student resources
The Ioway Library
Ioway tribe today
links and list
search and site index
about this site

Ioway Cultural Institute : Culture : Myths and Legends

Illustration: "Only Stories" by Lance Foster
Hand-signed notecard with quality graphic reproduction
is available for purchase at Lance Foster's website.

Dore and Wahredua

From Alanson Skinner's Traditions of the Iowa Indians (1925). Original storytellers Robert and Julia Small, Iowa-Otoe.

Thank you to transcriber, Brandi Foster.

One time a family went out hunting. They camped by themselves in the woods, and while the man ranged the forest hunting for game, the woman, who was pregnant, stayed at home and kept house for him. One day while her husband was absent a man came to visit her. At first she paid no attention to the stranger, and would not even look at him. The man sat down opposite her and did everything to attract her attention; finally, as he was possessed of magic power, he caused a fire to spring up behind her. "Oh my, there is a fire behind you!" he exclaimed, but the woman reached behind her and put it out with her hands without looking up or speaking.

When her husband came home she told him about her strange visitor, and he said, "You did well. This man has evil power over women. Do not pay any attention to him, and after the fourth visit he will cease to annoy you."

Each day thereafter the stranger visited her and tried in the same manner to frighten the woman with fire, but each time she made him go away without paying him the slightest attention. On the fourth and last day, after the man had left the lodge, the woman could not resist the temptation to see him before he vanished forever, so she peeped through a crack to see what manner of being he was. Although his back was turned, for he was going away, she saw that he had two faces, one in front and one in the back of his head, and that he had long sharp bones like daggers projecting from his elbows. He was Sharp Elbows (Itopa'hi).

The being saw the woman with his rear face, and laughed and said "I knew you would finally look." He retraced his steps and stabbed her to death with his sharp elbows and went away leaving her lying there on the floor of the lodge. When her husband returned he found her lying there still, but upon examination of her body he found her babies were still alive, so he cut her open and took them out. They were twin brothers, and, as he could not raise them both, he kept only one. The other he placed on an old log where the mice came and found him.

The one whom the father kept he raised until he was a small boy. One day when this boy, who was named Dore was playing alone while his father was off hunting, his lost brother the mouse boy, who was named Wahre'dua came to the lodge and sang in a low voice:

"Dore thie anje thato tci wothothotcan najiro, Dore haha, Dore"

"Dore thie anje thato tci wothothotcan najiro, Dore haha, Dore"

"Mieiku hatuntci ho nyi ma dotasta hajido, Dore haha, Dore"

(Dore, you've got a father and you eat only dried meat, Dore)

(I've got a grandmother and I eat only wild beans, Dore)

When the man came home that night, Dore said to him, "Father, this boy comes when you are gone and sings to me."

"Oh, that is your missing brother, I couldn't save you both, so I threw him into an old log, and I guess the mice must have raised him."

Every day the lost brother came and played with Dore. He was strange and wild in his ways, like some animal. He had a good nose, and was able to smell out the enemy. Each day when he arrived he would be very suspicious. "Maybe our father is here," he would say to Dore. Then Dore would turn everything upside down to show his mouse brother that there was no one there. Each night Wahre'dua could smell his father coming and would run off to his home in the log before the man got there. Each time when he ran away Wahre'dua would say to Dore, "Forget", so that his brother would not remember to tell his father that he had been there playing so wildly.

One time Wahre'dua forgot to say "Forget", and Dore remembered and told his father about his daily visitor. "Good", said the father. "Tomorrow try to coax him to stay." But Wahre'dua refused and ran off home as usual.

The next day the father hid himself. He said to Dore, "When your brother comes today, play with him for awhile, then say to him, Look for lice in my hair. When he has finished, it will be your turn to louse him; and when you do so, wrap his scalp lock around your finger. When you have a good hold, call for me."

Dore did as he was told, and Wahre'dua was unable to escape when his father ran up. His father cut off Wahre'dua's scalplock, and from that time on the mouse boy had no longer the power to escape.

