The Legend of the boy called Curly


Today I’ll be giving away a free ebook of my newest release, THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR, so please do come on in and leave a message — just click the comment button at the end of this post — or click the number at the start of the post.  Either way, it takes you to the comment page.

AngelAndTheWarrior-The-CoverTHE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR is the start of a series based on the legend of the Thunderer.  There are many legends in Native America of this being, the Thunderer — he who brings storms and thunder and lightning.  So today, I thought I’d tell you the story of another legend — a true legend, in the sense that this person did live — of a boy who was called Curly.

The year was 1841 and a boy was born to a holy man of the Lakota Tribe, Oglala band.  His name was Tashunka Witco.  His wife was of the Brule band of the Lakota Nation, and the boy was unusual because his hair was a light brown.  His skin was also lightly colored, so much so that the white people at that time often mistook him for being a white boy who had been captured by the Indians.  Because his hair was also curly, most called him Curly.

The boy was strong, but he didn’t grow as quickly as other boys who were his same age and it became apparent that he would never be tall.  He soon distinguished himself as a youth of only thirteen winters.  He’d already killed a buffalo from his seat on a horse — with only his bow and arrows.  He’d been first to ride a wild horse caught by his father and because of this, his father given him a new name, His-horse-on-sight.  But most just called him Curly.

thCATCT9YLTrouble came to the Lakota.  Curly was still young — around thirteen years old.  A cow had come stumbling into the tepee of a man by the name of High Forehead and he shot it and shared the meat with his people.  But the cow belonged to a white man.  It should have been easily solved because the Indians were more than willing to give more than twice its value.  But the interpreter between the white people and the Indians — a man by the name of Wyuse — was a man who was known to be of no honor.

Because of this man, misunderstandings took place and an incident occurred where soldiers fired into the camp of the Lakota, killing many, and making others flee.

thCAL319I7The incident didn’t happen to Curly’s tribe, but Curly was camped nearby and the incident was enough to cause Curly to seek a vision.  And so, although no more than a youth, he went out into the hills of Paha Sapa (the Black Hills) and tried to attain a vision.  It was long in coming, and Curly gave up, and left his vigil to seek his horse and return home.  But he was weakened from no food or water for several days and as he strode out onto the prairie, he saw his own pony come toward him, with a rider.  But horse and rider were floating toward him on the air and a red-tailed hawk flew above them.  The horse changed and became a horse that was spotted and the rider spoke to him as the air became filled with hail.  There were storm clouds and thunder and there was a mark on the rider’s cheek that looked like a lightning bolt. Curly knew that this was how he would dress and ride when he went into battle.CrazyHorseScreenCap-6b[1]

Curly’s father and a friend of his father’s found him.  Both were angry with him because Curly hadn’t gone about seeking a vision in the proper way.  He had not first gone into the sweat lodge and observed the proper manner in which to seek a vision.  And so Curly remained silent about the vision he’d seen.

It was now the summer of 1857 and the Lakota were all encamped together.  Crazy Horse[1]  At last Curly’s father asked him about the vision that Curly had seen on that day several years past.    They rode off together into the hills of Paha Sapa and having constructed a sweat lodge and purifed themselves, Curly told his father of his vision.

Because his father was a holy man, he was able to tell Curly what the vision meant.  It was a vision of honor, and because of it, Curly’s father bestowed upoon his son his own name, Tashunka Witco, to honor his son.thCA7YGM11

And so Curly, now known as Tashunka Witco, went on to become one of the greatest warriors that the West has ever known.  His name in English?  Crazy Horse.

To the left here is a carving of Crazy Horse that has been sculpted of him out of the stones in Paha Sapa.  Interestingly, Crazy Horse refused to have his picture taken, not wishing the white man’s cameras to take his spirit — and so there are no true photos of him.  However, it is said that he did consent to pose for the husband (a photograher), of Crazy Horse’s cousin.  The pictures above (not the color ones of actors portraying Crazy Horse), two of them, are supposed to be an actual photograph of Crazy Horse.

AngelAndTheWarrior-The-CoverI hope you’ve enjoyed the legend of this very real and honorable warrior.  And I hope you’ll take the time to go to the link below to order your copy of THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR today — a story of another man’s plight with the Thunderer.

Here is the link:

So come on in and leave me a comment — that’s all you have to do to enter into the drawing.


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KAREN KAY aka GEN BAILEY is the multi-published author of American Indian Historical Romances. She has written for such prestigious publishers as AVON/HarperCollins, Berkley/Penguin/Putnam and Samhain Publishing. KAREN KAY’S great grandmother was Choctaw Indian and Kay is honored to be able to write about the American Indian Culture.
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42 thoughts on “The Legend of the boy called Curly”

  1. As usual Karen, I so enjoyed this story of Curly. I have loved the stories of Crazy Horse but have not seen the Carved mountain for years. Looking forward to seeing it this summer as we are planning on spending some time in the Black Hills.

