Linking your favorite traveling artists across the globe
The way I have heard our ancestral stories told, the first woman was made as a companion for the first man. The Creator took a piece of buffalo bone and some sinew, then he covered them with mud and shaped them. When the Creator blew on the body it came to life. He did the same with the woman, and he taught them both how to make more of their own kind. While this was going on a wolf came along and offered to help out. He blew on the woman and at the same time he made a wolf howl, and the old people say that is why women have higher voices than men.
This first man and woman are said to have lived together happily for quite some time. They had two children, both boys. Every day the man went out hunting and the woman gathered firewood and hauled water. But one day the man came home earlier than usual and he found that his wife was still not at home. He became suspicious, and he told the boys to be prepared for trouble.
The next morning the husband told his wife that he was going hunting again, but instead he went up on a high ridge where he could look down and keep watch on his camp. Soon he saw his wife going for wood, and then for water. Just before she got to the river the husband saw a large snake crawl behind a rock and changed into a handsome man. Then he knew what was going on, so he rushed back to camp to tell his children. He gave them four magic articles that had great power. He said to the boys that their mother was under the snake's spell and that she would turn into a mean monster when she learned that they knew about it. He told them to run for their lives.
As the two boys were running away they heard a commotion back at their camp, and soon they saw a terrible monster following them. They threw one of the magic articles behind them and a great mountain range formed. The monster had to climb these mountains, but soon it caught up to the boys again. The threw behind another of the magic articles and a great forest formed. The monster had to make its way through the thick trees and brush, but soon it was behind them again. They threw back the third magic article and behind them formed a big swamp through which the monster had a hard time to wade. Finally the boys threw back their last magic article and a huge body of water formed over which the monster was not able to pass. They say this was the ocean.
The two boys were now on the other side of the ocean. Some years passed and finally one of the boys said to the other: "My brother, I am lonesome over here. You stay here and help out the people, while I go back to the other side and see what I can do there."
This one that came back over here was named Napi, which means Old Man in Blackfoot.
Napi came over and did many mysterious things, some of them very helpful and some of them very cruel and mean. His exploits have been handed down through the ages in a series of tribal legends that are still told today. Many of these legends are so vulgar that only the adults tell them to each other.
Napi is also credited with the making many changes in nature. His favorite camping place was along the foot of the Rocky Mountains, at a place where modern maps show the start of the Old Man River, in southern Alberta, Canada.