The Shaggy Man
translated by Richard L. Dieterle
based on the interlinear of Oliver LaMère
Hočąk-English Interlinear Text
(1) There was a village, and the chief was there. The man had nine sons, and just one daughter. The girl was the youngest. It is said that the chief lived in a long-house. And Naxíxununįgᵋra (Youngest Son) was good tempered. All of them were good tempered, but he was all the more so. He made friends with whomever he kept company, (2) and he helped them with things. Since that was the case, everyone loved him. They also referred to him as, "Our Chief." And they would enter only on the side where he had his bed in the long-house. They only visited him. They paid no attention to the others.
One day Kųnų said, "Hena," he said to him, "niží, my younger brother, I am thinking something. (3) I am not pleased, and specifically with those who do not pay attention to us. I am not pleased with our younger brother. It is only him that they call 'Our Chief.' I think he ought to die, younger brother," he said. Then Henaga said, "Kara, Kųnų, you have said something surprising. It is because of his association with them that they do this. If one of us also did the same, they would also do the same with us," he said. (4) Again, when he met with Hagaga, he said, "They address our younger brother alone as their chief. I am not pleased. They pay attention only to him," he said. Then Hagaga said, "Kųnų, however that happens to be, yet it is the case that he is our younger brother. He treats them well is why they do it," he said. "That it is, (5) but I am not pleased," he said. He told the same thing to all the others, one by one. He spoke to them alone in secret. Finally, he was able to convert Hena. Again, finally, he persuaded Haga. Then he persuaded all of them. Then they all had a meeting. And they said, "We must council on how we are to proceed, and how we must kill him," they said. So there they held council. (6) Kųnųga said, "I think this is what we should do. We shall ask him tonight during our sweat bath, and if we persuade him, when we are done, we will ask him to go swimming. He is not to do it alone. If he goes through with it, we will say, "Well, let's all stand here in a row, and we will go diving into the center. We will find out whoever appears to have gone the farthest. (7) And if we persuade him, and he does it, then we'll all start to dive, and after he dives, we will come back up. He will go alone," they said. "Hąhó, it will be good," they said.
So as soon as it was evening, Kųnųga said, "Younger brothers, put in the stone. I will teach you the songs. (8) Only in taking a sweat bath can one learn the songs easily. You don't pay attention to such things. Because when you take on one, because you are at a loss, you can't get enough of coughing," he said. They put in a stone for him. Once it was ready, he said, "Our little brother must also join us. He is also the only one who will learn the songs," he said. (9) They asked him. "Go ahead, there are enough of you that you can do it," he said. "Kųnųga is going to sing for you, so you should do it," they said. Having said that, thus they persuaded him. Sure enough, he said that as he alone was the youngest, he loved his own, so he learned all the songs, (10) so he would know them, said Kųnųga in his speech. And finally, when it was over with, they came out. "Koté, let's all go swimming! No one should remain behind," they said. "Hąhó," they said. He went there with all of them in a group. So just when they were just about to come out of the water, (11) someone said, "Koté, we will be doing the Kųwųksarak (Diving Endurance Contest) — our little brother usually humiliates us in everything," he said, and he said, "Let's try to defeat him." "Hąhó," they said. "Let's stand in a row on the bank and aim towards the center. Let us see who comes into sight the farthest from the center. (12) Again, let us see who who will be the least," they said. "Hąhó," they said. "Howo," they said, and they dove in, and they came up again, except for Naxíxununįka, who went on. Kųnųga said, "Waterspirits, you are always talking about humans. There, I have sent you one," he said. Kųnųga said, "Thus it is." (13) And indeed he did not come up. Then they went home.
"Thus it is. Our little brother dove into the water and did not come back up, although we waited a long time." Thus it was. The whole village became quiet. They were all in mourning. Only their sister uttered many cries, as did their mother, (14) so they made them live separately from them. Then, finally, they told them to move. They said that the village should be situated in another place. So they moved, but the young woman balked. The same with her parents, but they found them and took them along. In any case, the young woman went into hiding. (15) The brothers hunted for her there. They found her there in a hollow log. She had entered into a hollow log and there she was crying when they found her. They said, "I am taking you back." They tried, but when she refused, they butted her with a piece of wood. They said to her, "Hąhó, there's a bear here," they said. It was her brothers that did this to her. They really bruised her up. Thus they did, and returned.
(16) Then after they went away, a man came. "Come out, I bless you," he said. She came out. Unexpectedly, it was a man with his face completely blackened who had spoken to her. "Young woman, I bless you. In your crying, what you thought of, you will see. It happened that I didn't think this way at first. When they said, 'a bear,' and butted you with wood, it made my heart sore," he said. (17) "I will build for you a lodge," he said. Then he went out from there. Now he disappeared from there, and out back he rematerialized himself. "Hąhą́, come on over," he said. Unexpectedly, there was a very large oval lodge there. In the lodge were dried corn, and whatever else — it was not short of anything. All of it was packed in. (18) And there he said to her that he would marry her, he said. And that she would return there (to where he lived) when she died. He was a Bear Waterspirit. Then he slept there. He slept with her. Then in the morning, when he was about to go away, he said, "In the winter when the ice freezes, your older brother will come back to life," he said. Once the ice hardens, then one of the things that you would carry him in, make for yourself one of these kinds of things, (19) and you will then carry it to the lake. If you see something in the middle of the lake, it will be him. When you arrive, chop his feet out, and there in the little carrier you took when you came, put him in there, and when you take him home, then I will furnish the clothing he is to wear. Then a sweat bath must be made. (20) When he is through, you will know it. Do not let him out before," he said. Then once he is restored, shortly thereafter you will have a child. And one of the children that you shall have will be a boy," he said to her. "He will cry after arrows. Don't give him any," he said. (21) Then he went away.
The woman stayed there alone. She was anxious for the ice to harden. Then finally, hąhą́, it was winter. And the ice had hardened, and also the snow was deep, and so she made a sled for herself. And she went where he wanted. Finally, once the lake had come into view, there was something dark under the lake. She went towards it. (22) When she got there, unexpectedly, there was her brother standing there. When she got there, unexpectedly, he was held fast into the ice. How was he standing in the water? Once she had brought him back to the lodge, she made a sweat bath. After she had placed him in, she noticed something at the entrance of the lodge, and when she turned to look, (23) unexpectedly, she noticed something being thrust through there. Her brother had received something to wear. Then she poured over the stone. She used bear oil as the liquid for the stone. After awhile, he groaned. "Hohó, my dear sister, you will kill me! So let up on me," he said, but she kept on in that way. Yet again, after awhile, he would say the same thing. (24) After awhile, he stopped. He would still blow on himself there. After awhile, he said, "Hąhó, I am done. You may open it for me," he said. She opened it. She gave him his clothes. He took them and went out. After awhile, he came back in. If her brother had been a good looking man before, now he was even more so. "Hohó, my dear younger sister, it is good. (25) I had been killed, even the man that I was," he said. Then he told her what they had done to him, and her heart ached. Then also she told him what their brothers had reported when they first got home, and also how they had treated her, and how she was blessed, she also told him. And she told him that he was the cause of his coming back to life. Then she told him what he had said to her. (26) She also told him that she would have a little child. She also told him that it would be a boy. He was thankful. "My dear younger sister, it is good," he said. Then right away, in the morning, he had already gone hunting. He would always kill something, but now he was better. He really killed many of them.
|An Ornamental Hočąk Cradle|
It was not long after that his sister gave birth to a child. (27) "Hohó, my sister, how will we cope with this?" he said, and a metal cradle was thrust through the door flap. It made a jingling sound. "Hohó, anything is great," he said. The man took it. He handed it to his sister. She put the child in it. (28) Thus they were, until in the course of time, he was able to walk swiftly. He had a great liking for his uncle, and his uncle loved him back. He would always be taking care of him. Before long, he was able to run swiftly. Then when he saw the arrows belonging to his uncle, he cried for arrows of his own. Then, "Sister, let me make one for him," he said, but, "Older brother, he forbid it." He did not stop what he was doing and uttering. So finally, he made him one. As a result, he liked them a lot. (29) He would be shooting his arrows in the lodge all the time. Then, finally, he would also kill little birds. Then he said — the little boy — he said, "Mother, about now we should go over to father's, I think," he said. This one who was speaking was a human, but his body was shaggy haired. Bear fur was piled here and there.
(30) They left. Finally, a hill was there, and when they got to the foot of the hill, there a door began to open. They entered there. Unexpectedly, two bears were lying down there, and a small one made three. The son of the woman said, "Hąhó father, I have come," he said. "Hohó, has my son come?" he said. (31) He got up. The man who had blessed her was the one who had gotten up there. The others, in any case, were not humans. Only the man was human. The young one did not like humans and every now and then there he would look at them askance. Then the male parent said, "What are you doing? You are doing this to your own brother. You are brothers," he said to him. And there they stayed for some time. (32) Finally, they got used to one another. Now at this time, they finally went outside. And after awhile, they also went far away.
And the woman would pack wood. The old man said, "Never, when you pack wood back, let it fall heavily to the ground, as this woman is ill tempered," he said. He meant his wife, the bear. (33) One day when she was packing wood, her trumpline slipped out of her hand, and as she stood there, she dropped it. It hit the ground with a loud noise. The she bear snorted and went out to the woodpile. The human woman was torn to pieces. The shaggy human ran out, but his mother had been torn apart. (34) He shot the she bear and killed her. The old man ran out and said, "Hąhó, my dear son, this is not right. You are not a woman. These are things women do, and you are joining in, even though you are not a woman. You will be taking part in a jealous affair. When they are being jealous, you will be joining in," he said. "But he killed my mother," he said. Then he took her by the arm and caused her to stand up. (35) He also did the same to the bear. He made her live. Then he said, "This is what I meant when I said thus it would be. I had forbidden it, but nevertheless you unloaded your wood very heavily," he said. The woman said, "I lost control of the front of the packing strap," she said.
