Stretching the Truth

One night Little Otter rushed into the tepee and said excitedly, "Mother, I just saw a thousand deer in the meadow." Mother said, "Are you sure? Did you count them?" "It was so dark, I couldn't count them I think there were a hundred." Mother said, "Are you sure, my son?" "Well, I know there were at least ten," said the little brave. Then his mother patiently said, "Little Otter, if you did not count the deer, how do you know?" Little Otter became impatient and said, "Well, I know there were two deer anyway, a big buck and a small one."

The Chief of the tribe had listened to the conversation. He now said, "Little Otter, I want to tell you a story. When I was a young brave I was in the habit of stretching the truth because I had not learned the importance of being accurate. In my tribe, the Okeewa, I was responsible for keeping track of the food. As animal meats, herbs, roots, berries, and other foods were brought to me, I would store them in the ground and cover them well. One day old Chief Kiyi came to me and asked if there was plenty of food for a big tribal feast and ceremony.

In haste, I took a quick glance at the food which was stored away in the ground. I did not take time to count the number of carcasses of deer, or any of the other food supplies. Instead, I became careless and took a chance in reporting what I saw at a quick glance. I reported to the Chief that there was plenty of food. When the day of the big feast came, I was very much embarrassed to find there was a shortage of food, and that many of the mothers, little braves and babies, and even warriors would not have enough to eat. The Chief was very angry, as were many of the braves. Had it not been for the quick thinking of Watosa, we would all have been disappointed in the amount of food at the feast. Watosa got on his pinto horse and galloped away in a cloud of dust. Soon he returned with his arms loaded with food as well as large bags of food thrown over the back of his horse. He had borrowed much food from a nearby tribe, promising to pay back what he borrowed. To teach me a lesson, the Chief required me to hunt many days for deer as well as other foods to pay back the borrowed food from the other tribe. From that time on I made up my mind to be more accurate and never to stretch the truth or exaggerate.