Heroes: Lodge-Boy and Thrown-Away

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

Lodge-Boy and Thrown-Away

Once upon a time there lived a couple, the woman being pregnant. The man went hunting one day, and in his absence a certain wicked woman named Red-Woman came to the tipi and killed his wife and cut her open and found boy twins. She threw one behind the tipi curtain, and the other she threw into a spring. She then put a stick inside the woman and stuck one end in the ground to give her the appearance of a live person and burned her upper lip, giving her the appearance as though laughing.

When her husband came home, tired from carrying the deer he had killed, he saw his wife standing near the door of the tipi, looking as though she were laughing at him, and he said: "I am tired and hungry, why do you laugh at me?" and pushed her. As she fell backwards, her stomach opened, and he caught hold of her and discovered she was dead. He knew at once that Red-Woman had killed his wife.

While the man was eating supper alone one night, a voice said, "Father, give me some of your supper." As no one was in sight, he resumed eating and again the voice asked for supper.

The man said, "Whoever you are, you may come and eat with me, for I am poor and alone."

A young boy came from behind the curtain and said his name was "Thrown-behind-the-Curtain." During the day, while the man went hunting, the boy stayed home.

One day the boy said, "Father, make me two bows and the arrows for them." His father asked him why he wanted two bows. The boy said, "I want them to change about." His father made them for him, but surmised the boy had other reasons and concluded he would watch the boy, and on one day, earlier than usual, he left his tipi and hid upon a hill overlooking his tipi, and while there, he saw two boys of about the same age shooting arrows.

That evening when he returned home, he asked his son, "Is there not another little boy of your age about here?"

His son said, "Yes, and he lives in the spring."

His father said, "You should bring him out and make him live with us."

The son said, "I cannot make him, because he has sharp teeth like an otter, but if you will make me a suit of rawhide, I will try and catch him."

One day, arrangements were made to catch the boy. The father said, "I will stay here in the tipi and you tell him I have gone out."

So Thrown-behind-the-Curtain said to Thrown-in-Spring. "Come out and play arrows."

Thrown-in-Spring came out just a little and said, "I smell something."

Thrown-behind-the-Curtain said, "No, you don't; my father is not home," and after insisting, Thrown-in-Spring came out, and both boys began to play. While they were playing, Thrown-behind-the-Curtain disputed a point of their game, and as Thrown-in-Spring stooped over to see how close his arrow came, Thrown-behind-the-Curtain grabbed him from behind and held his arms close to his sides, and Thrown-in-Spring turned and attempted to bite him, but his teeth could not penetrate the rawhide suit.

The father came to the assistance of Thrown-behind-the-Curtain and the water of the spring rushed out to help Thrown-in-Spring, but Thrown-in-Spring was dragged to a high hill where the water could not reach him, and there they burned incense under his nose, and he became human. The three of them lived together.

One day one of the boys said, "Let us go and wake up mother."

They went to the mother's grave and one said, "Mother, your stone pot is dropping," and she moved.

The other boy said, "Mother, your hide dresser is falling," and she sat up.

Then one of them said, "Mother, your bone crusher is falling," and she began to arrange her hair which had begun to fall off.

The mother said, "I have been asleep a long time." She accompanied the boys home.

The boys were forbidden by their father to go to the river bend above their tipi, for an old woman lived there who had a boiling pot, and every time she saw any living object, she tilted the kettle toward it and the object was drawn into the pot and boiled for her to eat.

The boys went one day to see the old woman, and they found her asleep and they stole up and got her pot and awakened the old woman and said to her, "Grandmother, why have you this here?" at the same time tilting the pot towards her, by which she was drowned and boiled to death. They took the pot home and gave it to their mother for her own protection.

Their father told them not to disobey him again and said, "There is something over the hill I do not want you to go near." They were very anxious to find out what this thing was, and they went over to the hill and, as they poked their heads over the hilltop, the thing began to draw in air, and the boys were drawn in also, and as they went in, they saw people and animals, some dead and others dying. The thing proved to be an immense alligator-like serpent.

One of the boys touched the kidneys of the thing and asked what they were. The alligator said, "That is my medicine, do not touch it."

And the boy reached up and touched its heart and asked what it was, and the serpent grunted and said, "This is Where I make my plans."

One of the boys said, "You do make plans, do you?" and he cut the heart off and it died. They made their escape by cutting between the ribs and liberated the living ones and took a piece of the heart home to their father.

After the father had administered another scolding, he told the boys not to go near the three trees standing in a triangular shaped piece of ground, for if anything went under them they would bend to the ground suddenly, killing everything in their way.

(1000 words)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments for Google accounts; you can also contact me at laura-gibbs@ou.edu.