[Frontispiece: THE WINDMAKER]
MACMILLAN'S LAKESIDE SERIES
THIRTY INDIAN LEGENDS
THE MACMILLAN COMPANY OF CANADA, LTD.
COPYRIGHT, CANADA, 1912, BY
THE MACMILLAN COMPANY OF CANADA, LTD.
For the most part the legends here told are drawn from original sources. Many of the stories are printed for the first time; others have been adapted from well-known authorities. The author wishes to acknowledge in this latter connection help received from the collection, "The Indian in his Wigwam." Thanks are also due to Mr. G. H. Dunn, St. Andrew's Locks, Manitoba, for the "Sleep Fairies"; to Mr. C. Linklater, Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, for the "Adventures of Wesakchak"; to Mr. J. S. Logie, Summerland, British Columbia, for "The Chief's Bride"; to the Okanagan chief, Antowyne, for the other Okanagan legends; and to a paper read before the Royal Society of Canada by Mr. G. M. Dawson, for "The Old Stump."
The last story in the book, "A Battle with the Sioux," although not a legend of the Indians, has been inserted as a true picture of Indian life and customs, and an interesting account of their contact with and relation to the white men.
September 15, 1912.
THE GIANT BEAR THE SUMMER MAKER THE SLEEP FAIRIES SHINGEBISS THE QUEER LITTLE ANIMAL THE DORMOUSE THE WINDMAKER MOOWIS THE DAUGHTERS OF THE STAR KOTO AND THE BIRD THE HUMPBACKED MANITOU THE TRIBE THAT GREW OUT OF A SHELL THE STORY OF THE INDIAN CORN THE MAGICIAN OF LAKE HURON THE FAIRIES' CLIFF THE STONE CANOE THE WHITE FEATHER THE LONE LIGHTNING THE ENCHANTED MOCCASINS THE FIVE WATER-SPIRITS THE CANOE BREAKER THE OLD STUMP THE CLIFF OF SINIKIELT THE STRANGE DREAM BIG CHIEF'S CONQUEST THE RED SWAN THE WHISPERING GRASS THE LEGEND OF MACKINAC ISLAND
THE ADVENTURES OF WESAKCHAK I. THE WONDERFUL BALL II. A WONDERFUL JOURNEY III. THE GRAY GOOSE IV. LITTLE BROTHER RABBIT V. THE BALD-HEADED EAGLES
A BATTLE WITH THE SIOUX
THIRTY INDIAN LEGENDS
THE GIANT BEAR
In the far north there was a village where many warlike Indians lived. In one family there were ten brothers, all brave and fearless. In the spring of the year the youngest brother blackened his face and fasted for several days. Then he sent for his nine brothers and said to them:
"I have fasted and dreamed, and my dreams are good. Will you come on a war journey with me?"
"Yes," they all said readily.
"Then tell no one, not even your wives, of our plan." They agreed to meet on a certain night so that no one should see them go. One brother was named Mudjekeewis, and he was very odd. He was the first to promise that he would not tell. The next two days were spent in preparations for the journey. Mudjekeewis told his wife many times to get his moccasins for him.
"And hurry." he said; "do hurry."
"Why do you want them?" she asked. "You have a good pair on."
"Well, if you must know, we are going on a war journey," he answered.
When the night had come which the leader had named, they met at his wigwam and set out on their long journey. The snow lay on the ground, and the night was very dark.
After they had travelled some miles, the leader gathered some snow and made it into a ball. He threw it in the air and said, as it fell, "It was thus I saw the snow fall in my dreams to cover our footmarks, so that no one may follow us."
The snow began to fall heavily and continued for two days. It was so thick that they could scarcely see each other, though they walked very closely together.
The leader cheered his brothers by telling them they would win in their battle. At this Mudjekeewis, who was walking behind, ran forward. He swung his war-club in the air and uttered the war-cry. Then bringing his war-club down, he struck a tree, and it fell as if hit by lightning.
"See, brothers," he said, "this is the way I shall serve our enemy."
"Hush, Mudjekeewis," said the leader. "He whom we are going to fight cannot be treated so lightly."
Then they travelled on for several days, until at last they reached the borders of the White Plain, where the bones of men lay bleaching.
"These are the bones of men who have gone before us. No one has ever returned to tell of their sad fate." Mudjekeewis looked frightened at this and thought, "I wonder who this terrible enemy is."
"Be not afraid, my brothers," said the leader. Mudjekeewis then took courage, again jumped forward, and uttering the war-cry, brought his warclub down on a small rock, and split it into pieces. "See, I am not afraid," he cried. "Thus shall I serve my enemy." But the leader still pressed onward over the plain, until at last a small rise in the ground brought them in sight of the enemy. Some distance away, on the top of the mountain, a giant bear lay sleeping.
"Look, brothers," said the leader. "There is the mighty enemy, for he is a Manitou. But come now, we need not fear, as he is asleep. Around his neck he has the precious wampum, which we must take from him."
They advanced slowly and quietly. The huge animal did not hear them. Around his neck was a belt which contained the wampum.
"Now we must take this off," said the youngest brother. One after the other tried, but could not do it, until the next to the youngest tried. He pulled it nearly over the bear's head. Then came the turn of the youngest, and he pulled it the rest of the way. He put the belt quickly on the back of the oldest brother.
"Now we must run," said the leader, "for when he awakens, he will miss his belt."
They all hastened away. The wampum was very heavy, so they had to take turns in carrying it. They kept looking back as they ran, and had almost reached the edge of the plain before the bear awoke. He slowly rose to his feet and stood for a moment before he noticed that the belt was gone. Then he uttered a roar that reached to the skies.
"Who has dared to steal my belt?" he roared. "Earth is not so large but that I shall find him."
Saying this, he jumped from the mountain, and the earth shook with his weight. Then with powerful strides he rushed in pursuit of the brothers.
They had passed all the bones now and were becoming very tired.
"Brothers," said the leader, "I dreamed that when we were hard pressed and running for our lives, we saw a lodge where an old man lived, and he helped us. I hope my dream will come true."
Just then they saw, a short distance away, a lodge with smoke curling from the top. They ran to it, and an old man opened the door.
"Grandfather," they gasped, "will you save us? A Manitou is after us."
"Who is a Manitou but I?" said he. "Come in and eat." They entered the lodge and he gave them food. Then, opening the door, he looked out and saw the bear coming with great strides. Shutting the door, he said, "He is indeed a mighty Manitou and will take my life; but you asked for my help and I shall give it. When he comes, you run out of the back door."
Going to a bag which hung from a tree, he took out two small, black, dogs. He patted the sides of the dogs, and they began to swell until they filled the doorway. The dogs had strong, white teeth and growled fiercely. The bear had now reached the door, and with one bound the first dog leaped out, followed by the second. The brothers ran out of the back of the lodge. They could hear the howls of the animals as they fought, and looking back, they saw first one dog killed, then the other, and at last the shrieks of the old man came to them as the bear tore him in pieces. They doubled their speed now, as they saw the bear beginning to follow them again. The food they had eaten gave them new strength, so they were able to run very swiftly for a time. But at last they all felt their strength fail again, for the bear was close behind them now.
"Brothers, I had another dream," said the leader. "It was that an old Manitou saved us. Perhaps his lodge is near us now."
Even as he spoke, they came in sight of another lodge, and as they ran up to the door an old man opened it.
"Save us from the Manitou," they cried as they rushed in.
"Manitou?" he said. "Who is a Manitou but I? Come in and eat," and he closed the door. He brought food for them; then he looked out of the door. The bear was only a few yards away now. Hastily closing the door, he said, "This is indeed a mighty Manitou. You have brought trouble to me, my children; but you run out the back way and I shall fight him."
He then went to his medicine sack and drew out two war-clubs of black stone. As he handled them they grew to an immense size. He opened the door, and as he did so, the brothers ran out the back way. They could hear the blows like claps of thunder as he hit the bear on the head. After that came two sharp cracks, and they knew the clubs were broken with the force of the blows. Then came his shrieks, as he met the fate of the first old man. They tried to run faster than ever now, for they knew the bear must be after them again, but their strength was nearly gone.
"Oh, brother," they asked, "have you no other dream to help us?"
"Yes, I dreamed, when we were running like this, that we came to a lake and on the shore of it was a canoe with ten paddles in it waiting for us. We jumped in and were saved."
As he spoke, there appeared in front of them a lake just as he had dreamed, and a canoe waiting. Getting in, they quickly paddled to the middle of the lake, and waited to see what the bear would do.
He came on with his slow, powerful strides until he reached the water's edge. Then, rising on his hind legs, he took a look around. Dropping down, he waded into the water, but slipped and nearly fell. He waded out and began to walk around the lake. When he reached the spot he had started from, he bent down his head and began to drink the waters of the lake. He drank in such large mouthfuls that the brothers could see the water sinking, and the current began to flow so swiftly towards his mouth that they could not keep their canoe steady. It floated in the current straight to him.
