Category Archives: Mythology

Skunk seeks medicine: Wolf…

*

… After leaving Skunk, Young-Wolf had overtaken his brothers and told them that, “Skunk was carrying a poor Rice-Bird in his back-pack.”

They all came back down the valley looking for Skunk.

They heard his stick-game song and crept up on him stealthily.

They saw Skunk squirming about between his sticks playing the game by himself.

They saw Rice-Bird’s, beads and shells piled up between the rows of rotten wood and feared the worse.

Young-Wolf crept up behind Skunk,  deftly placed his foot on Skunk’s tail and at the same time seized him by the nape of the neck.

Skunk did not stir.

“Fetch me a wooden club and let me club him to death,” said Young-Wolf to his brothers.

But that roused Skunk.

“Eh! What, am I an old woman that you should club me to death like that,” said Skunk, “put me down and let us meet face to face!”

“Your brave talk is only on account of your musk-sac,” said Young-Wolf, he called to his brothers, “hurry up with that club!”

His brothers handed Young-Wolf a wooden club and he clubbed poor Skunk to death.

Then the Wolf brothers took the beads and shells of Rice-Bird and went on their way.

This far and no further for Skunk.

*

Skunk seeks medicine: Stick-Game…

*

… Once Rice-Bird’s whistle could no longer be heard, Skunk soon forgot his fear.

He came to a shady place.

“Ah, this would be a good place to play the stick-game,” thought Skunk.

He gathered some chunks of rotten wood to put up in a large circle.

Then he took five more chunks of wood to represent his lost wives and seated himself among them, “move over a little,” he said to the ‘youngest of his lost wives’, “you are hampering my play, move over!”

Then Skunk arranged the rotten chunks of wood in two rows, with each chunk facing an opponent of the other side. He piled all the shell and bead ornaments that he had stolen from Rice-Bird in the middle between the opposing sides.

When everything had been properly arranged, Skunk again began to sing, “White-Skunk is playing the stick game, White-Skunk is playing…”

Every so often he would turn to scold one of his ‘lost wives’.

“Move over you, you will cause me to lose, and nobody can beat me for I am on my way from the Camp of the Clever Fellows.”

So went Skunk wriggling about on his haunches, talking and singing to the rotten chunks of wood.

He gave himself up to the wild enchantment and thrill of his game.

Skunk had become so enraptured by his own game that he failed to realise that the Wolf brothers had re-entered the valley and were looking for him.

to be continued

Skunk seeks medicine: Rice-Bird…

*

… As Wolf approached, Skunk called out, “Oh brother, you are on your way but do not come up to me, pass around at a safe distance, I have come from the camp of the Clever Fellows and their power is contagious.”

“Yes brother,” replied Wolf “it is as you say, the power of those Clever Fellows is contagious.”

So Wolf passed by without coming too close to Skunk and did not realise that he was hiding a ‘dead’ Rice-Bird in his pack.

Skunk went on and just up the way he met another Wolf Brother who reacted in the same way to his warning.

“So be it, if you are on your way from the camp of the Clever Fellows!” said Wolf as he too passed by at a distance.

The same thing happened with two more Wolf brothers but then Skunk saw the youngest of their kin approaching towards him apace.

“That youngest Wolf will be dangerous to meet,” thought Skunk, “he is so spirited and bold.”

Skunk fell onto his back as before and again called out as a warning, “I am on my way from the Camp of the Clever Fellows, you will do well to pass by!”

“Yes, yes,” replied Young-Wolf, “but it is a while since we last met, you must needs give me your hand.”

Young-Wolf went straight up to Skunk with his hand held out.

“No, brother, no,” cried Skunk, “I am contagious!”

“Yes, yes,” said Young-Wolf, “but you must still shake my hand,” and so saying he approached Skunk and seized his hand, catching a glimpse of  Rice-Bird in Skunk’s back pack.

“So be it with you on your way from the camp of the Clever Fellows,” said Young-Wolf affecting ignorance of his discovery, and off he went.

