Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/48

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genii presided over them, and coins of money or beads were thrown into their waters as a sacrifice. In hot countries an abundant well is considered doubly beneficial, especially when it has healing properties. A sacred well of the Zuñis is figured in one of Lieut. Whipple's volumes on the Pacific Kailroad Expedition (vol. iii., Port Thord, opposite page 44).

The buffalo-hunting Indians of the western prairies have been for long ages acquainted with a curious well near Salomon river,[1] in the western part of Kansas. It is situated on the top of a hill, about a quarter-mile from the above river, and has a nearly circular form with about thirty feet diameter. The Pa'ni Indians call it Kītch-Wa'lushti, the Omahas Ni-Waxube, both names signifying "sacred water." This deep pool is considered to be bottomless, and to harbour an aquatic monster which engulfs all the objects thrown into the water, and never sends them up again. The Indians offer to it beads, arrows, kerchiefs, earrings, even blankets, and all of this sinks straight down. Visiting Indians never drink the water of this pool, but, to allay their thirst, go to the neighbouring Salomon creek. When a large number of people stands around the pool, the water, which is perfectly limpid, begins to rise. Sometimes, before putting clay or paint on their faces, the Indians impregnate these substances with the water of the well. Before buffalo-hunting became a thing of the past, large hunting-parties of natives often gathered about this pool or pond-source, and the following incident was circulating among them : Two Panis once returned home with their horses. Having dismounted in the vicinity of the "sacred water," one Páni stepped on a turtle of the large species frequently found there (about three feet long) ; it stuck to him ; he could not disengage himself from its shell ; and when the turtle ran with its charge into the pool, the Indian was drowned. His companion, however, escaped to tell the tale.

A. S. G.

  1. Salomon river runs in a south-eastern direction, and joins Kansas, or Kaw, river at Abile-ne, Kansas