Then the old man said to his son, "My son, you must not go out very far with your brother. There are many humans about. You are not like him," he said to him. (36) Yet just the same, he went out very far with him. And he came back there. He was chasing his brother, "shouting at bears" (hųč howá) they call it, that is the sort of utterance he was making. "Hohó," said the old man. "Again he is doing something, he himself is going after his brother," he was saying. On the way there, he shot him with an arrow. He killed him. "My uncle used to say, 'I have killed a bear and packed all of it.' (37) I am doing the same thing," he said, and he peeled off basswood bark and packed all of it. He went home and set it down. "Hąhó, my uncle said, 'I have killed a bear and packed all of it.' I have come home the same way," he said. "Guwa, he must have caused his brother much pain," he said. He went out, then came back in with him. Then he said, "Thus it would be, is why I had forbidden arrows to be made for him, (38) but you made arrows for him anyhow," he said. He dominated them, as they were afraid of his arrows. Also he really owned his brother like a pet. "Keté, I get tired when I am with him, acting like a trailing dog," he said, and he would make him walk erect. (39) Consequently, he got him accustomed to it. He would always make him walk on his hind legs. Therefore, the bears, of all those animals that walk on all fours, they can be made to walk upright. It was in the beginning when Shaggy Man made one of them to be accustomed to it. And four times it was done to the woman, it is said. She was scratched, and as often as it was done to her, Shaggy Man took his mother's part, (40) and shot the other one to death with arrows. And again, Shaggy Man also killed his brother four times, and would pack him back. And he would say that his uncle would say that. Whatever he said, he would say that his uncle would always say that.
And again one day, Shaggy Man said, "Mother, it's about time that we should go home. (41) Uncle must be expecting us," he said. "If you say that it is your desire, hišją́ge, it will be so," she said. Then Shaggy Man said, "Father, I want to take my brother back with me so that my uncle can see him for himself," he said. "Hagagasgeižą, my son, how unlike you he is. What would he do over there among the humans?" he said. (42) Nevertheless, father, I want to take him with me, and if I do, he will always be with me, so what harm can come to him?" he said. Finally, he consented. Then the old man said, "My son, at any rate, it is not a common thing that you should come often. But whenever your life has ended, you may return here, your uncle as well," he said.
(43) Then they came away. His brother with him, they came to their uncle. There they returned. "Hohó, my nephew, you came just when I was getting lonesome for you," he said. Then he said, "Uncle, I have brought my older brother back with me," he said. 'Hohó, what a funny fellow my nephew has for a brother," he said. He held each in turn. He loved to be with both of them. (44) And also the woman was the same as well. Unexpectedly, very early in the morning, a man peeped in. His face was blackened, and he said, "Shaggy Man, you are challenged to a game," he said. "Howo," he said. The man (uncle) said, "Hohó, my nephews, we must do mightily there," he said. "Hahia, uncle, we will let them know (who we are)," he said.
(45) Then he started out, with his older brother with him. His older brother was made to walk with great difficulty, but they arrived. "Hąhó, let's begin right away," they said. "Hojai," he said. "Hąhą́, our bodies will be the stakes," they said. "Hąhą́, our bodies ... what do you mean? I've never ever heard uncle mention such a thing. Never did uncle say anything about asking for our bodies in a race. (46) What would we want with your bodies if we did win?" he said. "Hąhó, koté, you are denigrating an excellent game. When men wager, they are always saying this sort of thing. What's going on? Is he a coward?" they said to him. "Hiho, then we'll do it," he said. Then they tried to bet only against him. They had left his brother out. There again, in spite of all, when he tried once more to bet his brother against them, he finally persuaded them through oratory. (47) "Hąhó, we will say which it is. We will say that they should be about our size," he said. "These are the ones you will run against," they said. They went to stand there, and they meant a pair of very great ones. They meant a pair of very long limbed bears. (48) "It would be a very great thing if we could run against these, but how could we do well in any way running against them? We will say how we are to do this. My uncle never ran a race against such big ones, but then I never asked him. He used to say that to run a race they should be about the same size as ourselves," he said. Finally, they did it again. When they called him (a coward), it made him angry, and then he said he would do it. (49) "We will do it," is what he said. "Where will we run?" he said. "We will do it over here in this large open country," they said. The open country of which they had spoken was a place of fallen logs and briers, that had been what they had meant. There again, Shaggy Man objected. "This is what they call a 'jungle'. (50) Uncle never said that we had run a race through a jungle full of briers. This is not what they call 'open country'. Also, we would call them 'thickets'," he said. Again they finally persuaded him.
Now they called out, "Hahowo!" and started off. Then the bears went off in a certain direction making the noise of breaking twigs. Shaggy Man also tried to enter the thicket, (51) but he came back out and ran along the open prairie. Thus he did, and the place where the thickets were narrowing, there they stood and waited in ambush. Unexpectedly, one of the big ones came back out. Then he took an arrow, and aimed the arrow at him. Then he began to walk. (52) As he was doing thus, his brother, who was behind, caught up to him. Once more he began to run. Thus he did, and again he ran ahead. Once more there was a narrow place, and there they waited in ambush. Again, right away, they came crackling through the underbrush there. Again, a large one emerged. He had already taken out his arrow again. He aimed his arrow at him. "Look askance at me, and I'll shoot you with my arrow." (53) Then right off he began to walk. Again he did it when the other one came up, and he began to walk. Then his brother passed them by. Thus, four times he did it to them. The fourth time his brother was ahead of them. They came to the goal there. They had won. They tried to dispute it, but he overcame them. (54) And then they were going to kill the ones whom they had won. They were the ones against whom they had raced. And then he had them stand up. He told them to stand sideways there. "Ha! ha! ha! wait, here's a better way to stand," he told them. Again, just as he was about to shoot, he said, "Ha! ha! ha! wait, they are going to stand this way instead." Finally, he wept. (55) His tears rolled down in big drops. "If you were not even brave enough for this, then why did you put up your body for me?" he said, and he shot him, placing it right under his arm. He sent the arrow striking through the other side. He started to walk, but there he collapsed. Then he did the other one. Only after making him cry, did he then kill him. (56) He also jeered at him before he shot him. Then he made a broiling stick, and one of them, on one side of its ribs, he broiled, and this he ate, and then he said, "Let's take our uncle a piece of bear," he said. Then he did this: he also skinned it, and took out the ribs, and bundled them up. (57) Then he made his brother pack one of them. He also packed one himself. He would make his brother walk on his hind legs, and he made him bundle it in basswood bark. Their uncle worried in his heart and couldn't sit still until they arrived in the evening. "Hąhó, uncle, we have packed home a piece of bear," he said. "Hąhó, how well my nephews have treated me," he said. (58) There their uncle ate a lot of bear.
Again, right away, another came at night. "Hąhó, Shaggy Man, you are challenged to compete," he said. "Hąhó, he said. Right away in the morning they went again. "Hąhó, Shaggy Man, we will try you over at Hahipijigᵋre (a ball game)," they said. (59) "Alright, on the ground that they are our own size," he said. Again, two big ones came up. "It would be great if these two competed against us," he said. "Hąhó, it will be over here," they said. They meant there where a great oak tree stood. "Let it be so," he said. They came there to do it. The "ball" that they meant was a large black kind of stone. (60) He said, "We will not be able to lift this," he said. He gripped it, but also he didn't lift it. "Koté, you had better use this yourselves, if you use it at all. Never did my uncle speak of such a thing that we used a stone when they played Hahipijigᵋre. He never spoke of using it to play ball, he used to say," he said. Again, finally, they persuaded him.
(61) They played against them. First the long limbed bear threw. When they struck the pole, they scored a goal. It was his turn to throw. Shaggy Man hit the wooden mark. The bears rushed for their goal. It was a tree. As they were going to get there, they bunched up, and from the other side of the tree, whence they peeped out, and where they waited for him, (62) there he killed them. "You did not do right, as they hit their goal and you did it to them anyway," they were saying, but as he had already killed them, thus it was. Again he skinned the bears and broke out their ribs, and peeled some basswood, and he bundled them into two packs, and they packed one apiece, and came home. Again in the evening, they came home packing it for their uncle. (63) The uncle did not have to do much. He would laugh very much at his nephew.
Right away, again one of them came by. He challenged them to a game. Again, in the morning, they set out. "Hąhó, we have been anxiously waiting to play against you," they said. "We will play To Kick One Another," they said. (64) "Hąhó, koté, we'll play Kick One Another, then. My uncle used to say that it's fun. It will be fun, provided we stipulate that they are the same size as we are," he said. Hąhó, these are the ones against whom you will compete," they said. He meant two really big ones. Kité, it would be a great thing if we agreed to Kick One Another with these, as it happens that we do not even reach their knees. (65) If they kicked us just once, they would flatten us," he said. "This time, of course, if we stipulate equality of size, only then will we do it," he said. Again, finally, he was persuaded.
They started the game. It was not like anything. They did nothing but dodge. Finally, when it was not like anything, he would say, "I'll shoot you with an arrow." (66) When he said that, they would let up on him. Finally, Shaggy Man said, "I will tie up my moccasin strings to make them right, as they have become untied," he said. Then he did this: he broke off the point of one of his arrows, and tied it to his heel, and he came running, and he kicked one of them right in the ribs. He kicked the arrow in there. (67) Then he said, "Korá, I have hurt him some," he said. He did it again to the other one. Again he had done it. He killed both of them. Again he dressed them. They each packed a piece of the bears and went home. They went home packing bear for their uncle. Again he was very much delighted. Again, he was telling many stories to his uncle.
Right away, again one of them came to them. (68) He challenged them to a contest. They set out again in the morning. When he came with his brother in tow, they said, "Hąhó, we have been waiting anxiously for you. We will play Dunk One Another in the Water," they said. Again, he wanted to play against those as big as themselves, but they would persuade him otherwise. (69) Now they got hold of one another, but it was not like anything. Yet with great effort if they let up on him, he would say, "I will shoot you with an arrow," then they would let them up. It was not like anything. Then he said, "My moccasin strings will need fixing," he said, and again, he cut off the point of one of his arrows there, and tied it to it, (70) and kicked it into the side of the bear. When he collapsed, he sat on his neck. He stopped breathing and died. He came just in time to save his brother. There they had killed both of them.
