How The Prairie Wolf Became Cunning

A great many hundred snows ago, Alo Nokee Washte, sitting on the Sacred Stool, created the world. First, she made the fishes in the Big Water, then the animals on the green land, and last of all, Shu’halo! But at first the animals were all alike in power.

No one knew which animals should be food for others, and which should be food for the Shu’halo. Then Alo Nokee Washte ordered them all to meet in one place, that the Shu’halo might give each his rank and his power. So the animals all met together one evening, when the sun was set, to wait overnight for the coming of the Shu'halo on the next morning. Alo Nokee Washte also commanded the Shu’halo to make bows and arrows, as many as there were animals, and to give the longest one to the animal which was to have the most power, and the shortest to the one which should have least power.

So they did, and after nine sleeps their work was ended, and the bows and arrows which they had made were very many.

Now the animals, being all together, went to sleep, so they might be ready to meet the Shu’halo on the next morning. But prairie wolf was exceedingly cunning - he was cunning above all the beasts. prairie wolf wanted the longest bow and the greatest power, so he could have all the other animals for his meat. He decided to stay awake all night, so that he would be first to meet the Shu’halo in the morning. So he laughed to himself and stretched his nose out on his paw and pretended to sleep. About midnight he began to be sleepy.

He had to walk around the camp and scratch his eyes to keep them open. He grew more sleepy, so that he had to skip and jump about to keep awake. But he made so much noise; he awakened some of the other animals. When An’she came up, prairie wolf was too sleepy to keep his eyes open any longer. So he took two little sticks, and sharpened them at the ends and propped open his eyelids. Then he felt safe. He watched An’she, with his nose stretched along his paws, and fell asleep. The sharp sticks pinned his eyelids fast together.

An’she rose rapidly into the sky. The birds began to sing. The animals woke up and stretched themselves, but still prairie wolf lay fast asleep. When An’she fully arose, the animals went to meet the Shu’Halo. He gave the longest bow to Cougar, so he had greatest power; the second longest he gave to Bear; others he gave to the other animals, giving all but the last to Frog.

But the shortest one was left. The Shu’halo cried out, "What animal have we missed?" Then the animals began to look about and found prairie wolf fast asleep, with his eyelids pinned together. All the animals began to laugh, and they jumped upon prairie wolf and danced upon him. Then they led him to the Shu’halo, still blinded, and the Shu’halo pulled out the sharp sticks and gave him the shortest bow of all. It would hardly shoot an arrow farther than a foot. All the animals laughed.

But the Shu’halo took pity on prairie wolf, because he was now weaker even than Frog. So at their request, Alo Nokee Washte gave him cunning, ten times more than before, so that he was cunning above all the animals of the plains. So even though prairie wolf may not have been as strong as bear or cougar his cunning made him a dangerous and worthy hunter.As his thanks prairie wolf was friendly to the Shu’halo and their children, and did many things for them and to this day still does. The next time you see a Shu'halo hunter along the plains ask them who hunts with them and they will most likely tell you that it is prairie wolf before all other animals.

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