Native American Legends
Story of the Wildcat Clan
A Chickasaw Legend
This clan differs from other clans principally in what its members
eat. They seldom go out in the daytime but roam about at night in
search of food. They do not, however, try to steal.
They are swift on foot and when an accident happens to them they
depend on their swiftness to escape. They care very little about
women, but when they want anything they generally get it. They think
more of their feet than of any other parts of their bodies and their
eyes are so keen that they can see anyone before he detects them.
When one of them wants a wife he gets his parents to obtain one.
They do not select any kind of woman but are careful in choosing.
The younger always get a woman first. These generally sleep in the
daytime. If they do not have good luck at night their rest is disturbed
but if they have good luck they sleep through most of the day.
One a number of men belonging to this clan went hunting and camped
a considerable distance from home. Afterward they scattered to see
what they could find but remained within call of one another, having
made an agreement that if anything happened to one of them he should
shout for help. But one of them ventured farther than he was aware
and got a long distance off. Presently he got tired and sat down
to rest, but while he was there a lofa (means "skinner."
The being was thought to have long hair like an animal) came up
and said: "What are you doing here? You are intruding upon
my land and had better get up and return to your own place."
But the Indian believed himself to be strong enough for any situation,
so he sat still without speaking. Presently the lofa ordered him
off again and added, "If you do not get up and go away I will
tie you up and carry you to my place."
"You may do so if you can," the man replied, and upon
this the lofa seized him.
At first it seemed as if the man were the stronger of the two and
he was able to throw the lofa down, but the latter smelled so bad
that it was too much for his antagonist, and the lofa overcame him,
hung him up in a tree and went away.
The man hung there all night, and when he did not make his appearance
at camp the other hunters began a search for him and, when they
found him, cut the grapevine by which he was fastened so that he
fell to the ground. They asked him what had treated him in this
manner but he would not speak and they thought he might have seen
a ghost or something of that sort.
Some time later, however, he came to himself and related what had
happened. Afterwards, thought he was very fond of hunting and knew
that he would be successful, he would not venture out unless someone
were with him.
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