The two brothers now played together, and after a while both grew in size and stature. One day their father said to them, "Now you must not go to such and such a place, that pond that is near hear." As soon as he was out of sight, Wahre'dua said to Dore, "Father said for us to visit that pond." "Oh no", replied Dore, "He said for us to stay away from it." "Well then," answered Wahre'dua, "if you will not go with me, give me back my scalplock." Dore, it seems, wore Wahre'dua's scalplock attached to his belt, and when his brother demanded it, Dore decided to go with him. When they arrived at the lake, they found that it was full of leeches. They took off their clothes and waded in until the leeches covered their bodies, then they came out and scraped them off into pieces of bark.

"Our father will be very pleased to see these," said Wahre'dua, so they took them home and cooked and ate some, and they put the rest away for their father to eat when he came back. When the older man returned and they set the leeches before him, however, he refused them and threw them out in disgust.

The next day he ordered the boys not to go to another place in the neighborhood, but as soon as he was gone Wahre'dua said to Dore, "Father said for us to go to that place." "Oh no," answered Dore, "He said for us to stay away from it." "Well then, if you don't want to go with me, give me back my scalplock." When Wahre'dua said this, Dore decided to accompany him, and when they arrived at the spot they found there a great den of snakes. The twins took four box-turtle shells and made for themselves two pairs of moccasins. Then they entered the den and trod on the heads of the greatest rattlesnakes and crushed them. They took the biggest ones home as before, and cooked and ate some of them, the rest they set aside for their father.

They also took the biggest rattlesnakes and hung them from a stick over the lodge entrance making a door that jingled when the snake's bodies were pushed aside to enter the lodge. "Our father will be pleased when he sees this," said Wahre'dua.

When their father came home he was frightened and angry. He made the boys tear down the rattling door and throw the cooked snake flesh back where they got it. He scolded them for their disobedience. Again, the next day, when he was about to set out on his hunt, he warned them against going to a certain place. As soon as he was out of sight however, Wahre'dua said to Dore, "Father said for us to go to that place." "Oh no," answered Dore, "He said for us to stay away from it." "Well then, if you don't want to go with me, give me back my scalplock." So as usual Dore gave in to his more powerful brother, and they went to the forbidden place.

Now it so happened that at this place dwelt the U'ye (the female organ of generation of the world). This U'ye swallowed all manner of animals and people who ventured near it, for it had the ability to suck them down into its maw. When the U'ye saw the two boys approaching, it spoke to them and warned them to keep away from it. "No matter," said the twins, "Swallow us just as you do everybody else." And they stripped off their clothes until they were naked all but the gee string. They hunted for a place where there were many flint rocks, then they lay down and rolled in them, after which they ran up to the U'ye and begged it to swallow them. The U'ye swallowed them, but immediately, finding them covered with the hard flint rock, it spat them out again, and blew upon them until it blew away all the stones that adhered to their bodies, then it swallowed them again.

As soon as they were in the maw of the U'ye they found themselves in a vast dark place. There were many people and animals there, some dead and digested, some dying, and some newly captured. There was no escape, although they wandered and searched for many days. They asked all the animals and people whom they met, but none had any hope of escape. Dore wept at times and was frightened, but Wahre'dua only laughed. Finally they searched all over their bodies to see if they could find any flint left there, but none could be discovered until finally Wahre'dua found a little particle under his foreskin. He took it and commanded it to grow in the shape of a flint knife, and such was his magic power that it did so at once.

It is said that this U'ye had a heart, liver and throat, as well as a stomach, so Wahre'dua went to its diaphragm and cut it with his knife. This only tickled the U'ye, but at last he hacked his way through it and cut off the heart. Then the U'ye died, and all became dark, for it shut its mouth. Then Wahre'dua began to cut a hole out of its side. Through this the twins and all the other living captives escaped. When the U'ye died it shuddered so that all over the earth the fact was known by the earthquake, and everyone knew it was the twins that had done the deed. Since then the world has never had an U'ye.

