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Illustrated by

Charles Kl- Russell




More Sparks from War Eagle's Lodge-Fire


Sparks from War Eagle's Lodge-Fire

Sketches from the Northwest


"'Brother,' said Quo-too-Quat to the Wolf, 'have you seen the White
Buffalo lately ? ' " [Page 1 2




[CO - SKEB - SEE - CO - COT]







Published September, 1920



Seamed and old, the pawn of progress

In the wicked hand of fate,
Silent, sullen, unrelenting

In his deep, undying hate:
Hate that want brings to the haughty;

Hate that pride alone can feel;
Hate that comes of wrongs inflicted;

Hate and sorrow, deep and real.

Step by step and ever backward

O'er the ground his fathers trod;
Fighting e'er, and e'er invoking

Strength and peace from Pagan god
Gone his greatness and his freedom;

Grinning want alone remains;
Bison skulls and wallows mock him

On his old, ancestral plains.


IN the Preface to "Indian Why Stories" I
endeavored to tell of OW-man (or Napa, or
Nahpee, or Napi), an under-god of the Indian
tribes of the Northwestern plains, especially of
the Crees and Chippewas, with whom I am best

It is a mistake to declare that the sun is the
god of the Indian, or that OW-man and the sun
are one and the same character. Nothing can
be farther from the truth. The god is Manitou,
and He is All Everything Nature; while
the sun is reverenced by all tribes that I know
only as the greatest manifestation of the deity,
whose^name is seldom mentioned.

OW-man, or Napa, created the world and its
inhabitants. His mistakes and weaknesses are
freely discussed, and the laugh accompanies
tales of his doings; but mention Manitou and



silence falls upon the merrymakers. Reveren-
tial awe replaces gaiety, and you will feel that
you are guilty of intended sacrilege.

Many years ago I was in the lodge of Full-of-
dew, who is War Eagle in this book and in
"Indian Why Stories." He was telling tales
of Old-man, and while all the company laughed,
I remained silent. "Why does not my brother
laugh with us?" asked the old warrior. I had
feared to laugh at the stories lest the Indian
believe that I was not serious in my desire to
learn of this strange, mythical character, and
I told him that. "We always laugh when we
speak of OW-man," he said. "You should
laugh aloud with us when we speak of him. He
expects it and always laughs with us from the

I have tried to prove for myself that Old-
man, under different names, is an under-god
of all tribes, and as far as I have been able to
go, I have found that he is.

The novice, writing of Indian beliefs and cus-


toms, is a dangerous man if his findings are to
be recorded as historical facts. For after all
my study, the Indian is still much of a mystery
to me. He has trusted me and has always
been willing to tell me of himself, but he is fair
and attributes to you a mind as great or greater
than his own. There is the trouble. Ask him:
"Is the sun God?" and he may reply "yes"
simply "yes," for he believes that you know
that ALL is God. He reasons if you desired
further information you would ask for it in a
direct question. Therefore, out of respect for
you, he volunteers no information no extra
measure. You must know much of the Indian
or you will learn nothing directly from him.
He is a poor teacher, and your beliefs or find-
ings concerning him are your own, and of no
importance to him. He insists that this should
be so, for, above all, the Indian is an individ-
ualist in all things.

White men who have lived lifetimes with
tribes often know almost nothing of the people.



Men who have tried to learn have sometimes
jumped at conclusions concerning the religion
and customs of the Indian, and because of
direct answers to single direct questions, have
recorded untruths. It is far too late to study
the Indian, now. The old men are dead. The
young men have learned little of their ancient
customs. What we have saved of facts is full
of distortions.

