Tale of The Woman Who Turned Into A Snake

A long time ago there lived a man and his wife and a dog. At that time the animals talked like human beings, and so the dog talked to the man and woman. Every day the man went out to hunt, and as soon as he was gone his wife always went away and never returned until evening, just before her husband came. He did not know that she left home in his absence until one time his dog said: “I believe you ought to know that your wife goes away and stays all the time that you are gone.” The man told his dog to follow her the next time she went away. Early the next morning the man started out hunting and the woman left home as usual. The dog followed her, but stayed a good distance behind, so that she did not know that he had followed her. She went to the large timber and stopped at one of the large trees and stood there looking up, and then after she had stood there for some time she whistled once, and then again and again. The third time she whistled the dog saw something moving out from a large hole in the tree, and finally the dog saw that it was a big snake. The snake came down to the ground and went straight to the woman, and began crawling up on her and coiling round and round her body. Finally the snake began to move away from her and crept back to the hole in the tree. That night the dog told the man what he had seen. The next day the man made many arrows and told his wife that he and the dog were going out fishing. Instead of going down to fish they went to the place where the snake was, and when they were there the man went near to the tree and whistled three times. The snake began to creep out, and when it had * reached the ground the man shot it and killed it, and then cut it up in very small pieces, so that the pieces looked like pieces of fish. They went down to the river and began to fish, and they caught a few small fish and took them home. When they arrived at their home the man told his wife that he was going to cook the fish himself, and told her to go in the grass house until the dinner was brought to her. She went, and the man began to cook the fish and the snake flesh. When he was through he took the snake flesh to his wife for her dinner. He and the dog ate the fish. He sent the dog into the grass house to see what his wife was doing, and the dog saw that she was eating the snake. He was sent in the second time, and he saw that she was scratching herself all over her body. Every place she scratched herself the skin would turn the color of the snake skin, until she finally turned into a snake. She crept away from the grass lodge and went to find the snake, for she did not know that he was dead. Some time after, the man went out hunting and he came to a large tree. He heard something making a noise inside of the tree and finally saw a large snake come out from the tree. He knew that it was his wife, but he passed on.

Caddo, Legends,

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

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