When the boys got home they found their father was very much frightened by their power. The next day he told them to stay away from another place where their grandmother lived, near a spring. As soon as he was gone, Wahre'dua said to Dore, "Our father has ordered us to go and visit our grandmother." "Oh no," Dore answered, "he told us not to." "Well then, give me back my scalplock if you are not going." So as usual Dore was persuaded, and they went and found the grandmother sitting on a rock by the spring. They ordered her to come down, as their father wanted her to come to their lodge. "Oh no," said the old woman, "I have sat here for years and years and I have never moved." "Well then, I will carry you," said Wahre'dua, and he took her on his back and carried her home to their lodge. When they go there he told her to get off, but the old lady refused. Even when Wahre'dua and Dore beat her and pulled at her they could not get her loose. Finally even Wahre'dua had to lie down with the old woman still on his back. He told Dore to cover him up with his robe, so Dore concealed him. When their father came back he asked why Wahre'dua was lying down, and Dore replied that his brother was sick. The father lifted up the blanket and saw the old woman. "Didn't I tell you not to bother your grandmother? Now take her back where she belongs."

Wahre'dua did as his father told him, and when he reached the spot again the old woman descended and resumed her seat once more.

The next day their father again warned the twins against going to a certain place at a river, but the boys went as usual. As soon as their father was gone, Wahre'dua said, "Our father has commanded us to go to the river." "Oh no," Dore answered, "he told us not to." "Well then, give me back my scalplock if you are not going." So again Dore gave in to Wahre'dua and they went to the river.

There were many wild fowl on the water, but no person could swim across. This time Wahre'dua held back, but Dore wanted to cross so he called a swan and got on its back. He wanted it to help him get some ducks, but it paid no attention and carried him away. Wahre'dua began to search for Dore. He asked every bird that came along where his brother was, but none of them could tell him, so he searched and wept and sang this song:

Dore, Dore, mitheskeeanokonye

Dore, Dore, mitheskeeanokonye

(Dore, Dore, if it had been, I'd fly)

After awhile Wahre'dua saw a lot of swans in a flock. He stopped and asked them if they had seen his brother, the one who was carried off. "Oh yes, he will come back in a little while", said the swans. Wahre'dua went on weeping and singing.

Presently a swan began circling down from the heavens and lit near Wahre'dua and Dore got off its back. "Why are you crying, my brother?" he asked.

"I'm singing about you, my brother. I'm proud of you," answered Wahre'dua. "Let us go now, we can return tomorrow and be revenged on these swans."

Although Dore said he had been well treated by the swan, the next day the twins returned and this time Wahre'dua mounted on the swan's back. He took its neck and twisted it, so that from that day to this all swans' necks are curved. The boys killed many swans as a punishment and some they brought home to their father, who was frightened and angry, for he took these to be holy birds.

When their father saw how really powerful they were, so that nothing seemed to be impossible, he decided to tell them that the worst of their tasks lay before them. The next day he said to the twins, "There is a place yonder that is the most dangerous of all. Don't go there, yet if you are determined to visit it, do so."

As soon as their father had gone, the boys, after their usual argument, started for the place. It was where the Horned Water Panthers (Itcex'hi) dwelt. When they drew near the place, Dore said, "What shall we do? These beings are very powerful and will surely kill us." Wahre'dua replied, "Let us visit them in the afternoon, for there are only certain times every day that they come out of their dens."

In the afternoon when the sun was shining and the sky was clear, the boys visited the Horned Water Panthers as they had planned. They went right up to the chief of them all and announced themselves as visitors. "Hau," said the Panther chief, "You tow, Dore and Wahre'dua, may come to our lodge under the earth."

The twins went down into the lodge of the Horned Water Panthers, and when they got inside, there were many spirits there. These Panthers eat only people; and, although they brought the boys meat from all over the world, they would not touch it. As soon as their visit was over and they were out in the world once more, Wahre'dua said to Dore, "Let us kill these dangerous monsters."

"How can we do that?" asked Dore.

"I have a plan," answered Wahre'dua. "Kill me with your bow and arrows, cut me up, and place my head on top of the pile of meat and cook me. When you have finished, take me to the monsters, and say the chief, 'I know you like to eat meat, so I've killed you a raccoon and butchered it for you. Eat.'"

And so Dore killed Wahre'dua and butchered him. Wahre'dua first told him to stand back out of the way, when the kettle was boiling to watch his head, and when he saw it wink throw his blanket to one side, and shout, "Look out Grandfather." Dore carried his brother's body to the chief of the Horned Water Panthers, and said, "Grandpa, I know you like to eat meat, so I found this raccoon and killed and butchered it for you. Eat."

