Native American Legends
Hodadeion and his sister
A Seneca Legend
Hodadeion and his sister, Yeyenthwûs, lived in
a bark house. When the sister went out to plant, she fastened the
door of the house so nothing could harm her little brother. She
did not let him go out. She got coon's feet for him to play with
and made him bows and arrows. When he played, he threw up the coon's
feet and told an arrow to strike them and the arrow always hit them
before they touched the ground.
One day while the sister was at home, a voice was heard in the
loft of the house, saying, "Mush, Brother! Mush, Brother!"
"Who is that?" asked the boy, "I thought we were alone in the house."
"Poor brother," said the sister, "He is only just alive."
Well, Sister, make him some mush," said the little boy.
The girl uncovered a place under her couch, took out a very small
kettle and a little piece of a chestnut, got water, put the least
bit scraped from the chestnut into the kettle and boiled it. As
it boiled she stirred it and struck the kettle, and as she struck
the kettle it grew till at last it was as large as any kettle and
was full of mush. When the mush was cooked, she took it off the
fire, poured it into a bark bowl and said to Hodadeion,
"Go up the ladder and feed your brother:"
The little boy climbed the ladder and found a man lying in the
loft, and saying to him, "I have brought you mush, my Brother,"
he put the bowl down near him and went away.
The brother, whose name was Mush-eater, took two or three mouthfuls
of the mush and the bowl was empty; all the mush was eaten. Then
he blew out two or three puffs of breath, rubbed his arms and legs
and began to sing.
The boy heard singing and beating of time overhead, and, a little
later he heard his brother call out, "Tobacco! tobacco!" and he
said, "My Sister, our brother wants to smoke."
"Our poor brother," said the girl, "he is barely alive, he lives
on chestnut pudding and tobacco." She got a big pipe, put in tobacco
and a coal of fire, gave it to the little boy, and said, "Take it
up to our brother."
Hodadeion went to the loft, and said, "My Brother, I
have come with a pipe for you."
"Thank you," said Mush-eater, and with one puff he so filled the
place with smoke that he nearly smothered the boy before he could
Soon a sound was heard as though Mush-eater had blown through the
pipe stem and rapped the ashes out of the pipe. Then he began to
sing, and they thought his voice was stronger.
Yeyenthwûs tied the door, fastened in her little brother and went
out to plant.
While his sister was gone, the boy thought he would like to make
some chestnut mush for his brother and sing and dance for him. He
found the kettle under his sister's couch, took the piece of chestnut
and scraped every bit of it into the kettle, filled the kettle with
water and when the water boiled he began to strike the kettle. He
struck it till it was as large as any kettle and full of mush. When
he poured the mush out, he had a great bark bowl full.
He took the bowl to the loft, and said, "My Brother, I have made
you another bowl of mush."
"Thank you, Brother," said Hadjisgwas, who took the mush and ate
it, rubbed himself and began to sing. He was stronger now and sang
a regular song. After the boy put away the. kettle, he thought,
"My brother must have a smoke."
So he took all the tobacco there was, cut it up, put it in the
pipe, carried the pipe to the loft, and said, "My Brother, I have
brought your pipe. After you have smoked I want you to sing; I will
Mush-eater drew such a puff that the little boy had to hurry down
the ladder to get away from the smoke. He wasn't long down when
his sister came.
"Oh, Sister," said he, "I've made our brother a bowlful of mush."
"How did you make it?"
"I cut up the chestnut and boiled it."
"Oh, now he will die."
"After he ate the mush I gave him a smoke," said the boy.
"How did you do that?
"I shaved up the piece of tobacco, put it in the pipe and gave
him the pipe."
"Now we will surely lose our brother. You have done great harm,"
"Well, my Sister, where are the chestnuts? I will go and get more
"Those chestnuts grow at the eastern end of the world and this
side of them, where the tobacco grows, there are witches. Before
one comes to the house of the witches there is a river with trees
thrown across to walk on. Just beyond the river are two rattlesnakes,
one on each side of the trail, and they attack every person who
goes that way. If you pass the rattlesnakes safely, you will come
to a mountain. so steep that no man can climb it.
"There is put one pass through that mountain. Just beyond the pass
stand two Shagodyoweqs, each one half as tall as a tree. If you
should succeed in passing those men and go farther, there are two
men at the edge of an opening. The minute those men see any one
they give an alarm and women run up and attack whomsoever they find.
If you should get by those men and reach a knoll, you would see
a house and in front of it a platform on which a woman is walking
back and forth. As soon as that woman sees a stranger, she begins
to sing, and witches rush out of the house and kill him."