Then, as soon as they came out of the water, there was a cloud of arrows. They shot them. The villagers scattered, taking flight. And this one who was there, one of them, they called "Little Orphan." (71) This little orphan so hurriedly stepped into his moccasins that he wore them on the wrong sides of his feet. They said, "Hohó, Little Orphan has worn his moccasins on the wrong side. Because he did this, thus it will be. So let us all put them on the wrong side," they said. So there they all wore their moccasins on the wrong side. (72) Then Shaggy Man said, "You tried to abuse humans. So where the country is most desolate, there you will live only in secrecy. When you see the back of a human, you will live only by running away hard. And because Little Orphan put his moccasins on the wrong way, that is why bears’ feet have the shape they do, it is said. (73) And furthermore, they were called "long limbed bears" inasmuch as they were made that way. In the beginning, the common bears used to be separate. Shaggy Man won against them, so common bears lived intermingled with them.
Then they went home. When they got back, he told his uncle about it. "Hohó, my nephew, it is good." (74) "Uncle, mother, we are going home. I and my older brother are going back to him, our father. And whenever you wish, you may also come home," he said. (75) "As for me, I have grown used to my older brother. Besides, it is also not good for us to be here. My older brother is not like anything. To be someone who is always here would not do. Therefore, we are going home," he said. "Hąhó, my nephew, you have spoken the truth," he said. The woman also said the same. (76) "If that is your wish, then do as you say," she said. Then they went home.
Then there the people who had moved from his own village, there crows were living among them. The village was in want of food. These crows lived at the edge of the village. There were two of them. Then one of the crows said, "Koté, let's go and see the princess who had been left behind, (77) as there also might yet be a little piece of sinew left," he said. "Koté, my friend, so be it," he said. They came to the old village. When they got near there, unexpectedly, the meat racks extended beyond their view. "Hohó, my friend, the princess must have dreamt," he said. Unexpectedly, there were bearskins everywhere. (78) And the bear intestines stretched along the meat racks until they covered them completely. One of them said, "My friend, when we arrive it is time that we will be doing it, but these intestines I long for very much," he said. There they took down one of the bear intestines, and did a lot of eating. And so when they were through, they went there. "Hohó, the grandfathers have come." There was not much of anything that they did not do. (79) After awhile, one of them made a guttural cough, putting out intestines. He vomited, and the other did as well. Then, unexpectedly, they vomited up bear intestines. The man said, "Why is it that while grandfather says they are starving, they are regurgitating bear intestines?" (80) And they said, "Because my friend said it, we did it," they would say, and again they would regurgitate some. Finally, once they had stopped, they told them about it. We were already here, but we were very sick (from hunger), that's why we did it," they said. Then they said to them, "What's the harm? There is so much of this stuff," they said. And they (the princess and her brother) told them, "You can still pack back all you can," they said to them. "And, also, this should be done: tell the village they may do as they may, and they may come back here," they said to them. Then they made large packs and started out.
Then the woman said, "Older brother, my heart aches because of my brothers," she said. "They will not live," she said. (81) Then she put poisonous medicine on two of the meat racks. From the Bear Spirit who had blessed her, there is where she had gotten the poisonous medicine. He instructed her to do this is why she did it.
The crows did not get back home until after dark. They had been giving it to their children in secret, but they began chirping. They were crying after them. "Hąhó," they said. "It is not for nothing that the grandfathers say this. (83) Go spy on them," they said. And they came there to spy. When they found out, they took it away from them, and put tree bark in place of the other. Then they stopped their crying immediately. Unexpectedly, they stood up to pick up the tree bark with their beaks, and they cried. So then they went home. (84) Then they began to make noise again. "They are not uttering this for nothing. Go over and spy on them," they said, so one of them spied on them again. They did the same thing again. They caused tree bark to be placed in place of the other. They were pecking at these again. Once more the spies went back. Again they caused fat to be placed before them, and once more they began to make a racket. "Hohó, go see them again. (85) It's not for nothing that they utter this," they said. For the fourth time, then, they snuck up on them. They crept up on them. They entered in and took it away from them. Then in the morning, they reported back. "The princess has dreamt. The youngest, 'Our Chief,' is also there. He is the one who is dong this. As far as could be seen, meat racks with bearskin coverings extended to the horizon. (86) Since they are covered, you can do as you like," they said. "They said that you could come back if you wish. So, of course, we are going back there," he said.
Kųnųga, the chief's son said, "Hohó." He said, "Although it is at long last time to eat, I was anxious to see you." (87) As soon as they got ready, Kųnųga led them. Before long, he had arrived there first. Then the meat racks that they had poisoned, these he pointed out to them. "I am giving you this, my brother, individually," he said. "You and my brothers with you," he added. "Hohó, my little brother, it is good," he said. "None of the other ones go near here. (88) This I alone have, with my brothers, so don't disturb any of it," he said. Then all of the villagers returned. And when the parents returned (to their daughter's village), they went in there in order to return. Then, once it had grown dark, the stomachs burst on all of the men.
Then he renewed things where the village lay. (89) He himself was in charge of the village. And there they were. He had renewed the life of the village. And he managed things himself, and he supplied food for the village. And in time the woman came back to her own husband, and the man also. They live in the Spiritland of the Waterspirits, it is said. This,
Commentary. "chief" — the chief will have been a member of the Thunderbird Clan. This is worth noting because the spiritual Thunderbirds are the mortal enemies of the Waterspirits, who play an important role in this myth.
"the man had nine sons, and just one daughter" — the number nine corresponds to one way of counting the clans that make up the Hočąk nation:
|1. Bird Clan|
|2.||Bear Clan||6.||Wolf Clan|
|3.||Buffalo Clan||7||Snake Clan|
|4.||Deer Clan||8.||Fish Clan|
|5.||Elk Clan||9.||Waterspirit Clan|
The daughter probably represents the Lower Moiety, being last in the sequence of births. Her father, the chief, would represent the Upper Moiety. The "Bird Clan," as it is sometimes called, is identical to the Upper Moiety, and its four "subclans" each has the status of an independent clan in its own right.
"Youngest Son" — the youngest is, in mythology, taken to be the strongest, since youth is associated with greater vigor than is age. He becomes most strongly tied to the daughter, who is younger still. Since he is resurrected by the Bear Waterspirits, he is associated with both the Bear and Waterspirit Clans, but more particularly the latter in essence. The daughter to whom he has the strongest affinities is the representation of the Lower Moiety, of which both the Bear and Waterspirit Clan are the most prominent members.
"good tempered" — being good tempered is an important attribute of a peace chief, but is utterly at variance with the much appreciated disposition of bears. This attribute aligns him more solidly with the Waterspirits than with the bears.
"Our Chief" — Kųnųga, the eldest born son, is in line to succeed his father as the Peace Chief, the chief of the tribe, or at least of the village. Since the youngest son is to be patronized by the Waterspirits, it is clear that his chieftainship is associated with them. In Thunderbird ideology, the proper chief clan of the Lower Moiety should be the Waterspirit Clan, since the Waterspirits are the opposites of the Thunderbirds. However, it is the Bear Clan that controls the earth, and when it comes to the disposition of land, such as in treaties of cession, it is only the Bear Clan that has the right to make such decisions. It is also true that the Bear Clan is the most powerful clan of the Lower Moiety. Their function is that of the police or "soldiers" (mą́ną́pe), who control many aspects of daily life and who function as the prime messengers of the Thunderbird Chief. Therefore, some say that the Bear Clan is the chief clan of the Lower Moiety, whereas others say it is the Waterspirit Clan. It is as if the Lower Moiety has been divided in two, into earth and water spheres, with the Bears dominant in the former, and the Waterspirits in the latter. That the youngest son is patronized by Bear Waterspirits represent a political compromise. The daughter representing the Lower Moiety ends up marrying a spirit who is both Bear and Waterspirit at the same time.
"they only visited him" — this implies, as does the title "Our Chief," that the Lower Moiety chief is poised to assume the sovereignty of the tribe, contrary to the established ideology of the Thunderbird Clan.
"on the side" — this implies, since the longhouse has two doors, that he is at the opposite end from Kųnųga, the heir apparent to the Thunderbird Chieftainship. This makes him Kųnųga's opposite (āgakikínąge), and therefore in alignment with the Chief of the Lower Moiety.
"I am not pleased" — the youngest son is clearly a threat to the heir of the chieftainship, and at a deeper level, so too is the Waterspirit or Bear Clan a threat to the supremacy of the Thunderbird Clan when it comes to tribal sovereignty.
"sweat bath" — the sweat bath is where the worlds of Waterspirits and Thunderbirds meet. There are two beginning points to a sweat bath: water and a red hot stone. The water represents the essence of the Waterspirits, and the hot stone has a strong association with the Thunderbirds. The Thunderbirds dwell in the dark storm clouds, and fire lightning from their eyes. The lightning's essence is a hot "thunder stone" which is to be found somewhere in the ground after a lightning strike. It is only by combining the tepid water with the artificial "thunder stone" that the steam is created. However, this is not the only way in which steam can be generated. Another technique is to take bear oil, the melted fat of a bear, and pour that over the hot stone. Therefore, the ambiguity fostered by this myth between the claims of the Bears and the Waterspirits is found even in this context. The result of the interaction of stone and fluid is a cloud, itself associated with the Thunders, but inasmuch as it is a white cloud that does not issue lightning, it is likewise associated with the Waterspirits. This cloud is trapped inside a hut, and so remains in contact with the ground. This gives it affinities to the Bear Spirits inasmuch as the Bear Clan has complete control over issues pertaining to the land. So it is in this context that they will attempt to trick him. The Waterspirits are particularly noted for trickery. On the other hand, the Bear Clan, as the tribe's police force, represents the opposite of trickery, and are most likely to be involved in punishing such acts. So it is the son of the youngest, the only daughter, who punished the other brothers in the end.
"Quaker(e)" — from quack, "to dive under," and sa rake, "long distance." Since the youngest brother stands for the Waterspirit Clan, it can be expected that he will excel in a competition to see who can extend the farthest while underwater. However, this skill will commend him to acquisition by the Waterspirits. The opposition here between Kųnųga and the youngest brother is an expression of the supernatural conflict that eternally wages between the Thunderbirds and their lower world enemies, the Waterspirits.
"you are always talking about humans" — Waterspirits are often desirous of human sacrifice. They are noted for seizing humans who cross a body of water, and many drownings are attributed to them. Consequently, it is established practice to place an offering of tobacco or some other suitable item, to insure a safe passage across a body of water.