The chief of the Horned Water Panthers said, "Hau, I thank you, my grandson," and he called all his people to feast. As soon as the kettle began to boil over, Dore, who was watching Wahre'dua's head closely, saw one eye wink, so he stepped back, threw his blanket to one side and cried, "Look out Grandfather!" Instantly Wahre'dua came to life and sprang out of the kettle, spattering the scalding water all over the panthers and crippling many. Then the twins took their warclubs and their bows and arrows and shot or clubbed many of them to death. They took the blood and some of the carcasses and climbed up on the bluff that stood over the home of the Water Panthers. They drew up the meat and boiled the panthers, horns and all in their kettle. "Our father will be pleased to eat this," said Wahre'dua.

But when their father came home he refused to eat it, although they told him of the wonders they had performed.

Their father told them that there was a tree in the vicinity to which he did not want them to go. The next day Wahre'dua said to Dore, "Our father said we were to visit that tree." "Oh no," Dore answered, "he told us not to." "Well then, give me back my scalplock if you are not going."

Rather than do this, Dore gave in as usual and went with Wahre'dua. It is said that this is a true story of the beginning of the Indian race, and many of the medicines that were found in the medicine bags of otter skin used in the Mankanye Washi are derived from Wahre'dua's hair. These twins made the world possible for men to live here. There is another tale, which concerns the killing of monsters and which resembles this one, which is called A'ho'ge.

Now the twins went to the tree and Wahre'dua climbed up into it and there he found a nest containing four little winged men. "Oh, my brother, these are cute little fellows," he called to Dore. He picked up one and asked it, "What is your name?"

"Thunder-man (Kho'manyi)," answered the Being. "Oh my brother," called out Wahre'dua, "here goes Thunder-man", and he dropped the little god to Dore, who caught him.

Wahre'dua picked up the second being and asked it, "What is your name?"

"Lightning-man (Ukrimanyi)," answered the Being. "Oh my brother," called out Wahre'dua, "here goes Lightning-man", and he dropped the little god to Dore, who caught him.

Wahre'dua picked up the third being and asked it, "What is your name?"

"Rain-man (I'yomani)," answered the Being. "Oh my brother," called out Wahre'dua, "here goes Rain-man", and he dropped the little god to Dore, who caught him.

Wahre'dua picked up the fourth being and asked it, "What is your name?"

"Little-god (Wakandaiinye)," answered the Being. "Oh my brother," called out Wahre'dua, "here goes Little-god", and he dropped the little god to Dore. "Before you take me away, Wahre'dua, I want to sing," said Little-god and he sang:

"Itugo, itugo, urihi."

(My grandfather, my grandfather, come home. Wahre'dua has taken us.)

But if the Thunder spirits had power, Wahre'dua and Dore had more. A great cloud came up immediately, rain fell, and there was much lightning. Dore had a piece of flint and hid under it, but Wahre'dua turned himself into a wren and flew around the trees so that the thunder and lightning could not harm him. When the storm was over, the twins came back and took home the little beings. They told Kho'manyi to thunder. When he did this for them he would raise his wings. Then they told Ukrimanyi to make lightning and he opened his eyes and the lightning flashed. I'yomani they caused to raise his wings and the rain fell.

Even at a distance their father could tell by these disturbances what they had done, and he came home. The boys were sure that he would be proud of their performance, but when he saw what they had done, he ordered them to take the four little beings back, and this they did.

The next day the father of the boys predicted that someone was coming from across the Great Water to bother and harass them. "They will disturb our hunting ground (Woki'noka); it is a race of giants called Waruska who will do this. These people kill all living things where they live, even to the frogs."

The twins decided to make war on the giants, so they ordered their former friends the swans to come and make a bridge for them across the ocean. The birds did this by putting their heads and tails together alternately and the boys ran across. Being imbued with supernatural power, they were able to get over in one half day, great though the distance was. On the other side thy saw many tracks of giants and their monstrous dogs. Wahre'dua said to Dore: "Now that we're over here I want you to do as I say. When we draw close to the village, put our bow and arrows in good shape; then I'll play raccoon again. Kill me and butcher me and bring me to the chief of the Waruska to feast on. When you put me in the pot, place me head first. Have your bow ready and when the water boils, cry 'This ought to be under the water,' and strike me on the buttocks with your bow to drive the body down. Then look out for yourself."

