Great Plains: Two Teton Ghost Stories

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





The Ghost and the Traveler
Teton

Once an Indian alone was just at the edge of a forest. Then the Thunder Beings raised a great storm. So he remained there for the night. After it was dark, he noticed a light in the woods. When he reached the spot, behold! there was a sweat lodge, in which were two persons talking.

One said, “Friend, someone has come and stands without. Let us invite him to share our food.”

Then the Indian fled because they were ghosts. But they followed him. He looked back now and then, but he could not see them.

All at once he heard the cry of a woman. He was glad to have company. But the moment he thought about the woman, she appeared. She said, “I have come because you have just wished to have company.”

This frightened the man. The woman said, “Do not fear me; else you will never see me again.”

They journeyed until daybreak. The man looked at her. She seemed to have no legs, yet she walked without any effort. Then the man thought, “What if she should choke me?” Immediately the ghost vanished.


The Man Who Shot a Ghost
Teton

In the olden time, a man was traveling alone, and in a forest he killed several rabbits. After sunset he was in the midst of the forest. He had to spend the night there, so he made a fire.

He thought this: “Should I meet any danger by and by, I will shoot. I am a man who ought not to regard anything.”

He cooked a rabbit, so he was no longer hungry. Just then he heard many voices. They were talking about their own affairs. But the man could see no one.

So he thought: “It seems now that at last I have encountered ghosts.”

Then he went and lay under a fallen tree, which was a great distance from the fire. They came around him and whistled, “Hyu! hyu! hyu!”

“He has gone yonder,” said one of the ghosts.

Then they came and stood around the man, just as people do when they hunt rabbits. The man lay flat beneath the fallen tree, and one ghost came and climbed on the trunk of that tree. Suddenly the ghost gave the cry that a man does when he hits an enemy, “A-he!” Then the ghost kicked the man in the back.

Before the ghost could get away, very suddenly the man shot at him and wounded him in the legs. So the ghost cried as men do in pain, “Au! au! au!” At last he went off, crying as women do, “Yun! yun! yun! yun!”

The other ghosts said to him, “Where did he shoot?”

The wounded ghost said, “He shot me through the head and I have come apart.” Then the other ghosts were wailing on the hillside.

The man decided he would go to the place where the ghosts were wailing. So when day came, he went there. He found some graves. Into one of them a wolf had dug, so that the bones could be seen, and there was a wound in the skull.



(500 words)



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