Unktomi And The Arrowheads
There were once upon a time two young men who were very great friends,
and were constantly together. One was a very thoughtful young man, the
other very impulsive, who never stopped to think before he committed an
One day these two friends were walking along, telling each other of
their experiences in love making. They ascended a high hill, and on
reaching the top, heard a ticking noise as if small s
ones or pebbles
were being struck together.
Looking around they discovered a large spider sitting in the midst of
a great many flint arrowheads. The spider was busily engaged making the
flint rocks into arrow heads. They looked at the spider, but he never
moved, but continued hammering away on a piece of flint which he had
nearly completed into another arrowhead.
"Let's hit him," said the thoughtless one. "No," said the other, "he is
not harming any one; in fact, he is doing a great good, as he is making
the flint arrowheads which we use to point our arrows."
"Oh, you are afraid," said the first young man. "He can't harm you, just
watch me hit him." So saying, he picked up an arrowhead and throwing it
at "Unktomi," hit him on the side. As Unktomi rolled over on his side,
got up and stood looking at them, the young man laughed and said: "Well,
let us be going, as your grandfather, "Unktomi," doesn't seem to like
our company." They started down the hill, when suddenly the one who had
hit Unktomi took a severe fit of coughing. He coughed and coughed, and
finally small particles of blood came from his mouth. The blood kept
coming thicker and in great gushes. Finally it came so thick and fast
that the man could not get his breath and fell upon the ground dead.
The thoughtful young man, seeing that his friend was no more, hurried
to the village and reported what had happened. The relatives and friends
hurried to the hill, and sure enough, there lay the thoughtless young
man still and cold in death. They held a council and sent for the chief
of the Unktomi tribe. When he heard what had happened, he told the
council that he could do nothing to his Unktomi, as it had only defended
Said he: "My friends, seeing that your tribe was running short of
arrowheads, I set a great many of my tribe to work making flint
arrowheads for you. When my men are thus engaged they do not wish to
be disturbed, and your young man not only disturbed my man, but grossly
insulted him by striking him with one of the arrowheads which he had
worked so hard to make. My man could not sit and take this insult, so
as the young man walked away the Unktomi shot him with a very tiny
arrowhead. This produced a hemorrhage, which caused his death. So now,
my friends, if you will fill and pass the peace pipe, we will part
good friends and my tribe shall always furnish you with plenty of flint
arrowheads." So saying, Unktomi Tanka finished his peace smoke and
returned to his tribe.
Ever after that, when the Indians heard a ticking in the grass, they
would go out of their way to get around the sound, saying, Unktomi is
making arrowheads; we must not disturb him.
Thus it was that Unktomi Tanka (Big Spider) had the respect of this
tribe, and was never after disturbed in his work of making arrowheads.