The Resuscitation Of The Only Daughter

There once lived an old couple who had an only daughter. She was a

beautiful girl, and was very much courted by the young men of the

tribe, but she said that she preferred single life, and to all their

heart-touching tales of deep affection for her she always had one

answer. That was "No."

One day this maiden fell ill and day after day grew worse. All the best

medicine men were called in, but their medici
es were of no avail, and

in two weeks from the day that she was taken ill she lay a corpse. Of

course there was great mourning in the camp. They took her body several

miles from camp and rolled it in fine robes and blankets, then they laid

her on a scaffold which they had erected. (This was the custom of burial

among the Indians). They placed four forked posts into the ground and

then lashed strong poles lengthwise and across the ends and made a bed

of willows and stout ash brush. This scaffold was from five to seven

feet from the ground. After the funeral the parents gave away all of

their horses, fine robes and blankets and all of the belongings of

the dead girl. Then they cut their hair off close to their heads, and

attired themselves in the poorest apparel they could secure.

When a year had passed the friends and relatives of the old couple tried

in vain to have them set aside their mourning. "You have mourned long

enough," they would say. "Put aside your mourning and try and enjoy a

few more pleasures of this life while you live. You are both growing old

and can't live very many more years, so make the best of your time." The

old couple would listen to their advice and then shake their heads and

answer: "We have nothing to live for. Nothing we could join in would be

any amusement to us, since we have lost the light of our lives."

So the old couple continued their mourning for their lost idol. Two

years had passed since the death of the beautiful girl, when one evening

a hunter and his wife passed by the scaffold which held the dead girl.

They were on their return trip and were heavily loaded down with game,

and therefore could not travel very fast. About half a mile from the

scaffold a clear spring burst forth from the side of a bank, and from

this trickled a small stream of water, moistening the roots of the

vegetation bordering its banks, and causing a growth of sweet green

grass. At this spring the hunter camped and tethering his horses, at

once set about helping his wife to erect the small tepee which they

carried for convenience in traveling.

When it became quite dark, the hunter's dogs set up a great barking

and growling. "Look out and see what the dogs are barking at," said the

hunter to his wife. She looked out through the door and then drew back

saying: "There is the figure of a woman advancing from the direction of

the girl's scaffold." "I expect it is the dead girl; let her come,

and don't act as if you were afraid," said the hunter. Soon they heard

footsteps advancing and the steps ceased at the door. Looking down at

the lower part of the door the hunter noticed a pair of small moccasins,

and knowing that it was the visitor, said: "Whoever you are, come in and

have something to eat."

At this invitation the figure came slowly in and sat down by the door

with head covered and with a fine robe drawn tightly over the face. The

woman dished up a fine supper and placing it before the visitor, said:

"Eat, my friend, you must be hungry." The figure never moved, nor

would it uncover to eat. "Let us turn our back towards the door and our

visitor may eat the food," said the hunter. So his wife turned her back

towards the visitor and made herself very busy cleaning the small pieces

of meat that were hanging to the back sinews of the deer which had been

killed. (This the Indians use as thread.) The hunter, filling his pipe,

turned away and smoked in silence. Finally the dish was pushed back to

the woman, who took it and after washing it, put it away. The figure

still sat at the door, not a sound coming from it, neither was it

breathing. The hunter at last said: "Are you the girl that was placed

upon that scaffold two years ago?" It bowed its head two or three times

in assent. "Are you going to sleep here tonight; if you are, my wife

will make down a bed for you." The figure shook its head. "Are you going

to come again tomorrow night to us?" It nodded assent.

For three nights in succession the figure visited the hunter's camp. The

third night the hunter noticed that the figure was breathing. He saw one

of the hands protruding from the robe. The skin was perfectly black and

was stuck fast to the bones of the hand. On seeing this the hunter arose

and going over to his medicine sack which hung on a pole, took down the

sack and, opening it, took out some roots and mixing them with skunk oil

and vermillion, said to the figure:

"If you will let us rub your face and hands with this medicine it will

put new life into the skin and you will assume your complexion again and

it will put flesh on you." The figure assented and the hunter rubbed the

medicine on her hands and face. Then she arose and walked back to the

scaffold. The next day the hunter moved camp towards the home village.

That night he camped within a few miles of the village. When night came,

the dogs, as usual, set up a great barking, and looking out, the wife

saw the girl approaching.

When the girl had entered and sat down, the hunter noticed that the girl

did not keep her robe so closely together over her face. When the wife

gave her something to eat, the girl reached out and took the dish, thus

exposing her hands, which they at once noticed were again natural. After

she had finished her meal, the hunter said: "Did my medicine help you?"

She nodded assent. "Do you want my medicine rubbed all over your body?"

Again she nodded. "I will mix enough to rub your entire body, and I will

go outside and let my wife rub it on for you." He mixed a good supply

and going out left his wife to rub the girl. When his wife had completed

the task she called to her husband to come in, and when he came in he

sat down and said to the girl: "Tomorrow we will reach the village. Do

you want to go with us?" She shook her head. "Will you come again to our

camp tomorrow night after we have camped in the village?" She nodded

her head in assent. "Then do you want to see your parents?" She nodded

again, and arose and disappeared into the darkness.

Early the next morning the hunter broke camp and traveled far into the

afternoon, when he arrived at the village. He instructed his wife to go

at once and inform the old couple of what had happened. The wife did

so and at sunset the old couple came to the hunter's tepee. They were

invited to enter and a fine supper was served them. Soon after they had

finished their supper the dogs of the camp set up a great barking. "Now

she is coming, so be brave and you will soon see your lost daughter,"

said the hunter. Hardly had he finished speaking when she entered the

tent as natural as ever she was in life. Her parents clung to her and

smothered her with kisses.

They wanted her to return home with them, but she would stay with the

hunter who had brought her back to life, and she married him, becoming

his second wife. A short time after taking the girl for his wife, the

hunter joined a war party and never returned, as he was killed on the


A year after her husband's death she married again. This husband was

also killed by a band of enemies whom the warriors were pursuing for

stealing some of their horses. The third husband also met a similar fate

to the first. He was killed on the field of battle.

She was still a handsome woman at the time of the third husband's death,

but never again married, as the men feared her, saying she was holy, and

that any one who married her would be sure to be killed by the enemy.

So she took to doctoring the sick and gained the reputation of being the

most skilled doctor in the nation. She lived to a ripe old age and when

she felt death approaching she had them take her to where she had rested

once before, and crawling to the top of the newly erected scaffold,

wrapped her blankets and robes about her, covered her face carefully,

and fell into that sleep from which there is no more awakening.