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´╗┐Title: Stories the Iroquois Tell Their Children
Author: Powers, Mabel
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Stories the Iroquois Tell Their Children" ***

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  Copyright, 1917, by
  _All rights reserved._
  W. P. 9






  ACKNOWLEDGMENT                                              8

  FOREWORD BY THE CHIEFS                                      9


  HOW THE STORIES CAME TO BE                                 11

  WHY I WAS CALLED THE STORY-TELLER                          13

  THE LITTLE PEOPLE                                          18

  STORY-TELLING TIME                                         23

  HOW THE IROQUOIS GIVE THANKS                               27

  A FIREMAKER AND A PEACEMAKER                               34


  HOW THE WHITE MAN CAME                                     45

  WHY THE EAGLE DEFENDS AMERICANS                            49

  HOW THE TURKEY BUZZARD GOT HIS SUIT                        60

  WHY THE PARTRIDGE DRUMS                                    66

  HOW THE INDIANS LEARNED TO HEAL                            69

  WHY DOGS CHASE FOXES                                       75

  WHY HERMIT THRUSH IS SO SHY                                79

  HOW GOOD AND EVIL CAME TO BE                               85

  HOW A BOY WAS CURED OF BOASTING                            90

  WHY THE CUCKOO IS SO LAZY                                  95

  HOW THE COON OUTWITTED THE FOX                             99

  WHY THE GOLDFINCHES LOOK LIKE THE SUN                     103

  WHAT THE ASH AND THE MAPLE LEARNED                        107

  HOW THE WOMAN OVERCAME THE BEAR                           112

  WHY THE WOODPECKER BORES FOR ITS FOOD                     115

  WHY THE ICE ROOF FELL                                     119

  WHY THE CHIPMUNK HAS BLACK STRIPES                        122

  HOW TWO INDIAN BOYS SETTLED A QUARREL                     125

  HOW MICE OVERCAME THE WARRIORS                            130

  WHY CROWS ARE POOR                                        135

  WHY THE INDIAN LOVES HIS DOG                              139

  GREEDY FAWN AND THE PORRIDGE                              145

  WHY HOUNDS OUTRUN OTHER ANIMALS                           152

  WHY INDIANS NEVER SHOOT PIGEONS                           155

  HOW OLD MAN WINTER WAS DRIVEN BACK                        159

  WHY LIGHTNING SOMETIMES STRIKES                           168


  CORN PLUME AND BEAN MAIDEN                                180

  HOW THE ROBIN BURNED HIS BREAST                           187


  HOW MORNING STAR LOST HER FISH                            195

  HOW LITTLE SHOOTER LOST HIS LUCK                          201

  HOW AN INDIAN BOY WON HIS NAME                            205

  HOW THE FAIRIES WORKED MAGIC                              211


If the Red Children had not welcomed the writer to their lodge fires,
these stories the Iroquois tell their children could not have been
retold. With one or two exceptions, the ideas found in the stories have
been had from the lips of the Indians themselves. To ARTHUR C.
PARKER--_Ga wa so wa neh_--for his careful review of the stories and
assistance in securing authentic Iroquois illustrations; and to the
following story-tellers who so kindly welcomed her to their lodges, and
told her stories, the writer is most grateful.

  EDWARD CORNPLANTER (_So son do wah_--"Great Night")           Seneca Wolf
  WILLIAM PATTERSON (_Ga reh hwonts_--"Power has come down") Tuscarora Deer
  MOSES SHONGO (_Ho non da a suh_--"Keeper of the hills")       Seneca Wolf
  CLIFFORD SHONGO (_Ouhn yah dah goh_--"Very dark blue sky")    Seneca Wolf
  CHARLES DOXON (_Hoh squa sa ga dah_--"Woodsman")          Onondaga Turtle
  DANIEL GEORGE (_Jo ha a ga dah_--"Roadscraper")              Onondaga Eel
  MARY PRINTUP (_Wah le sa loh_)                               Mohawk Snipe
    (_Oh geh rah u reh ru ha neh_--"Running Bear")           Tuscarora Bear
  ELI HENRY                                                  Tuscarora Deer
  HARRIETT PEMBLETON (_Gah do rehn tah_--"Dropping Husks") Tuscarora Turtle
    (_Har wen do dyoh_--"He has forsaken early dawn")           Seneca Wolf
  ALFRED JIMESON (_Har neh a oh_--"Hatchet in his hands")      Seneca Heron
  WILLIAM HOAG (_O no nah_--"Very cold")                        Seneca Wolf
  ELLEN PIERCE SHONGO (_Yea wen noh aih_--"The high word")      Seneca Wolf
  BAPTIST THOMAS (_Sa ha whe_--"Long feather")              Onondaga Turtle
  ALBERT CUSICK (_Sha go na qua da_--"Made them mad")          Onondaga Eel
  THEODORE JIMESON (_Jah o yah_)                               Seneca Snipe
  DAVID WARRIOR (_Dwen o gwah_)                          Cayuga White Heron
  WILLETT JIMESON (_So i as ah_--"Owner of fine cornstalks")    Seneca Wolf
  NANCY GREYSQUIRREL (_Gah gwah tah_--"One who lifts")          Seneca Bear
  EMILY TALLCHIEF (_Gi das was_--"Wind blowing through corn") Seneca Turtle
  LOUISE PIERCE LOGAN (_Ga yah was_--"The quivering heaven")    Seneca Wolf
  THOMAS JONES (_Gah ne yehs_--"The dropping snow")             Seneca Wolf


Once our fathers own these lands of New York State. Once the Iroquois
were great people. Their council fires burn from Hudson on east to Lake
Erie on west, from rising to setting sun. Then White man come. He ask
for small seat size buffalo skin. He take larger and larger one, till
Indian have but small place to sit.

Now we have little left but stories of our fathers. They, too, will soon
be lost and forgotten, but a voice has come to speak for us. _Yeh sen
noh wehs_--the one who tells the stories--will carry these stories of
our fathers to Paleface. She will help White man to understand Indian,
Indian to be understood. She will have all men brothers.

Indian's heart is glad that _Yeh sen noh wehs_, our white friend, has
come to us. She have good eyes. She see right. She like things Indian.
She try to preserve them. Our old men and women tell her the stories
told them, many, many moons ago, when little children.

_Yeh sen noh wehs_ write down these stories so our children and our
children's children may read and know them; and so Paleface Children may
learn them also. Indian tell these stories to his children to make them
good and brave and kind and unselfish. May they teach Paleface Children
how they should do.

Again we say, Indian is glad to have some one speak for him. He is glad
to have some one write down the great and beautiful thoughts in Indian's
mind and heart. We have spoken. _Na ho._

Chief of Seneca Nation,

[Illustration: handwritten signature]

Chief of Onondagas,

[Illustration: handwritten signature]

Chief of Tuscaroras,

[Illustration: handwritten signature]

Chief of Oneidas,

[Illustration: handwritten signature]

Chief of Cayugas,

[Illustration: handwritten signature]

Chief of Mohawks,

[Illustration: handwritten signature]


Out of the moons of long ago, these stories have come. Then every tribe
of the Iroquois had its story-teller.

When the Old Man of the North came out of his lodge, and the forests and
rivers of the Red Children grew white with his breath, these
story-tellers wandered from wigwam to wigwam.

Seated on warm skins by the fire, the story-teller would exclaim,
"_Hanio_!" This meant, "Come, gather round, and I will tell a story."

Then all the Red Children would cry, "_Heh_," and draw close to the
fire. This meant that they were glad to hear the story. And as the
flames leaped and chased one another along the fire trail, they would
listen to these wonder stories of the Little People, of the trees and
flowers, of birds, of animals, and men. When the story-teller had
finished, he said, "_Na ho_." This meant, "It is the end."

The earth was very young, when the Red Children first learned how
everything came to be, and just why it is that things are as they are.
They told these wonderful things to their children, and their children
in turn told them to their children; and those children again in turn
told them to theirs, that these things might not be forgotten.

Now, but few of the Red Children know these stories that the
grandmothers and old men of the tribe used to tell. The story-teller is
no longer seen wandering from wigwam to wigwam.



Some time ago the writer of these stories was asked to speak for an
Indian Society. She accepted the invitation, and that night made her
first Indian friends.

Her new friends told her many beautiful things about the Red Children.
The more the writer learned about the Iroquois people, and things
Indian, the more interested she became. After a time she began to tell
the Paleface the things she had learned.

Soon, one of the tribes, the Senecas--the tribe to which her new friends
belonged--heard that she was speaking for them. They wished to honor
her, so they asked her to be present at their Green-Corn Feast, and
become one of them.

So when the Green-Corn moon hung her horn in the night sky, the writer
found the trail to the Land of the Senecas. There the Senecas adopted
her into the Snipe clan of their nation. She was called _Yeh sen noh
wehs_--"One who carries and tells the stories."

Thus it was that the writer became one of the Red Children, _Yeh sen noh
wehs_--the Daughter of the Senecas.

The more _Yeh sen noh wehs_ learned of the Red Children, and their
simple stories, the more she loved them. One day, _Yeh sen noh wehs_
said she would be the story-teller not only of the Senecas, but of all
the tribes of the Iroquois. There are six great families of this people.
Each family is called a tribe or nation.

Once, the council fires of these six nations burned from the Hudson on
the east, to Lake Erie on the west, and they were a great and powerful

It was at the time of the Berry Moon that _Yeh sen noh wehs_ hit the
story trail. Since then she has journeyed through all the lands of the
Senecas, the Onondagas, the Cayugas, the Oneidas, the Mohawks, and the

Like the story-teller of old, _Yeh sen noh wehs_ wandered from lodge to
lodge of the Iroquois. "_Hanio_," she would call, and as the Indians
gathered round, she would tell them one of the stories that other Indian
friends had told to her.

Sometimes this would remind the Red Children of another story, which
_Yeh sen noh wehs_ did not know, and they would tell it to her. It was
in this way that these stories have been gathered.

There were many days when _Yeh sen noh wehs_ told her stories, but none
were told in return. Few members of the tribes--these usually the
oldest--could remember the stories "they used to tell."

Sometimes _Yeh sen noh wehs_ heard a story as she trudged along a
furrow, beside a ragged Indian who was plowing with a more
ragged-looking team. Or she would listen as she helped an Indian woman
prepare the evening meal, pick berries, or gather nuts.


Sometimes, as _Yeh sen noh wehs_ sat by a fire down in the depths of a
beautiful wood, and watched the smoke of the sacred medicine rise, a
medicine man would tell her a story; or an Indian woman would drop a
word, as she sat at her door weaving baskets or making beadwork.

These stories _Yeh sen noh wehs_ has made into a story book, that they
might not be lost and forgotten; that all the Iroquois Red Children and
their children's children might know and tell them, and that Paleface
children might learn them as well.

The American children have no fairies of their own. They must borrow
their fairies from children of other nations. _Yeh sen noh wehs_ thought
it very sad, so she put a magic feather in her cap, and winged moccasins
on her feet. Then she went on the chase for real American wonder
stories, and for real American fairies.


Had there not been a feather in the magic cap she wore, _Yeh sen noh
wehs_ would not have found them. But the feather pointed the way to the
Nature Wonder Trail, and there she caught a glimpse of the "Little
People,"--the only true American fairies.


All children who live close to Mother Earth come to know and to see the
fairies of the flowers, the woods, the rocks, and the waters.

These fairies the Iroquois call the _Jo gah oh_, or "Little People,"
because they are so small. The Little People can do wonderful things.
Whatever they wish, they can do. They can fly through the air. They can
dart under or through the water, into the earth and through the rocks,
as they please, for they wear invisible moccasins and travel in winged

Their wee babies are carried on the little mothers' backs,--just like
the Indian's papoose. The little fathers have wonderful winged bows and
arrows, that can shoot any distance they wish.


The Little People bring good luck to the Indians. Whatever Indian boys
and girls wish for,--if they wish hard enough, the _Jo gah oh_ will
bring to them.

It is said that there are three tribes of these Little People,--those
that live in the rocks beside streams and lakes, those that hover near
the flowers and plants, and those that guard the dark places under the

The rock Little People are very strong. They can uproot large trees and
can hurl great rocks. Sometimes they dare the Indians to a test of
strength with them. They also like to play ball with stones.

The Red Children fear the Stone Throwers, as they call them. But they
love the little folk that help the flowers to blossom, and the fruit and
grains to grow and ripen.

They remember these Little People in their Feasts of Thanksgiving, for
do the _Jo gah oh_ not help the sweet waters of the maple to flow? Do
they not whisper to the growing seeds and show the way to the light? Do
they not guide the runners of the strawberries, turn the blossoms to the
sun, and paint the berries red? They also tint the grains, and give to
the corn its good taste.

A third tribe of Little People dwell under the earth. They guard the
sacred white buffaloes, and keep the serpent monsters that live in the
darkness below from coming to the surface to the Red Children.


There are trails that lead out to the sunlight, but the Little People
guard them close, although sometimes a great serpent will find the
trail of a spring, and will follow it and poison the waters.

Often, at night, these elves of the dark come to the upper world to
dance with the other Little People.

Wherever you find a tree in a deep, dark part of the wood, around which
no grass will grow, there you may be sure a dance ring has been formed.
There the Little People have danced till the moon dropped out of the

[Illustration: DANCE RATTLE]


The old-time Indians say that long, long ago, the Little People made a
law that stories must not be told in summer.

Summer is the time for work. Bees must store their honey. Squirrels must
gather their nuts. Men must grow their corn. Trees and plants must leaf,
and flower, and bear their fruit.

If stories were told, plants, birds, animals, and men would stop their
work to listen. This would mean poor crops and hungry people. Animals
would forget to grow their winter coats and lay by their winter stores.
Birds would fail to start in time for the South.

The old Indians say that the story-teller who disobeys this law of _Jo
gah oh_ will suffer some misfortune. Winter is the time to tell the
stories, for then the work of animals, plants, and men is done,--and the
Little People are fast asleep.

No, it is not safe to tell stories in summer. No one knows when a bird,
or a bee, or a butterfly may be listening, and may tell the chief of the
Little People. Should the chief of the Little People be offended, he
might cause something dreadful to happen to the story-teller.

Last summer, the writer of these stories came very near being changed
into an animal,--or something worse,--just for telling stories. So an
old Indian said. She does not know now how she escaped. She thinks it
must have been because she was a White Indian. This is how it happened.

It was at the time of the Harvest Moon. _Yeh sen noh wehs_ spoke for one
of the tribes at their council house, and she told some of these wonder

All went well until the middle of the night. Then a very old Indian
came to warn her of her danger. It seems that he had been at the council
in the evening, and had heard the stories told, many of which he knew.

