The Simpleton's Wisdom
Story Of Pretty Feathered Forehead
The Story Of The Pet Crane
The Story Of The Pet Crow
The Four Brothers Or Inyanhoksila Stone Boy
Story Of The Rabbits
The Wasna Pemmican Man And The Unktomi Spider
The Little Mice
A Little Brave And The Medicine Woman
The Quapaw Or Kwapa
The Waqpe-tonwan Or Wahpeton
The Ni-u'-t'a-tci Or Missouri
Random Sioux Myths
10 _sara (extinct)_
The Waqpe-tonwan Or Wahpeton
The Eastern And Southern Tribes
Story Of The Two Young Friends
There were once in a very large Indian camp two little boys who were
fast friends. One of the boys, "Chaske" (meaning first born), was the
son of a very rich family, and was always dressed in the finest of
clothes of Indian costume. The other boy, "Hake" (meaning last
born), was an orphan and lived with his old grandmother, who was very
destitute, and consequently could not dress the boy in fine raiment.
So poorly was the boy dressed that the boys who had good clothes always
tormented him and would not play in his company.
Chaske did not look at the clothes of any boy whom he chose as a friend,
but mingled with all boys regardless of how they were clad, and would
study their dispositions. The well dressed he found were vain and
conceited. The fairly well dressed he found selfish and spiteful. The
poorly clad he found to be generous and truthful, and from all of them
he chose "Hake" for his "Koda" (friend). As Chaske was the son of the
leading war chief he was very much sought after by the rest of the boys,
each one trying to gain the honor of being chosen for the friend and
companion of the great chief's son; but, as I have before said, Chaske
carefully studied them all and finally chose the orphan Hake.
It was a lucky day for Hake when he was chosen for the friend and
companion of Chaske. The orphan boy was taken to the lodge of his
friend's parents and dressed up in fine clothes and moccasins. (When the
Indians' sons claim any one as their friend, the friend thus chosen is
adopted into the family as their own son).
Chaske and Hake were inseparable. Where one was seen the other was not
far distant. They played, hunted, trapped, ate and slept together. They
would spend most of the long summer days hunting in the forests.
Time went on and these two fast friends grew up to be fine specimens of
their tribe. When they became the age to select a sweetheart they would
go together and make love to a girl. Each helping the other to win the
affection of the one of his choice. Chaske loved a girl who was the
daughter of an old medicine man. She was very much courted by the other
young men of the tribe, and many a horse loaded with robes and fine
porcupine work was tied at the medicine man's tepee in offering for the
hand of his daughter, but the horses, laden as when tied there, were
turned loose, signifying that the offer was not accepted.
The girl's choice was Chaske's friend Hake. Although he had never made
love to her for himself, he had always used honeyed words to her and
was always loud in his praises for his friend Chaske. One night the two
friends had been to see the girl, and on their return Chaske was very
quiet, having nothing to say and seemingly in deep study. Always of
a bright, jolly and amiable disposition, his silence and moody spell
grieved his friend very much, and he finally spoke to Chaske, saying:
"Koda, what has come over you? You who were always so jolly and full of
fun? Your silence makes me grieve for you and I do not know what you are
feeling so downhearted about. Has the girl said anything to you to make
you feel thus?"
"Wait, friend," said Chaske, "until morning, and then I will know how to
answer your inquiry. Don't ask me anything more tonight, as my heart is
having a great battle with my brain."
Hake bothered his friend no more that night, but he could not sleep. He
kept wondering what "Pretty Feather" (the girl whom his friend loved)
could have said to Chaske to bring such a change over him. Hake never
suspected that he himself was the cause of his friend's sorrow, for
never did he have a thought that it was himself that Pretty Feather
The next morning after they had eaten breakfast, Chaske proposed that
they should go out on the prairies, and see if they would have the good
luck to kill an antelope. Hake went out and got the band of horses, of
which there were over a hundred. They selected the fleetest two in the
herd, and taking their bows and arrows, mounted and rode away towards
Hake was overjoyed to note the change in his friend. His oldtime jollity
had returned. They rode out about five miles, and scaring up a drove
of antelope they started in hot pursuit, and as their horses were very
fleet of foot soon caught up to the drove, and each singling out his
choice quickly dispatched him with an arrow. They could easily have
killed more of the antelope, but did not want to kill them just for
sport, but for food, and knowing that they had now all that their horses
could pack home, they dismounted and proceeded to dress their kill.
