Anthropology, Department of


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Published in THE NEBRASKA ANTHROPOLOGIST, Volume 3 (1977). Published by the Anthropology Student Group, Department of Anthropology, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska 68588


In an unpublished paper presented to the AAA Annual meeting in 1969, Robin Ridington discusses "The Anthropology of Experience" (also the title). The paper relates the story of Jumping Mouse, a not-so-ordinary field mouse. Jumping Mouse leaves his brothers to satisfy his curiosity about the rushing sound in his head. The story makes special note that Jumping Mouse can see only a short distance ahead of himself as he travels, the philosophical implication being that he has limited vision. Curiosity becomes a quest after Jumping Mouse sees the rushing river; he the strives to reach the sacred mountains way off in the distance. Along the way he encounters several guides; two of them are ill. In each case the medicine that will make them well (and will enable them to guide Jumping Mouse to his goal) is a mouse's eye. Even though it means arriving at his destination blind, Jumping Mouse gives his eyes to his "brothers". Alone and unable to see, Jumping Mouse waits beside the mountain lake for the end. He is certain he will be the victim of the "spots", the eagles overhead. Suddenly there is an impact and Jumping Mouse can see. He can see farther and further as he soars higher and higher. Jumping Mouse shouts, "Hello, brother frog" and his friend shouts back, "Hello, brother eagle".

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