Tale of The Man Who Made Arrows For Ghost

Two men arose and went out to hunt before daybreak, and they were a long way from their village when the sun came up. They hunted all day and far into the evening, but did not find anything. They decided to stay in the timber and sleep that night, so they might hunt next day, for they hated to go home empty-handed. They threw themselves down on a soft, grassy place and slept soundly, for they were weary. After they had been asleep for a long time both awoke with a start and listened. Soon they heard a voice whooping, the same that had awakened them. One of the men was so frightened that he jumped up and ran for home through the dark. The other man was brave and was ashamed to run, for he had not run from anything in all his life. He arose and stood his ground. Soon a dead person stood before him. He asked the man if he could help him get into Spirit Land. He said: “I have been trying for a long time, but cannot get any farther, for my bowstring has a knot in it. Can’t you give me a bowstring and make me two new arrows?” The man said that he would, and so he sat down to make the arrows. Then he put a new string on the dead person’s bow. The dead person shot the arrows and went up in the air with them. Before going he told the man that he would whoop when he was high up in the air, to let him know that the arrows had carried him up all right, and he wanted the man to whoop back, to let him know that he had heard him. The man listened and soon he heard a whoop. He answered it, and then he heard nothing more, so he knew that the man had entered Spirit Land. The next day he returned to his people and told them the story, and ever since that time bows and arrows are always made and buried with the dead, so that they can go to Spirit Land at once and not have to wander about. But no one ever makes bows and arrows at night; because they are afraid some of the ghosts might come for them and cause a death in the family, for whenever a ghost appears it is a sign of death.

Caddo, Legends,

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

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