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Kut o Yis.
Start of Story
The next morning when the buffalo were led in, Kut-o-yis´ killed
one, and they took the back fat and carried it to their lodge. Then
Kut-o-yis´ said, "I think I will visit that snake person." He went
over and went into the lodge, and there he saw many women that the
snake person had taken to be his wives. The women were cooking some
service berries. Kut-o-yis´ picked up the dish and ate the berries
and threw the dish away. Then he went up to the big snake, who was
lying there asleep, and pricked him with his knife, saying, "Here,
get up; I have come to visit you. Let us smoke together."
Then the snake was angry and he raised up his head and began to
rattle, and Kut-o-yis´ cut off his head and cut him in pieces. He
cut off the heads of all the snake's wives and children; all except
one little female snake which got away by crawling into a crack in
"Oh, well," said Kut-o-yis´, "you can go and breed snakes so there
will be more. The people will not be afraid of little snakes."
Kut-o-yis´ said to the old woman, "Now, grandmother, go into this
snake lodge and take it for your own and everything that is in it."
Then he said to them, "Where are there some more people?" They told
him there were some camps down the river and some up in the
mountains, but they said, "Do not go up there. It is bad because
there lives [=A]i-s[=i]n´-o-k[=o]-k[=i]--Wind Sucker. He will kill
Kut-o-yis´ was glad to know that there was such a person, and he
went to the mountains.
When he reached the place where Wind Sucker lived, he looked into
his mouth and saw there many dead people. Some were skeletons and
some had only just died. He went in, and there he saw a fearful
sight. The ground was white as snow with the bones of those who had
died. There were bodies with flesh on them; some who had died not
long before and some who were still living.
As he looked about, he saw hanging down above him a great thing that
seemed to move--to grow a little larger and then to grow a little
Kut-o-yis´ spoke to one of the people who was alive and asked, "What
is that hanging down above us?"
The person answered him, "That is Wind Sucker's heart."
Then Kut-o-yis´ spoke to all the living and said to them, "You who
still draw a little breath try to move your heads in time to the
song that I shall sing; and you who are still able to move stand up
on your feet and dance. Take courage now; we are going to dance to
Then Kut-o-yis´ tied his knife, point upward, to the top of his
head and began to dance, singing the ghost song, and all the others
danced with him; and as he danced up and down he kept springing
higher and higher into the air, and the point of his knife cut Wind
Sucker's heart and killed him.
Then Kut-o-yis´, with his knife, cut a hole between Wind Sucker's
ribs, and he and all those who were able to move crawled out through
the hole. He said to those who could still walk that they should go
and tell their people to come here, to get the ones still alive but
unable to travel.
To some of these people that he had freed he said, "Where are there
any other people? I want to visit all the people."
"There is a camp to the westward, up the river," they replied; "but
you must not take the left-hand trail going up because on that trail
lives a woman who invites men to wrestle with her and then kills
them. Avoid her."
Now, really, this was what Kut-o-yis´ was looking for. This was what
he was doing in the world, trying to kill off all the bad things.
He asked these people just where this woman lived and how it was
best for him to go so that he should not meet her. He did this
because he did not wish the people to know that he was going where
He started, and after he had travelled some time he saw a woman
standing not far from the trail. She called to him, saying, "Come
here, young man, come here; I want to wrestle with you."
"No," he replied, "I am in a hurry; I cannot stop."
The woman called again, "No, no; do not go on; come now and wrestle
once with me."
After she had called him the fourth time, Kut-o-yis´ went to her.
Now on the ground where this woman wrestled with people she had
placed many sharp, broken flint-stones, partly hiding them by the
grass. The two seized each other and began to wrestle over these
sharp stones, but Kut-o-yis´ looked at the ground and did not step
on them. He watched his chance and gave the woman a quick wrench,
and threw her down on a large sharp flint which cut her in two; and
the parts of her body fell asunder.
Kut-o-yis´ then went on, and after a time came to where a woman had
made a place for sliding downhill. At the far end of it she had
fixed a rope which, when she raised it, would trip people up, and
when they were tripped they fell over a high cliff into a deep
water, where a great fish ate them.
When this woman saw Kut-o-yis´ coming she cried out to him, "Come
over here, young man, and slide with me."
"No," he replied, "I am in a hurry; I cannot wait." She kept calling
to him, and when she had called him the fourth time he went over
where he was to slide with her.
"This sliding," said the woman, "is very good fun."
"Ah, yes," said Kut-o-yis´, "I will look at it."