The Woman who became a Horse

In the land we now call Canada, a chieftain of the Ntlakyapamuk people owned many fine horses, and among them a particularly fine stallion which his wife took a liking to. She rode him often, and even grew careless of her household duties as she spent as much time as she could with the horses.

When the people moved camp and the horses were brought in, it was noticed that the stallion made straight for the woman, and sniffed about her in a familiar way, not as if she was a woman, but as if she was a mare. The chieftain had her watched, and when he learnt how it truly was between them, he shot the stallion. The woman was heart-broken and cried all night, and in the dawn she was gone.

For a year, nothing was seen of her, and then one day as the people crossed a large plain they saw a band of wild horses, and among them was the woman. She had partly changed into a horse: she ran on all fours and her limbs had changed considerably. Her body had sprouted a golden coat, and her nether-hair had grown so long it resembled a tail. Her face was still human however and this was how they recognised her.

The chief sent some of the young men to capture her. The horses fled, but the woman could not run so fast as they and they soon lassoed her and brought her back to her husband's lodge. The people watched her for some time, and tried to get her to recall who she was, but she acted in all ways like a horse, and uttered only the speech of a horse, neighing and whinnying.

At last, with regret, the chieftain could only let her loose to rejoin her new family. She lived with the horse band for the rest of her life. The following year, the people saw her once more and she was by now almost entirely a horse, with a young colt running at her side. She had many more foals and to all appearances was entirely happy in her new life.