Traveler and the Thunderbird War

Version 1

from an interlinear text by George Ricehill (?)

Hocąk-English Interlinear Text

(126) Once they held a council up there. They said that the Waterspirits should be brought to an end. They did not know who could do it. So the son of the Thunderbird Chief fasted up there. Thus he did. Down on earth, the Waterspirits knew of it. So they counciled.

(127) The Waterspirit Chief had one son. "Traveler," they called him by name. Once his father came to his lodge. His father had always been going off somewhere, so he asked him, saying, "Father, why is it that you are always going off somewhere?" "I have no particular reason," he said to him. (128) And there he was always very quiet. Again, "You did not reply to my question." "Ask whatever you wish. Up there the son of the Thunderbird Chief is fasting. They would end the Waterspirits, thus is their purpose. So they are scared. Thus the council there is the reason that I go there. What will you do about it?" (129) "You're asking about it? Nįgéšge, that is not a difficult thing, but you say that I can do it. Tell them about it. I wonder, could it be such a great thing? You said, 'No.' Thus, I can do it. So I say it again, when you go there tell them. And furthermore, when they gather, I'll be there." "All right." Again they gathered. Then Traveler also went, (130) and his father told them what Traveler had said. Thus, the Waterspirit chief filled a pipe and then here they pointed the pipe at Traveler. He said, "Ho!," said he, "I am smoking the pipe." And he said to them, "Where the earth is deepest, there make a single strong house." "I will do it," he said.

(131) He went upstream to a small part of the Mississippi, and there at the end of it he made a lodge. There he laid. Thus he did, and then he talked to a man who was fasting. He told him, "I bless you," he said to him. And above the son of the Thunderbird Chief when he looked down into the earth, he saw him. He saw him lying down on earth, (132) and he knew, they say. And when he blessed him he again talked to the man, and, "In the middle of the day, then you will see him. Again, when you are ready to see him, I will tell you. And my grandson, sometimes when I will ask you something, you will do it. And my grandson, as for me, I bless you. And whatever it is, you shall not want for it, (133) and whenever you wish to kill an animal of any kind, you will do it. I mean before you saw me. And then what you wish to make, you can do it. Whatever you make of my body, it will be so. Yes, hereafter, you're having a little daylight. Then on the fourth day when the sun stands straight, there you will see me at what you used to call 'Holy Lake'." [inset]

(134) That man went there on the day that he indicated. And he came nearby. This day, when the sun stood straight, he was to see him. As he approached nearby, he was going down a ravine. And clouds with drizzly rain caught him. He was told, "If you are going to peep, peep at him secretly that way, and I will shoot him." This man looked over the bank there. (135) Just then they shot him. They shot forth at him a rainbow. And they came to lift him up. He brought him with all the water of the lake. Since he had gotten heavy, he could not carry him back home. This Thunderbird went back into the water. They took him below that way, but again eventually he lifted him. Alternating, one at a time, they took him back to their place. (136) They did the same. There this man went towards them. He had his arrows with him. He arrived. When they looked at him, there he stood. And the Thunderbird said, "My brother, the man has tired me out, shoot him for me. If you shoot him, the first time a man has ever fought one, you'll be the one to get him." And the Waterspirit also said, (137) "My grandson, I have blessed you once. I am he. The man tired me, shoot him for me." And, "Not only has he charge of that kind of thing, I can also do that kind of thing. My brother, he is not telling the truth, shoot him. At war, you can do whatever you like. I myself am in charge of that sort of thing." "My grandson, he's not telling the truth. I bless you. I am accustomed to doing it. (138) I once told you that you would do what I would ask you, I told you. This is it. This man has made me tired, shoot him for me. What you can do anytime, I can also do the same thing. Shoot him." "My brother, he did not tell the truth. If you shoot me, so you also will not last long." "My grandson, he is not telling you the truth. Shoot him now. He has blessed you already. What he has said will be true. (139) My grandson, just shoot him. If I kill him, we will win." So this man took out an arrow. He shot the Thunderbird, and then they took him below with them. And there, there was much noise, they say. They caught the Thunderbird. Traveler did it. This is all — I mean this story (wórak).1

