II. Kinship and Affnity

THE maternal clan system notwithstanding, there is an intensely close bond with the father and all his kin. Medicinecrow was one of the most distinguished men I knew. In his childhood his father -- actually the paternal uncle who had inherited the boy's mother -- quarreled with his wife and separated from her. In Plenty-hawk's account of these happenings the lad is pictured wistfully running to his "father" -- even contrary to his mother's wishes. "'Father,' he cried, 'I have been terribly lonesome.' With him he ate, with him he stayed. 'Father, do not send me home this time,' he said." Such attachment might persist into manhood. Spotted-rabbit was the handsomest of all Crow ever known, he owned the best of horses, and was living amicably with his parents. But there was fighting, and his father was killed. Then he began giving away his horses in exchange for Crazy Dog regalia (p. 331): he wanted to die. "Because my father died I'll be a Crazy Dog. . . . When anybody calls for his father I am scared because I have none. I am very eager to die and catch up with my father."

On the other hand, a father is full of loving-kindness for his children. When a person adjures another to grant a special favor, the phrase used is often, "You love your children," i.e. "By the love you bear your children, I beg you." In one variant of the Old Woman's Grandchild myth, the hero's mother wants all the sinews in a buffalo's carcass. Instead of asking her husband directly, she instructs their little boy to beg for them: "When your father comes home and you ask him to do something, he always does it. I'll make you say something to him."

A son does not use the same term as a daughter in speaking to or of his father. The masculine vocative is axe″; the feminine, masā+″ka. In reference, "my father" is biru″pxe for men, masā+″ke for women. I once evoked a burst of merriment by asking a girl, "dī+″rupxe cō" ("Where is your father?") The word chosen implied that I took her for a boy; I should have said, "di″sāke cō" Incidentally, though biru″pxe never occurs in direct address, its

-18-

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