Tale of The Jealous Husband

One time the people decided to go on the war-path, and when they were about to start they selected one man to be their leader. They started out and they had to go a long way before they could find the enemy. After they had traveled several days, the head man selected from eight to twelve men to go ahead and spy and see if they could locate the enemy. When any of these men located any of the enemy they would go back and tell what they had seen, and then all the others would ride out to fight the enemy. The leader chose for spies two men who were very close friends and who would always go together from place to place. One of these two was married and the other was single. One day they went out for some distance, and after they had gone about two miles, climbing up and down the hills, they came to a high hill, almost like a mountain. They decided to climb up this mountain so they could look far out over the country. They found on top a big hole in the rock that looked like an old well, and when they looked down into the hole they saw water. The married man told his friend to go down in the hole to get some water, for they were very thirsty. They had a long buffalo-hide rope and on this he descended. When he got to the bottom, he cried out to his friend to pull him up. Instead of pulling him up he threw the rope down the hole and went away and left him. He started for the camp, and when he reached there he told the head man that some of the enemy pursued them and that his friend was killed. It was a custom for the war party to continue the journey until they met the enemy in open battle, but if anything happened to a member of the party, or if any member should die through sickness or be killed, otherwise than in open fight with the enemy, then the expedition was given up and the entire party returned home. When the man told the head man that his friend had been killed, the camp broke up and all prepared to start home. When they returned to their homes, the errand-man was sent by the chief to all the camps to call the people together. When the people came the chief told them what had happened.

The man in the hole was starving, for he had been in there several days without food. Whenever any birds passed over him he would ask for help and pray them to take him out of the hole, but the birds did not seem to take any notice of him. One day, after he had been in the whole nine days, there was a certain kind of bird passed over the hole and the man asked it for help. The bird went on, but finally flew over the hole, and the man again asked for help. The bird passed on again, and yet again, but the fourth time it lit on the ground and came near to the edge of the hole and peeped over the rim and saw the man. This bird was Buzzard, and Buzzard told the man not to be worried, that he would help him out, but that he must wait until he went back home after some of his medicine which he required. Buzzard went away, but came back and flew down to the bottom of the hole. Then Buzzard spoke to the man, saying that he was going to take him to the home of the Buzzards until he was able to walk home. The man was told to shut his eyes and then take one step forward. When he did this he stepped on Buzzard’s back. Then Buzzard began to fly upward and out of the hole. Then Buzzard told him to open his eyes, and he did so and saw that he was on land again. The man was not able to walk at all, and so Buzzard told him to shut his eyes again, and they began to fly away from the place. After a while the man tried to open his eyes a very little, but Buzzard knew what he was doing and told him not to do it again. In a short time they arrived at the home of Buzzard, and while he was there the young man was treated kindly. After he had been there several days Buzzard asked him if he would like to see his people, and the man told him that he would, and then Buzzard called the man over to where he was, and when he got there Buzzard opened a very small place which was near where he was sitting. The man looked down below him and could see many Buzzard people. Two days after this the man was able to walk around and to do anything, and then Buzzard told him that he was going to take him to his home to see his people once more. Then Buzzard told the young man that his friend was jealous of him, and that the reason he had maltreated him was that he had been told he was going to take his wife away from him. Buzzard said: “I am going to take you home, and we will reach your home about dark, and when we reach a place that is near to your home I will have to let you off. Then you will hear your friend singing in his lodge, which is near to yours. When you go into your lodge you will find all of your people there, and when they see you, tell them not to cry or make any kind of noise. Your own sister will be there and you must tell her to go after your friend’s wife. She will not refuse your sister, but come right along with her.” They started out and Buzzard told him to shut his eyes again. When Buzzard told him to open them he could hear his friend singing, and he knew it was he because he recognized his voice. When they came near to his home Buzzard told him to get off of his back. He did, and went straight to his lodge, and when he went in his sister was the first one to meet him. When she came to him she began to cry. He told her not to cry, but to keep quiet. He told them how his friend had treated him and how Buzzard had taken pity on him and rescued him. When he had finished he told his sister to go and tell the woman to come. She went and told the woman that she was wanted. She did not hesitate, but went along with the girl, and they both came in and the woman saw her husband’s friend, whom she thought was killed, sitting with the others. The woman stayed with this man and did not care to go back to her former husband any more.

The husband was very sorry that he had told the stories to the head man and the chief. Many times after this these men went out on the buffalo hunt, and some of the others always watched him closely to see that he did not harm any one else. Finally they noticed that every time they went out he killed one buffalo first, and then did not take any of the meat, but would cut it up or dress it as though he were going to take it, and then would scatter the meat as though he were dividing it out to some people. The people began to wonder what he did that for. After he had prepared and scattered the meat of the first buffalo he had killed he would go on and kill another one, and then he would take his meat home. After people had seen him leave the meat of the first buffalo many times some one asked him why he did that. He would not tell, but one time his uncle came and asked him why he had done that so many times, and he told him all about it. He said he had lived with the woman many years, and when he should die his wife should drop dead, too.

Caddo, Legends,

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

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