the sky, being as near as they are to the ecliptic. Therefore, the four beans in the mouth of the Hyades are also in the mouth of the emerging day sky.

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The Four Interior Stars of the Hyades Swallowed by the Day Sky

"they were caused to be consumed" — the waxing light of the day sky at its mouth dissolves stars as it swallows them up, starting with the faintest first. It takes about 23 minutes for the day sky to swallow the four bean-stars.

"he slept there" — sleeping is always interpreted as heliacal setting, which occurred for the Hyades on 10 May 1696.

"he was unable to eat them up" — we are at a time on the calendar when it is possible for the four interior stars of the Hyades to emerge in the evening as the Hyades rise with the setting Sun. Allegorically, this would be in the morning. As the light fades, the beans appear, but they remain unconsumed.

"you must take your time" — it is precisely at this time, 30 November - 1 December 1696, that the Hyades are visible in the sky for the maximum amount of time, as this chart shows:

Date in
Rise of
Time Altitude
of Setting Sun < -7°
Altitude of
  Setting of
Time Altitude
of Rising Sun < -7°
Altitude of
Δ Time
Aldebaran Visible
Nov. 17-18 1719 hrs. 1707 hrs. -2° 35'   0727 hrs. 0618 hrs. 12° 13' 12h 59m
Nov. 18-19 1715 hrs. 1706 hrs. -2° 6'   0723 hrs. 0620 hrs. 10° 28' 13h 5m
Nov. 19-20 1711 hrs. 1706 hrs. -1° 26'   0719 hrs. 0622 hrs. 9° 25' 13h 15m
Nov. 20-21 1708 hrs. 1705 hrs. -0° 56'   0715 hrs. 0623 hrs. 8° 32' 13h 18m
Nov. 21-22 1704 hrs. 1705 hrs. 0° 12'   0711 hrs. 0624 hrs. 7° 41' 13h 19m
Nov. 22-23 1700 hrs. 1704 hrs. 0° 40'   0707 hrs. 0625 hrs. 6° 49' 13h 21m
Nov. 23-24 1656 hrs. 1704 hrs. 1° 16'   0703 hrs. 0626 hrs. 5° 58' 13h 22m
Nov. 24-25 1652 hrs. 1703 hrs. 1° 43'   0659 hrs. 0627 hrs. 5° 7' 13h 23m
Nov. 25-26 1648 hrs. 1702 hrs. 2° 49'   0655 hrs. 0628 hrs. 4° 17' 13h 24m
Nov. 26-27 1644 hrs. 1702 hrs. 3° 28'   0652 hrs. 0629 hrs. 3° 27' 13h 27m
Nov. 27-28 1640 hrs. 1702 hrs. 4° 8'   0648 hrs. 0630 hrs. 2° 38' 13h 28m
Nov. 28-29 1636 hrs. 1701 hrs. 4° 37'   0644 hrs. 0632 hrs. 1° 42' 13h 31m
Nov. 29-30 1632 hrs. 1701 hrs. 5° 18'   0640 hrs. 0633 hrs. 0° 56' 13h 32m
Nov. 30-Dec. 1 1628 hrs. 1701 hrs. 5° 58'   0636 hrs. 0634 hrs. 0° 10' 13h 33m
Dec. 1-2 1624 hrs. 1701 hrs. 6° 39'   0632 hrs. 0635 hrs. -1° 9' 13h 31m
Dec. 2-3 1620 hrs. 1700 hrs. 7° 10'   0628 hrs. 0636 hrs. -1° 59' 13h 28m

In other words, it takes the Hyades the maximum amount of time to go from evening to morning, which allegorically means that Ocean Duck takes the maximum amount of time to go from morning to evening. The very next evening, Aldebaran rises achronically with the Sun at 1620 hours.

"he ran all day long" — during the close of November and the early days of December, the Hyades rise and set opposite the Sun. On 24 November 1696, Aldebaran sets achronically with the rising Sun (0703 hrs.) and on 2 December 1696 it rises achronically with the setting Sun (1620 hrs. and 1623 hrs. respectively). So during this period the Hyades travel the maximum distance across the dome of the celestial sphere, but still arrive at about dawn (evening in the allegory).

"half of your village is experiencing enjoyment. Again, half is in mourning" — the word for "half" in both cases is hokiwasik, which means more precisely, "half in number." This is not the hokiwasikjį, which means "about half in number," that we saw used above in reference to June 1695. As we see in the next entry, we have advanced in time to around 12 March 1697. There only two times of the year when half the stars are in daylight and half are in the night, and those are the Vernal and Autumnal Equinoxes. The equinoxes are the two times at which the sun crosses the celestial equator. By this definition, the Vernal Equinox fell on 20 March 1697 at 0448 hrs. Strictly speaking, this term is not defined today in a way that reflects its old meaning of "equal night (and day)." For our purposes, we are looking for the date in March 1697 on which the day and night were of an equal 12 hours each. That fell on 16 March 1697 (sunrise 6:06 a.m., sunset 6:06 p.m.). Since the next entry is four days earlier, it suggests that the calculation was off by four days. However, this is nevertheless impressive for people who did not have clocks and who may not have had any another more precise method of determining the exact date of the equinoxes.

"those that dance are singing about you" — dances were held in a circular formation, with the male dancers moving in a circle. This is what the stars do as they circle the celestial sphere in a complete day. However, the stars that are in the day sky do not manifest themselves, and are not seen dancing. Given the standard symbolism of light for sound, the ones who dance in the night sky are also singing, which is not true of the stars whose light is suppressed by the more powerful light of the Sun.

"you will only get there in the evening" — up to 12 March 1697, the Hyades always reach the western horizon in the a.m. hours, which in this allegory, is "evening."

"someplace during the day he would take a nap" — by 9 May 1697, when Aldebaran sets at 2007 hrs., the Sun has an altitude of -10° 1', which means that this star, and the Hyades with it, were not likely still visible, having had their light washed out by the rising Sun.6 When they rose at 0310 hrs. on 21 June 1697, the Sun's altitude was -10° 14', which should be enough to have made Aldebaran visible again at star rise. So from about 9 May through 20 June 1697, the Hyades were not visible in the sky, which is to say, they were "sleeping." Since they were not visible in the night sky either, they could also be characterized as sleeping during the day, allegorically speaking.

"he did not travel far" — during this time of year (late June and early July), the Hyades rise, then shortly thereafter are washed out by the glare of the Sun, so they do not travel far before the reach the allegorical "evening."

"my younger sister" — as we will see, the younger sister is married to a Waterspirit. She, being one of this group of sisters, belongs to the same clan. Yet it is clear that the other sisters are day skies, which would mean that the youngest of them was also a day sky. Unlike the Thunders who exogamously marry Nights, Waterspirits only marry other Waterspirits. This being the case, it forces the conclusion that the day skies are Waterspirits. This may seem paradoxical to us, but not to the Hočągara. In fact day skies were Waterspirits. Waterspirits have nothing to do with the waters of the Upper World, which are governed entirely by the Thunderbirds. The Thunders and the Waterspirits are opposites. The Thunders love the Nights because both these Spirit tribes are responsible for the darkness: the Thunders are the authors of the dark clouds that contain rain, and the Nights seed the darkness as they rise in the east at sunset. The Waterspirits are the mortal enemies of the Thunders. While the Thunders are the purveyors of clouds and lightning of the Upper World, the Waterspirits command the waters of the Lower World, and that aspect of the Upper World that stands in opposition to the dark clouds of their enemies: the blue sky. This is why Bluehorn, the greatest of the Waterspirits, is said to have been eaten by the Thunders, but was restored when he was rescued from them by the Twins. It is the dark clouds that occult the blue sky and eat away at it as they gather from the horizon. The Waterspirits, therefore, are very fond of sunning themselves on nice days, but are ever wary of the approach of rain clouds. Therefore, because the youngest sister is a day sky, she is also a Waterspirit, and therefore is married to a Waterspirit herself.