Dore killed Wahre'dua, cut him up and brought him to the chief of the Giants telling him that it was a raccoon that he had prepared to feast him and his people. The Giant chief accepted the offering and led Dore into his village. When Dore came up to the cooking place and all the assembled giants crowded around they were disappointed in the small size of his offering and began to grumble, "There is hardly enough. This one also ought to be in there." When the water began to boil Wahre'dua's buttocks began to bob about on the surface, so Dore took his bow and struck them, exclaiming, "This ought to be under the water." The giants had drawn close to watch the kettle boil, but Dore sprang back and cried, "Grandfather, look out!" and Wahre'dua leaped from the pot splashing the boiling water over the giants and scalding many. Then he and his brother shot and clubbed the giants to death, killing so many that they were nearly wiped out, and have never again been so numerous as to threaten the safety of mankind. They scalped all their victims and made themselves robes from the scalps. Then they went home, crossing the Great Water by means of their bridge of swans. They brought with them their trophies for their father's joy, even if he should scold them.

The next day their father said to the twins, "There is a place over yonder in the hills where I don't want you to go and visit the people." As soon as he was out of sight, Wahre'dua said to Dore, "Our father wants us to go over and visit those people in the hills." "Oh no," answered Dore, "he told us not to go there." "Very well then, give me back my scalplock."

So Dore gave in to Wahre'dua, and the twin boys started out for the forbidden place. These people were called Hompathrotci, and were spirits with long flat head sharp at the top, who used to dwell in the great buttes along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. These people were very fond of footracing and they at once challenged the twins to race. The twins staked their lives against the lives of two of the beings. Dore told Wahre'dua that he would run first, so he raced the beings for ten miles and won, so that two of the beings were forfeit. Then Dore wagered these two and the lives of himself and his brother against four of them on another race, and won that. Then he bet the eight against eight more beings, and so on, doubling his bet each time until he had won the lives of all of them. Then the twins divided the captives into two companies and made them kill each other until all were wiped out, a few who were away hunting at the time being all that escaped, so that they were never again able seriously to molest mankind. Then the twins took the scalps of the slain and went home, saying that their father would be pleased but he was very much frightened, for the beings were very powerful spirits who made people have fits.

The next day their father said to the twins, "You boys have done so much I think I'll tell you about the Sharp Elbows, they are the ones who killed your mother. See if you cannot kill them and be revenged."

These Sharp Elbows look like persons except that they had long sharp bones like awls or daggers projecting from their elbows and two faces, one in the front and one in the back of their heads. The sacred pipe of the Black Bear Gens has a stone bowl that is made in representation of one of these powerful spirits, probably because one of the ancestors of the gens had some supernatural experience with one of these spirits.

As soon as their father was gone, Wahre'dua said to Dore, "Well, we have killed all of the monsters except these, let us finish them too. Kill me again for a raccoon and make a singed coon dish for them. Put my head on top, and face me towards the rear of the wigwam. When you see me wink, jump to the door, throw back your blanket, and cry, 'Look out, Grandpa'."

Dore obeyed and killed and prepared his brother. Then he carried the dish to the chief of the Sharp Elbows saying: "Grandfather, I have brought you a dish of singed coon." The chief caused Dore to bring the body of his brother into their lodge and place him in the kettle. All the monsters gathered round to watch it cook, and they grumbled because there was not enough and determined to kill and cook Dore as soon as he had finished stewing the coon for them. When Dore, who was watching very closely, saw Wahre'dua wink, he threw back his robe, sprang to the door and cried, "I'm ready, grandpa!" Then Wahre'dua came to life, upset the bucket and spilled the boiling water all over the awl-elbow monsters who in their agony began fighting among themselves, stabbing each other to death, while the twins escaped and hid until the spirits had all killed each other. Then they went back into the lodge and cut all the awls of bone from the elbows of their slain enemies. "Now our father will be glad for he can use these awls to patch up his clothes," they said.

This time their father was pleased that they had killed all these dangerous monsters. He knew that his sons could control the animals of earth and air. However, he thought that he had better flee because he feared that they would finally kill him also, so he sent them out to discover the four corners of the earth.

