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´╗┐Title: Algonquin Indian Tales
Author: Young, Egerton R., 1840-1909
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Algonquin Indian Tales" ***




[Illustration: The rabbit tells Nanahboozhoo of his troubles.]




DEAR FRIEND: Your book of stories gathered from among my tribe has very
much pleased me. The reading of them brings up the days of long time ago
when I was a boy and heard our old people tell these tales in the wigwams
and at the camp fire.

I am very glad that you are in this way saving them from being forgotten,
and I am sure that many people will be glad to read them.

With best wishes,
KECHE CHEMON (Charles Big Canoe),
Chief of the Ojibways.


In all ages, from the remotest antiquity, the story-teller has flourished.
Evidences of his existence are to be found among the most ancient monuments
and writings in the Orient. In Egypt, Nineveh, Babylon, and other ancient
lands he flourished, and in the homes of the noblest he was ever an honored

The oldest collection of folklore stories or myths now in existence is of
East Indian origin and is preserved in the Sanskrit. The collection is
called _Hitopadesa_, and the author was Veshnoo Sarma. Of this collection,
Sir William Jones, the great Orientalist, wrote, "The fables of Veshnoo are
the most beautiful, if not the most ancient, collection of apologues in the
world." As far back as the sixth century translations were made from them.

The same love for myths and legends obtains to-day in those Oriental lands.
There, where the ancient and historic so stubbornly resist any change--in
Persia, India, China, and indeed all over that venerable East--the man who
can recite the ancient apologues or legends of the past can always secure
an audience and command the closest attention.

While the general impression is that the recital of these old myths and
legends among Oriental nations was for the mere pastime of the crowds, it
is well to bear in mind that many of them were used as a means to convey
great truths or to reprove error. Hence the recital of them was not
confined to a merely inquisitive audience that desired to be amused. We
have a good example of this in the case of the recital by Jotham, as
recorded in the book of Judges, of the legend of the gathering of the trees
for the purpose of having one of them anointed king over the rest. Of this
legend Dr. Adam Clarke, the commentator, says, "This is the oldest and,
without exception, the best fable or apologue in the world."

The despotic nature of the governments of those Oriental nations caused the
people often to use the fable or myth as an indirect way to reprove or
censure when it would not have been safe to have used a direct form of
speech. The result was that it attained a higher degree of perfection there
than among any other people. An excellent example is Nathan's reproof of
David by the recital of the fable of the poor man's ewe lamb.

The red Indians of America have justly been famous for their myths and
legends. We have never heard of a tribe that did not have a store of them.
Even the hardy Eskimo in his igloo of ice is surprisingly rich in folklore
stories. A present of a knife or some other trifle that he desires will
cause him to talk by the hour to his guest, whether he be the daring trader
or adventurous explorer, on the traditions that have come down to him. The
interchange of visits between the northern Indians and the Eskimos has
resulted in the discovery that quite a number of the myths recited in
Indian wigwams are in a measure, if not wholly, of Eskimo origin. On the
other hand, the Eskimo has not failed to utilize and incorporate into his
own rich store some that are undoubtedly of Indian origin.

For thirty years or more we have been gathering up these myths and legends.
Sometimes a brief sentence or two of one would be heard in some
wigwam--just enough to excite curiosity--then years would elapse ere the
whole story could be secured. As the tribes had no written language, and
the Indians had to depend entirely upon their memory, it is not to be
wondered at that there were, at times, great divergences in the recital of
even the most familiar of their stories. We have heard the same legend
given by several story-tellers and no two agreed in many particulars.
Others, however, were told with very slight differences.

We have adopted the course of recording what seemed to us the most natural
version and most in harmony with the instincts and characteristics of the
pure Indian. The close scientific student of Indian folklore will see that
we have softened some expressions and eliminated some details that were
non-essential. The crude Indian languages, while absolutely free from
blasphemy, cannot always be literally translated. _Verbum sat sapienti_.

The method we have adopted, in the presentation of these myths and legends
in connection with the chatter and remarks of our little ones, while
unusual, will, we trust, prove attractive and interesting. We have
endeavored to make it a book for all classes. Here are some old myths in
new settings, and here are some, we venture to think, that have never
before been seen in English dress. These will interest the student of such
subjects, while the general style of the book will, we hope, make it
attractive to young readers.

Nanahboozhoo, the personage who occupies the principal part in these myths,
is the most widely known of all those beings of supposed miraculous birth
who played such prominent parts in Indian legends. He does not seem to have
been claimed by any one particular tribe. Doubtless legends of him were
transmitted down from the time when the division of tribes had not so
extensively taken place; when perhaps the Algonquin, now so subdivided, was
one great tribe, speaking one language.

The variety of names by which he is known is accounted for by these tribal
divisions and the rapid changes which took place in the language owing to
its having no written form to maintain its unity.

What his original name was, when legends about him first began to be told,
is of course unknown. However, since the white race began to gather up and
record these Indian myths he has been known as Misha-wabus, Manabush,
Jous-ke-ha, Messou, Manabozho, Nanahboozhoo, Hiawatha, Chiabo,
Singua-sew--and even some other names have been heard. We have given him in
this volume the name of Nanahboozhoo as that was the one most frequently
used by the Indians among whom we lived or visited.

There is more unanimity about his origin, among the tribes, than about his
name. The almost universal report is that he was the son of Mudjekeewis,
the West Wind. His mother was Wenonah, the daughter of Nokomis.

The author desires very gratefully to record his indebtedness, for
assistance or hints received in the pleasant work of here clustering these
Indian folklore stories, to many friends, among them such Indian
missionaries as Revs. Peter Jones, John Sunday, Henry Steinham, Allan Salt,
and also to his Indian friends and comrades at many a camp fire and in many
a wigwam. He also wishes in this way to express his appreciation of and
indebtedness to the admirable Reports of the Smithsonian Institution. He
has there obtained verification of and fuller information concerning many
an almost forgotten legend.

In regard to a number of the finest of the photographic illustrations in
the volume the author gratefully acknowledges his obligations to the Canada
Pacific Railway Company, without whose assistance it would have been
impossible to reach many of the sublime and romantic places here portrayed;
until very recently known only to the adventurous red Indian hunter, but
now brought within the reach of any enterprising tourist.


Introductory Note


The Children Carried Off by the Indians--The Feast in
the Wigwam--Souwanas, the Story-teller--Nanahboozhoo,
the Indian Myth--How the Wolves Stole His Dinner, and
Why the Birch Tree Bark is Scarred--Why the Raccoon
has Rings on His Tail.


The Children's Return--Indignation of Mary, the Indian
Nurse--Her Pathetic History--Her Love for the Children--The
Story of Wakonda, and of the Origin of Mosquitoes.


More about Mary and the Children--Minnehaha Stung by
the Bees--How the Bees Got Their Stings--What Happened
to the Bears that Tried to Steal the Honey.


The Love Story of Wakontas--His Test of the Two
Maidens--His Choice--The Transformation of Misticoosis.


The Startling Placard--What Happened to the Little
Runaways--The Rescue--Mary Tells Them the Legend of the
Swallows--How Some Cruel Men were Punished who Teased
an Orphan Boy.


Souwanas Tells of the Origin and Queer Doings of
Nanahboozhoo--How He Lost His Brother Nahpootee,
the Wolf--Why the Kingfisher Wears a White Collar.


The Legend of the Bad Boy--How He was Carried Away
by Annungitee, and How He was Rescued by His Mother.


Happy Christmas Holidays--Indians Made Glad with
Presents--Souwanas Tells How Nanahboozhoo Stole the
Fire from the Old Magician and Gave It to the Indians.


Kinnesasis--How the Coyote Obtained the Fire from the
Interior of the Earth.


The Christmas Packet--The Distribution of Gifts--A Visit
by Dog Train, at Fifty-five Below Zero--Souwanas Tells
How the Indians First Learned to Make Maple Sugar.


Mary Relates the Legend of the Origin of Disease--The
Queer Councils Held by the Animals Against Their Common
Enemy, Man.


The Naming of the Baby--A Canoe Trip--The Legend of
the Discovery of Medicine--How the Chipmunk Carried the
Good News.


In the Wigwam of Souwanas--How Gray Wolf Persecuted
Waubenoo, and How He was Punished by Nanahboozhoo.


The Pathetic Love Story of Waubenoo--The Treachery
of Gray Wolf--The Legend of the Whisky Jack.


A Novel Race: the Wolverine and the Rock--How the
Wolverine's Legs were Shortened--A Punishment for


The Legend of the Twin Children of the Sun--How They
Rid the Earth of Some of the Great Monsters--Their Great
Battle with Nikoochis, the Giant.


Souwanas Tells of the Queer Way in which Nanahboozhoo
Destroyed Mooshekinnebik, the Last of the Great Monsters.


Welcome Springtime in the Northland--How Nanahboozhoo
Killed the Great White Sea Lion, the Chief of the
Magicians--The Revenge--The Flood--Escape of Nanahboozhoo
and the Animals on the Raft--The Creation of a New World.


Among the Briers and Wild Roses--Why the Roses have
Thorns--Why the Wild Rabbits are White in Winter.


Passing Hunters and Their Spoils--The Vain Woman--Why
the Marten has a White Spot on His Breast.


Shooting Loons--Why the Loon has a Flat Back, Red
Eyes, and Such Queer Feet--Nanahboozhoo Loses His
Dinner--Origin of Lichens--Why Some Willows are Red--The


Nanahboozhoo's Ride on the Back of the Buzzard, who
Lets Him Fall--A Short-lived Triumph--Why the Buzzard
has No Feathers on His Head or Neck.


A Moonlight Trip on the Lake--The Legend of the
Orphan Boy--His Appeal to the Man in the Moon--How
He Conquered His Enemies.


Souwanas's Love for Souwanaquenapeke--How Nanahboozhoo
Cured a Little Girl Bitten by a Snake--How the Rattlesnake
got Its Rattle--The Origin of Tobacco--Nanahboozhoo
in Trouble.


The Dead Moose--The Rivalry Between the Elk and the
Moose People, and Their Various Contests--The Disaster
that Befell the Latter Tribe--The Haze of the Indian



The rabbit tells Nanahboozhoo of his troubles

With the children cuddled around, Souwanas began

The wild and picturesque Ka-ka-be-ka Falls

They howled with rage and terror

The startling placard

While her mate stood beside her

Surrounding them were fierce Indian dogs

The beautiful reflections in the water

They tumbled the tall ghost over

Their dog trains were in constant demand

Where the fire was stolen

The coyote was too quick for them

Across a single log at a dizzy height

Which white men now call Cathedral Mountain

Their babies with them

Gave him such a terrible beating

The big rock was surely gaining on him [note: not in actual text]

Sun dance lodge of the Blood Indians

They both threw their magic sticks

He took a leap into the open mouth

He ran away west, to the great mountains

Wigwams and Indians

The Indian story-teller

Nanahboozhoo then mounted on the back of the great buzzard

With Mary and Kennedy in the birch canoe

Nanahboozhoo gave him a great push

They were excited at his coming

Algonquin Indian Tales


The Children Carried Off by the Indians--The Feast in
the Wigwam--Souwanas, the Story-teller--Nanahboozhoo,
the Indian Myth--How the Wolves Stole His Dinner, and
Why the Birch Tree Bark is Scarred--Why the Raccoon
has Rings on His Tail.

Without even knocking at the door there noiselessly entered our northern
home two large, unhandsome Indians. They paid not the slightest attention
to the grown-up palefaces present, but in their ghostly way marched across
the room to the corner where the two little children were playing on the
floor. Quickly but gently picking them up they swung them to their
shoulders, and then, without a word of salutation or even a glance at the
parents, they noiselessly passed out of that narrow door and disappeared in
the virgin forest. They were pagan Saulteaux, by name Souwanas and Jakoos.

The Indian names by which these two children were called by the natives
were "Sagastaookemou," which means the "Sunrise Gentleman," and
"Minnehaha," "Laughing Waters."

To the wigwam of Souwanas, "South Wind," these children were being carried.
They had no fear of these big Indians, though the boy was only six years
old, and his little sister but four. They had learned to look with laughing
eyes even into the fiercest and ugliest of these red faces and had made
them their friends.

So even now, while being carried away among the dense trees, they merrily
laughed and shouted to each other. The bright patches of sunshine on the
ground, the singing birds, and the few brilliant-hued summer flowers,
brought forth their exclamations of delight, while all the time the grave,
silent Indians hurried them on deeper and deeper into the forest. Yet
carefully they guarded their precious loads, and as the antlered deer in
passing through the thick woods and under the low branches never strike
trunk or bough, so these sons of the forest glided swiftly on without
allowing any hurt to come to the children of the paleface, even if at times
the faint trail led them over slippery rocks and under low intertwining

The wigwam of Souwanas was pitched in a beautiful spot at the edge of the
great forest near the sandy, rocky eastern shore of Lake Winnipeg. This
great lake is well called The Sea, which is the meaning of its Indian name.
It is about as long as Lakes Ontario and Erie combined and in some places
is eighty miles wide.

At the entrance of the wigwam, which was made of a couple of tanned
reindeerskins, the children were carefully lifted down from the men's
shoulders and then taken into this Indian abode. Coming in suddenly from
the bright sunshine it was some time before they could see distinctly. The
door flap of deerskin had dropped like a curtain behind them. All the light
there was came in through the hole in the top, where the poles of the
wigwam crossed each other. Presently, however, they were able to see a
circle of Indian children gathered around a small fire that smoldered on
the ground in the center of the tent. It was now in the pleasant summer
time, but the fire was needed for something else than warmth, as the little
Sagastao and Minnehaha discovered before long. They were soon seated in the
circle with the red children, who, young though they were, were a wee bit
startled at seeing these little palefaces. The white children, however,
simply laughed with glee. This outward demonstration seemed very improper
to the silent red children, who were taught to refrain from expressions of
their gladness or sorrow.

The Indians had brought the white children for a characteristic reason.
They had said among themselves, "If the white father and mother love us as
they say they do we will test them by taking away their children without
asking permission." They also wished to show their own love for the
children, and so had really brought them to a children's feast.

It was perhaps as queer a tea party as you ever heard of. There was no
table on which to put the good things prepared for the feast. No plates, no
cups and saucers, no knives, no spoons, not even a chair! There were no
cakes, no tarts, no jam, no pies, not even any bread and butter!

"Well, what a feast!" you say. "Without any place to sit, or good things to
eat!" Not too fast! There were both of these. There was the lap of mother
earth, and so down on the ground, with bearskins and deerskins on it for
rugs, the children sat. Then the deerskin door was again opened and in came
Indians with birch-bark dishes, called _rogans_, in which were nicely
prepared wild ducks, rabbits, and partridges. But as they were uncooked
they could not yet be eaten by the now expectant, hungry children.

Then began the preparation of the feast. Some of the Indians added dry wood
to the fire until there was a hot, smokeless blaze. Others took out their
sharp hunting knives and cleverly cut up the ducks, rabbits, and
partridges. Then these pieces were spitted on the ends of sharp points of
hard wood and skillfully broiled or toasted in the hot flames. As fast as
the dainty bits of meat were cooked and a little cooled they were given to
the children in their fingers, and in that way the little ones had their

Now, please don't turn up your noses at such a feast. Think of it: out in a
wigwam in the lovely forest, where the wild birds sing and the squirrels
chatter, where is heard the music of the waves playing on the shore but a
few yards away, with great friendly Indians as your waiters! The very air
of that northern summer gives you an appetite ready for anything.

Those little people, red and white, soon became the jolliest of friends,
and as the white children could speak the Indian language as well as their
own they were soon all chattering away most merrily while they daintily
picked the bones. Of course this way of eating was hard upon their hands,
faces, and clothing, but what healthy child ever gave a second thought--if
a first--to any of these things?

After a time this feast, as all feasts must, came to an end. Then the
question was, "What shall we do next for the children?" for the whole day
had been planned by the grown-up Indians for the entertainment of the
little people. Canoes had been collected on the shore of Winnipeg, handy if
it should be decided that they all should go for an afternoon outing on the
water. However, Souwanas, who had gone out to look at the sky and observe
the winds and waves, now came in and reported that he thought they would
better put off the canoe trip to some time when the lake was more calm. It
was then suggested that the children be asked what would please them most.
The little folks, white and red, were not slow in giving their decision.

"Tell us a story about Nanahboozhoo."

"Who shall be the story-teller?"

There was a hearty call for "Souwanas!"

On coming in from investigating the weather, but a few minutes before,
Souwanas had seated himself on a robe and was now enjoying his calumet, or
pipe. Stoical though he was, his dark eyes flashed with pleasure at the
unanimous call of the children, but, Indianlike, it would have been a great
breach of manners if he had let his delight be known. Then, again,
Indianlike, it would never have done to have seemed to be in a hurry. The
Indian children well knew this, but who ever heard of white children that
could sit like statues, grave and dignified, while the story-teller took
time to finish smoking a large pipe of tobacco?

So it was in this case. In their wild excitement and eagerness to have the
story begin, both Sagastao and Minnehaha sprang up and, rushing toward
Souwanas, vied with each other in seeing which could first pluck the
half-smoked calumet from his mouth. Such audacity appalled the Indian
children and fairly took the breath away from the older Indians. For was
not Souwanas a chief, and the calumet almost a sacred thing while between
his lips?

Souwanas, however, was greatly delighted. Here was a new experience, and
the very boldness of the children of the palefaces was an evidence of their
unbounded confidence and love. To little Sagastao the calumet was
surrendered, and, with the children cuddled around him, Souwanas began his

[Illustration: "With the children cuddled around him Souwanas began his

"Now, you must know that Nanahboozhoo was a queer fellow. He could make
himself as tall as a tree or as small as a turtle or snake. Nothing could
kill him. He could not be drowned even if dropped hundreds of feet into
the lake, nor burned to death even if he tumbled into the fire. He often
met with accidents, but he always came up right again and was ready for
some other adventure in some new shape. He has left his marks on the rocks
and trees, leaves and flowers. Almost anywhere we look we see signs that
Nanahboozhoo has been around. As his temper was very uncertain he sometimes
caused trouble and injured the appearance of things which were once more
beautiful than they are now. But in general he was the friend of our race
and worked changes that were for our good.

"One day, as Nanahboozhoo was walking along on a sandy shore, he felt very
hungry. It was now in the autumn of the year. As he wandered on he saw an
object moving toward him. He had not long to wait before he saw that this
object was a great black bear. He pulled up a young tree by the roots and
hid himself, preparing to kill the bear when he should come near. When the
bear came near Nanahboozhoo made a big jump out of his hiding place and
killed the bear with one blow. Then he built a big fire, and having singed
all the hair off the bear he cut him up and nicely roasted him. When the
meat was cooked Nanahboozhoo cut it up into fine pieces, for he intended to
enjoy his feast by eating leisurely.

"While he was thus busy preparing his feast he was annoyed by a strange
sound among the tree tops that rubbed together when the wind blew.
Nanahboozhoo was very quick-tempered, and as the noise continued he
determined to stop it. So he left his feast on the ground and climbed away
up one of those trees to the spot where the other pressed against it. He
was endeavoring to pull the two great trees apart when one of his hands got
caught between them and was firmly held. While struggling to get loose he
heard a pack of wolves running toward his bear meat. This made him struggle
the harder to get his hand free. The fierce wolves soon scented the food
and had a good time devouring it, in spite of the shoutings of

"When Nanahboozhoo at length got his hand free and came down he found
nothing left of his feast but the skull of the bear. He was very angry, not
only at the wolves that had eaten his feast but also at the trees that had
held him, the great Nanahboozhoo, in so tight a grip. As the wolves had run
away he could not, at present, punish them, but he resolved that he would
so punish these great birch trees that they would never give him such a
squeeze again. So he prepared a great whip and with it he severely thrashed
the trees. Up to this time the birch had been the most beautiful of trees.
Its great trunk was of the purest white, without any blemish or blotch upon
it. But ever since the thrashing Nanahboozhoo gave it it has had to carry
the marks of that terrible whipping; and that is why the white birch tree
is so covered with scars.

"When Nanahboozhoo had ceased thrashing the trees he found himself so very
hungry that he resolved to eat the brains that were in the head of the
bear, that had been overlooked by the wolves. However, he found the skull
very hard. So he transformed himself into a little snake, and in this way
got inside of the bear's skull and enjoyed his feast. In fact he enjoyed it
too much, for when he was through with his eating he could not get out of
the skull, he was so full. However, he was able to roll along, skull and
all, but as he could not see where he was going he bumped along in a very
erratic manner until at length he tumbled into a big lake and sank at first
deep down under the waves.

"When he came up to the surface he just put a part of the head of the bear
out of the water, as does the bear when swimming. Then he listened
intently. It was not long before Nanahboozhoo heard voices saying:

"'Look! There is a bear swimming. Let us kill him."

"So there was a chase on the lake, and it was not long before the Indians
came up, in their canoe, and one of them with his stone ax struck the
bear's head such a blow that he split open the skull.

"This just suited Nanahboozhoo, and instantly he sprang out and made for
the shore.

"Then Nanahboozhoo journeyed on and again he began to feel very hungry. The
brains of the bear were not much to one who had had his mind set on eating
the whole carcass. It was not long before he met the raccoon awkwardly
carrying a birch _rogan_ that he had stolen from a couple of blind men.
Seeing the merry smile on the raccoon's face, Nanahboozhoo bade him a good
day, and asked him what was amusing him.

"The raccoon, who did not know that it was Nanahboozhoo with whom he was
talking, told him how he obtained the dish. When Nanahboozhoo heard this he
was very angry at the raccoon for his heartless trick.

"It seems that there was quite a large settlement of people who had among
them a couple of blind men. As these Indians were hunters they had to be on
the move a good deal of the time following the game. As the other people
were kind-hearted, instead of killing these old blind men, now that they
were unable to hunt, they arranged for them a wigwam in a safe, quiet
place, near the lake. Then they gave them a kettle and bowl and other
necessary things and cut a large pile of wood and placed it close at hand.
In order that they might be able to get water for their cooking and yet not
stumble into the water their friends fastened a rope, for their guidance,
from the door of the wigwam to a post on the edge of the lake.

"The old men were now quite comfortable. Their friends came frequently with
abundant supplies of food and the blind men were able to do their own work
and were happy together. They divided the day's work so that one day one
would be the cook while the other would bring in the wood and go for the
water. Next day they would change about. It gave each enough to do, and not
too much.

"For a long time the two men lived contented and happy. But it happened
that one day the raccoon was out prowling along the shore, looking for
something to eat, when he happened to find the end of the rope that was
tied to the post at the water's edge.

"Now you must know," said Souwanas, "that, next to the wolverine, the
raccoon is the biggest mischief in the woods. He is full of tricks, but he
is very cunning and suspicious. So before he interfered with the rope he
cautiously followed it up and found that its other end was at the wigwam of
these two old blind men. Hearing no noise, he cautiously peered into the
wigwam and saw them both sleeping near the fire. There was a smell of
something good to eat, and the raccoon decided to wait around to see if he
could not get hold of it.

"While he was thus waiting the old men woke up, and one said to the other,
'My brother, I am feeling hungry; let us prepare our dinner.'

"'Very well,' said the other; 'it is your turn to go to the lake for water
while I make the fire.'

"When the raccoon heard this he ran down to the lake and quickly untied the
rope from the stake and, drawing it back, tied it to a clump of bushes on
the land. When the old man with the kettle felt his way along the rope
until he reached its end he tried to dip up the water as usual, but all in
vain. There was nothing but the dry earth and bushes. Not finding any water
he returned to his brother with the sad news that the lake had dried up,
and that already bushes were growing where yesterday there was plenty of
water. When his brother heard this doleful story he laughed at it, and

"'Why, that cannot be possible. No bushes could grow up in such a short

"However his brother declared it was the case, and so the other one said,
'Well, let me go, and see if I can find some water.'

"When the tricky raccoon heard this he hurried back and at once untied the
rope from the bushes and refastened it to the post near the water. When the
second brother came along he easily found the water, and filling the kettle
he returned to the wigwam where he vigorously accused his brother of lying.
He, poor fellow, could not understand it and was much perplexed.

"The preparation of their dinner went on, and soon it was ready. There was,
however, another one present that the blind men had no suspicion of, and
that was the raccoon, who had now noiselessly come into the wigwam and
greedily sat watching the preparations. This dinner consisted of eight
pieces of meat which, when cooked, were placed in their _rogan_, or wooden
bowl. When ready they sat down with this bowl between them and began to
eat. Each took a piece of meat, and they talked of various things while
they ate.

"The raccoon now noiselessly took four of the pieces of meat out of the
bowl and began eating them. Soon one of the men reached into the bowl, to
get another piece of meat, and finding only two pieces left, he said:

"'My brother, you must be very hungry, to eat so fast. I have only had one
piece of meat, and there are only two left.'

"'I have not taken them,' was the reply, 'but I suspect that you are the
greedy one who has eaten them.'

"This made the other brother very angry, and as they thus went on arguing,
the raccoon, to make matters worse, and to have, as he told Nanahboozhoo,
some more sport with the old blind fellows, hit each of them a smart blow
on the face. The poor old men, each believing that the other had struck
him, began to fight; and so they upset the _rogan_ and lost the rest of
their dinner and nearly set the wigwam on fire.

"The raccoon then seized the two remaining pieces of meat and the bowl,
and, with shouts of laughter, rushed out of the wigwam. The old men,
hearing this, perceived that they had been fooled, and they at once stopped
fighting and apologized to each other.

"The raccoon's rascally trick made Nanahboozhoo very angry. Indeed he had
had a good deal of trouble to keep from letting the raccoon know who he
was. So just as soon as the raccoon had finished he said:

"'I am Nanahboozhoo. Those old blind men are my brothers, and I'll teach
you a lesson you will never forget!'

"So he seized the raccoon and killed him, and carried his body back to the
tent of the blind men and made out of it a great feast for them, and
declared that in future the old raccoons should have to carry as many
circles on their tails as pieces of meat that had been stolen out of the
_rogan_ of the blind men."

"Good for Nanahboozhoo!" shouted Sagastao. "Mr. Raccoon couldn't play any
tricks on him. Now tell us another story."

But here Minnehaha interposed.

"I think," said she, "we had better go home now, for father and mother may
begin to think they have lost their little ones."

"Let us wait until dark," said Sagastao, "and then Mary won't see our dirty
clothes!" For their greasy fingers had soiled them badly.

The wishes of the little girl, however, prevailed, and so it was not long
ere the Indian salutations, "Wat cheer! Wat cheer!" were shouted to all,
and once more the two children were hoisted upon the shoulders of the big
Indians, and in the same manner in which they had been brought to the
wigwam in the forenoon they rode home in the beautiful gloaming.

Very tired were they, yet not so weary but that they were able with their
little hands to rub some of the paint off the faces of their big stalwart
carriers and daub it on their own. The effect was so ludicrous that their
merry laughter reached the ears of their expectant parents even before they
emerged from the gloom of the forest.


The Children's Return--Indignation of Mary, the Indian
Nurse--Her Pathetic History--Her Love for the Children--The
Story of Wakonda, and of the Origin of Mosquitoes.

In reaching home the children were quietly received by their parents, who,
understanding Indian ways, had no desire to lessen their influence by
finding fault with them for carrying off the children. They treated the
matter as though it were one of everyday occurrence.

Mary, the Indian nurse, however, did not regard the incident so calmly.
When the children were brought back dirty, greasy, bedaubed, and so tired
that they could hardly hold up their little heads, her indignation knew no
bounds, and as she was perfectly fearless she couched her sentiments in the
most vigorous phrases of the expressive Cree language.

The history of Indian Mary was very strange. Indeed there was an incident
in her life so sad that from the day of her recovery she was considered to
be under the special care of the Good Spirit, so that even the most
influential chiefs or hunters had a superstitious fear of showing any
temper, or making any bitter retort, no matter what she might say.

Years before this time Mary was the wife of a cruel pagan Indian who bore
the English name of Robinson. Although she was slight of figure, and never
very strong, he exacted from Mary a great deal of hard work and was vexed
and angry if, when heavily burdened with the game he had shot, she did not
move as rapidly along on the trail as he did, carrying only his gun and

Once, when they were out in the woods some miles from his wigwam, he shot a
full-grown deer and ordered her to bring it into the camp on her back.
Picking up his gun he started on ahead, and being a large, stalwart man,
and moving with the usual rapidity of the Indians on the homeward trail, he
soon reached his wigwam. Unfortunately for him--and, as it turned out, for
Mary also--he found some free-traders[1] at his abode awaiting his return.
They had few goods for trade in their outfit, but they had a keg of fire
water, which has ever been the scourge of the Indians.

[Footnote 1: Fur buyers who were not agents of the Fur Company.]

Robinson informed them of his success in shooting the deer and that it was
even now being brought in. The traders not only purchased what furs
Robinson had on hand but also the two hind quarters of the deer which Mary
was bringing home. Robinson at once began drinking the fire water which he
had received as part payment.

He was naturally irritable, and short-tempered even when sober, but he was
much more so when under the influence of spirituous liquors. The
unprincipled traders, knowing this, and wishing to see him in one of his
tantrums, began in a bantering way to question whether he had really shot a
deer, since his wife was so long in coming with it.

This made him simply furious, and when Mary did at length arrive, laboring
under the two-hundred-pound deer, she was met by her husband now wild with
passion and the white man's fire water. Little suspecting danger she threw
the deer from her shoulders, where it had been supported by the carrying
strap across her forehead. Weary and panting, she turned to go into the
wigwam for her skinning knife, but ere she had gone a dozen steps she was
startled by a yell from Robinson which caused her instantly to turn and
face him. The sight that met her eyes was appalling. Before her stood her
husband with an uplifted gleaming ax in his hands and curses on his tongue.
Seeing that there was no chance to fly from him she threw herself toward
him, hoping thereby to escape the blow. She succeeded in saving her head,
but the ax buried itself in her spine.

Mary's piercing screams speedily brought a number of Indians from
neighboring wigwams. When they found poor Mary lying there in agony, with
the ax still imbedded in the bones of her back, their indignation knew no

Indians, as a rule, have great self-control, but this sight so stirred them
that there was very nearly a lynching. Robinson, now sobered by his fears,
clearly foresaw that terrible would be his punishment, and while the
Indians and traders turned to attend to Mary's wounds the wretched husband
stealthily slipped away into the forest and was never again seen there.
Rumors, however, at length reached Mary that he had fled away to the
distant Kaministiquia River, where for a time he lived, solitary and alone,
in a little bark wigwam. One day, when out shooting in his canoe, he was
caught in some treacherous rapids and carried over the wild and picturesque
Ka-ka-be-ka Falls, about which so many thrilling Indian legends cluster.

For seven years Mary was a helpless invalid. When she did recover her back
had so curved that she looked like a hunchback. As she was poor, and
utterly unable either to hunt or to fish, we helped her in various ways.
She was always grateful for kindness, and in return was very willing to do
what she could for us. She was exceedingly clever with her needle, and with
a little instruction was soon able to assist with the sewing required.
However, what especially won her to us and gave her a permanent place in
our home, was her great love and devotion to our little ones.

[Illustration: "The wild and picturesque Ka-ka-be-ka Falls."]

Little Sagastao was only a few months old when she installed herself as his
nurse, and for years she was a most watchful and devoted as well as
self-sacrificing guardian of our children in that Northern home. She seemed
to live and think solely for them. At times, especially in the matter of
parental discipline, there would be collisions between Mary and the mother
of the children; for the nurse, with her Indian ideas, could not accept
of the position of a disciplined servant, nor could she quietly witness the
punishment of children whom she thought absolutely perfect. Hence, if she
could not have things exactly as she wanted them, Mary would now and then
allow her fiery temper to obtain the mastery, and springing up in a rage
and throwing a shawl over her head she would fly out of the house and be
gone for days.

Her mistress paid no attention to these outbursts. She well knew that when
Mary had cooled down she would return, and it was often amusing to see the
way in which she would attract the children's attention to her, peering
around tree or corner, and then come meekly walking in with them as though
they had only been for a pleasant outing of an hour or so.

"Well, Mary," would be the greeting of her mistress, while Mary's quiet
response would be the Indian greeting of, "Wat cheer!"

Then things would go on as usual for perhaps another six months, when Mary
would indulge again in one of her tantrums, with the same happy results.

She dressed the children in picturesque Indian costumes--coats, dresses,
leggings, moccasins, and other articles of apparel of deer skin, tanned as
soft as kid, and beautifully embroidered with silk and bead work. Not a
spot could appear upon their garments without Mary's notice, and as she
always kept changes ready she was frequently disrobing and dressing them

When Souwanas and Jakoos came that morning and picked up the children Mary
happened to be in another room. Had she been present she would doubtless
have interfered in their movements. As it was, when she missed the children
her indignation knew no bounds, and only the most emphatic commands of her
mistress restrained her from rushing after them. All day long she had to
content herself with muttering her protests while, as usual, she was busily
employed with her needle. When, however, the two stalwart Indians returned
in the evening with the children on their shoulders the storm broke, and
Mary's murmurings, at first mere protests, became loud and furious when the
happy children, so tired and dirty, were set down before her. The Indians,
knowing of the sad tragedy in Mary's life, would not show anger or even
annoyance under her scathing words, but, with the stoical nature of their
race, they quietly endured her wrath. This they were much better prepared
to do since neither of the parents of the white children seemed in the
slightest degree disturbed by their long absence or the tirade of the
indignant nurse. With high-bred courtesy they patiently listened to all
that Mary had to say, and when the storm had spent itself they turned and
noiselessly retired.

