As told by Mrs. Harriet Hudson and recorded by William Beynon in 1947.
Devil’s club has become not only a medicinal plant but also has purification powers used by the hunters. Many times hunters went out but returned empty-handed, because the animals were able to smell their scent and this made hunting very difficult. The people were in great hardship. They had also not observed fast days and purification days.
One day a young prince who was a great hunter and who led a very clean life had been all over his hunting territory, but had been unsuccessful in getting anything he hunted and finally was is in great sorrow. No matter what he did, he could get no game. He came to his hunting camp in the hills, very discouraged and tired. Without eating he went to his sleeping place and dropped off to sleep. A vision came to him of a very beautiful young woman who came to where he was asleep and woke him saying, “My friend, I have seen your sorrow for a long while and I pity you. I know you are discouraged because you have been unsuccessful in your hunting. Now I will show you how you can be successful. First, you must be purified, and then the animals will not smell your human scent. You must contact first a woman who is considered not only industrious and clever, but also a lucky woman, and just before you set off for hunting you will have several indulgences with this woman for four nights, changing to a different corner of the house each night until you have several encounters with the woman at each corner of your house. You will not contact anybody else. Come I will show you.” So the man in his visions had several indulgences with this beautiful woman who came to him in his vision. He slept with her and had sexual intercourse with her at each corner of the hunting house each night.
When he had finished, she said to him “Now you have been with me four nights, you shall take this bark I give you and brew it and then bathe yourself and drink some of the brew. This you will do four nights at each corner. During all this time you must not contact any women, either to meet them or associate with them in any way. When you have completed four days in each corner, in order to purge yourself of its fatal influence, you again must indulge in sexual intercourse with the same woman. This you do in the middle of the house at the rear, or at your regular sleeping place. Then you bathe yourself with the bark, rubbing it over your body. Then you leave for your hunting grounds. Be sure of the number of days and do not lessen or increase these, as these are your days. You must do the same with all your hunting paraphernalia. I am returning and I am devil’s club and it is the bark of me that you will use.”
The young man woke up and his vision was so realistic that he searched to find the woman that had appeared to him. He now returned to is village and not divulging his dream to anybody, went out and gathered much bark of the devil’s club and put it into hiding. Then he went to a young woman who was considered very lucky, and also very clever and industrious, and said to her, “Come, I want to have sexual intercourse with you, and this is your fee” He had gathered considerable wealth as this woman was much in demand and was a very beautiful woman as well as of high rank. The first night the hunter slept with the lucky woman at the first corner and the next night at the second and the next night at the third corner and finally the last night at the fourth corner making a complete circuit of the house. Then he said to the woman, “I have finished with you and now when I want you again, I will come for you. In the mean time do not have sexual intercourse with anybody else until I am gone to my hunting again which will be some days hence.” Next, the man took the devil’s club brew and bathed himself thoroughly in the first corner of the house, drinking some of the brew each day. This he did for four days in each corner. When he had completed this he sent for the same woman with whom he had intercourse, and stayed with her in his regular sleeping place for one night. Next day, he again took his bath of devil’s club brew. He had now finished his purification and started out on his hunting. Right from the first was successful. It seemed as if the game ran towards him. He was so successful that when he returned he had much game.
The people had come to him for instructions for training periods. There were many others who imitate, but one must observe control. Should one break a training day by missing a day in either sexual days or bathing days, the result would be a failure, and could even be a total failure for the trainee. This is the origin of the use of the devil’s club for purification. Some training methods state that during the purging period, the trainee sleeps with the woman with whom he has had sexual days, but on his purging days in order to gain absolute self control, he sleeps with the woman and plays with her body every day but as no sexual intercourse with her. This insures absolute success.