Fury of Yig: The Serpent Son

Here’s a brief piece that I don’t think I’ll have room for in the book itself.  It’s based on an actual Pawnee folktale that re-composed to better fit the campaign.  It gives a good idea of what information might be present in a tome writeup, though this one is incomplete due to its length.

The Serpent Son:  A Pawnee Folktale

Diaper, Steven.  Proceedings of the American Ethnological Association 28, 1905.  432-34.

Physical Description:  The journal is a thick book presenting a few longer articles and a wide variety of brief reports on various subjects of anthropological interest.  The same article is available through a scholarly archival database available at all large universities.

Availability:  Anyone with access to a sizable college can find this within a few days, with a successful Library Use roll.

Research reveals:  (Library Use)  Steven Diaper was an anthropologist at Kansas State University who performed extensive fieldwork among the Pawnee from 1896 to 1907.

Skimming reveals:  The text is too short to skim.

Reading reveals:  The text is as follows:

Many years ago, a father and his son were out hunting for game.

“You should go down to the river today, son,” said the father, “and I will go up to the hills.  We will meet in the middle tonight and make camp.”

“I don’t think that is a good idea,” said the son.  “Those hills belong to the snake-man Ig.  He will not be happy with those hunting there.”

“We shall see,” said the father.  They departed and hunted, both catching much game, and met for the night.  They ate and lay down.

In the middle of the night, the father called out, “O, son!  My feet are turning into the tail of a spotted snake!”  Later, he called out, “O, son!  My legs are turning into the body of a spotted snake!”  Even later, he called out, “O, son!  My arms are becoming part of the body of a spotted snake!  I will soon not be able to speak to you again.  Build a cairn for me here and put me into it when I have changed.  When you come back, beat the drums every autumn and leave an offering here, and I will bring you much game and success at war.”

The son grieved, but he did as his father had said.  When his father had transformed completely, the son took him to the cairn and put him down.  His father crawled inside.

Later that day, the son saw a man and woman of his enemies nearby with two horses.  He quietly crept up, killing the man and taking the woman and the horses.

On his way home, he stopped at the cairn, leaving the woman on the horse tied to it.  The snake crawled out and nodded to him.  The son spoke, saying, “Hail, my father!  Here is a woman and a horse that I leave you!”  He then rode off to his camp, where he told the others what he had learned.

From that day forward, the people of his camp revered the snake and were much enriched thereby.

Published in: on May 12, 2009 at 12:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

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