Folk-Lore and Legends: North American Indian
Author: Anonymous
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"These dainty little books."—STANDARD.






"They transport us into a romantic world."—TIMES.


It might have been expected that the Indians of North America would have many Folklore tales to tell, and in this volume I have endeavoured to present such of them as seemed to me to best illustrate the primitive character and beliefs of the people. The belief, and the language in which it is clothed, are often very beautiful. Fantastic imagination, magnanimity, moral sentiment, tender feeling, and humour are discovered in a degree which may astonish many who have been apt to imagine that advanced civilisation has much to do with the possession of such qualities. I know of nothing that throws so much light upon Indian character as their Folk-tales.



Moowis, 1

The Girl who Married the Pine-tree, 9

A Legend of Manabozho, 11

Pauppukkeewis, 15

The Discovery of the Upper World, 33

The Boy who Snared the Sun, 37

The Maid in the Box, 41

The Spirits and the Lovers, 45

The Wonderful Rod, 54

The Funeral Fire, 56

The Legend of O-na-wut-a-qut-o, 63

Manabozho in the Fish's Stomach, 69

The Sun and the Moon, 72

The Snail and the Beaver, 75

The Strange Guests, 79

Manabozho and his Toe, 88

The Girl who Became a Bird, 90

The Undying Head, 92

The Old Chippeway, 113

Mukumik! Mukumik! Mukumik!, 116

The Swing by the Lake, 119

The Fire Plume, 123

The Journey to the Island of Souls, 129

Machinitou, the Evil Spirit, 134

The Woman of Stone, 144

The Maiden who Loved a Fish, 147

The Lone Lightning, 151

Aggo-dah-gauda, 154

Piqua, 158

The Evil Maker, 177

Manabozho the Wolf, 179

The Man-fish, 186


In a large village there lived a noted belle, or Ma-mon-da-go-Kwa, who was the admiration of all the young hunters and warriors. She was particularly admired by a young man who, from his good figure and the care he took in his dress, was called the Beau-Man, or Ma-mon-da-gin-in-e. This young man had a friend and companion whom he made his confidant.

"Come," said he one day, in a sportive mood, "let us go a-courting to her who is so handsome, perhaps she may fancy one of us."

She would, however, listen to neither of them; and when the handsome young man rallied her on the coldness of her air, and made an effort to overcome her indifference, she repulsed him with the greatest contempt, and the young man retired confused and abashed. His sense of pride was deeply wounded, and he was the more piqued because he had been thus treated in the presence of others, and this affair had been noised about in the village, and became the talk of every lodge circle. He was, besides, a very sensitive man, and the incident so preyed upon him that he became moody and at last took to his bed. For days he would lie without uttering a word, with his eyes fixed on vacancy, and taking little or no food. From this state no efforts could rouse him. He felt abashed and dishonoured even in the presence of his own relatives, and no persuasions could induce him to rise, so that when the family prepared to take down the lodge to remove he still kept his bed, and they were compelled to lift it from above his head and leave him upon his skin couch. It was a time of general removal and breaking up of the camp, for it was only a winter hunting-camp, and as the season of the hunt was now over, and spring began to appear, his friends all moved off as by one impulse to the place of their summer village, and in a short time all were gone, and he was left alone. The last person to leave him was his boon companion and cousin, who had been, like him, an admirer of the forest belle. The hunter disregarded even his voice, and as soon as his steps died away on the creaking snow the stillness and solitude of the wilderness reigned around.

As soon as all were gone, and he could no longer, by listening, hear the remotest sound of the departing camp, the Beau-Man arose.

Now this young man had for a friend a powerful guardian spirit or personal manito, and he resolved, with this spirit's aid, to use his utmost power to punish and humble the girl, for she was noted in her tribe for her coquetry, and had treated many young men, who were every way her equals, as she had treated this lover. He resolved on a singular stratagem by way of revenge.

He walked over the deserted camp and gathered up all the cast-off bits of soiled cloth, clippings of finery, and old clothing and ornaments, which had either been left there as not worth carrying away, or forgotten. These he carefully picked out of the snow, into which some of them had been trodden, and collected in one place. These gaudy and soiled stuffs he restored to their original beauty, and made of them a coat and leggings, which he trimmed with beads, and finished and decorated after the best fashion of his tribe. He then made a pair of moccasins and garnished them with beads, a bow and arrows, and a frontlet and feathers for the head. Having done this he searched about for cast-out bones of animals, pieces of skin, clippings of dried meat, and even dirt. Having cemented all this together he filled the clothes with it, pressed the mass firmly in, and fashioned it, externally, in all respects like a tall and well-shaped man. He put a bow and arrows in its hands, and the frontlet on its head. Having finished it he brought it to life, and the image stood forth in the most favoured lineaments of his fellows. Such was the origin of Moowis, or the Dirt-and-Rag Man.

"Follow me," said the Beau-Man, "and I will direct you how you shall act."

Moowis was, indeed, a very sightly person, and as the Beau-Man led him into the new encampment where the girl dwelt, the many colours of his clothes, the profusion of his ornaments, his manly deportment, his animated countenance, drew all eyes to him. He was hospitably received, both old and young showing him great attention. The chief invited him to his lodge, and he was there treated to the moose's hump and the finest venison.

No one was better pleased with the handsome stranger than Ma-mon-da-go-Kwa. She fell in love with him at first sight, and he was an invited guest at the lodge of her mother the very first evening of his arrival. The Beau-Man went with him, for it was under his patronage that he had been introduced, and, in truth, he had another motive in accompanying him, for he had not yet wholly subdued his feelings of admiration for the object against whom he had, nevertheless, exerted all his necromantic power, and he held himself ready to take advantage of any favourable turn which he secretly hoped the visit might take in relation to himself. No such opportunity, however, arose. Moowis attracted the chief attention, every eye and heart was alert to entertain him. In this effort on the part of his entertainers they had well-nigh brought about his destruction by dissolving him into his original elements of rags, snow, and dirt, for he was assigned the most prominent place near the fire, where he was exposed to a heat that he could by no means endure. However, he warded this calamity off by placing a boy between him and the fire; he shifted his position frequently, and evaded, by dexterous manoeuvres and timely remarks, the pressing invitation of his host to sit and enjoy the warmth. He so managed these excuses as not only to conceal his dread of immediate dissolution, but to secure the further approbation of the fair forest girl, who was filled with admiration of one who had so brave a spirit to endure the paralysing effects of cold.

The visit proved that the rejected lover had well calculated the effects of his plan. He withdrew from the lodge, and Moowis triumphed. Before the Beau-Man left he saw him cross the lodge to the coveted abinos, or bridegroom's seat. The dart which Ma-mon-da-go-Kwa had so often delighted in sending to the hearts of her admirers she was at length fated to receive. She had married an image.

As the morning began to break the stranger arose, adjusted his warrior's plumes, and took his forest weapons to depart.

"I must go," said he, "for I have important work to do, and there are many hills and streams between me and the object of my journey."

"I will go with you," said Ma-mon-da-go-Kwa.

"The journey is too long," replied her husband, "and you are ill able to encounter the perils of the way."

"It is not so long but that I will go," answered his wife, "and there are no dangers I will not share with you."

Moowis returned to the lodge of his master, and told him what had occurred. For a moment pity took possession of the young man's heart. He regretted that she whom he so loved should thus have thrown herself away upon an image, a shadow, when she might have been the mistress of the best lodge in the camp.

"It is her own folly," he said; "she has turned a deaf ear to the counsels of prudence. She must submit to her fate."

The same morning Moowis set forth, and his wife followed him at a distance. The way was rough and intricate, and she found that she could not keep up with him, he walked so quickly. She struggled hard and obstinately to overtake him, but Moowis had been for some time out of sight when the sun rose and commenced upon his snow-formed body the work of dissolution. He began to melt away and fall to pieces. As Ma-mon-da-go-Kwa followed in his track she found piece after piece of his clothing in the path. She first found his mittens, then his moccasins, then his leggings, then his coat, and after that other parts of his garments. As the heat unbound them the clothes also returned to their filthy condition. Over rocks, through wind-falls, across marshes, Ma-mon-da-go-Kwa pursued him she loved. The path turned aside in all directions. Rags, bones, leather, beads, feathers, and soiled ribbons she found, but caught no sight of Moowis. She spent the day in wandering, and when evening came she was still alone. The snow having now melted, she had completely lost her husband's track, and she wandered about uncertain which way to go and in a state of perfect despair. At length with bitter cries she lamented her fate.

"Moowis, Moowis," she cried, "nin ge won e win ig, ne won e win ig!"—"Moowis, Moowis, you have led me astray, you are leading me astray!"

With this cry she wandered in the woods.

The cry of the lost Ma-mon-da-go-Kwa is sometimes repeated by the village girls who have made of it a song—

Moowis! Moowis! Forest rover, Where art thou? Ah! my bravest, gayest lover, Guide me now.

Moowis! Moowis! Ah! believe me, List my moan: Do not, do not, brave heart, leave me All alone.

Moowis! Moowis! Footprints vanished! Whither wend I? Fated, lost, detested, banished Must I die!

Moowis! Moowis! Whither goest thou, Eye-bright lover? Ah! thou ravenous bird that knowest, I see thee hover,

Circling, circling As I wander, And at last When I fall thou then wilt come And feed upon my breast.


