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22 Works of Frank Bird Linderman

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It was evening in the bad-lands, and the red sun had slipped behind the far-off hills. The sundown breeze bent the grasses in the coulees and curled tiny dust-clouds on the barren knolls. Down in a gulch a clear, cool creek dallied its way toward the Missouri, where its water, bitter as gall, would be […]

As soon as manhood is attained, the young Indian must secure his “charm,” or “medicine.” After a sweat-bath, he retires to some lonely spot, and there, for four days and nights, if necessary, he remains in solitude. During this time he eats nothing; drinks nothing; but spends his time invoking the Great Mystery for the […]

(Indian Why Story) Each tribe has its own stories. Most of them deal with the same subjects, differing only in immaterial particulars. Instead of squirrels in the timber, the Blackfeet are sure they were prairie-dogs that OLD-man roasted that time when he made the mountain-lion long and lean. The Chippewas and Crees insist that they […]

Mistakes of Old-man

Story type: Literature

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(Indian Why Story) All night the storm raged, and in the morning the plains were white with snow. The sun came and the light was blinding, but the hunters were abroad early, as usual. That day the children came to my camp, and I told them several stories that appeal to white children. They were […]

(Indian Why Story) The white man has never understood the Indian, and the example set the Western tribes of the plains by our white brethren has not been such as to inspire the red man with either confidence or respect for our laws or our religion. The fighting trapper, the border bandit, the horse-thief and […]

Old-man and The Fox

Story type: Literature

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(Indian Why Story) I am sure that the plains Indian never made nor used the stone arrow-head. I have heard white men say that they had seen Indians use them; but I have never found an Indian that ever used them himself, or knew of their having been used by his people. Thirty years ago […]

(Indian Why Story) The Indian believes that all things live again; that all were created by one and the same power; that nothing was created in vain; and that in the life beyond the grave he will know all things that he knew here. In that other world he expects to make his living easier, […]

(Indian Why Story) Bright and early the next morning the children were playing on the bank of “The River That Scolds the Other,” when Fine Bow said: “Let us find a Deer’s foot, and the foot of an Antelope and look at them, for to-night grandfather will tell us why the Deer has the dew-claws, […]

(Indian Why Story) The rain had passed; the moon looked down from a clear sky, and the bushes and dead grass smelled wet, after the heavy storm. A cottontail ran into a clump of wild-rose bushes near War Eagle’s lodge, and some dogs were close behind the frightened animal, as he gained cover. Little Buffalo […]

There had been a sudden change in the weather. A cold rain was falling, and the night comes early when the clouds hang low. The children loved a bright fire, and to-night War Eagle’s lodge was light as day. Away off on the plains a wolf was howling, and the rain pattered upon the lodge […]

(Indian Why Story) Have you ever seen the plains in the morning–a June morning, when the spurred lark soars and sings–when the plover calls, and the curlew pipes his shriller notes to the rising sun? Then is there music, indeed, for no bird outsings the spurred lark; and thanks to OLD-man he is not wanting […]

I was awakened by the voice of the camp-crier, and although it was yet dark I listened to his message. The camp was to move. All were to go to the mouth of the Maria’s–“The River That Scolds at the Other”–the Indians call this stream, that disturbs the waters of the Missouri with its swifter […]

Old-man’s Treachery

Story type: Literature

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(Indian Why Story) The next afternoon Muskrat and Fine Bow went hunting. They hid themselves in some brush which grew beside an old game trail that followed the river, and there waited for a chance deer. Chickadees hopped and called, “chick-a-de-de-de” in the willows and wild-rose bushes that grew near their hiding-place; and the gentle […]

(Indian Why Story) Not so many miles away from the village, the great mountain range so divides the streams that are born there, that their waters are offered as tribute to the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans. In this wonderful range the Indians believe the winds are made, and that they battle for supremacy over […]

(Indian Why Stories) Firelight–what a charm it adds to story-telling. How its moods seem to keep pace with situations pictured by the oracle, offering shadows when dread is abroad, and light when a pleasing climax is reached; for interest undoubtedly tends the blaze, while sympathy contributes or withholds fuel, according to its dictates. The lodge […]

(Indian Why Story) It was rather late when we left War Eagle’s lodge after having learned why the Indians never kill the Mice-people; and the milky way was white and plain, dimming the stars with its mist. The children all stopped to say good night to little Sees-in-the-dark, a brand-new baby sister of Bluebird’s; then […]

(Indian Why Story) Muskrat and his grandmother were gathering wood for the camp the next morning, when they came to an old buffalo skull. The plains were dotted with these relics of the chase, for already the hide-hunting white man had played havoc with the great herds of buffalo. This skull was in a grove […]

(Indian Why Story) The sun was just sinking behind the hills when we started for War Eagle’s lodge. “To-morrow will be a fine day,” said Other-person, “for grandfather says that a red sky is always the sun’s promise of fine weather, and the sun cannot lie.” “Yes,” said Bluebird, “and he said that when this […]

(Indian Why Story) When we reached War Eagle’s lodge we stopped near the door, for the old fellow was singing–singing some old, sad song of younger days and keeping time with his tom-tom. Somehow the music made me sad and not until it had ceased, did we enter. “How! How!”–he greeted us, with no trace […]

(Indian Why Story) Autumn nights on the upper Missouri river in Montana are indescribably beautiful, and under their spell imagination is a constant companion to him who lives in wilderness, lending strange, weird echoes to the voice of man or wolf, and unnatural shapes in shadow to commonplace forms. The moon had not yet climbed […]

(Indian Why Story) Another night had come, and I made my way toward War Eagle’s lodge. In the bright moonlight the dead leaves of the quaking-aspen fluttered down whenever the wind shook the trees; and over the village great flocks of ducks and geese and swan passed in a never-ending procession, calling to each other […]

(Indian Why Story) What a splendid lodge it was, and how grand War Eagle looked leaning against his back-rest in the firelight! From the tripod that supported the back-rest were suspended his weapons and his medicine-bundle, each showing the wonderful skill of the maker. The quiver that held the arrows was combined with a case […]