The children were worn out with their day's adventure, and their mother
intimated that Mary ought at once to bathe them and put them to bed. This,
however, did not satisfy Mary. It had become her custom to dress them up in
the afternoons and keep them appareled in their brightest costumes during
the rest of the day; therefore now the weary children, after being bathed,
were again dressed in their best and brought out for inspection and a light
supper before retiring. The bath and the supper had so refreshed them that
when Mary had tucked them into their beds they were wide awake and asked
her to tell them a story. But sleep was what they needed now more than
anything else, and she tried to quiet them without any further words, but
so thoroughly aroused were they that they declared that if she refused they
knew somebody who would be glad to have them visit him again, and that he
would tell them lots of beautiful things.

This hint that they might return to the wigwam of Souwanas was too much for
Mary, who very freely gave utterance to her sentiments about him. The
children gallantly came to the defense of the old Indian and also of
Nanahboozhoo, of whom Mary spoke most slightingly, saying that he was a
mean fellow who ought to be ashamed of many of his tricks.

"Well," replied Sagastao, "if you will tell us better stories than those
Souwanas can tell us about Nanahboozhoo, all right, we will listen to them.
But, mind you, we are going to hear his Nanahboozhoo stories too."

"O, indeed," said Mary, with a contemptuous toss of her head, "there are
many stories better than those of his old Nanahboozhoo."

"Won't it be fun to see whose stories we like the best, Mary's or
Souwanas's!" said Minnehaha, who foresaw an interesting rivalry.

Mary had now committed herself, and so, almost without realizing what it
would come to, she found herself pitted against Souwanas, the great
story-teller of the tribe. However, being determined that Souwanas should
not rob her of the love of the children, she was tempted to begin her
story-telling even though the children were exhausted, and so it was that
when the lad asked a question Mary was ready.

"Say, Mary," said Sagastao, "the mosquitoes bit us badly to-day. Do you
know why it is that there are such troublesome little things? Is there any
story about them?"

"Yes. Wakonda, one of the strange spirits, sent them," said Mary, "because
a woman was lazy and would not keep the clothes of her husband and children
clean and nice."

"Tell us all about it," they both cried out.

Mary quieted them, and began the story.

"Long ago, when the people all dressed in deerskins, there was a man whose
name was Pug-a-mah-kon. He was an industrious fellow, and had often to work
a good deal in dirty places. The result was that, although he had several
suits of clothes, he seemed never to have any clean ones.

"It was the duty of his wife to scrape and clean his garments and wash and
resmoke them as often as they needed it. But she neglected her work and
would go off gossiping among her neighbors. Her husband was patient with
her for a time, but at length, when he heard that Wakonda was coming to
pay a visit to the people, to see how they were getting along, he began to
bestir himself so as to be decently attired, in clean, handsome apparel, to
meet this powerful being, who was able to confer great favors on him, or,
if ill-disposed, to injure him greatly.

"He endeavored to get his wife to go to work and remove the dirt that had
gathered on his garments. She was so lazy that it was only from fear of a
beating that she ever did make any attempt to do as he desired. She took
the garments and began to clean them, but she was in a bad humor and did
her work in such a slovenly and half-hearted way that there was but very
little change for the better after the pretended cleaning.

"When the news was circulated that Wakonda was coming, the husband prepared
to dress himself in his best apparel, but great indeed was his anger and
disgust when he found that the garments which he had hoped to wear were
still disgracefully grimy.

"While the angry husband was chiding the woman for her indolence Wakonda
suddenly appeared. To him the man appealed, and asked for his advice in the

"Wakonda quickly responded, and said: 'A lazy, gossiping wife is not only a
disgrace to her husband, she is annoying to all around her; and so it will
be in this case.'

"Then Wakonda told her husband to take some of the dirt which still clung
to his garments, which she was supposed to have cleansed, and to throw it
at her. This the man did, and the particles of dirt at once changed into
mosquitoes. And so, ever since, especially in the warm days and nights of
early summer when the mosquitoes with their singing and stinging come
around to trouble us, we are reminded of this lazy, slovenly woman, who was
not only a trial to her husband, but by her lack of industry and care
brought such a scourge upon all the people."

"Didn't Wakonda do anything else?" murmured the little lad; but that
blessed thing called sleep now enfolded both the little ones, and with
mutterings of "Nanahboozhoo--Wakonda--Souwanas--Mary"--they were soon far
away in childhood's happy dreamland.


More about Mary and the Children--Minnehaha Stung by
the Bees--How the Bees Got Their Stings--What Happened
to the Bears that Tried to Steal the Honey.

The next morning while Mary was dressing them the children told her of
their adventures in the wigwam of the Indians. Mary was really interested,
though she pretended to be disgusted at the whole thing, and professed, in
her Indian way, to be quite shocked when they both confidentially informed
her that they had had such a good time that they were going again even if
they had to run away and be whipped for it.

This was terrible news for Mary, and placed her in an awkward position. To
tell the parents of the children's resolve was something she would never
do, as it might bring down upon them some of the punishment which was quite
contrary to her principles. Yet, on the other hand, to let them go and to
give no information might cause more trouble than she liked to think of.

Neither could she bear the thought of the two children returning from
another day's outing with their neat clothing and pretty faces soiled and
dirty. Do as they might, she had never once informed on them, and she had
no mind to begin now. She earnestly pleaded with them not to carry out
their resolve. The little ones were shrewd enough to see that they had
thoroughly alarmed her, and they were in no hurry to surrender the power
which they saw they had over her.

Mary never said a word in English. She understood a good deal that others
said, but she never expressed herself in other than the Indian language.
Hence both little Sagastao and Minnehaha always talked with her in her own

Minnehaha, seeing Mary's anxiety at their determination to run away to the
Indians, thought of compromising the matter by insisting that Mary should
tell them more tales. If she would do this they "would not run away very
soon;" especially did she emphasize the "very soon." This was hardly
satisfactory to Mary, but as it was the best promise she could get she was
obliged to consent.

Little Sagastao, who was Mary's favorite, once more unsettled her when he
said, "Now, Mary, remember, we have only promised not to run away very
soon. That means that we intend to do it some time."

It seems that the little conspirators had talked it all over in the morning
in their beds, and had decided how they would get stories out of Mary
without really promising not to run away to the wigwam of Souwanas.

The children, being dressed, were taken down by Mary to prayers and
breakfast, after which an hour was allowed in summer-time for outdoor
amusement before the lessons began. Little Sagastao generally spent his
hour, either with his father or some trusty Indian, playing with and
watching the gambols of the great dogs, of which not a few were kept at
that mission home. Minnehaha was with her mother, and was interested in the
bestowal of gifts to the poor widows and children who generally came at
that hour.

Owing to the isolated situation of the mission, and the fact that there
were no organized schools within hundreds of miles, some hours of the
forenoon were devoted to the education of the children in the home. The
afternoons, according to the season, were devoted to reading and amusement.

Mary, the nurse, while able to read fluently in the Cree syllabics, had no
knowledge of English. As the children's education progressed they wanted to
teach Mary. She stubbornly resisted, however, declaring that if they taught
her to read English they would want to make her talk it.

The mother noted the unusual expectancy manifested by the children during
the day, and on inquiring the reason was promptly informed that Mary had
promised to tell them a story, or legend, and "had got to do it."

"Why has she _got_ to do it?" said the loving mother, struck with the
emphasis which they had placed on the word.

The little mischiefs were cunning enough to see that they had nearly run
themselves into trouble, and were wisely silent. Mary also noticed this,
and at once her great loyalty to the little folk manifested itself, and
quickly turning to her mistress she said, with an emphasis which was quite

"Mary has promised them a story, and as she always keeps her word she has
_got_ to tell it."

Saying this she quickly sprang from the floor, where she had been sitting,
and taking a child by each hand she marched with them out of the room.

"Hurrah for you, Mary! you saved us that time," said little Sagastao.

Mary would not have been sorry if in some way the parents received an
inkling of what was in the minds of the children, yet she had such peculiar
ideas that she would never herself be the one to convey that information.

During the brief summer months the pleasantest walks were along the shores
of the lake. Many were the cosy little cave-like retreats where Mary often
led the children. There, with the sunlit waters before them, and the
rippling waves making music at their feet, the old nurse crooned out many
an Indian legend or exciting story about the red men of the past. To-day,
however, she was perplexed by the attitude of the children and could not
select any story that she thought of sufficient interest to divert their
minds from Souwanas and Nanahboozhoo. So for a time they wandered on along
the pleasant shore, or turned aside to gather the brilliant wild flowers.

A scream of pain from Minnehaha interrupted their pleasure. In gathering
some wild lilies she was stung on both hands by some honey bees that were
in the flowers. Mary quickly made a batter of clay and bound up the wounded
hands in it. Then she sat down and took the child in her lap.

"Naughty bees to sting me like this," said Minnehaha, with tears streaming
down her cheeks. "I was not doing them any harm."

"Yes, you were, and so were we all," said the brother. "We were carrying
off the flowers from which they get their honey, which is their food."

"Well, they might let us have a few flowers without stinging us," replied

The intense pain of the stings rapidly abated under Mary's homely but
skillful treatment, and as the child still retained her place in Mary's lap
she said,

"Can you tell us why such pretty little things as bees have such terrible
stings? My hands felt as if they were on fire when I was first stung, and I
could not help crying out with the pain."

"Well," said Mary, "there was a time when the bees had no stings, and they
were as harmless as the house flies. They were just as industrious as they
are now, but they had any amount of trouble in keeping their honey from
being stolen from them, for every creature loves it.

"In vain they hid their combs away up in hollow trees and in the clefts of
high rocks. The bears, which are very fond of honey, were ever on the
lookout for it, and were very clever in getting it when once they found
where it was hidden away. Birds with long beaks would suck it out, and even
the little squirrels were always stealing it. The result was that whole
swarms often starved in the long winters, because all their honey, which is
their winter food, was stolen from them. The bees were in danger of being
destroyed. They gave up working in great numbers together, and scattered
into little companies, and in the most secret places tried to store away a
little honey, just enough to keep them alive from season to season. But
even these little hives were often discovered and the honey devoured.

"Things had come to such a pass with them that they had almost given up
hope of lasting much longer.

"Fortunately for them, word was circulated that Wakonda, the strong
spirit--the one who sent the mosquitoes--was coming around on a tour, to
see how everything was progressing. He was greater than even Nanahboozhoo,
and was perhaps a relative of his, but he very seldom appeared, or did
anything for anyone. However, it happened that he had this year left his
beautiful home at Spirit Lake and was journeying through the country, and
he was willing to help all who were in real distress.

"So the bees resolved to apply to him for help. Wakonda received them very
graciously, and ate heartily of the present of beautiful honey which some
of them had made and had succeeded in keeping out of the way of bears and
their other enemies.

"When his feast of honey was over he listened to their tales of sorrow and
woe. He was indignant when he heard of the numbers of their enemies, and of
the persistency of their attacks upon such industrious little creatures.

"For a time Wakonda was uncertain as to the best method to adopt to help
them. He dismissed them for that day, and told them to come again on a day
he mentioned, saying that by that time he would know just what to do--for
help them he would. The bees were so delighted with this news that they
could not keep it to themselves but must go and tell their cousins, the
wasps and hornets, and even bumblebees.

"When the appointed time arrived the bees were on hand--and so were the
wasps, hornets, and bumblebees. Wakonda welcomed the bees most kindly, but
was a little suspicious about their visitors, and he asked some sharp
questions. But the bees were in such good humor about the help that was
coming that they did not refer to the bad habits of their cousins at all.
Then Wakonda made a speech to the bees, and told them how much he loved
them for their industrious habits, which he wished all creatures had. He
praised them for the fact that, instead of idly wasting the summer days,
they used them in gathering up food for the long, cold winter.

"Then he proceeded to give them the terrible stings which they have had
ever since, and as the wasps and hornets claimed to be their cousins
Wakonda was good-natured enough to give them the same sort of weapons.
Some people, especially boys, think this was a, great mistake, and would be
very glad if Wakonda had refused to give stings to the yellow wasp and the
black hornet."

"Well, what happened after the bees got their stings?" said Sagastao.

"A good deal happened," said Mary, "and that very soon. A lot of them,
without as much effort to conceal their nest as formerly, selected a tall,
hollow tree, and using a big knot hole as the door began secreting their
honey in it. They had made the combs, and were now filling them, when along
came a couple of bears. These animals, as you have been told, are great
honey thieves, but they always had hard work to find where the timid bees
had cunningly hid it away, and now they could hardly believe that right
here before them was a great swarm of bees filling the air with their
buzzing as they flew in and out of the knot hole.

"With saucy assurance they at once began climbing the tree, expecting to be
able to put their long paws into that big hole and draw out the combs. But
they never reached that knot hole. The noise they made in their climbing
alarmed the bees. Out they came in great numbers, and now, instead of
flying around in a panic, like so many house flies, and seeing their honey
devoured, they at once flew at their enemies, the bears. They stung them on
their noses and about their eyes and lips, and indeed in every spot where
they could possibly reach them with their terrible new weapons.

"The bears could not make out what the trouble was. They howled with rage
and terror, yet they were resolved to get that honey, and still tried to
crawl up higher on the tree. But at length the bees mustered in such vast
numbers--for those away gathering honey, as they returned, joined in the
attack--that the bears became wild with pain and fear, and had to give up
their effort and drop to the ground. Even then the bees gave them no peace,
and continued to sting them until they were obliged to run into the dark
forest for relief.

"Thus it happens now that almost all creatures that bother the bees are
similarly treated."

[Illustration: "They howled with rage and terror."]

"Well," said Minnehaha, "they need not have stung me because I was picking
a few flowers; but, after all, I am glad they have their stings or I
suppose we should never have any honey."

"They are not big enough to have much sense," replied Sagastao, "and so
they go for everyone that gets in their way."

Mary now carefully removed the clay poultices, which had effectually done
their work. A wash followed, in the waters of the lake which rippled at
their feet, and soon not the slightest trace of the sting remained. By the
time they reached home both pain and tears were well-nigh forgotten.

That evening before the children were sent to bed they overheard Jakoos,
who had come to the house with venison to sell, telling in the kitchen a
story that he had heard from Souwanas about a naughty fellow, called
Maheigan, who tried to capture a beautiful kind-hearted maiden, Waubenoo,
and of how Nanahboozhoo thrashed him, and then afterward, because of some
naughty children not holding their tongues, Waubenoo was turned into the
Whisky Jack.

What the little children overheard had very much excited their curiosity,
and so when Mary was putting them to bed they demanded from her the full

As this was one of the Saulteaux Indian legends, while Mary was a Cree, she
was not familiar with it. She told the children that she knew nothing about
it, but this by no means set their curiosity at rest.


The Love Story of Wakontas--His Test of the Two
Maidens--His Choice--The Transformation of Misticoosis.

A few days later Mary was annoyed by having the children tell her frankly
that they did not think she was a first-class story-teller. For if she had
been she ought to have been able to answer Minnehaha's question about what
Nanahboozhoo did to Maheigan when he tried to catch Waubenoo.

Mary was vexed at herself that she was unable to answer the question, for
she well knew that the children would not rest satisfied until they had the
story told them by some one, possibly Souwanas himself. Indeed, knowing
them so well, she had fully resolved to post herself from one of the noted
story-tellers who have all the Indian legends at their tongue tips. But as
yet she was ignorant in this matter, and therefore fell considerably in the
children's estimation. Alary was somewhat hurt by noticing, perhaps for the
first time, Sagastao and Minnehaha whispering confidentially to each other.
The children conversed with Mary only in her own language, which at that
time they perhaps understood better than they did English. Now, much to
Mary's annoyance, their confidential whisperings were carried on in
English. Being sensitive and quick-tempered, when she saw this sudden break
in their affections toward her she was inclined to resent it, and asked the
reason why she was not allowed to know what they were talking about.

Blunt little Sagastao spoke up at once:

"Minnehaha and I have talked it over, and have decided that unless you tell
us better stories, and ones which you know all about, we're going to run
away to the wigwam of Souwanas."

This was humiliating and distressing news. Mary fancied she had told them a
good story, and that with a few others like it she could satisfy their
curiosity and keep them at home until the brief summer would have passed.
Not so, however, thought the children. They saw their advantage and were
resolved to keep it, and when their lessons were over and they were left
entirely in the charge of Mary they taxed the little woman in a way that
obliged her to exercise all her gifts as a story-teller, and she was far
from being a poor one.

One day she took them out in a graceful birch canoe among the picturesque
islands. They landed on one of these islands, and spent some time in
exploring its beauties and resting where grew a profusion of the fragrant
Indian grass. They were for a time much interested in the various wild
birds that then were so numerous and fearless. Beautiful gulls of
different varieties were there nesting, and by following Mary's directions
the children were delighted to find that they could approach very near to
the nests of some of them without disturbing the mother bird while her
mate, in fearless confidence, stood on guard beside her.

[Illustration: The startling placard.]

[Illustration: While her mate stood beside her.]

"Now, Mary, hurrah for a story!" cried the children, as they sat at lunch.

While Mary was wondering what she would tell them, Minnehaha, with all the
restless, inquisitive spirit of childhood, noticing the ceaseless rustling
movements of the leaves in the stately northern poplar while the leaves of
all the other trees were so still, said:

"Why is it, Mary, that even while the leaves on the other trees are so
quiet those almost round ones are ever stirring?"

Mary knew the Indian legend, and at once proceeded to narrate it.

"It is believed by our people," said Mary, "that there are other persons
just as clever as Nanahboozhoo, and as able to do wonderful things, but
they are very seldom heard of. Some of them were the children of Wakonda,
the powerful spirit who dwelt in the region of Spirit Lake, where they say
it is always sunshine. Many strange things have been told about them, but
everybody says they are kind-hearted, and never did anything to injure any
of our people unless it was well deserved. The story is that long ago one
of these sons of Wakonda, whose name was Wakontas, could not find a wife
to suit him in his own beautiful country, and so he came to the regions
where the Indians dwelt.

"For a long time he wandered throughout great regions of country before he
found anyone who interested him. However, in his journeyings Wakontas went
into the wigwam of some Indians where there were two lovely maidens, so
very beautiful that he fell in love with both of them. He was in the
disguise of a very fine-looking young hunter. So clever was he in the use
of his bow and arrow that at the end of every hunting excursion he returned
laden with the richest spoils of the chase. He fell more and more in love
with the two girls, and knowing, of course, that he could only get one of
them he found a great difficulty in making his choice. He had already gone
to the girl's father, and after finding out from him the price demanded for
his daughter, without mentioning which one, very quickly by his magic
powers he obtained the heavy price and laid it at the father's feet. Both
of the girls seemed equally pleased with him, and each one secretly hoped
that she might be the object of his choice. Still he hesitated, and
although he tried many experiments yet they so nearly equaled each other in
cleverness and beauty that he was still undecided. However, there was a
great difference in their dispositions. While one was proud and jealous,
and had a very bitter tongue, the other was just the opposite; while one
was very selfish, the other was generous and kind-hearted. But Wakontas was
not able to find this out at first, and after he had considered various
plans he decided that he would put on one of his many disguises and thus
try them.

"So he started off as though going on a hunting expedition, but soon after
he was out of sight he quickly assumed the form of a poor and aged Indian,
and came to the home of these two beautiful sisters, and asked for
assistance. Wakontas chose a time when he knew the rest of the family were
away from the wigwam, in order that he might see how the two sisters would
act toward him.

"When he walked into the wigwam, for nobody ever knocks at an Indian tent,
the maidens were a little startled at thus suddenly seeing this
rough-looking old beggar-man in their midst. The selfish, proud girl, whose
name was Misticoosis, at once began assailing him, and cried, 'Auwasta
kena!' (Get out; go away, you!)

"In vain he pleaded that he was aged and hungry. She would not listen to

"Omemee, the other young Indian maiden, who had not said a word, but had
been pitying him from the first moment she saw how feeble and sad he
looked, now interfered, and remonstrated with her sister, whose tongue kept
up a constant stream of abuse. Taking the old man to her side of the wigwam
she seated him on a rug of deerskins and then built up before him a bright
fire. Then she quickly brought in venison, cooked it nicely, and gave him
the broth for drink and the meat for food. He thanked her gratefully, but
she checked his words and said that her greatest joy was in making others
happy. Not satisfied with what she had done, and noticing that his shoes
were old and worn, she took out of her beaded workbag a pair of splendidly
worked moccasins, and put them on his feet.

"All this time, while this good-hearted, generous Omemee was treating the
poor old man so kindly, the proud, selfish Misticoosis was talking as hard
and as fast as she could against such deeds of kindness to all old people.
In her opinion, when they had got so old and helpless as that old fellow
was, they ought to be killed by their relatives.

"The old man again expressed his thanks to the kind sister, and then went
his way.

"Soon the girls began to think of arraying themselves for the return of
their friend and lover. The proud, selfish Misticoosis spent all the time
in fixing herself up in the most elaborate manner. She had lately become
quite jealous of her sister, and she was resolved to so outshine her in
appearance that the handsome young hunter would surely prefer her. But
Omemee (a name which means a dove) thought to herself:

"'My father and mother and the rest of the family will soon be returning to
the wigwam, tired and hungry, and the best thing I can do will be to have a
good dinner ready for them all.' So, only taking time to comb and brush her
luxuriant hair and make herself neat and tidy for her work, she set about
cooking the meal. She skillfully prepared venison and bear's meat, and the
finest of fish.

"Hardly had she finished her work and seen everything nicely cooked before
she heard the happy shoutings of her younger brothers, and the sweet
birdcalls of her little sisters.

"As Omemee and her sister Misticoosis hurried out to greet them they were
surprised to see the handsome stranger gliding along in his beautiful canoe
alongside of the larger one of the family. Of course, the sight of their
lover excited the two girls. Misticoosis, who had spent all the hours in
arraying herself in her finery and adornment, boldly thrust herself to the
front, and crowded out the modest Omemee, who was flushed by the busy work
of cooking the dinner, and was wisely dressed in a costume which harmonized
with her face and with the work in which she had been engaged so

"The instant the handsome young Indian landed--fancy the amazement of the
two girls to notice that he had on his feet the same beautiful moccasins
that, not many hours before, Omemee had given to the aged feeble man!
Before anyone could utter a word he came striding up to the girls, and

"'As an old, weary man, I came to your wigwam a few hours ago. Misticoosis
gave me nothing but abuse, yet my only crime was that I was old. Her tongue
went on and on without stopping, and all of her words were words of abuse
for the old man and anger that he should have been left to live so long.
But Omemee, kind-hearted Omemee, pitied the poor old man. She made him sit
down on a couch of deerskins, that he might rest his tired limbs. She
built a fire and warmed him. She took of the best of the venison, and made
him food and drink, and then ere he left she put on his feet the most
beautiful of her moccasins. All her gifts to the unknown old man were the
best she had.

"'See the beautiful moccasins, the gift of Omemee!

"'I was that old man--I am now the lover long seeking a bride. I have made
my choice. Two beautiful maidens for a time divided my heart. There is no
division now. By testing them I have found out that only one is lovely

"'That no man may have to put up through life with the unceasing clatter of
the tongue of Misticoosis, she will be from this time the unbeautiful aspen
tree, while her tongue shall be the leaves that will never again be still
even in the gentlest breeze. The leaves of other trees shall rest at times,
but the aspen leaves, now the tongue of Misticoosis, shall ever be restless
and unquiet.'

"And even while he was speaking, Misticoosis, who was amazed and ashamed at
the words he spoke, became rooted to the ground, and gradually turned into
an aspen tree.

"Then, turning from her to the maiden of his choice, he exclaimed:

"'But Omemee, the loving, the tender, the kind-hearted, thou art my heart's

"Saying this, the handsome hunter opened his arms, and Omemee sprang toward
him. For a moment he held her in his arms; then he said:

"'I am Wakontas, and to the beautiful home of Wakontas thou shalt be

"Then there was a wonderful transformation; as quickly as a butterfly
bursts from its chrysalis, so suddenly was Omemee transformed into a
beautiful dove and the hunter as quickly assumed the same lovely form.
Together they arose into the air, and flew away to the unknown but
beautiful home of Wakontas, in the land of perpetual sunshine."


The Startling Placard--What Happened to the Little
Runaways--The Rescue--Mary Tells Them the Legend of the
Swallows--How Some Cruel Men were Punished who Teased
an Orphan Boy.

When Mary entered the children's bedroom one bright, pleasant morning she
was amazed at finding both of the beds empty and a piece of foolscap paper
pinned to the dressing table. The writing on it was beyond her power to
read. She remembered now that the children had begged her not to come very
early in the morning to wake them up, and as their requests were as a law
she had lingered as long as she dared, and indeed had only gone to call
them when her mistress had asked the reason for their nonappearance. Not
until she had shown the paper, with its inscription, to the kitchen maid,
who could read English, did its full meaning burst upon her. Of course, she
was very much troubled, and yet such was her loyalty to the children that
she hesitated about letting the parents know what had occurred. She was
fully aware that she could not long keep the startling news from them, and
yet she was still resolved that never should any information be imparted by
her that might bring down upon them any punishment, no matter how much

It was a long, rough trail through the primitive forest to the wigwam of
Souwanas. How long the children had been away she could not tell. Mary,
with Indian shrewdness, had felt their beds, and had found them both quite
cold, so she knew the little mischiefs had been off at least an hour. She
interrogated not only the maid in the kitchen but also Kennedy, the man of
all work, outside. Neither of them had seen or heard anything of the
children, and as they did not share Mary's ideas the escapade of the
children was soon known.

The parents were naturally alarmed when they heard the news. At once the
father, accompanied by Kennedy and the dogs, Jack and Cuffy, started off on
the trail of the runaways. The intelligent dogs, having been shown a couple
of garments recently worn by the missing boy and girl and being told to
find them, at once took up the trail in the direction of the wigwam of
Souwanas, running with such rapidity that if they had not been restrained
by the voice of their master they would very quickly have left him and his
Indian attendant far behind.

At length, with a sudden start, both dogs, growling ominously, dashed off
ahead, utterly regardless of all efforts made by their master to restrain
them. This suspicious conduct on the part of the dogs of course alarmed the
father and his Indian companion, and as rapidly as the rough trail would
allow they hurried on in the direction taken by the dogs. Soon their ears
were greeted by a chorus of loud and angry yelping. Fear gave speed to both
the men, and soon they dashed out from the forest into the opening of an
Indian's clearing. Here was a sight that filled them with alarm, and almost
terror. Standing on a pile of logs were little Sagastao and Minnehaha.
Sagastao erect and fearless, with a club about as large as an ordinary
cane, while behind him, leaning against a high fallen log, was Minnehaha.
Surrounding them were several fierce, wolfish Indian dogs, among whom Jack
and Cuffy, wild and furious, were now making dire havoc. One after another,
wounded and limping, the curs skulked away as the two men rushed up to the

"Ha! ha! hurrah for our Jack and Cuffy; aren't they the boss dogs!" shouted
the fearless little runaways, and now that the victory was won they nimbly
sprang down from their high retreat and, apparently without the slightest
fear, congratulated both their father and the Indian on the superiority of
their own dogs.

Trembling with anxiety, the anxious father, thankful at the narrow escape
of his children, as he clasped them in his arms could not but be amazed at
the indifference of the little ones to the great danger from which they had
just escaped. After petting Jack and Cuffy for their great bravery and
courage the return journey was begun, much to the regret of the children,
who pleaded hard to be allowed to resume their trip to the wigwam of
Souwanas to hear the stories of Nanahboozhoo.

[Illustration: "Surrounding them were several fierce, wolfish Indian

The father was perfectly amazed at this request, and of course it was
sternly refused. He had started off in pursuit of the runaways with a
resolve to punish them for this serious breach of home discipline, but his
alarm at their danger and his thankfulness for their escape had so stirred
him that he could not punish them nor even chide them at the time. All he
could do was to bring them safely home again and, as usual in such
emergencies, turn them over to the tender mercies of their mother.

Sturdily the children marched on ahead for a while, then Kennedy, the
Indian, took Minnehaha in his arms. He had not carried her many hundred
yards before the weary little one fell fast asleep, softly muttering as she
slipped off into the land of dreams, "Wanted to hear about Nanahboozhoo."

Great was the excitement at home when the party returned. Sagastao rushed
into the arms of his mother, and without the slightest idea of having done
anything wrong began most dramatically to describe how "our Jack and Cuffy
thrashed those naughty Eskimo dogs" that chased Minnehaha and him upon that
great pile of logs. Mary in the meantime had taken from Kennedy's arms the
still sleeping Minnehaha, and almost smothered her with kisses as she bore
her away to bed.

There was great perplexity on the part of the parents to know just what to
do to impress upon the little ones that they had been very naughty in thus
running away, for it was very evident from the utterances of both that they
had not considered the matter in that light. Now, in view of the weariness
of Minnehaha, it was decided to leave the matter of discipline in abeyance
until a little of the excitement had passed away.

In the meantime Sagastao was ready to talk with everybody about the whole
affair. It seems that he and Minnehaha had decided that Mary was "no good"
in telling stories. He said her stories neither frightened them nor made
them cry, but Souwanas was the boss man to tell Nanahboozhoo stories. He
said they got up before anybody was stirring, that morning, and dressed
themselves so quietly that nobody heard them. They remembered the trail
along which Souwanas and Jakoos had carried them. After they had walked for
some time they came to where there was a larger trail, and they turned into
it, and came upon a lot of dogs that had been chasing some rabbits. Soon
the rabbits got away from the dogs, when they reached those trees that had
been chopped down. Minnehaha was the first to notice that the dogs had
turned back, and were coming after them, and she shouted:

"'O, look! those dogs think we are rabbits, and they are coming for us!'"

"When I saw they really were coming," said Sagastao, "Minnehaha and I
jumped up on the logs, and we climbed up as high as we could, and I took up
a stick, and then I stood up with Minnehaha behind me, and I shook the
stick at them, and--and I shouted:

"'A wus, atimuk!'" (Get away, you dogs!)

"They came so near on the logs that I hit one or two of them, while all of
the others on the ground kept barking at us. But I kept shouting back at
them, 'A wus, atimuk!' My! it was great fun. Then all at once we heard Jack
and Cuffy, and, I tell you! soon there was more fun, when our big dogs
sprang at them. Every time an Eskimo was tackled by Jack or Cuffy he went
down, and was soon howling from the way in which he was shaken. And they
had nearly thrashed the whole of them when papa and Kennedy came rushing
up. I wished they had been there sooner, to have seen all the fun."

Thus the lad's tongue rattled on, while it was evident he was utterly
unconscious of the danger they had been in.

After some deliberation it was decided that, in view of this runaway being
the first offense of the kind, the punishment should be confinement to
their own room the next day, until six o'clock in the evening, on a diet of
bread and water. At this Mary was simply furious. She well knew, however,
that it was necessary for her to control herself in her master's and
mistress's presence. She managed to hold her tongue, but her flashing eyes
and an occasional mutter, which would come out as she went about her usual
duties, showed the smoldering fire that was burning inside. The children
had been duly lectured for their breach of discipline and then, that
evening, consigned to their room for their imprisonment which was to last
until the next evening. That night Mary took up her mattress and blankets
and went and slept on the floor between the two beds of the children, and
in spite of orders, so the maid said, she secretly carried up a goodly
sized bundle from the kitchen.

The day was one of unusual quietness, as the lively pair, who generally
kept the house full of music, were now supposed to be away in humiliation
and disgrace. All regretted that the punishment had to be inflicted and the
children made to realize their naughtiness in thus running away, and all
were looking forward to the hour of six o'clock with pleasant anticipation.
When it arrived word was sent to the children that their hours of
imprisonment were over, and that they were to present themselves in the
library. Quick and prompt was the response, and noisily and hurriedly the
two darlings came rushing down the stairs, followed by Mary. They were
arrayed in their most beautiful apparel, and were evidently prepared by
their nurse to go with her for a walk.

The father, feeling that it was necessary, began to make a few remarks
expressive of regret that he had thus been obliged to punish them, when he
was interrupted by little Sagastao with the honest and candid remark,
spoken in a way which, while perfectly fearless, was yet devoid of all
rudeness or impertinence:

"O, father dear, you needn't feel badly about us at all, as Mary has been
with us all day and has told us lovely stories."

"And Mary brought us taffy candy," broke in darling Minnehaha, with equal
candor; "and some currant cakes and other nice things, so we got on very
well after all."

These candid utterances on the part of the two children not only amazed but
amused the parents, and were another revelation of Mary's wonderful love
for the children and her defiance of disciplinary measures which she
thought might cause the slightest pain or sorrow. And here she stood in the
open door, and as soon as their father's words and their own rather
startling "confessions" were ended she called them to her and away they
went for a long walk along the beautiful shore of the lake, leaving their
parents to conjecture whether the punishment that had been inflicted would
produce any very salutary results.

When the children were gathered that evening in the study with their
parents little Sagastao said:

"Papa, Minnehaha and I have been talking it all over with Mary and she has
shown us that it was naughty on our parts to run away as we did; and we are
sorry that we did anything that caused you and mamma sorrow and anxiety
about us, and so, ... Well, we know you will forgive us." And as the four
little arms went twining around the parents' necks there was joy and
gladness all round, and it was evident that there was no danger of the
escapade being repeated.

The following are a couple of the legends that Mary told them while they
were prisoners in their own room that day.


"Long ago," said Mary, "there were some Indian families who lived on the
top of a very high hill, like a mountain. They had quite a number of small
children, and I am sorry to say they were very naughty and would often
disobey their parents. One of their bad deeds was to run away, and thus
make the father and mother very unhappy until they returned. Their parents
were very much afraid that some of the Windegoos or wild animals would
catch them when they thus ran away by themselves, with no strong man to
guard them.