"grandfather" — the Waterspirit that ferries him across is not literally his grandfather, this is just a polite form of address. We later learn that Ocean Duck's maternal grandfather was, as expected, a Nightspirit. That Ocean Duck is himself a Thunderbird, explains his oddly hostile treatment of the Waterspirit: Thunderbirds and Waterspirits are mortal enemies. The grandfather is simultaneously identified with the Hyades, as Ocean Duck comes to superimpose himself upon the old man.

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The Red Yarn Extending to the Horns of the Hyades
21 June 1697

"a red woven yarn belt" — what is asserted is that there is one red yarn belt attached to each/both horns. The tips of the horns are formed by ε Tauri at the top, and Aldebaran at the bottom. Ε Tauri with a BV value of 1.014 is an orange star, and thus only partly red, whereas Aldebaran at 1.44 is decidedly red. The higher the value, the redder the object. However, during this period, the planet Mars chanced to pass by the Hyades, and was aligned between the horns of the star cluster. Mars is 7° 29' and an angle of 59.1° from ε Tauri, and 8° 0' at an angle of 65.2° from Aldebaran at 0330 hrs. on 21 June 1697. A corresponding color index was contrived for the planets, and the value of 1.73 was measured for Mars,7 demonstrating that this planet is even redder than Aldebaran. We may imagine the red yarn belt extending from Mars to the two horn-tip stars, Aldebaran and ε Tauri.

A Hočąk Rendering of a Waterspirit

"horns" — Waterspirits always have horns, usually brachiating. Here the horns are the two limbs of the wedge of the Hyades.

"the white deerskin" — this, as perhaps before, is a reference to the nearby Pleiades, which are known as the "Deer Rump."

"he slept there" — the sleep period always denotes the disappearance of the Hyades from the sky, their heliacal setting. This occurred from 12 May - 17 June 1698.

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Ocean Duck's Club Between Grandfather's Two Horns
0330 hrs., 28 August 1698

"a club" — the Moons between the two horns of the Hyades first begin to appear on 28 August 1698. These Moons form the moving cudgel with which Ocean Duck strikes the grandfather Waterspirit. 

"it began with me doing this one in just one run, but now I am old" — this does not make perfect sense on the surface of the allegory, but it is an important remark for the interpretation of the astronomical code. It appears that he is suggesting that old age prevents him from moving from one shore to the other in one effort, and that he must stop off (at an island ?) along the way to regain his strength. However, in the astronomical code, what this states is that the Hyades are to be traversing from one side to the other not diurnally, but during the course of their life in the sky, that is, they will progress from the eastern shore to the western shore day by day, rather than hour by hour. This is what it would mean to do it in multiple steps.

"the water extended above" — this is a reference to the Milky Way, which extends above the Hyades. The Milky Way is frequently imagined as being made of water droplets. According to its creation myth, the Milky Way is in origin sprays of water created by colossal splashes in primordial times. These giant explosions of water were created in a diving contest between Otter and a Giant, whose emergence was so forceful that jets of water were sprayed into the sky creating each side of the Milky Way.

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The Clouds at the Horizon When Aldebaran Set
1957 hrs., 12 May 1699

"many clouds were forming" — the Hyades are gradually making their way to the western horizon in the evening (daytime in the allegory). It is typical for clouds to form on the horizon at sunset. However, more appropriate to the allegory is the fact that when Aldebaran set with the Sun at 1957 hrs., 12 May 1699, the Milky Way was very close to the horizon, and the Milky Way is quite often homologized to clouds.

"they got to the shore" — the shore from which they left was the eastern horizon. This can be thought of as a shore because the Ocean Sea, literally the "Surrounding Lake," encloses the whole of the earth, making the landmass an island. So when stars rise, it was conceivable that they arose from the waters, although it seems to have been the principal belief that they arose from beyond the edge of the world, there being a rim of land holding in the Ocean Sea on its distant side. We can trace the voyage of the Hyades from the eastern to the western shore:

Date of
with the Moon
Time of
Angular Separation
from the W. Horizon
at the Ecliptic
5 July 1698 0216 (rise) 171° 5'
1 August 1698 0030 (rise) 171° 5'
27 August 1698 2243 (rise) 171° 5'
24 September 1698 2053 (rise) 171° 5'
21 October 1698 1907 (rise) 171° 5'
17 November 1698 1721 (rise) 171° 5'
12 December 1698 1702 (apparition) 152° 52' (Δ 18°)
11 January 1699 1724 (apparition) 122° 52' (Δ 30°)
8 February 1699 1756 (apparition) 96° 0' (Δ 27°)
7 March 1699 1830 (apparition) 69° 57' (Δ 26°)
3 April 1699 1902 (apparition) 43° 24' (Δ 23°)
1 May 1699 1939 (apparition) 15° 48' (Δ 27°)
13 May 1699* 1752 Conjunction 6° 25' (Δ 9°)

The table shows how the Waterspirit stalled initially, and had to be cajoled into moving at all. He finally starts to move in November, when the Hyades are in conjunction with the full Moon, its maximum light being auspicious for the corresponding maximum light for the day (its absence of dark clouds that correspond to the dark Moon).

"the old man started back for the water" — the Hyades having set with the Sun next appear on the other side of the celestial sphere as morning stars. Homologized as a Waterspirit, the Hyades dive under the earth in order to emerge back in the "water" on the other side.

"the Thunderbirds killed him" — before the Waterspirit version of the Hyades can safely make it back to the other side, they set with the Sun, at some point actually coming quite close to it. It would be easy to deduce that midway between periods of visibility, they will have come as close to the Sun as they are to the ecliptic at night when they were visible in the sky. They are visible again on 22 June 1699 when the Sun is depressed at an altitude of -10° 22'. So it would be around 1 June 1699 that the Sun would be expected to be opposite γ Tauri, the center point between the two horns of the Hyades. Since the Hyades are united with the hot fire of the Sun, it is easily homologized as the Hyades-Waterspirit having been struck with the hot fire of the lightning weapon of the Thunders.

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The Pleiades on the Horizon
0213 hrs., 17 June 1699

"only the scent gland remained there in a pile" — since the Waterspirit is a mythical animal, the precise location of its scent gland is likely to be controversial. The Hočąk illustration of a Waterspirit above shows an elongated sack at the anterior part of the creature. This is the artist's conception of the scent "gland." In the astronomy allegory it is quite clear what this cosmic pile is: it is the Pleiades. This star cluster rises with the Sun before the Hyades do. They first become visible when the Sun is depressed below the horizon at a -16-17° altitude when they rise in the morning. On 17 June 1699, when Alcyone rises at 0210 hrs., the Sun is depressed below the horizon with an altitude of -17° 3'. They sit on the horizon at that time in a "pile" that could easily enough be homologized to the dead Waterspirit's scent gland.

"tools" — the Hočąk is wirókų (sometimes wirók’ų). As a verb it means, "to use (tools)" (Susman, Jasper Blowsnake). As a noun, it usually denotes tools and instruments, but can be as amorphous as "materials" (Sam Blowsnake). It is from wa-hirokų́, where wa- means an indefinite object; and hirokų́ is, "to have use for something, to utilize, to use as a tool." Its stem seems to be rokų, "to wish," combined with the prefix, hi-, an instrumental applicative, which Helmbrecht-Lehmann explains as, "a grammatical element of the verb unknown in English. It is often translated as 'with something'. It really marks that there is something used as an instrument to do something." Hirokų́, then, must have meant, "to instrumentalize one's desires." So the fundamental meaning of wirók’ų as a noun seems to be, "things of utility." This is consistent with manufactured substances used for a wide range of magical effects, for good or ill, rather than, say, something as specific and mundane as bone tools.

