The Wasna Pemmican Man And The Unktomi Spider
Once upon a time there appeared from out of a large belt of timber a
man attired in the fat of the buffalo. On his head he wore the honeycomb
part of the stomach. To this was attached small pieces of fat. The fat
which covered the stomach he wore as a cloak. The large intestines he
wore as leggings, and the kidney fat as his moccasins.
As he appeared he had the misfortune to meet "Unktomi" (spider) with
s hundreds of starving children. Upon seeing the fat, Unktomi and his
large family at once attacked the man, who, in order to save his life,
started to run away, but so closely did Unktomi and his family pursue
him that in order to make better time and also get a little better
start, he threw off his head covering, which the Unktomi family hastily
devoured, and were again closing in upon him. He then threw off his
cloak and they devoured that, and were close upon him again, when he
threw off his leggings. These were hastily eaten up, and, as they drew
near to a lake, the man threw off the kidney fat, and, running to
the edge of the lake, dived down into the water and kept beneath the
surface, swimming to the opposite shore. After the Unktomi family had
eaten the kidney fat they came to the water's edge, and the grease was
floating on the surface of the water which they lapped up, until there
was not a grease spot left floating on the surface.
The small morsels had only sharpened their appetites, and as they saw
the man sitting on the opposite shore, Unktomi and his family proceeded
around the lake and came upon two men sitting on the shore. Unktomi saw
that the other man was "Wakapapi" (pounded beef). The family surrounded
the two and Unktomi ordered them to fight. Fearing Unktomi and his
large family, they at once commenced to fight and Pounded Meat was soon
killed. The hungry family at once fell to eating him. So busy were they
that none noticed the fat man sneak off and disappear.
When they had finished the pounded beef man they looked around to fall
upon the fat man, but nowhere could he be seen. Unktomi said, "I will
track him and when I find him, I will return for you, so stay here and
await my return."
He followed the fat man's tracks until farther east on the shore of the
lake he found the fat man in the act of skinning a deer, which he had
killed. (He had held on to his bow and arrows when he jumped into the
lake). "My," said Unktomi, "this will make a fine meal for my hungry
children. I will go after them, so hurry and cut the meat up into small
pieces so they each can have a piece."
"All right, go ahead and get your family," said Fat Man. During
Unktomi's absence, the fat man hurriedly cut the meat up into small
pieces and carried them up into a tree that stood near to the shore.
When he had carried it all up he threw sand and dirt upon the blood, and
so left no trace of the deer.
On the arrival of Unktomi and his family, no signs of the fat man or
the deer could be found. They wandered about the spot looking for tracks
which might lead them to where the fat man had cached the meat, as
Unktomi said he could not have carried it very far. Now the fat man was
up in the tree and sat watching them. The reflection of the tree was in
the water, and some of the children going close to the shore, discovered
it as they looked at the reflection. The fat man cut a piece of meat and
extending it towards them, drew back his hand and put the meat into his
"Come quick, father, here he is eating the meat," said the children.
Unktomi came and seeing the reflection, thought the fat man was down in
the lake. "Wait, I will bring him up for you." So saying, he dived down,
but soon arose without anything. Again and again he tried, but could not
reach the bottom. He told the children to gather rock for him. These
he tied around his neck and body, and dived down for the last time. The
last the children saw of their father was the bubbles which arose to the
surface of the lake. The rocks being too heavy for him, held him fast
to the bottom, and some hungry fish soon made a feast out of the body of