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Home > Social Studies > Native American > Short Stories > Old Man - Napa

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.

 

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