Sacred Texts  Native American  Southwest  Index  Previous  Next 


Bear and Lion had a contest to see who was the strongest. The queen of the animals wanted a man frightened who was always disobedient to his people. She wished him put back into the right road. She asked all of the animals which one of them would be willing to take the risk of frightening this man in order to put him back on the right road. Grizzly Bear said, "I will take the risk of frightening this man in order to put him back on the right road." The queen said, "I am afraid of you because you are so fierce. I am afraid that you will do him harm, and not just put him on the right road." But at last she consented.

Grizzly Bear set out for the mountains. He was not to do the man any harm but only frighten him. The bear found him, and he went against him, but instead of just frightening him he killed the man. He took word back to the queen. He said, "I have done as you told me." "How did you frighten him?" "I killed him." "What did I tell you! I told you that was what you would do, and I told you not to kill him. Now you will be punished for this." "Well, if anyone is stronger than I am and can punish me, let it be so!" So the queen called the Lion and told him that he was to kill the Grizzly Bear. They started off for the mountains. The power the Bear had was taken from him and given to the Lion. They fought. The Lion roped the Bear with his tail and climbed up the pine tree with him. The Lion split the pine tree as he climbed up and put the Bear in the split tree to dry up. So the Lion killed the Bear. Lion took the dead Bear back to the queen and she was very thankful, because the Bear had no control over himself when he was angry.


In the mountains the lions and bears had a contest to see which was the strongest. Grizzly Bear refused to come to the council and the Bear Chief said, "Go tell him if he doesn't want to come to say so, so that we won't have to send for him again." They went

p. 143

to him saying, "We will see what we will do if you are determined to refuse." But he would not come.

Bear Chief said to the Lion, "Tomorrow go to Grizzly; attack him and kill him." "All right. I will do what you tell me to do." Bear Chief said, "Tomorrow, early, watch the sun, and just as soon as it comes up, attack him." As soon as the sun appeared, they jumped to fight each other. They fought and fought. Lion killed Bear and split him down the median line. Bear Chief told Lion who had killed Grizzly Bear to hang the carcass on a pine tree. He said, "Nobody shall eat him. He was a bad bear, he did not do right."

The animals went hunting down by the Painted Cave. They held a council to decide on the next day's hunt. They stationed Lion at the mouth of the canyon, in the rocks, so that he could catch the deer the hunters drove toward him. He heard the hunters coming. They shouted, "There it's going! There! Here!" Lion had a watcher. He said to him, "When the deer comes up, don't let him get by. Shoot with your bow and arrow." The people called, "There! There!" Lion said to his watcher, "There is a deer coming. Don't be afraid to shoot at him." He got nearly to them and the watcher shot his bow and the deer fell right before him.

In the evening all came together in the camp. Lion's watcher brought the deer in. They quartered the deer, cooked, and ate it.

They held a council and planned the hunt for the next day. They said, "We will hunt a bear." One of them said (to the ceremonial leader of the party), "Father, you didn't bring your medicine bundle 'that which always tells me' with you." He answered, "I left it in the fireplace." In the morning he went to the house of the old man, and found him sitting outside. He sat down. Presently he called out, "Boys, come over here. Here's a rabbit sitting here." As soon as they got up to catch the rabbit he grabbed the medicine bundle that was in the fireplace and cried, "See, there is no rabbit. I fooled you!" He went off taking the bundle.

He made medicine for the bear hunt. They went out hunting for bear. He was leading one side and another man was leading the other. The leaders were ahead hollering for them to make the circle for they saw the bear lying under a tree. He (the bear) ran up the canyon. They followed in pursuit. They called, "Which way?" "This way!" "Here!" "Be careful! Don't get near! He will kill you!" They shot at him from powder guns with arrow points set in corn cobs (stuffed with rag padding) and ran on him with spears. They killed the bear and took it to camp. They put

p. 144

little pieces of meat on the points of arrows and spears and marched in with them singing,

Bear, bear we killed,
Bear, bear we killed.

[paragraph continues] They were singing for the bear. The women came out and joined in the singing, screaming and shouting. They took the bear, shouting and praying, to the house of the man who killed it. 8 "(The man who first touches the bear gets the bear, but whoever kills him is initiated into the Warrior Society, Ompe.)


142:1 Informant 1. Notes, p. 238.

142:7 Informant 3.

144:8 An obviously deleted account of the bringing in of the bear, which is equivalent to the bringing in of a scalp.

Next: Coyote Sings for the Prairie Dogs