[042] The Forked Roads

The Forked Roads

The Forked Roads


Long ago, in the days of the grandfathers, a man died and was buried by his village. For four nights his ghost had to walk a very dark trail. Then he reached the Milky Way and there was plenty of light. For this reason, people ought to keep the funeral fires lighted for four nights, so the spirit will not walk in the dark trail.

The spirit walked along the Milky Way. At last he came to a point where the trail forked. There sat an old man. He was dressed in a buffalo robe, with the hair on the outside. He pointed to each ghost the road he was to take. One was short and led to the land of good ghosts. The other was very long; along it the ghosts went wailing.

The spirits of suicides cannot travel either road. They must hover over their graves. For them there is no future life.

A murderer is never happy after he dies. Ghosts surround him and keep up a constant whistling. He is always hungry, though he eat much food. He is never allowed to go where he pleases, lest high winds arise and sweep down upon the others.