The Frog and the Antelope: Kootenai Legend


There was a village on Tobacco Plains. Antelope was chief there. He was the fastest runner. His medicine was strong. No person could beat him at running. Many had tried. All gave it up. Antelope was the fastest runner!

There was another village on Tobacco Plains. Frog was chief there. He could not run fast. But he was a smart man.

One day when his people were playing games he said to them, "Listen! The antelope is faster than I am. But I am smarter than he is. I will prove this to you. Stay where you are until I come back."

He hopped along the trail that led to the antelope village. When he found the chief's lodge he went inside. They smoked the pipe there, and then the antelope chief began to brag about his running. "No person can beat me," he said. "I can just trot along and beat most persons."

"I like racing, myself," said the frog chief, passing the pipe to Antelope. "All my people like racing."

"But you cannot run -- ha-ha-ha!" laughed the antelope, taking a long draw on the pipe.

"Oh, I don't know about that. I am not so slow at running, and I am a fast thinker," said the frog chief.

"Of course you would not say that you would race with me, though," smiled the antelope, handing back the pipe.

"I might," said the frog chief slowly.

"What is that?" asked the antelope. "You might?

"Yes."

"When?"

"Tomorrow."

"Where?"

"Here, along the trail between our villages. I cannot run well where the ground is rough, you know. I must have a smooth place."

"Ha-ha-ha!" laughed the antelope. "How far shall we run?" "From your village to mine and back again," answered the frog seriously.

"All right," agreed the antelope. "I suppose I shall be laughed at for racing with you. But I will race just the same. A person must use his power or he will lose it."

"Yes," said the frog chief, scratching his nose. "I am sure you will be laughed at, all right. Now, what will you bet on our race?" "Bet? Why, anything -- everything I have. What have you got to bet?"

"Well, not much," sighed the frog chief. "But you will admit that our clothes are pretty. I will bet my clothes, and all my tribe will do the same. How will that suit you?"

"Fine!" smiled the antelope. "I like nice clothes." Then he went out, and down the trail to his village, hopping, hopping, hopping, and thinking, thinking, thinking, till he got home to his lodge.

When he was gone the antelope made his people a speech. He told them to go to a side-hill at sunrise to watch the race.

Return to Table of Contents