"Now, Mudjekeewis," said the leader, "this is your chance to show us how you would treat your enemy."
"I shall show you and him," said Mudjekeewis. Then, as the canoe came near the big mouth, he stood up and levelled his war-club. Just as the boat touched the bear's teeth, Mudjekeewis uttered the war-cry and dealt the animal a mighty blow on the head. This he repeated, and the bear fell stunned. As the animal fell, he disgorged the water with such force that it sent the canoe spinning to the other side of the lake, where the brothers landed and ran ahead as fast as they could. They had not gone far when they could hear the bear coming behind them.
"Do not be afraid, brothers," said the leader, as he noticed how frightened they all looked. "I have one more dream. If it fails us, we are lost, but let us hope that it will come true. I dreamed we were running, and we came to a lodge out of which came a young maiden. Her brother was a Manitou and by his magic she saved us. Run on and fear not, else your limbs will be fear-bound. Look for his lodge."
And sure enough, behind a little clump of trees, stood a lodge. As they ran to it a maiden came forth and invited them in.
"Enter," she said, "and rest. I shall meet the bear, and when I need you, I shall call you."
Saying this, she took down a medicine-sack, which was hanging on the wall near the door. They entered, and she walked out to meet the bear. The animal came up with angry growls and swinging strides. The maiden quickly opened the medicine-sack and took out some war feathers, paint, and tufts of hair.
As the bear came up, the girl tossed them up in the air, saying, "Behold, these are the magic arrows of my dead brother. These are the magic war paints of my dead brother. This is the eagle's feather of my dead brother, and these are the tufts of hair of wild animals he has killed."
As she said these words and the things fell on the ground near the animal, he tottered and fell. She called the brothers, and they rushed out.
"Cut him into pieces quickly," she said, "or he will come to life again."
They all set to work and cut the huge animal into small pieces, which they tossed away. When they had finished, they saw, to their surprise, that these pieces had turned into small, black bears, which had jumped up and were running away in every direction. And it is from these bears that the bears called the Makwas had their beginning.
 A manitou is the spirit of an Indian who has been killed. Manitous often take the forms of animals when they come back to life.
 Wampum; long, narrow beads, sometimes made of shells. They were usually blue and white and were often woven into a belt. They were greatly treasured by the Indians.
Once in the far north there lived a Manitou whose name was Ojeeg, or the fisher. He and his wife and one son lived on the shore of a lake and were very happy together.
In that country there was never any spring or summer, and the snow lay deep on the ground all the year round. But this did not daunt the fisher.
He went forth every day and always brought back plenty of game.
The son wished to be a great hunter like his father, so he often took his bow and arrows and went out to kill birds. But he nearly always returned with benumbed hands and crying with cold.
One day, as he was returning, feeling very discouraged and ready to cry, he noticed a red squirrel on the top of a tree. As he reached for his arrows to shoot him, the squirrel spoke:
"Put away your arrows and listen to me. I see you go forth each day and always return nearly frozen and with never a bird. Now, if you will do as I tell you, we shall have summer all the time instead of the snow. Then I shall have plenty to eat, and you may kill all the birds you wish. When you go home, you must cry and sob. When your mother asks you what is the matter, do not answer, but throw away your bow and arrow and cry harder than ever. Do not eat any supper, and when your father comes home, he will ask your mother what is the matter with you. She will say that she does not know, that you only sob and cry, and will not speak. When he asks you to give the reason of your sorrow, tell him that you want summer to come. Coax him to get it for you. He will say it is a very hard thing to do, but will promise to try. Now remember all this and do as I tell you."
As the squirrel finished speaking, he disappeared, and the son returned home. Everything happened as the little squirrel had said, and when the son asked his father to get summer for him, Ojeeg replied, "My son, this is a hard task you have given me. But I love you and so shall try for your sake. It may cost me my life, but I shall do my best."
Then he called together all his friends, and they had a feast. A bear was killed and roasted, and they arranged to meet on Thursday to begin their journey.
When the day came, they all gathered; there was the otter, the beaver, the lynx, and the wolverine. Ojeeg said good-bye to his wife and son, and the party set out. For twenty days they travelled through the snow, and at last came to the foot of a mountain. The animals were all very tired by this time, all but Ojeeg. He was a nimble little animal and used to long journeys.
As they began to go up the mountain, they noticed footprints and marks of blood, as if some hunter had gone before them with an animal he had killed.
"Let us follow these tracks," said the fisherman, "and see if we can get something to eat."
When they reached the top of the mountain, they noticed a small lodge.
"Now be very careful and do not laugh at anything we see," said Ojeeg.
They knocked at the door, and it was opened by a very strange man. He had a huge head, big, strong teeth, and no arms. He invited them to come in and eat. There was meat cooking in a wooden pot on the fire. The man lifted it off when they were not looking, and gave them all something to eat. They wondered how he could do this, and how he had killed the animal, but they soon learned the secret. He was a Manitou!
As they were eating, the otter began to laugh at the strange movements of the Manitou, who, hearing a noise, turned quickly and threw himself on the otter. He was going to smother him, as this was his way of killing animals. But the otter managed to wriggle from under him, and escaped out of the door.
The rest remained there for the night. When they were going in the morning, the Manitou told them what path to take and what to do when they reached the right spot. They thanked him and started on again.
For twenty more days they travelled, and then they reached another mountain. They climbed to the top of this, and they knew by certain signs it was the spot the Manitou had described. So they seated themselves in a circle and filled their pipes. They pointed to the sky, the four winds, and the earth; then they began to smoke. As they looked up at the sky they were silent with awe, for they were on such a high mountain that the sky seemed only a few yards off. They then prepared themselves, and Ojeeg told the otter to have the first trial at making a hole in the sky. With a grin the otter consented. He made a spring, but fell down the side of the hill. The snow was moist, so he slid all the way to the bottom. When he had picked himself up, he said, "This is the last time I shall make such a jump; I am going home," and away he went. The beaver had the next turn, but did no better, The lynx had no better luck. Then came the turn of the wolverine.
"Now," said Ojeeg to him, "I am going to depend on you; you are brave and will try again and again."
So the wolverine took a jump, and the first time nearly reached the sky; the second time he cracked it, and the third time he made a hole and crawled in. Ojeeg nimbly followed, and they found themselves on a beautiful, green plain. Lovely shade trees grew at some distance, and among the trees were rivers and lakes. On the water floated all kinds of water-fowl. Then they noticed long lodges. They were empty, except for a great many cages filled with beautiful birds. The spirits who lived in these lodges were wandering among the trees. As Ojeeg noticed the birds, he remembered his son. He quickly opened the doors of the cages, and the birds rushed out. They flew through the air and down through the opening in the sky.
The warm winds, that always blow in that heavenly place, followed the birds down through the opening and began to melt the snows of the north. Then the guardian spirits noticed what was happening, and ran with great shouts to the spot where all were escaping. But Spring and Summer had nearly gone. They struck a great blow and cut Summer in two, so that only part of it reached the earth. The wolverine heard the noise and raced for the hole, getting through before they could close it. But the fisher was farther away and could not reach the hole in time. The spirits closed up the opening and turned to catch him. He ran over the plains to the north, going so fast that he gained the trees before they could catch him. He quickly climbed the largest one, and they began to shoot at him with their arrows.
There was only one place in the fisher's body where he could be hurt,—a spot near the tip of his tail; so the spirits kept shooting a long time before an arrow struck that spot. At last one did, and he fell to the ground. As it was now nearly night, the spirits went back to their lodges and left him there alone. He stretched out his limbs and said:
"I have kept my promise to my son, though it has cost me my life. But I shall always be remembered by the natives of the earth, and I am happy to think of the good I have sent them. From now on they will have different seasons, and eight to ten moons without snow."
In the morning they found him lying dead with the arrow through his tail, and to this day he may be seen in the northern sky.
THE SLEEP FAIRIES
A hunter was once going through a forest with his dogs. After he had gone some distance he missed them. He called and whistled, but they did not come, so he turned back to find them. Going some distance farther, he thought he saw one lying under some low bushes, and when he reached the spot, he saw his three dogs lying there fast asleep. He tried to waken them, but they would open their eyes only for a moment, then fall asleep again. Soon he began to feel a strange, sleepy feeling coming over him. He shook himself and tried to keep awake. Just then he noticed a very large insect on a branch of a tree. It had many wings on its back, which kept up a steady, droning noise. When it noticed the hunter looking at it, the insect said, "I am Weeng, the spirit of sleep. Your dogs came too near my home, and so they have fallen under my spell. In a few minutes you will be asleep yourself."
"Must I go to sleep?" said the hunter. "I would like to go back to my lodge."
"You are a brave chief and have always been kind to the forest insects, so this time I am going to let you go. Take a leaf from yonder little tree, chew it and swallow the juice."
The hunter did as he was told and at once the sleepy feeling was gone. Then the strangest thing happened. He saw all around him queer, little fairies, each one with a tiny war-club. They peeped from out the bark of the trees, from amidst the grass, and even from out his pouch.