After each had finished packing the kill on his horse, Chaske said:
"Let us sit down and have a smoke before we start back. Besides, I have
something to tell you which I can tell better sitting still than I can
riding along." Hake came and sat down opposite his friend, and while
they smoked Chaske said:
"My friend, we have been together for the last twenty years and I
have yet the first time to deceive you in any way, and I know I can
truthfully say the same of you. Never have I known you to deceive me nor
tell me an untruth. I have no brothers or sisters. The only brother's
love I know is yours. The only sister's love I will know will be Pretty
Feather's, for brother, last night she told me she loved none but you
and would marry you and you only. So, brother, I am going to take my
antelope to my sister-in-law's tent and deposit it at her door. Then she
will know that her wish will be fulfilled. I thought at first that
you had been playing traitor to me and had been making love to her for
yourself, but when she explained it all to me and begged me to intercede
for her to you, I then knew that I had judged you wrongfully, and that,
together with my lost love, made me so quiet and sorrowful last night.
So now, brother, take the flower of the nation for your wife, and I will
be content to continue through life a lonely bachelor, as never again
can I give any woman the place which Pretty Feather had in my heart."
Their pipes being smoked out they mounted their ponies and Chaske
started up in a clear, deep voice the beautiful love song of Pretty
Feather and his friend Hake.
Such is the love between two friends, who claim to be as brothers among
the Indians. Chaske gave up his love of a beautiful woman for a man who
was in fact no relation to him.
Hake said, "I will do as you say, my friend, but before I can marry the
medicine man's daughter, I will have to go on the warpath and do
some brave deed, and will start in ten days." They rode towards home,
planning which direction they would travel, and as it was to be their
first experience on the warpath, they would seek advice from the old
warriors of the tribe.
On their arrival at the village Hake took his kill to their own tent,
while Chaske took his to the tent of the Medicine Man, and deposited it
at the door and rode off towards home.
The mother of Pretty Feather did not know whether to take the offering
or not, but Pretty Feather, seeing by this offering that her most
cherished wish was to be granted, told her mother to take the meat and
cook it and invite the old women of the camp to a feast in honor of the
son-in-law who was soon to keep them furnished with plenty of meat. Hake
and his friend sought out all of the old warriors and gained all the
information they desired. Every evening Hake visited his intended wife
and many happy evenings they spent together.
The morning of the tenth day the two friends left the village and
turned their faces toward the west where the camps of the enemy are
more numerous than in any other direction. They were not mounted and
therefore traveled slowly, so it took about ten days of walking before
they saw any signs of the enemy. The old warriors had told them of a
thickly wooded creek within the enemies' bounds. The old men said, "That
creek looks the ideal place to camp, but don't camp there by any means,
because there is a ghost who haunts that creek, and any one who camps
there is disturbed all through the night, and besides they never return,
because the ghost is Wakan (holy), and the enemies conquer the travelers
every time." The friends had extra moccasins with them and one extra
blanket, as it was late in the fall and the nights were very cold.
They broke camp early one morning and walked all day. Along towards
evening, the clouds which had been threatening all day, hurriedly opened
their doors and down came the snowflakes thick and fast. Just before it
started snowing the friends had noticed a dark line about two miles in
advance of them. Chaske spoke to his friend and said: "If this storm
continues we will be obliged to stay overnight at Ghost Creek, as
I noticed it not far ahead of us, just before the storm set in." "I
noticed it also," said Hake. "We might as well entertain a ghost all
night as to lie out on these open prairies and freeze to death." So they
decided to run the risk and stay in the sheltering woods of Ghost Creek.
When they got to the creek it seemed as if they had stepped inside a big
tepee, so thick was the brush and timber that the wind could not be felt
at all. They hunted and found a place where the brush was very thick and
the grass very tall. They quickly pulled the tops of the nearest willows
together and by intertwining the ends made them fast, and throwing
their tent robe over this, soon had a cosy tepee in which to sleep.
They started their fire and cooked some dried buffalo meat and buffalo
tallow, and were just about to eat their supper when a figure of a man
came slowly in through the door and sat down near where he had entered.