He told _Yeh sen noh wehs_ he had expected to see her change into
something else right then and there. He said he would not dare to tell a
story. "No, no, me 'fraid, evil come!" he said.

Then he wanted to know if _Yeh sen noh wehs_ was a real Indian. He had
been told that she was a White Indian, but when he heard her tell the
stories, he said, he thought she was a real Indian.

When _Yeh sen noh wehs_ told him that she had not a drop of Indian blood
running in her veins, he looked very solemn. At last he spoke. He told
the interpreter to tell her,--for he spoke but a few words of
English,--that the Great Spirit made a snake, a snake; a fox, a fox; a
muskrat, a muskrat; a coon, a coon; a bear, a bear; an Indian, an
Indian; a White Indian, a White Indian. Each must be snake, fox, coon,
bear, Indian or White Indian, as long as he lived. Each must be himself.

Then the old man asked what disease _Yeh sen noh wehs_ had, that made
her go around with a feather in her hair, acting like a real Indian, if
she were a White Indian.

_Yeh sen noh wehs_ had no answer. And she does not know to this day,
what saved her from being changed into a rabbit, a katydid, or something
worse, by the chief of the Little People. She knows, however, that she
is very glad she is telling the stories to you, in the WINTER time.



The Iroquois Red Children are a grateful people. The true Iroquois never
rises after eating without saying, "_Niaweh_," which means, "I am
thankful." The others reply, "_Niuh_,"--"It is well."

The Red Children never pick a flower without thinking how kind the Great
Spirit has been, to cause the flowers to grow. They like flowers, and no
matter how poor the Indian cabin, flowers are always to be found near.

When the Iroquois pick fruit, they give thanks to the Great Spirit. And
always do they leave some, for the "little brothers of the wood."

They do not try to pick every cherry or berry, or nut or apple, for
themselves. Fruits grow for the birds and animals as well as for men,
and the little brothers of the wood must not be forgotten. Some of
everything that grows is left for them.

[Illustration: SAP BUCKET]

During the spring and summer, the Iroquois give several thanksgiving
feasts. The first is early in the spring, at maple-sugar time. As soon
as the sap begins to flow, the Maple Feast is called.

The Indians gather about a large maple tree. A fire is lighted near,
upon which one of their number sprinkles tobacco. As the smoke rises, a
prayer of thanksgiving is made to the Great Spirit, for causing the
sweet waters of the maple to flow. Then the maple trees are thanked for
their service to men, and protection is asked for the trees during the
coming year.

When "the leaf of the dogwood is the size of a squirrel's ear," it is
planting time. Then an Indian maid goes into the fields and scatters a
few grains of corn, asking the aid of the Great Spirit for the harvest.
The Indian always plants his seed with the growing moon, that it may
grow with the moon.


The next feast is the Strawberry Feast and Dance.

The strawberry is one of the best gifts of the Great Spirit to his
children. So greatly is it prized that it is thought to grow on the Sky
Road that leads to the Happy Hunting Ground. An Indian who has been very
ill, near death, will say, "I almost ate strawberries."

When the strawberry ripens, the Red Children are happy. They sing their
praises to the Great Spirit and dance with joy. They remember the Little
People who have helped to make the berries beautiful, and they have a
song of praise and dance of thanks for them as well. Without the help of
the Little People, the strawberries would not be so sweet and ripe.

At the time of the Harvest Moon comes the last feast of the summer. This
thanksgiving feast lasts four days. The Indians not only give thanks for
the ripening of the corn, but for every growing thing. Therefore this
feast is longer than the others, since it takes some time to name all
the good gifts of the Great Spirit to the Red Children, and to give
thanks for them all.

There is a story[1] of the corn in which the Spirit of the Corn is a
maiden, not a handsome young chief, as one of the stories claims. This
Corn Maiden was one of three sisters, and was called _Ona tah_.

[Footnote 1: _Myths and Legends of the Iroquois_, by Harriet Maxwell

The three sister vegetables--the corn, the bean, and the squash--were
called the _Di o he ko_, which means "those we live on," since they are
the life-giving vegetables.

These sisters lived together on a hill and were very happy. But one day
_Ona tah_ wandered away in search of dews for her kernels.

The Evil Spirit was watching. He seized _Ona tah_, the Spirit of the
Corn, and sent one of his monsters to blight her fields. The killing
winds swept over the hill, and the spirits of the squash and bean fled
before them.

_Ona tah_ was held for some time a prisoner in the darkness under the
earth, by the Evil Spirit.


At last a sun ray found her and guided her back to her lost hilltop.
There she found that her sisters had fled. She was alone.

Then _Ona tah_ made a vow to the sun that she would never again leave
her fields. But she sighs for her lost sisters, and mourns the blight
that came upon her beautiful fields. For since the time when _Ona tah_
wandered away and left her fields, the corn has not grown so tall or so
beautiful as once it did.




In the olden times, tribes of Indians did not always live in one place
as they do now. They sometimes wandered from one valley or woodland to
another. When they came to a sheltered place, where there was pure
running water, and where plenty of game and wood were to be found, they
would build their lodges and light their council fires.

There they might camp for one moon, or for many moons. As long as their
arrows brought game on the hunting trails near, they would not break
camp. But if game grew scarce, or if for any reason they did not like
the camp ground, they would move farther on.

Sometimes they would go several days' journey, before they found a
camping place such as they liked.

The first thing that was done in making a camp was to secure fire and
light the council fire. This fire was always kept burning. It never went
out while they remained.

The Indians loved the fire. It was the gift of the Great Spirit to the
Red Children. It kept them warm and cooked their food by day, and
protected them by night.

A line of fires was kept burning around the camp. This protected the Red
Children from the wild animals, for all animals fear fire, and are
charmed by it. They might prowl and howl all night long outside the fire
ring, but never would they attempt to come within that ring. There the
Indians could sleep in peace, guarded by the spirits of the fire.


The Indian that could make fire first became a chief and leader. When it
was decided to camp at a certain place, a signal would be given. At this
the young braves would leap into the woods, to see which one first could
bring back fire. Each had his own secret way of making it. Usually a
bowstring was twisted about a fire stick, and the stick was turned
rapidly in a groove. In a few seconds, smoke would rise from the sawdust
that formed. After a little fanning a flame would leap forth.

The Indian whose brain and hand worked swiftest and surest was the
smartest and best man. He became a Firemaker, and was made a chief of
the tribe. He could do something that the rest could not,--at least he
had proved himself to be more skillful. Such a man, it was thought, had
a better understanding of all things, and therefore could tell the rest
of the tribe what ought to be done.

He no longer was just a man who ate and slept, walked and ran. He was a
man with a mind. He could think and could do things. So he became a
Firemaker chief, and he helped the tribe to think and do.

The Iroquois Red Children believe that there are three kinds of men:
those that use the body only; those that use body and mind; and those
that use body, mind, and spirit.

Now it happened that sometimes an Indian grew to be so kind and so
great, that he could not only strike the fire we see, but the fire we do
not see,--the fire of love that burns in the hearts of people.


When an Indian could strike this kind of fire, and warm the hearts not
only of his own tribe but of all tribes, so that they came to love one
another, he was a great chief, a Peacemaker chief. Such a man would go
from tribe to tribe, teaching the people how they should do, so that all
might live in peace and plenty, like brothers.

To be a Peacemaker was the highest seat an Indian could take. Few
Indians became Peacemaker chiefs, and they were the great men of the

Indian women also might become Peacemakers. At one time the Iroquois had
a Peace Wigwam, where all disputes and quarrels were settled.

The most beautiful, just, and fair-minded woman of all the tribes was
chosen to sit in this wigwam. It was her duty to tend the Peace fire,
and to see that it never went out. She also kept a pot of hominy always
steaming over the fire.

If two Indians had a dispute, it was the custom for them to run to the
Peacemaker's wigwam. They entered from opposite sides. Inside the
wigwam, a deerskin curtain separated them from each other.


The Peacemaker would listen to the grievance of the one and then to that
of the other. Then she would draw aside the curtain, get the enemies
together, and settle the dispute with justice.

The two would then eat of the hominy, and depart in peace,--no longer
enemies, but friends.

No nation could fight another nation without the consent of the
Peacemaker. Because the peacewomen were wise, and just, and kind, and
taught men to love, not fight each other, the Iroquois were for many
years at peace.

But one day, it is said, a Peacewoman proved untrue to her trust. She
thought more of her own happiness than that of the nation.


This woman was very beautiful, and the people loved her. For some time
she sat in the Peace Wigwam, and tended faithfully the Peace fire.

One day an Oneida and a Cayuga chief fell to quarreling. They sought the
Peace Wigwam. As they entered and saw the young Peacewoman tending the
fire, each thought he had never seen a woman so beautiful.

Into the heart of each there leaped the desire that she might tend his
wigwam fire.

The Peacemaker listened to the quarrel of the young chiefs and settled
it justly. Then each tried to persuade her to leave the Peace fire and
return with him to his lodge. But the Peacemaker said, "No, I must tend
the fire, it must be kept burning." The chiefs departed with heavy

But the Oneida chief could not forget the beautiful woman. When a moon
had passed, he returned to the Peace Wigwam. This time he persuaded the
Peacemaker to leave her fire and return with him to sit at his wigwam

The Peace fire flickered and went out. The Iroquois again went on the
warpath, and for many, many moons, they fought and suffered and died.





Long, long before Columbus came to America, the Red Children were here.
They were the first and only real Americans.

From the Big Sea Water on the east to the Big Sea Water on the west,
ranged these Children of the Sun, as they called themselves.

Happy and free as the sunlight and air about them, they ran through wide
forests all their own, or plied their bark canoes up and down the

Then the Indian had a dream. This was long before Columbus dreamed his
dream of the Western World.

In his dream the Indian saw a great White Bird coming out of the east.
Its wings were stretched wide to the north and south. With great
strength and speed, it swept toward the setting sun.

In fear and wonder the Indian watched this giant White Bird appear and
disappear. He knew its meaning, and the Indian's heart was sad.

Then the White man came. From the Big Sea Water on the east he came, in
his great white-winged canoe. With one hand pointing to the Great
Spirit, and with the other extended to the Red man he came. He asked for
a small seat. A seat the size of a buffalo skin would be quite large
enough for him, he said.

In the name of the Great Spirit, the Red Children greeted the White man,
and called him "brother." They gave him the seat he asked. They gave him
a large buffalo skin also, and showed him where he could spread it by
their council fire.

The White man took the buffalo skin. He thanked his Red brother in the
name of the Great Spirit. Then he began to cut the skin into many, many
small strips.


When the whole buffalo skin had been cut into narrow strips, he tied the
strips together. They made a long cord that would reach over a long

In amazement the Indians watched the White man while he measured off a
seat as long and as broad as this cord would reach around. The "small
seat," the size of a buffalo skin, became a tract of land.

Soon the White man asked for another seat. This time his seat took in
the Indians' lodges and camp fire. He asked the Indians if they would
move on a few arrow flights. This they did.

Then the White man wanted another seat. Each time it took a larger skin
for him to sit upon. This time the skin stretched so far that it covered
a part of the Indians' hunting and fishing grounds.

Again the Indians moved on. Again the White man followed. Each time his
seat grew larger, until the Indian had a place but the size of a buffalo
skin on which to sit.

Thus it was that the White man came. Like a great White Bird that swept
from the Big Sea Water on the east to the Big Sea Water on the west, the
White man came; and he drove the Indian from the rising to the setting



Many, many moons before the White man came, a little Indian boy was left
in the woods. It was in the days when animals and men understood each
other better than they do now.

An old mother bear found the little Indian boy.

She felt very sorry for him. She told the little boy not to cry, for she
would take him home with her; she had a nice wigwam in the hollow of a
big tree.

Old Mother Bear had two cubs of her own, but she had a place between her
great paws for a third. She took the little papoose, and she hugged him
warm and close. She fed him as she did her own little cubs.

The boy grew strong. He was very happy with his adopted mother and
brothers. They had a warm lodge in the hollow of the great tree. As
they grew older, Mother Bear found for them all the honey and nuts that
they could eat.



From sunrise to sunset, the little Indian boy played with his cub
brothers. He did not know that he was different from them. He thought he
was a little bear, too. All day long, the boy and the little bears
played and had a good time. They rolled, and tumbled, and wrestled in
the forest leaves. They chased one another up and down the bear tree.

Sometimes they had a matched game of hug, for every little bear must
learn to hug. The one who could hug the longest and the tightest won the

Old Mother Bear watched her three dear children at their play. She would
have been content and happy, but for one thing. She was afraid some harm
would come to the boy. Never could she quite forget the bear hunters.
Several times they had scented her tree, but the wind had thrown them
off the trail.

Once, from her bear-tree window, she had thrown out rabbit hairs as she
saw them coming. The wind had blown the rabbit hairs toward the hunters.
As they fell near the hunters, they had suddenly changed into rabbits
and the hunters had given chase.

At another time, Mother Bear tossed some partridge feathers to the wind
as the hunters drew near her tree. A flock of partridges went whirring
into the woods with a great noise, and the hunters ran after them.


But on this day, Mother Bear's heart was heavy. She knew that now the
big bear hunters were coming. No rabbits or partridges could lead these
hunters from the bear trail, for they had dogs with four eyes.
(Foxhounds have a yellow spot over each eye which makes them seem
double-eyed.) These dogs were never known to miss a bear tree. Sooner or
later they would scent it.

Mother Bear thought she might be able to save herself and her cubs. But
what would become of the boy? She loved him too well to let the bear
hunters kill him.


Just then the porcupine, the Chief of the animals, passed by the bear
tree. Mother Bear saw him. She put her head out the bear-tree window and
called to him. He came and sat under the bear-tree window, and listened
to Mother Bear's story of her fears for the boy.

When she had finished, Chief Porcupine said he would call a council of
the animals, and see if they could not save the boy.

Now the Chief had a big voice. As soon as he raised his voice, even the
animals away on the longest trails heard. They ran at once and gathered
under the council tree. There was a loud roar, and a great flapping of
wings, for the birds came, too.

Chief Porcupine told them about the fears of Mother Bear, and of the
danger to the boy.

"Now," said the Chief, "which one of you will take the boy, and save him
from the bear hunters?"

It happened that some animals were present that were jealous of man.
These animals had held more than one secret council, to plan how they
could do away with him. They said he was becoming too powerful. He knew
all they knew,--and more.

The beaver did not like man, because men could build better houses than

The fox said that man had stolen his cunning, and could now outwit him.

