Boy Medicine

Encyclopedia Article


A translation of the Kiowa word "Tah'-lee-da-i" which refers to one of the twin boys in the Kiowa origin story who transformed himself into the ten medicine bundles sacred to the people. Because the word "tah'-lee" meaning boy is similar to the word "taw-lee" for paternal grandmother, the medicine bundles have often been mistakenly translated into English as the ten grandmother bundles.

The origin story goes that a couple had a beautiful baby girl who escaped form her cradle and climbed into the sky, by which point she was a beautiful woman who married the Sun. She soon missed her people and dug a hole under a bush the Sun warned her to stay away from. She saw her people below, and taking her son, whose father was the Sun, on her back, she dropped a rope down to Earth. The Sun found out and threw a ring out to kill his wife. Even though the motehr was killed, the boy survived, and carried the ring to Spider Grandmother who raised him. Spider Grandmother warned him to never throw the ring into the sky for fear of the wrath of his father, but Tah'-lee-da-i did so anyway and it fell onto his head, breaking him into twins. The twins fought and destroyed many monsters together until one of the twins turned himself into the medicine bundles and the other disappeared into the water./cite>

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