"medicines" — the Hočąk is mąką́, which does not mean merely, "a substance used to cure a malady." Mąką́ra are often substances of magical power, and some are poisons as well as medicines in our sense of the word.

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A Moon "Chopping Wood"
0356 hrs., 24 June 1699

"chopping wood" — by 22 June 1699, Aldebaran is once again visible. By 24 June, the Moon descends to near the horizon when its luminous crescent strikes the tree tops, here homologized to chopping wood. It is said to be audible and to cry because, using sound for light, it is still visible (13% disk illumination).

"a boy friend of his" — that is, one of the stars between the Hyades and the Pleiades. These stars are all of low magnitude, which is to say metaphorically "small." The brightest of them is κ Tauri at 4.18 apparent magnitude.

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A Pregnant Moon Giving Birth to κ Tauri
2106 hrs., 18 November 1668

"his mother" — when a Moon occults a star it allegorically "eats" it. However, as the star passes out of the backside of the Moon, the Moon could be allegorically characterized as "giving birth" to it. The most prominent member of the children-stars, and the one most likely to be thought of as a friend of Ocean Duck's, κ Tauri, was born this way in 1668 as shown above. The Moon at this time was full, which is to say, "pregnant."

"one side of the village" — the village of stars, ruled over by the Sun, is split into two halves in a way reminiscent of the moiety division of the Hočągara: the upper half is in the sky at night, and the lower half is below the earth. This is discussed at length above.

"celebration" — this means that there was a dance. Dances are always done in a circular formation, which is precisely the way that stars circle the earth moving across the celestial sphere in a metaphorical dance.

"songs" — here again we have sound for light.

"turned back" — the word is wakšą́, which means, "to turn (around) and go back" (Helmbrecht-Lehmann). To say, "it was impossible for anyone of them to have turned back," amounts to a humorous statement about fixed stars. On the surface level of the story, it is plain that there is nothing for them to go back to, since going home implies following the trail of the moving village which had abandoned them.

"then she went home with him to the place where she lived" — as will be shown, she lives in the day sky. At this time, late June 1699, the Moon is about to enter conjunction with the Sun, which is to say that she is about in the day sky only (where she is invisible). However, the Hyades are not following her into solar conjunction. This only takes place in the month of May. Therefore, following this Moon home means traveling month by month with the Moon in conjunction with the Hyades. Finally, we reach 21 April 1700, where the Moon is in conjunction with Aldebaran. Then and there he follows her into the realm of light. Aldebaran disappears from the night sky on 10 May 1700. This is the time that Ocean Duck, and the lunar woman who he is following, enters the half of the village that is in mourning.

"all that were in mourning came there" — that is, all the stars that will not shine in the night. This place is where Hąp is, a word that means both "Sun" and "day(light)." Everything having to do with light is inverted in the allegory. Normally when people are in mourning they blacken their faces, but here everyone has their faces bathed in sunlight to the point of invisibility.

"at night" — in the allegory, night and day are switched, so that an invitation tendered at night in the story, is really done in daylight in the astronomical code. The stars that live in daylight and do not shine, are like people who live in the dark and never see the light of day. The people as depicted in the story, at its superficial level, are people who live in the night in a perpetual state of melancholy.

"the oval drum" — this is the Sun, the source of the loudest "noise," here again using sound to symbolize light.

"during the night, there was a sound that set everything vibrating" — as noted numerous times, "night" refers to day (and conversely). The word čįwįčį́wį, an emphatic of čįwį, "to roar, thunder, etc.". The emphatic specifically means, "to make a sound loud enough to cause vibrations." This is the ultimate in noise, so it should refer to the ultimate in light, the Sun. This is merely a way of noting that the Hyades have set with the Sun and are inhabiting the realm of the day sky, here referred to as "night."

"all their stomachs had burst" — since their stomachs had burst by the morning, that means that this had happened during night. Allegorically, the night is the day, so the bursting happened during the daylight hours. It is plain to see what this "bursting" is. Once the Sun is up, the dot that manifests the apparition of the star at some point suddenly dissolves into the glare of sunlight around it. The sudden dissolution of the border between the star and its surroundings is as if those boundaries had burst, a sudden "winking out" of the star. The Hyades as Ocean Duck had followed the grieving Moon to her abode below on 10 May 1700. The stars, the inhabitants of this abode, were those ahead of him: the Pleiades and the interstitial stars between the former and the Hyades that flank the ecliptic that lies between the two star clusters. The last star of the Pleiades, Atlas, is first visible in the morning sky on 17 June 1700 when it rises when the Sun has an altitude of -16° 58'. For the next couple of weeks, the stars that rise in the twilight "burst" in the glare of the Sun sometime just before the Sun rises (during the allegorical "night"). When he sees them "in the morning," which is to say in allegorical terms, after sunset, he and they are all under the earth in the lower realm where they dwell in their lodges. Aldebaran does not emerge from this world until 26 June 1700.

"he was the chief" — as the chief is the Sun, Ocean Duck has astronomically assumed the role of the Sun.

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The Sun-as-Chief Crossing the Ocean Sea
4 June - 4 July 1700

"they had crossed the Ocean Sea" — Ocean Duck departs from the lower world when the Hyades rise with the Sun. This occurs on 26 June 1700. By 4 July 1700, the village has picked up and moved across the Ocean Sea (the Milky Way), reduplicating the moving of the village that set the myth into motion back in 1681.

"the Chief of the Thunderbirds" — this would be Great Blackhawk. The genealogy set out here and elsewhere is shown below:

"mother" — the Hočąk is hi’ųnį́, which can mean, "mother, sister of one's mother, female cousin of one's mother." However, in this context, there can be little doubt that it refers to his mother. Since his mother is the daughter of the Chief of the Nightspirits, she would be one of the Nights herself.

"on the Island" — the "Island" is the earth, conceived as being surrounded by the Ocean Sea from whose opposite littoral the ancestors of "these Indians" had migrated. The symbolism of allegory and the literal have become a bit blurred. We understand the crossing of the Ocean Sea as traversing the Milky Way, but at this point in the myth, it is now asserted that presumed ancestors crossed the actual Ocean Sea to live here. This, we should expect, is to be taken literally as a religious tenet. Ocean Duck, now chief of humans, was a Thunderbird, as was his father. His mother was a Nightspirit. Were all these individuals Thunderbirds? Did they, along with Ocean Duck, become mortal beings when they crossed over to this shore? Since there were afore time two parts of the village, an upper and lower part, was the extinguished lower portion to be identified with the Earth Moiety? If so, is this myth, in addition to be a record of the relationship of the Moon to the Hyades, not also an attempt to give an account of the origins of the Upper Moiety, or perhaps the Thunderbird Clan? The myth raises these questions, but offers us nothing by which to adjudicate conflicting opinions on its "historical" interpretation.

Summary. Given the detail of the Commentary, it would be appropriate to give a more condensed version of its content. This table presents a synopsis of the astronomy associated with the Hyades and the Moon as it is expressed in the allegory.

Date March - April, 1681 April 20 April 1820 hrs.   2121 hrs. 8 May 22 June 22 June - 4 July 9 - 22 June


The Hyades are visible for only a short time. The Milky Way forms an arch above the horizon. Below this arch are the small stars above the Hyades. The Moon occults Aldebaran then passes over it. The open end of the V formation of the Hyades is facing the small stars in front of the MW. Aldebaran, over which the Moon passes, is a red star. The stars above the Hyades twinkle. Aldebaran and the Hyades set. The Hyades set with the Sun and are not seen in the sky. All the stars above the Hyades, and the Hyades themselves, are visible and are gaining in altitude. All the visible planets, Saturn, Jupiter, Venus (Morning Star) and Mercury follow the Sun across the Milky Way into Gemini. The Sun had been in Taurus previously. This spot was within the Milky Way. Mercury moves from the Sun up to the stars above the Hyades, then back again.
Allegory The chief's son never travels far from his lodge. The little children are playing on the hillside. The chief's son defecates. The chief's son has his back to the children. One of the children says that the chief's son has a red anus. The children laughed. The chief's son is embarrassed and retreats behind the partition in his lodge. The chief's son does not come out from behind the partition. Absolutely all the children are sent to play farther away. The adults follow the chief in moving the village and abandoning the children. The village is under a cloud of smoke. One of the children runs back with the news.


