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Kut o Yis.

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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 the rocks. "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 you." 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 smaller. 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 the ghosts." 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 she was. 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."

       



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