Native American Legends
Stone Coat, Cold and Frost
A Seneca Legend
A long time ago some Senecas went out to hunt. A Stone Coat came
to their camp and said, "I want to stay in your camp. If you will
let me stay, you will have good luck." The hunters let him stay
and from that time on they had great luck.
When it was time for them to go home, Stone Coat said, "I will
pack up each man's load of meat and skins." They had dried meat,
buckskins, and fur.
Stone Coat packed in a bundle what he thought each man could carry,
then he shook the bundle till it became small. He told the men when
they got home to throw the bundles on the ground and they would
be as large as when he packed them.
Then he bade them good-bye, saying, "I hope you will come here
next Winter and we can be together again."
The next Winter those hunters went to the same hunting ground.
A young Stone Coat came to their camp, and said, "My father has
sent me to bring one of your party to his place."
One of the men volunteered to go.
"Maybe," said he, "we will live longer by doing as he wishes."
And he went with the young Stone Coat.
When they came to Stone Coat's house the old Ina" said, "My son,
I sent for you because I want you to marry my daughter. You need
not be afraid, I will make my people understand that they are not
to harm you."
The man married Stone Coat's daughter.
The old man got something that looked like a bone and rubbed it
over his son-in-law's hands, feet and body, then told him to go
bunting. The young man felt himself grow strong and felt that he
could carry anything he laid his eyes on.
There was a young Stone Coat who loved the old man's daughter and
had wanted to marry her. He was angry at the Seneca and going to
him, he said, "You and I must have a foot-race. If I outrun you
and win I will cut off your head and take your wife. If you win
you may cut off my head."
When the day came for the race, all of the Stone Coat people assembled.
The father-in-law said to the Seneca, "You needn't be afraid, I
will help you." And taking a substance out of a stone box he rubbed
it over the young man's body.
The opponents locked hands and ran. When they reached a certain
small tree they were to let go of hands and run on, but Stone Coat
held to the young man's hand till they had bent down the hemlock
tree and were nearly at the end of it, then Stone Coat let go. The
tree sprang up and sent the Seneca a long distance back beyond the
crowd, but he hurried forward, outran Stone Coat and cut off his
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