"So the parents tried to make their homes as nice as possible for them.
They made all sorts of toys for them and gave them nice little bows and
arrows, and other things, that ought to have amused them and kept them
happy at home. All the efforts of their parents, however, were of no use.
They soon were tired of their home amusements, and when their parents'
backs were turned they would run away.

"At length their conduct became so bad, and the parents found themselves so
powerless to prevent it, that they decided to appeal to the Indian Council
for assistance. For a time the stern commands of the Chief were listened to
and obeyed. Then they neglected his words, and about as frequently as ever
they were found playing truant from their homes and parents.

"At length, on one occasion when they had all run away and had been off for
several days and could not be found, their fathers and mothers called upon
Wakonda to look for them and to send them home. Wakonda was very angry when
he heard about these naughty children running away so much, and so he set
off in a hurry to find them. After a long search he discovered them on the
bank of a muddy river making mud huts and mud animals. He was so angry at
them that he at once turned them into swallows, and said, 'From this time
forward you will ever be wanderers and your homes will always be made of
mud,' and so it has been."

"I say, Mary, did you remember that yarn because Minnehaha and I ran away?"
said Sagastao.

"Well, we were not making mud huts," said Minnehaha.

Mary was not to be caught, however, even if she did love them so much, and
she did not answer Sagastao's question, although in her heart she was not
sorry if he saw something in the legend that would deter him from again
running away.


"There was once an old grandmother who was left alone with only an orphan
grandson. All of her other relatives were dead. This boy was a very
industrious little fellow, and did all that he could to help his
grandmother. They both had to work very hard to have sufficient to keep
them from starving. Together they would go out in their canoe and catch
fish. They also set many snares in the forest to catch rabbits, partridges,
and other small game.

"Because they were so poor the clothing of this orphan boy was made partly
of rabbitskins and partly of the skins of birds. When he was not busy
helping his grandmother he, like other little boys, was pleased to go out
and play with the other children of the village. Some of the men of the
village were very fond of teasing him, and some were even cruel to him,
because of the poor clothing he had to wear. Often the poor boy would
return to the wigwam of his grandmother crying and weeping because the men
of the village had not only teased him on account of his poor clothing but
had almost torn his coat into pieces. His grandmother entreated the men to
stop teasing the poor boy, who could not help his poverty. She would
patiently mend his poor torn clothes and try to cheer him up with the hope
that soon these foolish, cruel men would see how wrong it was to treat him

"But they only seemed to get worse instead of better, and so the
grandmother got very angry at last and determined to have it stopped.

"So she went off to Wakonda and told him all about it. Wakonda was very
busy just then, but he gave her some of his magical powers and told her
what to do when she reached her home.

"When she arrived there she found her grandson almost naked from the abuse
of the cruel men, who, finding that she was absent, had been more cruel
than ever to him. She then informed him that she was able now to put a stop
to all their cruel actions. So she told him to dive into a pool of water
that was near at hand. He did as she had commanded, and there he found an
underground channel that led out into the great lake.

"When he came up to the top of the water in the lake he found himself
transformed into a beautiful seal. He at once begun playing about in the
waves as seals are often seen doing.

"It was not long before he was seen by the people of the village, and, of
course, the men were very anxious to secure this valuable seal. Canoes were
quickly launched and away the men paddled with their spears to try and
capture it. But the boy, now transformed into the seal, quickly swam away
from them, as instructed by his grandmother, and so kept them busy paddling
on and on farther from the shore. When they seemed almost discouraged the
seal would suddenly dive down, and then reappear in the water just behind
them. Then, before the men could turn around and spear him, he as suddenly
dived under the water again. The pursuit was so exciting that these cruel
men did not notice how far out from land they had now come. They did,
however, after a time see their danger, for suddenly a fierce gale sprang
up, and the waves rose in such fury that they upset the canoes and all of
the wicked men were drowned. When the old grandmother saw this she once
more exerted the magical powers with which she had been intrusted by
Wakonda, and calling to her grandson to return home he instantly complied
with her request. He speedily swam back to her, and she at once transformed
him into his human form.

"Thus freed from his tormentors, he very rapidly grew up to manhood and
became a great hunter, and was kind to his grandmother as long as she


Souwanas Tells of the Origin and Queer Doings of
Nanahboozhoo--How He Lost His Brother Nahpootee,
the Wolf--Why the Kingfisher Wears a White Collar.

"Who was this Nanahboozhoo that we are hearing so much about?"

Thus was the old story-teller addressed by Sagastao, who always was anxious
to learn about those who interested him.

The old man began in this way:

"When the great mountains are wrapped in the clouds we do not see them very
well. So it is with Nanahboozhoo. The long years that have passed since he
lived have, like the fogs and mists, made it less easy to say exactly who
he really was, but I will try to tell you. Nanahboozhoo was not from one
tribe only, but from all the Indians. Hence it is that his very name is so

"The Ojibway call him Mishawabus--Great Rabbit; the Menomini call him
Manabush. He had other names also. One tribe called him Jouskeha, another
Messou, another Manabozho, and another Hiawatha. His father was
Mudjekeewis, the West Wind. There was an old woman named Nokomis, the
granddaughter of the moon, who had a daughter whose name was Wenonah. She
was the mother of twin boys, but at their birth she died and so did one of
the boys. Nokomis wrapped the living child in soft dry grass, laid it on
the ground at one end of her wigwam, and placed over it a great wooden bowl
to protect it from harm. Then in her grief she took up the body of Wenonah,
her daughter, and buried it, with the dead child, at some distance from her
wigwam. When she returned from thus laying away her dead she sat down in
her wigwam, and for four days mourned her loss. At the end of that time she
heard a slight noise in her wigwam, which she soon found came from that
wooden bowl. Then as the bowl moved she suddenly remembered the living
child, which she had forgotten in her great grief at the loss of its
mother. When she removed the bowl from its place, instead of there being
the baby boy she had placed there she beheld a little white rabbit, and on
taking it up she said, 'O my dear little rabbit, my Manabush!' Nokomis took
great care of it and it grew very rapidly.

"One day, when Manabush was quite large, it sat up on its haunches and
hopped slowly across the floor of the wigwam, and caused the earth to

"When the bad Windegoos, or evil spirits who dwell underground, felt the
earth to thus tremble they said, 'What is the matter? What has happened? A
great Munedoo (spirit) is born somewhere.' And at once they began to devise
means by which they might kill Manabush, or Nanahboozhoo, as he was now
called, when they should find him.

"But Nanahboozhoo did not long continue to look like a rabbit. As he was
superior to other people he could change himself to any form he liked. He
was most frequently seen as a fine strong young Indian hunter. He called
the people his uncles. When he grew up he said to his grandmother, the old
Nokomis, that the time had come when he should prepare himself to go and
help his uncles, the people, to better their condition. This he was able to
do, seeing he was more than human, for his father was the West Wind and his
mother a great-granddaughter of the moon. Sometimes he was the beautiful
white rabbit; then he would be a wolf or a wolverine; then he would be a
lovely bird. He could even change himself to look like a dry old stump or a
beautiful tree. Sometimes he would be like a little half-frozen rabbit;
then he would be a mighty magician, and often a little snake. He was just
as changeable in his disposition as in his outward appearance. Sometimes he
was doing the best things imaginable for his uncles, the Indian people, and
at other times he was full of mischief and trickery. But on the whole he
was a friend, and although quick-tempered and fiery yet he did lots of fine
things for the people, for he was really one of the best of the Munedoos of
the early times.

"When the time came for him to leave his grandmother's wigwam he built one
for himself, and then he asked Nokomis to prepare for him the sacred
magical musical sticks which she alone could make. His grandmother made
him four sticks, and with these he used to beat time when singing his queer
songs. Some of them were very queer, and ended up with 'He! he! ho! ho! ha!
ha! hi! hi!' Others were in reference to some special benefits he would
confer on his uncles. In one of them, referring to his going to steal the
fire for them, he sings:

  "'Help to my uncles I'm bringing,
  Their sorrows I'll change into singing.
  From their enemies the fire I'll steal,
  That its warmth the children may feel.

  "'Disguised will be Nanahboozhoo,
  That his work may the better be done;
  But his jolly deeds ever will tell who
  Has been sporting around in his fun.'

"At first he was a jolly fellow, full of fun, and did lots of good things
for his uncles. He showed them the plants and roots good for food, and
taught them the arts of surgery and medicine, but as the years went by he
did some things that caused him to be feared very much. His uncles always
went to him when they got into trouble, but whether he would help them or
not depended much on the humor he was in when they came.

[Illustration: The beautiful reflections in the water.]

"After he had lived for years in the first wigwam which he had built, and
taught the people of the earth many things, his father, the West Wind, held
a council with the North Wind and the South Wind and the East Wind, and
as Nanahboozhoo was never married, and was living such a lonely life, they
determined to restore to life, and give to reside with him, his twin
brother who had died at his birth. The name of this brother was Nahpootee,
which means the Skillful Hunter. Nanahboozhoo was very fond of him, and
took great care of him. He grew very rapidly, and he and Nanahboozhoo were
very great friends. Like Nanahboozhoo, Nahpootee could disguise himself in
any form he chose. One favorite form he often assumed was that of a wolf,
as he was often away on hunting excursions. The evil spirits, or Windegoos,
who dwell under the land and sea, had never been able to do much harm to
Nanahboozhoo, he was too clever for them; and although they often tried he
generally worsted them. Now they were doubly angry when they heard that
Nahpootee had been restored to life and was living with him. Nanahboozhoo
warned his brother of their enmity, and of the necessity of being on his
guard against them.

"These brothers moved far away and built their wigwam in a lonely country
on the shore of a great lake which is now called Mirror Lake, because of
its beautiful reflections. Here, as he was a hunter, Nahpootee was kept
busy supplying the wigwam with food. Once, while he was away hunting,
Nanahboozhoo discovered that some of the evil Munedoos dwelt in the bottom
of the very lake on the shores of which they had built their wigwam. So he
warned his brother, Nahpootee, never to cross that lake, but always to go
around on the shore, and for some time he remembered this warning and was
not attacked. But one cold winter day, when he had been out for a long time
hunting, he found himself exactly on the opposite side of the lake from the
wigwam. The ice seemed strong, and as the distance was shorter he decided
that, rather than walk around on the shore, he would cross on the ice. When
about half-way across the lake the ice broke, he was seized by the evil
Munedoos and drowned.

"When Nahpootee failed to return to the wigwam Nanahboozhoo was filled with
alarm and at once began searching everywhere for his loved, lost brother.
One day when he was walking under some trees at the lake he beheld, high up
among the branches, Ookiskimunisew, the kingfisher.

"'What are you doing there?' asked Nanahboozhoo.

"'The bad Munedoos have killed Nahpootee,' Ookiskimunisew replied, 'and
soon they are going to throw his body up on the shore and I am going to
feast on it!'

"This answer made Nanahboozhoo very angry, but he concealed his feelings.

"'Come down here, handsome bird,' he said, 'and I'll give you this collar
to hang on your neck.'

"The kingfisher suspected that the speaker was Nanahboozhoo, the brother of
Nahpootee, and he was afraid to descend.

"'Come down, and have no fear,' said Nanahboozhoo, in a friendly tone. 'I
only want to give you this beautiful necklace to wear, with the white
shell hanging from it.'

"On hearing this the kingfisher came down, but suspecting that Nanahboozhoo
would be up to some of his tricks he kept a sharp watch on him.
Nanahboozhoo placed the necklace about the neck of the bird so that the
beautiful white shell should be over the breast. Then he pretended to tie
the ends behind, but just as he had made a half knot in the cord, and was
going to tighten it and strangle the bird, the latter was too quick for him
and suddenly slipped away and escaped. He kept the necklace, however, and
the white spot may be seen on the breast of the kingfisher to this day.

"Soon after this the shade or ghost of Nahpootee appeared to Nanahboozhoo
and told him that, as his death was the result of his own carelessness, in
not keeping on the land, he would not be restored to live here, but was
even now on his way to the Happy Hunting Grounds, in the Land of the
Setting Sun, beyond the Great Mountains.

"Nanahboozhoo was deeply moved by the loss of his brother, who had been
such a pleasant companion to him. So great was his grief that at times the
earth trembled and the evil spirits dwelling under the land or water were
much terrified, for they knew they would be terribly punished by
Nanahboozhoo if he should ever get them in his power. But it was a long
time before he had an opportunity to get his revenge on them for the death
of his brother. How he did it I will tell you at some future time."


The Legend of the Bad Boy--How He was Carried Away
by Annungitee, and How He was Rescued by His Mother.

"Tell us, Mary, a story about the boys of the old times among the Indians,"
said Sagastao.

"About bad boys," said Minnehaha with a mischievous look in her eyes; "for
this morning brother and papa had to have a 'settlement,' and it might do
Sagastao good to hear about other bad boys and what was done with them."

These words of Minnehaha made Mary very angry. She thought more of Sagastao
than she did of any other member of the family, and nothing threw her into
a rage quicker than for anyone to cross him or even to question the wisdom
of anything he said. Now, indignant that his father had been obliged to
call him into his study for some misdemeanor, Mary was greatly annoyed to
hear these words.

"O, pshaw, Sakehow," said Sagastao; "do not be so touchy. I deserved the
talking to that papa gave me. It was wrong of me to whack that Indian boy
with my bat as I did, and I ought to have been punished; so if you have any
jolly good stories about bad Indian boys, and how they were punished, why,
let us have one."

This confession of her favorite, who, after his temper cooled, was always
quick to admit that he had been in the wrong, quite pacified Mary, and she
settled down on the wolfskin rug with the children and began her story.

"Long ago all the Indians believed in Windegoos and other spirits that were
more or less friendly to good people. Some were man-eaters and, of course,
were always to be feared. Some Indians were in such fear of these cannibals
that they would never leave the wigwam after dark for fear of being gobbled
up by some of the monsters that might be skulking about.

"There was one great creature called Annungitee, or Two Faced. He had a
great habit of looking out for bad boys, very bad boys. It was said that he
could not see really good boys; that they were like glass, and he could not
see them. But when a boy became very bad he was then so black that he was
easily seen, and Annungitee could espy him a long way off and was very
likely to come after him.

"Fortunately Annungitee always made a noise when he was passing along. This
was a good thing for bad boys, for it gave them time to scurry into the
wigwams, out of his way. He was so big that when he set one of his feet
down on the ground there would be sounds like the ringing of bells and the
hooting of owls. When he put the other foot down the sound was like the
roaring of buffalo bulls when they are going to fight each other. Even when
he tried to move softly there would be sounds like birds and beasts crying
out. All the Indians who had heard this great terrible fellow were afraid
of him, and yet no two were able to give the same description of him. But
they did agree on one thing, and that was that when he caught a very wicked
man, which he did sometimes, or very bad boys, which he often did, he just
threw him into one of his big ears and held him there. Indeed, it was
believed that he could hold three big men or six bad boys in one of his
ears at the same time. Nobody knew where he lived, as no one had been found
brave enough to follow and see, and no daring hunter had ever found his
abode in any of his hunting expeditions.

"Now a certain Indian man and his wife who lived in a wigwam quite apart
from other families had one boy. He was their only child. He had been a
very bad, cruel, unkind boy. His father had to work hard as a hunter to
obtain sufficient game to keep them from starving. His mother cut the wood,
carried up the water from the distant river, dressed the skins of the
animals that were shot by her husband, and did all the work of the wigwam.
The boy would not lift a finger to help in any way. One day the mother, who
was quite sick, asked him to go for some water. He refused, and was very
saucy to her. Then she asked him if he would please bring in some wood for
her, as she felt cold. No, he would not do anything of the kind. She then
became quite angry with him, and said:

"'If you do not be a better boy I will put you out of the wigwam, and
Annungitee will toss you into his ear.'

"All the same, she did not really believe he would, as she had not heard of
Annungitee or any other kind of ghost being around for a long, long time.
She only said what she did to frighten the bad boy into obedience. Indeed
she had often said to him, when she was angry with him, 'I do hope a ghost
will catch you.' But the more she talked to him the worse he became. So one
day when he had been very lazy and very rude to her she sprang up and,
seizing him by the arm, undertook to put him out of the wigwam. He became
much frightened at this and began to cry. But she, knowing that he deserved
to be punished, pushed him out and securely fastened the doorway, calling

"'May Annungitee catch you!'

"She did not really mean it, of course. No mother could wish her boy to
have such a terrible misfortune. The frightened boy then began running
round and round the wigwam, trying to find some place where he could get
in, but he could find no opening. After a while his crying and his efforts
to get into the wigwam ceased, and all became still and silent. His mother
listened attentively, and every moment expected to hear his voice again,
but there was no sound except something like the sound of the singing of
birds and the rattling of small bells dying away in the distance. At this
she became very much frightened and began to cry, and to call for her boy.
She threw open the door flap and began to search all around her wigwam for
her son. But all in vain! He was nowhere to be found.

"When the father came home from his hunting she told him of the sudden
disappearance of their boy, and he, too, was very much alarmed. They set
out and visited the lodges of all the people around. But no one had seen or
heard anything of the missing boy. They returned to their own silent wigwam
very sorrowful, and for days they mourned over the loss of their son. One
night, as the mother was weeping on account of her great loss, she heard
some one crying out to her:

"'Hi! Hi!' and at the same time she heard the sounds of bells ringing and
owls hooting. This happened several nights, and then one night there was a
voice saying:

"'You said, "Ghost, take that boy." Hi! Hi!'

"Next morning the wife told her husband what she had heard during the
previous night, and she added:

"'I believe the ghost Annungitee has taken our boy.'

"Her husband was very angry when he heard this, and said:

"'Yes, a ghost has taken our boy. You gave him to him, and he has taken
you at your word. So why should you complain? It serves you right.'

[Illustration: "They tumbled the tall ghost over."]

"At this the mother lifted up her voice and cried out so loud that it could
be heard a great distance.

"'Husband,' she said, 'I deserve what you have said, but I am going to try
and get back our boy, and so to-night I will hide in the pile of wood that
is outside the wigwam, and if the ghost comes along again, as he has been
coming, I will catch him by the leg, and you must rush out and try to
rescue our son.'

"So that night she hid herself in the wood pile, and, sure enough, after a
while she heard the sound of bells ringing and animals softly crying out,
and then a loud 'Hi! Hi!' after which all was still.

"Then, as she cautiously looked out from her hiding place, there before her
was a great creature standing beside the wigwam. He was so tall that his
head was higher than the smoke hole at the top, and he was peeping down
into the wigwam. But, big as he was, she had a mother's loving heart after
all, and as she thought of her boy fastened up there in one of his big ears
she was determined to rescue him if possible. So she cautiously moved along
until she was able to seize one of his legs, which she did with all her
strength, and at the same instant she shouted for her husband to come and
help. Out he rushed, and between them they tumbled the tall ghost over and,
sure enough, in one of his big ears they found their little boy.

"Poor little fellow. He was half-starved, and so thin and weak that he
could hardly stand. But they helped him into the wigwam and gave him some
soup, made out of some birds that his father had killed that day.

"The tall ghost was so frightened by the sudden way in which he had been
seized that as soon as he could get up he hurried away, and was never seen
in that part of the country again. Some tribes say he went South, and
there, when he was stealing children and carrying them off in his ears, he
was caught by the angry parents and burned to death on a big wood pile."

"Did the little boy get better?" asked Minnehaha.

"O yes, he did, after a while; but he was a long time in getting over the
fright he had had. It did him good, however, for after that he was never
rude and saucy to his mother and did all he could to help her."

"Did it do the mother any good?" asked Sagastao, who had not been
altogether satisfied with her treatment of the boy.

"Yes, indeed," said Mary; "for after that terrible fright she was never
known to shout out at her boy such words as, 'I hope the ghost will catch
you,' or any other of the unpleasant ones which she sometimes had used when
she was angry with him."

"Thank you, Sakehow," said both the children. "A pretty good story, that."

Then what a jolly romp they had with Jack and Cuffy! The two splendid dogs
were the children's special protectors and companions.

[Illustration: "Their dog trains were in almost constant demand."]


Happy Christmas Holidays--Indians Made Glad with
Presents--Souwanas Tells How Nanahboozhoo Stole the
Fire from the Old Magician and Gave It to the Indians.

The Christmas holidays were times of innocent festivities and gladness
among the Indians and their white friends, both at the mission and at the
trading post.

The gifts which it was possible to give to the Indians were not of very
great value, but they were articles much needed and were always prized by
the recipients even if they were never very profuse in their words of
thanks. Minnehaha and Sagastao were wild with delight at these times, and
were eager to be the almoners of the mission, and carry the gifts to the
Indians whom they loved so well. The fact that the temperature of those
bright, cold Northern winters kept steadily many degrees below zero did not
chill their ardor nor lessen their enthusiasm. Their dog trains were in
almost constant demand, for they kept flying over the various icy trails
until in the different wigwams all had been remembered with some useful

Faithful Mary had made for them the warmest of fur and blanket suits.
Dressed in these, and tucked in among the robes in the cariole by their
careful driver, they sped along the trails. They made the woods echo with
their merry shouts and laughter--unless it was so bitterly cold that they
had to be completely covered up. It is not to be wondered at that there
were times when, on reaching some distant wigwam, there were little hard,
white spots on their cheeks or noses which told the watchful Indians that
the Frost King had been at work and that speedily those frostbites must be
removed. Little cared they for the momentary pain that ensued, when the
frozen parts were being thawed out. They were out for a good time, and they
had too much grit and courage to let such trifles as a few frostbites
disturb their happiness. The bright fires burning in the center of the
wigwams, or in the fireplaces at the end or side of the little Indian
houses, were of course always welcome after a long run in the bitter cold.

"Tell us, Souwanas," said Sagastao one very cold day, as they were gathered
around his wigwam fire, "how it was that Nanahboozhoo stole the fire from
those who were guarding it and gave it to the Indians."

"It must not be too long a story," said Minnehaha, "as we have yet to go to
the wigwam of Kinnesasis, Little Fish, with his presents, and it would be
too bad to be late when they know we are coming."

So Souwanas pledged himself to make the story as short as he could without
spoiling it, and then, after a few more whiffs from his beloved calumet, he

"It was long ago, when there were fewer people in the forests and on the
prairies than now. They did not have as many comforts as they have now, and
one of the rarest things among them was fire. Sometimes when the
lightning's flash set a tree on fire they would have it for a little while,
but they did not seem to be able to keep it going, and they were often very
cold and generally had to eat their food without cooking it.

"Nanahboozhoo was then still living with his grandmother, Nokomis, and was
sorry to see that she often suffered from the cold and that the food was
miserable because it was not cooked. So he set his wits to work and decided
that something must be done. As he should now have to deal with the Muche
Munedoos, evil spirits, he had to be very careful. He put himself in
various disguises and at length he heard all about how the coyote had
stolen some of the fire from the watchers in the underground world, who
possess enormous quantities of it. It frightened him a little when he heard
that there was so much fire in the world under us, but he was not apt to be
afraid very long and so as he went on searching, and on the sly listening
to the talks of windegoos and others, he found that the fire for which he
had been so long searching was in the possession of a fierce old medicine
warrior who guarded it with the greatest care. Those who had employed the
coyote to get it had intrusted its keeping to him. In those days they had
an idea that fire was such a dangerous thing that it would be almost
certain destruction to the race if it was given to all. This old warrior
had his two daughters, who were great, fierce women, to assist him in
guarding the fire.

"Several attempts had been made to steal the fire ere Nanahboozhoo resolved
to see what he could do. All of these other efforts had failed, and the
parties who tried them were killed. Nokomis heard of these unsuccessful
attempts and tried to dissuade her grandson, Nanahboozhoo, from such a
dangerous enterprise.

"Nanahboozhoo, however, was a very skillful fellow, and although this was
one of his first great undertakings, for it was long ago, he was not to be
stopped by her fears, and so away he went. As the ice was not yet on the
waters he took his birch canoe and paddled eastward as far as he could.
Then he hid his canoe where he could easily find it on his return.

"The next thing he did was to transform himself into a rabbit, and in that
shape he hurried on until he saw in the distance the sacred wigwam where
dwelt the old guardian of the fire and his two daughters, who were famous
for their height and their strength. To excite the pity of these daughters
Nanahboozhoo jumped into some water, and then crawling out, wet and cold,
he slowly approached the wigwam. Here the two daughters found him, and he
looked so miserable that they took pity on him and at once carried him into
the wigwam and set him down near the sacred fire, that he might soon get
warm and dry."

[Illustration: "Where the fire was stolen out of the center of the earth."]

"How very kind that was of the old man's daughters," said Minnehaha.

"I don't know about that," said the more matter-of-fact Sagastao; "folks
sometimes get into trouble by taking up everything that comes along.
Remember that old rascal that humbugged father."

But Souwanas, remembering his promise, adroitly shunted off the youngsters
and resumed his story.

"The two girls, after seeing how contented and happy the rabbit seemed to
be as it warmed itself by the fire, again returned to their duties in
different parts of the large wigwam. The rabbit soon after hopped a little
nearer to the fire, that he might be able to seize hold of a burning stick
or brand, but as he moved the ground shook and trembled under him so that
it awoke the old man, who had fallen into a heavy sleep. Thus disturbed, he
called out to his daughters in alarm:

"'My daughters, what was it that caused the ground to tremble?'

"The girls replied that they did not know. They had done nothing beyond
their usual work except to bring in to warm a poor little shivering
half-frozen rabbit that they had found outside. At first the old man was a
little suspicious and, rolling over, he took a good look at Nanahboozhoo.
But he had made himself into such a poor little wretched half-drowned
rabbit that the old man's suspicions were completely dispelled, and he
turned over again and went to sleep.

"Nanahboozhoo was pleased to hear the old man snoring again, and he only
waited now until the two girls should both be busy in the wigwam on the
opposite side from the door; then he suddenly changed himself into a fleet
young Indian runner, and quickly seizing hold of a burning stick he dashed
out of the wigwam and away he rushed toward the place where he had left his

"Of course there was instant pursuit. The two daughters, although they were
magicians, like their father, well knew that they would be punished by the
superior evil spirits if they allowed any of the sacred fire to be stolen,
and they were furious at the cunning and deceitful Nanahboozhoo, whom they
now recognized, for playing such a trick upon them. Shouting to their
father, to arouse him, they immediately ran after the retreating
Nanahboozhoo, who with the burning brand in his hand was speeding rapidly
over the trail. But, fleet as he was, he soon discovered that the two
girls, by their magic, were rapidly gaining upon him. They were the
fleetest of runners, even if they were girls, and it was for that reason
that they and their father were intrusted with the sacred fire. Great
honors were to be theirs if they guarded it to the satisfaction of those
who had intrusted it to them, while, on the other hand, great would be
their disgrace if they failed in their duty.

"When they found that they were gaining on Nanahboozhoo, and were likely
to regain possession of the firebrand, with shouts and threats they
declared that severe indeed would be his punishment, when he fell into
their hands, for his abuse of their kindness and his trickery.

"Nanahboozhoo felt that he was indeed in a tight place. He did not,
however, intend to be overtaken, and he sped on, if possible faster than
ever, until there was only a large dried-up, barren meadow between him and
the spot where he had tied his canoe on the shore of the lake. The girls
were only a few hundred yards behind him, and he resolved to fight them
with this sacred fire. So, as he rapidly continued his flight, he plunged
the now blazing firebrand into the dry grass, here and there, on each side
of the trail. The wind was in his face, and it carried back the fierce
blaze and dense black smoke and not only quickly hid him from the sight of
his pursuers but also made it very dangerous for them to follow him.

"Nanahboozhoo thus succeeded in reaching his canoe, and fixing the burning
brand in one end of the boat he was soon rapidly paddling over the waters
toward his distant home. The flying sparks of the torch burnt him badly in
several places, but he did not much mind this, and he dared not stop to
dress his wounds for fear that his pursuers would yet overtake him.

"Fortunately he succeeded in reaching his distant home. There at the shore
to welcome his return was Nokomis, who had been full of anxiety about him.
She carefully dressed his burnt face and hands and gladly received the gift
of the fire, which has been such a blessing to the Indians ever since.

"At first there was a good deal of trouble among the Indians to keep the
fire burning. Sometimes the watchers appointed to look after it, especially
in the summer months, would forget to add fresh fuel, or would go to sleep
and neglect it. Then they would have to send off to some perhaps distant
wigwam, where the people had been more careful, and secure some live coals
from them.

"Nanahboozhoo was troubled about this. He feared that if it were allowed to
die out at the same time in all of the wigwams he might not be so
successful again if he had to try to get a fresh supply from the fierce old
man and his now wrathful daughters. So he went out into the woods and at
length a good spirit came to him in a dream and told him of various ways in
which the fire could be obtained. He showed him how it could be made, by
rapid friction, with dry sticks. Another way he revealed to him was by the
striking together of a flint stone and a piece of iron; sparks of fire
could thus be produced which, caught in punk, would soon become a blaze. So
now the Indians do not have to cover up the fires as they were formerly
obliged to do; thanks to Nanahboozhoo's dreams, they can make it fresh
whenever they want it."

"Hurrah for Nanahboozhoo for his good work this time!" said Sagastao.

"Well, I think he was a mean fellow, to so fool those two nice girls who
took him in and warmed him when he was a poor little wet shivering rabbit!"
said Minnehaha.

"Took him in?" the lad retorted. "Well, I guess it was well he was able to
take them in as he did, by setting fire to that old grass in the meadow,
for if he had not done so they would soon have had his scalp."

But here Minnehaha appealed to Souwanas, and said:

"I have been wondering how it was the old man and his daughters got the
fire in the first place from out of the underground. Will you not tell us
that story some time?"

The old man looked grave and was silent for a minute or two, then he

"I think you had better ask Kinnesasis. He knows the story better than I
do, for in his youth he traveled far West, into the land of the high
mountains, where the legend is that the fire was stolen out of the center
of the earth."

"All right. Thank you, Souwanas. We are going to take Kinnesasis some
presents, and while there we will ask him for the story."

Here an Indian lad rushed into the wigwam with the word that Kennedy was
coming with their cariole. The children were well wrapped up, and soon with
their usual happy, "Wat cheer! Wat cheer!" they were speeding homeward.


Kinnesasis--How the Coyote Obtained the Fire from the
Interior of the Earth.

A great time the children had in the wigwam of Kinnesasis. He was such a
jolly little old Indian, and he was specially happy to-day when the
children opened out the gifts and presented them. He was more than
delighted with a suit of black clothes sent him from a distance by friends
who had heard about him and his needs. He quickly put on the whole suit,
which fitted him very nicely, and then much amused the children by saying:

"I am sure the man who made these clothes is in heaven, or, if not yet
dead, he will go to heaven when he dies."

"Why, Kinnesasis, it is the kind friends who sent you these clothes you
ought to thank, and not make such a fuss over the man who made them; he was
paid for making them," said Sagastao. But Kinnesasis could only think of
the man who made the suit of which he was so proud.

Kinnesasis's old wife was, if possible, still more delighted with her
presents than the old man with his. She and Minnehaha were always the best
of friends, and now as the child handed her gift after gift of warm
clothing and food her joy knew no bounds, and, old as she was, when some
warm shoes were given her, she sprang up and began singing an Indian song,
while with all the agility of a young maiden she spun around the wigwam in
rhythmic measure to her words, which, roughly translated, are as follows:

  "The Good Spirit has pity on me,
  Though for days I had little to eat,
  I was wretched and sad in my heart,
  I was cold, O so cold! in my feet.

  "But now I have plenty of meat,
  Clothes for my body, shoes for my feet,
  I'll not grumble, nor sorrow, but praise
  The Good Spirit the rest of my days."

"Well done!" shouted the children when the old woman stopped. They were
greatly delighted with her performance. Kinnesasis, however, who, as well
as his wife, was now a church member, professed to be much shocked at
seeing her thus dancing, as though in the wild excitement of the Ghost
Dance. But both Sagastao and Minnehaha stood up for the old wife. They said
the words she sang were good enough for the church, any day, and they were
sure nobody could find fault with her thus showing how glad and thankful
she was.

And nobody ever did find fault and soon was the affair almost forgotten,
for now the merry jingling of more dog bells was heard, and who should come
into the wigwam of Kinnesasis but the parents of Sagastao and Minnehaha!

Cordially were they greeted. At first it was difficult for them to
recognize the staid little gentleman in his full suit of broadcloth as the
lively but generally ill-clothed Kinnesasis. The visitors--who quickly saw
and were delighted with the transformation--greeted him as though he were
some distinguished stranger. This vastly amused the children. Screaming
with laughter at Kinnesasis's pretense of keeping up the farce, they
shouted out, "Why, this is only our dear old Kinnesasis. He is no great
stranger. It is only Kinnesasis with his new clothes."

"Well," then was asked, "who is that charming old lady over there with such
a fine shawl and brilliant handkerchief on, and such fancy new shoes on her
feet? Surely she is a stranger."

"No! No!" the children again shouted. "Why, that is Kinnesasis's wife, with
her new presents on! My! doesn't she look nice!"

Here the little ones seized hold of the happy old Indian woman and made her
get up and show herself off in her new apparel, of which she was just as
proud as Kinnesasis.

"And she gave us such a jolly dance in them, papa! Wouldn't you like to see
her do it again?" cried Minnehaha.

But here Kinnesasis, pretending to be shocked beyond measure, in a most
diplomatic manner directed the attention of the parents to some other
matter, and so the mischievous child did not succeed in making a church
scandal by inducing one of the flock to dance before the missionary.

"Tell us, Kinnesasis," said Sagastao, "how it was that that old man and his
daughters first obtained the fire which Nanahboozhoo so cleverly stole from
them and gave to the Indians long ago."