Version 2

Traveler was the only son of one of the four great Island Weights, the Waterspirits that anchor the corners of the earth. He spent his time traveling about the world. On one of his journeys he learned that the Thunderbirds planned to utterly annihilate the Waterspirits. Traveler, who was not held in esteem by his father, quite unexpectedly offerred to meet the son of the chief of the Thunderbirds in single combat, a vow from which he could not be dissuaded. Traveler took up residence near the headwaters of the Mississippi, and there encountered a young faster to whom he gave the blessing of a full life, misrepresenting himself as his father. The boy's father encouraged him to fast again, and the next time the Waterspirit offered the boy wealth, but cautioned him to fast no longer. The father of the boy, however, told him to continue fasting, as he was convinced greater blessings were to follow. The spirits brought the boy before Traveler who told him that there was no point in continuing to fast since he had been given all that there was to give. But the father of the boy told him to persist, and when the youth fasted for the fourth time, they again brought him before Traveler. Traveler then offerred the boy war blessings and the right to use his body for medicine. As instructed, the boy met the Waterspirit at noon and was told to bring his offering to Big Lake (Lake Winnebago) [map the next morning. When the boy arrived, he found Traveler and a Thunderbird locked in mortal combat, each unable to extricate himself from the other's grasp. The Waterspirit and the Thunderbird each appealed to the boy in turn to give him aid. Each said the other lied, and appealed to the boy as a benefactor or as a kinsman. Finally, the Waterspirit threatened the mortal, and this was enough for the boy to shoot the Thunderbird with an arrow. The Thunderbird, with his dying breath, cursed the boy and his people, condemning them to be slain to the last man by an enemy warparty. Not long afterwards, all the boy's kinsmen were wiped out by an enemy raid.2

Version 3

This version is embedded in an epic telling of the Twins Myth, The Lost Blanket. The Twins are searching all the worlds for the blanket that was stolen from one of them. They come to an old man who refers them to Traveler. In what follows, references to the Twins and their blanket have been deleted in order to keep to the subject of the story of Traveler.

In the center of the earth there is to be found a lodge — this is the one the old man was referring to. ... The one in charge of it is named "Traveler." At first, at the very beginning of his life, he had been shrewd. He was the person in charge of this lodge. Although he was called "Traveler," the real name his parents had given him was "Chief's Child." This is the name they gave him. Now there are four Waterspirits whom the creator fashioned himself, to serve as earth-anchors [Island Weights]. They were thrust right down through the whole thickness of the earth. The youngest and last one created was placed at a spot called Long Lake, down the stream from St. Paul. It is his son who was placed in charge of the earth. The father is one of the spirits fashioned directly by the Creator. However he, Traveler, was born of woman (who was an ordinary Waterspirit).

There was once a Thunderbird who decided to kill all the great Waterspirits who had been created. The Waterspirits became frightened and so they called a council which lasted four years long to plan how they could kill him. Long they discussed the matter. (Then a Waterspirit came forward and volunteered to do it himself.) This Waterspirit did not amount to anything although he was the only son of the chief. He was like the great Waterspirits in appearance, yet all he did was to travel about visiting people; nothing else. In the beginning he was called the "Chief's Child," but finally they called him "Traveler." Because he traveled about so much, all over the earth, everyone knew him. Even the children knew him. He it was who killed the Thunderbird. However he did it by deceiving a human being. Because (of his victory) he was placed in charge of the earth. He was not put in charge of it by Earthmaker but by the people on earth. He was a wayward fellow, this, our lord of the earth. ... Yet in spite of everything he is the chief of all of us on earth, for this is the position that was bestowed upon him. And he lives at a place called "Holy Lake" (Te Wákącąk). It was from this place called "Holy Lake" that he, our chief, started when he ascended to fight the Thunderbird. This lake was a window for the earth. It had no bottom.3

Version 4

"The Iowa told Mr Hamilton of a Winnebago who saw a Thunder being fighting a subaquatic power." — J. O. Dorsey

"Sometimes the former bore the latter up into the air, and at other times the subaquatic power took his adversary beneath the water. The Wiunebago watched them all day, and each Power asked his assistance in overcoming the other, promising him a great reward. The man did not know which one to help; but at last he shot an arrow at the subaquatic power, who was carried up into the air by the Thunder-being, but the wounded one said to the man, 'You may become a great man yourself, but your relations must die.' And so they say it happened. He became very great but his relatives died."4

Version 5

from the collection of W. C. McKern

Original manuscript pages: | 117 | 118 | 119 | 120 | 121 | 122 |


(117) Something happened one time. That was why it is called "Holy Lake" (Te Wákącąk). Something happened between the Waterspirit and the Thunderbird. They are enemies. The Thunderbirds held a council amongst themselves. Here they decided to wipe out the Waterspirits entirely. This the Waterspirits knew. They were able to hear what was said. Then they were afraid. So the Waterspirits held a council to determine how they were to protect themselves. Holy Lake is a village of (118) these Waterspirits. So say the old Winnebagoes. One of those spirits had a son. He used to travel from one Waterspirit village to another, along the rivers and lakes. Often when he returned to his home, he found that his father was away. Then he went out and came back again. Then he said to his mother, "Where is my father? When I go away and return, he is not here. Where does he go?" Then she would not tell her son where the father went. She knew that they were holding a council to protect themselves from the Thunderers. That is why they called the boy "Traveling Man" (Wąkiwárekega).