So Skunk continued on his way believing he had fooled Young-Wolf as well as the rest of the Wolf brothers…

He began to forget his earlier fears and eventually raised his voice in song…

to be continued

Skunk seeks medicine: Longhouse…

*

… Skunk came to a longhouse, and recognised the people there as those who pushed his musk-sac back into the river in repulsion, he said to those people, “I am on my way from the camp of the Clever Fellows, but I will stop awhile and sing you some of their songs.”

The people gathered around in readiness and expectation of the power songs and Skunk sprayed them with his musk. He made them pungent and foul to the taste for these were the plant people like celery, and ginseng and garlic.

Skunk went on up the valley and saw another longhouse.

He recognised these people as those who had tried to to recover his musk-sac for him.

“I am just on my way from the camp of the Clever Fellows,” he said to them.

The people gathered around.

He danced and sang for them and they watched enraptured.

Skunk continued on his way up the valley.

Rice-Bird spied him and played dead for fear of attack.

“Oh, Brother,” said Skunk seeing the dead Rice-Bird, “those Clever Fellows have killed you in their envy for your ostentatious pomp,” he was eyeing the beads around Rice-Bird’s neck, “such a proud one should always be wary of such victimisation.”

Just then Wolf came dashing down the valley.

Skunk quickly hid Rice-Bird in his back pack and laid on the ground so Wolf wouldn’t see…

to be continued

Skunk seeks medicine: Clever Fellows…

*

…That night as Skunk was going along he came to the camp of the Clever Fellows.

He saw them all far off because there was such a lot of them.

And he could see something else as well, shooting between them one to the other, sparkling like lightning as it went.

Skunk’s beady black eyes lit up at the sight of his musk-sac and as he approached closer to the camp he was thinking all the while on how he might retrieve his power.

“I’ll make an exchange with them,” thought Skunk.

Just then the musk-sac was cast out of the circle in his direction.

Scooting along the ground it came and Skunk swiftly turned around and the musk-sac ran up and into his body.

At the same time Skunk hurled the shrub-sac back into the circle of Clever Fellows who continued to fire it one to the other until its sparkle died out.

Before that happened Skunk had scampered away thinking, “If they catch me they will kill me.”

When the shrub-sac had puttered out the Clever Fellow’s wanted to know what had happened.

“I saw Skunk skulking around awhile back,” said one of them. “He must have switched his musk-sac for this dud.”

But by then Skunk was far away, hiking swiftly along the valley.

“Now I shall visit my vengeance on all those who found my musk-sac so repulsive,” he thought to himself…

*

to be continued…

Skunk seeks medicine: Meadow-Lark…

*

… So Skunk went on the land but before long he accidentally stood on and broke Meadow-Lark’s leg.

“Lima, lima, lima,” cried Meadow-Lark in distress.

“If you tell me where I can find my musk-sac,” said Skunk, “I will fix that leg with some brushwood.”

“All right,” said Meadow-Lark, “but it will not be easy for you to retrieve your musk-sac.”

“You must tell me anyway,” said Skunk.

“It is being held by some Clever Fellows who have given it to one of their orphan children as a toy,” said Meadow-Lark.

Skunk did not like the sound of that at all.

“They are rolling your musk-sac back and forth between themselves and the child,” went on Meadow-Lark. “Sparkle, sparkle, sparkle goes your musk-sac and so pacifies the child.”

“We’ll see about that,” said Skunk, becoming angry, he fashioned a wooden leg out of brushwood for Meadow-Lark and again went on his way thinking how best to prise his musk-sac from the hands of those Clever Fellows.

A little way along the track Skunk came upon a pungent shrub and fashioned for himself a makeshift musk-sac.

In comparison to his own musk-sac it was very weak but it was better to have that than nothing at all.

On went Skunk feeling a little better about his prospects…

to be continued

Skunk seeks medicine: Raft…

*

…”My musk-sac… my power,” cried Skunk as he drifted along the river on his raft of logs.

Someone hailed him from the river-bank, “Yes, your musk-sac came floating past here,” they said, “we tried to retrieve it, but it was floating down the middle of the river.”

“My thanks, nonetheless,” shouted Skunk, “I will return and show you my good will.”

