Sitting Bull

Many (!) versions of this old saw exist, including one in “Bred Any Good Rooks Lately?”

Sitting Bull had three wives who were always quarreling about who among them should be Number One. One was pretty, one was clever, and one was very strong. Finally, tired of their squabbles, he tells his medicine man to resolve the issue. The medicine man took the wives to his teepee where he had gathered pelts and hides from all over the world. He told each wife to choose a hide and sit on it in front of the sacred campfire. The clever wife chose a pelt of thick white fur, the strong wife chose a hide of orange and black stripes, and the pretty wife chose a hide of rubbery grey leather.

The medicine man then pointed to the pretty wife and said, “Behold, O Chief, your Number One wife.” The chief was pleased, but the other two wives demanded an explanation. The medicine man said, “Even the ancient ones knew that the squaw on the hippopotamus is equal to the sum of the squaws on the other two hides.”

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