Men have called him a stoic a man with-
out humor, and as such the Indian is branded
for all time, I fear. But he is full of humor and
feels keenly as do all natural men. He hides
his emotions because of his respect for others,
and I believe that his silence in the great out-
of-doors is because of his reverence for other
created things which can neither speak nor
move. Created by the same power, he shrinks
from flaunting his special favors before them,
and so is silent, lest his power to move and
speak make them jealous before his god. He
believes that to all of His creations the All- wise


gave some peculiar power, and instead of being
jealous of these gifts, which he often recognizes
as greater than his own, he respects them as
special marks of respect from the hand of his
own Maker. Strength, bravery, endurance,
speed, and cunning everything that contrib-
uted to make his own wild life a success, or
marked him with distinction as an individual
among his kind, is reverenced when possessed
in an equal or greater degree among the lower
animals and birds. He will tell you that the
Antelope is swifter, the Bear greater in war,
and the Wolf a more cunning hunter than he;
and if you beat him at any game he knows,
even though he might be the most skillful of
his tribe, he will proclaim you as his friend -
a greater man than himself. There is no jeal-
ousy in his heart, and he is the most graceful
loser among men. It is true he will give no
voice to his suffering. To do so would give his
friends pain and his enemies joy, and he will
contribute to neither by his groans.


He believes in a future life and does not ex-
clude from his heaven other created beings.
He does not dare to decide who are fit for his
paradise, but leaves that to his god. Because
he believes that in a future life there will be
happiness and comfort (and in the Indian's life
on earth there was hardship and hunger) he
has supposed that his dog and his pony will
share in that life, and contribute to his welfare
as they did in his life on earth. Old Indians
have told me that there was no devil "until
the black-robes brought him," and so I take it
that in the pure beliefs of the Redman there was
no such thing as Satan. I have been told by
aged Indians that all men, save suicides, go to
heaven, eventually, and that all men are pun-
ished here for their ill deeds. They say that
some do not reach the good land at once, but
tarry with the ghost-people in the sand-hills.
After a time, however, these go to heaven with
the rest.

Nearly seventy years ago a band of Chippe-


was, several hundred strong, disliking the en-
croachments of the white men, came to the
plains to stay. Their wars with the Sioux,
and the fact that they had, at the beginning of
the eighteenth century, driven them from the
Lake Superior district to the Dakotas, would
seem to prove that the Chippewas had always
used the plains at will, although essentially a
forest tribe. This band of Chippewas, upon
leaving the main tribe to the eastward, associ-
ated themselves with the Crees, with whom
the Chippewa nation claims kinship, and thus
became involved in the Kiel Rebellion in

Even though surrounded by mists of super-
stition there is yet beauty in the rites and cere-
monies of the Indian. Dignity is always pres-
ent. I was in the lodge of Big Rock, a medicine-
man of the band of Chippewas (by adoption I
am his brother), when I took part in a "medi-
cine-smoke." Charles Russell, the cowboy art-
ist, has made a drawing of the setting within


the lodge, as described by me at the time, and
it is herewith appended. In the ceremony will
be found much of the religion of these people.
I believe it covers all of the essential points,
and I will therefore describe it.

The lodge was on the plains, and, as is usual,
a rawhide guy-rope reached from the top of
the lodge-poles to the ground inside the lodge,
where it was fastened to a stake. Before be-
ginning the ceremony this was removed be-
cause "we are not afraid of the winds when
we smoke the medicine-pipe/ ' explained Big
Rock, and "besides the rope divides us in the
lodge. It comes between men." An imaginary
trail led straight across the lodge from west
to east. It was not occupied nor littered. It
was the open way for the spirits of all departed
beings, and was spoken of as the "Buffalo's
trail." A painted lodge is a constantly offered
prayer, and as it must face the East, the imag-
inary trail is also the way of the sun. Some-
times painted lodges among other tribes face



the South, that the sun, at his meridian height,
may look through the door; but the lodges of
the medicine-men that I have known face the
East. The first fire in the imaginary trail was
the Sacred fire the Holy fire, and was but
four glowing coals that had been taken from
the regular lodge-fire and deposited in a square
within a square of the perfectly cleaned earth.
Each spear of grass and foreign thing was care-
fully removed before the coals were deposited,
and only sweet-grass or sweet-sage was burned
upon the coals. In the smoke of the incense
given off by the fuel, the pipe-bowls, stems, and
even the hands of the company were cleansed
at the beginning of the ceremony. On either
side of the imaginary trail and opposite the
Holy fire knelt a brave. The one on the right,
looking east, was the pipe-man, and the other
was the keeper of the Holy fire. At the begin-
ning of the ceremony four wooden images of
men were set at the head of the imaginary trail,
at the west, and in front of each was a pipe, its



bowl resting on the ground in the trail, its stem
supported by a forked stick that was stuck in
the ground. In front of the pipes toward the
fire was the skull of a buffalo-bull, and in front
of that the claws of a grizzly bear. Next, in
front of the claws, was the Holy fire, and be-
tween that and the lodge-fire were two stones
touching each other, one representing Big Rock
and the other myself. (I asked why they were
there, and he said we were "One like the other.")
The four images, collectively, represent Mani-
tou. They also represent his great lieutenants
-his "helpers/' which are the sun, the father,
the earth, the mother; the moon and the stars,
the four seasons; and the north, east, south,
and west winds.

