Native American Tales

Uncegila’s Seventh Spot

Unceglia's Seventh SpotUncegila’s Seventh Spot

Brule Sioux

Unceglia the water monster, also known as Unktehi, was a terror to the people. Many had tried to kill her, but none had succeeded. If a man looked upon her with his naked eyes, he would turn to stone. The water monster must be killed by piercing the seventh spot on the water monster.

There were twins and one of them was blind; he told his brother that he thought he could kill the water monster since he could not see. The other brother asked him how he was going to aim exactly for the seventh spot since he was blind. He said that Ugly Old Woman had some arrows that always shot true and that maybe she would give them up.

They made the trek to find Ugly Old Woman. She lived in a cave on the side of a mountain. They asked for her arrows and she asked what she was getting in return. They didn’t have anything to give her. They thought that maybe she would do it out of the goodness of her heart. She said that if one of the brothers slept with her she would give them the arrows and the knowledge they needed to defeat the water monster. They decided that since one brother was blind, he would sleep with the Ugly Old Woman.

When the blind brother went in to the Ugly Old Woman, she turned into a Pretty Young Woman. There had been a spell on her. She now set to work telling the brothers how to defeat the water monster. The blind brother would shoot the water monster with one of the arrows. Then they would cut out its heart, but they had to be careful because the heart was very cold. After they cut out the heart, it would ask them to do four things for it and they must deny those four things, and after that they should do what it said.

The brothers succeeded in killing the water monster. The heart asked them to do four things, all of which would have ultimately led to their downfall. The next thing the heart asked was for the blind brother to put the blood from the water monster on his eyes. When he did so, he could see. The two brothers then did everything the heart asked. They built a special tipi for it. They fed it blood.

With all the things they were doing, came great power. The brothers never missed when they shot. The older brother took four wives. The younger brother did not; he still thought about the Young Pretty Woman, but they could not find her. Everything in their lives was assured. They got tired of always having success and decided to get rid of their powers. They knew if they showed the heart to anyone else that their powers would go away, so they did. Their powers went away and they lived out their normal lives.

Observations

Feed me, Seymour.

…but it’s not a plant, it’s a heart.

Themes

This heart was not a thing of good. It was a somewhat evil little thing, but the brothers got power from it. The problem was is that they had to keep feeding it to keep up that level of power. That’s really true with anything you do. If you want to stay at some level of something, anything actually, you have to keep feeding that thing. Maybe that means more money. Maybe that means more time. Maybe that means more exercise. You have to feed the something, whatever that something is, to keep it alive.

At the same time, you also have to feed bad things and maybe those bad things do give your more power, or energy, or a better time, but you have to continually feed that thing to keep it going. The idea where I see this most pertinent is the idea of addiction. Maybe your cigarettes do soothe you, but you have to keep buying cigarettes. You have to keep smoking them. You have to sacrifice some elements of your health and maybe even your life to keep up that same habit, which may be soothing, but is ultimately bad.

Maybe drugs make you feel good, but they’re expensive, and you can be addicted, and maybe go to jail or end up in re-hab.

The same idea of true of good things. Having a six-pack of abs is great too, but you have to maintain it. You have to exercise.

Sometimes, you just want to be a normal person, and a bit lazy, without having to maintain either good or bad levels of something. Maybe you don’t want to work out every day or maybe you don’t want to spend so much money on cigarettes. Maybe you just kind of want to be normal without so much maintenance in your life. It can happen, but it also means you don’t reap the benefits of maintaining that thing you were maintaining.

Getting back to the story, maintaining the high level of luck and power the brothers had got old and exhausting, so they quit. Was it bad? Was it good? That’s entirely up to the brothers to decide.

Overall

Feed me…Seymour!

Weigh In

If you had the power of the water monster’s heart, would you keep it?

Is it better in life to give up things with high maintenance or no?

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