Ghost on the Plains

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The Double-faced Ghost

The harvest moon is waning. Buffalo meat as well as squash, pumpkins, and corn have been harvested and stored away for food during the long cold winter on the Plains. Now it is time for the Indians of the Plains to gather their children around the fires in their lodges. When the coyote and the wolf send their haunting melodies toward the spirits who dwell beyond the dark sky it is time to huddle together and tell stories.

The Cheyenne tell of the Double-Faced Ghost. He was very tall and had legs and arms that stretched a great length. Though he was endowed with two faces, one that looked forward, and one looking backward, it is said “he was not too bad–for a ghost, that is.”

Because of his long legs he could move swiftly along. His long arms made him a mighty hunter. He was very talented, but he was not happy because he could not find a wife. Then one day he spied a beautiful maiden and fell in love.

To prove his love and his worth as a possible husband Double-Faced Ghost, each night, brought tremendous amounts of meat and placed it before the tipi of the girl’s father. Of course the family was amazed each morning to find the wealth of meat at their door. They wondered who could be leaving it there and why.

One night the father hid outside the tipi and waited for their benefactor. When he spied the Double-Faced Ghost he was very afraid. Instantly he removed his family and their tipi and ran away.

When the ghost returned the next night he was dismayed to find them gone. The next morning his long legs soon overtook them. The family was very afraid but listened to what he had to say. He told them he wanted to marry their daughter.

Not wanting his daughter to marry this monster the father challenged him to play the hide-the-plumpit game. He said it was their custom for a prospective groom to show his forth by winning. If the ghost won he could marry the maiden. If he lost, he would continue to provide the family with meat. The ghost had no choice but to agree.

Unknown to the ghost the father was the best hidden-plumpit player there ever had been. Of course the Double-Faced Ghost lost. And so, the monster continued to bring the family meat for as long as they lived. And as was said, “he wasn’t bad–for a ghost.”