Tale of How The Cannibal Was Destroyed

In the beginning of this world there lived many kinds of fierce animals. Among these animals was one especially that was called by the people living in those times the cannibal.

One time there were three men who went out hunting. They went a long way from home and kept on going farther and farther in search of game. One day they came to a country timbered with many large trees. They came to one of these trees and saw that something had been climbing on the tree, and near the base there was a large hole. The men thought that a bear must have made the hole, and that the bear was in the hole. They gathered dry leaves and grass and made it up into a small bundle, and they set the bundle on fire and tied it to the end of a long pole and thrust the burning bundle into the hole. They kept on dropping bundles into the hole until they thought it about time the bear should come out. One of the bundles which was put into the hole dropped out from the hole, and then they knew that the bear was coming out. Finally some strange animal came and peeped out from the hole, and it was not a bear, but a cannibal.

As soon as they saw and knew what kind of animal it was, they ran. The smoke cleared away and the cannibal came down from the tree and smelled around until he scented the tracks of the men, and then he began to follow them. These men were on foot and the cannibal was very swift, and so it was not long until he overtook one of the men and killed him. Then the animal took the man back to the woods, to the large tree, and went back after the other two men. After running a long way he overtook the second man. He killed him and carried him back and placed him by the side of the first man. Then he returned for the third man. When the third man was almost overtaken, and was running with all his might, he saw something flat on the ground in front of him, but he did not stop. He saw that it was a mountain-lion, lying there watching and waiting for the approaching cannibal. The man ran on a way, then turned around and looked back to see what the mountain-lion would do. The cannibal did not see the mountain lion lying there, and before he knew anything the mountain-lion jumped upon him and seized him by the throat. Finally the cannibal was overpowered and killed, and then the man started on for his home. When he got home he told his people what had happened to the other two men. When they all heard this they started down where he last saw the cannibal, and when they got to the place they found nothing but many white and black wolves, which had already eaten the body, and there was nothing left but the bones of the cannibal. The men went on to the tree where the cannibal had lived. The tree was not burning, and so the men began to cut the tree down, and when it fell they found two bodies. They took the bodies out from the tree and buried them a short distance away.

Caddo, Legends,

Dorsey, George A. Traditions of the Caddo. Washington: Carnegie Institution. 1905.

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