Long and long ago, long before the white man arrived, the Sioux people did not have flutes, there were drums, rattles, and even loud horn bulls, but there were no flutes. At that time, a young hunter went out to hunt, meat was scarce and the people were hungry in their camp. He found the trails of a moose and followed them for a long time. The moose was wise and quick. It is the animal that has the charm of love. If a man has moose medicine, he will win the woman he loves as a wife. He will also be a lucky hunter.
Our poor young man had no elk medicine. After many hours, he finally spotted his target. The young hunter had a new bow and an otter skin quiver full of good, straight arrows, with points of obsidian - sharp, black and shiny like glass. The young man knew how to use his weapon - he was the best archer in the village - but the moose was always out of reach, taking the hunter far away. The young man was so focused on following his prey that he didn't even know where he was going, and he was already far away.
At dusk, the hunter found himself at the bottom of a dense forest of tall trees. The trails were gone, as was the moose. He realized that he was lost and that it was too dark to find his way out of the forest. There was no moon to show you the way. Luckily, he found a stream of fresh, clean water. He was happy when he remembered that his sister gave him a bag of rawhide, which was full of dried meat with berries and kidney fat, strong food that keeps a man for a few days.
After the young man had drunk and eaten, he wrapped himself in his fur cloak, leaned his back against a tree and tried to get some rest. But he was unable to sleep. The forest was full of strange noises - the strange screams of nocturnal animals, owls, the moan of trees in the wind. He had heard all these sounds before, but now it seemed that he heard them for the first time.
Suddenly, there was a totally new sound, the kind that neither he nor any other man has experienced before. It was very sad, sad and ghostly. In a way, he scared him, so he pulled the cloak close to him and reached for the bow, to make sure it was properly tied. On the other hand, this new sound was like a song, beautiful beyond imagination, full of love, hope, longing.
And then with more than half the night, he suddenly fell asleep. He dreamed that a bird called Wagnuka, the red-headed woodpecker, appeared to him, singing the strange and beautiful new song, saying: "Follow me and I will teach you".
When the hunter woke up, the sun was already high. On a branch of the tree he was leaning against, he saw a red-headed woodpecker. The bird flew to another tree and to another, but never far away, looking back at the young man, as if to say: “Come! "
Suddenly, there was a gust of wind, and once again, the hunter heard that wonderful song and his heart wanted to find the singer. The bird flew towards the sound, taking the young man, its flaming red top floating through the leaves, making it easier to follow him. Finally, the bird landed on a cedar tree and began to tap and hammer on a dead branch, making a noise like the rapid beat of a small drum. Suddenly, there was a gust of wind, and again the hunter heard that beautiful sound very close to him.
Then he discovered that the music came from the dead branch that the woodpecker was working with its beak. He discovered, moreover, that it was the wind that made the sound as it whistled through the holes the bird had drilled in the branch. “Kola, friend,” said the hunter, “let me take this branch home. You can do another one. “He took the branch, a hollow piece of wood the length of his forearm and full of holes. The young man returned to the village. He had no meat to take with his tribe, but he was happy nonetheless.
Back in his tipi, he tried to make the dead branch sing for him, but there was no sound. And the young man was very sad. He so wanted to hear that wonderful sound again.
Then, he purified in the sweat tent, climbed to the top of a lonely hill. There, naked, resting on his back against a large rock, he fasted for four days and four nights, crying for a dream, a vision to teach him how to make the branch sing. In the middle of the fourth night, Wagnuka, the bird with the flaming red dot on his head, appeared to him, saying: “Watch me”, changing into a man, showing the hunter how to make the branch sing, and in his vision , the young man watched very carefully.
When he woke up, he found a cedar tree. He cut a branch and, working long hours, emptied it with a rope drill, just as he saw the woodpecker do in his dream. He carved a bird shape on the branch with a long neck and an open beak. He painted with washasha, the sacred red color. He prayed. He smoked the branch with burning sage and cedar. He touched the holes as he had seen the birdman do in his vision, though blowing softly into the mouthpiece. Suddenly, you hear music of wonder and beauty beyond words. He played his flute all the way until he reached the village, where people were surprised and happy to hear it. With the help of the wind and the woodpecker, the young man brought them their first flute.
In the village lived an Itanchan - a great chief. This Itanchan had a daughter who was beautiful, but also very proud, and convinced that there was not a young man good enough for her. Many had already courted, but she had avoided them all. Now, the hunter who had made the flute decided that she was just the woman for him. Thinking of her, he composed a special song, and one night, standing behind a small tree, he played on his siyotanka in the hope that she could love him.
Suddenly, Winchinchala - girl, heard. She was sitting in her parents' tent, eating buffalo meat and sausage, feeling good. She wanted to stay there, at the tipi by the fire, but her feet wanted to get out. She pulled back, but her feet pulled forward, and her feet won. His head said, "Go easy, go easy! “But the feet said,” Faster, faster! ”She saw the young man standing in the moonlight, heard the flute. His head said, "Don't go to him, he is poor. ”His feet said,“ Go, run! ”And again the feet prevailed. So they came face to face. The girl's head told her to be silent, but the heart said to speak, and she spoke, saying, "Koshkalaka, Young man, I am yours completely."
Then they lay down together, the young man and Winchinchala, under a blanket. Later, she said to him, "Koshkalaka, washtelake," she said. "Young man, I like you." Let your dad send a gift to my dad, the boss. No matter how small, it will be accepted. Let your father speak for you for my father. Do it soon! Do it now!
And so the two parents quickly agreed to their children's wishes. The proud Winchinchala became the wife of the young hunter, and he himself became a great chief. All the other young people heard and saw. Soon, they also began to destroy cedar branches in the shape of bird heads with long necks and open beaks. And so, the beautiful music of wonder and love traveled from tribe to tribe, until it filled the entire prairie. And so the siyotanka was brought to the people, thanks to the moose, the woodpecker, the wind and this young hunter, who did not shoot any moose, but knew how to listen.