Sacred Texts  Native American  Plains  Index  Previous  Next 


There once was a very industrious woman. Her man provided for her so that her tipi was large and there were plenty of robes and clothing. Her children were all boys and the family was very happy. Her mother gave her a charm which made her more beautiful as she grew older.

The chief was a very brave, strong, and handsome man. He had four women, but he also wanted this beautiful woman. When he talked to her she would not listen to him. He told her mother that he would teach her how to become a witch if she would persuade her daughter to listen to him. The mother agreed. She became a witch through his teaching and made a philter for him. With this philter the chief gained an influence over the beautiful woman and they intrigued. She neglected her tipi and her children and became a wicked woman, but continued to grow more beautiful every day. Her husband still loved her and he did not cut her

p. 169

nose nor sear her face. She caused much trouble among the women, but the chief could do nothing to punish her. When her mother saw what she had caused, she became old and feeble and wanted to die.

The wicked woman boasted that she was more beautiful than the Moon, so the Moon blackened her face and complained to the Sky. The Sky told the chief that because he had intrigued with this woman and caused her to forget her tipi and her children, his tipi should be placed outside the camp circle as long as he lived. The Sky told the woman that as long as she lived she would have the face of a terrible beast. The Sky informed the Old Woman that she would be stronger than the strongest man and would never die.

The Old Woman never erects her tipi in a camp. She appears withered and feeble, but is always the friend of the helpless. She may appear to young men and young women and bring them good fortune, if they deserve it. But she can bring misfortune on anyone. She is Wakanka, the Old Woman, the Witch.

Next: When Wohpe Came to the World