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8. CORN-WOMAN'S SON (4, 6, 54, 55)

Old Corn-woman lived with a certain boy. When she was out of corn she went to the corn house, entered, and when she came out had a basket full of corn with which she made hominy. One time while they were living in this way the boy looked into the corn house and there was nothing there. He thought, "Where does she get the corn?

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[paragraph continues] Next time she goes in I will watch her." Presently the corn gave out again and when the boy saw Corn-woman start to enter the corn house he peeked through a crack. There she sat astride of a basket, and when she shook and made a noise the basket was filled. But he thought she was defecating into it. "I will not eat (lit., drink) any hominy this time," he thought, and ran off.

When the hominy was cooked he would not eat any, and from that she knew that he had seen her. She said, "If you think I am filthy, your kinfolks are alive--your grandmother, your aunt, your uncle, your second father, 1 your elder brother, your sister, your mother, and your father. I took you from them, but now that you think I am filthy you may go back. But I will provide for you before you go. First you must kill me and then burn down the house and reduce it to a bed of coals. Then you must go away. But before that go and hunt some birds."

So the boy started out, killed birds and brought them in, but she kept saying to him, "Another kind," and he went off again and killed others. But when he got back she said "Another kind," and he went out hunting again. He hunted about and brought different kinds of birds. Finally he brought blue jays and parrakeets. "Those are the ones," she said to him.

Then she brought the birds all to life, placed the parrakeets on one shoulder and the blue jays on the other, the chickadees in the center of the top of his head, the topknot birds back of his shoulders, and the others around his belt. She also made and gave him a flute and when he made a noise by blowing upon it all of the birds sang.

"Quum profisceris," ei dicebat illa, "alicubi in via mulieribus pravis obviam venies quae te ut cum eis concumbas sollicitabunt. Cum eis vero ne concumbas quia in verendis suis dentes habent qui tuum penem abscindent. Facias tibi penem lapideum et quum mulieri quartae obvenies cum ea concumbas."

After that he killed Corn-woman, burned the house down to a bed of coals, and then started off. He went along blowing upon his flute and the birds were singing. Mox cuidam mulieri appropinquanti obveniebat quae cum sollicitabat ut cum ea coiret. Recusabat pergebatque. Aliae mulieri appropinquanti obveniebat quae etiam eum sollicitabat ut cum ea coiret, atque iterum recusabat pergebatque. Et alia veniebat quae eum sollicitabat ut cum ea coiret atque iterum recusabat pergebatque. Deinde obviam ei veniebat quarta mulier quae etiam eum sollicitabat ut cum ea coiret. Ille assentiebatur et ambo concumbebant. Postquam paulisper concubuerunt penis suus lapideus dentes verendorum mulieris frangebat. Ea ibi plorans cubabat et ille eam derelinquebat atque pergebat.

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As he was going along he met Rabbit coming toward him, who made friends as soon as he saw him. "Where are you going?" Rabbit said to him. "I am going to my mother's." "I live close by. Let us go back together. I am going into the creek to tie up turtles. Let us go back and tie up turtles together and then we will go on. I am going close by the place." The youth was unwilling to go but Rabbit, who wanted to fool him, overcame his objections and they turned back.

When they got to the creek they peeled off hickory bark for ropes, took off their clothing and went into the water. Rabbit said to his companion, "When I say 'Now!' we will dive under water together." So they went to a place which was rather deep and Rabbit said, "Now!" The youth dived, but Rabbit went out, seized his companion's clothes, and carried them away.

After the youth had tied his turtles together by the legs he came out of the water and found that his clothing was gone. He stood thinking for a while with his head hanging down, and when he looked about saw a persimmon tree standing near. He climbed it, shook off some persimmons and rubbed them all over his body. Then he started on.

When he came to a house the people thought he was filthy and gave him food out at the edge of the yard. He went on for a while in this way until he came to where an old woman lived. That person looked upon him kindly. Then she cleansed him, and they lived together. The old woman said, "I want some fish." So the youth went to the creek. Afterwards he came back and said to her, "A sick fish was lying there which I put into the canoe, but if you want it you can go and get it." So the two started out. When they got down to the canoe it was full of fishes. "If you can not carry them all away," he said to her, "tell your kinsfolk if you have any and let them get them." So the old woman told them and they came and carried the fish away.

