The Buzzard Brothers and Wood-Worm

Published on January 27, 2013 by Carol

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Near Pit River bridge

Two Buzzard brothers lived together Near Pit River lived Wood-Worm, the last of his race. All the other Wood-Worm people had been killed by Western men. Wood-Worm lived alone one winter; and when the winter was past, he began to think of going west to see what kind of a place it was where his people had been lost. He thought four or five days before starting, and got his weapons ready. Then he sent Cottontail-Rabbit to the Buzzard brothers to tell them of all he intended to do, and to say from him, “I’ll come and visit you in two or three days.” The brothers said, “All right. We are glad that you are coming.” Both brothers were married, each having a wife and a mother-in-law.

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The Buzzard brothers got ready to go on the journey. They made flint knives out of their own feathers. These flint knives stuck out through their buckskin dresses: and when they were good-humored the knives were smooth like feathers; when angry, they stuck out like knives, and killed every man they touched.

On the third day the Buzzard brothers were looking for Wood-Worm. They did not have to wait long, for he came early. All were glad, smoked, took breakfast, and then set out, reaching Sun’s house about sundown. The people there were astonished, and said, “We thought all these men were killed.”–”No,” said Sun, “there are more yet; they keep back the best. These that have just come are the smartest. They are hard to kill.” Sun sent his daughter to marry Wood-Worm, a very fine-looking man. He went to where the girls had fixed a place for him to sit.

The Buzzard brothers did not like to enter Sun’s house; but as Wood-Worm went in, they followed. Sun was very kind to the two brothers, and said, “I am glad to see you, my boys, and I am glad to have my daughters marry.” Then he said, turning to Wood-Worm, “My son-in-law, take good care of me. I like my daughters to have a husband.” The Buzzard brothers were very angry. They wanted to fight immediately, for they knew that old man Sun was trying to fool them. Wood-Worm listened to the old man in silence, filled his pipe, and smoked.

Sun’s wife was cooking acorn-mush, salmon and other fish, for supper. She brought plenty of food to her daughters, and the young men all ate heartily. They went to bed. In the morning a great many people came to the house, wanting to sweat. They brought wood, made a great fire, and sweated. When they had half finished, the Buzzard brothers stuck out their flint knives, which cut and killed half the people.

That day after breakfast they had to play with a big disk. The brothers were told to call for the game, and did so. They went out. “Bet your brother against ten men,” said a spirit-guardian to the elder Buzzard. The young man began the game. Wood-Worm all this time was in Sun’s house, with his wife. Buzzard bet his brother against ten men. The spirit-guardian said, “You roll first.” Buzzard rolled, after putting up the disk with the help of his brother. Buzzard rolled the disk rather slowly; and the other side stopped it, then sent it back very fast. But Buzzard had something like a brake, with which he stopped and caught the disk.

The second time Buzzard rolled the disk very hard. It went so fast that they could not stop it, and -lost their ten men. They lost three times. Thus they lost thirty men in all. Buzzard killed the thirty men, cutting them up with his flint feathers, which acted like knives.

Next morning they played with the disk again. Buzzard won twice and killed twenty men. Then. they ran a foot-race. The racers went to the starting-post. On the way back, Buzzard let others go ahead for awhile. Behind him Thunder was running, who tried to kill him; but Buzzard dodged, sometimes up, sometimes down, and at last he killed Thunder, and then killed a good many others. All were angry, and a great fight followed. While the race and fight were going on, Wood-Worm had gathered all the bones of his friends into a bag, and said to the Buzzard brothers, “You go on killing. I will go home.”

The Buzzard brothers fought the western people, they followed them eastward for a good while, but at last they had to go back. Wood-Worm reached home, put all the bones in water in the sweat-house, and all came to life again.

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