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قراءة كتاب Great Indian Chief of the West; Or, Life and Adventures of Black Hawk

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‏اللغة: English
Great Indian Chief of the West; Or, Life and Adventures of Black Hawk

Great Indian Chief of the West; Or, Life and Adventures of Black Hawk

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 8

were formed every species of living animal. After this the gods also formed man, whom they perceived to be both cruel and foolish: they then put into man the heart of the best beast they had created; but they beheld that man still continued cruel and foolish. After this it came to pass that the Almighty took a piece of himself, of which he made a heart for the man; and when the man received it, he immediately became wise above every other animal on the earth.

"And it came to pass in the process of much time, that the earth produced its first fruits in abundance, and all the living beasts were greatly multiplied. The earth about this time, was also inhabited by an innumerable host of I-am-woi (giants) and gods. And the gods whose habitation is under the seas, made war upon We-suk-kah, (the chief god upon the earth) and leagued themselves with the I-am-woi upon the earth, against him. Nevertheless, they were still afraid of We-suk-kah and his immense host of gods; therefore they called a council upon the earth; and when they were assembled upon the earth, at the council, both the I-am-woi and the gods from under the seas, after much debate, and long consultation, they resolved to make a great feast upon the earth, and to invite We-suk-kah, that they might thus beguile him, and at the feast lay hands upon him and slay him.

"And when the council had appointed a delegate to visit We-suk-kah, and commanded him to invite We-suk-kah to the great feast, which they were preparing upon the earth for him; behold, the younger brother of We-suk-kah, was in the midst of the council, and being confused in the whole assembly, they said unto him, "Where is thy brother We-suk-kah." And he answering said unto them "I know not; am I my brother's keeper?" And the council perceiving that all their devices were known unto him, they were sorely vexed; therefore, with one accord, the whole assembly rushed violently upon him and slew him: and thus was slain the younger brother of We-suk-kah.

"Now when We-suk-kah had heard of the death of his younger brother, he was extremely sorrowful and wept aloud; and the gods whose habitations are above the clouds, heard the voice of his lamentations, and they leagued with him to avenge the blood of his brother. At this time the lower gods had fled from the face of the earth, to their own habitations under the seas; and the I-am-woi were thus forsaken, and left alone to defend themselves against We-suk-kah and his allies.

"Now the scene of battle, where We-suk-kah and his allies fought the I-am-woi, was in a flame of fire; and the whole race of the I-am-woi were destroyed with a great slaughter, that there was not one left upon the face of the whole earth. And when the gods under the sea, knew the dreadful fate of their allies, the I-am-woi, whom they had deserted, they were sore afraid and they cried aloud to Na-nam-a-keh (god of thunder) to come to their assistance. And Na-nam-a-keh heard their cry and accepted their request, and sent his subaltern, No-tah-tes-se-ah, (god of the wind) to Pa-poan-a-tesse-ah, (god of the cold) to invite him to come with all his dreadful host of frost, snow, hail, ice and north-wind, to their relief. When this destroying army came from the north, they smote the whole earth with frost, converting the waters of every river, lake, and sea into solid masses of ice, and covering the whole earth with an immense sheet of snow and hail. Thus perished all the first inhabitants of the earth both men, beasts and gods, except a few choice ones of each kind, which We-suk-kah preserved with himself upon the earth.

"And again it came to pass in the process of a long time, that the gods under the sea came forth again, upon the earth; and when they saw We-suk-kah, that he was almost alone on the earth, they rejoiced in assurance of being able to destroy him. But when they had exhausted every scheme, attempted every plan, and executed every effort to no effect, perceiving that all their councils and designs were well known to We-suk-kah as soon as they were formed, they became mad with despair, and resolved to destroy We-suk-kah, by spoiling forever the whole face of the earth, which they so much desired to inhabit. To this end, therefore, they retired to their former habitations under the sea and intreated Na-nam-a-keh (the god of thunder) to drown the whole earth with a flood.

"And Na-nam-a-keh again hearkened to their cries, and calling all the clouds to gather themselves together, they obeyed his voice and came; and when all the clouds were assembled, he commanded them and they poured down water upon the earth, a tremendous torrent, until the whole surface of the earth, even the tops of the highest mountains were covered with water. But it came to pass, when We-suk-kah saw the water coming upon the earth, he took some air, and made an o-pes-quie, (vessel, boat or shell) and getting into it himself, he took with him all sorts of living beasts, and man; and when the waters rose upon the earth the o-pes-quie was lifted up and floated upon the surface, until the tops of the highest mountains were covered with the flood. And when the o-pes-quie had remained for a long time upon the surface of the flood, We-suk-kah called one of the animals, which was with him in the o-pes-quie, and commanded it to go down through the water to the earth, to bring from thence some earth; and after many repeated efforts and with great difficulty, the animal at length returned, bringing in its mouth, some earth; of which, when We-suk-kah had received it, he formed this earth, and spread it forth upon the surface of the water; and went forth himself and all that were with him in the o-pes-quie, and occupied the dry land."

In the social or family relations of the Sauks and Foxes, it is considered the duty of the men to hunt and clothe their wives and children—to purchase arms and the implements of husbandry so far as they use them—to make canoes and assist in rowing them—to hunt and drive their horses, make saddles, &c. &c. The duties of the women, are to skin the game when brought home and prepare the skins for market, to cook, to make the camp, cut and carry wood, make moccasins, plant and gather the corn, beans and pumpkins, and do all the drudgery connected with the domestic affairs. It is the commonly received opinion among the whites that the female Indians are the slaves of their husbands. This is not literally true. The men seldom make their wives feel their authority: as a general rule among the Sauks and Foxes, they live happily together. The wives take the liberty of scolding their husbands, very frequently, and it is considered by both parties that every thing in the family, except the war and hunting implements, belongs to the wife, and she may do with it as she pleases. The men may each have two or three, or even more wives. They generally prefer to take sisters, as they agree better together in the same lodge: the eldest usually regulates all the domestic affairs of the family and has charge of the property belonging to it. The men turn off their wives and the latter leave their husbands whenever they become discontented. While living together, the women are generally faithful to their husbands. The daughters seldom leave their mothers until they are married, which usually occurs when they are about fourteen or fifteen years of age. The parents of an Indian girl are generally conciliated by presents from her lover, but they may insist upon servitude from him, which sometimes runs throughout one, two or three years. There is no particular marriage ceremony among them, beyond that of the contract between the parents or parties. A young Sauk lover is represented as a silly looking fellow, who can neither eat, drink or sleep—he appears to be deranged, and with