The wolf and the panther objected to man, because he could conceal
himself and spring with greater surety than they.


The raccoon said that man was more daring, and could climb higher than

The deer complained that man could outrun him.

So when Chief Porcupine asked who would take the boy and care for him,
each of these animals in turn said that he would gladly do so.

Mother Bear sat by and listened as each offered to care for the boy. She
did not say anything, but she was thinking hard,--for a bear. At last
she spoke.

To the beaver she said, "You cannot take the boy; you will drown him on
the way to your lodge."

To the fox she said, "You cannot take him; you would teach him to cheat
and steal, while pretending to be a friend; neither can the wolf or the
panther have him, for they are counting on having something good to eat.

"You, deer, lost your upper teeth for eating human flesh. And, too, you
have no home, you are a tramp.

"And you, raccoon, I cannot trust, for you would coax him to climb so
high that he would fall and die.

"No, none of you can have the boy."

Now a great bird that lives in the sky had flown into the council tree,
while the animals were speaking. But they had not seen him.

When Mother Bear had spoken, this wise old eagle flew down, and said,
"Give the boy to me, Mother Bear. No bird is so swift and strong as the
eagle. I will protect him. On my great wings I will bear him far away
from the bear hunters.

"I will take him to the wigwam of an Indian friend, where a little
Indian boy is wanted."

Mother Bear looked into the eagle's keen eyes. She saw that he could see

Then she said, "Take him, eagle, I trust him to you. I know you will
protect the boy."

The eagle spread wide his great wings. Mother Bear placed the boy on his
back, and away they soared, far from the council woods.

The eagle left the boy, as he had promised, at the door of a wigwam
where a little Indian boy was wanted.

This was the first young American to be saved by an American eagle.

The boy grew to be a noble chief and a great hunter. No hunter could hit
a bear trail so soon as he, for he knew just where and how to find the
bear trees. But never was he known to cut down a bear tree, or to kill a

However, many were the wolf, panther, and deerskins that hung in his
lodge. The hunter's wife sat and made warm coats from the fox and beaver
skins which the hunter father brought in from the chase. But never was
the hunter, his wife, or his children seen to wear a bear-skin coat.




It was a long, long time ago, when the earth was very young. Trees and
flowers were growing everywhere, but there were no birds. One morning
the Great Spirit drew back the blanket from the door of his wigwam in
the sky. He looked upon the earth and smiled, for he saw that his work
was good.

"Today," thought he, "I will make big butterflies, to fly in and out
among the beautiful trees and flowers of the earth. They shall sing as
they fly."

Then the Great Spirit spoke, and the tree tops were full of birds,--but
they had no feathers.

All day he watched them fly and listened to their songs. But their naked
bodies and long legs did not please him. Before the sun had set he had
made feathered suits, of every size and color, to cover them.

That night, as the birds hid their heads under their wings, the Great
Spirit spoke to them. He told about the feathered suits he had made for
them, and where these suits could be found.

A council was called next day by the birds. They chose _Gah gah go wah_,
the Turkey Buzzard, to get the suits. He could fly over a long trail and
not be tired.

The birds told him that if he would go, he might have the first choice
of the suits of feathers, but he must try on no suit more than once.

Turkey Buzzard promised and set out toward the setting sun. Twice the
sun set, and three times it rose, before he found the feathered suits.
There were many of them, and they were very beautiful. He could not make
up his mind which one he would like best to wear.

Then he remembered that he could try on each suit of feathers once. So
he began to put them on.

The feathers of the first suit were too long. They trailed on the ground
as he walked. Neither could he fly well in them. Turkey Buzzard laid
that suit aside.

The next suit shone like gold. The feathers were a beautiful yellow.
Turkey Buzzard put it on and strutted up and down the forest.

"Oh, how handsome I am!" he said. "But I must not keep this, for if I
did, I should shine so like the face of the Great Spirit, that all the
other birds would see me."

And he slipped off the suit of yellow feathers as quickly as possible.

A third suit was of pure white feathers. Turkey Buzzard thought it
looked very beautiful. It was a perfect fit.

"But it will get dirty too soon," he said. "I will not choose this."

And this, too, was laid aside.

There were not enough feathers in the fourth suit. Turkey Buzzard
shivered with cold. It was not warm enough. He would not have it.

There were too many feathers, and too many pieces, in the fifth suit. It
took too much time to put it on. Turkey Buzzard did not want that.

So he went from one suit to another, trying on and taking off. Always he
had some new fault to find. Something was wrong with each one. Nothing
quite pleased him. No suit was just right.

At last there was but one suit left. It was not pretty. It was a plain,
dull color,--and very short of feathers at the neck and head. Turkey
Buzzard put it on. He did not like it. It did not fit him well: it was
cut too low in the neck. Turkey Buzzard thought it was the homeliest
suit of all. But it was the last suit, so he kept it on.

Then _Gah gah go wah_, the Turkey Buzzard, gathered up the suits and
flew back to the bird lodge. He still wore the plain, dull-colored suit.

The birds again called a council. Each was told to select a suit from
those that _Gah gah go wah_ had brought, and put it on. This they did.

Then the birds in their beautiful feathered suits began to walk and fly
about the Turkey Buzzard, and to make fun of his plain, dull dress.

But _Gah gah go wah_ held his head high. He walked proudly about among
the birds. He looked with scorn on their beautiful suits. After a time
he spoke.

He said, "_Gah gah go wah_, the Turkey Buzzard, does not want your
suits. He had the pick of them all. He likes his own suit best."

     Adapted from Erminie Smith's _Myths of the Iroquois_.




It was after the Great Spirit had made all the beautiful birds, that the
Evil Spirit came along. He saw the beautiful birds and heard their
beautiful songs. He saw that the earth people liked the birds and liked
to hear them sing.

Now the Evil Spirit did not wish people to be happy, so he said, "I will
make a bird that will make people afraid. I will make a big bird that
will not sing, but will make a great noise."

So the Evil Spirit went to work. In a short time he had made a big bird,
that could not sing, but could drum.

The big bird flew away into the wood. That night a drumming noise was
heard in the wood. The people were afraid. They could not sleep, because
of the noise.

In the morning, they went into the woods to search for the noise. Deep
in the forest could still be heard that strange drumming. They followed
it, until they came to a deep, dark place in the woods. There was a loud
fluttering and whirring of wings, and a great bird flew out from among
them, along the ground and over the trees.

The people were afraid. They called to the Great Spirit to help them.

The Great Spirit was near. He heard their cry, and went after the bird,
for he was very angry.

The Great Spirit said, "I will not have my people frightened by this
great bird; it shall die."

The big bird gave the Great Spirit a long chase. At last the Great
Spirit came upon it. He seized it, and threw it against a large tree.

As the big bird struck the tree, drops of blood flew in all directions.
They changed into smaller birds that went whirring into the woods, just
as the big bird had done. There they began to drum.

Like the big bird, these smaller birds like to startle people. They
flutter out from under the leaves, and with a whirring noise they fly
far into the wood. There they perch on an old log, or a rock, and drum
with their wings.

Some of the earth people say they are drumming for their mates. But
others still think that the birds drum to make people afraid.

So this is how the Indians say the partridges came to be. This is why
they drum, and why some of the earth children still love to hunt


A long, long time ago, some Indians were running along a trail that led
to an Indian settlement. As they ran, a rabbit jumped from the bushes
and sat before them.

[Illustration: MEDICINE RATTLE]

The Indians stopped, for the rabbit still sat up before them and did not
move from the trail. They shot their arrows at him, but the arrows came
back unstained with blood.

A second time they drew their arrows. Now no rabbit was to be seen.
Instead, an old man stood on the trail. He seemed to be weak and sick.


The old man asked them for food and a place to rest. They would not
listen but went on to the settlement.

Slowly the old man followed them, down the trail to the wigwam village.
In front of each wigwam, he saw a skin placed on a pole. This he knew
was the sign of the clan to which the dwellers in that wigwam belonged.

First he stopped at a wigwam where a wolf skin hung. He asked to enter,
but they would not let him. They said, "We want no sick men here."

On he went toward another wigwam. Here a turtle's shell was hanging. But
this family would not let him in.

He tried a wigwam where he saw a beaver skin. He was told to move on.


The Indians who lived in a wigwam where a deer skin was seen, were just
as unkind. Nor was he permitted to enter wigwams where hung hawk, snipe,
and heron skins.

At last he came to a wigwam where a bear skin hung.

"I will ask once more for a place to rest," he thought.

And here a kind old woman lived. She brought food for him to eat, and
spread soft skins for him to lie upon.

The old man thanked her. He said that he was very sick. He told the
woman what plants to gather in the wood, to make him well again.

This she did, and soon he was healed.

A few days later the old man was again taken sick. Again he told the
woman what roots and leaves to gather. She did as she was told, and
soon he was well.


Many times the old man fell sick. Each time he had a different sickness.
Each time he told the woman what plants and herbs to find to cure him.
Each time she remembered what she had been told.

Soon this woman of the Bear clan knew more about healing than all the
other people.

One day, the old man told her that the Great Spirit had sent him to
earth, to teach the Indian people the secrets of healing.

"I came, sick and hungry, to many a wigwam door. No blanket was drawn
aside for me to pass in. You alone lifted the blanket from your wigwam
door and bade me enter.

"You are of the Bear clan, therefore all other clans shall come to the
Bear clan for help in sickness.

"You shall teach all the clans what plants, and roots, and leaves to
gather, that the sick may be healed.

"And the Bear shall be the greatest and strongest of the clans."

The Indian woman lifted her face to the Great Spirit to thank him for
this great gift and knowledge of healing. When she turned again to the
man, he had disappeared.

No one was there, but a rabbit was running swiftly down the trail.

[Illustration: MEDICINE MASK]



A fox was running through the wood near a river. He had a fish in his

The fish had been stolen from an Indian who lived down the stream. The
fox had been passing near the Indian's wigwam. He saw the fish hanging
by the fire. It was cleaned and ready to cook.

"What a tasty breakfast!" thought the fox. "I think I will watch the man

Soon the Indian went into the wigwam. The fox slipped up to the fire. He
seized the fish, and ran away with it.

When the Indian came back, he had no breakfast. The fish was gone. No
fox was to be seen.

The fox ran along, feeling much pleased with himself.

"What a cunning fox I am," he chuckled. "I will play another foxy trick.
This time it shall be on the bear I see coming."

He ran up a tree that had been bent half way to earth by the West Wind.
There he began to eat his fish. He smacked his lips so loudly that the
bear heard him.

The bear stopped under the tree, and asked, "What are you eating that
tastes so good?"

For answer the fox threw down a bit of the fish. The bear smacked his
lips and cried, "More! More!"

"Go to the river, swim out to the big log, and catch your own fish,"
called the fox. "It's very easy! Just drop your tail into the water.
Hold it there till a fish comes along and bites, then pull it up. That
is the way I catch my fish. You can catch all the fish you want with
your own tail."

The bear hurried on to the river. He swam to the log and dropped his
tail into the water, as the fox had advised.

All day he sat and fished with his tail,--for bears then had very long

The sun set, but no fish had pulled his tail. All night the bear sat on
the log and fished. Cold North Wind blew his breath over the water. The
river grew still and white.

Towards morning, the bear felt that his tail was getting very heavy. Now
at last he was sure he had a fish. He tried to pull it up. But alas! his
tail was frozen fast in the ice.

Then the fox came along. He laughed long and loudly at the bear, and
asked if the fishing was good.

Some dogs heard the fox, and came tearing through the thick underbrush.
They saw the fox and started after him.

The fox slyly led them on to the frozen river toward the bear. The bear
saw them coming, and called to the fox to go around some other way. The
fox made believe he did not hear, and came straight on to the bear to
ask him what he had said.

The dogs leaped upon the bear. The bear struggled. He gave one great
pull, and freed himself from the ice. He struck at the dogs so fiercely
with his great paws, that they soon left him, and went on after the fox.

Dogs have been running after foxes ever since.

When the bear got his breath, he stood up and looked around at his tail.
He found he had only a small piece left. Most of his tail had been left
in the ice.

This is why bears have short tails, and why dogs still love to chase the



Some moons after the council when the birds chose their feathered suits,
a second council was called. The purpose of this council was to see
which bird could fly to heaven, and bring a song to earth.

When all the birds had arrived and were perched upon the council tree,
the wise old owl spoke.

"Friends and brothers, listen," said the owl. "Many of you have strong
wings, but your voices are not beautiful. High, high up in the sky, a
long trail beyond the clouds, is the Happy Hunting Ground.

"There live all our brothers of the wood, whom the Great Spirit has
called. They sing songs more beautiful than any heard on earth.

"The bird that can fly beyond the clouds will hear that singing. He
shall bring a song to earth. Who will fly the Great Sky Trail, and bring
a song to earth? Who-whoo! Who-whoo! Who-whoo!"

At this, all the birds that were swift of wing flew high in the air.
They circled round and round to show their skill. Then they disappeared
in the clouds.

But one by one they dropped to earth; for when they had reached the
Great Sky Trail beyond the clouds, they were too tired to take it.

At last the eagle arose and stretched his great wings.

"Listen," he said, "for the Chief of Birds speaks. No other bird is so
swift and so strong as the eagle. He has circled the earth. He has flown
to the rim of the world. The eagle will fly the Great Sky Trail and
bring the song to earth."

A little brown thrush sat near the eagle.

"Oh," he thought, "how I would like to bring that song to earth!"

But he was so small, and his wings were so tired!

Then an idea popped into the little brown head of the thrush. He hopped
softly to the back of the eagle, and hid in the thick feathers near the
neck. So small and light was the thrush, that the eagle did not feel his
weight. He did not know that the little brown thrush was on his
back,--and the other birds did not tell him.

The eagle spread his great wings. Up, and up, and up, they soared. The
council wood became a little speck and then was seen no more. Over, and
under, and through the clouds, on, and on, and on, they sailed, along
the Great Sky Trail.


At last the eagle's strength began to fail. He could go no further. The
great wings of the chief of birds could beat the air no longer. They
fell at his side.

The little brown thrush felt the eagle quiver and begin to drop toward
the earth.

Then away flew the little brown thrush. The air was so light it seemed
easy to fly. On and on he went, for he was not tired. He had had a ride
almost to heaven.

"Now," he thought, "I will go on and will get the song."

For some time, the little brown thrush flew along the Great Sky Trail.
All at once the air seemed full of song. He knew he was nearing the
Happy Hunting Ground.

He listened. One song seemed more beautiful to him than the rest. Again
and again he listened. He caught the notes. He sang them many times,
until he was sure that he could carry the song to earth.