There was silence for a few minutes now.
No one moved, but all gazed at the Holy fire.
All were kneeling in Indian fashion. Then
the pipe-man filled a pipe, handed him by
Big Rock, while the keeper of the Holy fire
laid sweet-grass upon the coals. When the



smoke of the sweet-grass ascended, the pipe-
man lighted the pipe and gravely passed it
to Big Rock. Solemnly the old warrior rose
to his knees and offering the stem of the pipe
to the sun, prayed for life: "Oh, Father,
make us to pity each other/' trembled from
his lips as he finished. Then he turned the
pipe-stem to the earth and his prayer was
almost the same as that offered to the sun,
only he addressed himself to "Mother." After
these invocations the pipe was proffered to the
four winds, the four seasons the four points
of the compass, and there was little variation
in any of the prayers, save that he implored
the winds to be kind. Never have I heard
such fervor such intense feeling as his voice
expressed. It shook with reverence and awe.
When the prayers were finished, Big Rock
smoked, inhaling four deep draughts from the
pipe; when he passed it as the sun goes-
about the lodge, and the stem was always care-
fully pointed toward the lodge-wall in its pass-



ing. With these people the pipe may, and did,
pass the doorway, which is forbidden by the
Blackfeet. Each of the four pipes were sent
around the lodge, much as the first had gone,
save that when the last one was taken up, Big
Rock addressed the "Three Chief Stars" in
prayer, ere he passed it to the others. If a
pipe went out or was emptied, it was returned
by the same route it had travelled, always with
care that the stem pointed to the lodge-wall.
It came back to the hands of Big Rock, and by
him was handed to the pipe-man, when it was
refilled, lighted, and passed back to begin its
round where it had left off.

I have asked old Indians "what becomes of
all the animals that have been slain since the
world began ?" and I have had them face the
South and move the hands in a circle, as the
sun goes, leading me to believe that "nothing is
destroyed," was the answer intended. The In-
dian is intensely religious and profoundly super-
stitious; but the reasons for some of his most



solemn ceremonies have been lost. Even the
words of ancient songs are lost, and he uses
words he cannot define, he has told me.

It is a mistake to declare that the Indian
does this or that. Tribes differ materially in
customs, and while I have been led to believe
that, fundamentally, their religion is much the
same, they do not agree in all particulars. But,
unlike ourselves, they declare each man to be
right in his own beliefs, and would have him
hold fast to them without intruding their own.



















"'Brother/ said Quo-too-Quat to the Wolf,

'have you seen the White Buffalo lately?' " Frontispiece


' 'I didn't hear you, OW-man/ said the Crane, 'this

water makes a lot of noise where I am' ! " . . . 42

"Then, upon turning a patch of willows ... he saw
the Skunk sucking the eggs in the nest of a Blue
Grouse" 54

" 'Look over there by that fire. That is Win-to-coo,

the Man-eater" 66

"OW-man stood up so the Bear could see him, and

laughed 'Ha, ha, ha" 76

"Ho, a Mighty Person, a Terrible Person, stood be-
fore him" 88

" When he was yet far from the Person he stopped, for

the Person had held up his hand in warning" . . 102

"He drove his knife into the heart, once, twice, three

tunes, four times " 120

Also the illustrations in colors on the cover and the title-page ,
and the black-and-white drawings in the text.



TT7AR EAGLE, the old Medicine Man, sat
* * in his great painted lodge with his
grandchildren. The fire had burned low, and
his stern face was softened in the dim, yellow
light. The wind rustled in the rose bushes
nearby, and the sound of the waters of the
Marias the River That Scolds at the Other
-came to the lodge with it. The night was
dark and the stars were behind heavy clouds.
War Eagle laid aside his pipe.

