SCAR FACE

An Indian Tale

The mother of Scar Face the Youth was Feather Woman, who had fallen in love with Morning Star, and vowed that she would marry none other. To this she held true, despite the laughter and jibes of her friends. And one morning when she walked in the fields very, very early, that she might see Morning Star before the sun hid his brightness, she met a handsome youth who told her that he was Morning Star, and that he had come to earth for a day, impelled by her love.

So Feather Woman went back to Skyland with Morning Star, and by-and-by a little son was born to her. At first she had been very happy in Skyland, but there were times when she was sad because of the camp of the Blackfeet, which she had left.

Now, in Skyland Feather Woman often dug in the garden, and she had been cautioned not to uproot the turnip, lest evil befall. After she was given this charge she looked long at the turnip and wondered what evil might come from its uprooting. At last she took her flint and dug around the least bit, not wanting to uproot it; but hardly had she loosened the turnip when it came out of the ground, and she looked down through the hole which it had made in the sky and saw the camp of the Blackfeet spread before her.

Suddenly she began to weep for her friends; and when her father-in-law, the Sun, saw her weeping, he said: “You have dug up the turnip and have looked down at the camp of the Blackfeet. Now must you return thither.”

So the star-weavers made a net, and Feather Woman and her child, the son of Morning Star, were let down into the camp of the Blackfeet.

At first she was very happy, but soon she began to grieve for Morning Star, and at last she died of sorrow because she could not return to Skyland. Morning Star could not come to earth, for it had been given to him to come but that one time when impelled by her love.

And so the little son of Feather Woman and Morning Star was left all alone. And across his face was a great scar, which had been made there when he had been let down from Skyland  in the net woven by the star-weavers. Because of this scar he was named, and because of it he was very ugly, so that the children of the tribe were afraid of him, and the older folks hated him; they said that evil must be in his heart that he should have so ugly a face.

But there was no evil in the heart of Scar Face, and he hunted and fished alone, and became a great hunter, bringing home much meat to the tribe.

But he was not happy, because of the unfriendliness of the tribe. The Chief had a very beautiful daughter, and all the young men of the tribe loved her; and Scar Face, too, loved her, and longed to marry her.

So at last he went to her and told her of his love, and asked her to marry him; and she, thinking to jest, said: “I will marry you when you take that ugly scar from your face.”

At this Scar Face was more sad than he had been before, for he did not see how it was possible to get rid of the scar. But he loved the Chief’s daughter very much, and at last he went to the old Medicine Man of the tribe to ask him what he could do to get rid of the scar.

“You can do nothing,” replied the Medicine Man. “The scar was put there by the Sun, and only the Sun can take it away.”

“Then I will go to the Sun and ask him to take away the scar,” said Scar Face.

“If you will do that,” replied the Medicine Man, “you must journey far to the west, where the land ends and where the Big Water is. And when you come to the Big Water at sunset you will see a long trail, marked by a golden light, which leads to the home of the Sun. Follow the trail.”

So Scar Face set out and went to where the land ends and the Big Water is. And he sat by the Big Water until sunset, and he saw the trail as the Medicine Man had said. Then he followed the trail, and came at last to Skyland, where he was greeted by Morning Star, who knew him at once for his son.

Morning Star was most glad at the coming of his son, and they hunted and fished together. And one day when they were hunting they came to a deep cavern in which was a dreadful serpent, which attacked Morning Star and would have killed him but that Scar Face quickly cut off its head.

Then the Sun was grateful to Scar Face for saving the life of his son, Morning Star, and he removed the scar from the face of his grandson, which he had put there in anger at the child’s mother.

Then Scar Face went back to the tribe of the Blackfeet, and he was the most handsome of all the youths; and the daughter of the Chief loved him, and he had no difficulty in persuading her to marry him. Because he loved his father, Morning Star, he took her with him and set out again for the place where the land ends and the Big Water begins; and together they followed the trail marked by golden light until they came at last to Skyland. There they lived and were happy; and Morning Star shone with especial brightness on the camp of the Blackfeet for their sake.