Native American Tales

Two Ghostly Lovers

Two Ghostly LoversTwo Ghostly Lovers

Brule Sioux

A young man was particularly popular with the ladies. He would play his flute and the women would just come running, even when their heads told them not to. This young man went out hunting one day and never came back. His parents worried over him and finally consulted a man who used seeing stones. The man told them that their son was not lost, but that he was dead and he told them exactly where.

The parents went to the spot and found their son with a knife through his chest. He was buried in his favorite shirt, but everyone thought he deserved it for sleeping with so many other men’s women.

The people began to hear a song out in the distance some time after the burial, young women especially would hear it. They would look up and see a young man wrapped in a gray blanket floating off of the ground.

Weeping I roam.

I thought I was the only one

Who had known many loves,

Many girls, many women,

Too many of them.

Now I am having a hard time.

I am roaming, roaming

And I have to keep on roaming

As long as the world stands.

The song was heard for some time still and the people still sing it today.

Another young man was known to go with many young women. He would practically tell them anything to get under their blanket. One particular young woman said she would wait for him. The young man said he would marry her when he got back. He left and was gone for many years, enjoying the company of many women along the way. He finally came back home and say a tipi. Inside the tipi was the same girl who said she would wait for him. She was happy to see him. She served him food. The tipi was warm. They slept together that night.

When the man awoke, he was in a tipi, but it was tattered. The buffalo robes had no fur and were full of holes. The woman beside him was not a woman at all, but a skeleton with some black hair still clinging to its scalp. The man had slept with a skeleton. The young woman had waited a long time for him and had died. The young man ran away and lost his thoughts. He was never right again.


As I was raised more on the white-Christian side of things, I tend to think of marriage and sexuality in this defined area. Sure, you can have sex with people, but it really needs to be exclusive and hopping around from one person to the next is immoral and nor preferable. That’s the general consensus of the idea of white-Christian fidelity. I am not all the way white, in fact, I actually have some Sioux in me, but I’m pretty white. Fidelity, sexual fidelity, doesn’t really seem to be as big of a deal in many of these stories that I have read. Whether it’s an exception rather than a rule, I don’t know. From many of the stories I have read, it almost seems expected that young men will sleep around and that a young women will almost certainly have had sex before marriage. I don’t know if there were teachings against this sort of thing or if the people just expected it because they were realistic, not that all men go around trying to be players.


Both of these young men stuck it wherever they wanted without considering any consequences. There are lots of consequences concerned with sticking it wherever you want. There’s the normal stuff–disease, pregnancy, and the possible emotional detachment to sex, but then there’s the stuff in this story. Maybe someone will kill you, as in dead, because you slept with their wife, makes sense. It’s called a crime of passion and will get you a lighter prison sentence if you kill the man you caught red-handed, red-something, in bed with your wife. Who can blame a person for being angry about something like that? Nobody blamed the killer of the first young man in this story. They thought he got what he deserved for sticking it to too many women who belonged to someone else.

The second young man was more of an emotional thing. A girl set her sights on this young man and ultimately died waiting for him. He was careless with her emotions and he got what was coming to him. This girl got her revenge from the grave. She was probably doing a victory dance, invisible, off to the side, when this happened. The guy deserved it.

This story is about ghosts, but it boils down to the fact that if you do bad things in your Earthly life, you could possibly suffer the consequences from the other side. Maybe you turn into a ghost doomed to wander the Earth like the first young man or like Stingy Jack, or maybe, a ghost gets her revenge on you for playing with her emotions. So in addition to all the diseases, pregnancy, and emotional detachment that could come from sleeping with whoever walks down the sidewalk, think about the fact that they could die and haunt you with nasty tricks.


They both deserved it.

Weigh In

Did both of the young men deserved what they got? Was any of their treatment unfair? Like, for example, what if the second young man had a promising career as a warrior? Was it unfair that he went mad because some ghost girl was hurt by him?

Do you think more people would second-guess treating others poorly if they knew those people could get revenge on them, even in death?


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