We watched The Lone Ranger in the theater last weekend. It was a fun movie, but I think my mom, David and Amber liked it amore than I did. I love Johnny Depp, but there was a part in the middle that was just a little too serious for me, especially considering the rest of the movie. Happily, it picked up at the end, otherwise I would have been disappointed. I did learn, while wasting time before the movie started, that Depp’s look was based on a painting that was based on a Native American legend, Crow-Head. The painting by Kirby Sattler is shown above. I thought the legend would make a perfect Thursday’s Tale post for today. You can read the legend at the Manataka American Indian Council website. It comes from the Chipewyan people in Canada.

Crow-head’s father dies soon after he was born. One day,  while Crow-head and the others were fishing, one of the medicine men said something that led Crow-head to believe the  medicine man had killed his father. the next day, as they were again fishing, only Crow-head caught a fish, a trout. He hid the bones under his cloak and walked toward the medicine man. He broke the fish spine over the man and the man died. By breaking the fish spine, he had  broken that of his enemy and killed him.

Skip ahead several years and Crow-head is an adult who wears crow-skin cape, which warned him of the approach of  enemies and constituted his medicine. An orphan boy lives with him and Crow-head calls him grand-son. also, in the village is tow girls who make fun of his cloak, something they really shouldn’t have done.

One day, when the boy and Crow-head were out getting bark for a canoe, the Cree came and killed all the Chipewyan. When Crow-head got back, he piled all the corpse together and then built the canoe. Worms began to get at the corpses, so Crow-head laid his cloak over the bodies and laid down on it, telling the boy not to waken him. During his sleep the worms crawled into his ears and mouth. Next day, he took his canoe and built many small lodges up-river and put the dead bodies in them. Then he lay on the pile of worms again.

With magic, Crow-head made the Cree return and killed them all.

Crow-head was gone from his grandson several days, but when he came back he took the grandson to the new village, where all the people were alive again, except the two girls who had made fun of Crow-head.

Time passes, but in the fall, two giants come to the village. Crow-head defeats them, but he was so angry he “went to the lake and, beginning at one point, he  commenced to hammer along the edge until he got back to his starting place.  There he fell dead, for his heart was under the nail of his little finger and by  hammering the ice he had injured it.” Yeah, I don’t know why his heart was in his finger.

Crow-head was certainly an odd man, powerful, vengeful, caring and neglectful.

Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all.


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