Date 22 April - 23 Aug., 1681 14 July 13 July 14 July 9 Aug. 5 Sept. 8 May 1682 8 May - 20 June 3 July 2 July
Astronomy As the Sun moves along the ecliptic, Venus passes Jupiter twice in its retrograde motion. A waning Moon reaches the horizon while still in the Milky Way. The Moon had been a sliver situated on the horizon at the edge of the Milky Way when the Sun was beneath Castor and Pollux. As the Hyades rise, the Moon, the Sun, and Castor and Pollux rise above the horizon. The Hyades and attendant stars rotate around the edge of the Milky Way. Venus and the Moon are in conjunction in the morning sky. Venus departs from the Moon. While in crescent phase the Moon is adjacent to the Milky Way. Below the arch of the Milky Way the Hyades and adjacent star are setting just after sunset. They set with the Sun. The stars were up during daylight only. When the Moon is next to the Milky Way, only Aldebaran can be seen in the sunlight. While separated from the Moon, Venus occults η Cancri.
Allegory The oars shined as they moved to and fro. An old woman falls out of the boat. Where the old woman had sat lie buried a lightning pot, a fire stick, and a knife. The chief's son digs up these items. They went around the edge of the lake. The old woman and her husband live together by themselves. Grandfather goes on a hunt. The old woman boils something. Her head is found to be bald. The children lie down with their heads facing the fire. They fall asleep. The children slept at night. When the old woman addressed the mice by the wall, only she and Ocean Duck are awake. Grandfather has killed something.


Date 3 July 1682, 20 July 1683, 6 Aug. 1684 27 July 1685 22 Aug. 1685 12 Nov. after 12 Nov. 29 Nov. 1696 29 - 30 Nov. 30 Nov. - 15 Dec. 15 Dec. 22 - 23 Jan. 1687
Astronomy Three times the crescent Moon is near the Milky Way and occludes the stars above the Hyades. The crescent of the Moon occults the star ζ Tauri. The Moon last occults ε Tauri. The Moon now passes above the Hyades without occulting any of its stars. The Moon occults the small stars above the Hyades. The Moon rises while undergoing a partial eclipse. The shadow is thrown off while it is still near the horizon. The Hyades rotate under the Moon. As the full Moon declines, it makes it way to the horizon and disappears from view. The largely dark Moon sets above the Sun, then disappears. The next Moon passes the Hyades before midnight.
Allegory Three times the old woman cut the heads off children sleeping by the wall. She cut clean through the neck of the one next to her. She sat holding on to a blanket he wore while he was outside. She ran out of the lodge. She ate the children. The Giants drops a rock he is carrying on the ground. Ocean Duck makes a sharp turn when he is thrown by the Giant. The Giant becomes exhausted and is thrown to the ground Ocean Duck boils then eats the Giant. He meets the next Giant around noon.


Date 19 Feb. 1687 12 May 5 July 6 July 9 July 19 January 1690 8 Feb. 30 July 1690 - 5 May 1693 9 May - 21 June 22 Aug.
Astronomy The next Moon passes the Hyades before midnight. The Hyades set with the Sun. The Milky Way is at its highest arch. The Moon is near the Pleiades. The Hyades and Moon rise together. The Moon is across from the Hyades. The crescent backside of the Moon disappears into the Sun. The Moon reaches the Pleiades. The dark crescent part of the Moon occults some of the Pleiades. The Moon gradually declines and falls from the sky into conjunction with the Sun. The next 5 Moons having a crescent side, occult the Pleiades. The Hyades are with the Sun. The Moon is near the Pleiades and Hyades. The half Moon and the Hyades are still visible after the Pleiades disappear into the sunlight.
Allegory He meets the next Giant around noon. He slept there. Ocean Duck comes to a long lodge where a woman is tanning a deerskin. The two of them see each other simultaneously. Ocean Duck and the woman grapple. Ocean Duck throws out her hindquarters. Ocean Duck climbs up to a platform where there are 6 hearts wrapped in white down feathers. A Giantess climbs up there as well. He took his knife, cutting her heart open by stabbing it. The woman collapses. He killed them all. He came to an oval lodge there. The woman offers Ocean Duck a bowl of rice which is really lice. He throws it into the fire.


Date 23 Aug. 1693 - 9 May 1694 14 June 1693 - 10 Sept. 1694 10 - 19 Sept. 12 May 1695 21 June 10 May 1696 Nov. 30 - Dec. 1 16 March 1697 9 May 21 June 12 May - 17 June 1698
Astronomy The Hyades retreat further and further from the half Moon until they reach conjunction with the Sun. The Hyades rise and eventually align with the half Moon. The Moon wanes until it has no light and falls into conjunction with the Sun. The Hyades set with the Sun. This is the solstice, so only about half the stars are in night, and about half in day. The day sky causes the four interior stars of the Hyades to disappear in the sunlight, but they reappear in the same place once it is dark. The Hyades set with the Sun. The Hyades achronically rise with the setting sun, and are in the sky for the longest period of time. This is the equinox, where exactly half the stars are in day and half are in night. The Hyades are no longer in the night sky. Mars appears not far away between the two lines of stars in the Hyades. The Hyades set with the Sun.
Allegory The woman threw him into the crevasse. He climbed back out. He stripped her of the things that she was wearing, and threw her into the crevasse. He slept. About half the village is celebrating, the other half is in mourning. An old woman fixes four beans which he cannot consume, as they constantly reappear in his mouth. However, she is able to consume them. He slept there. He was told to take his time. He ran all day log. Half the village is experiencing enjoyment, half is in mourning. Someplace during the day he would take a nap. Ocean Duck places red yarn between the two horns of the Waterspirit. He slept there.


Date 28 Aug. 1698 12 May 1699 13 May - 22 June 17 June 22 June 10 May 1700 1 June 17 June 4 July 1700
Astronomy The Moon appears between the two rows of stars in the Hyades. The Hyades progress towards conjunction with the Sun on the opposite horizon. The Milky Way lays low on the western horizon as the Hyades are about to set with the Sun. The Hyades fall into conjunction with the Sun. The Pleiades become visible on the horizon. The Moon descends near the horizon when its luminous crescent strikes the tree tops. The Hyades follow in conjunction with the Moon until both go into the daylight sky. The Hyades are proximal to the Sun. The stars that rise before the Hyades "wink out" in the late twilight. The Sun moves from the Taurus Milky Way to the other side in Gemini.
Allegory The Waterspirit is clubbed between his horns to make him move faster. They begin moving towards the opposite shore. Many clouds were forming as they got to the shore. The old man started back for the water, but the Thunders killed him. Only the scent gland remained there in a pile. Ocean Duck meets a woman chopping wood. He follows her home to where she lives (the mourning half of the village). The oval drum makes a sound that set everything vibrating. The people of the mourning half of the village have their stomachs burst. Ocean Duck is made chief, and they crossed the Ocean Sea to "this Island."


