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

poor "Unktomi."