Old Man - Napa
OLD-man, or Napa, as he is called by the
tribes of Blackfeet, is the strangest character in Indian folklore.
Sometimes he appears as a god or creator, and again as a fool,
a thief, or a clown. But to the Indian, Napa is not the Deity;
he occupies a somewhat subordinate position, possessing many
attributes which have sometimes caused him to be confounded with
Manitou, himself. In all of this there is a curious echo of
the teachings of the ancient Aryans, whose belief it was that
this earth was not the direct handiwork of the Almighty, but
of a mere member of a hierarchy of subordinate gods. The Indian
possesses the highest veneration for the Great God, who has become
familiar to the readers of Indian literature as Manitou. No idle
tales are told of Him, nor would any Indian mention Him irreverently.
But with Napa it is entirely different; he appears entitled to
no reverence; he is a strange mixture of the fallible human
and the powerful undergod. He made many mistakes; was seldom
to be trusted; and his works and pranks run from the sublime
to the ridiculous. In fact, there are many stories in which Napa
figures that will not bear telling at all.