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Atceco Kills a Bad Man

This version of the legend comes from Pliny Earle Goddard's 1916 collection Beaver Texts.

One time when they were starving they started to move toward a lake where they knew there were fish. A bad old man was known to live there but they thought he was away from home. When they came to the place they found he was still living there. Then that small boy said he would visit his grandfather, meaning the old man. His friends advised him against it, but he replied that since he was starving and suffering much he would visit him nevertheless. The others tried hard to stop him but he set out to pay the visit.

When he arrived the old man asked why he came. "I came to you, grandfather, because I am starving," the boy replied. "Well, you will not live long," the old man said, "go back or I will kill you." "You do not talk as other people do, grandfather," the boy said. " Well, cook him some fish," he told his wife. The boy ate the fish when it was set before him. " What kind of a person are you who eat the fish I give you and still live? You are Atceco," the old man said. " Why do you say that? I ate what you gave me and I am happy," the boy replied.

"Cook for him again," he said, and his wife did so. "No person ever did this way with me before, but let us use supernatural power on each other," the old man said. "What am I to do, that you speak that way?" the boy asked. "You have eaten much of my food," the old man replied. " You do something to me first, grandfather," the boy said. The old man made a large frog sit on his palm and told the boy to take it. " Now you do something to me," the old man said. "Yes, grandfather, but what do I know, that you should say that to me?" the boy asked. "You swallowed a small frog and how is it that it did not bother you?" the old man asked. " What sort of a person am I that you should say that?" the boy asked again. The old man swallowed it and he could hardly breathe.

When Atceco started back the old man said that since he had done that to him, he would know how to cure him. He sent his wife to bring the boy back that he might cure him. When the boy saw the sorrowful looking old woman coming after him he told her that he was not yet old enough to marry and that her husband might keep her. He turned back and came to the old man who was still breathing. When the boy began to sing over him the frog closed the old man's mouth and he died.

The boy then ran back to his friends who asked how it happened he was still alive. " My grandfather was very kind. He is not a mean man. He fed me well and I ate what he gave me," the boy replied. They knew the old man was mean and they were afraid of him.

Atceco killed him and the people were very much pleased. They moved camp to the place where the fish were and many people were saved from starving.

The old man had many wives for he had taken the wives of the men he had killed. They took these women away. Many people were glad because of what Atceco had done.

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More stories to read:

 Native American heroes
 Native American legends about monsters
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Learn more about:

 Where Happiness Dwells
 Dunneza
 Beaver stories
 The Beaver Native Americans
 Beaver pronunciation
 Beaver Facts



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