Myths and Legends of the Sioux
Marie L. Mclaughlin
Format: Global Grey free PDF, epub, Kindle ebook
Pages (PDF): 134
Publication Date: 1916
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The timid rabbit who outwits the tyrannical bear, the wonderful turtle who marries the Indian chief's daughter, the pet crane who saves a family; these and many other legendary figures appear in Myths and Legends of the Sioux. Marie L. McLaughlin, born to a white father and a mixed-blood Sioux mother, heard these stories while growing up among the eastern Sioux of Minnesota. When she recorded them for posterity in 1916 she had long been the wife of James McLaughlin, whom she served as interpreter during the years he was head of the Devils Lake and Standing Rock agencies and an inspector for the Indian Bureau.
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An Arikara woman was once gathering corn from the field to store away for winter use. She passed from stalk to stalk, tearing off the ears and dropping them into her folded robe. When all was gathered she started to go, when she heard a faint voice, like a child's, weeping and calling:
"Oh, do not leave me! Do not go away without me."
The woman was astonished. "What child can that be?" she asked herself. "What babe can be lost in the cornfield?"
She set down her robe in which she had tied up her corn, and went back to search; but she found nothing.
As she started away she heard the voice again:
"Oh, do not leave me. Do not go away without me."
She searched for a long time. At last in one corner of the field, hidden under the leaves of the stalks, she found one little ear of corn. This it was that had been crying, and this is why all Indian women have since garnered their corn crop very carefully, so that the succulent food product should not even to the last small nubbin be neglected or wasted, and thus displease the Great Mystery.
Once upon a time a prairie mouse busied herself all fall storing away a cache of beans. Every morning she was out early with her empty cast-off snake skin, which she filled with ground beans and dragged home with her teeth.
The little mouse had a cousin who was fond of dancing and talk, but who did not like to work. She was not careful to get her cache of beans and the season was already well gone before she thought to bestir herself. When she came to realize her need, she found she had no packing bag. So she went to her hardworking cousin and said:
"Cousin, I have no beans stored for winter and the season is nearly gone. But I have no snake skin to gather the beans in. Will you lend me one?"
"But why have you no packing bag? Where were you in the moon when the snakes cast off their skins?"
"I was here."
"What were you doing?"
"I was busy talking and dancing."
"And now you are punished," said the other. "It is always so with lazy, careless people. But I will let you have the snake skin. And now go, and by hard work and industry, try to recover your wasted time."
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