Cool Stuff – White River Sioux Doomsday Legend

White River Sioux – Doomsday Legend

There is a cave hiding somewhere in the Badlands (called Maka Sicha by the Lakota people). Even today–with many modes of travel available to us, as well as hikers, explorers, and treasure hunters–the cave still remains undiscovered.

Inside the cave is an old woman. Dressed in rawhide, she is wrinkled with age–her skin like an old walnut. For more than a thousand years she has been working on a buffalo robe, meticulously threading it with many thousands of porcupine quills. Her teeth are worn down from biting the quills, flattening them before each use.

Beside the old woman lies a large black dog. Named Shunka Sapa, the dog watches the old woman day and night. Near the wall of the cave burns a fire. Above it hangs a pot of boiling wojapi (a thick, hearty stew, or sauce, of red berries). Occasionally, the woman will put her threading work down and walk over to check on the stew. While she stirs it, Shunka Sapa will–quietly and quickly–rise from the floor and pull out the quills she had been working on. He returns to the floor, and the old woman returns to her work–unaware that the day’s work has been undone.

It is believed that should she ever finish the robe, the world will end.

Perhaps it’s best that no one has found the cave.


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