Then down, and down, and down, he floated, through clouds and storms and
sunshine, back to Mother Earth.

Very happy, he flew toward the council wood. He was so full of his
beautiful song and the wonderful Sky Trail, he thought he must pour out
his song at once.

But when he reached the council wood, he dared not open his mouth! He
remembered that he had stolen his ride part way to heaven,--and he knew
the other birds knew it.

But that song! he must sing it! He thought his throat would burst, if he
did not sing!

So the little brown thrush flew off by himself, into a deep, dark part
of the wood. There, hidden by the brush and the bushes, he poured forth
the song he had heard on the Great Sky Trail.

Men hearing it to-day, say, "Listen, a hermit thrush! What a beautiful
song! But he is such a shy bird, one seldom can catch a glimpse of him."

They do not know why he keeps so close under cover.


Every boy has wondered how there came to be two of him.

Every girl has puzzled over how she happened to be twins. Sometimes she
is the good girl,--sometimes a naughty one.

The Indians say this is how it happened.

The world was very young. There was no earth, only a cloud-like sea.

The sea was filled with water animals, and water birds flew over it. All
was dark. Light had not yet come.

Then the cloud-sea began to call for light. The Great Spirit heard, and
said, "It shall be so. I will make a new place for man to live in."

The Great Spirit called the beautiful Sky Mother to Him. Her face was
like the sun, she was so light of heart.

The Great Spirit told the Sky Mother to look down. She, too, heard the
cloud-sea calling, and she said, "I will go."

As she began to descend, the animals saw her coming. "See the light,"
they cried. "Where will it rest?"

One of the water animals said, "I will go to the bottom of the sea and
get something for it to rest on."

He went down, but he never came back.

Other animals followed him. But they, too, did not come back.

Then the muskrat said, "I will go. I will be the earth bringer."

He returned, with some mud in his mouth and claws.

"It will grow fast," he cried, in a weak voice. "Who will carry it?"

The turtle offered his back. As the muskrat placed the mud on the
turtle's shell he died. But the beaver came and slapped the mud down
with his tail.

The mud on the turtle's back grew very fast. Soon it was a small island.
The turtle became the earth bearer. He has continued to hold up the
earth ever since.

Now, when the sea rises in great waves, or the earth shakes, the Indians
say, "The turtle is stretching. He is wiggling his back!"

Now, since there was a place for the light to rest on, the birds flew up
to meet it. They found that the light was the beautiful Sky Mother.

Then the birds spread wide their great wings, and bore the Sky Mother
through the air to the cloud-sea. They placed her on the island on the
turtle's back. There the Sky Mother had rested some time, when she felt
something stirring beneath her heart. She heard voices. One was soft and
kind and full of love, the other was harsh and quarrelsome.

Soon the Sky Mother looked into the faces of the first-born of earth,
for she had borne the twin brothers, the spirits of Good and Evil. As
she looked into the face of the Good Mind, she said, "You shall be
called the Light One."

Then she looked into the face of his brother, and said, "You shall be
named the Dark One."

The island became a beautiful land.

The twin brother Light One grew up happy, loving, peaceful, and kind. He
wanted to make the new land the most beautiful place in which to live.
The twin brother Dark One grew up sullen, quarrelsome, hateful, and
unkind. He tried to make the land the worst place in which to live.

From his mother's beautiful face the Light One made the sun. He set it
in the eastern sky, that it might shine forever. Then the Dark One put
darkness in the west to drive the sun from the sky.

The Light One gave his mother's body to the earth, the Great Mother from
which springs all life. He made great mountains, and covered them with
forests from which beautiful rivers ran. The Dark One threw down the
mountains, gnarled the forests, and bent the rivers which his brother
had made.

Every beautiful thing which the good brother Light One made, the bad
brother Dark One tried to destroy and ruin.

And because the first-born of earth were the twin spirits, the Good Mind
and the Evil Mind, there has been a good and bad spirit born into every
boy and girl who has come into the world since.

So the Indians say!


There was once an Indian boy, who thought he knew more and could do more
than anyone else. He was so proud of himself that he walked around like
a great chief, who wears a war shirt with many scalp locks on it.

The other Indian boys and girls called him Spread Feather, because he
strutted about like a big turkey or a peacock.

One day, Spread Feather was playing ball with the other boys. Not once
had he failed to drive or catch the ball with his crosse stick. Twice he
had thrown the ball with such force that some one had been hurt.

Spread Feather grew more and more pleased with himself, as he played. He
began to use tricks and to talk very large.



"No one can play ball as I," he said. "I can catch the swiftest ball
that can be thrown. I can throw the ball to the sky. I can run faster
than the deer."

Spread Feather boasted so loudly that a rabbit heard him. The rabbit
came out of the bushes and sat up on his hind legs. He watched Spread
Feather play, and listened to his boasting.

Soon a strange boy was standing where the rabbit had sat.

The stranger said to Spread Feather, "I would like to play ball with

"Come on, then!" taunted the boastful boy. "Spread Feather will show the
strange ball player how to catch a ball."

They began to play.

The stranger could run like a deer. His balls were so swift and so
curved that Spread Feather could not see them. He could not catch one.
They seemed to come from the sky.

At last one ball hit Spread Feather on the mouth. He fell to the ground.
His face was red with anger, and his lips were red with blood.

He sprang to his feet and shouted to the stranger, "Though I do not like
the taste of your ball, yet I can throw you."

"Very well, then," said the stranger. "We will have a game of 'Catch as
catch can.'" This is the Indian name for a game of wrestling.

Spread Feather set his feet very hard on the ground.

"My legs are as strong as the legs of a bear," he boasted.

They began to wrestle. Soon Spread Feather's arms fell at his sides. He
panted for air. He had no breath and no strength.

The stranger picked Spread Feather up and tossed him over his head like
a ball. The boy fell without a word.

When Spread Feather opened his eyes, a rabbit sprang into the bushes.

All night, Spread Feather lay and thought, and thought. He was too weak
and too sore to go back to his wigwam. Nor was he eager to meet the
other boys.

At sunrise a rabbit hopped near. The rabbit slyly suggested that he
might like to play another game of ball.

The boy sat up and said to the rabbit, "Spread Feather is no more. He no
longer struts like a turkey. He has nothing to say. He will win a new
name. It will not be Spread Feather."


The land was lean and hungry. The Old Man of the North Lodge had
breathed upon the valley. His breath had frozen the corn, and there was
no bread for the people.

The Indian hunters took to the chase. They followed every track of deer
or rabbit. If their arrows brought them meat, they threw it over their
shoulders and ran to the village, that the hungry women and children
might eat.

But one Indian remained in his wigwam. He sat by the fire with his wife
and child, and waited for the hunters to bring game.

This man refused to go on the hunt. He was lazy. All day he sat by the
fire and smoked his pipe. Once in a while, he would stir the water in
the kettle which he kept boiling for the meat that he hoped the hunters
might bring. Whenever the child, his little son, begged him for food, he
would say, "It isn't done yet."

At last the little Indian boy grew so sick and faint for want of food
that he cried aloud.


The lazy Indian father was angry. He seized the pudding stick, and
struck the child to the ground. Instantly a bird flew up and perched on
the pole over the fire, from which the kettle hung.

"Now it's done!" said the bird solemnly, for it did not seem to have a
light heart like other birds.

Now, strange as it may seem this father was no longer cruel and lazy.
His lazy spirit seemed to have gone. He wanted to go at once on the
chase, and hunt food for his wife and little boy.

"To-night you shall have deer meat to eat," he said, as he spread a soft
skin by the fire, for the boy to lie on. Then he turned to place the
child on the skin,--but no boy was there. He had no son. Only that
strange bird perched, joyless and alone, over the fire, on the pole from
which the kettle hung.

"Now it's done!" the bird cried again, and with that it flew out of the

       *       *       *       *       *

That spring the Indians discovered a new bird in the woods. The bird was
too lazy to build a real nest.

This bird did not weave together twigs and moss, leaves and ferns, bits
of hair and thistledown, to make a cozy, warm, safe nest for its eggs
and young, as did the other birds. This bird would lay its eggs
anywhere. Wherever a few sticks lay crosswise in a track, or in a little
hollow of the ground, or where some twigs or dried ferns were caught
loosely in a bush, there this lazy bird would lay its eggs and rear its

It was too lazy to build a real nest, that was safe and warm for its
little ones.


The Indians called the bird "the cuckoo." But only one Indian knew how
the cuckoo came to be, and why it is too lazy to build a real nest.


A wise old raccoon sat up in a tree near the river where the bear lost
his tail. The coon saw the fox play his foxy trick on the bear, and he
did not like it.

"The fox is getting a big head," said the coon. "This must not be. His
head must be made smaller. Some of the foxiness must be taken out of it.
He is getting too foxy. He thinks he has the cunning of all the animals,
and that no one can outwit him. Some one must play a 'fox' trick on

Not many days later, the coon saw the fox coming down the trail. The
coon was eating some juicy yellow apples that he had found on a tree not
far away. As soon as he saw the fox, he ran up a tree, and began to
smack his lips as the fox had done to tempt the bear.

The fox stopped under the tree, just as the bear had stopped.

"What tastes so good?" he asked.

For answer the coon threw down an apple to the fox, just as the fox had
thrown the piece of fish down to the bear.

The fox took the apple and ate it.

"Fine! Fine!" said the fox, when he had finished the last mouthful.
"Where did you get it?"


The coon then told the fox how to find the apple tree. He must follow
the trail along the river, down to the pine bluff. Then he must climb
the bluff and run toward the setting sun, until he came to an open
field. In the center of that field stood a great apple tree. It was
filled with juicy yellow apples.


"But you can climb the tree and pick your own apples. How can I get them
off the tree?" whined the fox.

"Oh, that's easy," said the coon. "Just back off two bow shots from the
tree, then lower your head,--so. Run hard and butt the tree with your
head. You have such a big head, it will shake the tree so hard that all
the apples will fall at once. Do as I tell you, and you will have all
the apples you want for a long time."

The fox thanked the coon and started at once.

He found the apple tree, just as the coon had said.


"What a fine open place to run in," thought the fox. "I will get such a
fine start that when I hit the tree it will shake the world."

Already he began, in his mind, to see the apples falling, like pine
needles, and to feel the earth shake under his feet.

The fox did as the coon had told him. One arrow flight he backed off,
then another. Then he closed his eyes, lowered his head, and ran swiftly
over the thick grass. He struck the tree as hard as ever he could, with
his big head.

Not an apple fell, but a dazed, foolish-looking fox fell to the ground.

Next morning as the sun rose, a shame-faced fox was seen running toward
the woods beyond the pine bluff. He carried his head low, and he seemed
to be playing no foxy tricks.


It was some moons after the coon outwitted the fox, before they again
met. The coon was hurrying by, when the fox saw him.

Now the fox had not forgotten the trick the coon had played on him. His
head was still sore from that great thump against the apple tree. So the
fox started after the coon. He was gaining, and would have caught him,
had they not come to a tall pine tree.

The coon ran to the very tiptop of the pine tree. There he was safe, for
the fox could not climb.

The fox lay down on the soft pine needles and waited for the coon to
come down. The coon stayed up in the pine tree so long that the fox grew
tired and sleepy. He closed his eyes and thought he would take a short

The coon watched, until he saw that the fox was sound asleep. Then he
took in his mouth some of the pitch from the pine tree. He ran down the
tree and rubbed the pitch over the eyes of the sleeping fox.

The fox awoke. He sprang up and tried to seize the coon, but, alas! he
could not see what he was doing. The lids of his eyes were held fast
with the pine gum. He could not open them.

The coon laughed at the fox's plight, then ran and left him.

The fox lay for some time under the tree. The pine gum, as it dried,
held the lids of his eyes closer and closer shut. He thought he should
never again see the sun.

Some birds were singing near by. He called them, and told them of his
plight. He asked if they would be so kind as to pick open his eyes.

The birds flew off and told the other birds. Soon many of the little
dark songsters flew back to where the fox lay. Then peck, peck, peck,
went the little bills on the eyelids of the fox. Bit by bit they
carefully pecked away the pine gum. If one grew tired, another bird
would take its place.


At last the fox saw a streak of light. Soon the lid of one eye flew
open, then the other. The sun was shining, and the world looked very
beautiful to the fox, as he opened his eyes.

He was very grateful to the little birds for bringing him light. He told
them to ask what they would, and he would give it to them.

The little birds said, "We do not like the plain, dark suits which the
Turkey Buzzard brought us. Make us look like the sun we have brought to

The fox looked about him. Beautiful yellow flowers were growing near. He
pressed some of the sun color from them, and with the tip of his tail as
a brush, he began to paint the dark little birds like the sun.

The birds fluttered so with joy, he thought he would paint the bodies
first. Before he could brush the wings and tails with the sun paint,
each little bird had darted away, like a streak of sunshine. So happy
and light of heart were the birds, that they could not wait for the fox
to finish the painting.

This is why goldfinches are yellow like the sun. It is why they have
black wings and tails, why they flutter so with joy, and why they never
finish their song.


Long ago, birds, trees, animals, and men knew each the language of the
other, and all could talk together.

In those days, the trees of the forest grew very large and strong. At
last they came to know their strength too well. They became selfish, and
proud, and quarrelsome. Each tree boasted that he was the greatest and
strongest. Each one struggled to gain for himself the most earth, the
best air, the brightest sun. No tree had a thought for the other.

One day the trunk of a great Maple tried to crowd out an Ash. The Ash,
of course, thought he had as much right to stand there as the Maple, and
he said he would not stir a limb.

"Get out of my way," cried the Maple. "I am greater than you, and of
more use to man; for I furnish the sweet water for him to drink."

"Indeed, I will not!" said the Ash. "I am greater than you, and of more
use to man than you; for I furnish the tough wood from which he makes
his bow."

At this the trees fell to wrestling. Back and forth, in and out they
swayed, each trying to throw the other. They forgot that they were
brothers in the wood.

Then the South Wind came along. He heard the loud voices and stopped to
find out what the quarrel was about.

"I am greater than you, for I furnish the sweet water for man to drink,"
came the angry voice of the Maple, as he threw his huge trunk against
the Ash.

"No, you are not," retorted the Ash, and he sent the Maple back with a
great push of his strong elbow. "I am greater than you, for I furnish
the tough wood from which he makes his bow."


For a time, the South Wind watched them writhe and twist and try to
throw each other to the ground. Then he said, softly, "You, O Maple, do
not cause the sweet water to flow for man; nor do you, O Ash, make your
wood to grow pliant and tough for his bow."

"Who does, then?" they asked defiantly.

