Mother-of was born about 1800 in Wisconsin, which was then part of the Northwest Territory. She was John Rave's grandmother.
Paul Radin collected a story by John Rave's grandmother concerning what she believed to be her origins from the Otherworld. It is evident from the story that she was a member of the Waterspirit Clan. This is a waiką́ or sacred story, and telling such a story has positive power and can aid in restoring the sick to health. When John Rave was ill as a child, his grandmother told him this story to aid in his recovery:
Hąhą́ grandson, I'm going to tell you something. Since you're sick,
you should listen so that you can recover. Thus, the story that I'm
going to tell you is a holy one. Once upon a time, it is said, there
was this great thing, Casį́ckuhą, "Beneath the Deer Tail." We lived
there at its base. One husband was a chief, and we had children.
Then I said that I longed to go to the humans there. "Never mind,"
he told me, "if you go, you could help whatever one is there, but
don't go." But even so, again I said that, in truth, I wanted to come
to the Indians. I still said that I myself really wanted to do it. "So do
so, go," he said to me, and he then struck me with his tail, toward
my head he struck, making the end of the tail strike me under the
eye in order to make it blue with bruises, that way if I were to go
to the Indians, I would not like it. I cried. My heart hurt, and he said
to me, "Say, 'That's all,' then you may go. In four days you will recover.
The reason that I have done this is to brand you," he said, but even
before, when I was not well, I wished to come to the Indians. Therefore,
I came to them with black and blue eyes. Of the children that I had,
only one girl did he throw after me. So my only girl is living with me now.
And he was the chief, the ruler of the village whence I came. And
these rivers are their roads. One of these, called Nižakísųc, "Cliffs
Coming to Water," is where his sister rules. He was called by the
name Mą́ziciga, "Yellow Earth Lodge," on account of the way the
lodges are there, they say. They say that it is that way at the base
(of Casį́ckuhą) where I come from. So they do not have death. In
order that you may live, grandson, thus I have told you this story.
They say that some day I shall go home to Casįckuhą. There is
where my children are. The reason that I have told you this is so
that you might live. Some day, when I die, it will be because I have
gone home. This is the end, she said.
The blue mark in the form of a bruise is symbolic of a Waterspirit origin. The Waterspirits are responsible for the existence of water, and manifest themselves as large creatures with humanoid heads surmounted by brachiating antlers. Their bodies are zoomorphic, and they have enormously long tails.
She refers to the Otherworld village in which she originated, Casįckuhą, as where her children now reside, meaning that they had all died before her. She says, "Of the children that I had, only one girl did he throw after me. So my only girl is living with me now." Eagle Woman, the mother of John Rave, is the only one of her children to have survived.
Paul Radin, Winnebago Notebooks (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, n.d.) Winnebago III, #8: 1-3 (phonetic text only), and Notebook 26, 1-5 (phonetic text with an interlinear translation). Reprinted with commentary by Richard L. Dieterle, The Encyclopedia of Hocąk (Winnebago) Mythology: John Rave's Grandmother, "The Spiritual Descent of John Rave's Grandmother" (Translation), (Interlinear Text).
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