"as did their mother" — the sister, as the symbol of the Lower Moiety, will lament her brother the most, who represents the chief of that moiety. The moieties exist for the sake of exogamy. A member of one moiety must marry someone from the opposite moiety, the only exception being in the Wolf Clan, since the spirit of the wolf is considered to be exceptionally anomalous. Therefore, since the mother is married to the Thunderbird chief, she is of the opposite moiety, the Lower Moiety. The daughter symbolizes that same moiety, so both mother and daughter in this symbol system are most particularly aggrieved.
"they made them live separately from them" — in the symbolism of clan affinities, the mother and sister, who represent the Lower Moiety, have expressed their dedication to that moiety by lamenting the passing of its symbolic chief. The camping circle of the Hočągara is segregated, each clan having a position on the perimeter, and the whole circle being divided between the Upper and Lower Moieties.
"hunted for her" — the word is honį́-na-k’ų, the last syllable meaning, "to do for oneself." The word honį́ can be used for ordinary hunting as well as the broader searching for something. The daughter represents, ex hypothesi, the Lower Moiety which has something of a dual or disputed control by the Bear and Waterspirit Clans. She therefore represents, in terms of her spiritual counterparts, the Bear Waterspirits, the only proper analog to the leadership of the Lower Moiety. As members of the Thunderbird Clan, and representing that clan symbolically, they act as do their spiritual counterparts, the celestial Thunders, who go about hunting for Waterspirits.
"a hollow log" — the hollow log was a place of hiding used by a symbolic Waterspirit in another story. This is in the context of a Waterspirit figure being hunted by Thunderbird counterparts. The Waterspirits live underground in caves, but the Thunders when they shoot lightning are often able to penetrate their enemies' abode. The normal target for a lightning strike, the strike of the Thunderbirds' weapons, is a tree. The tree is associated with bears, since they frequently climb them. A woman who needs to be the counterpart of Bears and Waterspirits at the same time can capture the appropriate symbolism by hiding not in a cave, but in a log. The long is at once a cave and a tree, and the object of the Thunders' scrutiny when they are on the hunt, as it is wood that they most usually strike. Also, bears were typically hunted by being flushed out of their sleeping dens, a small version of a cave.
"she was crying" — the extruding of water is appropriate in accentuating Waterspirit symbolism. Salt water, the water of tears, is always and only ground water, inasmuch as rain is never of that composition. Waterspirits live in hollow tubes in the ground, as can be witnessed by the appearance of springs of water that issue from rock faces. So it is within these caves or hollows that the water of the Waterspirit is generated, like the tears of the daughter.
"they butted her with a piece of wood" — wood is the fuel of fire, and fire is the essence of the Thunderbirds. The essence of Waterspirits is water. Fire can evaporate water, as the sun does routinely; however, water can put out a fire. The wood is associated also with bears, since they are at least semi-arboreal. The Thunders strike her with their fuel which is symbolic, simultaneously, of the bears. Bears are hunted with arrows, which constitutes a supremely forceful "butting" with wood, and the symbolic context is that of the Thunderbird's hunt. Yet, it is the Bear Clan which supplies the messengers of the chief, of the leader, therefore, of the Thunderbird Clan. So, in terms of symbolism, the Bear Clan is here sending a message from the Thunderbird Clan, that the woman symbolic of the Lower Moiety must move where they direct. It is also important to note that in butting her with the piece of wood, they are adjoining the wood to her person, making her one with the wood. This is to say, that as an object which their lightning strikes, which they are said to "eat," the Waterspirit is just as favorite a target and source of food as is the wood. They are saying, "You are as wood to us," which serves to establish her affinities at once to both Waterspirits and Bears.
"a bear" — what on the surface is intended as a joke, at the symbolic level, is an accurate description. This establishes the daughter as both a Bear and a Waterspirit, the two foremost clans of the Lower Moiety, and therefore, inasmuch as she is the symbol of the Lower Moiety, the salient character of her being. In the end, she does not becomes a member of the Thunderbirds' society, and is left behind, as both an opponent and, as if she were a wild animal, a bear.
|Funereal Face Paint
of the Waterspirit Clan
"bruised her" — the bodies of Waterspirits who have chosen to be born as human beings have an identifying blue mark on them, the blue, obviously, representing water. Less obviously, it also represents the blue sky, inasmuch as the clear sky, besides its reflection being the chief reason for the blue of the water, is the opposite of the clouded sky in which thrive their mortal enemies, the Thunderbirds. When a Waterspirit Clansman dies, her body is marked with blue for the same reasons of symbolism.
"his face completely blackened" — he is described as being a "man" (wąk), but clearly he is a spirit in human guise. Normally, a man whose face is completely black is in mourning, the effect achieved by smearing the face with charcoal. Black is the symbolic color of death, and a blackened face is designed to bring to mind human mortality. However, from what insights we have gained to the symbolism employed here, we may say that his completely black face is also in reference to the black bear. Nevertheless, it may also stand for the grief that this Bear Waterspirit himself feels at the insult tendered the woman who, in many ways, is his human counterpart.
"it made my heart sore" — at first he fully accepted the offering of a human sacrifice, but when the Thunderbird Clansmen used the appellation "bear" to denigrate the daughter, they incidentally offended the Bear Waterspirit to whom they had given their brother. It's not to great a step of inference to conclude that the underlying message is that the Thunderbird Clan ought not to transgress against the Lower Moiety, their sister, since she has strong supernatural allies through whose blessings the offended clans may expect to receive justice.
"a Bear Waterspirit" — this was originally mistranslated as "Bear Spirit," when in fact the spirit in question is a kind of Waterspirit (Wakjexi). The question arises as to whether they are both Bear Spirits and Waterspirits. This kind of hybridization may be one way in which Bear Waterspirits are conceptualized. However, given that the offering was to Waterspirits and the fact that it takes place in the context of water, makes it clear enough that they are fundamentally and essentially a kind of Waterspirit. This conclusion is reinforced in the last sentence of the story in which the principals go to live in the Spiritland of the Waterspirits rather than that of the Bear Spirits. Yet the matter is further complicated by the fact that Shaggy Man's half-brother is at least in appearance and manner a kind of bear. Indeed, Shaggy Man himself, rather than having Waterspirit characteristics, has ursine tufts of hair. In any case, the Bear Waterspirits are able to bless the two half-brothers with power over giant primordial bears, as though being of supernatural ursine character implies a measure of control over bears of every sort.
"he was held fast into the ice" — the younger brother was given as an offering to the Waterspirits, who initially accepted him as such. He is therefore a sacred possession of the Waterspirits, who decided to renew his life. The Giants, who like the Waterspirits are also man-eaters, are said to have acquired this grisly proclivity because their stomachs contain a block of ice about the size of a fist. Ice is a preservative, so those who are swallowed up by the Giants, who symbolize the Enemy generally, are lost to the (Hočąk) world, but are preserved in the body (politic) of the enemy. This is what happens to prisoners who defect rather than submit to torture and death: they are lost to their world of origins and are preserved in body as if swallowed up in the enemy's stomach and preserved on ice. It is, appropriately, the opposite of being burned alive, the climax to the ritual torture of the condemned. The younger brother was to have been eaten, but now is returned in a block of ice, preserved intact and undecayed. When the Giants vomit up their gastronomic block of ice, they cease to be man-eaters; similarly, the Waterspirits, who were going to consume the brother, now eject him within a block of ice, impeaching their original impulse to devour him. However, since water is the very element and essence of the Waterspirits, returning him in this form has further significance. Ice is the solid form of water. As a solid, it is no longer the fluid, tricky, shapeless element that so defines the Waterspirits, but has become part of the surface of the earth, as firm as land. When the lake is frozen, it can be walked upon like any other part of the earth's surface. It never ceases to be water, but now it is at once both the essence of the Waterspirit and the essence of the solid earth. Both earth and most liquid water belong to the Below World, the world under the governance of the Lower Moiety. The earth is the complementary domain to the Waterspirits' water; it is the domain of the Bear Clan in particular, who are given the power to decide all matters pertaining to the surface of the earth. So by being encapsulated in ice, the younger brother is at once preserved in the element of the Bears (the solid), and the element of the Waterspirits (lake water), as is appropriate to one who has been resurrected from Bear Waterspirits, who renounced devouring him by ejecting him from the bowels of their physical body, the lake into which he had been swallowed up. As the reborn symbol of the Waterspirit Clan, the younger brother and soon to be uncle, is resurrected from the elements of both the Bear and the Waterspirit. He is reborn as a manifestation of both, and having passed through such a lens, he has added powers, and perhaps more significantly, a divinely sanctioned mandate to exercise these powers. Therefore, the clan which he symbolizes, the Waterspirit Clan, is most fit to rule over the whole of the Lower Moiety.
"bear oil" — this we could have anticipated, since, as noted above, one way to make the vapor cloud is by replacing water with bear oil, and the reinforcement of the symbolism of the daughter as the personification of the Lower Moiety necessitates her association with Bears and Waterspirits, whose clan counterparts constitute the leadership of the Lower Moiety.
"metal" — an ordinary crib would be expected to be made of wood, but wood comes from trees, which are associated with the Upper World, and whose wooden substance is the fuel of fire, the control over which gives the Thunderbirds and their patronized clan the supreme power. Compared to a wooden cradle, a metal one is extremely luxurious, a fit gift from a spirit. More importantly from a symbolic perspective, the metal of the cradle is unambiguously a product of the earth, and therefore belongs to the domain over which the Bear Spirits, and the clan that they founded, have the supreme power.
"a jingling sound" — in later times, the jingling might be attributed to pieces of hanging metal used as ornamentation, but the more ancient precursors of such jingling ornaments were seashells. These shells have since been rather colloquially referred to as wampum. Wampum was once of such value that whites came to confuse it with money. The point being made is that the cradle is of very great value. Naturally, as the gift of a Waterspirit to his offspring, it should be decorated with sea shells, the most precious articles from the domain over which they rule. So the jingle shells attached to the metal cradle form an image that once again unites the realm of the Bears (earth) with that of the Waterspirits (water), the same intersection exemplified by the daughter herself, the wife of the Bear Waterspirit.
