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lena petruska Ch’itsets’ina’ The Skull Once a couple was living somewhere in a house. They had many children. Their last baby was a girl. She was their only girl. Time passed and she became a young woman. Men came from all over, wanting to marry her, but she didn’t like them. The men finally gave up and left her alone. Over a year later, visitors came to their place. They looked like downriver people. (From them there would come medicine people in the future.) There was a man with the group. That man also asked to marry the girl. The young lady said, ‘‘No.’’ She hardly ever went out. She would usually spend all her time in the corner of their sod house. Her mother would get angry with her, but the girl wouldn’t change her mind. When the visitors were leaving, the man said, ‘‘We asked her to marry our only son, but she refused. He would take good care of her.’’1 Summer passed and it was fall. Women were outside cutting grass. The mother of the young lady chased her out to join the women who were cutting grass. She started cutting grass with her knife. She was in the tall grass when suddenly she came upon the Head of a person. It was blinking its eyes. It startled her a little. As it passed by, she grabbed the Head. Then she stuck it inside her shirt and dashed back to the house. From then on she was heard laughing every night in the house. After everyone was in bed, she would start laughing. Her mother started to wonder , ‘‘What is going on?’’ Once she went over and peeked at her daughter. She saw that her daughter was alone. (I wonder if she looked closely?) Time passed and it was fall time again. The river had frozen over, so there was a water hole down there. One day the mother chased her daughter outside . She told her to go get some wood. The daughter was reluctant, but she did as she was told. She left but returned shortly. Inside she did something over there and then left again pulling a sled. [She had checked on the Head to see if it was okay.] lena petruska: the skull  Her mother had been watching, and she knew something wasn’t right. So she went over to the girl’s bedroll. She looked in the blankets, but there was nothing there. Then she pushed the pillow aside, and there she found the Head blinking its eyes. When she saw it, she got mad. Over there was a stick that was used as a stove poker. One end had been burned to a sharp point. She grabbed that and poked the Head’s eyes with it. Then she carried it to the door and threw it out. It fell to the ground and started to roll. It kept rolling straight down to the water hole. It rolled right in.2 Soon, the mother heard the girl return with a sled load of wood. She rushed in and went right to her corner. Her boyfriend was gone! She started to cry. The mother started screaming at her, ‘‘You don’t like all the nice men, but you are keeping company with a Head?’’ The girl went out and found a trail of blood. She saw where it had rolled out on the ice. She ran after it and jumped in the water hole. Her parents were sad. She was their only daughter. The father said to his wife, ‘‘You should have left her alone!’’ Then he cried. When the girl jumped in the water, her ears started ringing. All of a sudden she felt like she landed. She was on land. The wind was blowing from the north, even though it was actually under water. She found the Head’s tracks leading upriver and she followed it. The Head kept traveling. He would stop and talk to the people he ran into on his journey. Pitifully he would say, ‘‘My auntie did this to me,’’ referring to his eyes, which had been injured. The girl kept following the signs he left. All the people she met would urge her to go back home. ‘‘He won’t go back to you. He blames you for his injury.’’ There was a house up in the valley. She could see that he had entered it. She would have gone in too...


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