Native American Legends
Bead-Spitter and Thrown-Away
A Creek / Alibamo Legend
Bead-spitter (Konapkeso'fka) lived in a certain place. Two young
women heard the name and, thinking that it must belong to some person,
started out to find him. They traveled an entire day and when it
was getting dark met Rabbit. "Where are you going?" he
said. "We are going to Bead-spitter's." "Ku ku ku
ku," he exclaimed, "you are naming somebody." "We
do not know him," they replied, "but we thought there
might be such a person and so we set out to find him."
"What do you want of him?" "We want some beads."
"You can't go until morning," said Rabbit. "Remain
here all night." They did so, and Rabbit slept with one of
them. In the morning he had disappeared, but when he came back he
had a mouthful of beads which he blew all about. The one he had
slept with gathered them up and began stringing them, and she said
to the other, "You string some of these beads also," which
she began doing.
Rabbit had taken these beads from the young buzzards while their
mother was away, and when she came back they told her what he had
done. At that she became angry and started off to Rabbit's house.
There she called out, "Pasiko'lya' (a story name of Rabbit)
what have you done to my children? You have done them great injury.
When the young women heard these words they pulled off their beads,
dropped them upon the ground, and started away. Late that evening
they came upon Ground Squirrel (Tciloktco), and he said to them,
"Where are you going?" "We are going to Turkey-killer's
(Pin- li'dja's)," they answered. "It is a long distance,"
he replied. "You had better stay all night." They replied
that they had been deceived before and hesitated to do so, but he
answered that he was no "underminer," and he urged them
to remain because it was late. "As you come near the dwelling
of Turkey-killer, you will begin to find turkey feathers, at first
only a few and as you go on more and more.
They will be deeper and deeper and when they are over your heads
you will have arrived at his house." "Then, we think we
will stay with you," they answered. They did so, and set out
again in the morning, but found that during the night Ground Squirrel
had gotten inside of the dumplings (odjo'tadja-haga) they carried
and eaten them all out.
By and by they came to the feathers which lay deeper upon the ground
as they proceeded, and when these were over their heads they came
out into the yard of Turkey-killer's house. "Whither are-you
traveling?" said Turkey-killer. "We heard that there was
a bead-spitter and we wanted some beads. That is why we came."
"I am the one," he answered, "but I cannot provide
the beads until tomorrow morning and you must remain all night."
So the young women spent the night at that place. After daybreak
the man came to them and said, "Was anything wrongful done
to you while you were on the way?" The one with whom Rabbit
had slept denied it. "Then everything will be all right,"
he said. He gave a new sofki riddle to each of them and continued,
"Go to the creek and dip up water and if your story is true
you can bring them back full but if it is false the water will run
through." So they went down to the creek and dipped their riddles
into it, but when they took them up the water ran through the riddle
of the woman with whom Rabbit had slept, while that in the other
remained. When she brought it to the house the man told her to sift,
and as the water came through it turned into beads. Then he told
both of them to string these beads, but while he kept the one who
was honest as his wife, he sent the other back.
Sometime later Bead-spitter's wife was with child. Her husband
was a great hunter and was off continually. One time he crossed
the river in a canoe and went off hunting. When he came back, however,
he found his canoe had been taken back to the side on which stood
his dwelling. He shouted to his wife to come over and fetch him
but she did not reply and he was obliged to swim across. In a window
of his house he saw what appeared to be his wife painted and dressed
in fine clothes and he said to her, "I shouted to you for a
long time but it seems that you were too busily engaged in combing
your hair to hear me." Then he punched at her with the butt
of his gun and she fell back out of sight. He went in and then found
that what he had taken for his wife was only an image of her. During
his absence she had been eaten by a Kolowa ("Gorilla")
who had afterwards set up the image. The Kolowa had, however, left
the woman's abdomen, and on opening it the hunter found a baby inside,
still alive. He saved it and took care of it, throwing the afterbirth
into a thicket back of the house.