"he had a great liking for his uncle, and his uncle loved him back" — the bond between maternal uncle and his nephew is the strongest bond in Hočąk society. The uncle here, as the youngest of the nine brothers, should represent the Waterspirit Clan, the opposite of Kųnųga, who represents the Bird Clan and specifically the Thunderbird Clan. In this role the uncle is first in his sister's esteem, and of course, of her son, who is the offspring of an actual Waterspirit. Thus, he and his uncle have a shared identity as well as a natural bond.
"bear fur" — this fixes his identity not only as akin to the Waterspirits, but also to the Bears. Thus, he is a human representation of a Bear Waterspirit, and of the integration of the human Bears and the human Waterspirits. This makes him in symbolic terms the chief of the Lower Moiety, no matter what one's opinion is concerning the primacy of the Bear or the Waterspirit Clans.
"hill" — spirits, including Waterspirits, frequently reside inside hills.
"bear" — we know with certainty that the father is a Bear Waterspirit, so we may deduce that, at least in the opinion of the mythographer, Bear Waterspirits could exist habitually in the form of a bear, just as before, the father presented himself in the guise of a human being. Ordinarily, the difference between a Bear and a Bear Waterspirit would be that all Waterspirits are possessed of an exceedingly long tail and at least a pair of horns, almost always branching racks. Here we see this kind of Waterspirit living most comfortably in ursine form. However, subsequent events make it clear that his wife is wholly ursine in nature, as is his son. So the hybridization that we see in Shaggy Man himself, is not apparent in his ursine half-brother, except, of course, that he can be taught to walk upright.
"he would look at them askance" — the bear son of the Bear Waterspirit represents the Chief of the Bear Clan. One of the important functions of the Bear Clan was to act as police. In this capacity, they may assume an authoritarian manner and come into conflict with other members of society (the humans). Even the Chief of the Lower Moeity, here represented by Shaggy Man, is not immune to this aggressive scrutiny.
"ill tempered" — a well-known trait of bears. This is the opposite of the salient trait of Youngest Brother, now referred to as "the uncle."
"his wife, the bear" — she is the mother of the symbol of the Chief of the Bear Clan. The Bear Clan holds that it originated when four brother Spirit Bears crossed over the waters and made their way to Red Banks, the place at which the Hočąk Nation was to have been founded. Here, the spiritual origin of the first chief of this clan is also made into a Spirit Bear, with her aqueous affinities expressed in her choice of husbands, a Waterspirit. Throughout this myth, the Bear Clan progenitors are viewed in terms of the reversal of left and right, and inasmuch as the left belongs to the female side (distaff), so the ursine element in the first chief of the Bear Clan is made female.
"a loud noise" — given the extensive association of wood with the Thunders in the symbolism of this myth, the loud noise of crashing wood would be most akin to the sound of thunder. It is specifically most like rumbling thunder, which is said to be the kind of thunder heard when the Thunderbirds are attacking Waterspirits in their underground retreats. This is in fact a recapitulation of the theme of Kųnųga jabbing the daughter with a piece of wood. There the Upper Moiety attacks the Lower Moiety and offends her by calling her "a bear." In this transformation of the theme, the bear ought to stand for the Bear Clan, which on the occasion of the rumbling thunder-sound made by the falling wood, attacks the Lower Moiety. Why would the Bear Clan do such a thing? Here it responds to the sound made by the flapping of the Thunderbirds' wings, the sound of thunder. In responding to thunder, it attacks the Lower Moiety. This can be made sense of when we reflect upon the fact that the Bear Clan not only carries the messages of the Thunder Chief — which in an illiterate society is in effect to carry his voice — but also enforces the edicts of the chief in the Bear Clan's role as the police force. Here the Lower Moiety figure has created the voice of the chief, and so gains the ire of the Bear Clan, the police, who enforce the supremacy of the Upper Moiety, even though this clan is the most powerful member of the Lower Moiety. The Chief of the Lower Moiety, in the person of Shaggy Man, checks the Bear Clan from turning on its own when the Lower Moiety gives orders in place of the Upper Moiety chief. It may be the idea that the Bear Clan, as messengers, speak for the chief, that the Bear Clan used to justify its own supremacy over the whole Lower Moiety. The Shaggy Man, who symbolizes the Chief of the Lower Moiety, rejects this claim, and retaliates in kind against the transgressions of the Bear Clan, here represented as a literal bear, the wife, however, of the Bear Waterspirit supernatural.
"snorted" — the snort is the bear's equivalent to the Thunder's sound made as it attacks the Waterspirits. This represents the Bear Clan's assertion of its role as the true replication of the voice of the Upper Moiety Chief. She deals severely with anyone of the Lower Moiety presuming to be the Upper Moiety Chief by imitating his voice itself rather than its content. That the Bear Clan might attack its own moiety when it presumes to assume a commanding role, is anathema to the chief of the moiety, here represented by Shaggy Man. He avenges his moiety, but his supernatural father rebukes him for his severity.
"torn apart" — given the interpretation, the symbolism is obvious. The daughter represents the Lower Moiety, and the other wife represents the Bear Clan, especially in relation to their role as the village criers. The animosity between Bear Clan and its own moiety when they presume to usurp its role leads to violent conflict, and the moiety (the daughter) is torn apart by civil strife.
"he shot the she bear" — the Shaggy Man, who symbolizes the chief of the Lower Moiety, is himself essentially a Waterspirit offspring, and his leadership of his mother's moiety is in the capacity of a chief of the Waterspirit Clan, even though his own nature encompasses that of the bear as well. He fights the Bear Clan's attempt to retaliate against other Lower Moiety clans who usurp their power. The suggestion of the myth is that this has occurred with a violent outcome, the Waterspirit Clan assuming leadership prerogatives that the Bear Clan considered exclusively its own.
"a jealous affair" — the Lower Moiety is the left half of the two moieties, and the Bear Clan is the left half of the two principal clans of that moiety. Thus both the Lower Moiety and the Bear Clan are represented by women. Each is jealous of the other and ambitious for their own sons to be the leader of that moiety. Each is the wife of the same Bear Waterspirit whose divine status will give a charter to the social identities assumed by his disparate sons. The role of the divinity in this conflict between the Bear Clan and the rest of the moiety is to insure that neither will be destroyed by internecine warfare. The Chief of the Lower Moiety should not engage himself in such conflicts. This is hard for him to avoid, for if the police functions are prejudicial against member clans of the Lower Moiety, it might well be thought that it is his role to set matters straight and to take sides in doing so.
"shouting at bears" — a technique used to hunt bears. One hunter lies in ambush while another, some distance away, runs in the direction of his partner while yelling, "Ho-o-o-o-o-o-o!" in an attempt to drive bears into the ambush. This technique is illustrated in a story. Here, however, there is no ambush.
"arrows" — the arrow theme may have arisen from the influence of the Medicine Rite, in which a novitiate is shot with a small seashell, which is seen to "kill" him. After a period in which he appears to lie dead on the ground, he revives and spits out the shell that "killed" him. In the literature of the Medicine Rite, the shell is called an "arrow" (mą) inasmuch as it is shot with fatal effects. It is often shot from an otter bag. The shell, as well as the otter, belong to the domain of the Waterspirits, as they are of aquatic provenance. So the death and resurrection theme of the Medicine Rite is itself within the domain of the Waterspirits. The father of both the shooter and his victim, as a Bear Waterspirit, revives his ursine son, the arrow having much the same effect as it does in the Medicine Rite. If this is what is intended, the ursine brother, who represents the Bear Clan Chief, is the novitiate, and is initiated by Shaggy Man, the symbolic Chief of the Waterspirit Clan. The word mą also means, "earth, land." So the arrow of Shaggy Man exemplifies the duality of his Bear Waterspirit father, since it is at once a shell, a thing of the Waterspirit domain, and terrestrial, a thing belonging to the sphere over which the Bear rules. Therefore, his weapon, like his person, and his divine father, integrates both earth and water, both Bear and Waterspirit, a unity which bestows an entitlement on Shaggy Man, and the Chief of the Waterspirit Clan, to the chieftainship of the Lower Moiety.
"walk erect" — this bear is the offspring of a Bear Waterspirit and a she bear. The she bear plays the role of the Bear Clan, her ill temperament causing the Lower Moiety, from time to time, to be torn apart (with dissention). The offspring of the daughter is half human and half Bear Waterspirit, and while he has a superficial bear attribute of ursine hair, it is his Waterspirit essence that predominates, since he is destined to join his father in the Waterspirit Spiritland. He is the true inheritor of the Lower Moiety, symbolized by his mother (the daughter), and his destiny is to become a chief in a newly organized village. He therefore, by correlating both with his parentage and his assumption of the role of chief, which is, for the Lower Moiety, the head man of the Waterspirit Clan, he is the symbol of that chief. This leaves his half brother as the symbol of the Chief of the Bear Clan. The Bear Clan believes itself to have been descended from divine bears, and we find in this story that his mother is a bear who lives in Spiritland. However, his nature is so bear-like that Shaggy Man finds it necessary to attempt to humanize him. In the Medicine Rite, humans are called by the Spirits, "two-legged walkers," marking this attribute as essential to our nature. In the Waterspirit ideology adopted as the viewpoint of this waiką, the Bear Clan and its chief, are of such an ursine nature that they need to be curbed and civilized, they need to be taught to assume the basic nature of human beings. This enculturation process is symbolized by the Waterspirit chieftain forcing the leader of the Bear Clan to adopt the basic human attribute of upright walking. The fundamental conclusion is that the Bear Clan and its leadership have a pronounced tendency to act in uncouth ways and are kept in check and in line by the chief of the Lower Moiety, who is the Waterspirit chief.
"long limbed bears" — the word translated "limbs" here is a, which ordinarily means "arm." Oliver LaMère translates it as "leg," for an obvious reason. The bears are clearly portrayed as giants of their kind, but if they were only long in their arms, it would not follow that they had great stature when standing on their hind legs. However, the ordinary word for leg is hu, and waizára is the word for the limbs or extremities of the body, leaving us to wonder why a was selected at all. Perhaps it was thought that there was not much distinction to be made between a bear's legs and its arms.
