- Brule Sioux: " A Ghostly Lover" Long ago there lived a young, good-looking man whom no woman could resist. He was an elk charmer - a man who had elk medicine, which carries love power. When this man played the "siyotanka", the flute, it produced a magic sound. At night a girl hearing it would just get up and go to him, forsaking her father and mother, her own lover or husband. Maybe her mind told her to stay, but her heart was already beating faster and her feet were running. Yet the young man, the elk charmer himself, was a lover with a stone heart. He wanted only to conquer women, the way a warrior conquers an enemy. After they came to him once, he had no more use for them. So in spite of his wonderful powers, he did not act as a young man should and was not well liked. One day when the elk charmer went out to hunt buffalo, he did not return to the village. His parents waited for him day after day, but he never came back. At last they went to a special kind of medicine man who has "finding stones" that give him the power to locate lost things and lost people. After this holy man had used his finding stones, he told the parents: "I have sad news for you. Your son is dead, and not from sickness or an accident. He was killed. He is lying out there on the prairie." The medicine man described the spot where they would find the body, and it was as he had said. Out on the prairie their son was lying dead, stabbed through the heart. Whether he had been killed by an enemy warrior, or a wronged husband from his own tribe, or even a discarded, thrown-away girl, no one ever knew. His parents dressed him in his finest war shirt, which he had loved more than all his women, and in dead man's moccasins, whose soles are beaded with spirit-land designs. They put his body up on the funeral scaffold, and then the tribe left that part of the country. For it was a very bad thing, this killing which was probably within the tribe. It was, in fact, the very worst thing that could happen, even though everybody was thinking that the young man had brought it on himself. One evening many days' ride away, when the people had already forgotten this sad happening and were feasting in their tipis, all the dogs in camp started howling. Then the coyotes in the hills took up their mournful cry. Nobody could discover the reason for all this yowling and yipping. But when it finally stopped, the people could hear the hooting of many owls, speaking of death and ghostly things. The laughter in camp stopped. The fires were put out, and the entry flaps to the tipis were closed. People tried to sleep, but instead they found themselves listening. They knew a spirit was coming. Finally they heard the unearthly sounds of a ghost flute and a voice they knew very well - the voice of the dead young man with the elk medicine. They heard this voice singing: "Weeping I roam, I thought I was the only one Who had known many loves, Many girls, many women, Too many of them. Now I am having a hard time. I am roaming, roaming, And I have to keep on roaming As long as the world stands." After that night, the people heard the song many times. A lone girl coming home late from a dance, a young woman up before sunrise to get water from the stream, would hear the ghostly song mised with the sound of the flute. And they would see the shape of a man wrapped in a gray blanket hovering above the ground, for even as a ghost this young man would not leave the girls alone. Well, it all happened long ago, but even now the old-timers at Rosebud, Pine Ridge, and Cheyenne River are still singing this ghost song.
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