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[054] The Fallen Star

The Fallen Star

The Fallen Star

_Dakota_

A people had this camp. And there were two women sleeping out of doors and looking up at the stars.

One of them said, "I wish that that large and bright shining star were my husband."

The other said, "I wish the star that shines less brightly were my husband."

And immediately both were immediately carried upward, they say. They found themselves in a beautiful country which was full of beautiful twin flowers. And they found that the star which had shone most brightly was a large man; the other star was only a young man. So the two stars married the two women and they lived in that beautiful Star Country.

Now in that country was a plant, the Teepsinna, with large, attractive stalks. The wife of the large star wanted to dig them. Her husband said, "No; no one does so here."

Then the camp moved. When the woman had pitched her tepee, and came inside to lay the mats, she saw there a beautiful teepsinna. She said to herself, "I will dig this; no one will see me." So she took her digging stick and dug the teepsinna; but when she pulled it out of the earth, the foundation of the Star Country broke and she fell through with her baby. So the woman died; but the baby was not injured. It lay there stretched out.

An old man came that way. When he saw that the baby was alive, he took it in his blanket and took it to his own lodge. He said to his wife, "Old woman, I saw something today that made my heart feel badly."

"What was it?" she asked.

"A woman lay dead; and a little baby boy lay beside her kicking."

"Why did you not bring it home, old man?" she asked.

"Here it is," he said. Then he took it out of his blanket.

The wife said, "Old man, let us adopt this child."

The old man said, "We will swing it around the tepee." He whirled it up through the smoke hole. It went whirling around and around and fell down, and came creeping into the tent.

Again he took up the baby and threw it up through the smoke hole. It got up and came into the tent walking. Again the old man whirled him out. In came a boy with some green sticks. He said, "Grandfather, I wish you would make me arrows."

Again the old man whirled him out. No one knows where he went. This time he came back into the tepee a long man, with many green sticks. He said, "Grandfather, make me arrows of these."

So the old man made him arrows, and he killed a great many buffaloes, and they made a large tepee, and built up a high sleeping place in the back part of the tepee, and were very rich in dried meat.

The old man said, "Old woman, I am glad we are well off; I will proclaim it abroad." So when morning came, he went to the top of the tent, and sat, and said, "I, I have abundance laid up. I eat the fat of the animals."

That is how the meadow lark came to be made, they say. It has a yellow breast and black in the middle, which is the yellow of that morning, and they say the black stripe is made by a smooth buffalo horn worn for a necklace.

The young man said, "Grandfather, I want to go visiting."

"Yes," said the old man. "When one is young is the time to go visiting."

The young man went and came to a people, and lo! they were engaged in shooting arrows through a hoop. And there was a young man who was simply looking on. By and by he said, "My friend, let us go to your house."

So they came to his lodge. Now this young man also had been raised by his grandmother, and lived with her, they say.

"Grandmother, I have brought my friend home with me; get him something to eat," said the grandson.

Grandmother said, "What shall I do?"

Then the visiting young man said, "How is it, grandmother?"

She said, "The people are about to die of thirst. All who go for water will not come back again."

Fallen Star said, "My friend, take a kettle; we will go for water."

"With difficulty have I raised my grandchild," objected the old woman.

"You are afraid of trifles," said the grandson. So he went with Star-born.

They reached the side of the lake. By the water of the lake stood troughs half full of water.

Star-born called out, "You who they say have killed every one who has come for water, where have you gone? I have come for water."

Then immediately whither they went is not manifest. Behold, there was a long house which was extended, and it was full of young men and women. Some of them were dead and some were dying.

"How did you come here?" asked Star-born.

They replied, "What do you mean? We came for water and something swallowed us."

Something kept striking on the head of Star-born.

"What is this?" he said.

"Get away," they replied, "that is the heart."

Then he drew out his knife and cut it to pieces. Suddenly something made a great noise. In the great body, these people were swallowed up. When the heart died, death came to the body. Then Star-born cut a great hole in the side, and came out, bringing the young men and the young women. All came to life again.

So the people were thankful and offered him two wives.

But he said, "I am journeying. My friend here will marry them."

Then Star-born went on, they say. Again he found a young man standing where they were shooting through a hoop. He said, "I will look on with my friend," and went and stood beside him.

Then the other said, "My friend, let us go home," so he went with him to his tepee.

"Grandmother, I have brought my friend home with me," he said. "Get him something to eat."

Grandmother replied, "How shall I do as you say?"

"How is it?" said Star-born.

"This people are perishing for wood," she said; "when any one goes for wood, he never comes home again."

Star-born said, "My friend, take the packing strap; we will go for wood."

The old woman protested. "This one, my grandchild, I have raised with difficulty," she said. He answered, "Old woman, what you are afraid of are trifles," and went with the young man. "I am going to bring wood," he said. "If any wish to go, come along."

