Native American Tales

Apache Chief Punishes his Wife

Apache Chief Punishes his WifeApache Chief Punishes his Wife

Tiwa

The yellow house people were traveling. They had to cross a river so they put a buffalo skull down to step on in a deep spot. The chief’s wife saw the skull and thought it mighty handsome. The skull talked to her and it turned out that he was a man. He offered that the wife come live with him and she went.

The chief soon found his wife was missing. Grandmother spider told him that he should go see Old Gopher Woman. The wife was married to a powerful man now, amongst the buffalo people. The chief was warned that getting his wife out would not be easy. She wore a dress trimmed in elk teeth that made an awful racket.

The chief was able to get his wife out though, but they would be chased. They climbed up in a cottonwood tree to avoid detection. The woman had to pee, so the husband let her pee on a robe, but some of it leaked through and fell down where the buffalo could smell it. A young buffalo knew that this was the chief buffalo’s wife. The buffalos rammed the tree. A crow flew by and told the chief to shoot the buffalo chief in the anus because that’s where his power was. The chief did so and the buffalo chief died.

He began to butcher the buffalo and the wife was crying. She said it was just the smoke, but the chief realized that she was crying over the buffalo chief because she had liked him, so he shot her. He made a vow to wander the plains and shoot any wife who had done the same thing to her husband.

Observations

I don’t know who thinks a buffalo skull is sexy, at least he ended up being a man, sort of.

Themes

I think I’d be kind of ticked off too if I went through all this hassle and it turns out that my significant other liked the person. At the same time though, did the wife like her husband? Maybe it was a relief to her to get away from him. Maybe he was abusive. Maybe she couldn’t mentally take it anymore and a buffalo was a better husband than a chief.

This is really a story we don’t have both sides on. Sure, we look at this chief and feel sorry for him because he “loved” his wife and went to the end of the world and back to get her back, then it turns out that she was ok with being with the buffalo anyway, so he killed her. First of all, that’s taking out your anger on someone else and that’s not a good habit. No one makes you do anything, even if you are angry, no one makes you angry, you make you angry. You choose to become angry. Second of all, from experience, I know that when someone says they love you they don’t always mean it. If someone says they loves you and treats you like dirt, they don’t really love you. This chief may have been deluded in this whole story.

If we told this story from the woman’s side, maybe she really was a tramp and she just wanted to fool around with a buffalo because he was well-hung, or maybe the buffalo was her savior from her husband. We don’t know because we don’t have her side.

I get that this guy was angry and supposedly loved his wife, but if you really love your wife, you wouldn’t kill her for crying while you butchered a guy she had slept beside for a time.

Overall

I don’t think I like this guy.

Weigh In

Is this justice served or murder?

Do you think the chief really loved his wife?

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