Manataka American Indian Council

 


 

 

 

 

 

LENAPE STORIES I

(Noh'koo-mi)

 

 

Answer-Me


One time when a certain man was out with several others hunting, his friends wandered off and left him alone, but finally he was lucky enough to kill a young buck. He dressed it and packed it on his back, then went on looking for his friends. After a while he whooped to call them, and somebody answered; it seemed close by, just across the hollow. He ran to catch up across the hollow but he saw nobody. Then he whooped again and somebody answered from the side of the hollow he had just left, and the same thing happened several times.

Then the hunter became angry; he threw down the deer and chased the person who was answering him. When he caught him, he found that it was one of the little people, carrying a bow with the bark on it.

"I'll teach you to answer me when I am calling my friends," the angry hunter said. "For that we'll have a fight right here."

"Kay'hay-la!" said the little man. ""I'll fight, but wait until I take off my jacket." He took off a jacket made of cornhusk; then the hunter was ready to fight.

"Wait, I'll take off this jacket, too," the little fellow said and stripped off another one. He kept taking off jackets until there were twelve in all.  Each time he took off one he became smaller and when the twelve were off, he was so small that the hunter was ashamed to fight him.

"I won't fight you now," said the hunter. "But I'll give you a name. When you get home, tell your folks that someone named you Noh'koo-mi, Answer-Me. And now I want you to answer me this. Why did you try to fool me?"

The little man laughed.

"I just wanted to see how strong you were; how far you could run carrying that deer."


The Indians of New Jersey: Dickon Among the Lenapé, by: M. R. Harrington, Rutgers University Press, 1966
Reposted with Permission from Brother to Horse
Submitted by Blue Panther Keeper of Stories

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