The next day when Yeyenthwûs went out to plant, she fastened the
door. While she was gone, the little boy heard some living thing
moving around outside and he tried to get out and shoot it, but
he couldn't open the door. Then he heard a noise on the top of the
house, and glancing up saw something looking down at him. He didn't
know what kind of a creature it was, but he said, "You are Speckled
Face, anyhow, and I'll shoot you."
He drew his bow and said to the arrow, "I want you to go straight
to the game."
The arrow struck and killed the creature. The boy wanted to bring
the game in, and not being able to open the door, he dug a hole
through the earth near the door, got out, brought in the game, put
it in the corn mortar, covered it and when his sister came, he said,
"My sister, I have killed game."
"Where is it?" asked she.
"In the corn mortar," answered Hodadeion. He ran and
brought the game to his sister.
"That is a chickadee," said she.
Yeyenthwûs dressed the bird, cooked it on the coals, then began
to eat. The boy stood and watched her.
After a while he asked, "Is it good?"
"It is good," said his sister.
He looked a while longer, then asked, "Are you going to give me
"No, this is the first game you have killed, you mustn't eat of
the first, it wouldn't be right."
The next morning the boy said to his sister, "You must tie a belt
around me, I am going out."
She had to do as he said, she couldn't help it. She put the belt
on him, and said, "You must not go North or far away. Stay near
Yeyenthwûs went to her planting and the boy went out to hunt for
game. He saw a bird on a tree, and said, "You must be the bird they
call Robin." He killed the bird, carried it to the house and put
it in the corn mortar. When his sister came he showed it to her.
"Oh," said she, "this is a robin." She dressed, cooked and ate
the robin, didn't give the boy even one bite.
The next morning he got up early so as to go hunting in good time.
After he had eaten, he said, "My Sister, put on my belt."
She made him ready for the day then both went out, the girl to
her planting, the boy to hunt.
After he had been out a while he saw a bird, and said, "I think
you are the bird that is called Pigeon."
He killed the bird, carried it home and put it in the corn mortar.
When his sister came she dressed the bird, divided it into two
parts, put one part away and cutting the other into pieces said
she would make dumplings. She pounded corn-meal, mixed the meat
with it, made two dumplings and both ate of them.
The next day the boy went farther than before. He saw a bird running
along, and said, "You must be what they call Striped Tail."
He drew his bow and shot the bird. When it ran, he called, "Stop,
don't break my best arrow!"
The bird died. The boy had all he could do to carry it home.
He put it in the corn mortar and when his sister came and saw it,
she said, "This is a Partridge."
The next morning Hodadeion went farther than the day
before. He saw a creature coming toward him. He matched it and said,
"I think it is you that people call 'Pine Leaves Hanging Down.'"
He drew his bow and shot.
When the wounded bird struggled he called out, "Stop! don't break
my best arrow."
It stopped struggling and died. He tried to pick it up but he couldn't
He went to where his sister was planting, and said "My Sister,
I have killed big game. I can't carry it."
She went with him and when she saw the game, she said, "This is
what we call Turkey." She carried the turkey home, dressed it, put
half away and cooked the other half.
The next day the boy went farther than before. He found tracks
all going in the same direction, and said, "My sister never told
me that people live around here and that there was a trail." He
put his feet in the tracks and found they were as if made by his
own feet. Right before him on the trail he saw game coming. He drew
his bow, pierced the animal with his arrow and as it went floundering
along he called out, "Don't break the arrow; it's my best one."
The animal fell over and died. The boy ran up and pulled out the
arrow, then went for his sister.
When she came she said, "This is Coon."
She caught the coon up by one leg, threw it over her shoulder and
went home. She cooked a part of the coon and made bread. While the
meat was cooking, she skimmed off the oil, telling her brother that
she had wanted oil for a long time. When the oil was cool she rubbed
it into her hair.
The next day when Hodadeion saw game, he said, "You
must be the one they call Big Feathers."
The animal saw him and turned to run. He shot but the creature
ran off out of sight. The boy thought, "I have lost my best arrow,
but I'll follow the game." He hadn't gone far when he found the
animal lying dead on the trail.
He ran for his sister and when she came she thanked him, and said,
"This time you have killed a buck."
She brought a strap, braided out of corn husks, so as to carry
the meat home on her back. She skinned the buck and divided it.
Hodadeion wanted to carry a part, so his sister cut off
the feet, tied them together and gave them to him. She carried half
of the animal home and went back for the other half.
The next day Hodadeion killed a bear. They had a good
meal that night and the sister had plenty of hair oil.
The next day they went out as usual, Hodadeion to hunt
and Yeyenthwûs to plant. The boy went. to the place where he had
killed the bear, but he could find no game. Then he went in a circle
and as he looked toward the North it seemed very pleasant. There
was an opening in front of him and he thought he would go to it,
perhaps he would find game.
