An old woman was living in a certain place. One time, when it was raining, she found a little blood in the water, laid it aside carefully and covered it up. Some time afterwards she removed the cover and found a male baby under it. She started to raise him, and when he was old enough to talk he called her his grandmother.
When the child was 6 or 7 years old his "grandmother" made a bow and arrows for him and he began going out hunting. The first time he came back from the hunt he said to her, "What is the thing which jumps on the ground and goes flopping along?" "It is a grasshopper," she said. "Go and kill it and bring it to me," and he did so.
The next time he came in from hunting he said, "What was the thing I saw flying from tree to tree?" "It is a bird. Go and kill it and bring it to me to eat."
Next time he returned from hunting he said, "What is the shiny thing with long logs and slender body which I saw run away?" "That is a turkey," she said. "Go and kill it and bring it to me. It is good to eat."
Next time he said, "What is the thing with a woolly tail which I saw climbing a tree?" "It is a squirrel. It is good to eat," she said, so he killed it and brought it in.
The next time he said, "What is the thing with long legs, short body and tail, a blackish nose and long ears?" "It is a deer. Go and kill it and bring it in. It is good to eat." This is how he found out the names of all these creatures.
The next time he returned from hunting he said, "I saw something with big feet, a big body sloping forward, and big round ears but looking as if it had no tail. What is it?" "It is a bear," she replied. "Go out and kill it and bring it in, for it is good to eat." And so he did.
The next time he said, "I saw a big thing which has long hair halfway down the shoulders but nowhere else except at the end of the tail. It had its head close to the ground and when it raised it I saw that it had short horns and big eyes. What is it?" "That must be a bison," she said. "Go and kill it and bring it in. It is good to eat." So he killed it and brought it in.
After that he stopped questioning his grandmother regarding the animals because he had learned about all of them, and he could now
hunt by himself and so make his living. He went out hunting all of the time.
The old woman warned him, however, not to go to a big mountain which they could see in the distance.
The old woman provided corn and beans for them but did not tell him where she got them and after a while he became curious. One time when she was out of corn and beans and he was about to go hunting she told him that she would cook sofki and blue dumplings against his return. He started off but instead of going hunting slipped back to the house and peeked through a crack. Then he saw his grandmother place a riddle on the floor, stand with one foot on each side of it and scratch the front of one of her thighs, whereupon corn poured down into the riddle. When she scratched the other thigh beans poured into the riddle. In that way the orphan learned how she obtained the corn and beans.
Afterwards the orphan went off hunting, but when he came back he would not touch the food. His grandmother asked him if he was in pain or if anything else was the matter with him, urging him to eat. When she could not persuade him, she said, "You must have been spying upon me and have learned how I get the corn and beans. If you do not want to eat the food I prepare, you must go away beyond the mountain which I forbade you to pass." Then she told him to bring her some live jays and some live rattlesnakes with which she made a kind of headdress, and she also made a flute for him. As he walked along wearing the headdress and blowing upon the flute the birds would sing and the snakes shake their rattles.
Then his grandmother said to him, "Now, all is ready for you start along on this trail, but before you leave lock me up in this log cabin and set it on fire. After you have been gone for some time come back to look at this place, for here you were raised." She had provided in advance that he was to marry the first girl whom he encountered.
The orphan did as his grandmother had directed, and when he reached the other side of the mountain he came upon numbers of people playing ball. When they saw him all were pleased with his headdress of jays and rattlesnakes and stopped to look at him.
Rabbit was among these people, and when he saw how all were attracted by the orphan he wanted to be like him, so he persuaded the orphan to let him travel along in company. Before they had gone far they came to a sheet of water, and Rabbit said, "There are many turtles here. Let us go down into the water and get a lot of them." The youth agreed and Rabbit said, "When I shout 'all ready' we will dive in." But, at the appointed word, instead of diving into the water, Rabbit went to where his companion's headdress and flute were lying and prepared to run off with them. Before
he could get away, however, the youth came out and called, "Why are you doing that?" "It is so pretty that I was just looking at it. When I say 'Ready' let us dive again." The youth did as had been agreed, but Rabbit jumped out of the water, seized the headdress and flute and ran off with them.
The youth collected many turtles and started on carrying them. Presently he came to a lot of people who liked him as well as those he had met before he lost his headdress and flute and they treated him well. After he had spent some time among them he traveled on until he came to a house. He put his turtles into a hole in the ground and then approached the house. He found a young woman living there whom he married. Then he said to his mother-in-law, "There are some turtles outside in a hole in the ground. Bring them and cook them for us." So she went to the cavity and found it full of turtles which she brought back with her.
After they had finished eating, someone came to them and said that Rabbit had been arrested for stealing the youth's property. The youth went to the place and as soon as he came up the jays and the rattlesnakes, who had been absolutely silent while they were in Rabbit's possession, began to make a noise, the jays to sin and the snakes to rattle. He put on his headdress once more, took his flute, and started home, the birds and snakes singing and rattling for joy at being restored to him. The people who held Rabbit threw him down among a lot of dogs but the dogs were asleep and he ran off. The dogs awoke at once and began smelling around but they could not catch him.
After the youth had gotten home he said to his wife, "Let us go down to the creek. I want to swim. By crossing four times I can poison all of the fish there." His wife told him to do so and, as he was able to accomplish everything which he undertook, he performed this feat also. He killed all of the fish in that stream. Then he told his wife to call all of the townspeople, and they came down in a crowd and had a great meal off of fish.
After the youth and his wife had gotten home the former said that since he was feeling happy she must wash her head and comb her hair and part it in the middle. When she had done so, he told her to go into the house and stand perfectly still in a window looking out. Thereupon he seized an ax and struck her in the parting, splitting her into two women who looked just alike.
When Rabbit heard what the other man had done, he wanted to imitate him, and said to his wife, "Let us go down to the creek. I want to swim and when I cross four times the fish will come to the surface." "Well, go and do so," she said. So Rabbit swam across four times. When he dived he struck a minnow and stunned it, so that when he came out he found it mulling about as if it had been
poisoned. He told his wife to call all of her people down to get fish. She did so, but, finding only one minnow lying at the edge of the water, they became angry with Rabbit and went home.
As soon as Rabbit and his wife returned from the creek, Rabbit said, "Wash your head, part your hair and stand in the window." She did this; he struck her on the parting with an ax and killed her.
Some time later the youth said to his wife, "Let us go over to the place where I grew up, for I want to see it." They went there, and when they had arrived found that all sorts of Indian corn and beans had grown up in it. That was where the corn came from. So the corn was a person, that old woman, and if it is not treated well it will become angry. If one does not "lay it by," i. e., heap up the soil about it in cultivation, it calls for its underskirt. The laying by of the corn is the underskirt of old lady corn.