Upon the side of a certain mountain grew some pines, under the shade of which the Puckwudjinies, or sprites, were accustomed to sport at times. Now it happened that in the neighbourhood of these trees was a lodge in which dwelt a beautiful girl and her father and mother. One day a man came to the lodge of the father, and seeing the girl he loved her, and said—

"Give me Leelinau for my wife," and the old man consented.

Now it happened that the girl did not like her lover, so she escaped from the lodge and went and hid herself, and as the sun was setting she came to the pine-trees, and leaning against one of them she lamented her hard fate. On a sudden she heard a voice, which seemed to come from the tree, saying—

"Be my wife, maiden, beautiful Leelinau, beautiful Leelinau."

The girl was astonished, not knowing whence the voice could have come. She listened again, and the words were repeated, evidently by the tree against which she leaned. Then the maid consented to be the wife of the pine-tree.

Meanwhile her parents had missed her, and had sent out parties to see if she could be found, but she was nowhere.

Time passed on, but Leelinau never returned to her home. Hunters who have been crossing the mountain, and have come to the trees at sunset, say that they have seen a beautiful girl there in company with a handsome youth, who vanished as they approached.


Manabozho made the land. The occasion of his doing so was this.

One day he went out hunting with two wolves. After the first day's hunt one of the wolves left him and went to the left, but the other continuing with Manabozho he adopted him for his son. The lakes were in those days peopled by spirits with whom Manabozho and his son went to war. They destroyed all the spirits in one lake, and then went on hunting. They were not, however, very successful, for every deer the wolf chased fled to another of the lakes and escaped from them. It chanced that one day Manabozho started a deer, and the wolf gave chase. The animal fled to the lake, which was covered with ice, and the wolf pursued it. At the moment when the wolf had come up to the prey the ice broke, and both fell in, when the spirits, catching them, at once devoured them.

Manabozho went up and down the lake-shore weeping and lamenting. While he was thus distressed he heard a voice proceeding from the depths of the lake.

"Manabozho," cried the voice, "why do you weep?"

Manabozho answered—

"Have I not cause to do so? I have lost my son, who has sunk in the waters of the lake."

"You will never see him more," replied the voice; "the spirits have eaten him."

Then Manabozho wept the more when he heard this sad news.

"Would," said he, "I might meet those who have thus cruelly treated me in eating my son. They should feel the power of Manabozho, who would be revenged."

The voice informed him that he might meet the spirits by repairing to a certain place, to which the spirits would come to sun themselves. Manabozho went there accordingly, and, concealing himself, saw the spirits, who appeared in all manner of forms, as snakes, bears, and other things. Manabozho, however, did not escape the notice of one of the two chiefs of the spirits, and one of the band who wore the shape of a very large snake was sent by them to examine what the strange object was.

Manabozho saw the spirit coming, and assumed the appearance of a stump. The snake coming up wrapped itself around the trunk and squeezed it with all its strength, so that Manabozho was on the point of crying out when the snake uncoiled itself. The relief was, however, only for a moment. Again the snake wound itself around him and gave him this time even a more severe hug than before. Manabozho restrained himself and did not suffer a cry to escape him, and the snake, now satisfied that the stump was what it appeared to be, glided off to its companions. The chiefs of the spirits were not, however, satisfied, so they sent a bear to try what he could make of the stump. The bear came up to Manabozho and hugged, and bit, and clawed him till he could hardly forbear screaming with the pain it caused him. The thought of his son and of the vengeance he wished to take on the spirits, however, restrained him, and the bear at last retreated to its fellows.

"It is nothing," it said; "it is really a stump."

Then the spirits were reassured, and, having sunned themselves, lay down and went to sleep. Seeing this, Manabozho assumed his natural shape, and stealing upon them with his bow and arrows, slew the chiefs of the spirits. In doing this he awoke the others, who, seeing their chiefs dead, turned upon Manabozho, who fled. Then the spirits pursued him in the shape of a vast flood of water. Hearing it behind him the fugitive ran as fast as he could to the hills, but each one became gradually submerged, so that Manabozho was at last driven to the top of the highest mountain. Here the waters still surrounding him and gathering in height, Manabozho climbed the highest pine-tree he could find. The waters still rose. Then Manabozho prayed that the tree would grow, and it did so. Still the waters rose. Manabozho prayed again that the tree would grow, and it did so, but not so much as before. Still the waters rose, and Manabozho was up to his chin in the flood, when he prayed again, and the tree grew, but less than on either of the former occasions. Manabozho looked round on the waters, and saw many animals swimming about seeking land. Amongst them he saw a beaver, an otter, and a musk-rat. Then he cried to them, saying—

"My brothers, come to me. We must have some earth, or we shall all die."

So they came to him and consulted as to what had best be done, and it was agreed that they should dive down and see if they could not bring up some of the earth from below.

The beaver dived first, but was drowned before he reached the bottom. Then the otter went. He came within sight of the earth, but then his senses failed him before he could get a bite of it. The musk-rat followed. He sank to the bottom, and bit the earth. Then he lost his senses and came floating up to the top of the water. Manabozho awaited the reappearance of the three, and as they came up to the surface he drew them to him. He examined their claws, but found nothing. Then he looked in their mouths and found the beaver's and the otter's empty. In the musk-rat's, however, he found a little earth. This Manabozho took in his hands and rubbed till it was a fine dust. Then he dried it in the sun, and, when it was quite light, he blew it all round him over the water, and the dry land appeared.

Thus Manabozho made the land.


A man of large stature and great activity of mind and body found himself standing alone on a prairie. He thought to himself—

"How came I here? Are there no beings on this earth but myself? I must travel and see. I must walk till I find the abodes of men."

So as soon as his mind was made up he set out, he knew not whither, in search of habitations. No obstacles diverted him from his purpose. Prairies, rivers, woods, and storms did not daunt his courage or turn him back. After travelling a long time he came to a wood in which he saw decayed stumps of trees, as if they had been cut in ancient times, but he found no other traces of men. Pursuing his journey he found more recent marks of the same kind, and later on he came to fresh traces of human beings, first their footsteps, and then the wood they had cut lying in heaps.

Continuing on he emerged towards dusk from the forest, and beheld at a distance a large village of high lodges, standing on rising ground. He said to himself—

"I will arrive there at a run."

Off he started with all his speed, and on coming to the first lodge he jumped over it. Those within saw something pass over the top, and then they heard a thump on the ground.

"What is that?" they all said.

One came out to see, and, finding a stranger, invited him in. He found himself in the presence of an old chief and several men who were seated in the lodge. Meat was set before him, after which the chief asked him where he was going and what his name was. He answered he was in search of adventures, and that his name was Pauppukkeewis (grasshopper). The eyes of all were fixed upon him.

"Pauppukkeewis!" said one to another, and the laugh went round.

Pauppukkeewis made but a short stay in the village. He was not easy there. The place gave him no opportunity to display his powers.

"I will be off," he said, and taking with him a young man who had formed a strong attachment for him and who might serve him as a mesh-in-au-wa (official who bears the pipe), he set out once more on his travels. The two travelled together, and when the young man was fatigued with walking Pauppukkeewis would show him a few tricks, such as leaping over trees, and turning round on one leg till he made the dust fly in a cloud around him. In this manner he very much amused his companion, though at times his performance somewhat alarmed him.

One day they came to a large village, where they were well received. The people told them that there were a number of manitoes who lived some distance away and who killed all who came to their lodge.

The people had made many attempts to extirpate these manitoes, but the war parties that went out for this purpose were always unsuccessful.

"I will go and see them," said Pauppukkeewis.

The chief of the village warned him of the danger he would run, but finding him resolved, said—

"Well, if you will go, since you are my guest, I will send twenty warriors with you."

Pauppukkeewis thanked him for this. Twenty young men offered themselves for the expedition. They went forward, and in a short time descried the lodge of the manitoes. Pauppukkeewis placed his friend and the warriors near him so that they might see all that passed, and then he went alone into the lodge. When he entered he found five horrible-looking manitoes eating. These were the father and four sons. Their appearance was hideous. Their eyes were set low in their heads as if the manitoes were half starved. They offered Pauppukkeewis part of their meat, but he refused it.

"What have you come for?" asked the old one.

"Nothing," answered Pauppukkeewis.

At this they all stared at him.

"Do you not wish to wrestle?" they all asked.

"Yes," replied he.

A hideous smile passed over their faces.

"You go," said the others to their eldest brother.

Pauppukkeewis and his antagonist were soon clinched in each other's arms. He knew the manitoes' object,—they wanted his flesh,—but he was prepared for them.

"Haw, haw!" they cried, and the dust and dry leaves flew about the wrestlers as if driven by a strong wind.

The manito was strong, but Pauppukkeewis soon found he could master him. He tripped him up, and threw him with a giant's force head foremost on a stone, and he fell insensible.

The brothers stepped up in quick succession, but Pauppukkeewis put his tricks in full play, and soon all the four lay bleeding on the ground. The old manito got frightened, and ran for his life. Pauppukkeewis pursued him for sport. Sometimes he was before him, sometimes over his head. Now he would give him a kick, now a push, now a trip, till the manito was quite exhausted. Meanwhile Pauppukkeewis's friend and the warriors came up, crying—

"Ha, ha, a! Ha, ha, a! Pauppukkeewis is driving him before him."

