Native American Legends
Gáqga´ And Skagédi
A Seneca Legend
A brother and sister lived together. The brother never let his
sister go out of the house. When he went hunting, he told his dog
to stay at home and get whatever the girl wanted.
One day when the brother was away the girl wanted water, and, not
seeing the dog, thought, "What harm can it do? I'll go to the spring
and get back quickly."
She ran to the spring, stooped down and filled the bucket, but
as she straightened up and rested, putting the bucket at the edge
of the spring, someone grasped her from behind, lifted her into
the air and carried her off.
The dog followed, barking loudly. He made a spring into the air
to catch the girl, but he couldn't reach her.
The brother, hearing the dog bark, hurried home and finding his
sister gone, said to the dog, "You have caused great trouble."
The dog felt so badly that he bent his head down, curled it under
and became stone.
Gáqga´, the man who stole the girl, took her to an island in
the middle of a lake.
Every day Gáqga´ went away and came back with dry fish that he
found on the shore of the lake. Sometimes he brought pieces of human
flesh which he ate himself, sending the girl to get water for him
one day when the girl went to the edge of the island to get water,
a man stood before her, and said, "I have come here to tell you
that Gáqga´ is very hungry and he has made up his mind to kill
you tomorrow. He will tell you to bring water and fill the kettle.
As soon as this is done he will take up his club to kill you. You
must run behind the post that the kettle hangs on. He will strike
the post and break his arm, then come to this place as quickly as
The next day Gáqga´ did as the stranger said he would. When he
struck at the girl she dodged, his arm hit the post and broke. She
ran to the lake; the stranger was there and had a canoe. They sat
in the canoe and the man pushed out on to the lake. This man was
Skagédi (One-half of anything). When he stepped into the canoe
he divided and one-half sat at each end. They crossed the lake and
as they touched land the half of Skagédi at the rear end of the
canoe was raised up and thrown across the canoe. It struck the front
half and joining it became a whole man. The girl was sitting on
the bottom of the canoe.
Skagédi's mother was at the landing. She went to the girl and
saying, "My daughter come with me," led her to a house.
The girl was now Skagédi's wife. Every time he went out in his
canoe he divided himself and one-half sat at each end of the canoe.
As soon as he touched land he became one again.
Skagédi had all his life been traveling around on the lake, liberating
persons captured by bad men and wizards.
After a time Skagédi's wife gave birth to twin boys. As soon as
they were born, the grandmother threw them into the lake. As they
touched the water they began to paddle and quickly came to shore.
She threw them in a second time; in a minute they were back; she
threw them a third time, and far out. When they swam to shore, she
said, "That will do." They began to run around and play.
The boys grew quickly and after a while said to their father, "You
ought to stay at home and let us go out in the canoe and do your
"Very well," said Skagédi.
The boys started and after rowing some distance one said to the
other, "See, there is something off there on land that looks as
if it were breathing. Let us go ashore and find out what it is."
They landed, and going to the spot, found an old house lying flat
on the ground, but inside something was breathing and soon they
saw that it was a very old man. They got him out from under the
house and one of the boys said, "This is our uncle. We must take
The man was willing to go. As they were leaving the place he pointed
to a large stone, and said, "That is my dog," and striking it with
a switch he called out, "Get up!" The dog rose, shook, stretched
himself and followed the man.
When they reached home, the boys said, "Mother, we have found our
uncle." She looked at the man and sure enough he was her brother.
The boys said to their grandmother, "You must marry our uncle."
"Very well," said the woman.
After that they all lived together happily.
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