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´╗┐Title: Canadian Fairy Tales
Author: MacMillan, Cyrus, 1880-1953
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Canadian Fairy Tales" ***

(This file was produced from images generously made



With Illustrations in Colour by GEORGE SHERINGHAM
and a Foreword by Sir WILLIAM PETERSON.               Crown 4to.

Illustrated.                                          Demy 8vo.


       *       *       *       *       *




With Illustrations by MARCIA LANE FOSTER

And an Introduction by JOHN GRIER HIBBEN




_Printed in Great Britain by_ Butler & Tanner, _Frome and London_

       *       *       *       *       *







Professor Macmillan has placed all lovers of fairy tales under a deep
debt of obligation to him. The fairy tale makes a universal appeal
both to old and young; to the young because it is the natural world in
which their fancy delights to range, and to the old because they are
conscious again of the spirit of youth as they read such tales to
their children and grandchildren over and over again, and rejoice in
the illusion that after all there is not a great difference of age
which separates the generations.

The fairy tale makes this universal appeal because it deals with the
elemental in our natures that is the same in every age and in every
race. In the Canadian Tales which Professor Macmillan has so admirably
gathered from Indian sources, we find the same types of character and
scenes of adventure that we do in the tales of the German forests, of
Scandinavia, England or France.

There is in us all an instinctive admiration for the adventurous
spirit of the fairy tale which challenges the might that is cruel and
devastating, and for the good offices of the fairies which help to
vindicate the cause of the noble in its conflict with the ignoble,
right with wrong.

The origin of the fairy tale is to be traced always to the early
stages of civilization, and it is very gratifying to be assured from
time to time that man possesses certain natural impulses which spring
from an inherent sense of honour, and the desire to redress the wrongs
of the world.

Professor Macmillan has been successful in presenting the Indian
folk-lore in a most engaging manner. The stories have all the
delightful charm and mystery of the Canadian forests; they have
penetrated into the heart of nature, but also into the heart of man.

                                        JOHN GRIER HIBBEN.


The tales in this collection, like those in "Canadian Wonder Tales,"
were gathered in various parts of Canada--by river and lake and ocean
where sailors and fishermen still watch the stars; in forest clearings
where lumbermen yet retain some remnant of the old vanished voyageur
life and where Indians still barter for their furs; in remote country
places where women spin while they speak with reverence of their
fathers' days. The skeleton of each story has been left for the most
part unchanged, although the language naturally differs somewhat from
that of the story-tellers from whose lips the writer heard them.

It is too often forgotten that long before the time of Arthur and his
Round Table these tales were known and treasured by the early
inhabitants of our land. However much they may have changed in the
oral passing from generation to generation the germ of the story goes
back to very early days beyond the dawn of Canadian history. Canada is
rich in this ancient lore. The effort to save it from oblivion needs
no apology. Fairy literature has an important place in the development
of the child mind, and there is no better fairy lore than that of our
own country. Through the eyes of the Indian story-teller and the
Indian dreamer, inheriting his tales from a romantic past, we can
still look through "magic casements opening on the foam of perilous
seas in fairy lands forlorn"; we can still feel something of the
atmosphere of that mysterious past in which our ancestors dwelt and
laboured. The author's sincerest hope in publishing this volume is
that to the children of to-day the traditions of our romantic Canadian
past will not be lost in our practical Canadian present.

                                        MCGILL UNIVERSITY,
                                        _May, 1921_.



HOW GLOOSKAP MADE THE BIRDS                                1

RABBIT AND THE GRAIN BUYERS                               10

SAINT NICHOLAS AND THE CHILDREN                           19

THE FALL OF THE SPIDER MAN                                31

THE BOY WHO WAS CALLED THICK-HEAD                         40

RABBIT AND THE INDIAN CHIEF                               47

GREAT HEART AND THE THREE TESTS                           58

THE BOY OF THE RED TWILIGHT SKY                           67


THE GIRL WHO ALWAYS CRIED                                 82

ERMINE AND THE HUNTER                                     89

HOW RABBIT DECEIVED FOX                                   96

THE BOY AND THE DRAGON                                   104

OWL WITH THE GREAT HEAD AND EYES                         112


RAINBOW AND THE AUTUMN LEAVES                            127

RABBIT AND THE MOON-MAN                                  134

THE CHILDREN WITH ONE EYE                                140

THE GIANT WITH THE GREY FEATHERS                         146

THE CRUEL STEPMOTHER                                     153

THE BOY WHO WAS SAVED BY THOUGHTS                        160

THE SONG-BIRD AND THE HEALING WATERS                     167

THE BOY WHO OVERCAME THE GIANTS                          172

THE YOUTH AND THE DOG-DANCE                              180

SPARROW'S SEARCH FOR THE RAIN                            187

THE BOY IN THE LAND OF SHADOWS                           195


And many others came, but they met the same fate            _Frontispiece_

                                                              TO FACE PAGE

And the children all came to him each asking for a boon               6

So Duck crawled under the over-turned basket and sat very still      14

They stood for a time in the shadow of the great trees before
the door and made ready to blow together                             24

He came one day upon a man clad in scarlet sitting on the
side of a rocky hill tying stones to his feet                        60

The coat of Ermine was replaced by a sleek and shining white
coat as spotless as the new snow in winter                           94

Then Fox untied the bag and let Rabbit out and got into the bag
himself                                                             100

The giant frowning angrily, the woman carrying the stick,
and the boy leading the dog                                         148

For some days the boy lay in terror in the nest ... and far
out on the ocean he could see great ships going by                  162

"Strike hard," said the boy, "or it will do you no good"            178

And they sat down together on the edge of the lake                  182

Then the old man gave the boy a large pipe and some tobacco         198


                                                           TO FACE PAGE

He said farewell to the sky-country and let himself down to
earth by one of his own strands of yarn                              32

That night an old Wolf came through the forest in search of food     44

He went to Beaver's house by the stream, hobbling along
with a stick                                                         56

And she makes to him an offering of tiny white feathers plucked
from the breasts of birds                                            70

Then Raven asked Mole to try, but Mole said: "Oh no, I am better
fitted for other work. My fur would all be singed"                   78

And with his magic power he changed her into a Fish-Hawk, and
sent her out to the ocean                                            86

The man gave him another pair of mocassins in exchange for
those he was wearing                                                108

Wolf trotting along like a little horse, and Rabbit laughing
to himself, sitting in the saddle                                   116

Suddenly a large flock of birds, looking like great black clouds,
came flying from the blue hills                                     124

Throughout the long winter months Deer looked longingly
for Rainbow                                                         128

He sat very quiet, waiting for the man of the long foot to
appear                                                              136

The boy went into the forest with his bow and arrows.... He
had not gone far when he saw a fat young deer, which he killed      142

The bull rushed at the mountain with all his force                  158

Then the young man lay down to sleep, and the Fox stood
guard beside him                                                    170



Once upon a time long before the white men came to Canada there lived
a wicked giant who caused great trouble and sorrow wherever he went.
Men called him Wolf-Wind. Where he was born no man knows, but his home
was in the Cave of the Winds, far in the north country in the
Night-Night Land, and there men knew he was hiding on calm days when
the sun was hot and the sea was still, and on quiet nights when not a
leaf or a flower or a blade of grass was stirring. But whenever he
appeared, the great trees cracked in fear and the little trees
trembled and the flowers bent their heads close to the earth, trying
to hide from his presence. Often he came upon them without warning and
with little sign of his coming. And then the corn fell flat never to
rise again, and tall trees crashed in the forest, and the flowers
dropped dead because of their terror; and often the great waters grew
white and moaned or screamed loudly or dashed themselves against the
rocks trying to escape from Wolf-Wind. And in the darkness of the
night when Wolf-Wind howled, there was great fear upon all the earth.

It happened once in those old times that Wolf-Wind was in a great
rage, and he went forth to kill and devour all who dared to come in
his path. It chanced in that time that many Indian families were
living near the sea. The men and women were fishing far off the coast.
They were catching fish to make food for the winter. They went very
far away in small canoes, for the sea had long been still and they
thought there was no danger. The little children were alone on shore.
Suddenly as the sun went down, without a sign of his coming, out of
the north came Wolf-Wind in his great rage looking for prey, and
roaring loudly as he came. "I am Wolf-Wind, the giant," he howled,
"cross not my path, for I will kill all the people I meet, and eat
them all up." His anger only grew as he stalked along, and he splashed
and tossed the waters aside in his fury as he came down upon the
fishermen and fisher-women far out to sea. The fishers had no time to
get out of his reach or to paddle to the shore, so quick was
Wolf-Wind's coming, and the giant caught them in his path and broke up
their boats and killed them all. All night long he raged over the
ocean looking for more fishers.

In the morning Wolf-Wind's anger was not yet spent. Far away in front
of him he saw the little children of the fishers playing on the shore.
He knew they were alone, for he had killed their fathers and mothers.
He resolved to catch them and kill them too, and after them he went,
still in a great rage. He went quickly towards the land, roaring as he
went and dashing the waters against the rocks in his madness. As he
came near the beach he howled in his anger, "I will catch you and kill
you all and eat you and bleach your bones upon the sand." But the
children heard him and they ran away as fast as they could, and they
hid in a cave among the great rocks and placed a big stone at the
mouth of the cave and Wolf-Wind could not get in. He howled loudly at
the door all day and all night long, but the stone was strong and he
could not break it down. Then he went on his way still very angry and
still roaring, and he howled, "I will come back and catch you yet. You
cannot escape from me."

The children were very frightened and they stayed long in the cave
after Wolf-Wind had gone, for far away they could still hear him
howling and crashing in the forest. Then they came out. They knew that
Wolf-Wind had killed their fathers and mothers on the sea. They ran
away into the forest, for they thought that there they would be safe.
They went to the Willow-Willow Land where they found a pleasant place
with grass and flowers and streams. And between them and the north
country where Wolf-Wind lived were many great trees with thick leaves
which they knew would protect them from the giant.

But one day Wolf-Wind, true to his promise, came again in a rage to
find them. He came into the land killing all he met in his path. But
he could not catch the children, for the trees with their thick leaves
kept him away. They heard him howling in the forest far distant. For
many days in the late summer he tried to find them but their home was
close to the trees, and the great branches spread over them and the
thick leaves saved them, and only the sun from the south, coming from
the Summer-Flower country, could look in upon them. Try as he could
with all his might old Wolf-Wind could not harm them although he knew
that they were there; and they were always safe while they lived in
the Willow-Willow Land.

Wolf-Wind was more angry than ever because of his failure, for he
liked to feed on his little children, and rage knew no bounds. He
swore that he would have vengeance on the trees. So he came back again
and he brought with him to aid him another giant from the north
country who had with him a strange and powerful charm, the Charm of
the Frost. And the two giants tried to kill the trees that had saved
the little children. But over many of the trees they had no power, for
when they came, the trees only laughed and merely swayed and creaked
and said, "You cannot harm us; we are strong, for we came at first
from the Night-Night Land in the far north country, and over us the
Charm of the Frost has no power." These were the Spruce and the Fir,
the Hemlock and the Pine and the Cedar. But on the other trees
Wolf-Wind had vengeance as he had vowed. One night when the harvest
moon was shining in the sky he came without warning, and with the help
of the giant bearing the Charm of the Frost he killed all the leaves
that had kept him from the children, and threw them to the ground. One
after one the leaves came off from the Beech and the Birch, the Oak
and the Maple, the Alder and the Willow. Some fell quickly, some
fluttered slowly down, and some took a long time in dying. But at last
the trees stood bare and cold against the sky and there was stillness
and sadness in the forest. And Wolf-Wind laughed and played in silence
through the leafless branches with the giant from Night-Night Land.
And he said, "Now I have overcome the leaves that kept me away, and
now when I please I can kill the children." But the children only
moved closer to the strong and sturdy trees that had come at first
from the far north country and over which the Charm of the Frost had
no power, and Wolf-Wind could not reach them and they were still for
ever safe from the giants.

The children were very sad when they saw what Wolf-Wind had done to
their friends and protectors, the trees. Summer had gone back to the
Southland following as she always did the Rainbow Road to her home in
the Wilderness of Flowers. It was lonely now in the forest and silent;
there was not a whisper in the trees; there were no leaves, for it
was autumn and Wolf-Wind had killed them all.

At last it came to that time of year when Glooskap, who ruled upon the
earth and was very great in those days, gave his yearly gifts to
little children. And he came into the land on a sled drawn by his
faithful dogs to find out for himself what the children wished for.
And the children all came to him each asking for a boon. Now Glooskap
had great power upon the earth in that old time. He could always do
what he willed. And the little children whom Wolf-Wind had tried to
harm in his rage came to Glooskap, the Magic Master of gifts, and they
were all very sad because the leaves had gone.

"What do you wish?" said Glooskap. "We wish nothing for ourselves,"
said the children, "but we ask that the leaves that were killed by
Wolf-Wind because they saved us from his rage be brought back to life
and put back again in their old home in the trees." Glooskap was
silent for a long time and he sat and thought as was his custom, and
he smoked hard at his mighty pipe, for he was a great smoker. Now in
that time there were no little forest birds upon the earth, for
Glooskap had not yet brought them into being. There were only the
birds that dwelt near the sea and over whom Wolf-Wind had no
power--Sea-gull and Crane, Wild-duck and Loon, Kingfisher and Brant
and Curlew. These only laughed at the giant in his rage and screamed
in mockery as they flew from him and hid when he came, among the
shallows or the rocks or the thick grass in the marshes. And there
were also the sturdy birds that dwelt with men and worked for them,
giving them eggs and food. These were Hen and Goose and Duck and Wild
Turkey. They gave men food, but they were not fair to look upon; they
waddled along and could not fly well and they made no sweet music upon
the earth, for their song was a quack and a cackle.


Glooskap decided to bring other birds into the world, not to give food
but to bring happiness to the children on the days when summer dwells
in the land, with their pretty feathers and their pleasant songs. So
after he had smoked long in silence he hit upon a plan. And he said to
the children asking for their yearly gifts, "I cannot bring back to
the trees the leaves that Wolf-Wind has killed and stripped off, for
it is now too late. But I will take the fallen leaves and change them
into little birds. And the birds shall never forget how they were
born. When autumn comes they shall go with summer far away to the
Summer-Flower Land, but in the spring-time they shall always come back
and they shall live as close as they can to the leaves from which they
have sprung. And they shall nest, most of them, in the trees under the
leaves, and even those that nest in the grass shall love the trees and
linger in them. And they shall all be beautiful in colour like the
leaves that gave them birth; and they shall have power to rest at
times upon the air like a leaf fluttering; and the voice of the air
and the laughing waters shall be in their throats and they shall sing
sweet songs for little children. And I give the children charge over
them to keep them from harm just as the leaves which gave them birth
have saved the little children from the giants. And I will give the
trees that Wolf-Wind has stripped power to bring forth new leaves
every spring-time so that when Summer comes back from the Wilderness
of Flowers the trees shall not be bare. And although Wolf-Wind may
strip them off when the Giant of the Frost comes with him from the
Night-Night Land they shall always be replaced in the spring-time. And
I will take away much of Wolf-Wind's power so that he can no longer
harm little children as wickedly as he has done before."

Glooskap waved his magic wand as was his custom, and at once great
flocks of little birds sprang from the ground where the fallen leaves
had lain. And they twittered and sang in a great chorus and flew back
to the trees. They were of beautiful colours like the leaves that had
given them birth. There were Robin Red-breasts and Thrushes all brown
and red, from the red and brown leaves of the Oak. And there were
Finches and Humming-birds all yellow and green and brown from the
leaves of the Alder and the Willow, and they glowed like willows in
the sunlight and fluttered like a leaf upon the air. There were
Yellowbirds and Canadian Warblers from the golden Beech and Birch
leaves. And there were Scarlet Tanagers and Orioles and Grosbeaks all
of changing colours, red and purple and brown, from the leaves of the
Canadian Maple. And they all sang to the children and the children
were all very happy again.

Then Glooskap sent the little birds all away to a warm country until
the rule of the Giant of the Frost from the Night-Night Land was over,
for it was winter in all the land and it was very cold. But in the
spring-time the little birds always come back from the Summer-Flower
Land. And they build their nests among the trees as close as they can
to their kindred, the leaves from which they came. And all day long
they sing among the leaves for little children. At day-break they wake
the children with their choir of dawn, and at twilight they lisp and
twitter to lull the children to sleep. And at night they hide among
the leaves from Wolf-Wind and are very still with never a twitter or a
song. For they do not forget that they are the children's gift from
Glooskap and that they came from the leaves stripped from the trees by
Wolf-Wind because the leaves saved the little children from the giant
long ago.


Once long ago when the Indians lived in Canada before the white men
came, Rabbit was very lazy. He had worked long for Glooskap, the great
ruler of the people, as a forest guide, but his toil was not
appreciated or rewarded. He saw all the other animals idling their
time away, taking their ease all day long, and doing nothing but
filling their bellies with food, and sleeping all the afternoon in the
hot sunshine. And he said, "Why should I work for other people when
nobody works for me? I will take mine ease like all the other
animals." So he sulked in his little house for a long time and could
not be coaxed or driven to do any work. But as he was a lonely fellow
who always lived by himself with very few friends in the world except
little children, he soon got tired of this lazy life. For by nature he
was industrious and energetic and he always liked to be doing
something or prowling alone in the forest. So he said, "I must find
some work to do or I shall surely lose my wits. But it must be labour
that brings profit to myself and not to other people."

For a long time Rabbit puzzled his brains thinking on a business or a
profession to follow. But nothing seemed to be to his liking. At last
one day he saw some Indians trading skins and knives. One was selling
and others were buying and they seemed to be making a great deal of
money without doing very much work. Rabbit thought that here indeed
was an easy way to make a living. Then he saw Duck coming along
carrying a basket of eggs. He said to Duck, "How do you get along in
the world? You seem to do nothing but eat and cackle and swim in the
pond. You never seem to work." And Duck said, "I lay eggs and sell
them in exchange for corn. Why don't you lay eggs? It is all very
easy." But Rabbit knew that Duck was only laughing at him, and that he
was not meant to make a living in that way.

Then he met Bee on the forest path and he said, "How do you make a
living, you wandering bee? You do nothing but gad about all day long,
going from flower to flower dressed in your good clothes of yellow and
black and always singing your tuneless song?" And Bee said, "I make
honey and wax and sell them. I have a great store for sale now. Why
don't you do as I do? I am always happy. I always sing at my work, and
what's more, my song is not tuneless. And just for your impudence,
take that." And so saying he stung Rabbit on the nose and went on his
way, singing his droning song. Rabbit rubbed his nose in the earth to
ease his pain and he swore vengeance on Bee, for he knew that Bee too
was only laughing at him. But he could think of no way to make an easy
living, for he had nothing to sell but his coat, and he could not very
well barter that, for winter would soon be coming on. He was very
angry and troubled and he envied Duck and Bee their good fortune
because of their eggs and honey and wax.

At last he thought of the Indians he had watched buying and selling
skins. "I have it," he cried, "I have it. I will become a great
merchant. I will be a great trader. I will live on a farm where they
grow corn and vegetables, and I will steal them and sell them to the
other animals and thereby make a great store of money. I shall be very
rich in a short time." So, very happy, he went to a field near which
was a vegetable garden. And in it were growing Indian corn and all
kinds of grain which he knew the other birds and animals would gladly
buy. So he made a sign and put it up in front of his house, and it
said, "Buy Rabbit's corn, the best in all the land; it will grow
without rain; there is only a small quantity left. Orders taken here."
Then he sat in his house and waited.

Soon many buyers began to arrive. They were curious, and they wanted
to see what kind of a merchant Rabbit would make. Rabbit explained to
them that he was only an agent, that they must pay him their money,
and he would take it to the farmer, and deliver their grain at his
house one week from that day. The buyers paid him the money and went
away, for they were afraid the farmer would kill them if they went
themselves for the corn. They left a great store of money with Rabbit.
That night when the moon rose over the hills Rabbit went to the field
of corn near-by. But the farmer had spied him thieving that afternoon,
and he had placed around his corn a fence of strong netting which poor
Rabbit could not get through. And he had also placed around the field
many watch-dogs which growled and snarled and frightened thieves away.
Night after night Rabbit tried to slip into the field, but without
success, and the week passed and still he had no corn for the
customers who, he knew, would soon be arriving for their goods. And
meanwhile he had spent all their money and he knew they would all fall
upon him and kill him if he failed to keep his word and deliver their

At last when the day agreed on arrived, he saw his customers coming
for their grain. And he hoped that his tricks would save him as they
had saved him many times before. He sat in his yard playing his flute,
when Earth-Worm, the first customer arrived. "Good day," said Rabbit.
"Good day," said Earth-Worm, "I have come for my corn, for a week has
gone by." "Very good," said Rabbit, "but first we shall have dinner.
It will be ready in a few minutes. You must be hungry after your long
journey." As they sat waiting for their dinner they saw Duck, another
customer, waddling up the path with her basket on her neck. And
Rabbit said, "Will not old Duck who comes here want to eat you up?"
And Earth-Worm said, "Yes, yes, where shall I hide?" and he was much
excited. "Hide under this clam-shell," said Rabbit. So Earth-Worm
crawled under the clam-shell and sat very still, trembling for his

When Duck arrived, Rabbit said, "Good morning." "Good morning, Mr.
Merchant," said Duck, wishing to be polite. "I have come for my corn,
for it is the appointed day of delivery." "True, true," said Rabbit,
"but first we shall have dinner. It will be ready in a few minutes. It
will be an honour for me to have you dine with me." As they sat
waiting for their dinner, Rabbit said, "Would you care to eat an
Earth-Worm before your dinner? It would be a good appetizer for you."
And Duck said, "Thank you very much. I am very fond of Earth-Worms."
Rabbit lifted the clam-shell and poor Earth-Worm was quickly gobbled
up by Duck. And Rabbit, laughing to himself, thought, "Now I am
getting rid of my customers."

As Rabbit and Duck sat talking, they saw Fox trotting up the path. He
was another customer coming for his corn. And Rabbit said courteously,
"Madam, I see your old enemy Fox approaching. He will probably wish to
eat you up; you had better hide." And Duck with her feathers all
ruffled with excitement said, "Yes, yes, where shall I hide?" And
Rabbit said, "Hide under this basket." So Duck crawled under the
over-turned basket and sat very still.


Fox soon came in and said, "Good day, Rabbit. I have come for my corn,
for I am in sore need of it to catch chickens, and the seven days have
passed." "You are very punctual," said Rabbit, "but first let us have
dinner. It will be ready in a few minutes. It will make you stronger
to carry your heavy load." As they sat waiting for their dinner,
Rabbit said, "Listen, Fox. Would you care to eat a fat Duck now? It
would be a tasty bit for you before you dine." And Fox said, "You are
very kind. I always like to eat a Duck before my dinner." Rabbit
knocked over the basket and Fox quickly devoured poor Duck until not a
feather remained. And Rabbit laughed to himself and said, "Surely I am
getting rid of my customers very easily."

As Rabbit and Fox sat talking over old times in the forest, they saw
Bear coming lumbering up the path, tossing his head from side to side,
and sniffing the air. And Rabbit said, "Bear is in a bad temper
to-day. I wonder what can be the cause." And Fox said, "This morning I
stole all his honey and he saw me running away." "He scents you here,"
said Rabbit, "will he not kill you if he finds you? Perhaps you ought
to hide." "Yes, yes," said Fox, "but where shall I hide?" "Hide in
this box," said Rabbit, and Fox sprang into the box, and Rabbit closed
down the lid.

When Bear arrived he said gruffly, for he was in a bad temper, "Good
day, Rabbit. I have come for my corn and I must have it quickly, for I
must be on my way. It is the appointed time." "It is indeed the
appointed time," said Rabbit, "but first we shall have dinner. It will
be ready in a few minutes and I never let a wayfarer leave my house
without first taking nourishment. I have to-day a dish of fresh fish
which you like very well, and we have never yet dined together." And
Bear agreed to wait and his gruffness left him at the thought of his
good meal, for he was a great fish-eater, and he talked pleasantly.
Then Rabbit said, "I have a secret to tell you. Let me whisper it." He
put his mouth close to Bear's ear and said, "Old Fox, the sly thief
who stole all your honey this morning is hiding in the box by your
side. He came here to boast about his theft and he laughed loudly to
me as he told me how easily you were cheated. He called you
Lack-Brains." Bear was very angry and at once he knocked the lid from
the box and killed Fox with one blow of his powerful paw. And Rabbit
said to himself, "What luck I am having; there is another of my
customers gone." But he wondered how he was to get rid of Bear, and he
scratched his head in thought.

While Bear and Rabbit sat talking, they saw Rabbit's last customer,
the Hunter, coming along. Bear would have run away, but it was too
late. "Will the Hunter not want to kill you?" said Rabbit, glad to
think that here was the end of poor Bear. "Indeed he will," said Bear.
"Oh dear, oh dear, where shall I hide?" "Hide under my bed in my
house," said Rabbit. Poor Bear quickly dashed into the house and
crawled under Rabbit's bed with great difficulty for he was very fat
and the bed was very low and he had to lay himself out flat on the
floor, but he was comfortable in the thought that he would soon
escape. When Hunter arrived he said, "Good day, Rabbit, I have come
for my corn, for my children need bread." "You shall have it," said
Rabbit. "But first we must have a bite to eat. I have not very much to
offer you, but I can give you in a few minutes some hot pancakes and
fresh maple syrup." The Hunter was well pleased with the thought of
such a good meal and he said he would be glad to wait. Then Rabbit
said, "Would you like some bear meat for your children, and a good
warm bear skin for your hearth?" And the Hunter said, "Indeed I would.
But in these days such luxuries are hard to find." And Rabbit said,
"Oh no, they are not; under my bed in my house, a good fat bear is
hiding. He is lying flat on his back, and you can easily kill him."
The Hunter hurried to the house, and sure enough there he found Bear
hiding under the bed, flat upon his back. He killed him with a blow
and skinned him and cut him up into small pieces and put the meat and
the skin into a bag to take home to his children. But while he was
about it, Rabbit slipped away into the forest, saying to himself, "Now
I have got rid of all my customers and I am safe. But the life of a
merchant is not to my liking. I will not be a trader any more. I will
gather corn for myself, but not to sell to others." And he ran quickly
away and hid himself in a dense thicket.

When the Hunter went to look for Rabbit, he could not find him, nor
was he able to find his grain. And although he thought he had fared
pretty well by getting so much bear meat, he swore vengeance on Rabbit
for his deceit, and to this day he searches for him, and if he meets
him, he will not let him escape. And Rabbit lives by himself and keeps
away from the Hunter as far as he can, for he fears him because of the
trick he played upon him in the olden days.


