A man lived in Kiweet. He had an elder brother, who was always building canoes. Once he was working on a canoe, (when) a man came there to him. "What do you do with your canoe after you finish it?"--"I always sell my canoes." He kept on working, with his head bent down, while the man was talking to him. Alongside the man who was building lay his dog. All at once he hit the neck of the man who was building, and cut off his head. He took his head home.
The man who was building did not come home, and they were looking for him. He lay (got in) in the canoe dead, without a head. The little dog was barking alongside of the canoe. The dog would look upwards every time it barked. Straight up it would look. So thus they began to think: "(Some one) from above must have killed him!" Then the next day his younger brother looked for him. The young man shot an arrow upwards, and would then shoot another one. He was shooting the arrows upwards. Every time he shot, his arrow would join (to the other); and (as) he kept on shooting that way, the arrows reached to him.
Then he climbed up there. He went up on the arrows. He saw people when he climbed up, and asked, "From where do you come?" They were taking home a man's head. "We danced for it." They were taking home his elder brother's head. They said to the young man, "At a little place the wife of the murderer is digging fern-roots. Every forenoon she digs fern-roots there." So he went, indeed. He did not go very far. Suddenly, indeed, a woman was digging fern-roots. There was a big river. So he asked the woman, "Do you have your own canoe?" "Not so."--"Who ferries you across the river?" "My husband ferries me across there."--"What do you do when he ferries you across?"--"He does not land the. canoe. I usually jump ashore."--"What does he do afterwards?"--"He usually turns back. Then, when it is almost evening, then I go home. He again comes after me. A little ways off he stops the canoe. There I jump with that pack. I get in there all right."--"What do you do with your fern-roots'"--"I usually dry them."--"What do you do with the fern-roots after they are dry?"--"I usually give some of them to all the people who live there. A little ways
off, in the next house, there live an old man and an old woman. I never give them any fern-roots."--"What do you usually do?"--"Then I cook them in a large pot."--"What do you do (then)?"--"I stir them with my hands."'--"Does not your hand get burned?"--"Not so."--"Does your pot boil? Don't you ever say thus: 'It hurts my hand'?"--"Not so, it does not hurt me."--"What does your husband do when you (dual) lie down?"--"I lie a little ways off from my husband."--" Does your husband usually fall asleep quickly?"--"He usually falls asleep quickly."
Now he asked her all (questions), and then killed her. He skinned the woman, and put on her hide. Indeed, he looked just like the woman. Then he took her load and packed it. He saw the husband there as he arrived. The husband was crossing back and forth. A little ways off in the river he stopped the canoe. Thus he was thinking: "I wonder whether I shall get there (if) I jump! I will try it from this distance." He packed the load and jumped. One leg touched the water. He pretty nearly did not get there. Thus spoke the man: "Is that you, my wife?" Thus he spoke. "I am tired, this is the reason why I almost did not get (there). My pack is heavy." He did not think any more about it.
Whatever the woman had told him, indeed, the young man (did it) that way. He made only one mistake. He gave fern-roots also to these old people. He opened the door. The two old people saw him when he entered. They two did not take the fern-roots which he held out in his hands. Then one shouted, "Some one from below gives us two (something)!" They did not hear it from the next house. When the thing he was cooking began to boil, he stirred it with his hand. "Ouch! it burned my hand." The husband heard it. "What happened to p. 155 you?"--"My finger is sore, this is the reason why I said so." And he was looking at the head that was fastened to the ceiling. It was his elder brother's head. He cried there when he saw his elder brother's head. Thus spoke the husband: "You seem to be crying."--("There is) much smoke, my eyes are sore." He no longer paid any attention to it.
Now it got evening. The woman was going upstairs. Thus spoke the little brother-in-law: "My sister-in-law (looks) like a man." Thus his grandmother said to him: "The women from there (look) just like men. You must keep quiet." Nobody again thought about it. From everywhere people (came) there to the murderer to help him. They were dancing for the head. For it they were dancing. Blood was dropping (from) the head (that) was hanging (there).
Then it got evening, and they went to bed. When they went to bed, (she) had a big knife under the pillow. The husband went to bed first. The woman was walking outside. So she bored holes (opened) in all the canoes in the village. Only in the one in which she intended to cross she did not bore a hole (open). As soon as she got through, she went inside. Then she went to bed a little away from her husband. At midnight the husband was asleep. She got up on the sly. She cut off the head of her husband, and seized her elder brother's head. Then she ran away, and crossed alone in a canoe. His mother was lying under the bed. The blood dripped down on her, and the old woman lighted a torch. She wanted to see what had dropped on her. "Blood, blood! What have you done? You must have killed your wife." She heard nothing. So everybody woke up. Then they saw the man lying under the bed, without a head. His wife had disappeared, and the head that was hanging from the ceiling p. 157 was gone. "The woman must have killed her husband."
"It was not a woman." Then they followed him. Other people shoved the canoes (into the water), but they kept on filling up with water, and they could not follow him.
Then he again went down on his arrows, on which he had climbed up. Then he returned there. He brought back his elder brother's head. Then he assembled all his folks. Now, it is said, they were going to join his elder brother's head. Now they commenced to work. A small spruce-tree was standing (there). Alongside of that small spruce-tree they were joining his head. Then they danced for it. His head climbed up a little bit and fell down. Four times it happened that way. His head would go up a little bit, and then fall down again. The fifth time, however, his head stuck on. It went up a little bit. Then thus he said to his elder brother: "Now you are all right." Then he came down from the spruce-tree. None of these people from above could come down, and none could take his revenge. These are the Woodpecker people; this is the reason why their heads are red to-day. The blood on the neck, that's what makes the head red. Thus one said to (them): "You shall be nothing. You shall be a woodpecker. The last People shall see you."