The Man And The Oak

There once lived a Sioux couple who had two children, a boy and a girl.

Every fall this family would move away from the main camp and take

up their winter quarters in a grove of timber some distance from the

principal village. The reason they did this was that he was a great

hunter and where a village was located for the winter the game was

usually very scarce. Therefore, he always camped by himself in order to

have an
abundance of game adjacent to his camp.

All summer he had roamed around following the tribe to wherever their

fancy might take them. During their travels this particular year there

came to the village a strange girl who had no relatives there. No one

seemed very anxious to take her into their family, so the great hunter's

daughter, taking a fancy to the poor girl, took her to their home and

kept her. She addressed her as sister, and the parents, on account of

their daughter, addressed her as daughter.

This strange girl became desperately in love with the young man of the

family, but being addressed as daughter by the parents, she could not

openly show her feelings as the young man was considered her brother.

In the fall when the main village moved into a large belt of timber for

their winter quarters, the hunter moved on to another place two days'

travel from the main winter camp, where he would not be disturbed by any

other hunters.

The young man had a tent by himself, and it was always kept nice and

clean by his sister, who was very much attached to him. After a long

day's hunt in the woods, he would go into his tent and lie down to rest,

and when his supper was ready his sister would say, "My brother is so

tired. I will carry his supper to him."

Her friend, whom she addressed as sister, would never go into the young

man's tent. Along towards spring there came one night into the young

man's tent a woman. She sat down by the door and kept her face covered

so that it was hidden from view. She sat there a long time and finally

arose and went away. The young man could not imagine who this could be.

He knew that it was a long distance from the village and could not make

out where the woman could have come from. The next night the woman came

again and this time she came a little nearer to where the young man lay.

She sat down and kept her face covered as before. Neither spoke a word.

She sat there for a long time and then arose and departed. He was very

much puzzled over the actions of this woman and decided to ascertain on

her next visit who she was.

He kindled a small fire in his tent and had some ash wood laid on it so

as to keep fire a long time, as ash burns very slowly and holds fire a

long time.

The third night the woman came again and sat down still nearer his bed.

She held her blanket open just a trifle, and he, catching up one of the

embers, flashed it in her face; jumping up she ran hurriedly out of the

tent. The next morning he noticed that his adopted sister kept her face

hidden with her blanket. She chanced to drop her blanket while in the

act of pouring out some soup, and when she did so he noticed a large

burned spot on her cheek.

He felt so sorry for what he had done that he could eat no breakfast,

but went outside and lay down under an oak tree. All day long he lay

there gazing up into the tree, and when he was called for supper he

refused, saying that he was not hungry, and for them not to bother him,

as he would soon get up and go to bed. Far into the night he lay thus,

and when he tried to arise he could not, as a small oak tree grew

through the center of his body and held him fast to the ground.

In the morning when the family awoke they found the girl had

disappeared, and on going outside the sister discovered her brother held

fast to the earth by an oak tree which grew very rapidly. In vain were

the best medicine men of the tribe sent for. Their medicine was of no

avail. They said: "If the tree is cut down the young man will die."

The sister was wild with grief, and extending her hands to the sun, she

cried: "Great Spirit, relieve my suffering brother. Any one who releases

him I will marry, be he young, old, homely or deformed."

Several days after the young man had met with the mishap, there came to

the tent a very tall man, who had a bright light encircling his body.

"Where is the girl who promised to marry any one who would release

her brother?" "I am the one," said the young man's sister. "I am the

all-powerful lightning and thunder. I see all things and can kill at one

stroke a whole tribe. When I make my voice heard the rocks shake loose

and go rattling down the hillsides. The brave warriors cower shivering

under some shelter at the sound of my voice. The girl whom you had

adopted as your sister was a sorceress. She bewitched your brother

because he would not let her make love to him. On my way here I met her

traveling towards the west, and knowing what she had done, I struck her

with one of my blazing swords, and she lies there now a heap of ashes. I

will now release your brother."

So saying he placed his hand on the tree and instantly it crumbled to

ashes. The young man arose, and thanked his deliverer.

Then they saw a great black cloud approaching, and the man said: "Make

ready, we shall go home on that cloud." As the cloud approached near to

the man who stood with his bride, it suddenly lowered and enveloped them

and with a great roar and amidst flashes of lightning and loud peals of

thunder the girl ascended and disappeared into the west with her Thunder

and Lightning husband.