One time, coming home, the boy accidentally discovered the council place where his father had gone. This fellow had no respect for anything. He saw some young men at the council whom he knew. "What do they talk about?" he asked them. "Go in and hear for yourself," they said. So he went in. He did stay long. "That is nothing," he said. "That which they try to do, anyone can do that," he said. This he said to the young men, his friends. They older spirits were discussing means of preventing the planned attack of the Thunderbirds. The other boys, hearing him when he went away, told those of the council (119) what Traveling Man had said. They were all thankful to hear that anybody could do this. But his father felt sorry for him. He thought that Traveling Man was helpless to meet the situation. The others said, "He must know something because he is traveling all over the world. Surely he has a great knowledge and this has caused him to speak." Then the council dismissed, since the Traveling Man was willing to assume the burden of defense. When the father returned home, he found his son waiting there. he said to him, "My boy, how can you have the power to do this? You have never fasted in your life. All those men at the council were powerful men, spirit gifted. They were afraid to undertake this thing. How can you expect to succeed?" "I know that I can do it if I get some help from them," said the boy, "but all alone I cannot do it." So he went to the council to tell them that his son wanted help. Those others agreed to help as but they could. He told his father that he wanted to lie next to the surface of the ground. He wanted them to attach a chain to him so that if anything happened to him they could pull him down out of danger.

At that mound at the south end of the lake, that is where he lay. There he fasted. At a spring near the north end of the lake, (120) there the Winnebago had a village at that time. A man of the Thunder Clan went to fast. He set up his lodge right at the mound over the Waterspirit. This man used to stay on the mound and came home in the evening, when he made himself humble before the spirits (cried). Finally, he felt as though he had been blessed. Finally, he told him that he blessed him. "I'll see you," said the Waterspirit, "during summer." He promised him what he begged for, and it was arranged to meet during the summer. Then the Waterspirit said, "You should give me a sacrifice of tobacco, white dear skin, and red feathers. Have them ready on the appointed day." On the appointed day, a fine still day, the man was waiting at the appointed place with his sacrifice. Then he came up by himself, all alone. He appeared above the water, a great long body with a long tail and crossed horns on his head. The day was clear and there was not a breath of wind. On the north shore were nothing but sand bars. The man saw a small cloud flying west towards the lake. They had not as yet talked to each other. When the cloud got just above, it dove and fell upon the place where the Waterspirit was. He lifted the Waterspirit out of the water, then he came down (121) again. He wrapped his tail about the Thunderbird and dragged him down towards the water. For a long time they struggled. Sometimes one and sometimes the other prevailed. The man had an arrow and stood there watching them. The Thunderbird said, "Brother, help me out. Shoot the Waterspirit. I am getting tired. The great spirit above gave you the bow and arrow. Be sure and kill this spirit." He blessed the Winnebago man and promised him great power. The man belonged to the Thunder Clan. That's why he called him "brother." The Waterspirit said, "Don't do this. As long as he blessed you, that is all right. This he gave you, but do not do as he asks, for I blessed you before he did. If you do this for him, don't ever again come near any water on earth." The Thunderbird said, "Do not hear him. he is not the only one who has water. We above also have water. Brother, shoot him for me." The Waterspirit said, "My grandson, don't believe in him. I blessed you before he did. Shoot him for me." So the man shot the Thunderbird. They took him under the water. So he was vanquished.

(122) He took the Thunderbird to the chief of the Waterspirits. There they placed the Thunderbird in chains. Then they talked of what thing should be done with him. Then they came to an agreement. If the Thunderer would marry the daughter of the chief of the Waterspirits, then they would not kill him. He agreed to do this, but he told them that he wanted to show himself to his own people, just show himself above the water from the waist up. So he told his people that he was saved and married to the chief's daughter, and not to worry about him. Then a council was held to offer some Waterspirits to the Thunderbirds (who ate Waterspirits). This offering is called hinŭ́kwagu. This the Waterspirits offered to the Thunderbirds. That is the reason every time a storm comes, the lightning strikes the banks of the lake on the east and west side. That is why rocks are all broken up. After that, they used to see certain kinds of fish in that lake, the body is like a fish and the head and arms are human. That is how it is. That is the offspring of the Thunderbird and his Waterspirit wife. That is why it is called "Holy Lake."5

Boulders on the East Bluff of Devil's Lake

Commentary. whatever you make of my body — Waterspirits offer their own bodies as blessings to those whom they favor. Medicines and poisons are made from their bodies. A Spirit Being can, of course, regenerate his own body at will. See the theme, "a Waterspirit is killed and his body is used as medicine": A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga, Great Walker's Warpath, The Tap the Head Medicine, The Seer.

when the sun stands straight (wirarocą́jegi) — noon.

