Tale of The Power Of Buffalo And Bear

One time when the animals spoke many languages, and yet understood one another, Bear and Buffalo met. They commenced telling each other about the powers that each received from the Father and when these powers should be used. Said the Bear: “Once upon a time I was a human being and lived like a human being, and went with the people from place to place. When they camped in the open, my family always made a camp near by in the timber or mountains, for we liked to climb the trees and play among the rocks. One night I had a dream. I dreamed that I was as you see me now, and I heard some one telling me of the many things that I had within my power to do. I was shown the place where I should stay, and I was given the paws and claws and the sharp teeth which I now possess. Then I dreamed that a human being was pursuing me and shooting at me with his arrows, and I knew that he was trying to kill me for food, as he does any other animal. I awoke from sleep and found that all I had dreamed was true, and from that time I have been as I am now. I left the people and began a new life in the mountains and woods, and from that time the people have hunted me and have tracked me with dogs. Now they call me Bear, meaning ‘the mountain animal.’ I have told you all.” Buffalo began to speak: “I, too, was like a human being and my ways were like their ways when we first came to dwell upon the earth. My people were called the Buffalo people because our oldest chief was named Buffalo. One time our chief was taken away from us and we never knew what became of him, though we were told that the Great-Powerful-One had taken him to another world, and that some day we were all going to that other world, and that we would meet our chief there. We lived with the people and traveled with them, going behind them. The people began to enter this world, but we were forbidden to enter because some one had made a mistake that caused us to stay back where we came from. We found out that the person who had made this mistake was Coyote, and so our people began at once to pray that the Father would give him powers and teach him so that he might enter the world and take us along, that we might be with the people. We do not know how we came to be as we are now, but we know that in order to be in the same world as the people are we had to change into wild animals and that for the love of the people we had to be their game, and we were to be killed and eaten by them. Then we were given powers to be dangerous, and these horns on our heads were given to us to fight with.”

Then Bear asked Buffalo if he could show just what he did when he was very angry or when he wanted to hurt or kill any one. Buffalo began to throw up the earth and strike the ground with his sharp horns. Bear sat watching him, and all at once, before he knew what had happened, he was falling to the ground and Buffalo was coming at him again. When he had fallen to the ground a second time Buffalo asked him if he saw him when he first started after him. “No,” said Bear. “Well,” said Buffalo, “I think you ought to show me how you use your powers when you get angry.” Bear began to go through his movement, and Buffalo sat watching him. Bear began to walk back and forth and look at Buffalo with angry eyes. Finally he began to move very slowly toward a small tree which was near by, and when he reached the tree he grabbed hold of it and with his sharp teeth cut it down. Before Buffalo knew what had happened Bear was upon him and he was trying to get up from the ground, but Bear held him down until he was ready to give up. Finally Bear let him go, saying, “That is the way I do when I get very angry, but I would treat you worse than that if I wanted to kill you.” Bear and Buffalo parted and went to their homes.

Caddo, Legends,

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

Search Military Records - Fold3

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Scroll to Top