"What are these?" he asked Weeng.
"They are my sleep fairies, and are called 'Weengs.' Now you may waken your dogs and go." And before the hunter had time to reply the insect had gone.
He turned and roused the dogs, who followed him, still looking very stupid. As he went he saw the Weengs all around the trees, and many seemed to be coming with him. When he reached his lodge, he saw the little creatures run to the men and climb up their foreheads; then with their war-clubs they began to knock them on the head. Soon the Indians began to yawn and rub their eyes, and in a little while they all lay asleep.
Then the hunter began to feel his own head grow heavy. He tried to keep awake, but could not, so he stretched himself beside the fire and went to sleep. When he awakened and looked around, there were no fairies to be seen.
The hunter determined to go into the forest and see if he could find the little tree from which he had plucked the leaf. But before he went, he carefully tied up his dogs, for he did not wish them to follow him and again fall under the spell of Weeng. They whined when he left them and pulled at their ropes, but he was soon lost to their sight among the trees. Making his way slowly through the forest, he kept a sharp lookout for the little tree with the magic leaves. But he could see nothing that looked like it. For many hours he tramped on, and at last he threw himself down on the ground to rest.
As he lay there, he heard a droning noise above his head. He looked up quickly, and there sat Weeng on the farthermost branch of the tree.
"Good-morning, great hunter," said the insect. "You have been searching for my little tree, have you not?"
"Yes," replied the hunter. "How did you know?"
"I know many things," said Weeng; "but listen, to me. Yonder is the tree." As he spoke, he pointed to a little tree not two yards away. "Pluck one of the leaves, but do not chew it until sunset. At that hour I utter my sleep call, which bids all the insects fly home to rest. When you hear the call, you may chew the leaf, for I want you to see what happens then."
"Is anything strange going to happen?" asked the hunter.
"Great hunter," said Weeng, "if you will remain in this forest behind that large oak tree, you may see it all. One hour before sunset, the Red Squirrel and all his army are coming to attack me."
"Why are they going to do that?" asked the hunter, in surprise.
"Because the Red Squirrel wishes to have my branch for his home. He ordered me to get down, and I refused. So, one hour before sunset, he and his army are coming to drive me from my home."
"What are you going to do?" asked the hunter. "Can I help you?"
"I and my winged friends," said Weeng, "are going to fight them when they come. Yes, great hunter, you can help us by remaining to see that the battle is fair. The Red Squirrel knows that if he can once touch me, I must fall. But my insects have sharp swords, and they can keep the army back till sunset."
"And what will happen then?" asked the hunter.
"Then the insects must go to their homes. But, if you swallow the juice of the leaf, you will see the end of the battle. Now go and hide behind the oak tree. In a few minutes my army will be here."
The hunter did as he was bidden and took his place behind the tree. From here he could see Weeng quite plainly, but he was himself hidden. In a few minutes the insects began to assemble. First came the wasps, looking fierce and warlike. Then came the bees, buzzing along with indignation. Then dozens of flies, bluebottles, sand-flies, and bull-flies, all ready for the fight. Then followed the moths, ladybugs, butterflies, and mosquitoes.
Lastly, with a great noise, came a regiment of hornets and took their places on the branch directly in front of Weeng. The others had gathered in a huge circle around him, and in the midst of the bodyguard he sat, like a general ready for the attack of the enemy. He had not long to wait, for somewhere in the forest the Red Squirrel had assembled his army, and now he brought them forward in one body to the foot of the tree. All the red squirrels were in front, next came the gray squirrels, then the chipmunks.
The Red Squirrel gave the command, and up the tree his army began to climb. Out on the branch they came, where Weeng sat at the farthest end. But the hornets were ready for them, and as they advanced the sharp swords of the defenders pricked their noses, eyes, and bodies. Backward they tumbled, some falling from the limb, others clinging desperately to the under side. Then the gray squirrels pushed forward, and in spite of many wounds, broke through the ranks of the hornets. They had nearly reached Weeng when the bees, buzzing more indignantly than ever, made one fierce dash at them. The gray squirrels fought bravely, but at every turn they met terrible, stinging blows. At last they could not see what they were doing, and, like the red squirrels, many of them fell from the limb.
While this part of the battle was going on, the chipmunks had been waging a war of their own with the wasps, who had attacked them. The battle had been a sharp one, and many soldiers of both armies lay dead on the ground below the tree. But the chipmunks had won the victory, and now made their way along the branches towards Weeng. Their leader, a large, bold-looking chipmunk, made a fierce rush at Weeng, and almost touched him. But just as he did so, with a noiseless swoop, down came the mosquitoes upon him. They covered his head, until not a part of it was to be seen. He slapped wildly at them, lost his hold on the branch, and fell to the ground. With redoubled fury on rushed the other chipmunks and the red squirrels, who had by this time recovered. They were met by a solid wall of insects bristling with sharp swords, for the wasps, the hornets, and flies had placed themselves across their path. Then came the hottest part of the battle, and in one confused mass they struggled and fought on the slender branch. In the midst of this there sounded a soft, sweet call. It was the sleep call of the fairy Weeng. At once all the insects sheathed their swords, and turning, fluttered slowly home to bed. As each one departed, he uttered a soft good-night to Weeng.
The hunter, who was watching all this anxiously, wondered that although the Red Squirrel's army was still fighting it was making no headway. He wondered how this could be. Suddenly he remembered the leaf in his pocket. At once he chewed it, and he then saw the reason for the squirrels' defeat. At the call of Weeng his sleep fairies had come forth, and now with their clubs were knocking their enemies on the head. Blow after blow they struck. The squirrels resisted bravely, but it was useless. In a few minutes they were driven back and off the branch of the tree, and were glad to escape to their homes. As the darkness gathered and the magic of the leaf began to wear away, the hunter could just dimly see Weeng sitting in the midst of his sleep fairies, like a great general who has won his battle.
Once there was a little duck, whose name was Shingebiss. He lived by himself in a small lodge, and was very contented and happy. This lodge was built on the shore of a lake. When the cold winter days came, and the lake was frozen over, all the other ducks flew away to a warmer land. But Shingebiss was not afraid of the cold. He gathered four large logs and took them into his lodge. Each log was big enough to burn for a month, and as there were only four cold months, there would be enough to last him through the winter.
Then each morning he would go to the lake, and hunt for places where the rushes came through the ice. He would pull these out with his strong beak, and catch fish through the openings.
Kabibonokka, the north wind, saw him, and said to himself, "What a strange person this is. He sings and is out on the coldest days. But I shall stop his singing."
So he blew a cold blast from the north-west, which froze the ice on the lake much deeper. Still Shingebiss came out in the morning, caught his fish, and went home singing.
"How strange," said the north wind, "I cannot freeze him; I shall go and visit his lodge. Perhaps I can put out his fire."
So he went and knocked at the door of the lodge. Shingebiss was within. He had cooked and eaten his fish, and now was lying on one side in front of the fire, singing a song. He heard the north wind at the door, but he pretended that he did not. He went on singing in quite a loud voice:
"Windy god, I know your plan, You are but my fellow-man. Blow you may your coldest breeze, Shingebiss yon cannot freeze; Sweep the strongest wind you can, Shingebiss is still your man. Heigh, for life—ho, for bliss, Who so free as Shingebiss?"
The north wind heard him and was very angry. He blew his coldest blast under the doorway, Shingebiss felt it, but still went on singing. Then the north wind opened the door, and walked in. He took a seat beside the fire, and Shingebiss pretended not to see him. He just went on singing, and after a while took his poker and stirred the logs. This made them blaze brightly, and in a few minutes tears began to run down Kabibonokka's cheeks. He pushed his chair away from the fire and tried to blow his icy breath on the blazing log. But the warm air pushed the cold breeze back and wrapped Kabibonokka around like a cloak. The tears were running in streams down his cheeks now, and the heavy frost on his long beard and hair had melted and made pools of water on the floor. He could stand it no longer. Rising, he hastily passed out the door, saying to himself, "I cannot put out his fire, but I shall freeze the lake so deep that he will not be able to catch any more fish."
So that night he blew his coldest breath. Next morning the ice on the lake was very thick. Brave little Shingebiss went from one place to another trying to find a thin spot. At last a bunch of rushes came out as he pulled, and, looking in the hole, he saw several fine fish. He sang merrily as he caught them, and the north wind heard the song. Looking out of his lodge, he saw what Shingebiss was doing. At first he was very angry, then he began to feel afraid.
"This duck must be helped by some Manitou," he said. "I shall leave him in peace after this."
Then Kabibonokka went in and closed his lodge door and Shingebiss never saw him again.
THE QUEER LITTLE ANIMAL
An Indian was once wandering across the prairie. He was tired and hungry and very lonely, too, for he had not seen a human being for many weeks. He lay down on the ground and fell asleep. While he was lying there, he dreamed that a small voice said, "My grandson," to him. He wakened with a start and again heard the voice. It came from the grass near him, but he could see nothing.
