Native American Tales

Little Mouse Counting Coup

Little Mouse Counting Coup

Brule Sioux

Ho! Kola pila, friends! It has came to pass.
Black face paint I crave; horses I crave.
Friends, I, Itunkala the mouse, on the warpath I go.
Behold my steed, Washin the Bullfrog.
Behold me, Itunkala, on the far-jumping frog!
Me, Mouse, myself riding; me, Itunkala, first in war!
Friends, a grass-blade; as coupstick I carry it,
A stiff grass-blade to count coup; on Igmu the cat.
Igmu, I am coming; in a warlike manner I ride.
Igmu, your horses, your scalp, I am craving.
Friends, Igmu, the great cat; I fought him.
Friends, kola pila; Igmu I feared not.
My long tail, friends, I pinned to the ground,
Sash wearer I, Fox warrior I; I Itunkala, Mouse.
First coup I counted; first strike on Igmu.
For a scalp, friends, one of his whiskers I took;
Behold! Igmu’s whisker I bring; long whiskers I am bringing.
Nice-looking girls; prepare a feast!
Friends, Hoka-hey! Igmu I vanquished
But friends, where is my tail?
(In Inmu’s stomach, Friends, pity me!)


This is a tale made up and changed every so often by Lame Deer. It was so short that there was no point in summarizing it. It’s a children’s song made up in the warrior’s song style.


From what I gather, this is a story about a mouse trying to defeat a cat. That’s a brave mouse and he went at it anyway despite the fact that a cat is quite a bit larger than a mouse. The story is a bit funny. The mouse did come out somewhat in the end, but lost his tail in the process. That’s battle for you, I guess.


If you fight a cat, watch your tail.

Weigh In

If you were a mouse, would you fight a cat?

Do you think the mouse came out on top?


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