"Tell us a story, grandfather," said Eyes-in-
the-water. " Tell us of OW-man. We like to
hear about him. He was such a funny person."
And she laughed.

War Eagle stirred the fire until it burned
brightly. "Now I can see you better. My
eyes are growing old," he said, and smiled,



"If you will promise to go to your beds when
I have finished, I will tell you the story of
Quo-too-quat, the Cripple."

"We promise," they said.

"That is good," said War Eagle. "It was
long ago oh, ever so long ago that it hap-
pened. It was even before my grandfather

"Two girls were picking flowers in the forest.
It was in the month of roses and the day was
bright with sunshine. The girls were sisters
and were both beautiful. Red Wing was the
older, and when they had wandered far from
the camp, she said to her sister: 'Let us go on
until the night comes, and then we will sleep
in the silence, just you and I. It will be fine
to hear the night birds call to each other, and
watch the Dark creep upon the world from its
hiding place. I know its den must be near,
for it runs away each day before the Sun comes,
and as soon as he goes to his lodge in the West
the Dark comes back again. Let us stay in



the forest and watch. Perhaps we shall learn
where the Dark hides in daytime/

"'I am afraid/ said Laughs-in-the-morning.
'I am afraid, sister. There are bears and gray
wolves in the forests. Why do you want to
do such a thing?'

"'I have told you, Laughs-in-the-morning.
I would watch the Dark creep from its den. I
would learn its secret/ said Red Wing. 'Do
this for me. Let us sleep in the great forest
this one night/

"They went on, picking a flower here and
there, until the Sun had gone. Then the little
Shadows began to creep out of the bushes.
'The Dark will soon be here/ they whispered
before they went away. And then the big
Shadows came out of the brush. They crept
from tree to tree and watched Red Wing and
Laughs-in-the-morning make their bed of
boughs. 'The Dark is coming/ they said, even
louder than the little Shadows had spoken, but
the girls did not hear them. Before they knew


what was happening the Dark had come, and
so silently, so cunningly that they could not
even tell the direction from which it came.

"Soon those things that see best in the Dark
began to travel about the forest. Most of
these are warlike things that live upon those
who sleep at night wolves and cougars and
foxes and owls. Some are great, while others
are small, but all live by killing those things
that work and walk in the sunshine. It was
always so. Bad things love the Dark.

"Then, finally, the Stars came and looked
down at Red Wing and Laughs-in-the-morning.
'Stars are beautiful/ said Red Wing. 'Would-
n't it be wonderful if we could have husbands
that were like the stars. Let us each pick out
a star and pretend they are our husbands. I
see mine now. It is that bright one just over
the top of that pine-tree/

"'And mine is that star that is shining and
twinkling over the dead top of that fir-tree/
said Laughs-in-the-morning. 'I am going to


call him Eagle. I think that is a beautiful
name, don't you, sister?'

"'Yes, I do. But I shall call my husband
Night Sun/ said Red Wing. 'Let us talk to our
husbands without speaking aloud/ And they

"Owls called in the forest, and wolves came
close to the bed of boughs. Once a red fox
walked right up to the bed, but the girls did
not see him. He looked, and then went away.

"'Come and take me up to your world,
Eagle/ said Laughs-in-the-morning. She did
not speak aloud, but she looked at the Star and
thought the words.

"'Come and get me, Night Sun/ said Red
Wing to her Star. But she only thought the
words, which is the same as speaking them.

"'Where are we, sister? What is this bright
light?' It was Laughs-in-the-morning that
spoke. 'Oh, where are we?'