"Listen," said the South Wind, "and you shall hear."

Then the Maple and Ash forgot their quarrel. They bent their heads so
low and close to listen, that an arm of the Maple slipped through an arm
of the Ash.


And as they stood thus listening, each with an arm locked in an arm of
the other, the South Wind gently swayed them to and fro. Then a voice
was heard, singing, "_San noh-eh! San noh-eh! San noh-eh!_" which
means, "The Mother of all things."

Thus it was that the Ash and the Maple learned that it was Mother Earth
who gave them their life, and power, and strength, and that they were
brothers, because they had one Mother.

The Ash and the Maple whispered the secret to the birds. The birds came
and listened to the voice, and went and told the animals. The animals
came and listened, and went and told men. And thus all the earth
children learned that there is one Great Mother of every living thing,
and that all are brothers.

And now, whenever two trees lock arms lovingly, and the South Wind sways
them gently to and fro, that same voice may be heard, singing, "_San
noh-eh! San noh-eh! San noh-eh!_"


An Indian woman built a wigwam in the deep wood. She was a brave woman.
She had no fear.

One night, she heard something coming along the trail. Thump, thump,
thump, it came, to the very door of her wigwam.

There was a rap.

"Come in," said the woman, but no one entered.

Again there came a rap.

Again the woman called, "Come in." Again the latch was not lifted.

A third time the rap came. A third time the woman called, "Come in," but
no one entered.

Then the strange thump, thump, thump, was heard going down the trail.

The next night, the same thing occurred. Soon after dark, the woman
heard the thump, thump, thump, coming along the trail. Up to the very
door of the wigwam it came.

Three times, a rap, rap, rap, was heard as before. Three times the woman
answered, "Come in," but no one entered.

Then the same strange thump, thump, thump, was heard going down the
trail again.

The third night, the woman thought she would make sure who was calling.
She stood for a long time, with her hand on the latch.

At last she heard the visitor coming. Thump, thump, thump, it came along
the trail. There were three raps.

"Come in," called the woman, but the latch did not move in her hand. She
waited. Again came the raps.

This time she threw wide open the door, and there stood a great black
bear. He showed his sharp teeth and growled, "Are you at home?"

The woman looked him straight in the eye and replied, "I am at home."

At once the bear turned on his heel and went down the trail, as fast as
he could go.

Never again did the woman hear that strange thump, thump, thump; and
never again did the bear call to see if she were at home.



Once upon a time, the Great Spirit left the Happy Hunting Ground and
came to earth. He took the form of a poor, hungry man. He went from
wigwam to wigwam, asking for food.

Sometimes he found the Indians sitting around the fire, telling stories
and talking of the Great Spirit. Then the man would pass by unseen.

One day, he came to a wigwam in which a woman was baking cakes.

"I am very hungry," the man said. "Will you please give me a cake?"

The woman looked at the man, and then at the cake. She saw that it was
too large to give away.

She said, "I will not give you this cake, but I will bake you one, if
you will wait."

The hungry man said, "I will wait."


Then the woman took a small piece of dough and made it into a cake and
baked it. But when she took this cake from the coals, it was larger than
the first.

Again the woman looked at her cake. Again she saw it was too large to
give away. Again she said, "I will not give you this one, but I will
bake you one, if you will wait."

Again the man said, "I will wait."

This time the woman took a very, very, tiny bit of dough, and made it
into a cake.

"Surely, this will be small enough to give away," she thought, yet when
baked it was larger than both the others.

The woman stood and looked at the three cakes. Each was too large to
give away.

"I will not give you any of the cakes," she said to the man. "Go to the
woods, and find your food in the bark of trees."

Then the man stood up and threw off his ragged blanket and worn
moccasins. His face shone like the sun, and he was very beautiful. The
woman shrank into the shadow of the wigwam. She could not look upon his
face, for the light.

"I am the Great Spirit," said he, "and you are a selfish woman. Women
should be kind, and generous, and unselfish. You shall no longer be a
woman and live in a warm wigwam, with plenty of cakes to bake. _You_
shall go to the forest and hunt _your_ food in the bark of trees. Summer
and winter, you shall eat worms of the same size as the cake you would
have made for me."

The woman began to grow smaller and smaller. Feathers grew upon her
body, and wings sprang from it. The Great Spirit touched her head, and
it became red.


"Always shall you wear this red hood," he said, "as a mark of your
shame. Always shall you hide from man. Always shall you hunt for little
worms, the size of the cake you made for me."

At this a sharp cry was heard, and a bird flew into the fireplace of the
wigwam, and up the chimney. As it passed out of the chimney, the soot
left those long streaks of black which we see now on the woodpecker's

Ever since then, this woodpecker has had a red head, and has been hiding
from man on the farther side of the tree trunk, and boring in the bark
for _little_ worms.


A great many winters ago, there lived at the foot of a certain lake a
tribe of wicked Indians. These Indians were so fierce, and warlike, and
wasteful, they went about destroying everything.

They laid low a tract of beautiful forest trees, for no good purpose.
They tore up shrubs and plants that gave them food and medicine. They
shot their arrows into every bird or animal they saw, just for sport.


The great trees--their silent brothers of the wood--trembled and sighed
when they heard these Indians coming. The squirrels darted into hollow
trees, and birds flew in alarm at their footsteps. The deer and rabbit
ran from the trail.

At last the Great Spirit became very angry with this tribe. Always he
had taught the Indians never to kill an animal, unless for food and
protection; never to fell a tree, unless for fuel or shelter; never to
dig up shrubs or plants, unless for some good use.

"All life," the Great Spirit had said, "is sacred and beautiful. It must
not be wasted."

And never before had he known the Indians to waste the beautiful living
things about them. The Great Spirit was very sad.

The ice formed very thick on the lake that winter.

One night, there came a great storm of wind and rain. The ice broke
loose from the shores, and the wind blew it down the lake. At the foot
of the lake, a mass of ice was piled high over the shore, where lived
these wasteful Indians.

Like a giant roof, the ice spread over the little Indian village lying
there asleep, but the Indians did not know. They slept on, unaware of
their danger, for a deep, heavy sleep had come upon them.

Just as the sun rose, the ice roof gave way and fell upon the sleeping
Indians, crushing them in their wigwams.

The waste they had brought upon their brothers of the wood had brought
punishment upon them. The Great Spirit had destroyed these wicked
Indians, that the good Indians might keep his world beautiful.

Ever after, as long as the Indians occupied the country, before the
White man came, no trees were felled, and no animals or birds were
killed, unless for some wise and useful purpose.


At one time, the animals had tribes and chiefs, like men. It was when
the porcupine was chief, that a council was called.

A great fire was lighted, for it was night. When all the animals were
seated around the fire, the porcupine spoke.


"Friends," he said, "we have met here to settle a great question: 'Shall
we have night all the time, or day?'" At this, all the animals began to
talk at once. There was great confusion. The night animals kept
shouting, "Night, night! Always night!" Others of the animals cried,
"Day, day! Always day!" Still others called for "Day and night!"

There was so much noise that it could not be decided what was best.

At last the animals grew tired of calling. One by one the voices grew
fainter, and the shouting ceased. Of the night animals, the voice of the
bear alone was heard. He had a big voice and still kept calling, "Night,
night! Always night!"

The animals who wanted day all the time, and those who wanted day and
night, also became quiet,--all except the chipmunk. He chattered on, "We
will have light--and then night. We will have light--and then night.
Chee, chee, chee!"

Then the bear, too, became tired. He was fat and lazy, and so sleepy! He
thought he would take a short nap.

But all night long the wide-awake little chipmunk kept up his song. Not
for a moment did he stop to rest. Out of the dark came his voice, sure
and cheery, "We will have light--and then night. We will have
light--and then night! Chee, chee, chee!"

And before the animals knew it, the sun began to rise.

At the first rays of light, the bear sat up, blinked, and rubbed his
eyes. He saw that while he had slept, light had indeed come. He knew
that he and the night animals had been beaten in the council, and that
the chipmunk and the animals who wanted day and night had won.

The bear was very angry. He struck at the chipmunk with his paw. But he
was clumsy, and the chipmunk was spry!

The chipmunk laughed and sprang into a hole of a hollow tree near by.
But those black stripes on the chipmunk's back show where the paw of the
black bear touched him as he slipped into the tree.

Ever since this council, and the little chipmunk called so long and loud
for "light and night," we have had day and night.



Flying Squirrel and Lightning Bow were two little Indian boys. They
lived by Singing River, and they played from sunrise to sunset. They
were as happy as the day was long.

In the summer, they fished and swam in Singing River, and they shot
their arrows into chipmunk and woodpecker holes. Sometimes they played
"Dodging Arrows," a game their mother had taught them when they were
very young.

In the winter, they jumped into fleecy snowdrifts and rolled until their
little bronze bodies took on a red-raspberry tint. Then they would send
their snow-snakes skimming over the hard crust of snow.

Snow-snakes were small rods of wood, polished smooth with resin, oil, or
wax. They could be thrown long distances. Long Moose--Lightning Bow and
Flying Squirrel's father--could throw a snow-snake a mile and a half,
over the crust of the snow. But the snow-snakes he used were eight feet
long and tipped with lead.

It was the Moon of Berries. Six times had Flying Squirrel and Lightning
Bow seen the Berry Moon hang her horn in the night sky. And not once in
all their lives had they quarreled.

One morning, Flying Squirrel and Lightning Bow planned a foot race.
Seven times they were to run. Three times, Flying Squirrel had made the
goal first. Three times, Lightning Bow had outrun him. The seventh race
was claimed by each. No one saw them run, so no one could decide the
game. And they fell to quarreling.


Louder and louder their voices were raised. More and more angry they

White Fawn, their mother, was baking corn bread on the coals of the
wigwam fire. The angry voices reached her ears. She stepped to the door.

"For shame!" she called. "Go and set up your sticks."


Then she showed Lightning Bow and Flying Squirrel how to set up three
sticks so they would stand for many days.

"Now go into the wood, set up your sticks, and leave your quarrel
there," she said. "When the Berry Moon has passed, you shall return and
see if the sticks are still standing.

"If they lean toward the rising sun, Lightning Bow was right. If they
lean toward the setting sun, Flying Squirrel won. If they have fallen
down, neither was right and neither won."

Lightning Bow and Flying Squirrel went into the wood and set up their
sticks. Then they began to throw balls with willow wands, and soon they
were happy again.

       *       *       *       *       *

The sun had risen and set many times. The Berry Moon had passed. It was
the Thunder Moon, when White Fawn said to Lightning Bow and Flying
Squirrel, "Today you may go into the wood and see if your sticks are
still standing."

Hand in hand, the two little Indian boys ran into the wood. They found
only a heap of rotting sticks.

Flying Squirrel and Lightning Bow stood and looked at the sticks. They
thought and thought.

"What did we set up the sticks for?" each asked of the other.

And for the life of them they could not remember what they had quarreled
about, and why they had set up the sticks!


Once a tribe of the Iroquois became very warlike and cruel. They liked
to follow the warpath rather than the hunting trails.

These warriors thought only of the war dance. They forgot to give thanks
for the sweet waters of the maple, and for the planting season. Neither
did they remember to praise the Great Spirit, in song and dance, for the
juicy strawberries, and the waving green corn, as once they had done.

To fight was the one desire of their lives, the one thought that filled
their minds. They boasted that none were so fierce and bloodthirsty as

"Our arrows fall like leaves of the pine," they said, "and always are
they red with blood. Our war shirts have many scalp locks on them."

One day, a dispute arose with a neighboring tribe of their nation. The
Peace Wigwam was not far away, but these warriors would not take their
quarrel to it, as was the custom. The fighting Indians would have none
of the Peace Wigwam.


"Let the women and papooses sit in the sun at the door of the Peace
Wigwam," they said scornfully. "Chiefs are for the warpath."

A fierce cry was raised, and the war dance was begun. The chiefs painted
their bodies, donned their war shirts, sharpened their tomahawks, tipped
their arrows, and tightened their bowstrings.


But by the time they had made ready, the sun had set, and the blanket of
darkness had fallen upon them. A council was quickly called. It was
decided that they would not start to war until moonrise. So the warriors
lay down to sleep.

As they slept, another council was called. This was not a council of
men, but of mice.

From long and short trails they came, hundreds and hundreds of mice, for
all had heard the warriors boast of their strength.

"Now," said the mice, "we will show these boasters how weak are men,
and how strong are little mice."

When all the mice were gathered about the council tree, the leader spoke
thus: "My brothers, listen! The Great Spirit did not give men strength,
that they should fight and kill one another. The Great Spirit did not
make men powerful, that they should strike down and kill the weaker
animals. Let us show these fierce warriors that it is the weak who are
strong, and the strong who are weak. Let every mouse destroy at least
one weapon before the moon shall rise."

At this, all the mice set to work. Snap, snap, snap, went the bowstrings
on all sides. Then the sharp little teeth began on the feathers that
winged the poisoned arrows. Soon the feathers lay in bits about the

Next, the deerskin cords that bound the sling shots were cut in two, and
before the moon had risen, every weapon had been made useless; every
Indian had been disarmed,--and the mice had scampered away.

The warriors awoke. Again the war cry was raised. They sprang to their
feet and seized their weapons, but found them useless. Their bows had no
strings; their arrows, no wings; their slings, no cords.

The warriors who boasted that they were the strongest and fiercest on
the earth, had been made powerless by mice.



After the Great Spirit had made the Red Children and had given them this
beautiful land in which to live, he sent them a great gift,--the gift of
the corn.

_Ga gaah_, the Crow, claims it was he who brought this gift. He says he
was called to the wigwam of the Great Spirit in the sky. A grain of corn
was placed in his ear, and he was told to carry it to earth, to the Red

Therefore, as _Ga gaah_ brought the gift, he claims he has a right to
pull what corn he needs. _Ga gaah_ says he does not "steal" corn. He
simply takes what belongs to him, his rightful share.

And surely _Ga gaah_ is not greedy! He never takes more corn than he
wants for himself. He never hides or stores it away. He takes just what
he wishes to eat at the time, and no more, for crows never think of

In summer, they are happy in the cornfields, guarding the roots from
insect enemies, and pulling the tender blades whenever they are hungry.


But when winter comes, the crows are sad. Many councils are held.
Sometimes a council tree will be black with crows. All are so poor and
so hungry, that they get together to try to plan a better way to live.

There is much noise and confusion at a crow council, for all the crows
talk at once. All are saying, "No bird is so poor as the crow; he is
always hungry. Next summer, let us plant and raise a big crop of corn,
and gather and save it for the winter. Next winter, crows will not be
hungry; they will have food.