Holy LakeTe Wákącąk was mistranslated by whites as "Devil's Lake." [map]

"Long Lake" — in Hocąk this would be Te Serec. It is probably Pigs Eye Lake, just off the Mississippi and a very short distance downstream from St. Paul. The original name of St. Paul was "Pigs Eye."

"at that mound at the south end of the lake" — there were a number of mounds at this locale. However, the phrase "that mound" suggests a reference to the most prominent, which can be uncontroversially identified as "Bird Mound" [inset]. Cole gives a thorough description of it:

At Kirkland on the southeast shore of Devil's Lake, is the famous bird effigy, its wings extended 240 feet from tip to tip, and its body stretched to a length of 115 feet. It now lies secure within the limits of the State Park, marked by an appropriate tablet, honored and embalmed in history. Fortunately, also, only small parts of the tail and the tip of one wing have been disfigured. The remarkable mound was first brought to public notice by William H Canfield in 1875. He made a careful survey and plat of it, which he sent to Dr. Lapham and his original drawing is preserved in the archives of the Wisconsin Archaeological Society. Since that day many thousands of visitors to the park have seen the bird mound, but many have also failed to notice it because of the absence of a marker to call attention to its pre-historical interest. That deficiency the members of the Archaeological Society and the Sauk County Historical Society decided to remedy. A joint meeting of the two organizations was therefore held at Kirkland on Labor Day, 1916, at which H. E. Cole, at that time president of the Historical Society, presented the tablet which marks the site of the Bird Effigy, which shares with the Man Mound the honors of being the most remarkable archaeological relic in Sauk County.6

The mound either represents a birdman, or exhibits a forked tail. The latter is probable, as the chief of the Thunders is Great Blackhawk, the black hawk being the American Swallow-tail Kite, which has a forked tail. As a member of the Thunderbird Clan, it might seem appropriate that he do his fasting appeal to the spirits from a Thunderbird mound.

"north end" — the spring can be seen in the northeast on this map.

"the mound over the Waterspirit" — this seems to imply that the Waterspirit placed himself under a Thunderbird mound. However, if the action has shifted to the north side, there is at least one mound near the village site. This is the Bobcat mound. Waterspirit mounds are located rather farther away, however. All things considered, it seems likely that Traveling Man located himself under the Bird Mound in the southern part of the shore, perhaps as a provocation.

"a fine still day" — on clear, sunny days, the Waterspirits like to come out and sun themselves. This, in addition to the fact that bodies of water are often blue, is why the Waterspirits are connected with the blue sky. This is the opposite of the Thunders, who manifest themselves in the dark clouds and have an affinity, therefore, to the Nightspirits.

"crossed horns" — Waterspirits universally have horns, but this is the first instance where they are said to cross one another.

"he came down" — this is because they had attached a chain to him.

"hinŭ́kwagu" — this seems to be for hinų́k wagu, from, hinų́k, "women"; wa-, "them"; and gu, "to bring forth" — "to bring forth women."

"the head and arms are human" — this corresponds to the fact that the Thunderbird showed himself to his people from the waist up.

Comparative Material. The friendship tribe of the Hocągara, the Menominee, have a strongly similar story, save that it substitutes a polar bear for the Waterspirit. "At the place now known as Thunder Lake a white bear once came out of the water to bask in the sun. An Inämäki (thunderer) prowling along, very hungry, swooped down on him. He struck his claws into the bear's back, but the bear succeeded in rushing into the water. Then a terrible struggle ensued. The two powerful manitous were evenly matched. Sometimes the thunderer would almost lift the bear from the water, but when the bird dragged its prey to the surface the water rose, sticking to the bear's claws with strange elasticity, and as soon as the bird tired the bear snapped back. Sometimes he would almost succeed in drawing the thunderer under water. While this desperate tussle was going on, an Indian, famous for his dreams, none other in fact, that Kinä, appeared on the scene, attracted by the noise. 'Shoot this bird and free me!' cried the bear, 'You know I am a strong manitou. I will grant you along life! I will make you and your family happy! I will give you power to find game at your very lodge door!' 'Do not heed him,' screamed the thunderer, 'If you kill me my people will destroy the Indians with our lightning! Shoot the bear! I can grant you all he promises, and more!' 'If you shoot me my people will never permit the Indians to go in a canoe or even draw water! They will be pulled in and drowned! Help me!' Kinä should not have interfered at all, then neither power would have been offended, but he judged it best to aid the bear, so he fired his arrow and broke the thunderer's wing, whereupon the bear dragged him down out of sight. Almost immediately afterwards there was a mighty rush of wings, and legions of thunderers appeared, but they were just too late. They struck the lake with their lightning until it was nearly dry, and blasted the nearby hill under which the bear had dragged their comrade. The whole earth trembled, but the Inämäkiwük were unable to dislodge the bear. Finally, they gave it up. As for the captive thunderer, perhaps the bear ate him, or the bird may have been changed into a mate for him. At all events since Kinä shot at all, it is just as well that he aided the bear or else the Indians could never to to the water for fear of being drowned. The thunderers were only angry for a shot time, and they rarely take revenge by killing a man with their lightning. For years after, just before a thunderstorm, rumblings could be heard beneath the lake from the thunderer there imprisoned, now they have ceased, a proof that the bird is no more."7