Two little children lived with their old grandmother in a remote place
in the Canadian forest. They were twin children--a boy and a girl,
Pierre and Estelle by name--and except for their dress it was not easy
to tell them apart. Their father and mother had died in the
spring-time, and in the summer they had left their old home because of
its many sad memories and had gone to live with their old grandmother
in a new home elsewhere. In this new home in the forest where they now
lived they were very poor, but they were not unhappy. Times were hard,
and there was very little food to be had no matter how well their old
grandmother worked; but they caught fish in the streams and gathered
berries and fruit and birds' eggs on the wooded hills, and somehow
throughout the summer they kept themselves from want. But when late
autumn came and the streams were frozen over and the berries were all
gone and there were no eggs, for the birds had all flown south, they
were often hungry because they had so little to eat.

Their grandmother worked so hard to provide for herself and the
children that at last she fell very sick. For several days she could
not leave her bed. And she said, "I want meat broth to make me well
and I must have good meat to make it. If I do not get meat I can have
no broth, and if I do not get broth I shall not get well, and if I do
not get well I shall die, and if I die you two children will surely
starve and die too. So meat and meat alone can save us all from
starvation and death." So the two children, to keep themselves and
their grandmother alive, set out one morning in search of meat to make
the broth. They lived far from other people and they did not know
where to go, but they followed the forest path. The snow lay deep on
the ground and sparkled brightly in the sunlight. The children had
never before been away from home alone and every sight was of great
interest to them. Here and there a rabbit hopped over the snow, or a
snowbird hovered and twittered overhead, all looking for food like the
children. And there were holly-berries growing in many places, and
there was mistletoe hanging from the trees. And Pierre when he saw the
holly-berries and the mistletoe said, "Saint Nicholas will be soon
here, for the trees are dressed and ready for his coming." And Estelle
said, "Yes, Saint Nicholas will be soon here." And they were both very
glad thinking of his coming.

As they went along in the afternoon, they came upon an old man sitting
at the door of a small house of spruce-boughs under the trees close to
the forest path. He was busy making whistles, whittling willow wands
with a knife and tapping gently on the bark until the bark loosened
from the wood and slipped easily off. The children stood and watched
him at his strange work, for he had merry twinkling eyes, and a kindly
weather-beaten face, and thick white hair, and they were not afraid.

"Hello," said the old man.

"Hello," said Pierre, "why are you making willow whistles?"

"I am making them for Saint Nicholas," said the old man; "he is coming
soon for his yearly visit; indeed he is already in the land; when he
makes his rounds he always gives whistles, among other things, to good
children, and I must have a great store of them ready for him when he
comes, for there are many children to supply."

Then he went on whittling busily with his knife. The children watched
him for a long time in silence, and they thought what a fine thing it
must be to work like the old man for Saint Nicholas, in his little
house of boughs under the forest trees. Then the old man said, "You
are very small children; what are you seeking so far away from
people?" And Estelle answered, "Our old grandmother is very sick, and
we are looking for meat to make broth to make her well." The old man
was sorry he had no meat, for he lived on other food. He told them
that some distance farther along there was a butcher who always kept
meat; but the butcher, he said, was a very wicked fellow and
sometimes little children who entered his shop never came out again.
The children were very frightened when they heard what the old man
said and they wondered if they had better go back home. But the old
man thought for a long time in silence as he whittled his willow
wands, and then he said, "I will give you each a whistle, and when you
blow it, Saint Nicholas will always hear it; you must never blow it
except when you are in great trouble or distress, and when Saint
Nicholas hears it he will know that you are coming to grief or that
harm is already upon you and he will come himself or send some one to
your assistance. But you must blow only one blast. The whistle should
be given only by Saint Nicholas himself when he comes at holly-time
into the land. But you are good children and your old grandmother is
sick, and you are trying to make her well, and I know that Saint
Nicholas will not say that I have done wrong." So he gave the children
each a whistle, and then fear left them, for they knew they could now
come to no harm if they had the aid of Saint Nicholas.

It was growing late in the afternoon and the children set out on their
way to find the wicked butcher. But they had many misgivings, and as
they went on they grew faint of heart, for they wondered if the old
man had told them the truth about the whistles or if he was in reality
a secret agent of the wicked butcher trying to lure them to their
death. They resolved to search for meat elsewhere and to keep away
from the butcher's shop.

For a long time they searched, but without success. There was no meat
to be had in all the land at any of the places they stopped to ask.
Soon they came in sight of the butcher's shop. They were very
frightened. But the sun had already gone down behind the trees, and
night was coming on, and they had still no meat. And they knew that if
their old grandmother was to get well she must have meat to make
broth. The shop, too, looked very pleasant and attractive in the cold
winter evening. Warm light was shining from a fire through the door,
and in the windows were sausages, and fat birds, and big yellow
pumpkins and cakes with red berries on the top. The children were
hungry and wished for something to eat by the warm shop fire. They
decided to enter the shop notwithstanding their fear, to buy some
food, and to get meat for their grandmother's broth as quickly as they
could. But before they entered the shop they thought it would be well,
in order to be safe, to blow a blast on their whistle as the old man
had told them so that Saint Nicholas would know that they were in
dread of harm. They stood for a time in the shadow of the great trees
before the door and made ready to blow together. Pierre gave the
signal and blew a long soft blast. But Estelle could not get her
whistle from her pocket and Pierre had finished his blast, all out of
breath, before she was ready to blow. "Don't blow now," he said, "you
are just like a girl, always too late." But blow she would, as the old
man had told her, and before Pierre could stop her she blew a long
soft blast on her whistle. Pierre was very cross, for he thought that
now no good could come of it, as two blasts had sounded, but with his
sister he entered the butcher's shop.

The wicked butcher was in his shop, but not another person was about
the place. It was all very quiet. The man was very glad to see the
children and he seated them by the warm fire, and gave them food, and
although he shut the door tight behind them, their fear soon vanished.
After they had eaten well and were warm again, they asked for meat to
make broth for their old grandmother, and the butcher said he would
give them plenty of good meat although it was very scarce in all the
land. There was a barrel standing in one corner; in another corner was
a large hogshead reaching almost to the ceiling, and the butcher said
that both of these were full of meat.

Now the butcher was really the friend and partner of a wicked giant
who lived in the forest. The giant's greatest delight was to eat
little children. He liked no meal so well as a meal of little
children, two at a time, pickled first in brine. He ate them always
when he could get them, but he was not always successful in his
search, for children were scarce in the land. He was a great hunter
and he was able to kill many animals in the forest and to secure much
meat, so great was his strength, and once a week regularly he brought
a great load of meat to the butcher and traded it for any little
children the butcher managed to entice into his shop. So the butcher
got much meat at little cost. And the old man of the house of boughs
was right when he said that many little children who entered the shop
never came out again.


The butcher was very glad when he saw the two pretty little children.
He was expecting the giant that evening on his weekly visit, and he
thought gleefully of the great load of meat he would get from the
giant in exchange for the children, for he would ask a big price, and
he knew the giant would give all the meat he had for so good a meal.
And he thought too of all the money he would get for the giant's load
of meat. So he resolved to kill the children and pickle them in brine
to await the giant's coming.

When the children had finished their meal and had warmed themselves by
the fire they made ready to go home and they asked for their meat. The
butcher said he would get it for them. They looked up at the shelves,
laden with more food than they had ever seen before--hams and cabbages
and strings of onions. And the little children said, "There are good
onions up there; we will buy some and take them home to our
grandmother to put in her broth." The butcher said, "There are many
kinds of onions in the box on the high shelf. You must pick out the
kind you want. I will lift you up to the shelf so that you can see for
yourselves." So he caught them each by the coat between the
shoulders, and because of his great strength he lifted them high until
they could look into the box and pick out the onions they wanted. As
he took them down he thrust them straight out from his body at arm's
length and held them there and they laughed because of his great
strength. Then he brought them together with terrible force so that
their heads struck one against the other and they were stunned by the
cruel blow. Then he threw them head first into the barrel in the
corner which was filled with brine, not with meat as he had said, and
he left them there to pickle well. He was greatly pleased with the
fine load of meat he would get in exchange from the giant, who, he
knew, would appear before many minutes had passed.

Soon the giant arrived. He carried on his back a great load of meat
and he also drew a sled heavily laden with many dressed carcasses of
animals he had killed. "What cheer for me to-night and what fortune?"
he said to the butcher as he entered the warm shop with his load. And
the butcher said, "Good cheer and fine fortune. I have a good fat pair
for you to-night already pickling in the brine." Then he uncovered the
barrel in the corner and showed the giant the two little children
sticking head first in the pickle. The giant smacked his fat lips and
chuckled and rubbed his great hands, so pleased was he with the sight
of so good a meal. And he said, "We will let them steep well in the
brine until to-morrow. I always like them very salt." They covered up
the barrel, and then they bargained about the purchase of the meat.

The giant agreed to give the butcher all his meat in exchange for the
children. Then they sat by the fire drinking and eating until far on
into the night. And the giant said that before they went to bed he
would take another look at the children to see how they were pickling.
So they went and uncovered the barrel.

Now it chanced that Saint Nicholas was in the land at that time, as
the old man of the House-of-boughs had said. He had come into the land
to bring his yearly gifts to little children. In the evening he was
many miles away from the butcher's shop. But he heard the long soft
blast of a whistle, borne on the still evening wind. He knew it to be
one of his own whistles, and it told him that little children were in
danger. But it was followed by another soft blast--the late blast of
Estelle's whistle--and the two blasts meant that the danger was not
yet very near to the children, that indeed it was far off, so he
thought that there was no need to hurry to the children's aid.
Moreover, Saint Nicholas was just then leaving tiny dolls for little
babies in many little houses in the forest and he decided to take his
time and finish the giving of all these gifts before he set out to the
place from which the whistle-blast had come.

At last he was able to go on his way. The snow lay deep in the
forest, and travelling was hard, but the white winter moon was
shining, and the path was bright and Saint Nicholas moved along
quickly on his snow-shoes. Far on in the night he reached the
butcher's shop from which he knew the children's note of fear had
come. As he entered the shop, the giant and the butcher were just
taking their last look before going to bed at the children sticking in
the barrel of brine. They did not know Saint Nicholas, but when they
saw him they quickly placed the cover on the barrel and were very much
confused. Saint Nicholas was suspicious that they were about some
wickedness, and he knew well that in some way or other the barrel was
connected with the dreaded harm of which the children's whistle had
told him, and he thought that perhaps the children were hidden in it.
So he said, "I have come for meat. I want meat that has been pickled
in brine. I should like a piece from that barrel." But the butcher
said, "It is not good meat. I have better meat in the inner room, and
I will get it for you." So the butcher and Saint Nicholas entered the
inner room and closed the door behind them while the giant sat on the
barrel in the corner, trying to hide it with his great fat legs.

In the inner room was a barrel filled with brine, but with only a
small piece of meat at the bottom. Saint Nicholas said he would take
that piece. The butcher bent far into the barrel to reach down in
search of the meat. But as he did so, Saint Nicholas picked him up by
the legs and pushed him head first into the barrel of brine. He
spluttered and kicked, but he stuck fast in the barrel, and could not
get out. Saint Nicholas placed the cover on the barrel, with a great
weight on top of it, and that was the end of the wicked butcher.


Then Saint Nicholas returned to the shop where the giant was waiting,
still sitting on the barrel. He told the giant that he wanted a piece
of meat that lay in the bottom of the large hogshead of pickle in the
other corner. He asked the giant to get it for him, as the hogshead
was so high that neither he nor the butcher could reach down into it.

The giant bent far into the hogshead and began groping for the meat at
the bottom. Saint Nicholas took a large bone that lay on the floor,
and standing on a box beside the hogshead he struck the giant a
powerful blow on the head. The giant was only slightly stunned, but in
his surprise he lost his balance, and fell head first into the brine.
He yelled and kicked for a time, but his huge shoulders stuck fast.
Saint Nicholas covered the hogshead, leaving the giant sticking fast
in the pickle, and that was the end of the giant.

Then Saint Nicholas uncovered the barrel in the corner into which he
had seen the butcher and the giant looking when he had first entered
the shop. There were the two children standing on their heads in the
pickle with their feet sticking out at the top. He caught them by the
legs and pulled them out and by his magic power he soon brought them
back to life. He gave them food and warmed them by the fire and soon
they were none the worse for their hour in the barrel of brine.

Then he gave them meat and brought them back to their grandmother. And
they made broth for her and soon made her well, and they were all
happy again. And the land was troubled no more by giants, for Saint
Nicholas never again allowed great harm to come to little children if
they always kept his whistle near them and blew softly upon it when
they were in trouble or distress.


In olden times the Spider Man lived in the sky-country. He dwelt in a
bright little house all by himself, where he weaved webs and long
flimsy ladders by which people went back and forth from the sky to the
earth. The Star-people often went at night to earth where they roamed
about as fairies of light, doing good deeds for women and little
children, and they always went back and forth on the ladder of the
Spider Man. The Spider Man had to work very hard, weaving his webs,
and spinning the yarn from which his ladders were made. One day when
he had a short breathing-time from his toil he looked down at the
earth-country and there he saw many of the earth-people playing at
games, or taking sweet sap from the maple trees, or gathering berries
on the rolling hills; but most of the men were lazily idling and doing
nothing. The women were all working, after the fashion of Indians in
those days; the men were working but little. And Spider Man said to
himself, "I should like to go to the earth-country where men idle
their time away. I would marry four wives who would work for me while
I would take life easy, for I need a rest."

He was very tired of his work for he was kept at it day and night
always spinning and weaving his webs. But when he asked for a rest he
was not allowed to stop; he was only kicked for his pains and called
Sleepy Head, and Lazy-bones and other harsh names, and told to work
harder. Then he grew angry and he resolved to punish the Star-people
because they kept him so hard at work. He thought that if he punished
them and made himself a nuisance, they would be glad to be rid of him.
So he hit upon a crafty plan. Each night when a Star-fairy was
climbing back to the sky-country, just as he came near the top of the
ladder, the Spider Man would cut the strands and the fairy would fall
to earth with a great crash. Night after night he did this, and he
chuckled to himself as he saw the sky-fairies sprawling through the
air and kicking their heels, while the earth-people looked up
wonderingly at them and called them Shooting Stars. Many Star-people
fell to earth in this way because of the Spider Man's tricks, and they
could never get back to the sky-country because of their broken limbs
or their disfigured faces, for in the sky-country the people all must
have beautiful faces and forms. But Spider Man's tricks brought him no
good; the people would not drive him away because they needed his webs
and he was kept always at his tasks. At last he decided to run away of
his own accord, and, one night when the Moon and the Stars had gone to
work and the Sun was asleep, he said farewell to the sky-country and
let himself down to earth by one of his own strands of yarn, spinning
it as he dropped down.


In the earth-country he married four wives as he had planned, for he
wanted them to work for him while he took his ease. He thought he had
worked long enough. All went well for a time and the Spider Man was
quite happy living his lazy and contented life. Not a strand did he
spin, nor a web did he weave. No men on earth were working; only the
women toiled. At last, Glooskap, who ruled upon the earth in that
time, became very angry because the men in these parts were so lazy,
and he sent Famine into their country to punish them for their sins.
Famine came very stealthily into the land and gathered up all the corn
and carried it off; then he called to him all the animals, and the
birds, and the fish of the sea and river, and he took them away with
him. In all the land there was nothing left to eat. Only water
remained. The people were very hungry and they lived on water for many
days. Sometimes they drank the water cold, sometimes hot, sometimes
luke-warm, but at best it was but poor fare. The Spider Man soon grew
tired of this strange diet, for it did not satisfy his hunger to live
always on water. It filled his belly and swelled him to a great size,
but it brought him little nourishment or strength. So he said, "There
must be good food somewhere in the world; I will go in search of it."

That night when all the world was asleep he took a large bag, and
crept softly away from his four wives and set out on his quest for
food. He did not want any one to know where he was going. For several
days he travelled, living only on water; but he found no food, and the
bag was still empty on his back. At last one day he saw birds in the
trees and he knew that he was near the border of the Hunger-Land. That
night in the forest when he stopped at a stream to drink, he saw a
tiny gleam of light far ahead of him through the trees. He hurried
towards the light and soon he came upon a man with a great hump on his
shoulders and scars on his face, and a light hanging at his back, with
a shade on it which he could close and open at his will. The Spider
Man said, "I am looking for food; tell me where I can find it." And
the humped man with the light said, "Do you want it for your people?"
But the Spider Man said, "No, I want it for myself." Then the humped
man laughed and said, "You are near to the border of the Land of
Plenty; follow me and I will give you food." Then he flashed the light
at his back, opening and closing the shade so that the light
flickered, and he set off quickly through the trees. The Spider Man
followed the light flashing in the darkness, but he had to go so fast
that he was almost out of breath when he reached the house where the
humped man had stopped. But the humped man only laughed when he saw
the Spider Man coming puffing wearily along with his fat and swollen
belly. He gave him a good fat meal and the Spider Man soon felt
better after his long fast. Then the humped man said, "You are the
Spider Man who once weaved webs in the sky. I, too, once dwelt in the
star-country, and one dark night as I was climbing back from the
earth-country on your ladder, carrying my lamp on my back to light the
way, when I was near the sky you cut the strands of the web and I fell
to the earth with a great crash. That is why I have a great hump on my
back and scars on my face, and because of this I have never been
allowed to go back to the sky-country of the stars. I roam the earth
at nights as a forest fairy just as I did in the olden days, for I
have my former power still with me, and I still carry my lamp at my
back; it is the starlight from the sky-country. I shall never get back
to the star-country while I have life. But some day when my work on
earth is done I shall go back. But although you were cruel to me I
will give you food." The Spider Man remembered the nights he had cut
the ladder strands, and he laughed to himself at the memory of the
star-fairies falling to earth with a great crash. But the man with the
light knew that now he had his chance to take vengeance on the Spider
Man. The latter did not suspect evil. He was glad to get food at last.

Then the humped man said, "I will give you four pots. You must not
open them until you get home. They will then be filled with food, and
thereafter always when you open them they will be packed with good
food. And the food will never grow less." The Spider Man put the four
pots in his bag and slinging it over his shoulder he set out for his
home, well pleased with his success. After he had gone away, the
humped man used his power to make him hungry. Yet for several days he
travelled without opening the pots, for although he was almost
starving he wished to do as the humped man had told him. At last he
could wait no longer. He stopped near his home, took the pots out of
the bag and opened them. They were filled with good food as he had
been promised. In one was a fine meat stew; in another were many
cooked vegetables; in another was bread made from Indian corn; and in
another was luscious ripe fruit. He ate until he was full. He covered
the pots, put them back in the bag, and hid the bag among the trees.
Then he went home. He had meanwhile taken pity on his people and he
decided to invite the Chief and all the tribe to a feast the next
evening, for the pots would be full, and the food would never
decrease, and there would be enough for all. He thought the people
would regard him as a very wonderful man if he could supply them all
with good food in their hunger.

When he reached his home his wives were very glad to see him back, and
they at once brought him water, the only food they had. But he laughed
them to scorn, and threw the water in their faces and said, "Oh,
foolish women, I do not want water; it is not food for a great man
like me. I have had a good meal of meat stew and corn bread and
cooked vegetables and luscious ripe fruit. I know where much food is
to be found, but I alone know. I can find food when all others fail,
for I am a great man. Go forth and invite the Chief and all the people
to a feast which I shall provide for them to-morrow night--a feast for
all the land, for my food never grows less." They were all amazed when
they heard his story, and the thought of his good meal greatly added
to their hunger. But they went out and summoned all the tribe to a
feast as he had told them.

The next night all the people gathered for the feast, for the news of
it had spread through all the land. They had taken no water that day,
for they wished to eat well, and they were very hungry. They were as
hungry as wild beasts in search of food. The Spider Man was very glad
because the people praised him, and he proudly brought in his bag of
pots. The people all waited hungrily and eagerly. But when he
uncovered the first pot there was no food there; he uncovered the
second pot, but there was no food there; he uncovered all the pots,
but not a bit of food was in any of them. They were all empty, and in
the bottom of each was a great gaping hole. Now it had happened in
this way. When the humped man, the Star-fairy, had given the pots to
the Spider Man, he knew well that the Spider Man would disobey his
orders and that he would open the pots before he reached his home. He
chuckled to himself, for he knew that now he could take vengeance on
the web-weaver who had injured him. So when the Spider Man had left
the pots among the trees, the humped man used his magic power and made
holes in the pots, and the charm of the food was broken and all the
food disappeared. When the people saw the empty pots they thought they
had been purposely deceived. The remains of the food and the smell of
stew and of fruit still clung to the pots. They thought the Spider Man
had eaten all the food himself. So in their great hunger and their
rage and their disappointment they fell upon him and beat him and bore
him to the ground, while the humped man with the lamp at his back
hiding behind the trees looked on and laughed in his glee. Then the
people split the Spider Man's arms to the shoulders, and his legs to
the thighs, so that he had eight limbs instead of four. And the humped
man--the star-fairy named Fire-fly--came forth from behind the trees
and standing over the fallen Spider Man he said, "Henceforth because
of your cruelty to the star-people you will always crawl on eight
legs, and you will have a fat round belly because of the water you
have drunk; and sometimes you will live on top of the water. But you
shall always eat only flies and insects. And you will always spin
downwards but never upwards, and you will often try to get back to the
star-country, but you shall always slip down again on the strand of
yarn you have spun." Then Fire-fly flashed his light and went quickly
away, opening and closing the shade of his lamp as he flitted among
the trees. And to this day the Spider Man lives as the humped man of
the lamp had spoken, because of the cruelty he practised on the
star-fairies in the olden days.


Three brothers lived with their old Indian mother in the forest near
the sea. Their father had long been dead. At his death he had little
of the world's goods to his credit and his widow and her sons were
very poor. In the place where they dwelt, game was not plentiful, and
to get food enough to keep them from want they had often to go far
into the forest. The youngest boy was smaller and weaker than the
others, and when the two older sons went far away to hunt, they always
left him behind, for although he always wished to accompany them they
would never allow him to go. He had to do all the work about the
house, and all day long he gathered wood in the forest and carried
water from the stream. And even when his brothers went out in the
spring-time to draw sap from the maple trees he was never permitted to
go with them. He was always making mistakes and doing foolish things.
His brothers called him Thick-head, and all the people round about
said he was a simpleton because of his slow and queer ways. His mother
alone was kind to him and she always said, "They may laugh at you and
call you fool, but you will prove to be wiser than all of them yet,
for so it was told me by a forest fairy at your birth."

The Chief of the people had a beautiful daughter who had many suitors.
But her father spurned them all from his door and said, "My daughter
is not yet of age to marry; and when her time of marriage comes, she
will only marry the man who can make great profit from hunting." The
two older sons of the old woman decided that one of them must win the
girl. So they prepared to set out on a great hunting expedition far
away in the northern forest, for it was now autumn, and the hunter's
moon had come. The youngest boy wanted to go with them, for he had
never been away from home and he wished to see the world. And his
mother said he might go. His brothers were very angry when they heard
his request, and they said, "Much good Thick-head can do us in the
chase. He will only bring us bad luck. He is not a hunter but a
scullion and a drudge fit only for the fireside." But his mother
commanded them to grant the boy's wish and they had to obey. So the
three brothers set out for the north country, the two older brothers
grumbling loudly because they were accompanied by the boy they thought
a fool.

The two older brothers had good success in the chase and they killed
many animals--deer and rabbits and otters and beavers. And they came
home bearing a great quantity of dried meat and skins. They each
thought, "Now we have begun to prove our prowess to the Chief, and if
we succeed as well next year when the hunter's moon comes again, one
of us will surely win his daughter when she is old enough to marry."
But all the youngest boy brought home as a result of his journey into
the game country was a large Earth-Worm as thick as his finger and as
long as his arm. It was the biggest Earth-Worm he had ever seen. He
thought it a great curiosity as well as a great discovery, and he was
so busy watching it each day that he had no time to hunt. When he
brought it home in a box, his brothers said to their mother, "What did
we tell you about Thick-head? He has now surely proved himself a fool.
He has caught only a fat Earth-Worm in all these weeks." And they
noised it abroad in the village and all the people laughed loudly at
the simpleton, until "Thick-head's hunt" became a by-word in all the
land. But the boy's mother only smiled and said, "He will surprise
them all yet."

The boy kept the Earth-Worm in a tiny pen just outside the door of his
home. One day a large Duck came waddling along, and sticking her bill
over the little fence of the pen she quickly gobbled up the Worm. The
boy was very angry and he went to the man who owned the Duck, and
said, "Your Duck ate up my pet Worm. I want my Worm." The man offered
to pay him whatever price he asked, but the boy said, "I do not want
your price. I want my Worm." But the man said, "How can I give you
your Worm when my Duck has eaten it up? It is gone for ever." And the
boy said, "It is not gone. It is in the Duck's belly. So I must have
the Duck." Then to avoid further trouble the man gave Thick-head the
Duck, for he thought to himself, "What is the use of arguing with a

The boy took the Duck home and kept it in a little pen near his home
with a low fence around it. And he tied a great weight to its foot so
that it could not fly away. He was quite happy again, for he thought,
"Now I have both my Worm and the Duck." But one day a Fox came
prowling along looking for food. He saw the fat Duck tied by the foot
in the little pen. And he said, "What good fortune! There is a choice
meal for me," and in a twinkling he was over the fence. The Duck
quacked and made a great noise, but she was soon silenced. The Fox had
just finished eating up the Duck when the boy, who had heard the
quacking, came running out of the house. The Fox was smacking his lips
after his good meal, and he was too slow in getting away. The boy fell
to beating him with a stout club and soon killed him and threw his
body into the yard behind the house. And he thought, "That is not so
bad. Now I have my Worm and the Duck and the Fox."

That night an old Wolf came through the forest in search of food. He
was very hungry, and in the bright moonlight he saw the dead Fox
lying in the yard. He pounced upon it greedily and devoured it until
not a trace of it was left. But the boy saw him before he could get
away, and he came stealthily upon him and killed him with a blow of
his axe. "I am surely in good luck," he thought, "for now I have the
Worm and the Duck and the Fox and the Wolf." But the next day when he
told his brothers of his good fortune and his great skill, they
laughed at him loudly and said, "Much good a dead Wolf will do you.
Before two days have passed it will be but an evil-smelling thing and
we shall have to bury it deep. You are indeed a great fool." The boy
pondered for a long time over what they had said, and he thought,
"Perhaps they are right. The dead Wolf cannot last long. I will save
the skin."

So he skinned the Wolf and dried the skin and made a drum from it. For
the drum was one of the few musical instruments of the Indians in
those old times, and they beat it loudly at all their dances and
festivals. The boy beat the drum each evening, and made a great noise,
and he was very proud because he had the only drum in the whole
village. One day the Chief sent for him and said to him, "I want to
borrow your drum for this evening. I am having a great gathering to
announce to all the land that my daughter is now of age to marry and
that suitors may now seek her hand in marriage. But we have no musical
instruments and I want your drum, and I myself will beat it at the
dance." So Thick-head brought his drum to the Chief's house, but he
was not very well pleased, because he was not invited to the feast,
while his brothers were among the favoured guests. And he said to the
Chief, "Be very careful. Do not tear the skin of my drum, for I can
never get another like it. My Worm and my Duck and my Fox and my Wolf
have all helped to make it."