Discussion. The allegory of Ocean Duck spans a period from April 1681 to July 1700, and represents a method of recording a series of astronomical events that form a cycle in which the Moon moves from its lowest altitude in the Hyades and back again to it original position about 19 years later. It would have been difficult for observers to determine which Moon began or ended this cycle, since on many occasions the Moon is either below the horizon or in daylight when it passes through the Hyades. Nevertheless, one thing remains clear: the Moon reaches its lowest altitude in relation to the Hyades, after which it steadily gains in altitude until it passes through the whole formation and eventually rises above the Pleiades. The only way to discover a regular pattern in this lunar activity is to somehow record a whole cycle as best as that may be determined, then see what repeats itself in succeeding cycles. To record another cycle at the end of the one recorded here, they could have set the defecation episode at 21 April 1700, and rerun the allegory to see where it deviated from the previous variant. Events in the story that do not repeat themselves in the celestial referents would be dropped to try to isolate a persistent pattern that reflected the details of a constant astronomical cycle. As the real cause of the upward and downward progress of the Moon against the stellar background is astronomical process behind the Lunar Standstill, they were following the wrong prey.

One of the events that would have been deleted in a subsequent and refined account would be the episode in which the Giant dropped his stone on the ground, which is to say the horizon (q.v.). Subsequent refined versions of the allegory would have deleted it since it represents a unique event: the visible eclipse of the Moon right as it lay on the ground at the horizon, and its rapid passing off of the shadow as it gained in altitude. Such an eclipse is not regularly repeated in a way that would correlate it with the lunar cycle that involves the Hyades. Its recording in allegory, however much it is irrelevant to the cycle being studied, is a great boon to us since it correlates to an absolute date during which the observations recorded in the story were made. Other important markers are the sleep episodes, as sleep has one precise meaning: the helical setting of the Hyades, an event that always occurs in early May.

What is the point of constructing an elaborate allegory? We might think that if this cycle were important that it might be recorded on a calendar stick, a carved stick in which marks are engraved to indicate celestial events, primarily the number of moons in relation to a solar year, or the relation of lunar phases to days. The motion of the Moon through the Hyades does not show such regularity, however. That the world exhibits some kind of rational order is not always evident. Yet the celestial beings observed in the night sky are Spirits, and Spirits, being humanoid actors, must have reasons for their actions and exhibit, therefore, some measure of rationality. The imputation of spirituality to the cosmic actors, far from introducing an acceptance of chaos, instead presupposes some measure of cause and regularity in the course of natural events, albeit the somewhat irregular rationality of humanoid actors. The attempt to capture the rhyme and reason of cosmic actors is a form of empirical religion. The investigation of the order in the behavior of cosmic actors is an investigation of the will of the Spirits, and therefore a guide to what motivates them. The great advancements in the science of astronomy and calendrics achieved in Mesoamerica were never dissociated from religion. The saga of Ocean Duck is a step in the direction advanced by Mesoamerica millennia before.

The project of recording in story form the actions of the cosmos must have come to an abrupt end with the appearance among them of an officer and gentleman of the army of the King of France, a man of the name "Sabrevoir de Carrie" (variously spelled). He came to live among the Hočągara in 1727, and soon married the anomalous female chief, Glory of the Morning (q.v.). He soon sired a lineage of chiefs who were known by the corrupted version of his surname, "Decorah." This name in Hočąk, where it is rendered Tekora, would seem to mean "The One Who (-ra) Looks Over (ko) These (te)." A man of de Carrie's standing, an educated man, would have introduced the more advanced Western knowledge of astronomy into Hočąk culture, bringing an end to the fledgling attempts to understand cosmic processes by seeking underlying regularities and rational order based upon the superficial behavior of celestial actors. Our myth ends 27 years before this culturally jarring quantum leap of fundamental knowledge. We can look to Mesoamerica for where it might have led given enough time.

Comparative Material: The following is an excellent parallel from the Gros Ventre tribe. There was a camp. All the children went off to play. They went some distance. Then one man said, "Let us abandon the children. Lift the ends of your tent-poles and travois when you go, so that there will be no trail." Then the people went off. After a time the oldest girl amongst the children sent the others back to the camp to get something to eat. The children found the camp gone, the fires out, and only ashes about. They cried, and wandered about at random. The oldest girl said, "Let us go toward the river." They found a trail leading across the river, and forded the river there. Then one of the girls found a tent-pole. As they went along, she cried, "My mother, here is your tent-pole." "Bring my tent-pole here!" shouted an old woman loudly from out of the timber. The children went towards her. They found that she was an old woman who lived alone. They entered her tent. At night they were tired. The old woman told them all to sleep with their heads toward the fire. Only one little girl who had a small brother pretended to sleep, but did not. The old woman watched if all were asleep. Then she put her foot in the fire. It became red hot. Then she pressed it down on the throat of one of the children, and burned through the child's throat. Then she killed the next one and the next one. The little girl jumped up, saying, "My grandmother, let me live with you and work for you. I will bring wood and water for you." Then the old woman allowed her and her little brother to live. "Take these out," she said. Then the little girl, carrying her brother on her back, dragged out the bodies of the other children. Then the old woman sent her to get wood. The little girl brought back a load of cottonwood. When she brought it, the old woman said, "That is not the kind of wood I use. Throw it out. Bring another load." The little girl went out and got willow-wood. She came back, and said, "My grandmother, I have a load of wood." "Throw it in," said the old woman. The little girl threw the wood into the tent. The old woman said, "That is not the kind of wood I use. Throw it outside. Now go get wood for me." Then the little girl brought birch-wood, then cherry, then sagebrush; but the old woman always said, "That is not the kind of wood I use," and sent her out again. The little girl went. She cried and cried. Then a bird came to her and told her, " Bring her ghost-ropes for she is a ghost." Then the little girl brought some of these plants, which grow on willows. The old woman said, "Throw in the wood which you have brought." The little girl threw it in. Then the old woman was glad. "You are my good grand-daughter," she said. Then the old woman sent the little girl to get water. The little girl brought her river-water, then rain-water, then spring-water; but the old woman always told her, "That is not the kind of water I use. Spill it!" Then the bird told the little girl, "Bring her foul, stagnant water, which is muddy and full of worms. That is the only kind she drinks." The little girl got the water, and when she brought it the old woman was glad. Then the little boy said that he needed to go out doors. "Well, then, go out with your brother, but let half of your robe remain inside of the tent while you hold him." Then the girl took her little brother out, leaving half of her robe inside the tent. When she was outside, she stuck an awl in the ground. She hung her robe on this, and, taking her little brother, fled. The old woman called, "Hurry!" Then the awl answered, "My grandmother, my little brother is not yet ready." Again the old woman said, "Now hurry!" Then the awl answered again, "My little brother is not ready." Then the old woman said, "Come in now; else I will go outside and kill you." She started to go out, and stepped on the awl. The little girl and her brother fled, and came to a large river. An animal with two horns lay there. It said, "Louse me." The little boy loused it. Its lice were frogs. "Catch four, and crack them with your teeth," said the Water-monster. The boy had on a necklace of plum-seeds. Four times the girl cracked a seed. She made the monster think that her brother had cracked one of its lice. Then the Water-monster said, "Go between my horns, and do not open your eyes until we have crossed." Then he went under the surface of the water. He came up on the other side. The children got off and went on. The old woman was pursuing the children, saying, "I will kill you. You cannot escape me by going to the sky or by entering the ground." She came to the river. The monster had returned, and was lying at the edge of the water. "Louse me," it said. The old woman found a frog. "These dirty lice! I will not put them into my mouth!" she said, and threw it into the river. She found three more, and threw them away. Then she went on the Water-monster. He went under the surface of the water, remained there, drowned her, and ate her. The children went on. At last they came to the camp of the people who had deserted them. They came to their parents' tent. "My mother, here is your little son," the girl said. "I did not know that I had a son," their mother said. They went to their father, their uncle, and their grandfather. They all said, "I did not know I had a son," "I did not know I had a nephew," "I did not know I had a grandson." Then a man said, "Let us tie them face to face, and hang them in a tree and leave them." Then they tied them together, hung them in a tree, put out all the fires, and left them. A small dog with sores all over his body, his mouth, and his eyes, pretended to be sick and unable to move, and lay on the ground. He kept a little fire between his legs, and had hidden a knife. The people left the dog lying. When they had all gone off, the dog went to the children, climbed the tree, cut the ropes, and freed them. The little boy cried and cried. He felt bad about what the people had done. Then many buffalo came near them. "Look at the buffalo, my brother," said the girl. The boy looked at the buffalo, and they fell dead. The girl wondered how they might cut them up. "Look at the meat, my younger brother," she said. The boy looked at the dead buffalo, and the meat was all cut up. Then she told him to look at the meat, and when he looked at it, the meat was dried. Then they had much to eat, and the dog became well again. The girl sat down on the pile of buffalo-skins, and they were all dressed. She folded them together, sat on them, and there was a tent. Then she went out with the dog and looked for sticks. She brought dead branches, broken tent-poles, and rotten wood. "Look at the tent-poles," she said to her brother. When he looked, there were large straight tent-poles, smooth and good. Then the girl tied three together at the top, and stood them up, and told her brother to look at the tent. He looked, and a large fine tent stood there. Then she told him to go inside and look about him. He went in and looked. Then the tent was filled with property, and there were beds for them, and a bed also for the dog. The dog was an old man. Then the girl said, "Look at the antelopes running, my brother." The boy looked, and the antelopes fell dead. He looked at them again, and the meat was cut up and the skins taken off. Then the girl made fine dresses of the skins for her brother and herself and the dog. Then she called as if she were calling for dogs, and four bears came loping to her. "You watch that pile of meat, and you this one," she said to each one of the bears. The bears went to the meat and watched it. Then the boy looked at the woods and there was a corral full of fine painted horses. Then the children lived at this place, the same place where they had been tied and abandoned. They had very much food and much property. Then a man came and saw their tent and the abundance they had, and went back and told the people. Then the people were told, "Break camp and move to the children for we are without food." Then they broke camp and traveled, and came to the children. The women went to take meat, but the bears drove them away. The girl and her brother would not come out of the tent. Not even the dog would come out. Then the girl said, "I will go out and bring a wife for you, my brother, and for the dog, and a husband for myself." Then she went out, and went to the camp and selected two pretty girls and one good-looking young man, and told them to come with her. She took them into the tent, and the girls sat down by the boy and the old man, and the man by her. Then they gave them fine clothing, and married them. Then the sister told her brother, "Go outside and look at the camp." The boy went out and looked at the people, and they all fell dead.8

