A man lived in the middle of this world all alone. His stool always lay in the sweat-house. Once when he came in and looked at his stool he was surprised to see a baby's track near it. The next day when he looked again he saw it had been playing still more. He studied about it. The next day he saw it had done that again. After a time he thought be would watch, so he sat near by. In the morning when he looked he saw it had been playing with woodpecker heads. The next day again it had been playing with woodpecker heads, and the next day also. He picked up the woodpecker head. The third day he picked one up also. When he had watched nearly four days and the fourth night was nearly passed, well after midnight he heard a jingling noise. He heard a baby cry. He went into the house. He saw a baby squirming about. He got a piece of buckskin, picked up the baby, and wrapped it up in it.
Then, because he did not want to leave it, he put it in his sack and went away. He went all over the world looking for the herb with which he was going to make medicine. Finally he went all around the world without finding it. He came back to the middle of the world where he used to stay and went into the house without having found the medicine. When he looked around inside of the house he saw it growing by the wall that holds the wood, at the very place where the baby was born. Then he pulled it off and put it under the baby and steamed him with it.
And then the baby grew. Really it grew very fast. Soon it was creeping about. It seemed very vigorous. After a while it ran about, it was so strong. He began to study about it. He said to the child, "Lie down and go to sleep." The child obeyed. The man went away.
He climbed one ridge, and then a second, and a third, and a fourth. When he got up the fourth ridge be sat down. He looked back where he had left the baby. He looked this way toward the north. Then he looked toward the south. After that he looked toward the eastern water's shore. And then he looked across to the west. Wherever he looked clouds came up.
[paragraph continues] As he looked he saw them slide together toward each other. "He is growing strong," he thought. "What is going to happen, they are going to come together before me," he thought. Finally where he used to stay they came together. Just blackness and darkness hung there. The baby was afraid of that which had happened. Suddenly it ran up and at once in every direction they drew back. "This way sickness will be afraid," he thought. And he went back.
The medicine he had made did that. He looked at it thinking, "How will it be good?" He started home and in time got there. He saw the baby running about. "I have made the medicine good," he thought. "The Indians, who are coming to be, will know of me. It will be only a few who will talk about my medicine. This way those who know my medicine will do," he thought. "They will place this under the child. This way they will do. Here across to the north he will hold it up. Here across to the south, too, he will hold it up. He who knows my formula will do this way. I made this my medicine for Indians. They will ask me for it. That which grows in the Indian world [tobacco] he will grow with," he thought. "I will leave something for them. Sickness will be afraid like this if he puts my medicine under the child. He, who knows my medicine, will grow in this way to be smart." This way he made it. This way he finished it.
"Here are ten packages of tobacco with which I ask you for it. Lend me your medicine. I have not much of that which grows in the Indian world." "Yes, I guess it is true that you know my formula. I will lend it to you. There stands my medicine; put it under the child." And then he blows from his hand the offering of incense root.
292:1 Told at Hupa, December 1901, by Emma Lewis.