At first Kinnesasis hesitated about telling the old legend, saying that he
did not think the father and mother of the children would care for such

"Don't they, though!" cried the children. "You don't know them very well,
then, if you don't know that they like stories just about as well as we

And with this they at once appealed to the parents, who of course sided
with them and expressed their desire to listen to this story that the
children had told them they were to hear from dear old Kinnesasis.

Throwing some more logs on the fire, around which the white visitors with
the Indians gathered, Kinnesasis began:

"It was long ago, when I was a young lad, that I heard the story from the
old story-tellers of our people. I had traveled with my father for many
days far toward the setting sun. We reached the land of the great
mountains, and there, with our people of those regions, we spent some
moons. It was while we were among them that I heard from the ancient
story-teller the legend of how the fire was stolen from the center of the
earth, where it was kept hidden away from the human family.

"That there was such a thing as fire was well known. It had been seen
bursting out of the tops of distant mountains, and there had been times in
great thunderstorms, when the lightning had set fire to dead trees--and
indeed in this latter way the Indians had become acquainted with its value
to the human race. But they had not taken care to keep it burning, and no
one had been appointed to specially look after it.

"The reason why fire had not been from the first given to men was because
when the race was created the fire was not much needed. The earth was then
much warmer than it is now. There was no snow or ice ever seen except on
the tops of the very highest mountains. Great animals now all dead, and
others that could only live in the hottest countries, lived all over these
great lands. Then there was abundance of fruit and nuts and roots that were
all very good for food. Then some great disaster happened to the world and
soon it began to grow colder and many animals, and even families, perished.
Snow and ice appeared where they were never seen before. There was great
suffering from the cold. The hunters began to kill the animals for food.
They were now not satisfied with the fruit and roots, they wanted something

"So the fire was much needed. But where it was, or how to get it, was the
question. Fortunately an old dreamer dreamed a dream about it. As the
council assembled to hear his dream he told them that the fire was
preserved in the heart of the earth by a magician called Sistinakoo, and
that it was kept very carefully surrounded by four walls, one within the
other, in each of which was a single door. At the first door a great snake
kept guard. At the second door a mountain lion or panther was the guardian.
A grizzly bear guarded the third door, and at the fourth and last door
Sistinakoo himself kept watchful care over the precious fire that smoldered
on a stone altar just inside this last wall.

"When the council heard all this they were almost discouraged. They thought
it would be impossible for anyone to get by all of these guards and steal
the fire.

"They first asked the fox to try, but he only reached the first door when
the great snake nearly made a meal of him. Thoroughly frightened, he rushed
back to the top of the earth and told of his narrow escape.

"For a time nothing more was done to try and get the fire. The people
continued to suffer, for the earth kept getting colder and colder and ice
and snow were now to be found in lands that had previously been comfortably
warm. So the council was called again, and the question again raised as to
what could be done.

"It happened that there came to the council a very old man who remembered a
tradition, handed down from his forefathers, which said that part of the
earth beneath us was hollow, and that some of the animals, even the great
buffaloes, had dwelt in those underground regions before they came to dwell
on the surface of the earth. He said that the coyote, the prairie wolf, was
the last one to leave, and that he was sure that he still remembered the
route to the very spot where Sistinakoo, the head chief of the regions,
guarded the fire so jealously."

"Why should they so guard the fire, and be so careful about letting people
have it, when we know how good it is?" asked Minnehaha.

"Because," replied Kinnesasis, "there was a tradition that at some time or
other the fire should get the mastery over men, and the whole world be
burned by it, and they thought that they would carefully guard it from
getting scattered about by careless people who might set the world on

"Well, go on, Kinnesasis, and tell us the rest of the story," said the
impatient Sagastao.

"So when the Indian council heard this story they sent for the king of the
coyotes and told him of their wish that he should return to that underworld
and bring up the fire for their use.

"To their surprise and great delight the coyote said he would go, and he
immediately began his preparations for the journey. So greatly had the cold
increased that he found the dark mouth of the entrance under the mountains
almost surrounded by snow and ice. After traveling for some time in the
darkness he reached the outer wall, where he waited, a little distance from
the door, until the snake was taking his usual sleep. Then he quickly
stepped past him. Knowing the habits of the other animals, he waited until
they were asleep and then he noiselessly passed them all. Even Sistinakoo
himself was sound asleep. So the coyote crept silently up to the fire and
lighted the large brand or torch that was securely fastened to his tail.
The instant it began to blaze up, as the coyote rushed out through the
first door, Sistinakoo shouted, 'Who is there? Some one has been here and
has stolen the fire!'

[Illustration: "The coyote was too quick for them all."]

"He at once began to make a great row and loudly called to the different
keepers to close the doors in the walls. But the coyote was too quick for
them all, and ere the sleepers were wide enough awake to do anything he had
passed through all the doors and was far on his way to the top of the
ground. The fire was gladly received by the people, but after some time,
when some big prairies and forests had been burned up by it, the men got
fearful that the world might be destroyed and so they intrusted it to the
care of the old magician and his two daughters, with orders to be very
careful to whom they gave any. It was from them Nanahboozhoo stole it, to
scatter it once more freely among the people as we now have it.

"But the tradition was still believed in the days of my grandfather that,
good as the fire was to warm us, and cook our food, it would yet become our
master, and do the world much harm."

Kinnesasis was thanked by all for his recital of this suggestive legend,
especially by his older listeners, who saw much in it that was in harmony
with the earlier beliefs of other nationalities.

By this time, however, the dogs in their trains were impatiently barking,
and longing to get back home for their suppers. So, after farewell
greetings to Kinnesasis and his wife, one cariole after another was loaded,
and away the happy ones sped over the icy expanse of the frozen lake.


The Christmas Packet--The Distribution of Gifts--A Visit
by Dog Train, at Fifty-five Below Zero--Souwanas Tells
How the Indians first Learned to Make Maple Sugar.

How great the excitement was which attended the arrival of the Christmas
packet can hardly be realized by persons who have never been exposed to the
privations of a land which the mail reaches every six months, and where
they wait half a year for the daily paper. After this long waiting it is no
wonder that a great shout was raised when far away in the distance the
long-expected, heavily-loaded dog-trains were seen that for several hundred
miles had carried the precious messages of love and the tokens of good will
from dear ones far away.

This year an extra train well loaded with much-needed supplies for the
mission was among the arrivals. Its coming was hailed with special delight
by the children; for even in that Northland Santa Claus was not unexpected,
and it was surmised by some of the wee ones that possibly some of his gifts
would arrive about that time.

And they were not disappointed, for loved ones far away in more favored
lands had remembered these little ones in their Northern home, where the
Frost King reigns, and many and varied were the gifts which they now

"I am going to take Souwanas some of my candies," said Sagastao.

"And I am going to give him a nice red silk handkerchief," said Minnehaha.

The children had by this time pretty well learned his weakness for these
things, and it was a pleasure now for them to think that they had it in
their power to make him happy.

The next morning was, as usual, bright and cloudless, but it was bitterly
cold. The mercury was frozen in one thermometer, and in the other one the
spirit indicated fifty-five below zero. Yet so impatient were these
spirited children to be off with their gifts to Souwanas, and with
something also for each member of the family, that their pleadings
prevailed. A cariole with plenty of fur robes was soon at the door, and
with old Kennedy as their driver they were soon speeding away behind a
train of dogs.

Indians are naturally alert and watchful, and so the merry jingle of the
silvery bells was heard while the cariole was still at some distance on the
trail. Cordially were they welcomed, and strong arms speedily carried them
into the cosy wigwam where, in the center, burned a great fire of dry
spruce and birch wood.

As the cold was so intense, and the children had permission to remain for
two hours, it was decided that Kennedy should return home at once with the
dogs, as it would have been cruel to have kept them out in the cold so

The heavy wraps were soon removed and the children were comfortably seated
on the fur rugs provided for them. Then they very proudly opened their
parcels and distributed the contents--their own gifts as well as those
which had been sent to Souwanas and his family from the mission. Minnehaha
reserved her special gift for the last. When all of her others had been
bestowed she unfolded the beautiful red silk handkerchief and, going over
to Souwanas, she did her best to tie it nicely around his neck.

The old man, genuine Indian that he was, was much moved by her winsome ways
and handsome gift.

He said but little, but there was a soft, kindly look in his eyes that
showed his gratitude more than any words could have done. It meant a good
deal more than perhaps he would like to admit and those who saw it were
thankful that they had observed it, knowing that it meant so much.
Sagastao, who had already given him several presents, had held on to his
box of candies. He had learned that for such things the old man could be
coaxed to do almost anything, and now he held them out, and said:

"Now, Souwanas, as all the presents have been passed around, I have got
some fine sweeties for you, but we must have a first-class Nanahboozhoo
story for them."

"O yes!" said Minnehaha. "And as it is to be for sweeties let us have a
nice sweet story of Nanahboozhoo this time."

"A sweet story you want? Well, before I begin let us fix up the fire and
all get comfortably seated around it."

Then, as they usually did, the two white children cuddled as close to the
inimitable story-teller as they could. Little cared they for the cold
without or even for the occasional puffs of smoke which seemed at times to
prefer to enter the eyes of the listeners rather than to go out at the
orifice at the top of the wigwam.

"A sweet story," musingly said the old man, "in this land of fish, and
bears, and wolves, and wildcats, and wolverines!" Then he paused long
enough to fill his mouth again with the candies which he enjoyed so much.

"A sweet story. Then it must be of a land, south of this, where for some
years I dwelt, many, many moons ago. A land where the Se-se-pask-wut-a-tik
(sugar maple tree) grows and flourishes in all its beauty.

"There, in those wigwams, long ago lived the people whom we call the
Hurons, the Dakotahs and the Ojibways. These Ojibways are cousins of my own
people, the Saulteaux. Well, the story I want to tell you had its beginning
long, long ago. One day there came a great embassage of Indians from the
far South with words of peace and good will. They said that in their
country they had no cold weather, and very seldom saw any snow. They said
that the trees were different, and that many things grew there that they
did not see in our Northern country. They brought with them many presents
and were kindly received by our people, and then, after some weeks of
feasting and speech-making, they returned home laden with the best gifts
our tribes could bestow.

"Among the presents which these Southern Indians brought was a large
quantity of sugar. This was the first time it was ever seen among the
Indians of the North. It was very much prized, and was very carefully
divided among the people so that each one had a small quantity. It did not
last very long, for everybody was fond of it. When it was all gone the
people were sorry, and the question was asked, 'Why cannot we send a
company of our own people and get more of it?'

"This suggestion met with the favor of the tribes, and a large party of the
best runners was selected, and being well supplied with rich presents and
pipes of peace they started off to find the Southland and to obtain
abundance of the sugar. Some weeks passed by before word was heard from
them, and the news was very bad. Fierce wars had broken out among the
tribes that lived between ours and those who dwelt in that far South. Our
Indians had to fight for their lives. Many of them were killed, others were
badly wounded, and of the large company that started out not more than half
ever returned to their homes. The expedition was a complete failure.

"Still there was the memory of the sugar among them, and it happened that
one day in the council somebody said:

"'Why not send to Nanahboozhoo?'

"Good!" shouted Minnehaha; "that is just what I thought they would do."

"Well, hold on," said her more matter-of-fact brother; "just as like as not
Nanahboozhoo would give them salt instead of sugar, if he were in one of
his tantrums."

Souwanas was not displeased at this interruption on the part of the
children, and gladly availed himself of the opportunity thus offered to
once more help himself to the sweets.

Earnestly appealing to Souwanas, Minnehaha, who always looked on the bright
side of things, and who had a quick intuition quite beyond her years, said:

"It could not be a sweet story if Nanahboozhoo gave them salt instead of
sugar; could it, Souwanas?"

The old man, as soon as his mouth was sufficiently emptied to resume his
story, amused by the earnestness with which the child appealed to him,
replied with the words, "Tapwa, tapwa!" (Verily, verily!)

Sagastao, however, unwilling to give in, retorted, "O 'tapwa, tapwa'
doesn't mean anything, anyway."

Souwanas only laughed at this criticism, and proceeded with his story.

[Illustration: Across a single log at a dizzy height.]

"So it was decided to send a deputation to Nanahboozhoo to tell him of
the wish of the tribes to have Se-se-pask-wut (sugar), as had the tribes of
the Southland.

"The deputation who started off to find Nanahboozhoo had a great deal of
difficulty in finding him. It seems that a great strife had arisen between
Nanahboozhoo and some of the underground Muche Munedoos--bad spirits,
sometimes called the Ana-mak-quin--who had determined to kill Nokomis, the
grandmother of Nanahboozhoo, because of their spiteful hatred of
Nanahboozhoo, whom they knew they could not kill because he had
supernatural powers.

"Nanahboozhoo had, as usual, been playing some of his pranks on them, and
that was why they were determined to kill Nokomis."

"What were some of the tricks that Nanahboozhoo had been up to this time?"
asked Sagastao.

"It would take me too long to tell you now," replied Souwanas.

"Nanahboozhoo dearly loved his grandmother, although he was often giving
her great frights, just as other grandsons sometimes do. So when he heard
of what the Muche Munedoos were threatening he took up his grandmother on
his strong back and carried her far away and made for her a tent of maples
in a great forest among the mountains. The only access to it was across a
single log at a dizzy height over a wild rushing river.

"It was now in the fall of the year, and the leaves of these trees were all
crimson and yellow, so brilliant that when seen from a long distance they
looked like a great fire. Thus it happened that when the bad spirits
following after Nanahboozhoo and Nokomis saw the brilliant colors through
the haze of that Indian Summer day they thought the whole country was on
fire, and they turned back and troubled them no more. Nanahboozhoo was
pleased that the beautiful maple trees had been of so much assistance to
him. He decided to dwell among them for some time, so he prepared a very
comfortable wigwam for himself and his grandmother.

"It was in the wigwam among the maples that the deputation found
Nanahboozhoo. He received them kindly, and listened to their story and
their request.

"At first Nanahboozhoo was perplexed. He was such a great traveler that he
had often been down in the great Southland, and well knew how the sugar was
there made. He had seen the fields of sugar cane, and knew the whole
process by which the juice was squeezed out and then boiled down into
sugar. He also knew that it required a lot of hard work before the sugar
was made.

"When Nokomis heard the request of the deputation to her grandson she was
very much interested--for had not Nanahboozhoo several times, when
returning from those trips to the South, brought back to her some of the
sugar?--and she had liked it very much; and so now she added her pleadings
to theirs that he would in some way grant them their request.

"Of course Nanahboozhoo could not refuse now, so he told them that, as the
beautiful maple trees had been so good to him and Nokomis, from this time
forward they should, like the sugar cane of the South, yield the sweet sap
that when boiled down would make the sugar they liked so much.

"He told them, however, that it was not for the lazy ones to have, but only
for those who were industrious and would carry out his commands. Then
Nanahboozhoo described to them the whole process of sugar making. He told
them that only in the spring of the year would the sweet sap flow. Then
they were to have ready their tapping gouges, their spiles and buckets.
Great fireplaces were to be built and here, as fast as the sap was gathered
from the trees, it was to be boiled down in their little kettles into the
nice molasses; and then a little more, so that when it cooled it would
harden into sugar.

"'Now,' added Nanahboozhoo, 'go back to your people and tell them that it
depends on their industry between now and the spring who shall have the
most of the sugar you love so well.' Then he skillfully modeled out a stone
tapping gouge of the shape required to make the incision in the tree from
which the sap would flow. With his knife he made a sample spile of cedar,
the thin end of which was to be driven into the hole made by the gouge and
along which the sap would flow. Then he told them to make plenty of buckets
of birch bark, and thus be ready when the time came to secure an abundant
supply of sap. Thus the art of making maple sugar first came to be known.
Nanahboozhoo gave it to the Indians long ago. Then when the palefaces came
they followed the same process. That is the way Nanahboozhoo showed us how
to get the maple sugar."

But here the sound of the barking of the dogs, and the sweet tones of the
silvery bells on the collars of the dogs that had come for the children,
told that the two hours had passed away.

"Thank you ever so much," said the grateful Minnehaha, as she rose to have
loving hands carefully wrap her up for the return ride, "for that sweet,
sweet story. It was so good of Nanahboozhoo to tell them about the sap in
the maple trees, even if it is only there in the spring time."

"I think old Nokomis deserves a good deal of the credit," said Sagastao.
"It seems to me that Nanahboozhoo would not have done it if she had not
made him."

"Well, Nanahboozhoo did it, anyway, and so we and the Indians have our
maple sugar and molasses, and I am glad. And so, hurrah for Nanahboozhoo!"
Thus replied Minnehaha.

Here Souwanas lifted the well-wrapped-up child, and carried her out to the
cariole, where she and her brother were speedily covered and tucked in
among the warm robes.

"Marche! Marche!" was shouted to the dogs by the driver, and away they sped
over the icy trail with such speed that it was not long ere they were again
safe and happy in their own cozy home.


Mary Relates the Legend of the Origin of Disease--The
Queer Councils Held by the Animals Against Their Common
Enemy, Man.

"Mary, how is it that I get sick sometimes," said Sagastao the following
summer, "and have to take medicine that I dislike? Why can't we always be

For the last week or ten days Mary had been most devoted and faithful in
watchful care over her restless charge, who had been very sick but was now
rapidly recovering.

"As soon as you are a little stronger I will tell you the legends of
sickness and medicine, as handed down by our Indian forefathers," said
Mary, "but now you must only rest, and eat, and sleep."

"Well, Sakehow" (beloved), his pet name for his faithful nurse, "I will try
and mind you; don't forget."

The next week was one of rapid recovery, and very proud, indeed, was Mary
when she led forth the two children, in the bright sunshine of a delightful
summer day, to a cozy resting place among the rocks where the waves of Lake
Winnipeg rippled on the sandy beach at their feet.

Minnehaha was eager for a story about the sweet birdies or the brilliant
flowers, but the young invalid had his way this time, and Mary proceeded to
tell the story of the Indians' idea as to the origin of sickness and

"Long, long ago," said Mary, "all the animals and birds on this earth lived
in peace and harmony with the human family. Then there was food for all in
abundance without any shedding of blood. Even the wild animals, that now
live by killing and devouring each other, found plenty of food in the
fruits and vegetables that then were so abundant.

"Men and women also lived on similar things, and were contented and happy.
But as the years went on the people became so numerous, and their
settlements spread over so much of the earth, that many of the poor animals
began to be cramped for room.

"Even this could have been borne, but by and by men began to make bows and
arrows, spears and knives, and other weapons, and began to use them on the
defenseless animals. Then soon they began to eat the flesh of the animals,
and presently they found that they preferred the meat thus obtained to the
fruits and vegetables of the earth.

"Formerly they had made their garments out of the fiber of the trees and
plants, which the women carefully prepared and wove; but after a while they
discovered that the skins of the buffalo and deer and other animals, when
well prepared, made better and more durable garments and wigwams than the
materials they had previously used. As time went on the destruction of
the larger animals increased, and men became so much more cruel than
formerly that even the frogs and worms, that in the earlier days were never
harmed, were now destroyed without mercy, or by sheer carelessness or
contempt. Thus the animals came to be in such a sad plight that it was
resolved by them to call great councils of their members together to
consult upon what could be done for their common safety.

"The bears were the first to assemble. They gathered together on the peak
of a great smoky mountain, which the white men now call Cathedral mountain,
and the great white bear from the Northland was appointed chairman."

[Illustration: "Which the white men now call Cathedral Mountain."]

"Well, that was funny," said Minnehaha. "Just fancy a big white bear
sitting up in a chair! Why, he would need a whole sofa to hold him."

"Don't be silly, child," said the patronizing brother. "It was a bears'
council and, of course, the chairs used were bears' and not men's."

When Mary was appealed to to settle the question she could only say, "As
the council was held on the top of a mountain perhaps the bears sat on the
rocks. But never mind; let me go on with the story.

"After the white bear had made his speech he took his seat and said he was
now ready to hear the statements of the different bears who had assembled
to lodge their complaints against the way in which men killed their
relatives, devoured their flesh for food, and made garments and robes out
of their skins.

"Nearly every kind of bear had grievous statements to make, and so
blood-curdling were some of their recitals that it was decided to begin war
at once against the human race.

"Then the question was asked, 'What weapons shall we use against them?'
After some discussion it was decided to use bows and arrows, the favorite
weapons of their enemies.

"'And what are they made of?' was the next question.

"This was soon answered by a bear who had been caught when young and kept
captive for a couple of years in the wigwam of one of their enemies. He had
often seen the process of making bows, and he was now able to tell all
about it, and even to do the work himself. It was not long before the first
bow, with some arrows, was manufactured, and there was great excitement
when the first trial of it was made. A large strong bear was selected to
shoot the first arrow. To their great disappointment the trial was not a
success, for it was found that when the bear let the arrow fly, after
drawing back the bow, his long claws caught in the string and spoiled the
shot. Other bears tried, but they all had long claws, and they all failed.
Then some one suggested that this difficulty could be overcome by their
cutting off their long claws. But here the chairman, the white bear,
interposed, saying that it was very necessary that they should have their
long claws in order to climb trees, or up steep rocky places. 'It is
better,' said he, 'for us to trust to our claws and teeth than to man's
weapons, which certainly were not designed for us.'

"The bears remained in council until they got very hungry, but think as
much as they might they could not devise any satisfactory plan, for they
are stupid animals after all, and they dispersed to their different homes
no better able to fight the human race than before.

"Then the deer next held a council. Representatives of all the different
kinds of deer, from the great elk and moose down to the smallest species in
existence, assembled in a beautiful forest glade. The moose was selected as
chief. After a long discussion it was resolved that in revenge for man's
tyranny they would inflict rheumatism, lumbago, and similar diseases upon
every hunter who should kill one of their number unless he took great care
to ask pardon for the offense. That is the reason why so many hunters say,
just before they shoot, 'I beg your pardon, Mr. Deer, but shoot you I must,
for I want your flesh for food.' They know that if they do this they are

"The Cree legend is that it is the bear that has to be propitiated by
gentlemanly expressions when he is being approached to be killed. I well
remember being with a couple of hunters closely following up a bear, and
just before they fired they kept saying, 'Excuse us for shooting you,
Brother Bear, but we must do it. We want your warm fur robe, our families
want your meat, our girls want your grease to put on their heads, so you
must excuse us, Brother Bear. Please do, Brother Bear; please do.' Thus
they went on at a great rate until he was killed.

"But many forget it, and the spirit of their chief knows it and is angry,
and he strikes those hunters, or their relatives, down with rheumatism or
some other painful disease.

"Next the fishes and snakes and other reptiles held their council, and they
decided that as the human race had now become such enemies to them they
would trouble them with 'fearful dreams' of snakes twining about them, and
blowing their poisonous breath in their faces, by which they would lose
their appetites and die, while others of them would seek opportunity to
make the water they drank, or even the air they breathed, unwholesome. The
poisonous ones were also directed to use every opportunity to kill with
their deadly bites whenever possible.

"The birds also held a council, over which the crow was appointed chairman.
The eagle objected, and wanted the place, but he was voted down because
there were so few of his kind, and these were only hunted for their
feathers to adorn the war bonnets of the great chiefs and warriors. The
crow was appointed because he was always with the human race and knew the
various schemes and tricks they were inventing to injure the birds and
animals of various kinds. After much deliberation the birds decided to give
colds, and coughs, and throat diseases, and consumption, to the human
race, and to thus lessen their numbers that there might be room for all

"The insects and smaller animals then held their council, and the grubworm
was appointed to preside over the gathering. He was so elated over his
election, and that they had arranged a scheme which should be fatal
especially to women, that he fell over backward and could not get on his
feet again. So from that time the grubworm has only been able to wiggle in
that way. There was any amount of talking and buzzing among the crowd. The
frog was especially noisy and angry in his remarks.

"'It is high time,' said he, 'that we began to do something against this
cruel human race, or we will soon be swept off the earth. See how my back
is ugly with lumps and sores because men have so kicked and knocked me

"Others followed in the same strain of indignant protest against man's
cruelty. Even the flies and mosquitoes had something to complain of.

"Well, after the buzzing, and the croakings, and the hummings and angry
talkings were over, they settled down to business.

"Some were appointed to poison the waters so that malarias and fevers
should attack the now hated race. Others, such as the flies and mosquitoes,
were to carry in their bites and stings many diseases. Thus it has come to
pass that there is more damage done to the hated human beings by these
bites and stings than the mere smarting pain caused at the time of the
bite. Thus, because the human race changed from being all kindness to the
rest of the creatures, both great and small, into being cruel and savage,
all these various creatures have combined to bring dreadful diseases among
men in revenge for their own wrongs."

"That is too bad," said Minnehaha. "Why could they not have kept on loving
each other all the time, instead of things being as they are now?"

Sagastao, who had laughed at the idea of the mosquitoes coming to a
council, and of their having anything to complain of, said, "I would like
to know what mosquitoes lived on in those good old days you speak about.
Now they are after me lively enough." And he slowly lifted up his hand, on
the back of which a couple were rapidly filling themselves with his blood.

But Mary, who, Indian like, was wise and observant, only said, "Wait a
minute or two and I will show you." Then she quickly hurried back into a
swampy place and soon returned with a thick juicy leaf, to the under side
of which several mosquitoes were still clinging, with their bodies
distended with its juice.

"There," she said, as she carefully held the leaf sideways, "that is what
most of the mosquitoes still live on. They attack our race in revenge for
our being so cruel as to kill so many of the animals, large and small, but
this, as you can easily see, is their natural food."

This appeal to the eye quite silenced the children, who had considered the
whole story as only an Indian legend to be amused with.

Mary, who had often been worsted by the sharp criticisms and inquiries with
which they were apt to receive her pet Indian legends, was quite delighted
at her apparent triumph, so she hastily sprang up, saying:

"It is time we were going home. Some other day I will tell you the story of
how the medicines came."


The Naming of the Baby--A Canoe Trip--The Legend of
the Discovery of Medicine--How the Chipmunk Carried the
Good News.

There was great excitement among a number of Indian men and women who had
gathered on the shore in front of the mission one pleasant summer morning.
Grave Indians, with Souwanas in their midst, were calmly discussing some
object of interest, while Mary and a party of women, some of whom had their
babies with them, were much more noisy, talking rapidly about something
which was evidently a matter of exciting interest. Even Sagastao and
Minnehaha were rushing in and out of the house and running from one group
of Indians to the other, full of eager inquiries and pleasant
anticipations. What could it all be about?

Let us ask the children, for such little people often know more than we are
likely to give them credit for. Here comes Minnehaha, and we ask her the
cause of such an early gathering of the Indians, and the reason why they
are so unusually interested in some matter unknown to us.

[Illustration: "Their babies with them."]

"Why, don't you know?" the bright little girl promptly replies. "They have
come to form a Naming Council, to give my little baby sister an Indian
name. You see," she added, "Sagastao and I were born among the Cree
Indians, but baby was born here among the Saulteaux. Just think: the first
little white baby born among them! And they want to give her a nice
Saulteaux name. The reason why they are talking so much now, before they
form the council, is that lots of them have pet names they want to give our
baby, but of course she can only have one."

"Yes," said Sagastao, "and our old Mary is trying to get the women to
oppose the name that Souwanas will offer, just because she is down on him.
But I'll bet he will beat her yet."

"You should not say, 'I'll bet.' Mother has often told you that it was very
rude," reprovingly said little Minnehaha. "You never learned it from father
or mother. You must have picked that up from some rough trader."

"Well, all right, I'll not say it again, but I'll bet--no, I mean--hurrah!
for Souwanas and his side, anyway," and off he ran.

"Dear me!" said the little sister. "I do have so much trouble with that

Soon the council assembled. The men and women arranged themselves in a big
circle and spent some time in drinking some strong, well-sweetened tea that
had been prepared for them. They had been desirous of having their usual
pagan ceremonies, but of course this could not be allowed, so the
ceremonies of tea drinking and their usual smoking were substituted. Then
the little baby was brought in by her nurse and handed to one of the oldest
women. She took the child, and after kissing her and uttering some words of
endearment passed her on to the woman on her left. She in her turn kissed
her, uttered some kindly words, and passed her on to the next. So baby went
from hand to hand until she had made the complete circle of women and men.
This was the ceremony of adopting the child into the tribe.

Mary, the nurse of the older children, was excluded from this circle as she
was of another tribe. After some more tea had been drunk the child was
again sent on her rounds. This time each person, as he or she held the
child, pronounced some Indian name that he or she wished the babe to be
called. Mary, who had now crowded herself into the circle, persisted in
having a voice in the matter. She wanted the child to be called
Papewpenases (Laughing Bird), but she was voted down by the crowd, who

"No, that is Cree; we must have Saulteaux."

With a certain amount of decorum each name suggested was discussed, only to
be rejected.

For a time there was quite a deadlock, as no name could be decided upon.

"Now that you have all spoken," said Souwanas, "and cannot come to any
agreement, I, as chief, will make the final decision. This is the first
white child born among us, as Sagastao and Minnehaha, whom we all love,
were born at Norway House, among the Crees. Most of the names which you
have suggested have some reference to birds and their sweet songs. A
compound name, which will include these ideas and mine, Souwanas (South
Wind), can surely be found."

This suggestion was well received, as Florence was born in the spring of
the year, when the birds, returning from the South, filled the air with
melody after the long stillness of that almost Arctic winter.

So busy brains and wagging tongues were at work, and the result was the
formation of the following expressive name, which was quickly bestowed upon
the child. It was first loudly announced by Souwanas himself:
Souwanaquenapeke; which in English is, "The Voice of the South Wind Birds."

At once all the Indians took it up and uttered it over and over again, so
that it would not be forgotten. Even Sagastao and Minnehaha, who could talk
as well in the Indian language as in English, took up the word and shouted
out, Souwanaquenapeke, until they had it as thoroughly as their own.

Mary alone was vexed, and so annoyed that she could not conceal her
disappointment. This was particularly noticed by Sagastao, and as soon as
Minnehaha joined them they slipped quietly away together. Having obtained
permission they took a canoe and went for a paddle on the quiet lake. Mary,
like all other Indians, was passionately fond of the water, and in spite of
her crooked back was a strong and skillful paddler.

The children were placed in the center of the canoe, on a fur rug, while
Mary seated herself in the stern and paddled them over the beautiful sunlit

For a time but little was heard, for the children were absorbed in the
scenes of rarest beauty or watched some fish, principally the active gold
eyes, sporting in the water around them.

After a while the children began to clamor for a story, but Mary would not
speak a word. Sagastao suspected the cause of Mary's unusual silence.

"What is the use, sakehou," he protested, "of your being in a pet because
baby was not named Papewpenases? The name they gave her pleased everybody
else; you must be pleased too."

"If you are cross and won't speak to us we will go and run away to
Souwanas; won't we?" said Minnehaha.

This was too much for Mary, and she quickly surrendered and made an excuse
about thinking of some beautiful story to tell them when they should land
on that little rocky island just ahead of them.

"Very well," said Sagastao, "let us have the one about how medicines were
discovered and given to the Indians to cure diseases."

"Just the one I was thinking about," said Mary; "and while we rest on the
lovely white sand I will tell you the story."

A few vigorous strokes of the paddle sent the canoe well up on the sandy
shore, and soon they all landed. A good romp relieved them of the stiffness
caused by the cramped position in the canoe. Then as they cuddled down in
the warm sand Mary began her story.

"You remember, little sweethearts, how the animals of various kinds held
councils and decided to be revenged on the human family for their cruelty
by sending diseases among them. Well, these creatures did as they said they
would and the result was that lots of men died, and also the women and
children, that did the creatures no harm, were getting different kinds of
sicknesses and many of them were dying.

"Were there no diseases among them before these times?" inquired Minnehaha.

"No; not what you might call diseases," replied Mary. "The people lived
such simple lives that, with the exception of accident, such as being
drowned in great storms or killed by falling trees, or something that way,
nearly all the people died of old age."

"Then they had no doctors in those days?" asked Sagastao.

"No; there were no medicine men in those times. Although there were those
skillful to set broken limbs or attend to any who happened to be
accidentally wounded, but that was nearly all. Then all at once these
diseases sent by the angry animals began to appear among them, and, of
course, there was much alarm. The people did not know what had brought
them, nor how to get rid of them. Many people were sick and numbers of them

"You see, the animals held their councils in secret, and away from the
presence of men, and so it would never have been known if the ground
squirrel, called by some the chipmunk, had not gone and told all about the
councils to the men. He had always been friendly to the human race. He had
attended a number of the councils and was the only animal that had ventured
to say anything in the favor of man. By doing this he so enraged the other
animals that some of them fell upon him with great fury, and would have
torn him in pieces if he had not been able to escape into his hole in the
ground. As it was, they so tore and wounded him with their teeth and claws
that the stripes remain in his back to this day.

"Well, when he was healed enough to get around again he visited the abodes
of the human race and was very sorry to find that the diseases sent by the
other angry animals were causing much suffering and many deaths, so he
revealed the whole thing to a number of men and told them to be on their
guard. But even this was not sufficient. It was felt that, now that these
diseases were spreading among them, they must have some remedies for the
cure of them or they would all soon be destroyed.

"While thus wondering what they should do their little friend the ground
squirrel came to their help again. He went about among the trees and
plants, who were always friendly to man, and he told them of the sad
calamities that had come to the human race.