He fed his child, which was a boy, on gruel and soup. After some
years had passed the child wanted a bow and arrows, and his father
made some small ones for him. He was much surprised, however, when
his son insisted that he make two bows with a blunt arrow and a
sharp one for each. The man's suspicions were aroused at this and
so, when he started out hunting one day in accordance with his custom,
he stole back and watched the house. Presently he saw another boy
come from the afterbirth, join his son, and play about with him.
It was the first boy's twin.
Then the father crept away and began to plan how he should capture
the second boy. First he thought he would turn himself into an arrow
stuck in the ground at the edge of the yard and he did so, but when
the wild boy came up he said, "That is your father," and
he slunk away so that the man could not get him. Next the man turned
himself into a ball of white grass such as is blown along the road
by the wind, and the first boy said, "Let us see which can
get it," but the wild boy answered, "That is your father."
The third time the man assumed the form of a flying feather with
the same result. But finally the man got hold of him, he became
tame, and both stayed there until they were grown up.
One day the man said to his two sons, "If the canoe is on
your side of the stream and someone shouts to you to ferry them
across, it will not be I. Do not do it. A wicked old woman ate your
mother, and that is the one who will shout. So do not go for her."
After their father had left them the old woman came down to the
other bank and called to be ferried across. Then the wild boy said,
"Did not father say that if someone called out we were to take
the canoe over and fetch her?" But the other answered, "No,
he said 'if anyone shouts do not take it over because that will
be the one who devoured your mother.'" But the wild boy, whose
name was Fatcasigo (Not-doing- right), insisted on going, and after
they had disputed for a while he said, "If you do not agree
to go I will chop you with father's ax."
The other was frightened at this and went with him. When they got
to the place where the old woman was standing she said, "People
always carry me on their backs and put me into the canoe,"
so Fatcasigo brought her down on his back. When she got into the
canoe she said, "They always keep me on their backs while I
am in the canoe." And when they landed on the other side she
said, "They always take me out on their backs." But when
Fatcasigo stood on land with her she began to shout "Kolowa',
Kolowa'" and stuck fast to him. At that Fatcasigo became angry
and punched her, but his fist stuck fast. He hit her with his other
fist and that also stuck. He kicked her with one of his feet and
that stuck. He fell down on the ground and kicked her with the other
foot but that stuck. Then he butted her with his head and that stuck.
His brother got sticks and beat her with them but they merely stuck
to her, so that he finally became angry and struck her with his
fists, whereupon he too became stuck to her like his brother.
Presently the boy's father came home and shouted from the other
side of the stream to be taken across. When he found that he was
unable to arouse anyone he swam over. Seeing the fix into which
his two sons had gotten, he said, "Did not I tell you not to
take the canoe across? Now I expect you will get some sense into
your heads." He went into the house, prepared his dinner and
then heated a quantity of water which he poured over the old woman.
The boys were melted loose and the old woman flew away shouting
Before the man started out again he said to them, "You do
not seem to have much sense, but I will tell you that up in that
tree yonder are some eggs. Do not climb up there and play with them."
After he had started off, however, Fatcasigo said, "Did not
he tell us to climb up into that tree and play with the eggs?"
"No," said his brother, "He told us we must not."
They disputed over it for a while until finally Fatcasigo said,
"If you do not agree I will chop you with father's ax."
"Go ahead, then," said his brother, so they climbed up
into the tree, brought down the eggs, and began playing with them.
While they were doing so a storm overtook their father out in the
woods, and he came back and ordered them to replace the eggs in
the nest. As they were engaged in doing this the lightning struck
all about and they shouted "Sindadik, sindadik," and came
Next time the hunter started off he said nothing to his sons and
Fatcasigo said, "Father is very angry with us. Let us follow
him and see what he does." Then they discovered that he had
bear, deer, and all other sorts of game animals shut up in a corral,
and after he left it, they went to the place, opened the gate, and
let them all out. Then they came back to the house so quickly that
they reached it before him.
