Sacred Texts  Native American  Southeast  Index  Previous  Next 



Two young men once went out hunting together. One was a jolly fellow, the other more thoughtful. The former always wanted to do everything he heard of anyone else doing. As they were going along the sober one said he had heard that if anyone ate the brains of a male squirrel and of a gobbler he would turn into a tie-snake. The jolly one said, "I have a notion to try that." The other tried to dissuade him, but he went secretly and ate these brains. After they had made their camp that night and had gone to sleep the thoughtful youth was awakened by hearing his companion groaning and acting as if in misery. He asked him if he were sick, but the young man answered, "No, I am not sick, but that thing you told me not to eat I ate." His friend answered, "The old Indians always told people not to do that." He made a light and found that his companion was already becoming a tie-snake. When the transformation was completed the Tie-snake asked him to go and look for some water. His friend went and reported that all he could find was a small pool. The Snake followed him to it and curled himself up in the water. Then the Snake told

p. 32

him to go to his mother and tell her that he had become a snake, but that she must not be afraid and must come and see him. Before he started off the youth told his snake friend that when he returned he would give four whoops as a signal for him to come out of the water. Then he went away. When he came back, along with his companion's mother, he found that the pool had become a big lake. They sat down by the shore of this lake and he uttered four whoops. At first the water in the center of the lake began to rise up, and at the fourth the Snake came right up to his mother. Then they saw that horns had grown upon his head like those of a stag. His friend tried to talk to him but he could not reply. He merely laid his head across his mother's lap. Then the friend tied the Snake's gun across his horns so that it could not slip off, and told him that he should stay there and see what would happen. So he and the Snake's mother started home and the Snake disappeared in the water.

(My interpreter, Sanford Scott, told me that he had heard a story of two young men who caught a queer fish in a pond and one of them who ventured to cook and eat this was turned into a tie-snake.)

Next: 25. The Man Who Became A Snake (Third Version)