Tales of The Girl Who Married A Star

One time a maiden slept in an arbor, and as she lay under the blue sky she watched the stars. One star especially she watched, and she wished that it would become a man and marry her, for she did not care for any of the young men of the village. She went to sleep wishing that the star would marry her. When she awoke she saw no stars, but an old man sitting by the fireside. “Where am I?” she asked. “Your wish is granted; you are the Star’s wife. I am the Star.” She began to cry, for the man was old and homely and she was young and beautiful, and so she had dreamed that her husband would be. The Star’s sister was preparing something to eat, and she told the girl to stop crying and come and eat. After a while the two women went out to dig potatoes. They saw one big potato, and the girl asked the Star’s sister what the big potato was for. She answered that it was the door of heaven, and that it covered the entrance to the world beneath. Then the girl cried again and begged the woman to let her go back to her people. She told her how unhappy she was and what a mistake she had made in wishing to marry the Star. The woman told the Star all that his wife had said, and so the Star agreed to let her return to her people in six days. The two women went out to gather bark from young elm trees to make a rope for the girl to climb down to earth on. After they had gathered the bark they began to make the rope and the Star helped them. After six days the rope was only half long enough, and so the old man said she would have to wait six more days until they could complete the rope. On the eleventh day the rope was finished, and the Star’s sister cooked some corn meal for the girl to eat on the way and filled a squash vessel with water for her. The Star told her to start early the next morning, for it would take her ten winters and summers to get to the earth. They fastened her to the end of the rope and then removed the potato and let her through the hole and gradually let the rope slip out. At first she could see nothing but darkness; then after a long time she could see the earth. After she had traveled through many waves of warm and cold air, she knew she had been on her way many summers and winters. Her food was almost gone and still she was a long way from the earth. Suddenly the rope ceased to slip and she hung swinging back and forth. She had come to the end of the rope. It was not long enough. She hung there for a long time and was about to die from hunger and weariness when she saw Buzzard circling around below her. She called to Buzzard to come and help her. He came, and after she had told him her story he told her to get on his back; that he would take her down to earth. Buzzard flew for a long time and the girl was heavy, so that he nearly gave out. He saw Hawk flying below him, and he called Hawk and asked him to help him take the girl home. Hawk flew with the girl until they could see the mountains and the rivers; then he gave out. Buzzard took the girl on his back again, and thanking Hawk for his help, told him to go his way; that he could take the girl on to her home. Buzzard flew on and on until they could see the trees, and soon they were even with the tops of the highest trees. Then Buzzard told the girl to go into her lodge when she went home and not to let any one but her father and mother see her. She was so thin that she was little more than skin and bones. Buzzard flew to the ground and lighted very gently just outside the girl’s village. He pointed out her parents’ lodge to her and then said good-bye and flew away.

The girl rested for a while and then began to walk very slowly to the lodge, for she was weak and exhausted. On the way she saw a woman coming toward her. She hid behind a bush, but the woman saw her and screamed, for the girl was so thin that she frightened her. The girl told the woman not to be afraid and told her who she was. Then the woman recognized the lost maiden and helped her to her lodge. Her mother did not know her at first, but when she found that the girl was her daughter she threw her arms about her and wept. The news of the girl’s return spread throughout the village, but her parents obeyed her wish and refused to let any one see her until after the tenth day. Then they came to her tipi and she told them her story and especially about the kindness shown her by Buzzard.

After that the people always left one buffalo for the buzzards after a big killing.

Tale of The Girl Who Married A Star 2

Long ago there lived a large family–father, mother, and eight children, four girls and four boys. They were all beautiful children, especially one of the girls, who was exceptionally beautiful. The time came when three of the girls were married, but the youngest and most beautiful would not receive the attention of any one. The girl was peculiar in her tastes and roamed around alone. She wished to go away somewhere, for she was tired of her home. One time while she was walking alone she began praying to the spirits to help her, that she might go wherever she wished. That night she was outside the lodge watching the stars, and she found that the stars were not all alike; that some were bright and some were very dim. Finally she saw one, the North Star, that was very bright, and then again she began to pray to the spirits to help her, and she wished that she might marry the star and become his wife. She ceased praying and did not know where she was for a while, and the first thing she saw was a very old man sitting by the fireside with his head down. She stood for a long while watching him. At first she could not believe herself, and she thought that she was only dreaming, but finally the old man looked up at her and said: “You are the young woman who wished to marry me and you have your wish; you are now in my home as my wife, as you wished.” She did not like the looks of the old man, and she wished that she might get away from him; but her wish was not granted and she had to stay. She tried many ways to get away, but all failed, and she was about to give up when she thought of a great big round stone that the Star had told her not to move, for it was very dangerous to move it. One time when the Star was away on a visit she thought she would go over and lift the stone and see what was there. She lifted the stone and found that she could look clear down to the earth, and then she began to wonder how she could get down to the earth. She put the stone back in its place, and when the Star came back he asked her where she had been, and she told him that she had been at home all the time. When night came she went to bed, and as she was wondering how to get down to the earth she thought about making a long rope out of soapweeds, for she had heard the old story about the people making such a rope long ago. When the Star went away for his nightly trip she would go out and cut soapweeds; but when he came back he would always find her at home, and so he never thought of her doing anything of the kind. Finally she had enough weeds cut, and then she began to make the rope. It took her a long while before she had the rope finished.

One day she thought she had rope enough to reach down to the earth. She went and lifted the stone to one side and dropped the rope down just as fast as she could. She finally came to the end of the rope; then she fastened it to the rock and placed the rock over the hole again and went back home. When the man came she was at home, but the next time he went away she went to the hole and began to climb down. It took her a long while before she could see the land plainly, and before she came to the tops of the trees she came to the end of the rope, and she did not know what to do. She was getting very tired, but she hung there for some time, and after a while she heard a noise near her and she looked and saw a bird. The bird passed under her feet several times, and when he passed the fourth time he told her that he would take her down and carry her home if she would step on to his back. She stepped on the bird’s back, and he asked her if she was ready, and she said that she was; then he told her to let go of the rope. She did so, and the bird began to fly downward very easily. The bird asked if she would let him take her on to her home, and she said that she would. The bird then took her to her home, and when they came near, the bird let her down and told her that he had to go back to his home; but before leaving her he told her that he was Black Eagle.

Caddo, Legends,

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

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