The Old Woman told the wolf, the turtle, and the lark that if they would help her grandson find his wife she would give each of them what he most wished. They helped her grandson and he found that his wife was stolen by the Crazy Buffalo. He killed the Crazy Buffalo and brought his wife to his grandmother's tipi. Then the wolf wished for fur clothing for himself and his people. The turtle wished for tough clothing for himself and his people. The lark and all his people had clothing which would hide them where there was no cover, so he wished for a pleasant voice for himself and all his people. The Old Woman gave each one what he wished and together they went on the trail.
Each claimed that his gift was the best and they argued and soon quarreled. They were about to fight when a young man appeared and asked them why they quarreled. They told him. He said that the only way to decide whose gift was the best was to find which would help the most in a game. The wolf proposed a hunting game, but the turtle and the lark said they could not hunt. The turtle proposed a swimming game, but the wolf and lark said they could not swim. The lark pro posed a singing game, but the wolf and turtle said they could not sing. Then the young man said that a running game would decide the question and all agreed to
run a race. The young man told them that they must run by a plum thicket, across a marsh, and to the top of a hill where they would find white and colored clays; and that the first that brought white clay to him would win the race. They ran. The wolf and turtle ran side by side, for neither could run swifter than the other; but the lark ran far behind them.
When the wolf was near the thicket he saw a bundle in a plum bush and sniffed toward it. The scent was not like any he had smelled, so he became curious and wanted to know what was in the bundle. He asked the turtle to wait. The turtle. said he would when he came to the marsh. The wolf walked around the bush and eyed the bundle with care. Then he reared against the bush and sniffed at it, but still he was puzzled. He jumped to pull the bundle down, but did not reach it and the thorns on the bush pricked him. Again he jumped, and again the thorns pricked him. This made him angry and he determined to get the bundle.
He jumped many times. Each time the thorns pricked him and made many wounds on his back and sides. Finally, he pulled the bundle down. He was so angry that he shook it from side to side and it flopped against his sides. The bundle was a young woman's menstrual bundle and it smeared its contents into the wounds of the wolf. This made him itch so that he must scratch himself, but the more he scratched the more he itched. He scratched and scratched, until he tore his fur clothing and his blood flowed and he forgot the race. The turtle ran to the marsh and there waited for the wolf a long time. He thought that the wolf had tricked him and gone on to the hill.
He saw a puff ball; because it looked like white clay he thought he would trick the wolf and fool the young man with it. So he carried it back and showed it to the young man who said that the turtle was the first to show something as proof that he had been on the top of the hill.
When the lark ran by the thicket, he saw the wolf jumping and this encouraged him to run faster. When he came to the marsh, he saw the turtle waiting, and he was more encouraged, so he ran on to the top of the hill. Here he took a lump of yellow clay and ran to carry it back to the young man. When he was crossing the marsh, he stumble-d and dropped the clay into black mud. He picked it up, but was in too much of a hurry to clean the black mud from it. When he was near the young man, he saw the turtle sitting and smiling so he thought he had lost the race and wept. His tears washed the yellow clay from his mouth and made the. front of his clothes yellow while the mud made a black stripe on the yellow.
The wolf came last, scratching and howling, and the turtle taunted him, saying that he howled like an old woman mourning for the dead, and whimpered like a hungry babe. The turtle strutted and swaggered saying that nothing could make him whimper. The young man said that the turtle was first to return in the race, but he must prove his boast that nothing could make him cry out if he should lose. The turtle said he could prove in any manner all that he had said. Then the young man placed the puff ball on the turtle's back. It quickly grew so large that its weight was all that the turtle could hold up. The puff ball continued to grow and soon it crushed the turtle's body to the ground and made his legs short and cracked. Still the puff ball grew and mashed the body of the turtle flat, and forced his breath from him so that he lay as if dead. Then the puff ball became black and light as a feather, but still the turtle could not straighten his legs or make his body as it was, so he hid his head under his thick hard skin.
Then the young man laughed loud and long and told the wolf, the turtle, and the
lark that his name was Iktomi and that because they quarreled about the good things the Old Woman had given instead of using them, he had tricked them and caused them to bring on themselves that which would be with them and with their people forever; that because the wolf had meddled with that which was not his affair whenever he or any of his people meddled with a young woman's bundle they should itch and scratch and lose their fur clothing. In this manner the wolves get the mange. He said that because the turtle had cheated to win the race his legs and his people's should forever be short and crooked and their bodies should be flat, so that they could never run in a race; that because he had lied about the puff ball by saying that it was white clay, neither he nor his people should ever speak and should always hide their heads for shame; that the lark had won the race, but because he had brought yellow instead of white clay, his clothes and the clothes of his people should always be yellow in front and there should be a black stripe on the yellow, so that none of them could ever hide themselves where there was no cover.