The next time their father went to his corral he found his animals
had been let out and his anger was very great. He said to his sons,
when he got home, "On the other side of the stream lives a
man named Long-finger-nails (Kococup-tcapko) who has some tobacco.
Go to him and get me some in exchange for this lead." So they
set out with the lead but on the way Fatcasigo said to his companion,
"He is sending us there because he is so angry with us that
he wants us to die."
After they had gone on for a while they came to a deep lake which
they could not cross. An Alligator, floating close to the shore,
called out, "What are you doing?" They replied, "Our
father told us to go to Long-finger-nails for some tobacco and we
are on the way to get it." "He sent you to something very
bad," said the Alligator. "He wants him to devour you.
I will put you across," he added, and he did so. Then he said
to them, "Let the elder boy remain behind while the younger
slips up and places lead in Long-finger-nails' basket, taking out
the tobacco and saying, 'I am exchanging lead for your tobacco.'
Then he must run back as fast as he can."
The boys did as they had been directed and when the younger uttered
the words which had been given to him Long-finger-nails made a grab
for him with one hand. But in doing so he ran his finger nails so
deep into a post that it took him a long time to get them out. Meanwhile
the boys got back to the Alligator, mounted on his back and were
nearly across the lake before Long-finger-nails reached the opposite
bank. The Alligator let them land and disappeared under the water
before their pursuer caught sight of him. Then the monster said
to the boys, "You had a very narrow escape. Who set you over?"
When the boys brought their tobacco in to their father, who had
thought they were killed and eaten by that time, he said to them,
"Well, did you make the trade?" "Yes, here is the
tobacco," they said, and upon this their father got up and
Then Fatcasigo said to his brother again, "Our father is very
angry with us. He is going to get some one to help him kill us.
We will also be prepared." So they collected quantities of
bees and stinging insects of all sorts and filled the house with
them. When it is time for him to come back we will set watches for
him," they said, and they did so. The outermost picket was
the Blue Crane (watula). The next was the Wild Goose (ahakwa). The
next was the Pelican (sasa'kwa ha'gi). The last and nearest were
Quails (kowaigi). The Crane was stationed farthest out because it
has the loudest voice. The Wild Goose was next because it has the
next loudest voice. The Pelican was next because its voice is third
in strength. Quails were placed last because they make a noise with
their wings when they fly up. After making these arrangements the
boys lay down and listened.
By and by the boys heard the voice of the Crane and they said,
"He is coming." A little later they heard the voice of
the Goose, and they said, "He has gotten that far." Then
the Pelican shouted and they said, "He is getting closer."
And finally the Quails flew up with a whirr and they said, "He
is right here; let us make ready." So they climbed up on a
beam inside of the house and began throwing down bees, wasps, and
other stinging things, and they kept this up until the house and
yard were full of them. These settled all over their father and
his warriors until they had stung them to death.
Then the boys stood up on the beam and said, "Our father must
be lying somewhere about; let us go down and hunt for him."
By and by they found him and said, "Our father is lying here."
The boys had their bows and arrows with them, and when they found
their father they took off his breech-clout and rubbed an arrow
over his buttocks.
At once he flew up in the form of a crow, shouting "Ga ga
Thus the crow was once a human being. It eats watermelons and corn
and is very destructive. It is very much afraid of a bow and arrow
because its buttocks were once rubbed with an arrow. For this reason
people used to keep a bow and arrows about to scare it away.
After that the boys said, "We must be bad boys. We had better
separate." "Do you want to go to the east or west?"
said Fatcasigo to his elder brother, and the latter answered, "I
will go toward the east." The younger said, "I will go
to the west, and whenever you see a red cloud in the west you will
know that I am there." The elder brother replied, "And
whenever you see a red cloud in the east you will know that I am
there." That is the end.
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