A woman was washing at a creek with her baby lying close by her. While she was dipping up water a Tiger, 1 which had been watching her, ran up and carried off her child. She did not know at first what had happened to it. The Tiger took the child, which was a boy, to its den, and with its mate raised him. When he had grown to be of some size the Tigers gave him a bow. The boy would go out and on coming back tell the Tiger that be had seen something that scared him, which was in fact a bird. Then the Tiger would explain that these birds were to be killed and eaten. So he got into the habit of going out hunting, killing these birds, and bringing them in. By and by he said, "Some baldheaded things scared me." "Those are to kill and eat," said the Tigers. They were turkeys. When be became a young man he saw something else which scared him and said, "I saw something with small legs which scared me." "They are to be killed and eaten," said the Tigers. So he went out and killed them. They were deer.
Some distance away was a mountain which looked blue in the distance. The Tigers said, "You must never go to that mountain." By and by the Tigers went off somewhere to make a visit, and the boy thought, "Why is it that they do not want me to go to that mountain?" So he decided to go there, and after he had climbed to the top he found a crowd of people playing ball. He saw his
mother playing among them. Then he got back to the Tigers' home and when the Tigers came back they found that he had been somewhere and said, "Haven't you been over there?" "Yes," he said, "I have been there." "Well, that is your town. You shall go back to it, and we will prepare for your return." The Tigers asked him to kill birds of a certain kind, and, when he had done so, they said, "Kill another kind." He kept on until he had killed as many different kinds of birds as he could find. With these they decorated the boy, placing a parrakeet on his head, jays on each shoulder, and smaller birds of different kinds about his belt. The Tiger caused these birds to live. "When you start off," he said, "you will come to a house, and when you have passed the house you will meet a person, but you must keep right on without talking to him." The Tiger also gave him a horn to blow oil, and when he blew every bird would cry out.
So the youth started off, and, as had been foretold to him, he passed a house and met a person beyond it. This was Rabbit. Rabbit stopped him and said, "Where are you going?" "I am going to my mother's. Where are you going?" "I am going to the creek to catch turtles. Your mother lives close to this place. Let us go back and catch turtles, and then go to her house together." Upon this the boy turned back with Rabbit, and, when they reached the creek, he pulled off his clothing and said, "How do you catch these turtles?" "I always take a hickory bark rope, dive into the deep water, catch and tie them, and drag them out." So the two took hickory bark cords and waded into the water. Rabbit said, "When I say 'Now!' we will dive into the water at the same time." When Rabbit said this word the boy dived in, but Rabbit jumped back on the bank, seized the boy's clothes, and ran off with them. The youth caught a turtle and, coming out and looking round, saw that his clothes were gone. Then he hung his head and began to think, "What shall I do?" Then he began looking around, and he spied a persimmon tree loaded with fruit. He shook this tree and rubbed the fruit all over himself. Then he started on toward his mother's house, dragging the turtle after him. When he reached his mother's house he stopped in the yard. His mother was cutting up raccoon meat. He said "Mother," but his mother answered, "I don't know whether I have a child." Then the boy started off again, saying, "If you have a child let the raccoon bite you," and the raccoon bit her. He went along while his mother cried out from the biting of the raccoon. He came to a number of houses, but he looked so filthy they would give him something to eat out in the yard and turn him away. Finally he came to a house where an old woman lived with her granddaughter. There was a hole in a clay bank out in the yard of this house, and the young man put his turtle into it. Then the women
welcomed him, invited him into the house, and fed him there. The youth told them that that was the first house in which he had eaten, and related how he had been treated at the different houses he had passed. The old woman said, "That is not the way to treat a person." Then the young man said, "If you eat turtle, I put one into a hole out there." "Well, if it is turtle," said the old woman, "it is something that has always been scarce." When they went to the hole and looked in, it was full of turtles making all kinds of noises. They took one of them out and cooked it. Then the old woman said, "I will give you my granddaughter. No one ever brought us anything of this kind before." The boy said, "If you have any relations let them come and get some of these." So the young woman went to inform some of their relations, and they came after turtles.
By and by the young man said, "Let us go to the creek." He stripped off his clothing and began diving back and forth under water from one side of the creek to the other. Then the fish became addled (or drunk), and the youth said, "Go and tell your relations and let them kill the fish." The young woman did so, and they came and killed some of the fish.
When Rabbit heard what the youth had done he determined that he would do the same. After he did so there were a lot of minnows floating about which he told the people to kill, but they soon found that the minnows were floating about of their own accord, and they scolded Rabbit.
When the young man had jumped into the creek he had gotten the persimmon stains washed off of him and appeared as a fine youth. Presently he asked his wife to comb her hair well and part it in the middle in the usual manner. She did so, and he said, "Give me that broad ax and a grindstone." "I will give them to you," she said. As he sat there a short distance away from her he said, "I am hungry." So his wife went into the house and brought out different kinds of food. "Where shall I put the food?" she said. Then the young man got up quickly, and, swinging his broad ax, struck his wife in the middle of her head where her hair was parted, thereby making two persons out of her, who laughed and smiled at each other.
When Rabbit heard what had taken place he had his wife comb her hair, and afterwards asked her to give him the ax and grindstone. Then he sat down and sharpened his ax. Then he said, "I am hungry," and his wife went in and brought out different kinds of food for him. "Where shall I put it?" she said, upon which he stood up, struck her on the head, and killed her.