Skunk continued to wail about his lost musk-sac and a little further on somebody else hailed him from the river-bank, “As a matter of fact your musk-sac floated ashore here, but we pushed the filthy thing back into the current.”

“My curse upon you,” shouted Skunk, “I will pass back along this way and you will feel my vengeance.”

So it went with Skunk on his journey.

Some there were who, sensing its power, had attempted to retrieve the musk-sac for him whilst others, thinking it repulsive when it drifted to the shore, had thrown it back into the current of the river.

Skunk promised boons in abundance to those who had tried to help and the force of his wrath to those who had not.

By now, Skunk had drifted on his raft of logs to the lower reaches of the river.

Here, he went ashore to continue his search over land. …

to be continued

*

Skunk and Eagle: Power…

*

… As Skunk neared the ledge of the cliff-face, buttock first, Eagle picked up the round stone out of the fire and threw it at him.

The hot stone tore through Skunks body, and out through his mouth, carrying with it his musk sac, which both fell into the river below.

Skunk too fell, head over heels down the cliff-face, and suddenly found himself back among the rocks at the side of the river.

“Ugh!” he gasped and immediately realised that he was without his power, his musk sac.

Skunk jumped up and searched around for his musk sac.

It was nowhere to be found.

“My musk sac has floated away on the current of the river,” he thought.

Skunk built himself a raft from logs and quickly climbed on board.

“However far it has gone, I will follow it,” thought Skunk.

He forgot all about Eagle and his wives.

Skunk floated down river on the raft of logs bewailing the loss of his musk sac, “my power, my power,” he moaned pitifully, “I must re-gain my power.”

*

Skunk and Eagle: Ascent…

*

… So, Skunk squirted musk into the water.

The place where the water was immediately went dry and Eagle and his wives disappeared.

Soon the water surged back in again and when Skunk looked he could still see Eagle and his wives laughing at him.

Skunk squirted musk at them again, the watery place again became dry and Eagle and his wives disappeared but when the water flowed back in Skunk again saw them all in the self same place.

Skunk went on spraying them with musk with the same result until he became exhausted.

In his fatigue Skunk started to ease the tension of his muscles by stretching and in so doing he threw back his head.

There, high up on the overhanging cliff, were Eagle and his wives laughing at him all the more.

Skunk finally realised that they were not in the water at all.

“Ho, Brother,” he called, “throw down one of your wives and we’ll call it quits.”

“If you can climb up to this ledge, you can take your pick,” laughed Eagle.

“How will I climb all the way up there, Brother?” said Skunk.

“Buttocks first,” hollered Eagle, who was enjoying himself now.

So Skunk started the long ascent, buttocks first, and Eagle kindled a fire and put a round stone in it to heat.

“Just let me get near,” said Skunk to himself, “and I will squirt them with musk and kill them all.” …

to be continued

*

Skunk and Eagle: Water…

*

…Eagle arrived back at the lodge before Skunk.

He seized the Plover sisters and trampled on their bellies until little skunks lay scattered all about on the ground.

Then Eagle gathered up his belongings and left the lodge, taking the Plover sisters with him.

He hauled his things up to a cliff that was so precipitous no one would ever reach him.

Everybody recognised and respected Skunk’s power.

Eagle knew that Skunk would search for him in order to discharge his musk.

*

Skunk, eventually, reached home.

He saw his baby skunks lying about.

He noticed that all Eagle’s possessions and his wives were missing.

He sat down on the ground and wept.

“If I ever see Eagle again, I will squirt musk on him,” vowed Skunk.

For a long time Skunk was remorseful.

He would go about, day after day, always looking for Eagle.

But he never found any tracks because Eagle had flown to his new home.

Nevertheless, Skunk remained constantly vigilant and was always on the lookout for Eagle and the Plover sisters.

One day, during his wanderings, Skunk saw a river nearby and he went down to the waterside to have a drink.

He leaned forward to take a drink of water and saw something.

Eagle and the five Plover sisters were there in the water.

They were all laughing at him.

“So this is where Eagle brought them,” thought Skunk, “now I shall have my revenge.” …

to be continued