The Pappoose On The Squaw's Back

: Things To See In Springtime

Now that you know how the Bears and the Big Dipper came, you should know the Indian story of the Old Squaw.

Orion Fighting the Bull Orion Fighting the Bull

First find the bright star that is at the bend of the Dipper handle. This is called the "Old Squaw"; on her back is a tiny star that they call "The Pappoose."

As soon as an Indian boy is old enough to understand, his mother takes him out into the night when it is calm and clear, and without any moon or any bright lights near, and says, "My child, yonder is the Old Squaw, the second of the seven stars; she is going over the top of the hill; on her back she carries her pappoose. Tell me, my child, can you see the pappoose?"

Then the little redskin gazes, and from his mother's hand he takes two pebbles, a big one and a little one, and he sets them together on her palm, to show how the two stars seem to him. When the mother is sure that he did see them clearly, she rejoices. She goes to the fire and drops a pinch of tobacco into it, for incense to carry her message, then looking toward the sky she says: "Great Spirit, I thank Thee that my child has the eyes of a hunter."

These things are not new, O Woodcrafter. The wise men of our race call the Big Star "Mizar" one of the chariot horses, and the little star "Alcor" or the Rider. In all ages it has been considered proof of first-class eyes, to see this little star. Can you see it? Have you the eyes of a hunter?