Two Companions


Last Updated: 9 years

A man living far south dreamt of a man in the north and wished to become his comrade. He went in search of him, and they set out traveling together. The Southerner killed a bear and ate its tongue. He said to his companion, “Run away now, something queer has happened.” He changed himself into a bear and pursued his friend, who fled in terror.


The fugitive fell down. The bear just played with him without biting him, then he turned into a man again.

The Northerner then killed a buffalo and ate its tongue. He turned into a buffalo and pursued his friend, hooking him so as merely to rip his clothes. After a while, he let him alone and resumed human shape.

They traveled on for a long distance. The Southerner killed a moose. “We’ll make two fires in the night,” he said.

He gave half the meat to his comrade. They ate without talking. They began cracking the bones for marrow. Then they counted how many bones each had cracked.

The Northerner said, “I have broken all the bones, give me some marrow. If you won’t, we’ll play at kicking.”

The Southerner got scared. He chopped off his feet and sharpened his legs. The Northerner saw it and went outside to a tree of his own age to which he said, “If this man speaks to you, answer, ‘No.”‘ Then he ran away.

Sharpened-Leg came back and said, “Let us play at kicking.” The tree repeatedly answered, “No.” After a while, Sharpened-Leg went to his comrade’s lodge and only found a stump there. He was angry, split the tree, and pursued his companion, holding his feet in his arms.

When he had caught up, the Northerner climbed a tree. Sharpened-Leg began splitting it. The Northerner begged the tree to hold him. It obeyed and Sharpened-Leg, striking the thickest part of the trunk with his sharpened leg, got stuck. Then the Northerner jumped down.

Sharpened-Leg asked to be freed, but his comrade refused. At last, he said, “If I help you, let us stop these pranks altogether.” Sharpened-Leg agreed, then his comrade released him and set his feet for him.

They traveled on. The Northerner had a great deal of power.

The Southerner said, “Today we shall meet many people.” His comrade replied, “I am not afraid of anything; if lots of people come, I have a war-song.”

Both of them had rattles. A great many people came their way, and they began to sing.

The chief said, “Two friends are coming.” The chief wished to test which of the two was the braver. He put them on horseback and had the horses led to a steep river-bank. When the leg-sharpener got close to the water, he got frightened and caught the line.

The other man was not scared at all, but whipped his horse onward. Then the chief declared the Northerner to be the braver of the two.