of the Rock River
Winnebago tell of a tell when their people camped
on the banks of the Rock River. In this
stream lived a huge and terrible monster.
The older people of the tribe say this creature
had a large head, awesome jaws, and body likened
to a serpent. It is said to have ranged the
whole length of the stream, preying on both
animals and men, as to which he most preferred no
creatures that went to the water to drink were
frequently seized and swallowed. At all of
the fording places this demon found hunting good.
Indians crossing at these places were promptly
dragged beneath the water and never seen or heard
of again. Only a few people ever saw this
monster and survived to tell the tale, but it
presence could be told by the swirling and boiling
of the water when he was near.
the spring, his movement in the river broke up the
ice and heaped it against the river banks.
The dens of the monster were found in deep places.
There it slept and devoured its victims.
Some Indians believed that there were several of
these monsters living in the waters of the Rock
River and made many offerings of tobacco and other
desirable things to appease the wrath of the
monsters. This no doubt preserved the lives
of many people."
Winnebago legend goes like this (quoted from the
"A very large fish lived in the lake. [Name
of lake not given]. The fish had a great
appetite for moose, elk, bear and men. He
would lay waiting where they were accustomed to
swim. He would then drag them under and
swallow them--hair, hide, horns, hoofs, moccasins
and all. Soon the Winnebago did not frequent
these places at all.
of the legends of the Winnebago had their settings
on or near bodies of water, and their simple
stories reflect the love, fear and sense of
mystery they felt regarding bodies of water in