A Bashful Courtship
A Lakota Legend
A young man lived with his grandmother. He was a good hunter and wished to marry. He knew a girl who was a good moccasin maker, but she belonged to a great family. He wondered how he could win her.
One day she passed the tent on her way to get water at the river. His grandmother was at work in the tipi with a pair of old worn-out sloppy moccasins. The young man sprang to his feet. "Quick, grandmother! Let me have those old sloppy moccasins you have on your feet!" he cried.
"My old moccasins, what do you want of them?" cried the astonished woman.
"Never mind! Quick! I can't stop to talk," answered the grandson as he caught up the old moccasins the old lady had doffed, and put them on. He threw a robe over his shoulders, slipped through the door, and hastened to the watering place. The girl had just arrived with her bucket.
"Let me fill your bucket for you," said the young man.
"Oh, no, I can do it," the girl said.
"Oh, let me, I can go in the mud. You surely don't want to soil your moccasins," and taking the bucket he slipped in the mud, taking care to push his sloppy old moccasins out so the girl could see them. She giggled outright.
"My, what old moccasins you have!" she cried.
"Yes, I have nobody to make me a new pair," he answered.
"Why don't you get your grandmother to make you a new pair?" she asked.
"She's old and blind and can't make them any longer. That's why I want you," he answered.
"Oh, you're fooling me. You aren't speaking the truth," she said.
"Yes, I am. If you don't believe--come with me now!" said the man.
The girl looked down; so did the youth. At last he said softly, "Well, which is it? Shall I take up your bucket, or will you go with me?"
And she answered, still more softly, "I guess I'll go with you!"
The girl's aunt came down to the river, wondering what kept her niece so long. In the mud she found two pairs of moccasin tracks close together; at the edge of the water stood an empty keg.
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