The Feast of the Whirlwinds
A Seneca Legend
Dzogéon and his uncle lived together in the woods. When the boy was old enough, his uncle taught him how to shoot and took him out hunting.
One day, while the young man was following an elk, a woman called to him, "Come here and rest; you are tired."
At first he paid no heed to the woman's words, but, when she called the third time, he sat down at her side. She talked to him and soon had his head on her lap. She began to search in his hair and right away he was asleep.
When the woman was satisfied that the young man slept soundly, she put him in a basket, put the basket on her back and started off with great swiftness.
She traveled till sunset, then she stopped, put down the basket, roused the young man, and asked, "Do you know this place?"
"I know it," said he, "My uncle and I used to hunt here."
They spent the night there. The next morning the woman searched in Dzogéon's hair till he fell asleep, then she put him in the basket and hurried on.
Late in the afternoon she stopped near a lake, put the basket down, shook the young man and asked, "Do you know this lake?"
"I know it, I have been here with my uncle."
The woman took out of her basket a canoe no larger than a walnut, struck it till it became large, then both sat in it and the woman paddled across the lake.
"We will go home now," said she, "I have a mother and I have three sisters married and living in my mother's cabin."
The two traveled on till they came to the cabin. When they stood at the door and the mother saw a stranger with her daughter she called out, "Welcome, Son-in-law, I am glad you have come."
Dzogéon became the young woman's husband and they lived on happily till one night the old woman had a dream. She rolled on to the floor and to the edge of the fire.
Her son-in-law jumped up and asked, "What is the matter, Mother-in-law? Are you dreaming?"
She didn't answer, but rolled around muttering to herself, then he said, "I'll make her talk," and taking a corn pounder he hit her a blow on the head.
She stood up then, and said, "Oh, I've had a bad dream, I dreamed that my son-in-law killed Nyagwaihe."
"I'll do that in the morning," said the young man, "but go to sleep now."
The next morning Dzogéon killed the bear, without much trouble, and carried it home.
That night the old woman dreamed that her son-in-law must make a feast for the Dagwanoenyents (Whirlwinds), invite them to it, and provide so much food that they couldn't eat it all.
The next day Dzogéon killed a great many elks, deer and bears. There was an abundance of meat; the house was full of it, and still there was more. Then the young man went out and called to the Whirlwinds to come to a feast prepared for them.
They answered quickly and all promised to come. They came in such numbers that there wasn't room for them on the shelves, the floor, or the seats. They began to eat, and they ate with a terrible appetite.
The mother-in-law went around urging them, saying, "Eat, eat your fill, I want every one to have plenty."
They ate and ate and the old woman still urged, hoping the supply would give out and her son-in-law would be killed.
The young man with his wife and her three sisters and their husbands went for more food in case of need. The Whirlwinds ate till their jaws couldn't move.
"We have enough, Mother, enough," said they.
When Dzogéon heard these words he motioned to the walls and roof of the cabin, and said, "I want your roof and walls to become stone."
The old woman and the Flying Heads, finding that they were in a stone house and couldn't get out, flew around in every direction. The mother-in-law begged for mercy.
"You had no mercy on me," said her son-in-law.
Then he said, "I want this house to be red hot."
As the house grew hot the heads flew about with terrible speed, knocking against the walls and making such a noise as had never been heard in the world before. But at last all was still.
Then Dzogéon with his wife, her three sisters and their husbands set out for his uncle's cabin. When they reached the lake, it -was covered with ice, so thin that it would barely hold up a small bird.
The young man took eight puff balls from an oak tree, made himself and his friends small, and each one entered a puff ball. When the eight balls stood side by side on the ice at the edge of the lake, the young man said, "Let the West wind blow!"
The West wind came and swept the balls over the lake. Dzogéon and his friends sprang out of the balls, became of natural size and went on their way till they came to the uncle's cabin.
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