Native American Legends
The Pet Donkey
A Sioux Legend
There was a chief's daughter once who had a great many relations
so that everybody knew she belonged to a great family. When she
grew up she married and there were born to her twin sons.
This caused great rejoicing in her father's camp, and all the village
women came to see the babes. She was very happy. As the babes grew
older, their grandmother made for them two saddle bags and brought
out a donkey.
"My two grandchildren," said the old lady, "shall
ride as is becoming to children having so many relations. Here is
this donkey. He is patient and surefooted. He shall carry the babes
in the saddle bags, one on either side of his back."
It happened one day that the chief's daughter and her husband were
making ready to go on a camping journey. The father, who was quite
proud of his children, brought out his finest pony, and put the
saddle bags on the pony's back.
"There," he said, "my sons shall ride on the pony,
not on a donkey; let the donkey carry the pots and kettles."
So his wife loaded the donkey with the household things. She tied
the tipi poles into two great bundles, one on either side of the
donkey's back; across them she put the travois net and threw into
it the pots and kettles and laid the skin tent across the donkey's
But no sooner done than the donkey began to rear and bray and kick.
He broke the tent poles and kicked the pots and kettles into bits
and tore the skin tent. The more he was beaten the more he kicked.
At last they told the grandmother. She laughed. "Did I not
tell you the donkey was for the children," she cried. "He
knows the babies are the chief's children. Think you he will be
dishonored with pots and kettles?"
And she fetched the children and slung them over the donkey's back,
when he became at once quiet again.
The camping party left the village and went on their journey. But
the next day as they passed by a place overgrown with bushes, a
band of enemies rushed out, lashing their ponies and sounding their
All was excitement. The men bent their bows and seized their lances.
After a long battle the enemy fled. But when the camping party came
together again- -where were the donkey and the two babes?
No one knew. For a long time they searched, but in vain. At last
they turned to go back to the village, the father mournful, the
When they came to the grandmother's tipi, there stood the good
donkey with the two babes in the saddle bags.
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