Native American Tales

The Skeleton Who Fell Down Piece by Piece

The Skeleton Who Fell Down Piece by PieceThe Skeleton Who Fell Down Piece by Piece

Isleta Pueblo

A family parted to find work. A boy ended up in an empty house for the night. He was trying to sleep when he heard a voice. The voice said it was going to fall. The boy said to go ahead and fall. One arm dropped down, finally, a whole skeleton came down. The skeleton thought the boy was brave and wanted to wrestle, so they did.

The skeleton was impressed with the boy and said he was going to give the boy all of his riches. He gave the boy a candle to light, but said the boy must carry him on his back to the room where the riches were. The boy agreed. The candle blew out the light, but the boy threatened to break his bones if he did. The skeleton gave the boy a large sum of gold, but made him promise to give some to the poor and what was left over was the boy’s. The boy did so and had plenty of money for the rest of his life.


This story has obviously mingled with more European sentimentality, such as giving to the poor and the idea of gold. There was gold around the Native Americans, it just wasn’t the big deal that Europe made it out to be.


The boy was brave and generous and as a result he got a lot of money. Sometimes some good acts are all it takes to turn something around.


I guess the skeleton didn’t need his money.

Weigh In

If a skeleton offered you money, would you take it and not ask questions?

Would you share a generous windfall with the poor?


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