THE BEGINNING OF FOOT RACING.
(Told by Hoka-chatka.)
Long ago a chief left his camp to visit a camp far away. On the way, he came to a man running over hills and valleys and round and round. He asked the man why he did this and he said he was a magician and running was part of the mysteries he performed. As they talked together, the chief told the magician that he was going to visit a camp fax away and invited him to go along. He agreed to do so. As they traveled together, the chief asked the magician what his name was. He told him it was Runner.
After a time, they saw a man lying on the ground, laughing. He continued to laugh and roll about on the ground as if he heard something funny. They asked him why he did this and he told them that he was listening to a very funny story about an old woman who lived in a camp far away and the people in that camp were talking about the strange things she did. They asked how he could hear people in a camp far away. He told them that he was a magician and could hear things far away by putting his ear to the ground. While they talked together, the Chief and Runner told the other man that they were going on a visit and asked him if he would go with them and he agreed to do so. They then asked what his name was and he said he was called, Hears.
So the three traveled together. Soon they came to a man who was throwing dust and sand into the air and blowing on it so that it whirled about. They asked him why he did this and he told them that he was a magician who could control the winds and he did this to cool the earth. While they talked with him, they told him that they were going on a visit and asked if he would go with them and he agreed to do so. They asked what his name was and he told them he was called West Wind.
As these four men traveled together they agreed to go to the camp where the old woman lived who could run so fast and do such strange things, for they knew that she was a witch. When they got there, they found the people outside the camp watching the witch performing her antics. She would run very swiftly and then jump high in the air and prance about in a ludicrous manner and she twitted the men and dared them to run against her.
The Chief told the Runner that as he was a magician who could run fast he should run with the Witch. He agreed to do so the next day. That night, Hears lay with his ear to the ground and heard the Witch plotting with her friends to play witch tricks on Runner to frighten him, so he told Runner of this.
The next morning four men came to the Chief and his friends and told them that the old woman was a witch and advised them not to contest against her for she might do some harm to them. But the Runner said he would run and risk her harming him.
About the middle of the day all went from the camp to the place where the race was to be run. The Witch said they would run once around a deep gully, then on level ground to the hills, and once around the bills and back through a gap in the hills to the place where they started. The Runner agreed to this. Then the Witch cavorted around the Runner and jumped high in the air and over his head to frighten him, but he only smiled at her and walked leisurely about.
Then she said that when they came to the place to start the one that was ready first should go -first and he agreed to that. He knew that she intended to play some trick on him so he watched her closely. When they were to start, the Witch ran quickly to the starting place and ran on without stopping to see if he had started or not, but West Wind blew Runner ahead of the Witch.
Runner ran beside the witch and she ran faster but could not outdistance him. When they came to the hills, the witch changed herself into a jackrabbit and as she ran up the hill ahead of Runner she kicked dust and sand into his face and mocked him and said, "Ho, you did not know that I am a witch." Then Runner changed himself into a hawk and as he flew over the hills ahead of her he said, "Ho, you did not know that I am a magician." The witch was angry and called the hawk "old crooked nose" and reviled him, but he only laughed at her.
When the witch had gone over the hill, she changed herself into a beautiful young woman and called to the hawk to come to her. The hawk came. When he saw the young woman he changed himself into a young man and sat beside the young woman. She took his head in her lap and soothed him so that he was soon asleep. Then she laid his head on a soft bundle of grass and ran to the gap in the hills, intending to get back to the people before he should awake. She said, "Ho. I have fooled you. You will sleep till I win the race."
But Hears had his ear to the ground and told West Wind that the Witch was talking to Runner and what she said. Then West Wind blew sand and gravel in the face of Runner and awoke him. He saw that he had been fooled, so he changed himself into a hawk and flew swiftly after Witch and overtook her and beat her back to the place where they started.
The people had bet everything on the Witch, and they felt badly, so they persuaded the Chief and his friends to stay with them. They sent the Witch to find someone to run and win back what they had lost. The Witch went to the north and found one who said he could run swiftly and she brought him back with her, but Runner would not run with him. So the people called them cowards and bemeaned them until West Wind said he would run.
Then all the people went out to see the race. When they came there, the four friends saw that it was Waziya who was to ran and they feared some trick. Waziya was fat and wheezed when he breathed and he was clothed in a thick robe made of down of birds. They agreed to go to the hills and run from there to the people. They started from the hills and ran side by side. Soon the Witch saw that Waziya was too fat to run so she pulled off his robe of down and threw it in front of West Wind intending to trip him, but he stepped on it and it disappeared. They ran on till they came near the people so that Waziya's breath was cold on them, but he got out of breath before he came to them. West Wind ran up to them and then ran on and back to them and said, "I have beaten the North Wind and I will always do so."
Hereafter men will run foot races and when they do so this shall be the rule, "He that cheats shall lose the race."