Alone within his teepee sat Iktomi. The sun was but a handsbreadth from the western edge of land.
"Those, bad, bad gray wolves! They ate up all my nice fat ducks!" muttered he, rocking his body to and fro.
He was cuddling the evil memory he bore those hungry wolves. At last he ceased to sway his body backward and forward, but sat still and stiff as a stone image.
"Oh! I'll go to Inyan, the great-grandfather, and pray for food!" he exclaimed.
At once he hurried forth from his teepee and, with his blanket over one shoulder, drew nigh to a huge rock on a hillside.
With half-crouching, half-running strides, he fell upon Inyan with outspread hands.
"Grandfather! pity me. I am hungry. I am starving. Give me food. Great-grandfather, give me meat to eat!" he cried. All the while he stroked and caressed the face of the great stone god.
The all-powerful Great Spirit, who makes the trees and grass, can hear the voice of those who pray in many varied ways. The hearing of Inyan, the large hard stone, was the one most sought after. He was the great-grandfather, for he had sat upon the hillside many, many seasons. He had seen the prairie put on a snow-white blanket and then change it for a bright green robe more than a thousand times.
Still unaffected by the myriad moons he rested on the everlasting hill, listening to the prayers of Indian warriors. Before the finding of the magic arrow he had sat there.
Now, as Iktomi prayed and wept before the great-grandfather, the sky in the west was red like a glowing face. The sunset poured a soft mellow light upon the huge gray stone and the solitary figure beside it. It was the smile of the Great Spirit upon the grandfather and the wayward child.
The prayer was heard. Iktomi knew it. "Now, grandfather, accept my offering; 'tis all I have," said Iktomi as he spread his half-worn blanket upon Inyan's cold shoulders. Then Iktomi, happy with the smile of the sunset sky, followed a footpath leading toward a thicketed ravine. He had not gone many paces into the shrubbery when before him lay a freshly wounded deer!
The Story of Tremsin, the Bird Zhar, and Nastasia, the Lovely Maid of the Sea
Category: Ukrainian folktales
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