Native Languages of the Americas: Sauk (Sac) Legends, Myths, and Stories
This is our collection of links to Sauk 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 Sauk tribe, the traditional stories of
related tribes like the
Meskwaki and Menominee are very similar.
Enjoy the stories! If you would like to recommend a Sauk legend for this page or think one of the ones on here
should be removed, please let us know.
Click on each character's name for more detailed information about his or her role in Sauk mythology.
(also spelled Wisakeha and other ways.)
Wisakeha is the benevolent culture hero of the Sac and Fox tribes (sometimes referred to as a "transformer" by folklorists.)
His name is pronounced similar to wee-zah-keh-hah. Wisakeha is the same character as the Cree
Wisakejak and shares
some similarities with other Algonquian heroes such as the Wabanaki
Kluscap and Anishinabe
Nanabush; many of the same stories
are told in different Algonquian tribes with only the identity of the protagonist differing.
(also spelled Gichi Manitoa and several other ways.)
This means "Great Spirit" in the Sauk language, and is the Sauk name for the Creator (God.) Kehci Manito
is a divine spirit with no human form or attributes (including gender) and is never personified in Sauk folklore. The name is pronounced
similar to keh-chee muh-nih-toh.
Powerful storm spirits that live in the sky and cause thunder and lightning. Although they are associated with birds, particularly in
artwork, Thunder Beings are described as having human form in most Sac mythology.
Manetoa (or Mah-she-ken-a-peck):
A fearsome horned serpent that lurks in lakes and rivers and eats people. The only thing they fear is thunder, for the Thunder Beings are
their sworn enemies and have the ability to strike them dead with thunderbolts.
Paissa (or Apayashiha):
Magical little people of the forest, similar to European gnomes or fairies. These names, which literally mean "Little People"
or "Little Ones," sometimes also include the boy heroes Lodge Boy and Thrown Away (see below), who are "little" by virtue
of being magical children. Sac stories usually portray Little People as mischievous but benign nature spirits, who may play
tricks on people but are not dangerous.
Lodge-Boy and Thrown-Away.
These mythical twins, born when their pregnant mother was killed by a monster, are common to the folklore of many Midwestern and Plains tribes.
They are generally portrayed as heroic monster-slayers in Sauk legends.
Underground Panther (Namipeshiwa or Nah-me-pa-she):
A powerful mythological creature something like a cross between
a cougar and a dragon. It is a dangerous monster who lives in deep water and causes men and women to drown.