Rabbit heard how the young man had divided the fish. He said to his wife, "You must say, 'I want some fish.'" Rabbit's wife heard him and answered, "I want some fish." Then Rabbit went to the creek. He found a dead fish and put it into the canoe. After a while he came back. He said, "A sick fish was lying there which I put into the canoe, but if you want it you can get it." Then the two set out. They found only a dead fish swollen up and with its eyes turned white, and his wife scolded him about it.

Another time the youth made the old woman say by thinking, "I want some deer." So the youth went into the woods to hunt. After a while he came back and said to her, "I finished killing a deer which lay sick and laid it in a hollow, but if you want it you can go and get it." So the two started out after it. When they got to the

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place they found it full of fat deer. "If you can not carry them all off, let your kinsfolk take them away," he said to her. So the old woman went to her kinsfolk and told them and they came and carried off the deer.

Rabbit also heard of that. He said to his wife, "You must say, 'I want some deer.'" So Rabbit's wife said, "I want some deer." Then Rabbit went hunting in the woods. After a while he found a dead deer, put it into a hollow and came home. "I finished killing a deer lying sick," he said, "but if you want it you can get it," and they set out. When they came to where the dead deer lay, something had already taken out its eyes and the woman scolded him.

The birds hung dead on the clothing which Rabbit had taken away. [They would not sing for him.]

Next the youth said to the old woman, "Comb your hair and part it well," and she started to comb it. Then he said, "I want to build a house," and he stood near grinding his ax. The old woman went on combing her hair and when she got through he said to her, "Stand in the doorway." She did so and forthwith he struck her on the head and split her in two. Immediately two young women stood there looking just alike. So he continued to live with his two wives.

Rabbit also heard of this and said to his wife, "Comb your hair." She combed her hair and when she got through he said, "Stand in the middle of the doorway." She stood there and he struck her and caused her to fall down dead.

After that happened the people said that the youth had occasioned the Rabbit to kill his wife and they arrested both. Then they tried them. All of the quadrupeds with hair and all of the flying things tried them. But they concluded, "It was not the telling of Rabbit by that youth but the foolishness of Rabbit himself which caused him to kill his wife by trying to imitate him," and they let the youth go but convicted Rabbit.

They could not think of any way to kill Rabbit, however, so they discussed secretly a way to deceive him. They said, "Go and get Rattlesnake." If he went for him, it would sting him and so kill him, they thought. "All of us are not here to judge because Rattlesnake can't walk fast enough and hasn't come. Go and get him," they said, and he started off. But Rabbit knew they were deceiving him. He broke off a long stick, sharpened it, and came to the place using it as a walking stick. When he arrived he also told a lie. "They sent me from the assembly," he said. "Many said, 'Rattlesnake is long.' Many said, 'He is short.' 'Well then,' they said to me, 'Go and measure him,' and so I came along." Upon hearing this Rattlesnake straightened out and lay flat and Rabbit began measuring him. As he was doing so he said, "I shall not strike your life?" Rattlesnake answered that his life was in the middle of his head, so Rabbit

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kept on measuring him and while he was doing so stuck the stick into the middle of his head and killed him. He laid him over his shoulder impaled on the stick and carried him back.

"We told you to bring him here alive," they said to him. "What is he fit for? Throw him away." And he threw him away.

Again they came to an agreement on the matter. "Let him lead the water," they thought, "and that will catch and drown him." So they said to him, "You lead the water. Make it run straight in the channel." So he caught the water and led it by means of a string. Presently the water overtook him and he started to run. When it overtook him again he ran in a crooked course. It overtook him again, and after running from it several times he got tired, let the water go, and ran off.

When they said to him, "We told you to make it straight," he answered, "What I have done is right. Since it is crooked it makes a good place in which things can range about and when the second bottom is made it is a good place in which to hunt. It would be good to cultivate and to make a farm out of, I thought, and so I made it that way." They could do nothing with him and so they let him go.


231:1 I. e., paternal uncle.

Next: 9. The Panther Child