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Two old men once went hunting and camped at a certain spot. One of them was very fond of fish and said, "I want some fish." Just then they noticed water dripping from the top of a tree near by, and the man who was fond of fish said he would go up to see what caused it. Arrived there, he found water in the top of the tree and some fish swimming in it, splashing the water over by dashing around. He said, "That is what I have been wanting," and threw them down. Then he climbed down and ate them. The other said, "There may be something wrong about fish found up in a tree that way," but his companion cooked and ate them nevertheless. The other did not like fish, so he did not touch them.

But after the first man had eaten he stretched out and said that his bones ached and that something was the matter. The other said, "I told you they might not be good but you would eat them." Then the body of the fish eater began to assume a curious shape, more and more like that of a snake, until he had altogether turned into one. He could still talk, however, and he said, "I have many kindred. Tell them I will be at the square ground (tcuko låko) and ask them to come there." Then he went into a little stream near by, whereupon the water bubbled up into a great boiling spring. The man that turned into a snake belonged to the Deer clan.

At the time appointed the kindred of this man assembled at the square ground to see him, and when he came it was with a powerful

p. 33

current of water as if a dam had broken and they were all swept away; perhaps they were turned into snakes. Thus the water snake was a kind of person. These water snakes had horns of different colors, yellow, blue, white, green, etc. 1


33:1 See also Forty-second Ann. Rept. Bur. Amer. Ethn., pp. 71-72.

Next: 26. The Man Who Became A Snake (Fourth Version)