Laptissa’n and the Seven-Headed Monster

A Nez Perce myth from Folk Tales of Salish & Sahaptin Tribes- ed. Franz Boas- 1917

In the early days there was a chief who owned all kinds of property. He found the seven-headed monster running with his horses and his cattle. This kept up for several years, and the monster grew bigger and bigger. The chief thought it gave him a big name to have such an animal running in his stock, so he didn’t molest it.

Finally the monster began to kill off the stock. Then the chief wanted to kill the monster, but he did not know how to do it. He thought to himself, “Tomorrow I shall take half this band of Indians, and we shall just go and kill this monster.

(Shadow Wolves by nutty-acorn)

(Shadow Wolves by nutty-acorn)

So they went out to kill it, but when they came in sight of the monster, and fired at it, the monster attacked in turn, and began killing the Indians. It killed all who had gone out against it, except for the chief himself. After this, the chief was afraid to attack a second time, and resigned himself to the loss of his stock. Then the monster stopped killing stock and took to killing off Indians. It attacked the people in the village, and the chief made every effort to find a man who could win out over the monster.

Now there was a poor man in this band named Laptissa’n [Le Petit Jean]. This Laptissa’n told the chief that he would kill the monster if only the chief would furnish him with a mule. So the chief gave him a mule, and Laptissa’n went out. He did not know exactly what to do, but he began by riding round and round the monster on the mule. Finally he rode around so many times, that the monster grew weary watching, and fell asleep. Then Laptissa’n jumped off the mule, ran in, and cut the throat of the monster where the seven heads were joined to one neck.

(Sunset by kniggets)

(Sunset by kniggets)