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A Magician Escapes the Cree by Turning into a Buffalo (Goddard 1916:259)

Updated: Jan 12, 2023

There were many people living together. Among them was an old man who was going to make new teeth for himself. While the Beaver were camped there for him the Cree came and attacked them. The other people all ran away but that old man did not get up. He was singing his medicine songs and did not know the Cree had come there. They went off after the Beaver but did not kill them When the Cree came back they heard a man singing. They went to him. The old man was in a lodge. He pushed the poles up high so that he could be seen. There was no man there only a buffalo which was about to attack them. They were afraid of him. The buffalo was the old man.

He had one child. “I will make my teeth come again,” he said. That is why they had made a camp for him. He had said he would make himself a young man. They say that is the way they used to do. When old age was going to kill them they used to rejuvenate themselves in a lodge.


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This story tells of the violence associated with the fur-trade era, when Beaver people frequently encountered hostile Cree people within their territory. It also demonstrates strong connections between a Beaver Elder and buffalo (bison).

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