One time long, long ago, before the People had horses, the buffalo suddenly disappeared. All the hunters killed elk, deer, and smaller game animals along the river bottoms then. When all of them were either killed or driven away, the people began to starve.
They were camped in a circle near a buffalo drive. Among them was a very, very poor old woman, the second wife of her husband. Her buffalo robe was old and full of holes. Her moccasins were old and were torn by rocks. While gathering wood for the fire one day, she thought she heard someone singing a song. It seemed quite close… but when she looked around she saw no one.
Following the sound and looking closely she found a small rock that was singing, “Take me! I am of great power. Take me! I am of great power.” When the woman picked up the rock it told her what to do and taught her a special song. She told her husband and said, “Call all the men together and ask them to sing this song that will call the buffalo back.”
Her husband asked, “Are you sure?”
“Yes, I am sure.” She replied.
“First get me a small piece of the back of a buffalo from the Bear-Medicine man.”
Then she told her husband how to arrange the inside of the lodge with some sagebrush and buffalo chips. “Now tell the men to come and ask them for the four rattles they use.”
It is a custom for First wife to sit close to her husband in their lodge. However… this time the husband told Second wife to put on the First wife’s dress and sit beside him.
The buffalo stone began to sing after all the men were seated in the lodge. “The buffalo will all drift back. The buffalo will all drift back.” Then the woman said to one of the men, “Go beyond the drive and put up a lot of buffalo chips in line. Then all of you are to wave at the chips with a buffalo robe, four times, while you shout like you were singing. The fourth time that you shout, all the chips will turn into buffalo and will go over the cliff.”
The men followed her directions while the woman led the singing in the lodge. She knew just what the young man was doing all the time, and she knew that a cow-buffalo would take the lead. While the woman was singing a song about the leader that would take her followers over the cliff, all the buffalo went over and were killed.
Then the woman sang a different song…
“I have made more than a hundred buffalo fall over the cliff…and the man above hears me.” Ever since then, the people have taken good care of a buffalo stone for they know that it has much power.