He went to the middle of the opening where there was a house, he
peeped in through a crack, and saw a crowd of naked men of the Wasp
Soon one of the men said, "Some one is looking at us."
Another said, "Let us kill him."
Hodadeion turned and ran towards the woods. The men
chased him to the edge of the opening and then went back.
The boy went home, took a long stick of wood from a pile his sister
had gathered, carried it to the edge of the opening, stuck it into
the ground and said to it, "When the men in that house over there
run after me with clubs, do you fight them and help me."
He brought a second stick, put it down by the first, and spoke
to it as he had to the other stick. He kept on in this way till
he had a great many sticks standing in the ground. Then he ran to
the house and looked in.
The men saw him, and said, "Let us kill him this time."
They ran out, with their clubs, and pursued the boy till they came
to the edge of the opening, then the sticks became people and fought
with them. They killed all of the naked men.
Hodadeion dragged the men, one after another, into the
house and burned up the house. Then he carried the sticks back to
his sister's wood pile and went on till he came to the stump of
a broken tree. The stump became a man and called out, "I have caught
The boy walked up to the man. The man said, "I am Hodiadatgon,
the great wizard. What would you do if it should rain spears on
"Oh," said the boy, "my sister and I would be glad, for we have
no spears to fish with."
Then he turned and ran as fast as he could. His sister was in the
house, he ran around it, and said, "Let our house be stone!" and
straightway it was stone.
Just as he went into the house he heard a terrible roar and a great
rain of spears came down. Some broke on the roof, others fell to
When the shower was over, his sister said, "You have been towards
"I have, but I'll not go again."
But while he was at play he thought, "I will go to my uncle and
be the first to say, 'I've caught you,'" and he started off. He
went as near his uncle as he could without being seen, then called
a mole, entered his body and went under the ground up to the roots
of the stump where his uncle was.
Then he called out, "What would you say if a fire were to come
and burn up that stump and the woods and all there is around here?"
"Oh, my Nephew, don't do that."
"I didn't say, 'Don't do that,' when you sent a rain of spears
on me and my sister."
That minute a thick smoke rose and soon the woods were in a blaze.
The fire spread to where the old man was. He fell to the ground,
his head burst and an owl came out of it and flew away.
Hodadeion went on, but he hadn't gone far when he came
to an opening in which there was a house. He crept up to the house
and looking in through a crack saw an old man with both eyes closed.
All at once the old man called, "Come in, Nephew! Come in!"
The boy went in and the old man said, "I always play dice with
people who come to see me. I will play with you." He brought out
six night-owl eyes for dice, and said, "If they all turn up the
same, the throw will count five, if not it will count one."
The old man wanted the boy to play first, but he refused to. Then
the old man put the six eyes into a dish and shook the dish. The
eyes went out through the smoke-hole and when they came back to
the dish they counted but one.
"Now," said the nephew, "take your dice out of the dish, I have
dice of my own."
Hodadeion put in his dice which were wood-cocks' eyes,
shook the dish and threw the eyes up. They went through the smoke-hole
and high into the air. The boy kept saying, "Let them all come of
one color," but the uncle said, "Let them come of different colors."
All came alike; the old man lost.
"Nephew," said he, "let me have one smoke."
"Oh, no," said the boy, "I can't do that."
He cut off the old man's head. Then he went on till he came to
a third opening. In the center of the opening was a high rock and
on the rock was an enormous Head, with big eyes and long hair, a
The boy went up to the rock and the Head called out, "My Nephew,
I've been wishing that you would come to see me. Now we will play
Hodadeion was to hide first--the Head faced the other
way. That minute Hodadeion became a flea and hid in the
long bushy hair of Dagwanoenyent, then he called out
in a far away voice, "You can't find me, Uncle; you can't find me."
Dagwanoenyent looked all around; up in the air, in the
trees, every-where. At last he saw a weed with a knot on its stem,
and he said, "Nephew, you are in that knot."
But he wasn't there.
He looked around a second time and saw a knot on one of the trees.
"You are in the knot on that tree, Nephew."
"I am not," answered Hodadeion.
When Dagwanoenyent couldn't find the boy he was terribly
frightened. "There is danger," said he, and he flew off the rock
and went far away, then he rose above the clouds and sat on them.
The boy called out from his uncle's long shaggy hair, You can't
find me, Uncle; you can't find me."
"Oh," said the uncle to himself, "I have come to the place where
he is. There is danger here," and he flew off to an island in the
sea, and there the boy called out, "You can't find me, Uncle; you
can't find me."
He could not and he flew back to the rock in the opening, and there
the boy called out, "You can't find me."
"I have lost the game," said Dagwanoenyent, "but I didn't
bet my head. You may have control of the three women who are pounding
corn outside that house at the edge of the opening."
The women were man-eaters. They were angry when they heard these
words. They took their clubs and ran toward the boy to strike him.