"We will no longer take from the fields of the Red Children just enough
corn for a meal to-day. We will raise our own corn, and lay by a store
for the winter."

And having agreed that this is a wise plan, the council ends.

A few days later, another council will be called. At this, the crows
will plan how and where to plant the corn. Some will be appointed to
select a field, others to find seed, and still others to plant and tend
the corn.

But, alas! When spring comes, and skies are blue, and the sun shines
warm, the crows forget the hunger of the winter, and the councils in the
tree. They remember only that the skies are blue, and the sun shines
warm, and now there is plenty of corn.

Happy and content, they walk up and down the fields of the Red Children.

"We have all we want to-day," they say, "Why should we think of
to-morrow, or next winter? We had a good meal this morning, and we are
sure of one to-night. Is not this enough for a crow? What more can he

And the next winter comes, and finds the crows as poor and as hungry as
they were the last. Again they are holding noisy councils in the council
tree. Again they are laying plans for the great crop of corn that they
will raise next summer!



The dog is the Indian's best friend. He is the comrade by day and the
protector by night. As long as the Indian's dog has strength, he will
fight for his friend.

The Indian says this is how the dog came to take his part.

An Indian and his dogs went into the woods to hunt. It was in the days
when dogs and men could talk together, and each understood the language
of the other.

When they reached the woods, the dogs began to talk with the Indian.
They told him many wonderful things about the woods, which he did not
know. They taught him many tricks of the chase: how to scent and track
the game, and where to look for trails.


The man listened to what the dogs said, and he did as they told him.
Soon the sledge which the dogs had drawn to the woods was piled high
with deer and other game.

Never had the Indian's arrows brought him so much game. Never had he met
with such success in hunting. He was so pleased that he said to the
dogs, "Always shall I talk with you, give ear to what you say, and be
one of you."

"Ah, but listen!" said the dogs. "If you wish to be one of us, you must
live under the law of dogs, not men. Animals have laws different from
those of men. When two dogs meet for the first time, they try their
strength to see which is the better dog.

"Men do not fight when strangers meet, they shake hands. As we fight
strange dogs, so you, too, must fight strange men, to see which is the
best man,--if you are to live under the law of dogs."

The man said he would think it over, and at sunrise give his answer.
Indians always sleep before deciding a question.

Next morning, the man said he would live under the law of animals, and
fight strange men.

The following day, the man made ready to leave the woods. From the
basswood, he made a strong harness for the dogs, so that they could draw
the load of game back to the camp for him.


When the sun was high, the man and the dogs started with the sledge
load of game. They had not gone far before they saw two strange Indians

"Now," said the dogs to the man, "remember you are living under the
dog's law. You must fight these strange men."

The man attacked first one Indian and then the other. At last both
turned on him, and when they left him, he was nearly dead. At this, the
dogs took a hand. They leaped upon the Indians and drove them from the
woods. Then they came back to where their friend lay on the ground, and
began to talk with him and lick his face.

The man could not speak for some time, but when his voice came to him,
he said to the dogs, "No longer do I wish to live under the law of
animals. No more shall I fight strangers. From this time, I shall shake
hands with strangers, and bid them welcome. From this time, I shall be a
man and live under the law of men."

"Then," said the dogs sadly, "we shall no longer be able to talk with
you, and tell you the things that we know. But we will always stand by
you. We will be your friends and will fight for you, when you need us as
you did to-day."

This is why the Indian and his dog are now unable to speak each other's
language. This is also why an Indian's dog will fight to the death for
his friend.

Not only is the dog a true friend to the Indian in this world, but in
the next as well. It seems that the soul of an Indian on its journey to
the Happy Hunting Ground must cross a deep, swift-running stream. On
either side of this dark river, there stand two dogs who hold in their
teeth a great log upon which the souls pass.

The soul of the Indian who has been kind to his dog crosses the log
easily, for the dogs stand guard. As the soul of such an Indian reaches
the river, they say, "This Indian was kind to his dog. He gave him of
his own food, and the dog always had a warm place by his fire. We will
help this Indian to cross."

Then the dogs grip the log firmly in their teeth, and hold it steady
while the soul of the kind Indian passes over.

But if the soul of an Indian who has been unkind to his dog comes to the
river, the dogs say, "This man was cruel to his dog. He gave his dog no
place by the fire, he beat him, he let him go hungry. This man shall not

Then the dogs grip the log lightly in their teeth, and when the soul of
the unkind Indian is half way across, they turn it quickly to one side,
and the soul is thrown into the deep, dark river.

Many an Indian has been kind to his dog, that he might make sure of a
safe crossing on that log.



In the days when there was no one living in this country but the
Indians, there were no houses; there were only Indian wigwams. There
were no roads and no streets, but Indian trails.

At that time there grew a wonderful chestnut, which the Indians used in
their cooking. A very small bit of this chestnut grated into a kettle
would make a potful of porridge.


In a certain wigwam lived Deerheart and Sky Elk, and their little son
Greedy Fawn. The mother was called Deerheart because she was so loving,
and gentle, and kind. The father was named Sky Elk because he was so
strong and fleet of foot. Greedy Fawn, too, came rightly by his name.
You will soon know why.

One day, Deerheart and Sky Elk went on a long trail. As they left the
wigwam, they said to Greedy Fawn, "Do not touch the chestnut, do not
build a fire, while we are away."

Greedy Fawn promised. He watched his father and mother disappear down
the western trail. Then he went back to the wigwam.

"Now," thought he, "I will have all the porridge I want."

So he ran and gathered some sticks. He built a fire with the sticks.
Then he hung the kettle over the fire, and put some water in it. Then he
found the chestnut. He grated a little of the chestnut into the kettle,
and began to stir. Then he grated some more, and some more, and some

Faster and faster Greedy Fawn stirred the boiling porridge, for it began
to swell and fill the kettle.

Larger and larger, it grew, and it grew, and it grew.

Greedy Fawn was so frightened he did not know what to do.

"Oh, will it never stop swelling?" he thought. Harder and harder he
stirred to keep the porridge from boiling over. Beads of perspiration
ran down his little bronze face, yet still he stirred. He dared not

Then he remembered that sometimes his mother would rap the kettle with
the porridge stick, if it became too full.

Rap, rap, rap, went the porridge stick on the edge of the kettle.
Instantly the _kettle_ began to swell. Larger, and larger, and larger it
grew. Greedy Fawn was so frightened he did not know what to do.

Now Greedy Fawn could not reach across the kettle, to stir the porridge
with his stick, so he began to run around it. And around, and around,
and around the kettle he ran, stirring, and stirring, and stirring.

At last the kettle was so large that it nearly filled the wigwam. There
was just space enough left for Greedy Fawn to run around it. And around,
and around, and around the kettle he ran, stirring, and stirring, and

Oh, how his little arms ached! And, oh, how tired his small legs were!
But still he ran. He dared not stop.

Here was porridge enough to last a small boy a lifetime, and he could
not stop to taste one mouthful!


At last Greedy Fawn could run no longer. He stumbled and fell by the
side of the kettle. He was too weak to rise. The stick fell from his
hand, and the porridge boiled on. Higher, and higher, and higher it
rose, until it ran over and down the sides of the kettle. Closer, and
closer the boiling porridge crept to the little Indian boy, and soon
Greedy Fawn and his stick were nearly buried in porridge.

For once Greedy Fawn had all the porridge he wanted. And never again
would he have wanted anything, had not Deerheart and Sky Elk heard his
cries, and come running like deer up the trail to save him.



A hound was chasing a hare through the woods.

Some wolves and panthers were chasing a bull that had been feeding in
the valley near the woods. For some time they had been trying to run him
down, but they did not seem to gain on him.


When the wolves and panthers saw that they were not gaining on the bull,
they halted to take counsel. They decided that it would take a whole day
of hard running to get the bull, and a hound was near! Why not go for
the hound?

All agreed. They set off for the hound.

Now the bull had heard the wolves and panthers take council, and he,
too, set off for the woods.

As he neared the wood, the bull called to the hound and warned him that
a pack of wolves and panthers was after him. Just then they came into
sight. The hound dared not meet them alone, and he knew not which way to

Then the bull called, "Come, jump on my back. I can outrun them."

The hound ran and leaped on the back of the bull, and away they went.

The bull and the hound talked as they ran. The bull said he thought the
wolves would soon grow tired, fall back, and give up the chase. But he
was wrong. They were too angry at being outwitted.

"You think to take our game from us," they howled at the bull. "But we
will eat hound meat to-night."

The bull saw it was a run for life. All day he ran. For a time it was
easy to outrun the wolves and panthers, but at last they began to press
hard upon him.

As the sun dropped out of the sky, the bull felt his knees begin to
weaken. The weight of the hound was telling on him. A moment later, he
stumbled and fell.

In an instant, the pack was upon them. But with one leap, the hound
cleared the pack and was off down the trail.

The weaker wolves and panthers leaped upon the bull. The stronger went

But now the best of them were no match for the hound. He was fresh and
strong, for he had been riding all day. They were tired and worn from
the long chase, and soon they gave it up.

Because the hound is able to save his strength for the end of the chase,
he can now outrun not only wolves and panthers, but all the other


An Indian hunter went into the forest in search of game.

The forest was so large that it would have taken three days to journey
through it. All day he followed the track of the deer, but his arrows
brought him no food.

At night, he came to a dark, swift-running stream. He was tired and

"Here," said he, "I will lie down and rest until sunrise."

He began to search for a bed of pine needles, for the Indian loves the
pine tree. It is his friend by day and by night. By day it is his forest
guide. At night it gives him a soft, sweet-smelling bed on which to
sleep, and it shields him from the storm.

The hunter ran along the stream. It was very dark. He felt no soft pine
needles under his moccasined feet, only the knotted roots of trees.

Suddenly the great roots of an oak tree reached out and caught him. He
could not free his foot from the oak's grasp.

The sun rose and set. The great tree still held the hunter fast. He was
weak from pain and hunger.

It was now two days since he had tasted food. Four notches had been cut
in his stick, for the Indian measures time in this way. Each sunrise and
sunset, when he is on the trail, is marked by a notch on a small stick
which he carries.

Three times did the sun again rise and set, yet the tree did not let go
its hold. There were now ten notches on the stick, and the hunter was so
weak that he could scarcely cut the last one.

As the sun rose on the fifth day, a bird flew into the tree. He saw the
hunter lying on the ground, and came close and spoke to him.

The hunter understood, for in those days men and birds could talk

The bird asked the man what he could do for him, and the hunter
whispered, "You are strong. You can fly a long trail. Go and tell the
chief of my people."

The bird flew swiftly away with the message. He did not wait until the
sun was high. He did not stop to eat one berry or one worm. He did not
fly high, nor fly low to talk with other birds. He went straight to the
people the hunter had told him of.

The West Wind tried to blow him back. A black cloud came up to frighten
him, but he went through it. On, and on, and on, he went. Straight to
the wigwam of the chief, he carried his message.

The chief had called together the young men who were fleet of foot, and
was about to send them forth to find the lost hunter. They were asking
the chief what trails they had best take. Before the chief could reply,
a beautiful dove-colored bird had flown close to his ear and had spoken
to him in soft, low tones.


The chief told the young men what the bird had said, and they set off on
the trail the bird had named. Before sunset, they had found the lost

Carefully they freed him from the grasp of the great oak and bore him to
his people. That night there was a feast and a dance in his honor.

Ever since, the Indians have loved the birds that carry the messages,
and they never shoot a pigeon.


Far away in the North Sky lives Old Man Winter. Every year he leaves his
wigwam in the sky and comes to earth.

At the foot of a mountain, he builds a lodge of ice and snow, which no
human being, animal, or bird can enter. There he lives for a time.

North Wind is the only friend of Old Man Winter. When he passes near Old
Man Winter's lodge, he gives a loud shriek, and with his blustering
breath he blows open the door and enters.

Near a fire which glows, but does not warm, North Wind finds a seat.
There he and Old Man Winter sit and smoke, and lay their plans for the
next snowstorm.

When the council is ended, North Wind departs, to drive up the snow and
hail from the corners of the earth.

Old Man Winter also leaves his lodge. He stalks over the mountains and
valleys of the Red Children. The land becomes white with his breath. The
rivers are stilled, and all the voices of the wood are hushed as he
passes. A deep sleep falls upon every living thing.

No sound is heard in the forest but the rapping on the trees. Old Man
Winter carries a great hammer, and he strikes the trees a blow as he
passes. The colder it grows, the louder and more frequently he raps. The
trees snap, and the Indian lodges crack with his blows.

One day, as Old Man Winter was stalking through a forest, he came upon a
hunter's lodge. For days the snow had been falling. No track of deer or
rabbit was to be seen, and the hunter and his little boy sat within,
weak from hunger. They were also very cold, for the fire in the lodge
burned low.

Old Man Winter laughed and shook his hammer in glee, as he drew near.
Once, twice, three times, he rapped. The little boy within heard him,
and rapped three times in reply,--just as Old Man Winter had done.

At this, the hunter spoke. He told the boy that he must not mock a
nature spirit, lest some harm should come to him. He might be captured
and made to serve that spirit.

Now when Old Man Winter heard the mocking raps of the little boy within
the lodge, he was very angry. He breathed fiercely upon the little
lodge. It shrank and shivered at his touch like a living thing. He
struck it several sharp blows with his hammer, and passed on.

The fire inside the lodge burned lower and lower. The hunter and his
little son drew closer and watched the last flame flicker and die out.


As they sat by the ashes, numb with the cold, all of a sudden a new
warmth filled the lodge. The South Wind gently opened the door, and a
young chieftain, with a face like the sun, entered. He saw the dying
hunter and the boy, and he warmed them back to life. When they were
stronger, he helped them to rekindle the fire. Then he told them to take
a few dried blackberries that they had in the lodge, and boil them in

He said they must eat a portion of the blackberries, and throw the rest
at Old Man Winter when he returned. This would frighten him away, for he
was terribly afraid of blackberries.


Blackberries mean sunshine and summer heat. Old Man Winter cannot stay
where they are. He never visits the earth at blackberry time.

The hunter and the little boy said they would do as they had been told.
Soon the young chieftain left the lodge, with the South Wind.

Not many days later, Old Man Winter returned, and again came rapping at
their lodge. But this time the hunter and the little boy were ready.
They threw the blackberries at him, as they had been told, and he ran in
fear to his ice lodge.

The South Wind and the young chieftain with a face like the sun were
near. They followed close upon the Old Man's track. When he was again
inside the ice lodge, the South Wind rapped gently at the door.