In any case, the bears act the role that Giants play in similar stories of lethal contests. The Giants are defined not as much by size as they are by their dietary proclivities: their name in Hočąk is Wagᵋručge, "Man-Eaters." The Long-Limbed Bears are, as man-eaters themselves, an ursine transposition of the Giants. Just as the Giants can interbreed with humans, so the Long-Limbed Bears can interbreed with common bears. These similarities make up an analogy,
Giants : Humans : : Long-Limbed Bears : Common Bears
Just as we have Bear Waterspirits, here we have, in effect, Bear-Giants, only they are not characterized by a blending of physical traits belonging to each of their bio-constituencies, but are considered to be just very large bears. Yet we can hardly view them as mere bears, since in this story, they speak to humans, live in villages, and engage in various cultural activities, most particularly gaming.
The Long-Limbed Bears play the role of Giants, and the Giants are the symbols of the generic Enemy. So the Long-Limbed Bears represent the domestic enemy. The Long-Limbed Bears are those members of the Bear Clan who are in rebellion to the Chief of the Lower Moiety (Shaggy Man), as well as his ursine brother, the Chief of the Bear Clan, his proper subordinate.
"the tree" — the incident of the bears bunched up behind the tree, corresponds to the episode in which the sister is hiding in a log.
|Sister's Hiding||Ball Game|
|The sister opposes her brothers.||Shaggy Man opposes the bears in a ball game.|
|The sister runs away from her brothers.||The bears run towards their own goal, away from Shaggy Man.|
|She hides in a hollow log.||They hide behind a tree.|
|The brothers find her.||The bears peep out around the tree and make themselves visible.|
|The brothers poke her with a piece of wood and call her a "bear".||Shaggy Man shoots all the bears with his (wooden) arrows.|
|The Bear Waterspirit is offended by this.||The bears call foul on this.|
In the symbolism of the myth, the brothers reduce their sister's status to that of Thunderbird food (wood), by poking her with a thick stick. Shaggy Man reduces the bears, hiding behind the food of the Thunders (the tree), to literal food. In the first case, the sister, the Lower Moiety, is reduced in status to a mere animal; in the later events, the symbols of the rebellious Bear Clan are likewise reduced to the status of food and mere animals, the symbolic Chief of the Waterspirit Clan now assuming the same role with respect to the rebellious Bear Clan as the symbolic Chief of the Thunderbird Clan did in relation to the Lower Moiety figure.
"orphan" — orphans are the weakest members of society, and therefore the most inconsequential. The suggestion here is that the least among them set the precedent for the future conduct of all others of his race, an inversion of what one might expect in other societies. Just as the moccasins are reversed, so too is the leadership for the foundation of cultural practices.
"there you will live" — this represents a cultural devolution of the Long-Limbed Bears, as they have been reduced to the status of mere ordinary bears. The Bear Clan origin story says that when the four founding Bear Spirits came to Red Banks, they began to slowly transform into human beings. These evolved Bear Spirits were the first human members of the Bear Clan. The Long-Limbed Bears started out at a cultural level equal to that of human beings, but by a process of devolution, they end up blended into the common bears, quite nearly the opposite process from the origin of the Hočąk Bear Clan.
|Left Back Foot
of a Black Bear
|Right Back Foot
of a Grizzly Bear
|Right Front Foot
of a Black Bear
|Right Front Foot
of a Grizzly Bear
"that is why bears’ feet have the shape they do" — the paws of bears look as if the left foot is where the right should have been, and conversely. The big toe is on the outside and the other toes form a line that slopes inward, the exact opposite of the human foot. For a human to make tracks like a bear's, he would have to have put his moccasins on the wrong feet. This oddity, which is clearly seen in the photo above, has led Native Americans to think of the bear as left handed. The Kutenai call the grizzly, "Left-Handed One,"2 and the Hočągara during their Bear Feast eat with their left hands in the dark.3 See also the commentary to "The Woman who Fought the Bear."
To a hunting people, footprints are used to lead the hunter to his prey. Therefore, tracks have come up in the context of leadership. In one important and clever myth, Herešgúnina, the Hočąk devil, was accidentally created with his feet on backwards.4 This means that anyone following his tracks, which is to say, following him, is going to be led in exactly the wrong direction. In other words, the followers of the Devil are always going to be headed in the wrong (moral) direction. This metaphor helps us understand why the matter of the bear's foot was raised in the present context. Since bear feet are reversed, no matter what foot the bear leads with, it is the "wrong" foot. Followers of the bear must eat with the wrong hand, which they do in the dark, a metaphor for ignorance and wrongheadedness. To create tracks like a bear, a human must stagger in a crisscross pattern, ever in danger of tripping over his own feet. This hardly makes the bear, and the Bear Clan descended from his kind, a paradigm of leadership. And it was Shaggy Man, the symbolic chief of the Waterspirit Clan, who made bears thus, which is to say in the symbolic context, the Waterspirit Clan's primordial chief rendered bears and the Bear Clan unfit for leadership. To emphasize the backwardness of everything ursine, the myth makes the paradigm for the bears' reversed feet an orphan, the lowest figure on the social totem pole, the reverse of the usual paradigm for the genesis of any institution. Following the foolish mistake by the least among them is very much like taking one's cues from Trickster himself. Trickster stands out for having failed in a mission in which he was suppose to lead mankind in the right direction.
"Shaggy Man won against them, so common bears lived intermingled with them" — in primordial times, the long-legged bears were a race of demigods who could converse with humans, but because they were defeated by Shaggy Man, they were punished with banishment to the haunts of ordinary bears. This is made more feasible from the example of numerous humanoid Giants who were adopted into human society, like Pretty Woman and some of her kinsmen. Thus the ursine equivalent of Giants were lost as a distinctive race and were absorbed into the race of common bears. This meant that they could no longer contest humans as foes on a superior plane of strength, and it is charged to Shaggy Man that humans have been freed of this existential threat. These bears were the most formidable of all bears, and Shaggy Man was clearly their master. Therefore, he is, by his blending of human, bear, and Waterspirit, the superior of all bears of whatever sort. Since his represents the Waterspirit Clan Chief, it is the clear suggestion of this myth, that his heirs, the Chiefs of the Waterspirit Clan, have superior power and divine sanction to rule over those of an ursine nature, be they even of the human sort, those descended from bears, the constituents of the Bear Clan.
"crows" — crows and ravens, collectively known in Hočąk as kaǧi, are considered the avian counterparts to bears. This correspondence is discussed at some length in the article "Kaǧi (Crows and Ravens)." However, we should notice that on the one hand the crow is a member of the tribe of birds, and therefore is strongly akin to the Bird Clan of the Hočąk Nation; yet it is also considered the avian counterpart of the bear. So the crow bridges the gap between the Upper Moiety and the Lower Moiety. The injustice of the former upon the latter is resolved through the agency of a creature that mediates in its own nature the opposition between bear and bird, and therefore between Lower Moiety and Upper Moiety. Their role is to act as agents of destiny on behalf of the Bear Waterspirits to bring retributive justice to the fratricidal brothers. In the end, the curbing of the excesses of the Upper Moiety in attacking the youngest brother, the symbolic manifestation of the Waterspirit Clan, leads to the reunification of society under the command of Shaggy Man, here a figure representing the Chief of the Lower Moiety. The image of this unity is not only the crow, which integrates the Bird Clan with the Bear Clan, but Shaggy Man himself, who is the son of the Lower Moiety figure and the self-integrated Bear Waterspirit.
The kaǧi represent the Bear Clan as it lives in subordination to the Bird Clan. They live on the outskirts of the village ruled by that clan. They are starving along with their human colleagues. They discover the largesse of the Waterspirit Clan figure, the youngest brother (the uncle), and help themselves. They return only to become unwitting messengers from the youngest brother. This is interesting in light of the fact that the Bear Clan is the messenger of the chief, who is a member of the Bird Clan. This inverts the role of the Bear Clan, and in their equally inverted avian form, they become messengers for the Waterspirit Clan figure.
"the princess must have dreamt" — to fast and receive a blessing from the spirits is "to dream" (hąté). This is because a blessing is communicated in a vision, which is stimulated in part by deprivation and isolation.
"Bear Spirit" — the text has simply hųč, "bear." However, although he is a Bear Spirit, inasmuch as he is a Bear Waterspirit, he is also and more fundamentally a Waterspirit, and lives in the Waterspirit Spiritland.
"the poisonous medicine" — Waterspirits are notorious for the bad medicines that they bestow as blessings upon those whom they favor. The argument here is that power cannot prevail against guile, and that the supernatural patron of the Lower Moiety and the Waterspirit Clan in particular, has magical powers that can overcome the advantages of the Bird Clan.
"they found out" — that is, when the crow parents found out that they were being spied upon, they took the actions subsequently described.
"put tree bark in place of the other" — this is another repetition of the wood theme in which the nature of wood as food is made more explicit. As already noted, wood is the usual object of lightning strikes, and the Thunders who launch this weapon are said to "eat" what it strikes. Therefore, wood is the food of the Thunderbirds. So the crows replace the bear food which they are eating with Thunderbird food, which is not the food of their chicks. This leads the Thunderbird spies to think that the chicks are crying because they do not have any food, rather than crying because they are trying to induce their parents to regurgitate actual food.
At this point, we should note that there is something in common between the wood and the bear entrails besides being food for the Upper Moiety birds and the Lower Moiety birds respectively. Bear entrails were used as string for bows, the latter of which were made of wood. So the complementary unity of the Bear Clan food and the Thunderbird Clan food, forms the bow, the chief means by which food may be obtained in hunting.
"the stomachs burst" — this is what usually happens in myths when someone is poisoned. However, in this context further meaning can be read into the outcome. As we have noted, in the Fast Eating Contest, when food is ingested it becomes symbolic of the capture of enemy souls, including those taken prisoner and adopted (or "ingested") into the tribe. The Thunderbird Clan in particular owes its power to the fact that those who are socially ingested are placed in this clan. This made the clan large and powerful. Therefore, when his stomach explodes, what in particular is being attacked is this power of social ingestions, not only of Kųnųga. This conveys the idea that injustice on the part of the Upper Moiety can result in supernaturally augmented revenge in which the Waterspirit Clan takes over the whole tribe. This is in retaliation for the denigration, here expressed as a form of Waterspirit death, of the symbol of the Waterspirit Clan. The end result of this attack is the reformation of the tribe under the chieftainship of the Waterspirit Clan. In practical terms, the threat is that of secession. If the Thunderbird Clan makes war on the Waterspirit Clan, the result will be that the Waterspirit Clan will secede taking with it all those who have felt repressed under Thunderbird leadership. Social secession is the opposite of social ingestion, so the Thunderbird Clan and those who support it, will not fill their "stomachs" (society) with new personnel, but will suffer the opposite process: their "stomachs" will burst, and they will lose personnel through a secession led by the Waterspirit Clan.
