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(Tuggle collection)

An Indian woman told how the Terrapin's eyes became red.

A beautiful Fawn met a Wolf one day who asked how he came to have such pretty spots all over his body. "I got under a riddle (sieve) and they put fire over it, and that made the pretty spots."

"Will you show me how I can do that?" asked the Wolf. The Fawn consented. Then the Wolf obtained a large riddle, and lay down under it and the Fawn built a fire and burned him to death. After the flesh had decayed, the Fawn took the bones of the back and made a necklace of them. One day the Fawn met a pack of Wolves, who said to him: "Where did you get that necklace?" but he refused to tell.

p. 39

"What is the song we hear you singing as you gallop over the prairie?" asked they. "If you will stand here till I get to the top of yonder hill I will sing it for you."

Ya-ha ya-ha

Wolf, wolf


bones only

Chesarsook, chesarsook

rattle, rattle,




The ravens only


fluttered, fluttered.


The buzzard only


fluttered, fluttered.


The flies only


buzzed, buzzed.


The worms only





Witter-took 1



When the Wolves heard this song they howled in anger and said: "We missed our mate. He is dead and those are his bones. Let us kill his murderer."

They started for the Fawn, who, seeing them, sped away for life, the bones rattling as he ran. He came to a basket maker and begged him to place him under a basket, but he refused. Then the Fawn came to a man who was getting bark to cover his house. "Oh, hide me from the Wolves," he begged, but the man would not. He ran on and came to a Terrapin who was making a spoon. "Tell me where to hide from the Wolves," said the Fawn. "No," replied the Terrapin, "I must not take sides." However, the Fawn saw a stream just ahead and on reaching it he jumped up and lodged in the fork of a tree and could not extricate himself.

The Wolves passed the man who was making baskets and the man who was getting bark to cover his house and came to the Terrapin, who told them the way the Fawn had gone.

When the Wolves reached the stream they could trace the Fawn no farther. They looked in the water and there saw him. They tried to go into the water to catch the Fawn but failed. In sorrow they began to howl. As they raised their heads in howling they saw the Fawn in the tree. They held a council to see how they could get the Fawn out of the tree. One Wolf said: "I know a man who can shoot him out"; so he sent for the man. Then he went to the Terrapin and brought him, and the Terrapin said he could kill him. He began to shoot arrows at the Fawn. He shot every arrow away and missed the Fawn. Afterwards while walking around the tree

p. 40

the Terrapin found one of his old arrows sticking in the ground near an old log. "This was one of my best arrows," said he. So he shot at the Fawn with this old arrow and killed him.

Then the Wolves took the body and divided it into pieces. "We must pay the man for shooting him," one said, so they offered the Terrapin a piece of one leg. But he had some complaint in his leg and the medicine men had told him not to eat the leg of any animal. He whined out: "I can not eat leg; it will make my leg hurt, and I shall die."

When they offered him a shoulder he whined out: "I can not eat shoulder; it will pain my shoulder, and I shall die."

"He does not want any." they said, and went away carrying all of the Fawn.

After they had gone the Terrapin looked around and saw that there was blood on the leaves, so he gathered the bloody leaves into a big bundle, saying: "I'll carry them home." He reached his house, threw down the bundle, and said to his wife: "There, cook it for the children." Then she unrolled the bundle but saw nothing. "Where is it?" she asked. "Way inside," replied he, so she separated the leaves, but finding only the blood, she threw it into his face. He called to the children to bring him some water, but as they were slow, he crawled around with his eyes closed and found the lye and washed his face in that. Some of this got in his eyes and made them red, and ever since terrapins have had red eyes.


39:1 Yaha, wolf; ifoni, bone; tålki, only (another informant used tis, instead of tålki). tcåsåsakita, to rattle; kake, raven; milmil, flutter; suli, buzzard; tcana, common fly; såm, to buzz; tcunta, worm; witåtåk, wiggled.

Next: 35. How the Terrapin's Back Came to be in Checks