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The Equally Matched Magicians (Goddard 1916:258)

Updated: Jan 12, 2023

The people were jealous of each other and because of that one man

had camped alone. A party of Indians started to go to this man's camp, but

when they came within sight of it the man who was jealous of him said he

would go to the camp alone. He started toward it changing himself into a

bear when he came near. The people saw him as he was running along and

warned the man for whom he was coming that his enemy was approaching.

When the man heard what was said he turned himself into a buffalo and

jumped out. They met each other; the one a buffalo and the other a bear.

Neither could get the advantage over the other because they were afraid

of each other. Then the man who was a buffalo spoke to the man who was a

bear saying, "Your food is so short you are saying to yourself, 'What can

I do?' and that way you run toward me." The bear too, said to the

buffalo, " You, too, because your teeth are short you are saying to yourself,

'What can I do?' That is the matter with you." They were both alike in

power and immediately made friends.


This story describes a disagreement and physical conflict between two men with the medicine power to change themselves into animals. Trying to gain an advantage over the other, one man changes himself into a bear and the other changes himself into a buffalo. However, neither could gain an advantage because of the strength of both animals. The story concludes with them recognizing each other's power, and becoming friends

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