"The young man who came from somewhere says this," they said, so they followed him.

They had now reached the wood. They found it tied up in bundles. He ordered them to carry it home, but he stood still and said, "You who killed every one who came to this wood, where have you gone?"

Then, suddenly, where he went was not made manifest. And lo! a tepee, and in it some young men and young women; some were eating, and some were waiting.

He said to them, "How came you here?"

They answered, "What do you mean? We came for wood and something brought us here. Now you also are lost."

He looked behind him, and lo! there was a hole.

"What is this?" he asked.

"Stop!" they said. "That is the thing itself."

He drew out an arrow and shot it. Then suddenly it opened out and behold! it was the ear of an owl in which they had been shut up. When it was killed, it opened out. Then he said, "Young men and women, come out," so they went home.

Again they offered him two wives. But he said, "My friend will marry them. I am traveling."

Again he passed on. And he came to a dwelling place of people and found them shooting the hoop. There stood a young man looking on. He joined him as his friend. While they stood there together, he said:

"Friend, let us go to your home." So he went with him to his tepee.

The young man said, "Grandmother, I have brought my friend home with me; get him something to eat."

She said, "Where shall I get it from, that you say that?"

"Grandmother, how is it that you say so?" asked the stranger.

She replied, "Waziya treats this people very badly. When they go out to kill buffalo, he takes it all, and now they are starving to death."

Now Waziya was a giant who caused very cold weather and blizzards.

Then he said, "Grandmother, go to him and say, 'My grandchild has come on a journey and has nothing to eat; so he has sent me to you.'"

So the old woman went and standing at a distance, cried, "Waziya, my grandchild has come on a journey and has nothing to eat; so he has sent me to you."

He replied, "Bad old woman, get you home; what do you mean by coming here?"

The old woman came home crying, and saying that Waziya had threatened to kill some of her relations.

Star-born said, "My friend, take your strap; we will go there."

The old woman interfered: "I have with difficulty raised my grandchild."

Grandchild replied to this by saying, "Grandmother is very much afraid." So the two went together.

When they came to the house of Waziya, they found a great deal of dried meat outside. He put as much on his friend as he could carry, and sent him home with it; then Star-born entered the tepee of Waziya, and said to him, "Waziya, why did you answer my grandmother as you did when I sent her to you?"

Waziya only looked angry.

Hanging there was a bow of ice. "Waziya, why do you keep this?" he said.

The giant replied, "Hands off; whoever touches that gets a broken arm."

Star-born said, "I will see if my arm breaks." He took the ice bow and snapped it into many pieces, and then started home.

The next morning all the people went on the chase and killed many buffaloes. But, as he had done before, the Waziya went all over the field, gathered up all the meat, and put it in his blanket.

Star-born was cutting up a fat cow. Waziya came and stood there. He said, "Who cuts this up?"

"I am," answered Star-born.

Waziya said, "From where have you come that you act so haughtily?"

"Whence have you come, Waziya, that you act so proudly?" he retorted.

Waziya said, "Fallen Star, whoever points his finger at me dies." The young man thought, "I will point my finger at him and see if I die." He pointed his finger, but it made no difference.

Then Fallen Star said, "Waziya, whoever points his finger at me, his hand loses all use." So Waziya thought, "I will point my finger and see." He pointed his finger. His forearm lost all use. Then he pointed his finger with the other hand. It was destroyed even to the elbow.

Then Fallen Star drew out his knife and cut up Waziya's blanket, and all the buffalo meat he had gathered there fell out. Fallen Star called to the people, "Henceforth kill and carry home."

So the people took the meat and carried it to their tepees.

The next morning, they say, it was rumored that the blanket of Waziya, which had been cut to pieces, had been sewed up by his wife. He was about to shake it.

The giant stood with his face toward the north and shook his blanket. Then the wind blew from the north. Snow fell all about the camp so that the people were all snowed in. They were much troubled. They said, "We did live in some fashion before; but now this young man has acted so we are in great trouble."

But he said, "Grandmother, find me a fan."

Then she made a road under the snow, and went to people and said, "My grandchild says he wants a fan."

"What does he mean by saying that?" they asked and gave him one.

Now the snow reached to the top of the lodges, and so Fallen Star pushed up through the snow, and sat on the ridge of the lodge. While the wind was blowing to the south, he sat and fanned himself and made the wind come from the south. Then the heat became great. The snow went as if boiling water had been poured over it. All over the ground there was a mist. Waziya and his wife and children all died with the great heat. But the youngest child, the littlest child of Waziya, took refuge in the hole made by the tent pole, where there was a frost, and so he lived. So they say that is all that is left of Waziya now, just the littlest child.

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