Native American Legends
Man-Eater and his Brother Whirlwind
A Seneca Legend
A man and his three nephews lived together, but there was a partition
in the house; the old man lived on one side of the partition and
the nephews on the other. There was no door between; they talked
through the partition.
The old man was a Ongweias (Man-eater). He was brother of the Dagwanoenyent
who chased the panther and her cubs.--But that is another story.
When the uncle went hunting, he started on a run. The young men
could hear the sound of his going. They also hunted. When the old
man came home, the nephews heard him throw down a body and cut it
up, then they heard him eating and crunching bones. Afterward he
spoke to them, asked if they had all come back from hunting and
they answered, "We are all here."
One morning, after the old man had gone, the youngest brother started
off by himself. A short distance from the house lay a big log; moss
had grown over it. When the young man put his foot on the log to
cross it, he saw a man fastened to the tree.
The man said, "I am glad you have come. I an, tormented here. If
you will take me home, I will be a brother to you and stay with
you as long as you live."
"I don't think I can take you home," said the young man. "My uncle
is a man-eater. But I will talk with my brothers, and tomorrow I
will come and tell you what they say."
That night when the old man asked if they had all come back from
hunting, the youngest brother said, "We have found a man and he
wants to be our brother and live with us. You must not harm him."
The old man promised not to harm the stranger, and said "I will
give him a name. He will be called 'The Found One.'"
The brothers brought the man to the house and when he had grown
strong he was a swifter runner than the man-eater.
One morning the three brothers and The Found One started off hunting.
In the afternoon the old man came home. At night he asked, "Are
you all there?"
One brother answered, "No, our eldest brother has not come."
The old man was surprised. He told the second brother that he must
start early the next morning and follow his brother's tracks.
In the morning the young man set out and soon he found his brother's
tracks and followed them. After a while, he came to an opening.
In the middle of the opening sat an old woman; the tracks went toward
her. The young man made up his mind to inquire for his brother,
and going up to the woman, he asked, "Have you seen my brother?"
No answer; the woman was deaf. He pushed her, she struck him and
that minute he turned to bones. Now two brothers were gone.
That night when the man-eater asked if all his nephews were at
home, the youngest said, "No, two of my brothers have not come back."
"You must follow their tracks," said the old man, "and find out
what has happened."
Early in the morning the young man started. When he reached the
opening and saw the gray-haired woman, it came to his mind that
she had killed his brothers. He stepped back got a good start, ran
and sprang on to her back, then he asked, "Have you seen my brothers?"
The woman didn't answer. He jumped off from her back, then on again.
She tried in every way to hit him. At last she touched him and that
minute he became bones--three brothers were gone.
That night when the man-eater asked, "Are you all there?" Found
One answered. "I am alone, my brothers have not come home."
The old man said, "Tomorrow morning go into the woods and cut some
crotched sticks, set them up outside of the house and build a platform
on them. Put as many stones on the platform as you can and then
start off for your uncle, Whirlwind. You can't help finding him.
As soon as you see him, shoot him in the forehead; he will fly in
the direction the arrow came from."
The next morning the man made a platform, and, after putting as
many large stones on it as possible, he started in the direction
the uncle pointed out. About midday he heard a great noise and when
he came out in a broad opening he saw Whirlwind on a rock, eating
the rock, biting off large pieces of it.
He shot an arrow at the old man's forehead, saying at the same
time, "I've come for you, Uncle."
The great Head stopped eating. and came toward him Found One shot
a second arrow; the Head followed the arrow. When Found One shot
the third arrow, he was back at the house. He called to the old
man-eater, "Uncle, I've come!"
There was a terrible wind and the noise of falling trees. Then
Whirlwind stood on the platform and began to eat the stones; his
crunching could be heard a long way off.
The man-eater said to Whirlwind, "Brother, I sent for you and you
have come. My three nephews went hunting and did not come back.
I am going for them, if I don't return you will come after me."
The next morning Found One was alone. Whirlwind came, stood on
the platform and called out, "Have they come back?"
"They have not," answered Found One.
"Well, I am going after my brother. He oughtn't to eat men if he
cannot go anywhere without getting lost,
Whirlwind went high in the air and saw the old woman. She knew
he was looking at her. He came down where he thought she was and
bit at her; she wasn't there; he bit gravel. He flew up and looking
down couldn't see her after looking a long time and not seeing her,
he hid behind a cloud and watched. At last he saw her in the ground.
Then he plunged down, and, biting deep into the earth, killed the
old woman, saying meanwhile, "My brother shouldn't eat people if
he is such a coward that he cannot kill an old woman."
Found One came and Whirlwind told him to put the bones of his brothers
and uncle together, then go to a big hickory tree that stood near,
push it and call out, "Rise up, or the tree will fall on you!"
Found One did as told.
The four men sprang up and were running off when Whirlwind called
to them and they came back. Then Whirlwind's brother said, "I give
up! I will never eat a man again."
The old men, their nephews and Found One went home together and
they are said to be in the mountains now. Whirlwind is still living.
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