"When the trees and plants heard what had been done by the animals to
injure and destroy their friends they speedily held councils among
themselves and resolved that they would do all they could to overcome the

"First the great trees held their councils, talked over the matter, and
decided what they could do in the way of furnishing remedies to cure these
diseases that were doing so much injury. The pine and the spruce and the
balsam trees said, 'We will give of our gums and balsams.' The slippery elm
said it would give of its bark to make the soothing healing drink. The
sassafras said it would give of its roots to make the healthful tea that
will bring back health again. The prickly ash and the sumach and others
volunteered their help, and spoke of the wonderful healing power there was
in them, if rightly used.

"When the plants came to their council the numbers that wanted to help were
very great. No one was able to keep a record of them and of the healing
powers they professed to have. There was the mandrake, with its May apples,
and the wintergreen, with its pretty red berries; the catnip and the
bone-set, which are so good for colds; the lobelia, which is such a quick
emetic; the spikenard, the peppermint, the snakeroot, sarsaparilla,
gentian, wild ginger, raspberry, and scores of others. All cheerfully
offered assistance.

"When the ground squirrel, who had for days been attending the council of
the trees and plants, had made out his list of what remedies each tree and
plant could furnish he was very much delighted, and then, thanking them for
their offered assistance, he rapidly returned to the abodes of mankind and
informed them of his great success.

"Of course they were very much pleased, and very grateful to the ground
squirrel for his kindness and his interest in their happiness. This is the
reason why the chipmunk, or ground squirrel, lives near the homes of men.
You never see an Indian shoot them or the boys or girls try to snare them.
They are always welcome among the trees and the wigwams. The Indians love
them because they spoke up for man when the other animals turned against
him, and because it was one of their ancestors that made the trees and
plants reveal their good medicines for the cure of the sick."

"Now I know why it was, when I was out with the Indian boys, that they
never would shoot an arrow at a chipmunk, even when I asked them to," said

"Yes," said Mary, "all of the Indians have heard their fathers tell of the
kindness of the old father chipmunk in the days when the animals knew so
much and could talk, and so they warn the children against injuring these
pretty little creatures."

But it was now time they were returning. The light canoe was once more
pushed down into the lake, and soon they were merrily gliding along over
the clear, transparent waters to their cozy home.


In the Wigwam of Souwanas--How Gray Wolf Persecuted
Waubenoo, and How He was Punished by Nanahboozhoo.

"We have come to-day for a nice story about Nanahboozhoo," said Minnehaha,
as she and Sagastao lifted the deerskin door at the wigwam of Souwanas, and
entered with all the assurance of children who knew they were welcome.

"Did he ever do anything to punish bad fellows who were cruel to their
wives and children?" asked Sagastao. "Because, if he did, I wish he would
come and thrash old Wakoo, that bad fellow who has been thrashing his wife
again because he said she did not snare enough rabbits to suit him."

Souwanas, who was one of the kind-hearted Indians, never cruel to any of
his family, was much amused at the fire and indignation with which the
young lad spoke. So after he had had comfortable seats arranged for the
children among the robes and blankets he endeavored to satisfy their
demands. "Nanahboozhoo," he said, "did such things long ago, but once,
when he was giving a good thrashing to a man who had been very cruel to his
wife, the wife, as soon as she was able, sprang up from the place where her
husband had knocked her to, seized a paddle and attacked Nanahboozhoo with
such fury that he resolved never to interfere again, if he could help it,
in a quarrel between man and wife. And," added the old man, with a merry
twinkle in his eye, "it is best for everybody, if possible, to keep out of
such quarrels."

"Yes, but, mismis" (grandfather, Minnehaha's pet name for Souwanas), "you
surely know a nice story in which Nanahboozhoo helped some one without
getting into trouble himself."

"Of course I do, my grandchild," said the old man, "and I know you will be
pleased with it.

"My story is about a lovely Indian maiden who was bothered by a cruel
hunter. He was determined that she should marry him, although she did not
like him, and Nanahboozhoo came to her rescue.

"The maiden's name was Waubenoo. She had the misfortune to lose both her
father and mother when she was about eighteen years old. There were four
children, all much younger than she, left in her sole care. They had no
uncles or aunts, or other relatives, near, to take care of them, and so
Waubenoo had to hunt and fish to get food for her little brothers and
sisters. Fortunately her father had left a number of good traps and nets,
and plenty of twine for snares, and so the industrious girl got on fairly
well. The great lake near her wigwam was well supplied with fish, and the
forests all round had in them many rabbits and partridges and other small
game. When great storms arose on the big lake, and Waubenoo could not go
out alone in her birch bark canoe to visit her nets, some of the Indians,
who were pleased to see how kind and industrious she was, would overhaul
her nets and bring in what fish were caught. Thus she toiled on, and with
the assistance of these kind Indians she did very nicely. Her little
brothers and sisters loved her dearly, and did what they could to help in
the simpler and easier part of the work. Every decent person among the
Indians was pleased with her industrious habits, and often, in their quiet
way, had some cheery words of encouragement for her.

"But there was one exception, and this was a selfish Indian hunter who,
seeing what a fine-looking, strong woman she had become, and so clever in
her work with both nets and traps, resolved that she should be his wife, to
work for him and do his bidding. This man had been married before and, if
the reports were true which had been told, it was likely that his wife had
died because of his cruelties to her. So he resolved, in his selfishness,
to take Waubenoo from caring for her brothers and sisters to be his wife,
and to hunt and fish for him, that he might live a life of idleness.

"Her parents being dead this selfish young Indian did not have to go to her
father to buy her to be his wife. All he thought he had to do was to go and
tell her she had to be his wife and come and do as he commanded her. So
harsh and cold were his words, and so very rough and forbidding his looks,
that, while Waubenoo was frightened, she was grave and high spirited enough
to indignantly refuse his request, and to order him never to trouble her

"This, of course, made him very angry. He refused to go, and continued to
insist on her going with him.

"Fearing that he might revenge himself upon her by doing her or the
children some harm, she told him that it was her duty to stay with the
little ones whom the death of the parents had left in her care; that they
might perish if she now left them.

"But nothing would turn away his anger, and if it had not happened just
then that some friendly Indians came along he would have cruelly beaten
her. Before them he durst not strike her, and so, muttering some threats,
he sulkily strode away into the forest.

"Poor Waubenoo was now sadly troubled. Lighthearted and free, she had
cheerfully worked and toiled for her loved ones, but now here comes this
cruel, fierce-looking man, whom she could only look on with fear and dread,
and threatens to drag her away from them all. Gray Wolf, for that was his
name, had a bad reputation among the Indians. The young men shunned him and
the maidens took good care to be out of the way when he was around. That he
would persist in his attempts to get Waubenoo all were convinced, but that
he should succeed no one desired. Still, while Indian ideas on some of
these things are so peculiar that no one seemed disposed to interfere, at
the same time some of them were generally on the lookout for her
protection. As for brave Waubenoo, while certain that he would still
trouble her, she was resolved never to submit to him.

"Thus the weeks rolled on, with Gray Wolf looking for some opportunity to
carry her off, and making several attempts to do so, which Waubenoo, ever
alert and watchful, succeeded in preventing.

"At length his persistent attempts became so annoying that she was obliged
to neglect much of her work in order to keep on her guard. Food was getting
scarce because she dared not now go far from her wigwam to hunt for the
partridges and rabbits and other small creatures she was so clever in

"At length she resolved to go to Nanahboozhoo and seek his aid in getting
rid of this troublesome fellow. When Nanahboozhoo heard her sad story he
became very angry. He was indignant that such a commendable maiden, one who
had been so kind to her little brothers and sisters, should be bothered by
a big, selfish, lazy fellow who only wanted her because she was so
industrious and so clever at her work.

"Nanahboozhoo had heard much about her kindly treatment of the children,
and of her skill in providing for their wants, so he lost no time in going
back with her to her wigwam. At first the younger children were much afraid
of him, as they, like all other Indian children, had heard such wonderful
tales about him. But he was in such a jolly good humor that day, and was so
delighted with everything he saw about Waubenoo's wigwam and with the
proofs of her industry that he soon made friends with all the children. How
to go to work to give Gray Wolf such a lesson that he would never trouble
them any more he hardly knew at first. However, he had not been there many
hours before he had to come to a decision, for one of the little children
came rushing into the wigwam with the terrible news that Gray Wolf,
carrying a big dog whip and looking very angry, was coming along the trail.
Nanahboozhoo only laughed when he heard this, and he very quickly decided
what to do. 'Sit down there,' he said to Waubenoo, 'in that dark side of
the wigwam, with a blanket over your head, and keep perfectly still until I
call you; and you, children, must keep quiet. Do not be frightened or say a
word, no matter what happens.'

"Then Nanahboozhoo, who, as you know, could change himself into any form he
liked, suddenly transformed himself so as to look exactly like Waubenoo. So
perfect was his resemblance to her, even to his dress, that her brothers
and sisters could not have detected the disguise. Indeed, the young ones
could not help looking over to the spot where the real Waubenoo sat in the
gloom with the blanket drawn over her head. But they were Indian children,
early trained to be quiet and do as they were told, and so they fully
obeyed his commands.

"Of course, when Gray Wolf came into the wigwam he was completely
deceived, and now, thinking that he had caught Waubenoo when there were no
friendly Indians around, he at once began speaking very fiercely to her:

"'I have asked you for the last time,' he said, 'and now I have come with
my dog whip and I intend giving you a good thrashing and then driving you
to my wigwam. I intend to call you Atim, my dog, and like a dog I am going
to thrash you.'

[Illustration: "Gave him such a terrible beating."]

"He then savagely raised the whip to strike, as he thought Waubenoo, but
the blow never reached its victim, or even Nanahboozhoo in his disguise, at
whom it was aimed, for Nanahboozhoo was so enraged that anybody in the
shape of a man could be so cruel and selfish as to come and threaten a kind
young woman like Waubenoo that he suddenly sprang at Gray Wolf, and seizing
him by his scalp lock he dragged him out of the wigwam, and then wrenching
the heavy whip out of his hand gave him such a terrible beating that he
remembered it as long as he lived. Then roughly throwing him to the ground,
Nanahboozhoo, still in the disguise of Waubenoo, hurried into the wigwam
and said to the real Waubenoo:

"'Now, while he is weak and cowed, go out and talk sternly to him, and tell
him that if he ever troubles you again it will be worse for him than this
has been.'

"When Waubenoo came out her appearance so terrified Gray Wolf that he tried
to get up and skulk away, weak as he was. Waubenoo, glad that her enemy
was so conquered that he would not be likely to trouble her much more, did
as Nanahboozhoo requested her.

"Nanahboozhoo was heartily thanked by Waubenoo and the children for thus
ridding them of this bad Indian, who had for so long made their lives
miserable. Ere he left Nanahboozhoo warned the children to say nothing
about his coming, 'for,' said he, 'if Gray Wolf finds out who it was that
thrashed him he may yet be troublesome.'

"Well would it have been for all if the children had remembered this
advice," added Souwanas.

"O tell us what they did, and what happened," shouted Sagastao.

"Not to-day," said the old man; "it is time you both were back at your
lessons, and as I am going that way with some whitefish I will take you
with me in my canoe."

"But is that all about the story of Waubenoo and the children?" said

"Yes," said Souwanas, "until we come to the next. For a long time after
Gray Wolf received the beating he kept away from them, although his heart
was full of anger and revenge. Although he was a big fellow he feared to
again threaten her who, although she seemed but an ordinary-sized Indian
maiden, possessed the strength that had enabled her to give him such a


The Pathetic Love Story of Waubenoo--The Treachery
of Gray Wolf--The Legend of the Whisky Jack.

"It came about in this way," said Souwanas, "and it is such a sad story
about beautiful Waubenoo."

"Will it make me cry?" said the tender-hearted Minnehaha. "If so, I do not
think I want to hear it."

"Stay and hear it, you little pussy," said Sagastao. "I am sure it is not
worse than the Babes in the Wood."

"Well, you always cry first, when we read that story together," said

At this the lad had nothing to say, for in spite of his apparent
brusqueness his heart melted more quickly, and his eyes filled easier with
tears, at a pathetic story, than did his sister's.

"Well, go ahead, Souwanas," said Sagastao. "We each have a pocket
handkerchief, and when they are used up you can lend us a blanket."

At this quaint speech everybody laughed, and then the old man began his
second story about Waubenoo. "It all came about because little children
have long tongues, and this story should warn little children that, while
they have two eyes and two ears, they have but one tongue, and that they
should not at any time talk about or repeat half of what they have seen and

"The little brothers and sisters of Waubenoo had been warned that they
should say nothing about the visit of Nanahboozhoo to their wigwam. In
fact, Nanahboozhoo was such a queer fellow that he did not at any time want
people to be gossiping about him, and, if he had done any good deed for
anyone, he did not wish them to be ever speaking about it. Then another
reason why Nanahboozhoo did not want them to talk about his visit and help
was the fear that Gray Wolf, finding out how it was that he had received
such a beating, would be more bitter and revengeful against Waubenoo and
would again try to get her in his power. The little children were, of
course, delighted that their wigwam was no longer visited by Gray Wolf,
whose coming had always filled them with terror, while Waubenoo was so
pleased at having thus got rid of him that she was happier and brighter
than she had been for a long time. It was not long before some of the other
Indians noticed the change. They were surprised that Gray Wolf had so
suddenly stopped his visits, and that he seemed so dejected and sullen.
Naturally their curiosity was excited, and they were anxious to find out
what had happened."

"Better to have been minding their own business," broke in young Sagastao,
who seemed to see the drift of the story.

"Be quiet, and do not interrupt Souwanas," said Minnehaha, who often felt
called upon to restrain her brother's impulsiveness.

"Of course," Souwanas continued, "Gray Wolf had so suffered that he had
very little to say, and if ever teased about Waubenoo he fell into a great

"Waubenoo herself was too sensible to gratify their idle curiosity, but the
very return of her brightness, and her unwillingness to talk about the
matter, only added to the foolish desires of outsiders to find out what had
really occurred. So some of these naughty busybodies began questioning the
children when they could get them away from Waubenoo, for in her presence
they were as mute as she was. They pestered and bothered the children and
tried in various ways before they succeeded. But one day, while Waubenoo
was away overhauling her traps, some of those wicked meddlers visited her
wigwam and succeeded in getting one of the smallest ones--I just forget now
whether it was a boy or a girl."

"A girl, of course," shouted Sagastao.

"No, indeed; I am sure it was a naughty boy," said Minnehaha.

"Well, no matter which; but one of them said: 'Nanahboozhoo!'

"This one word, Nanahboozhoo, was quite enough to startle and alarm them,
for Nanahboozhoo was also much feared, as he sometimes did dreadful things.

"The fact that Nanahboozhoo had been in their very midst, although they
were a long time in hearing anything more than the one word from the now
frightened children, was quite enough to excite the whole village, for the
news was soon spread abroad by the tattlers.

"Such busybodies could not be satisfied with only hearing that Nanahboozhoo
had visited the wigwam of Waubenoo. Of course they wanted to hear about
what he said and did, and I am sorry to have to say that after a while,
with coaxing and presents, they managed to get from the children the whole
delightfully exciting story.

"When Gray Wolf, who was so jeered and laughed at by all who dare, heard
from the gossipers how it had happened that he had received such a
thrashing he was doubly wild and furious.

"When Waubenoo found out that all was known about how Nanahboozhoo had
helped her she was very sorry that her little brothers and sisters had been
so naughty and disobedient. She also knew that now she would have to be
more careful than ever against the movements of Gray Wolf. But the fact was
that he had been so cowed by his beating that he was afraid to openly
attack her, lest she should get Nanahboozhoo to help her again and it might
be worse for him than it was at his first meeting. But he treasured up
revengeful feelings in his heart and resolved that at some time or other he
would dreadfully punish her.

"Some years passed by, and the older children, next to Waubenoo, were able
to do most of the hunting and fishing as well as to be on guard against
any of the evil doings of Gray Wolf. Thus they were able, in a measure, to
repay their sister, whom they dearly loved, although they were so
thoughtless, for all her great kindness to them.

"One fall there came to the village a splendid Indian hunter. He was of the
same tribe, but lived with his people, most of the time, at a distant part
of the country. He was so pleased with this village, where dwelt Waubenoo,
that he decided to remain for the winter and hunt. He was such a very
pleasant fellow and such a great hunter that he soon made many friends.
Gray Wolf was the only man who seemed to hate him, and he was even so rash
as to insult him openly in an Indian gathering.

"Soquaatum, for this was the young warrior's name, stood the insults of
Gray Wolf for some time, then, when he saw that some of the young hunters
began to think he was afraid of Gray Wolf, he suddenly sprang at him and
knocked him down, and then seizing him by his belt, he shook him as easily
and thoroughly as a wildcat would a rabbit. Then he threw him from him and
sat down among the people as though nothing had happened.

"That evening, when he and the relatives with whom he lived were seated
around the fire in the wigwam, he heard for the first time the story of
Waubenoo: of her great industry, her love for her little brothers and
sisters, and how she had been threatened by Gray Wolf and then befriended
by Nanahboozhoo.

"This story very much interested Soquaatum, and especially as in his
hunting he had met her younger brother, now a fine strapping hunter, and
had become very fond of him, although he was much younger. So he resolved
that as soon as he could he would visit her wigwam and seek her

"Ho! Ho! So this is to be a love story," said Sagastao.

"Be quiet, do," said his sister. "All love stories do not end well.
Remember, there was Gray Wolf!"

Souwanas profited by the interruption, for it gave him an opportunity to
light his pipe with flint and steel, and he then resumed the story.

"Soon after Soquaatum arrayed himself in his most attractive costume and
called at the tent of Waubenoo. His excuse was that he wanted to see her
brother and arrange some hunting excursion.

"Waubenoo, who had often heard her brother speak of his great skill as a
hunter, and had also heard how easily and thoroughly he had handled Gray
Wolf, received him most kindly and at once made him welcome.

"Well, it is not surprising that he should soon fall in love with Waubenoo,
and so pleased was she with his manner, as well as his attractive
appearance, that she became very fond of him, and it was not many days
after their first meeting before it was noised abroad that Soquaatum and
Waubenoo were lovers.

"Soquaatum remained until about the middle of the winter. Then he returned
to his distant home to make all preparations for receiving his wife, for
whom he was to come in the spring.

"Gray Wolf was, of course, furious when he heard that Waubenoo was to be
married, and to the man who had humiliated him in the presence of so many
people. Though angry and revengeful, he was at heart a cowardly fellow, and
now that Waubenoo's brother was full-grown he was afraid of him, as well as
of Soquaatum while he was in the neighborhood. But his fears did not
prevent him from thinking of schemes for revenge which, however, came to
nothing, because the friends of Waubenoo were so vigilant and well

"At length one of his plans succeeded, and this is how it happened:

"Gray Wolf enlisted a young Indian who was equally bad with himself to help
him. As Soquaatum had now been gone for some weeks to his home, which was
far east from that region, Gray Wolf and his wicked companion went a good
long distance--many miles--in that direction. There they made a hunting
lodge and laid their plans to capture Waubenoo. Then Gray Wolf's companion
went back and remained secreted near the wigwam of Waubenoo. One night he
saw her two brothers leave, about midnight, for some distant traps that
would take them all day to reach.

"As soon as this bad fellow was satisfied that they were well out of sight
and hearing he rushed up to the tent of Waubenoo and hastily aroused her
from her sleep. He had arrayed himself as though he was gaining on her,
she began calling: 'Soquaatum! Soquaatum!' Alas! he was far away, but there
was another who, fortunately, was near. Nanahboozhoo had been out hunting
and he had a sled which he was dragging, loaded with game. He was surprised
as he heard this calling, 'Soquaatum! Soquaatum!' and as he continued
listening it became hoarse and then only like a whisper. He could stand it
no longer; he rushed through the woods and there he saw Waubenoo, dashing
along on snow-shoes, calling in a low whisper: 'Soquaatum! Soquaatum!'
while not a hundred feet behind her was Gray Wolf, yelling in triumph that
he would soon capture her. Unfortunately Nanahboozhoo was not in a very
good humor that day. He had heard of some little children that had been
tattling about him, and he had heard that the children in the tent of
Waubenoo had told about his visit.

"However, when he saw who it was that was in danger, and heard her cry to
him for help when she saw him, and especially when he saw who it was that
was after her, he quickly turned Waubenoo into a bird and without any
trouble she quickly flew up into a tree out of the reach of danger.

"Ever since that Waubenoo has been the Whisky Jack, and if you will listen
to Whisky Jack when he is not scolding or clamoring at your camp for food
his voice is like that of the lost Indian maiden, with a bad cold, calling
for her lover."

"What did Nanahboozhoo do to Gray Wolf?" said Sagastao.

"Hush," said Minnehaha. "Don't you know Nanahboozhoo doesn't like to have
children talk about him?"

This excessive caution on the part of the little girl vastly amused
Souwanas. Then he told them that Nanahboozhoo turned Gray Wolf into a dog
and made him draw home his heavy load of meat.


A Novel Race: the Wolverine and the Rock--How the
Wolverine's Legs were Shortened--A Punishment for

There was great excitement one morning among the children in the schoolroom
when Mary came in with the word that some hunters with their dog sleds had
called, and that they had with them a great wolverine which had been killed
in the woods not very far away. The children ran out to look at it.

Now the wolverine is known to be such a cunning, clever animal that the
killing of one is quite an event among the Indians, and the lucky hunter
who succeeds in destroying one is the hero of the hour. A man may on one
hunting trip kill several bears or wolves, or many other animals, and there
is not much said about it, but to kill a wolverine, that pest and scourge
of the hunters, is indeed a feat that any man is proud of.

"Why is it called a wolverine?" asked Sagastao.

"Because it was once like a wolf, and had small feet and long legs, but now
its legs are short and its feet are very large."

"What shortened its legs and made its feet become so large?" asked

It was too cold a day to remain any longer outside looking at the
wolverine, or to learn more about it, so the children were obliged to
return to their warm schoolroom, where their lessons were resumed.

It was evident, however, that both Sagastao and Minnehaha were ready with a
couple of questions for Mary, and it was not long after school hours that
they sought her and asked:

"Mary, what was it that shortened the legs of the wolverine? and what made
his feet so big?"

"The wolverine," replied Mary, "was once the finest of all the different
kinds of wolves. He had the softest and nicest of fur. His legs were long,
and his feet were firm and handsome, but he was an awfully conceited
fellow. He fancied he was the handsomest creature in existence and looked
down with contempt on all the other kinds of wolves. He used to go to the
side of the clear transparent lake, where he could see his shadow reflected
in the water, and he would strut up and down and say: 'O dear, what a
lovely creature I am!'

"It is true he was very clever in many ways. He was so swift that he could
run down even the antelope and the elk, and at all the great animal
gatherings, where the different creatures met in council, he was the
swiftest there, and easily won the chief prizes at the great races which
the animals used to hold. Indeed, he won so many races that at length he
could get no animal to compete with him. He even tried to get up races with
the birds, but they laughed at him for his conceit.

"One day he happened to be hunting among the mountains. Near the top of
one he saw a large ball-like rock, standing there apart from the other big
rocks. Coming up close to this great round rock he said to it:

"'Was that you I saw walking just now?'

"'No; I cannot walk, I have lain here for a long time,' said the rock.

"The wolverine retorted that he was sure he had seen the rock walking.

"This made the rock angry and he told the wolverine that he was telling a
falsehood. Then the saucy wolverine replied:

"'You need not speak to me in that way, for I have seen you walking.'

"Then the wolverine ran off a little distance and challenged the rock to
catch him. But the rock did not reply to this and the bold wolverine came
close up to the rock, struck it with his paw, and said:

"'Come, now, see if you can catch me!'

"'I cannot run,' said the rock, 'but I can roll.'

"At this the conceited wolverine began to laugh. 'That will do! All I want
is a race. You can run or roll, just as you like.'

"Then the race began; the wolverine started down the mountain side at a
great rate, and the rock came rolling behind him. At first the big rock did
not move very fast, and the wolverine laughed as he looked back and saw the
rock was so far behind. But the rock came on faster and faster, and now it
made the wolverine do his very best to keep ahead of it. On they rushed,
over the sticks and stones and rough places, down--down that great, long
mountain side. At length, swift and strong as he was, the wolverine began
to get tired, and although he was running as he never did before in his
life the big rock was surely gaining on him. By and by he was so frightened
that in looking behind at the rock, now close at his heels, he tripped over
a stick and down he fell. The rock rolled over him and, just as it had
completely crushed him down to the earth, there it stopped.

"Then the wolverine, whose head was not crushed under the rock, cried out:

"'Get off! go away! you are hurting me. You are crushing my bones.'

"But the rock replied:

"'You tormented me and told me I was telling a falsehood, and you
challenged me to a race with you; and now that I have caught you I will not
stir until some one stronger comes and takes me off.'

"Then the wolverine lifted up his voice and cried to his relatives, the
wolves and foxes, to come and remove the rock.

"When these animals came and saw him in such a plight, they asked him:

"'How came you to get under the rock?'

"The wolverine replied:

"'I challenged the rock to catch me, and it rolled on me.'

"When the wolves and the foxes heard this they were not very sorry. They
knew how conceited the wolverine had been about his speed, indeed they
were all smarting because of the ease with which he had beaten them, and
so, instead of helping him at once, they said he deserved his punishment.

"After a time, however, they began to be sorry for the poor wolverine, who
was crying out piteously for help, but they found they were not able to
remove the rock. They could not even stir it in the least.

"'Get out of the way,' said the wolverine, 'and I will call my other
friends, the thunder and the lightning.'

"In a few minutes a great black cloud was seen rapidly coming out of the
west. As it came rushing along the foxes and the wolves were very much
frightened by the great noise it made. However, they had courage enough to
ask the lightning to take off the fine coat of the wolverine but not to
kill him. Then they ran back and watched to see the lightning do its work.
The lightning promised to do what had been asked of him; for he had heard
of this proud, conceited wolverine, who had boasted that he could run like
lightning, and now he was just going to teach him a lesson. So he darted
back a distance to gather force, and then he came on with a rush and struck
the rock and knocked it into small pieces. He also completely stripped the
skin from the back of the wolverine but did not kill him. When the
wolverine got up and stood there naked, with all his beauty gone, he was
very angry at the lightning.

"'You are like other so-called friends I have heard about,' he said; 'you
cannot do a thing but you must overdo it and spoil all. You had no need to
tear my beautiful fur coat from my back when you knew I only asked you to
come and strike the rock.'

"Then the poor, shivering wolverine gathered the pieces of his coat and
carried them to his sister the frog, who dwelt in a marsh, and he asked her
to sew them together. The frog had sore eyes, and when she sewed them
together she did not do it properly. Hence the wolverine was very angry,
and he hit her a crack on the head and knocked her into the water. Then he
took up the coat and went and found his youngest sister, the mouse. He told
her of his troubles, and how the frog had so badly done her work. Then he
showed the mouse how he wanted the coat to be sewed. His little sister felt
badly for her big brother, and so she set to work and with great care sewed
all the pieces together in their right places. When the wolverine saw how
nicely she had done her work he was much pleased.

"'You mice may live everywhere,' he said, in real gratitude, 'and in spite
of all your enemies you will never be destroyed.'

"Then the wolverine tried to put on his coat, but, alas! he found his legs
had been shortened and his feet very much flattened out by the terrible
crushing he had had under that big stone which he had been so foolish as to
challenge to a race."

"Guess he didn't run many more races," said Sagastao.

"No, indeed," was the reply; "he was so mortified and angry that from that
day to this the wolverine has always been a sulking, solitary animal, and
playing all the mean tricks he can on all kinds of animals as though he had
a spite against them. He now has not one friend who ever cares for him,
unless it is his little sister the mouse."


The Legend of the Twin Children of the Sun--How They
Rid the Earth of Some of the Great Monsters--Their Great
Battle with Nikoochis, the Giant.

One pleasant summer day, when the children had the pleasure of a canoe
outing with Mary and Kennedy, they decided to visit the wigwam of their old
friends, Kinnesasis and his wife. They had not seen them for some time, and
as Souwanas was away on a long hunting excursion they could not expect any
Nanahboozhoo stories until his return. Kinnesasis was a capital
story-teller, and they were eager to reach his wigwam. There, after making
both him and his wife happy with some gifts, they knew they could get some
interesting stories in return.

They met with a hearty welcome and spent a happy day there. Among the
stories Kinnesasis told them, as handed down by his forefathers, the
following is perhaps the most interesting:

"Long ago there were great monsters on this earth. Some of them were
enormous animals and fiercer than any that now exist. Then there were
magicians, and other evil spirits, like windegoos, some of whom were tall,
giant cannibals, that filled the people with terror. They lay in wait and
caught the children, and even the grown-up people, as the wild beasts now
catch their prey. Then they kindled up great fires and roasted them and ate

"Often, when the parents went to look for their children, they also were
caught and eaten.

"The people were rendered very miserable not only by these great monsters
in human form, but also by the attacks of the enormous animals that then
lived. Indeed they began to fear that they would all soon be killed, unless
help came to them.

"These people were worshipers of the sun, whom they called the great Sun
Father, and some tribes still have their sun dances in his honor. When he
saw that the people were in such great trouble and were likely to be all
killed by their cruel enemies he resolved to deliver them from their foes.
So he disguised himself and came down to the earth and married a beautiful
woman of the Northland. They had lovely twin boys, whose names were
Sesigizit, the older, and Ooseemeeid, the younger. They grew so rapidly
that they were able to walk when only a few days old. Their sun father
disappeared as soon as they were born, going to the far Eastland.

"Strange to say, although these two boys grew so rapidly at first, they as
suddenly ceased growing, and so remained quite small. But they were very
intelligent, and were ever asking questions.

"'Who is our father?'" they inquired of their mother one day.

[Illustration: Sun dance lodge of the Blood Indians.]

But she ignored the question, and although they kept bothering her it was
a long time before she would give them any information at all, and that was
very little. However, she did tell them that they were more than ordinary
children and finer than other boys, but then there are lots of mothers who
say such things to their own little ones.

"As they were now big enough, she brought out of hiding a couple of bows,
and quivers full of arrows, and some magic rabbit sticks, and gave them to
the boys.

"'These were left for you by your father,' said the mother, ere he went
away, and he gave commands that they were to be given to you as soon as you
were able to use them.'

"The children were, of course, anxious to try their bows and arrows and
these magic sticks. So very soon after they had received them they resolved
to go off on a hunting expedition.

"The mother, who was anxious about them, warned them of the various
monsters in human shape, great windegoos and cannibals, that were ever
lying in wait to catch and roast and eat little boys. She also told them of
the animals that were so enormously large that they could catch them up and
swallow them as easily as a turkey does a grasshopper.

"Thus she tried to put them on their guard against the terrible foes that
had devoured so many of their people. The boys, however, were not much
frightened, and they eagerly set off on their journey.

"They were especially warned by their anxious mother not to go to the
east, as there was a narrow lake there to which many of these evil
creatures came for water, especially a great monster wolf that had devoured
many people. Yet they immediately started off in that direction, for, like
some other boys, they did not obey even their mother. It was noon before
they reached the lake. At first, as they examined it, everything seemed
very quiet and still.

"'Mother must have been mistaken,' said Sesigizit; 'I do not see any living
thing here.'

"But as they wandered farther along the shore, suddenly Ooseemeeid cried

"'O see that great wolf on the other side!'

"They dropped down as quickly as they could, but the fierce brute had
already caught sight of them. He was very much larger than any of the
wolves that now howl in the dark forests. He not only destroyed many of the
people, but when he came to springs, or small streams, he either drank up
all the water or so spoiled it that it was unfit for use.

"The boys shot their arrows at him, but his sides were so tough, for he had
bones like jointed armor upon them, that he was only slightly wounded. He
was, however, made very angry by their attacks, and he picked up a magic
stick and threw it at them. They would have fared badly if they had not so
suddenly thrown themselves upon the ground that it passed over them.

"When the boys saw that their arrows were not swift enough to kill such a
great animal they decided to use the magic rabbit sticks which their
father, the sun, had given them, with orders that they were only to be used
when the arrows failed.

"The wolf, when he saw that one of his magic sticks had missed its aim, was
more savage than ever, and he seized his remaining one, for he only had
two, and he threw it with all his power at the boys. This time they both
jumped high up from the ground and the stick passed under them.

"It was their turn now, and so they both threw their magic sticks with such
force that the great bony armor of the wolf was crushed in and he was

"Sesigizit quickly ran around the lake to the spot where the great body lay
and cut out the heart of the wolf, while Ooseemeeid secured the two magic
sticks that the wolf had thrown at them, as well as their own weapons, and
then with these trophies they returned to their own home.

"'Where have you been?' asked the anxious mother when they appeared.

"'We have been to the lake,' they replied.

"She could hardly believe it.

"'My boys,' she said, 'you surely are mistaken, for no one who goes there
returns. The great monsters that devour our people live there, and they let
no one escape.'

"Then they told her of their battle with the great wolf, and how they had
killed him. They also showed her his heart, which they had brought home
with them.

"She was very much excited. She called the people together, and there was
great rejoicing at the death of this terrible wolf which had been such a
scourge to them.

"Some time after Sesigizit and Ooseemeeid asked their mother if she knew
where grew any good tough wood suitable for making bows and arrows. Her
answer was:

"'Far away in the foothills is a canyon, or ravine, where a forest of just
such wood as you need is growing, but the path that leads to it is narrow,
and there sits guard a great monster giant who kills and throws into the
ravine everyone who has attempted to get any of that wood. And in addition
there is a fierce mountain lioness prowling around somewhere on the route,
and she has already killed many people and carried them off to her den.'

"Ooseemeeid at once desired to set off and get a supply of this wood, but
Sesigizit, when he found out how fearful their mother was that they would
both be killed if they made the attempt, at first refused to go. His
objection, however, vanished when he saw his brother making ready to start,
and in spite of their mother's fears they started off.

