Fools Crow

Fools Crow

by

James Welch

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A heavy-singer-for-the-sick and Fast Horse’s father. Like Mik-api, Boss Ribs tends to the physical and spiritual needs of the band, and he is the keeper of the Beaver Medicine bundle, a bag of totems that represent the songs and prayers of the beaver—and the Pikuni people. The bundle is the most powerful medicine of all the Pikunis, and Boss Ribs plans to pass it on to his son. Fast Horse ultimately rejects the bundle and his father, and by the end of the novel, Boss Ribs and the Beaver Medicine bundle are rendered powerless in the face of the white-scabs disease.

Boss Ribs Quotes in Fools Crow

The Fools Crow quotes below are all either spoken by Boss Ribs or refer to Boss Ribs. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin edition of Fools Crow published in 1986.
Chapter 8 Quotes

But all that had changed now because Fast Horse had changed. He had become an outsider within his own band. He no longer sought the company of others, and they avoided him. The girls who had once looked so admiringly on him now averted their eyes when he passed. The young men considered him a source of bad medicine, and the older ones did not invite him for a smoke. Even his own father had begun to look upon him with doubt and regret. As for Fast Horse, the more he stared at the Beaver Medicine, the more it lost meaning for him. That would not be the way of his power. His power would be tangible and immediate.

Related Characters: Fast Horse, Boss Ribs
Related Symbols: The Beaver Medicine Bundle
Page Number: 71
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Fools Crow LitChart as a printable PDF.
Fools Crow PDF

Boss Ribs Character Timeline in Fools Crow

The timeline below shows where the character Boss Ribs appears in Fools Crow. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
...him to come on the raid because he has great respect for Fast Horse’s father, Boss Ribs , a powerful heavy-singer-for-the-sick who possesses a Beaver Medicine bundle. Only three bundles exist among... (full context)
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
...seemed strange since the heavy-singer-for-the-sick does not war, but now Yellow Kidney understands that perhaps Boss Ribs gave his son the shirt to bring protection to them all. (full context)
Chapter 6
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
White Man’s Dog has not spoken to Fast Horse since the raid, and Boss Ribs fears that a bad spirit has entered his son. Fast Horse has remained sullen since... (full context)
Chapter 8
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
...Fast Horse sits staring at his father’s Beaver Medicine bundle, hoping to feel its power. Boss Ribs has not yet taught his son the songs and rituals associated with the bundle, and... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
...misfortune. Both men think that Fast Horse should be banished; however, they pity his father, Boss Ribs . Three Bears orders Rides-at-the-door to convince Boss Ribs to banish Fast Horse himself for... (full context)
Chapter 16
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
...far and wide, and now he has been shot. Fools Crow helps him home to Boss Ribs , who seems disappointed rather than excited to see his son. (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
Three days later, Fast Horse wakes in Boss Ribs ’ lodge. Boss Ribs tells his son that Mik-api has healed his body with his... (full context)
Chapter 17
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Fools Crow sits in Boss Ribs ’s lodge and stares at the Beaver Medicine bundle. “[It] is the oldest and holiest... (full context)
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Boss Ribs tells Fools Crow about two orphan brothers, Akaiyan and Nopatsis. Akaiyan lived with Nopatsis and... (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
After Boss Ribs finishes the story, he begs Fools Crow to find Fast Horse. “Find him and bring... (full context)
Chapter 20
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
...him that the break was as final as death.” Fools Crow tells Fast Horse that Boss Ribs begs him to come home and learn the ceremonies of the Beaver Medicine bundle. (full context)
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
...a “heartless insect.” Fast Horse refuses to go home and tells Fools Crow to tell Boss Ribs that he was unable to find him. (full context)
Chapter 30
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
Fast Horse is struck by a desire to go home and beg for Boss Ribs ’s forgiveness, but too much has transpired, and he can’t bring himself to go back.... (full context)
Chapter 34
The Individual vs. the Collective Good  Theme Icon
...agency. Fools Crow has since returned from his vision quest, and he helps Mik-api and Boss Ribs tend to the sick. Fools Crow knows that their magic is useless against the disease,... (full context)
Colonialism and Western Expansion Theme Icon
Dreams, Visions, and Storytelling Theme Icon
Spirituality and the Natural World Theme Icon
On the fifth day of the outbreak, Fools Crow finds Boss Ribs staring at the Beaver Medicine bundle, which has been emptied of most of its contents.... (full context)