Before the Horse came to The People, he lived in a sacred place that
no man could enter, a place Creator kept. During this time, the Horses ran
free across their sacred place on the Plains, wild and untamed without the
strain of man's bit in their mouths. The grass was always green and sweet,
and the sun was always warm; no winter.
The Horse was not like he is today. His feet were not hooves, but
rather paws, such as those had by the Great Cat in the Mountains. This did
not bother the Horses, for they were content with their appearance. Along
with their paws, their manes were long and silky, and they shone in the
cheerful sunlight. Their tails were like their manes, flowing in the gentle
The only thing the Horses were not happy with was their neighbors,
who also shared the sacred land with them. Their neighbors were the Biting
Teeth, creatures similar to the Horses, but had long fangs and many sharp
teeth. They were a proud tribe, and full of arrogance. They often taunted
the Horses, and made war with them over land, for their tribe grew fast and
needed much space. Their appearance was something to be feared. Their manes
were shaggy and short. Their tails were hairless, and hung down like a
Great Cat's. They eyes were white, making them seem blind. Most of all,
save for their terrible teeth, their claws were curved and wicked. Going to
war with the Biting Teeth was most certainly suicide for the Horses. They
seemed to fear nothing, not even the strongest of stallions, except one
After a particularly bloody battle with the Biting Teeth, the Horses
were weary of fighting with their horrible neighbors. They greatly desired
to end the warfare, but there was no way to negotiate peace with their
foes. It seemed their fate was sealed.
A young stallion, named Sipping Water, was determined to help his
tribe in some way, in any way he possibly could. Now, Sipping Water was no
one of importance in his tribe. He was a small horse, stalky with big paws.
He often grazed at the edge of the herd; he was a loner. No one would ever
guess him to be the heroic kind. He even once ran away from a prairie dog!
But because of his love for the other Horses, he decided to meet with the
elders of his kind to make a suggestion.
"Perhaps we should consult with Creator for an answer to our woes
with the Biting Teeth?" he said. "Certainly if we can get Creator to help
us, we can defeat our enemies and finally end the warfare!"
The elders considered Sipping Water's idea, and one of them stepped
"We feel that consulting with Creator is a wise choice, but please be
wary. To address Creator is no easy task, nor should it be taken lightly.
Few have had the ability to do so."
Sipping Water thought hard about what the elders had said, and came
to the conclusion that he would give anything to Creator in order to help
his people, even his own life. He loved his people.
There was a place Sipping Water knew of where Horses went to pray to
Creator, even speak with him. It was a lake, whose waters reflected the
crystal blue sky above. Within the center of the lake was a small island,
only large enough so that one Horse could stand. This is where prayers were
sent up to Creator.
Sipping Water journeyed to the lake, and ran fast like the wind,
sparing no time to rest and graze. It wouldn't be very long before the
Biting Teeth plotted another attack on his people. If they did, his people
would be doomed, for their numbers had diminished.
When the stallion reached the shores of the lake, a wind had come up,
whipping his mane and tail about. There was something about this wind that
Sipping Water felt was divine. He approached the refreshingly cool water of
the lake with respect and caution.
The lake was not a very large one, so the small island in its center
was not far off. Sipping Water swam to that little mound of earth, the
waves of the lake beginning to lap violently against him. As he hauled
himself onto the island, he glanced around and above him. It felt as though
all of the world and heavens watched Sipping Water expectantly.
When the young stallion found his voice, he raised his head to the
"Creator, hear me!" he cried, and a wind slipped past him, carrying
his words to the sky. There was no answer, but Sipping Water waited
He thought he spied a rain cloud in the distance, coming toward him.
The stallion began to worry if he would be caught in a storm, and that his
search for Creator had been in vain, but suddenly a thunder roared out of
the rain cloud that halted above the Horse.
"I have heard you," a surprisingly gentle voice said from within the
cloud. Sipping Water nearly collapsed to his knees at the sight of the
roiling, massive cloud above him.
"Creator." he whispered. "Creator, I have come to ask something of
you." The cloud waited. "My people are in need of your assistance. Our
enemies, the Biting Teeth, are set on destroying all of my kind, but we
have no means of protecting ourselves."
The cloud was silent, and the waves in the lake began to calm.
Suddenly, an ear-splitting crack caused Sipping Water to jump, and then
cower before the mighty cloud. Lightning had struck the shore of the lake.
"I have given you a solution, but hear me. A sacrifice must be made.
It exchange for the solution to your woes, you must roam about the earth,
no longer protected in the sacred land. Your kind shall be captured,
broken, and tamed, all in the hands of Mankind. This shall be the way it
will always be henceforth." Creator paused, and then continued, "Now, go
forth to the shore of the lake, and there you will find the answer to your
Sipping Water stood up, thanked Creator (though he could never thank
him enough), and leapt into the now calm lake. When he reached the shore,
he saw only the sand that was suppose to be there. He looked back up into
the sky, and realized that the cloud Creator had spoken through was now
beginning to disperse.
"Creator," Sipping Water called, "I don't understand!" There was no
reply from the cloud except a rumble of thunder. When the stallion turned
his eyes back to the sand, he realized that his paws had sunken into it!
When he tried to pull them out, they stuck fast. Sipping Water raised his
head to call Creator again, but the disappearing cloud spoke first.
"Pull harder," it said simply, and was gone. Sipping Water
understood, and pulled with all his strength. When his four feet popped
out, he saw to his horror that he no longer had paws, but rather stones for
feet! The stallion shook off his fright, and thought that if this was what
Creator had intended then he had no choice but to trust him.
Sipping Water's new feet felt awkward, but he accepted them. He left
the shore, with no other plan except top return home and tell his people
about his meeting with Creator.
As he ran, Sipping Water found in odd how his hard feet drummed
loudly under him. The stallion also contemplated the "sacrifice" Creator
had mentioned, but defeating the Biting Teeth was more important now.
Sipping Water arrived home to his herd and told them his story while
they examined his new feet, awed by the power of Creator. He then led his
people, mares, foals, and stallions, to the shores of the divine lake,
where they all sank their paws into the sandy shore, and pulled out new
feet hard like stones.
Gathering all of the strongest stallions, Sipping Water began
devising an ambush on the Biting Teeth, who were not far from the lake in
their own territory.
When the plan was well thought out and ready, Sipping Water then led
the army of stallions out onto the plains, onward to the Biting Teeth.
But something amazing happened, something that Sipping Water hadn't
noticed before. As all the stallions galloped together, a sound like
thunder seemed to roll under their new feet. An idea struck him, and the
same thought seemed to work through the minds of the others. They now
possessed the one thing the Biting Teeth feared: thunder. A sense of power
came over them as they approached the enemy tribe in the distance.
The Biting Teeth were feeding on the carcasses of a buffalo herd when
a sound like thunder reached their ears. They cast their dead eyes about
fearfully, for there were no clouds in the sky. Then, over a small hill,
they saw their hated enemies spilling into their lands, the clamor of
thunder resonating from their feet.
The Biting Teeth were frozen still, too afraid to move. Their foes
fell upon them in a massive wave, smashing the skulls and breaking the
bones of the Biting Teeth. This continued until every last member of the
Biting Teeth was dead, their remains left on the grassy plain to be picked
apart by birds, coyotes, and wolves.
It is said that after this mighty battle, the barrier of the sacred
land was lifted, and the Horses spread out across the land where they
encountered Mankind, just as Creator had said they would, but Creator let
them keep their hooves, to remind them forever of who gave them the power
of running thunder.