"They had not gone very far when they met the great mountain lioness. She
was out hunting food for her cubs. These she had hidden in a den which was
away up on a precipitous mountain side.

"Ooseemeeid asked her if she knew the way to the canyon where grew the good

"'Yes,' she replied. 'I am just going that way, and I will show you the
route.' She said this because she wished in this way to allure the two boys
to walk near to her den, and there she would kill them for food for her

"So she led them until they came to a place where the path was very
dangerous, because it was on a narrow, shelving rock around the mountain
side. Here the monster lioness asked the boys to walk on ahead of her, but
they refused, saying that they had been taught never to walk in front of
their elders. The lioness urged, but the boys were firm, and so she had to
yield and let them have their way.

"When in the most dangerous part of the pass the boys pretended to be very
much alarmed, and asked to be permitted to walk between her and the
mountain side. At first she was suspicious, but they seemed now to be so
cowardly and afraid that she thought they were not able to do her any harm,
so she walked on the outer edge of the pass and let them have the inside,
and also allowed them to put their hands on her as though to steady
themselves. When they came to the most dangerous spot, where it was so
narrow that even a mountain lion had to be careful, they both suddenly drew
their magic sticks and, giving her a great shove, sent her over the side of
the narrow rocky ledge and down she fell--to be dashed to pieces thousands
of feet below.

"With a shout of triumph the two boys carefully pushed on and, finding the
den, quickly killed the cubs and cut off the right forepaw from each one to
carry home.

"From this high pass they could now see the canyon where grew the good
wood for which they were seeking. They also saw the lodge of the monster
giant who guarded the narrow path that led to it. They saw by its size that
he must be an enormous creature, and so they looked to see that their
arrows and magic sticks were all in good order and handy for use.

"The great giant had heard their shout of triumph when they had destroyed
the mountain lioness and it made him very angry, for he hated any noise or
disturbance; his name, Nikoochis, which means solitude, indicated this.

"When he saw the small boys he was at first inclined to laugh in derision
at them, but when they had come near enough to shoot their magic arrows at
him he soon began to roar with the stinging pain they gave him.

"In vain he tried to catch the active little fellows; he was so big and
clumsy, and they were so quick in their movements, that it was an utter
impossibility for him to get his hands upon them.

"Then he began tearing up great rocks and stones and tried to crush them by
hurling these at them. Here the boys' father, the sun, came to their help,
and he shone so fiercely into the eyes of the great monster that he was
unable to see very well, and the boys easily kept out of the way of the
rocks thrown at them.

[Illustration: "They both threw their magic sticks."]

"The monster was big and fat and unaccustomed to exertion, and he was soon
tired out. Indeed he was so big that the arrows of the boys seemed only
like pins and needles sticking into him, and the boys began to fear that
their quivers would be emptied before they had conquered him. Just then
they met an old witch with a bundle of sticks which she was carrying to her
wigwam. She was very angry with Nikoochis, for he would not allow her even
to gather the dry sticks that fell to the ground in the forest he was
guarding. The result was that she had to wander far away to get the little
fuel she needed in her wigwam.

"The boys told her of their battle with this selfish old monster, and that
even now he was badly wounded by their arrows, which, however, did not seem
to reach any vital spot. She told them that the only place where their
weapons could be effectual in killing him was in the top of his skull. That
they must first in some way crack it with their magic rabbit sticks, and
then they could shoot their arrows into his brain. Hearing this they
quickly resumed their attack upon him. In vain he tore up great rocks and
hurled them with all his force at them. They either cleverly jumped on one
side or sprang up into the air out of the way.

"Then, watching for their opportunity, they waited until he stooped down,
and when he was struggling to loosen from the earth a great rock as big as
a house Sesigizit threw, with all his power, his magic rabbit stick. It
struck the giant fair on the top of his head with such force that it broke
off a piece of his skull. The next instant Ooseemeeid fired one of his
arrows so accurately that it pierced into the brain through the spot thus
left exposed.

"With a roar of rage and pain the great monster fell, rolled down into the
deep canyon, and died.

"After securing his big flint knife, which dropped from his belt, the boys
hurried into the canyon and gathered a lot of fine wood for arrow shafts
and returned to their mother. When she asked them where they had been they
replied that they had been to the canyon, and that they had killed both the
mountain lioness and the great giant.

"At first she could hardly believe this, but as they had brought the paws
of the cubs and the flint knife of the great giant, why, she just had to
believe it. Great indeed were the rejoicings of the people at being thus
rid of these creatures."


Souwanas Tells of the Queer Way in which Nanahboozhoo
Destroyed Mooshekinnebik, the Last of the Great Monsters.

One cold day Souwanas, who had not been seen by the children for some
time--he had been away on a long hunting excursion--quite unexpectedly
walked into the mission house during the school hours of Sagastao and
Minnehaha. The news of his coming was hailed with delight by the children,
and it required a certain amount of firmness on the part of the heads of
the household to keep them at their studies. They were, however, quickly
pacified, and returned with diligence to their lessons, when informed that
their old friend had been invited to stay all day and doubtless would have
a story of some kind for them when their studies were all over.

The venison and bear's meat which he had brought were quickly purchased at
a price that well pleased him. Then he sat down for a rest and a smoke in
the kitchen. Of course he had his usual tiff with Mary, the nurse, who was
very jealous of him because he had so won the love and confidence of the
children. Souwanas was greatly amused at her jealousy of him, especially
since he was told by one of the Indian maids that the children had been
overheard gravely debating between themselves which was the better
story-teller, Mary or Souwanas.

When peace again reigned some illustrated volumes from the library were
given to Souwanas for his inspection. He was not able to read English, but
he was very fond of looking at pictures.

There was one book that had a special fascination for him, in fact when he
first examined it, and had had some of its illustrations explained to him,
it gave this superstitious Indian about the biggest fright he had ever
received. It was a book in which were pictured and described many of the
great extinct monsters of the old times. These enormous hideous creatures,
whose bones and fossil remains are still occasionally to be found, quite
alarmed him. Yet the book was generally about the first one he desired to

On this present visit, however, Souwanas, while as usual eager again to
inspect this book, was observed to look at it in a very different spirit.
The explanation came out later, when he had the children around him--indeed
almost the whole household--listening to a new Nanahboozhoo story which he
had secured from some famous old Indian whom he had met while far away on
his long hunting excursion.

"Yes, it is true," he began, "that there did once live on this earth, both
in the land and in the water, great animals like those here shown in this
book. I have been to the wigwam of the great Shuniou and from him I have
learned much about them, as handed down in the tradition of our
forefathers. Great and terrible were they, and the people of those times
lived in great terror of them, for the bows and arrows and even the stone
war clubs of the strongest warriors were powerless to kill or even
dangerously wound such monsters. It was well for the inhabitants of the
earth in those days that these great monsters were few in number and that
they were constantly fighting among themselves, for so large and terrible
were they that only animals as big and fierce of other kinds could battle
with them.

"But there was one great monster that lived in the water, and as he had no
enemies big enough to attack him he lived on, even long after the other
great animals were all killed off.

"Shuniou said that the tradition was that a great rush of waters caused
many of the last of the great monsters that had tusks of ivory to be
carried to the far Northland, and there, as the terribly cold winter set
in, they were all frozen to death.

"This must be true," added Souwanas, "for it was not many years ago that
the Hudson Bay Company sent their men there to get this ivory, which they
intended to ship to England. They came back with word that some of the dead
bodies had been seen where the ice broke up. But this great monster in the
water, as I have said, lived on after the rest were all supposed to have
died off or been killed. He was a terrible scourge to those Indians whose
wigwams were on the shores of the great sea in which he lived. They were
in mortal terror when they ventured out in their canoes to fish. This they
had to do, as they depended almost entirely on fish for their living, and
there were times when the fish left the shallow waters near the shore and
went out far from land. There the Indians had to follow and catch them or
they and their families would starve.

"Happily for them, sometimes for months together no one would hear or see
anything of this great sea monster. Then, perhaps, suddenly he would rise
up right under a canoe in which were several Indians, whom he would easily
catch and swallow one by one. He would sometimes rush after a herd of deer
that had gone out swimming in the waters. He would catch and easily swallow
several of them."

"Well, I should think that the big horns of a moose or reindeer would give
him some trouble to swallow," said Sagastao.

"He was so large," said Souwanas, "that the horns or body of the largest
deer did not seem to bother him in the least degree."

"I wonder if it were not one of his great grandfathers that swallowed
Jonah," said the observant Minnehaha.

"The Indians at length came to be so much distressed by the loss of so many
of their number, and by their inability to slay the monster, that they
resolved to ask Nanahboozhoo to come and help them if he possibly could.

"I ought to have told you," said Souwanas, "that this great monster was
called by the Indians Mooshekinnebik.

"Nanahboozhoo at once responded to their request, for he was very angry
when he heard how many industrious fishermen had been swallowed by this
creature. He was doubly angry when he returned with the deputation who had
gone for him and further learned that, only the day before, Mooshekinnebik
had been mean enough to come near to the shore and catch and swallow some
boys and girls who had been out swimming that warm summer day.

"When Nanahboozhoo informed Nokomis of the request of the people for his
help to deliver them from the long hated Mooshekinnebik she was very much
frightened, and more so when he told her of the strange and dangerous plan
he was going to adopt to carry out his purpose. It was this: he was going
to allow himself to be swallowed by this monster who had already destroyed
so many people."

"O how dreadful!" said Minnehaha. "We will never hear any more nice stories
about Nanahboozhoo."

"All a pack of lies; there never were any such monsters," snapped out old
Mary, who could not longer conceal her jealousy at seeing how interested
the children were in the story.

"Hold on, Mary; not so fast," cried Sagastao, taking the book from Souwanas
and showing the pictures to Mary.

"There, Sakehow," he said, using his favorite term of endearment, "look
for yourself and see those lovely creatures--some of them quite big enough
to swallow us all without winking."

But Mary was stubborn, as well as jealous, and would not give in, even when
Kennedy, the favorite dog driver, who was present, told her that even now
there were some of the great tusks and bones of animals that the officers
called mammoths over at the Hudson Bay Company's fort ready to be shipped
to England next summer. She was, however, quickly silenced when Sagastao
sat down beside her and throwing his head into her lap said, very

"Now, Mary, just be quiet and let us hear Souwanas tell the rest of the
story of what Nanahboozhoo did to Mooshekinnebik."

Peace being thus restored, Souwanas, who had been much amused by Mary's
ire, resumed his story:

"When Nokomis heard her grandson describe how he was going to let the
monster swallow him she resolved to come and pitch her tent on the
seashore, among the people who had been so troubled, and there to await the
return of her grandson, if he should ever come back from such a perilous

"Nanahboozhoo asked his mother for some magic singing sticks, and also for
a very sharp knife. Then he made for himself a small raft of logs and,
bidding her good-bye for a short time, he sprang on it and was soon
floating out, in search of the dreaded creature, over the great waters.

"When well out from the shore he began to make music with his magic sticks
and to sing a defiant song:

  "'Ho, ho! great fish down in the sea,
  Come, if you dare, and swallow me.
  My brothers all you're fond of eating,
  'Tis time some one gave you a beating.
  He, he! Hi, hi! Ho, ho! Ho, ho!

  "'You see I am not far away,
  So come and taste me while you may;
  Yet not afraid am I, no, no!
  So hurry up, old fish. Ho, ho!
  He, he! Hi, hi! Ho, ho! Ho, ho!'

"Nanahboozhoo sang this brave song over and over, to the weird harmony of
his magic music sticks, until he reached the place where the great fish was

"When the great monster Mooshekinnebik heard the voice of Nanahboozhoo he
came up to the surface of the water to find out who was making all that
music and shouting out such defiant words.

"When he saw that it was only one young man on a raft of dry logs, he
ordered one of his children to go and knock the raft to pieces and swallow
that noisy fellow. But this was not what Nanahboozhoo wanted, and so he
shouted out:

"'I want the old father fish to eat me.'

"This made old Mooshekinnebik very angry, and so, open mouthed, he rushed
furiously at Nanahboozhoo who, when the great monster was close enough,
took a leap into the open mouth and was immediately swallowed up.

"For a short time after being swallowed Nanahboozhoo was unconscious, but
he soon recovered himself and was able to look around and see the queer
prison in which he was now confined. It was fortunate for him that he had
eyes like a cat, and so could see as well in the dark as in the light. He
found that he was not the only inmate of this queer prison; there were a
lot of creatures whom he called his brothers--the bear, the deer, the fox,
the beaver and even the squirrel. Nanahboozhoo inquired of them and they
told him how they had been captured and the length of time they had been in
that horrid place. They also informed him that many others who had been
captured were now dead. Nanahboozhoo found that they were quite hopeless,
and looked forward to nothing but death. However he called them around him
and informed them that he had willingly come among them for the purpose of
affording a speedy deliverance.

"This was indeed good news. Then he explained to them the plan he had in
his mind, and said that it was necessary for them to kick up a rumpus in
the interior of this monster, that they would thus make him so very sick
that he would have to go near to land, and when they should have him there
he thought he had another plan that would enable them all to escape.

[Illustration: "He took a leap into the open mouth."]

"They all agreed to do anything they could to help on his plans, so
Nanahboozhoo took out his magic singing sticks and began to play and sing.

"At once the bear, the deer, the fox, the beaver, and indeed all of the
creatures that were still alive, caught up the lively tune, and such a
dancing and jumping and flying around was hardly ever seen before.

"This internal commotion very much disturbed Mooshekinnebik. He could not
make out what was the matter. He shook himself thoroughly, but that did no
good; then he darted off through the water at a great rate, but this also
was of no use. Then he rolled over and over and over in the water. This of
course stopped the dancing and hubbub inside for a time, but as the walls
of the prison were soft, also the floor and ceiling, nobody was hurt, and
so the instant it ceased they were up and at it again, harder than ever.
Mooshekinnebik never had such a turn in his life. He did not know what to
do. Still Nanahboozhoo kept singing louder and louder, while the dancers
kept up their wild antics around him.

"At length Nanahboozhoo decided that the monster was about enough
frightened for him to do something else, and so he drew out his sharp knife
and gave Mooshekinnebik a good stab near his heart.

"This threw him into convulsions and added to his terror, and he began
swimming toward the shore. When Nanahboozhoo knew this he kept stabbing him
more and more, until at length his body was heard to scrape on the shallow
sandy ground. At this Nanahboozhoo with a mighty effort plunged his knife
with all his power deep into the monster's heart.

"The instant he did this Mooshekinnebik was thrown into a number of mighty
convulsions, and in one of them, with one tremendous effort, he fairly
threw himself out of the water on the shore, and there he died.

"So great and terrible had been these dying convulsions that all the
creatures inside, and even Nanahboozhoo himself, had become unconscious
from being so knocked about.

"How long they remained so they did not know. Nanahboozhoo was the first to
regain his senses, and he was indeed very sorry to see that all of his
comrades were still unconscious. He had some difficulty in getting out from
under the bodies of his comrades, who were piled up on him. He was glad
that the monster was dead, but he was uncertain whether they were on the
shore or at the bottom of the water. So he speedily determined to find out.
He climbed up over the bodies of his comrades to the place that he thought
was the thinnest, and there, with his keen knife, he began cutting through
the roof of this queer prison.

"To his great delight he was soon able to see the sunshine coming through.
When he had cut a hole big enough to let in some air and sunshine he took
up his magic singing sticks and began singing, for the purpose of reviving
all those imprisoned with him. His song was not much to us, but it was a
great deal to those shut up in such a prison. It was:

  (I see the sky,
  I see the sky.)

"As Nanahboozhoo continued to sing this over and over, one after another
his brothers sneezed and opened their eyes. They were indeed a happy lot at
the prospect of deliverance.

"When Nanahboozhoo saw that they were all now recovered he again set to
work with his knife, and it was not long before he had a hole large enough
to permit all of the imprisoned creatures to make their escape.

"The news soon spread, and it was not long before Nokomis, with others,
came to see the huge dead monster, and there were great rejoicings."

"And this," added Souwanas, "is the tradition, as told by Shuniou, of how
Nanahboozhoo destroyed Mooshekinnebik."

"What became of the little monsters?" asked Minnehaha.

"The Indians," replied Souwanas, "under the leadership of Nanahboozhoo made
such a war upon them that they were soon annihilated."


Welcome Springtime in the Northland--How Nanahboozhoo
Killed the Great White Sea Lion, the Chief of the
Magicians--The Revenge--The Flood--Escape of Nanahboozhoo
and the Animals on the Raft--The Creation of a New World.

The coming of the pleasant springtime was hailed with great delight. Seven
or eight months were found to be a very long spell of cold winter weather,
and so when with a rapidity unknown in more Southern climates the winter
broke up, and the welcome warm weather made its appearance, everybody
seemed to feel its genial influence.

The first little wild flowers were looked for with intense interest, and
great indeed was the joy of the children when some were found. The sweet
singing birds that in the previous autumn, on the first signs of the coming
down from the colder North of the Frost King, had flitted away to the
summer Southland were now returning in multitudes. The air was full of
their melody, and as scores of them, fearless and trustful, made themselves
at home in the bird resorts around Wahkiegum, great indeed was the
children's delight as they welcomed them back to their haunts in the North.

And really it did seem as though the birds were glad to be there again,
for it is only in the North that these birds sing their sweet love songs to
each other and build their nests and hatch out their little broods.

The Whisky Jacks, that had been croaking out their hoarse cries all winter,
seemed to get sulky and vexed that they were now so little admired, and so
they flitted away farther north and buried themselves in the interior of
the deepest forests.

In the joyousness of those happy days up in those high latitudes, when the
changes of every twenty-four hours can easily be noticed, Sagastao and
Minnehaha for a time troubled neither Souwanas nor Mary for Indian legends
or stories. There was in the rapid melting of the snow, the breaking up of
the immense ice fields on the lake, the appearance of the land, and then
the grass and flowers, and the planting of seeds in their little gardens,
enough to keep them busy and happy.

But even all these things at length lost their interest. The flights of the
wild geese, swans, and ducks had all ceased. They, with many other kinds of
migrating birds, were busy nesting. The sweet songsters around the home
were everyday companions, and, while the children loved them as much as
ever, the excitement of their coming had died away. So when one day they
saw Souwanas coming over the now sparkling waters in his canoe they were
delighted to welcome him. As usual, when he reached the shore the contents
of his canoe were examined speedily. There the children found a couple of
beavers that had but lately been trapped, and a dozen or more muskrats that
Souwanas had speared in the marshes. These animals were the result of one
night's hunting, and now Souwanas was on his way home to have them skinned
and the pelts prepared for sale to the fur traders.

The children's curiosity was much aroused by the sight of the beavers and
muskrats, and they questioned the old man about them. The queer, broad,
scaly tail of the beavers much interested them, and drew from Souwanas an
interesting account of the various purposes for which the clever,
industrious beavers use this apparently awkward appendage.

"Do you know any Nanahboozhoo stories in which he tells anything about
beavers or muskrats?" asked Sagastao.

"Yes, indeed," replied Souwanas; "in nearly all the stories that are told
about the forming of the new land after the great flood both the beaver and
the muskrat are mentioned, as well as the other animals."

"Tell us one of the stories," urged little Minnehaha.

The arrival of some other canoes at this point interrupted the
conversation. The newcomers were on their way to the wigwam of Souwanas,
who was their chief. He was about to go on with them, but when he saw the
look of disappointment on the faces of the children he, with his usual
thoughtful kindness, transferred the two beavers and the muskrats from his
own canoe to one of the late arrivals. Then telling the people to give them
to his wife, to have them all cooked and ready for dinner, by which time he
would join them, he sent the people on their way. Having lighted his
calumet, with the children seated near him, he began:

"Nanahboozhoo's life commenced long before the great flood of waters that
covered the earth, about which all of our tribes have heard something. He
had his own wigwam and furnished it with everything he wanted. One day when
walking on the shore of a great river he saw some sea lions lying on the
sandy beach, basking in the sun. These animals, like the beaver, could live
as well in the water as on the land. As he closely watched them from a
distance, and saw the rich, shiny skins, he thought what a nice tobacco
pouch could be made out of one of them. When Nanahboozhoo once set his
heart on anything he at once began to work hard to secure it. He tried
various plans to capture one of these sea-lions, but none of them
succeeded. They were too clever to be caught as other animals are, and he
saw that he would have to adopt some unusual method. He decided that he
would go down very early to the spot on the bank of the river where they
were in the habit of sunning themselves and disguise himself as an old
stump of a tree, then, when they came out and were enjoying the sunshine,
he would shoot the fine old white one with the beautiful glossy skin that
he had so much admired. As on other days the lions came, and when they saw
this stump the white lion, which was a kind of king among them, said:

"'I never saw that big stump before. I think it must be Nanahboozhoo.'

"Another one said he thought the same thing.

"Others only laughed, and said, 'It is only an old pine stump.'

"However, as a number of them were suspicious, it was decided to go up and
shake it and see if it would move, and thus really find out. They went to
it, and three of them together used their greatest efforts to move it.

"Nanahboozhoo had to make one of the hardest efforts of his life to hold
firm. However, he succeeded, and so the lions only said:

"'It really is a stump of a tree, but it is very strange we did not notice
it before.' Then they rolled about on the warm sand in the sunshine until
one after another fell asleep.

"Nanahboozhoo now noiselessly and quickly turned himself into a young
hunter, then taking up his bow and arrow he shot the white lion. His arrow
stuck fast in his body and badly wounded him, but did not kill him. At once
the lions all plunged into the river and disappeared. Nanahboozhoo was
sorry that he did not get the lion's skin, indeed he was greatly vexed and
annoyed to have to return to his wigwam without it. A day or two after, as
he was walking in the woods, he met with a very old woman. She had a bundle
of slippery elm bark, out of which poultices were made by the Indians for
wounds and bruises, and also some roots for medicine.

"'Where are you going, nookoom (grandmother), and what are you going to do
with the bark and roots?'

"'O' said she, 'you cannot imagine what trouble we are in, for Nanahboozhoo
has shot and badly wounded one of our chiefs, and great efforts are going
to be made to catch and kill him.'

"She also told him that she had been honored in being sent for to come and
use all of her healing arts to try and restore the wounded chief to health
again, and that now she was on her way to his abode to poultice him with
the slippery elm bark, and to give him medicine, made by boiling the roots,
to allay the great fever from which he was suffering.

"Nanahboozhoo thus discovered that these lions, as he had supposed them to
be, were wicked magicians who had been doing a great deal of harm, and who
when they chose to do so could change themselves into the form of lions and
live either under the water or on land, as best suited them, to escape from
being killed by those whom they had injured. As the old woman was very
talkative, Nanahboozhoo soon obtained from her all the information he
desired. Among other things she told him that sometimes people came to her
for bad medicines, to give to persons with whom they had quarreled, and in
this way they would kill them with the poisons which she made out of
toadstools and other deadly things.

"Hearing these dreadful facts from her own lips Nanahboozhoo resolved to
kill her, but first he had her tell him where the wounded chief's abode
was, and all about what was expected of her when she arrived there. He then
speedily tomahawked her, and clothing himself in her garments he made
himself look exactly like her, after which he took up her bundle of bark
and roots and went to the dwelling of the chiefs.

"There he found quite a crowd assembled, but all were in confusion and
excitement on account of the wounded chief. When they saw, as they thought,
the old woman coming, whom they were eagerly expecting, they made way for
her. Nanahboozhoo went straight to the place where the wounded chief lay.

"He was surprised to see that the arrow which he had shot was still
sticking in his side. He made a great ado about preparing the poultices and
medicine, and set everybody around him doing something to help carry out
his plans. Then when all were hurrying, and none looking at him,
Nanahboozhoo pushed the arrow with such force into the body of the chief
that it killed him instantly. Then with a shout of triumph he made his

[Illustration: "He ran away west, to the great mountains."]

"There was, of course, great excitement among the people. They at once
called a council and consulted what they should do to destroy Nanahboozhoo.
They were, as I have told you, magicians, and had power to raise the
waters, and so they resolved to drown him. They accordingly called on the
waters to rise and rush over the plains and forests in the direction in
which he lived. Nanahboozhoo had traveled with great speed back to his
wigwam, but hardly had he reached it ere he heard the roar of the floods of
water that were coming to overwhelm him. He saw his great danger and he ran
away west, to the great mountains; but the floods of water continued rising
and drove him up higher and higher. When he saw that he was nearing the
highest peak he began to think what he must do next. Around him in the
raging waters were quantities of logs and trees, and among them, or on the
now small peak of land, were numbers of various animals.

"With all his powers he set to work and it was not very long ere he had a
large raft made out of the floating logs. As the last spot of land was now
being overwhelmed by the flood, and he pitied the animals that were
swimming about, he took them on the raft with him. As Nanahboozhoo knew all
the animals and their languages he held a council on the raft. He told them
that if he could get even a very little of the old world that was drowned
he could make a new world for them all. He first asked the otter if he
would try, and see if he could dive down and bring up a little portion of
the earth. The otter at once made the attempt, but after a while he came up
to the surface apparently quite dead. Nanahboozhoo reached out and lifted
him in and placed him in a sunny spot on the raft. Then the beaver tried.
He took a great header and down he dived, resolved to succeed if possible,
but after a time even he came up apparently as lifeless as the otter.
Nanahboozhoo lifted his body up out of the water and laid it in the sun by
the side of the otter. The muskrat next volunteered to try what he could
do, so down he dived and, after a much longer time than the others had been
down, he too floated up senseless and cold. Nanahboozhoo took him up, and
as he did so he noticed that there was earth in his mouth and on his paws.
He carefully collected this in his hand, and then placed the body of the
muskrat beside the otter and the beaver. He then blew upon the earth and
thus made it dry and porous, so that when it was placed in the water it
would not sink but float. He then put a lively little mouse upon it, which
by running round and round upon the earth made it grow larger and larger.
Nanahboozhoo then put a squirrel upon it for the same object. Then the
marten and mink--for the new earth was now so extended that it could hold
up these light animals.

"For a time Nanahboozhoo had to guard the now rapidly growing young world
from the larger animals with a stick, for fear they would sink it. They
were all very tired of having to remain huddled together so long on the
raft, and were eager to follow the smaller creatures that seemed so happy
on the new earth, even if it were not very large as yet. As there was much
to be done to fit this new world up for them to dwell upon, everyone had to
do what he could. The birds were sent to fly over the water to pick up
branches and seeds.

"By and by Nanahboozhoo decided that the earth, which had now grown beyond
the reach of his eyes, was large enough, and so he revived the otter, the
beaver and the muskrat, and with them and all the other animals around him
he took possession of the new world.

"In order to ascertain the size of the world he sent a wolf to run to the
end of it and then to return at once to him. The wolf easily made the
journey in one day. Nanahboozhoo then kept him with him for some time, and
again sent him off. The second journey took him five days, the third ten,
the fourth a month, then he was gone a year and then five years. Thus it
went on, until at length Nanahboozhoo started off a young wolf just able to
run on the long journey. This one died of old age ere he had completed the
trip. Nanahboozhoo then said that the world was large enough, and commanded
it to cease from growing."


Among the Briers and Wild Roses--Why the Roses have
Thorns--Why the Wild Rabbits are White in Winter.

One day as the children were out in the clearings back of their home,
gathering some of the wild strawberries that grew there and also some of
the wildflowers that bloomed during the short brilliant summer, they were
delighted to see Souwanas coming along the road with his gun on his
shoulder and some ducks and rabbits in his hand.

Very cordial were their greetings, but soon the quick eyes of the kindly
Indian noticed that there were several long red scratches and even some
drops of partly dried blood on the hands of his little friends. It was
hardly necessary for him to ask the cause of the wounds, as the bunches of
sweet briers and wild roses, with their sharp needle-like thorns, in the
happy children's hands told the tale.

Putting down his gun and game, Souwanas quickly gathered some of the sweet
fragrant grass which is there so abundant, and skillfully twisting it into
little coils he wound one around each of the bunches of flowers which the
children had gathered, and which they were still having trouble to hold on
account of the thorns.

The bouquets thus arranged could now be carried without inflicting any
more wounds or pain. Amid their chat and laughter, for these white children
were taught, like Indian children, not to be afraid of a few scratches or a
little pain, Minnehaha, who was industriously wiping the blood from some
wounds on her little white hands with her apron, said:

"How is it, Souwanas, that all these rosebushes and briers have such sharp
thorns on them?"

"I suppose Mary would say that Nanahboozhoo, the rascal, had something to
do with it," put in Sagastao.

At this reference to Mary there was a mischievous twinkle in the eyes of
the old Indian.

"Yes," he replied, "Nanahboozhoo had lots to do with it, and yet when you
hear the story you will see that he was not such a rascal at the time he
did it as Mary would make out, but almost as good as her pet, Wakonda, who
gave the bees their stings."

"O tell us all about it now," said Minnehaha. "We have this forenoon as a
half holiday, and papa is to join us in about an hour for a walk in the

The kind-hearted old Indian had been pleased with the plucky way in which
the children had slighted their wounded hands, and before he began his
story he acted the part of the skillful physician. He found some soft juicy
leaves which he crushed and spread on the ugly red scratches. The effect
was magical, and the children who had so bravely treated their wounds with
indifference gratefully acknowledged the sudden cessation of the smart.

Selecting a pretty spot under a clump of balsam trees, where some
boulder-like stones afforded them comfortable seats, the children cuddled
down with their old friend, to hear how the roses got their thorns.

"Long ago the roses were the most abundant of flowers, but they grew on
bushes that were smooth and fragrant, and such delicious eating that all
the animals that eat grass or browse were constantly seeking for and
devouring not only the rose flowers but also the bushes on which they grew.
The result was that the roses of all kinds were in danger of being
exterminated. In those days trees and flowers and other things had greater
powers of thinking and acting than they have now, and so the roses of
different kinds met in council to decide what could be done to preserve
those of them that were still left in existence. It was decided that a
deputation of them should be sent to Nanahboozhoo to implore his

"He is such an eccentric fellow, and assumes so many disguises, that they
had a good deal of difficulty in finding him. They traveled long distances,
and inquired of the various wild animals they met and even consulted the
trees and hills. At length they were informed that he was now living in a
valley among the mountains and experimenting as a gardener. They hurried
away as fast as the fierce wind which they had hired to carry them could
blow them along. At first when they reached his abode they were very much
frightened, as it was easy to observe from the loud angry tones in which
Nanahboozhoo, although afar off, was speaking, that he was in a great rage.
However, they had come too far to be easily discouraged. They quietly drew
near, and hiding behind some dense balsam trees they carefully listened to
find out the cause of his anger. Fortunately, they could not have come at a
better time for themselves, for it seems that Nanahboozhoo had become very
much interested in his work as a gardener. All the things he had planted
had grown so well that in order to protect them from prowling wild animals
he had set all around the garden a fine hedge of rosebushes. So many were
required that Nanahboozhoo had been obliged to transplant bushes from a
great distance around, for they did not grow so abundantly as formerly.

"The morning of the very day on which the deputation of the rosebushes
arrived Nanahboozhoo had returned from one of his short adventures. Fancy
his indignation at finding that in his absence all sorts of animals, from
the rabbit to the mountain elk, had visited his abode, and had not only
completely eaten that lovely hedge of rosebushes, but had also greatly
injured the beautiful garden, of which he was so proud!

"When the deputation of roses understood the cause of his wrath they at
once left their hiding places and, aided by a sudden puff of wind, came
before Nanahboozhoo. The sight of them excited his curiosity, as it had
seemed to him that every rosebush had been destroyed. Before he could say a
word, however, the rosebushes, who were then able to talk, at once
presented their petition and pleaded for his powerful assistance to save
them from being exterminated by their enemies.

"Nanahboozhoo listened to their petition, and after some consultation with
the rose bushes it was decided to cover the stocks and branches, up to the
very beautiful flowers, with small thorn-like prickles, so that every
animal henceforth would be afraid to either devour or closely approach
them, as they had been accustomed to do in the past. With this protection
granted them they were more than pleased, and so it now happens that roses
of many kinds still exist in various parts of the world."

"Thank you very much for that story," said Minnehaha. "Even if Nanahboozhoo
did put prickles on the rosebushes he was not a rascal, for we would not
have had any roses at all but for what he did."

For a wonder, Sagastao was silent for a time; but at length he found
something to say, and his words were a bit of a confession and promise of

"Now that I know why it is that the prickles are on the wild roses I'll not
get mad even if my fingers bleed when I am gathering a bouquet for mother."

At this moment the two favorite dogs, Jack and Cuffy, came bounding up. By
this the children knew that their father was not far behind, and they were
not disappointed. At first he looked anxious when he saw the little hands
wrapped up in green leaves, but as with merry laughs they told him what the
leaves were for everything was bright again.

Souwanas was greeted very cordially, as usual, and assured that at the
mission house he would find in the mistress a willing purchaser of his
ducks and rabbits. The children were always interested in the game,
although Minnehaha strongly declared that it was a pity to kill the pretty
creatures. Souwanas and their father were chatting together while the
children were turning the ducks and rabbits over.

"See what red eyes some of the ducks have," said Sagastao. "They look as
though they had been crying."

"Guess you would have cried too," rather indignantly replied Minnehaha, "if
you had been shot as they were."

"Huh!" he replied with a tinge of contempt, "how could they cry after being
shot? I don't believe that is it at all. And, look here, Minnehaha, I am
going also to ask why it is that, while all the rabbits were so white in
winter, they are all now so brown in summer."