"Pick me up," said the voice, "and I shall be your friend forever. Put me in your belt and never lay me aside, and you will always have success."
The Indian looked closely in the grass and saw a tiny creature. It was about the size of a baby mouse, and had no hair on its skin excepting a little bunch on the tip of its tail. He picked it up and sewed it in his belt. Then he travelled on until he came to a village where a tribe of Indians lived. A broad road ran through the centre of the village, but the strange thing was, that the lodges on one side of the road were empty, while those on the other side were filled with Indians. He walked boldly into the village. The people ran out to meet him, crying, "Here is the being of whom we have heard so much. Welcome, Anishinaba."
The chief's son was very kind to him and took him to his father's lodge. The people of this tribe spent most of their time in games and trials of strength. The trial they liked best was called The Freezing Water Trial; that was, they had to lie down in icy, cold water and let it freeze around them. The man who could stay the longest was considered the bravest. The next night they asked Anishinaba to try the test with them. He was quite willing and went with them to the place where the test was to be made. He kept on his belt, and so felt very comfortable, for the little animal made everything easy for him. The water began to freeze and the Indians called out, "How are you feeling?" He did not answer them.
About midnight, he noticed they had stopped talking. He called out, "How are you feeling now? I am very warm." They did not answer him, so he arose and walked to where they were lying. They were frozen stiff. He went back to the camp and told the other Indians. Everybody declared that he was the bravest warrior, since he had not been frozen. The chief was so pleased with him that he gave him his daughter. The Indians went to fetch the bodies of the frozen men, but were surprised to find them changed into buffaloes. These animals went to live in the other side of the village; and after that, every one Anishinaba killed was changed into some kind of an animal and went into that part of the village to live. Very shortly the empty lodges were filled.
One day Anishinaba lay down on the grass to have a sleep. He had taken off his belt, and it lay in the long grass beside him. When he wakened, he forgot about it. This was the first time he had ever gone without the little animal since he came to the village. That night some Indians who were unfriendly to him, asked him to try the freezing trial again. He consented, for he was not at all afraid. But still he did not think of his belt, and so the freezing water benumbed his body and in a short time he was frozen stiff. His enemies then cut his body into many pieces and scattered them over the village. His wife wept bitterly for many days. Then suddenly she remembered his belt, and went in search of it. She found it in the grass where he had slept. As she picked it up, the tiny voice said, "Unpin me." She opened the little seam where the animal lay and out he came. He began to shake himself, and at each shake grew larger, until at last he was the size of a small dog.
The queer-looking animal ran away then as fast as he could go. All around the village he went, gathering up the pieces of his master's body. When he had them gathered, he laid them together in their right places. Then he uttered a loud howl, and the pieces joined together. He uttered another, and the body began to breathe. Then he uttered one that reached to the skies, and his master arose and stood before him. The animal then spoke. "You should not have parted with me," he said. "That was why you lost your life. Now, I shall reveal myself to you." He began shaking himself like a dog, and at each shake he grew larger, until at last he was immense. Then a long snout grew from his head, and two big, shining teeth from his mouth. His skin was still smooth, without one hair excepting the bunch on the end of his tail.
"I am going to give my gift to you," said the wild boar. "After this you shall live on the meat of animals, instead of the animals eating you. But you and all mankind must respect me and must not eat my flesh nor that of any of my kind."
Many years ago the animals ruled the earth. They had killed every one but a brother and a sister. These two lived in a lodge far away in the forest, where the animals could not find them. The boy was a tiny, little fellow,—he had never grown any larger than a baby,—so the girl had to do all the work. Each day she would go out into the bush and gather wood for the lodge fire. She always took her brother with her, for he was too small to leave alone. A big bird might fly away with him.
One day she gave him a little bow and arrows, and said, "You stay here while I take the wood home. When the snow-birds come to get the worms out of the wood, see if you can shoot one." So she went home and left him. He did not come until nearly evening. He looked very sad and tired, for he had been unable to shoot even one bird.
"Never mind," said the sister, kindly. "Try again to-morrow."
The next day he went again with her, and when he came back in the evening, he said, "I shot this bird, and now, sister, strip the skin off it, stretch, and cure it. Then when I have killed enough birds, I shall have a coat made of the skins." At last when he had ten skins, his sister made him a coat of them. He was so tiny that it fitted him nicely. Of course he was very proud of it.
One day he said, "Sister, is there no one living in this world except ourselves?"
"Yes," she answered. "Many miles from here live the animals we are afraid of. But never go near their village, for they will kill you."
"Oh, I am not afraid," he said; and in spite of all her coaxing he made ready to go on his journey.
One morning he set out, and by noon had walked quite a distance. He felt very tired and threw himself down on a plot of grass where the sun had melted the snow. He fell asleep, and while he was lying there the hot sun dried the skins of his bird coat. When he awoke, he felt as though he were buttoned up in a coat much too small for him.
He was very angry at the sun, for he knew it had done this. "I shall punish you," he cried up to it. "You think you are so high up there, and I am so small, that you do not care, but I shall show you."
Then he went home to his sister and showed her the coat, and told her all about it. She begged him not to feel so angry. He would not listen to her, but went and lay down on the bed. For ten days he stayed there without eating a bite. Then he turned over on his other side and lay for ten days more.
At last he arose and said, "Sister, please make me a snare. I want to catch the sun." She told him she had nothing with which to make the snare. He nearly cried when she said this. Then she remembered some bits of deer sinew that were in the lodge. She made a snare of this, but he said, "That will not do," and began to cry again. Then she asked him if her hair would do.
"No, it will not," he said.
"Well, I have nothing else," she told him, and went out of the lodge. She thought and thought, and at last she said to herself, "I shall use my hair, and perhaps he will never know." So she made a snare like the one used to catch moose. When she took it in to him, and asked, "Will this do?" he looked very pleased, and said, "Oh, yes, that is the very thing." He took it, and drew the threads through his lips. They changed at once into red, metal cords, which he wound around his waist.
Then he made ready for his journey, and about midnight he set out. He walked on for a long time, until he came to the spot where the sun came up. He fixed the snare, and then hid behind some bushes.
In a little while the sun began to rise, and was at once caught in the snare.
The animals, who ruled the earth, were greatly excited because the morning did not come. They knew it was time for the sun to be up, so they called a council.
"What is to be done?" asked the bear.
"Some one must go and see what has happened," replied the wolf.
"Let the dormouse go," said the beaver, "as he is the largest of us all."
In those days the dormouse was very large. He looked like a mountain when he stood up.
"Yes," said the wolf, "let the dormouse go. He is proud of his size and his strength. Let him show us what he can do when there is danger before him."
They all looked around for the dormouse, but there was no sign of him.
"He thinks that we shall send him to find the sun," said the fox. "He is afraid and has hidden himself."
"Not so," returned the beaver. "The dormouse is not a coward. Let us call him. He cannot be far away."
With that, they all began to call the dormouse. In a moment there was a crackling of branches and the sound of heavy footsteps, and a huge figure loomed up in the darkness.
"Brother dormouse," said the fox, "you are so brave that we have chosen you to go in search of the sun. What is your answer?"
"I am quite ready to go," replied the dormouse, "and if I cannot find the sun and send it to you, I shall not return myself."
At once the dormouse started towards the sun. As he came close to it, the hot rays began to burn his back, but he kept on, and began to chew the cords, which bound it. In a few minutes the top of his back was a heap of ashes, and he felt himself shrivelling with the heat. He kept on bravely, and at last the cords were sundered and the sun free. But by this time the dormouse was a very small animal, and has remained so ever since.
All this time the brother, who was lying hidden, had been watching what was happening. As the dormouse began to smoke, he grew a little frightened, and when it began to shrivel he was terrified. All he wished for was to escape from this glaring sun, which surely would quickly consume him too.
Lying flat on the ground, he wriggled through the bushes for a long distance along the bank. Reaching the plain, he made a dash for home. His face and arms were scratched and bleeding, and when he told his sister what had happened, she was grieved to think that she had made the snare which had brought so much sorrow to the innocent dormouse.
Once there was a tribe of Indians who had always lived in the mountains. Their village was built at the foot of a very large mountain, and their lodges were made from branches of the pine-trees, covered with the skins of animals.
One day one of their hunters followed a bear's track for many miles. By evening he found himself a great distance from the village. He noticed that the hills around him were much smaller than those he had left, so he made up his mind to continue in the direction he had been going, which was eastwards, to see if the hills would grow smaller as he went. He rested during the night, and when the sun rose next morning, he continued walking towards the east. For several days he travelled, and at last he found himself on the edge of a very large plain. Miles and miles of green prairie lay before him, and he wondered what was beyond, on the other side of this vast plain.
He travelled back joyfully to the village and told the others of the tribe what he had discovered. As they listened they became anxious to see this great prairie and what lay beyond it. So they went to their chief and begged him to let them all go and travel until they should reach the other side of the prairie. The chief told them that this was a wrong thing to ask, because they were mountain Indians and so would never be happy away from the mountains. Still they begged and coaxed, and at length he said:
"I shall grant your request, my children, because my greatest wish is to see you happy. To-morrow we shall all make ready for our journey to this great prairie. I shall go with you, although it grieves me very much to leave my mountains, but your wish shall be granted."
