A fable from the Blackfoot that describes this particular preference for wearing otter skins. The North American river otter is a semiaquatic mammal endemic to the North American continent found in and along its waterways and coasts. The river otter is protected and insulated by a thick, water-repellent coat of fur which is highly prized to this day.
In the Blackfeet tribe the secret societies served an important role in education and social solidarity. The origin of these societies is tied to attributes of specific totems. The fable that follows incorporate the origin story of many such societies.
Within the Blackfoot nation, there were different societies to which people belonged, each of which had functions for the tribe. There are stories which explain how these societies came to be instituted, and this one tells how the Society of Bulls began.
The fable of the Curlew and his crooked bill is a “why” story, seeking to explain the reason for observed natural phenomena, in this case the characteristic long, slender, down-curved bills of the Curlew.