Nez Perce - Katydid
Taken from Tales of the Nez Perce by Donald M. Hines, Ye Galleon Press; Fairfield, Washington, 1999 [gathered from other source books dated between 1912 and 1949]
An old woman, her grown-up daughter, and the daughter's husband, were camping in the fall.' The wife said to her husband, "Never say anything when you come home. Relate no incidents of the day; speak of nothing. The old woman might hear you."
One evening the husband came home and lay back to rest. He forgot entirely about his wife's advice and said, "Oh, already it has come to be this time of the year. The katydids [kiya' wkiyaw} are making a great din." Suddenly, as he spoke he remembered, and his wife glared at him.
"What is that you say?" the old woman asked. "What did you say?"
The man replied, "I said nothing at all."
"No, you said something; hurry, tell me. What was it?" She was insistent about this for a long time.
Finally the wife said to him, "She has heard you already. You may as well tell her."
The man then said to the old woman, "I only said that the time of the year has come when the katydids make a great din."
"Is that so?" replied the old woman. Thereupon she stood up, fastened a cape about her shoulders, and dashed out of the lodge.
His wife said to him, "She leaves us forever because that is what she was, a Katydid. We shall never see her again."
In the meantime the old woman, with the cape fastened about her shoulders, went on, hearing as she went the din of voices singing in complete unison. From there the old woman said to the katydids, "When did you begin the song? When did you begin?" Suddenly they became silent as they listened to her. "Wait; let me, too, catch up by singing for the same length of time."
Now she began; she burst into a din ["ts'a' lalal"].3 She sang; she droned. They listened to her for a long time, and then they all joined together again in song ["saw, saw, saw, saw"]. But the old woman kept singing by herself, apart from the chorus. There the old woman of the fastened-on-cape sang herself to death, never having caught up to the other katydids in their song.