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Native American Legends

The woman who became a Horse

A Salish Legend

A chief had many horses, and among them a stallion which his wife often rode. The woman and stallion became enamored of each other. The woman grew careless of her household duties and always wanted to look after the horses.

When the people moved camp, and the horses were brought in, it was noticed that the stallion made right for the woman and sniffed about her as stallions do with mares. After this she was watched. When her husband learned the truth, he shot the stallion. The woman cried and would not go to bed.

At daybreak she was gone, no one knew where. About a year after this it was discovered that she had gone off with some wild horses. One day when the people were traveling over a large open place they saw a band of horses, and the woman among them. She had partly changed into a horse. She also had much hair on her body, and the hair of her head had grown to resemble a horse's mane. Her arms and legs had also changed considerably; but her face was still human, and bore some resemblance to her original self.

The chief sent some young men to chase her. All the wild horses ran away,but she could not run so fast as they, and was run down and lassoed. She was brought into her husband's lodge; and the people watched her for some time, trying to tame her, but she continued to act and whinny like a horse. At last they let her free. The following year they saw her again. She had become almost entirely horse, and had a colt by her side. She had many children afterwards.

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