The next day he went for his drum. But the Chief had struck it too
hard and had split it open so that it would now make no sound and it
was ruined beyond repair. He offered to pay the boy a great price for
it, but the boy said, "I do not want your price. I want my drum. Give
me back my drum, for my Worm and the Duck and the Fox and the Wolf are
all in it." The Chief said, "How can I give you back your drum when it
is broken? It is gone for ever. I will give you anything you desire in
exchange for it. Since you do not like the price I offer, you may name
your own price and you shall have it." And the boy thought to himself,
"Here is a chance for good fortune. Now I shall surprise my brothers."
And he said, "Since you cannot give me my drum, I will take your
daughter in marriage in exchange." The Chief was much perplexed, but
he had to be true to his word. So he gave his daughter to Thick-head,
and they were married, and the girl brought him much treasure and they
lived very happily. And his brothers were much amazed and angered
because they had failed. But his mother said, "I told you he was wiser
than you and that he would outwit you yet although you called him
Thick-head and fool. For the forest fairy said it to me at his


Long ago an Indian Chief was living with his people far in the
Canadian forest. Life was good and food was plentiful and the people
were all very happy. But one day a wicked giant and his old witch wife
came crashing into the land from a far country beyond the prairies.
They devoured all the food they could lay their hands on and soon
there was little left to eat in all the country; and often they
carried off little children to their hiding-place and ate them up
until not a trace of them remained. Somewhere far in the forest they
dwelt in a hidden cave; they slept all day long, but at night they
always stalked forth in search of plunder. The Chief was much
troubled, and with his warriors he tried in every way to discover
their hiding-place, but no one ever succeeded in finding it. For by
the use of their magic power the giant and his old witch wife could
make themselves invisible when they walked abroad among men and they
could not be caught. The Chief called all his warriors to a council,
and he said, "Who can rid me of this pest? Who can kill the giant?"
But not a man replied. And when he saw his people's store of food
rapidly growing smaller and the little children of his tribe slowly
disappearing, he was greatly puzzled as to what he should do.

One night of bright moonlight Rabbit was prowling through the woods,
as was his custom, in search of some one on whom he could play a
prank, for he was a great joker. Suddenly he came upon the giant and
his old witch wife standing by an opening in the side of a low
mountain. He watched them for a long time from the shadow of a great
tree, and at last he saw them enter a large hole in the side of the
hill. He knew now that he had hit by accident upon the giant's cave
and he was well pleased by his discovery. But he kept his secret to
himself, for he thought, "Here is a good chance for me to win fame. I
will kill the giants by a crafty trick and I will then be looked upon
as a great warrior, the foremost in all the land, for all the Chief's
men have failed to find the giants."

So he went to the Chief and said, "Oh, Chief, I know where the giants
live and I swear to you that I am going to kill them. It is I alone
who can rid you of these pests." "You!" said the Chief in great
surprise; "little harm the like of you can do to giants; they will eat
you up in one mouthful," and he laughed loudly at Rabbit's boldness.
And he called to his warriors saying, "See what a stout fighter we
have here! Little Rabbit says he can do what we have failed to do; he
swears that he will kill the giants; he is better fitted to kill a
mouse!" And they all laughed loud haw-haws at Rabbit's vanity.

Poor Rabbit's pride was deeply hurt by the Chief's scorn and the
warriors' cruel laughter, but it all made him more determined than
ever to slay the thieving giants. So he went to an old woman who lived
near-by and said, "Give me an old faded dress and a ragged old shawl
and your coloured spectacles and a hat with a feather in it." The old
woman wondered what tricks he was up to now, but she gave him what he
asked for. He put on the tattered old dress and the battered old hat
with a red feather sticking from the top, and he wrapped the old shawl
about his face, and he wore the woman's coloured spectacles and he
carried a crooked stick. And dressed in this fashion he set out
towards evening for the giants' home. When he reached the mouth of the
cave, he stood still and waited, leaning on his crooked stick, for
night was coming on and he knew that the giants would soon be going
out on their plundering rounds.

After a time when it was quite dark except for the moonlight, the
giant's old witch wife came out of the cave. When she saw Rabbit in
the dim light she said gruffly, "Who are you, standing there in the
shadows?" "Oh, my dear niece," said Rabbit, "I have found you at last.
I am your poor old aunt. I thought I had lost my way. I have come to
see you from your home in the far country. It was a long journey and
my poor old legs and back are stiff and sore, and I am very hungry and
tired;" and he moved slowly towards the woman, hobbling along with his
crooked stick. The giant woman was deceived, and she threw her arms
around Rabbit and kissed him, and she did not feel his whiskers or his
split lip because of the old shawl that was wrapped around his face.
"I have a pain in my jaw from sleeping out of doors," said Rabbit,
"and I must keep my face wrapped up."

"Come in and rest, and you will soon feel better," said the giant

"You will have to lead me in," said Rabbit, not wishing to take off
the shawl, "for my eyesight is very bad."

So she led Rabbit into the warm cave, which was so dark that they
could scarcely see each other, and she called her husband and said,
"Here is my dear old aunt who has come all the way from the far
country beyond the prairies." And the giant, believing Rabbit to be
his wife's kindred, for he could not see him very clearly, treated him
very kindly. And they showed him the bed where he was to sleep.

The woman then gave Rabbit a large piece of dried meat to eat. But
Rabbit said, "I cannot eat it, for I am old and I have lost all my
teeth. Give me an axe to cut it up small." So the woman brought him a
sharp axe and he chopped the meat into small pieces and ate it all up.
And he said, "I will keep the axe by me, for I shall need it at all my
meals," and he placed it beside his bed. The giant said, "We are
going away to see some friends, but we shall be back before midnight."
But before they went away Rabbit said to the woman, "I hope your
husband sleeps soundly; I have a bad cough and I sometimes moan
because of the pain in my face and head and I do not wish to disturb

And the old giant woman answered, "He slumbers too well. When we sleep
we both snore loudly, and when you hear us snoring you may cough as
much as you please, for then you will know that we are sound asleep."
Then the man and his witch wife went away.

When the giants came home, Rabbit pretended to be fast asleep. They
brought back with them much food which they hid in a secret place at
the side of the cave. Rabbit watched them through the holes in the old
shawl around his head. Soon they went to bed, drowsy after their fat
meal. When Rabbit heard them snoring loudly like a great waterfall,
"chr-r-r, chr-r-r," he arose very quietly and crept softly to their
bedside. With two blows of his axe he killed the giant and his wife,
one after the other. Then he ran away as fast as he could, carrying
with him his old dress and hat and shawl, for he thought he might need
them again.

In the morning he went to the Chief's house and told the Chief what he
had done. The Chief laughed scornfully and he would not believe it
until Rabbit brought him to the cave and showed him the slain giants
cold and stiff in their bed. The Chief's men then took back to the
village the great store of food the giants had hidden in the secret
place. But the Chief and his warriors, although they were glad to be
rid of the thieves, were angry at heart because Rabbit whom they had
laughed at had done what they had failed to do, for they were very
jealous of Rabbit's power.

One day soon afterwards the Chief called all the birds and the animals
to a council, and he said, "Now that the giants who robbed us of our
food are dead and gone, and that we shall never again want for
nourishment in my country, I am going to let each animal and bird
choose the kind of food he would most like to live on if he could get
it. And they shall never want for that kind of food if it can be
provided." And he called on each to make the choice. And the birds
said "Grain and seeds and worms," and the Squirrel said "Nuts," and
the Fox said "Chickens," and the cat said "Milk," and the dog said
"Meat and bones," and the weasel said "Eggs," and the wolf said
"Lambs," and the bear said "Fish from the frozen sea," and so on until
each animal was called upon and declared his liking. And the Chief
said, "It shall be as you have chosen." But the Chief had purposely
neglected to summon poor Rabbit to the council, and Rabbit was absent
on a long journey. When he came home, he was very angry when he heard
what had happened, for only the left-over in the world's food remained
for him to choose. So he went to the Chief and said in great wrath,
"This is a fine return for ridding your land of giants. But that is a
way you have; you always reward good deeds with evil."

The Chief was very angry because of Rabbit's insolence, and he said,
"You are telling lies again." But Rabbit called as witnesses to the
truth of what he said Sheep and Goat and Duck who chanced to be
passing by and who stood listening to the quarrel. And old Sheep said,
"Rabbit has spoken truly. When I was young I gave the Chief much wool
to make clothes for his back and he used me well. But now that I am
old he is going to kill me and eat me up. That is my reward." And old
Goat said, "Rabbit has spoken wisely and justly. I served the Chief
well in my time and gave him milk, but now that I am old and have no
more milk he is fattening me and getting me ready for slaughter. That
is my reward." And old Duck said, "That is a true saying of Rabbit.
Once upon a time I gave the Chief many eggs and young ducklings, but
now that I have stopped laying he is soon going to roast me in a pot.
That is my reward." The Chief could make no answer to these charges,
for he knew them to be true, and he offered to do what was in his
power for Rabbit. But Rabbit refused to make choice of food, for he
said the best was already gone. He sulked for many months and lived
alone by his own efforts as best he could.

At last he decided to take vengeance on the Chief. And he hit, as was
his custom, on a crafty trick. The Chief had an old Bear which he
prized very highly, for the Bear did for him many wondrous tricks and
brought laughter to him and his warriors when he danced at their
feasts. In those olden times Bear had a long bushy tail of which he
was very proud. One day as Rabbit sat on the ice fishing--for it was
now winter--Bear came along. There was to be a feast that night and he
was going to dance for the Chief, and he was in very good spirits.
"Where did you get all the fine fish?" he asked, for he was a great
fish eater. "I caught them through the hole in the ice," said Rabbit.
"It is very easy. Just drop your tail down through the hole and it
will soon be covered with fine big fish."

Bear did as he was told, and he sat on the ice for a long time waiting
for his prey. He sat so long that the hole froze up, for it was very
cold, and in it was frozen poor Bear's long bushy tail. "Now," said
Rabbit, "jump quick, for many fish are hanging to you." Bear jumped
with all his might, but his tail was held fast in the ice and it broke
off close to the root. Rabbit laughed in great glee and ran away. And
poor Bear howled with pain and shame. He could not dance at the feast
because his stub of a tail was sore, and the Chief and the warriors
were very angry at Rabbit because he had harmed their dancing pet. And
since that time Bear has had a short stubby tail which to this day he
tries to wag feebly.

Rabbit then hid for some days far from the Chief and his warriors.
Then he decided to try another trick. The Chief's wood-cutter was old
Beaver, who lived in a little house of reeds on the bank of a stream.
He was very busy now cutting down trees for the Chief, for it was near
to spring-time and the people were in need of logs for building roads
over the rivers. One day Rabbit went to Beaver and said, "The Chief
sent me to you to bring you to a great tree he wishes you to cut down
at once." So Beaver went along with him. But when Beaver was busy at
his task cutting down the tree, Rabbit hit him a savage blow on the
head with a big stick hoping to kill him and thus again to anger the
Chief. Poor Beaver fell to the ground and Rabbit ran away. But Beaver
was only stunned. He got up after a time and went home muttering to
himself and rubbing his sore head. Soon Rabbit came back to the tree
and found Beaver gone. He knew that his blow had failed. Then he put
on again his tattered old dress and his ragged shawl and his coloured
spectacles and the hat with the red feather sticking to the top, and
he went to Beaver's house by the stream, hobbling along with a stick.
"The Chief sent me to you to bring you to a great tree he wishes you
to cut down at once," he called. And Beaver said, "I have already
tried to cut a great tree for him to-day and I should have finished it
had I not been beaten with a stick until I was stunned by the blow."
"Who struck you?" asked Rabbit, laughing to himself. "Rabbit struck
me," answered Beaver. "He is a great brigand and a liar and a thief,"
said Rabbit. "He is all that," said Beaver, rubbing the lump on his
head. So Beaver went along with Rabbit. And Rabbit asked as they went
along, "How is it that you are alive after that cruel blow?" And
Beaver said, "Rabbit hit me on the head. If he had hit me on the back
of my neck he would have killed me, for there I keep the secret of my

When Beaver was busy again at his task cutting down the tree, Rabbit
hit him a powerful blow on the back of the neck and poor Beaver fell
down dead. Then he cut off his tail that was made like a file, and
went away happy, for he knew that the Chief would be very angry when
he found what had happened to his wood-cutter.


When the Chief learned that Beaver had been killed, his wrath knew no
bounds, for he could ill afford at this time to lose his best
wood-chopper. He blamed Rabbit for the deed, but he could not be sure
that his suspicions were well-founded. Rabbit kept out of the Chief's
sight for some weeks. But one day in early summer he was very hungry.
He saw all the other animals filling their bellies with their
favourite food, and he decided to forget his sulks and to ask the
Chief for help. So he went to the Chief and said haughtily, "I want
you to give me food for my own special use as you have done with the
other animals. You must do it at once or I will do you much harm."
Then the Chief remembered what Rabbit had done to his dancing Bear,
and he thought of the death of Beaver, for which he blamed Rabbit
without proof, and he grew red with anger. He seized Rabbit by the
heels and said, "Henceforth the dogs will always chase you, and you
will never have peace when they are near. And you will live for the
most part on whatever food I throw you into now." Then he whirled
Rabbit around his head by the heels, and he threw him from him with
great force, hoping to drop him in a great black swamp near-by. Poor
Rabbit went flying through the air for a great distance, farther than
the Chief had hoped, and he dropped with a thud into a field of clover
on the edge of which cabbages and lettuce were growing. And since that
time the dogs have always chased Rabbit and he has lived for the most
part on cabbages and lettuce and clover which he steals on moonlight
nights from farmers' fields.


Somewhere near the sea in olden times a boy was living with his father
and mother. He had no brothers or sisters. His father was a great
hunter and the boy inherited something of his power, for he was always
very successful in the killing of game. And his mother said, "Some day
he will be a great man, for before his birth a vision came to me in
the night and told me that my son would win wide fame. And fairy gifts
were laid by the fairies in his cradle." And his father, listening to
her boasting, said, "Time will tell; time will tell; but if he is to
be a great man it is his own deeds and not your boasting that must
prove it." As the boy grew up he became strangely beautiful and he had
great strength. And his father said, "It is time he set out to seek
his fortune. I was in the forest doing for myself when I was no older
than he." And his mother said, "Wait a little and be not so impatient.
He is yet young and there is yet much time." So the boy remained at
home a while longer.

Now it happened that far away in a distant village there lived a young
girl of very great beauty and grace. Her father had been a great
Chief, but he was now dead. Her mother too was dead, and she was all
alone in the world. But her parents had left her vast lands and a
great store of goods and many servants, and because of her treasures
and her great beauty she had many suitors. But she was not easily
pleased by men and on all who came to seek her hand she imposed severe
feats of skill to test their sincerity and their worth. She was
carefully guarded by an old woman and many servants who kept
troublesome and meddlesome people away.

Soon the fame of the girl's wealth and beauty spread through all the
land. It reached the sea coast village where the young man dwelt. His
father thought to himself, "Here is a good chance for my son to prove
his worth." So he called his boy to him and said, "It is time you were
setting out to seek your fortune in the world and to find a wife, for
your spring-time is passing and your summer of life will soon be here,
and before you know it your autumn will be upon you and your winter
will be near. There is no time to lose. Seek out the beautiful girl of
the rich treasures in the distant inland village and try to win her as
your wife." And his mother gave him the fairy gifts which had been
laid in his cradle at his birth, and he said good-bye to his parents
and set out on his long journey. He had no misgivings, for he was very
vain of his beauty and he was sure, too, of his strength.

As he travelled inland he came one day upon a man clad in scarlet
sitting on the side of a rocky hill tying stones to his feet. "Hello,"
he said to the man, "why are you tying these heavy rocks to your
ankles?" "I am a hunter," replied the man, "but when I follow the deer
I run so fast that I am soon far in front of them instead of behind
them, and I am putting heavy weights on my feet so that I will not run
so rapidly." "You are indeed a wonderful man," said the boy; "but I am
alone and I need a companion. Let us go along together." "Who are
you?" said the man. "I am Lad of the Great Heart," said the boy, "and
I can do great deeds and I can win for you great treasure." So the
Scarlet Runner went along with him.

Towards evening when they were now far inland, they came to a large
lake. Among the trees on the fringe of the lake a large fat man was
lying flat on his stomach with his mouth in the water drinking as hard
as he could. For some time they watched him, but still he drank and
the lake grew smaller and smaller and still his thirst was not
quenched. They laughed at such a strange sight, and as they approached
him the boy said, "Hello! Why do you lie there drinking so much
water?" "Oh," answered the fat man, "there are times when I cannot get
enough water to drink. When I have drunk this lake dry I shall still
be thirsty." "Who are you?" asked the boy. "I am Man of the Great
Thirst," said the fat man. "That is well," said Great Heart, "we two
need a third companion. We can do great deeds and we can win for you
great treasure." So the three went along together.


They had not gone far when they came to a wide open plain where they
saw a man walking along with his face raised upwards, peering at the
sky. He moved along rapidly and seemed to find his way without his
eyes, for he gazed steadily at the heavens. "Hello," said Great Heart
as the sky-gazer rushed past him and almost knocked him over, "what
are you looking at so intently?" "Oh," said the man, "I have shot an
arrow into the sky and I am waiting for it to fall. It has gone so far
that it will be some time before it drops." "Who are you?" asked the
boy. "I am the Far-Darter," said the sky-gazer. "We three need a
fourth companion," said the boy. "We can do great deeds and win for
you much treasure. Come along with us." So the four went along

They had gone but a short distance across the plain to the edge of a
forest when they came upon a man lying down at full length with his
head upon his hand. The edge of his hand was on the ground and it was
half closed around his ear, which rested upon it. As he saw the four
men approaching him he placed a finger of his other hand upon his lips
and signalled to them to keep quiet. "Hello," said Great Heart in a
whisper, "what are you doing there with your ear to the ground?" "I am
listening to the plants growing far away in the forest," he answered.
"There is a beautiful flower I wish to find, and I am trying to hear
it breathing so that I may go and get it. Aha! I hear it now." So
saying he rose from the ground. The boy said, "Who are you?" "I am
Keen Ears," said the listener. "We four need another companion," said
Great Heart. "We can do great deeds and win for you much treasure.
Come along with us." So the four men and the boy went along together,
Keen Ears, and Scarlet Runner, and Far Darter, and Man of the Great
Thirst, and Lad of the Great Heart. Then Great Heart unfolded to the
others his plan to win the beautiful girl who lived with her treasures
in the distant village. And they gladly agreed to help him in his
dangerous undertaking.

When they reached the village, the people were all very curious when
they saw the five strangers. They marvelled at Great Heart's beauty.
But when they heard that he wished to marry the daughter of the former
Chief they shook their heads gravely and said, "It will never be. She
places hard conditions on all who seek her hand. He who fails in the
tests is doomed to death. Many suitors have tried and failed and
died." But Great Heart was not alarmed, and with his four companions
he went to the girl's home. The old woman who guarded her met him at
the door and he made known his wishes. She laughed scornfully when she
saw his great beauty, and she said, "You look more like a girl than
like a warrior. You cannot endure the tests." But the young man
insisted on making the trials.

The old woman said, "If you fail in the tests you will die," and Great
Heart said, "It is so agreed." Then the woman said, "If you wish to
win the maiden you must first push away this great rock from before
her window. It keeps the sunlight from her in the mornings." Then
Great Heart, calling to his aid the fairy gifts of his cradle, placed
his shoulder against the huge stone which rose higher than the house,
and he pushed with all his strength. With a mighty crash it rolled
down the hill and broke into millions of pieces. The bits of rock flew
all over the earth so great was the fall, and the little pebbles and
stones that came from it are seen throughout the world to this day.
The sunlight streamed in at the window, and the maiden knew that the
first test had been successfully passed by a suitor.

Then came the second test. The old woman and her servants brought
great quantities of food and drink and bade the strangers consume it
all at one meal. They were very hungry, for they had eaten nothing all
day and they easily ate up the food. But when Great Heart saw the
great barrels of water, his spirits sank, and he said, "I fear I am
beaten." But Man of the Great Thirst said, "Not so fast, my friend.
The spell of great stomach-burning is again upon me. I am very dry as
if there was a fire in my belly. Give me a chance to drink." He went
from barrel to barrel and in a twinkling he had drained them all of
every drop. And the people wondered greatly.

But there was still another test. "You must have one of your party run
a race," said the old woman to Great Heart. And she brought out a man
who had never been beaten in running. "Who is your choice of runners?"
she asked; "he must race with this man, and if he wins you may have
the maiden for your wife and all the treasure with her, for this is
the final test. But if he loses the race you shall die." Great Heart
called Scarlet Runner to the mark and told the old woman that this was
the man selected. Then he untied the rocks from the runner's feet, and
when all was ready the race began. The course lay far across the
plains for many miles until the runners should pass from sight, and
back again to the starting point. The two runners kept together for
some distance, talking together in a friendly way as they ran. When
they had passed from sight of the village the maiden's runner said,
"Now we are out of sight of the village. Let us rest here a while on
this grassy bank, for the day is hot." The Scarlet Runner agreed to
this and they both stretched out on the grass. Now this was an old
trick of the maiden's runner, who always won by craft rather than by
speed. They had not lain down long on the grass when Scarlet Runner
fell asleep under the hot sun, just as his rival had hoped. When the
latter was sure that his rival was sound asleep, he set out for the
village, running as fast as he could. The people soon saw their runner
approaching far off on the plains, but there was no sign of the
stranger, and they thought that the new suitor for the girl's hand
had at last failed like all the others before him.

Great Heart was much puzzled when Scarlet Runner did not appear, and
as he saw the maiden's runner coming nearer, he said, "What can have
happened? I fear I am beaten." But Keen Ears threw himself flat on the
ground and listened. "Scarlet Runner is asleep," he called; "I hear
him snoring on the plains far away." And with his keen sense of sound
he located the exact spot where the runner was lying. "I will soon
wake him," said Far-Darter, as he fitted an arrow to his bow-string.
The people all thought him mad, for they had never seen an arrow shot
so great a distance beyond their sight. But Far-Darter was not
dismayed. He quickly shot an arrow from his bow to the spot which Keen
Ears had indicated. His aim was so true that the arrow hit Scarlet
Runner on the nose and aroused him from his sleep. But when he rose to
his feet he found that his rival was gone and he knew that he had been
deceived. So in a great rage because of the trick and the pain in his
nose, he set out for the village running like the wind. His rival had
almost reached the end of the race, but by putting all his strength
into his effort, Scarlet Runner quickly over-took him and passed him
near the winning-post and won the race. And the people wondered
greatly at these great deeds of the strangers.

Then the old woman said to Great Heart, "You have won the maiden as
your wife, for you alone have succeeded in these tests." So the two
were married with great ceremony. Great Heart gave much treasure to
his companions, and they promised to help him always in his need. Then
with his wife and her servants and her great store of goods he went
back to his native village by the sea. His father and mother were glad
to see him again and to hear of his success, and his mother said, "I
told you he would win great fame because of the fairy gifts that were
laid in his cradle at his birth." And they all lived together and were
henceforth very happy.


Long ago there dwelt on the shores of the Great Water in the west a
young man and his younger wife. They had no children and they lived
all by themselves far from other people on an island not far from the
coast. The man spent his time in catching the deep-sea fish far out on
the ocean, or in spearing salmon in the distant rivers. Often he was
gone for many days and his wife was very lonely in his absence. She
was not afraid, for she had a stout spirit, but it was very dismal in
the evenings to look only at the grey leaden sky and to hear only the
sound of the surf as it beat upon the beach. So day after day she said
to herself, "I wish we had children. They would be good company for me
when I am alone and my husband is far away."

One evening at twilight when she was solitary because of her husband's
absence on the ocean catching the deep-sea fish, she sat on the sand
beach looking out across the water. The sky in the west was pale grey;
it was always dull and grey in that country, and when the sun had gone
down there was no soft light. In her loneliness the woman said to
herself, "I wish we had children to keep me company." A Kingfisher,
with his children, was diving for minnows not far away. And the woman
said, "Oh, sea bird with the white collar, I wish we had children like
you." And the Kingfisher said, "Look in the sea-shells; look in the
sea-shells," and flew away. The next evening the woman sat again upon
the beach looking westward at the dull grey sky. Not far away a white
Sea-gull was riding on the waves in the midst of her brood of little
ones. And the woman said, "Oh, white sea bird, I wish we had children
like you to keep us company." And the Sea-gull said, "Look in the
sea-shells; look in the sea-shells," and flew away.

The woman wondered greatly at the words of the Kingfisher and the
Sea-Gull. As she sat there in thought she heard a strange cry coming
from the sand dunes behind her. She went closer to the sound and found
that the cry came from a large sea-shell lying on the sand. She picked
up the shell, and inside of it was a tiny boy, crying as hard as he
could. She was well pleased with her discovery, and she carried the
baby to her home and cared for him. When her husband came home from
the sea, he, too, was very happy to find the baby there, for he knew
that they would be lonely no more.

The baby grew very rapidly, and soon he was able to walk and move
about where he pleased. One day the woman was wearing a copper
bracelet on her arm and the child said to her, "I must have a bow
made from the copper on your arm." So to please him she made him a
tiny bow from the bracelet, and two tiny arrows. At once he set out to
hunt game, and day after day he came home bearing the products of his
chase. He brought home geese and ducks and brant and small sea birds,
and gave them to his mother for food. As he grew older the man and his
wife noticed that his face took on a golden hue brighter than the
colour of his copper bow. Wherever he went there was a strange light.
When he sat on the beach looking to the west the weather was always
calm and there were strange bright gleams upon the water. And his
foster-parents wondered greatly at this unusual power. But the boy
would not talk about it; when they spoke of it he was always silent.

It happened once that the winds blew hard over the Great Water and the
man could not go out to catch fish because of the turbulent sea. For
many days he stayed on shore, for the ocean, which was usually at
peace, was lashed into a great fury and the waves were dashing high on
the beach. Soon the people were in need of fish for food. And the boy
said, "I will go out with you, for I can overcome the Storm Spirit."
The man did not want to go, but at last he listened to the boy's
entreaties and together they set out for the fishing grounds far
across the tossing sea. They had not gone far when they met the Spirit
of the Storm coming madly from the south-west where the great winds
dwelt. He tried hard to upset their boat, but over them he had no
power, for the boy guided the frail craft across the water and all
around them the sea was calm and still. Then the Storm Spirit called
his nephew Black Cloud to help him, and away in the south-east they
saw him hurrying to his uncle's aid. But the boy said to the man, "Be
not afraid, for I am more than a match for him." So the two met, but
when Black Cloud saw the boy he quickly disappeared. Then the Spirit
of the Storm called Mist of the Sea to come and cover the water, for
he thought the boat would be lost if he hid the land from the man and
the boy. When the man saw Mist of the Sea coming like a grey vapour
across the water he was very frightened, for of all his enemies on the
ocean he feared this one most. But the boy said, "He cannot harm you
when I am with you." And sure enough, when Mist of the Sea saw the boy
sitting smiling in the boat he disappeared as quickly as he had come.
And the Storm Spirit in great anger hurried away to other parts, and
that day there was no more danger on the sea near the fishing grounds.