Hake, being the one who was doing the cooking, poured out some tea into
his own cup, and putting a piece of pounded meat and marrow into a small
plate, placed it before the stranger, saying: "Eat, my friend, we are
on the warpath and do not carry much of a variety of food with us, but I
give you the best we have."
The stranger drew the plate towards him, and commenced eating
ravenously. He soon finished his meal and handed the dish and cup back.
He had not uttered a word so far. Chaske filled the pipe and handed it
to him. He smoked for a few minutes, took one last draw from the pipe
and handed it back to Chaske, and then he said: "Now, my friends, I am
not a living man, but the wandering spirit of a once great warrior, who
was killed in these woods by the enemy whom you two brave young men are
now seeking to make war upon. For years I have been roaming these woods
in hopes that I might find some one brave enough to stop and listen
to me, but all who have camped here in the past have run away at my
approach or fired guns or shot arrows at me. For such cowards as these
I have always found a grave. They never returned to their homes. Now I
have found two brave men whom I can tell what I want done, and if you
accomplish what I tell you to do, you will return home with many horses
and some scalps dangling from your belts. Just over this range of hills
north of us, a large village is encamped for the winter. In that camp is
the man who laid in ambush and shot me, killing me before I could get
a chance to defend myself. I want that man's scalp, because he has been
the cause of my wanderings for a great many years. Had he killed me on
the battlefield my spirit would have at once joined my brothers in the
happy hunting grounds, but being killed by a coward, my spirit is doomed
to roam until I can find some brave man who will kill this coward and
bring me his scalp. This is why I have tried every party who have camped
here to listen to me, but as I have said before, they were all cowards.
Now, I ask you two brave young men, will you do this for me?"
"We will," said the friends in one voice. "Thank you, my boys. Now, I
know why you came here, and that one of you came to earn his feathers by
killing an enemy, before he would marry; the girl he is to marry is
my granddaughter, as I am the father of the great Medicine Man. In the
morning there will pass by in plain sight of here a large party. They
will chase the buffalo over on that flat. After they have passed an old
man leading a black horse and riding a white one will come by on the
trail left by the hunting party. He will be driving about a hundred
horses, which he will leave over in the next ravine. He will then
proceed to the hunting grounds and get meat from the different hunters.
After the hunters have all gone home he will come last, singing the
praises of the ones who gave him the meat. This man you must kill and
scalp, as he is the one I want killed. Then take the white and black
horse and each mount and go to the hunting grounds. There you will see
two of the enemy riding about picking up empty shells. Kill and scalp
these two and each take a scalp and come over to the high knoll and I
will show you where the horses are, and as soon as you hand me the old
man's scalp I will disappear and you will see me no more. As soon as I
disappear, it will start in snowing. Don't be afraid as the snow will
cover your trail, but nevertheless, don't stop traveling for three days
and nights, as these people will suspect that some of your tribe have
done this, and they will follow you until you cross your own boundary
When morning came, the two friends sat in the thick brush and watched
a large party pass by their hiding place. So near were they that the
friends could hear them laughing and talking. After the hunting party
had passed, as the spirit had told them, along came the old man, driving
a large band of horses and leading a fine looking coal black horse. The
horse the old man was riding was as white as snow. The friends crawled
to a little brush covered hill and watched the chase after the shooting
had ceased. The friends knew it would not be long before the return of
the party, so they crawled back to their camp and hurriedly ate some
pounded meat and drank some cherry tea. Then they took down their robe
and rolled it up and got everything in readiness for a hurried flight
with the horses. Scarcely had they got everything in readiness when the
party came by, singing their song of the chase. When they had all gone
the friends crawled down to the trail and lay waiting for the old man.
Soon they heard him singing. Nearer and nearer came the sounds of the
song until at last at a bend in the road, the old man came into view.
