(Ishjinki is our Ioway tribal Trickster figure, and this is one of the stories in our Trickster cycle. Our stories are not for younger children, as they reveal some aspects of human nature better kept to adults. Such Trickster stories also show the boundaries of acceptable human behavior by having the Trickster transgress those boundaries. This is one of our stories I have retold in my own words. It is part of a book I am working on of our tribal myths. It reveals the selfishness and harm of always seeking one’s own pleasure despite how it might affect others, or ourselves, negatively. –LF)
Ishjinki and the Bathing Girls
Ishjinki grew into adolescence, and he began to think a lot about girls as young men do. He began to get sexual feelings. He also began to wander about, in this way learning about the world and people. Although very foolish, he began to learn he had some interesting abilities, including having a long penis that could lengthen even more, like a snake, out as far as he wished.
One day when Ishjinki was traveling around some of his friends told him that there were some girls from the village across the river swimming in the water. Ishjinki went down to the riverbank and peering through the trees, saw several girls out in the water splashing around and playing. One was very pretty. He began to want this girl and got an idea.
Ishjinki hid himself in the willows by the water and unwrapped the coonskin that covered his penis. He submerged his penis and began to direct it like a water snake under the water towards the unsuspecting girls. He found the prettiest one and pressed his penis up inside her.
The pretty girl was shocked to feel something lodged inside her and cried out to the others for help. The other girls screamed and swam to the other bank, wading as quickly as they could. But no matter how the poor girl struggled, she could not get the organ out of her, and was trapped there in the river. She could only stand there and weep. The other girls ran to get help from the village.
“Oh, so this is what they call pleasure,” said Ishjinki. “No wonder people like to do this. This feels good. I like this! I wonder why that foolish girl is crying when this obviously feels so good!” He just sat there happily in the willows, enjoying himself at the expense of the weeping girl.
The girls returned with a crowd, but when the people saw the poor girl out in the water, unable to move, crying and fixed in place by some underwater force, they became afraid. They thought perhaps she had been seized by an Underwater Spirit, and none of them had the power to fight such a Being.
So the people went to find the village wise woman, Hinsainge Waxobri, who had a reputation as a witch and seer. They told her about it. The old woman followed them to the river. She waded out into the river to where the pretty girl was. The people looked on with fear.
The old wise woman reached under the water and felt around the girl’s legs to figure out what was going on. She finally found the problem. She called to the people, “Oh, a bad underwater spirit has the girl. Go and bring me my stone corncrusher and my bone awl!”
The people ran and fetched these implements, and one of the men brought them out to the wise woman. The woman placed the point of the awl against the penis and struck the awl hard with the stone tool as a hammer.
Ishjinki felt pain and pulled his penis back out of the girl and back underwater to him in the bushes. “That silly old woman has interrupted my pleasure,” he laughed to himself. “I was only helping the girl feel pleasure as well.” The people still had not seen him. “Oh well,” he said to himself, “That was good, and I cannot wait to get more pleasure again, as much as I can. There can never be too much pleasure!” Then he snuck back out of the willows into the woods and headed home, looking for more girls along the way.
The pretty girl was helped ashore by the wise old woman, who doctored her and helped her heal. The people of that place were afraid to go swimming in that spot for a long time, because they thought an evil spirit lived there in the water.