The boy and the man soon reached the fishing grounds in safety. And
the boy taught his foster-father a magic song with which he was able
to lure fish to his nets. Before evening came the boat was filled with
good fat fish and they set out for their home. The man said, "Tell me
the secret of your power." But the boy said, "It is not yet time."


The next day the boy killed many birds. He skinned them all and dried
their skins. Then he dressed himself in the skin of a plover and rose
into the air and flew above the sea. And the sea under him was grey
like his wings. Then he came down and dressed himself in the skin of a
blue-jay and soared away again. And the sea over which he was flying
was at once changed to blue like the blue of his wings. When he came
back to the beach, he put on the skin of a robin with the breast of a
golden hue like his face. Then he flew high and at once the waves
under him reflected a colour as of fire and bright gleams of light
appeared upon the ocean, and the sky in the west was golden red. The
boy flew back to the beach and he said to his foster-parents, "Now it
is time for me to leave you. I am the offspring of the sun. Yesterday
my power was tested and it was not found wanting, so now I must go
away and I shall see you no more. But at evening I shall appear to you
often in the twilight sky in the west. And when the sky and the sea
look at evening like the colour of my face, you will know that there
will be no wind nor storm and that on the morrow the weather will be
fair. But although I go away, I shall leave you a strange power. And
always when you need me, let me know your desires by making white
offerings to me, so that I may see them from my home far in the west."

Then he gave to his foster-mother a wonderful robe. He bade his
parents good-bye, and soared away to the west, leaving them in
sadness. But the woman still keeps a part of the power he gave her,
and when she sits on the island in a crevice in the dunes and loosens
her wonderful robe, the wind hurries down from the land, and the sea
is ruffled with storm; and the more she loosens the garment the
greater is the tempest. But in the late autumn when the cold mists
come in from the sea, and the evenings are chill, and the sky is dull
and grey, she remembers the promise of the boy. And she makes to him
an offering of tiny white feathers plucked from the breasts of birds.
She throws them into the air, and they appear as flakes of snow and
rise thickly into the winds. And they hurry westward to tell the boy
that the world is grey and dreary as it yearns for the sight of his
golden face. Then he appears to the people of earth. He comes at
evening and lingers after the sun has gone, until the twilight sky is
red, and the ocean in the west has gleams of golden light. And the
people then know that there will be no wind and that on the morrow the
weather will be fair, as he promised them long ago.


Many ages ago when the world was still young, Raven and White Sea-gull
lived near together in Canada, far in the north country on the shores
of the Great Water in the west. They were very good friends and they
always worked in harmony and they had much food and many servants in
common. White Sea-gull knew no guile; he was always very open and
frank and honest in his dealings with others. But Raven was a sly
fellow, and at times he was not lacking in treachery and deceit. But
Sea-gull did not suspect him, and the two lived always on very
friendly terms. In these far-back times in the north country all the
world was dark and there was no light but that of the stars. Sea-gull
owned all the daylight, but he was very stingy and he kept it always
locked up in a box. He would give none of it to anyone else, and he
never let it out of the box except when he needed a little of it to
help himself when he went far away on his journeys.

After a time Raven grew envious of Sea-gull's possession. And he said,
"It is not fair that Sea-gull should keep the daylight all to himself
locked up in a box. It was meant for all the world and not for him
alone, and it would be of great value to all of us if he would
sometimes let a little of it out." So he went to Sea-gull and said,
"Give me some of your daylight. You do not need it all and I can use
some of it with advantage." But Sea-gull said, "No. I want it all for
myself. What could you do with daylight, you with your coat as black
as night?" and he would not give him any of it. So Raven made up his
mind that he would have to get some daylight from Sea-gull by stealth.

Soon afterwards Raven gathered some prickly thorns and burdocks and
scattered them on the ground between Sea-gull's house and the beach
where the canoes were lying. Then he went to Sea-gull's window and
cried loudly, "Our canoes are going adrift in the surf. Come quickly
and help me to save them." Sea-gull sprang out of bed and ran
half-asleep on his bare feet. But as he ran to the beach the thorns
stuck in his bare flesh, and he howled with pain. He crawled back to
his house, saying, "My canoe may go adrift if it pleases; I cannot
walk because of the splinters in my feet." Raven chuckled to himself,
and he moved away, pretending to go to the beach to draw up the
canoes. Then he went into Sea-gull's house. Sea-gull was still howling
with pain; he was sitting crying on the side of his bed and he was
trying to pull the thorns from his feet as best he could. "I will help
you," said Raven, "for I have often done this before. I am a very good
doctor." So he took an awl made from whale-bone and he caught hold of
Sea-gull's foot, with the pretence of removing the thorns. But instead
of taking them out he only pushed them in farther until poor Sea-gull
howled louder than ever. And Raven said, "It is so dark I cannot see
to pull these thorns from your feet. Give me some daylight and I will
soon cure you. A doctor must always have a little light." So Sea-gull
unlocked the box and lifted the cover just a little bit so that a
faint gleam of light came out. "That is better," said Raven. But
instead of picking out the thorns he pushed them in as he had done
before, until Sea-gull howled and kicked in pain. "Why are you so
stingy with your light?" snapped Raven. "Do you think I am an owl and
that I can see well enough in the darkness to heal your feet? Open the
box wide and I will soon make you well." So saying he purposely fell
heavily against Sea-gull and knocked the box on the floor. The cover
flew open and daylight escaped and spread quickly over all the world.
Poor Sea-gull tried his best to lure it back again into the box, but
his efforts proved fruitless, for it had gone for ever. Raven said he
was very sorry for the accident, but after he had taken all the thorns
from Sea-gull's feet he went home laughing to himself and well pleased
because of the success of his trick.

Soon there was light in all the world. But Raven could not see very
well, for the light was too bright and his eyes were not accustomed to
it. He sat for a time looking towards the east, but he saw there
nothing of interest. The next day he saw a bit farther, for he was now
getting used to the new conditions. The third day he could see
distinctly a line of hills far in the east, rising against the sky,
and covered with a blue mist. He looked long at the strange sight.
Then he saw far away towards the hill a thin column of smoke lifting
heavenwards. He had never seen smoke before, but he had often heard of
it from travellers in strange places. "That must be the country of
which I have been told," he said. "In that land dwell the people who
alone possess Fire. We have searched for it for many ages and now I
think we have found it." Then he thought, "We now have the daylight,
and what a fine thing it would be if we could also have Fire," and he
determined to set out to find it.

On the following day he called his servants together and told them of
his plans. He said, "We shall set out at once, for the distance is
far." And he asked three of his best servants, Robin, Mole and Flea,
to go with him. Flea brought out his little wagon and they all tried
to get into it, but it was much too small to hold them. Then they
tried Mole's carriage, but it was much too frail, and it had scarcely
started to move when it broke down and they all fell out in a heap.
Then they tried Robin's carriage, but it was much too high and it
toppled over under its heavy load and threw them all to the ground.
Then Raven stole Sea-gull's large strong carriage, for Sea-gull was
asleep, and it did very well, and they started on their journey,
taking turns pushing the carriage along with a pole over the flat

After a strange journey in queer places they reached the land of the
people who owned Fire, guided along by the thin column of smoke. The
people were not people of earth. Some say they were the Fish people,
but that, no man knows. They sat around in a large circle with Fire in
their midst, for it was autumn and the days and nights were chill. And
Fire was in many places. Raven looked on for a while from afar
thinking of the best plan to obtain Fire. Then he said to Robin, "You
can move faster than any of us. You must steal Fire. You can fly in
quickly, pick it up in your bill and take it back to us and the people
will not see nor hear you." So Robin picked out a spot where there
were few people, and he darted in quickly and picked up fire in a
twinkling and flew back unharmed towards his companions. But he had
only taken a very little bit of it. When he got half-way back to his
friends, Fire was so hot in his bill that it gave him a strange pain
and he had to drop it on the ground. It fell to the earth with a crash
and it was so small that it flickered faintly. Robin called to his
companions to bring the carriage. Then he stood over Fire and fanned
it with his wings to keep it alive. It was very hot, but he stood
bravely to his task until his breast was badly scorched and he had to
move away. His efforts to save Fire were of no avail, and before his
companions reached him Fire had died, and only a black coal remained.
And poor Robin's breast was singed, and to this day the breasts of his
descendants are a reddish-brown colour because he was scorched while
trying to steal Fire ages ago.

Then Raven asked Flea to make the attempt to steal Fire. But Flea
said, "I am too little. The heat would roast me to death; and,
further, I might miscalculate the distance and hop into the flame."
Then Raven asked Mole to try, but Mole said, "Oh no, I am better
fitted for other work. My fur would all be singed like Robin's
breast." Raven took good care that he would not go himself, for he was
a great coward. So he said, "There is a better and easier way. We will
steal the baby of the Chief and hold him for ransom. Perhaps they will
give us Fire in exchange for him," and they all thought this was a
very good idea. Raven asked, "Who will volunteer to steal the baby?"
for he always made the others do all the work. Flea said, "I will go.
In one jump I will be into the house, and in another jump I will be
out again, for I can hop a great distance." But the others laughed and
said, "You could not carry the baby; you are too small." The Mole
said, "I will go. I can tunnel a passage very quietly under the house
and right up to the baby's cradle. I can then steal the baby and no
one will hear me or see me." So it was agreed that Mole should go. In
a few minutes Mole made his tunnel, and he was soon back with the
baby. Then they got into their carriage and hurried home with their


When the Chief of the Fire people discovered the loss of his child he
was very angry. And in all the land there was great sorrow because the
Chief's heir, the hope of the tribe, had gone. And the child's mother
and her women wept so bitterly that their tears fell like rain on all
the land. The Chief said he would give anything he possessed to find
his child. But although his people searched far and near, they could
not find the baby. After many days a wayfarer who had come far from
the Great Water in the west brought them news that a strange child was
living far to the westward in the village by the sea. He said, "He is
not of their tribe. He looks like the children of your village," and
he advised them to go to see him for themselves. So the Chief sent his
men to search for them guided by the wayfarer. When they reached
Raven's village they were told that a strange baby was indeed there;
the child was described to them, but he was kept out of sight, and
Raven would not tell how he had happened to come there. And Raven
said, "How do I know he is your Chief's child? People tell strange
lies these days. If you want him you can pay for him, for he has
caused us much trouble and expense." So the messengers went back and
reported to the Chief what they had heard. From the description, the
Chief knew that the child was his, so he gave the messengers very
valuable presents of pearls and rich robes and sent them back again to
ransom his boy. But Raven, when he saw the presents, said, "No, I do
not want these gifts; they do not pay me for my trouble," and he would
not part with the baby. The messengers again reported to the Chief
what had happened. Then the Chief gave them still richer gifts, the
best he had in all his land, and sent them back. But again Raven said,
"No, your gifts are valueless, compared with my trouble and expense.
Say this to your Chief."

When the Chief heard this from his messengers he was sore perplexed,
for he had offered the best he had, and he thought that he had reached
the end of his resources. So he said, "Go back and ask the people to
demand what they wish in exchange for my boy and they will receive it
if it can be provided." So the messengers went back to Raven and spoke
as they had been commanded. And Raven said, "Only one thing can pay
for the child, and that is Fire. Give me Fire and you can take the
baby." The messenger laughed and said, "Why did you not say so at
first and save us all this trouble and anxiety? Fire is the most
plentiful thing in our kingdom, and we hold it in no value." So they
returned happy to the Chief. And he sent back much Fire and received
his child unharmed from Raven in exchange. And he sent Raven two small
stones which the messengers taught Raven how to use. And they said,
"If you ever lose Fire or if it dies for lack of food you can always
call it back to life with these two little stones." Then they showed
him how to make Fire with the two little stones and withered grass,
and birch-bark and dry pine, and Raven thought it was very easy. And
he felt very proud because he had brought Fire and Light to the earth.
He kept Fire for himself for a long time, and although the people
clamoured loudly for it, he would not give any of it away. Soon,
however, he decided to sell a quantity of it, for he now had the power
of making it. So he said to himself, "This is a good way to get many
wives," and he announced that he would only sell some of his fire in
return for a wife. And many families bought his fire and in exchange
he received many wives. And to this day he still has many wives and he
still moves about from place to place with a flock of them always
around him. But the Indians when they arrived took Fire away from him.
Thus Fire came to the Indians in the olden days. And when it has died,
as it often does, they still sometimes use Raven's flint stones to
bring it back to life.


On the bank of a stream far in the West, Owl-man lived long ago in a
little house under the ground. He had very strange habits. He always
kept away from the Great Water and he dwelt for the most part in the
forest. He had very few friends, and he usually went hunting by
himself. He lived on toads and frogs and flies. He would say but
little, and when other people sat around him talking pleasantly, he
was always silent, gazing into space with wide-open eyes, and trying
to look wiser than he really was. Because of this, people thought he
was very queer, and strange stories about him soon spread far and
wide. It was said that he was very cruel, and that he was silent
because he was always brooding over his past wickedness or thinking
about some evil deed he was soon going to do. And when children were
troublesome or disobedient, their mothers always frightened them into
goodness by saying, "The Owl-man from the stream will come and take
you if you do not mend your ways." And although the Owl-man was a
solitary fellow he thus had great influence in all the land.

Not far away lived a man and a woman who had one adopted daughter.
Because she was the only child in the house she was much petted, and
she was never satisfied, and she cried and fretted all the time, and
kept always asking for things she could not get. She disturbed all the
neighbours round about so that they could not sleep because of her
constant wailing and complaining. At last her foster-parents grew
tired of her weeping and they said, "The Owl-man will carry you off if
you do not stop crying." But still she pouted and fretted. And the old
man of the house said, "I wish the Owl-man would come and take her
away." Now the old man was a great magician, and as he wished, so it
came to pass.

That evening it happened that the people were gathered at a feast of
shell-fish on the beach by the bright moonlight, as was their weekly
custom. But the sorrowful girl would not go with the others. She
stayed at home and sulked. As she sat alone in the house, old Owl-man
came along carrying his basket full of toads and frogs. The girl was
still crying when he came in. "I have come for you," he said, "as the
old man wished." And he put her in his basket with the toads and frogs
and carried her off. She yelled and kicked and scratched, but the lid
of the basket was tightly closed and Owl-man laughed to himself and
said, "Now I have a wife at last. I shall be alone no more, and the
people will not now think I am so queer." So he took her to his
underground house by the stream. That night the people noticed that
the girl's cries were no longer heard and they said, "What can have
cured Sour-face; what can have pleased Cry-Baby into silence?" And the
girl's foster-mother wondered where she had gone. But only the old man
knew that it had happened as he had wished, because of his magic
power, and that Owl-man had taken her away.

The girl was not happy in her new home, for she would not be happy in
any place. She still kept up her caterwauling and there was no peace
in the house. Owl-man was a great hunter. Every day he went out
hunting with his big basket on his arm, but he always locked his wife
in the house before he went away. He was always very successful in the
chase, and each night he came back with his basket full of toads and
frogs and field-mice and flies. But his wife would eat none of them
and she threw them in his face when he offered them to her, and said
in a bad temper, "I will not eat your filthy food. It is not fit food
for gentle-folk." And Owl-man said, "Gentle-folk indeed! You should
find a more suitable name; you are not gentle; you are a wild evil
thing, but I am going to tame you." And the girl wept again and sulked
and stamped her feet in her temper.

At last the girl became very hungry, for there was little to eat
except the food that Owl-man brought home for himself. He gathered a
few berries for her, but even these did not satisfy her hunger. So she
thought out a plan of escape. One day when Owl-man was away, she took
some oil she found in the house and rubbed it all over her face and
hair. When Owl-man came home in the evening, he said, "You are very
pretty to-night. What have you done to make yourself look so sleek and
shiny?" And she answered, "I have put on my face and hair gum which I
picked from the trees last night when I went walking with you." And he
said, "I should like to put some on too, for perhaps it would make me
beautiful." The girl told him that if he would go out and gather some
gum she would put it on his face and hair for him. So he went out and
gathered a great store of gum from the trees and brought it back to
her. She melted it on a hot stove until it was balsam again and would
pour easily out. Then she said, "Shut your eyes so that it will not
harm your sight, and I will make your face and hair beautiful and
shining like mine." Owl-man shut his eyes, and the girl soon covered
his face and head with the soft gum. She put it on very thick, and she
said, "Keep your eyes shut until it dries or it may blind you."
Owl-man did as he was told, but when the gum dried he could not open
his eyes, and while he was trying to rub it off, the girl slipped out
the door and ran back to her parents, far away by the Great Water.

Owl-man scraped the gum from his face and head as best he could, and
when he could open his eyes again and could see pretty well, he went
out into the night in search of his wife. And as he went along he
cried, "Oh, oh, oh, where is my wife? Where is my girl? I have lost my
wife. I have lost my girl. Oh, oh, oh." And when the people heard him
calling they thought they would play a trick on him. So they said,
"She is here, she is here." But when he entered their houses, the
woman they showed him was not his wife, and he went away sorrowful.
And the people all laughed at his confusion, and said, "Owl-man is
getting queerer each day. He is far gone in his head." Owl-man went
from house to house, but he could not find his wife. Then he went to
the trees and searched among the branches. He pulled the trees up by
the roots, thinking she might be hiding underneath. And he looked into
the salmon-traps in the rivers, and kicked them to pieces in his
frenzy. But nowhere was his wife to be found.

Then he went to the girl's house, where she was hiding, and he yelled,
"Oh, oh, oh, give me my wife. Give me my girl. I know she is here. Oh,
oh, oh." But the girl's foster-mother would not give her up. Then he
began to tear down the house over their heads, for the old man of the
house was away and there was no one else strong enough to stop Owl-man
in his rage. When the woman saw her house in danger of falling about
her ears, she cried, "Stop; your wife is here." And she brought forth
the girl from her hiding-place. When Owl-man saw her, his rage left
him and he was happy again.


But just then the old man of magic power came home. He had heard the
hub-bub from a distance. When he came in and saw the great holes in
the roof and the side of his house where Owl-man had torn away the
logs, he was very angry and he said to himself, "I will punish both
Owl-man and the girl for this night's work." And he hit upon a plan.
He said to Owl-man, "We must give you a hot bath to melt the gum and
take it from your hair, for it will do you no good, and it will take
all the hair off your head." And Owl-man gladly agreed. So they filled
a great bark tub with water and heated it by placing at the bottom of
it many red-hot stones, after the fashion of Indians in those old
days. But the old man put so many hot stones in the water that it was
soon almost boiling with the heat, and when they put Owl-man into the
tub he was almost scalded to death and he yelled loudly in pain. Then
the old man said, "Now I will take vengeance. You will trouble me no
more. You have broken my house. Henceforth you will be not a man but
an Owl, and you will dwell alone in the forest with few friends, and
you will live always on frogs and toads and field-mice, and people
will hear you at night crying for your wife all over the land, but you
shall never find her." Then with his magic power he changed him to an
Owl and sent him on his way.

He said to the girl, "You have done me much harm too, and you have
brought all this trouble upon me. Henceforth you will be not a girl
but a Fish-Hawk, and you will always cry and fret and scream as you
have done before, and you will never be satisfied." And with his magic
power he changed her into a Fish-Hawk, and sent her out to the ocean.
And there she screams always, and she is a great glutton, for she can
never get enough to eat. And since that time, Owl and Fish-Hawk have
not dwelt together and have not been on friendly terms. They live far
apart, and Owl keeps to the forest and the mountains, while the other
keeps to the sea. Thus was the old man avenged, and thus was the
weeping maiden punished for her tears. And the cries of Owl and
Fish-Hawk are still heard in many places, one calling for his wife,
the other screaming unsatisfied for something she cannot get.


Far away in the Canadian North Country an old man lived with his wife
and children. They lived far from other people, but they were never
lonely, for they had much work to do. The old man was a great hunter,
and in summer he and his wife and children lived on the fish and game
he captured in the winter. In the spring-time he gathered sap from the
maple trees, from which he made maple syrup and maple sugar with which
to sweeten their food. One day in summer he found three small bears
eating his stock of sugar. When he came upon them, his sugar was all
gone, and he was very cross. With a stout club he killed the little
bears and skinned them and dried their meat. But his wife said, "No
good can come of it. You should not have killed the three little
bears, for they were too young for slaughter."

The next day the old Bear came along, looking for his lost children.
When he saw their skins hanging up to dry he knew that they had been
killed by the hunter. He was very sad and angry, and he called to the
hunter, "You have killed my little motherless cubs, and in return for
that wickedness, some night when you are off your guard I will kill
your children, and then I will kill you and your wife, and I will
devour all your food." The old man shot at him with his arrows, but
the arrows did not harm him, for he was Brown Bear of the Stony Heart,
and he could not be killed by man. For many nights and days the old
man tried to trap him, but he met with no success. And each day he saw
his store of food growing smaller, for Bear of the Stony Heart stole
it always in the night. And he thought, "We shall all surely starve
before the winter comes, and game is plentiful again."

One day in despair he resolved to look about him for some one who
would tell him how to kill the Bear. He went to the bank of the river
and sat there in thought and smoked long at his pipe. And he called to
the God of the River and said, "Oh, River-God, help me to drown Bear
when he comes to fish." The river came from the Lime Stone country far
back among the rocks, and it was flowing rapidly to the sea. And the
River-God said, "My water cannot tarry. There are millions of oysters
down on the ocean shore waiting for shells, and I am hurrying down
there with the lime to make them," and he rushed quickly past.

Then the old man called to the Spirit of the Wind, and he said, "Oh,
Spirit of the Wind, stay here with me to-night and help me to kill
Bear of the Stony Heart. You can knock down great trees upon his back
and crush him to the earth." But the Wind Spirit said, "I cannot
linger. Many ships with rich cargoes lie silent on the ocean waiting
to sail, and I must hurry along with the force to drive them." And
like the River-God he hastened on his way.

Then the old man called to Storm Cloud, which was just then passing
over his head, and he said, "Oh, Spirit of the Storm Cloud, stay here
with me to-night and help me to kill Bear of the Stony Heart, for he
seeks to destroy my children. You can send lightning and thunder to
strike him dead." But the Storm Cloud said, "I cannot loiter on the
way. Far from here there are millions of blades of corn and grass
dying from thirst in the summer heat, for I see the heat waves rising
on the earth, and I am hurrying there with rain to save them." And
like the River-God and the Wind Spirit he hurried along on his
business. The poor old man was in great sorrow, for it seemed that no
one would help him to rid the land of Bear of the Stony Heart.

As he sat wondering what he should do, an old woman came along. She
said, "I am very hungry and tired, for I have come far. Will you give
me food and let me rest here a while?" And he said, "We have very
little food, for Bear of the Stony Heart steals it from us nightly,
but you may share with us what little we have." So he went away and
brought back to her a good fat meal. While she was eating her dinner
he told her of his troubles with Bear, and he said that no one would
help him to get rid of the pest, and that Bear could not be killed by
man. And the old woman said, "There is a little animal who can kill
Bear of the Stony Heart. He alone can save you. You have done well to
me. Here is a wand which I will give you. Go to sleep here, soon, on
the bank of the river. Wave this wand before you sleep and say what I
shall teach you, and when you awake call to you the first animal you
see when you open your eyes. He will be the animal of which I speak,
and he will rid you of the Bear." She taught him a little rhyme and
gave him a wand which she took from the basket on her arm; then she
hobbled away, and the old man knew that she was the weird woman of the
Fairy Blue Mountain, of whom he had often heard. He marvelled greatly,
but he resolved to do as she had told him.

After the old woman had gone, the man waved the little wand three
times, and cried:

    "Animal, animal, come from your lair,
    Help me to slaughter the old Brown Bear!
    Make with my magic a little white dart,
    To pierce in the centre old Bear's Stony Heart!"

He repeated the rhyme three times. Then he felt himself getting drowsy
and sleep soon came upon him. He slept but a short time when the heat
woke him up, for the hot sun beat down upon him. He rubbed his eyes
and looked about him. Watching him from behind a tree was a little
animal with a shaggy brown coat. The old man thought to himself,
"Surely the weird fairy woman of the Blue Mountain has played a trick
on me. That scraggy little animal with the dirty coat cannot kill the
Bear." But he resolved to test her word. He repeated his rhyme again,
and the little animal came quickly towards him. "Who are you?" said
the man. "I am Ermine," said the little animal. "Are you the animal of
which the fairy woman of the Blue Hills has told me?" asked the man.
"I am indeed the same," said Ermine. "I have been sent to you to kill
the Bear, and here I have the little darts made powerful because of
your magic wand." He pointed to his mouth and showed the old man his
sharp white teeth. "So now to your task," said the old man in high
spirits. "Oh, not so fast," said Ermine, "you must first pay me for my
work." "What can I do for you?" asked the man. "I am ashamed of my
dirty brown coat, which I have worn for a long time," said the animal;
"you have great magic from the wand you received from the fairy woman
of the Blue Hills. I want a sleek and shining white coat that I can
wear always, for I want to be clean." The man waved his wand again and
wished for what the animal had asked him, and at once the shaggy brown
coat of Ermine was replaced by a sleek and shining white coat as
spotless as the new snow in winter. Then the animal said, "I have one
more condition to impose on you. You must promise never to kill a
bear's young cubs when they are still following their mother in the
summer time. You must give them a chance to grow strong, so that they
may be able to fight for their own lives." And the man promised,
placing his hand upon the wand to bind his oath. Then, when he looked
again, the wand had vanished from his hand. It had gone back through
the air to the fairy woman of the Blue Hills.


Then Ermine set out on his search for Bear. The afternoon was very
hot, and the forest was still, and not a leaf or a blade of grass was
stirring, and there was not a ripple on the stream. The whole world
was drowsy in the dry summer heat. But Ermine did not feel the heat,
he was in such high spirits because of his new white coat. Soon he
came upon Bear, stretched out at full length on the bank of the river,
taking his afternoon nap, as was his custom after his fat midday meal.
He was lying on his back, and his mouth was open wide, and he was
snoring loudly like a waterfall. "This is your last sleep," said
Ermine, creeping softly to his side, "for you are a dangerous thief;
you shall snore no more." And with a bound he jumped down Bear's
throat, and in an instant had pierced with his teeth his strong stony
heart, which the arrows of the Indians could never reach. Then as
quickly as he had entered the Bear's mouth Ermine jumped out again and
ran from the place. Bear snored no more; he was quite dead, and the
land was rid of his thefts and terrors. Then Ermine went back to the
old man and told him that the deed was done; and that night was a
great feast night in the old man's home. And since that time Ermine in
the North Country has worn a sleek white coat as spotless as the new
snow in winter. And to this day the hunters in the far north will not
kill, if they can avoid it, the young Bear cubs while they are still
following their mothers through the forest. They give them a chance to
grow up and grow strong, so that they may be able to fight for their
own lives, as the fairy woman of the Blue Hills had asked.


