A ghost story told by Dickie Moss.
This ghostly tale was originally recorded by Professor James Andrew Cowell as told to him by Dickie Moss, the oldest son of the respected Arapaho storyteller, Paul Moss. Throughout the story, Dickie would say “Wohei” which means “and then”.
A long time ago, when ghosts (biiteino’) and similar creatures were around, a certain man fooled a ghost.
Wohei. He was walking downstream and then he realized that someone was following him. He kept turning around to look but he didn’t see anybody.
Wohei. He clearly heard the sound of someone walking. Whenever he stopped walking, it stopped walking.
Wohei. He set off again and he would hear the sound of someone walking toward him once more. He was certain that someone was following him.
Wohei. After a while, he cleared his throat. It cleared its throat. He clapped his hands, and it clapped its hands. He was coming this way [towards Ethete] somewhere on his way home and it was dark.
Wohei. There at the Red Hills, wohei and then at the Washakie Springs, wohei and then right there is a bridge. He was going to have to walk right over that bridge. And way out away from the settlements, someone was hollering out in a strange way. Every time it hollered out, it was a little closer to him.
And now the man had come really close to the bridge. Soon, judging from where it had hollered out last, the ghost was real close to him. Right around the bridge was where he had heard it last.
Then he arrived there at the bridge. And someone was standing there. But he didn’t want to run off back in the other direction. He didn’t want to run off back that way.
“I might as well go ahead while I’ve still got my wits about me.”
He closed his eyes and then he started running straight through there. He doesn’t know if he was going to run into that ghost, or what might happen. He just kept on running this way, without even slowing down.
And that’s how they told this story. That spot out there, well apparently there’s something powerful there. Whoever wants to go on a vision quest should do it there. But maybe nobody has. I was supposed to take my brother-in-law out there. I told him the story, and – what do you know! – and he didn’t ever go out there again. Instead, his father took him way out here somewhere, way out north. He got scared of the Red Hills area again after hearing the story.
That’s the story I told him. That’s how the old men told it. They knew all about the places to go on vision quests. That’s it, how they told it. Wohei
And that’s the true story of how the man escaped from the ghost right here on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. Hohou! — Jackie Dorothy 2016
This story was originally told in Arapaho and
is available at the website, The Arapaho Language Project.