The Story of the Six Lost Boys

In this Blackfoot story from the North American Plains, six children felt neglected by their parents. They went up to the sky to become the Six Lost Boys, the Pleiades.

As told by Clifford Crane Bear, Siksika

© Canadian Heritage Information Network, 2003


Oki, hi, my name is Clifford Crane Bear that’s what I am known in the white man’s world my real name is Naam-ikkaya’yi [Fast Runner], my grandfather’s name. Today, I am going to talk a little bit about the shields, the story that my grandfather told me. There is six feathers here or else you can say there is seven this way and all this. But six brothers, six feathers again. A long time ago there was this young man. This young man, as his father was going out to hunt some buffalos. The young man runs after his father and he says "father, when you go out and get the buffalo can you bring me back the unborn buffalo". The father looks at his son and says "I will". The father leaves. Late that evening, that night when the father comes back from his hunt, the young boy runs back to greet his father. He runs back and he says "father, where is my unborn buffalo calf?" The father stands there and says "oh, I forgot". He walks away and goes into his tipi. The young boy stands around there and he is looking very hurt, very sad because of what his father. He thinks to himself and he says "my father doesn’t love me, my father neglects me." I don’t want to be at a place where I am not loved. So the young man turns around and he walks out to the prairie. When he walks out to the prairie he sees five boys and he approaches them he goes to them he says "what are you guys doing out here by yourselves?" The five boys replied: "we asked our fathers to bring us back the unborn buffalo calf but our fathers didn’t. We don’t want to live at a place where we are not wanted, we are unloved, we are neglected. So the six lost boys the six boys they go out to the prairie. So they didn’t want to go back to their fathers so they started to thinking what shall we be what shall we do. One of them said we should be six giant trees. No somebody’s gonna come along chop us down and we’ll be gone. Well, we should be six lakes, no, no, no, no, we gonna dry up one of these years. Another boy says we should be six swans. No, somebody gonna shoot at us and kill us all up. One of the young boys looked up to the sky and he says we should go up to the heavens where we can be there and we can look down on our people. What a great idea, they said. So they went up to the heavens. To this day we can still see them. These six lost boys in the springtime when the buffalos are starting to be born, these six lost boys they disappear. When in the fall and the winter starts to come and the buffalos are starting to turn darker, then the six lost boys come on out to see them. Because they were never allowed to see the, they were not brought back the unborn buffalo calves so these young boys never come out or never see the unborn buffalo calves, ah just only till they get a little bit older. Then my grandfather would finish the story and he would say to me "Tsiki [my son] when you get older and you have a family of your own. When you get mad at your children go out, look up to the heavens and you will see those stars. Those stars all of a lot of them it’s those children that were neglected, children that were punished or not loved by their parents. All are up there. So it’s a reminder never to neglect your children. Those are the six lost boys".

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