The Woman Who Became a Horse


- Salish-

A chief had many horses, and among them a stallion which his wife often rode. The woman and stallion became enamoured of each other. The woman grew careless of her household duties and always wanted to look after the horses.

When the people moved camp, and the horses were brought in, it was noticed that the stallion made right for the woman and sniffed about her as stallions do with mares. After this she was watched. When her husband learned the truth, he shot the stallion. The woman cried and would not go to bed. The chief sent some young men to chase her. All the wild horses ran away, but she could not run so fast as they, and was run down and lassoed. She was brought into her husband's lodge; and the people watched her for some time, trying to tame her, but she continued to act and whinny like a horse. At last they let her free. The following year they saw her again. She had become almost entirely horse, and had a colt by her side. She had many children afterwards.

Source: Franz Boas, Folk-Tales of Salishan and Sahaptin Tribes = Memoirs of the American Folk-Lore Society, vol. 11 (Lancaster and New York: American Folk-Lore Society, 1917), p. 53.

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