Quickly the resolve was carried out, and so, while Minnehaha was telling
her father what a beautiful story they had heard about the roses, Sagastao,
with his hand on the shoulder of the old Indian, who was seated on a rock,
was eagerly firing at him his double-barreled question: "Why have some
ducks such red eyes, and why are the rabbits white in winter and brown in

"Both done by Nanahboozhoo," said the old man with a smile, as he took his
pipe out of his mouth.

"Hurrah for Nanahboozhoo!" shouted the lad.

This outburst on the part of Sagastao at once attracted the attention of
the others to him and Minnehaha wanted to know what was the matter now.

"Why, did you not hear? Souwanas says that Nanahboozhoo gave the ducks the
red eyes and makes the rabbits to be white in winter and brown in summer."
Then turning to Souwanas he asked, "How does Nanahboozhoo do it?"

Here the father, while amused at the lad's enthusiasm, interposed, and

"You have already kept Souwanas a long time, and perhaps he is busy."

"Busy!" said the irrepressible Sagastao, who was shrewd beyond his years.
"Busy! Why Souwanas would rather tell stories than do anything else--unless
to smoke his pipe."

Then he glibly told Souwanas in Saulteaux what had passed between him and
his father in English, and added, "Is that not so, Souwanas?"

The old Indian smiled, and said kindly:

"How can I help enjoying telling stories when I have such good little

"But what about his dinner?" asked the kind-hearted Minnehaha. "If we keep
him here telling stories he will be too late to get back to his wigwam for
his dinner. I think we had better take him home with us."

This was quickly decided upon, and that there might be no mistake a piece
of bark was quickly cut from a birch tree and a few lines written upon it
telling the good mother in the home that they had met Souwanas, and that he
was entertaining the children with Nanahboozhoo stories and would be with
them to dinner. Then Jack, the great dog, was called and sent back with the
missive, with orders to give it to his mistress.

As the dog dashed away homeward the mischievous Sagastao said:

"My! don't I wish I was in the kitchen when Mary hears that we are out here
with Souwanas listening to stories about Nanahboozhoo! Won't she be hopping

"It will be better," said his father, "for Souwanas to tell his story than
for you to make any further remarks of that kind."

At first Souwanas seemed to show some hesitancy in beginning his story in
the presence of his missionary, and he whispered to Sagastao his fears that
perhaps his father would not care for such trifles as Indian legends and

With his usual bluntness, the lad declared:

"O, you don't know our father if you think that way about him. He loves
nice stories as well as we do, and tells us lots of them; so go ahead, for
you are going home to dinner with us."

Thus assured, the old man began:

"I will tell you to-day about how it is that the rabbits are white in

"Long ago they were always brown, just like those that are lying there
with the ducks. It is true that they increase very fast, but then it is
very true that they have many enemies. They have not many ways to defend
themselves against their foes, who are of so many kinds. Almost all the
animals that live on flesh are always hunting for rabbits, and so are the
foxes of all kinds, the wild cats, wolves, and wolverines, and even the
little weasels and ermine. Then there are fierce birds--the eagle, the
hawks of all kinds and the owls--that are always on the lookout for
rabbits, young or old.

"The result was that with this war continually being waged against them the
poor rabbits had a hard time of it, and especially in winter; for they
found it very difficult to hide themselves when the leaves were off the
trees and the ground covered with snow. In those days in the long ago the
animals used to have a great council. There the great fathers or heads of
each kind of animal and bird used to meet together and talk about their
welfare and the welfare of each other. Then there was peace and friendship
among them while at the council.

"They appointed a king, and he presided as a great head chief. All the
animals that had troubles or grievances had a right to come and speak about
them and, if possible, have them remedied.

"Some queer things were said sometimes. At one council the bear found great
fault with the fox, who had deceived him, and had caused him to lose his
beautiful tail by telling him to go and catch fish in a big crack in the
ice. He sat there so long that the crack froze up solidly and to save his
life he had to break off his tail.

"But all the things they talked about were not so funny as that. They had
their troubles and dangers, and they discussed various plans for improving
their condition and considered how they could best defeat the skill and
cleverness of the human hunters.

"When the rabbit's turn came to be heard he had indeed a sorrowful tale to
tell. He said that his people were nearly all destroyed. The rest of the
world seemed combined against his race, and they were killing them by day
and night, in summer and winter, and they had but little power to fight
against their many enemies. They were almost discouraged, but had come to
the council to see if their brethren could suggest any remedy or plan to
save them from complete destruction. While the rabbit was speaking the
wolverine winked at the wildcat, while the fox, although he tried to look
solemn, could not keep his mouth from watering at the thought of the many
rabbits he intended yet to eat.

"Thus it can be seen that the poor, harmless rabbit did not get much
sympathy from that part of the crowd that killed his race all the rest of
the year.

"Still there were some animals, like the moose, and the reindeer, and the
mountain goat, that stood up in the council and spoke out bravely for the
rabbit. Indeed they told the animals that had only laughed at the rabbit's
sad story that, if nothing was done for the little rabbit and they went on
killing as they were doing, they would soon be the greatest sufferers, for
if the rabbits were all gone there was nothing else that they could get in
sufficient numbers to keep them alive. This, which is a fact, rather
sobered some of them at first; but they soon resumed their mocking at the
poor little rabbit and his story, and, as they were in the majority, the
council refused to do anything in the matter.

"When the moose heard the decision of the council he was very sorry for his
poor little brother the rabbit, so after thinking it over he told the
rabbit to jump up on one of his flat horns while he was holding them down.
Then the moose carried him out some distance from the council meeting, and

"There is no hope for you here. The most of the animals live on you, and so
they will not do anything that will make it more difficult for you to be
caught than it is now. Your only chance is to go to Nanahboozhoo, and see
what he can do for you."

"Hurrah!" shouted Sagastao. "I thought it would be to Nanahboozhoo after

Continuing, Souwanas said:

"The moose encouraged the rabbit by saying, 'Nanahboozhoo's name was once
Manabush, or Keche-Wapoose, Great Rabbit, and so I am sure he will be your
friend, as I think he is a distant relation.'

"Not waiting for the council to close, away sped the rabbit along the route
described by the moose, who had lately found out where Nanahboozhoo was
stopping. The rabbit was such a timid creature that when he came near to
Nanahboozhoo he was much afraid that he would not be welcomed. However,
his case was desperate, and although his heart was thumping within him
with fear he hurried along to have the thing over as soon as possible. To
his great joy he found Nanahboozhoo in the best of humor and he was
received most kindly.

"Nanahboozhoo saw how wearied and tired the rabbit was after the long
journey, and so he made him rest on some fragrant grass in the sunshine
while he went out and brought in for him to eat some of the choicest things
from his garden. Then afterward he had the rabbit tell of all his troubles
and of how he was treated at the council.

"This part of the story, of how they acted at the council, made
Nanahboozhoo very angry.

"'And that's the way they treated this little brother at the council we
have given them, where it is expected that the smallest and the weakest
shall have the same right to have his case heard and attended to as the
biggest and strongest! It is high time that somebody was coming to me with
council news if things are like this. Look out, Mister Fox, and Wolverine,
and Wild Cat, for if I get after you I will so straighten you out that you
will be sorry that the rabbit had to go to Nanahboozhoo for the help you
ought to have given him!'

"Nanahboozhoo had worked himself up into such a furious temper that the
rabbit was almost frightened to death. But when he saw this Nanahboozhoo
only laughed at him, and said he was sorry to have scared him.

"'I was so angry,' said Nanahboozhoo, 'at those animals for ill-treating
you that I forgot myself; and now, little brother, what do you want me to
do for you?'

"They had a long talk about the matter and the decision was that there
should be two great changes. The first was that the eyes of the rabbit were
to be so increased in power that they should in future be able to see by
night as well as by day, and the second was that in all Northlands where
much snow falls during many months of the year rabbits shall change into a
beautiful white color, like the snow, and thus continue as long as the
winter lasts. And the rabbits now have a much better time than they had
formerly. They can glide away in the darkness from their enemies when in
the woods, and when out in the snow they are not easily seen and often
escape notice by remaining perfectly still."

But long ere Souwanas had ended Jack had returned from the home with a note
to say that dinner would soon be ready, and that no one could be more
welcome than Souwanas.

"But what about the red eyes of the ducks?" said the two children, whose
appetites for stories were simply--well, like those of other boys and

Here the father had to interfere and say that there had been quite enough
for one day. However, before the walk homeward began, Souwanas was pledged
to tell the other story at the first convenient opportunity.


Passing Hunters and Their Spoils--The Vain Woman--Why
the Marten has a White Spot on His Breast.

As the home where Sagastao and Minnehaha lived was near a trail along which
numbers of Indian hunters were accustomed to travel when on their way to
the trading post with their furs, they frequently called in to see their
loved friends the palefaces. These hunters were always welcome, and as they
were very seldom in a hurry the children drew from them many a quaint
Indian legend or story of animal life.

It was also a great pleasure for the children to have the hunters,
returning from a successful trip, open their fur packs and spread out
before them the rich furs and tell them stories about these animals--the
silver fox, the otter, beavers, minks, martens, ermines, and sometimes even
about great bears and wolves, whose skin they had often had. These valuable
furs were generally well dressed and prepared for shipment by the
industrious women before they were taken to the trading post. Sometimes,
however, a hunter when on the trail to the trading post would find in one
of his traps an animal just caught, and not having time to return to his
wigwam and have the skin dressed and dried he would carry the animal just
as it was and sell it to the fur traders.

One day there called a number of Indians, and among them was a hunter with
a couple of martens which he had caught in his trap that very morning.
Sagastao and Minnehaha had never seen these little animals before, and they
handled them with much interest and asked several questions about them.

"Why has the marten that queer white spot on its throat?" asked Minnehaha.

The Indians looked at each other and a grim smile flitted over their
bronzed faces when they heard this question.

Their conduct only the more excited the curiosity of the children and they
both clamored for the answer. Then one of the Indians said:

"Ask Mary; she knows all about the story, and as a woman was in the affair
she can tell it better than we can."

With this answer the children had to be content, for the hunters, having
drank their cups of tea, soon took their departure.

When the children found Mary they at once demanded the story.

"What story?" said Mary.

"O, you know what we want, for you were in the kitchen and heard what was

[Illustration: Wigwams and Indians.]

But Mary still protested her ignorance, and declared that she had been so
busy caring for Souwanaquenapeke that she had not listened to half the
chatter that had passed between them and the Indians.

"O, I know you, sakehow Mary," said Sagastao. "You don't want to tell us
because there was a woman like yourself mixed up in it."

Mary bridled up with indignation, but before she could utter a word the
arms of Sagastao were around her neck, and he cried:

"Forgive me, sakehou! for speaking so foolishly. I do remember now that you
had left the kitchen with baby before Minnehaha asked the question."

This prompt apology and the sweet word "sakehow" restored harmony, and Mary
was now anxious to please them.

"What was the question which interested you?" asked Mary.

"Why has the marten that queer white spot on its throat?" asked Minnehaha.

"And the men told us to go to you because there was a woman in it," added

Mary smiled when she heard this.

"Yes," she said, "there was a foolish woman mixed up in the story. It was
like this, as far as I can remember, and it is a story from the North
people. Long ago a man had a wife who was a very proud, vain woman. She was
not contented with having her husband and her own people saying nice things
about her, but she wanted to be flattered and admired by every creature.
You know that I have told you that, in old times, animals could talk and
do many things. Well, this conceited woman, with her silly foolish way,
began attracting the different animals around her. Almost everybody was
laughing at her, but she seemed to think it great fun to have so many
admirers. She got a lesson one day when flirting with the bear. They were
walking along together and she let him put his arm around her, but he gave
her such a hug that he broke two of her ribs. She was a long time getting
well and then her husband gave her a great lecturing. You would have
thought that this would have cured her, but not a bit of it. When she was
well again she was just as silly as ever, though she took good care not to
flirt with any animal that could hug like a bear. She next bewitched the
skunk with her foolishness. But one day, as they walked together, a dog
suddenly attacked the skunk and in his anger and excitement he so perfumed
the woman, instead of the dog, with his odor that her husband found her out
and gave her a beating.

"Everybody was now laughing at her on account of her silly ways, and as her
husband had persons employed to see what creatures she went out walking
with she had to remain at home in her wigwam. But when a woman gets proud
and conceited and carries on like this one did she is hard to cure. The
fact was, her husband was too kind to her. He did not give her plenty of
work to keep her busy and out of mischief. Instead of making her chop the
wood and carry the water, and do other hard things, he did it for her, for
he was very proud of her and she was indeed a beautiful woman. He did,
however, make her stay in their wigwam instead of allowing her to go about
wherever she liked.

"She spent most of her time in fixing herself up in her beautiful clothes
and thinking what a lovely creature she was. But she soon missed the
flattery of her admirers and resolved that, in spite of her husband, she
would try to hear it again. So vigilant, however, were her husband and his
friends that they were too clever for her.

"One day her husband returned from hunting and visiting his traps and
snares. Among other animals that he had trapped was a beautiful marten. He
had caught it in what is called a dead-fall; that is, where a log is so
arranged that when the animal reaches the bait he is directly under the
log, which falls upon him the instant he pulls the bait.

"When the woman took up the marten which her husband had thrown at her feet
she noticed that it was still quite warm, but she said nothing about it to
her husband, who, picking up an ax and blanket, said that he was going off
to visit his more distant traps and would not be back for some days. Before
he left he made her promise that she would not leave the wigwam until his

"The woman, as soon as she was sure that her husband was really gone,
picked up the marten. On examining it she was convinced that it was not
dead, only knocked senseless by the falling log, so she rubbed it, and
breathed into its nostrils, and then with a reed blew air into its lungs.

"Sure enough, the life was in it, and the first sign it gave was a big
sneeze or two. At this the woman wrapped it up in a warm covering and held
it until it was well again. The marten, of course, was very much frightened
when it found itself in the hands of a woman. It was about to struggle to
get free, when the woman spoke to it in its own language. At this it was
very much surprised, and more so when the woman told it how she had given
it back its life, and that now in return it must do what she desired.

"Any animal or human being would be willing to promise as much when its
life had been thus restored to it.

"'I will do anything I can for you,' said the marten.

"'I want you to go to your king marten,' said the woman, 'and tell him that
a beautiful lady has heard so many wonderful things about him that she is
very anxious to have a visit from him.'

"This the marten promised to do, and it was not very long before the king
marten came. Of course he had to be very cautious, as he had been warned of
the many who were watching the silly woman.

"Hardly, however, had he time to say much to her before the footsteps of
her husband were heard outside. The instant he opened the door of the
wigwam the king marten ran out, and disappeared in the forest.

"'What was that?' asked the husband.

"'O, dear, that was the marten you trapped. It must have come to life and
escaped,' said the woman, who thus cleverly saved herself and the king

"The man was suspicious, but as the marten which he had trapped was not to
be found he could not find fault with her, except to say that she ought to
have skinned the marten soon after he had brought it in.

"The king marten, who was a very conceited fellow, had been quite struck
with the beauty of the woman, and so, in spite of his narrow escape, he
resolved to go and see her again. By watching her husband's departure he
managed to have several brief visits, and at length became so infatuated
with her that he tried to coax her to run away with him.

"When she heard this she was very angry, for, with all her foolishness, she
had only acted as she did because of her vanity and love of flattery. Now
that the marten had dared make such a request she resolved that he should
be punished; so one day, when he was sitting beside her and saying a lot of
foolish flattery, she heard the footsteps of her husband approaching, but
did not warn the king marten.

"So the man thus caught the old marten sitting by the side of his wife. At
this he was much annoyed, and as the marten suddenly ran out the man asked
the woman what it meant. So she told him all that the marten had said, and
of his impertinence in asking her to leave him and become the marten's
wife. At this the man was very indignant, and so they arranged to punish
the marten.

"The next time the man went off he told his wife to fill the kettle with
water and put it on the fire to boil. Then the man took his traps and
started off as though he were going on a long journey. But he only went a
little way, just far enough to throw the marten off his guard, and, sure
enough, while he was watching he saw the marten go into the wigwam.

"Then the man came quietly to the door and listened. He heard the marten
urging his wife to leave and run away with him. Then he suddenly sprang
into the tent and shouted out:

"'Old king marten, what are you doing here? How dare you talk to my wife?'

"So saying, the man seized the kettle of boiling water and threw its
contents at the marten, severely scalding him. The marten tore at his
burning breast as he dashed away into the woods. And from that day to this
all martens have that whitish spot on their chests caused by that burn."

"What became of the woman?" said Sagastao.

"Never mind now. We have wasted too much time already on such a
good-for-nothing conceited flirt," said Mary.


Shooting Loons--Why the Loon has a Flat Back, Red
Eyes, and Such Queer Feet--Nanahboozhoo Loses His
Dinner--Origin of Lichens--Why Some Willows are
Red--The Partridge.

Nothing gave the children greater pleasure than to have the Indians take
them in their canoes for a couple of hours' trip on the bright waters of
the beautiful lake that spread out before their home.

These pleasant outings were sometimes rendered exciting and doubly
interesting by the sight of a black bear or a deer wandering on the shore
or swimming from some point on the island. At other times there would be
numbers of loons, or great Northern divers, as they are generally called.
Their wonderful quickness in diving, then the length of time that they
could remain under the water and the great distance they would swim before
coming to the surface were watched with great interest by both Sagastao and

The Indians did not often hunt loons. In fact they found it so difficult to
shoot one that more than its value in ammunition was generally expended in
the attempt. The Indians always declared that these clever birds could see
the flash of their guns and dive down out of danger before the shot reached

However, as some of them were desired for their beautiful feather-covered
skins, which make most valuable and beautiful caps and muffs, it was
decided that Souwanas and Kennedy should take the missionary's
breech-loading rifle, in addition to their own guns, and try to secure a

The children begged to be allowed to accompany them, and as the day was
unusually fine and the lake almost without a ripple they were given a
holiday and allowed the privilege of an all-day outing with these two
trusty and experienced men.

A generous lunch, with the indispensable tea kettle, was placed in the
canoe by careful Mary, who, as usual, was angry that the children were to
be so long under the witchery of old Souwanas.

With the merry shouts of laughter from the children as their accompaniment
the two Indians skillfully plied their paddles, and it was not long before
they were some miles distant and on the lookout for loons. It often happens
that the things desired are the last to come. So it was this day. Wild
ducks in goodly numbers, and even geese and some swans and pelicans were
frequently seen. At length, however, strange, mournful sounds far ahead
were heard, and the experienced Indians knew that the birds for which they
were looking were not far away. Still it was some time before the first
long white neck and black head were seen in the distance, for the cry of
the loon not only differs from that of any other bird, but is very

The excited children were now told to be very still and keep quiet, using
their eyes alone, and witness the contest between man's skill and the
birds' cleverness.

So accustomed have some old loons become to being fired at and missed by
Indians using the old-fashioned flintlock shotgun, which makes such a flash
when fired, that they just barely keep out of range. The instant they see
the fire flash--down they go, and then as the shot or bullet strikes the
place where they were they bob up again serenely in the same spot, or in
one not very far distant. This risky sport some of them will keep up for
hours, or until the disheartened hunters have wasted nearly all their

To-day, however, there was to be a new weapon tried against them, and, alas
for them, they were sadly worsted. Kennedy first loaded his old flintlock
shotgun and blazed away, but, as usual, they were out of sight under the
water before the shot struck the place where the loons had been.

For a time the loons were shy, and swam quite a distance away. But after a
while, as they found that Kennedy's gunshots could be dodged, they did not
bother to swim very far away. This was just what Souwanas was waiting for.
He now took up the rifle, and as soon as a loon came to the surface he
fired from this new weapon, that gave no flash to warn the poor bird of the
deadly bullet that was so rapidly speeding on its way. Thus it happened
that loon after loon was struck and several beautiful birds were
secured--greatly to the sorrow of the children, who delighted in watching
their clever diving and sudden reappearance after Kennedy discharged his
old gun. Out of deference to their feelings the Indians soon ceased
shooting, although with this new rifle they could easily have secured many

"Let us now go ashore, on one of these islands," said Sagastao, "and have
our lunch."

"And a Nanahboozhoo story after," put in Minnehaha.

This plan was just what the Indians were thinking about, and so in a short
time they were all on the shore. Dry wood was abundant and a bright fire
was soon burning, and then, when the water was boiled and the tea made, the
lunch basket was opened and the meal was much enjoyed by all.

"Now, Souwanas," said Minnehaha, "we are all ready for the story at the
same time, and if your pipe goes out I'll hand you a burning stick with
which you can light it again."

"Maybe I will keep you very busy," remarked the old man, much amused at the
offer--and so it proved, for his pipe to-day persisted in going out.

"One day," began Souwanas, "as Nanahboozhoo was walking along the shore of
a lake he became hungry. He considered what it would be best for him to do
in order to procure something to eat. He decided to deceive the waterfowls.
He saw a duck swimming along near the shore and spoke to the bird in this

"'Come here, my brother.'

"'What is it?' said the duck, as it approached Nanahboozhoo.

"'Kesha Munedoo (Gracious Spirit) has revealed words to me to tell to all
the waterfowl some very important things. Go and tell all sorts of
waterfowl to come, and when they are all together I will inform you what
has been revealed to me.'

"The duck obeyed Nanahboozhoo, who in the meantime made a very bare wigwam
of green boughs, or rather caused it to appear that he did, for he did not
exert much labor upon it. All sorts of waterfowl came to Nanahboozhoo and
they seemed anxious to hear what had been revealed. Nanahboozhoo received
them with great apparent friendliness and invited them to come into the
wigwam. When they had all entered, he said:

"'You must all dance, first, before I tell you what has been revealed to
me. All of you must stand close together around inside of the wigwam and
put your necks close together while dancing, and all of you must flap your
wings at the same time.'

"Then Nanahboozhoo commenced singing:


  ("'Shut your eyes,
  And I'll make you wise.')

"These words Nanahboozhoo repeated three times.

"All the fowl kept time to the music and words of the song, and danced,
shutting their eyes. Nanahboozhoo continued singing, changing to the
following words:


"All the time such was Nanahboozhoo's power over the birds that they kept
singing and dancing and at the same time holding their heads close
together. Nanahboozhoo's voice was singing in the center of the tent, his
drum beating at the same time, while he in person went around in the wigwam
or lodge wringing the necks of the waterfowl and throwing them on the side
of the lodge. The loon, the great diver bird, was dancing on the open door
side of the lodge. He suspected that Nanahboozhoo was up to some of his
tricks, doing something bad, so he opened his eyes and saw. At once he gave
the alarm, and shouted:

"'Nanahboozhoo is killing us!'

"All the fowl that were still alive when they heard these words at once
flew out at the top opening of the lodge, except the loon, or diver, and he
being at the door turned and ran out of the lodge as fast as he could
toward the shore of the lake.

"Nanahboozhoo was so angry at him for daring to open his eyes, and then for
warning the others, enabling many of them to get away, that he ran after
him and stamped upon him as he had just reached the shore. Hence it is,
because of Nanahboozhoo's cruelty, that the loon has had a flat back and
red eyes, and its feet are so unlike those of any other waterfowl.

"When Nanahboozhoo had made a large fire he took the waterfowls he had
killed before the diver gave the alarm, and covered them under the ashes,
leaving only their feet sticking out. While he was waiting for them to cook
he felt very sleepy, so he lay down to rest.

"But before he went to sleep he said, 'My face side has always done all the
watching. This is not fair. I will make my back do its share of the

"So, as he cuddled down to have a sleep before the fire, he said to his

"'Now, you do the watching, you lazy, broad back, while I am sleeping.'
Then, being very tired, he fell into a heavy sleep.

"After a time the watcher called out:

"'Nanahboozhoo! Indians are coming!'

"Nanahboozhoo slightly raised himself, but he saw no Indians, so he lay
down to sleep again.

"But again and yet again, for three times, did his faithful watcher call
and warn him against his approaching enemies. Nanahboozhoo was now so
stupid with sleep that he only aroused himself a little, not enough to
enable him to detect the lurking enemy. So he became very angry with his
watcher, his broad back, and gave it a great thrashing, saying:

"'There! take that, you great stupid watcher, for so disturbing me with
your false reports!'

"Then Nanahboozhoo fell asleep again. The broad back was very much
offended at the treatment he had received, for he knew he was right, and
now, though the Indians were close at hand, he did not again warn
Nanahboozhoo, so the enemies came and stole all of his cooked fowls. The
Indians carefully lifted out the fowls by their legs, which Nanahboozhoo
left sticking up. When they had eaten the bodies of the fowls they stuck
back the legs in the ashes, as Nanahboozhoo had left them.

"When at last his sleep was ended Nanahboozhoo arose ready for his meal of
nicely cooked fowl. Great, indeed, were his surprise and indignation when
he pulled out the feet from the ashes and found that the bodies of the
fowls were not there.

"He flew into a passion and resolved to punish his back. So he made a fire
of big trees and stood with his back very close to it. When his flesh began
to be badly burned it blistered, and made a noise like the roasting of
meat. Nanahboozhoo did not at first seem to mind the pain, and only said:

"'You may well say 'Zeeng, Zeeng,' in your burning. I will teach you a
lesson you will remember for not telling me that the Indians were stealing
my roasted waterfowl.'

"Nanahboozhoo then went on his way, but in spite of his magic powers he
felt a sort of a soreness in his back. He twisted his head around and saw
the blisters that had been made by the fierce fire. So he thought how he
must get rid of them, for they bothered him, although nothing could injure
him for very long. While walking on the edge of a precipice he
slipped--and away he slid, far down the rocky side. When he reached the
bottom, he looked back, and there, on the rock, on which he had slid down,
he saw things which he had never seen before.

"'My nephews,' said Nanahboozhoo, 'when they see these things on the rocks,
will call them Wau-konug (lichen), and although they are poor food they
will keep them from starving when they have nothing better.'

"This is the Indian tradition of the origin of the patches of lichen
attached to the bare rocks. The Indians still call them 'no-scabs,' and
when boiled they make a kind of jelly food which is a little better than

"Then Nanahboozhoo, although his back was bleeding from his sliding down
the rough rocks, continued walking, sometimes along the shore and sometimes
in the thick bush. In one place where the thicket was very dense such was
his magic power that he pulled a lot of the thickets together and walked
over on their tops. When he looked back he saw that the blood from the
wounds in his back had given a red color to the bushes over which he had
walked. Then said Nanahboozhoo:

"'My nephews will call these bushes "Me-squah-be-me-sheen" (red willows).
They will use them to stop bleeding when they meet with any severe
accidents;' and such the Indians still do when they live among them.

"This is the tradition as to the origin of the red willow, once so common
in many of the Indian haunts.

"The reason why the partridge is called Kosh-ko-e-wa-soo (one that
startles) is because one made even Nanahboozhoo give a big jump. It
happened in this way:

"As Nanahboozhoo was walking along one day in the woods he saw a small
creature. This little thing thought it would be best for him to be brave in
the presence of Nanahboozhoo, and so when he was asked who he was he

"'I am one who startles.'

"'You cannot startle me,' said Nanahboozhoo.

"The little creature suddenly flew away and Nanahboozhoo resumed his
journey. By and by he reached a dangerous rocky point on the shore. Just as
he was at the worst point the partridge suddenly flew almost from under his
feet with a rumbling noise, and so startled him that he jumped up, sprang
quickly aside, fell into the water, and got a great wetting. So even
Nanahboozhoo had to confirm the name of the little partridge."

The return trip was not much enjoyed by the children. The dead loons in the
canoe did not look as attractive as they had appeared when swimming and
diving so gracefully in the lake. Souwanas was quick to notice their
depression of spirits, and he there and then resolved that he would never
again shoot any living thing in their presence, and he faithfully kept his

Mary met them as they landed and her quick eyes detected the change in
their spirits, and as they wore their hearts on their sleeves for her she
quickly found out the cause of their sorrow. She was not slow in availing
herself of the opportunity afforded of giving Souwanas and Kennedy a
vigorous scolding for nearly breaking the hearts of her precious darlings,
by killing in their presence some of the birds whose play they had often
watched for hours together.

The two men took her scolding in their usual silent way, and then had a
quiet laugh together when her wrath had exhausted itself and she had
indignantly walked off with the children.


Nanahboozhoo's Ride on the Back of the Buzzard, who
Lets Him Fall--A Short-lived Triumph--Why the Buzzard
has No Feathers on His Head or Neck.

One beautiful warm day, when the leaves of the trees were all bright and
golden with their autumnal tints, the children were visiting at the tent of

The old man was making a beautiful little bow and a quiver full of arrows
for Sagastao while the old wife was manufacturing an elaborate baby cradle,
of the Indian pattern, for Minnehaha, in which she could carry her favorite
doll in the style popular among the Indian girls.

The children were much interested in watching these highly-prized gifts
being prepared for them, and of course had much to say in the way of thanks
to those who were doing so much to add to their happiness.

While they were thus busy several canoes were seen coming from the south.
As the wind was favorable sails had been improvised out of blankets, each
fastened to a couple of oars, and with these simple appliances they sped
rapidly along. Seeing Souwanas's wigwam on the point of land the Indians
came to the shore and smoked and chatted for a short time ere they
resumed their journey toward the north.

[Illustration: The Indian story-teller.]

They had in their canoes quite a variety of game, and among them a large
ill-smelling bird called a turkey-buzzard. It was said that the young
Indian hunter who had shot it thought at first that it really was a turkey,
but he found out his mistake when he went to lift it from the ground where
it had fallen. The odor was so offensive that at first he thought he would
leave it behind, but when he remembered that often some of the large
feathers were used in ornamental work he decided to bring it along.

The children were interested in its appearance, as this was the first dead
turkey-buzzard they had ever seen.

"Look, Souwanas," said Minnehaha, "the poor birdie has no feathers on its
neck or head. It must be very cold there when the winter comes."

"Well, I think that, as likely as not, it was its own fault that it lost
its feathers," said Sagastao, and then he added as he poked the rank bird
over with a stick:

"I would not be surprised to hear that Nanahboozhoo had something to do
with it."

"Nanahboozhoo had," said Souwanas, "and it was because of a mean trick that
the buzzard played upon him. And now that these Indians are off, who are in
a hurry to reach Poplar Point, if you will sit down on the rocks in the
warm sunshine I will tell you the story."

No second invitation was necessary, so while the children seated
themselves near him on the; smooth granite rock the old man continued his
arrow making and told them the following story:

"One day when Nanahboozhoo was walking through the country he saw the
buzzard soaring up high in the air. Like an eagle, he was making graceful
circles round and round with very little effort. After a time the buzzard
flew down to the earth, and there he stood on a rock with his great wings
outstretched. Nanahboozhoo quietly approached and entered into conversation
with him.

"'Brother Buzzard,' he said, 'you must be very happy when sailing around up
there in the blue sky where you can so easily see everything that is going
on down here on the world below you. I wish you would take me up there on
your back and let me see how this world looks from that high place in the
blue sky, where you live so much.'

"The buzzard on hearing this request at once flew down to the side of
Nanahboozhoo and said:

"'I will with pleasure take you up on my back and let you see, as you
desire, how the world looks from that high place.'

"Then Nanahboozhoo, seeing how smooth was the back of the great bird, said:

"'Brother Buzzard, your back is so smooth that I am afraid I will slip off,
so you must be careful not to sweep round too rapidly in your circles in
the sky.'

"The buzzard told Nanahboozhoo that he would be very careful although at
the same time he was resolved, if it were possible, to play a trick on him;
for he had a grudge of some long standing against him which Nanahboozhoo
seemed to have forgotten.

"Nanahboozhoo then mounted on the back of the great buzzard and held by his
feathers as well as he possibly could. The buzzard then took a short run,
sprang from the ground, and spreading his great strong wings speedily rose
up higher and higher in the sky.

"Nanahboozhoo at first felt rather timid as he found himself thus rapidly
soaring through the air, especially as it was so difficult for him to keep
his seat. When the buzzard began circling round and round it was even more
difficult, for the body of the bird leaned over more and more as his speed
increased. But Nanahboozhoo was very clever, and after a while he became
more accustomed to his queer position and was very much interested in the
splendid sights of the great world beneath him, over which he could now see
for such a great distance. Lakes and rivers, forests and mountains, all
gave delight to Nanahboozhoo, who had wonderful powers of vision.

"At length, as they rose up higher and higher in the blue sky, Nanahboozhoo
shouted out in his delight as far away in the distance he recognized the
wigwam of his grandmother, Nokomis. Indeed so delighted was he that for a
moment he let go his hold on the buzzard and swung up his arms in his
excitement. The treacherous buzzard noticed this, saw it was the
opportunity for which he had been watching, and circled round so suddenly
that his body was tilted over, and before Nanahboozhoo could regain his
grip he slipped off the smooth back and fell like a stone to the ground. So
terrible was the force with which he struck the earth that he was knocked
senseless, and lay there for a long time like one dead.

"But, as I have told you, Nanahboozhoo was more than human and nothing
could really kill him. So it happened that after a while he recovered his
senses, but he was annoyed, disgusted, that he had allowed the buzzard to
play such a mean trick on him.

"Then he prepared to resume his journey, and of course he looked up to see
if there were any sign of the buzzard. He had not far to look, for there,
up in the sky, not far off, was the old buzzard laughing at the trick he
had played upon Nanahboozhoo, and much pleased with his own cleverness in
deceiving one known to be so crafty.

"'Laugh away, old buzzard,' said Nanahboozhoo. 'You have had the best of me
this time, but look out! For I will put a mark upon you for this trick of
yours that will enable your friends and your enemies to recognize you both
by day and by night.'

"But the buzzard, from his high safe place in the sky, only laughed back in
derision, and said:

"'No, indeed, Nanahboozhoo, you will do nothing of the kind. You have been
deceiving the other creatures, but in me you have found your match. You
cannot deceive me. And now, especially as you have threatened me, I will
always be on the watch for you.'