Long ago in Indian days in Canada, when Rabbit worked for Glooskap as
his forest guide, he was a great thief. He liked most of all to steal
by moonlight, and he crept quietly into gardens and fields where
Indian vegetables were growing, for he was very fond of cabbage and
lettuce and beans. Not far from his home there lived alone an old
widow woman who had no children. She could not hunt game because she
was a woman, and she had never been trained to the chase, so she kept
a little garden from which she made a good living. All day long from
dawn until sunset she toiled hard, tilling her little garden, watering
her vegetables and keeping them free from weeds. And she grew green
cabbages and red carrots and yellow beans and big fat pumpkins and
Indian corn, which she traded with Indian hunters in return for fish
and meat. In this way she always had plenty of food, and she lived
very well on good fare. But Rabbit, going his rounds one day,
discovered her garden, although it was deep in the forest, and every
night by moonlight or starlight he robbed it, and grew sleek and fat
from the results of his thefts. And morning after morning the old
widow woman found that many cabbages and carrots were missing and that
much harm had been done to her plants. She had an idea that Rabbit was
the pilferer, for she had heard that he was a great thief, but she was
not very sure. She watched many nights, but she was never able to
catch the robber, so stealthily did he come, and it was not easy to
see him in the shadows. So she said to herself, "I will set up a
scarecrow, a figure in the shape of a little man, and I will place it
at my garden gate, and it will frighten away the robber, whoever he
may be, for I must save my vegetables or I shall starve when the cold
winter comes."

She picked from the spruce and the fir trees close by a great store of
gum and balsam. This she formed into a figure in the shape of a little
man. She made two eyes from glass beads that would shine like fire in
the starlight, and a nose from a pine cone, and hair from the corn
tassels and yellow moss. Then she placed the figure at the entrance to
the garden where she knew the robber would come. "Now," she thought,
"I will scare away the thief."

When night fell and the moon rose above the trees, Rabbit came along,
as was his custom, to steal his nightly meal. As he came near the
garden very softly, he saw in the moonlight what he thought was a man
standing in the path by the garden gate. The moon hung low over the
forest, and there was a thin grey mist on the earth, for it was near
to autumn and the nights were already cool; and the figure of the
little man looked larger than human in the misty light, and it cast a
long black shadow like that of a giant on the grass. Rabbit was much
afraid and he trembled like an aspen leaf, but he stood quiet behind a
tree and watched the strange figure. For a long time he stood still
and watched and listened. But the strange figure did not move, and not
a sound did Rabbit hear but the chirp of a cricket. Then with great
caution he came closer. But still the figure did not move. Then his
fear left him and he grew bolder, for he was very hungry, and he could
smell the vegetables and the wild honeysuckle in the still night air.
So he walked bravely up to the little dummy man and said, "Get out of
my way and let me pass." But the man did not move. Then Rabbit struck
the man a sharp blow with his fist. But still the figure did not move.
Rabbit's fist stuck fast in the gum and he could not pull it away.
Then he struck out with his other fist, and it too, like the other,
was held firm. "I shall kick you," said Rabbit in a rage. "Take that,"
and he struck out wildly with his foot. But his foot, like his fists,
stuck fast. Then he kicked with the other foot, but that too was held
in the gum. Rabbit was now very cross, and in his anger he said, "Now
I shall bite you," but when he bit the little man, his teeth, like his
feet and hands, stuck fast. Then he pushed with his body with all his
might, hoping to knock the little man down, but his whole body stuck
to the dummy figure.

He cried out loudly, for he was now beside himself with fear, and the
old woman, when she heard his yells, came running out of her house.
"Aha!" she said, "so you are the robber who has been stealing from my
garden. I will rid the world of a pilfering pest, for I will kill you
this very night." Then she pulled him away from the gum figure and put
him in a strong bag and tied the mouth of the bag with a stout string.
She left the bag on the path by the garden gate and went to look for
her axe to kill Rabbit. While Rabbit lay there wondering how he was
going to escape, Fox came prowling along. He stumbled over the bag,
for he did not see it in the shadows, and he plunged forward headlong
to the ground with a great thud. He got up and rained kicks upon the
bag. He was mad because he had been tripped. He kicked poor Rabbit's
back until Rabbit cried in pain. "Who are you in the bag?" asked Fox
when he heard the cries. "I am your friend Rabbit," was the answer.
"What are you doing, hiding in the bag?" asked Fox. Then Rabbit
suddenly thought of a way of escape. He knew that Fox had long been
looking for a wife, but that no one would have him as no one trusted
him because his fame for treachery and slyness was so great. "I am not
hiding," he said. "The old woman who owns this garden wants me to
marry her grand-daughter, and when I refused to do it she caught me
and shut me up in this bag; she has just gone to bring the girl from
her house, for she is determined to make me marry her here in the
moonlight this very night. I don't want to marry her, for she is very
big and fat, and I am very small and lean." Then he cried
"Boo-hoo-hoo" again, and Fox said, "I have been looking for a wife for
a long time, and I like fat people. Let me get into the bag in your
place, and I will marry the grand-daughter instead, for the old woman
will not know me in the shadows." And Rabbit gladly agreed. Then Fox
untied the bag and let Rabbit out and got into the bag himself, and
Rabbit tied up the mouth of the bag and hurried away as quickly as he

Soon the old woman came back, carrying her axe. She sharpened it on a
stone and said, "Now I will kill you, and you will thieve no more in
my garden. A poor woman must live untroubled by such pilfering
rogues." When Fox heard these words and the sound of the stone upon
the axe, he knew that he had been deceived by Rabbit, and when the old
woman opened the bag he sprang nimbly out with a sudden bound and was
away before she could catch him. He swore by the Starlight that he
would have vengeance on Rabbit. All night long he searched for him and
all the next day, but he could not find him. At last in the gathering
twilight he came upon him in an open space in the forest, on the other
side of a stream, eating his fill of wild vegetables. Fox tried to
coax him across the stream to his side, for he himself was afraid of
the water, but Rabbit would not go. "Why don't you eat some cheese?"
said Rabbit; "there is a big round cheese in the stream." Fox looked
into the stream where Rabbit pointed, and there he saw the reflection
of the big round yellow moon. He thought it was a round cheese, and he
plunged in after it, for he was very fond of cheese. Rabbit hoped he
would be drowned, but the stream was shallow and Fox climbed out with
no cheese and with only a bad fright and a wet coat for his pains. He
was very cross, for he knew that Rabbit wished to do him harm, but he
kept his anger to himself. Rabbit was still eating contentedly.


"What are you eating?" said Fox, trying to hold him in talk until he
could think of a plan to catch him. "I am eating good ripe fruit,"
said Rabbit. "I am eating Indian melons." "Throw me one," said Fox,
for he was hungry. Rabbit threw him a large round wild cucumber all
covered with green prickles. "Swallow it whole at a mouthful," said
Rabbit; "it is very good that way." It was night and the moon shone
dimly through the trees, and Fox could not see what he was eating. He
swallowed the cucumber at one gulp, as Rabbit had told him, but the
prickles stuck in his throat and he almost choked to death. And while
he was choking and spluttering and trying to cough up the cucumber,
Rabbit ran away as fast as he could, laughing heartily to himself. Fox
knew that he had been tricked again, and this time he swore he would
kill Rabbit as soon as he could find him; he resolved that when next
he saw him he would not give him a moment to live.

Rabbit hid among the dry underbrush all the next day. But when the day
went down and the sky was red in the west and the wind was very still,
he sat on a log, as was his custom, and played softly on his flute,
for he was a great player on the Indian pipe. While he was playing,
Fox suddenly came upon him unawares. Rabbit saw him watching him
through the trees close at hand, but although taken by surprise, he
was not to be outdone. Fox was just about to spring upon him when
Rabbit said, "The Chief's daughter has just been married to a great
warrior, and the wedding party will soon be along this way. They asked
me to sit here and make music for them with my flute as they pass by.
They have promised to pay me well, and they have invited me to the
wedding feast. Come and join me and play too, and you will be well
paid, and we will go to the wedding feast together and get good things
to eat." Fox thought he would let Rabbit get the pay he had been
promised, for he was a very greedy fellow; then he would rob him and
kill him, and he would take his flute and go to the wedding feast
alone, and his vengeance would then be complete. So he decided to let
his anger cool for a little time. And he said, "I have no flute, and I
cannot therefore make music; but I will sit with you to see the
wedding guests go by." But Rabbit said, "Take my flute. I have
another at home. I will go and get it, for there is yet time."

So Fox took the flute and began to play loudly, and Rabbit slipped
hurriedly out of sight, pretending to go for his Indian pipe. But he
resolved to make an end of Fox, for he feared for his own life, and
instead of going home, he set the underbrush on fire. He kindled the
fire at many places all around the log on which Fox sat. Fox could not
hear the fire crackling because of the loud music of his flute, and he
thought the light was but the bright light of the moon. And the fire
was almost upon him before he knew that he was in danger. Then he
tried to get away, but on all sides his escape was stopped by the
flames and he could not find an opening. At last, in despair, to save
his life, he jumped through the ring of fire. He escaped with his
life, but his eyelids were singed, and his sleek black coat with its
silver spots was scorched to a red-brown colour. He was in great pain.
He concluded that Rabbit was too clever for him to cope with, and he
resolved to leave him alone and to forego his revenge, for he was glad
to get away with his life. But he decided never again to live on
friendly terms with Rabbit. And since that night Rabbit and Fox have
never hunted together. And to the present day the descendants of this
Fox have red eyes and a red-brown coat, because Rabbit scorched their
ancestor in the olden times.


Once, long ago, before the white man came to Canada, a boy was living
with his parents in a village near the ocean. As he had no brothers or
sisters, he was often lonely, and he longed for adventure and
companionship. At last he decided to set out to seek his fortune
elsewhere. He was just on the point of leaving his home when it was
noised abroad one day that there had come into the land a great
dragon, who was doing great havoc and damage wherever he went. The
country was in great terror, for the dragon carried off women and
children and devoured them one by one. And what was still more
mystifying, he had power to take on human form, and often he changed
himself into a man of pleasing shape and manner and came among the
people to carry out his cruel designs before they knew that he was
near. The Chief of the tribe called for volunteers to meet the
dragon-man, but none of his warriors responded. They were strong and
mighty in combat with men, but it was a different matter to encounter
a dragon.

When the youth heard this dreadful story and saw the terror of his
people, he said, "Here is my chance to do a great deed," for somehow
he felt that he had more than human power. So he said good-bye to his
parents and set out on his adventure. He travelled all day inland
through the forest, until at evening he came to a high hill in the
centre of an open space. He said, "I will climb this hill, and perhaps
I can see all the country round about me." So he went slowly to the
top. As he stood there, looking over the country which he could see
for many miles around, a man suddenly appeared beside him. He was a
very pleasant fellow, and they talked together for some time. The boy
was on his guard, but he thought, "Surely this man with the good looks
cannot be the dragon," and he laughed at his suspicions and put them
from his mind.

The stranger said, "Where are you going?" And the boy answered, "I am
going far away. I am seeking adventure in the forest for it is very
lonely down by the sea." But he did not tell him of his real errand.
"You may stay with me to-night," said the new-comer. "I have a very
comfortable lodge not far from here, and I will give you food." The
boy was very hungry and tired, and he went along with the man to his
lodge. When they reached the house the boy was surprised to see a
great heap of bleached bones lying before the door. But he showed no
fear nor did he comment on the horrible sight. Inside the lodge sat a
very old and bent woman, tending a pot. She was stirring it with a big
stick, and the boy saw that it contained meat stew. When she placed
the stew before them, the boy said he would rather have corn, for he
feared to taste the meat. The old woman fried some corn for him, and
he had a good meal.

After they had eaten, the man went out to gather wood for the fire,
and the boy sat talking to the old woman. And she said to him, "You
are very young and beautiful and innocent--the most handsome I have
yet seen in this place. And because of that, I will take pity on you
and warn you of your danger. The man whom you met in the forest and
whom you supped with to-night is none other than the dragon-man of
whom you have often heard. He cannot be killed in ordinary combat, and
it would be folly for you to try. To-morrow he will kill you if you
are still here. Take these moccasins that I will give you, and in the
morning when you get up put them on your feet. With one step you will
reach by their power the hill you see in the distance. Give this piece
of birch bark with the picture on it to a man you will meet there, and
he will tell you what next to do. But remember that no matter how far
you go, the dragon-man will overtake you in the evening." The youth
took the moccasins and the birch bark bearing the mystic sign and hid
them under his coat, and said, "I will do as you advise." But the
woman said, "There is one more condition. You must kill me in the
morning before you go, and put this robe over my body. Then the
dragon-man's spell over me will be broken, and when he leaves me, I
will rouse myself with my power back to life."

The youth went to sleep, and the dragon-man slept all night beside him
so as not to let him escape. The next morning, when the dragon-man was
out to get water from the stream some distance away, the boy at once
carried out the old woman's orders of the night before. First of all
he killed the old woman with a blow and covered her body with a bright
cloak, for he knew that when the dragon-man would leave the place she
would soon rise again. Then he put the magic moccasins on his feet and
with one great step he reached the distant hill. Here, sure enough, he
met an old man. He gave him the piece of birch bark bearing the mystic
sign. The man looked at it closely and smiled and said, "So it is you
I was told to wait for. That is well, for you are indeed a comely
youth." The man gave him another pair of moccasins in exchange for
those he was wearing, and another piece of birch bark bearing another
inscription. He pointed to a hill that rose blue in the distance and
said, "With one step you will reach that hill. Give this bark to a man
you will meet there, and all will be well."

The boy put the moccasins on his feet, and with one step he reached
the distant hill. There he met another old man, to whom he gave the
birch bark. This man gave him another pair of moccasins and a large
maple leaf bearing a strange symbol, and told him to go to another
spot, where he would receive final instructions. He did as he was
told, and here he met a very old man, who said, "Down yonder there is
a stream. Go towards it and walk straight into it, as if you were on
dry ground. But do not look at the water. Take this piece of birch
bark bearing these magic figures, and it will change you into whatever
you wish, and it will keep you from harm." The boy took the bark and
did as he was told, and soon found himself on the opposite bank of the
stream. He followed the stream for some distance, and at evening he
came to a lake. As he was looking about for a warm place to pass the
night, he suddenly came upon the dragon-man, now in the form of a
monster dragon, hiding behind the trees. The old woman's words had
come true, for his enemy had overtaken him before nightfall, as she
had said. There was no time to lose, so the boy waved his magic bark,
and at once he became a little fish with red fins, moving slowly in
the lake.

When the dragon-man saw the little fish, he cried, "Little fish of the
red fins, have you seen the youth I am looking for?" "No, sir," said
the little fish, "I have seen no one; I have been asleep. But if he
passes this way I will tell you," and he moved rapidly out into the


The dragon-man moved down along the bank of the lake, while the youth
watched him from the water. He met a Toad in the path, and said,
"Little Toad, have you seen the youth I am looking for? If he passed
this way you would surely have seen him." "I am minding my own
business," answered the Toad, and he hopped away into the moss. Then
the dragon-man saw a very large fish with his head above water,
looking for flies, and he said, "Have you seen the boy I am looking
for?" "Yes," said the fish, "you have just been talking to him," and
he laughed to himself and disappeared. The dragon-man went back and
searched everywhere for Toad, but he could not find him. As he looked
he came upon a musk-rat running along by the stream, and he said
angrily, "Have you seen the person I am looking for?" "No," said the
rat. "I think you are he," said the dragon-man. Then the musk-rat
began to cry bitterly and said, "No, no; the boy you are looking for
passed by just now, and he stepped on the roof of my house and broke
it in." The dragon-man was deceived again. He went on and soon came
upon old Turtle splashing around in the mud. "You are very old and
wise," he said, hoping to flatter him, "you have surely seen the
person I am looking for." "Yes," said Turtle, "he is farther down the
stream. Go across the river and you will find him. But beware, for if
you do not know him when you see him, he will surely kill you." Turtle
knew well that the dragon-man would now meet his fate.

The dragon-man followed the lake till he came to the river. For
greater caution, so that he might be less easily seen, he changed
himself to a Snake. Then he attempted to cross the stream. But the
youth, still in the form of a fish and still using the power of his
magic bark with the mystic sign, was swimming round and round in a
circle in the middle of the river. A rapid whirlpool arose where he
swam, but it was not visible on the surface. As the Snake approached
it, he saw nothing but clear water. He failed to recognize his enemy,
and as Turtle had told him, he swam into the whirlpool before he was
aware of it, and was quickly drawn to the bottom, where he was

The youth fished him up and cut off his head. Then he changed back to
his own form. He went to the dragon-man's lodge to see how the old
woman had fared, but she had gone with her bright robe, and the lodge
was empty. Then the youth went back to his home and reported what he
had done. And he received many rich gifts from the Chief for his brave
deed, and the land was never troubled again by dragons. But from that
time the snake family was hated because its shape had concealed the
dragon-man, and to this day an Indian will not let a snake escape with
his life if he meets one of them in his path. For they still are
mindful of the adventure of their ancestor in the old days, and they
are suspicious of the evil power the snake family secretly possess.


Long ago, when Glooskap was the ruler of the Indians in Eastern
Canada, and when the animals all worked for him and talked like men,
Wolf was one of Rabbit's enemies. On the surface they seemed to be
friends, but each was afraid of the other and each suspected the other
of treachery. Rabbit was very faithful to his work as the forest guide
who showed people the way to far places. But he was also a great
trickster, and he delighted to play pranks on every one he met. He
liked more than all to pester Wolf, for he had a hatred for his cruel
ways, and he was always able to outwit him.

It happened that Rabbit and Wolf lived close together, deep in the
Canadian forest. Some distance from them, in a little house, lived a
poor widow woman who had only one daughter. She was a very beautiful
girl, with hair as black as the raven's wing, and with eyes like the
dark of the underwater. Rabbit and Wolf each fell in love with her,
and each in his own way sought her as his wife. Rabbit tried hard to
win her love. When he went to her house he always dressed himself in
a soft brown coat, and he put a bangle around his neck and bells upon
his feet. And often he played sweetly on his flute, hoping to charm
her with his music, for he was a great player upon the Indian pipe.
And he tried to grow a moustache to hide his split lip; but he had
little success, for his whiskers would not grow thick, and he has the
thin scraggy moustache of a few hairs to this day. But no matter what
Rabbit did to adorn himself, the girl gave him cold looks, and old
Wolf seemed to be deeper in her favour, for she liked his willowy form
and his sleek and bashful ways. And poor Rabbit was sore distressed.

One fine day in the spring-time, Rabbit came upon the girl and her
mother gathering May-flowers among the moss. He crept close to listen
to their talk. He heard the mother say, "I have no stomach for little
Rabbit, but Wolf pleases me well. You must marry Wolf. They tell me he
is a great hunter, and if you marry him we shall never want for food."

When Rabbit heard this he was very sad; he determined that on no
account should Wolf marry the widow's daughter, and that he must use
all his power to prevent it. That night he went alone to the girl's
house. He spoke sneeringly of Wolf, saying with a bitter frown, "Wolf
is no hunter; he never catches any game because he is lazy and has no
brains; I always have to feed him to keep him from starving; he is
but a beast of burden; I always ride upon his back when I go to a far
country, for he is good for nothing else." The girl's mother wondered
greatly, and she was very startled by this news, for she did not want
her daughter to marry a good-for-nothing; but she was not sure that
Rabbit spoke the truth, for she had heard that sometimes he told great
lies. So she said, "If you will ride Wolf over here I will believe
you, and he shall not marry my daughter, and you shall marry her
yourself." And Rabbit went home well pleased and sure of a happy
ending to his trick.

The next day Rabbit purposely met Wolf in the forest, and he said,
"Let us go together to see the widow's daughter." And Wolf was glad to
go. They had not gone far when Rabbit began to cry. Then he lay down
on the ground, and rolled and moaned and rubbed his belly as if in
great distress. "I have a sharp pain in my belly," he sobbed, "I
cannot walk any farther. If I walk I shall surely die, and I cannot go
on unless you carry me on your back." Wolf willingly agreed, for he
wanted to see the beautiful girl, and he was very sorry for poor
Rabbit in his pain; and Rabbit, laughing to himself, climbed on Wolf's
back. Wolf ran along, not feeling the load, for Rabbit was very light.
They had not gone far when Rabbit cried again and said, "I cannot ride
without a saddle, for your bare back hurts me and gives me blisters."
So they borrowed a little saddle from a field by the way and put it
on Wolf's back. Soon Rabbit said, "This is fine fun; let us play that
you are a horse and that I am a great rider. I should like to put a
little bridle on you, and to wear spurs on my feet and to carry a
whip." And Wolf, wishing to please Rabbit to make him forget his pain,
gladly agreed. So they borrowed a little bridle and spurs and a whip
from another field near by, and did as Rabbit asked, and together they
went to the girl's home, Wolf trotting along like a little horse, and
Rabbit laughing to himself, sitting in the saddle, with his spurs and
his whip, holding the bridle reins. When they drew near the house,
Rabbit made a great noise so that the mother and her daughter might
look out to see where the shouting came from. He called loudly, "Whoa,
Whoa." And the girl and her mother opened the door and looked out at
them in wonder. Then as they were looking on, Rabbit, chuckling to
himself, struck Wolf a stinging blow with his whip, and stuck his
spurs deep into Wolf's sides and called him loudly a lazy beast. Wolf
jumped and plunged and kicked because of the prick of the spurs and
the sting of the whip; he was very cross, but he said nothing.

Some distance away, Rabbit tied Wolf to a tree, saying, "Stay here and
I will send the girl to you." Then he went to the house, and he said
to the woman, "Now you will believe that Wolf is a beast of burden,
for I have ridden here on his back." And the woman believed him. She
told him to give Wolf some corn or grass. But Rabbit said, "He doesn't
eat corn or grass; he eats only fresh meat," for he knew well that
Wolf would be quite contented if he got a good meal of meat. Then she
gave him some fresh meat, which he brought to Wolf. And Wolf was
happy, and his anger disappeared, and he forgot the pain of the spurs
and the whip, and he thought it was fine fun to get a good meal so
easily. The woman promised that Rabbit should marry her daughter, and
when night fell Rabbit went home well pleased, leaving Wolf still tied
to the tree. It was so dark that Wolf did not see him leaving the
house, and for a long time he thought he was still inside, and he
waited long in the starlight. At last he grew tired waiting, for he
was hungry and he was cold standing still in the chill night air of
early spring. He cut with his teeth the bridle rein that tied him to
the tree, and then he went to the woman's house. But the woman would
not let him in. She told him to go away, that she never wished to see
him again, and she called him a lazy beast of burden. He went home in
great anger, for he knew now that he had been tricked, and he swore
that he would have vengeance on Rabbit.


The next day Rabbit learned from the woman that she had spurned Wolf
from her door, and he knew that Wolf realized he had been deceived. He
was somewhat frightened, for he dreaded Wolf's vengeance, and for
several days he hid among the trees. Then hunger drove him out and he
went forth to look for food. One evening he entered a garden in search
of cabbage, and he was busy robbing it, when the people who owned the
garden spied him. And they said, "Here is the thief who has been
stealing our vegetables. We will catch him and teach him a lesson."
Before Rabbit knew it, they were upon him, for he was eating heartily,
he was so hungry, and they caught him and bound him fast to a tree and
went to get scalding water to pour upon his back to teach him not to
rob their garden again. But while they were away Wolf came along. He,
too, was very hungry, for he had eaten no meal for many days, but he
was glad when he saw Rabbit, for now he thought he would have his
revenge. Rabbit saw him at a distance, and he resolved to try another
trick on him, and to hail him as if he thought he was still his
friend. And he cried out to him, "Help me, Wolf! Help me! The people
here asked me to eat up a nice little lamb, and when I refused to do
it, they tied me up to this tree, and they have gone to bring the lamb
to me."

Wolf was too hungry to be cautious, and he forgot all about Rabbit's
tricks, for spring lamb was his favourite food. And he said, "I will
eat up the little lamb," and he smacked his lips as he spoke, and
thought of the nice tender meal he would have. Then Rabbit said,
"Untie me and take my place, for the people will soon be here with
the lamb." So Wolf untied him, and Rabbit in turn bound Wolf fast to
the tree, and laughing to himself because he had again outwitted
stupid Wolf, he ran rapidly away. Far off he hid behind the trees to
see what would happen. Soon the people came back, carrying the pots of
scalding water. Wolf saw them coming, and he was in high spirits, for
he thought the lamb he was to eat was in one of the pots. It was
moonlight, and in the shadow of the great tree the people could not
see very clearly, and they thought Wolf was Rabbit, still bound fast
where they had left him. So they poured the scalding water on his back
and kicked him and knocked him on the head with a big stick, and they
said, "Now, thief, we have taught you how dangerous it is to rob
gardens in the spring moonlight." Wolf howled with pain, for his back
was blistered and his head was sore, and Rabbit heard him, and he sat
on a log and shook with laughter because of the success of his prank.

Then the people untied Wolf and let him go. He went away wearily among
the trees. And he again swore vengeance on Rabbit, and he resolved to
kill him as soon as he set eyes upon him, for he knew he had been
tricked a second time. For several days he searched for his enemy. At
last, one night of bright moonlight, he came upon Rabbit sitting in a
patch of Indian tobacco plants, eating his fill and contentedly
chewing the tobacco leaves. Rabbit's mouth was full of tobacco, but
he laughed loudly when he saw Wolf's back bound in bandages because of
the blisters, and his sore head tied up in a cloth. But when he saw
Wolf's angry eyes he was frightened, and he ran away into the woods.
The moon was shining in the forest, and Wolf could catch a glimpse now
and then of his brown coat among the trees, and he chased him for a
long time. Rabbit tried all his tricks to shake him from his tracks,
but without avail. At last, when Rabbit was almost worn out, he took
refuge in a hollow tree, into which he slipped through a small hole,
where Wolf could not follow him. And Wolf said, "Now I have him in my
power. I will kill him; but first I must go home to get my axe to cut
down the tree and to chop off his head." Then he looked around for
some one to keep watch over the tree while he was gone, so that Rabbit
could not escape. At last he saw Owl sitting quietly on a branch near.
He called to him and said, "Watch by this hole until I get back, and
do not let Rabbit get away." So Owl came down and sat by the hole and
promised to keep guard over the prisoner, and Wolf went away to look
for his axe.