He willed them dead and they dropped to the ground. He cut off their
heads and burned up their house.
The uncle and nephew became friends and the uncle said, "Nephew,
if ever you get into trouble, think of me and I will help you."
The boy went home, sat down and began to laugh.
His sister asked, "What are you laughing about?"
"I am laughing because I have put an end to my uncle in the first
opening, and my uncle who played dice. I have beaten Dagwanoenyent
and frightened him terribly, I have killed the three women who were
The sister said, "I thank you, my Brother. Many persons have been
deceived and killed by our uncles and those women."
That night the boy said to his sister, "Make me parched corn meal
and two dumplings with bear fat in them. Tomorrow I am going to
get the chestnuts."
She did as he asked.
The next morning he set out and kept on his way till he came to
a river over which a tree had fallen. He went half way across on
the tree. Two snakes began to rattle, he went back, caught two chipmunks
then came to the tree and walked on it till he reached the snakes.
He gave a chipmunk to each one, and said, "You are free now, but
I will kill you if you don't leave this place." The snakes ran away.
Hodadeion went on till he came to the opening. At the
farther end was a mountain. He found the pass, walked in and as
he was coming out on the other side he heard all at once, "Hon,
hon, hon, hon!" and saw the
two Shagodyoweqs, half as tall as the highest tree.
"Keep still, keep still," said Hodadeion, "I have brought
you dumplings" and he gave each of them a dumpling. Then he said,
"You are free now, you needn't guard this place any longer."
Hodadeion traveled on till he saw two white herons.
He went into the woods and dug up wild beans. Then he came back
and going as near the herons as he dared, he called out "Stop! stop!
here are beans for you." When they had eaten the beans he set them
free, saying, "Go from here and do not come back."
He went on till he saw the woman walking back and forth on a platform.
He peeled bark from a slippery elm tree, marked it off in small
pieces and made it turn to wampum. Then he called a mole, and said,
"Carry me to the platform."
The mole took him to the platform and before the woman could call
out he gave her the wampum, and said, "Keep quiet."
He left the mole and went to a tree where there were great piles
of chestnuts. He took a nut, split it, put one half into his bag
and hurried back. He had almost reached the woods when the woman
on watch, cried, "I have seen a man!"
One of the three sisters ran out and looked at the woman, who changed
her words, and called, "I have lied."
The sisters were angry and wanted to kill the woman, she called
again, "I have seen a man!"
The mother said, "Do your best, my daughters, do your best. It
must be Hodadeion. Kill him and finish his family."
They saw Hodadeion off in the distance. The eldest sister
ran ahead, when she was near the boy she raised her club to strike,
but he disappeared in the ground and she struck her kneepan such
a blow that she fell and could go no farther.
The next minute Hodadeion was up and walking along again,
The second sister overtook him and raised her club to strike. He
disappeared. She struck her kneepan and fell. The youngest sister
tried with the same result and then the old woman. All four were
disabled and Hodadeion went home, unharmed.
He gave his sister the half chestnut, and said, "Make plenty of
mush for our brother."
One day when Hodadeion was playing near the house he
cried out suddenly and fell to the ground. His sister ran to him,
and asked, "What is the matter? Where are you hurt?"
"I'm not hurt.
"Why do you cry?"
"I heard Otgoedaqsais sing a song and call on my name; he says
I am his brother."
"That is true," said Yeyenthwûs, "He is in the East, at the place
where the sun comes up. He is tied to a stake and people burn him
with brands of fire and torment him to make him cry. His tears are
wampum and when they fall people run and pick them up."
"Where does tobacco grow?" asked Hodadeion.
"On the other side of the world where Long Eyebrows lives. He stole
our tobacco from us and carried it off. No one can conquer him,
for he is a great wizard."
That night the boy told his sister to pound parched corn and make
meal for him.
In the morning, when he was ready for the road, he put the bundle
of food on his back and started. But the bundle was so heavy that
at midday he had only reached the edge of the opening where their
house was. He sat down there and ate.
Yeyenthwûs, who was watching him all the time, said, "Poor brother,
I think he will come back."
She looked again; he was gone.
In the evening Hodadeion hunted for a hollow tree. He
found one, crawled in and was lying there quietly when he heard
footsteps and soon a man came to the tree and called out, "Hodadeion,
are you here?
"I am," answered the boy.
"Well, what would you do if a Shagodyoweq should come to kill you'?"
"I would have sport with him.
The man went away and soon a Shagodyoweq came.
Hodadeion took aim and hit him with an arrow, then he drew back
into the tree and went to sleep. In the morning he saw a trail with
trees broken and torn up and after a while he found a Shagodyoweq
dead. He pulled out his arrow and went on.