The twins set out on their errand and first visited the scenes of all their former victories. While on their travels one foggy day Wahre'dua was taken up into the World Above by the spirits, and while there he was taught by them to control the rain, thunder, and lightning, so that he could go on the warpath as they did. He was taken up there to be shown the power that he and his brother had to exercise in this world.

So the Powers Above showed Wahre'dua all the different types of war-bundles (Waruhawa). These hung all around the walls of the wigwam from one side of the door to the other. Among them were the prototypes of the war-bundles that we use today in the Iowa tribe. They were:

The Holy Sacred Bundle (Wathe Waruhawe or Wathe Ma'ka) which contains some of Wahre'dua's hair medicine. It is a very strong power, and is used to govern the affections of women, to bring presents to the owner, to obtain gifts of horsed for him, and even to reform bad women.

The Brave Bundle (Wakwa Shoshe).

The Red (Bean) Medicine Bundle (Maka Sudje Waruhawe) which is used especially for war and horse stealing. Horse doctors use it also, and so do snake doctors.

The Deer Dewclaw Bundle (Ta Sagre Waruhawe), used by Buffalo Doctors in healing the sick.

The Scalping War Bundle (Watce Waruhawe). The Chief's Sacred Bundle (Wanikihi Waruhawa), a peace bundle. The Buffalo Doctors' Sacred Bundle (Tcehowe Waruhawe).

The Grizzly Bear Bundle (Ma'to Waruhawe), used by the Grizzly Bear Doctors to cure the sick.

Originally there was only one of each kind of bundle in each gens, but many false ones are now to be found. One of each of these was given to Wahre'dua to carry back to earth. Some were covered with fresh scalps, just taken. Others had scalps that were a few days old and some were older still.

There was one bundle that hung near the door which was very old and tattered. It was a leading bundle, and Wahre'dua, having magic power, knew it in spite of its appearance and took that one too.

The spirit who was teaching him said, "You have taken the greatest of all. You can control the rain, air, sun, even the beasts and the fowls of the air. Your brother is crying for you down on earth, go back and continue your journey. You will find that your father has fled."

When Wahre'dua got back to the earth he saw that it was all foggy again. He wandered around until he heard Dore calling him. When he approached him, Dore said, "What have you and where have you been?"

"Oh," said Wahre'dua, "I have something that will make us great. Now we will go on."

They left that place and traveled until they came to a place where the earth ended. There was a great crack there that opened and closed, but the twins jumped over it when it was shut.

Once on the other side they found a wigwam where dwelt Pigeon (Rutce or Lutce), the Mater of the Fowls of the Air. He gave the brothers the Pigeon War Bundle (Lutce Waruhawe), which is used especially to locate the enemy.

This Pigeon himself was the bird who located the earth at the time of the creation, hence came his great powers. He was the ancestor of the Pigeon Gens. He said to the twins: "Now you have come. I have been expecting you. Take this bundle to use in war to protect you from the scouts and spies of the enemy. It shall be the sacred bundle of the Pigeon Gens."

This Pigeon had also in his charge all the war bundles that are connected with the bird kind. There were the Eagle, Hawk, and Owl Medicine Bundles, and that of the Sparrow-hawk and Black Hawk. All these were shown and explained to the twins.

The lodge was covered with feathers inside. The twins were told to help themselves to all the feathers that they could carry. As for the bundles, they did not actually carry those away, they learned their contents and rituals, and copied them when they got home.

On their way back the twins again came to the crack that marked the corner of the earth, and stepped across. They had now visited the east and so they soon set out to visit the west.

When they got to the western end of the earth they came to another crack and stepped across while it was shut.

Here they were presented with the Wolf Gens War Bundle (Mejiradji Waruhawa). The being who gave it to them had all the bundles connected with the wolves. He was called Wolf Chief (Me'jiradji Wanikihi) and with him was Coyote Chief (Manikathi Wanikihi), so they acquired the Coyote Sacred Bundle also.

All these bundles are only branches of the Sacred Medicine Bundles (Wathe) and the Scalping Bundles (Watce), which, with the Red Medicine Bundle (Maka Sudje), head all the others.

The Wolf Chief gave them their choice of all the war bundles that hung around the walls of his lodge from one side of the door to the other, and again Wahre'dua selected the oldest and most insignificant looking, yet the most powerful one.

