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Native American Stories : The Big Turtle’s War Party

Big Turtle

Tales of the North American Indians

The Big Turtle’s War Party

A turtle went on the warpath, and as he went along, he met Coyote, who said: “And where are you going, grandson?” The turtle said: ” I am on the warpath.” Coyote said: “Where are you going?” “I am going to a camp where there are many people,” said the turtle. “Let me see you run,” the turtle said. Coyote ran. The turtle said: “You cannot run fast; I do not want you.”
The turtle went on, and he met a fox. “Well, brother,” said the fox, “where are you going?” “I am going on the warpath,” said the turtle. “Where are you going?” said the fox. “I am going where there are many people,” said the turtle. “Can I go with you?” said the fox. The turtle said: “Let me see you run.” The fox ran, and he went so fast that the turtle could hardly see him. The turtle said: “You cannot run fast; I do not want you.”
The turtle then went on, and a hawk flew by him, and the hawk heard the turtle say: “I am on the warpath, I am looking for people to join me.” The hawk said: “Brother, what did you say?” “I am on the warpath,” said the turtle. “Can I join you?” said the hawk. “Let me see you fly your best,” said the turtle. The hawk flew so fast that the turtle could not see him for a while. When the hawk came back, the turtle said: “You cannot fly fast; I do not want you.”
Again the turtle went on, and kept on saying: “I am on the warpath, I am looking for people to join me.” A rabbit jumped up and said: “Can I go along?” “Let me see you run,” said the turtle. The rabbit ran, and ran fast. The turtle said: “You cannot run fast; I do not want you.”
The turtle went on, saying: “I am looking for people to join me.” Up jumped a flint knife and said: “Brother, can I join you?” “You may if you can run fast,” said the turtle; “let me see you run.” The knife tried to run, and could not. “You will do,” said the turtle; “come with me.”
They went on, and the turtle was saying: “I am looking for people to go on the warpath with me.” Up jumped a hairbrush. “What did you say?” said the brush. “I am on the warpath,” said the turtle. “Can I go along?” said the brush. The turtle said: “Let me see you run.” The brush tried to run, but could not. The turtle said: “You will do; come with us.”
They went on, and the turtle was saying: “I am on the warpath, I am looking for people to join me.” Up jumped an awl, and it said: “Can I join you?” The turtle said: “Let me see you run.” The awl tried to run, but could not. “You will do,” said the turtle; “come with us.”
So the four went on, and they came to a big camp, and the turtle sent the knife into camp. The knife went into camp, and one man found it, took it home, and while trying to cut meat the man cut his fingers, and threw the knife at the doorway. The knife went back to the turtle and said: “I was picked up, and while the man was trying to cut meat, I cut his hand and he threw me at the doorway, so I came back.”
The turtle said: “Very well. Now, Brush, you go and see what you can do.” So the brush went into camp, and a young girl picked it up and commenced to brush her hair. The brush pulled the girl’s hair out, so that the girl threw the brush at the doorway, and it came back. It said: “Brother Turtle, there is a young girl who has lovely hair. She used me on her head, and I pulled on her hair, so that she threw me away. See I have her hair here.” “Well done,” said the turtle.
“Now, Awl, go and be brave,” said the turtle. The awl went into camp, and an old woman picked it up. She began to sew her moccasins, and all at once she stuck the awl in one of her fingers. The woman threw it away, and it came back and said: “Brother Turtle, I hurt a woman badly. She was using me while she was sewing her moccasins, and I stuck one of her fingers; she threw me away.” “Well done, brothers, now it is my turn,” said the turtle.
The turtle went into camp, and people saw him and said: “What does this mean? Look at Turtle; he is on the warpath. Let us kill him.” So they took him, and people said: “Let us spread hot coals and put him in there.” “All right,” said the turtle, “that will suit me for I will spread out my legs and burn some of you.” People said: “True, let us then put a kettle over the fire, and when the water boils let us put him in.” The turtle said: “Good! Put me in, and I will scald some of you.” People said: “True! Let us throw him into the stream.” The turtle said: “No, do not do that. I am afraid, I am afraid!” People said: “He is afraid of water; let us throw him in there.” But the turtle hallooed the more: “I am afraid! Do not throw me in the water!” So the people threw the turtle in the water. The turtle came up to the surface and said: “I am a cheat. Heyru! Heyru!” poking his tongue out.
The people picked up the knife, awl, and brush and used them. The turtle stayed in the water, and every time the people went to the water, Turtle would say: “I cheated you; water is my home.” People would throw stones at it, and it would dive.

About Mohammad Daeizadeh

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