Soon the boy came to a large lake, on the opposite side of the
lake was a village. He searched till he found all oak-puff ball.
Placing the ball at the edge of the water, he entered it and caused
a wind to blow. The ball swept over the lake. Hodadeion
went through the village till he came to the last house on the other
side, in that house lived an old woman with her grandson.
When Hodadeion asked for shelter, the old woman said,
"We have nothing to eat."
"I don't want food," said the boy.
"You may stay," said the grandmother.
The next morning, Hodadeion said to the old woman's grandson, "Let
us go hunting."
When they had gone quite a distance, they came to a hollow tree
frequented by a bear.
Hodadeion struck the tree, and said, "Come out!"
The bear came out; Hodadeion shot it, and the two boys
carried the carcass home.
When they dropped it on the ground in front of the door it made
a great noise and the grandmother called out, "What is that?"
When she saw the bear she was glad. They dressed the bear and cooked
some of the meat. As they sat down to eat, a young girl came in
and the old woman asked her to eat. When they were through eating
the girl carried a piece of meat home to her mother, who said, "Go
back, carry them bread and get some of their meat in exchange."
The girl did as told, and she got two large pieces of meat for
Hodadeion said, "Others will come to exchange bread
for meat. Let them have it; bread is what we want."
Towards night a man came, kicked the door, threw it open, and
said, "I notify you to come to the long house, there is a man there
who sheds wampum instead of tears. If you pick up wampum after it
has fallen, it is yours. If you got more than others do, it is your
The next day Hodadeion, with the old woman and her grandson
went to the long house where Otgoedaqsais was tied and tormented
with fire-brands. Before going in, each boy got a bundle of dry
reeds to light pipes with. There were many people in the house.
When the man who was being tortured saw his brother he smiled.
One of the women saw this, and said, "The bound man smiled when
the boys came in; it must be that one of them is Hodadeion."
One of the men said, "It is well these boys have come, they can
bring fire for our pipes."
In the long house were two women who held fire-brands. First one
of the women burned the young man on one side of his body, then
the other burned him on the other side. Each time the brand touched
his flesh he cried out and wampum fell in showers. The people gathered
all they could, they struggled and fought for it, and when every
one had enough they were sent away.
The chief said, "Tomorrow you will come again."
The boys went home together and Hodadeion said, "The
man they torture is my brother, and tomorrow I am going to destroy
The next day when Hodadeion went to the long house,
he heard people say that the brands wouldn't burn; they were not
Then the chief said, "We will rest. After a while the brands will
get dry and burn. Let us lie down."
Hodadeion brought deep sleep on all. He released his
brother, took him out to his new brother--the old widow's grandson--and
shut the door securely. Then he ran around the house, and said,
"I want this house to be stone and I want it to be red hot."
Instantly the long house became stone and red hot. The man-eaters
woke up and ran around inside.
One said, "I will go out through the smoke-hole."
Another said, "I will go through the ground."
But not one escaped. On one side of the village Hodadeion
found piles of bones. He collected them under a hickory tree, pushed
the tree and cried out, "Rise or the tree will fall on you!" A crowd
of men sprang up and among them were many of Hodadeion's
Hodadeion took his brother to the old widow's house.
She was glad, and said, "He is my grandson, I came for him years
ago, I was captured and had to live here with the man-eaters."
"My brother must stay here and rest," said Hodadeion
"I am going away for a while, I have work to do."
He started and as he hurried along he heard the noise, "Dum! dum!
dum!" of Long Eyebrows, preparing tobacco, pounding it with a mallet.
The boy went to the house and found the old man sitting inside pounding
and singing, and his song said, "He makes tobacco, and I am he."
When the rolls were ready he tied them up with bark strings.
Two or three times Hodadeion called, "Hello, Uncle,
I've come," but the old man gave no answer.
The boy took a mallet that was lying near and struck the old man
on the head, saying, "I've come to visit you."
Long Eyebrows paid no attention. The boy hit him again, and said,
"Uncle, I've come to visit you."
"I think mice have thrown the stone bowl down," said Long Eyebrows,
but he kept at work. The boy struck him again. The old man raised
his upper eyelids, which hung down over his face, tied them back
with bark strings, then taking a shell he scraped his eyes out clean,
and said, "I think some one has come in!"
He looked, saw Hodadeion and asked, "What are you here
"I came for tobacco."
"You will get no tobacco, said the old man, "I will kill you."
He started up, chased Hodadeion out of doors and around
the house. The boy was far ahead, but at last he turned and letting
two arrows fly killed Long Eyebrows. Then he took tobacco and threw
it toward the West, saying as he threw it, "Go to my sister, Yeyenthwûs."
Yeyenthwûs, far off in the West, picked up the rolls and said,
"Thank you, Brother, thank you."
