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)


Misana- Who was swept away to the Land of Beads

One of my favorite myths about the end of the world coming from the end of the world- Point Hope, Alaska. If you ever have to tell your children about me- the real story is a bit much for kids- just tell them this until they are at least 12.

The was once a young man who was called Misana. He was so young that he had just begun to get a small beard, yet he was a powerful hunter, who hunted walrus in all kinds of weather. But one day he, together with a comrade, was overtaken by a land gale with a snowstorm, and the waves broke over them so that they had to let themselves drift before the wind, away from land, out to the open sea. They grew weary and tried to bind their kayaks together to get some rest, but the waves were so high that they threatened to crush the kayaks, which could no longer maneuver quickly. So once more each had to struggle for his own life, and almost immediately afterwards they kayak of Misana’s comrade overturned and came up no more.

Misana did not whether he was drifting. He merely tried to hold himself up against the seas and take good care that his paddle was not wrestled from his grasp. Farther and farther he drifted out, till he came to a big ice floe; he let himself be washed up on it and got a little rest, but it was not long before the waves ate up the big ice floe, and again he had to go on in his kayak. How long he had drifter around he did not know, but when the storm cleared up a little he could just glimpse the high land of King Island like a little dot in the horizon. Now that he knew where he was he seemed to gain new strength, and he set his course for the mainland from which he had come. He paddled and paddled until he was near enough to discern the trees on the coast, but then came the same land storm again, sweeping over him thick with snow, and against his will he had to let himself be borne seaward by the waves. Now and then he could rest a little on the ice floes he encountered. In one place, where he had approached a big ice field which for some time withstood the storms, he caught a little baby seal and got food just when his hunger was beginning to overwhelm him. He now understood that it was necessary to make his provisions hold out as long as possible, and therefore satisfied himself with merely taking a mouthful at a time, when he could no longer restrain his hunger.

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