A fairly similar, albeit inverted, parallel story comes from the Cherokee. Two brothers went out hunting. After they set up camp, one of them went hunting for a deer. He came upon a scene of struggle. There a great Uktena (a serpentine Waterspirit) had a man in its grip and was choking him to death. The human called out: "Help me nephew. The Uktena is as much your enemy as mine!" So the hunter shot an arrow clean through the head of the Uktena, causing a plethora of blood to flow. The Uktena spun down the hill like a waterspout, tearing up everything. The man that the hunter had saved was Asgáya Gígagei, the Red Man of the Lightning. Red Man said, "Because you had rescued me, I will reward you." That night he took the hunter to where the body of the Uktena lay. Nothing was left except the bones. Where there were jets of lightning coming up from the ground, Red Man dug. There he found a scale of the Uktena. He took wood from a tree that had been struck by lightning, and made a fire in which he roasted the scale until it turned into charcoal. He wrapped this in a deerskin and gave it to the hunter. He was told that he would have extraordinary hunting powers, and that he must take the scale and hang it on a tree. Even while hanging there, it exerted so much power that his brother fell ill and was near to death. However, he had medicine from Red Man, and with this he cured him. Every day thereafter, the man was able to find game whenever he went hunting.8

A story of the same structure is given by the Mandan, but the Thunderbird here becomes an eagle, and the Waterspirit is made a rabbit. "Some men went out one time to get into pits to catch war-eagles. As they were returning toward evening, one man stopped on the way and sat down. As he was looking around, he saw an eagle chasing a rabbit. The rabbit was running round and round in a circle, and every little while the eagle would make a swoop for him. At each swoop the eagle would come nearer to catching the rabbit. The rabbit kept drawing closer and closer to the man; and as the eagle made a last great swoop, the rabbit jumped into the man's lap, and the eagle failed to get him. Then the Eagle said to the man, "Put him down! I am hungry and want to eat him." The Rabbit said to the man, "Save me! If you do, I will make you very renowned." Then the Eagle said, "Put him down! I will help you. Whatever I say is true. My feet never touch the ground; and whatever I undertake, I never fail in it." The Rabbit answered, "It is true that my feet are on the ground; but whatever I attempt, I too succeed in." And the man saved the Rabbit, and the Rabbit made him powerful, and always helped him in times of trouble."9

Our story comes fairly close to the set of myths in the Old World which are cognate to the Greek "Judgment of Paris." Proclus gives a summary of this story as it was contained in the lost Cypria. The events take place at the wedding of Achilles’ parents:

Zeus deliberates with Themis concerning the Trojan war; Strife (Έρις) approached the sumptuous banquet of the gods on the occasion of Peleus’ marriage. She set in place a νεῖκος concerning who was most fair among Athena, Hera, and Aphrodite, who were conducted by Hermes for judgment by the command of Zeus before Alexander on Mt. Ida. Alexander chose Aphrodite before all others having been persuaded by [the offer of] marriage to Helen.10

Proclus cannot dwell on details in such a short précis. However, the missing details reappear in the matching account of Apollodorus:

... Strife threw an apple (μῆλον) as a prize of beauty to be contended for by Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite; and Zeus commanded Hermes to lead them to Alexander on Ida in order to be judged by him. And they promised to give Alexander gifts. Hera said that if she were preferred to all women, she would give him the kingdom over all men; and Athena promised victory in war, and Aphrodite the hand of Helen. And he decided in favour of Aphrodite.11

The theme of the golden apple, which is not found in the early account, is nevertheless substantiated in a picture of the scene recorded on an ivory comb dated to ca. 700 B. C.12 The similarities of this myth to the Hocąk story can be tabulated.