At length Pauppukkeewis threw the manito to the ground with such force that he lay senseless, and the warriors, carrying him off, laid him with the bodies of his sons, and set fire to the whole, consuming them to ashes.

Around the lodge Pauppukkeewis and his friends saw a large number of bones, the remains of the warriors whom the manitoes had slain. Taking three arrows, Pauppukkeewis called upon the Great Spirit, and then, shooting an arrow in the air, he cried—

"You, who are lying down, rise up, or you will be hit."

The bones at these words all collected in one place. Again Pauppukkeewis shot another arrow into the air, crying—

"You, who are lying down, rise up, or you will be hit," and each bone drew towards its fellow.

Then he shot a third arrow, crying—

"You, who are lying down, rise up, or you will be hit," and the bones immediately came together, flesh came over them, and the warriors, whose remains they were, stood before Pauppukkeewis alive and well.

He led them to the chief of the village, who had been his friend, and gave them up to him. Soon after, the chief with his counsellors came to him, saying—

"Who is more worthy to rule than you? You alone can defend us."

Pauppukkeewis thanked the chief, but told him he must set out again in search of further adventures. The chief and the counsellors pressed him to remain, but he was resolved to leave them, and so he told the chief to make his friend ruler while he himself went on his travels.

"I will come again," said he, "sometime and see you."

"Ho, ho, ho!" they all cried, "come back again and see us."

He promised that he would, and set out alone.

After travelling for some time, he came to a large lake, and on looking about he saw an enormous otter on an island. He thought to himself—

"His skin will make me a fine pouch," and, drawing near, he drove an arrow into the otter's side. He waded into the lake, and with some difficulty dragged the carcass ashore. He took out the entrails, but even then the carcass was so heavy that it was as much as he could do to drag it up a hill overlooking the lake. As soon as he got it into the sunshine, where it was warm, he skinned the otter, and threw the carcass away, for he said to himself—

"The war-eagle will come, and then I shall have a chance to get his skin and his feathers to put on my head."

Very soon he heard a noise in the air, but he could see nothing. At length a large eagle dropped, as if from the sky, on to the otter's carcass. Pauppukkeewis drew his bow and sent an arrow through the bird's body. The eagle made a dying effort and lifted the carcass up several feet, but it could not disengage its claws, and the weight soon brought the bird down again.

Then Pauppukkeewis skinned the bird, crowned his head with its feathers, and set out again on his journey.

After walking a while he came to a lake, the water of which came right up to the trees on its banks. He soon saw that the lake had been made by beavers. He took his station at a certain spot to see whether any of the beavers would show themselves. Soon he saw the head of one peeping out of the water to see who the stranger was.

"My friend," said Pauppukkeewis, "could you not turn me into a beaver like yourself?"

"I do not know," replied the beaver; "I will go and ask the others."

Soon all the beavers showed their heads above the water, and looked to see if Pauppukkeewis was armed, but he had left his bow and arrows in a hollow tree a short distance off. When they were satisfied they all came near.

"Can you not, with all your united power," said he, "turn me into a beaver? I wish to live among you."

"Yes," answered the chief, "lie down;" and Pauppukkeewis soon found himself changed into one of them.

"You must make me large," said he, "larger than any of you."

"Yes, yes," said they; "by and by, when we get into the lodge, it shall be done."

They all dived into the lake, and Pauppukkeewis, passing large heaps of limbs of trees and logs at the bottom, asked the use of them. The beavers answered—

"They are our winter provisions."

When they all got into the lodge their number was about one hundred. The lodge was large and warm.

"Now we will make you large," said they, exerting all their power. "Will that do?"

"Yes," he answered, for he found he was ten times the size of the largest.

"You need not go out," said they. "We will bring your food into the lodge, and you shall be our chief."

"Very well," answered Pauppukkeewis. He thought—

"I will stay here and grow fat at their expense," but very soon a beaver came into the lodge out of breath, crying—

"We are attacked by Indians."

All huddled together in great fear. The water began to lower, for the hunters had broken down the dam, and soon the beavers heard them on the roof of the lodge, breaking it in. Out jumped all the beavers and so escaped. Pauppukkeewis tried to follow them, but, alas! they had made him so large that he could not creep out at the hole. He called to them to come back, but none answered. He worried himself so much in trying to escape that he looked like a bladder. He could not change himself into a man again though he heard and understood all the hunters said. One of them put his head in at the top of the lodge.

"Ty-au!" cried he. "Tut-ty-au! Me-shau-mik! King of the beavers is in."

Then they all got at Pauppukkeewis and battered in his skull with their clubs. After that seven or eight of them placed his body on poles and carried him home. As he went he reflected—

"What will become of me? My ghost or shadow will not die after they get me to their lodges."

When the party arrived home, they sent out invitations to a grand feast. The women took Pauppukkeewis and laid him in the snow to skin him, but as soon as his flesh got cold, his jee-bi, or spirit, fled.

Pauppukkeewis found himself standing on a prairie, having assumed his mortal shape. After walking a short distance, he saw a herd of elks feeding. He admired the apparent ease and enjoyment of their life, and thought there could be nothing more pleasant than to have the liberty of running about, and feeding on the prairies. He asked them if they could not change him into an elk.

"Yes," they answered, after a pause. "Get down on your hands and feet." He did so, and soon found himself an elk.

"I want big horns and big feet," said he. "I wish to be very large."

"Yes, yes," they said. "There," exerting all their power, "are you big enough?"

"Yes," he answered, for he saw he was very large.

They spent a good time in playing and running.

Being rather cold one day he went into a thick wood for shelter, and was followed by most of the herd. They had not been there long before some elks from behind passed them like a strong wind. All took the alarm, and off they ran, Pauppukkeewis with the rest.

"Keep out on the plains," said they, but he found it was too late to do so, for they had already got entangled in the thick woods. He soon smelt the hunters, who were closely following his trail, for they had left all the others to follow him. He jumped furiously, and broke down young trees in his flight, but it only served to retard his progress. He soon felt an arrow in his side. He jumped over trees in his agony, but the arrows clattered thicker and thicker about him, and at last one entered his heart. He fell to the ground and heard the whoop of triumph given by the warriors. On coming up they looked at the carcass with astonishment, and, with their hands up to their mouths, exclaimed—

"Ty-au! ty-au!"

There were about sixty in the party, who had come out on a special hunt, for one of their number had, the day before, observed Pauppukkeewis's large tracks in the sand. They skinned him, and as his flesh got cold his jee-bi took its flight, and once more he found himself in human shape.

His passion for adventure was not yet cooled. On coming to a large lake, the shore of which was sandy, he saw a large flock of brant, and, speaking to them, he asked them to turn him into a brant.

"Very well," said they.

"But I want to be very large," said he.

"Very well," replied the brant, and he soon found himself one of them, of prodigious size, all the others looking on at him in amazement.

"You must fly as leader," they said.

"No," replied Pauppukkeewis, "I will fly behind."

"Very well," said they. "One thing we have to say to you. You must be careful in flying not to look down, for if you do something may happen to you."

"Be it so," said he, and soon the flock rose up in the air, for they were bound for the north. They flew very fast with Pauppukkeewis behind. One day, while going with a strong wind, and as swift as their wings would flap, while they passed over a large village, the Indians below raised a great shout, for they were amazed at the enormous size of Pauppukkeewis. They made such a noise that Pauppukkeewis forgot what had been told him about not looking down. He was flying as swift as an arrow, and as soon as he brought his neck in, and stretched it down to look at the shouters, his tail was caught by the wind, and he was blown over and over. He tried to right himself, but without success. Down he went from an immense height, turning over and over. He lost his senses, and when he recovered them he found himself jammed in a cleft in a hollow tree. To get backward or forward was impossible, and there he remained until his brant life was ended by starvation. Then his jee-bi again left the carcass, and once more he found himself in human shape.

Travelling was still his passion, and one day he came to a lodge, in which were two old men whose heads were white from age. They treated him well, and he told them he was going back to his village to see his friends and people. The old men said they would aid him, and pointed out the way they said he should go, but they were deceivers. After walking all day he came to a lodge very like the first, and looking in he found two old men with white heads. It was in fact the very same lodge, and he had been walking in a circle. The old men did not undeceive him, but pretended to be strangers, and said in a kind voice—

"We will show you the way."

After walking the third day, and coming back to the same place, he discovered their trickery, for he had cut a notch in the door-post.

"Who are you," said he to them, "to treat me so?" and he gave one a kick and the other a slap that killed them. Their blood flew against the rocks near their lodge, and that is the reason there are red streaks in them to this day. Then Pauppukkeewis burned their lodge.

He continued his journey, not knowing exactly which way to go. At last he came to a big lake. He ascended the highest hill to try and see the opposite shore, but he could not, so he made a canoe and took a sail on the water. On looking down he saw that the bottom of the lake was covered with dark fish, of which he caught some. This made him wish to return to his village, and bring his people to live near this lake. He sailed on, and towards evening came to an island, where he stopped and ate the fish.

Next day he returned to the mainland, and, while wandering along the shore, he encountered a more powerful manito than himself, named Manabozho. Pauppukkeewis thought it best, after playing him a trick, to keep out of his way. He again thought of returning to his village, and, transforming himself into a partridge, took his flight towards it. In a short time he reached it, and his return was welcomed with feasting and songs. He told them of the lake and of the fish, and, telling them that it would be easier for them to live there, persuaded them all to remove. He immediately began to lead them by short journeys, and all things turned out as he had said.

