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INDIAN WHY STORIES



DREAMS

As soon as manhood is attained, the young
Indian must secure his "charm," or "medi-
cine." After a sweat-bath, he retires to some
lonely spot, and there, for four days and nights,
if necessary, he remains in solitude. During
this time he eats nothing; drinks nothing; but
spends his time invoking the Great Mystery for
the boon of a long life. In this state of mind,
he at last sleeps, perhaps dreams. If a dream
does not come to him, he abandons the task for
a time, and later on will take another sweat-
bath and try again. Sometimes dangerous
cliffs, or other equally uncomfortable places,
are selected for dreaming, because the surround-
ing terrors impress themselves upon the mind,
and even in slumber add to the vividness of
dreams.

At last the dream comes, and in it some bird
or animal appears as a helper to the dreamer,
in trouble. Then he seeks that bird or animal;
kills a specimen; and if a bird, he stuffs its skin
with moss and forever keeps it near him. If
an animal, instead of a bird, appears in the
dream, the Indian takes his hide, claws, or teeth;
and throughout his life never leaves it behind
him, unless : "Say, mother, does the Deer have gall
on his liver?"

"No, my child, but the Antelope does; and
your grandfather will tell you why if you ask
him."

That night in the lodge War Eagle placed
before his grandchildren the leg of a deer and
the leg of an antelope, as well as the liver of a
deer and the liver of an antelope.

"See for yourselves that this thing is true,
before I tell you why it is so, and how it hap-
pened."

"We see," they replied, "and to-day we found
that these strange things are true, but we don't
know why, grandfather."

"Of course you don't know why. Nobody
knows that until he is told, and now I shall tell
you, so you will always know, and tell your
children, that they, too, may know.

"It was long, long ago, of course. All these
things happened long ago when the world was
young, as you are now. It was on a summer
morning, and the Deer was travelling across
the plains country to reach the mountains on
the far-off side, where he had relatives. He
grew thirsty, for it was very warm, and stopped
to drink from a water-hole on the plains. When
he had finished drinking he looked up, and there
was his own cousin, the Antelope, drinking near
him.

"'Good morning, cousin,' said the Deer.
'It is a warm morning and water tastes good,
doesn't it?'

"'Yes,' replied the Antelope, 'it is warm
to-day, but I can beat you running, just the
same.'

"'Ha-ha!' laughed the Deer--'you beat me
running? Why, you can't run half as fast as
I can, but if you want to run a race let us bet
something. What shall it be?'

"'I will bet you my gall-sack,' replied the
Antelope.

"'Good,' said the Deer, 'but let us run to-
ward that range of mountains, for I am going
that way, anyhow, to see my relations.'

"'All right,' said the Antelope. 'All ready,
and here we go.'

"Away they ran toward the far-off range.
All the way the Antelope was far ahead of the
Deer; and just at the foot of the mountains
he stopped to wait for him to catch up.

"Both were out of breath from running, but
both declared they had done their best, and the
Deer, being beaten, gave the Antelope his sack
of gall.

"'This ground is too flat for me,' said the
Deer. 'Come up the hillside where the gulches
cut the country, and rocks are in our way,
and I will show you how to run. I can't run
on flat ground. It's too easy for me.'
another race with you on your own ground, and
I think I can beat you there, too.'

"Together they climbed the hill until they
reached a rough country, when the Deer
said:

"'This is my kind of country. Let us run a
race here. Whoever gets ahead and stays
there, must keep on running until the other
calls on him to stop.'

"'That suits me,' replied the Antelope, 'but
what shall we bet this time? I don't want to
waste my breath for nothing. I'll tell you--
let us bet our dew-claws.'

"'Good. I'll bet you my dew-claws against
your own, that I can beat you again. Are you
all ready?--Go!'

"Away they went over logs, over stones and
across great gulches that cut the hills in two.
On and on they ran, with the Deer far ahead
of the Antelope. Both were getting tired,
when the Antelope called:

"'Hi, there--you! Stop, you can beat me.
I give up.'

"So the Deer stopped and waited until the
Antelope came up to him, and they both laughed
over the fun, but the Antelope had to give the
Deer his dew-claws, and now he goes without
himself. The Deer wears dew-claws and always
will, because of that race, but on his liver there
is no gall, while the Antelope carries a gall-
sack like the other animals with cloven hoofs.

"That is all of that story, but it is too late
to tell you another to-night. If you will come
to-morrow evening, I will tell you of some trouble
that OLD-man got into once. He deserved it,
for he was wicked, as you shall see. Ho!"


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