By evening the next day the tribe was ready for the journey. They had taken down their lodges, and the branches of the pine-trees and the skins of the animals were packed on the mountain ponies. The chief rode in front on a small, white pony. His face looked very sad as they set out.
For many days they travelled, and at length they reached the edge of the prairie, as the hunter before them had done. They were all much astonished to see the great plain of green grass, and they told their chief that this land was much more beautiful than their mountains. He did not make them any reply. For several days they travelled across the prairie in the daytime and camped at night. Each morning they said as they prepared to move forward, "To-day we shall surely reach the other side of this prairie."
Each night, however, found them with as many miles in front of them as there were behind them. At last they grew weary, and began to wonder how long they would have to travel before they could see what was beyond this prairie. They had made their camp for the night on the bank of a river. This river was too wide and deep for them to cross, and they did not know what they would do. During the night a strange thing happened. Their lodges were caught as if by unseen hands, lifted high in the air, and tossed into the river. The little children clung to their mothers in terror, while these unseen hands seemed trying to pull them away and toss them after the lodges. The Indians, terrified, gathered around their chief.
"What is this?" they cried. "What is this awful thing that has such strength and which we cannot see?"
"It is the wind, my children," said the chief. "Far up on the mountain lives the Windmaker. This is his message to us, to tell us that he is angry, because we have left our mountain home. Let us all go back to our home and be happy once more."
But the Indians murmured at this. They did not wish to go back to the mountains. They wished to see what was beyond the great prairie. The chief sadly shook his head and said, "Well, my children, you must suffer what the Windmaker sends us."
Then up spoke a young warrior named Broken Arrow. He had long wished for a chance to show the chief that he was brave, for he loved the chief's daughter and knew he could not wed her until he had proven his bravery.
"Oh, chief," he said, "let me go to this Windmaker. Let me shoot my sharpest arrows at him, so that I may kill this wicked one who is causing so much sorrow."
The chief smiled at the brave youth and said, "My son, you may go, but it is a useless quest. This Windmaker cannot be killed."
Broken Arrow replied proudly, "We shall see. My arrows carry far and fly straight. This Windmaker shall feel their point."
The women of the tribe put food in a bag and several pairs of moccasins, and the young warrior set out on his journey. Day and night he travelled, and at last, after his food was all gone and his last pair of moccasins was nearly worn out, he reached the foot of the great mountain where the Windmaker lived. Looking up, he saw the monster,—a great, gray creature that seemed a part of the mountain itself. His head was crowned with snow-white hair that lay around his shoulders like drifts of snow. His huge ears stood out from the sides of his head, and as he waved them, a breeze came down the mountain side that almost took the warrior off his feet. Fitting an arrow into his bow, he let it fly. It was aimed for the Windmaker's heart, and was going straight there, when the monster moved one ear and the arrow flew to one side. The same fate overtook the next arrow, and the next. Still the warrior shot bravely on, but as each one came near the monster he waved his ears and blew it aside. At last every arrow had been spent, and the Windmaker was uninjured. There was nothing for the young warrior to do but to go back and tell of his failure. Sadly he turned away, and after many days' travelling he arrived at the camp, faint with hunger, and with bare and bleeding feet.
The chief smiled proudly as he saw him. "Welcome, my son," he said. "Do not feel sad. You have done nobly, and have proven to me how great a warrior you are. You shall be my son, and I am proud to call you that."
After the wedding feast that night, the chief told the Indians that on the morrow he was going to the mountain to see if he could kill the Windmaker.
When they heard this, there was great weeping, and they begged him not to go. But he was firm, so they said, "Then we shall go with you. Where our chief goes, we go too, and we shall watch you fight this wicked one."
So, after many days' travelling, they all reached the foot of the great mountain where the Windmaker lived. Looking up, they could see him just as Broken Arrow had told them they would. The chief turned to them and said, "My children, you must remain here at the foot of this mountain, while I climb up to the top. There is no use in trying to shoot this great monster, for he will but blow my arrows away, so I must climb up and strike him with my tomahawk."
Again they begged him not to go, but again he was firm, and they sadly watched him begin to climb up the rocky side of the mountain. Little by little, he ascended the steep, rough hill, until at last he was almost at the feet of the Windmaker. All this time the monster had been perfectly still. Then suddenly, just as the chief was within reach of him, he waved both his ears, and a terrible gale tore down the mountain side, carrying rocks and stones with it. It caught the chief, lifted him off his feet and carried him down. When he reached the bottom he lay as if insensible for a few moments. Then, recovering his breath, he began to climb again. Once more the Windmaker let him nearly reach his feet before he made a movement. This time he sent a current of air against a large boulder resting on a narrow ledge. The chief leaped just in time, for it fell with a terrible noise on the very spot where he had stood.
Angered by this, the chief grasped his tomahawk more firmly, and dashing up a few paces, aimed a blow at the monster's feet. But before it fell, the Windmaker waved both ears again. With a roar like thunder the gale swept down, carrying the brave chief with it. It tossed him in the air, turned him around two or three times, and hurled him into a clump of fir-trees at the foot of the mountain. The Indians ran frantically to the spot and picked him up, but he was quite dead. They buried him sadly where he had fallen, at the foot of the tender firs. Then they went quietly back to their village in the mountains and have been content to live there ever since.
In a certain tribe in the far West there was a maiden who was very beautiful. Many warriors loved her, but she would listen to none of them.
In the same tribe there was a young man who was called Beau-man, because he was so beautifully dressed. He was very handsome too, and so when he fell in love with the maiden, he felt sure she would love him also; but when he came to see her, she would not listen, and when he tried to make her hear, she made a motion with her hand which means contempt. This made him feel very mean. All his friends laughed at him, and this made him so very angry that he went away to his tent and lay down. He remained without eating anything for many weeks. His parents and friends all coaxed him to get up, but he would not.
At length the time came for the tribe to move camp, as this was just a hunting trip, and when the summer arrived they always went back to the village. They asked Beau-man to come with them, but still he would not move. So they lifted the tent, and left him lying there in his bed all alone.
The next day he got up, for he had thought of a splendid plan to have revenge on the maiden. He knew a spirit who would help him when asked.
He began to gather all the bits of colored cloth, old beads, and feathers that were lying on the ground where the camp had been. Most of them were very dirty, and some were wet with snow. But he put them all in one pile, and then with the help of the spirit, he made them all look clean. Then he made beaded moccasins from some of the scraps; leggings and a coat from some others. At last a frontlet with feathers sticking in it for the head. He gathered up snow and dirt, and filled the moccasins and the rest of the suit with it. The spirit changed the whole thing into a man,—a fine-looking warrior, to whom was given the name Moowis. The Beau-man at once took him to the village where the maiden lived.
Moowis was kindly received by the chief, who invited him into his lodge. He was finely dressed, and held himself so proudly that the maiden fell in love with him. The chief asked him to sit near the fire. But he could not sit there very long, as the heat began to melt the snow, and soon he would have been a pile of rags. He put a boy between himself and the fire, and kept moving away until he was near the door.
Then the chief came and asked him to sit in the bridegroom's chair. This meant that he was married to the maiden. When it became evening, Moowis said he must go now, as he had a long journey to make. The maiden begged to go with him, but he told her she could not. Still she coaxed so hard that he asked the Beau-man what he should do. "Let her go with you," he answered; "it will serve her right."
In a little while they set out. Moowis walked so fast that the maiden had to run to keep up, and in a short time she was very tired. Still he walked on so swiftly that he was soon far ahead. They walked all night, and when the sun rose the bridegroom was almost out of sight. As the day grew warm, his snow began to melt, and as it did so, his fine clothes began to turn back into rags. Then they began to fall off. First the maiden found his mittens, next his moccasins, then she picked up his coat. She walked on calling, "Moowis, where are you?" But all she could find was bits of rags, beads, and feathers scattered over the fields. She wandered on from one village to another calling, "Moowis, Moowis, oh, Moowis, where have you gone?"
The village maidens turned her cry into a song, and used to chant it as she passed. She never saw anything more of him, although she wandered on for years, always calling, "Moowis."
THE DAUGHTERS OF THE STAR
There once lived, in a deep forest, a hunter named Waupee, or the White Hawk. Every day he returned from the chase with birds and animals which he had killed, for he was very skilful.
One day he walked through the forest till at last he reached the edge of it, and there before him lay the wide prairie. The grass was so soft and green, and there were so many flowers, that he wandered on for a while. He could see that no one lived there, as no trace of footsteps was to be seen. Suddenly he came to a circle on the prairie. It looked as if people had run around in a ring until the grass was trampled down. As he could see no marks of footsteps leading away from the ring, he wondered very much whose feet could have marked out the circle. Then he made up his mind to hide, so that he might see if any one came.