While the people lived there a messenger came to Pauppukkeewis in the shape of a bear, and said that the bear-chief wished to see him at once at his village. Pauppukkeewis was ready in an instant, and getting on the messenger's back was carried away. Towards evening they ascended a high mountain, and came to a cave, in which the bear-chief lived. He was a very large creature, and he made Pauppukkeewis welcome, inviting him into his lodge.

As soon as propriety allowed he spoke, and said that he had sent for him because he had heard he was the chief who was leading a large party towards his hunting-grounds.

"You must know," said he, "that you have no right there, and I wish you to leave the country with your party, or else we must fight."

"Very well," replied Pauppukkeewis, "so be it."

He did not wish to do anything without consulting his people, and he saw that the bear-chief was raising a war-party, so he said he would go back that night. The bear-king told him he might do as he wished, and that one of the bears was at his command; so Pauppukkeewis, jumping on its back, rode home. Then he assembled the village, and told the young men to kill the bear, make ready a feast, and hang the head outside the village, for he knew the bear spies would soon see it and carry the news to their chief.

Next morning Pauppukkeewis got all his young warriors ready for the fight. After waiting one day, the bear war-party came in sight, making a tremendous noise. The bear-chief advanced, and said that he did not wish to shed the blood of the young warriors, but if Pauppukkeewis would consent they two would run a race, and the winner should kill the losing chief, and all the loser's followers should be the slaves of the other. Pauppukkeewis agreed, and they ran before all the warriors. He was victor; but not to terminate the race too quickly he gave the bear-chief some specimens of his skill, forming eddies and whirlwinds with the sand as he twisted and turned about. As the bear-chief came to the post Pauppukkeewis drove an arrow through him. Having done this he told his young men to take the bears and tie one at the door of each lodge, that they might remain in future as slaves.

After seeing that all was quiet and prosperous in the village, Pauppukkeewis felt his desire for adventure returning, so he took an affectionate leave of his friends and people, and started off again. After wandering a long time, he came to the lodge of Manabozho, who was absent. Pauppukkeewis thought he would play him a trick, so he turned everything in the lodge upside down and killed his chickens. Now Manabozho calls all the fowl of the air his chickens, and among the number was a raven, the meanest of birds, and him Pauppukkeewis killed and hung up by the neck to insult Manabozho. He then went on till he came to a very high point of rocks running out into the lake, from the top of which he could see the country as far as eye could reach. While he sat there, Manabozho's mountain chickens flew round and past him in great numbers. So, out of spite, he shot many of them, for his arrows were sure and the birds many, and he amused himself by throwing the birds down the precipice. At length a wary bird called out—

"Pauppukkeewis is killing us: go and tell our father."

Away flew some of them, and Manabozho soon made his appearance on the plain below.

Pauppukkeewis slipped down the other side of the mountain. Manabozho cried from the top—

"The earth is not so large but I can get up to you."

Off Pauppukkeewis ran and Manabozho after him. He ran over hills and prairies with all his speed, but his pursuer was still hard after him. Then he thought of a shift. He stopped, and climbed a large pine-tree, stripped it of all its green foliage, and threw it to the winds. Then he ran on. When Manabozho reached the tree, it called out to him—

"Great Manabozho, give me my life again. Pauppukkeewis has killed me."

"I will do so," said Manabozho, and it took him some time to gather the scattered foliage. Then he resumed the chase. Pauppukkeewis repeated the same trick with the hemlock, and with other trees, for Manabozho would always stop to restore anything that called upon him to give it life again. By this means Pauppukkeewis kept ahead, but still Manabozho was overtaking him when Pauppukkeewis saw an elk. He asked it to take him on its back, and this the animal did, and for a time he made great progress. Still Manabozho was in sight. Pauppukkeewis dismounted, and, coming to a large sandstone rock, he broke it in pieces, and scattered the grains. Manabozho was so close upon him at this place that he had almost caught him, but the foundation of the rock cried out—

"Haye! Ne-me-sho! Pauppukkeewis has spoiled me. Will you not restore me to life?"

"Yes," replied Manabozho, and he restored the rock to its previous shape. He then pushed on in pursuit of Pauppukkeewis, and had got so near as to put out his arm to seize him, when Pauppukkeewis dodged him, and raised such a dust and commotion by whirlwinds, as to make the trees break, and the sand and leaves dance in the air. Again and again Manabozho's hand was put out to catch him, but he dodged him at every turn, and at last, making a great dust, he dashed into a hollow tree, which had been blown down, and, changing himself into a snake, crept out at its roots. Well that he did; for at the moment Manabozho, who is Ogee-bau-ge-mon (a species of lightning) struck the tree with all his power, and shivered it to fragments. Pauppukkeewis again took human shape, and again Manabozho, pursuing him, pressed him hard.

At a distance Pauppukkeewis saw a very high rock jutting out into a lake, and he ran for the foot of the precipice, which was abrupt and elevated. As he came near, the manito of the rock opened his door and told him to come in. No sooner was the door closed than Manabozho knocked at it.

"Open," he cried in a loud voice.

The manito was afraid of him, but said to his guest—

"Since I have sheltered you, I would sooner die with you than open the door."

"Open," Manabozho cried again.

The manito was silent. Manabozho made no attempt to force the door open. He waited a few moments.

"Very well," said he, "I give you till night to live."

The manito trembled, for he knew that when the hour came he would be shut up under the earth.

Night came, the clouds hung low and black, and every moment the forked lightning flashed from them. The black clouds advanced slowly and threw their dark shadows afar, and behind was heard the rumbling noise of the coming thunder. When the clouds were gathered over the rock the thunders roared, the lightning flashed, the ground shook, and the solid rock split, tottered, and fell. Under the ruins lay crushed the mortal bodies of Pauppukkeewis and the manito.

It was only then that Pauppukkeewis found that he was really dead. He had been killed before in the shapes of different animals, but now his body, in human shape, was crushed.

Manabozho came and took his jee-bi, or spirit. "You," said he to Pauppukkeewis, "shall not be again permitted to live on the earth. I will give you the shape of the war-eagle, and you shall be the chief of all birds, and your duty shall be to watch over their destinies."


The Minnatarees, and all the other Indians who are not of the stock of the grandfather of nations, were once not of this upper air, but dwelt in the bowels of the earth. The Good Spirit, when he made them, meant, no doubt, at a proper time to put them in enjoyment of all the good things which he had prepared for them upon earth, but he ordered that their first stage of existence should be within it. They all dwelt underground, like moles, in one great cavern. When they emerged it was in different places, but generally near where they now inhabit. At that time few of the Indian tribes wore the human form. Some had the figures or semblances of beasts. The Paukunnawkuts were rabbits, some of the Delawares were ground-hogs, others tortoises, and the Tuscaroras, and a great many others, were rattlesnakes. The Sioux were the hissing-snakes, but the Minnatarees were always men. Their part of the great cavern was situated far towards the mountains of snow.

The great cavern in which the Indians dwelt was indeed a dark and dismal region. In the country of the Minnatarees it was lighted up only by the rays of the sun which strayed through the fissures of the rock and the crevices in the roof of the cavern, while in that of the Mengwe all was dark and sunless. The life of the Indians was a life of misery compared with that they now enjoy, and it was endured only because they were ignorant of a fairer or richer world, or a better or happier state of being.

There were among the Minnatarees two boys, who, from the hour of their birth, showed superior wisdom, sagacity, and cunning. Even while they were children they were wiser than their fathers. They asked their parents whence the light came which streamed through the fissures of the rock and played along the sides of the cavern, and whence and from what descended the roots of the great vine. Their father could not tell them, and their mother only laughed at the question, which appeared to her very foolish. They asked the priest, but he could not tell them; but he said he supposed the light came from the eyes of some great wolf. The boys asked the king tortoise, who sulkily drew his head into his shell, and made no answer. When they asked the chief rattlesnake, he answered that he knew, and would tell them all about it if they would promise to make peace with his tribe, and on no account kill one of his descendants. The boys promised, and the chief rattlesnake then told them that there was a world above them, a beautiful world, peopled by creatures in the shape of beasts, having a pure atmosphere and a soft sky, sweet fruits and mellow water, well-stocked hunting-grounds and well-filled lakes. He told them to ascend by the roots, which were those of a great grape-vine. A while after the boys were missing; nor did they come back till the Minnatarees had celebrated their death, and the lying priest had, as he falsely said, in a vision seen them inhabitants of the land of spirits.

The Indians were surprised by the return of the boys. They came back singing and dancing, and were grown so much, and looked so different from what they did when they left the cavern, that their father and mother scarcely knew them. They were sleek and fat, and when they walked it was with so strong a step that the hollow space rang with the sound of their feet. They were covered with the skins of animals, and had blankets of the skins of racoons and beavers. They described to the Indians the pleasures of the upper world, and the people were delighted with their story. At length they resolved to leave their dull residence underground for the upper regions. All agreed to this except the ground-hog, the badger, and the mole, who said, as they had been put where they were, they would live and die there. The rabbit said he would live sometimes above and sometimes below.

When the Indians had determined to leave their habitations underground, the Minnatarees began, men, women, and children, to clamber up the vine, and one-half of them had already reached the surface of the earth, when a dire mishap involved the remainder in a still more desolate captivity within its bowels.