  2. I loved reading this fascinating legend! Thank you so much for sharing. Several years ago, we visited the Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota. Although the mountain monument is far from being completed, it is an impressive sight!

  3. Absolutely love reading about the American Indians. Being approximately 1/32 Indian makes me want to know more and reading your books gives incite to their loves that history books could never cover. thanks for the giveaway!

  4. I had not heard most of this story of Crazy Horse. I knew it was said he had never been photographed, and this is the first time I have seen those 2 pictures. We have bee to the Crazy Horse Monument twice, last summer being the most recent. It is an impressive tribute and will be more so when it is finished.

    The compound that is associated with it is nicely done. The buildings are beautiful and the exhibits nicely put together. For anyone who visits the area, it is a must see in my opinion. I found it interesting that someone commented to me how much the disliked the Crazy Horse monument because it was too commercial and thought Mt. Rushmore was so much better. We have visited both and our opinion is just the reverse. There is no museum at Rushmore, just concessions and the ranger office and information desk. It is the least favorite of all the parks and monument we have visited.

    Thanks for another interesting post.

  5. I love your story about Curly. All of your books are fascinating. They make me want to live in the 1800s. Please keep these stories coming. Will you be writing another book soon? Thanks!

  6. I would love to read this book! I love to read about cowboys and especially Indians! Thanks for the chance to win.

  7. Hi Patricia!

    As usual, I love reading your comments — they are enlightening. I haven’t been there for years. It’s strange in some ways that the 4 Presidents were carved there — in Indian country. Interesting…

  8. Hi Kimberly!

    Thank you so much. It’s interesting, I think, if only because he was so much of an American hero, and we know so little about him.

  9. I had never heard this story before. It was very good. I didn’t know much about Crazy Horse and now I know more. Thanks for the very interesting post.

  10. When I was living in Massachusetts, I read ‘Black Eagle” and was impressed that so much of the story took place all around me. Where have all the native Americas gone? I suppose the only native Americans left have been so diluted
    by intermarriage and assimilation.
    All Ms.Kay’s books, whether they be romance or not, make me pine for the day then native peoples roamed free. If only we could turn back time!

  11. I can not add much to all the comments that have been made except that I agree with them. I had not heard this story before, so as with others, thank you for sharing. As a child I had a neat experience of being able to not only see, but touch & handle American Indian artifacts (as we call them now). Everything from old pictures of chiefs to warbonnets that they wore in those pictures. there were tools for grinding corn,etc., dresses of soft doe skin, even a treaty written (by hand of course) in that old beautiful script, the ink brown with age. Among the treasures was a medicine man’s pouch, another bag containing thin sticks & leather thongs for “the ghost dance”, also these dessert plate sized heavy brass/gold colored coins on ribbons. They had been given to different chiefs (they had President Washington & President Lincoln & maybe another likeness to a president impressed on their surface) in honor of the chiefs meeting the president (or his representative). My guardian had a drugstore in Canton, OK years ago, & the Indians would come in for medicines, etc. & trade. He collected an attic full & every year when (I believe it was 3rd graders) studied Am. Indians he’d bring many of these wonderful treasures to school to share & inspire the children to study the Indian people. They loved & looked forward to his talk. Sorry I made this “a book”! 🙂 See what you inspire in your readers! Look forward to reading this “new one” of yours. Your are a great story teller!!

  12. What a cool post about Crazy Horse. Imagine if he’d never shared his vision with his father.

    The Angel and the Warrior is on my TBR list. But, it would be awesome to win the copy.

  13. Great post. I always love your post they are so interesting. Thanks for sharing with us today.

  14. Hi Annfies!

    Thank you so much for your compliments. I remember when I lived in Vermont, feeling the thoughts and memories of the American Indian. I could almost feel them in the woods.

    There really are quite a lot of American Indians still — of course the Western Indians survived perhaps the best — but they were also more warned of the advance of the newcomers.

    Like you, I love that time period.

  15. Hi Jean M!

    Wow! Your story had me enraptured as though I could see it and feel it, too. Thanks for your compliments. The thing I think the American Indian gave us most was his sense of freedom and his postulate that this continent would always be free. : )

  16. Hi Dorie!

    I love history, also, although not surprisingly, I didn’t like it in school. But studying real history — not the propaganda that is spoon-fed us — is exciting. Thanks for your compliment.

  17. Hi Alisa!

    It is a beautiful story, I think, made even more beautiful because it was really a part of history. Thanks for your comment.

  18. One of my favorite genres is to read about the Opening of the West in our History. I have read one of your books and found it most interesting concerning Native Americans. I know I would enjoy this book.

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