A story from the Wahpeton Dakota shows some similarities. A man with a wife and two children went out to hunt, but was killed by accident. His wife found him, but deserted her children and married a man in a distant village. The eldest child, a girl, went looking for her, but when she found her mother, she denied knowing her, so the girl threw dirt on her causing her suddenly to became old. This made the people angry, so they tied the children to stakes and abandoned them to their fate. However, an old woman cut their straps and left them an abundance of food in her deserted tipi. As the children lived there, the girl was visited by a stranger at night, who turned out to be the Moon. Now the people who had left were starving, so Moon had an eagle drop food into their village. Iktomi (Spider) told them that it was the deserted children who had done this. The children found their way to the encampment, and when their mother came out to greet them, they gave her a dried liver to eat. She ate with such greed that it killed her. Moon resolved to kill the rest of the people, and that night they were all consumed by fire as they slept in their tipis. The Moon returned to the sky, since he was only on earth during that period when the Moon cannot be seen.9

Another Dakota story has many of the same themes. A young man's sister-in-law tries unsuccessfully to seduce him. Finally, out of a motive of revenge, she tells her husband that the young man has assaulted her, so her husband asks aid from Uŋktomi. Uŋktomi goes hunting with the young man, but maroons him on Unvisited Island. There the young man has many harrowing adventures, and marries two women who originally had tried to kill him. They ride an Uŋkteḣi back to the mainland. As the Uŋkteḣi tries to return, he is attacked by a Thunderbird. The two wives of the young man give birth to two boys. They discover that Uŋktomi has destroyed the whole village. Eventually, they capture him, and the young man smokes him to death over the fire. He removes Uŋktomi's heart, and powdered it. His sons scatter this powder about the old village site. Eventually, the powder turns into all the people who had been destroyed by Uŋktomi.10

The Kickapoo also have a similar story. One day the chief's son went out with his aunt, who did not like him. At that time he shot a red bird, but it turned out not to be dead. The aunt carried the bird, but it revived and scratched her in the groin. When they got back, she told the chief that his son had tried to rape her. So one day when the boy was out hunting, the chief moved his camp to the other side of the ocean. When the boy got back, he could hear his mother crying, "Where I once slept, I have left you a moccasin peg, a skin patch, and a sinew." He found these objects and attempted to follow their trail. At one point he climbed a tree where he heard a man say, "My pets, when you see One Left Behind, eat him." Two lions appeared and the man himself climbed the tree, but the boy kicked him down and called to the lions, "Here is One Left Behind, eat him," and they did. The boy killed both the lions. Then he came to where two old men were arguing. They said to one another, wait a moment, I think I smell One Left Behind. Let's eat him." Then One Left Behind appeared and said, "I'll sit between you, and you can both club me simultaneously." Then he sat there and said, "Now!" and suddenly jumped towards one of the men. The result was that the two men clubbed each other with fatal blows. He went on until he met Buzzard. He tried to hitch a ride across the ocean on his back, but he smelled so bad that they had to return. The buzzard told him to look up Garfish and get a ride on his back. When he met Garfish, the latter told him that he could ride on his back and was to hold on to his horn. "When you want me to go, hit me three times with the stick, but make a fourth stroke only lightly." So the boy mounted him, holding on to his horn. He struck him three times with the stick, but on the fourth time, he struck him hard. The garfish crossed the ocean and pulled up to a lagoon. There Garfish gave him powerful medicine. He soon ran across his own mother who was carrying a baby boy who had been given her to adopt. He told his mother, "Burn this boy." She did so, and the villagers charged after angrily. However, the boy suddenly made his appearance. The ceremonial attendant called out, "Lay out bearskins, our chief has returned." They did this and the boy walked upon them. Then the boy put the medicine on one of his feet and walked around the village. When he had completed a circle, a wall of flame suddenly shot up. The people cried for mercy, but he threw each of them into the fire. He showed mercy only to the ceremonial attendant. The ceremonial attendant was made to carry the boy's mother with a bowstring strung across his head. Finally, the string cut his head open. "Be gone!" said the boy, "and from now on they shall call you 'Crow'," he said. And that one flew away as a crow.11

To the episode in which the Giants have their external hearts destroyed, we have an Arapaho parallel. Here Dwarves replace the Giants, and it is sufficient to merely puncture their hearts to destroy them completely. The people had gone out on a buffalo hunt and had good success. Hacacihi (Dwarves) had come to beg for food. They were allowed to pick the meat that they wanted, so they chose the lungs. However, one of the people had gone to the Dwarves' camp and found their hearts hanging up, so he pierced each with an awl that he was carrying. This caused all the Dwarves to fall dead.12 In a variant, a man come to a Dwarf and tells him that he is submitting himself to the Dwarves as food, but sharpens a stick and punctures each of the hearts hanging up in the tepee. This kills all the Dwarves.13

It is said that the Jicarilla Apaches have a similar story,14 and the Wichita have two versions in which the hearts are suspended in caves.15

Bogoras gives a story plot common to both the American Eskimo and the Siberian Chukchees that has many similarities to the story of Ocean Duck. "A young boy is left alone in the wilderness, or starved and despised by his village neighbors. His bad luck is often shared by his old grandmother. With the gradual increase of his strength and nimbleness, or by means of magic help, or in some other way, he becomes a successful hunter and warrior, and ultimately, out of revenge, kills all the other inhabitants of the village, leaving only a few survivors."16

Links: Ducks, Thunderbirds, Nightspirits, Waterspirits, Kaǧi, Bird Spirits, Mice, Giants.