"Begone!" said the Old Man. "No one but North Wind is welcome to my

Then the South Wind breathed soft and warm upon the door of the ice
lodge, and it melted at their feet. The young chieftain passed in and
sat down by the strange fire that had no heat. The South Wind stayed
without, and sang, soft and low.

The Old Man was very angry. He raged about the lodge and ordered the
young chieftain with sunshine in his face and warmth in his breath to

"I am great and powerful," said the Old Man. "When I touch the sky, the
snow falls. When I speak, hunters hide in their lodges; animals crawl
into their holes; and birds fly in fear.

"When my hand touches the earth, it grows cold and hard, and all life
dies. Begone! or I will make an ice man or a snow man of you."

But the young chieftain moved not. He only sat and smiled at the bluster
of the Old Man.

Slowly he filled a pipe, and handed it to the Old Man, saying, "Here,
smoke with me. It will give you strength to go to your lodge in the
North Sky. It is time for you to depart. You are old, and tired, and
worn. You and North Wind have had your day. The days that are to come
belong to South Wind and to me.

"I, too, am powerful, and I am young! I do not fear you. When I touch
the earth, it grows soft and warm. Every living thing stirs in its
sleep,--birds and bees, flowers and trees, animals and men. When I
speak, the sleeping sun awakes. See! already he begins to send down his
arrows. Hasten! that they may not find you, on the trail to the North

The Old Man trembled. His legs and arms grew weak. Icicles fell from his
beard. Great tears rolled down his cheeks.

"Who are you?" he whispered, as he was melting at the young chieftain's

"I am _Go hay_--the Spring," answered the young chieftain. "All the
earth is glad, when I come to drive you back to your lodge in the North
Sky, for I bring sunshine, and love, and joy."

But the Old Man did not hear. He was far on the North Sky trail, and
Spring and South Wind were masters of earth.



An old man of the Iroquois nation once wished to make a beautiful Indian
maiden his wife. The old man had many rare furs and valued strings of
wampum. These he brought and laid at the door of the wigwam where the
maiden lived.


The father and mother were pleased with the old man's gifts. They told
him that when the Planting Moon should come, the maiden should go to his

Now the maiden did not love the old man. She did not wish him to make
her his wife. "I will never sit at his wigwam door," she said.

It was midwinter, when the old man brought the gifts, the time of the
pale, cold moon. From that time, the maiden watched, with a heavy heart,
the moons wax and wane.

At last the snows disappeared. No more was the North Wind heard
shrieking about the lodge. The gentle South Wind had come, bringing with
him the singing birds.

The little brooks awoke and sang. They were happy that spring had come,
and all the earth children were glad,--except the maiden. Her heart grew
more heavy and sad, as the face of the sun grew brighter.

Then the Planting Moon came. The maiden watched the moon hang her horn
in the sky. Then she ran swiftly to the great river that flowed not far
from the lodge. Lightly she sprang into her canoe. A few quick strokes,
and the canoe was in midstream.

The current ran swift and strong. The little craft was carried swiftly
down the river toward the great falls known as Niagara Falls. As the
canoe neared the falls, the maiden was seen to rise and stretch out her
arms, as though about to leap. A smile was on her face, and a song was
on her lips, as the canoe shot into the mist that overhung the water.

Then, from the caverns below a dark blanket floated upward, as though
spread to catch the maiden. It was Heno, the Thunder Spirit, who dwelt
behind the falls. He had caught her in the folds of his blanket, and
had saved her from the great rocks below.


Heno took the maiden to live with him, in his lodge behind the falls.
There she was very happy, so happy that her smile shone through the
mist, and the Indians cried, "See! A rainbow!"

In her new home the maiden learned many wonderful things. She found she
possessed strange powers, not known to her before. She could float on a
cloud at will, and she seemed filled with a strange fire.

One day, the young woman was given a son. Heno and she were very happy.
Many moons the mother and child played together. When Heno was away on
one of his journeys through the sky, they would ride the great bubbles
of foam that went dashing through the rocks. Sometimes they would catch
sunbeams in a net, as they sat on the edge of a cloud and fished.

One day, Heno asked the young woman if she would like to visit her

"If you wish," he said, "you shall return for a time, taking our son
with you. But remember, both of you possess powers unknown to the earth
children. Be careful how you use them. Never let another child strike
the boy, for that child would at once wither and die. Never strike the
boy yourself, for he would fall stunned to earth."

[Illustration: CRADLE BOARD]

The woman listened to Heno's words. Soon they were wrapped in his great
cloud blanket, and were floating over the river. When they came to the
home of her people, Heno left the woman and the boy by the river, and
went on further to the east.

The people were glad to see the woman, whom they had mourned as dead.
She told them of the wonderful things she had learned in her new home.
She told them also how Heno was freeing their land of a monster serpent,
that trailed underneath the earth, poisoning their springs and causing
sickness. Always, she said, Heno carried a basket of great rocks on his
back, which he hurled at the monster whenever he saw him. Soon he would
kill the serpent, and they would be sick no more.

During many days, the mother and the little boy stayed with the earth
people. Sometimes, when the child was playing by the river, he would see
a dark cloud approaching. Then he would clap his hands with joy and cry,
"There comes my father!"

The black cloud would float earthward, and Heno would stop and have a
word with the mother and the boy. As he left them he always said, "Do
not let anyone strike the boy."

But one day, the mother did not watch the boy, and he fell to playing
with some earth children. They grew angry as they played, and struck the
boy. Instantly these earth children fell dead to the ground. Then the
mother laid hands on the boy, to punish him, and he fell to earth.

At this, there came a great rumbling and roaring through the sky, and
Heno appeared. He took the lifeless child in his arms, crying, "You have
disobeyed. No longer shall you have this great power I gave you. You
shall remain on earth and be simply an earth woman. I will take the boy
to my abode. Henceforth, our lodge shall be in the sky. There he will
return to life, and ever after he will go with me on my journeys through
the sky."

Then the sky shook and trembled. The door of the sky lodge opened, and
Heno and the boy were seen no more.

Now, when a rumbling and rolling through the sky is heard, the Indians
say, "'Tis the voice of Heno! He is coming from his lodge in the sky!"

But when a flash of fire is seen, and a loud crash is heard, they say,
"That is the boy! He is trying to hit the earth children with a fire
stone. He remembers how they struck him, a long time ago."



Once a rabbit began to run back and forth through the woods, calling for
snow, snow, snow! It was one of those large gray rabbits, with long
ears, that people call hares.

As this hare ran back and forth through the woods, he sang at the top of
his voice, "_Ah gon ne yah--yeh! Ah gon ne yah-yeh! Ah gon ne yah--yeh!
dah gen, dah ton, Ah gon ne yah--yeh! Ah gon ne yah--yeh!_" This meant,
"Snow, snow, snow! How I would run if I had snow! Snow, snow, snow! How
I would run if I had snow!"

Now, strange as it may seem, as this hare ran back and forth singing for
snow, snow, snow, some flakes of snow began to fall. The hare was so
delighted that he jumped up and down for joy.

"_Ah gon ne yah--yeh! Ah gon ne yah--yeh! Ah gon ne yah--yeh!_" he sang,
in short, quick notes of joy. And the higher he jumped, and the louder
he sang, the faster and thicker the snow came.

The hare was so delighted that he again began to run. All day long he
ran, back and forth through the woods, calling for "Snow, snow, snow!
How I would run if I had snow!" And the snow fell faster and faster.
Thicker and thicker it came. The path in which the rabbit ran grew
higher and higher, as the snow fell deeper and deeper.

But at last the hare was so tired that he could run no longer. He no
longer sang for "Snow, snow, snow! How I would run if I had snow," for
he now had more snow than he wanted. The snow was up to the tiptops of
the trees, and it was very hard to run.

The hare was very tired. He thought he must take a rest. Night was
coming on. He looked about him. Near the path were the top branches of a
willow tree, sticking out above the snow. He sprang into a crotch of
those branches. There he could sit and rest for a time. Soon he fell
asleep. He slept all night and part of the next day.

That night it began to rain, and it rained very, very hard. The snow
began to melt, and it melted very, very fast, and when that hare awoke,
not a flake of snow was to be seen!

But there was the hare away up in the tiptop of that willow tree! What
to do he did not know. He was very hungry. He wondered how long he could
stay there and not starve. He saw some tender buds on the branches. He
ate those, and then he gnawed bark for a time.

However, sooner or later, the hare knew he must jump or starve. He
looked down at the earth. It looked very good to him. He could see some
fresh green moss and some beautiful grass. One jump, and they were his!
But what a jump!

At last the hare whipped his courage up to the jumping point. He shut
his eyes, and gave one great jump to earth. But when he jumped, he
caught his tail on the branch of the willow tree and left part of it up
there. And when he jumped, he struck the front of his face on a sharp
stone, and the stone split his upper lip in two.

Ever since then, hares have had split lips and short tails, and ever
since then, willow trees have had tails, or catkins, on them, in the


The Great Spirit had smiled upon his Red Children. The land was filled
with plenty, for the Great Spirit had given to them the three sustainers
of life, the corn, the bean, and the squash. Flowers bloomed, birds
sang, and all the earth was glad with the Red Children, for the gifts of
the Great Spirit.

On one side of a hill grew the tall, waving corn, with its silk tassels
and plumes. On another side, beans, with their velvety pods, climbed
toward the sky. Some distance down a third slope, beautiful yellow
squashes turned their faces to the sun.

One day, the Spirit of the corn grew restless. There came a rustling
through the waving leaves, and a great sigh burst from the heart of the
tall stalks. The Spirit of the corn was lonely.

After that, every morning at sunrise, a handsome young chief was seen to
come and stand on the brow of the hill. On his head were shining red
plumes. Tall, and strong, and splendid he stood, wrapped in the folds of
his waving blanket, whose fringed tassels danced to the summer breeze.

"_Che che hen! Che che hen!_ Some one I would marry! Some one I would
marry!" the young chieftain would sing, many, many times.

One day, his voice reached the Squash Maiden, on the other side of the
hill. The Squash Maiden drew about her a rich green blanket, into which
she had woven many flaunting gold trumpet-shaped flowers. Then she ran
swiftly to the young chieftain.


"Marry me! Marry me!" said the Squash Maiden, as she spread her
beautiful gold and green blanket at his feet.

Corn Plume looked down at the Squash Maiden sitting on her blanket at
his feet. She was good to look upon, and yet Corn Plume was not content.
He wanted a maiden who would stand by his side, not always sit at his

Then Corn Plume spoke thus to the Squash Maiden.

"Corn Plume cannot marry Squash Maiden. She is very beautiful, but she
will not make song in Corn Plume's heart. Squash Maiden will grow tired
of his lodge. She will not stay in his wigwam. She likes to go a long
trail, and wander far from the lodge.

"Corn Plume cannot make Squash Maiden his wife, for he is not content
with her. But she shall be Corn Plume's sister, and sit in his lodge
whenever she will. The maiden Corn Plume weds must be ever at his side.
She must go where he goes, stay where he stays."

Next morning at sunrise, the voice of Corn Plume was again heard,
singing from the hilltop, "_Che che hen! Che che hen!_ Some one I would
marry! Some one I would marry! _Che che hen! Che che hen!_"

This time his song reached the ears of the Bean Maiden. Her heart sang,
when she heard the voice of Corn Plume, for she knew that he was calling
her. So light of heart was Bean Maiden, that she ran like a deer up the
hillside. On and on, up and over the brow of the hill she climbed, till
she reached the young chieftain's side.

Then Corn Plume turned and beheld the most beautiful maiden he had ever
seen. Her eyes were deep and dark, like mountain pools. Her breath was
sweet as the waters of the maple. She threw off her blanket of green,
and purple, and white, and stretched her twining arms to him.

Corn Plume desired to keep Bean Maiden forever close to him. He bent his
tall plumed head to her. Her arms wound round and round the young
chieftain, and Corn Plume was content.

So closely were the arms of Corn Plume and the Bean Maiden entwined, so
truly were they wed, that the Indians never attempted to separate them.
Ever after, corn and beans were planted in the same hill, and often a
squash seed was added.

Since the Great Spirit had placed the corn, the bean, and the squash
together on a hill, the Indian said they should continue to live and
grow and occupy a hill together.

The door of Corn Plume's lodge was ever open to the Squash Maiden, if
she chose to enter. But seldom did she stay in his wigwam. More often,
she was found running off on a long trail.

But Bean Maiden remained true to Corn Plume. Always she was found by his
side. Never did she leave the lodge unless he went with her. Corn
Plume's lodge was her lodge, and her trail was his trail.

And because the Spirits of the corn and the bean are as one, the Indians
not only plant and grow them together, but cook and eat them together.
"In life, they were one," they say, "We will not separate them in

And now, when a great rustling and sighing of the corn is heard in the
White man's land, the Indians often say, "'Tis the Spirit of Corn Plume,
crying for his lost Bean Maiden!"



Some Indian hunters once made their way north, to hunt for moose. It was
at the time of Falling Leaves.

They journeyed for several days, until they came to a lake. Close by the
lake they built a log cabin. Moss was placed between the logs to keep
out the wind, and a thick roof was made from hemlock boughs. In the
center of the roof, a small opening was left for the smoke from the
lodge fire to pass out.

Here the hunters lived during the Moon of Falling Leaves. Every day they
went on the moose trail, but they found no moose. Their arrows brought
them little game of any kind. They became discouraged and sick, and one
by one the hunters lay down and died.

At last there was but one hunter left. He, too, was sick, and he grew
weaker day by day. His food was nearly gone. It was growing cold, and
there was little wood in the cabin to burn.

But the man did not give up. Again and again he cried aloud, "Some one
will come and help me! Some one will come and help me!"

One day, as he lay there too weak to rise, the fire flickered and went
out. It seemed that he must die. But even then he did not give up. Again
and again, with his weak voice he cried, "Some one will come and help
me! Some one will come and help me!"

And some one did come and help him. His cry was heard, for a bird came
flying in through the smoke hole in the roof of the lodge.

The bird had such a cheery, brave voice that the man felt better the
moment he flew in. The bird said to the man, "I was near; I heard you
calling. I have come to help you."

Then the bird saw that the fire was out, and that the man was cold. He
fluttered among the ashes until he found a bit of live coal. With a glad
chirp, he flew out through the roof. Soon he was back, with his bill
full of dried twigs. He placed them on the fire and began to fan them
into flame with his wings. Soon the twigs were blazing. Then he flew out
for more twigs,--and more, and more, and more.

The brave little bird kept on carrying twigs until the fire burned hot,
and the lodge was warm once more.