There was among them a very fat old woman, who was heavier than any six of her nation. Nothing would do but she must go up before some of her neighbours. Away she clambered, but her weight was so great that the vine broke with it, and the opening, to which it afforded the sole means of ascending, closed upon her and the rest of her nation.


At the time when the animals reigned on the earth they had killed all but a girl and her little brother, and these two were living in fear and seclusion. The boy was a perfect pigmy, never growing beyond the stature of a small infant, but the girl increased with her years, so that the labour of providing food and lodging devolved wholly on her. She went out daily to get wood for their lodge fire, and took her brother with her so that no accident might happen to him, for he was too little to leave alone—a big bird might have flown away with him. She made him a bow and arrows, and said to him one winter day—

"I will leave you behind where I have been chopping; you must hide yourself, and you will see the gitshee-gitshee-gaun ai see-ug, or snow-birds, come and pick the worms out of the wood, where I have been chopping. Shoot one of them and bring it home."

He obeyed her, and tried his best to kill one, but came home unsuccessful. She told him he must not despair, but try again the next day. She accordingly left him at the place where she got wood and returned home. Towards nightfall she heard his footsteps on the snow, and he came in exultingly, and threw down one of the birds he had killed.

"My sister," said he, "I wish you to skin it and stretch the skin, and when I have killed more I will have a coat made out of them."

"What shall we do with the body?" asked she, for as yet men had not begun to eat animal food, but lived on vegetables alone.

"Cut it in two," he answered, "and season our pottage with one-half of it at a time."

She did so. The boy continued his efforts, and succeeded in killing ten birds, out of the skins of which his sister made him a little coat.

"Sister," said he one day, "are we all alone in the world? Is there nobody else living?"

His sister told him that they two alone remained; that the beings who had killed all their relations lived in a certain quarter, and that he must by no means go in that direction. This only served to inflame his curiosity and raise his ambition, and he soon after took his bow and arrows and went to seek the beings of whom his sister had told him. After walking a long time and meeting nothing he became tired, and lay down on a knoll where the sun had melted the snow. He fell fast asleep, and while sleeping the sun beat so hot upon him that it singed and drew up his birdskin coat, so that when he awoke and stretched himself, he felt, as it were, bound in it. He looked down and saw the damage done, and then he flew into a passion, upbraided the sun, and vowed vengeance against it.

"Do not think you are too high," said he; "I shall revenge myself."

On coming home he related his disaster to his sister, and lamented bitterly the spoiling of his coat. He would not eat. He lay down as one that fasts, and did not stir or move his position for ten days, though his sister did all she could to arouse him. At the end of ten days he turned over, and then lay ten days on the other side. Then he got up and told his sister to make him a snare, for he meant to catch the sun. At first she said she had nothing, but finally she remembered a little piece of dried deer's sinew that her father had left, and this she soon made into a string suitable for a noose. The moment, however, she showed it to her brother, he told her it would not do, and bade her get something else. She said she had nothing—nothing at all. At last she thought of her hair, and pulling some of it out made a string. Her brother again said it would not answer, and bade her, pettishly, and with authority, make him a noose. She replied that there was nothing to make it of, and went out of the lodge. When she was all alone she said—

"Neow obewy indapin."

Meanwhile her brother awaited her, and it was not long before she reappeared with some tiny cord. The moment he saw it he was delighted.

"This will do," he cried, and he put the cord to his mouth and began pulling it through his lips, and as fast as he drew it changed to a red metal cord of prodigious length, which he wound around his body and shoulders. He then prepared himself, and set out a little after midnight that he might catch the sun before it rose. He fixed his snare on a spot just where he thought the sun would appear; and sure enough he caught it, so that it was held fast in the cord and could not rise.

The animals who ruled the earth were immediately put into a great commotion. They had no light. They called a council to debate the matter, and to appoint some one to go and cut the cord—a very hazardous enterprise, for who dare go so near to the sun as would be necessary? The dormouse, however, undertook the task. At that time the dormouse was the largest animal in the world; when it stood up it looked like a mountain. It set out upon its mission, and, when it got to the place where the sun lay snared, its back began to smoke and burn, so intense was the heat, and the top of its carcass was reduced to enormous heaps of ashes. It succeeded, however, in cutting the cord with its teeth and freed the sun, but was reduced to a very small size, and has remained so ever since. Men call it the Kug-e-been-gwa-kwa.


There once lived a woman called Monedo Kway (female spirit or prophetess) on the sand mountains, called The Sleeping Bear of Lake Michigan, who had a daughter as beautiful as she was modest and discreet. Everybody spoke of her beauty, and she was so handsome that her mother feared she would be carried off, so to prevent it she put her in a box, which she pushed into the middle of the lake. The box was tied by a long string to a stake on shore, and every morning the mother pulled the box to land, and, taking her daughter out of it, combed her hair, gave her food, and then putting her again in the box, set her afloat on the lake.

One day it chanced that a handsome young man came to the spot at the moment the girl was being thus attended to by her mother. He was struck with her beauty, and immediately went home and told his love to his uncle, who was a great chief and a powerful magician.

"My nephew," replied the old man, "go to the mother's lodge and sit down in a modest manner without saying a word. You need not ask her a question, for whatever you think she will understand, and what she thinks in answer you will understand."

The young man did as he was bid. He entered the woman's lodge and sat with his head bent down in a thoughtful manner, without uttering a word. He then thought—

"I wish she would give me her daughter." Very soon he understood the mother's thoughts in reply.

"Give you my daughter!" thought she. "You! no, indeed! my daughter shall never marry you!"

The young man went away and reported the result to his uncle.

"Woman without good sense!" exclaimed the old man. "Who is she keeping her daughter for? Does she think she will marry the Mudjikewis (a term indicating the heir or successor to the first in power)? Proud heart! We will try her magic skill, and see whether she can withstand our power."

He forthwith set himself to work, and in a short time the pride and haughtiness of the mother was made known to all the spirits on that part of the lake, and they met together and resolved to exert their power to humble her. To do this they determined to raise a great storm on the lake. The water began to roar and toss, and the tempest became so severe that the string holding the box broke, and it floated off through the straits down Lake Huron, and struck against the sandy shores at its outlet. The place where it struck was near the lodge of a decayed old magician called Ishkwon Daimeka, or the keeper of the gate of the lakes. He opened the box and let out the beautiful daughter, whom he took into his lodge and made his wife.

When her mother found that her daughter had been carried off by the storm, she raised loud cries and lamented exceedingly. This she continued to do for a long time, and would not be comforted. At last the spirits began to pity her, and determined to raise another storm to bring the daughter back. This was even a greater storm than the first. The water of the lake washed away the ground, and swept on to the lodge of Ishkwon Daimeka, whose wife, when she saw the flood approaching, leaped into the box, and the waves, carrying her off, landed her at the very spot where was her mother's lodge.

Monedo Kway was overjoyed, but when she opened the box she found her daughter, indeed, but her beauty had almost all departed. However, she loved her still, because she was her daughter, and now thought of the young man who had come to seek her in marriage. She sent a formal message to him, but he had heard of all that had occurred, and his love for the girl had died away.

"I marry your daughter!" replied he. "Your daughter! no, indeed! I shall never marry her!"

The storm that brought the girl back was so strong that it tore away a large part of the shore of the lake and swept off Ishkwon Daimeka's lodge, the fragments of which, lodging in the straits, formed those beautiful islands which are scattered in the St. Clair and Detroit rivers. As to Ishkwon Daimeka himself, he was drowned, and his bones lie buried under the islands. As he was carried away by the waves on a fragment of his lodge, the old man was heard lamenting his fate in a song.


At the distance of a woman's walk of a day from the mouth of the river, called by the pale-faces the Whitestone, in the country of the Sioux, in the middle of a large plain, stands a lofty hill or mound. Its wonderful roundness, together with the circumstance of its standing apart from all other hills, like a fir-tree in the midst of a wide prairie, or a man whose friends and kindred have all descended to the dust, has made it known to all the tribes of the West. Whether it was created by the Great Spirit or filled up by the sons of men, whether it was done in the morning of the world, ask not me, for I cannot tell you. Know it is called by all the tribes of the land the Hill of Little People, or the Mountain of Little Spirits. No gifts can induce an Indian to visit it; for why should he incur the anger of the Little People who dwell in it, and, sacrificed upon the fire of their wrath, behold his wife and children no more? In all the marches and counter-marches of the Indians, in all their goings and returnings, in all their wanderings by day or by night to and from lands which lie beyond it, their paths are so ordered that none approaches near enough to disturb the tiny inhabitants of the hill. The memory of the red-man of the forest has preserved but one instance when their privacy was violated, since it was known through the tribes that they wished for no intercourse with mortals. Before that time many Indians were missing each year. No one knew what became of them, but they were gone, and left no trace nor story behind. Valiant warriors filled their quivers with arrows, put new strings to their bows, new shod their moccasins, and sallied out to acquire glory in combat; but there was no wailing in the camp of our foes: their arrows were not felt, their shouts were not heard. Yet they fell not by the hands of our foes, but perished we know not how.

Many seasons ago there lived within the limits of the great council-fire of the Mahas a chief who was renowned for his valour and victories in the field, his wisdom in the council, his dexterity and success in the chase. His name was Mahtoree, or the White Crane. He was celebrated throughout the vast regions of the West, from the Mississippi to the Hills of the Serpent, from the Missouri to the Plains of Bitter Frost, for all those qualities which render an Indian warrior famous and feared.

