How the Duck Got Red Eyes
One day, Iktomi sat in his teepee, feeling very hungry. Suddenly, he rushed outside, taking his blanket with him. Once he was outside, he tore up dry grass and tossed it on the blanket. Once it was full, he tied up the corners and stuck a stick through it.
He started running on the uneven, bumpy ground until he got to the edge of the great level land. Looking out upon it, he stood catching his breath. Then he saw it - a group of wild ducks. With wings outspread, tip to tip, they moved up and down in a large circle. Within the ring, around a small drum, sat the chosen singers, nodding their heads and blinking. They sang together a happy, lively song. Following a winding path, a Dakota brave walked towards them. He had a large pack on his back, and was slouching from it. With a cane, he walked over to the ducks.
"Who is there?" cried one of the ducks, still dancing. Then all of the ducks continued dancing, but turned around to see the newcomer.
"I am Iktomi! Old fellow, pray tell us what you are carrying in your sack. Do not hurry off! Stop! halt!" urged one of the singers. "Stop! Show us what's in your sack!" cried out other voices. " My friends, I will not spoil your dance. Oh, you would not care if you knew what was in my sack.. Sing on! dance on! I will not show you what I'm carrying," answered Iktoni, nudging his sides with his elbows. Now all the ducks were around Iktoni. "We must see what you carry! We must know what is in your sack!" they shouted. They felt it with their wings. " My friends, it is only a pack of songs I carry in my sack! " "Let us her them!" cried the ducks.
Iktomi decided to sing the songs. Ikotmi with great care put the sack on the ground. "I will build a straw house, for I never sing may music in the open air," said he. Quickly he planted willow sticks in the earth and covered them with grasses. Soon the straw hut was ready. One of the fat ducks waddled through a small opening, which was the only way in, Ikotmi stood by the door smiling as the eying his bundle of songs went into the hut. In a strange voice he began his old tunes. All the ducks sat round-eyed in a circle about the singer. If was dim in that straw hut, for Iktomi had not forgoten to cover-up the door way All of a sudden his song burst into a loud voice.
As the startled ducks sat uneasily on the ground, Iktomi changed his tone. These are the words he sung; "With eyes closed you must dance. He who dares to open his eyes. forever red eyes shall have." Up rose the ducks holding their wings close against their sides began to dance to the rhythm of the song. With eyes closed they did dance! He began to sing louder and faster. No duck dared blind a wind, It was a difficult dance for the curious folk.
At length one of the dancers opened his eyes. His name Skiska who peeped the least tiny blink at Iktomi within the center of the circle. "Oh! oh!" squawked he in awful terror "Run! fly! Iktomi is twisting your heads and breaking your necks! Her upon the ducks opened their eyes. There beside Iktomi's bundle of songs lay half of their crowd flat on their backs. Out they flew flew through the opening. But as they soared high into the blue sky they cried to one another; " Oh! your eyes are red-red!" For the warning words of the magic minor strain had proven true.