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Loon Medicine

by Gerald Musinsky
A complex cultural narrative originating the Loon medicine ceremony whose central figure is Poor Boy. Poor Boy, who raises two loons as if they were his own children, is befriended by the son of a chief. This chief's son, although in love with the daughter of another chief, decides not wed and asks Poor Boy to consummate with her. The daughter is told the son will not marry her unless she consort with Poor Boy. She, of course, refuses. Through various guiles and endeavors, the deceptive plot continues until Poor Boy reveals the knavery and weds the daughter. One day after their marriage, Poor Boy follows the loons and learns the healing power. Later, while Poor Boy is away, his wife takes on a lover who mistreats the loons. The loons become ill and tell Poor Boy his wife has been unfaithful. Poor Boy banishes his wife after the loons dies. He skins the loons keeping them for their healing medicine and then dies of a broken heart.

[Plains, Pawnee]


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