Food, a pipe, and a short nap before the fire, refreshed her wonderfully. At first she would hardly deign an answer to our questions; now she becomes quite talkative. Her small keen eye follows the children as they play about the room; she tells of her children when they were young, and played around her; when their father brought her venison for food.
Where are they? The Chippeways (mark her as she compresses her lips, and see the nervous trembling of her limbs) killed her husband and her oldest son: consumption walked among her household idols. She has one son left, but he loves the white man’s fire-water; he has forgotten his aged mother—she has no one to bring her food—the young men laugh at her, and tell her to kill game for herself.
At evening she must be going—ten miles she has to walk to reach her teepee, for she cannot sleep in the white man’s house. We tell her the storm is howling—it will be dark before she reaches home—the wind blows keenly across the open prairie—she had better lie down on the carpet before the fire and sleep. She points to the walls of the fort—she does not speak; but her action says, “It cannot be; the Sioux woman cannot sleep beneath the roof of her enemies.”
She is gone—God help the Sioux woman! the widow and the childless. God help her, I say, for other hope or help has she none.
First in order of the gods of the Dahcotahs, comes the Great Spirit. He is the creator of all things, excepting thunder and wild rice. Then there is,
Wakinyan, or Man of
Wehiyayanpa-micaxta, Man of the East.
Wazza, Man of the North.
Itokaga-micaxta, Man of the South.
Onkteri, or Unktahe, God of the Waters.
Hayoka, or Haoka, the antinatural god.
Takuakanxkan, god of motion.
Canotidan, Little Dweller in Woods. This god is said to live in
a forest, in a hollow tree.
Witkokaga, the Befooler, that is, the god who deceives or fools
animals so that they can be easily taken.
THE LEGENDS OF THE SIOUX.
CHECKERED CLOUD, THE MEDICINE WOMAN. [Footnote: A medicine woman is a female doctor or juggler. No man or woman can assume this office without previous initiation by authority. The medicine dance is a sacred rite, in honor of the souls of the dead; the mysteries of this dance are kept inviolable; its secrets have never been divulged by its members. The medicine men and women attend in cases of sickness. The Sioux have the greatest faith in them. When the patient recovers, it redounds to the honor of the doctor; if he die, they say “The time had come that he should die,” or that the “medicine of the person who cast a spell upon the sick person was stronger than the doctor’s.” They can always find a satisfactory solution of the failure of the charm.]