The twins returned and went south without looking for their father. Again they came to a crack that marked the boundary of the world and stepped over it while it was closed.

Here they found a lodge where dwelt Munje Wanikihi, the Bear Chief, who greeted them kindly and showed them all the sacred bear bundles. These were mainly for doctoring the sick, as used later by the Grizzly Bear Doctors, but were also secondarily for war. The Brave Bundles (Wankwa Tcutze) belong to this latter class.

The Bear Chief said, "When you get back you can tell the people what you have," and he explained each sort and its ritual to the twins.

All around the inside of his house were hung sacred warbundles from one side of the door to the other. Some had fresh scalps on them, others scalps a few days old, others still older, as in the other two lodges at the east and west ends of the world.

The Bear Chief gave them their choice as before and Wahre'dua selected again the oldest and poorest-looking one, which was in reality the most powerful of all.

The twins returned, and by now their lodge was full of strong powers.

They went hunting to get a bear, a wolf, an eagle, and a pigeon to use in making up their sacred bundles according to the instructions which they had received. As they knew that there would be Chiefs, Braves, well-to-do men, and commoners in the Iowa nation when it came to exist, they got four of each kind, and anyway there would have to be four in each gens, one for each of the descendants of the four gens ancestors.

The twins later selected from each gens of the Iowa nation the four leading men and instructed them in all the ways of these bundles, and that took them a great deal of time.

There should be four whistles attached to or inside of each sacred bundle. These are made of cane because cane grows in water whence emerged each of the gens ancestors. These whistles are to invoke the aid of the four winds.

When the twins turned the bundles over to mankind a great feast was held, after which the leaders learned the traditions, rites, and rituals of the sacred bundles so that they could operate them properly. From that time until recently the war bundles were used as the twins taught us.

The gens began at that time, and once being organized the people of each gens were also instructed in the story of the origin and the use of these bundles. Each gens ancestor was an animal that came out of the Great Water and became a person.

The twins then said to the people, "We cannot stay here any longer, but now you people can take care of yourselves. There shall be chiefs, secondary chiefs, subchiefs, braves and commoners. The Iowa tribe shall ever be peaceable, and we give you for each gens a peace pipe. Seven in all were given tot he people. First one for the Buffalo (A'ruhwa) gens, second one for the Black Bear (Tuna'pi) gens, third, one for the Pigeon (Rutce) gens; fourth, one for the Wolf (Munijiraji) gens; fifth one for the Owl (Mankatci or Mankoke) gens; sixth, one for the Eagle (Hkra) gens, and seventh for the Elk (homa) gens.

As the people were now well supplied with the means to make both war and peace the boys started to look for their father. (Note that, probably by error of the narrator, no account is given of their journey to the north end of the earth, although it was said they were to go to all four quarters of the compass.)

They again examined all four corners of the earth, the water, rocks, trees, and the air. Still they couldn't find him. They then came home and asked the very poles of their wigwam, but these were unable to tell them. Even the fireplace did not know. Again they asked everywhere without success.

At last Wahre'dua remembered that they had not inquired of the Thexiskagre, the pole from which kettles are suspended over the fire. So they pulled it up and asked it.

"Yes," said the pole, "your father went through the hole in which I am standing."

The twins followed through the orifice into the nether world and searched there too.

Their father had preceded them and had told all the inhabitants that they would soon be there. He told about all their triumphs in the world above, how they had slain all manner of evil powers from bloodsuckers to gods, and were so powerful and dangerous that no one could circumvent them so that he himself had fled to escape them. He advised the people to have nothing to do with them and went on.

When the twins go there, they found that the inhabitants would not have anything to do with them, except to tell them that their father had passed that way. This happened at the second village and at the third, but at the fourth and last they found an old lady dwelling in the last lodge all by herself, who told them that their father lived there and was married again, and that all the people were in terror of the boys.

Meanwhile their father ran to the chief and told them the boys were there and advised him to make wax and seal their eyes while they slept, then they could all flee to the north. This was done, and while the boys slept, the wax was put on their eyes so that when they awoke they were helpless.