When he had sent all the tobacco home, he went back to where he
had left his brother and the men he had brought to life.
He told the men to go to their homes. Those who remembered where
their homes were went, those who didn't know where to go said to
him, "We will go home with you."
The old woman's grandson was one of the man-eaters. But he promised
never to eat human flesh again and Hodadeion left him
in the house at the edge of the village.
The next morning Hodadeion and his party started. After
a while he stopped, and said, "There are two of my uncles with us,
they will show the way, I must go on alone."
He wanted to reach home first. When he met his sister he told her
how he had brought many of their relatives to life and saved his
"And now," said he, "We must get ready for them."
He marked out spaces with his feet, each space as large as the
house he wanted, then he wished for the house, and it was there
with everything in it. When the houses were ready, he went out to
meet the people who were coming. He gave each one a house, but there
were not men enough for the houses he had made.
Then he said, "They are not all here yet."
After he had been home for a long time, he began to hear the sound,
"Dum! dum! dum!" very often. Then he remembered the old woman's
grandson, and he said to himself, "I will go and see if he is keeping
As Hodadeion Went on he heard the noise, "Dum! dum! dum!" and went
toward it till he came to the center of the man-eater's village.
He went into a house; no one there. He went into another; no one
there. He entered every house; all were empty. At last he saw smoke
at the opposite side of the village, and going to the house the
smoke came from he found an old man.
The old man rose up, threw off his blanket, and said, "You have
caused me misery and pain, now kill me."
"I have not caused you misery and pain," said Hodadeion,
"It may be that the old woman's grandson is making you all this
"It is time for him to come," said the old man, "I and my granddaughter
are the only persons left in the village."
A young woman came from her hiding place, and Hodadeion
said, "If the old woman's grandson is eating human flesh, he must
kill me before he eats any more. You must help me all you can. If
we fight, we will begin here and go westward. At the end of ten
days we will come back, fighting as we come; there will be nothing
left of us but our heads."
"You must have a kettle of boiling oil ready to thrown on my skull.
But do not mistake me for him, if you do, I shall die and so will
you and your grandfather."
He heard the old man cry out and going to him found that the old
woman's grandson was there cutting flesh from his legs and thighs,
and saying, "I don't know where to take the next piece from."
"My friend," said Hodadeion, "You promised not to eat
"Let us fight," said the other.
They began to fight, going westward as they struggled, and soon
they disappeared in the woods.
At times for a number of days the young woman heard their cries
and groans. She heated the fat, and had it ready. One day they came
back into the opening, skeletons terrible to look at. They rushed
at each other and fell back exhausted. When they closed again, the
skeletons were gone, only naked skulls were left.
One of the skulls rolled up to the young woman, and said, "Now
is the time to do as I told you."
The other skull rolled up that minute and said the same thing.
The girl kept her eyes on the second skull and poured the fat on
"Now you have killed me," said the other skull. She paid no heed
to the words, but, picking up the skull she had poured the fat on,
she carried it to the house and soon Hodadeion was in
full flesh and health.
The old man said to him, "You have saved our lives. Now you must
have my granddaughter for a wife."
"Very well," said Hodadeion, "but I'll cure you first."
He spat on the palms of his hands and rubbed the old man where
his flesh had been cut off and right away he was well.
"Now," said Hodadeion, "I want you to help me.
They went with him to the edge of the woods where a great many
bones were lying on the ground. They gathered them up, put them
near a hickory tree, then Hodadeion pushed the tree and
called out, "Rise up, or the tree will fall on you!"
The bones rose up that minute as living men and went back to their
own places. Hodadeion and the old man and his granddaughter
started for Yeyenthwûs' home.
After they had gone some distance Hodadeion said "I
must go for chestnuts for my brother, I will overtake you."
He traveled till he came to where he could see the woman walking
back and forth on a platform. He got slippery elm bark, and turned
it into wampum.
Then he called a mole, and said, "Take me to that woman."
He made himself small, went into the mole's body and the mole went
under ground till it came to the platform.
Then Hodadeion came out of the mole and said to the
woman, "I will give you this wampum, if you will not tell the women
that I am here."
Then he called all the moles and sent them into the house to find
the hearts of the four women. They found them under a couch; Hodadeion
seized them and started off. That minute the woman on the platform
sang out, "Hodadeion has come!"
The mother screamed, "Hurry after him, my children, kill him for
he is the youngest of his family."
The eldest sister ran ahead. As she was coming near, Hodadeion
crushed one of the hearts, and she fell to the ground, dead. The
second sister came up; he crushed the second heart and she died.
The youngest sister was served in the same way. The mother came;
he crushed the fourth heart and she died. He ground up the four
hearts and burned them together with the four bodies.
The woman on guard was Hodadeion's sister. She was boneless,
nothing but a skin pouch. Close by was a pile of bones.
