ALONE within his teepee sat Chulhkan the spider. The sun was but a handbreadth
from the western edge of land.
"Those, bad, bad gray wolves! They ate up all my nice fat ducks!"
muttered he, rocking his body to and fro.
He was cuddling the evil memory he bore those hungry wolves. At last
he ceased to sway his body backward and forward, but sat still and stiff
as a stone image.
"Oh! I'll go to Amafo, the great-grand- father, and pray for food!"
At once he hurried forth from his teepee and, with his blanket over
one shoulder, drew nigh to a huge rock on a hillside.
With half-crouching, half-running strides, he fell upon Amafo with outspread
"Grandfather! pity me. I am hungry. I am starving. Give me food.
Great-grand- father, give me meat to eat!" he cried. All the while
he stroked and caressed the face of the great stone god.
The all-powerful Great Spirit, who makes the trees and grass, can hear
the voice of those who pray in many varied ways. The hearing of Amafo,
the large hard stone, was the one most sought after. He was the great-grandfather,
for he had sat upon the hillside many, many seasons. He had seen the
prairie put on a snow-white blanket and then change it for a bright
green robe more than a thousand times.
Still unaffected by the myriad moons he rested on the everlasting hill,
listening to the prayers of Indian warriors. Before the finding of the
magic arrow he had sat there.
Now, as Chulhkan prayed and wept before the great-grandfather, the sky
in the west was red like a glowing face. The sunset poured a soft mellow
light upon the huge gray stone and the solitary figure beside it. It
was the smile of the Great Spirit upon the grandfather and the wayward
The prayer was heard. Chulhkan knew it. "Now, grandfather, accept
my offering; 'tis all I have," said Chulhkan as he spread his half-worn
blanket upon Amafo's cold shoulders. Then Chulhkan, happy with the smile
of the sunset sky, followed a foot- path leading toward a thicketed
ravine. He had not gone many paces into the shrubbery when before him
lay a freshly wounded deer!
"This is the answer from the red western sky!" cried Chulhkan
with hands uplifted.
Slipping a long thin blade from out his belt, he cut large chunks of
choice meat. Sharpening some willow sticks, he planted them around a
wood-pile he had ready to kindle. On these stakes he meant to roast
While he was rubbing briskly two long sticks to start a fire, the sun
in the west fell out of the sky below the edge of land. Twilight was
over all. Chulhkan felt the cold night air upon his bare neck and shoulders.
"Ough!" he shivered as he wiped his knife on the grass. Tucking
it in a beaded case hanging from his belt, Chulhkan stood erect, looking
about. He shivered again. "Ough! Ah! I am cold. I wish I had my
blanket!" whispered he, hovering over the pile of dry sticks and
the sharp stakes round about it. Suddenly he paused and dropped his
hands at his sides.
"The old great-grandfather does not feel the cold as I do. He does
not need my old blanket as I do. I wish I had not given it to him. Oh!
I think I'll run up there and take it back!" said he, pointing
his long chin toward the large gray stone.
Chulhkan, in the warm sunshine, had no need of his blanket, and it had
been very easy to part with a thing which he could not miss. But the
chilly night wind quite froze his ardent thank-offering.
Thus running up the hillside, his teeth chattering all the way, he drew
near to Amafo, the sacred symbol. Seizing one corner of the half-worn
blanket, Chulhkan pulled it off with a jerk.
"Give my blanket back, old grandfather! You do not need it. I do!"
This was very wrong, yet Chulhkan did it, for his wit was not wisdom.
Drawing the blanket tight over his shoulders, he descended the hill
with hurrying feet.
He was soon upon the edge of the ravine. A young moon, like a bright
bent bow, climbed up from the southwest horizon a little way into the
In this pale light Chulhkan stood motionless as a ghost amid the thicket.
His wood- pile was not yet kindled. His pointed stakes were still bare
as he had left them. But where was the deer -- the venison he had felt
warm in his hands a moment ago? It was gone. Only the dry rib bones
lay on the ground like giant fingers from an open grave. Chulhkan was
troubled. At length, stooping over the white dried bones, he took hold
of one and shook it. The bones, loose in their sockets, rattled together
at his touch. Chulhkan let go his hold. He sprang back amazed. And though
he wore a blanket his teeth chattered more than ever. Then his blunted
sense will surprise you, little reader; for instead of being grieved
that he had taken back his blanket, he cried aloud, "Hin-hin-hin!
If only I had eaten the venison before going for my blanket!"
Those tears no longer moved the hand of the Generous Giver. They were
selfish tears. The Great Spirit does not heed them ever.