How Buffalo Taught the Bully a Lesson
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One day long ago, Grizzly Bear was traveling through the hills near a river. He came upon Buffalo Bull standing in the trail. Buffalo's head was hanging down as if he were weak and sick.
"Ho! Crooked Horns," said Bear. "They say you have been saying you will go to war with me! Put on your war paint now and we will have a big fight!"
"I do not want to fight with you, Rootdigger," Buffalo replied. "I want peace, not war."
"Ho!" said Bear. "Crooked Horns, you are a coward! You want to run away like an old woman! You are afraid of me!"
Then Bear came close and pulled Buffalo's hair and pushed his nose down into the dust. Then he pulled Buffalo's tail and slapped him as hard as he could.
"Oh! Rootdigger, you have caused me great pain," said Buffalo as he limped away. "I have done nothing to you and you still have hurt me. That is not right."
"Ho! You are a coward Crooked Horns! You have the heart of an old woman and you fear me," said Bear as he turned to continue his travels. "Ho! I laugh at you! You are a coward!"
As Bear walked away, Buffalo thought to himself, "I really ought to fight him for he is just a mean bully."
Bear, by his magic powers, knew what Buffalo was thinking, so he came back and said, "What was that you said about me, Crooked Horns?"
Buffalo said, "I said nothing about you."
"You speak with two tongues," said Bear. "You were talking in your mind about me and I know it!" Then he mauled Buffalo again, pulling his hair and slapping him. And then he went away laughing.
Buffalo thought again to himself, "Now I should surely fight him for he is always picking on someone and wanting to fight."
Again Bear knew what Buffalo was thinking and came back and snarled and abused him. Four times this happened. The fifth time, when Bear started to come back to Buffalo, Buffalo backed away and began pawing the earth, still begging Bear not to hurt him.
Bear said, "Don't run away Old Woman Crooked Horns. Don't run away. Stand and fight me, Crooked Horns Coward!"
But Buffalo kept backing away, and at last, when he was at the edge of a steep bank, he rushed at Bear and knocked him flat. Buffalo stood over Bear and tried to pin him down to the ground with his sharp black horns.
"Ho! Do not spear me with your horns! You cause me great pain, Crooked Horns!" cried Bear as he scrambled about, trying to get away from Buffalo.
"You wanted to go to war," said Buffalo. "Now why don't you stand up and fight, Old Woman Rootdigger? Why don't you fight me now, I say?"
At last Bear scrambled too close to the edge of the high bank, and over he went, right down to the bottom of the river valley. There he lay on his back, where he had fallen, crying and begging Buffalo to let him come up again.
Buffalo stood at the top of the bank watching Bear. At last he said, "You are the kind of person who always wants to fight the weak. I should finish this fight and make you pay dearly to teach you a lesson, instead of letting you come back up here to bother decent people."
Bear cried, "If you will let me come up, we will make peace and fight no more."
So. at last, Buffalo let Bear come back up. Since that time Bear and Buffalo have been at peace. But Bear still has his bad temper.
paraphrased by Little Jumper
credits: adapted from Indian Campfire Tales by W.S. Phillips
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