Sunday, August 19, 2007

what are you packing trickster?

I was googling around, looking for information on Hermann Güntert’s 1916 monograph, Indogermanische Ablautprobleme, Untersuchungen über Schwa secundum, einen zweiten indogermanischen Murmelvokal, when I ran across this folktale, called Trickster Loses Most of His Penis, in the Ho-Chunk (aka Hotcâk, Hotcąk, or less politely Winnebago) language. The tale was written down by Sam Blownose in 1912 transcribing an older tribe member’s telling of the tale. Mr Blownose used the Hotcąk alphabet which in turn derives from the Fox (aka Mesquakie) syllabary. The tale was subsequently translated by Oliver LaMère.

There as he was going about, there, unexpectedly, as he was going, something right by his side sang, saying,

What are you packing Trickster?
It’s your penis that you’re packing!

“Howá!” he said. “What a bad one he is. Furthermore, what does this one mean to say? He himself has full knowledge of what I am carrying,” he said.

The story is a little hard to follow, but it seems that Trickster is walking around with his genitalia in his pack. (I am reminded of the song Detachable Penis by King Missile.) I suppose this tale would be classified as coming under motif number S176 mutilation; sex organs cut off.

Another link turned up was Bruce Lincoln’s “Hermann Güntert in the 1930s: Heidelberg, Politics, and the Study of Germanic/Indogermanic Religion,” in Horst Jünginger, ed., The Study of Religion under the impact of National Socialist and Fascist Ideologies in Europe (forthcoming). Güntert was also one of Georges Dumézil’s influences.

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