The two friends arose and advanced to meet him. On he came still
singing. No doubt he mistook them for some of his own people. When
he was very close to them they each stepped to either side of him and
before he could make an outcry they pierced his cowardly old heart with
two arrows. He had hardly touched the ground when they both struck him
with their bows, winning first and second honors by striking an enemy
after he has fallen. Chaske having won first honors, asked his friend to
perform the scalping deed, which he did. And wanting to be sure that the
spirit would get full revenge, took the whole scalp, ears and all, and
tied it to his belt. The buffalo beef which the old man had packed upon
the black horse, they threw on the top of the old man. Quickly mounting
the two horses, they hastened out across the long flat towards the
hunting grounds. When they came in sight of the grounds there they saw
two men riding about from place to place. Chaske took after the one
on the right, Hake the one on the left. When the two men saw these two
strange men riding like the wind towards them, they turned their horses
to retreat towards the hills, but the white and the black were the
swiftest of the tribe's horses, and quickly overtook the two fleeing
men. When they came close to the enemy they strung their arrows onto the
bowstring and drove them through the two fleeing hunters. As they were
falling they tried to shoot, but being greatly exhausted, their bullets
whistled harmlessly over the heads of the two friends. They scalped the
two enemies and took their guns and ammunition, also secured the two
horses and started for the high knoll. When they arrived at the place,
there stood the spirit. Hake presented him with the old man's scalp and
then the spirit showed them the large band of horses, and saying, "Ride
hard and long," disappeared and was seen no more by any war parties,
as he was thus enabled to join his forefathers in the happy hunting
The friends did as the spirit had told them. For three days and three
nights they rode steadily. On the fourth morning they came into their
own boundary. From there on they rode more slowly, and let the band
of horses rest and crop the tops of long grass. They would stop
occasionally, and while one slept the other kept watch. Thus they got
fairly well rested before they came in sight of where their camp had
stood when they had left. All that they could see of the once large
village was the lone tent of the great Medicine Man. They rode up on to
a high hill and farther on towards the east they saw smoke from a great
many tepees. They then knew that something had happened and that the
village had moved away.
"My friend," said Chaske, "I am afraid something has happened to the
Medicine Man's lodge, and rather than have you go there, I will go alone
and you follow the trail of our party and go on ahead with the horses.
I will take the black and the white horses with me and I will follow on
later, after I have seen what the trouble is."
"Very well, my friend, I will do as you say, but I am afraid something
has happened to Pretty Feather." Hake started on with the horses,
driving them along the broad trail left by the hundreds of travois.
Chaske made slowly towards the tepee, and stopping outside, stood and
listened. Not a sound could he hear. The only living thing he saw was
Pretty Feather's spotted horse tied to the side of the tent. Then he
knew that she must be dead. He rode off into the thick brush and tied
his two horses securely. Then he came back and entered the tepee. There
on a bed of robes lay some one apparently dead. The body was wrapped
in blankets and robes and bound around and around with parfleche ropes.
These he carefully untied and unwound. Then he unwrapped the robes and
blankets and when he uncovered the face, he saw, as he had expected
to, the face of his lost love, Pretty Feather. As he sat gazing on her
beautiful young face, his heart ached for his poor friend. He himself
had loved and lost this beautiful maiden, and now his friend who had won
her would have to suffer the untold grief which he had suffered.
What was that? Could it have been a slight quivering of the nostrils
that he had seen, or was it mad fancy playing a trick on him? Closer
he drew to her face, watching intently for another sign. There it was
again, only this time it was a long, deep drawn breath. He arose, got
some water and taking a small stick slowly forced open her mouth and
poured some into it. Then he took some sage, dipped it into the water
and sprinkled a little on her head and face. There were many parfleche
bags piled around the tepee, and thinking he might find some kind of
medicine roots which he could use to revive her he started opening
them one after the other. He had opened three and was just opening
the fourth, when a voice behind him asked: "What are you looking for?"
Turning quickly, he saw Pretty Feather looking at him. Overjoyed, he
cried, "What can I do so that you can get up and ride to the village
with me? My friend and I just returned with a large band of horses and
two scalps. We saw this tent and recognized it. My friend wanted to
come, but I would not let him, as I feared if he found anything had
happened to you he would do harm to himself, but now he will be anxious
for my return, so if you will tell me what you need in order to revive
you, I will get it, and we can then go to my friend in the village." "At
the foot of my bed you will find a piece of eagle fat. Build a fire and
melt it for me. I will drink it and then we can go."
Chaske quickly started a fire, got out the piece of fat and melted it.
She drank it at one draught, and was about to arise when she suddenly
said: "Roll me up quick and take the buffalo hair rope and tie it about
my spotted horse's neck; tie his tail in a knot and tie him to the door.