But Rabbit was not caught yet; he had another trick left. After Wolf
had gone away, he called to Owl sitting by the hole, and said, "Owl,
come and see what a nice little room I have here in the tree." But Owl
replied, "It is too dark, I cannot see." Then Rabbit said, "Open your
eyes wide and put your face close to the hole, for I have a light here
and you can see easily." Owl did as he was told, for he was a curious
fellow. Rabbit had a great mouthful of tobacco juice from the Indian
tobacco leaves he had been chewing, and when Owl put his face close to
the hole he squirted the juice into Owl's eyes. Owl screamed loudly,
for his eyes were smarting and he was blinded by the juice; he ran
around the tree and stamped and shrieked and rubbed his eyes, trying
to relieve them of their pain. And while he was about it, Rabbit
slipped out of the hole and ran away, and Owl did not know he was

Soon Wolf came back, carrying his big sharp axe. And he said, "Now I
shall kill him at last." And Owl was afraid to tell him about his sore
eyes; they were still open wide, and he could not close them. At once
Wolf chopped down the hollow tree. Then he split it open from end to
end. But there was no sign of Rabbit. Wolf then thought Owl had
tricked him, and that he had helped Rabbit to escape. But Owl said he
had not. He sat with his eyes wide open, staring stupidly and moaning
and making strange noises because of his pain. Wolf thought he was
laughing at him and taunting him, for he did not know the meaning of
Owl's strange cries, and in his rage he fell to beating him over the
head with his axe-handle until poor Owl's head was swollen to a great
size. And Owl cried, "Hoot, Hoot, Hoot," and his eyes stared from his
swollen head even larger than before. Then Wolf went on his way,
resolved to keep away from Rabbit. And since that time Owl has cried
"Hoot, Hoot, Hoot" at night, for he still remembers his pain; and his
head is still swollen and bigger than that of other birds because of
the beating Wolf gave him with his axe-handle; and his eyes are still
large and they stare stupidly, and he cannot look at light, and he is
blind in the daylight because of the tobacco juice Rabbit squirted
into his eyes. And since that night Rabbit and Wolf have avoided each
other, and they have not lived in the same place, and they have never
since been friends.


A man and his wife and two little children were living long ago on the
shores of a lake surrounded by large trees, deep in the Canadian
forest. They lived very happily together, and as game was plentiful,
they wanted for nothing. As the children grew up they became each day
more beautiful and gentle, until the old women of the tribe said,
"They are too good and lovely for this world; their home is surely
elsewhere in the West." Before they grew to maturity a cruel plague
spread over the land and carried them off with its ravages. Their
mother was the next to go, slowly growing weaker, and wasting away
before the eyes of her husband, who was powerless to save her.

The man was now left all alone upon the earth. The joy of his life had
gone with his wife and children, and he went about in great loneliness
and sorrow. Life was long to him and dreary, and often he wished that
he too was dead. But at last he roused himself and said, "I will go
about doing good. I will spend my life helping others, and perhaps in
that way I can find peace." So he worked hard and did all the good he
could for the weaker and the poorer people of his tribe. He was held
in high esteem by all the people of the village, and in their
affection for him they all called him "Grandfather." He grew to be
very old, and because of his good deeds he found great happiness. But
he was still very solitary, and the days and evenings were long and
lonely, and as he grew older and his work grew less, he found it hard
to pass away the time, for he could only sit alone and dream of his
vanished youth and of his absent friends.

One day he sat thinking by the lake. Many people of the village were
around him, but as usual he sat alone. Suddenly a large flock of
birds, looking like great black clouds, came flying from the blue
hills in the distance toward the shore of the lake. They wheeled and
circled about, and hovered long over the trees, uttering strange
cries. The people had never before seen such large birds, and they
were much afraid and said, "They are not ordinary creatures. They
foreshadow some strange happening." Suddenly one of the birds
fluttered for an instant and fell slowly to the earth with an arrow in
its breast. No one in the village had shot at the flock, and where the
arrow had come from no man knew. The mystery frightened the people
still more, and they looked to the old man for counsel, for they knew
that he was very wise.

The fallen bird lay fluttering on the ground, seemingly in pain. The
other birds circled about it for a short time, uttering loud cries.
Then they screamed and called to each other and flew back to the
distant blue hills, leaving the fallen bird behind them with the arrow
sticking in its breast. The old man was not frightened by the sight.
He said, "I will go to the stricken bird; perhaps I can heal its
wound." But the people, in great fear, said, "Do not go, Grandfather,
the bird will do you harm." But the old man answered, "It can do no
harm to me. My work is ended and my life is almost done. My sky is
dark, for I am full of sorrow, and with me it is already the twilight
of time. I am alone in the world, for my kindred have gone. I am not
afraid of death, for to me it would be very welcome. What matters it
if I should die?" And he went to the stricken bird to see if he could
help it.

As he went along, his path suddenly grew dark, but as he drew nearer,
a bright flame suddenly swept down from the sky to the place where the
bird was lying. There was a flash of fire, and when the old man looked
he saw that the bird had been completely burned up. When he came to
where it had lain, nothing but black ashes remained. He stirred up the
ashes with his stick, and lying in the centre he found a large living
coal of fire. As he looked at it, in a twinkling it disappeared, and
in its place was a strange little figure like a little man, no bigger
than his thumb. "Hello, Grandfather," it called, "do not strike me,
for I have been sent to help you."


"Who are you?" asked the old man.

"I am one of the Little People from the distant blue hills," said the
tiny boy. Then the old man knew that the little fellow was one of the
strange fairy people of the mountains, of whom he had often heard.
"What do you want?" he asked.

"I have been sent to you with a precious gift," answered the little
man. The old man wondered greatly, but he said nothing.

Then the fairy from the blue hills said, "You are old and lonely. You
have done many noble deeds, and you have always gone about bringing
good to others. In that way you have found peace. And because of your
good life, I have been sent to bring you more contentment. Your work
is done, but your life is not yet ended, and you have still a long
time to dwell upon the earth. You must live out your mortal course.
You are longing always for your dead wife and children, and you are
often thinking of your youth, and with you the days are long and time
hangs heavy. But I have been sent to you with a gift that will help
you to pass the time more pleasantly."

Then the little man gave him a number of small seeds and said, "Plant
these at once, here, in the ashes from which I have just risen." The
old man did as he was told. At once the seeds sprouted and great
leaves grew from them, and soon the place where the bird had been
burned up became a large field of Tobacco.

The fairy then gave him a large pipe and said, "Dry these leaves and
place them in this pipe and smoke them. You will have great
contentment, and when you have nothing to do it will help you to pass
the time away, and when no one is with you it will be a companion. And
it will bring you many dreams of the future and of the past. And when
the smoke curls upwards it will have for you many visions of those you
loved, and you will see their faces in the smoke as you sit alone in
the twilight."

The old man was very thankful for the fairy's gift. But the little man
said, "Teach other old men how to use it, so that they, too, may
possess it and enjoy it."

Then the fairy quickly disappeared, going towards the distant blue
hills, and he was never seen in the village again. And with his pipe
and his tobacco the old man went back to his dreaming, with more
contentment than before. In this way Tobacco was brought to the
Indians in the old days.


In olden days, long before the Indians came to Canada, all the animals
talked and worked like men. Every year after midsummer they held a
great council at which they were all present. But it happened once in
the summer before the council met, that they all wanted to go to the
sky to see what the country up there was like. None of them could find
a way to go. The oldest and wisest creature on all the earth was
Turtle. One day he prayed to the Thunder God to take him to the sky,
and his prayer was soon answered. There was a great noise, as if the
earth had been split asunder, and when the people next looked for
Turtle he was nowhere to be found. They searched everywhere without
success. But that evening, when they looked upwards, they saw him in
the sky, moving about like a black cloud. Turtle liked the sky so well
that he decided to live there always and to send his descendants,
later, to the earth. And the sky-people agreed to keep him. They asked
him, "Where do you want to dwell?" And he answered, "I should like to
dwell in the Black Cloud, in which are the ponds and streams and
lakes and springs of water, for I always dwelt near these places when
I was young." So he was allowed to have his wish. But when the Great
Council of the animals met on earth in the time of the harvest-moon,
he was always present. He came in the Black Cloud, but he always went
back to the sky after the Council was ended. And the other animals
envied him his good fortune, and they wished that they could go with

After a time the animals were greatly distressed and angered by the
rumour that a new race of creatures was coming from far over the ocean
to inhabit their land. They talked it over very carefully, and they
all thought how fortunate it would be if they could all go to the sky
with old Turtle, and live like him, free from fear and trouble and
care. But they were puzzled to know how to get there, for Turtle had
never told any of them the way.

One day Deer, wandering about alone in the forest, as was his custom,
came across Rainbow, who often built a path of many colours to the
sky. And he said to Rainbow, "Carry me up to the sky, for I want to
see Turtle." But Rainbow was afraid to do it, for he wished first to
ask the Thunder God for permission, and he put Deer off, and to gain
time he said, "Come to me in winter, when I stay for a time on the
mountain near the lake. Then I will gladly carry you to the place
where Turtle dwells."


Throughout the long winter months Deer looked longingly for Rainbow,
but Rainbow did not come. Life was growing harder on the earth, and
the animals were in terror of the new race that was soon to come to
their land, and Deer was very timid and impatient. At last, one day in
the early summer, Rainbow came again, and Deer hastened to meet him.
"Why were you false to me?" he asked; "I waited for you all winter
long on the mountain by the lake, but you did not come as you
promised. I want to go to the sky now, for I must see Turtle." Rainbow
answered, "I cannot take you now. But some day, when there is a Fog
over the lake, I shall come back to drive it away. Come to me then,
and I shall take you to the sky and to the place where Turtle dwells.
This time I will not deceive you."

Rainbow consulted the Thunder God, and received permission to do as
Deer wished. Soon afterwards the Fog one day rolled in a thick bank
across the lake, and Deer hurried out to wait for Rainbow. Sure
enough, Rainbow came down, as he had promised, to drive the Fog away.
He threw his arch of many colours from the lake to the blue hills far
away, and the Fog at once disappeared from the place. And he said to
Deer, who stood watching him, "Now I will keep my promise. Follow my
many-coloured path over the hills and the forests and the streams, and
be not afraid, and you will soon reach Turtle's home in the sky." Deer
did as he was told, and soon he reached the sky. Turtle was glad to
see him, and Deer liked the country so well that he decided to stay
for ever. And he roamed over the sky everywhere, moving like the wind
from place to place.

When midsummer had passed and the harvest-moon had come and the Great
Council again met together, Deer was absent for the first time in his
life. The animals waited long for him to appear, for they needed his
advice, but he did not come. They sent the Birds out to find him.
Black Hawk and Woodpecker and Bluejay all sought him in the forest,
but they could not find a trace of him. Then Wolf and Fox scoured the
woods far and near, but they came back and reported that he could not
be found anywhere. At last Turtle arrived at the meeting of the Great
Council, as was his custom, coming in his Black Cloud, in which were
the ponds and lakes and streams and springs of water. And Bear said,
"Deer is absent from the Council meeting. Where is Deer? We cannot
meet without him, for we need his advice." And Turtle replied, "Deer
is in the sky. Have you not heard? Rainbow made a wonderful pathway
for him of many varied colours, and by that he came to the sky. There
he is now," and he pointed to a golden cloud scurrying across the sky

Turtle advised that the animals should all go to the sky to live until
they could be sure that the new race of creatures would bring them no
harm. And he showed them the pathway that Rainbow had made,
stretching from the earth in wonderful colours. The animals all agreed
at the Great Council to take Turtle's advice. But they were all very
angry at Deer for leaving them without warning, for they thought that
all the animals should either stay together faithfully on the earth or
go all together to the sky. Bear showed the greatest anger and
annoyance. Because of his great strength, he had no fear of the new
race that was said soon to be coming, and he had always been inclined
to look with scorn on Deer's timid and impatient ways. "Deer has
forsaken us," he said; "he deserted us in the hour of our danger, and
that is contrary to forest laws and to our code of defence." And he
thought to himself, "I shall punish him for this when the time comes."

In the late autumn, the time agreed upon came for the animals to leave
the earth, and Rainbow again made his bright path for them to the sky.
Bear was the first to go up because he was the leader, and because
with his great weight he wanted to test the strength of the bridge of
burning colours over which they had to pass. When he had almost
reached the sky, he met Deer on the path waiting to welcome the
animals to their new home. And he said to him in anger, "Why did you
leave us behind, without warning, for the land of the Turtle? Why did
you desert the Great Council? Why did you not wait until all could
come together? You are a traitor to your comrades, and you have been
false to our faith." And Deer answered, also in anger, "Who are you to
doubt me or my faith? None but the Wolf may ask me why I came or
question my fidelity. I will kill you for your insolence." Deer had
grown very proud since he had gone to live in the sky, and he was no
longer timid as he had been on earth. His eyes flashed in his fury,
and he arched his neck and lowered his antlered head, and rushed madly
at Bear to push him from the path.

But Bear was not afraid, for he had often tested his strength with
Deer upon the earth. His low, hoarse growls sounded all over the sky,
and he prepared to fight. They came together with a shock. For a long
time they battled, until the bridge of burning colours trembled and
the heavens shook from the force of the conflict. The animals waiting
by the lake at the end of the path looked up and saw the battle above
them. They feared the results, for they wanted neither Bear nor Deer
to die. So they sent Wolf up to the sky to put a stop to the contest.
When Wolf reached the combatants, Bear was bleeding freely, for Deer
with his antlers had pierced his neck and side. Deer, too, was
bleeding where Bear's strong claws had torn a great wound in his head.
Wolf soon stopped the battle, and Bear and Deer went away to dress
their wounds. Then the other animals went up to the sky over Rainbow's
flaming path. And they decided to live in the sky and to send their
descendants back to earth when the new race of creatures should come.
And they can still sometimes be seen, like clouds hurrying across the
sky, in the shape they had on earth.

But the blood of Bear and of Deer dropped from them as they moved to
the sky from the scene of their battle along the Rainbow road. It fell
freely upon the leaves of the trees beneath them, and changed them
into varied colours. And every year when autumn comes in the north
country, the leaves take on again the bright and wondrous colours
given to them by the blood of Bear and Deer when they fought on the
Rainbow path ages and ages ago. And Bear and Deer have never since
been friends, and their descendants no longer dwell together in peace,
as they did in the olden days.


Once, long ago, Rabbit lived with his old grandmother deep in the
Canadian forest, far from all other people. He was a great hunter, and
all around, far and near, he laid snares and set traps to catch game
for food. It was winter, and he caught many little animals and birds.
He brought them home daily to feed himself and his old grandmother,
and he was well pleased with his success. But after some weeks had
passed he was unable to catch any game. He always found his traps and
snares empty, although many tracks were always around them, and there
were many signs that animals were prowling about. He knew then that he
was being robbed nightly, and that a thief was pilfering his traps. It
was very cold and the snow lay deep in the forest, and Rabbit and his
old grandmother were in dire need of food. Every morning Rabbit rose
very early and hurried off to his traps, but always he found them
empty, for the thief had been ahead of him. He was greatly puzzled,
for he could not think who the thief was.

At last one morning, after a new fall of snow, he found the mark of a
long foot near his traps, and he knew it was the foot of the
game-robber. It was the longest foot-print he had ever seen, long and
narrow and very light, like a moonbeam. And Rabbit said, "Now I shall
rise earlier in the morning, and I shall go to my traps ahead of the
thief and take my game, so that they will all be empty when he comes."
Each morning he rose earlier to catch the thief, but the man of the
long foot was always there before him, and his game was always gone.
No matter how early Rabbit got up, the thief was always ahead of him
and his traps were always empty.

So Rabbit said to his old grandmother, "The man of the long foot, who
robs my traps, is always up ahead of me, no matter how early I rise. I
will make a snare from a bow-string, and I will watch all this night,
and I will surely catch him." He made a trap from a stout bow-string
and set it beside his snares, and took the end of the bow-string some
distance away to a clump of trees, behind which he hid. He hoped that
the thief would step into the trap; then he would pull the bow-string
and tie him fast to a tree. He sat very quiet, waiting for the man of
the long foot to appear. It was moonlight when he set out, but soon it
grew very dark in the forest. The Moon suddenly disappeared. But the
stars were all shining on the white snow and there were no clouds in
the sky, and Rabbit wondered what had happened to the Moon. He waited
very still and a little frightened in the starlight.

Soon he heard some one coming, sneaking stealthily through the trees.
Then he saw a white light which dazzled his eyes. The light went
towards the snares, until it stopped just at the trap Rabbit had set.
Then Rabbit pulled the bow-string, closed the trap as he had hoped,
and tied the string fast to a tree. He heard sounds of a struggle, and
he saw the white light move from side to side, but he knew that he had
his prisoner fast and that the man of the long foot was caught at
last. He was much afraid of the white light, and he ran home as fast
as he could and told his old grandmother that he had caught the
game-robber in the trap, and that he did not know who he was, for he
was too frightened to look. And his grandmother said, "You must go
back and see who it is, and tell him he must stop robbing your
snares." But Rabbit said, "I do not want to go until daylight, for the
Moon has gone down and the forest is very dark." But his grandmother
said, "You must go." So poor Rabbit, although he was very frightened
by what he had seen, set out again for his traps.


When he drew near to his snares he saw that the white light was still
shining. It was so bright that his eyes were dazzled and he had to
stop far from it. Then he approached nearer, but his eyes soon became
very sore. There was a stream flowing beside him, and he bathed his
eyes in the cold water, but it brought him no relief, and his eyes
felt hot and red, and tears fell from them because of the dazzling
light. Then he took great handfuls of snow and threw snowballs at the
light, hoping thereby to put it out. But when the snowballs came near
to the light they melted and fell down like rain. Then, with his eyes
still smarting, Rabbit in his rage scooped up great handfuls of soft
black mud from the bottom of the stream, and forming it into balls, he
threw them with all his force at the white light. He heard them strike
something with a dull thud, and he heard loud yells from the
prisoner--the man of the long foot--behind the shining light. Then a
voice came from the light, saying, "Why did you snare me? Come and
untie me at once. I am the Man in the Moon. It is near to the morning,
and before dawn I must be on my way home. You have already spotted my
face with mud, and if you do not loose me at once I shall kill all
your tribe."

Poor Rabbit was more frightened than before, and he ran home and told
his old grandmother what had happened. And his grandmother was also
very frightened, for she thought that no good could come of it. And
she told Rabbit to go back at once and untie the Man in the Moon, for
the night was almost spent, and the dawn would soon be breaking. So
poor Rabbit, trembling in his fear, went back to his traps. From a
great distance he cried, "I will untie you if you will never again rob
my snares, and if you will never come back to earth." And the prisoner
in the trap promised, and said, "I swear it by my white light." Then
Rabbit approached very carefully. He had to shut his eyes and grope
his way because of the bright light, and his lip quivered because of
the great heat. At last he rushed in and cut the bow-string snare with
his teeth, and the Man in the Moon hurried on his way, for he could
already see the dawn in the East. But Rabbit was almost blinded while
he was about it, and his shoulders were badly scorched. And ever since
that time Rabbit blinks and his eyelids are pink, and water runs from
his eyes when he looks at a bright light; and his lip always quivers;
and his shoulders are yellow, even when he wears his white winter
coat, because of the great light and heat on the winter night long ago
when he loosed the Man in the Moon from the snare. And since that
night the Man in the Moon has never come back to earth. He stays at
his task in the sky, lighting the forest by night; but he still bears
on his face the marks of the black mud which Rabbit threw at him. And
sometimes for several nights he goes away to a quiet place, where he
tries to wash off the mud; and then the land is dark. But he never
succeeds in cleaning himself, and when he comes back to his work the
marks of Rabbit's mud-balls are still upon his shining face.


Two little children, a boy and a girl, lived long ago with their
widowed mother in the Canadian forest. The woman was very poor, for
her husband had long been dead and she had to work very hard to
provide food for herself and her children. Often she had to go far
from home in search of fish and game, and at times she was absent for
many days. When she went on these long journeys she left her children
behind her, and thus they were allowed to grow up with very little
oversight or discipline or care. They soon became very unruly because
they were so often left to have their own way, and when their mother
returned from her hunting trips she frequently found that they would
not obey her, and that they did pretty much as they pleased. As they
grew older they became more headstrong and disobedient, and their
mother could do very little to control them. And she said, "Some day
they will suffer for their waywardness."

One day the woman went to visit a neighbour not far away. She left a
large pot of bear-fat boiling on the fire. And she said to the
children, "Do not meddle with the pot while I am gone, for the fat may
harm you if it catches fire." But she was not gone long when the boy
said to the girl as they played around the pot, "Let us see if the fat
will burn." So they took a burning stick of wood and dropped it into
the fat, and stood looking into the large pot to see what would
happen. The fat sputtered for an instant; then there was a sudden
flash, and a tongue of flame shot upwards from the pot into the faces
of the children. Their hair was burned to a crisp and their faces were
scorched, and they ran from the house crying with pain. But when they
reached the outer air, they found that they could not see, for the
fire had blinded their eyes. So they stumbled around in darkness,
crying loudly for help. But no help came.

When their mother came home she tried every remedy she thought might
restore their sight. But all her medicine was unavailing, and she
said, "You will always be blind. That is the punishment for your

So the children lived in darkness for a long time. But they were no
longer headstrong and unruly, and although they could no longer see,
they were less trouble to their mother than they were when they had
their sight, for they did not now refuse to do her bidding.

One day, when their mother was far away hunting in the forest, an old
woman came along and asked the children for food. And they brought
good food to her as she sat before the door. After she had eaten, she
said, "You are blind, but I can help you, for I am from the Land of
the Little People. I cannot give you four eyes, but I will give you
one eye between you. You can each use it at different times, and it
will be better than no sight at all. But handle it with great care and
do not leave it lying on the ground." Then she gave them an eye which
she took from her pocket, and disappeared. So they used the one eye
between them, and when the boy had the eye and the girl wished to see
anything, she would say, "Give me the eye," and her brother would
carefully pass it to her. When their mother came home she was very
glad when she found that they had now some means of sight.


One day when their mother was away again, the boy went into the forest
with his bow and arrows. He carried the eye with him. He had not gone
far when he saw a fat young deer, which he killed. The deer was too
heavy for him to carry home alone. So he said, "I will go and get my
sister, and we shall cut it up and put it in a basket and carry it
home together." He went home and told his sister of his good fortune,
and he led her to where the deer lay, and they began to cut up the
body. But they had forgotten to bring a basket or a bag. He called to
his sister saying, "You must weave a basket into which we can put the
meat to carry it home." And his sister said, "How can I make a basket
when I cannot see? If I am to weave a basket, I must have the eye."
The boy brought the eye to her and she made a large basket from green

When she had finished making the basket the boy said, "I must finish
cutting up the meat. Give me the eye." So she brought him the eye, and
he proceeded to chop up the meat and to put it in the basket. Then he
said, "Why can we not have a meal here? I am very hungry." His sister
agreed that this was a good idea, and he said, "You cook the meal
while I pack the meat." The girl made a fire, but she was afraid she
would burn the meat, so she said, "I cannot see to cook. I must have
the eye." By this time her brother had finished packing the meat into
the basket, and he brought her the eye and she went on with her
cooking. The fire was low and she said, "I must have some dry wood.
Bring me some dry pine." The boy wandered off into the forest in
search of wood, but he had not gone far when he stumbled over a log
and fell to the ground. He called to his sister in anger, saying, "You
always want the eye for yourself. How can I gather dry pine when I
cannot see? Give me the eye at once."

His sister ran to him and helped him up and gave him the eye. She
found her way back to the fire, but as she reached it she smelled the
meat burning on the spit. She shouted, "The meat is burning and our
dinner will be spoiled. Give me the eye at once, so that I may see if
the meat is cooked." The boy was some distance away, and in his anger
he threw the eye to her, saying, "Find it. I am not going to walk to
you with it if you are too lazy to come and get it." The eye fell to
the ground between them, and neither of them knew where it lay. They
groped for it among the dead leaves, but as they searched for it, a
wood-pecker, watching from a branch of a tree near by, swooped
suddenly down and gobbled it up and flew away.

As they were still searching for it, the old woman who had given it to
them came along. She had been hiding among the trees, and she had seen
the wood-pecker flying away with her gift. She said, "Where is the eye
I gave you?" "It dropped from my head," answered the boy, "and I
cannot find it in the grass." "Yes," said the girl, "it dropped from
his head, and we cannot find it." "You have lied to me," said the old
woman, "and you have disobeyed, and for that I shall punish you." And
with her magic power she changed the boy into a mole and the girl
into a bat, and said, "Now live blind upon the earth, with only your
sense of sound to guide you." At once the boy and the girl were
changed. And so the Mole and the Bat appeared upon the earth.


Once long ago, when the Blackfeet Indians dwelt on the Canadian
plains, there was a great famine in all the land. For many months no
buffaloes were killed, and there was no meat to be had at any price.
One by one the old people dropped off because of a lack of food, and
the young children died early because there was no nourishment, and
there was great sorrow everywhere. Only the strong women and the
stronger warriors remained alive, but even they gradually grew weaker
because of the pinch of the hunger sent into the land by famine. At
last the Chief of the tribe prayed that the Great Chieftain of the
Indians might come into his territory to tell the people what to do to
save themselves.


The Great Chief was at that time far away in the south country where
the warm winds were blowing and the flowers were blooming. But one
night he heard the Chief's prayer borne to him on the winds, and he
hastened northward, for he knew that his people on the plains were
somehow in dire distress. Soon he arrived at the village of the hungry
tribe. "Who has called me here?" he asked. "It was I," answered the
Chief. "My people are all starving because there are no buffaloes in
the country, and if you had not come we should soon have all
perished." Then the Great Chief looked upon his people and he noticed
that the old folks and the little children had disappeared; only a few
children were left and they had pinched cheeks and sunken eyes. And he
took pity on them and said, "There is a great thief not far distant.
He is probably a wicked giant, and he has driven all the buffaloes
away. But I will find him and soon you shall have food." And the
people were all comforted, for they knew that the Great Chief would
keep his word.

Then the Chief took with him the young Chief's son and set out on his
quest. The people wanted to go with him, but he said, "No! We shall go
alone. It is a dangerous duty, and it is better that, if need be, two
should die in the attempt, than that all should perish." They
journeyed westwards across the prairies towards the Great Water in the
West, and as they went, the youth prayed to the Sun and the Moon and
the Morning Star to send them success. Soon they came to the rolling
foot-hills covered with sweet-grass and scrubby pine. But still they
saw no signs of buffalo. At last they reached a narrow stream, on the
bank of which they saw a house with smoke coming from the chimney.
"There is the cause of all our troubles," said the Chief. "In that
house dwells the giant Buffalo-thief and his wife. They have driven
all the animals from the prairies until not one is left. My magic
power tells me it is so!" Then by his magic power he changed his
companion into a sharp-pointed straight stick, while he himself took
the shape of a dog, and they lay on the ground and waited.

Soon the giant and his wife and their little son came along. The boy
patted the dog on the head, and said, "See what a nice dog I have
found. He must be lost. May I take him home?" His father said, "No, I
do not like his looks. Do not touch him." The boy cried bitterly, for
he had long hoped for a dog of his own, and his mother pleaded for him
so hard that at last the giant father said, "Oh, very well. Have your
own way, but no good can come of it." The woman picked up the stick
and said, "I will take this nice straight stick along with me. I can
dig roots with it to make medicine." So they all went to the giant's
house, the giant frowning angrily, the woman carrying the stick, and
the boy leading the dog.