In one of the war expeditions of the Pawnee Mahas against the Burntwood Tetons, it was the good fortune of the former to overcome and to make many prisoners—men, women, and children. One of the captives, Sakeajah, or the Bird-Girl, a beautiful creature in the morning of life, after being adopted into one of the Mahas families, became the wife of the chief warrior of the nation. Great was the love which the White Crane had for his wife, and it grew yet stronger when she had brought him four sons and a daughter, Tatokah, or the Antelope. She was beautiful. Her skin was fair, her eyes were large and bright as those of the bison-ox, and her hair black, and braided with beads, brushed, as she walked, the dew from the flowers upon the prairies. Her temper was gentle and her voice sweet.

It may not be doubted that the beautiful Tatokah had many lovers; but the heart of the maiden was touched by none of the noble youths who sought her. She bade them all depart as they came; she rejected them all. With the perverseness which is often seen among women, she had placed her affections upon a youth who had distinguished himself by no valiant deeds in war, nor by industry or dexterity in the chase. His name had never reached the surrounding nations. His own nation knew him not, unless as a weak and imbecile man. He was poor in everything which constitutes the riches of Indian life. Who had heard the twanging of Karkapaha's bow in the retreat of the bear, or who had beheld the war-paint on his cheek or brow? Where were the scalps or the prisoners that betokened his valour or daring? No song of valiant exploits had been heard from his lips, for he had none to boast of—if he had done aught becoming a man, he had done it when none was by. The beautiful Tatokah, who knew and lamented the deficiencies of her lover, strove long to conquer her passion without success. At length, since her father would not agree to her union with her lover, the two agreed to fly together. The night fixed came, and they left the village of the Mahas and the lodge of Mahtoree for the wilderness.

Their flight was not unmarked, and when the father was made acquainted with the disgrace which had befallen him, he called his young men around him, and bade them pursue the fugitives, promising his daughter to whomsoever should slay the Karkapaha. Immediately pursuit was made, and soon a hundred eager youths were on the track of the hapless pair. With that unerring skill and sagacity in discovering footprints which mark their race, their steps were tracked, and themselves soon discovered flying. What was the surprise of the pursuers when they found that the path taken by the hapless pair would carry them to the mountain of little spirits, and that they were sufficiently in advance to reach it before they could be overtaken. None of them durst venture within the supposed limits, and they halted till the White Crane should be informed of his daughter and her lover having placed themselves under the protection of the spirits.

In the meantime the lovers pursued their journey towards the fearful residence of the little people. Despair lent them courage to perform an act to which the stoutest Indian resolution had hitherto been unequal. They determined to tell their tale to the spirits and ask their protection. They were within a few feet of the hill when, on a sudden, its brow, on which no object had till now been visible, became covered with little people, the tallest of whom was not higher than the knee of the maiden, while many of them—but these were children—were of lower stature than the squirrel. Their voice was sharp and quick, like the barking of the prairie dog. A little wing came out at each shoulder; each had a single eye, which eye was to the right in the men, and to the left in the women, and their feet stood out at each side. They were armed like Indians, with tomahawks, spears, bows, and arrows. He who appeared to be the head chief—for he wore an air of command, and had the eagle feather—came up to the fugitives and said—

"Why have you invaded the village of our race whose wrath has been so fatal to your people? How dare you venture within the limits of our residence? Know you not that your lives are forfeited?"

Tatokah, for her lover had less than the heart of a doe and was speechless, related their story. She told them how they had loved, how wroth her father had been, how they had stolen away and been pursued, and concluded her tale of sorrow with a flood of tears. The little man who wore the eagle feather appeared moved by what she said, and calling around him a large number of men, who were doubtless the chiefs and counsellors of the nation, a long consultation took place. The result was a determination to favour and protect the lovers.

At this moment Shongotongo, or the Big Horse, one of the braves whom Mahtoree had despatched in quest of his daughter, appeared in view in pursuit of the fugitives. It was not till Mahtoree had taxed his courage that Big Horse had ventured on the perilous quest. He approached with the strength of heart and singleness of purpose which accompany an Indian warrior who deems the eyes of his nation upon him. When first the brave was discovered thus wantonly, and with no other purpose but the shedding of blood, intruding on the dominions of the spirits, no words can tell the rage which appeared to possess their bosoms. Secure in the knowledge of their power to repel the attacks of every living thing, the intrepid Maha was permitted to advance within a few steps of Karkapaha. He had just raised his spear to strike the unmanly lover, when, all at once, he found himself riveted to the ground. His feet refused to move, his hands hung powerless at his side, his tongue refused to utter a word. The bow and arrow fell from his hand, and his spear lay powerless. A little child, not so high as the fourth leaf of the thistle, came and spat on him, and a company of the spirits danced around him singing a taunting song. When they had thus finished their task of preparatory torture, a thousand little spirits drew their bows, and a thousand arrows pierced his heart. In a moment innumerable mattocks were employed in preparing him a grave, and he was hidden from the eyes of the living ere Tatokah could have thrice counted over the fingers of her hand.

When this was done, the chief of the little spirits called Karkapaha before him, and said—

"Maha, you have the heart of a doe. You would fly from a roused wren. We have not spared you because you deserve to be spared, but because the maiden loves you. It is for this purpose that we will give you the heart of a man, that you may return to the village of the Mahas, and find favour in the eyes of Mahtoree and the braves of the nation. We will take away your cowardly spirit, and will give you the spirit of the warrior whom we slew, whose heart was firm as a rock. Sleep, man of little soul, and wake to be better worthy the love of the beautiful Antelope."

Then a deep sleep came over the Maha lover. How long he slept he knew not, but when he woke he felt at once that a change had taken place in his feelings and temper. The first thought that came to his mind was of a bow and arrow, the second was of the beautiful maiden who lay sleeping at his side. The little spirits had disappeared—not a solitary being of the many thousands who, but a few minutes before, had filled the air with their discordant cries was now to be seen or heard. At the feet of Karkapaha lay a tremendous bow, larger than any warrior ever yet used, a sheaf of arrows of proportionate size, and a spear of a weight which no Maha could wield. Karkapaha drew the bow as an Indian boy bends a willow twig, and the spear seemed in his hand but a reed or a feather. The shrill war-whoop burst unconsciously from his lips, and his nostrils seemed dilated with the fire and impatience of a newly-awakened courage. The heart of the fond Indian girl dissolved in tears when she saw these proofs of strength and these evidences of spirit which, she knew, if they were coupled with valour—and how could she doubt the completeness of the gift to effect the purposes of the giver?—would thaw the iced feelings of her father and tune his heart to the song of forgiveness. Yet it was not without many fears, tears, and misgivings on the part of the maiden that they began their journey to the Mahas village. The lover, now a stranger to fear, used his endeavours to quiet the beautiful Tatokah, and in some measure succeeded. Upon finding that his daughter and her lover had gone to the Hill of the Spirits, and that Shongotongo did not return from his perilous adventure, the chief of the Mahas had recalled his braves from the pursuit, and was listening to the history of the pair, as far as the returned warriors were acquainted with it, when his daughter and her lover made their appearance. With a bold and fearless step the once faint-hearted Karkapaha walked up to the offended father, and, folding his arms upon his breast, stood erect as a pine, and motionless as that tree when the winds of the earth are chained. It was the first time that Karkapaha had ever looked on angry men without trembling, and a demeanour so unusual in him excited universal surprise.

"Karkapaha is a thief," said the White Crane.

"It is the father of Tatokah that says it," answered the lover, "else would Karkapaha say it was the song of a bird that has flown over."

"My warriors say it."

"Your warriors are singing-birds; they are wrens. Karkapaha says they do not speak the truth. Karkapaha has a brave heart and the strength of a bear. Let the braves try him. He has thrown away the woman's heart, and become a man."

"Karkapaha is changed," said the chief thoughtfully, "but how and when?"

"The Little Spirits of the mountain have given him a new soul. Bid your braves draw this bow. Bid them poise this spear. Their eyes say they can do neither. Then is Karkapaha the strong man of his tribe?" As he said this he flourished the ponderous spear over his head as a man would poise a reed, and drew the bow as a child would bend a twig.

"Karkapaha is the husband of Tatokah," said Mahtoree, springing to his feet, and he gave the maiden to her lover.

The traditionary lore of the Mahas is full of the exploits, both in war and in the chase, of Karkapaha, who was made a man by the Spirits of the Mountain.


The Choctaws had for many years found a home in regions beyond the Mountains of Snow, far away to the west of the Mississippi. They, however, decided, for some reason or other, to leave the place in which they dwelt, and the question then arose in what direction they should journey. Now, there was a jossakeed (priest) who had a wonderful rod, and he said that he would lead them.

For many years, therefore, they travelled, being guided by him. He walked before them bearing the rod, and when night was come he put it upright in the earth, and the people encamped round it. In the morning they looked to see in what direction the rod pointed, for each night the rod left its upright position, and inclined one way or another. Day after day the rod was found pointing to the east, and thither the Choctaws accordingly bent their steps.

"You must travel," said the jossakeed, "as long as the rod directs you pointing to the direction in which you must go, but when the rod ceases to point, and stands upright, then you must live there."

So the people went on until they came to a hill, where they camped, having first put up the rod so that it did not lean at all. In the morning, when they went to see which direction the rod pointed out for them to take, they found it upright, and from it there grew branches bearing green leaves. Then they said—

"We will stop here."