Stories: featuring ducks as characters: Trickster's Anus Guards the Ducks, Origin of the Name "Winnebago" (Menominee), The Foolish Hunter; mentioning Thunderbirds: The Thunderbird, Waruǧábᵉra, How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds, Traveler and the Thunderbird War, The Boulders of Devil's Lake, Thunderbird and White Horse, Bluehorn's Nephews, How the Hills and Valleys were Formed (vv. 1, 2), The Man who was a Reincarnated Thunderbird, The Thunder Charm, The Lost Blanket, The Twins Disobey Their Father, The Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth, Story of the Thunder Names, The Hawk Clan Origin Myth, Eagle Clan Origin Myth, Pigeon Clan Origins, Bird Clan Origin Myth, Adventures of Redhorn's Sons, Brave Man, Turtle's Warparty, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, The Quail Hunter, Heną́ga and Star Girl, The Twins Join Redhorn's Warparty, Redhorn's Sons, The Dipper, The Stone that Became a Frog, The Race for the Chief's Daughter, Redhorn Contests the Giants, The Sons of Redhorn Find Their Father, The Warbundle of the Eight Generations, Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Origin of the Hočąk Chief, The Spirit of Gambling, Wolf Clan Origin Myth, Aračgéga's Blessings, Kunu's Warpath, The Orphan who was Blessed with a Horse, The Glory of the Morning, The Nightspirits Bless Čiwoit’éhiga, The Green Waterspirit of the Wisconsin Dells, A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Big Stone, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, Song to Earthmaker, The Origins of the Milky Way, about the interrelationship between Thunderbirds and Nightspirits: How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, The Big Stone, Sun and the Big Eater, The Nightspirits Bless Čiwoit’éhiga; mentioning Nightspirits: The Nightspirits Bless Jobenągiwįxka, The Nightspirits Bless Čiwoit’éhiga, The Origins of the Sore Eye Dance, The Rounded Wood Origin Myth, The Big Stone, How the Thunders Met the Nights, Fourth Universe, Battle of the Night Blessed Men and the Medicine Rite Men, The Race for the Chief's Daughter, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, The Origins of the Nightspirit Starting Songs, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, Sun and the Big Eater; featuring Giants as characters: A Giant Visits His Daughter, Turtle and the Giant, The Stone Heart, Young Man Gambles Often, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, Redhorn Contests the Giants, The Sons of Redhorn Find Their Father, Morning Star and His Friend, The Reincarnated Grizzly Bear, The Old Man and the Giants, Shakes the Earth, White Wolf, Redhorn's Father, The Hočągara Contest the Giants, The Roaster, Grandfather's Two Families, Redhorn's Sons, The Meteor Spirit and the Origin of Wampum, Thunder Cloud is Blessed, Little Human Head, Heną́ga and Star Girl, Rich Man, Boy, and Horse, Sun and the Big Eater, The Big Eater, How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Origins of the Milky Way, The Blessing of a Bear Clansman, Wears White Feather on His Head, cf. The Shaggy Man; mentioning mice: The War among the Animals, Trickster Takes Little Fox for a Ride, Fable of the Mouse, Waruǧábᵉra, Hare Kills Wildcat, The Two Boys, The Lost Blanket; in which Waterspirits occur as characters: Waterspirit Clan Origin Myth, Traveler and the Thunderbird War, The Green Waterspirit of Wisconsin Dells, The Lost Child, River Child and the Waterspirit of Devil's Lake, A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga, Bluehorn's Nephews, Holy One and His Brother, The Seer, The Nannyberry Picker, The Creation of the World (vv. 1, 4), Šųgepaga, The Sioux Warparty and the Waterspirit of Green Lake, The Waterspirit of Lake Koshkonong, The Waterspirit of Rock River, The Boulders of Devil's Lake, Devil's Lake — How it Got its Name, Old Man and Wears White Feather, The Waterspirit of Sugar Loaf Mounds, Lakes of the Wazija Origin Myth, Waterspirits Keep the Corn Fields Wet, The Waterspirit Guardian of the Intaglio Mound, The Diving Contest, The Lost Blanket, Redhorn's Sons, The Phantom Woman, Įčorúšika and His Brothers, Great Walker's Warpath, White Thunder's Warpath, The Descent of the Drum, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, Snowshoe Strings, The Thunderbird, Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp (v. 2), The Two Children, The Twins Join Redhorn's Warparty, Earthmaker Sends Rušewe to the Twins, Paint Medicine Origin Myth, Waruǧábᵉra, The Twin Sisters, Trickster Concludes His Mission, The King Bird, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Great Walker's Medicine (v. 2), Heną́ga and Star Girl, Peace of Mind Regained, How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Spiritual Descent of John Rave's Grandmother, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds, The Shaggy Man, The Woman who Married a Snake (?), Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, Ghost Dance Origin Myth I, The Sacred Lake, Lost Lake; about Bird Spirits: Crane and His Brothers, The King Bird, Bird Origin Myth, Bird Clan Origin Myth, Wears White Feather on His Head, Old Man and Wears White Feather, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds, The Thunderbird, Owl Goes Hunting, The Boy Who Became a Robin, Partridge's Older Brother, The Woman who Loved Her Half-Brother, The Foolish Hunter, Earthmaker Sends Rušewe to the Twins, The Quail Hunter, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Hočąk Arrival Myth, Trickster Gets Pregnant, Trickster and the Geese, Holy One and His Brother (kaǧi, woodpeckers, hawks), Porcupine and His Brothers (Ocean Sucker), Turtle's Warparty (Thunderbirds, eagles, kaǧi, pelicans, sparrows), Kaǧiga and Lone Man (kaǧi), The Old Man and the Giants (kaǧi, bluebirds), The Bungling Host (snipe, woodpecker), The Red Feather, Trickster, the Wolf, the Turtle, and the Meadow Lark, Waruǧábᵉra, The Race for the Chief's Daughter, Black and White Moons, The Markings on the Moon, The Creation Council, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, Earthmaker Blesses Wagíšega (Wešgíšega), The Man Who Would Dream of Mą’ųna (chicken hawk), Hare Acquires His Arrows, Keramaniš’aka's Blessing (black hawk, owl), Heną́ga and Star Girl (black hawk), The Stench-Earth Medicine Origin Myth (black hawk, kaǧi), Worúxega (eagle), The Arrows of the Medicine Rite Men (eagle), The Gift of Shooting (eagle), Hočąk Clans Origin Myth, Hawk Clan Origin Myth, The Hočąk Migration Myth, Blue Jay, The Baldness of the Buzzard, The Abduction and Rescue of Trickster (buzzards), The Shaggy Man (kaǧi), The Healing Blessing (kaǧi), The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth (kaǧi), Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, Įčorúšika and His Brothers (Loon), Great Walker's Medicine (loon), Roaster (woodsplitter), The Spirit of Gambling, The Big Stone (a partridge), Trickster's Anus Guards the Ducks, The Fleetfooted Man, The Journey to Spiritland (v. 4) — see also Thunderbirds; mentioning kaǧi (crows & ravens): Kaǧiga and Lone Man, Bear Clan Origin Myth (vv. 2, 3), The Hočąk Arrival Myth, The Spider's Eyes, The Old Man and the Giants, Turtle's Warparty, The Shaggy Man, Trickster's Tail, The Healing Blessing, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, The Stench-Earth Medicine Origin Myth, A Snake Song Origin Myth; mentioning lice (and nits): Little Human Head, Trickster Gets Pregnant, The Spotted Grizzly Man, Journey to Spiritland (v. 8); in which defecation plays a role: Trickster Eats the Laxative Bulb, Trickster Soils the Princess, Mink Soils the Princess, Little Human Head; mentioning drums: The Descent of the Drum, The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, The Buffalo's Walk, The Spirit of Maple Bluff, Tobacco Origin Myth (v. 5), Young Man Gambles Often, Trickster and the Dancers, Redhorn's Father, Ghost Dance Origin Myth II, The Elk's Skull, Ghosts, The Four Slumbers Origin Myth, Great Walker's Medicine, Redhorn Contests the Giants, Buffalo Dance Origin Myth, Soft Shelled Turtle Gets Married, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, The Journey to Spiritland (v. 1b), Wolf Clan Origin Myth, Trickster's Anus Guards the Ducks, Trickster and the Geese, Turtle's Warparty, Snowshoe Strings, Įčorúšika and His Brothers, A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga, Hog's Adventures, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts; mentioning red yarn (as an offering to the spirits): The Elk's Skull, The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, Trickster Soils the Princess (Trickster's turban), The Spotted Grizzly Man, Soft Shelled Turtle Gets Married; mentioning poisons: Hare Visits the Blind Men, The Creation of Evil, The Island Weight Songs, The Seer, The Shaggy Man, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth (v. 3), Thunder Cloud Marries Again, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth (v. 1), The Diving Contest, A Wife for Knowledge, Great Walker's Medicine (antidote).

