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قراءة كتاب Legends of The Kaw: The Folk-Lore of the Indians of the Kansas River Valley

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‏اللغة: English
Legends of The Kaw: The Folk-Lore of the Indians of the Kansas River Valley

Legends of The Kaw: The Folk-Lore of the Indians of the Kansas River Valley

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 8

man he appeared to have something constantly on his mind and would fast for days, smoking and praying to Ti-ra´-wa during that time. He doctored those who were ill, and, although rapidly becoming great, was not proud. Nevertheless, the doctors of the tribe were jealous, and one of them, a member of another clan, came to visit him. They ate, talked and smoked together. The older man said:

"Now we will smoke my tobacco."

They did so, and he departed. As the summer weather came on, the young healer began to feel sick. It was evident that the doctor had poisoned him. He swelled up with a new disease and prayed almost unceasingly to Ti-ra´-wa for relief. The people went on a hunt. He ascended a hill to think and pray; and after making burnt offerings, mounted a horse which the father had left behind, and journeyed east, instead of following the tribe.

A few days later, the horse was sacrificed to Ti-ra´-wa and cut down the back, so that animals could feed upon it. The unhappy young man called upon the Na-hu´-rac to intercede for him. He traveled east to Pa-huk´ and fell asleep. A strange voice asked what he was doing there. No one was in sight. The same thing occurred next night. The sick man answered the voice this time, and begged for pity, but received no reply. The fourth night something touched him and said:

"What are you doing here?"

There stood a big elk, with black eyes. It informed him that they were directly over the home of the Na-hu´-rac. One night not long afterward a bird came, saying:

"Come, let us go to the edge of the cut bank."

He obeyed, and the bird said:

"When I dive down, follow me."

Passing through the water, they soon stood at the entrance of a lodge and could see a fire within. As they entered, the Na-hu´-rac made their different noises. A bear was stationed at one side of the entrance and a snake at the other. The head doctor was a white beaver. As they sat down, the bird said:

"I have brought this man here and want you to take pity on him."

Taking the man's pipe, the bird held it out to the beaver. The white beaver hesitated, but finally took the pipe. All the animals made a sound, as if to say, "Loo-ah" (good). The beaver passed the pipe to the other Na-hu´-rac and each one made a speech, saying that he had not power to heal. None had the power. The elk then took the man to another lodge but he was not cured. From there they went to the Loup River, to the island in the Platte River and at last to the lodge under Center Island; but without avail. The principal doctor said that the lodge at Pa-huk´ was the head. The bird took the man back.

The white beaver stood up and announced that he had sent the man to others in order to see if they were equal to the lodge at Pa-huk´; then going to the ground-dog, he extended the pipe. The ground-dog reached out its paws, took the pipe, smoked and commanded the Pawnee to go and sit opposite the fire. He was ordered to stand up while the Na-hu´-rac sang and the ground-dog danced. Next they told him to lie down with his feet toward the door. The head ground-dog jumped over him and was observed to have a large piece of flesh in his mouth. Another dog followed, and another, each eating a piece of flesh, until all had passed over. This was kept up until they had eaten the swelling. The man seemed to be dead. The head doctor spoke to the bears; they arose and sang, then jumped on the body, shaking and pulling it around. After a while the blood began to flow and the man breathed. He was entirely restored to health and remained some time with the Na-hu´-rac, learning their medical secrets. They told of the sky-house of Ti-ra´-wa and said:

"He made us; he made everything. Blow a smoke to each of the four doctors; but blow four smokes to Ti-ra´-wa."

The man went home and got beads, pipes, tobacco and buffalo meat and taking them back, threw them into the river to be carried down to the Na-hu´-rac lodge at Pa-huk´; then he went to visit the doctor who had made him ill. He said:

"When you visited me, we smoked your tobacco. To-day we will smoke mine."

After smoking, the young medicine man went down to the river and blew upon the ice, and in a moment, the river was full of blood. It was the blood of the wicked doctor, whose dead body was found in the lodge, perfectly hollow. The blood had gone into the river. The favorite of the animals eventually became one of the most famous healers ever known in the nation.

Priests and doctors were not identical. Priests were the mediums of communication with Ti-ra´-wa and knew what was inside the sacred bundles. The medicine man was called upon in case of sickness or injury. The sacred bundles, many of which were of great age, hung opposite the door of every house. On certain occasions, the contents formed a part of religious ceremonies.

The Pawnees believed that the earth was first inhabited by a race of giants, so large that they could carry buffaloes upon their backs. These people did not acknowledge Ti-ra´-wa and grew more and more wicked. He was angry and caused the water to rise and the ground to become soft and the giants sank into the mud. The large bones found at different times were thought to be their skeletons. A new race was created, from which all nations sprang.

The Ski-di band offered human sacrifices to the morning star. A young captive, taken in war, was selected and fattened, being treated kindly during the days of preparation. He was permitted to know nothing of the fate in store, until the four days' feast and dance. Old men at the ends of the village called upon each male person to prepare bow and arrow and be ready for the sacrifice. When the fatal day arrived, every woman had a lance or stick, and every man held a pipe in one hand and bow and arrow in the other.

At the west side of the village, two posts with cross poles were set up, to which the captive was bound, hand and foot. Behind him came a man carrying a buffalo heart and tongue, followed by a warrior with a blazing stick, one with a bow and sacred arrow of flint, and another with a stuffed owl. Wood was piled around upon the ground beneath the cross poles. The man with a blazing stick lighted the fire. When it had burned to the center of the pile, below the captive, the warrior with bow and arrow stepped forward and shot him through, under the arms, so that the blood would drip down upon the fire. The buffalo heart and tongue were then placed upon the blaze. The man with the owl seized a torch and burned the body four times, after which each male person present shot an arrow into it, and each woman struck it with a stick. The flesh was consumed by fire, while the people prayed.

John Greenleaf Whittier left, among his papers, a poem that has immortalized


Night had fallen upon the broad prairie—a moonless night. The chill air vibrated with noise of barbarous laughs and yells. The measured tramp of heavy feet and the Hoo-ah, Hi-yah of excited dancers seemed fiendish. Dark, weird-looking figures might be seen, dimly, by the light of a camp-fire; and in the center of the frenzied throng was a maiden, silent and defiant. Around her feet was piled fuel for the sacrifice, for had not the wise men of the Pawnees, who hold communion with the other world, decreed that she should die by slow torture, to atone for cruelties practiced by her father, a fierce chief of the Kansas Indians? The innocent girl might not hope for pity at the hands of her nation's bitterest foes; but she could show them how