Tale of The Effeminate Man Who Introduced Strife

One time there lived among the people a man who always did the women’s work and dressed like the women and went with them, and never went with the men. The men made fun of him, but he did not care, and continued to work and play only with the women. A war broke out with some other tribe, and all of the men went to fight but this man, who stayed behind with the women. After the war party had gone, an old man, who was too old to go with them, came to him and told him that if he would not go to fight he was going to kill him, for it was a disgrace to have such a man in the tribe. The man refused to go, saying that the Great Father did not send him to earth to fight and did not want him to. The old man paid no attention to his excuse, and told him if he did not go to fight he would have the warriors kill him when they returned from battle with the enemy. The man said that they could not kill him, that he would always come to life, and would bewitch people and cause them to fight and kill one another. The old man did not believe him, and when the war party came home he told the men that they would have to kill the man because he was a coward, and they could not let a coward live in the tribe. They beat him until they thought he was dead, and were just ready to bury him when he jumped up alive. Again they beat him until he fell; then they cut off his head. He jumped up headless and ran about, frightening all of the people. They were just about to give up killing him when some one noticed a small purple spot on the little finger of his left hand. They cut that out; then he lay down and died. Soon after many people began to fight and quarrel, and some even killed their own brothers and sisters and fathers and mothers. The other people tried to stop the fighting, but could not, because the people were bewitched and could not help themselves. Then the old man remembered what the coward had said, and he told the people, and they were all sorry that they had killed him.

Caddo, Legends,

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

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