Friday, June 6, 2014

Great Plains: Ictinike and the Creators

This story is part of the Great Plains unit. Story source: Myths and Legends of the Great Plains by Katharine Berry Judson (1913).

Ictinike and the Creators
Omaha

Ictinike married and dwelt in a lodge. One day he said to his wife, “Hand me that tobacco pouch. I must go visit your grandfather, Beaver.” So he departed.

As he was entering Beaver’s lodge, Beaver said, “Ho, pass around to one side.” And they seated Ictinike on a pillow.

Beaver’s wife said, “We have been without food. How can we give your grandfather anything to eat?” Now Beaver had four young ones.

The youngest Beaver said, “Father, let me serve for food.” So the youngest Beaver served for food.

Beaver’s wife therefore gave some of the meat to Ictinike, who ate it. But before letting him eat it, Beaver said to him, “Be careful lest you break even a single bone by biting! Do not break a bone!” Yet Ictinike broke one of the toe bones.

After the meal, Beaver gathered the bones, put them in a skin, and plunged them beneath the water. In a moment the youngest Beaver came up from the water, alive again.

When the father said, “Is all right?” the son said, “Father, he broke one of my toes by biting.” Therefore, from that time, every beaver has had one little toe (the next to the little one), which has seemingly been split by biting.

When Ictinike was about to go home, he pretended he had forgotten about his tobacco pouch, which he left behind. So Beaver said to one of the children, “Take that to him. Do not go near him, but throw it to him when you are at a great distance from him, as he is always very talkative.”

Then the child took the tobacco pouch and started after Ictinike. After getting in sight of the latter, Little Beaver was about to throw the pouch, when standing at a great distance; but Ictinike called to him, “Come closer! come closer!”

When young Beaver took the pouch closer, Ictinike said, “Tell your father that he is to visit me.”

When young Beaver reached home, he said, “Oh, Father, he said you were to visit him.”

Beaver replied, “As I feared that very thing I said to you, ‘Throw it to him while standing at a great distance from him.’”

Then Beaver went to visit Ictinike.

When he arrived there, Ictinike wished to kill one of his own children, as Beaver had done, and was making him cry by hitting him often. Beaver was unwilling for him to act thus, so he said, “Let him alone! You are hurting him!” Then Beaver went to the stream where he found a young beaver that he took back to the lodge, and they ate it.

On another day, Ictinike said to his wife, “Hand me that tobacco pouch. I must go call on your grandfather, Muskrat.” So he departed.

As he was entering Muskrat’s lodge, the host said, “Ho, pass around to one side.” And Ictinike was seated on a pillow.

Muskrat’s wife said, “We have been without food. How can we give your grandfather anything to eat?”

Muskrat said, “Fetch some water.”

The woman brought the water. He told her to put it in the kettle and hang the kettle over the fire. When the water was boiling very fast, the husband upset the kettle, and instead of water, out came wild rice! So Ictinike ate the wild rice.

When Ictinike departed he left his tobacco pouch, as before. Then Muskrat called one of his children, and said, “Take that to him. Do not go near him! Throw it to him when you are a great distance from him, as he is always very talkative.”

So the child took the tobacco pouch to return it to Ictinike. When he was about to throw it to him, he said, “Come closer! Come closer!” When the child took the pouch closer, Ictinike said, “Tell your father he is to visit me.”

When the young Muskrat reached home, he said, “Oh, father, he said that you were to visit him.” Muskrat replied, “As I feared that very thing, I said to you, ‘Throw it to him while standing at a great distance from him.’”

Then Muskrat went to see Ictinike. And Ictinike said to his wife, “Fetch water.” The woman went after water. She filled the kettle and hung it over the fire until it boiled. When Ictinike upset the kettle, only water came out. Ictinike wished to do just as Muskrat had done, but he was unable. Then Muskrat had the kettle refilled, and when the water boiled he upset it, and an abundance of wild rice was there, which he gave to Ictinike. Thereupon Muskrat departed, leaving plenty of wild rice.

On another day, Ictinike said to his wife, “I am going to see your grandfather, Kingfisher.” When he arrived there, Kingfisher stepped on a bough of a large white willow, bending it down so far that it was horizontal, and he dived from it into the water. He came up with a fish, which he gave to Ictinike to eat. And as Ictinike was starting home, he left one of his gloves, pretending he had forgotten it. So Kingfisher directed one of his boys to take the glove and restore it to the owner. But he charged the boy not to go near him, as Ictinike was very talkative and might detain him too long.

Just as the boy was about to throw the glove, Ictinike called, “Come closer! Come closer!” So the boy carried the glove closer.

And Ictinike said, “Tell your father that he is to visit me.”

The boy said to his father, when he reached home, “Oh, Father, he said you were to visit him.”

Kingfisher replied, “As I feared that very thing I said ‘Throw it to him while you stand at a great distance from him.’”

Then Kingfisher went to see Ictinike. When he arrived there, the host climbed upon a bough of a large white willow, bending it until it was horizontal. Then he leaped from it and plunged into the water. It was with great difficulty that Kingfisher seized him and brought him to land. Ictinike had swallowed more of the water than he liked. Then Kingfisher plunged into the stream, brought up a fish, which he gave to Ictinike. But Kingfisher departed without eating any portion of it.





(1000 words)


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