After awhile, he heard the sound of beautiful music. It seemed to come from the sky. As he looked up he saw something coming down through the air, and the music sounded like the singing of girls. As the object came closer, he saw that it was a wicker basket, and in it were twelve beautiful maidens. When the basket reached the ground, they all jumped out and began to dance around the circle. They were all very beautiful, but Waupee picked out the youngest as the one he liked best. He watched them as long as he could, then ran out to clasp the youngest in his arms. But as soon as the maidens saw the figure of a man, they ran to the basket, jumped in, and were at once drawn up to the sky.
Waupee was left alone on the prairie, and he felt very sad to think he had frightened away the beautiful maidens. He went back slowly to his lodge, but could not rest all night. The next day he came again to the magic circle.
This time he changed himself into an opossum. He had not waited long when the wicker basket again floated down. The sisters jumped out and began the same dance. Waupee crept towards them; but when they saw him, they at once ran to the basket and climbed in. It began to ascend, but stopped when a short distance up.
"Perhaps," said the oldest sister, "he has come to show us the way the mortals dance."
"Oh, no!" said the youngest; "let us go up quickly." They all began to sing their sweet song, and the basket rose out of sight.
Again Waupee was sad, but he made up his mind that the next day he would act more wisely. So, when he came back, he found the stump of a tree where a family of mice lived. He moved the stump over near the circle and changed himself into one of the mice. Again the sisters came, and began their dance.
"Look," said the youngest sister, "that stump was not there before." But the other sisters laughed at her and ran over to it. Then out came all the mice, Waupee among them. The sisters began to chase and kill the mice, and at last only one was left alive. The youngest sister ran after it, and was just about to hit it, when it changed into Waupee. He clasped her in his arms, while the other sisters sprang for the basket and were drawn up to the sky.
The maiden wept at being left alone, but Waupee wiped away her tears and took her home to his little lodge. He was very good to her and at last she grew very happy. But a few years afterwards, when her little son was able to walk, she took him to the magic ring. She felt very lonely when she thought of her sisters and of her father, the Star. So she made up her mind to go back to them. She made a basket of reeds, and putting her little son in it, she seated herself and began to sing the old chant. The basket at once rose in the air and floated out of sight.
When Waupee was coming home, he heard this sweet song. He knew it was one the sisters used to sing, so he ran at once to the magic circle, but the basket had almost disappeared. He called and called, but no answer came down to him, and at last it was gone.
He threw himself down on the ground and wept. Then, when night came, he rose and went home to his empty lodge.
As the years went on the maiden was very happy in her old home, but the son wished to go and see his birthplace. The grandfather heard him, and said to the maiden, "Go down to the earth and show your son his birthplace, and when you are coming back, bring your husband with you. But when he comes, tell him to bring a part of each kind of bird and animal he has killed."
This the maiden did. Waupee was delighted to have them return, and at once set to work to hunt and kill one of every kind of bird and animal. It took him many days to do this, but at last all were gathered. He took a claw of some birds, a wing of others, a tail of some animals, and the feet of others. Then they all stepped into the basket and it took them up to the sky.
The Star grandfather was so pleased with Waupee's gift, that he called all his people to a feast. After it was over, he told them to choose what they liked best from the earthly things. Some chose a wing, others a paw, and so on, and as they did so they were at once changed into an animal or bird like the one they had chosen.
Waupee was pleased with this idea and chose the feather of a white hawk. His wife and son chose the same, and all were changed into these graceful birds. They slowly spread out their white wings and floated away towards the earth.
Passing through the clouds they found themselves above the snow-capped mountains. They flew on, until at length they saw the green tops of trees far below them. In great circles they began to descend, and in a few minutes alighted in the topmost branches of a tall tree.
Waupee then spoke: "We shall build our nest in this tree, and into it we shall weave parts of our old lodge, where we lived so happily together. Let us go now and gather these; then we shall begin our nest."
KOTO AND THE BIRD
Once there was a little Cree boy named Koto. His father was a chief and a great hunter, and Koto always longed for the time when he would be able to hunt like his father and bring back large game to the wigwam. One summer day the chief and all the hunters were away on a hunting trip. There was no one left in the camp but a few of the women and some children. Koto wandered around, not knowing what to do, when suddenly he thought of a very daring thing. One pony had been left because it had been lame, and now Koto made up his mind that he would get on its back and gallop over the prairie. He knew that the pony's foot was nearly better, and he thought that one gallop could not hurt it.
So he jumped on the pony's back, waved his arms, and called out to it to run, and away they went. Koto's long, dark hair and the pony's mane blew in the wind, and they both were enjoying the gallop when something terrible happened. The pony caught his foot in a badger hole and fell heavily to the ground. Koto was tossed in the air, and then fell with one foot pinned under him.
For a long time the two sufferers lay there in the hot sun on the prairie. At length Koto's mother, who had missed him, found them. She carried Koto back to the wigwam and laid him on his bed of skins. She told him that his leg was broken and that the pony's leg was broken also, and that the hunters would have to kill it when they returned. Poor Koto wept bitterly. He did not mind his own broken leg, but to think that he had really killed the little pony nearly broke his heart. For many days he lay on his bed, and at last he was able to get up and move around with the help of a little crutch, which his father had made from the branch of a tree.
When winter came, the Indians moved their camp to the woods along the bank of the Assiniboine River. Koto was not able to walk well, so remained in his lodge until all the camp had been moved. Then his father came to carry him to the camp that was protected from the cold north wind.
"My son," he said, as he walked along with Koto in his arms, "I have a surprise for you. You shall not live in a wigwam this winter."
"Why not?" asked Koto. "I like my wigwam. It is warm and keeps the cold wind away."
"Wait, and you shall see," said his father. "You will like your new lodge much better."
When they reached the camp, Koto saw what the chief had meant. During the summer some white men had camped there and had built a log cabin for themselves. Then they had gone away, leaving the little cabin deserted, and now the chief had taken it for his lodge. Koto was very much pleased with his new home, and the door which opened on hinges was always a great surprise to him. He was not able to go out during that long winter, but he was never lonely, for the first day they were in the cabin a strange visitor came. It was a little, brown bird which had been deserted by its mate, and it flew in to get away from the cold. All winter it remained with Koto, feeding from his food at mealtime, and hopping around him during the day as he was weaving his baskets. At night it slept on a little board that was nailed to the wall near Koto's bed of skins.
When springtime came and the door was left open, Koto noticed that the bird's mate had returned. It flew to the bushes near the house and called to Koto's bird, but she would not go, and at last her mate came to the doorway. Again he called, and this time she went out, but she came back at mealtime and remained with Koto all night. Every day after that she would fly out in the morning and come back three or four times during the day, while her mate would never come past the doorway. Then one day she did not come back. Koto watched and waited for her. The long day passed and evening came, still there was no sign of the bird. The next day went by, and the next, and little Koto began to look very sad as he sat at the door watching for her.
At last he hobbled out and sat very quietly under the trees. In a little while he came back as quickly as he could, his face shining for joy. When he entered the cabin, he looked around eagerly. Then his face grew sad again.
"She is not here," he said sadly. "My little bird is not here."
"No, she is not here," said his mother, "Did you think she was?"
"Yes, I saw her fly in, but she is not here."
Koto went out again and seated himself under the trees once more, but he saw no sign of his bird all the rest of that day. The next day he went to the same place to watch, and not long after he came hobbling in eagerly with his face shining for joy as before. He looked around the cabin, and again he grew sad, for there was no bird to be seen.
Each day after that the same thing happened. As he sat under the trees he saw the little bird fly into the cabin, but when he entered there was no bird to be seen. He grew sadder and looked so thin that the chief became sad, too.
"My son," he said, "you must not think of this bird. It has flown away. It will not come back. This is a spirit bird that you see enter the cabin. Try not to think of it and be happy."
But the little Cree boy only shook his head and said, "I saw her go in and she does not come out and she is not in the cabin. Where is she? Where is my little bird?"
So the chief made up his mind that he would watch and see if the little bird really did fly into the cabin. The next day he watched with Koto under the trees, and in a few minutes the little boy grasped his hand.
"Look," he said, "look, there is my little bird." And there in a tree near them were two brown birds, one of them Koto's pet. They flew away together; then one, when it reached the side of the cabin, suddenly disappeared. Quickly seizing his father's hand, Koto and the chief reached the door of the little home. They looked eagerly around the room, but there was not a bird to be seen. They searched every place, for the chief was sure that he had seen it enter. There was no trace of it any place. Going out, he looked at the side of the little house, and there was a hole between the logs where the bird might easily enter. Coming in, he looked for the hole on the inside, but could not find it. Then he noticed that an old, gray jacket, which had been left there by the white men, was hanging where the hole ought to be.
