Native Languages of the Americas: Ho-chunk Legends and Traditional Stories
This is our collection of links to Ho-chunk folktales and traditional stories that can be read online.
We have indexed our Native American folklore section
by tribe to make them easier to locate; however, variants on the same
legend are often told by American Indians from different tribes, especially if those tribes are kinfolk or neighbors to
each other. In particular, though these legends come from the Ho-chunk tribe, the traditional stories of
related tribes like the
Dakota and Menominee are very similar.
Enjoy the stories! If you would like to recommend a Ho-chunk legend for this page or think one of the ones on here
should be removed, please contact us and let us know.
The Twin Heroes
These mythical twins, born when their pregnant mother was killed by a monster, are common to the folklore of many Midwestern and Eastern tribes.
They are generally portrayed as heroic monster-slayers in Ho-Chunk and other Great Lakes legends, but sometimes get into trouble for killing
creatures they should not. Their Hochunk names are usually given as Flesh (Warora or Waroka) and Spirit or Ghost (Wanaghi), but sometimes
the younger brother is known as Stump instead.
This is the traditional Hochunk name for the Creator (God.) He is also known as Wajaguzera (the Creator) or Waxop'ini Xetera (the Great Spirit.)
Herecgunina (also spelled Herecgunira or Herecguniga.)
The counterpart to the Earthmaker, Herecgunina is responsible for making all the bad things in the world. In some tales he is portrayed as more of
an evil devil-like spirit, in others, as more of a assistant to Earthmaker.
Little Hare (Wacjingega, WacdjÓgťga, or Wash-ching-geka, in Hochunk.)
The transformer/culture hero of the Hochunk tribe, associated with the rabbit. Little Hare is the grandchild of Mother Earth and is usually
portrayed as a heroic monster-slayer, who uses his wits to defeat creatures that menace the Hochunk people.
Wakdjunkaga (also spelled Wakjunkaga, Wakdj‚kaga,
Wakdjukaga, and other ways.)
The trickster figure of the Hochunk tribe (his name literally means "tricky one." Like his younger brother Little Hare, Wakdjunkaga was sent
to help and protect the Hochunk people, and sometimes he does try to do this, but his clownish and socially inappropriate antics usually cause
more trouble than they are worth. Wakdjunkaga stories range from light-hearted fables, to cautionary tales about the consequences
of bad behavior, to ribald jokes.