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My balls for your dinner ?

A White River Sioux Legend

Iktome, the wicked Spider Man, and Skunk-Manitou, Coyote, are two no-good loafers. They lie, they steal, they are greedy, they are always after women. Maybe because they are so very much alike, they are friends, except when they try to trick each other.

One day Iktome invited Coyote for dinner at his lodge. Iktome told his wife: "Old woman, here are two fine, big buffalo livers for my friend Coyote and myself. Fry them up nicely, the way I like them. And get some timpsila, some wild turnips, on the side, and afterwards serve us up some wojapi, some berry soup. Use choke-cherries for that. Coyote always likes something sweet after his meal."

"Is that all?" asked Iktome's wife.

"I guess so; I can't think of anything else."

"There's no third liver for me ?" the wife inquired.

"You can have what's left after my friend Coyote and I have eaten," said Iktome. "Well, I'll go out for a while; maybe I can shoot a fine, plump duck too. Coyote always stuffs himself, so one liver may not be enough for him. But watch this good friend of mine; don't let him stick his hands under your robe. He likes to do that. Well, I go now. Have everything ready for us; Coyote never likes to wait."

Iktome left and his old woman got busy cooking. "I know who's always stuffing himself," she thought. "I know whose hands are always busy feeling under some girl's robe. I know who can't wait - it's that no-good husband of mine."

The fried livers smelled do wonderful that the wife said to herself: "Those greedy, stingy, overbearing men! I know them; they'll feast on these fine livers, and a few turnips will be all they leave for me. They have no consideration for a poor woman. Oh, that liver here looks so good, smells so good; I know it tastes good. Maybe I'll try a little piece, just a tiny one. They won't notice."

So the wife tasted a bit of the liver, and then another bit, and then another, and in no time at all that liver was gone.

"I might as well eat the other one too, " the wife said to herself, and she did.

"What will I do now?" she thought. "when Iktome finds out, he'll surely beat me. But it was worth it!"

Just then Coyote arrived. He had dressed himself up in a fine beaded outfit with fringed sleeves. "Where is my good friend Iktome?" he asked. "What's he up to? Probably nothing good."

"How are you, friend?" said the woman, "My husband, Iktome, is out taking care of some business. He'll be back soon. Sit down; be comfortable."

"Out on business - you don't say!" remarked Coyote, quickly sticking his hand under the woman's robe and between her legs.

"Iktome told me you'd try to do that. He told me not to let you."

"Oh, Iktome and I are such good friends," said Coyote, "we share everything."

He joked, he chucked the woman under the chin, he tickled her under the arms, and pretty soon he was all the way in her; way, way up inside her. "It feels good," said the woman, "but be quick about it. Iktome could be back any time now."

"You think he'd mind, seeing we are such good friends?"

"I'm sure he would. You'd better stop now."

"Well, all right, It smells very good here, but I see no meat cooking, just some timpsila. Meat is what I like."

"And meat is what you'll get. One sees this is the first time that you've come here for dinner; otherwise you'd know what you'll get. We always serve a guest the same thing. Everybody likes it."

"Is it really good?"

"It 's more than good. It's lila washtay, very good."

Coyote smacked his lips, his mouth watering. "I can't wait. What is it? Tell me!"

"Why, your itka, your susu, your eggs, your balls, your big hairy balls! We always have the balls of our guests for dinner."

"Oh my! This must be a joke, a very bad joke."

"It's no joke at all. And I'd better cut them off right now with my big skinning knife, because it's getting late. Iktome gets mad when I don't have his food ready, he'll beat me. And there I was, fooling around with you instead of doing my cooking. I'll do it right now; drop your breechcloth. You won't feel a thing, I do this so fast. I have practice."

The woman came after Coyote with the knife in her hand. "Wait a bit, " said Coyote. "Before you do this, let me go out and make some water. I'll be right back," and saying this, he ran out of the lodge.

But he didn't come back. He ran and ran as fast as his feet would carry him.

Just then Iktome came back without any ducks; he had caught nothing. He saw Coyote running away and asked, "Old Woman, what's the matter with that crazy friend of mine? Why is he running off like that?"

"Your good friend is very greedy. He doesn't have the sharing spirit," his wife told Iktome. "Never invite him again. He has no manners. He doesn't know how to behave. He saw those two fine buffalo livers, which I cooked just as you like them, and didn't want to share them with you. He grabbed both and made off with them. Some friend!"

Iktome rushed out of the lodge in a frenzy, running after Coyote as fast as he could, shouting: "Coyote! Kola! Friend! Leave me at least one! Leave one for me! For your old friend Iktome!"

Coyote didn't stop. He ran even faster than Iktome. Running, running, he looked back over his shoulder and shouted: "Cousin, if you catch me, you can have both of them!

- Told by one of the Left Handed Bull family in White River, Rosebud Indian Reservation.

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