Then run and hide behind the trees. There are two of the enemy coming
Chaske hurriedly obeyed her orders, and had barely concealed himself
behind the trees, when there came into view two of the enemy. They saw
the horse tied to the door of the deserted tent, and knew that some dead
person occupied the tepee, so through respect for the dead, they turned
out and started to go through the brush and trees, so as not to pass the
door. (The Indians consider it a bad omen to pass by the door of a tepee
occupied by a dead body, that is, while in the enemy's country). So
by making this detour they traveled directly towards where Chaske was
concealed behind the tree. Knowing that he would be discovered, and
there being two of them, he knew the only chance he had was for him
to kill one of them before they discovered him, then he stood a better
chance at an even combat. On they came, little thinking that one of them
would in a few minutes be with his forefathers.
Chaske noiselessly slipped a cartridge into the chamber of his gun,
threw it into action and took deliberate aim at the smaller one's
breast. A loud report rang out and the one he had aimed at threw up his
arms and fell heavily forward, shot through the heart.
Reloading quickly Chaske stepped out from behind the tree. He could
easily have killed the other from his concealed position, but, being a
brave young man, he wanted to give his opponent a fair chance. The other
had unslung his gun and a duel was then fought between the two lone
combatants. They would spring from side to side like two great cats.
Then advance one or two steps and fire. Retreat a few steps, spring to
one side and fire again. The bullets whistled past their heads, tore up
the earth beneath their feet, and occasionally one would hit its mark,
only to cause a flesh wound.
Suddenly the enemy aimed his gun and threw it upon the ground. His
ammunition was exhausted, and slowly folding his arms he stood facing
his opponent, with a fearless smile upon his face, expecting the next
moment to fall dead from a bullet from the rifle of Chaske. Not
so. Chaske was too honorable and noble to kill an unarmed man, and
especially one who had put up such a brave fight as had this man. Chaske
advanced and picked up the empty gun. The Toka (enemy) drew from a
scabbard at his belt a long bowie knife, and taking it by the point
handed it, handle first, to Chaske. This signified surrender. Chaske
scalped the dead Toka and motioned for his prisoner to follow him. In
the meantime Pretty Feather had gotten up and stood looking at the duel.
When she heard the first shot she jumped up and cut a small slit in the
tent from which she saw the whole proceedings. Knowing that one or both
of them must be wounded, she hurriedly got water and medicine roots, and
when they came to the tent she was prepared to dress their wounds.
Chaske had a bullet through his shoulder and one through his hand. They
were very painful but not dangerous. The prisoner had a bullet through
his leg, also one through the muscle of his left arm. Pretty Feather
washed and dressed their wounds, and Chaske went and brought the black
and white horses and mounting Pretty Feather upon the white horse, and
the prisoner on her spotted one, the three soon rode into the village,
and there was a great cry of joy when it was known that Pretty Feather
had come back to them again.
Hake, who was in his tent grieving, was told that his friend had
returned and with him Pretty Feather. Hearing this good news he at
once went to the Medicine Man's tent and found the Medicine Man busily
dressing the wounds of his friend and a stranger. The old Medicine Man
turned to Hake and said:
"Son-in-law, take your wife home with you. It was from grief at your
absence that she went into a trance, and we, thinking she was dead, left
her for such. Hadn't it been for your friend here, she would surely have
been a corpse now. So take her and keep her with you always, and take as
a present from me fifty of my best horses."
Hake and his beautiful bride went home, where his adopted mother had a
fine large tent put up for them. Presents of cooking utensils, horses,
robes and finely worked shawls and moccasins came from every direction,
and last of all Chaske gave as a present to his friend the Toka man whom
he had taken as prisoner. On presenting him with this gift, Chaske spoke
"My friend, I present to you, that you may have him as a servant to
look after your large band of horses, this man with whom I fought a
two hours' duel, and had his ammunition lasted he would probably have
conquered me, and who gave me the second hardest fight of my life.
The hardest fight of my life was when I gave up Pretty Feather. You
have them both. To the Toka (enemy) be kind, and he will do all your
biddings. To Pretty Feather be a good husband."
So saying, Chaske left them, and true to his word, lived the remainder
of his days a confirmed bachelor.
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