A LITTLE BRAVE AND THE MEDICINE
A village of Indians moved out of winter camp and pitched their
tents in a circle on high land overlooking a lake. A little way
down the declivity was a grave. Choke cherries had grown up,
hiding the grave from view. But as the ground had sunk somewhat,
the grave was marked by a slight hollow.
One of the villagers going out to hunt took a short cut through the
choke cherry bushes. As he pushed them aside he saw the hollow
grave, but thought it was a washout made by the rains. But as he
essayed to step over it, to his great surprise he stumbled and
fell. Made curious by his mishap, he drew back and tried again;
but again he fell. When he came back to the village he told the
old men what had happened to him. They remembered then that a long
time before there had been buried there a medicine woman or
conjurer. Doubtless it was her medicine that made him stumble.
The story of the villager's adventure spread thru the camp and made
many curious to see the grave. Among others were six little boys
who were, however, rather timid, for they were in great awe of the
dead medicine woman. But they had a little playmate named Brave,
a mischievous little rogue, whose hair was always unkempt and
tossed about and who was never quiet for a moment.
"Let us ask Brave to go with us," they said; and they went in a
body to see him.
"All right," said Brave; "I will go with you. But I have something
to do first. You go on around the hill that way, and I will
hasten around this way, and meet you a little later near the
So the six little boys went on as bidden until they came to a place
near the grave. There they halted.
"Where is Brave?" they asked.
Now Brave, full of mischief, had thought to play a jest on his
little friends. As soon as they were well out of sight he had sped
around the hill to the shore of the lake and sticking his hands in
the mud had rubbed it over his face, plastered it in his hair, and
soiled his hands until he looked like a new risen corpse with the
flesh rotting from his bones. He then went and lay down in the
grave and awaited the boys.
When the six little boys came they were more timid than ever when
they did not find Brave; but they feared to go back to the village
without seeing the grave, for fear the old men would call them
So they slowly approached the grave and one of them timidly called
"Please, grandmother, we won't disturb your grave. We only want to
see where you lie. Don't be angry."
At once a thin quavering voice, like an old woman's, called out:
"Han, han, takoja, hechetuya, hechetuya! Yes, yes, that's right,
The boys were frightened out of their senses, believing the old
woman had come to life.
"Oh, grandmother," they gasped, "don't hurt us; please don't, we'll
Just then Brave raised his muddy face and hands up thru the choke
cherry bushes. With the oozy mud dripping from his features he
looked like some very witch just raised from the grave. The boys
screamed outright. One fainted. The rest ran yelling up the hill
to the village, where each broke at once for his mother's tepee.
As all the tents in a Dakota camping circle face the center, the
boys as they came tearing into camp were in plain view from the
tepees. Hearing the screaming, every woman in camp ran to her
tepee door to see what had happened. Just then little Brave, as
badly scared as the rest, came rushing in after them, his hair on
end and covered with mud and crying out, all forgetful of his
"It's me, it's me!"
The women yelped and bolted in terror from the village. Brave
dashed into his mother's tepee, scaring her out of her wits.
Dropping pots and kettles, she tumbled out of the tent to run
screaming with the rest. Nor would a single villager come near
poor little Brave until he had gone down to the lake and washed