Sacred Texts  Native American  Southeast  Index  Previous  Next 


Two friends used to go about together. One of them died, and the one who was left fell sick. He lay down all of the time, was unable to get well, and his body became so lean that it was nothing but bones. His friends did not know how to restore him to health,

p. 144

[paragraph continues] "What is the matter with him?" they thought, so in order to find out they hunted for a prophet. When the prophet arrived he said to them, "His soul has been gone for a long time." Then they wanted him to try to get it back. "He must have gone after the other man," they said.

Then the prophet took four bottles of whisky and a white blanket to lie on. They wrapped him up, placed the whisky by him, tied the corners with a rope and lifted him. Those assembled smoked tobacco, blowing the smoke about continually, until the prophet lay as if dead. Then they laid him down on the ground.

Meanwhile his soul took the whisky and went up. He went toward the sky after the sick man's soul. When he got there he found the two standing together dancing, the sick man held by his friend. The prophet tried to get him away but his friend held him so tight that he could not separate them. He remained there watching him. By and by the friend loosened his grip a little and the doctor seized his friend and started back with him. When he heard his friend coming after them he opened a bottle of whisky, threw a little on the ground and came on again. The friend remained at the place a while and came on once more, whereupon the prophet scattered some more whisky. Then he came on again, carrying the soul. When the dead man again followed, the doctor sprinkled out more liquor. He remained there for a short time as before but soon came on again. The next time the prophet emptied it all out and when he started on the friend remained longer before resuming the pursuit.

He kept on that way until he had used up all but the fourth bottle, the last one. He heard him shout in the distance. Then he poured out the last of this bottle and came on once more, but when the friend reached that place he stopped and disappeared.

So they got back, and the sick man recovered. He who had fainted [i. e., the prophet] came to life. And because he had gone after the soul they gave him in payment a horse with its saddle, a fine horse and a good saddle.

Next: 24. The Dead Wife