The young man took the skin, put it on the pile, and pushing over
a hickory tree that stood there, called out, "Rise up or the tree
will fall on you."
That moment many people sprang up. With them was Hodadeion's
sister, now in full flesh. He went to the chestnut tree and taking
one nut be threw it to his sister in the West and told the other
nuts to follow it.
All the nuts followed the first one and as they went through the
end of the house, Yeyenthwûs collected and stored them away. Then
Hodadeion wished for the chestnut trees to be around
his sister's house,
Now the young man went home with the sister and friends he had
found and when they had taken their places there was one person
The people were living in a chestnut grove. Two men came to get
chestnuts for a person near death.
"Very well," said Hodadeion, "I will give you a chestnut,
but you must not lose it. Give me your arrow, I will hide the nut.
A man will meet you. He will say, 'Stop, my nephews,' and then come
towards you, but that minute say to him, 'Let us see who can shoot
farthest.' And before he reaches you do you shoot away your arrow
and save the chestnut. If you lose this nut, I will not give you
They went their way and soon met a man, who said, "O, Nephews,
I have waited a long time for you to come."
"Let us see who can shoot farthest," said the man who had the chestnut.
The stranger sprang forward to snatch the arrow, and barely missed
it. He was angry, and said, "You are not my nephews. Go your way."
They hurried along, found their arrow and went home.
The next day Hodadeion said, "I still have work to do.
I must go West this time."
He hadn't gone far when he came to an opening and saw a lake before
him, but no land beyond. Between him and the lake was a house from
which smoke was rising. He walked up to the house, pushed open the
door, went in and found an old man mending moccasins.
The old man looked up and said, "Well, my Nephew, I have been waiting
for you a long time. I am from your village. I am ready to go home.
But first we will eat together."
He had a kettle of corn and beans with plenty of bear meat in it.
After they had eaten, he said, "Now we will go to my island and
look for game."
They went to a canoe and stepped in. Then the old man called ducks
to row the canoe. They came, small white birds with black heads,
and paddled the canoe to the island, the old man singing all the
When they landed, the old man said, "I will go to the upper end
of the island; you go to the lower. We will meet in the middle and
see how much game each of us has."
Hodadeion started but soon he heard the old man's song,
and, turning around, saw him rowing toward mainland. He shouted
for him to come back, but got no answer.
The old man called to the creatures in the lake. If the man on
the island tries to swim to me eat him."
And voices out of the water answered, "We will."
While standing and looking across the lake the young man heard
a voice say, "Nephew, come to me."
He went toward the voice, but saw only a pile of bones covered
The bones asked, "Nephew, do you think that you are going to die?"
"I do," answered the young man.
"A man-eater is coming to kill you," said the bones, "but do me
a service and I will tell you how to save yourself. Go to that hollow
tree over there and bring my pouch here. Let me smoke then I will
tell you what to do."
Hodadeion brought the pouch, cut and put tobacco into
the pipe and lighted it. Smoke went out through all the fissures
of the old man's skull and his eyes and his nose and his ears.
When he had finished smoking, he said, "Put my pouch away."
The young man put the pouch in the tree, then went back to the
bones, which said, "You must cut some red willows. Of the larger
ones make manikins, of the smaller ones make bows and arrows. Run
to three different places on the island and at each place put a
mannikin in the crotch of a tree. Give it a bow and arrow and say
to it, 'Shoot the dog when it comes.' When you have placed the last
one, come to me and from here go to the end of the island, step
off the land and walk in water till you come to an overhanging bank
opposite the landing place. There the dogs cannot find you."
Hodadeion did as his uncle told him to do. That evening
the man-eater, with four dogs, came in a canoe and began to hunt
for Hodadeion. Starting from the pile of bones the dogs
went to the tree where the pouch was and back, then they went on
till they came to the first mannikin.
The man-eater folio-wed the dogs, singing as he ran, "There are
no dogs like mine, there are no dogs like mine."
Suddenly the man-eater saw a man in the crotch of a tree pointing
an arrow at one of his dogs. The man let the arrow fly and a dog
dropped dead. The man-eater shot the man; when the dogs sprang forward
to catch him, the man-eater called out, "Don't eat the body! Don't
eat the body!" but when he came up he saw the dogs biting bits of
red willow. He called the dogs off and followed the tracks farther.
They came to the second mannikin and a second dog was killed. The
man-eater was very angry. The dogs ran on and soon he heard them
growling fiercely; they had stopped at a pile of bones.
The man-eater took his club, pounded the bones, and said, "I ate
your flesh long ago, and still you try to deceive me."
The dogs started on the trail again and ran for a long time. At
last they came to the third mannikin. The mannikin killed one of
the dogs. The man-eater then killed him, but when he touched the
ground he was only a bit of willow.
