The Hunter and the Snow

Chief Shunien Josette (Silver, 1827-†), Menominee
Chief Niopet Oshkosh (Four in a Den, 1829-†), Menominee

A man who had dream power lived with his family. He hunted in the winter and had his lodge pitched a little distance from the neighboring wigwams. One day in the spring when he was hunting through the woods and over the plains, it was very hot, and the snow began to melt. As he traveled, he heard the melting lumps make a noise like “pssht! pssht!” with a zipping sound, and so he said to it, “Aha ha ha, tsik, tsik, tsik! kina itamipa!” (Ha ha ha, there, there, there, take it, you’re getting it. That’s why you say it, you’re catching it).

The man thought nothing of it when he made fun of the snow for fleeing before the sun, but immediately a voice replied, “Oh no, you shouldn’t say that to me! That’s not so! I come here only because my master, the North, sends me here for a while only, and I have to obey him. When I am done, the sun helps me disappear, but just because you have said this to me, I’ll give you a trial because I am a power too, even if a greater power did send me here to cover your ground in the winter. Next winter, you be ready.” The Indian paused, gaped, and stared and listened in surprise, but he could see no one. “You and I will have a contest; we will see who is greater, you or I,” he heard.

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