"he himself was in charge of the village" — the youngest brother, who represented the Waterspirit Clan, now has control over the village that had formerly been under the command of the Upper Moiety figure of Kųnųga. This conveys the idea that injustice on the part of the Upper Moiety can result in supernaturally augmented revenge in which the Waterspirit Clan takes over the whole tribe. Waterspirit Clan ascendancy is therefore justified by this myth, provided that it is in response to an unwarranted and jealousy inspired repression by the Upper Moiety.
"Spiritland of the Waterspirits" — this Spiritland is beneath the earth. It should be noted that they do not go to the Spiritland of the Bears.
The Argument of the Myth. The natural chief of the tribe is the youngest of the set of brothers symbolic of the clans. The youngest is the Waterspirit clan. The ascent of the Thunderbird Clan to the position of chief, which is contrary to nature, is the result of jealousy on their part. They have relegated the Waterspirit Clan to being their spiritual opposite, since the Thunderbirds are at constant war with the Waterspirits on the supernatural plane. Thus the Waterspirit Clan should be seen as sacrificed to the role of the Waterspirit on the supernatural plane. The historical (mythical) enactment of this ostracism into the role of the supernatural Waterspirits led to the genesis of Shaggy Man. His mother was the personification of the shamed and denigrated Lower Moiety, upon whom a Bear-Waterspirit fathered Shaggy Man, the symbolic first chief of the Waterspirit Clan and of the rest of the Lower Moiety. The story first makes the case that the Chief of the Waterspirit Clan, initially Shaggy Man, is by right the Chief of the Lower Moiety. The other contender for this office is the Chief of the Bear Clan. The Waterspirit Clan's preeminence is divinely chartered by the fact that only a species of Waterspirit can unite within its person the physical and spiritual elements of both Bear Spirits and Waterspirits. It is the descent of Shaggy Man, who represents the first Chief of the Lower Moiety, that establishes the charter by which the subsequent Chiefs of the Waterspirit Clan are entitled to rule over the whole of the Lower Moiety in preference to the Chiefs of the Bear Clan. The defects of the Bear clansmen are examined with emphasis on their strange reversals, with their feet being on the wrong side of their bodies. They represent in their tracks a staggering path of leadership and their wisdom can only be characterized by the darkness with which the ursine nature is so strongly associated. The defeat of the supernatural bears by Shaggy Man established this feature of bears, and the defeated Bear Spirits are demoted to being ordinary bears. Thus the Waterspirit Clan's chief is entitled to rule over the Bear Clan. The myth warns the Thunderbird Clan, who owes its power to social "ingestion," that it can be overthrown by the opposite process, an act of secession undertaken by the Waterspirit Clan and resulting in the bursting of their "stomachs" (social control) by a poison constituted by their own greed.
Comparative Material. A Kickapoo story has interesting parallels to the beginning and ending of the Hočąk story. Here the jealous brother is replaced by a grandfather. An old man had nine sons and one daughter, the youngest born. The youngest son was a prodigious hunter. Soon the grandfather became jealous of him. The old man asked Antelope to lead this son into a trap waiting for him at the waterfall where they got their water. However, when the son tracked the antelope, he shot it before it reached its destination. He killed many more on the way back and packed only the tongues. The grandfather then enlisted the support of Elk, but with the same disappointing results. The attempt to get Bear to join the conspiracy only led to the same results. The old man then went to a pond where enlisted the support of a Waterspirit Manitou, one with a green horn on one side and the red one on the other. According to plan the grandfather broke camp and moved to the pond. There he had his sons race to see who was the fastest. During the race, the youngest son was snagged by the manitou's horn and could not be freed, so the grandfather took his sons and left the area. The daughter, however, would not leave her brother. The young man told his sister to run back to the old lodge and fetch his medicine bundle. All the while the young man was slowly sinking in the water. She rushed back with the medicine. The young man created a medicine which he poured around himself, and this caused the manitou to freeze as he leapt thundering from the water. When he crashed down, ice flew everywhere, but the Waterspirit was dead. The young man and his sister decided not to join their family but to build their own lodge somewhere else. As the young man knew in advance, it rained for ten days, then snowed for ten days, but he had a huge supply of meat stocked up. One day a starving crow showed up. He fed the crow and told him to tell the grandfather that when the snow melted to come hither. So the crow took off with much provender and fed his young, then he told the old man what his grandson had said. Once the snow melted the crow showed up with the old man and the brothers. The crow cooked up a meal but put a certain kind of fat in it, and the old man and the brothers became sick and collapsed. "Well, they like the water so much," said the youngest son, "go ahead and put them in it." So the crow laid them all in the pond, and there they turned into bull frogs.5
The second part of a long Cheyenne story is similar to the beginning and end of the Hočąk tale. In the first part of the story, a girl and her little brother have been fooled by their father into eating their own mother. After escaping their mother's rolling head, they come to a teepee in which their father now lives. He denounces his children as cannibals, and after tying them up, the whole village moves away leaving them behind. An old dog, who hid during the move, comes back and frees the children. Whenever the girl merely looks at a game animal, it falls over dead. Soon they have an immense store of meat, and by merely imagining it first, she is able to cause such things as meat racks to appear. They always fed the dog the heart of the dead animal. Meanwhile the people who had moved had fallen into want and hunger. The girl called a crow to her and gave the bird a piece of meat with the instructions to carry it conspicuously to the other camp. There the people saw the meat, and the crow informed them that there was much more to be had where the old village had been. The girl created by her powers of imagination a puma and a bear that sat in her teepee. When the people came back, she fed them all except her father. He was invited into the teepee where the girl instructed the bear and puma to kill and eat him. This they proceeded to do. (For the first half of this story, see the Wild Rose.)6
Links: Bear Spirits, Waterspirits, Were-Grizzlies and Other Man-Bears, Kaǧi, Bird Spirits.
Stories: featuring were-bears as characters: The Were-Grizzly, The Reincarnated Grizzly Bear, The Spotted Grizzly Man, Brass and Red Bear Boy, Partridge's Older Brother, Turtle's Warparty, The Woman who Loved her Half-Brother, The Roaster, Wazųka, Porcupine and His Brothers; mentioning (spirit) bears (other than were-bears): White Bear, Blue Bear, Black Bear, Red Bear, Bear Clan Origin Myth, Bear Offers Himself as Food, Hare Visits His Grandfather Bear, Grandmother Packs the Bear Meat, The Spotted Grizzly Man, Hare Establishes Bear Hunting, The Woman Who Fought the Bear, Brass and Red Bear Boy, Redhorn's Sons, The Meteor Spirit and the Origin of Wampum, The Wolf Clan Origin Myth, Hočąk Clans Origin Myth, The Messengers of Hare, Bird Clan Origin Myth, The Hočąk Migration Myth, Red Man, Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans, Lifting Up the Bear Heads, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, The Two Boys, Creation of the World (v. 5), Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, The Brown Squirrel, Snowshoe Strings, Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, East Enters the Medicine Lodge, Lake Winnebago Origin Myth, The Spider's Eyes, Little Priest's Game, Little Priest, How He went out as a Soldier, Morning Star and His Friend (v. 2), How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Race for the Chief's Daughter, Trickster's Tail, Old Man and Wears White Feather, The Warbundle Maker, cf. Fourth Universe; 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, 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, Waruǧápara, Ocean Duck, 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 ThunderbirdsThe Woman who Married a Snake (?), Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, Ghost Dance Origin Myth I, The Sacred Lake, Lost Lake; about Bear Waterspirits: The Nannyberry Picker, Snowshoe Strings; 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, Ocean Duck, 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, Waruǧápara, 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), 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 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, Trickster's Tail, The Healing Blessing, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, Ocean Duck; mentioning oak: Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth, The Oak Tree and the Man Who was Blessed by the Heroka, Wolf Clan Origin Myth, The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, The Children of the Sun, Turtle's Warparty, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth, Old Man and Wears White Feather, Waruǧápara, The Creation Council, The Man Who Would Dream of Mą’ųna, Young Man Gambles Often, Morning Star and His Friend (v. 2), Sun and the Big Eater, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, The Roaster, Little Human Head, Wears White Feather on His Head, Peace of Mind Regained, The Dipper (leaves); mentioning bear entrails: Grandfather's Two Families, Kaǧiga and Lone Man, The Brown Squirrel; mentioning lacrosse (kísik): Redhorn's Father, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, Morning Star and His Friend, Redhorn Contests the Giants, The Roaster, Redhorn's Sons, The Hočągara Contest the Giants, The Blessing of a Bear Clansman, Bluehorn Rescues His Sister, How the Thunders Met the Nights; mentioning the Diving Contest: The Diving Contest; mentioning poisons: Hare Visits the Blind Men, The Creation of Evil, The Island Weight Songs, The Seer, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth (v. 3), Thunder Cloud Marries Again, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth (v. 1), Ocean Duck, The Diving Contest, A Wife for Knowledge, Great Walker's Medicine (antedote); mentioning sweat lodges or sweat baths: The Twins Get into Hot Water, The Lost Blanket, The Green Man, Bladder and His Brothers (v. 1), Hare Establishes Bear Hunting, Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans, The Thunderbird, Snowshoe Strings, Waruǧápara, The Red Man, The Chief of the Heroka, The Birth of the Twins (v. 2), Lifting Up the Bear Heads, The King Bird, Little Human Head, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, White Wolf, Soft Shelled Turtle Gets Married, The Dipper, The Two Boys, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth (v. 2).
The waiką The Nannyberry Picker has many points of similarity to this story.