So that became the centre of the land of the Choctaws.


For several nights after the interment of a Chippewa a fire is kept burning upon the grave. This fire is lit in the evening, and carefully supplied with small sticks of dry wood, to keep up a bright but small fire. It is kept burning for several hours, generally until the usual hour of retiring to rest, and then suffered to go out. The fire is renewed for four nights, and sometimes for longer. The person who performs this pious office is generally a near relative of the deceased, or one who has been long intimate with him. The following tale is related as showing the origin of the custom.

A small war party of Chippewas encountered their enemies upon an open plain, where a severe battle was fought. Their leader was a brave and distinguished warrior, but he never acted with greater bravery, or more distinguished himself by personal prowess, than on this occasion. After turning the tide of battle against his enemies, while shouting for victory, he received an arrow in his breast, and fell upon the plain. No warrior thus killed is ever buried, and according to ancient custom, the chief was placed in a sitting posture upon the field, his back supported by a tree, and his face turned towards the direction in which his enemies had fled. His headdress and equipment were accurately adjusted as if he were living, and his bow leaned against his shoulder. In this posture his companions left him. That he was dead appeared evident to all, but a strange thing had happened. Although deprived of speech and motion, the chief heard distinctly all that was said by his friends. He heard them lament his death without having the power to contradict it, and he felt their touch as they adjusted his posture, without having the power to reciprocate it. His anguish, when he felt himself thus abandoned, was extreme, and his wish to follow his friends on their return home so completely filled his mind, as he saw them one after another take leave of him and depart, that with a terrible effort he arose and followed them. His form, however, was invisible to them, and this aroused in him surprise, disappointment, and rage, which by turns took possession of him. He followed their track, however, with great diligence. Wherever they went he went, when they walked he walked, when they ran he ran, when they encamped he stopped with them, when they slept he slept, when they awoke he awoke. In short, he mingled in all their labours and toils, but he was excluded from all their sources of refreshment, except that of sleeping, and from the pleasures of participating in their conversation, for all that he said received no notice.

"Is it possible," he cried, "that you do not see me, that you do not hear me, that you do not understand me? Will you suffer me to bleed to death without offering to stanch my wounds? Will you permit me to starve while you eat around me? Have those whom I have so often led to war so soon forgotten me? Is there no one who recollects me, or who will offer me a morsel of food in my distress?"

Thus he continued to upbraid his friends at every stage of the journey, but no one seemed to hear his words. If his voice was heard at all, it was mistaken for the rustling of the leaves in the wind.

At length the returning party reached their village, and their women and children came out, according to custom, to welcome their return and proclaim their praises.

"Kumaudjeewug! Kumaudjeewug! Kumaudjeewug! they have met, fought, and conquered!" was shouted by every mouth, and the words resounded through the most distant parts of the village. Those who had lost friends came eagerly to inquire their fate, and to know whether they had died like men. The aged father consoled himself for the loss of his son with the reflection that he had fallen manfully, and the widow half forgot her sorrow amid the praises that were uttered of the bravery of her husband. The hearts of the youths glowed with martial ardour as they heard these flattering praises, and the children joined in the shouts, of which they scarcely knew the meaning. Amidst all this uproar and bustle no one seemed conscious of the presence of the warrior-chief. He heard many inquiries made respecting his fate. He heard his companions tell how he had fought, conquered, and fallen, pierced by an arrow through his breast, and how he had been left behind among the slain on the field of battle.

"It is not true," declared the angry chief, "that I was killed and left upon the field! I am here. I live; I move; see me; touch me. I shall again raise my spear in battle, and take my place in the feast."

Nobody, however, seemed conscious of his presence, and his voice was mistaken for the whispering of the wind.

He now walked to his own lodge, and there he found his wife tearing her hair and lamenting over his fate. He endeavoured to undeceive her, but she, like the others, appeared to be insensible of his presence, and not to hear his voice. She sat in a despairing manner, with her head reclining on her hands. The chief asked her to bind up his wounds, but she made no reply. He placed his mouth close to her ear and shouted—

"I am hungry, give me some food!"

The wife thought she heard a buzzing in her ear, and remarked it to one who sat by. The enraged husband now summoning all his strength, struck her a blow on the forehead. His wife raised her hand to her head, and said to her friend—

"I feel a slight shooting pain in my head."

Foiled thus in every attempt to make himself known, the warrior-chief began to reflect upon what he had heard in his youth, to the effect that the spirit was sometimes permitted to leave the body and wander about. He concluded that possibly his body might have remained upon the field of battle, while his spirit only accompanied his returning friends. He determined to return to the field, although it was four days' journey away. He accordingly set out upon his way. For three days he pursued his way without meeting anything uncommon; but on the fourth, towards evening, as he came to the skirts of the battlefield, he saw a fire in the path before him. He walked to one side to avoid stepping into it, but the fire also changed its position, and was still before him. He then went in another direction, but the mysterious fire still crossed his path, and seemed to bar his entrance to the scene of the conflict. In short, whichever way he took, the fire was still before him,—no expedient seemed to avail him.

"Thou demon!" he exclaimed at length, "why dost thou bar my approach to the field of battle? Knowest thou not that I am a spirit also, and that I seek again to enter my body? Dost thou presume that I shall return without effecting my object? Know that I have never been defeated by the enemies of my nation, and will not be defeated by thee!"

So saying, he made a sudden effort and jumped through the flame. No sooner had he done so than he found himself sitting on the ground, with his back supported by a tree, his bow leaning against his shoulder, all his warlike dress and arms upon his body, just as they had been left by his friends on the day of battle. Looking up he beheld a large canicu, or war eagle, sitting in the tree above his head. He immediately recognised this bird to be the same as he had once dreamt of in his youth—the one he had chosen as his guardian spirit, or personal manito. This eagle had carefully watched his body and prevented other ravenous birds from touching it.

The chief got up and stood upon his feet, but he felt himself weak and much exhausted. The blood upon his wound had stanched itself, and he now bound it up. He possessed a knowledge of such roots as have healing properties, and these he carefully sought in the woods. Having found some, he pounded some of them between stones and applied them externally. Others he chewed and swallowed. In a short time he found himself so much recovered as to be able to commence his journey, but he suffered greatly from hunger, not seeing any large animals that he might kill. However, he succeeded in killing some small birds with his bow and arrow, and these he roasted before a fire at night.

In this way he sustained himself until he came to a river that separated his wife and friends from him. He stood upon the bank and gave that peculiar whoop which is a signal of the return of a friend. The sound was immediately heard, and a canoe was despatched to bring him over, and in a short time, amidst the shouts of his friends and relations, who thronged from every side to see the arrival, the warrior-chief was landed.

When the first wild bursts of wonder and joy had subsided, and some degree of quiet had been restored to the village, he related to his people the account of his adventures. He concluded his narrative by telling them that it is pleasing to the spirit of a deceased person to have a fire built upon the grave for four nights after his burial; that it is four days' journey to the land appointed for the residence of the spirits; that in its journey thither the spirit stands in need of a fire every night at the place of its encampment; and that if the friends kindle this fire upon the spot where the body is laid, the spirit has the benefit of its light and warmth on its path, while if the friends neglect to do this, the spirit is subjected to the irksome task of making its own fire each night.


A long time ago there lived an aged Odjibwa and his wife on the shores of Lake Huron. They had an only son, a very beautiful boy, named O-na-wut-a-qut-o, or He that catches the clouds. The family were of the totem of the beaver. The parents were very proud of their son, and wished to make him a celebrated man; but when he reached the proper age he would not submit to the We-koon-de-win, or fast. When this time arrived they gave him charcoal instead of his breakfast, but he would not blacken his face. If they denied him food he sought bird's eggs along the shore, or picked up the heads of fish that had been cast away, and broiled them. One day they took away violently the food he had prepared, and cast him some coals in place of it. This act decided him. He took the coals and blackened his face and went out of the lodge. He did not return, but lay down without to sleep. As he lay, a very beautiful girl came down from the clouds and stood by his side.

"O-na-wut-a-qut-o," she said, "I am come for you. Follow in my footsteps."

The young man rose and did as he was bid. Presently he found himself ascending above the tops of the trees, and gradually he mounted up step by step into the air, and through the clouds. At length his guide led him through an opening, and he found himself standing with her on a beautiful plain.

A path led to a splendid lodge, into which O-na-wut-a-qut-o followed his guide. It was large, and divided into two parts. At one end he saw bows and arrows, clubs and spears, and various warlike instruments tipped with silver. At the other end were things exclusively belonging to women. This was the house of his fair guide, and he saw that she had on a frame a broad rich belt of many colours that she was weaving.

"My brother is coming," she said, "and I must hide you."

Putting him in one corner she spread the belt over him, and presently the brother came in very richly dressed, and shining as if he had points of silver all over him. He took down from the wall a splendid pipe, and a bag in which was a-pa-ko-ze-gun, or smoking mixture. When he had finished smoking, he laid his pipe aside, and said to his sister—

"Nemissa," (elder sister) "when will you quit these practices? Do you forget that the greatest of the spirits has commanded that you shall not take away the children from below? Perhaps you think you have concealed O-na-wut-a-qut-o, but do I not know of his coming? If you would not offend me, send him back at once."

