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This story is suitable for children age 6 to 8 approx.
The prayer was heard. Iktomi knew it. "Now, grandfather, accept my
offering; 'tis all I have," said Iktomi as he spread his half-worn
blanket upon Inyan's cold shoulders. Then Iktomi, happy with the smile
of the sunset sky, followed a footpath leading toward a thicketed
ravine. He had not gone many paces into the shrubbery when before him
lay a freshly wounded deer!
"This is the answer from the red western sky!" cried Iktomi with hands
Slipping a long thin blade from out his belt, he cut large chunks of
choice meat. Sharpening some willow sticks, he planted them around a
wood-pile he had ready to kindle. On these stakes he meant to roast the
While he was rubbing briskly two long sticks to start a fire, the sun in
the west fell out of the sky below the edge of land. Twilight was over
Iktomi and his blanket.
From:Old Indian Legends, by Zitkala-Sa
Start of Story
ALONE within his teepee sat Iktomi. The sun was but a handsbreadth from
the western edge of land.
"Those, bad, bad gray wolves! They ate up all my nice fat ducks!"
muttered he, rocking his body to and fro.
He was cuddling the evil memory he bore those hungry wolves. At last he
ceased to sway his body backward and forward, but sat still and stiff as
a stone image.
"Oh! I'll go to Inyan, the great-grandfather, and pray for food!" he
At once he hurried forth from his teepee and, with his blanket over one
shoulder, drew nigh to a huge rock on a hillside.
With half-crouching, half-running strides, he fell upon Inyan with
"Grandfather! pity me. I am hungry. I am starving. Give me food.
Great-grandfather, give me meat to eat!" he cried. All the while he
stroked and caressed the face of the great stone god.
The all-powerful Great Spirit, who makes the trees and grass, can hear
the voice of those who pray in many varied ways. The hearing of
Inyan, the large hard stone, was the one most sought after. He was the
great-grandfather, for he had sat upon the hillside many, many seasons.
He had seen the prairie put on a snow-white blanket and then change it
for a bright green robe more than a thousand times.
Still unaffected by the myriad moons he rested on the everlasting hill,
listening to the prayers of Indian warriors. Before the finding of the
magic arrow he had sat there.
Now, as Iktomi prayed and wept before the great-grandfather, the sky in
the west was red like a glowing face. The sunset poured a soft mellow
light upon the huge gray stone and the solitary figure beside it. It
was the smile of the Great Spirit upon the grandfather and the wayward