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By George Bird Grinnell
Siksika Indians – Folklore
Blackfeet Indian Stories
George Bird Grinnell
Author of Blackfeet Lodge Tales, Trails Of The Pathfinders, etc.
TO THE READER
Those who wish to know something about how the people lived who told these stories will find their ways of life described in the last chapter of this book.
The Blackfeet were hunters, travelling from place to place on foot. They used implements of stone, wood, or bone, wore clothing made of skins, and lived in tents covered by hides. Dogs, their only tame animals, were used as beasts of burden to carry small packs and drag light loads.
The stories here told come down to us from very ancient times. Grandfathers have told them to their grandchildren, and these again to their grandchildren, and so from mouth to mouth, through many generations, they have reached our time.
TWO FAST RUNNERS
TWO FAST RUNNERS
Once, a long time ago, the antelope and the deer happened to meet on the prairie. They spoke together, giving each other the news, each telling what he had seen and done. After they had talked for a time the antelope told the deer how fast he could run, and the deer said that he could run fast too, and before long each began to say that he could run faster than the other. So they agreed that they would have a race to decide which could run the faster, and on this race they bet their galls. When they started, the antelope ran ahead of the deer from the very start and won the race and so took the deer’s gall.
But the deer began to grumble and said, “Well, it is true that out here on the prairie you have beaten me, but this is not where I live. I only come out here once in a while to feed or to cross the prairie when I am going somewhere. It would be fairer if we had a race in the timber. That is my home, and there I can run faster than you. I am sure of it.”
The antelope felt so glad and proud that he had beaten the deer in the race that he was sure that wherever they might run he could beat him, so he said, “All right, I will run you a race in the timber. I have beaten you out here on the flat and I can beat you there.” On this race they bet their dew—claws.
They started and ran this race through the thick timber, among the bushes, and over fallen logs, and this time the antelope ran slowly, for he was afraid of hitting himself against the trees or of falling over the logs. You see, he was not used to this kind of travelling. So the deer easily beat him and took his dew—claws.
Since that time the deer has had no gall and the antelope no dew—claws.
THE WOLF MAN
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