"Red Wing sat up and covered her eyes with
her hand. The light was brighter than the



Sun and was all about them. 'I do not know/
she said. 'What is that? Why, it is an old
woman. See, she is watching us. Let us ask
her where we are. Old Woman, tell us where
we are, and what this light is that blinds

"The Old Woman was sitting on a cloud
nearby, and she said: 'Young women, this is
not your country. Some Stars have brought
you here, but you must not stay. They are all
sleeping now, but will soon awake. Come with
me. I will help you. I know who you are. I
am related to your mother. Those Stars must
not find you here. Come/

"She hopped off the cloud and went into a
lodge that was near. It was her own lodge;
and she brought out a rope of twisted bark and
a bag that had been made of the white skins of
some strange animals. She tied one end of the
bark-rope to the bag. 'Get into the bag/ she

"The girls did as she told them, and then the



Old Woman said: 'This is a Medicine Rope
and has no end but the one I have tied to the
bag. Do not be afraid but keep saying Quo-
too-quat, Quo-too-quat, Quo-too-quat, until you
are in your own country. Good-by. I shall
never see you again/

"She raised a door in the sky and let the bag
down, down, down, until it came to this world.
It was in the forest some place where the bag
touched the world. The girls got out, and
Flash! the bag was gone. The air smelled as
it does when the Thunder speaks sharply, and
the girls were alone in the wilderness again.

"'What shall we do, Red Wing? I am very
hungry/ said Laughs-in-the-morning.

"'I do not know, sister, but let us travel.
Perhaps we shall find some people who will
give us food/

"The day was fine. They began to look for
food. They came to where camas grew, and
they dug much and ate it.

"'Is that a lodge yonder? 'asked Laughs-in-



the-morning. 'It looks like a lodge. Let us
go and see/

"'I am so tired/ said Red Wing. 'You go
and see if it is a lodge, and I will wait here for
you to come back/

"But Laughs-in-the-morning did not come
back. She grew bewildered and could not find
her way. Red Wing set out to find her, but
could not. They were separated, and they
both wandered back into the forest.

"Laughs-in-the-morning saw a man coming
through the bushes. She was frightened. The
man had only one leg. It was Quo-too-quat,
the Cripple. She had heard of him. He was a
great hunter. Her grandfather had told her
that. Quo-too-quat knew magic, and so she
was afraid of him. He began to laugh as he
came near, and Laughs-in-the-morning cried.

"'Tell me who is troubling you and I will
kill him/ said Quo-too-quat, the Cripple. His
voice was rough, but his eyes looked kind.

"'My sister is lost. Oh, I cannot find her!



Red Wing has wandered away/ said Laughs-in-

"'Ho ! Well I know where she is, of course.
Come, and I will take you to her/

"He began to hobble away through the forest.
Laughs-in-the-morning followed as fast as she
could, for Quo-too-quat, the Cripple, walked
rapidly with a magic stick. Laughs-in-the-
morning was growing tired when Quo-too-quat
stopped to talk to a gray wolf in the bushes.

"'Brother/ said Quo-too-quat to the Wolf,
'have you seen the White Buffalo lately?'

'"Yes/ said the Wolf. 'They are near the
foot of the Big Mountains. I saw them yes-
terday. There are many buffalo with them
that are not white/

'"That is good/ said Quo-too-quat, 'but do
not chase the White Buffalo. Tell your people
that I said they must not make the White Buf-
falo run. Remember that. I am going to
take this girl to my lodge. Then I will go with
you to the Mountains. Wait here for me/



"Laughs-in-the-morning was glad when she
heard Quo-too-quat tell the Wolf that, because
she knew that the lodge could not be far away.

"What a queer lodge it was, though ! It was
made of the leaf fat of buffalo, and every lodge-
pole was painted yellow.

"Red Wing was sitting on some robes and
sprang up when Quo-too-quat opened the door.
' Oh, Laughs-in-the-morning ! I am so happy to
see you again, my sister. I thought you would
never, never come. Here, sit here and eat.
This is the lodge of Quo-too-quat, the Cripple.
He brought me here that day when you wan-
dered away. I do not know how long I have
been here. How long has it been since you
left me?'

"'I do not know, sister/ said Laughs-in-the-
morning. 'This is not our country. That
Old Woman made a mistake, I fear. What
country is this, Quo-too-quat?'

"But Quo-too-quat was gone.

"'He has been good to me, sister/ said Red



Wing. 'There is always plenty of meat here,
and he treats me well/

"'I wish we were with our own people, sister,'
said Laughs-in-the-morning.

"'Yes, I do, too, but perhaps he will take
us there if we ask him/

"'How ! How !' said a squeaky voice at the
door. Then a very old and wrinkled face
peered inside.

"The girls screamed. They were frightened.

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