Paradigm Greek Hocąk
[1 The chief god(s) of the upper world plot to wipe out a race that dwells in the world below. Zeus plots to cause the Trojan War. The Thunderbirds plot to rub out the Waterspirits.
[2 At a meeting of the gods, claimants for a prize present themselves. At a wedding, three goddesses, Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite, claim the prize. At a council of the Waterspirits, Traveler says that he will kill the Thunderbird.
[3 Strife breaks out among the gods over who shall claim a prize of merit. Strife breaks out among the gods over who shall be awarded a prize of merit. Fighting breaks out between the son of the Thunderbird chief and Traveler.
[4 Their merit is so even that victory cannot be claimed by any of them. The merit is so even that a judgment cannot be made. The fighting is so even a victor does not emerge.
[5 A mortal is brought in to determine who shall win. A mortal, Alexander (Paris), is brought in to be the judge. A mortal is to be the arbiter of who shall win.
[6 The contenders attempt to influence him with their special attributes and blessings. Each of the contenders attempts to bribe Paris with blessings. Each of the contenders attempts to bribe the mortal with blessings.
[7 The mortal chooses the blessings of the lowest sort. Paris chooses what is in fact the lowest of the blessings. The mortal chooses the blessings of the Lower World Waterspirit over the claims of kinship he owes to the Thunderbird.
[8 The lowest deity carries off the prize of Strife. Aphrodite wins and carries off the prize of the golden apple. The Waterspirit wins, and carries away the body of the Thunderbird.
[9 The mortal is blessed with carnal rewards, but incurs the curse of the losers. In battle he and his kinsmen are all killed. Paris is blessed with possession of Helen, but is cursed by the losers and is ultimately killed and his people wiped out. The mortal is blessed with the body of the Waterspirit to use for magic, but the Thunderbird curses him so that he soon dies and his kinsmen are rubbed out in battle.

It seems fair to say that the appeal of the Thunderbird is to things more noble than what the Waterspirit Traveler is offering in the way of blessings. In both stories, this choice has disastrous consequences. Both the Greeks and Hocągara share the appreciation that when a mortal intervenes in the strife of the gods, he is surely doomed, the only question being how bad the consequences will be.

Links: Traveler, Waterspirits, Island Weights, Thunderbirds, Lake Winnebago, Devil's Lake.