[Illustration: "Nanahboozhoo then mounted on the back of the great

"Nanahboozhoo made no reply to this boastful speech, but he did a lot of
thinking, and he soon had his plans laid to teach Mr. Buzzard a lesson he
would never forget.

"Resuming his journey he pushed on as though nothing had happened.

"The buzzard was at first suspicious and watched him for some time. Then
seeing nothing unusual in his movements he flew away into the distant sky.

"Nanahboozhoo, in order to carry out his plan to punish the buzzard,
resolved to turn himself into a dead deer. He knew that the buzzard lived
on dead animals of all kinds. He chose a high spot, visible from a great
distance, and there he laid himself down and changed himself into the body
of a great deer. It was not long before the various animals and birds that
subsist on such things began to gather round this dead body.

"The buzzard, that has such wonderful eyes, to see great distances, saw
from afar this gathering of the birds and animals, and as he was ever on
the lookout for such things he soon joined the rest of the creatures around
the deer. He flew round and round it several times, for he was at first
somewhat suspicious. The closest inspection, however, showed him that it
was only a dead deer, and that was the unanimous opinion of all the other
animals and birds that gathered there. There could be no doubt in any
creature's mind but that it was a deer and that it was quite dead.

"The buzzard, now that all his suspicions were gone, in his great greed to
get the best he could savagely began, with his powerful beak, tearing a
hole in the side of the body that he might get down to the rich fat that is
around the kidneys. This is what those fierce, greedy birds always try to
get first. Deeper and deeper into the flesh he tore, until at length he was
able to crowd in his head and neck to reach the dainty morsels he so much

"This was just what Nanahboozhoo was waiting for, and when the head and
neck of the buzzard were completely hidden in the body up jumped the deer,
and as he did so the flesh closed up so tightly around the head and neck of
the buzzard that the greedy bird was there securely held.

"'Ha, ha, old buzzard! I did catch you after all, as I said I would,' said
Nanahboozhoo. 'Now pull out your neck and head.'

"The buzzard with very great difficulty at length succeeded in drawing his
head out of the side of the deer. The effort to do so, however, was so
great that he lost all of the beautiful feathers that once adorned his head
and neck. From that day they have never grown on him again, and there is
nothing there to be seen but the red rough-looking skin.

"'Never again,' said Nanahboozhoo, 'will feathers cover your neck or head,
and so your friends and enemies, as they see you, will be reminded of how
Nanahboozhoo punished you for playing one of your tricks on him. And also
from this time forward your food will only be of the rankest kind, and the
disagreeable odor will so cling to you that even in the darkest nights your
hateful presence will be detected and shunned.'

"Thus," added Souwanas, "the buzzard is the most despised of birds, because
he is such an ugly fellow, with his featherless head and neck, and because
his disagreeable odor taints the sweet air wherever he goes."


A Moonlight Trip on the Lake--The Legend of the
Orphan Boy--His Appeal to the Man in the Moon--How
He Conquered His Enemies.

Moonlight nights in the Northland are often very beautiful. There in the
summer time the gloaming continues until nearly midnight. Then nothing can
be more glorious than to glide along amid the beautiful fir-clad rocky
islands in a birch canoe over the still transparent waters. So large and
luminous are the full moons of July and August that, with the west aglow
and with the wondrous aurora flashing and blazing in the north, there is
practically little night and no darkness at all.

Nothing gave the children greater pleasure than to have permission to go
with Mary and Kennedy in a large roomy birch canoe for a moonlight
excursion during one of those warm, brilliant nights. With plenty of rugs
or cushions, to make the coziest of seats in the center of the canoe, they
fairly reveled in the beauties of the romantic surroundings while they
floated on the moonlit lake. Often in some place of more than ordinary
beauty Kennedy would cease paddling, and then their very quietness added
to the charms of those happy outings.

[Illustration: With Mary and Kennedy in the birch canoe.]

"Say, Mary," said Sagastao, "I was reading in one of my books about the
'man in the moon.' Do you know anything about him?"

"He is looking at us very kindly to-night," said Minnehaha. "I really
believe I saw him laughing, he is so pleased we have come out to see him
this lovely night."

These remarks of the children caused all in the canoe to more closely scan
the great round moon that was shining with silvery whiteness straight in
front of them.

"There are lots of stories about the moon among our people," said Mary,
"but not a great many about the man in the moon. There is, however, a queer
one about how he came down and helped a poor orphan boy."

"O, tell it to us just now," said Minnehaha, "while he is watching and

"Do, Mary," said Sagastao, "and Minnehaha and I will watch the old fellow
and see how he likes to be talked about."

"Well," said Minnehaha, "Mary will be talking to him to his face, and not
behind his back, as people sometimes do when talking about others."

Thus the children ran on with their prattle. Mary and Kennedy were much

"Come, Mary, hurry up! Father said the gloaming would end about eleven, and
we must be at the shore by that time."

"Pretty late hours for little children," said Kennedy.

"Never mind that," said Sagastao; "we will make up for it in winter time,
when it gets dark at four o'clock."

With Sagastao on one side of her in the big canoe and Minnehaha on the
other--their favorite positions when listening to her fascinating stories
as she crooned them out in her soft, musical Cree--Mary told them the

"Long ago," she began, "there was a poor orphan boy who had neither father
nor mother, uncle, aunt, nor any living relative that he knew of. He had a
very hard time of it, as the people did not seem to take kindly to him. So
he had to live just where he could. He managed to get along all right
during the pleasant summer time, but when the long cold winters began he
suffered very much. One winter some selfish people let him live with them
because he was willing to work hard for what little they did for him. They
treated him badly in many ways. They made him go out into the woods and cut
firewood, but when he brought it home they would only allow him to stay in
the cold entry-way which they had built to their winter dwelling.

"They made him go and hunt different animals for food, and then when he
brought, them home they cooked and ate the best themselves, and just threw
the fragments and bones to him as they would to a dog. Every member of the
household treated him very cruelly, except a nice little girl, the youngest
daughter of the family. She felt very sorry for him. She would secretly
take him better food, and she furnished him with a knife with which he
could cut the tough pieces of meat. She had to be very careful not to be
discovered, for if found out she would have been severely punished. So her
pity had to show itself on the sly, and the few words she was able to tell
him of her sympathy had to be whispered as she passed him, when nobody was
looking or listening. The poor boy up to this time had no ambition to
better himself, but her kind words and deeds made him resolve that he must
begin and do something for himself. But what could he do? Everybody seemed
against him but this little girl, and she could do nothing in the way of
helping him to escape from these people, who, now that he was becoming so
useful to them, would not let him go. What, really, could he do?

"Thus the days and weeks and months passed on and there seemed no chance of
escape. He had tried to run away, but had been caught and brought back and

"One night when it was not very cold he went outside of the narrow entry
where he generally had to sleep and threw himself on the ground and cried
in his sorrow and despair. He seemed to be utterly unable to better
himself. As he lay there he began looking up at the great bright moon that,
now so large and round, was, he thought, looking earnestly at him. Soon he
was able to see that there was a great man in the moon. As he watched him
he was glad to notice that he was not looking crossly at him, but kindly,
and so he began crying to the man in the moon to come and help him to
escape from the miserable life he was leading. Sure enough, as the boy kept
on crying and pleading he saw the man in the moon beginning to come down to
this world. He came to the very spot where the unhappy boy was lying, but
instead of helping him he made him stand up and then he gave him a good
sound thrashing, making the boy, however, strike back at him as vigorously
as he could. The beating he got very much disheartened and discouraged the
boy, for it was not what he had expected. On the following night, when he
had recovered a little, he began reproaching the man in the moon.

"'I called for you,' he said, 'to come and help me against my enemies, and
now you have come and thrashed me.'

"But these words, instead of softening the man in the moon, caused him to
come down again and give the poor boy a far worse thrashing than before,
but for every blow he made the boy return one as good as he had received.

"Now for the first time the boy began to notice that the more he was beaten
the stronger he grew. Still he could not understand what the man in the
moon meant. So he came again, and they had another regular set-to, and the
boy had another good sound thrashing. He asked him what was the meaning of
his beating him thus. The man in the moon now spoke to him, but his words
were so much like a puzzle that at first the boy did not understand them.
This is what the man in the moon said:

  "'Would you triumph o'er the strong?
                            Be strong.
    Would you let them no more conquer?

"For a time the boy repeated them over and over. He used to say that as the
result of these meetings with the man in the moon he had grown so strong
that he was nearly able to hold his own against his antagonist. Then one
day, when the man in the moon was puffing from the encounter, the latter

"'Now by hard knocks and exercise I have put you on the way of ending your
troubles. Be strong, and conquer. Farewell! I am not coming again, as you
do not need me any more.'

"Then away he flew back to his place in the moon.

"The boy seemed now to know that he was to use his strength for his own
deliverance. To test himself he began tossing up the stones that were so
numerous on the shore of the lake. First he began with quite small ones,
but soon he found that he could pick up and throw about great big ones,
that were like rocks. When he returned from this last contest with the man
in the moon it was nearly daylight.

"At first the people began ordering him about as usual. But they soon had
reason to be sorry for their cruelty and abuse, for the boy seized one
after another of them and flung them with such violence against the rocks
that their brains were dashed out and their blood ran in streams down the
sides of the rocks--where it turned into seams in the rocks which can be
seen to this day.

"One person only, of all who lived in that dwelling, did the now strong boy
leave alive, and that was, of course, the good-hearted little girl who used
to speak kind words to him and befriend him when she could.

"They grew to be very fond of each other, and were afterward married and
lived in full possession of all the things that once belonged to the cruel
people for whom the little orphan boy had worked so long."

"Well, sakehou," said Sagastao, "I have been watching the man in the moon
while you have been telling the story about his queer way of helping the
boy to help himself, and he was looking pleased all the time. So I am sure
he is well satisfied with the way you have told the story."

Old Mary was delighted with these words from the lips of the lad she loved
with such a passionate devotion.

"But what do you think about it, little sister?" said the lad, calling to
Minnehaha, who was cuddled down on the other side of Mary.

But the darling gave no answer, for she had long ago slipped off into
Dreamland, and there she remained until the strong arms of Kennedy lifted
her up from the canoe and carried her home.


Souwanas's Love for Souwanaquenapeke--How Nanahboozhoo
Cured a Little Girl Bitten by a Snake--How the
Rattlesnake got Its Rattle--The Origin of Tobacco--Nanahboozhoo
in Trouble.

Wahkiegun, as Souwanas named the home of his white friends, always had a
warm welcome for Souwanas. Little Souwanaquenapeke had learned to love him
and nothing gave the grave old man greater pleasure than to have charge of
her for hours at a time. He often carried her away to his wigwam and with
great delight explained to visiting Indians how his name was woven into
that of the first little paleface born among his people.

Sagastao and Minnehaha, while of course pleased to see the love of the old
chief for their sweet little sister, were sometimes a little impatient when
they found that he would have his hour with her before they could draw a
Nanahboozhoo story out of him.

"You are all right," he would say in his dry, humorous way, "as far as you
go; you are only Crees," he would add with a smile, referring to the fact
that they had been born among the Cree Indians farther north; "but
Souwanaquenapeke is better, as she is a pure Saulteaux."

This of course would put Sagastao and Minnehaha on the defensive, for in
those days their own pride of birth was that they were Cree Indians.
Faithful old Mary, herself a Cree, would of course take their part, and it
was very amusing--laughable at times--to listen to the wordy strife. In
these discussions Mary was always the one to first lose her temper. When
this happened the penalty was to have the children throw a shawl over her
head and thus silence her. From their loving hands she quietly took her
punishment and was soon restored to good nature. Good-hearted Souwanas then
speedily responded to the call for a story. But the little Souwanaquenapeke
must be, if awake, in his arms, or, if asleep, in a little hammock or
native cradle beside him.

"What is it to be about to-day?" asked the old man, as the children, full
of eager anticipation, drew a couple of chairs up before him.

After some discussion Souwanas decided to tell them the Nanahboozhoo story
of how he lessened the power of the rattlesnakes to do harm.

"Nanahboozhoo, in starting off one day from his grandmother's wigwam, had
put on the disguise of a fine young hunter. He had not gone many miles on
his journey before he came to a little tent on the edge of the forest where
he found a young Indian mother full of grief over her sick child.
Nanahboozhoo could not but feel very sorry for her, especially when he
heard her story that a snake had crawled noiselessly into her tent and had
bitten her little girl while she slept. Nanahboozhoo felt such pity, both
for the weeping mother and the bitten child, that at once he set to work to
counteract the sad doings of the snake. He hurriedly went into the forest,
and there finding a certain plant he said, 'From this day forward the root
of this plant shall be a remedy for all people against the bites of

"Then Nanahboozhoo showed the mother that the roots were to be pounded and
made into a drink and a poultice. The glad mother quickly carried out his
instructions and the little girl was soon well again. The Indians have ever
since been very thankful to Nanahboozhoo for letting them know of this
plant, which they still use for such purposes and which they call
snakeroot. Nanahboozhoo remained until he saw that the little girl was
quite recovered. Then he said:

"'Now I will fix that snake so that he will not be able to do so much harm
in the future.'

"Then going out he caught the king of the snakes and gave him a great
scolding for the meanness of that one of his family which had crawled into
the tent of the Indian mother and so cruelly bitten that little girl while
she slept. Then getting very angry, for Nanahboozhoo was very
quick-tempered, he said:

"'Snakes, like other things, have the right to live. They are given their
place in the world, and their work. They are to keep down the mice, rats,
frogs, toads, and other things that might become too numerous. They have
their poisons given them to defend themselves if attacked. But they have no
right to go and kill or injure anyone doing them no harm. I'll teach you
snakes that in future you cannot quietly crawl about and bite innocent
people thus.'

"So he took a piece of the wampum from one of the strings with which he had
decorated himself, and having carefully carved the hard shells of which
wampum is made, Nanahboozhoo firmly fastened them to the snake's tail, and

"'From this day forward may all snakes like you have those noisy rattles
upon them, so that all people will call you rattlesnakes. And may it be
that you can never move without making a noise with those rattles, so that
people will always be able to hear them and thus get ready to fight you, or
to get out of your way before you can do any harm.'"

"Well done, Nanahboozhoo!" shouted little Sagastao. "He's the one for me.
But why did he not kill all the rattlesnakes at once?"

Souwanas was, however, too clever to be caught trying to answer a question
that, although asked by a child, was beyond his knowledge, so he resorted
to his calumet, and as the smoke of it began to taint the air Sagastao
said, "Well, Souwanas, can you tell us where you Indians first got your

This question was more to the taste of the old Indian, so while he smoked
he related the tradition of the introduction of tobacco among his people.

"Very many winters ago," said he, "as Nanahboozhoo was traveling on one of
his long journeys he visited a land of great high mountains. One day as he
was passing a great chasm in the mountains he saw some blue smoke slowly
coming up out of it. This excited his curiosity and he went to see what
caused it. As he drew near to it he was very much pleased with its odor. On
further investigation he found that the great cave from which the smoke
arose was inhabited by a giant who was the keeper of tobacco.

"Nanahboozhoo, on searching, found him half asleep in this cave among great
bales and bags of tobacco.

"The smell of the smoke of the tobacco had so pleased Nanahboozhoo that he
asked the giant to give him some. The giant refused in a very surly
fashion, saying that he only gave portions of it away to his friends the
Munedoos, who came once a year to smoke with him.

"Nanahboozhoo, seeing that he was not going to be able to get any by thus
pleading for it, snatched up one of the well-filled tobacco bags, dashed
out with it, and fled away as rapidly as possible. The great giant was
fearfully enraged, and at once began the pursuit of this rash fellow who
had thus stolen his tobacco from under his very nose.

"It was a fearful race. Nanahboozhoo had to jump from one mountain top to
the next, and so on and on from peak to peak. Closely behind him followed
the giant, and Nanahboozhoo had all he could do to keep from being
captured. Fortunately for him he now knew the mountains well, and he
remembered one ahead of him the opposite side of which was very steep. When
he reached this top he suddenly threw himself down upon the very edge, and
as the giant passed over him Nanahboozhoo suddenly sprang up and gave him
such a push that he tumbled down into the fearful chasm. He was so bruised
and wounded that, as he got up and hobbled away down the far-off valley,
Nanahboozhoo watching him saw that he looked just like a great grasshopper.
He burst out laughing, and then shouted to the giant:

"'For your meanness and selfishness I change you into a grasshopper;
Pukaneh shall be your name and you will always have a dirty mouth.'

"And so it is to this day, for every little boy who has caught grasshoppers
knows that their saliva is as though they had been chewing tobacco.

"When Nanahboozhoo had rested himself a little he returned to the cave of
the giant and took possession of the great quantities of tobacco he found
there. He divided it among the Indian tribes, and from that time those who
live where it will grow have cultivated it and have supplied all the

"I wish," said Minnehaha, "that Nanahboozhoo had left Pukaneh and his
tobacco in the cave, for I don't think tobacco smoke is very nice in the

[Illustration: Nanahboozhoo gave him a great push.]

Souwanas was amused with the little girl's opposition to his beloved weed,
and while she was talking took the opportunity to refill his calumet. When
it was in good smoking order he, urgently requested by Sagastao, resumed
his story-telling.

"Sometimes it did not fare so well with Nanahboozhoo. There were times when
his cleverness seemed to forsake him, and he got into trouble' that at
other times he would easily have avoided. For example, one day in the
summer time as he was hurrying along he became very thirsty. Soon, however,
he came to a river which has many trees on its banks. He pushed his way
through them until he came to the bank. Just as he was stooping down to
drink he saw some nice ripe fruit in the water. Without seeming to think of
what he was doing he dived into the quite shallow water to get the fruit,
hit his head against the rocky bottom and was pretty badly hurt. He was
vexed and angry as well as disappointed, but he took a good drink of the
water and then he lay down on the grass in the shade of the trees to rest.
As he lay there on his back he saw above him on the branches of the trees
the fruit which he had at first thought was in the water.

"Laughing at his own stupidity and climbing up into the trees he soon had
all the ripe fruit he could eat.

"Then on he went, and as his head was quite sore from the bump he had got
when he dived into the shallow river he determined to visit some wigwams
which he saw not far off.

"The people received him very kindly, with the exception of one surly,
cross old man. They quickly prepared some balsam and put it on his wounded

"Nanahboozhoo was well pleased with this kindness, and said that he would
be glad to perform for them some kindly act in return.

"Before anyone else, however, could speak the cross old man sneered out:

"'O, if you think you are clever enough to do anything, grant that I may
live forever!'

"This request and the sneering way in which it was made caused the
quick-tempered Nanahboozhoo to become very angry, and he suddenly sprang up
and caught the Indian by the shoulders and violently throwing him on the
ground said:

"'From this time you shall be a stone, and so your request is granted.'"


The Dead Moose--The Rivalry Between the Elk and the
Moose People, and Their Various Contests--The Disaster
that Befell the Latter Tribe--The Haze of the Indian

The sight of four stalwart Indians dragging on a dog sled the body of an
enormous moose on the ice in front of their home very much interested the

Nothing would do but they must be wrapped up and allowed to go out and
examine it while the men rested and had a smoke. Its great horns, its
enormous ugly head, and then its coarse, bristle-like hair, had all to be
examined and commented upon. The opportune arrival of Souwanas, who had
been attracted by the sight of the moose, much pleased the children, and
just as soon as the investigation of the moose was over and the hunters had
proceeded on their journey the children insisted on Souwanas going home to
Wahkiegun with them and telling them something about the moose. They also
wanted to hear a wonderful story, which he knew, telling how Nanahboozhoo
helped the elks to conquer the moose.

When there is a disposition to surrender we are easily conquered. So it was
with Souwanas on this occasion. The children in their love for their friend
pleaded so importunately that a good cup of tea was prepared for and much
enjoyed by him before he began his story, his interested auditors as close
as possible around him.

"Once when Nanahboozhoo was journeying through the country," said Souwanas,
"he found a village of Indians who were very poor. They were called
Oomaskos, Elk people. They had nothing but the poorest of robes on their
backs, and they were nearly destitute of everything in the shape of traps,
weapons, and canoes. The village was strangely silent, for even the dogs,
that generally are around in such numbers, had disappeared. When
Nanahboozhoo saw this destitution and poverty he at once inquired the
reason, and was surprised and very angry to hear that they were great

"Not far off from them was another village whose people were called Mooswa,
or Moose people, and Nanahboozhoo soon found out that, while the
inhabitants of these two villages were antagonistic to each other, they
frequently met to gamble, and that the Moose people were nearly always
successful and had won from the Elk people nearly everything they
possessed. The latter were very much humiliated at Nanahboozhoo's finding
them in such a wretched condition, but they told him they were convinced
that some trickery had been practiced upon them by their opponents. They
also informed Nanahboozhoo that they would be glad if he would help them to
get back their much needed possessions.

"Nanahboozhoo promised that he would assist them on condition that after
their possessions were regained they should give up the pernicious habit of
gambling. This they unanimously promised to do. The first thing
Nanahboozhoo did was to disguise himself as a whisky-jack and fly over to
the village of the Moose people and try to discover how it was that they
had been so invariably successful when they gambled with the Elk people. It
was as he suspected. His old enemies the Anamakquis, the evil spirits that
had destroyed his brother Nahpootee, the wolf, had sent one of their number
among the Moose people, and he had enabled them to win nearly all of the
dogs, as well as other things, from the Elk people. Indeed, he himself had
generally been the one who had tossed the plum stones with which they
gambled, and they had won by his magic powers.

"When Nanahboozhoo heard this he knew that his first work must be to secure
the magic muskamoot (medicine bag). So he flew round and round, and peering
in through the top of the wigwam, where the poles crossed each other, he
was fortunate enough to see the magic bag hanging up on a cross pole over
the place where the Anamakqui slept. He noticed also that it was well
guarded and that it would require some cleverness on his part to get it.

"Nanahboozhoo was, as you know, a very clever fellow. He quickly flew back
to the village of the Elk people and ordered the most industrious of the
women, who were skillful in making fire bags, to make one exactly as he
described. This was, of course, similar to the magic muskamoot he had seen
hanging up in the tent.

"Nanahboozhoo then put into it things that would have just the opposite
effect to those which were in the bag of the Anamakqui. He waited until it
was dark, and then, noiselessly flying back to the village of the Moose
people, he silently entered the wigwam at the top, where there was now a
wide opening, as it was in the warm summer time, very quickly exchanged the
bag he had with him for the magic muskamoot, and returned to the village of
the Elk people. It did not take him long to arrange his plans. The chief of
the Elks had a beautiful daughter, and it was given out that a fine young
chief from a far-away tribe had come to ask for her in marriage. The father
had welcomed this young chief--who was, of course, Nanahboozhoo--and as he
had brought costly gifts he was at once acknowledged as the accepted

"The news spread rapidly and it soon reached the Moose village. When they
heard of the many gifts which this rich young stranger had brought with him
they, of course, were greedy to win them, as they had won the rest of the
Elks' property. It was not many days before a company of them came over to
the Elks, and meeting the beautiful daughter of the chief they said:

"'We have come over to have a game of plum stones with your lover, to see
if he is a better player than we are.'

"The girl went at once into the wigwam and informed her intended husband,
Nanahboozhoo, of the challenge of these people. She also told him that they
were very clever but that they had no idea of him being anything else than
what he appeared to be. Then she added:

"'Be sure to win; if you do not they will beat us with clubs and sticks.
For the custom is that the side that is defeated in the gambling must
submit to a beating by the conquerors.'

"Then Nanahboozhoo and the champion for the Moose people sat down on
opposite sides of the bowl in which were the plum stones, while the people
of each of the two villages ranged themselves behind their own champion.
When Nanahboozhoo shook the bowl, and then let the plum stones cease
rolling, it was seen that he had won every point. At this the Elks set up a
great shout of triumph. The Moose people shouted back:

"'Don't be so fast; the game is to be the best three out of five; just wait
until our man has played.'

"The plum stones were then handed to him and patting his medicine bag he
confidently shook them up, but when they had ceased rolling it was seen
that he had lost every point.

"The victory was now so nearly won that the Elks began to say:

"'Get your clubs ready to thrash the Moose people, for we are surely going
to be winners this day.'

"The Moose people were, however, not yet quite discouraged. 'There are
three tries yet,' they said, 'and our man may yet win.' But their hopes
were soon gone, for when Nanahboozhoo threw the plum stones the third time
he was as successful as at the first.

"This decided the game in favor of the Elks, who now rushed upon the Moose
people and thrashed them all the way back to their own village.

"The Moose were very much humiliated at this defeat. They had not only had
a good beating but, according to the custom of the tribes, they were
obliged to restore much of the property which they had won from the Elks in
their previous contests. A council was called not long after and there was
quite a discussion among them as to the best plan to be adopted to defeat
the Elks and regain supremacy. They decided on a trial of strength, for in
such encounters they had generally been victorious. They had two high poles
erected with a crossbar on the top, and the contest was to see which side
could produce the man who should throw the heaviest stone over that bar.
They sent their challenge to the Elks to meet them if they dare.

"The Elks quickly responded and were soon at the place where the Moose
people, who were awaiting them, had erected the high poles with the
crossbar. When everything had been arranged their strongest man took up a
heavy stone and, with a tremendous effort, succeeded in barely throwing it,
so that it struck the crossbar and carried it down to the ground. When the
crossbar had been replaced a son of the chief of the Elks went forward, as
though he would be the competitor on the side of the Elks. He pretended as
though he could not even lift the heavy stone which the Moose champion had
thrown. When the Moose people saw this they shouted out in triumph, and
began to get ready to give the Elks as good a beating as they had received
from them on a former occasion.

"Seeing them thus coming, Nanahboozhoo rushed forward, seized the heavy
stone, and sent it high up and far over the tops of the poles--thus winning
the victory again for the Elks. With a shout of triumph the Elks again
attacked the Moose and drove them in disgrace back to their own village.
The Moose people were now more humiliated than ever, but they determined to
try another plan; for they were resolved not to give up to the Elks, whom
they had so often defeated. After much consultation they said:

"'Let us have a contest at diving in the lake, that we may see if our
champion cannot remain longer under the water than any one of the Elks.'

"So they went over to the village of the Elks and told them they had come
to have another contest with them. To the proposal of the Moose the Elks
all agreed, and both parties proceeded to the lake. Here a large hole was
cut in the ice and the champion of the Moose prepared to go down into the
water. One of the brothers of the beautiful Indian girl who had been
selected as Nanahboozhoo's bride said to Nanahboozhoo:

"'As our bodies are tougher than yours you must let me compete this time.'

"Nanahboozhoo would not let him do this. He said:

"'I am not afraid of the cold water, and besides I have plenty of friends
down there.'

"And, sure enough, the mud turtle came up and said, in words that only
Nanahboozhoo could understand:

"'My brother, I have come up at the request of your brother, the wolf, to
aid you. Trust yourself in my care and no harm will come to you.'

"Nanahboozhoo was well pleased to hear this, for he knew that his spirit
brother had sent his friend the mud turtle to help him in this trial.

"The competitors now stripped themselves, and when the signal was given
they both dived into the water and disappeared. The Moose people had such
confidence in their champion that they had all brought with them very heavy
sticks with which they intended giving the Elks a great beating in return
for the two previous defeats.

"The Elks, however, were not dismayed. They only said:

"'Just wait until the contest is decided.'

"In the meantime the competitors under the water were so near together at
first that the people on the land heard the Moose say, 'Elk, are you cold?'
To which the mud turtle, who had covered the Elk competitor over with his
shell, replied:

"'No, Moose; but are you cold?'

"As the people on the shore could not hear any answer to this question it
gave some alarm to the Moose people about their champion, who they feared
must be benumbed with the cold. This was really the case, for in a short
time he came to the surface of the water so nearly frozen to death that he
had to be helped out of the water.

"When the mud turtle and Nanahboozhoo heard the shoutings of triumph of the
Elks they knew that the Moose champion had failed, and so they came up to
the surface. Nanahboozhoo swam ashore and joined in the pursuit of the
disheartened Moose people, who had again so signally failed.

"These repeated defeats very much angered and humiliated the Moose people.
They almost quarreled among themselves in their vexation as they talked
them over at their councils. Still they were in no humor to give up. They
had two very swift runners among them, and they decided to challenge the
Elks to a foot race. So they again sent a number of their party over to the
tent of the Elk people and said:

"'We are not at all satisfied yet, and we wish to know if the son of the
chief and his brother-in-law, the young stranger who has come into your
midst, will run a foot race against two of our young people.'

"This challenge was at once accepted and soon all preparations were made
for the great race. It was decided that it should be run on the ice of the
frozen lake, which was several miles round. Much snow had fallen, but the
people of both sides turned out for days and cleared out a good track. They
made it near the shore, and so that the finishing spot would be near where
was the starting point.

"The Moose felt quite certain of winning this time, because by their magic
their runners were to be turned into real Moose, with four legs, and they
argued that runners with four feet could surely beat those who had only
two. But there were others who had heard about this great race, and among
them was the wolf, the spirit brother of Nanahboozhoo, and so he came to
him the night before the race.

"'My brother,' he said, 'I will come and help you in this race. You are the
only one that can see me, so I will be on the track, about half way round,
and when you come there you can get on my back and I will carry you at a
greater speed. But you must keep your legs moving as if rapidly running, or
the people will suspect something unusual.'

"There was a great crowd to witness this race between the two great Moose,
to represent the Moose people, and the son of the chief and his unknown
brother-in-law to represent the Elks. When the signal was given away they
started over the icy trail. The Moose soon were at the front, with the
chief's son not far behind. Nanahboozhoo was purposely a little in the
rear, and so was able to spring upon the wolf's back without attracting

[Illustration: They were excited at his coming.]

"With this steed under him he sped along with marvelous rapidity. At the
half-way point of the race he overtook his brother-in-law, and giving him
his hand, they were soon far in front. When they rushed in ahead there
was great excitement. The Moose people were soon running back to their
village with the Elks whipping them to the very doors of their wigwams.

"After this the Moose dare not challenge the Elks to any further contest,
but they were so furious that they meditated murder in their hearts toward
the young stranger, who had, they now saw, been the cause of their many
defeats. Nanahboozhoo, however, easily thwarted their evil schemes, but at
length some of them were so bad that his anger was aroused and he exerted
all his magic power.

"'Moose you are by name,' he said to them, 'and for your bad deeds I change
you into the animals after whom you are named. Hereafter you will live in
the swamps, among the willows and young birch. On them you will have to
browse for a living. For a little variety in your food you may, in the
summer time, go out into the shallow waters and paw up and eat the great
roots of the water-lilies.'

"Thus the Elks again had peace and quietness. Gambling was never again
allowed among them, and Nanahboozhoo, after receiving their grateful
thanks, returned to his own country."

"What did he do after that?" asked Sagastao.

"Not much, for a while; but after a time he decided to go away up North.
Each fall, however, he comes and looks around to see how everything is
going on. Then he rests on some of the mountains and has a big smoke, which
settles down on the hillsides and valleys and makes the beautiful hazy
time which we all call the Indian Summer."

"Well," said Minnehaha, "if the smoke of Nanahboozhoo's big pipe of peace
makes the beautiful haze of the lovely Indian Summer, it is about the best
thing I have heard yet of tobacco smoke doing."

And so say we all.


       *       *       *       *       *

Ana-mak-qui, _Evil spirits or magicians_.

An-nun-gi-tee, _The ghost with big ears_.

Ja-koos, _Strong-armed_.

Keche-Wapoose, _Great Rabbit_.

Kin-ne-sa-sis, _Little Fish_.

Kosh-ke-e-wa-see, _Partridge_.

Ma-hei-gan, _Wolf_.

Mani-boos or Manitoos or Munedoos, _Spirits_.

Me-squah-be-me-sheen, _Red Willows_.

Minne-ha-ha, _Laughing Waters_.

Mis-ta-coo-sis, _Aspen Tree_.

Mis-mis, _Grandfather_.

Moos-wa, _Moose_.

Moo-she-kin-ne-bik, _Sea Monster_.

Musk-a-moot, _Medicine Bag_.

Mud-je-kee-wis, _West Wind_.

Na-nah-booz-hoo, _Son of Mud-je-kee-wis--West Wind_.

Nah-poo-tee, _Wolf_.

Ni-koo-chis, _Solitude--name of a giant_.

Nokomis, _Grandmother_.

Ome-mee, _Pigeon or Dove_.

Oo-kis-ki-mu-ni-sew, _Kingfisher_.

Oo-see-mee-id, _The Younger_.

Se-si-giz-it, _The Older_.

Pa-peu-pe-na-ses, _Laughing Bird_.

Pug-a-mah-kon, _A hammer_.

Puk-an-eh, _Grasshopper_.

Sa-gas-ta-oo-ke-mou, shortened to Sagastao, _The Sunrise Gentleman_.

Sa-ke-how, _Beloved_.

Se-se-pask-wut, _Sugar_.

Sis-tin-a-koo, _The magician who guarded the fire in the interior of the

Shu-ni-ou, _Money_.

So-qua-a-tum, _Steadfast_.

Sou-wa-nas, _South Wind, The great Story-teller_.

Sou-wa-na-que-na-peke, _The Voice of the South Wind Birds_.

Wah-ki-e-gun, _The House_.

Wau-be-noo, _The East_.

Wakonda, _A supernatural Person_.

Wakontas, _Son of Wakonda_.

Wau-konug, _Lichen_.

Wenonah, _Daughter of Nokomis and mother of Nanahboozhoo_.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Algonquin Indian Tales" ***

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