The Mysterious Butte
A young man was once hunting and came to a steep hill. The east side
of the hill suddenly dropped off to a very steep bank. He stood on
this bank, and at the base he noticed a small opening. On going down to
examine it more closely, he found it was large enough to admit a horse
or buffalo. On either side of the door were figures of different animals
engraved into the wall.
He entered the opening and there
scattered about on the floor, lay many
bracelets, pipes and many other things of ornament, as though they had
been offerings to some great spirit. He passed through this first room
and on entering the second it was so dark that he could not see his
hands before his face, so becoming scared, he hurriedly left the place,
and returning home told what he had seen.
Upon hearing this the chief selected four of his most daring warriors to
go with this young man and investigate and ascertain whether the young
man was telling the truth or not. The five proceeded to the butte, and
at the entrance the young man refused to go inside, as the figures on
either side of the entrance had been changed.
The four entered and seeing that all in the first chamber was as the
young man had told, they went on to the next chamber and found it so
dark that they could not see anything. They continued on, however,
feeling their way along the walls. They finally found an entrance that
was so narrow that they had to squeeze into it sideways. They felt their
way around the walls and found another entrance, so low down that
they had to crawl on their hands and knees to go through into the next
On entering the last chamber they found a very sweet odor coming from
the opposite direction. Feeling around and crawling on their hands and
knees, they discovered a hole in the floor leading downward. From this
hole came up the sweet odor. They hurriedly held a council, and decided
to go no further, but return to the camp and report what they had found.
On getting to the first chamber one of the young men said: "I am going
to take these bracelets to show that we are telling the truth." "No,"
said the other three, "this being the abode of some Great Spirit, you
may have some accident befall you for taking what is not yours." "Ah!
You fellows are like old women," said he, taking a fine bracelet and
encircling his left wrist with it.
When they reached the village they reported what they had seen. The
young man exhibited the bracelet to prove that it was the truth they had
Shortly after this, these four young men were out fixing up traps for
wolves. They would raise one end of a heavy log and place a stick under,
bracing up the log. A large piece of meat was placed about five feet
away from the log and this space covered with poles and willows. At
the place where the upright stick was put, a hole was left open, large
enough to admit the body of a wolf. The wolf, scenting the meat and
unable to get at it through the poles and willows, would crowd into the
hole and working his body forward, in order to get the meat, would push
down the brace and the log thus released would hold the wolf fast under
The young man with the bracelet was placing his bait under the log when
he released the log by knocking down the brace, and the log caught his
wrist on which he wore the bracelet. He could not release himself and
called loud and long for assistance. His friends, hearing his call, came
to his assistance, and on lifting the log found the young man's wrist
broken. "Now," said they, "you have been punished for taking the
wristlet out of the chamber of the mysterious butte."
Some time after this a young man went to the butte and saw engraved on
the wall a woman holding in her hand a pole, with which she was holding
up a large amount of beef which had been laid across another pole, which
had broken in two from the weight of so much meat.
He returned to the camp and reported what he had seen. All around the
figure he saw marks of buffalo hoofs, also marked upon the wall.
The next day an enormous herd of buffalo came near to the village, and
a great many were killed. The women were busy cutting up and drying the
meat. At one camp was more meat than at any other. The woman was hanging
meat upon a long tent pole, when the pole broke in two and she was
obliged to hold the meat up with another pole, just as the young man saw
on the mysterious butte.
Ever after that the Indians paid weekly visits to this butte, and
thereon would read the signs that were to govern their plans.
This butte was always considered the prophet of the tribe.