- Name: Swan Circling
- First Appearance: Kaya's Escape
Swan Circling is originally from the place where the Snake River joins the Big River, but married into Kaya's tribe three winters ago. She is respected by others for her strength and willingness to help others. She is well known for having as much courage as any warrior, though she never speaks of her bravery. Swan Circling is always thinking about the future, and asks a lot of questions from others about themselves.
In the Books
Kaya's Escape!: A Survival Story
When raiders invade the camp to steal the horses, Swan Circling heads towards the horses instead of hiding. She stabbed at the raider attempting to steal her horse with a digging stick, knocking him back.
Kaya's Hero: A Story of Giving
Swan Circling is with the rest of the women gathering firewood by the canyon. When the horse carrying Running Alone's baby is struck and begins to run off, she rushes to cut off the horse's escape and faces the charging horse head on. She successfully stops the horse and when asked how she knew the horse would stop for her, Swan Circling states she didn't think about the possibility of the horse trampling her, she just wanted the horse to stop. Swan Circling notes Kaya's talent with horses, and walks with Kaya to lead the horse back.
According to Kautsa, Swan Circling came to live with the tribe upon marrying Claw Necklace three winters ago, and she was always a strong girl who was eager to help. When she went with her husband on a hunting trip to Buffalo Country and got attacked by enemies, Swan Circling ran into battle to give her husband his weapons, and then tended to the wounded. After the men's victory, Swan Circling was given a eagle feather for her bravery, and now goes into battles to bring fresh horses to riders whose horses have been hurt. Kautsa notes that Swan Circling she has yet to have any children.
Kaya runs into Swan Circling at the stream, making a poultice for a horse. Swan Circling talks briefly with Kaya, noting that Two Hawks looked unhappy. She compliments the strength it took Kaya and Two Hawks to escape, and considers Kaya a dependable girl. Swan Circling notices Little Fawn calling Kaya by the nickname Magpie, and asks Kaya to remember that the pain the nickname brought would fade as she grew up.
Swan Circling helps the women set up the winter lodge, and later assists with preparing the food. She tells Kaya seeing the girls leave the stream this morning reminded her of when she was Kaya's age. She asks Kaya if she liked to swim, saying as a kid she and her friends swam every chance they got. Swan Circling tells Kaya someday she'd show Kaya her favorite places to dive from the cliffs, and Eetsa notes that she always seemed to be thinking of the future. Swan Circling tells Kaya she was impressed that Kaya managed to persuade Two Hawks to ride. She commends Kaya's strong will, and was glad Kaya considered the needs of others.
When Kautsa tells the story about basketweaving, Swan Circling catches Kaya's glance and nods at her, as if to say she loved to listen to stories too. Swan Circling beckons Kaya over after the story, saying that the story got her thinking, and she shares the very first basket she ever made. Swan Circling tells how she was a very bold, headstrong little girl who thought there was nothing she couldn't do. She felt sure she knew what to do after watching her grandmother weave, but she made mistake after mistake, and didn't get as much praise as she had hoped for. The lesson she had learnt from this basket was that everyone had to learn their lessons, and making mistakes wasn't a bad thing so long as she was wise enough to learn from it. Swan Circling offers to listen to any of Kaya's troubles, but is understanding when Kaya chooses not to speak, instead suggesting they get back to work.
Swan Circling is seen at the New Years Gathering with her husband. Swan Circling follows Bear Blanket when she goes to check on the sick baby, and she is asked to bring the medicine needed. Swan Circling takes off right away despite the cold, knowing the full urgency of the situation. Her last words to Kaya is complimenting her good work, saying she would be back by first light, and asks Kaya to watch for her as she takes off on her horse.
Swan Circling's horse returns without Swan Circling, but her bag with the medicine still safely tied to the saddle. A group of men go with Claw Necklace to look for Swan Circling, and return with her dead body. Swan Circling had been thrown off her horse when it stumbled, and she died when she struck her head against a boulder. The whole tribe mourns her death, and at her funeral the medicine man speaks of her strength, unwavering courage and willingness to help her people.
When Swan Circling's belongings are given away, Claw Necklace had noted that she had admired Kaya's care and love for horses, and was certain she would want Kaya to have her saddle. Toe-Ta then tells how Swan Circling had come to them, saying she had a dreamt of her death and while she wasn't frightened, she wanted Kaya to have her name when she passed on. Swan Circling was fond of Kaya, and believed Kaya would carry her name well. When Kaya tells Eetsa she was worried Swan Circling wouldn't have given her name to Kaya if she had known the mistakes she made, Eetsa reveals Swan Circling had already known all about it. She had said it didn't matter to her, and she felt Kaya would grow to be trustworthy and strong.