Stories: featuring Traveler as a character: The Nannyberry Picker, The Lost Blanket; in which Waterspirits occur as characters: Waterspirit Clan Origin Myth, The Green Waterspirit of Wisconsin Dells, The Lost Child, River Child and the Waterspirit of Devil's Lake, A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga, Bluehorn's Nephews, Holy One and His Brother, The Seer, The Nannyberry Picker, The Creation of the World (vv. 1, 4), Šųgepaga, The Sioux Warparty and the Waterspirit of Green Lake, The Waterspirit of Lake Koshkonong, The Waterspirit of Rock River, The Boulders of Devil's Lake, Devil's Lake — How it Got its Name, Old Man and Wears White Feather, The Waterspirit of Sugar Loaf Mounds, Lakes of the Wazija Origin Myth, Waterspirits Keep the Corn Fields Wet, The Waterspirit Guardian of the Intaglio Mound, The Diving Contest, The Lost Blanket, Redhorn's Sons, The Phantom Woman, Įcorúšika and His Brothers, Great Walker's Warpath, White Thunder's Warpath, The Descent of the Drum, The Shell Anklets Origin Myth, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, Snowshoe Strings, The Thunderbird, Hare Retrieves a Stolen Scalp (v. 2), The Two Children, The Twins Join Redhorn's Warparty, Earthmaker Sends Rušewe to the Twins, Paint Medicine Origin Myth, Waruǧábᵉra, 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, The Story of the Medicine Rite, How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Spiritual Descent of John Rave's Grandmother, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds, The Shaggy Man, The Woman who Married a Snake (?), Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, Ghost Dance Origin Myth I, The Sacred Lake, Lost Lake; mentioning Thunderbirds: The Thunderbird, Waruǧábᵉra, How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds, The Boulders of Devil's Lake, Thunderbird and White Horse, Bluehorn's Nephews, How the Hills and Valleys were Formed (vv. 1, 2), The Man who was a Reincarnated Thunderbird, The Thunder Charm, The Lost Blanket, The Twins Disobey Their Father, The Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth, Story of the Thunder Names, The Hawk Clan Origin Myth, Eagle Clan Origin Myth, Pigeon Clan Origins, Bird Clan Origin Myth, Adventures of Redhorn's Sons, Brave Man, Ocean Duck, Turtle's Warparty, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, The Quail Hunter, Heną́ga and Star Girl, The Twins Join Redhorn's Warparty, Redhorn's Sons, The Dipper, The Stone that Became a Frog, The Race for the Chief's Daughter, Redhorn Contests the Giants, The Sons of Redhorn Find Their Father, The Warbundle of the Eight Generations, Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Origin of the Hocąk Chief, The Spirit of Gambling, Wolf Clan Origin Myth, Black Otter's Warpath, Aracgéga's Blessings, Kunu's Warpath, The Orphan who was Blessed with a Horse, The Glory of the Morning, The Nightspirits Bless Ciwoit’éhiga, The Green Waterspirit of the Wisconsin Dells, A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga, Baldheaded Warclub Origin Myth, The Big Stone, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts, Song to Earthmaker, The Origins of the Milky Way; mentioning Island Weights: The Creation of the World, The Island Weight Songs, South Enters the Medicine Lodge, East Shakes the Messenger, East Enters the Medicine Lodge, North Shakes His Gourd, Wolves and Humans, Šųgepaga, The Lost Blanket, Thunderbird Clan Origin Myth (v. 1), The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, South Seizes the Messenger, Earthmaker Sends Rušewe to the Twins, The Messengers of Hare, Paint Medicine Origin Myth, Four Steps of the Cougar, The Petition to Earthmaker; about man-fish: The Were-fish, River Child and the Waterspirit of Devil's Lake, The King Bird, The Greedy Woman, Lake Wąkšikhomįgra (Mendota): the Origin of Its Name, The Spirit of Maple Bluff; mentioning sacred (artificial) mounds: The Waterspirit Guardian of the Intaglio Mound, The Green Lake Band, Baraboo in the 1840s, The Medicine Rite Foundation Myth (v. 1), The First Fox and Sauk War, Buffalo Dance, Buffalo Clan Origin Myth, Buffalo Dance Origin Myth, Brass and Red Bear Boy, Mijistéga and the Sauks, Bear Clan Origin Myth (v. 12), Little Priest’s Game, The Story of How Little Priest went out as a Soldier, The Resurrection of the Chief’s Daughter, Bird Clan Origin Myth, Lost Lake, Tobacco Origin Myth, v. 5, The First Fox and Sauk War, Featherstonhaugh's Canoe Voyage; see also, The Archaeology of the Wazija, Indian History of Winneshiek County, Habitat of the Winnebago, 1632-1832, The Winnebago Tribe, The Hocąk Notebook of W. C. McKern from the Milwaukee Public Museum, The McKern Papers on Hocąk Ethnography, The Wisconsin Winnebagoes, Information Respecting the History, Condition and Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States, The Smoky Mountain Massacre, The Thunderbird Warclub; set at Lake Winnebago (Te Xete): Lake Winnebago Origin Myth, The First Fox and Sauk War, White Thunder's Warpath, The Great Fish, The Wild Rose, The Two Boys, Great Walker's Warpath, The Blessing of a Bear Clansman, The Fox-Hocąk War, Holy Song, First Contact (v. 2), Lakes of the Wazija Origin Myth, The Two Children (?); set at Devil's Lake (Te Wákącąk): Devil's Lake — How it Got its Name, The Boulders of Devil's Lake, River Child and the Waterspirit of Devil's Lake, The Green Waterspirit of Wisconsin Dells, The Sacred Lake, The Lost Blanket; occurring in Minnesota: James’ Horse, Bow Meets Disease Giver, The Lost Blanket, Great Walker's Warpath; set at Long Lake (Te Serec) in St. Paul, Minnesota: The Lost Blanket, Great Walker's Warpath; set on the Mississippi (Nį Kuse): The Two Children, Trickster Concludes His Mission, The Hocąk Migration Myth, Oto Origins, Bluehorn's Nephews, Earthmaker Sends Rušewe to the Twins, Keramaniš’aka's Blessing, The Serpents of Trempealeau, The Story of the Medicine Rite, The Woman's Scalp Medicine Bundle, Black Otter's Warpath.