The next morning the giant went out and soon came back with a fat
young buffalo, all skinned and ready for cooking. They roasted it on a
spit over the fire and had a good meal. The boy fed some meat to the
dog, but his father, when he saw what the boy was doing, beat him
soundly, and said, "Have I not told you the dog is an evil thing? You
must not disobey me." But again the woman pleaded for her boy, and the
dog was fed. That night when all the world was asleep, the dog and the
stick changed back to their human form and had a good supper of what
was left of the buffalo-meat. And the Chief said to the youth, "The
giant is the Buffalo-thief who keeps the herds from coming to the
prairies. It is useless to kill him until we have found where he has
hidden them." So they changed back to the shapes of dog and stick and
went to sleep.

The next morning the woman and her boy set off to the forest near the
mountain, to gather berries and to dig up medicine roots. They took
the dog and the stick with them. At noon, after they had worked for
some time, they sat down to have their luncheon. The woman threw the
stick down on the ground, and the boy let the dog run away among the
shrubs. The dog wandered to the side of the mountain. There he found
an opening like the mouth of a cave. Peering into the place he saw
many buffaloes within, and he knew that at last he had found the
hiding place of the giant's plunder. He went back to the woman and the
boy and began to bark. This was the signal agreed on with his
companion. The woman and her son thought he was barking at a bird, and
they laughed at his capers as he jumped about. But he was in reality
calling to his comrade. The stick understood the call and wiggled like
a snake through the underbrush to the dog's side, unseen by the boy
and his mother. They then entered the large cave in the side of the
mountain, and there they found a great herd of buffaloes--all the
buffaloes that had been driven from the prairies. The dog barked at
them and snapped at their heels, and the stick beat them, and they
began to drive them quickly out of the cavern and eastward toward the
plains. But they still kept the shape of dog and stick. When evening
came, and it was time for the boy and his mother to go home, the boy
searched for the dog and the woman looked for her stick, but they
could not find them, and they had to go home without them.

Just as the woman and her son reached their house on the bank of the
river, the giant-thief was coming home too. He chanced to look to the
east, and there he saw, far away, many buffaloes running towards the
foot-hills where the sweet-grass grew. He was very angry, and he cried
loudly to his son, "Where is the dog? Where is the dog?" "I lost him
in the underbrush," said the boy; "he chased a bird and did not come
back." "It was not a bird he chased," said the giant; "it was one of
my buffaloes. I told you he was an evil thing and not to touch him,
but you and your mother would have your way. Now my buffaloes are all
gone." He gnashed his teeth in a great rage, and rushed off to the
hidden cave to see if any buffaloes were left, crying as he went, "I
will kill the dog if I find him." When he reached the cave the Chief
and the youth, still in the form of a dog and a stick, were just
rounding up the last of the buffaloes. The giant rushed at them to
kill the dog and to break the stick, but they sprang upon an old
buffalo and hid in his long hair and, clinging on tightly, the dog bit
the buffalo until the old animal plunged and roared and rushed from
the cave, bearing the Chief and the youth concealed on his back. He
galloped eastward until he reached the herd far away on the prairie,
leaving the giant far behind to make the best of his anger. Then the
Chief and the brave youth took their old form of men, and in high
spirits they drove the herd of buffaloes back to their hungry people
waiting patiently on the plains.

The people were very pleased to see the Great Chief and the youth
returning to the village with the great herd of fat buffaloes, for
they knew now that the famine was ended. But as they drove the animals
into a great fenced enclosure, a large grey bird flew over their heads
and swooped down upon them and pecked at them with its bill, and tried
to frighten them and drive them away. The Great Chief knew by his
magic power that the grey bird was none other than the giant-thief who
had stolen the buffaloes, and who had changed himself into a bird to
fly across the prairies in pursuit of them. Then the Chief changed
himself into an otter and lay down on the bank of the stream,
pretending to be dead. The grey bird flew down upon him, for he
thought he would have a good meal of fat otter. But the Chief seized
him by the leg, and changing back to his own form, he bore him in
triumph to his camp. He tied him up fast to the smoke-hole of his tent
and made a great fire inside. The giant cried, "Spare me, spare me,
and I shall never do you more harm." But the Chief left him on the
tent pole all night long while the black smoke from the fire poured
out around him. In the morning his feathers were all black. Then the
Chief let him down. And he said, "You may go now, but you will never
be able to resume your former shape. You will henceforth be a raven, a
bird of ill-omen upon the earth, an outlaw and a brigand among the
birds, despised among men because of your thefts. And you will always
have to steal and to hunt hard for your food." And to this day the
feathers of the raven are black, and he is a bird of ill-omen upon the
earth because of his encounter with the Great Chieftain long ago.


Once long ago, when the Blackfeet Indians dwelt on the Canadian
prairies, a poor Indian and his two children, a boy and a girl, were
living near the bank of a great river. The children's mother had long
been dead and they had long been left to the care of their father.
Their father did not think it was right that they should grow up
without a woman's kindness, and he decided at last to take another
wife. So he went far away to a distant village and there he married a
queer woman of another tribe. Soon times grew hard in the North
Country, and it was very difficult to get food. The family lived for
many days on roots and berries, and often they were very hungry
because there was no meat. Now it happened that the woman the man had
married was a very wicked witch-woman, who was capable of doing many
evil deeds. She had no love for her stepchildren, and she treated them
very cruelly. She blamed them for the lack of food in the house, and
beating them soundly, she said, "You gluttonous brats; you always eat
too much. It is little wonder that we cannot keep the house supplied
with food." The man saw his wife's cruelty to the children, but
although it made him sad, and at times angry, he did not interfere,
for he thought the woman should rule her home.

One night in the early spring, as the man slept, his first wife
appeared to him in a dream, and said, "Hang a large spider web across
the trail in the forest where the animals pass and you will get plenty
of food. But be good to my children. Their cruel stepmother is
planning to kill them." And she told him where to look for the magical
spider web. The next day the man found the large spider web, and he
went far away into the forest and hung it from the trees over the
trail where the animals passed. That evening when he went back to the
web he found many animals entangled in its meshes, for it had magical
power. He killed the animals and brought them home, and that night
they had a good fat supper of roast deer meat. Day after day the
magical spider web gave him great numbers of rabbits and deer, as the
vision of his dead wife had told him in the night, and from that time
on the family did not want for food.

But the man's success in hunting only angered his witch-wife. She had
now no cause for complaint against the little children, and she could
no longer scold them and say that because of them there was no food in
the house. Her hatred for them grew stronger each day, and at last
she decided to kill them and to kill their father as soon as she
could. Their father was going away on the morrow in search of wood to
make arrows for his bows, and she thought she would have a good chance
to kill them while he was gone. Then she would kill their father when
he returned. So she laid her plans. But that night the vision of his
first wife came again to the man as he slept, and it said, "Your
present wife is a witch-woman. She plans to kill the children
to-morrow when you are away, and when you come home she will kill you,
too. You must kill her while there is yet time. Remember my little

When the man awoke in the morning he was much alarmed because of the
story told him by the vision of the night. He no longer trusted his
witch-wife and he decided to get rid of her. But he feared she would
attack the children before he could prevent it. So when the witch-wife
went out to get water from the stream to make breakfast, he gave each
of the children a stick, a white stone, and a bunch of soft moss, and
he said, "You must run away from here and stay away until I can find
you, for you are in great danger. You will find these three things I
give you of great use. Throw them behind you if any evil thing pursues
you, and they will keep you from harm." The children in great fear at
once ran away into the forest. Then the man hung his magical spider
web over the door of the house, and sat quietly inside waiting for
his wife to come back. In a little while she came home, carrying a
pail of water, but she did not see the web with its fine strands
hanging across the door, and when she walked into it she was at once
entangled in its meshes. She struggled hard to get free, but her head
was inside the door while her body was outside, and the web held her
fast around the neck. Then the man said, "I know now that you are a
cruel witch-woman. You will beat my children no more." With his
stone-axe he struck her a mighty blow which completely severed her
head from her body. Then he ran from the house as fast as he could and
went towards his children, who were watching him not far away.

But the man was not yet done with the cruel witch-woman. As he ran
from the house her headless body, freed from the spider web, ran after
him, while her severed head, with eyes staring and hair flying,
followed the children, sometimes bumping along the ground and
sometimes rising through the air. The father thought it would be well
to go in a different direction from the children, and he went west,
while they went east. The children were very frightened when they saw
the horrible head behind them, slowly gaining upon them. Then they
remembered their father's magic gifts. When the head was close upon
them, they threw their sticks on the ground at their backs and at once
a dense forest sprang up between them and their pursuer. The children
said, "Now we will rest here for a while, for we are nearly out of
breath. The wicked head cannot get through that dense forest." And
they sat on the grass and rested.

Soon, however, the pursuing head emerged from the thick trees. The
children got up and ran as hard as they could, but close behind them
came the severed head, rolling its eyes and gnashing its teeth in a
great frenzy, and uttering terrible yells. It was very near to them,
when the children again remembered their father's gifts. They threw
the white stones behind them, and at once a high mountain of white
rock rose between them and their enemy. They sat on the ground and
rested, and said, "Oh dear, oh dear, what shall we do? We have only
one means of safety left, these little bits of moss." The wicked head
hurled itself against the mountain, but it could not get through. A
big buffalo bull was feeding on the grass near it, and the head called
to him to break a road through the mountain. The bull rushed at the
mountain with all his force, but the mountain was so hard that it
broke his head and he fell down dead. Some moles were playing in the
soft earth near by, and the head called to them to make a passage
through the hill. So the moles searched and found a soft earthy place
in the midst of the rock and soon they tunnelled a hole to the other
side of the mountain, through which the head was able to pass. When
the children saw their pursuer coming out of the moles' tunnel they
cried loudly and ran away as fast as they could. At last, after a very
long chase, the head was almost upon them, and they decided to use
their last means of protection. They threw the wet moss behind them,
and at once a long black swamp appeared where the moss had fallen,
between them and their wicked follower. The head was going at such a
great speed, bumping over the ground, that it could not stop. It
rolled into the swamp and disappeared into the soft mud and was never
seen again.


The children then went home to wait for their father. It was a long
journey, for they had run far. But their father never came. Months and
months they waited, but he did not come, and they grew up to be great
magicians and very powerful among their tribe. At last, by their magic
power, they learned what had happened to their father. Their
stepmother's body continued to follow him as he ran towards the west.
It followed him for many days. Then by his magic power, which the
vision of his dead wife had brought to him, he changed himself into
the Sun, and went to live with his wife in the sky-country. But the
old witch-woman also had magic power, and she changed herself into the
Moon and followed him to the land of the stars. And there she still
pursues him. And while he keeps ahead of her and she cannot catch him,
night follows day in all the world. But if she overtakes him she will
kill him, and day will disappear and night shall reign for evermore
upon the earth. And the Blackfeet of the plains pray that he will
always keep in front in the race with his former witch-wife, so that
there may be always Night and Day in succession in all the land.


A poor widow woman once lived near the sea in Eastern Canada. Her
husband had been drowned catching fish one stormy day far off the
coast, and her little boy was now her only means of support. He had no
brothers or sisters, and he and his mother, because they lived alone,
were always good comrades. Although he was very young and small, he
was very strong, and he could catch fish and game like a man. Every
day he brought home food to his mother, and they were never in want.

Now it happened that the Great Eagle who made the Winds in these parts
became very angry because he was not given enough to eat. He went
screaming through the land in search of food, but no food could he
find. And he said, "If the people will not give me food, I will take
care that they get no food for themselves, and when I grow very hungry
I shall eat up all the little children in the land. For my young ones
must have nourishment too." So he tossed the waters about with the
wind of his great wings, and he bent the trees and flattened the corn,
and for days he made such a hurly-burly on the earth that the people
stayed indoors, and they were afraid to come out in search of food.

At last the boy and his mother became very hungry. And the boy said,
"I must go and find food, for there is not a crumb left in the house.
We cannot wait longer." And he said to his mother, "I know where a fat
young beaver lives in his house of reeds on the bank of the stream
near the sea. I shall go and kill him, and his flesh will feed us for
many days." His mother did not want him to make this hazardous
journey, for the Great Eagle was still in the land. But he said to
her, "You must think of me always when I am gone, and I will think of
you, and while we keep each other in our memories I shall come to no
harm." So, taking his long hunting knife, he set out for the beaver's
home in his house of reeds on the bank of the stream near the sea. He
reached the place without mishap and there he found Beaver fast
asleep. He soon killed him and slung him over his shoulder and started
back to his mother's house. "A good fat load I have here," he said to
himself, "and we shall now have many a good dinner of roast

But as he went along with his load on his back the Great Eagle spied
him from a distance and swooped down upon him without warning. Before
he could strike with his knife, the Eagle caught him by the shoulders
and soared away, holding him in a mighty grip with the beaver still
on his back. The boy tried to plunge his knife into the Eagle's
breast, but the feathers were too thick and tough, and he was not
strong enough to drive the knife through them. He could do nothing but
make the best of his sorry plight. "Surely I can think of a way of
escape," he said to himself, "and my mother's thoughts will be with me
to help me." Soon the Eagle arrived at his home. It was built on a
high cliff overlooking the sea, hundreds of feet above the beach,
where even the sound of the surf rolling in from afar could not reach
it. There were many young birds in the nest, all clamouring for food.
Great Eagle threw the boy to the side of the nest and told him to stay
there. And he said, "I shall first eat the beaver, and after he is all
eaten up we shall have a good fat meal from you." Then he picked the
beaver to pieces and fed part of it to his young ones.

For some days the boy lay in terror in the nest, trying to think of a
way of escape. Birds flew high over his head, and far out on the ocean
he could see great ships going by. But no help came to him, and he
thought that death would soon be upon him. And his mother sat at home
waiting for him to return, but day after day passed and still he did
not come. She thought he must surely be in great danger, or that
perhaps he was already dead. One day, as she was weeping, thinking of
her lost boy, an old woman came along. "Why do you cry?" she asked.
And the weeping woman said, "My boy has been away for many days. I
know that harm has come upon him. The men of my tribe have gone in
search of him, and they will kill whatever holds him a prisoner, but I
fear he will never come back alive." And the old woman said, "Little
good the men of your tribe can do you! You must aid him with your
thoughts, for material things are vain. I will help you, for I have
been given great power by the Little People of the Hills." So the
woman used her thoughts and her wishes to bring back her boy.

That night the boy noticed that the beaver had all been eaten up and
that not a morsel remained. He knew that unless he could save himself
at once he would surely die on the morrow. The Great Eagle, he knew,
would swoop down upon him and kill him with a blow of his powerful
beak and claws. But when the boy slept, he saw his mother in his
slumber. And she said to him, "To-morrow when Great Eagle goes from
the nest, brace your knife, point upwards, against the rock. When he
swoops down to kill you his breast will strike the knife, and he will
be pierced to death. You are not strong enough to cut through his
feathers with your knife, but he is powerful enough to destroy
himself." The next morning when Great Eagle went out, the boy did as
the vision of the night had told him. He braced his sharp
hunting-knife, point upwards, against the rock and sat still and
waited. Then he heard the young eagles making a great noise and crying
loudly for their breakfast. He knew that his hour had come. Soon the
Great Eagle, hearing the screams of his young ones, came flying back
to the nest to kill the boy. He circled around above him with loud
cries and then with great force swooped down upon him, hoping to kill
him with his beak and claws. But instead, he struck the blade braced
upwards against the rock. The knife pierced far into his breast, and
with a loud scream he rolled over dead into the nest. The boy then
killed the young eagles, and he knew that now for a time he was safe.

But he did not know how to get down from the Eagle's nest, for it
jutted out like a shelf far over the beach, and behind it was a wall
of rock around which he could not climb. He had no means of making a
ladder, and his cries would not be heard upon the beach because of the
constant roaring of the surf. He thought he would surely starve to
death, and that night he cried himself to sleep. But in the night he
again saw his mother in his slumbers. And she said, "You are a foolish
boy. Why do you not use the thoughts I send you? To-morrow skin the
eagle and crawl inside the skin. If the wide wings can hold the Eagle
in the air they can likewise hold you. Drop off from the cliff and you
will land safely on the beach." The next day the boy did as the vision
of the night had told him. He carefully skinned the Great Eagle. Then
he crawled inside the skin and thrust his arms through the skin just
above the wings, so that his extended arms would hold the wings
straight out beneath them. Then he prepared to drop down. But when he
looked over the cliff, he was very frightened, for the sight made him
dizzy. On the beach, men looked like flies, they were so far away. But
he remembered the promise made to him in his slumbers. So he pushed
himself from the cliff and dropped down. The wings of Great Eagle let
him fall gently through the air and he landed safely and unhurt upon
the beach. He crawled out of the skin and set out for his home. It was
a long journey, for Great Eagle had carried him far away, but towards
evening he reached his home safely, and his mother received him with
great gladness.

The boy began to boast of his adventure, and he told how he had killed
Great Eagle and how he had dropped down unscathed from the cliff. He
spoke of himself with great pride and of his strength and his
shrewdness. But the old woman from the Land of the Little People, the
fairies of the hills, who was still present with his mother, said,
"Oh, vain boy, do not think so highly of yourself. Your strength is
nothing; your shrewdness is nothing. It was not these things that
saved you, but it was the strength of our thoughts. These alone endure
and succeed when all else fails. I have taught you the uselessness of
all material things, which in the end are but as ashes or as dust. Our
thoughts alone can help us in the end, for they alone are eternal."
And the boy listened and wondered at what the old woman from the Land
of Little People had said, but he boasted of his strength no more.


Once when the snow lay very deep on the ground and the days were grey
with frost, there was great sorrow in an Indian village. A dreadful
plague had come upon the place and had carried away many of the
people. Neither old nor young were proof against its ravages, and the
weak and the strong fell helpless before its power. The people tried
every means to get rid of the plague, but they had no success. And
they prayed to all their good spirits to help them, but no help came.
In the tribe was a young warrior who had lost his parents and all his
brothers and sisters because of the dreaded disease. Now his young
wife fell sick, and he was in great sorrow, for he thought that she
would soon follow his parents into the Land of the Shadows. And so he
went about in great fear, not knowing when the end would come.

One day he met an old woman in the forest. "Why do you look so
sorrowful?" she asked him. "I am sad because my young wife is going to
die," he answered; "the plague will carry her off like the others."
But the old woman said, "There is something that will save your wife
from death. Far away in the East is a bird of sweet song which dwells
close to the Healing Waters. Go until you find it. It will point you
to the spring, the waters of which alone can heal." And the young man
said, "I must find the Healing Waters. Wherever they may be upon the
earth, I must find them." So he went home and said good-bye to his
friends, and set out eastward on his quest.

All the next day he searched eagerly for the Waters, listening always
for the bird of the sweet song. But he found nothing. The snow lay
deep in the forest and he moved along with difficulty. He met a rabbit
in his path and he said, "Tell me where I shall find the Healing
Spring?" But the rabbit scurried away over the snow and made no
answer. Then he asked a bear, but he met with the same rebuff. Thus
for many days and nights he wandered on, crossing rivers and climbing
steep hills, but always without success.

Then one day he emerged from the snow country and came to a land where
the airs were warmer and where little streams were flowing. Suddenly
he came upon the body of a dead man lying across his path. He stopped
and buried the body, for he thought that it was not right to leave it
lying bare upon the ground for the birds to peck at. That night as he
went along in the moonlight he met a Fox in his path. "Hello," said
the Fox. "What are you looking for so late at night in the forest?"
And he answered, "I am looking for the bird of the sweet song, who
will show me the way to the Healing Waters." And the Fox said, "I am
the spirit of the man you buried yesterday by the forest path, and in
return for your kindness to me I shall do a kindness to you. You have
always been good to the animals and the birds, and you have never
killed them needlessly, nor when you did not require them for clothing
or for food. And you have always been careful of the flowers and the
trees, and you have often protected them from harm. So now they want
to be good to you, and I am going to guide you. But first you must
rest, for you are tired from your long journey."

Then the young man lay down to sleep and the Fox stood guard beside
him. As he slept he dreamed. And in his dream he saw his wife pale and
thin and worn, and as he looked he heard her singing a song of
wonderful melody. Then he heard a waterfall rippling near him and it
said, "Seek me, O warrior, and when you find me your wife shall live,
for I am the Healing Waters." In the morning the Fox led him but a
short distance through the forest and on the branch of a tree he heard
a bird singing a song of wonderful melody, just as he had heard in his
dream of the night before. He knew now that this was the bird of the
sweet song of which the old woman in the forest had spoken. Then, as
he listened, he heard the sound of a waterfall rippling not far away.
He searched for it, but he could not find it. And Fox said, "You must
seek it; you must not despair; it will not come to you unless you
search." So he searched again, and soon he thought he heard a voice
speaking beneath his feet. "Release us," it called, "set us free and
your wife and your people shall be saved." He seized a sharp stick and
dug rapidly into the earth where he had heard the voice. He worked
eagerly and quickly, and he had not dug far when the spring gushed
forth and boiled upwards carrying to the world its healing power. And
the young man knew that at last he had found the cure for his ills. He
plunged into the spring and bathed himself in the water, and all his
weariness left him and he was strong again.

Then the young man moulded from the soft earth a large pot. He baked
it in the fire until it was quite hard. "Now," said the Fox spirit, "I
will leave you. Your kindness has been rewarded. You will need me no
more, for you have found the Healing Waters." And he disappeared as
mysteriously as he had come. The young man filled his clay pot with
the sparkling water and hastened back to his home, running through the
forest with the speed of the wind, because of his renewed strength.


When he reached his native village, the people met him with sad faces,
for the plague was still raging and they told him that his young wife
was about to pass to the Land of the Shadows. But he hurried to his
home, and he forced some of the Healing Waters between his wife's
parched lips, and bathed her hands and her brow until she fell into a
deep slumber. He watched by her side until she awoke, and when sleep
left her she was well again. Then with his Healing Waters he cured all
the people in the village, and the cruel plague left them and there
was no more sickness in the land. And since that time no plague has
spread among his tribe. In this way the Mineral Springs, the places of
Healing Waters, came upon the earth, bearing health and happiness
wherever they rise, and accompanied always by the songs of birds.


Once long ago, before the white man came to Canada, an orphan boy was
living alone with his uncle. He was not very happy, for he had to work
very hard, and tasks more fitted for a man's shoulders than for a
boy's were often placed upon him. When his parents died and left him
without brother or sister, his uncle took him to his own home because
there was no one else to take care of him. But he treated him very
cruelly and often he wished to get rid of him. It mattered not how
well the boy did his work or how many fish and animals he caught, his
uncle was never satisfied, and often he beat the boy harshly and with
little cause. The boy would have run away but he did not know where to
go, and he feared to wander alone in the dark forest. So he decided to
endure his hardships as best he could.

Now it happened that in a distant village near the sea there lived a
Chief who was noted far and wide for his cruelty. He had a wicked
temper, and he was known to have put many people to death for no
reason whatsoever. More than all else, he hated boastfulness and he
had scanty patience with anyone who was vain of his own strength. He
pledged himself always to humble the proud and to debase the haughty.
The boy's uncle had heard of this wicked ruler, and he said, "Here is
a chance for me to get rid of the boy. I will tell lies about him to
the Chief."

It chanced just at this time that three giants came into the Chief's
territory. Where they came from, no man knew, but they dwelt in a
large cave near the sea, and they caused great havoc and destruction
in all the land. They ate up great stores of food, and all the little
children they could lay their hands on. The Chief used every means to
get rid of the giants, but without success. Night after night his best
warriors went to the cave by the ocean to seek out the giants, but not
a man returned. A piece of birch bark bearing a picture of a warrior
with an arrow in his heart, found the next day at the Chief's door,
always told him of the warrior's fate. And the giants continued their
cruel work, for no one could stop them.

Soon all the country was in great terror. The Chief wondered greatly
what was to be done. At last he thought, "I will give my daughter to
the man who can rid me of these pests." His daughter was his only
child and she was very beautiful, and he knew that many suitors would
now appear to seek her hand, for although the task was dangerous, the
prize was worth while. When the wicked uncle in the distant village
heard of it, he thought, "Now I can get rid of the boy, for I will
tell the Chief that the boy says he can kill the giants." So taking
his nephew with him he went to the Chief's house and begged to see
him. "Oh, Chief," he said, "I have a boy who boasts that before many
days have passed he can free your land from the giants." And the Chief
said, "Bring him to me." The man said, "Here he is." The Chief was
surprised when he saw the small boy, and he said, "You have promised
that you can rid my land of giants. Now we shall see if you can do it.
If you succeed you may have my daughter. If you fail, you will die. If
you escape from the giants, I will kill you myself. I hate vain
boasters, and they shall not live in my land."

The boy went and sat by the ocean, and cried as hard as he could. He
thought that he would surely die, for he was very small and he had no
means of killing the giants. But as he sat there an old woman came
along. She came quietly and quickly out of the grey mist of the sea.
And she said, "Why are you crying?" And the boy said, "I am crying
because I am forced to attack the giants in the cave, and if I cannot
kill them I shall surely die," and he cried louder than before. But
the old woman, who was the good fairy of the sea, said, "Take this bag
and this knife and these three little stones that I will give you, and
when you go to-night to the giants' cave, use them as I tell you and
all will be well." She gave him three small white stones and a small
knife, and a bag like the bladder of a bear, and she taught him their
use. Then she disappeared into the grey mist that hung low on the
ocean and the boy never saw her again.

The boy lay down on the sand and went to sleep. When he awoke, the
moon was shining, and far along the coast in the bright light he could
see an opening in the rocks which he knew was the entrance to the
giants' cave. Taking his bag and his knife and the three little
stones, he approached it cautiously with a trembling heart. When he
reached the mouth of the cave he could hear the giants snoring inside,
all making different noises, louder than the roar of the sea. Then he
remembered the old woman's instructions. He tied the bag inside his
coat so that the mouth of it was close to his chin. Then he took one
of the stones from his pocket. At once it grew to immense size, so
heavy that the boy could scarcely hold it. He threw it at the biggest
giant with great force, and it hit him squarely on the head. The giant
sat up staring wildly and rubbing his brow. He kicked his younger
brother, who was lying beside him, and said in great anger, "Why did
you strike me?" "I did not strike you," said his brother. "You struck
me on the head while I slept," said the giant, "and if you do it again
I will kill you." Then they went to sleep again.

When the boy heard them snoring loudly again, he took a second stone
from his pocket. At once it grew great in size and the boy hurled it
with great force at the biggest giant. Again the giant sat up staring
wildly and rubbing his head. But this time he did not speak. He
grasped his axe, which was lying beside him, and killed his brother
with a blow. Then he went to sleep again. When the boy heard him
snoring, he took the third stone from his pocket. At once it grew to
great size and weight, and he hurled it with all his force at the
giant. Again the giant sat up with great staring eyes, rubbing the
lump on his head. He was now in a great rage. "My brothers have
plotted to kill me," he yelled, and seizing his axe he killed his
remaining brother with a blow. Then he went to sleep, and the boy
slipped from the cave, first gathering up the three stones, which were
now of their usual small size.

