Women Who Have Been Guilty Of Infanticide Never Reach The Mountain At All
But Are Compelled To Hover Round The Seats Of Their Crimes With Branches
Of Trees Tied To Their Legs.
The melancholy sounds which are heard in the
still summer evenings and which the ignorance of the white people
considers as the screams of the goat-sucker are really, according to my
informant, the moanings of these unhappy beings.
The Crees have somewhat similar notions but, as they inhabit a country
widely different from the mountainous lands of the Blackfoot Indians, the
difficulty of their journey lies in walking along a slender and slippery
tree laid as a bridge across a rapid stream of stinking and muddy water.
The night owl is regarded by the Crees with the same dread that it has
been viewed by other nations. One small species, which is known to them
by its melancholy nocturnal hootings (for as it never appears in the day
few even of the hunters have ever seen it) is particularly ominous. They
call it the cheepai-peethees, or death bird, and never fail to whistle
when they hear its note. If it does not reply to the whistle by its
hootings the speedy death of the inquirer is augured.
When a Cree dies that part of his property which he has not given away
before his death is burned with him, and his relations take care to place
near the grave little heaps of firewood, food, pieces of tobacco, and
such things as he is likely to need in his journey.
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