his travels about the world, Trickster climbed up a hill and when
he reached the top, he laid down to rest. As he was looking up,
he saw a bird floating effortlessly in the sky. Trickster thought
to himself how nice it would be to have a view of the whole countryside
like the bird's. Just as Trickster was looking at the bird, so it
was looking at Trickster. It thought that he was an animal that
might make a good meal, so he circled down a bit lower. As soon
as he got a closer look, he could see that he was being watched,
so he floated down to a dead tree with only a few branches. As the
bird perched there, he thought to himself, "I'll preen a few
of these feathers and let the man enjoy my natural beauty."
This bird was a buzzard.
In those times buzzards were very beautiful and also very vain.
As Trickster laid there watching him, he said, "Haho, little
brother. I was watching you circling above. It sure must be great
to fly around with no effort at all." However, the bird said
nothing at all back to Trickster. Then Trickster said,"Did
I ever say how beautiful a bird you are?" "No," replied
the buzzard. "Well, you really are, you know. I like the way
that the light shines from your feathers when you turn your head.
But what I like best is the way you can have a view of the whole
world from where you are flying. I only wish you could give me a
ride so that I too could enjoy it." The bird said, "I
can probably do that," but when he reached Trickster, he said,
"You're way too heavy. If I put you on my back, I would never
get off the ground." "Well," said Trickster, "I
can fix that." Then Trickster thought to himself, "I'll
become just the right size to ride on that bird's back," and
no sooner had he thought this, than he suddenly shrunk in size so
that he was no bigger than a baby. Then he climbed up on the buzzard's
back and hung on tight.
The bird flapped his wings and soon they were airborne. He circled
around until he hit an updraft, then suddenly he sailed away high
into the sky. Trickster exclaimed, "Ah, little brother, this
is truly the life. There is nothing like this, to be able to see
all over. You really have a great life gliding around up here."
Now the buzzard thought Trickster just wanted a short ride, but
nothing could make him return. Now Trickster kept telling the buzzard
to fly here or fly there, and was starting to make a nuisance out
of himself by his constant demands. Suddenly, the buzzard made a
steep turn, and Trickster cried out, "Whoa, watch that or I'll
fall off!" This gave the buzzard an idea. He circled around
and around gradually descending as he went. He was looking for a
hollow stump that he had seen earlier. After much searching, there
it was. He flew directly over it, then he suddenly performed a mid-air
flip, and Trickster fell right off. The buzzard's aim was perfect
and Trickster landed right in the hollow of the stump. Thus stump
had been burned out, and the hole was small enough that Trickster
couldn't get back out again. Trickster was furious, and called the
bird every bad name he could think of. Then he said, for good measure,
"I'll get even with you someday" However, the buzzard
simply ignored him and flew away.
After all that time traveling about the world, now Trickster
was a prisoner. Then Trickster decided to restore himself to his
normal size, but when he did that, he found himself stuck even tighter
than before. Then he heard the voices of women out gathering wood.
They were speaking to one another in Hocak. This gave Trickster
an idea, and he sung out,
which means, "I am a big mother raccoon." The woman
exclaimed, "Wehehe! There is something over there. They went
over to where they heard the singing. Then Trickster sand again
in a bass voice,
The women said, "Let's get this raccoon, and they began
to chop away at the tree. When they had cut an opening through it,
Trickster held up his raccoon blanket, and the women exclaimed,
"That's a big fat one!" Then Trickster said, "Yes
indeed, I am a really big one. Now, you're going to have to chop
the hole much bigger to get me out." After the women had chopped
away furiously at the stump, the hole was now so big that Trickster
stepped right out. He dropped his blanket and laughed. The women
were so angry at him that they chased him with their axes, but he
made good his escape.
No matter where Trickster went in his travels, he never ceased
thinking about avenging himself against the buzzard. He contemplated
many schemes, but nothing seemed to work. Then one day when he was
watching a herd of buffalo, he suddenly got a brilliant idea: "Now
then," he said, "I'll become a buffalo and drop over dead.
That will give the buzzard just what he wants most, a really big
meal of carrion."
So Trickster turned himself into a buffalo and spent his days
grazing on the luxuriant grass, and in time became very fat. Then
he laid down and died. There he lay in the hot sun, rotting. Some
time later a cosgenika bird (woolly? woodpecker) spotted the buffalo
rotting in the grass. This bird is a very noisy one, and when he
returned to the woods, he called out to all the meat eating birds
that there was a fine, big meal going to waste in the meadow. A
great group of birds descended on the corpse and began pecking it
all over, but its hide was so tough that none of the birds could
penetrate it. Trickster shut his eyes so tight that they couldn't
even pick his eyes out. Finally, they called upon the magpie, who
was a large bird with a sharp beak. The told him to peck a hole
right through the hide. The magpie hammered away for a long time,
but could get nowhere. Then he said, "Let me do this my way.
The best way to get into a tough animal is to enter through its
anus." So he began pecking away at the buffalo's anus, and
soon he had made an entry. Then the other birds went in as well,
and flew off with bits of fat. Eventually, the news reached the
buzzard who flew down to a nearby tree. He was wary of what Trickster
might be up to, and was on his guard against any tricks that might
be in the offing; but the other birds kept saying, "Brother,
come on down, we are getting to the best part now." So finally
the buzzard descended, thinking that he had better get some now
before there was nothing good left. The other birds said, "We
found this way in, right through his anus. We saved it for you,
the most beautiful of birds, brother." So the buzzard stuck
his head deep into the rectum of the buffalo. Then, unexpectedly,
the anus tightened around his neck and his head was trapped inside.
Then suddenly the buffalo rose to his feet and began eating grass.
After that he went down and drank a lot of water, after which he
resumed eating enormous amounts of lush, green grass, the kind that
makes strong, hot buffalo chips. After a day of this, he finally
relaxed his anus and let the
bird go. As the bird lay there in shock, Trickster changed himself
back into his normal form. "Well now, you beautiful bird, how
did you like the dinner I served up to you?" When the bird
came to his senses and saw Trickster standing before him, his worst
fears were realized, and he flew up to the nearest tree. There he
shook himself off, but must to his surprise, all the feathers on
his head fell off as he shook. Then Trickster said, "Because
you have abused me, forevermore your kind shall have bald heads,
and no longer will the people say you are the most beautiful of
birds, for in truth you will now be the ugliest." Even down
to this day turkey buzzards have no feathers on their head.