When the bird had flown into the lodge, he had had a clean, white
breast. After the fire was built, his breast was covered with red and
brown spots. He tried to pick them off with his bill, but they would
not come off. Instead, they seemed to spread, and his whole breast
became red-brown. Then the bird knew that he must have burned his breast
to a red-brown, when he was fanning the fire into flame.

But the little bird did not care if he had soiled his white breast, and
burned it red-brown. Had he not brought cheer and life to a dying man?

He chirped a few glad notes, then said to the man, "I will go now, but I
shall be near your lodge. When you need me, call, and I will come

Later in the day, the man again called for help. The fire was getting
low, and he was not yet strong enough to go out and gather twigs. Again
the bird came to his aid. In and out he flew, many times, after small
branches and twigs, until they were piled high on the fire, and once
more it crackled and burned.

There was a little wood in the lodge. The man placed it on the fire,
and the warmth healed the man, so that soon he was well and strong

Every day the man talked with the bird, for he was always near, and his
cheery voice and brave words gave the man courage.

Once more he went on the moose trail, and this time his arrows brought
him moose. In a short time the hunter had all the meat, skins, and moose
hair he wanted. The moose hair he was taking to his wife, to work into
pretty forms on moccasins.

The first snow was falling, as the hunter started south on the home
trail. The bird hopped along by his side for a little way, then said, "I
must leave you now. Winter is coming, and I must be on my way to the
Southland, or the snow will catch me. In the spring you will see me

When spring came, the bird with the red-brown breast came with his mate,
and built a nest close to the hunter's home lodge. In the nest, that
summer, there grew up five little birds, and they, too, had red and
brown breasts.

And ever since, Robin Redbreast has continued to come and build his nest
close to the lodges of men, for Robin Redbreast is a friend to man.





Once the Little People, the Indian fairies, ran with the Red Children
through the woods, and played with them beside the streams. Now they are
not often seen, for the white man drove them out of the woods with the
Indians, and away from the waters, with his big steam noises.

But before steamboats and great mills were on the streams, the Little
People were there. They were often seen paddling their tiny canoes, or
sliding down the great rocks on the banks. They loved to slide down a
bank where one rock jutted out, for then they had a big bounce. They
also liked to sport and jump with the fish.

There was a young Indian girl whose name was Morning Star. She was
called Morning Star because her face was so bright, and she was always
up early in the morning.

Morning Star lived with her father in a comfortable wigwam by a river.
Every day she would get up with the sun, and run down to the river where
the great rocks were, to catch fish for breakfast.

Morning Star caught her fish in a basket. At night, she would go and
fasten her basket between the rocks, in a narrow place of the stream.
Then, when the fish swam through in the night, they would get caught in
it, and Morning Star would find plenty of fish waiting for her. In the
morning, she would take the basket of fish back to the wigwam, and soon
the smell of fish frying on hot coals would come from the lodge.

Never since Morning Star began to fish with her basket, had Chief Little
Wolf, her father, had to wait for his fish breakfast before starting on
the chase. But one morning, neither Chief Little Wolf nor Morning Star
breakfasted on fish. This is how it happened.

On this morning, the Indian girl was up as usual with the sun. She ran
down the river just as the Great Spirit lifted the sun's smiling face.
Morning Star had such a light heart that she was glad just to be alive,
and she sang a song of praise as she ran. All true Indians at sunrise
lift their arms and faces to the sun, and thank the Great Spirit that he
has smiled upon them again.

Happy and fleet as a deer, Morning Star ran on until she came to the
great rocks. There she saw a whole tribe of tiny little folk gathered
about her basket. Some of them were perched on the sides of the basket,
laughing and singing. Others were lifting the fish from it and throwing
them into the stream. Still others were opening and closing the splints
of the basket for the fish to slip through.

Morning Star knew that these tiny folk were the _Jo gah oh_. She knew
also that these Little People were friends of the fish. They know every
twist of a fish net and every turn of a hook. Often they have been known
to set fish free, and to guide them into deep, quiet places, far away
from the men who fish.

Morning Star called to the Little People and begged them not to let all
the fish go. Then she began to climb down the rocks, as fast as she
could. The little Chief called up to her, "Fish, like Indian girls, like
to be alive."

Then he told the Little People to keep on setting the fish free.

When Morning Star reached her basket, a few fish were still in it. She
put out her hand to take them from the Little People,--and not a fish,
nor a _Jo gah oh_ was to be seen. The Little People had darted into
the rocks, for they go through anything, and the fish had slipped
through the tiny spaces between the splints of the basket.


Morning Star heard the laughter of the Little People echo deep within
the rocks, for they like to play pranks with the earth children. And far
down the stream, she saw the fish leap with joy at being still alive.
She took up her empty basket and went back to the wigwam.

That morning for breakfast, Morning Star baked corn cakes on the hot
coals. As she ate the hot cakes, she thought they tasted almost as good
as fish.

Ever after, when Morning Star saw a fish leap from the stream, she
remembered what the _Jo gah oh_ had said: "Fish, like Indian girls, like
to be alive."


One day, an Indian boy was playing beside a stream, when one of the
little elf men came along in his canoe. The boy had his bow and arrow
with him; so had the little elf man.

The little man stopped and offered to trade bows and arrows. The Indian
boy looked first at his bow, and then at that of the little man. His bow
was large. The little man's bow was very small. The boy thought his own
bow was better, so he said he would not trade.

The little elf man laughed and drew his bow.

"You think only big things are great," he said. "Some day you will learn
better. Some day you will want this little bow and these little arrows.
Some day you will wish you had traded."

Then he shot an arrow into the clouds, sprang into his canoe, and
paddled off up the stream. As he disappeared, he called back to the boy,
"You will see me again, sometime!"

The Indian boy ran to his wigwam home. He told his father about the
little man he had seen, and how the man wanted to trade bow and arrows.

"And you did not trade?" exclaimed the father.

"No," said the boy, "his bow was small; mine is large."

"Foolish boy!" said the father. "That little man was a _Jo gah oh_, one
of the Little People. They do wonderful things. Their arrows are winged
with power. Had you traded bows, you would have become a great hunter,
and been able to get near the animals.

"Those little arrows of the _Jo gah oh_ fly swift and far, and always
bring back game. The boy who has a _Jo gah oh_ bow and arrow always has
good luck. One arrow of theirs is worth a flight of yours. Had you
traded bow and arrows, you would have been called 'He shoots the sky.'
Now you shall be called 'Little Shooter.'"

Little Shooter grew to be a man. He went often on the chase, but his
arrows did not bring much game.

Many times, he wished he could meet the little elf man again, and trade
bow and arrows, for sometimes he ran for days and found no track of deer
or rabbit. But the little elf man never came.

One day, when Little Shooter had grown to be quite an old man, he was
walking in the woods. He stopped under a tree to rest. Several times he
felt something fall on his head.

At last he looked up to see what it was.

There sat the little elf man, swinging on the tip of a branch, and
throwing nuts and twigs at him. He looked just as he did when Little
Shooter met him by the stream long before. He had not grown old or
changed at all.

"How long have you been here?" asked Little Shooter.

"I have always been here," said the little man. "I have been in the
world ever since the stones were soft."

Then he laughed, and asked, "Does Little Shooter now like big bow and
arrows best, or has he learned that sometimes small things are great?
Next time, he had better trade with the little man," and aiming another
nut at Little Shooter's head, he disappeared in the tree trunk.



It was bluebird time, many moons ago. Little brooks laughed and danced,
and all the forest was glad.

An Indian boy came running through the forest. He, too, was glad, for it
was spring!

As he ran down the trail, he saw something hanging from a bush. The bush
was but a few rabbit jumps from the trail, so he stopped to see what new
flower the spring had brought. He found the new flower to be a tiny
papoose cradle.

The boy picked the cradle from the bush, and held it in the palm of his
hand. As he looked closer, he saw that there was a tiny papoose in the
little cradle. The wee papoose laughed in his face, as he spoke to it.

The boy had never seen so tiny a papoose, and he thought he would take
it home to his mother, it was so cunning. She had but nine of her own.
He was sure she would like one more, and that there would be a place for
the tiny stranger in their wigwam.

He started to run on down the trail, but something seemed to hold him
fast. He could not get away. Three times he tried to run, but each time
he only circled round that bush. Something held him to the spot.

Just then there came a sharp cry from up the trail. The boy thought some
animal must be hurt or in pain. He turned to look and saw a little woman
coming. She was less than a foot high, but she ran like a deer to the
boy, and cried and begged him to give back her baby.

Then the boy knew it was the love of that little mother that had held
him fast. He could not break the love cord between that mother and her

Now the boy had a heart that was soft and kind. He liked to see
everything happy. When he saw the little mother crying and begging for
her baby, he felt sorry for her.


Many times he had heard his mother tell how every mother bird loves her
young; every mother bear, her cub; every mother deer, her fawn; every
Indian mother, her papoose. And he knew this little fairy mother must
also love her fairy baby, so he put it on the little mother's back, and
told her she should have her papoose.

The little mother gave a glad cry, as she felt the baby on her back once
more. Then she drew a stone from a bag which she carried, and slipped it
on a string of beads that hung from the boy's neck.

The stone shone on his breast like a dewdrop.

"Because you are good, and kind, and unselfish, and because you make
everything happy," she said, "you shall wear this good-luck stone. It
will bring you whatever you want.

"We Little People give this stone to those earth children only, who are
strong and yet protect the weak. Wear it always on your breast. Never
take it off, and you will become a mighty chief."

Then the little mother gave another glad cry, and with her baby on her
back she disappeared into an oak.

The boy ran on. His heart grew lighter and the stone brighter, as he
ran. Before he reached his mother's wigwam, his arrows had brought back
game for their evening meal.

From the day when the boy met the little _Jo gah oh_ mother in the wood,
and was given the stone, he had good luck. Whatever he did, all went
well with him. If he went on the chase, he brought back deer. If he
planted corn, it grew tall and fine. No boy could throw a ball as far,
or could run as fast as he. He could shoot his arrows to the sky, and
could send his snow-snakes skimming far beyond the rest.

So lucky was this Indian boy, that his tribe called him
"Luck-in-all-moons." "He wears the good-luck stone," the old people said
as they sat around the fire, and they nodded their heads knowingly. But
they never knew how he came by it, or why he won the stone.

And when "Luck-in-all-moons" grew to be a man, his tribe made him a
great chief. Just as the little _Jo gah oh_ mother had said, he became a
chief, though not in the chieftain line.

Because he stood so strong and straight, serving the people, protecting
the weak, and doing great deeds, he was called the Pine-tree Chief.

"His feet are planted deep in wisdom and strength," they said, "and his
head is not far from the sky. He sees far and points us the way. As the
topmost branch of the pine points always to the east, so
Luck-in-all-moons shall guide us to the sun rising. He shall be our
Pine-tree Chief."


Once a little Indian girl was very sad and unhappy. The Great Spirit had
taken her father and mother, and she had gone to live with relatives who
did not want her. Often she went to sleep hungry, for only the scraps of
food that were left from a meal were given to her.

One day, the relatives of the little girl brought in a fine deer from
the chase, and made ready for a feast. They told the girl to get out of
the lodge, for there was neither room, nor meat for her.

The little girl ran and hid herself in a great field of corn. There she
cried aloud.

Soon a band of strange Little People gathered about her, to comfort her.
On all sides, from the folds of the green cornstalks they came.

They stroked her head, wiped the tears from her eyes, and said, "Don't
cry, little girl. We will take care of you. You shall come and live with
us. We will make a feast for you. We know why you are sad, for we can
read the thoughts of all the earth children. Come with us, and we will
show you more wonderful things than you have ever seen."

At this the little girl dried her tears, and smiled at the kind Little

"You are very good to me," she said. "Who are you?"

"We are the _Jo gah oh_," they replied, "the Little People. Come, and we
will show you what we can do."

Then they slipped some winged moccasins upon her feet. They wrapped her
in an invisible blanket and put a magic corn plume in her hair, and the
next moment all were flying through the air.

They flew to a ledge of great rocks. At the touch of the Little People,
the rocks opened, and they passed within.

The girl found herself in a beautiful lodge. Kind _Jo gah oh_ mothers
were baking cakes and roasting meat. They welcomed the girl, and soon a
feast was spread in her honor.

Now the heart of the little girl was so light that she danced with joy.

"What wonderful people you are! Can you go anywhere, or do anything you

"Yes," said the little chief, "the _Jo gah oh_ are small, but they are
great. Come with us, and you shall see what we can do."

Again they were flying through the air. Soon they reached the lodge
where the little girl had lived. It was night, and her relatives were
asleep, but she could see the deer that hung outside ready for the

"Now," said the _Jo gah oh_ chief, "we will call out a pack of wolves
from the wood yonder, and there will be no fat deer for this selfish
feast, at sunrise."

Now no wolves had been seen in that wood for many moons. But at the call
of the fairies, a pack sprang from it, ran to the lodge, seized the
deer, and tore it into shreds. Then they again disappeared in the wood.

The little girl's eyes were large now with wonder, as they flew back to
the fairy lodge in the rocks, but she was not afraid of these strange
Little People. She was so happy with them she wished she might always
live in a _Jo gah oh_ lodge.

One morning, the little chief said, "Today we shall see more wonders."

This time a tiny canoe was waiting. They stepped into it and sailed
down a river until they came to a great tree.

"In that tree," said the little chief, "lives a great, black bear. Every
day he comes out that door you see high up in the bear tree. I will make
the door fast so he cannot open it. A deep sleep will fall on him. He
will sleep for many moons."

Then the chief threw three stones through the open door of the bear
tree. Each time, a flame spread like a blanket over the door. A growling
and scratching was heard within. Then all became still.

"Now," said the chief, "the bear will sleep until I call him in the
spring. He is locked up for the winter. Come, let us go on."

The little girl drew her invisible blanket closer, as the canoe went
sailing with the birds through the clouds. The birds that were swift of
wing called loudly for a race.

"Come on!" said the fairy chief.

Then he spread wide the invisible sails of his canoe, and they flew past
the birds like a streak of lightning. Even the eagle was left far
behind. They seemed to shoot through the sky.

And, oh, what fun it was to be a bird! The little girl would have sailed
on forever, but the little chief said, "You shall now return to your
people. We have given them soft hearts and kind minds. They are calling
for you. They will be glad to see you."

And soon the little girl was again in the wigwam of her relatives,
sitting by the warm fire.

They greeted her with joy, spread a soft skin for her to sit upon, and
gave her the best food. And the little girl lived with them, ever after,
and was happy.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Stories the Iroquois Tell Their Children" ***

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