Manataka American Indian Council





Wolves Within...


An old Grandfather said to his grandson, who came to him with anger at a friend who had done him an injustice...

"Let me tell you a story. I too, at times, have felt great hate for those who have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do. But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It's like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die."

"I have struggled with these feelings many times. It is as if there are two wolves inside me; one is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.  

But...the other wolf... ah! The littlest thing will send him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all of the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is helpless anger, for his anger will change nothing."  

"Sometimes it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit."

The boy looked intently into his Grandfather's eyes and asked, "Which one wins, Grandfather?"

The Grandfather smiled and quietly said, "The one I feed."

-- -- A Native American tale told many times around the Sacred Fire


This story told by Chief Lost Feather is similar to a legend that is recorded among the Sioux.  Although the Sioux are generally associated with peoples originating around the Ohio River basin and the Great Lakes, they were related to tribes that migrated extensively throughout the central plains area from Arkansas to Canada.

Both the Quapaw and the Osage belonged to the Siouan language group, which presents the possibility that visitors from one of these tribes could have introduced the story in the Hot Springs area where it became associated with West Mountain. 

A secret, mystic cave hidden somewhere on West Mountain has been the home for many centuries of an old woman who lives there with her dog.

The old woman spends her time diligently weaving a beautiful rug from pine needles that she has collected in the forest. Her dog spends his time napping in a corner of the cave and watching his mistress through narrow slits in his eyes.

From time to time, the old woman lays down her rug and goes to stir the soup she keeps cooking in a clay pot over a fire at the mouth of the cave. When she does this, the dog creeps out of his corner and, taken the rug in his jaws, shakes it until he has unraveled a part of it.

When the old woman returns to her work, she patiently tries to restore the damaged rug and resumes her weaving, but soon she must again attend to the soup that boils in her pot. Each time she leaves the rug, the sly old dog again ravels as much or more than she has been able to complete at the last sitting.

Thus, down through the years, the two have continued their ritual of weaving, raveling, and reweaving, but the rug never grows any larger. This is a good thing, for if ever the rug is finished, the world as we know it will come to an end.

From "Indian Folklore Atlas of Hot Springs National Park" by Marcus Phillips and Sandra Long. Copies of the "Folklore Atlas" may be obtained from the Garland County Historical Society, 328 Quapaw Avenue, Hot Springs, AR 71901. 501-321-2159.

The Old Woman in the Cave contains an element found in other stories about the area surrounding Manataka (Hot Springs).   

The story says there is a secret, mystic cave hidden somewhere on the mountain.   References about a such a cave are found in many stories originating at Manataka (Hot Springs) and in stories about this place found among tribes across the country.   

It is told that there are a total of seven hidden caves located inside  the sacred Manataka Mountain.   Some of the caves were used for ceremonies where visiting tribes placed gifts to the sacred mountain.   The southern-most cave was used by the Mayan and tribes from the Southwest.  The northern-most cave was used by tribes from the North such as the Lakota/Nakota/Dakota.  One of the caves was used by the Animal People to leave gifts and perform their ceremonies.  It is said the inside of the center cave was pure crystal once visited by the Star People who left messages embedded in the crystal stones.