Wisahketchahk and the Shut-Eye Dancers

Wisahketchahk was hungry.  Then he saw geese... ducks... food!
So Wisahketchahk began to sing.
"What's that song?" asked the birds.
"It's the Shut-Eye-Dance song!" replied Wisahketchahk.
"Please teach us this dance!" begged the foolish birds.
Wisahketchahk smiled. He built a lodge and invited them in.
"Shut your eyes while I'm singing," he said, and the birds shut their eyes.
Wisahketchahk sang. The birds danced. 
One by one Wisahketchahk strangled the birds.
But Helldiver opened his eyes... and saw. 
"Wisahketchahk's killing us!" he squawked, running away with the other bird survivors.
Wisahketchahk just laughed. "Run! I've got plenty of food now!"

Inspired by: "The Shut-Eye Dancers" in Sacred Stories of the Sweet Grass Cree by Leonard Bloomfield, 1930.
Notes: You can read the original story in both Cree and English translation online at the Internet Archive, and also information about the storytellers; this story was told by Coming-Day, who was an old man when Bloomfield collected these stories in 1925 on the Sweetgrass Reserve in Saskatchewan. You can find out more about Wisahketchahk at Wikipedia, and you can find out more about the red-necked grebe, a.k.a. Helldiver here: National Wildlife Federation: Helldiver, This is a very famous trickster tale, and you can find similar stories told about other tricksters of the Plains and beyond. There's a sequel to the story too where Fox arrives and ends up getting to eat all the geese and ducks that Wisahketchahk has killed; in other versions of the story, it is Coyote who gets all the food in the end.

No comments:

Post a Comment