The next morning when the giant went to get water from the stream, the
boy hid in the trees and began to cry loudly. The giant soon
discovered him and asked, "Why are you crying?" "I have lost my way,"
said the boy, "my parents have gone and left me. Please take me into
your service, for I would like to work for such a kind handsome man,
and I can do many things." The giant was flattered by what the boy
said, and although he liked to eat little children, he thought, "Now
that I am alone, I ought to have a companion, so I will spare the
boy's life and make him my servant." And he took the boy back to his
cave, and said, "Cook my dinner before I come home. Make some good
stew, for I shall be very hungry."

When the giant went into the forest the boy prepared the evening meal.
He cut up a great store of deer meat and put it in a large pot bigger
than a hogshead, and made a good meat stew. When the giant came home
in the evening he was very hungry, and he was well pleased to see the
big pot filled with his favourite food. He seated himself on one side
of the pot, and the boy seated himself on the other side, and they
dipped their spoons into the big dish. And the boy said, "We must eat
it all up so that I can clean the pot well and ready for the corn mush
we will have for breakfast." The stew was very hot, and to cool it
before he ate it the giant blew his breath on what he dipped out. But
the boy poured his own share into the bag under his coat, and said,
"Why can't you eat hot food--a big man like you? In my country men
never stop to cool their stew with their breath." Now the giant could
not see very well, for his eyesight was not very good, and the cave
was dark, and he did not notice the boy putting the stew in the bag so
quickly. He thought the boy was eating it. And he was shamed by the
boy's taunts because he was so much larger than the boy, so he ate up
the hot stew at once in great gulps and burned his throat badly. But
he was too proud to stop or to complain.

When they had eaten half the potful, the giant said, "I am full. I
think I have had enough." "No, indeed," said the boy, "you must show
that you like my cooking. In my country men eat much more than that,"
and he kept on eating. The giant was not to be outdone by a boy, so he
fell to eating again, and they did not stop until they had consumed
the whole potful of stew. But the boy had poured his share into the
bag and when they had finished he was swelled out to an immense size.
The giant could scarcely move, he had eaten so much, and he said, "I
have eaten too much; I feel very full, and I have a great pain in my
belly." And the boy said, "I do not feel very comfortable myself, but
I have a way to cure pains." So saying he took his little knife and
thrust it gently into the side of the bag and the stew oozed out and
he was soon back to his normal size. The giant wondered greatly at the
sight, but the boy said, "It is a way they have in my country after
they have had a great feast." "Does the knife not hurt?" asked the
giant. "No, indeed," said the boy, "it brings great relief." "My
throat is very sore," said the giant, for the hot stew had burned him.
"You will soon feel better," said the boy, "if you will do as I have
done." The giant hesitated to do this, but soon he felt so
uncomfortable that he could bear it no longer. He saw that the boy was
feeling quite well. So he took his long knife and plunged it into his
stomach. "Strike hard," said the boy, "or it will do you no good."
The giant plunged the knife into the hilt, and in an instant he fell

Then the boy took the stones and the bag and the knife which the Woman
of the Mist had given him and went and told the Chief what he had
done. The Chief sent his messengers to the cave to make sure that the
boy spoke the truth. Sure enough, they found the three giants lying
dead. When they told the Chief what they had seen, he said to the boy,
"You may have my daughter as your wife." But the boy said, "I do not
want your daughter. She is too old and fat. I want only traps to catch
fish and game." So the Chief gave the boy many good traps, and he went
into a far country to hunt game, and there he lived happily by
himself. And his wicked uncle never saw him again. But the land was
troubled no more by giants, because of the boy's great deeds.


Once long ago, when the Indians dwelt in the country in the
north-west, a youth went far away from his native village to catch
birds. His people lived near a lake where only small birds nested, and
as he wanted large and bright-coloured feathers for his arrows and his
bonnet he had to go far into the forest, where larger birds of
brilliant plumage lived. When he reached the Land of Many Feathers far
in the north country, he dug a pit on the top of a high hill. Then he
covered the pit with poles and over the poles he spread grass and
leaves so that the place looked like the earth around it. He put meat
and corn on the grass, and tied the food to the poles so that the
birds could not carry it away. Then he climbed down into the pit and
waited for the birds to come, when he could reach up and catch them by
the feet and kill them.

All day long and far into the night the youth waited for birds, but no
birds came. Towards morning he heard a distant sound like that of a
partridge drumming. But the sound did not come nearer. The next night,
as the youth watched and waited in the pit, he heard the same sound,
and he said, "I will see where the noise comes from and I will
discover the cause, for it is not a partridge, and it is very
strange." So he climbed out of the pit and went in the direction of
the sound. He walked along rapidly through the forest until he came at
dawn to the shore of a large lake. The drumming came from somewhere in
the lake, but as he stood listening to it, the sound suddenly stopped.
The next night the youth heard the drumming louder than before. Again
he went to the lake. The sound was again distinct as it rose from the
water, and when he looked he saw great numbers of birds and animals
swimming in the lake in the moonlight. But there was no explanation of
the strange sound. As he sat watching the animals and birds, he prayed
to his guardian spirit to tell him the cause of the drumming. Soon an
old man came along. He was old and bent and wrinkled, but his eyes
were kind. The youth gave him some tobacco and they sat down together
on the edge of the lake and watched the swimmers in the dim light, and
smoked their pipes.

"What are you doing here?" asked the old man. "I am trying to learn
the cause of the strange drumming," said the youth. "You do well
indeed to seek it," said the old man, "and to seek to know the cause
of all things. Only in that way will you be great and wise. But
remember there are some things the cause of which you can never find."
"Where have you come from?" said the boy. "Oh," said the man, "I
lived once upon a time like you in the Country of Fancy where great
Dreams dwell, and indeed I live there still, but your dreams are all
of the future while mine are of the past. But some day you too will
change and your thoughts will be like mine." "Tell me the cause of the
drumming," said the boy. And the old man said, "Take this wand that I
will give you and wave it before you go to sleep, and maybe you will
see strange things." Then he gave the boy a wand and disappeared into
the forest and the boy never saw him again. The boy waved the wand and
fell asleep on the sand as the old man had told him. When he awoke he
found himself in a large room in the midst of many people. Some of
them were dancing gracefully, and some sat around and talked. They
wore wonderful robes of skins and feathers, of many different colours.
The boy wished he could get such feathers for his own clothes and his
bonnet. But as he looked at the people he was suddenly aware that they
were none other than the animals and birds he had seen for two nights
swimming in the lake in the moonlight. They were now changed into
human form, through some strange and miraculous power. They were very
kind to the youth and treated him with great courtesy.

At last the dancing ceased and the talking stopped, and one who seemed
to be the Chief stood up at the end of the room and said, "Oh, young
stranger, the Great Spirit has heard your prayers, and because of
your magic wand we have been sent to you in these shapes. The
creatures you see here are the animals and birds of the world. I am
the Dog, whom the Great Spirit loves well. I have much power, and my
power I shall give to you, and I shall always protect you and guard
you. And even if you should treat me with cruelty I shall never be
unfaithful to you, nor shall I ever be unkind. But you must take this
Dance home with you and teach it to your people and they must
celebrate the Dance once a year." Then he taught the youth the secrets
of their Dance.

When the youth had learned the Dance, the Chief turned to his
companions and said, "My comrades and brothers, I have taught the
young stranger the secrets of the Dance. I have given him my own
power. Will you not have pity on a creature from earth and give him
some of the power of which you too are possessed?"

For a long time no one spoke, but at last Owl arose and said, "I too
will help him. I have power to see far in the darkness, and to hunt by
night. When he goes out at night I will be near him and he shall see a
great distance. I give him these feathers to fasten in his hair." And
the Owl gave him a bunch of feathers, which the youth tied to his

Then Buffalo came forward and said, "I too will help him. I will give
him my endurance and my strength, and my power to trample my enemies
underfoot. And I give him this belt of tanned buffalo-hide to wear
when he goes to war." And he gave the youth a very wondrous belt to
fasten around his waist.

The animals and birds, one after the other, gave him gladly of their
power. Porcupine gave him quills with which to decorate his leather
belt and his bonnet, and he said, "I too will aid you, and when you
make war I will be near you. I can make my enemies as weak as
children, and they always flee when I approach, for they fear the
shooting of my quills. When you meet your foes you will always
overcome them, for I give you power as it was given to me."

And Bear said, "I will give you my toughness and my strength, and a
strip of fur for your leather belt and your coat. And when you are in
danger, I will not be far away."

Then Deer said, "I give you my swiftness so that you may be fleet of
foot. And when you pursue your enemies you will always overtake them,
and should you flee from them, you will always out-run them in the

Then the birds spoke again, and Crane said, "I give you a bone from my
wing to make a war-whistle to frighten your enemies away or to summon
your people to your assistance when you need them. And I give you my
wings for your head-dress."

The giant Eagle then spoke and said, "Oh, youth, I will be with you
wherever you go, and I will give you my strength and my power in war.
And even as I do, you will always see your enemies from afar, and you
can always escape them if you so desire." And he gave him a large
bunch of wonderful eagle feathers to tie in his hair as a token of his

And finally, Wild-Cat said, "I give you my power to crawl stealthily
through the grass and the underbrush and to spring unexpectedly on
your foes and take them unawares. And I give you too my power of
hiding from my enemies." And he gave him strips of his fur to decorate
his clothing in token of his friendship.

From all the animals and the birds the youth received power and gifts.
Then he waved his magic wand and lay down to sleep. When he awoke, he
found himself on the shore of the lake, and far in the east the dawn
was breaking. But he could see farther than he had ever seen before,
and away in the distance he could make out blue hills and smoke rising
from far-off villages. And he knew that strange power was upon him.
But not a sound came from the lake, and the drumming had for ever

The youth took his magic wand and his gifts and set out for his home.
And he told his people what had happened and he taught them the
secrets of the Dance which was to make them strong and victorious in
war. And among his people it became a great ceremony and was
practised for long ages, and was known as the Dog-Dance. And since
that time, the animals and birds have been friends to the Indians, and
the Indians have acquired much of their cunning and skill and power.
And ever after the night of moonlight by the lake when the youth with
the magic wand received the strange gifts, the Indians have decorated
their war clothes with fur and quills and feathers from the animals
and the birds. And in the far north country, the Dog-Dance is still
held at intervals out of gratitude for the gifts, for the Indians do
not forget the promise of long ago.



Long ago, in a village near the sea, many Indian people were living.
Among them was a very nice old warrior who had been given great power
at his birth, and who, therefore, could do many wonderful deeds. There
was nothing that was beyond his understanding, for he knew all things.
His wife had long been dead, but he had one daughter. She was very
beautiful and gentle, and she was as nearly perfect as any woman could
be. She took no interest in frivolous things and she lived a very
quiet life, but all the people liked her well, and she was always
welcome wherever she went. Her old father was very proud of her, and
he said boastfully, "She has inherited much of my wisdom, and some day
she will marry a great man." But the girl on her part had little
thought of marriage or of men, for she said they had small minds, and
she would rather live alone than listen always to their boastfulness
and their foolish chatter.

Soon the daughter's fame spread far and wide through the sea-coast
villages, and many suitors came seeking for her hand. But her father
said, "I have nothing to say. She will make her own choice. She must
please herself. For to-day children please themselves and not their
parents." And she said, "I will marry only some one who can amuse me
and interest me and keep me company. I have scant liking for dull
people." One day Loon came to see her. He was very good looking
although he was somewhat tall and skinny, and his neck was a bit
longer and more scrawny than ordinary, but he wore good clothes and he
had great skill as a fisherman. He came because he thought he was very
handsome, and he believed that his good looks would win the maiden.
But she had no love for Loon, for he had not a word to say. When she
talked to him he only stared, and at last he burst out into loud and
foolish laughter. Then the maiden said, "You have a small mind like
the others," and in disgust she withdrew from his presence.

Then Fox came in an effort to win the maiden as his wife. And for a
whole day he cut capers, and chased his tail round and round in a
circle, trying to amuse the serious girl. But he did not succeed very
well, and like Loon he departed in despair. And many others came, but
they met the same fate, and at last the girl decided to see no more of
them, but to live alone with her father. The young men of the village
were all very angry because the girl had spoken of them all so
scornfully, and often they talked among themselves of her proud and
haughty air. "She calls us Scattered-Brains," said one. "She says we
have small minds," said another. "She must pay for these insults,"
said a third. So they vowed that they would somehow break her proud
spirit and bring her sorrow because of her ideas and her decision to
stay single all her life. One of the great men of the village was
Whirlwind. He could make himself invisible, and he was often guilty of
many wicked pranks. So the young men went to him and asked his aid in
humbling the pride of the haughty maiden. As they were talking to him,
they saw the girl approaching not far off. And quite unawares,
Whirlwind rushed towards her and knocked her down in the mud and tore
her hat from her head and swept it into the sea. The young men looked
on at her plight and they all laughed loudly, and the girl was very
much ashamed. She went back home and told her father what had
happened, and showed him her soiled clothes and her blown hair falling
about her face. Her father was very angry, and he said, "Whirlwind
must pay for this. He shall be banished at once."

Then her father went to the Chief and made complaint against
Whirlwind, and the Chief decreed that Whirlwind must leave the village
forthwith. He did not consider very carefully what the result of this
decree might be, and he acted hastily and without thought, for he
feared to differ from the wise man. So Whirlwind prepared to leave the
place. Now his best friend was Rain. Rain had been born without eyes.
He was black blind, and Whirlwind always had to lead him along
wherever he wished to go. So Rain said, "If you are leaving the
village, I want to leave it too, for I cannot live here without you. I
will be helpless if I have no one to lead me." So the two set out
together, Whirlwind leading old Rain along by his side. Where they
went no man knew, for they had told nobody of their destination. They
were gone for many months before the people missed them very much.
Then their absence began to be felt in all the land, for there was no
wind and there was no rain.

At last the Chief summoned a council, and the decree of banishment
against Whirlwind was revoked. The people decided to send messengers
to the two wandering ones to tell them what had happened and to bring
them back. So they first sent Fox out on the quest. Fox went through
the land for many weeks, running as fast as he could over many roads,
in and out among marshy lake shores and over high wooded mountains. He
searched every cave and crevice, but he had no success. Not a leaf or
a blade of grass was stirring, and the country was all parched and the
grass was withered brown and the streams were all getting dry. At
last, after a fruitless search, he came home and shamefully confessed
that his quest had failed.

Then the people called on Bear to continue the search. And Bear went
lumbering over the earth, sniffing the air, and turning over logs and
great rocks with his powerful shoulders, and venturing into deep
caverns. And he made many inquiries, and he asked the Mountain Ash,
"Where is Whirlwind?" But Mountain Ash said, "I do not know. I have
not seen him for many months." And he asked the Red Fir, and the Pine,
and the Aspen, which always sees Whirlwind first, but they were all
ignorant of his whereabouts. So Bear came home and said, "Not a trace
of either of them have I found."

The Chief was very angry because of the failure of Fox and Bear, but
the wise man said, "The animals are useless in a quest like this. Let
us try the birds. They often succeed where the animals fail." And the
Chief agreed, for the land was in great distress. Many fishing-boats
lay silent on the sea near the coast unable to move because Whirlwind
was away, and the wells and streams were all dry because Rain was
absent, and the grass and the flowers were withering to decay. So they
called the birds to their aid. The great Crane searched in the
shallows and among the reeds, thrusting his long neck into deep
places, and Crow looked among the hills, and Kingfisher flew far out
to sea, but they all came back and said, "We, too, have failed. The
wandering ones are nowhere on the land or upon the sea." Then little
Sparrow took up the search. Before he set out, he plucked from his
breast a small down-feather and fastened it to a stick no bigger than
a wisp of hay. He held the stick in his bill and flew off. For many
days he went towards the south-land, all the time watching the feather
hanging to the stick in his bill. But it hung there motionless. One
day, after he had travelled a great distance, he saw the down-feather
moving very gently, and he knew that Whirlwind must be not far away.
He went in the direction from which the feather was blowing. Soon he
saw beneath him soft green grass and wonderful flowers of varied
colours, and trees with green leaves and many rippling streams of
running water. And he said to himself, "At last I have found the
wanderers." He followed a little stream for some distance until it
ended in a cave in the hills. In front of the cave many flowers were
blooming and the grass was soft and green, and the tall grasses were
nodding their heads very gently. He knew that those he was seeking
were inside, and he entered the cave very quietly. Just beyond the
door a fire was smouldering and near it lay Rain and Whirlwind both
fast asleep. Sparrow tried to wake them with his bill and his cries,
but they were sleeping too soundly. Then he took a coal from the fire
and put it on Rain's back, but it spluttered and fizzled and soon went
out. He tried another, but the same thing happened. Then he took a
third coal, and this time Rain woke up. He was much surprised to hear
a stranger in the cave, but he could not see him because he was blind.
So he woke up Whirlwind to protect him.

Then Sparrow told them of the great trouble in the north country and
of the great hardship and sorrow their absence had brought to the
people, and of how sadly they had been missed and of the decision of
the council to call them back. And Whirlwind said, "We shall return
to-morrow if we are so badly needed. You may go back and tell your
people that we are coming. We shall be there the day after you
arrive." So Sparrow, feeling very proud of his success, flew back
home. But when he arrived after many days, he went first to his own
people to tell them the good news. And the Sparrow-people all gathered
together and held a feast of celebration, and they twittered and
danced and made a great hub-bub in their excitement because Rain was
coming back on the morrow. Then Sparrow went to the Chief and said,
"Oh, Chief, I have found Rain and Whirlwind and to-morrow they will be
here," and he told the story of his flight to the south and of his
discovery. And the Chief said, "Because of your success, you will
never be hunted for game or killed for food."

The next morning the two travellers who had been so long away came
back to the land. Whirlwind came first and great clouds of dust
foretold his coming, and the sea dashed high against the rocks, and
the trees shrieked and tossed their heads, all dancing gaily because
of his return. When Whirlwind had passed by, Rain came along following
close, because of his blindness. For several days Rain stayed with
the people and the flowers bloomed and the grass was green again and
the wells and streams were no longer dry. And since that time Wind and
Rain have never long been absent from the Atlantic Coast. And to this
day the Sparrow-people know when Rain is coming, and to signal his
approach they gather together and twitter and hop along and make a
great hub-bub, just as they did when their ancestor found him by means
of his down-feather in the olden days. But the Indians have been true
to the Chief's promise, and they will not hunt Sparrows for game nor
kill them for food or for their feathers. For they remember that of
all the birds it was old Sparrow who long ago searched successfully
for the Rain.


Two orphan children, a boy and a girl, lived alone near the mountains.
Their parents had long been dead and the children were left to look
after themselves without any kindred upon the earth. The boy hunted
all day long and provided much food, and the girl kept the house in
order and did the cooking. They had a very deep love for each other
and as they grew up they said, "We shall never leave each other. We
shall always stay here together." But one year it happened that in the
early spring-time it was very cold. The snow lingered on the plains
and the ice moved slowly from the rivers and chill winds were always
blowing and grey vapours hovered over all the land. And there was very
little food to be had, for the animals hid in their warm winter dens
and the wild-geese and ducks were still far south. And in this cruel
period of bad weather the little girl sickened and died. Her brother
worked hard to provide her with nourishing food and he gathered all
the medicine roots he thought could bring her relief, but it was all
to no purpose. And despite all his efforts, one evening in the
twilight his sister went away to the West, leaving him alone behind
upon the earth.

The boy was heart-broken because of his sister's death. And when the
late spring came and the days grew warm and food was plentiful again,
he said, "She must be somewhere in the West, for they say that our
people do not really die. I will go and search for her, and perhaps I
can find her and bring her back." So one morning he set out on his
strange quest. He journeyed many days westward towards the Great
Water, killing game for food as he went, and sleeping at night under
the stars. He met many strange people, but he did not tell them the
purpose of his travels. At last he came to the shore of the Great
Water, and he sat looking towards the sunset wondering what next to
do. In the evening an old man came along. "What are you doing here?"
asked the man. "I am looking for my sister," said the boy; "some time
ago she sickened and died and I am lonely without her, and I want to
find her and bring her back." And the man said, "Some time ago she
whom you seek passed this way. If you wish to find her you must
undertake a dangerous journey." The boy answered that he would gladly
risk any dangers to find his sister, and the old man said, "I will
help you. Your sister has gone to the Land of Shadows far away in the
Country of Silence which lies out yonder in the Island of the Blest.
To reach the Island you must sail far into the West, but I warn you
that it is a perilous journey, for the crossing is always rough and
your boat will be tossed by tempests. But you will be well repaid for
your trouble, for in that land nobody is ever hungry or tired; there
is no death and no sorrow; there are no tears, and no one ever grows

Then the old man gave the boy a large pipe and some tobacco and said,
"This will help you in your need." And he brought him to where a small
canoe lay dry upon the beach. It was a wonderful canoe, the most
beautiful the boy had ever seen. It was cut from a single white stone
and it sparkled in the red twilight like a polished jewel. And the old
man said, "This canoe will weather all storms. But see that you handle
it carefully, and when you come back see that you leave it in the cove
where you found it."

Soon afterwards, the boy set out on his journey. The moon was full and
the night was cold with stars. He sailed into the West over a rough
and angry sea, but he was in no danger, for his canoe rode easily on
the waters. All around him he saw in the moonlight many other canoes
going in the same direction and all white and shining like his own.
But no one seemed to be guiding them, and although he looked long at
them not a person could he make out. He wondered if the canoes were
drifting unoccupied, for when he called to them there was no answer.
Sometimes a canoe upset in the tossing sea and the waves rose over it
and it was seen no more, and the boy often thought he heard an
anguished cry. For several days he sailed on to the West, and all the
time other canoes were not far away, and all the time some of them
were dropping from sight beneath the surging waters, but he saw no
people in them.

At last, after a long journey, the sea grew calm and the air was sweet
and warm. There was no trace of the storm, for the waves were quiet
and the sky was as clear as crystal. He saw that he was near the
Island of the Blest of which the old man had spoken, for it was now
plain to his view, as it rose above the ocean, topped with green grass
and trees, and a snow-white beach. Soon he reached the shore and drew
up his canoe. As he turned away he came upon a skeleton lying flat
upon the sand. He stopped to look at it, and as he did so, the
skeleton sat up and said in great surprise, "You should not be here.
Why have you come?" And the boy said, "I seek my sister. In the early
spring-time she sickened and died, and I am going to the Land of
Shadows in the Country of Silence in search of her." "You must go far
inland," said the skeleton, "and the way is hard to find for such as
you." The boy asked for guidance and the skeleton said, "Let me smoke
and I will help you." The boy gave him the pipe and the tobacco he had
received from the old man, and he laughed when he saw his strange
companion with the pipe between his teeth. The skeleton smoked for
some time and at last, as the smoke rose from his pipe, it changed to
a flock of little white birds, which flew about like doves. The boy
looked on in wonder, and the skeleton said, "These birds will guide
you. Follow them." Then he gave back the pipe and stretched out again
flat upon the sand, and the boy could not rouse him from his sleep.


The boy followed the little white birds as he had been told. He went
along through a land of great beauty where flowers were blooming and
countless birds were singing. Not a person did he meet on the way. The
place was deserted except for the song-birds and the flowers. He
passed through the Country of Silence, and came to a mysterious land
where no one dwelt. But although he saw no one he heard many voices
and he could not tell whence they came. They seemed to be all around
him. At last the birds stopped at the entrance to a great garden, and
flew around his head in a circle. They would go no further and they
alighted on a tree close by, all except one, which perched on the
boy's shoulder. The lad knew that here at last was the Land of

When he entered the garden he heard again many low voices. But he saw
no one. He saw only many shadows of people on the grass, but he could
not see from what the shadows came. He wondered greatly at the strange
and unusual sight, for back in his homeland in that time the sunlight
made no shadows. He listened again to the voices and he knew now that
the shadows were speaking. He wandered about for some time marvelling
greatly at the strange place with its weird unearthly beauty. At last
he heard a voice which he knew to be his sister's. It was soft and
sweet, just as he had known it when they were together on the earth,
and it had not changed since she left him. He went to the shadow from
which the voice came, and throwing himself on the grass beside it, he
said, "I have long sought you, my sister. I have come to take you
home. Let me see you as you were when we dwelt together." But his
sister said, "You have done wisely to keep me in your memory, and to
seek to find me. But here we cannot appear to the people of earth
except as shadows. I cannot go back with you, for it is now too late.
I have eaten of the food of this land; if you had come before I had
eaten, perhaps you could have taken me away. Who knows? But my heart
and my voice are unchanged, and I still remember my dear ones, and
with unaltered love I still watch my old home. And although I cannot
go to you, you can some day come to me. First you must finish your
work on earth. Go back to your home in the Earth Country. You will
become a great Chief among your people. Rule wisely and justly and
well, and give freely of your food to the poor among the Indians who
have not as much as you have. And when your work on earth is done you
shall come to me in this Land of Shadows beyond the Country of
Silence, and we shall be together again and our youth and strength and
beauty will never leave us."

And the boy, wondering greatly and in deep sorrow, said, "Let me stay
with you now." But his sister said, "That cannot be." Then she said,
"I will give you a Shadow, which you must keep with you as your
guardian spirit. And while you have it with you, no harm can come to
you, for it will be present only in the Light, and where there is
Light there can be no wickedness. But when it disappears you must be
on your guard against doing evil, for then there will be darkness, and
darkness may lead you to wrong."

So the boy took the Shadow, and said good-bye for a season and set out
on his homeward journey. The little white birds, which had waited for
him in the trees, guided him back to the beach. His canoe was still
there, but the skeleton-man had gone and there was not a trace of him
to be found upon the sand. And the Island of the Blest was silent
except for the songs of the birds and the ripple of the little
streams. The boy embarked in his canoe and sailed towards the east,
and as he pushed off from the beach the little white birds left him
and disappeared in the air. The sea was now calm and there was no
storm, as there had been on his outward journey. Soon he reached the
shore on the other side. He left his canoe in the cove as the old man
had told him, and in a few days he arrived at his home, still bearing
the Shadow from the Country of Silence.

He worked hard for many years but he did no evil, and in the end he
became a great Chief and did much good for his people. He ruled wisely
and justly and well, as his sister had commanded him. Then one day,
when he was old and his work was done, he disappeared, and his people
knew that he had gone to join his sister in the Land of Shadows in the
Country of Silence far away somewhere in the West. But he left behind
him the Shadow his sister had given him; and while there is Light the
Indians still have their Shadow and no harm can come to them, for
where there is Light there can be no evil.

But always in the late autumn the Shadows of the Indian brother and
sister in the Country of Silence are lonely for their former life. And
they think of their living friends and of the places of their youth,
and they wish once more to follow the hunt, for they know that the
hunter's moon is shining. And when their memory dwells with longing on
their earlier days, their spirits are allowed to come back to earth
for a brief season from the Land of Shadows. Then the winds are silent
and the days are very still, and the smoke of their camp fires appears
like haze upon the air. And men call this season Indian Summer, but it
is really but a Shadow of the golden summer that has gone. And it
always is a reminder to the Indians that in the Land of Shadows, far
away in the Country of Silence in the West, there are no dead.


*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Canadian Fairy Tales" ***

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