These words did not, however, alter his sister's purpose. She would not send him back, and her brother, finding that she was determined, called O-na-wut-a-qut-o from his hiding-place.

"Come out of your concealment," said he, "and walk about and amuse yourself. You will grow hungry if you remain there."

At these words O-na-wut-a-qut-o came forth from under the belt, and the brother presented a bow and arrows, with a pipe of red stone, richly ornamented, to him. In this way he gave his consent to O-na-wut-a-qut-o's marriage with his sister, and from that time the youth and the girl became husband and wife.

O-na-wut-a-qut-o found everything exceedingly fair and beautiful around him, but he found no other people besides his wife and her brother. There were flowers on the plains, there were bright and sparkling streams, there were green valleys and pleasant trees, there were gay birds and beautiful animals, very different from those he had been accustomed to. There was also day and night as on the earth, but he observed that every morning the brother regularly left the lodge and remained absent all day, and every evening his sister departed, but generally for only a part of the night.

O-na-wut-a-qut-o was curious to solve this mystery, and obtained the brother's consent to accompany him in one of his daily journeys. They travelled over a smooth plain which seemed to stretch to illimitable distances all around. At length O-na-wut-a-qut-o felt the gnawings of hunger and asked his companion if there was no game about.

"Patience, my brother," replied he; "we shall soon reach the spot where I eat my dinner, and you will then see how I am provided."

After walking on a long time they came to a place where several fine mats were spread, and there they sat down to refresh themselves. At this place there was a hole in the sky and O-na-wut-a-qut-o, at his companion's request, looked through it down upon the earth. He saw below the great lakes and the villages of the Indians. In one place he saw a war-party stealing on the camp of their enemies. In another he saw feasting and dancing. On a green plain some young men were playing at ball, and along the banks of a stream were women employed in gathering the a-puk-wa for mats.

"Do you see," asked the brother, "that group of children playing beside a lodge? Observe that beautiful and active lad," said he, at the same time darting something from his hand. The child immediately fell on the ground, and was carried by his companions into the lodge.

O-na-wut-a-qut-o and his companion watched and saw the people below gathering about the lodge. They listened to the she-she-gwau of the meeta, to the song he sang asking that the child's life might be spared. To this request O-na-wut-a-qut-o's companion made answer—

"Send me up the sacrifice of a white dog."

A feast was immediately ordered by the parents of the child. The white dog was killed, his carcass was roasted, all the wise men and medicine-men of the village assembling to witness the ceremony.

"There are many below," said O-na-wut-a-qut-o's companion, "whom you call great in medical skill. They are so, because their ears are open; and they are able to succeed, because when I call they hear my voice. When I have struck one with sickness they direct the people to look to me, and when they make me the offering I ask, I remove my hand from off the sick person and he becomes well."

While he was saying this, the feast below had been served. Then the master of the feast said—

"We send this to thee, Great Manito," and immediately the roasted animal came up. Thus O-na-wut-a-qut-o and his companion got their dinner, and after they had eaten they returned to the lodge by a different path.

In this manner they lived for some time, but at last the youth got weary of the life. He thought of his friends, and wished to go back to them. He could not forget his native village and his father's lodge, and he asked his wife's permission to return. After some persuasion she consented.

"Since you are better pleased," she said, "with the cares and ills and poverty of the world, than with the peaceful delights of the sky and its boundless prairies, go. I give you my permission, and since I have brought you hither I will conduct you back. Remember, however, that you are still my husband. I hold a chain in my hand by which I can, whenever I will, draw you back to me. My power over you will be in no way diminished. Beware, therefore, how you venture to take a wife among the people below. Should you ever do so, you will feel what a grievous thing it is to arouse my anger."

As she uttered these words her eyes sparkled, and she drew herself up with a majestic air. In the same moment O-na-wut-a-qut-o awoke. He found himself on the ground near his father's lodge, on the very spot where he had thrown himself down to sleep. Instead of the brighter beings of a higher world, he found around him his parents and their friends. His mother told him that he had been absent a year. For some time O-na-wut-a-qut-o remained gloomy and silent, but by degrees he recovered his spirits, and he began to doubt the reality of all he had seen and heard above. At last he even ventured to marry a beautiful girl of his own tribe. But within four days she died. Still he was forgetful of his first wife's command, and he married again. Then one night he left his lodge, to which he never returned. His wife, it is believed, recalled him to the sky, where he still dwells, walking the vast plains.


One day Manabozho said to his grandmother—

"Noko, get cedar bark and make me a line whilst I make a canoe."

When all was ready he went out to the middle of the lake a-fishing.

"Me-she-nah-ma-gwai (king-fish)," said he, letting down his line, "take hold of my bait."

He kept repeating these words some time; at last the king-fish said—

"What a trouble Manabozho is! Here, trout, take hold of his line."

The trout did as he was bid, and Manabozho drew up his line, the trout's weight being so great that the canoe was nearly overturned. Till he saw the trout Manabozho kept crying out—

"Wha-ee-he! wha-ee-he!"

As soon as he saw him he said—

"Why did you take hold of my hook? Esa, esa! shame, shame! you ugly fish."

The trout, being thus rebuked, let go.

Manabozho let down his line again into the water, saying—

"King-fish, take hold of my line."

"What a trouble Manabozho is!" cried the king-fish. "Sun-fish, take hold of his line."

The sun-fish did as he was bid, and Manabozho drew him up, crying as he did so—

"Wha-ee-he! wha-ee-he!" while the canoe turned in swift circles.

When he saw the sun-fish, he cried—

"Esa, esa! you odious fish! why did you dirty my hook by taking it in your mouth? Let go, I say, let go."

The sun-fish did as he was bid, and on his return to the bottom of the lake told the king-fish what Manabozho had said. Just then the bait was let down again near to the king, and Manabozho was heard crying out—

"Me-she-nah-ma-gwai, take hold of my hook."

The king-fish did so, and allowed himself to be dragged to the surface, which he had no sooner reached than he swallowed Manabozho and his canoe at one gulp. When Manabozho came to himself he found he was in his canoe in the fish's stomach. He now began to think how he should escape. Looking about him, he saw his war-club in his canoe, and with it he immediately struck the heart of the fish. Then he felt as though the fish was moving with great velocity. The king-fish observed to his friends—

"I feel very unwell for having swallowed that nasty fellow Manabozho."

At that moment he received another more severe blow on the heart. Manabozho thought, "If I am thrown up in the middle of the lake I shall be drowned, so I must prevent it." So he drew his canoe and placed it across the fish's throat, and just as he had finished doing this the king-fish tried to cast him out.

Manabozho now found that he had a companion with him. This was a squirrel that had been in his canoe. The squirrel helped him to place the canoe in the proper position, and Manabozho, being grateful to it, said—

"For the future you shall be called Ajidanneo (animal tail)."

Then he recommenced his attack on the king-fish's heart, and by repeated blows he at last succeeded in killing him. He could tell that he had effected this by the stoppage of the fish's motion, and he could also hear the body beating against the shore. Manabozho waited a day to see what would happen. Then he heard birds scratching on the body, and all at once the rays of light broke in. He could now see the heads of the gulls, which were looking in at the opening they had made.

"Oh!" cried Manabozho, "my younger brothers, make the opening larger, so that I can get out." The gulls then told one another that Manabozho was inside the fish, and, setting to work at once to enlarge the hole, they, in a short time, set him free. After he got out Manabozho said to the gulls—

"For the future you shall be called Kayoshk (noble scratchers), for your kindness to me."


There were once ten brothers who hunted together, and at night they occupied the same lodge. One day, after they had been hunting, coming home they found sitting inside the lodge near the door a beautiful woman. She appeared to be a stranger, and was so lovely that all the hunters loved her, and as she could only be the wife of one, they agreed that he should have her who was most successful in the next day's hunt. Accordingly, the next day, they each took different ways, and hunted till the sun went down, when they met at the lodge. Nine of the hunters had found nothing, but the youngest brought home a deer, so the woman was given to him for his wife.

The hunter had not been married more than a year when he was seized with sickness and died. Then the next brother took the girl for his wife. Shortly after he died also, and the woman married the next brother. In a short time all the brothers died save the eldest, and he married the girl. She did not, however, love him, for he was of a churlish disposition, and one day it came into the woman's head that she would leave him and see what fortune she would meet with in the world. So she went, taking only a dog with her, and travelled all day. She went on and on, but towards evening she heard some one coming after her who, she imagined, must be her husband. In great fear she knew not which way to turn, when she perceived a hole in the ground before her. There she thought she might hide herself, and entering it with her dog she suddenly found herself going lower and lower, until she passed through the earth and came up on the other side. Near to her there was a lake, and a man fishing in it.

"My grandfather," cried the woman, "I am pursued by a spirit."

"Leave me," cried Manabozho, for it was he, "leave me. Let me be quiet."

The woman still begged him to protect her, and Manabozho at length said—

"Go that way, and you shall be safe."

Hardly had she disappeared when the husband, who had discovered the hole by which his wife had descended, came on the scene.

"Tell me," said he to Manabozho, "where has the woman gone?"

"Leave me," cried Manabozho, "don't trouble me."

"Tell me," said the man, "where is the woman?" Manabozho was silent, and the husband, at last getting angry, abused him with all his might.

"The woman went that way," said Manabozho at last. "Run after her, but you shall never catch her, and you shall be called Gizhigooke (day sun), and the woman shall be called Tibikgizis (night sun)."

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