When this happened the different animals and other creatures went to the youth and arrested him, saying that he was the cause of Rabbit having killed his wife. They tried him and sentenced him
to death. First they thought they would kill him by setting him to cut cane for arrows in a canebrake where there were poisonous snakes. But first the youth went to the Tiger, who gave him four balls and said, "Take these balls, and when you get into the canebrake and think your enemies are near by throw a ball and they will run after it. Throw the fourth ball as far as you can." So when the young man arrived at the canebrake he threw one of the balls, and while the snakes were pursuing it he began cutting cane. When they came back he threw another and then the third, and, having cut enough cane, he throw the fourth ball as far as he could and ran off, returning safely to the place from which he had been sent. Next the youth's enemies sent him to a cannibal who lived near, telling him to cut off his beard to wrap around the arrows. Again he went to the Tiger, who said, "Go there, turn into a granddaddy-longlegs and climb up on the ceiling. He will not be there when you arrive, but be on the ceiling when he comes back." When he got to the house he found only the cannibal's wife at home, who agreed to cut off her husband's beard for him, so he turned himself into a granddaddy-longlegs and climbed up on the ceiling. After a time the cannibal came in, lay down, and went to sleep, when his wife cut off his beard and gave it to the youth, who took it back to his enemies. Next he was sent to a creek where there was something dangerous, to dig up clay from the bottom. He consulted the Tiger again, who said, "Let that person who wears a white collar get that clay from the bottom of the creek. You can not do it. You must sit down at the edge of the water and tell this person to hurry up." When he did so the person he called came, and it was a Kingfisher. The young man asked him to dig clay out of the bottom of the creek for him, and the Kingfisher said, "I can do so. When I dive under the water, if white bubbles rise, you will know I am all right, but if red bubbles of blood rise you must go back." He dived, and the boy sat watching, and presently he saw some white bubbles rise to the surface. Then the bird came out and asked the boy to take the earth out from under his nails. When he had done so the bird said, "Strike the rock with this clay," and at once the clay grew large. He returned with it to the people who had sent him. Now, the people thought they would take this youth across to the other side of the creek, where there were numbers of cannibals. He consulted the Tiger once more. Then the people ferried him across and left him on the other side. That night hounds got after him, but in obedience to the instructions of the Tiger he got into a hollow tree. The cannibals who followed the hounds tried to twist him out with a switch, as is done in the case of rabbits, but he twisted it about in some spider webs, and when the cannibals saw it they thought that the hounds had lied and began to beat them. Then they went back home.
When day came the young man got out of the hollow tree and began wandering about, and after a time he came to where two women were swimming. He took their clothes and climbed up into a tree near by. When the women found this out and discovered him they asked for their clothes, but he said, "What will you be to me?" "We will be your sisters," they said. He remained where he was. Then they said "We will be your aunts." He did not move. "We will be your mothers." They named all kinds of relationships. Finally they said, "We will be your wives," and as soon as he heard it he came down and they took him with them. As they went along they said to him, "We always want a man, but if we get one our father always kills and eats him. In the first place our father makes him enter a race. There is a deep washout in which he has stuck up sharp spikes, and when they run and have nearly reached that place, he lets them get a little ahead of him and pushes them in so that they fall on the spikes and are killed." When they reached their house their father began to shout and rejoice, saying, "Those women never fail to bring a good man." Then he asked the young man to run a race, but just before they reached the washout he dropped back and the old man went on, falling into the ditch, but by the side of the spikes, so that he was not killed. Then the youth helped him out. That night the youth slept between his two wives, and over his head he had something fixed like a mask, making it appear as if his eyes were wide open. The old man would come over from time to time and peep at him, but when he saw him lying with his eyes apparently wide open he went back. Finally he gave up any expectation of catching his son-in-law asleep, so he whispered to his daughters that he was going to set the house on fire, and one night, while they were asleep, he struck them on the head and woke them up. So the two girls got up and started out, but they had the young man between them. Then the old man set fire to the house and while it was burning and everything was crackling and popping he said, "Those bones that I like to eat so well are crackling and popping." He would run around the house saying "Hayi haa."
After a while he looked about, saw his son-in-law standing near and said, "I thought my son-in-law had burned up. I thought bad luck had befallen him. That was what I meant by acting the way I did." After this the two women said, "Our father will not give up doing this. Go home if you want to." Then they told him they would find four young pups for him. They said, "You will find something with white round its neck. You ride it across the river. You can name it 'My friend.'" Then he took his four pups to the bank of the river, sat down there, and began calling for something. Snakes and turtles of various kinds would raise their heads out of the water,, and he would say to them, "I am not speaking to you," upon which they
would answer, "I thought you were calling me," and dive under water again. After a time something with a white ring about its neck stuck its head out from under the water and said, "What is the matter?" The young man answered, "I want you to carry me across the river." Then the snake said, "Why, what are you going to do for me?" and the young man answered, "I will give you something to eat while you are carrying me over." "All right," said the snake, and the youth got upon his horn (this snake having horns like a deer). When they started the young man gave the snake one pup, but as soon as he had finished it he began to sink toward the bottom. Then he gave him another pup and he rose and started on. He fed him with all four in the same manner. As he went the youth began sawing off one of the prongs of the snake's horns. The snake perceived the dust and said, "What is this falling?" "It is some kauhi'sitå (meal made from parched corn) that I am eating." So he got one of the prongs cut off unknown to the snake. When they were nearly over he shot an arrow which stuck up in the earth. Seeing this he shot again but held to the arrow and alighted upon the ground. Upon this the snake became angry and said, "Well, you could have done that in the first place without tiring me." The youth answered, "You are so proud minded and cross I could dry the water up from you which is all you have to support yourself on." So he dried up the water, and the snake began to tumble about. It said, "You have treated me badly." So the young man brought the water back and let the snake go.
234:1 Popular name for the panther.