Themes: the chief's son lives behind a partition in the lodge and never goes outside except out of necessity: The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy; humans (or good spirits in human form) eating Giants: The Shaggy Man; anal shame: Mink Soils the Princess, Trickster Soils the Princess; crossing a body of water on the back of an animal: Hare Visits the Bodiless Heads (crabs), The Seduction of Redhorn's Sons (leeches), The Hočąk Migration Myth (turtle), Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp (beaver), Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts (horse), cf. The Shaggy Man; traveling by riding atop a water monster (or Waterspirit): Hare Gets Swallowed; head hunting: White Fisher, Big Thunder Teaches Čap’ósgaga the Warpath, A Man's Revenge, How Little Priest went out as a Soldier, Little Priest's Game, Bluehorn's Nephews, The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion, Young Man Gambles Often, Morning Star and His Friend (v. 2), The Dipper, The Four Slumbers Origin Myth, Porcupine and His Brothers, Turtle's Warparty, The Markings on the Moon, Wears White Feather on His Head, The Red Man, The Chief of the Heroka, Thunderbird and White Horse, The Man with Two Heads, Brave Man, The Sons of Redhorn Find Their Father, Redhorn's Sons, Fighting Retreat, The Children of the Sun, Heną́ga and Star Girl, Mijistéga’s Powwow Magic and How He Won the Trader's Store, The Were-Grizzly, Winneconnee Origin Myth; a person endows an inanimate object with the power of speech and orders it to speak for him/her while he/she escapes: Little Human Head (a doll), Hare Kills Wildcat (acorns), cf. Hare Visits His Grandfather Bear (piles of dung); striking an object to make it move faster in the water: Wojijé (a boat); one small morsel of food when put in a kettle becomes sufficient to feed everyone present: Redhorn's Father (bean), The Chief of the Heroka (deer tail), The Red Man (deer tail), The Raccoon Coat (kernel of corn), cf. The Lost Blanket (food > tobacco, kettle > tobacco pouch); rodents gnaw on parts of people's bodies: Trickster Loses Most of His Penis, Hare Kills Wildcat; an organ of the body is removed and left somewhere (for safekeeping): The Stone Heart (heart); The Raccoon Coat (heart), The Green Man (heart), Hare Kills Wildcat (an eye); a spirit being cannot be killed because his death lies outside his body: The Green Man, Partridge's Older Brother; a man kills an adversary by getting rid of the external object that serves as the seat of the adversary's soul: The Raccoon Coat, The Green Man; summoning the spirits to take an opponent as a sacrifice: Bluehorn's Nephews, The Shaggy Man; in the course of his travels, a man enters a lodge where he finds a grandmother who helps him: The Seduction of Redhorn's Son, Waruǧábᵉra, Trickster Gets Pregnant, Trickster Soils the Princess, Wojijé; an old woman cooks a meal of rice which turns out in reality to be lice: Journey to Spiritland (v. 8); a woman causes a hero to fall down a great crevasse: Įčohorucika and His Brothers; the war between Thunderbirds and Waterspirits: Traveler and the Thunderbird War, How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Boulders of Devil's Lake, The Twins Join Redhorn's Warparty, Brave Man, The Lost Blanket, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga, The Thunderbird, Heną́ga and Star Girl, Waruǧábᵉra, Bluehorn's Nephews, The Waterspirit of Sugar Loaf Mounds; when someone who had been missing for a long time returns to his village, he finds that they are in mourning over his presumed death: The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy; a hero kills iniquitous people by feeding them poison that bursts their stomachs: The Shaggy Man, The Dipper; a little boy is made chief: Young Man Gambles Often, The Reincarnated Grizzly Bear.

Genealogy: Thunderbirds.


1 Paul Radin, "Ocean Duck," Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) Winnebago V, #14: 1-77 (Hočąk Syllabic Text); Paul Radin, "Ocean Duck," Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) Notebook #13: 1-77 (English translation).

2 Anthony F. Aveni, Skywatchers: A Revised and Updated Version of Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2001) 112.


4 Stone House Farm > Wild Rice. Stone House Farm is located in Wisconsin, but the rice was harvested in northern Minnesota. P.c., Katja Marquart, Stone House Farm, Wisconsin, 17 August 2018.

5 Paul Radin, The Winnebago Tribe (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990 [1923]) 114.

6 "Stars of the first magnitude on the same horizon as the sun are found to be visible when the sun lies 10° below the horizon; stars of the second magnitude when it is depressed by about 14°." Anthony F. Aveni, Skywatchers: A Revised and Updated Version of Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2001) 112.

7 Edward S. King, "Color Index of Planets," Publications of the American Astronomical Society, 4 (1922) 97.

8 Watches All, "26. The Deserted Children," in Alfred L. Kroeber, Gros Ventre Myths and Tales. Anthropological Papers of American Museum of Natural History (New York: Trustees of the American Museum of Natural History, 1907) Volume 1, Part 3, p. 102-105.

9 Wilson D. Wallis, "Beliefs and Tales of the Canadian Dakota," Journal of American Folk-Lore, 36, #139 (Jan. - Mar., 1923): 36-101 [41-43].

10 Stephen Return Riggs, Dakota Grammar: with Texts and Ethnography, in Contributions to North American Ethnology, Vol. 9 (Washington, D.C.: Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey of the Rocky Mountain Region, 1893) 130-139 (interlinear Dakota-English text), 139-143 (English translation).

11 Kickapoo Tales, collected by William Jones, trs. by Truman Michelson. Publications of the American Ethnological Society (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1915) IX:75-89.

12 "How the Dwarfs were Killed," in George A. Dorsey and Alfred L. Kroeber, Traditions of the Arapaho (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1997 [1903]) 122.

13 Adopted, "How the Cannibal Dwarfs were Killed," in Dorsey and Kroeber, Traditions of the Arapaho, 122-123.

14 Russell, Journal of American Folk Lore, 11, p. 262.

15 Dorsey and Kroeber, Traditions of the Arapaho, 123, note.

16 Waldemar Bogoras, "The Folklore of Northeastern Asia, as Compared with That of Northwestern America," American Anthropologist, New Series, 4, #4 (Oct. - Dec., 1902): 577-683 [605].