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It was gone. Only the dry rib bones lay on
the ground like giant fingers from an open grave. Iktomi was troubled.
At length, stooping over the white dried bones, he took hold of one and
shook it. The bones, loose in their sockets, rattled together at his
touch. Iktomi let go his hold. He sprang back amazed. And though he wore
a blanket his teeth chattered more than ever. Then his blunted sense
will surprise you, little reader; for instead of being grieved that he
had taken back his blanket, he cried aloud, "Hin-hin-hin! If only I had
eaten the venison before going for my blanket!"
Those tears no longer moved the hand of the Generous Giver. They were
selfish tears. The Great Spirit does not heed them ever.
Iktomi and his blanket.
Start of Story
Iktomi felt the cold night air upon his bare neck and shoulders.
"Ough!" he shivered as he wiped his knife on the grass. Tucking it in a
beaded case hanging from his belt, Iktomi stood erect, looking about.
He shivered again. "Ough! Ah! I am cold. I wish I had my blanket!"
whispered he, hovering over the pile of dry sticks and the sharp stakes
round about it. Suddenly he paused and dropped his hands at his sides.
"The old great-grandfather does not feel the cold as I do. He does not
need my old blanket as I do. I wish I had not given it to him. Oh! I
think I'll run up there and take it back!" said he, pointing his long
chin toward the large gray stone.
Iktomi, in the warm sunshine, had no need of his blanket, and it had
been very easy to part with a thing which he could not miss. But the
chilly night wind quite froze his ardent thank-offering.
Thus running up the hillside, his teeth chattering all the way, he drew
near to Inyan, the sacred symbol. Seizing one corner of the half-worn
blanket, Iktomi pulled it off with a jerk.
"Give my blanket back, old grandfather! You do not need it. I do!" This
was very wrong, yet Iktomi did it, for his wit was not wisdom. Drawing
the blanket tight over his shoulders, he descended the hill with
He was soon upon the edge of the ravine. A young moon, like a bright
bent bow, climbed up from the southwest horizon a little way into the
In this pale light Iktomi stood motionless as a ghost amid the thicket.
His woodpile was not yet kindled. His pointed stakes were still bare as
he had left them. But where was the deer--the venison he had felt warm
in his hands a moment ago?