Themes: spirits meet in a council: The Twins Retrieve Red Star's Head, Black and White Moons, Holy One and His Brother, The Creation Council, The Children of the Sun, Hare Secures the Creation Lodge, The Gift of Shooting, East Shakes the Messenger, The Descent of the Drum, East Enters the Medicine Lodge, South Enters the Medicine Lodge, The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, The Petition to Earthmaker, The Boy who would be Immortal; a spirit is quoted as he gives someone a blessing: Earthmaker Blesses Wagíšega (Wešgíšega), The Nightspirits Bless Jobenągiwįxka, Disease Giver Blesses Jobenągiwįxka, Eats the Stinking Part of the Deer Ankle, The Man Whose Wife was Captured, The Blessings of the Buffalo Spirits, The Stench-Earth Medicine Origin Myth, The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion, Ghost Dance Origin Myth I, The Woman Who Fought the Bear, The Blessing of a Bear Clansman, Aracgéga's Blessings, The Girl who Refused a Blessing from the Wood Spirits, The Friendship Drum Origin Myth, The Meteor Spirit and the Origin of Wampum, Great Walker's Medicine, Buffalo Dance Origin Myth, Thunderbird and White Horse, The Plant Blessing of Earth, The Completion Song Origin, The Man who was Blessed by the Sun, Thunder Cloud is Blessed, The Difficult Blessing, The Blessing of Šokeboka, A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga, Bow Meets Disease Giver, Heną́ga and Star Girl, Sunset Point, The Rounded Wood Origin Myth, A Peyote Vision, The Healing Blessing; the war between Thunderbirds and Waterspirits: How the Thunders Met the Nights, The Boulders of Devil's Lake, The Twins Join Redhorn's Warparty, Brave Man, The Lost Blanket, Ocean Duck, The Daughter-in-Law's Jealousy, A Waterspirit Blesses Mąnį́xete’ų́ga, The Thunderbird, Heną́ga and Star Girl, Waruǧábᵉra, Bluehorn's Nephews, The Waterspirit of Sugar Loaf Mounds; a mortal tips the balance in lethal combat between a Thunderbird and a Waterspirit (or Wood Spirit): The Lost Blanket, Pete Dupeé and the Ghosts; someone is abducted and led off into captivity: The Captive Boys, A Man's Revenge, Bluehorn's Nephews, The Lost Child, Wears White Feather on His Head, Įcorúšika and His Brothers, Bird Clan Origin Myth, The Man Whose Wife was Captured, Bladder and His Brothers, The Boy who was Captured by the Bad Thunderbirds, Bluehorn Rescues His Sister, Black Otter's Warpath, The Boy who was Blessed by a Mountain Lion, The Green Man, Brave Man, The Chief of the Heroka, Šųgepaga, Hare Gets Swallowed, Hare Acquires His Arrows, The Raccoon Coat, Wojijé, Wolves and Humans, The Woman Who Became an Ant, Thunderbird and White Horse, Heną́ga and Star Girl, Brass and Red Bear Boy, The Boy who Flew, Testing the Slave, Soldiers Catch Two Boys, a Black One and a White One; someone is captured by Waterspirits: Įcorúšika and His Brothers, Holy One and His Brother, Redhorn's Sons, Heną́ga and Star Girl, The King Bird; a man has the lower body of a fish: The King Bird.

Genealogy: Traveler Genealogy.


1 "The Struggle between the Son of the Thunderbird and the Son of the Waterspirit," in Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks, Winnebago III, #11a, Freeman #3892 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1909?) Story 10: 126-139.

2 Paul Radin, Primitive Man as Philosopher (New York: D. Appleton Co., 1927) 179-185.

3 Paul Radin, The Evolution of an American Indian Prose Epic, Part I (Basil, Switzerland: Ethnographical Museum, 1954) 47-48.

4 James Owen Dorsey, A Study of Siouan Cults, in the Annual report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, Volume 11, 1889-1890 (Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1894) 361-544 [424].

5 W. C. McKern, Winnebago Notebook (Milwaukee: Milwaukee Public Museum, 1927) 117-122.

6 Harry Ellsworth Cole, A Standard History of Sauk County, Wisconsin, Volume 1 (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1918) 154-155, cf. 126.

7 Alanson Skinner and John V. Satterlee, "The Legend of Thunder Lake," Badger Folklore, 2, #4 (April-May, 1950): 6.

8 "The Red Man and the Uktena," in James Mooney, History, Myths, and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees (Asheville, North Carolina: Bright Mountain Books, 1992 [1891/1900]) Story 52: 300-301.

9 George F. Will, "Some Hidatsa and Mandan Tales," The Journal of American Folklore, 25, #95. (Jan. - Mar., 1912): 93-94 [94, #5]. Informant: James Holding Eagle.

10 Proclus, Chrestomathy 1; cf. Iliad 24.25-30 for the epic’s sole allusion to the Judgment of Paris. The same functional division is also maintained in Apollodorus, Epitome 3.2; Euripides, Iphigeneia in Aulis 1300-1310; Trojan Women 924-930; Hyginus, Fabulæ 92; Isocrates, Helen 41; and Lucian, Dialogues of the Gods 20.

11 Apollodorus, Epitome 3.2.

12 Anthony Robert Littlewood, "The Symbolism of the Apple in Greek and Roman Literature," Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, 72 (1968): 147-181 [151 and nts. 6-7].