Now it so happened that the old lady where they were staying had some corn and pumpkinseeds stored away in her woxe (underground cache, a barrel-shaped, bark-lined hole dug in the center of the lodge floor). The rats and mice looking for the corn and seeds ran over the blinded twins as they lay helpless on the floor of the lodge. Wahre'dua got angry at this and threatened to kill them, whereupon one of the rats said: "Kill us if you will, but we want to help you."

Early the next morning the old lady returned to the lodge and said to the boys: "Grandson, under where I sit I have put away something for you boys to eat." (Hintakwaa oamenakowada wapiliiyaki.) Therefore the next time the rats and mice appeared, the boys offered to share the cache with them if they would help them. So the mice gnawed off the wax from their eyelids until the boys could see once more.

Again the boys started in search of their father, but could not find him anywhere. They called all the creeping things together and asked them for tidings. They also asked all the Powers and Spirits and offered their father's body as a reward.

At last Dore went one way and Wahre'dua went the other, still searching.

Wahre'dua went to the water and turned himself into a rock in the middle of a great lake. There he lay day after day, until at last a bird came and lit on him. He instantly seized the bird and he had his father.

Wahre'dua carried his father back and waited until Dore returned, which was along time.

"What shall we do with our father?" he asked Dore when the latter came back.

"Well, let's let him go, and we will resume our travels," answered Dore.

So they released their father and he returned to his last home in the fourth village.

The twins first said to him, "Father, we hate to do anything to you, although we would be justified after you fled from us. We will forgive you. Stay here, and we'll go farther, but we hope to return and see you."

The twins traveled a little farther and they came to a person who said, "Grandsons, I'm glad you've come. Before we talk, let us take a sweatbath."

The sudatory was made of thick clay and had no holes for ventilation. Moreover it was so hard it could not be broken. After the boys agreed, the three entered the sweat lodge and there their host had a great fire outside. When the stones were heated they were placed in the bath, and one of the boys sat on each side, with the man in the rear, and the doorplace vacant. When the door was closed the heat became terrible, but the twins, when it became too terrific to bear, took mussel shells and crawled under them and so escaped. At last even the owner could not stand it any longer and ran out, whereupon the boys pursued him and drove him into the next world, where he remains invisible, but evil. He is the evil one, and knows whatever we do or even whisper. He is one of the tribe of Ghosts (Wanagri).

The twins next returned to their father, and made a sweat lodge themselves so that the people in the future would do this for their own benefit when sick. Cedar must be burned as incense as it is sacred to all Indians. This sweat lodge treatment is also to be used to restore a man who has in any way come in contact with a woman undergoing her menses.

The twins went off again, and presently they came to a village where there were three leading chiefs. These were Greda'he the Black Hawk, Ke'tonha the Snapping Turtle, and Wankistogre or Man-in-the-earring.

They had a feast, and one of the chiefs announced that there would be a great race, and whoever won should be given his daughter as a prize. The course of the race was from one corner of the world to the other. Every creeping thing, every fowl of the air, Rain-Man, Thunder-Man, Lightning-Man, and Little God; they too were in it.

The chief took one of the gens peace pipes and said, "This pipe you all see. One of you will start carrying it, and whoever shall overtake him shall take and carry the pipe until someone else overhauls him and captures it. The one who completes the course and brings it back to me shall be the winner."

Turtle, who is unable to run very fast, saw the pipe and he went and made one just like it. He took it and circled and came running back with the false pipe and cried, "I win the race, give me the woman."

"No," said the chief, "wait till the others come in."

But Turtle said, No, I want her now." However the chief would not let him have her, and finally the others came in and Wankistogre, the Man-in-the-earring, brought in the real pipe and won. He received the woman, and became the ruler of the people, but Turtles trick was the start of the false peace pipes that some people still hold and call genuine Iowa gens peace pipes.

"Now," said the twins, "We have done all we can, let us leave this place. We have made ourselves powerful enemies as well as friends, and we can't always remain here. We've killed too many monsters, let us go elsewhere than this world."

"I will go into the Sun," said Wahre'dua, and Dore, his brother, who had less power, went into the Moon.

The father was weaker yet, so he went into a star, the fixed one that the Iowa call Mikathe Manyiskune and I came home.


Winnebago story, "Hare Acquires his Arrow", in which "Sharp Elbows" appears.

Return to top
Return to Myths and Legends page
Return to Culture main page

Copyright information | This site is hosted by NativeWeb.