Blackfoot: The Theft from the Sun

This story is part of the Blackfoot unit. Story source: Blackfeet Indian Stories by George Bird Grinnell (1915).

The Theft from the Sun

One time when Old Man was on a journey, he came to the Sun's lodge, and went in and sat down, and the Sun asked him to stay with him for a time. Old Man was glad to do so. One day the meat was all gone, and the Sun said, "Well, Old Man, what do you say if we go out and kill some deer?"

"I like what you say," said Old Man. "Deer meat is good."

The Sun took down a bag that was hanging from a lodge pole and took from it a handsome pair of leggings, embroidered with porcupine quills and pretty feathers.

"These are my hunting leggings," said the Sun; "they have great power. When I want to kill deer, all I have to do is to put them on and walk around a patch of brush, and the leggings set it on fire and drive out the deer so that I can shoot them."

"Well, well," exclaimed Old Man, "how wonderful that is!"

He began to think, "I wish I had such a pair of leggings as that," and after he had thought about it some more, he made up his mind that he would have those leggings if he had to steal them.

They went out to hunt, and when they came to a patch of brush, the Sun set it on fire with his hunting leggings. A number of deer ran out, and each shot one.

That night when they were going to bed, the Sun pulled off his leggings and laid them aside. Old Man saw where he had put them, and in the middle of the night, after everyone was asleep, he took the leggings and went away. He travelled a long time until he had gone far and was tired; then, making a pillow of the leggings, he lay down and slept.

After a while he heard someone speaking and woke up and saw that it was day. Someone was talking to him. The Sun was saying, "Old Man, why are my leggings under your head?"

Old Man looked about him and saw that he was in the Sun's lodge. He thought he must have wandered around and got lost and returned there.

Again the Sun spoke, and asked, "What are you doing with my leggings?"

"Oh," replied Old Man, "I could not find anything for a pillow, so I put these leggings under my head."

When night came and all had gone to bed, again Old Man stole the leggings and ran off. This time he did not walk at all. He kept running until it was almost morning, and then lay down and slept.

When morning came he found himself still in the Sun's lodge. You see what a fool he was; he did not know that the whole world is the Sun's lodge. He did not know that, no matter how far he ran, he could not get out of the Sun's sight.

This time the Sun said, "Old Man, since you like my leggings so much, I give them to you. Keep them." Then Old Man was glad and he went away.

One day his food was all gone, and he put on the hunting leggings and went out and set fire to a piece of brush. He was just going to kill some deer that were running out when he saw that the fire was getting close to him. He ran away as fast as he could, but the fire gained on him and began to burn his legs. His leggings were all on fire. He came to a river and jumped in and pulled off the leggings as soon as he could. They were burnt to pieces.

Perhaps the Sun did this because Old Man tried to steal his leggings.

(600 words)

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