Daylight began to come. The man-eater said, "I will go home now,
but when it is dark I will come again and then I will be sure of
the game." He brought his dead dogs to life, got into his canoe
and left the island.
When all was quiet and daylight had come Hodadeion left
his hiding place and went to his uncle, who said, "My Nephew, bring
my pouch and let me have a smoke, then I will tell you what to do."
He brought the pouch, filled and lighted the pipe and put it into
his uncle's mouth. The skull smoked with great pleasure, letting
the smoke out through every seam, through the eyes, the nose, the
"Thank you, my Nephew. Take the pouch back and we will talk."
Hodadeion put the pouch away.
Then his uncle said, "Go to the place where the canoe always comes
to shore, dig a hole and bury yourself in the sand, leaving out
only the end of your nose."
While the young man was covering himself he heard Shagodyoweq,
the man who had brought him to the island coming again, singing
to the ducks. Soon the canoe scraped on the sand and a voice said,
"Now I'll find the place where my nephew has scattered his blood."
As soon as the man was out of sight, Hodadeion jumped
up, called the ducks, pushed the canoe into the water and began
to sing, "Now we paddle, my ducks. Now we paddle."
The canoe was far out in the water when Shagodyoweq saw it. He
ran to the shore and screamed, "Let me in! Let me in!"
Hodadeion paid no attention to him, but speaking to
all the creatures that lived in the lake, he said, "If he tries
to swim after me, eat him up."
Then out of the water came as many voices as then, were living
things in the lake and they all said, "It will be done. It will
Shagodyoweq ran back and forth on the shore, but he could not get
away. When night came he climbed a tree. At dusk the man-eater came,
with his dogs, and began to look around for Hodadeion
whom he thought was on the island yet. At last the dogs come to
the tree where Shagodyoweq was.
They barked furiously and when the man-eater came up Shagodyoweq
cried, "Don't shoot me, I am your servant."
"You can't fool me," said the man-eater, and he let an arrow fly.
The man fell to the ground. The man-eater threw the body into his
canoe and left the island.
The next morning Hodadeion said, "I will go to the man-eater's
He pushed out the canoe and sang for the ducks. They came and swam
on till towards dark, then Hodadeion saw a house near
the water. He brought the canoe to shore, hid it under the water,
and said to the ducks, "You way go your way till I come."
A woman came out of the house with two pieces of bark. She put
one piece of bark by the edge of the water. Hodadeion
stepped on it, then she put the second piece of bark before the
first. He stepped on the second. Then she put the first before the
second. He stepped on the first.
In this way he reached the house without leaving a track on the
Hodadeion said to the woman, "I have come for you, I
am your brother."
"I will go with you," answered the woman, "but you must stay here
till midday tomorrow." And she hid him under her couch.
Soon the barking of dogs was heard and then footsteps. The first
dog came in with open mouth. The woman threw a bone at him, then
hit him on the head.
The man-eater called out, "Oh, you have killed one of my dogs!"
"Why do they run at me?" asked she, "I have done nothing to them."
He called them off, and said, "I had bad luck today, I found nothing
but a little cub."
He cooked his game with pounded corn, and when he finished eating
he said, "My food was good and tender, now I will take a smoke.
But it seems to me you have two breaths."
"That is too much to say," answered the woman, "You might as well
The next morning the man-eater said, "I'll not go hunting on that
island again. I'll go on the other side of the lake," and he went
When he had been gone some time, the woman said to her brother,
"Now you can come out."
He came from under the couch; the two went to the lake and raising
the canoe rowed away as quickly as they could.
When in the middle of the lake they heard the man-eater shout,
"You can't get away from me!"
He ran to his house, got a hook and line, and saying, "Catch the
canoe!" hurled it into the lake.
Straightway the hook was in the canoe and the man-eater was pulling
the canoe to shore. All at once the woman saw that the trees on
the shore were coming nearer, then she saw the hook and line and
she screamed to Hodadeion to break the hook. He broke
the hook; freed the canoe and it went out again to the middle of
The man-eater screamed, "You can't get away from me!" and he ran
along on the bottom of the lake, raging as he went toward them.
Then Hodadeion said, "Let there be ice over the water
so thick that nothing can break through, and let our canoe be on
When the man-eater thought he was under the canoe, he sprang up
with all his might. He struck the ice with such force that it cracked
everywhere. The ice didn't break but the man-eater broke his head
Hodadeion caused the ice to melt as quickly as it had
formed, and with his sister he rowed to the end of the lake, then
traveled on land. When they reached home, they went in at the western
door, went around on the south side to the east and Hodadeion
led his sister to her place, which was at the northwest corner.
All the family were at home now, and all were happy.
Native American Legends
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