He took down the jacket and Koto gave a cry of delight. For from a pocket of the coat peaked the head of his little bird, and there was the hole between the logs, where the coat had hung. The bird seemed quite pleased that they had found her, and after a while flew off her nest to peck from Koto's hand. After some days her eggs were hatched, and then the father bird consented to enter the cabin and help feed the young ones. When the little birds grew large enough, they flew away with the father bird, but for the rest of the summer Koto's little brown friend remained with him, watching him weave his baskets, and seemed very pleased when at last he was able to walk a little.
When fall came, she went away with the other birds, but this time Koto was not sad, for he knew she was happy, and he was happy, too, because he could now walk.
THE HUMPBACKED MANITOU
Bokwewa and his brother lived in a lodge in the forest, far away from the rest of the world. They were both Manitous and could do many wonderful things. Bokwewa had the most gifts and knew all the secrets of the woods, but his body was deformed. The brother was very handsome. His body was very straight, and he could run and do many things that Bokwewa could not do. But he was not as wise as the humpbacked Manitou. Bokwewa used to tell his brother how to hunt and shoot and fish. Then the brother would go and get the food, and bring it back to the lodge. Bokwewa did not go out very much, of course.
One day the brother said, "Bokwewa, I am tired of living so quietly. Where are all the rest of the people? I am going away to find them and to get a wife."
Bokwewa tried to coax him not to go, but the brother was determined. He made ready for his journey, and departed. In a few days he returned, bringing a beautiful maiden with him. Bokwewa was very kind to His brother's wife and she was good to him, so they became great friends. One day the brother was away hunting. Bokwewa was sitting by one side of the fire in the lodge; the wife was sitting on the other side. Suddenly the door was opened, and a strong, tall man entered. He seized the maiden and began to pull her to the door. She screamed, and tried to get away from him; but he held her fast. Bokwewa pulled and fought with all his strength. The tall man pushed him against the door and hurt his back. Then he dashed out with the maiden, and took her away with him.
When the brother returned, he found Bokwewa weeping with sorrow; and when he heard what had happened, he wept also. Bokwewa tried to comfort him, but the brother only lay on the bed, refusing to eat anything, and weeping bitterly. For several days he stayed there. At length he arose and said, "Bokwewa, I am going to the village where that mighty Manitou lives. He has stolen my wife."
"Oh, do not go," said Bokwewa, "for that village is many miles to the south. The people who live there are idle and know only of pleasure. They have many snares set by the roadside to catch you. Do not try to go amongst them, for you will become like them and think only of pleasure."
"I am not afraid of anything," said the brother. "I must go."
"Well, then," said Bokwewa, "I shall tell you of two dangers that lie in the path. When you first start, you will find a grape-vine across your path. Do not eat any of its fruit, for it is poisonous. It will make you become very careless. Then, farther on you will come across something that looks like bear's fat. It is clear, like jelly. Do not eat of it, for it is frogs' eggs and will make you forget your home."
The brother promised to remember these warnings, and set out for the village.
He had not gone very far when he noticed a grape-vine lying across the road. The grapes were beautiful and juicy, so he ate some. Some distance on he came to a jellylike mass, and he ate it. This was the frogs' eggs, and he at once forgot his home and brother, and even his wife. He travelled on for two days, and towards evening came in sight of the large village. The people in it seemed to be having a good time. Some were dancing and singing, and many of the women were beating corn in golden dishes. When they saw him coming, they ran out, shouting, "Here comes Bokwewa's brother to visit us."
They welcomed him with joy, and led him into the village. In a short time he was beating corn with the women. That is the surest sign to the Indians that a warrior has lost his bravery.
Days and weeks went by, and still he did not try to find his wife, although she was living in that same village. Bokwewa waited at home, hoping each day that his brother would return. At length, when some years had gone by, he set out to find him. As he travelled along the same road, he passed the grape-vine and the frogs' eggs. But they held no danger for him, as he did not taste them. When he came in sight of the village, he felt sorry for the people, who were wasting their lives in idle games and other pleasures. As he came closer, the people ran out, shouting, "Oh, Bokwewa has come to visit us! The good Bokwewa of whom we have heard so much! Welcome to our village!"
Bokwewa entered with them and found his brother. He was still beating corn with the women, and seemed very happy. Bokwewa coaxed him to come home, but he would not listen. He seemed content to stay there and do no work. This made Bokwewa very sorry, for he knew his brother was no longer a brave warrior. When evening came Bokwewa went down to the riverside. There he changed himself into one of those hair snakes sometimes seen in running water. After a while, the wife came down with a pitcher to get some water.
"Pick me up," said the hair snake, "and leave me in your pitcher."
The wife did as she was told, and took the pitcher to her lodge.
That night the Manitou who had stolen her wanted a drink. In the dark he did not see the hair snake in the water, so drank it. In a few minutes he was dead. Then Bokwewa returned to his former shape. He went again to his brother and tried to make him come home. But the brother refused. Bokwewa told him that these pleasures would not last forever, and his tears fell as he saw that his brother would not come. So he said good-bye to him and disappeared.
After Bokwewa had gone, the brother seemed to remember parts of his past life. He looked around and saw his wife at a little distance. At once he remembered everything, and going to her, he wept and begged her to forgive him and his neglect. She kissed him fondly, and then hand in hand they walked away from the treacherous land of pleasure, back to the lodge where Bokwewa waited for them.
THE TRIBE THAT GREW OUT OF A SHELL
Once, when the land along the Missouri River was uninhabited, save by the beaver and other animals, a snail lay asleep on the bank of the river. One day the waters began to rise, and soon came up to where he lay. They swept him out, and he was carried some miles down by the current. When the waves lowered, he found himself bedded deep in the mud. He tried to free himself, but he could not. He was hungry and tired, and at last became so discouraged that he would not try any more.
Then a strange thing happened. He felt his shell crack, and his head began to rise upright. His body and legs grew and lengthened, and at last he felt arms stretching out from his sides. Then he stood upright—a MAN.
He felt very stupid at first, but after a while some thoughts came to him. He knew he was hungry and wished he were a snail again; for he knew how to get food as a snail, but not as a man. He saw plenty of birds, but did not know how to kill them. He wandered on through the forest, until he became so tired that he lay down to rest.
He heard a gentle voice speaking to him, and looking up, he saw the Great Spirit, who was seated on a snow-white horse. His eyes shone like stars, and his hair like threads of gold.
"Wasbashas, why are you trembling?"
"I am frightened," replied the man, "because I stand before the One who raised me from the ground. I am faint from hunger, for I have eaten nothing since I left the shell in the bank of the river."
"Look, Wasbashas," said the spirit, as he drew forth a beautiful bow and arrow. Putting an arrow into the bow, he aimed at a bird in a tree near by. He shot, and the bird fell. A deer passed just then, and the spirit shot it, also.
"Now, Wasbashas," said the spirit, "I shall show you how to skin this deer, and show you how to make a blanket. Then you must learn to cook the flesh. I shall give you the gift of fire. For now that you are a man, you must not eat raw food. You shall be placed at the head of all the animals and birds."
After the spirit had shown him the things he had promised, both horse and rider arose in the air and vanished.
Wasbashas walked on down the river until he came to a place where a beaver was lying.
"Good-day," said the beaver. "Who are you?"
"I am a man. The Great Spirit raised me from a shell, and now I am head of all the animals. And who are you?"
"I am a beaver. Will you come with me until I show you how we build our lodges?"
Wasbashas followed the beaver and watched him cut down a tree with his teeth. Then the animal showed him how they dammed up the river, by letting the trees fall across it and filling the spaces between with mud and leaves.
"Now will you come and visit my lodge?" said the beaver chief. He led Wasbashas to his neat lodge made of clay and shaped like a cone. The floor was carpeted with mats. The beaver's wife and daughter received the stranger kindly. They busied themselves getting a meal ready, and soon brought dishes of peeled poplar and alder bark. Wasbashas did not like the taste of it, but managed to eat a few pieces. The beavers seemed to enjoy the meal very much.
Wasbashas had been watching the daughter, and he liked her nice, tidy ways and the respect she showed her father. In the evening he asked the chief if he would give the maiden to him for his bride. The chief was very pleased at the idea, for he liked Wasbashas.
The beaver invited all the animals to the feast, which was to be held the next day. Early the following morning they began to arrive. First came the beavers, each bringing a present of a lump of clay on his flat tail. Next came the otters, each bringing a large fish in his mouth. Later in the morning came the minks, the water-rats, and the weasels, all very proud to accept the invitation of the great chief of the beavers.
When the animals had all assembled, the beavers held a council among themselves. After talking for some time they invited the other animals to follow them. And going a short distance down the river bank, they stopped. Each beaver took the lump of clay he had brought with him and placed it near the water's edge. Then they began to build a dome-shaped lodge of small pieces of trees and the clay. After several hours of steady work it was finished, and then they went to the chief's lodge, where the feast was to be held.
When the meal was over the snail man and the beaver maiden were led to their lodge, which was the wedding-gift of the beavers. Here they lived happy ever after. Many years later their descendants were called the Osages tribe of Indians.
