Heroes: Dirty-Boy (cont.)

This story is part of the Native American Hero Tales unit. Story source: Tales of the North American Indians by Stith Thompson (1929).

Dirty-Boy (cont.)

He announced that on the morrow each man should set two traps for fishers, an animal very scarce at the place where the camp was located. If any one should catch a fisher one night, then he was to stay in the mountains another day to catch a second one. After that he had to come back. Those who caught nothing the first night had to come home at once. Only two traps were allowed to each man, and two fishers had to be caught -- one a light one, and one a dark one --and both prime skins.

Coyote had boasted that he would certainly catch the fishers. When he went up the mountain, he carried ten traps instead of two. He said, "Whoever heard of setting only two traps? I shall set ten." He set them all, remained out two nights, but got nothing.

When all the men had gone to the mountains, Sun said to his sister, "Grandmother, make two traps for me."

She answered, "First get out of bed!" However, she had pity on him, and made two deadfalls of willow sticks. She asked him where she should set them, and he said, "One on each side of the lodge-door."

On the following morning all the men returned by noon; not one of them had caught a fisher. When Star went out, she found two fine fishers in the traps.

Now the chief assembled the men to see if any one had caught the fishers. He was glad because he knew that Dirty-Boy could not walk and unless he went to the mountains, he had no chance to kill fishers.

Just then the old grandmother appeared, dragging the fishers. She said, "I hear you asked for two fishers; here are two that my grandson caught." She handed them over to him, and then left.

The chief said to his daughters, "You must become the wives of Dirty-Boy. I tried to save you by having two contests, but since I am a great chief, I cannot break my word. Go now, and take up your abode with your husband." They put on their best clothes and went.

On the way they had to pass Raven's house and heard the Ravens laughing inside because the girls had to marry Dirty-Boy.

The elder sister said, "Let us go in and-see what they are laughing about!"

The younger one said, "No, our father told us to go straight to our husband."

The elder one went in, and sat down beside Raven's eldest son. She became his wife. Like all the other Ravens, he was ugly and had a big head, but she thought it better to marry him than to become the wife of a dirty, sickly boy.

The younger one went on, entered Dirty-Boy's lodge, and sat down by his side. The old woman asked her who she was and why she had come. When the old woman had been told, she said, "Your husband is sick, and soon he will die. He stinks too much. You must not sleep with him. Go back to your father's lodge every evening, but come here in the daytime, and watch him and attend him."

Now, the Raven family that lived close by laughed much at the younger daughter of the chief. They were angry because she had not entered their house and married there as her elder sister had done. To hurt her feelings, they dressed their new daughter-in-law in the finest clothes they had. Her dress was covered with beads, shells, elk's teeth, and quill-work. They gave her necklaces, and her mother-in-law gave her a finely polished celt of green stone (jade) to hang at her belt.

The younger sister paid no attention to this, but returned every morning to help her grandmother-in-law to gather firewood, and to attend to her sick husband.

For three days matters remained this way. In the evening of the third day Sun said to his sister, "We will resume our true forms tonight so that people may see us tomorrow." That night they transformed themselves." The old mat lodge became a fine new skin lodge, surpassing those of the Blackfeet and other tribes, richly decorated with ornaments and with streamers tied to the top and painted. The old bark kettle became a bright copper kettle, and new pretty woven baskets and embroidered and painted bags were in the house.

The old woman became a fine-looking person of tall figure with clothes covered with shining stars. Dirty-Boy became a young, handsome man of light complexion. His clothes were covered with shining copper. His hair reached to the ground and shone like the rays of the sun.

In the morning the people saw the new lodge, and said, "Some rich chief has arrived and has camped where the poor people were. He has thrown them out."

When the girl arrived, she was much surprised to see the transformation. She saw a woman in the door, wearing a long skin dress covered with star pendants, with bright stars in her hair. She addressed her in a familiar voice, saying, "Come in and sit with your husband!" The girl then knew who she was.

When she entered, she saw a handsome man reclining, with his head on a beautiful parfleche. His garments and hair were decorated with bright suns. The girl did not recognize him and looked around. The woman said, "That is your husband; go and sit beside him." Then she was glad.

Sun took his wife to the copper kettle which stood at the door. It contained a shining liquid. He pushed her head into it, and when the liquid ran down over her hair and body, lines of sparkling small stars formed on her. He told her to empty the kettle. When she did so, the liquid ran to the chief's lodge, forming a path, as of gold-dust. He said, "This will be your trail when you go to see your father."

(1000 words)

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