Raw Gums (Graphic Description)

A raw gums in a cradleboard (Image: Own work)

The Raw Gums, originating from the legends of the Arapaho Native Americans, was a baby monster. When one is born from unknowing human parents, it does not eat and seems to sleep all hours of the day. However, at night, the baby creeps out without its parents knowing, travels to another town, and eats its chief. This would often go on for some time, but eventually, the creature would be found out when it left a scrap of clothing or flesh in its mouth. When the cannibalistic monster was found out, it escaped all punishment by taking the form of a young man and calling the skeletons of its victims to fight for it as it ran away (Rose 307). Finally, he was challenged by the White Owl Woman to answer six riddles, and when he had won, he was permitted to split her skull and “scatter[s] the brains, which [are] the snow [flakes],” letting them melt away (Roemer 45).

The first part of the story seems to explain either how some infants do not seem to eat or why old chiefs die, but this is less interesting than when the creature kills White Owl Woman. Since her brain is connected to the snow, the scattering of it on the ground and subsequent melting can explain the transition into spring.


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