Themes: a girl grows up with numerous (nine or ten) brothers as her only siblings: The Chief of the Heroka, Little Human Head, Waruǧápara, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, The Man Whose Wife was Captured (v. 2); a group of young men plot to trick one of their number into falling victim to a Waterspirit: Waruǧápara, Įčorúšika and His Brothers; a group of brothers plots with a Waterspirit against the youngest (who is the most favored): Įčohorucika and His Brothers; someone dives into a body of water and disappears into its depths: The Red Feather, The Birth of the Twins, The Two Boys, The Two Brothers, The Woman who Married a Snake; summoning the spirits to take an opponent as a sacrifice: Bluehorn's Nephews, Ocean Duck; someone is offered to a Waterspirit: River Child and the Waterspirit of Devil's Lake, White Thunder's Warpath, Waruǧápara, Old Man and Wears White Feather, The Seer; a Waterspirit kills a human: River Child and the Waterspirit of Devil's Lake, Waruǧapara, The Two Children, The Waterspirit of Lake Koshkonong, The Waterspirit of Rock River, The Seer, The Twin Sisters, The Sioux Warparty and the Waterspirit of Green Lake, The Green Waterspirit of the Wisconsin Dells, The Lost Blanket; someone is disconsolate over the death of a relative: White Flower, Ghost Dance Origin Myth II, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth, The Blessing of Kerexųsaka, The Lost Child, Holy One and His Brother, Sunset Point; although a group of brothers moves their village, abandoning one of their number for dead, a loyal sister remains behind until the missing brothers returns: Kaǧiga and Lone Man; someone takes shelter in a hollow log (in order to escape enemies): Brave Man, The Man with Two Heads, Redhorn's Father, The Spirit of Maple Bluff, The Thunder Charm, Trickster Loses Most of His Penis; a human marries a spirit: The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy (a Thunderbird, a Nightspirit, and two Waterspirits), The Thunderbird (a Thunderbird), How the Thunders Met the Nights (a Nightspirit), White Wolf (a Wolf Spirit), The Woman who Married a Snake (a Snake Spirit), The Star Husband (stars), Little Human Head (a Louse Spirit), Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle (Buffalo Spirit), The Phantom Woman (Waterspirit); marriage to a yųgiwi (princess): The Nannyberry Picker, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Race for the Chief's Daughter, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, The Big Stone, Partridge's Older Brother, Redhorn's Sons, The Seduction of Redhorn's Son, The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter, River Child and the Waterspirit of Devil's Lake, The Roaster, Soft Shelled Turtle Gets Married, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, White Wolf, The Two Boys, Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, The Thunderbird, The Red Feather, The Orphan who was Blessed with a Horse, The Birth of the Twins (v. 3), Trickster Visits His Family, The Woman who Loved Her Half-Brother, Redhorn's Father, Old Man and Wears White Feather, Morning Star and His Friend, Thunderbird and White Horse, Rich Man, Boy, and Horse, Shakes the Earth, The Nightspirits Bless Čiwoit’éhiga; a newlywed goes to the home of her husband to live among his kind, a race of Animal Spirits: The Wild Rose (wolves), The Woman who Married a Snake; the reviving sweat bath: The King Bird, The Red Man, The Chief of the Heroka, The Dipper, Snowshoe Strings, The Old Man and the Giants; someone returns from the dead: Ghost Dance Origin Myth II, The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter, Sunset Point, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, White Fisher, The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion, The Two Brothers, The Two Boys, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, White Wolf, The Red Man, The Chief of the Heroka, The Man Whose Wife was Captured, Waruǧápara, The Lost Blanket, The Old Man and the Giants; a man dies in the water, but when he is later revived, his qualities have improved: The Red Feather; persons brought back from the dead are more attractive in appearance than before their death: The Red Feather, Partridge's Older Brother; a cradle for a newborn is thrust through the lodge flap (by the mother's mysterious spirit husband): Waruǧápara, The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head; gifts are thrust through the flap of the lodge by someone that is not seen: The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, The Red Feather; a human is covered with tufts of animal hair:The Skunk Origin Myth; a human turns into a (spirit) animal: How the Thunders Met the Nights (Thunderbird), Waruǧápara (Thunderbird), The Dipper (hummingbird), Keramaniš’aka's Blessing (blackhawk, owl), Elk Clan Origin Myth (elk), Young Man Gambles Often (elk), Sun and the Big Eater (horse), The Reincarnated Grizzly Bear, The Were-Grizzly, Partridge's Older Brother (bear), The Woman who Loved her Half-Brother (bear), Porcupine and His Brothers (bear), The Roaster (bear), Wazųka (bear), The Spotted Grizzly Man (bear), Brass and Red Bear Boy (bear, buffalo), White Wolf (dog, wolf), Worúxega (wolf, bird, snake), Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle (buffalo), The Brown Squirrel (squirrel), The Skunk Origin Myth (skunk), The Fleetfooted Man (otter, bird), A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga (otter), The Diving Contest (Waterspirit), The Woman who Married a Snake (snake, Waterspirit), The Omahas who turned into Snakes (four-legged snakes), The Twins Get into Hot Water (v. 3) (alligators), Snowshoe Strings (a frog), How the Hills and Valleys were Formed (v. 3) (earthworms), The Woman Who Became an Ant, Hare Kills a Man with a Cane (ant); contests with the Giants: Spear Shaft and Lacrosse, Redhorn's Father, White Wolf, The Roaster, Young Man Gambles Often, Little Human Head, Redhorn Contests the Giants, Redhorn's Sons, Morning Star and His Friend, The Reincarnated Grizzly Bear, Sun and the Big Eater, The Big Eater, The Hočągara Contest the Giants, The Old Man and the Giants, The Meteor Spirit and the Origin of Wampum, Shakes the Earth, The Origins of the Milky Way, Grandfather's Two Families; two opponents play the game Kicking Each Other (Nąkįxjage): The Reincarnated Grizzly Bear, Young Man Gambles Often, The Twins Get into Hot Water (v. 3), Bladder and His Brothers; in a game in which the contestants kick one another, a hero secretly ties weapons to his moccasins and thereby kills his opponent when he kicks him: Young Man Gambles Often; threatening four times to shoot a bear, and causing the bear to cry: Hare Recruits Game Animals for Humans, Hare Establishes Bear Hunting; eating Giants: Ocean Duck; anthropophagy and cannibalism: A Giant Visits His Daughter, Turtle and the Giant, The Witch Men's Desert, The Were-Grizzly, Grandfather's Two Families, The Roaster, Redhorn's Father, Hawk Clan Origin Myth, The Lost Blanket, Young Man Gambles Often, White Wolf, The Twins Get into Hot Water, Partridge's Older Brother, The First Fox and Sauk War, The Fox-Hočąk War, The Hočągara Contest the Giants, Morning Star and His Friend, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Seven Maidens, Šųgepaga, The Reincarnated Grizzly Bear, The Woman who Loved Her Half-Brother, The Blessing of a Bear Clansman, Shakes the Earth, The Stone Heart, Thunder Cloud is Blessed; scattering of animals from their primordial village into permanent exile: Wolves and Humans, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, The War among the Animals; a doorway is unexpectedly found in the side of a hill which serves as a lodge for a powerful spirit: Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, Bluehorn's Nephews, Bluehorn Rescues His Sister, Thunderbird and White Horse; a young man leaves his uncle and mother behind and goes off to visit the father he has never met in the spirit abode where he lives: The Children of the Sun, The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head; a human being physically travels to Spiritland without having died: The Resurrection of the Chief's Daughter, Ghost Dance Origin Myth II, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, Sunset Point, Snowshoe Strings, The Thunderbird, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds, The Star Husband, White Wolf, Waruǧápara, How the Thunders Met the Nights, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, Buffalo Dance Origin Myth, Aračgéga's Blessings, The Blessing of a Bear Clansman, The Lost Blanket, The Twins Get into Hot Water, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, The Petition to Earthmaker, The Boy who would be Immortal, Thunder Cloud Marries Again, Rainbow and the Stone Arch (v. 2), Trickster Concludes His Mission; shouting at bears: The Brown Squirrel; boys playing with spirit children, killing them, and having the spirit chief revive them: The Nannyberry Picker; bringing someone back to life by picking them up and putting them on their feet: The Twins Disobey Their Father, The Two Boys; a mortal is returned to earth from the spirit village that he is visiting: Waruǧápara, The Thunderbird, Two Roads to Spiritland, Buffalo Dance Origin Myth, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, Snowshoe Strings, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, White Wolf, The Foolish Hunter, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds, The Petition to Earthmaker; starvation: The Brown Squirrel, White Wolf, The Red Man, The Old Man and His Four Dogs, A Man and His Three Dogs, Sun and the Big Eater, Bird Clan Origin Myth, Kaǧiga and Lone Man, The Bungling Host, The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, Jarrot and His Friends Saved from Starvation; kaǧi (crows, ravens) are starving, so one of them goes looking for sinews left on the meat racks of the old village: Kaǧiga and Lone Man; kaǧi (crows, ravens) find their favorite food, bear entrails: Kaǧiga and Lone Man; a hero kills iniquitous people by feeding them poison that bursts their stomachs: Ocean Duck, The Dipper.
1 Paul Radin, "The Hairy Man," (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) Winnebago V, #15: 1-89 (syllabary only). Paul Radin, "The Hairy Man," Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society) Notebook #9: 1-89 (English only).
2 "Coyote Taunts the Grizzly Bear," in American Indian Trickster Tales, selected and edited by Richard Erdoes and Alfonso Ortiz (New York: Penguin Putnam, Inc., 1998) 27.
3 "How the Old Woman Fought the Bears Who Came to Kill the Women Who Had Taken Part in a Feast During their Menstrual Period," in Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks, Freeman #3881 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Library, ca. 1912) Winnebago I, #7f: 1-17. The first part of this story is also told in Paul Radin, The Winnebago Tribe (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990 ) 253-254, and a brief reference to the Bear Feast is made on p. 180.
4 Walter W. Funmaker, The Bear in Winnebago Culture: A Study in Cosmology and Society (Master Thesis, University of Minnesota: June, 1974 [MnU-M 74-29]) 30. Dr. Funmaker was a member of the Bear Clan of the Winnebago tribe. Oliver LaMère and Harold B. Shinn, Winnebago Stories (New York, Chicago: Rand, McNally and Co., 1928) 75-86. Informant: Oliver LaMère of the Bear Clan.
5 Kickapoo Tales, collected by William Jones, trs. by Truman Michelson. Publications of the American Ethnological Society (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1915) IX:55-67.
6 Henry Tall Bull and Tom Weist, The Rolling Head (Billings: Montana Indian Publications, 1971) 14-18.