THE STORY OF THE INDIAN CORN
Some years ago the Ottawa Indians inhabited the Manatoline Islands. Their enemies were the Iroquois Indians, who lived on the lake shore near the islands. One night they came and attacked the Ottawas. The two tribes fought for a long time, but at last the Iroquois won, and the Ottawas were driven away from their islands. They wandered off towards the Mississippi River, where they settled near a small lake, many miles away from their home.
The Manatoline Islands were now uninhabited, except by an Indian magician, whose name was Masswaweinini. He remained behind to act as sentry for his tribe. He guarded the beautiful islands and kept a close watch on their enemy, the Iroquois. Two young boys stayed with him to paddle his canoe. In the daytime they used to paddle close to the shore, so that the Iroquois could not see them, and at night they slept in the deep woods.
One morning Masswaweinini rose early and left the two boys asleep. He walked a long distance through the woods, hunting for game. At last he found himself on the edge of a wide prairie. He began to walk across it, when a man suddenly appeared in front of him. He was very tiny and had some red feathers in his hair. "Good-morning, Masswaweinini," he said. "You are a very strong man, are you not?"
"Yes," replied the magician. "I am as strong as any man, but no stronger."
The tiny man then pulled out his tobacco-pouch and pipe.
"Come and smoke with me," he said, "and then we must have a wrestling match. If you can throw me, you must say, 'I have thrown Wagemena.'"
So they smoked together, but when the little man was ready to wrestle, the magician did not like to do it, for he was afraid he might hurt the tiny fellow. But the other insisted, and so they began to wrestle. The magician soon found that the little man was very strong and quick, and he felt himself growing weaker every moment. But at last he succeeded in tripping the man with the red feathers, and he fell. Then the magician said, "I have thrown you, Wagemena." At once the little man vanished, and in his place lay an ear of corn, with a red tassel where the feathers had been. As he stood staring at it, the corn spoke. "Pick me up," it said, "and pull off my outer covering. Then take off my kernels and scatter them over the ground. Break my cob into three parts and throw them near the trees. Depart, but come back after one moon, and see what has happened."
The magician did exactly as the corn had told him, and went away. At the end of the time he came back. To his surprise, he found green blades of corn coming through the ground where the kernels had been scattered. And near the trees pumpkin-vines were growing where the cobs of the corn had been thrown.
He had not told the young boys of his adventure with the tiny man, so he did not tell them anything of the growing corn. All the rest of that summer he busied himself in closely watching the Iroquois, who were still prowling near the islands. Very often he killed a deer, and the boys would cook the meat over their camp-fire. One day, when the summer was nearly over, he paddled his canoe around the island till he came near the wrestling ground. He stepped ashore, and left the two boys to watch the canoe, while he walked to the field. To his great astonishment, he found the corn in full ear, and the pumpkins of an immense size. He pulled some ripened ears of corn and gathered some pumpkins. Then a voice spoke to him from the corn. "You have conquered me, Masswaweinini," it said. "If you had not done so, you would have been killed yourself. But your strength made you win the victory, and now you shall always have my body for food. It will be nourishment for you and your tribe."
Thus the Ottawa Indians were given the gift of the maize; and to this day their descendants are noted for the care that they take of their immense fields of corn.
THE MAGICIAN OF LAKE HURON
The Manatoline, or Spirit, Islands were supposed to be a favorite abode of the Manitous, or spirits. Perhaps that is why many strange things happened there. One night, as Masswaweinini, the magician, was lying asleep, a sound of voices wakened him. "This is Masswaweinini," said the first voice; "we must have his heart."
"How shall we get it?" said the second voice.
"I shall put my hand into his mouth," said the first, "and pull it out that way."
The magician felt a hand being slipped between his teeth. He waited until the fingers were all in his mouth, then he bit them hard and they came off. He heard a cry, then the strangers disappeared. In the morning he arose, but could find no trace of any one. But when he came down to the water's edge, he saw a canoe with two people in it. They were sitting at each end of the canoe, with their arms stretched out. When he came close to them, he saw they were fairies, and that they had been turned to stone. One of them had lost the fingers of one hand, so he knew they were his enemies of the night before. The canoe was laden with bags of all kinds of treasures, and it was the most beautiful boat he had ever seen. He lifted out the stone figures and put them in the woods. As he turned away, one of the figures spoke to him.
"Masswaweinini," it said, "the canoes of the Ottawa Indians will, after this, always be well laden like our canoe. Your tribe was driven from their land by their cruel enemies, but they shall be rewarded for their bravery. The Mighty Spirit will help them, and they shall be given many treasures in their new home."
The magician then went back to the boat and lifted out the bags. He carried the boat and hid it among the trees. When he opened the bags, he found meat and fish and many other things, and took them to his camp.
As he rested in his lodge that night, he would have been very happy, if he had not been so sorry for his old father and mother. He thought of them many miles away with none of the comforts he had. "I shall go and bring them," he said. He had only to think of going when at once he could move like the wind. So before morning he found himself at the poor, little camp of his parents. They were still asleep, so without making any noise, he took them in his arms and carried them back to his lodge. When they awakened in the morning, they were delighted to find themselves with their son. All day long they wandered through the fields and by the shore, and were as happy as children. As the days and weeks went by, they seemed to grow happier still. But one night the magician saw his old father look in his tobacco-pouch and then sigh.
"I know what it is you want, my father, it is tobacco; you have not had any for many moons. Now I shall get some."
"How can you do that?" asked the father, in surprise. "You are surrounded by enemies and cut off from all supplies."
"I shall make my enemies give me some," said the magician.
That night he set out on a long journey across the frozen lake. So swiftly did he travel, that by morning he had reached the village of his enemies. They were surprised to see him, but invited him into their lodges. "I thank you," he said, "but I shall not go into any lodge. I shall build a fire on the shore of the lake."
He made himself a tent with the branches of trees, built a fire, and sat beside it.
"Why have you come to visit us?" asked the chief.
"I want some tobacco for my father," replied the magician.
"Is that all?" said the Indian. "You shall have it;" and he opened his tobacco-pouch and gave some tobacco to Masswaweinini. The other Indians did the same, so now the magician had a large supply to take home. When it became dark, he lay down to sleep beside his fire. In the middle of the night, the chief and some Indians rushed in, shouting, "You are a dead man."
"No, I am not," said the magician, "but you are." With his tomahawk he hit left and right. In a few minutes six lay dead beside him. Then he wrapped his blanket around him, gathered up his tobacco, and set off. By evening he had reached his father's lodge, and spread out his gift before him. The old man was delighted with the present, and thanked him many times for his kindness. When spring came, the magician built a beautiful lodge for his parents on the edge of the wrestling ground, and all through the summer they watched the corn and pumpkins grow.
THE FAIRIES' CLIFF
An Indian chief once had ten daughters. They were all very beautiful, especially the youngest. When they grew to be women, nine of them married handsome, young warriors. But the youngest maiden would not listen to any of the young men who came to see her at her father's lodge. After a while, she married an old man with gray hair, and so feeble that he could hardly walk. Her father and sisters were very angry, but she would not listen to them. She said only, "I am very happy, and so nothing else matters."
One evening, the father asked his ten daughters and their husbands to come to his lodge for a feast. On the way there, the nine sisters kept saying, as they looked at the youngest maiden and her husband: "Our poor sister, is it not a pity she is married to such an old man? See, he can hardly walk. Would it not be a good thing if he were to fall and kill himself?"
As they were saying this, they noticed that the old man kept looking up at the Evening Star, and every once in a while he would utter a low call.
"See," said one of the sisters, "he thinks the Evening Star is his father and is calling to him."
Just then, they were passing a hollow log which lay by the roadside. When the old man noticed it, he suddenly dropped on his hands and knees and crawled in at one end. When he came out at the other end, he was no longer an old man; he had been changed into a tall, handsome, young chief. But his wife was no longer a beautiful maiden. She had been changed into a bent, old woman, hobbling along with a stick. The young husband was very kind to her and took good care of her all the rest of the way to the father's lodge. He seemed very sorry that she had been changed like this, but he loved her just the same as before. During the feast the young husband heard a voice speak to him. It seemed to come from the skies. Looking up, he saw the Evening Star shining in through a crack in the roof.
"My son," the Star said to him, "many years ago an evil spirit changed you into an old man, but that spirit has now lost its power. You are free, and may come home and live with me. Your wife shall be beautiful once more, and you shall have everything you can wish for."
The others had not heard this voice, so they were very much surprised when they felt the lodge begin to rise in the air. As it floated upwards, the bark changed into beautiful silver gauze. It was now a lodge made of wings of insects. The young chief looked at his wife and saw that she was a beautiful maiden once more. Her dress was changed into one of shining, green silk, and her stick became a silver feather. The sisters and their husbands had been changed into birds with bright-colored feathers. Some were parrots, some blue jays, some singing birds that flew around and sang their sweet songs. At the side of the lodge was a large cage for the birds. Upwards, the lodge floated till they found themselves in the Evening Star. Everything was silvery white here and very peaceful. The Star was very glad to see his son.