Mostos, the Buffalo and Sihkos, the Weasel (y-dialect)

A third story, originally published in English only by Stan Cuthand in 1973, newly translated back into Cree by Solomon Ratt for storytelling month. This is how cultural reclamation and linguistic revitalization work hand in hand!

Mostos, the Buffalo and Sihkos, the Weaselmostos êkwa sihkos
Translated by Solomon Ratt (2024)Stan Cuthand, Ed., nêhiyâw atayohkêwina (Cree Legends): Stories of Wîsahkêcâhk. Saskatoon: Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre (1973, rev. 1977, 1988).
kî-kisitêw pêyak kîsikâw, ê-kî-nîpihk, wîsahkêcâhk mâka mîna kî-nôhtêhkatêw êkwa ê-kî-kakwê-miskahk kîkway kita-mîcit. êkospîhk ôma kâ-ispîhtâskîwik cîstahikan maskosiya kâ-mâwaci-cîpwâki êkwa paskwâwi-mostoswak kâ-kî-tâhcipocik.It was a very hot summer day, and Wisahkecahk was hungry, as usual, and was trying to find something to eat. It was the time of year when the spear grass was very sharp and the buffalo were very fat.
wîshakêcâhk kî-ay-apiw, ê-kî-nikamostamâsot, ispîhk kâ-kî-wâpamât ê-kî-misikitiyit paskwâwi-mostoswa ê-kî-mîcisoyit sisonê ihkatawâhk. kî-mâmitonêyihtam tânisi ta-kî-isi-nipahât paskwâwi-mostoswa.As Wisahkecahk sat singing songs to himself, he saw a big fat Mostos (buffalo) grazing on the bank of a marsh. He was planning a way to kill the buffalo.
ispîhk êkota kâ-ay-apit, kêtahtawê sihkosa kâ-pêci-ohpîyit, ê-miywêyihtamiyit. Wîsahkêcâhk kakwêcimêw sihkosa kîspin ê-kiskêyihtamiyit tânisi kita-kî-isi-nipahât paskwâwi-mostoswa.As he sat, Sihkos, the Weasel came hopping merrily along. Wisahkecahk asked Sihkos if he had any idea on a way to kill Mostos.
“namôya, namôya! namôya nikiskêyihtên êkwa namôya ôta niwî-kisâcîn kita-wawiyasihiyan.”“No, no, I don’t, and I’m not staying to have you play any tricks on me.”
wîsahkêcâhk kî-asotamawêw nama wîhkâc kita-wawiyasihêw sihkosa ayisk êwakoni nawac pêyak ê-miyo-otôtêmit kahkiyaw pisikiwa ohci. wîsahkêcâhk kîkway kî-wiyasiwêw. kî-môsahkinamwak maskosiya êkwa kî-wêwêkahpitamwk êkwa êkota sihkos kî-kâsôw, ê-wêwêkahpisot sihkos êkota.Wisahkecahk promised he would never play tricks on the Weasel, for he was one of Wisahkecahk’s best friends among the animals. Wisahkecahk had a plan. They gathered a nice juicy clump of grass and Sihkos hid in it.
ispîhk paskwâwi-mostos kâ-kî-mâci-mâkwahtahk maskosiya sihkos kwâskohtiw pîhcâyihk okohtaskwâyihk otêhk ê-kî-ispahtât êkwa kî-paski-tahkwahtam otêhâpiya. sêmâk paskwâwi-mostos kî-nipiw êkwa sihkos kî-wayiwîpahtâw, êkota kî-pimiskanawêw okohtaskwâyihk ita kâ-kî-pimipahtât.When the buffalo started chewing the grass the Weasel jumped down his throat to his heart and bit it off. The buffalo died immediately and Sihkos darted out, leaving his paw marks all along the animal’s throat.
ayisk sihkos ê-kî-namêhtât okohtaskwâyihk paskwâwi-mostoswa êkota kapê ta-ayâwa onamêhtâwina êkospîhk ohci; tahtwâw kâ-nipahihcik pisiskiwak kâ-takwâkiniyik êkota ka-nôkwana onamêhtâwina, ka-nîkâni-kiskiwêhikêhk tânisi kâ-wî-isiwêpahk pipohki, kita-âyiman cî pipon ahpô kita-miyo-pipon? iyiniw kâkikê kita-nanâskomêw sihkosa. êkosi wîsahkêcâhk ê-kî-isi-miyât mêkiwin sihkosa. sihkos kî-cîhkêyihtam ispîhk kâ-kî-nakatât wîsahkêcâhkwa.Because Sihkos left his tiny paw marks along the throat of Mostos, they will be along the throats of all animals from now on; every time men kill the animals in the fall, they will be able to foretell by the paw marks whether the winter will be a cold or a mild one. Man will be forever grateful to Sihkos, the Weasel. This is the gift Wisekecahk gave to his little brother, Sihkos. Sihkos was very happy as he left Wisahkecahk.

(Solomon Ratt emulated an original illustration in the Cuthand book for this illustration. Arden Ogg coloured it in Photoshop – with apologies to the Indigenous Group of Seven. Each and every one of them!)

For more Cree Legends, and past sessions from Indigenous Storytelling month, click here! 

We just discovered that the original 1973 publication  (English only) can still be purchased from SICC. Would it be great to persuade them to publish a new, bilingual edition!
Click here for ordering instructions.

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Contact Us:

    Subscribe: