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´╗┐Title: American Indian Fairy Tales
Author: Anonymous
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "American Indian Fairy Tales" ***


By W.T. Larned

Illustrated by John Rae


P. F. Volland Company

Twenty-ninth Edition

With one exception, all the tales in this book are adapted from the
legends collected by Henry R. Schoolcraft, ethnologist and government
agent for the Lake Superior country, and published in 1839 with the
title, "Algic Researches."

[Illustration: 0001]

[Illustration: 0002]

[Illustration: 0003]

[Illustration: 0005]

[Illustration: 0007]

[Illustration: 0009]

[Illustration: 0010]

[Illustration: 0011]

Iagoo, the Story-Teller

[Illustration: 9001]

HERE never was anyone so wise and knowing as old Iagoo. There never was
an Indian who saw and heard so much. He knew the secrets of the woods
and fields, and understood the language of birds and beasts. All his
life long he had lived out of doors, wandering far in the forest where
the wild deer hide, or skimming the waters of the lake in his birch-bark

Besides the things he had learned for himself, Iagoo knew much more. He
knew the fairy tales and the wonder stories told him by his grandfather,
who had heard them from his grandfather, and so on, away back to the
time when the world was young and strange, and there was magic in almost

Iagoo was a great favorite with the children. No one knew better where
to find the beautiful, colored shells which he strung into necklaces for
the little girls. No one could teach them so well just where to look for
the grasses which their nimble fingers wove into baskets. For the boys
he made bows and arrows--bows from the ash-tree, that would bend far
back without breaking, and arrows, strong and straight, from the sturdy

But most of all, Iagoo won the children's hearts with his stories. Where
did the robin get his red breast? How did fire find its way into the
wood, so that an Indian can get it out again by rubbing two sticks
together? Why was Coyote, the prairie wolf, so much cleverer than the
other animals; and why was he always looking behind him when he ran? It
was old Iagoo who could tell you where and why.

[Illustration: 0000]

Now, winter was the time for story-telling. When the snow lay deep on
the ground, the North. Wind came howling from his home in the Land of
Ice, and the cold moon shone from the frosty sky, it was then that the
Indians gathered in the wigwam. It was then that Iagoo sat by the fire
of blazing logs, and the little boys and girls gathered around him.

"Whoo, whoo!" wailed the North Wind. The sparks leapt up, and Iagoo laid
another log on the fire. "Whoo, whoo!" What a mischievous old fellow
was this North Wind! One could almost see him--his flowing hair all hung
with icicles. If the wigwam were not so strong he would blow it down,
and if the fire were not so bright he would put it out. But the wigwam
was made on purpose, for just such a time as this; and the forest nearby
had logs to last forever. So the North Wind could only gnash his teeth,
and say, "Whoo, whoo!"

One little girl, more timid than the rest, would draw nearer and put her
hand on the old man's arm. "O, Iagoo," she said, "Just listen! Do you
think he can hurt us?"

"Have no fear," answered Iagoo. "The North Wind can do no harm to anyone
who is brave and cheerful. He blusters, and makes a lot of noise; but
at heart he is really a big coward, and the fire will soon frighten him
away. Suppose I tell you a story about it."

And the story Iagoo told we shall now tell to you, the story of how
Shin-ge-bis fooled the North Wind.

[Illustration: 0012]

[Illustration: 0013]

[Illustration: 0014]

Shin-ge-bis fools the North Wind

[Illustration: 9014]

ONG, long ago, in the time when only a few people lived upon the earth,
there dwelt in the North a tribe of fishermen. Now, the best fish were
to be found in the summer season, far up in the frozen places where no
one could live in the winter at all. For the King of this Land of Ice
was a fierce old man called Ka-bib-on-okka by the Indians--meaning in our
language, the North Wind.

Though the Land of Ice stretched across the top of the world for
thousands and thousands of miles, Ka-bib-on-okka was not satisfied. If
he could have had his way there would have been no grass or green trees
anywhere; all the world would have been white from one year's end to
another, all the rivers frozen tight, and all the country covered with
snow and ice. .

Luckily there was a limit to his power. Strong and fierce as he was, he
was no match at all for Sha-won-dasee, the South Wind, whose home was
in the pleasant land of the sun-flower. Where Sha-won-dasee dwelt it was
always summer. When he breathed upon the land, violets appeared in the
woods, the wild rose bloomed on the yellow prairie, and the cooing dove
called musically to his mate. It was he who caused the melons to grow,
and the purple grapes; it was he whose warm breath ripened the corn in
the fields, clothed the forests in green, and made the earth all glad
and beautiful. Then, as the summer days grew shorter in the North,
Sha-won-dasee would climb to the top of a hill, fill his great pipe, and
sit there--dreaming and smoking. Hour after hour he

[Illustration: 0000]

sat and smoked; and the smoke, rising in the form of a vapor, filled the
air with a soft haze until the hills and lakes seemed like the hills
and lakes of dreamland. Not a breath of wind, not a cloud in the sky; a
great peace and stillness oyer all. Nowhere else in the world was there
anything so wonderful. It was Indian Summer.

Now it was that the fishermen who set their nets in the North worked
hard and fast, knowing the time was at hand when the South Wind would
fall asleep, and fierce old Ka-bib-on-okka would swoop down upon them
and drive them away. Sure enough! One morning a thin film of ice covered
the water where they set their nets; a heavy frost sparkled in the sun
on the bark roof of their huts.

That was sufficient warning. The ice grew thicker, the snow fell in
big, feathery flakes. Coyote, the prairie wolf, trotted by in his shaggy
white winter coat. Already they could hear a muttering and a moaning in
the distance.

"Ka-bib-on-okka is coming!" cried the fishermen. "Ka-bib-on-okka will
soon be here. It is time for us to go."

But Shin-ge-bis, the diver, only laughed.

Shin-ge-bis was always laughing. He laughed when he caught a big fish,
and he laughed when he caught none at all. Nothing could dampen his

"The fishing is still good," he said to his comrades. "I can cut a hole
in the ice, and fish with a line instead of a net. What do _I_ care for
old Ka-bib-on-okka?"

They looked at him with amazement. It was true that Shin-ge-bis had
certain magic powers, and could change himself into a duck. They had
seen him do it; and that is why he came to be called the "diver." But
how would this enable him to brave the anger of the terrible North Wind?

"You had better come with us," they said. "Ka-bib-onokka is much
stronger than you. The biggest trees of the forest bend before his
wrath. The swiftest river that runs

[Illustration: 0000]

freezes at his touch. Unless you can turn yourself into a bear, or a
fish, you will have no chance at all."

But Shin-ge-bis only laughed the louder.

"My fur coat lent me by Brother Beaver and my mittens borrowed from
Cousin Muskrat will protect me in the daytime," he said, "and inside
my wigwam is a pile of big logs. Let Ka-bib-on-okka come in by my fire
if he dares."

So the fishermen took their leave rather sadly; for the laughing
Shin-ge-bis was a favorite with them, and, the truth is, they never
expected to see him again.

When they were gone, Shin-ge-bis set about his work in his own way.
First of all he made sure that he had plenty of dry bark and twigs and
pine-needles, to make the fire blaze up when he returned to his wigwam
in the evening. The snow by this time was pretty deep, but it froze
so hard on top that the sun did not melt it, and he could walk on the
surface without sinking in at all. As for fish, he well knew how to
catch them through the holes he made in the ice; and at night he would
go tramping home, trailing a long string of them behind him, and singing
a song he had made up himself:=

`"Ka-bib-on-okka, ancient man,

``Come and scare me if you can.

`Big and blustery though you be,

``You are mortal just like me!"=

It was thus that Ka-bib-on-okka found him, plodding along late one
afternoon across the snow.

"Whoo, whoo!" cried the North Wind. "What impudent, two-legged creature
is this who dares to linger here long after the wild goose and the heron
have winged their way to the south? We shall see who is master in the
Land of Ice. This very night I will force my way into his wigwam, put
his fire out, and scatter the-ashes all around. Whoo, whoo!"

[Illustration: 0000]

Night came; Shin-ge-bis sat in his wigwam by the blazing fire. And such
a fire! Each backlog was so big it would last for a moon. That was the
way the Indians, who had no clocks or watches, counted time; instead of
weeks or months, they would say "a moon"--the length of time from one
new moon to another.

Shin-ge-bis had been cooking a fish, a fine, fresh fish caught that
very day. Broiled over the coals, it was a tender and savory dish; and
Shin-ge-bis smacked his lips, and rubbed his hands with pleasure. He had
tramped many miles that day; so it was a pleasant thing to sit there by
the roaring fire and toast his shins. How foolish, he thought, his
comrades had been to leave a place where fish was so plentiful, so early
in the winter.

"They think that Ka-bib-on-okka is a kind of magician," he was saying to
himself, "and that no one can resist him. It's my own opinion that he's
a man, just like myself. It's true that I can't stand the cold as he
does; but then, neither can he stand the heat as I do."

This thought amused him so that he began to laugh and sing:=

`"Ka-bib-on-okka, frosty man,

``Try to freeze me if you can.

`Though you blow until you tire,

``I am safe beside my fire!"=

He was in such a high good humor that he scarcely noticed a sudden
uproar that began without. The snow came thick and fast; as it fell it
was caught up again like so much powder and blown against the wigwam,
where it lay in huge drifts. But instead of making it colder inside, it
was really like a thick blanket that kept the air out.

Ka-bib-on-okka soon discovered his mistake, and it made him furious.
Down the smoke-vent he shouted; and his voice

[Illustration: 0000]

was so wild and terrible that it might have frightened an ordinary man.
But Shin-ge-bis only laughed. It was so quiet in that great, silent
country that he rather enjoyed a little noise.

[Illustration: 0019]

"Ho, ho!" he shouted back. "How are you, Ka-bib-onokka? If you are not
careful you will burst your cheeks."

Then the wigwam shook with the force of the blast, and the curtain of
buffalo hide that formed the doorway flapped and rattled, and rattled
and flapped.

"Come on in, Ka-bib-on-okka!" called Shin-ge-bis merrily. "Come on in
and warm yourself. It must be bitter cold outside."

At these jeering words, Ka-bib-on-okka hurled himself against the
curtain, breaking one of the buckskin thongs; and made his way inside.
Oh, what an icy breath!--so icy that it filled the hot wigwam like a

Shin-ge-bis pretended not to notice. Still singing, he rose to his feet,
and threw on another log. It was a fat log of pine, and it burned so
hard and gave out so much heat that he had to sit a little distance
away. From the corner of his eye he watched Ka-bib-on-okka; and what
he saw made him laugh again. The perspiration was pouring from his
forehead; the snow and icicles in his flowing hair quickly disappeared.
Just as a snowman made by children melts in the warm sun of March, so
the fierce old North Wind began to thaw! There could be no doubt of
it; Ka-bib-on-okka, the terrible, was melting! His nose and ears became
smaller, his body began to shrink. If he remained where he was much
longer, the King of the Land of Ice would be nothing better than a

"Come on up to the fire," said Shin-ge-bis cruelly. "You must be chilled
to the bone. Come up closer, and warm your hands and feet."

[Illustration: 0000]

But the North Wind had fled, even faster than he came, through the

Once outside, the cold air revived him, and all his anger returned.
As he had not been able to freeze Shin-ge-bis, he spent his rage on
everything in his path. Under his tread the snow took on a crust;
the brittle branches of the trees snapped as he blew and snorted; the
prowling fox hurried to his hole; and the wandering coyote sought the
first shelter at hand.

Once more he made his way to the wigwam of Shin-ge-bis, and shouted down
the flue. "Come out," he called. "Come out, if you dare, and wrestle
with me here in the snow. We'll soon see who's master then!"

Shin-ge-bis thought it over. "The fire must have weakened him," he
said to himself. "And my own body is warm. I believe I can overpower
him. Then he will not annoy me any more, and I can stay here as long as
I please."

Out of the wigwam he rushed, and Ka-bib-on-okka came to meet him. Then
a great struggle took place. Over and over on the hard snow they rolled,
locked in one another's arms.

All night long they wrestled; and the foxes crept out of their holes,
sitting at a safe distance in a circle, watching the wrestlers. The
effort he put forth kept the blood warm in the body of Shin-ge-bis. He
could feel the North Wind growing weaker and weaker; his icy breath was
no longer a blast, but only a feeble sigh.

At last, as the sun rose in the east, the wrestlers stood apart,
panting. Ka-bib-on-okka was conquered. With a despairing wail, he turned
and sped away. Far, far to the North he sped, even to the land of the
White Rabbit; and as he went, the laughter of Shin-ge-bis rang out and
followed him. Cheerfulness and courage can overcome even the North Wind.

[Illustration: 0021]

The Little Boy and Girl in the Clouds

[Illustration: 9021]

AGOO, the Story-Teller, was seated one evening in his favorite corner,
gazing into the embers of the log fire like one in a dream.

At such a time the children knew better than to interrupt him by
asking questions or teasing him for a story. They knew that Iagoo
was turning over in his mind the strange things he had heard and the
wonderful things he had seen; that the burning logs and red coals took
on curious shapes and made odd pictures that only he could understand,
and that if they did not disturb him he would presently begin to speak.

On this particular evening, however, though they waited patiently and
talked to one another only in low whispers, Iagoo kept on sitting there
as if he were made of stone. They began to fear that he had forgotten
them, and that bed-time would come without a story. So at last little
Morning Glory, who was always asking questions, thought of one she had
never asked before.

"Iagoo!" she said; and then she stopped, fearing to offend him.

At the sound of her voice the old man roused himself, as if his mind had
been away on a long journey into the past.

"What is it, Morning Glory?"

"Iagoo--can you tell me---were the mountains always here?"

The old man looked at her gravely. No matter how hard the question was,
or how unexpected, Iagoo was always glad to answer. He never said: "I'm
too busy, don't bother me," or, "Wait till some other time." So when
Morning Glory

[Illustration: 0000]

asked him this very peculiar question, he nodded his wise old head,

"Do you know, I've often asked myself that very thing: Were the
mountains always here?"

He paused, and looked once more into the fire, as if the answer was to
be found there if he only looked long enough. At last he spoke again:

"Yes, I think it must be true that the mountains were always here--the
mountains and the hills. They were made when the world was made--a long,
long time ago; and the story of how the world was made you have heard
before. But there is one high hill that was not always here--a hill that
grew like magic, all of a sudden. Did I ever tell you the story of the
Big Rock--how it rose and rose, and carried the little boy and girl up
among the clouds?"

"No, no!" shouted the children in a chorus. "You never told us that one.
Tell it to us now."

And this is the story of the magical Big Rock, as old Iagoo heard it
from his grandfather, who heard it from his great-grandfather, who was
almost old enough to have been there himself when it all happened:

In the days when all animals and men lived on friendly terms, when
Coyote, the prairie wolf, was not a bad sort of fellow when you came to
know him, and even the Mountain Lion would growl pleasantly and pass
you the time of day--there lived in a beautiful valley a little boy and

[Illustration: 0023]

This valley was a lovely place to live in; never was such a playground
anywhere on earth. It was like a great green carpet stretching for
miles and miles, and when the wind blew upon the long grass it was like
looking at the waves of the sea. Flowers of all colors bloomed in the
beautiful valley, berries grew thick on the bushes, and birds filled the
summer air with their songs.

Best of all, there was nothing whatever to fear. The

Never was such a play-ground anywhere.

[Illustration: 0000]

children could wander at will--watching the gay butterflies, making
friends with the squirrels and rabbits, or following the flight of the
bee to some tree where his honey is stored.

As for the wild animals, it was all very different from what it is
to-day, when they keep the poor things in cages, or coop them up in a
little patch of ground behind a high fence. In the beautiful valley the
animals ran free and happily, as they were meant to do. The Bear was a
big, lazy, good-natured fellow, who lived on berries and wild honey in
the summer, and in winter crept into his cavern in the rocks and slept
there till the spring. The deer were not only gentle, but tame as sheep,
and often came to crop the tender grass that grew where the two children
were accustomed to play.

They loved all the animals, and the animals loved them; but perhaps
their special favorites were Jack Rabbit and Antelope. Jack Rabbit had
long legs, and long ears--almost as long as a mule's, and no animal of
his size could jump so high. But of course he could not jump as high
as Antelope--the name of a beautiful little deer, with short horns and
slender legs, who could run like the wind.

Another thing that made the happy valley such a pleasant place to live
in was the river that flowed through it. All the animals came from miles
around to drink from its clear, cool waters, and to bathe in it on a hot
summer day. One shallow pool seemed made especially for the little boy
and girl. Their friend, the Beaver, with his flat tail like an oar and
his feet webbed like a duck's, had taught them how to swim almost as
soon as they had learned to walk; and to splash around in the pool on a
warm afternoon was among their greatest pleasures.

One day in mid-summer the water was so pleasant that they remained in
the pool much longer than usual, so that when at last they came out they
were quite tired. And as they were

[Illustration: 0000]

a little chilled besides, they looked around for a good place where they
could get dry and warm.

"Let's climb up on that big, flat rock, with the moss on it," said the
little boy. "We've never done it before. It would be lots of fun."

So he clambered up the side of the rock, which was only a few feet high,
and drew his sister up after him. Then they lay down to rest, and pretty
soon, without intending it at all, they were fast asleep.

Nobody knows how it happened that exactly at this time the rock began
to rise and grow. But it did happen, because there it is today, high
and bare and steep, higher than the other hills in the valley. As the
children slept, it rose and rose, inch by inch, foot by foot; by the
next day it was taller than the tallest trees.

Meanwhile their father and mother were searching for them everywhere,
but all in vain; nor was any trace of them to be found. No one had seen
them climb up on the rock, and everyone concerned was too much excited
to notice what had really happened to it. The parents wandered far and
wide saying: "Antelope, have you seen our little boy and girl? Jack
Rabbit, you must have seen our little boy and girl." But none of the
animals had seen them.

At last they met Coyote, the cleverest of them all, trotting along the
valley with his nose in the air; so they put the same question to him.

"No," said Coyote. "I have not seen them for a long time. But my nose
was given me to smell with, and my brains were given me to think with.
So who can tell but that I may help you?"

He trotted by their side, along the banks of the river, and pretty soon
they came to the pool where the children had been in swimming. Coyote
sniffed and sniffed. He ran around and around, with his nose to the
ground; then he ran right up to

[Illustration: 0000]

the rock, put his forepaws up as high as he could reach, and sniffed

"H-m-m!" he grunted. "I cannot fly like the Eagle, and I cannot swim
like the Beaver. But neither am I stupid like the Bear, nor ignorant
like the Jack Rabbit. My nose has never deceived me yet; your little boy
and girl must be up there on that rock."

"But how could they get there?" asked the astonished parents. For the
rock was now so high that the top was lost to sight in the clouds.

"That is not the question," said Coyote severely, unwilling to admit
there was anything he did not know. "That is not the question at all.
Anybody could ask that. The only question worth asking is: How are we to
get them down again?"

So they called all the animals together, to talk it over and see what
could be done. Then the Bear said: "If I could only put my arms around
the rock I could climb it. But it is much too big for that." And the Fox
said: "If it were only a deep hole, instead of a high hill, I would be
able to help you." And the Beaver said: "If it were just a place out in
the water I could swim to, I'd show you very quickly."

But as this kind of talk did not take them very far, they decided to try
what jumping would do. There seemed to be no other way; and as each one
was anxious to do his part, the smallest one was permitted to make the
first attempt. So the Mouse made a funny little hop, about as high as
your hand. The Squirrel went a little higher. Jack Rabbit made the
highest jump of his life, and almost broke his back, to no purpose.
Antelope gave a great bound in the air, but managed to light on his feet
again without doing himself any harm. Finally, the Mountain Lion went a
long way off, to get a good start, ran toward the rock with great leaps,
sprang straight up--and

[Illustration: 0000]

fell and rolled over on his back. He had made a higher jump than any of
them; but it was not nearly high enough.

No one knew what to do next. It seemed as if the little boy and girl
must be left sleeping on forever, up among the clouds. Suddenly they
heard a tiny voice saying:

"Perhaps if you let _me_ try, I might _climb_ up the rock." They all
looked around in surprise, wondering who it was that spoke; and at first
they could see nobody, and thought that Coyote must be playing a trick
on them. But Coyote was as much surprised as anyone.

"Wait a minute. I'm coming as fast as I can," said the tiny voice again.
Then a Measuring Worm crawled out of the grass--a funny little worm that
made its way along by hunching up its back and drawing itself ahead an
inch at a time.

"Ho, ho!" said the Mountain Lion, from deep down in his throat. He
always spoke that way when his dignity was offended. "Ho, ho! Did
you ever hear of such impudence? If I, a lion, have failed, how can a
miserable little crawling worm like you hope to succeed; just tell me

"It's downright silly," said Jack Rabbit. "That's what it is. I never
heard of such conceit."

However, after much talk, they agreed at last that it could do no harm
to let him try. So the Measuring Worm made his way slowly to the rock,
and began to climb. In a few minutes he was higher than Jack Rabbit
had jumped. Soon he was farther up than the lion had been able to leap:
before long he had climbed out of sight.

It took the Measuring Worm a whole month, climbing day and night, to
reach the top of the magic rock. When he got there he awakened the
little boy and girl, who were much surprised to see where they were,
and guided them safely down along a path no one else knew anything
about. Thus, by patience and perseverance, the weak little creature was
able to

[Illustration: 0000]

do something that the Bear, for all his size, and the Lion, for all his
strength, could never have done at all. That was a long time ago; today
there are no more lions or bears in the valley, and no one ever thinks
of them. But everybody thinks of the Measuring Worm, because the
Big Rock is still there, and the Indians have named it after him.
Tu-tok-a-nu-la, they call it, a big name indeed for a little fellow, yet
by no means too big when you come to think of the big, brave thing he

[Illustration: 0028]

[Illustration: 0029]

The Child of the Evening Star

[Illustration: 9029]

NCE upon a time, on the shores of the great lake, Gitchee Gumee, there
lived a hunter who had ten beautiful young daughters. Their hair was
dark and glossy as the wings of the blackbird, and when they walked or
ran it was with the grace and freedom of the deer in the forest.

Thus it was that many suitors came to court them--brave and handsome
young men, straight as arrows, fleet of foot, who could travel from
sun to sun without fatigue. They were sons of the prairie, wonderful
horsemen who would ride at breakneck speed without saddle or stirrup.
They could catch a wild horse with a noose, tame him in a magical way
by breathing into his nostrils, then mount him and gallop off as if
he always had been ridden. There were those also who came from afar in
canoes, across the waters of the Great Lake, canoes which shot swiftly
along, urged by the strong, silent sweep of the paddle.

All of them brought presents with which they hoped to gain the father's
favor. Feathers from the wings of the eagle who soars high up near the
sun; furs of fox and beaver and the thick, curly hair of the bison;
beads of many colors, and wampum, the shells which the Indians used
for money; the quills of the porcupine and the claws of the grizzly
bear; deerskin dressed to such a softness that it crumpled up in the
hands--these and many other things they brought.

One by one, the daughters were wooed and married, until nine of them had
chosen husbands. One by one, other tents were reared, so that instead
of the single family lodge on the shores of the lake there were tents
enough to form a little village. For the country was a rich one, and
there was game and fish enough for all.

There remained the youngest daughter, Oweenee--the fairest of them all.
Gentle as she was beautiful, none was so kind of heart. Unlike her proud
and talkative elder sisters, Oweenee was shy and modest, and spoke but
little. She loved to wander alone in the woods, with no company but the
birds and squirrels and her own thoughts. What these thoughts were we
can only guess; from her dreamy eyes and sweet expression, one could
but suppose that nothing selfish or mean or hateful ever came into her
mind. Yet Oweenee, modest though she was, had a spirit of her own. More
than one suitor had found this out. More than one conceited young man,
confident that he could win her, went away crestfallen when Oweenee
began to laugh at him.

[Illustration: 0031]

The truth is, Oweenee seemed hard to please. Suitor after suitor
came--handsome, tall young men, the handsomest and the bravest in all
the country round. Yet this fawn-eyed maiden would have none of them.
One was too tall, another too short; one too thin, another too fat. At
least, that was the excuse she gave for sending them away. Her proud
sisters had little patience with her. It seemed to be questioning
their own taste; for Oweenee, had she said the word, might have gained a
husband more attractive than any of theirs. Yet no one was good enough.
They could not understand her; so they ended by despising her as a silly
and unreasonable girl.

Her father, too, who loved her dearly and wished her to be happy, was
much puzzled. "Tell me, my daughter," he said to her one day, "Is it
your wish never to marry? The handsomest young men in the land have
sought you in marriage, and you have sent them all away--often with a
poor excuse. Why is it?"

Oweenee looked at him with her large, dark eyes.

[Illustration: 0000]

"Father," she said at last. "It is not that I am wilful. But it seems
somehow as if I had the power to look into the hearts of men. It is the
heart of a man, and not his face, that really matters; and I have not
yet found one youth who in this sense is really beautiful."

Soon after, a strange thing happened. There came into the little village
an Indian named Osseo, many years older than Oweenee. He was poor and
ugly, too. Yet Oweenee married him.

How the tongues of her nine proud sisters did wag! Had the spoiled
little thing lost her mind? they asked. Oh, well! They always knew she
would come to a bad end; but it was pretty hard on the family.

Of course they could not know what Oweenee had seen at once--that Osseo
had a generous nature and a heart of gold; that beneath his outward
ugliness was the beauty of a noble mind, and the fire and passion of a
poet. That is why Oweenee loved him; knowing, too, that he needed her
care, she loved him all the more.

Now, though Oweenee did not suspect it, Osseo was really a beautiful
youth on whom an evil spell had been cast. He was in truth the son
of the King of the Evening Star--that Evening Star which shines so
gloriously in the western sky, just above the rim of the earth, as the
sun is setting. Often on a clear evening it hung suspended in the
purple twilight like some glittering jewel. So close it seemed, and so
friendly, that the little children would reach out their hands, thinking
that they might grasp it ere it was swallowed by the night, and keep it
always for their own. But the older ones would say: "Surely it must be
a bead on the garments of the Great Spirit as he walks in the evening
through the garden of the heavens."

Little did they know that the poor, despised Osseo had really descended
from that star. And when he, too, stretched

[Illustration: 0000]

out his arms toward it, and murmured words they could not understand,
they all made sport of him.

There came a time when a great feast was prepared in a neighboring
village, and all of Oweenee's kinsfolk were invited to attend. They set
out on foot--the nine proud sisters, with their husbands, walking ahead,
much pleased with themselves and their finery, and all chattering
like magpies. But Oweenee walked behind in silence, and with her walked

The sun had set; in the purple twilight, over the edge of the earth,
sparkled the Evening Star. Osseo, pausing, stretched out his hands
toward it, as if imploring pity; but when the others saw him in this
attitude they all made merry, laughing and joking and making unkind

"Instead of looking up in the sky," said one of the sisters, "he had
better be looking on the ground. Else he may stumble and break his
neck." Then calling back to him, she cried: "Look out! Here's a big log.
Do you think you can manage to climb over it?"

Osseo made no answer; but when he came to the log he paused again. It
was the trunk of a huge oak-tree blown down by the wind. There it had
lain for years, just as it fell; and the leaves of many summers
lay thick upon it. There was one thing, though, the sisters had not
noticed.. The tree-trunk was not a solid one, but hollow, and so big
around that a man could walk inside it from one end to the other without

But Osseo did not pause because he was unable to climb over it. There
was something mysterious and magical in the appearance of the great
hollow trunk; and he gazed at it a long time, as if he had seen it in a
dream, and had been looking for it ever since.

"What is it, Osseo?" asked Oweenee, touching him on the arm. "Do you see
something that I cannot see?"

But Osseo only gave a shout that echoed through the

[Illustration: 0000]

forest, and leaped inside the log. Then as Oweenee, a little alarmed,
stood there waiting, the figure of a man came out from the other end.
Could this be Osseo? Yes, it was he--but how transformed! No
longer bent and ugly, no longer weak and ailing; but a beautiful
youth---vigorous and straight and tall. His enchantment was at an end.

But the evil spell had not been wholly lifted, after all. As Osseo
approached he saw that a great change was taking place in his loved one.
Her glossy black hair was turning white, deep wrinkles lined her
face; she walked with a feeble step, leaning on a staff. Though he had
regained his youth and beauty, she in turn had suddenly grown old.

"O, my dearest one!" he cried. "The Evening Star has mocked me in
letting this misfortune come upon you. Better far had I remained as I
was; gladly would I have borne the insults and laughter of your people
rather than you should be made to suffer."

"As long as you love me," answered Oweenee, "I am perfectly content. If
I had the choice to make, and only one of us could be young and fair, it
is you that I would wish to be beautiful."

Then he took her in his arms and caressed her, vowing that he loved her
more than ever for her goodness of heart; and together they walked hand
in hand, as lovers do.

When the proud sisters saw what had happened they could scarcely believe
their eyes. They looked enviously at Osseo, who was now far handsomer
than any one of their husbands, and much their superior in every other
way. In his eyes was the wonderful light of the Evening Star, and when
he spoke all men turned to listen and admire him. But the hard-hearted
sisters had no pity for Oweenee. Indeed, it rather pleased them to see
that she could no longer dim their beauty, and to realize that people
would no longer be singing her praises in their jealous ears.

[Illustration: 0000]

The feast was spread, and all made merry but Osseo. He sat like one in
a dream, neither eating nor drinking. From time to time he would press
Oweenee's hand, and speak a word of comfort in her ear. But for the
most part he sat there, gazing through the door of the tent at the
star-besprinkled sky.

Soon a silence fell on all the company. From out of the night, from the
dark, mysterious forest, came the sound of music--a low, sweet music
that was like, yet unlike, the song sung by the thrush in summer
twilight. It was magical music such as none had ever heard, coming, as
it seemed, from a great distance, and rising and falling on the quiet
summer evening. All those at the feast wondered as they listened. And
well they might! For what to them was only music, was to Osseo a voice
that he understood, a voice from the sky itself, the voice of the
Evening Star. These were the words that he heard:

"Suffer no more, my son; for the evil spell is broken, and hereafter no
magician shall work you harm. Suffer no more; for the time has come when
you shall leave the earth and dwell here with me in the heavens. Before
you is a dish on which my light has fallen, blessing it and giving it a
magic virtue. Eat of this dish, Osseo, and all will be well."

So Osseo tasted the food before him, and behold! The tent began to
tremble, and rose slowly into the air; up, up above the tree-tops--up,
up toward the stars. As it rose, the things within it were wondrously
changed. The kettles of clay became bowls of silver, the wooden dishes
were scarlet shells, while the bark of the roof and the poles supporting
it were transformed into some glittering substance that sparkled in
the rays of the stars. Higher and higher it rose. Then the nine proud
sisters and their husbands were all changed into birds. The men became
robins, thrushes and woodpeckers. The sisters were changed into various
birds with bright plumage;

[Illustration: 0000]

the four who had chattered most, whose tongues were always wagging,
now appeared in the feathers of the magpie and bluejay.

Osseo sat gazing at Oweenee. Would she, too, change into a bird, and be
lost to him? The very thought of it made him bow his head with grief;
then, as he looked at her once more, he saw her beauty suddenly
restored, while the color of her garments was the color only to be found
where the dyes of the rainbow are made.

Again the tent swayed and trembled as the currents of the air bore it
higher and higher, into and above the clouds; up, up, up--till at last
it settled gently on the land of the Evening Star.

Osseo and Oweenee caught all the birds, and put them in a great silver
cage, where they seemed quite content in each other's company. Scarcely
was this done when Osseo's father, the King of the Evening Star, came to
greet them. He was attired in a flowing robe, spun from star-dust, and
his long white hair hung like a cloud upon his shoulders.

"Welcome," he said, "my dear children. Welcome to the kingdom in the
sky that has always awaited you. The trials you have passed through
have been bitter; but you have borne them bravely, and now you will be
rewarded for all your courage and devotion. Here you will live happily;
yet of one thing you must beware."

He pointed to a little star in the distance--a little, winking star,
hidden from time to time by a cloud of vapor.

"On that star," he continued, "lives a magician named Wabeno. He has
the power to dart his rays, like so many arrows, at those he wishes to
injure. He has always been my enemy; it was he who changed Osseo into
an old man and cast him down upon the earth. Have a care that his light
does not fall upon you. Luckily, his power for evil has been greatly
weakened; for the friendly clouds have come to my assistance,

[Illustration: 0000]

and form a screen of vapor through which his arrows cannot penetrate."

The happy pair fell upon their knees, and kissed his hands in gratitude.

"But these birds," said Osseo, rising and pointing to the cage. "Is this
also the work of Wabeno, the magician?"

"No," answered the King of the Evening Star. "It was my own power, the
power of love, that caused your tent to rise and bear you hither. It was
likewise by my power that the envious sisters and their husbands were
transformed into birds. Because they hated you and mocked you, and were
cruel and scornful to the weak and the old, I have done this thing. It
is not so great a punishment as they deserve. Here in the silver cage
they will be happy enough, proud of their handsome plumage, strutting
and twittering to their hearts' content. Hang the cage there, at the
doorway of my dwelling. They shall be well cared for."

Thus it was that Osseo and Oweenee came to live in the kingdom of the
Evening Star; and, as the years passed by, the little winking star where
Wabeno, the magician, lived grew pale and paler and dim and dimmer, till
it quite lost its power to harm. Meanwhile a little son had come to make
their happiness more perfect, a charming boy with the dark, dreamy eyes
of his mother and the strength and courage of Osseo.

It was a wonderful place for a little boy to live in--close to the stars
and the moon, with the sky so near that it seemed a kind of curtain for
his bed, and all the glory of the heavens spread out before him. But
sometimes he was lonely, and wondered what the Earth was like--the Earth
his father and mother had come from. He could see it far, far below--
so far that it looked no bigger than an orange; and sometimes he would
stretch out his hands toward it, just as the little children on earth
stretch out their hands for the moon.

[Illustration: 0000]

His father had made him a bow, with little arrows, and this was a great
delight to him. But still he was lonely, and wondered what the little
boys and girls on earth were doing, and whether they would be nice to
play with. The Earth must be a pretty place, he thought, with so many
people living on it. His mother had told him strange stories of that
far-away land, with its lovely lakes and rivers, its great, green
forests where the deer and the squirrel lived, and the yellow, rolling
prairies swarming with buffalo.

These birds, too, in the great silver cage had come from the Earth, he
was told; and there were thousands and thousands just like them, as well
as others even more beautiful that he had never seen at all. Swans
with long, curved necks, that floated gracefully on the waters;
whip-poor-wills that called at night from the woods; the robin
redbreast, the dove and the swallow. What wonderful birds they must be!

Sometimes he would sit near the cage, trying to understand the language
of the feathered creatures inside. One day a strange idea came into his
head. He would open the door of the cage and let them out. Then they
would fly back to Earth, and perhaps they would take him with them. When
his father and mother missed him they would be sure to follow him to the
Earth, and then--

He could not quite see just how it would all end. But he found himself
quite close to the cage, and the first thing he knew he had opened the
door and let out all the birds. Round and round they flew; and now he
was half sorry, and a little afraid as well. If the birds flew back to
Earth, and left him there, what would his grandfather say?

"Come back, come back!" he called.

But the birds only flew around him in circles, and paid no attention to
him. At any moment they might be winging their way to the Earth.

[Illustration: 0000]

"Come back, I tell you!" he cried, stamping his foot and waving his
little bow. "Come back, I say, or I'll shoot you."

Then, as they would not obey him, he fitted an arrow to his bow and let
it fly. So well did he aim that the arrow sped through the plumage of
a bird, and the feathers fell all around. The bird itself, a little
stunned but not much hurt, fell down; and a tiny trickle of blood
stained the ground where it lay. But it was no longer a bird, with an
arrow in its wing; instead, there stood in its place a beautiful young

Now, no one who lives in the stars is ever permitted to shed blood,
whether it be of man, beast or bird. So when the few drops fell upon
the Evening Star, everything was changed. The boy suddenly found himself
sinking slowly downward, held up by invisible hands, yet ever sinking
closer and closer to the Earth. Soon he could see its green hills and
the swans floating on the water, till at last he rested on a grassy
island in a great lake. Lying there, and looking up at the sky, he could
see the tent descending, too. Down it softly drifted, till it in turn
sank upon the island; and in it were his father and mother, Osseo and
Oweenee--returned to earth, to live once more among men and women and
teach them how to live. For they had learned many things in their life
upon the Evening Star; and the children of Earth would be better for the

As they stood there, hand in hand, all the enchanted birds came
fluttering after, falling and fluttering through the air. Then as each
one touched the Earth, it was no longer a bird they saw, but a human
being. A human being, yet not quite as before; for now they were only
dwarfs, Little People, or Pygmies; Puk-Wudjies, as the Indians called
them. Happy Little People they became, seen only by a few. Fishermen,
they say, would sometimes get a glimpse of them--dancing in the light
of the Evening Star, of a summer night, on the sandy, level beach of the
Great Lake.

[Illustration: 0040]

The Boy who Snared the Sun

[Illustration: 9040]

DEEP, crusted snow covered the earth, and sparkled in the light of a
wintry moon. The wind had died away; it was very cold and still. Not a
sound came from the forest; the only noise that broke the perfect quiet
of the night was the cracking of the ice on the Big-sea-water, Gitche
Gurnee, which was now frozen solid.

But inside old Iagoo's teepee it was warm and cheerful. The teepee, as
the Indians call a tent, was covered with the thick, tough skin of the
buffalo; the winter coat of Muk-wa, the bear, had now become a pleasant
soft rug for Iagoo's two young visitors, Morning Glory and her little
brother, Eagle Feather. Squatting at their ease on the warm fur, they
waited for the old man to speak.

Suddenly a white-footed mouse crept from his nest in a corner, and,
advancing close to the children, sat up on his hind-legs, like a dog
that begs for a biscuit. Eagle Feather raised his hand in a threatening
way, but Morning Glory caught him by the arm.

"No, no!" she said. "You must not harm him. See how friendly he is, and
not a bit afraid. There is game enough in the forest for a brave boy's
bow and arrow. Why should he spend his strength on a weak little mouse?"

Eagle Feather, pleased with anything that seemed like praise of his
strength, let his hand fall.

"Your words are true words, Morning Glory," he answered. "Against
Ahmeek, the beaver, or Wau-be-se, the wild swan, it is better that I
should measure my hunter's skill."

[Illustration: 0000]

At this, Iagoo, turning around, broke his long silence. "There was
a time," he said, mysteriously, "when a thousand boys such as Eagle
Feather would have been no match at all for that mouse as he used to

"When was that?" asked Eagle Feather, looking uneasily at his sister.

"In the days of the great Dormouse," answered Iagoo. "In the days, long
ago, when there were many more animals than men on the earth, and the
biggest of all the beasts was the Dormouse. Then something strange
happened--something that never happened before or since. Shall I tell
you about it?"

"O, please do!" begged Morning Glory.

"The story I am going to tell you," began Iagoo, "is not so much a story
about the Dormouse as it is a story about a little boy and his sister.
Yet had it not been for the Dormouse, I would not be here to tell
about it, and you would not be here to listen.

"To begin with, you must understand that the world in those days was a
different sort of place from what it is now.

O yes, a different sort of place. People did not eat the flesh of
animals. They lived on berries, and roots, and wild vegetables. The
Great Spirit, who made all things on land, and in the sky and water, had
not yet given men Mon-da-min, the Indian corn. There was no fire to give
them heat, or to cook with. In all the world there was just one small
fire, watched by two old witches who let nobody come near it; and until
Coyote, the prairie wolf, came along and stole some of this fire, the
food that people could manage to get was eaten raw, the way it grew."

"They must have been pretty hungry," said Morning Glory..

"O, yes, they were hungry," agreed Iagoo. "But that was not all. There
were so many animals, and so few men,

[Illustration: 0000]

that the animals ruled the earth in their own way. The biggest of them
all was Bosh-kwa-dosh, the Mastodon. He was higher than the highest
trees, and he had an enormous appetite. But he did not stay long on
earth, or there would not have been food enough even for the other

[Illustration: 0043]

"I thought you said the Dormouse was the biggest," interrupted Eagle

Iagoo looked at him severely.

"At the time I speak of," he continued, "Bosh-kwa-dosh, the Mastodon,
had just gone away. He had not gone a bit too soon, either; for, by this
time, the only people left on the whole earth were a young girl and her
little brother."

"Like Eagle Feather and me?" asked Morning Glory. "The girl was much
like you," said Iagoo, patiently. "But the boy was a dwarf, who never
grew to be more than three feet high. Being so much stronger and larger
than her brother, she gathered all the food for both, and cared for him
in every way. Sometimes she would take him along with her, when she went
to look for berries and roots. 'He's such a very little boy,' she said
to herself, 'that if I leave him all alone, some big bird may swoop
down, and carry him off to its nest.'

"She did not know what a strange boy he was, and how much mischief he
could do when he set his mind upon it. One day she said to him: 'Look,
little brother! I have made you a bow and some arrows. It is time you
learned to take care of yourself; so when I am gone, practice
shooting, for this is a thing you must know how to do.'

"Winter was coming, and to keep himself from freezing the boy had
nothing better than a light garment woven by his sister from the
wild grasses. How could he get a warm coat? As he asked himself that
question, a flock of snow birds flew down, near by, and began pecking at
the fallen logs, to get the worms. 'Ha!' said he. 'Their feathers

[Illustration: 0000]

would make me a fine coat.' Bending his bow, he let an arrow fly; but he
had not yet learned how to shoot straight. It went wide of the mark. He
shot a second, and a third; then the birds took fright, and flew away.

"Each day he tried again--shooting at a tree when there was nothing
better to aim at. At last he killed a snow bird, then another and
another. When he had shot ten birds, he had enough. 'See, sister,' he
said, 'I shall not freeze. Now you can make me a coat from the skins of
these little birds.'

"So his sister sewed the skins together, and made him the coat, the
first warm winter coat he had ever had. It was fine to look at, and the
feathers kept out the cold. Eh-yah! he was proud of it! With his bow
and arrows, he strutted up and down, like a little turkey cock. 'Is it
true?' he asked, 'that you and I are the only persons living on earth?
Perhaps if I look around, I may find someone else. It will do no harm
to try.'

"His sister feared he would come to some harm; but he had made up his
mind to see the world for himself, and off he went. But his legs were
short, he was not used to walking far, and he soon grew tired. When
he came to a bare place, on the edge of a hill, where the sun had melted
the snow, he lay down, and was soon fast asleep.

"As he slept, the sun played him a trick. It was a mild winter's day.
The bird skins of which the coat was made were still fresh and tender,
and under the full glare of the sun they began to shrivel and shrink.
'Eh-yah! What's wrong?' he muttered in his sleep, feeling the coat
become tighter and tighter. Then he woke, stretched out his arms, and
saw what had happened.

"The sun was nearly sinking now. The boy stood up and faced it, and
shook his small fist. 'See what you have done!' he cried, with a stamp
of his foot. 'You have spoiled my new birdskin coat. Never mind! You
think yourself

[Illustration: 0000]

beyond my reach, up there; but I'll be revenged on you. Just wait and

"But how could he reach the sun?" asked Morning Glory, her eyes growing
rounder and rounder.

"That is what his sister asked, when he told her about it," said Iagoo.
"And what do you think he did? First, he did nothing at all but stretch
himself out on the ground, where he lay for ten days without eating or
moving. Then he turned over on the other side, and lay there for ten
days more. At last he rose to his feet. 'I have made up my mind,' he
said. 'Sister, I have a plan to catch the sun in a noose. Find me some
kind of a cord from which I can make a snare.' "She got some tough
grass, and twisted it into a rope. 'That will not do,' he said. 'You
must find something stronger.' He no longer talked like a little boy,
but like one who was to be obeyed. Then his sister thought of her hair.
She cut enough from her head to make a cord, and when she had plaited it
he was much pleased, and said it would do. He took it from her, and drew
it between his lips, and as he did this it turned into a kind of metal,
and grew much stronger and longer, till he had so much that he wound it
around his body.

"In the middle of the night he made his way to the hill, and there he
fixed a noose at the place where the sun would rise. He had to wait a
long time in the cold and darkness. But at last a faint light came into
the sky. As the sun rose it was caught fast in the noose, and there it

Iagoo stopped talking, and sat looking into the fire. One might have
supposed that when he did this he saw pictures in the flames, and in
the red coals, and that these pictures helped him to tell the story. But
Morning Glory was impatient to hear the rest.

"Iagoo," she said, timidly, at last. "Did you forget about the

[Illustration: 0000]

"Eh-yah! the Dormouse! No. I have not forgotten," answered the old man,
rousing himself. "When the sun did not rise as usual, the animals could
not tell what had happened. Ad-ji-dau-mo, the squirrel, chattered and
scolded from the branch of a pine tree. Kah-gah-gee, the raven, flapped
his wings, and croaked more hoarsely than ever, to tell the others that
the end of the world had come. Only Muk-wa, the bear, did not mind. He
had crept into his cave for the winter, and the darker it was the better
he liked it.

"Wa-bun, the East Wind, was the one who brought the news. He had drawn
from his quiver the silver arrows with which he chased the darkness from
the valleys. But the sun had not risen to help him, and the arrows fell
harmless to the earth. 'Wake, wake!' he wailed. 'Someone has caught the
sun in a snare. Which of all the animals will dare to cut the cord?'

"But even Coyote, the prairie wolf, who was the wisest of them all,
could think of no way to free the sun. So great was the heat thrown out
by its rays that he could not come within an arrow's flight of where it
was caught fast in the magical noose of hair.

"'Leave it to me!' screamed Ken-eu, the war-eagle, from his nest on the
cliff. 'It is I alone who soar to the sky, and look the sun in the face,
without winking. Leave it to me!'

"Down he darted through the darkness, and up he flew again, with his
eagle feathers singed. Then they woke the Dormouse. They had a hard time
doing it, because when he once went to sleep he stayed asleep for six
months, and it was almost impossible to arouse him. Coyote crept close
to his ear, and howled with all his might. It would have split the
eardrum of almost any other animal. But Kug-e-been-gwa-kwa, the Dormouse,
only groaned and turned over on the other

[Illustration: 0000]

side, and Coyote had a narrow escape from being mashed flat, like a

"'There is only one thing that will wake him,' said Coyote, getting up
and shaking himself. 'I will run to the mountain cave of An-ne-mee-kee,
the Thunder. His voice is even more terrible than mine.' So off he went
at a gallop.

"Soon they could hear An-ne-mee-kee coming. Boom, boom! When he shouted
in the ear of the Dormouse, the biggest beast on earth rose slowly to
his feet. In the darkness he looked bigger than ever, almost as big as
a mountain. An-ne-mee-kee, the Thunder, shouted once more, to make
sure that the Dormouse was really wide awake, and would not go to sleep

"'Now,' said Coyote to the Dormouse, 'it is you that will have to free
the sun. If he burned one of us, there would be little left but bones.
But you are so big that if part of you is burned away there will still
be enough. Then, in that case you would not have to eat so much, or work
so hard to get it.'

"The Dormouse was a stupid animal, and Coyote's talk seemed true talk.
Besides, as he was the biggest animal, he was expected to do the biggest
things. So he made his way to the hill, where the little boy had snared
the sun, and began to nibble at the noose. As he nibbled away, his back
got hotter and hotter. Soon it began to burn, till all the upper part of
him burned away, and became great heaps of ashes. At last, when he had
cut through the cord with his teeth, and set the sun free, all that
was left of him was an animal no larger than an ordinary mouse. What he
became then, so he is today. Still, he is big enough for a mouse; and
perhaps that is what Coyote really meant. Coyote, the prairie wolf, is
a cunning beast, up to many tricks, and it is not always easy to tell
exactly what he means."

[Illustration: 0047]

[Illustration: 0048]

How the Summer Came

[Illustration: 9048]

ORNING Glory was tired of the winter, and longed for the spring to come.
Sometimes it seemed as if Ka-bib-on-okka, the fierce old North Wind,
would never go back to his home in the Land of Ice. With his cold breath
he had frozen tight and hard the Big-Sea-Water,Gitche Gumee, and covered
it deep with snow, till you could not tell the Great Lake from the land.

Except for the beautiful green pines, all the world was white--a
dazzling, silent world in which there was no musical murmur of waters
and no song of birds.

"Will O-pee-chee, the robin, never come again?" sighed Morning Glory.
"Suppose there was no summer anywhere, and no Sha-won-dasee, the South
Wind, to bring the violet and the dove. O, Iagoo, would it not be

"Be patient, Morning Glory," answered the old man. "Soon you will hear
Wa-wa, the wild goose, flying high up, on his way to the North. I have
lived many moons. Sometimes he seems long in coming, but he always
comes. When you hear him call, then O-pee-chee, the robin, will not be
far behind."

"I'll try to be patient" said Morning Glory. "But Ka-bib-on-okka, the
North ind, is so strong and fierce. I can't help wondering whether there
ever was a time when his power was so great that he made his home here
always. It makes me shiver to think of it!"

Iagoo rose from his place by the fire, and drew to one side the curtain
of buffalo-hide that screened the doorway. He pointed to the sky--clear,
and sparkling with stars.

[Illustration: 0000]

"Look!" he said. "There, in the North. See that little cluster of stars.
Do you know the name we give it?"

"I know," said Eagle Feather. "It is O-jeeg An-nung--the Fisher stars.
If you look right, you can see how they make the body of the Fisher. He
is stretched out flat, with an arrow through his tail. See, sister!"

"The Fisher," repeated Morning Glory. "You mean the furry little animal,
something like a fox? Is Marten another name for it?"

"That's it," said Eagle Feather.

"Yes, I see," nodded Morning Glory. "But why is the Fisher spread out
flat that way, in the sky, with an arrow sticking through his tail?"

"I don't know just exactly why," admitted Eagle Feather. "I suppose some
hunter was chasing him. Perhaps Iagoo can tell us."

Iagoo closed the curtain, and went back to the fire.

"You thought there might have been a time when there was no summer on
the earth," he said to Morning Glory. "And you were right. Until O-jeeg,
the Fisher, found a way to bring the summer down from the sky, the earth
was everywhere covered with snow, and it was always cold. If O-jeeg
had not been willing to give his life, so that all the rest of us could
be warm, Ka-bib-on-okka, the North Wind, would have ruled the world, as
he now rules the Land of Ice."

Then Morning Glory and Eagle Feather sat down on the soft rug that was
once the winter coat of Muk-wa, the bear, and Iagoo told them the story
of How the Summer Came:

In the wild forest that borders the Great Lake there once lived a mighty
hunter named O-jeeg. No one knew the woods so well as he; where others
would be lost without a trail to guide them, he found his way easily
and quickly, by day or night, through the trackless tangle of trees and
underbrush. Where the red deer fled, he followed; the bear could not

[Illustration: 0000]

his swift pursuit. He had the cunning of the fox, the endurance of the
wolf, the speed of the wild turkey when it runs at the scent of danger.

When O-jeeg shot an arrow, it always hit the mark. When he set out on a
journey, no storm or snow could turn him back. He did everything he said
he would do, and did it well.

Thus it was that some men came to believe that O-jeeg was a
Manito--the Indian name for one who has magic powers. This much was
certain: whenever O-jeeg wished to do so, he could change himself into
the little animal known as the Fisher, or Marten.

[Illustration: 0051]

Perhaps that is why he was on such friendly terms with some of the
animals, who were always willing to help him when he called upon them.
Among these were the otter, the beaver, the lynx, the badger and the
wolverine. There came a time, as we shall see, when he needed their
services badly, and they were not slow in coming to his assistance.

O-jeeg had a wife whom he dearly loved, and a son, of thirteen years,
who promised to be as great a hunter as his father. Already he had shown
great skill with the bow and arrow; if some accident should prevent
O-jeeg from supplying the family with the game upon which they lived,
his son felt sure that he himself could shoot as many squirrels and
turkeys as they needed to keep them from starving. With O-jeeg to bring
them venison, bear's meat and wild turkey, they had thus far plenty to
eat. Had it not been for the cold, the boy would have been happy enough.
They had warm clothing, made from deerskin and furs; to keep their fire
burning, they had all the wood in the forest. Yet, in spite of this,
the cold was a great trial; for it was always winter, and the deep snow
never melted.

Some wise old men had somewhere heard that the sky was not only the roof
of our own world, but also was the floor of a beautiful world beyond; a
land where birds with bright feathers

[Illustration: 0000]

sang sweetly through a pleasant,, warm season called Summer. It was a
pretty story that people wished to believe; and likely enough they said,
when you came to think that the sun was so far away from the earth, and
so close to the sky itself.

The boy used to dream about it, and wonder what could be done. His
father could do anything; some men said he was a Manito. Perhaps he
could find some way to bring Summer to the earth. That would be the
greatest thing of all.

Sometimes it was so cold that when the boy went into the woods his
fingers would be frost-bitten. Then he could not fit the notch of his
arrow to the bowstring, and was obliged to go back home without any game
whatever. One day he had wandered far in the forest, and was returning
emptyhanded, when he saw a red squirrel seated on his hind-legs on the
stump of a tree. The squirrel was gnawing a pine cone, and did not try
to run away when the young hunter came near. Then the little animal

"My grandson," said he, "there is something I wish to tell you that you
will be pleased to hear. Put away your arrows, and do not try to shoot
me, and I shall give you some good advice."

The boy was surprised; but he unstrung his bow, and put the arrow in his

"Now," said the squirrel, "listen carefully to what I have to say. The
earth is always covered with snow, and the frost bites your fingers,
and makes you unhappy. I dislike the cold as much as you do. To tell
the truth, there is little enough tor me to eat in these woods, with the
ground frozen hard all the time. You can see how thin I am, for there is
not much tat in a pine cone. If someone could manage to bring the Summer
down from the sky, it would be a great blessing." "Is it really true,
then," asked the boy, "that up beyond the sky is a pleasant warm land,
where Winter only stays for a few moons?"

[Illustration: 0000]

"Yes, it is true," said the squirrel. "We animals have known it for a
long time. Ken-eu, the war-eagle, who soars near the sun, once saw
a small crack in the sky. The crack was made by Way-wass-i-mo, the
Lightning, in a great storm that covered all the earth with water.
Ken-eu, the war-eagle, felt the warm air leaking through; but the people
who live up above mended the crack the very next moment, and the sky has
never leaked again."

"Then our wise.old men were right," said the boy. "O-jeeg, my father,
can do most anything he has a mind to. Do you suppose if he tried hard
enough, he could get through the sky, and bring the Summer down to us?"

"Of course!" exclaimed the squirrel. "That is why I spoke to you about
it. Your father is a Manito. If you beg him hard enough, and tell him
how unhappy you are, he is sure to make the attempt. When you go back,
show him your frostbitten fingers. Tell him how you tramp all day
through the snow, and how difficult it is to make your way home. Tell
him that some day you may be frozen stiff, and never get back at all.
Then he will do as you ask, because he loves you very much."

The boy thanked the squirrel, and promised to follow this advice. From
that day he gave his father no peace. At last O-jeeg said to him:

"My son, what you ask me to do is a dangerous thing, and
I do not know what may come of it. But my power as a Manito was given
me for a good purpose, and I can put it to no better use than to try to
bring the Summer down from the sky, and make the world a more pleasant
place to live in." Then he prepared a feast to which he invited his
friends, the otter, the beaver, the lynx, the badger, and the wolverine;
and they all put their heads together, to decide what was best to be
done. The lynx was the first to speak. He had travelled far on his
long legs, and had been to many strange places.

[Illustration: 0000]

Besides, if you had good strong eyes, and you looked at the sky, on
a clear night when there was no moon, you could see a little group of
stars which the wise old men said was exactly like a lynx. It gave him a
certain importance, especially in matters of this kind; so when he began
to speak, the others listened with great respect.

"There is a high mountain," said he, "that none of you has ever seen. No
one ever saw the top, because it is always hidden by the clouds; but I
am told it is the highest mountain in the world, and almost touches the

The otter began to laugh. He is the only animal that can do this;
sometimes he laughs for no particular reason, unless it is that he
thinks himself more clever than the other animals, and likes to "show

"What are you laughing at?" asked the lynx.

"Oh, nothing," answered the otter. "I was just laughing." "It will get
you into trouble some day," said the lynx. "Just because you never heard
of this mountain, you think it is not there."

"Do you know how to get to it?" asked O-jeeg. "If we could climb to
the top, we might find a way to break through the sky. It seems a good

"That is what I was thinking," said the lynx. "It is true I don't know
just where it is. But a moon's journey from here, there lives a Manito
who has the shape of a giant. _He_ knows, and he could tell us."

So O-jeeg bade good-bye to his wife and his little son, and the next day
the lynx began the long journey, with O-jeeg and the others following
close behind. It was just as the lynx had said. When they had travelled,
day and night, for a moon, they came to a lodge, as the white men call
an Indian's tent; and there was the Manito standing in the doorway.
He was a queer-looking man, such as they had never seen before, with an
enormous head

[Illustration: 0000]

and three eyes, one eye being set in his forehead above the other two.

He invited them into the lodge, and set some meat before them; but he
had such an odd look, and his movements were so awkward, that the otter
could not help laughing. At this, the eye in the Manito's forehead
grew red, like a live coal, and he made a leap at the otter, who barely
managed to slip through the doorway, out into the bitter cold and
darkness of the night, without having tasted a morsel of supper.

When the otter had gone, the Manito seemed satisfied, and told them they
could spend the night in his lodge. They did so; and O-jeeg, who stayed
awake while his friends slept, noticed that only two of the Manito's
eyes were closed, while the one in his forehead remained wide open.

In the morning the Manito told O-jeeg to travel straight toward the
North Star, and that in twenty suns--the Indian name for days--they
would reach the mountain. "As you are a Manito yourself," he said, "you
may be able to climb to the top, and to take your friends with you. But
I cannot promise that you will be able to get down again."

"If it is close enough to the sky," answered O-jeeg, "that is all I

Once more they set out. On their way they met the otter, who laughed
again when he saw them; but this time he laughed because he was glad
to find them, and glad to get some meat that O-jeeg had saved from the
Manito's supper.

In twenty days they came to the foot of the mountain. Then up and up
they climbed, till they passed quite through the clouds; up once more,
till at last they stopped, all out of breath, and sat down to rest on
the highest peak in the world. To their great delight, the sky seemed so
close that they could almost touch it.

O-jeeg and his comrades filled their pipes. But before smoking, they
called out to the Great Spirit, asking for success

[Illustration: 0000]

in their attempt. In Indian fashion they pointed to the earth, to the
sky overhead, and to the four winds.

"Now," said O-jeeg, when they had finished smoking, "which of you can
jump the highest?"

The otter grinned.

"Jump, then!" commanded O-jeeg.

The otter jumped, and, sure enough, his head hit the sky. But the sky
was the harder of the two, and back he fell When he struck the ground,
he began to slide down the mountain; soon he was out of sight, and
they saw him no more.

"Ugh!" grunted the lynx. "He is laughing on the other side of his

It was the beaver's turn. He, too, hit the sky, but fell down in a heap.
The badger and the lynx had no better luck, and their heads ached for a
long time afterward.

"It all depends on you," said O-jeeg to the wolverine. "You are the
strongest of them all. Ready, now--jump!" The wolverine jumped, and
fell, but came down on his feet, sound and whole.

"Good!" cried O-jeeg. "Try again!"

This time the wolverine made a dent in the sky.

"It's cracking!" exclaimed O-jeeg. "Now, once more!" For the third time
the wolverine jumped. Through the sky he went, passing out of sight, and
O-jeeg quickly followed him.

Looking around them, they beheld a beautiful land.

O-jeeg, who had spent his life among the snows, stood like a man who
dreams, wondering if it could be true. He had left behind him a bare
world, white with winter, whose waters were always frozen, a world
without song or color. He had now come into a country that was a great
green plain, with flowers of many hues; where birds of bright plumage
sang amid the leafy branches of trees hung with golden fruit. Streams
wandered through the meadows, and flowed into

[Illustration: 0000]

lovely lakes. The air was mild, and filled with the perfume from a
million blossoms. It was Summer.

Along the banks of a lake were the lodges in which lived the people of
the sky, who could be seen some distance away. The lodges were empty,
but before them were hung cages in which there were many beautiful
birds. Already the warm air of Summer had begun to rush through the hole
made by the wolverine, and O-jeeg now made haste to open the cages, so
that the birds could follow.

The sky-dwellers saw what was happening, and raised a great shout. But
Spring, Summer and Autumn had already escaped through the opening into
the world below, and many of the birds as well.

The wolverine, too, had managed to reach the hole, and descend to the
earth, before the sky-dwellers could catch him. But O-jeeg was not so
fortunate. There were still some birds remaining that he knew his son
would like to see, so he went on opening the cages. By this time the sky
dwellers had closed the hole, and O-jeeg was too late.

As the sky-dwellers pursued him, he changed himself into the Fisher, and
ran along the plain, toward the North, at the top of his speed. In the
form of the Fisher he could run faster. Also, when he took this shape,
no arrow could injure him unless it hit a spot near the tip of his tail.

But the sky-dwellers ran even faster, and the Fisher climbed a tall
tree. They were good marksmen, and they shot a great many arrows, until
at last one of these chanced to hit the fatal spot. Then the Fisher knew
that his time had come.

Now he saw that some of his enemies were marked with the totems, or
family arms, of his own tribe. "My Cousins!" he called to them. "I beg
of you that you go away, and leave me here alone."

The sky-dwellers granted his request. When they had gone, the Fisher
came down from the tree, and wandered

[Illustration: 0000]

around for a time, seeking some opening in the plain through which
he might return to the earth. But there was no opening; so at last,
feeling weak and faint, he stretched himself flat on the floor of the
sky, through which the stars may be seen from the world below.

"I have kept my promise," he said with a sigh of content. "My son will
now enjoy the summer, and so will all the people who dwell on the earth.
Through the ages to come I shall be set as a sign in the heavens, and my
name will be spoken with praise. I am satisfied."

So it came about that the Fisher remained in the sky, where you can see
him plainly for yourself, on a clear night, with the arrow through his
tail. The Indians call them the Fisher Stars--O-jeeg An-nung; but to
white men are they known as the constellation of the Plough.

[Illustration: 0058]

[Illustration: 0059]


[Illustration: 9059]

HERE was once a merry young

Indian who could jump so high, and who played so many pranks, that he
came to be known as Grasshopper. He was a tall, handsome fellow, always,
up to mischief of one kind or another; and though his tricks were
sometimes amusing, he carried them much too far, and so in time he came
to grief.

Grasshopper owned all the things that an Indian likes most to have. In
his lodge were all sorts of pipes and weapons, ermine and other choice
furs, deer-skin shirts wrought with porcupine quills, many pairs of
beaded moccasins, and more wampum belts than one person could have
honestly come by.

The truth is, Grasshopper did not get these things by his skill and
courage as a hunter. He got them by shaking pieces of colored bone and
wood in a wooden bowl, then throwing them on the ground. That is to say,
Grasshopper was a gambler, and such a lucky gambler that he easily won
from others, with his game of Bowl and Counters, the things that they
had obtained by risking their lives in the hunt.

If people put up with his ways, and even laughed at some of his mad
pranks, it was because he could dance so well. Never had there been such
a dancer. Was there a wedding to be celebrated, or some feast following
a successful hunt--then who but Grasshopper could so well supply the

He could dance with a step so light that it seemed to leave no mark upon
the earth. He could dance as the Indian dances when he goes to war, or
as when he holds a festival in honor of the corn. But the dance in which
he excelled was a furious, dizzy dance, with leaps and bounds, that
fairly turned the heads of the beholders.

[Illustration: 0000]

It was then that Grasshopper became a kind of human whirlwind. As he
spun round and round, his revolving body drew up the dry leaves and the
dust, till the dancer all but faded from view, and you saw instead what
looked like a whirling cloud.

Once, when the great Manito, named Man-a-bo-zho, took a wife and came
to live with the tribe, that he might teach them best how to live,
Grasshopper danced at the wedding. The Beggar's Dance, he called it,
and such a dance! On the shores of the Big-Sea-Water, Gitche Gumee, are
heaps of sand rising into little hills known as dunes. Had you asked
Iagoo, he would have told you that these dunes were the work of
Grasshopper, who whirled the sands together, and piled them into hills,
as he spun madly around in his dance at Man-a-bo-zho's wedding.

[Illustration: 0061]

But though Grasshopper came to the wedding, and danced this crazy
Beggar's Dance, it seems probable that he did it more to please himself,
and to show his skill, than to honor the great Man-a-bo-zho. Grasshopper
really had no respect for anybody. When Iagoo's grandfather was in the
middle of some interesting story, and had come to the most exciting
part, Grasshopper likely as not would yawn and stretch himself, and
say in a loud whisper that he had heard it all before.

So, too, with Man-a-bo-zho. This great Manito, who was the son of the
West-Wind, Mud-je-kee-wis, had magic powers which he used for the good
of the tribe. It was he who fasted and prayed, that his people might be
given food other than the wild things of the woods; and whose prayer was
answered with the gift of the Indian corn. Then when Kah-gah-gee, King
of ravens, flew down with his band of black thieves, to tear up the seed
in the ground, it was Man-a-bo-zho who snared him, and tied him fast to
the ridge-pole of his lodge, to croak out a warning to the others.

But Man-a-bo-zho's goodness and wisdom had little effect

[Illustration: 0000]

on Grasshopper. "Pooh!" he would say. "Why should an Indian bother his
head with planting corn, when he can draw his bow and kill a good fat
deer?" Then he shook his wolfskin pouch, and rattled the pieces of
bone and wood. "As long as I have these," he said to himself, "I need
nothing more. After all, it is everybody else that works for the man who
knows how to use his head."

He walked through the village, very proud and straight, with his fan of
turkey-feathers, a swan's plume fastened in his long, black hair, and
the tails of foxes trailing from his heels. In his white deer-skin
shirt, edged with ermine, his leggings and moccasins ornamented with
beads and porcupine quills, he cut a fine figure. There was to be a
dance that night, and Grasshopper, who was a great dandy and a favorite
with all the young girls and women, had decked himself out for the
occasion. He had painted his face with streaks of blue and vermilion;
his blue-black hair, parted in the middle, and glistening with oil, hung
to his shoulders in braids plaited with sweet grass. The warriors might
call him Shau-go-daya, a coward, and make jokes at his expense, but he
did not care. Could he not beat them all when it came to playing ball or
quoits, and were not the maidens all in love with his good looks?

Meanwhile, Grasshopper wished to pass the time in some pleasant way.
Glancing through the door of a lodge, he saw a group of young men seated
on the ground, listening to one of old Iagoo's stories.

"Ha!" he cried. "Have you nothing better to do? Here's a game worth

He drew from his pouch the thirteen pieces of bone and wood, and juggled
them from one hand to the other. But no one paid any attention to him.
After all, Grasshopper had "more brains in his heels than in his head."
For once he had been too cunning; fearing his skill, no one could be
found who would play with him.

[Illustration: 0000]

"Pooh!" muttered Grasshopper, as he turned away. "I see how it is. The
pious Man-a-bo-zho has been preaching to them again. This village is
getting to be pretty tiresome to live in. It's about time for me to
strike out, and find a place where the young men don't sit around and
talk to the squaws,"

He walked along, bent on mischief. Even the dance was forgotten; he
wondered what he could do to amuse himself. As he came to the outskirts
of the village, he passed the lodge of Man-a-bo-zho. "I would like to
play him some trick," he said, under his breath, "so he will remember me
when I am gone." But he was well aware that Man-a-bo-zho was much more
powerful than himself; so he hesitated, not knowing exactly what do to.

At last he walked softly to the doorway, and listened, but could hear
no sound of voices. "Good!" he said with a grin. "Perhaps nobody is at
home." With that, he spun around the outside of the lodge, on one leg,
raising a great cloud of dust. No one came out; but on the ridge-pole
of the lodge, the captive Kah-gah-gee, King of ravens, flapped his big
black wings, and screamed with a hoarse, rasping cry.

"Fool!" cried Grasshopper. "Noisy fool!"

With a bound; he leapt clear over the lodge, and then back again; at
which the raven screamed more harshly than ever. But within the lodge
all was silent.

Grasshopper grew bolder. Going to the doorway again, he rattled the flap
of buffalo hide. Nobody answered; so, cautiously drawing the curtain to
one side, he ventured to peer in. Then he chuckled softly. The lodge was

"This is my chance!" he exclaimed. "Man-a-bo-zho is away, and so is his
foolish wife. I'll just pay my respects before they come back, and then
I'll be off for good."

Saying this, he went in, and began to turn everything upside down. He
threw all the bowls and kettles in a corner,

[Illustration: 0000]

filled the drinking gourds with ashes from the fire, flung the rich furs
and embroidered garments this way and that, and strewed the floor with
wampum belts and arrows. When he finished, one might have thought a
crazy man had been there. No woman in the village was more neat and
orderly than the wife of Man-a-bo-zho, and Grasshopper knew this would
vex her more than anything else he could do.

"Now for Man-a-bo-zho," he grinned as he left the lodge, well pleased
with the mischief he had wrought.

"Caw, caw!" screamed the King of ravens.

"Kaw!" answered Grasshopper, mocking him. "A pretty sort of pet you are.
Does Man-a-bo-zho keep you sitting there because you are so handsome? Or
is it your beautiful voice."

With that, he made a leap to the ridge-pole, seized the raven by
the neck, and whirled it round and round till it was quite limp and
lifeless. Then he left it hanging there, as an insult to Man-a-bo-zho.

He was now in high good humor, and went his way through the forest,
whistling and singing, and turning hand-springs to amuse the squirrels.
There was a high rock, overlooking the lake, from the top of which one
could view the country for miles and miles. Grasshopper climbed it. He
could see the village plainly, so he thought he would wait there till
Man-a-bo-zho came home. That would be part of the joke.

As he sat there, many birds darted around him, flying close over his
head. Man-a-bo-zho called these fowls of the air his chickens, and he
had put them under his protection. But Grasshopper had grown reckless.
Along came a flock of mountain chickens, and he strung his bow, and
shot them as they flew, for no better reason than because they were
Man-a-bo-zho's, and not because he needed them for food. Bird after bird
fell, pierced by his arrows; when they had fallen, he would throw their
bodies down the cliff, upon the beach below.

[Illustration: 0000]

At last Kay-oshk, the sea-gull, spied him at this cruel sport, and gave
the alarm. "Grasshopper is killing us," he called. "Fly, brothers! Fly
away, and tell our protector that Grasshopper is slaying us with his

When Man-a-bo-zho heard the news, his eyes flashed fire, and he spoke in
a voice of thunder:

"Grasshopper must die for this! He cannot escape me. Though he fly to
the ends of the earth, I shall follow, and visit my vengeance upon him."

On his feet he bound his magic moccasins with which, at each stride,
he could step a full mile. On his hands he drew his magic mittens with
which, at one blow, he could shatter the hardest rock. Then he started
in pursuit.

Grasshopper had heard the warning call of the sea-gull, and knew it
was time to be off. He, too, could run. So fleet of foot was he that
he could shoot an arrow ahead of him, and reach the spot where it fell
before it dropped to earth. Also, he had the power to change himself
into other shapes, and it was almost impossible to kill him. If, for
example, he entered the body of a beaver, and the beaver was slain,
no sooner had its flesh grown cold than the _Fee-bi_, or spirit, of
Grasshopper would leave the dead body, and Grasshopper would become a
man again, ready for some new adventure.

But at first he trusted to his legs and to his cunning. On rushed
Man-a-bo-zho, breathing vengeance; swiftly, like a moving shadow, fled
Grasshopper. Through the forest and across the hills he fled, faster
than the hare. His pursuer was hot on the trail. Once he came upon the
forest bed where the grass was still warm and bent; but the Grasshopper,
who had rested there, was far away. Once Man-a-bo-zho, high on a
mountain, spied him in the meadow below. Grasshopper had shown himself
on purpose, and mocked the great Manito, and defied him. The truth is,
Grasshopper was just a bit conceited.

[Illustration: 0000]

At last he grew tired of running. Not that his legs ached him or his
feet were sore. But this kind of life was not much to his liking, and
he kept his eye open for something new. Pretty soon he came to a stream
where the water was backed up by some kind of a dam, so that it flooded
the banks. Grasshopper had run about a thousand miles that day--counting
all the turns and twists. He was hot and dusty, and the pond, with
its water-lilies and rushes, looked cool and refreshing. From far, far
away came a faint sound; it was the voice of Man-a-bo-zho, shouting his

"Tiresome fellow!" said Grasshopper. "I could almost wish I were a
beaver, and lived down there at the bottom of the pond, where no one
would disturb me."

Then up popped the head of a beaver, who looked at him suspiciously.

"Don't be alarmed. I left my bow and arrows over there in the grass,"
explained Grasshopper. "Besides, I was just thinking I would like to be
a beaver myself. What do you say to that?"

"I shall have to consult Ahmeek, our chief," answered the friendly

Down he dived to the bottom, and pretty soon Ahmeek's head appeared
above the water, followed by the heads of twenty others.

"Let me be one of you," said Grasshopper. "You have a pleasant home down
there in the clear, cool water, and I am tired of the life I lead."

Ahmeek was pleased that such a strong, handsome young Indian should wish
to join their company.

"But I can help you," he answered, "only after you have plunged into the
pond. Do you think you can change yourself into one of us?"

"That is easy," said Grasshopper.

He waded into the water up to his waist; and behold! he

[Illustration: 0000]

had a broad flat tail. Deeper and deeper he went; as the water closed
above his head he became a beaver, with glossy, black fur, and feet
webbed like a duck's. Down he sank with the others to the bottom, which
was covered with heaps of logs and branches.

"That," explained Ahmeek, "is the food we have stored for the winter. We
eat the bark, and you will soon be as fat as any of us."

"But I want to be even fatter," said Grasshopper. "Flatter and ten times
as big."

"As you please," agreed Ahmeek. "We can help to make you just as big as
you wish."

They reached the lodge where the beavers lived, and entered the
doorway, leading into a number of large rooms. Grasshopper selected the
largest one for himself.

"Now," he said, "bring me all the food I can eat, and when I am big
enough I will be your chief."

The beavers were willing. They set to work getting quantities of the
juiciest bark for Grasshopper, who was delighted with this lazy life,
and did little more than eat or sleep. Bigger and bigger he grew, till
at last he was ten times the size of Ahmeek, and could barely manage to
move around in his lodge. He was perfectly happy.

But one day the beaver who kept watch up above, among the rushes of the
pond, came swimming to the lodge in a state of great excitement.

"The hunters are after us," he panted. "It is indeed Man-a-bo-zho
himself, with his hunters. They are breaking down our dam!"

Even as he spoke, the water in the pond sank lower and lower; the next
moment came the tramping of feet, as the hunters leapt upon the roof of
the lodge, trying to break it open.

All the beavers but Grasshopper scampered out of the lodge, and escaped
into the stream, where they hid themselves

[Illustration: 0000]

in some deep pools, or swam far down with the current. Grasshopper did
his best to follow them, but could not. The doorway was too small for
his big, fat body; when he attempted to go through it, he found himself
stuck fast.

Then the roof gave way, and the head of an Indian appeared.

"_Ty-au!_" he called. "_Tut-ty-au!_ See what's here! This must be
Me-shau-mik, the King of the beavers." Man-a-bo-zho came, and gave one

"It's Grasshopper!" he cried. "I can see through his tricks. It's
Grasshopper in the skin of a beaver."

Then they fell upon him with their clubs; and eight tall Indians, having
swung his limp carcass upon poles, carried it off in triumph through the

But his _Fee-bi_, or spirit, was still in the body of the beaver, and
struggled to escape. The Indians bore him to their lodges and prepared
to make a feast. Then, when the squaws were ready to skin him, his flesh
was quite cold, and the spirit of Grasshopper left the beaver's body,
and glided swiftly away. As the shadowy shape fled across the prairie,
into the forest, the watchful Man-a-bo-zho saw it take the human form of
Grasshopper, and he started in pursuit.

Grasshopper's life among the beavers had made him lazier than ever, and
as he ran he looked around for some easier way than running. Soon he
came upon a herd of elk, a species of deer with large, spreading horns.
The elk were feeding contentedly, and looked sleek and fat.

"They lead a free and happy life," said Grasshopper as he watched them.
"Why fatigue myself with running? I'll change myself into an elk, and
join their band."

Horns sprouted from his head; in a few minutes the transformation was
complete. Still he was not satisfied.

"I am hardly big enough," he said to the leader. "My feet are much too
small, and my horns should be twice the

[Illustration: 0000]

size of yours. Is there nothing I can do to make them grow?" "Yes,"
answered the leader of the elks. "But you do it at your own risk."

He took Grasshopper into the woods, and showed him a bright red berry
that hung in clusters on some small, low bushes.

"Eat these," he said, "and nothing else, and your horns and feet will
soon be much bigger than ours. However, it would be wise if you did not
eat too many of them."

The berries were delicious. Grasshopper felt that he could not get
enough, and he ate them greedily whenever he could find them. Before
long his feet had grown so large and heavy he could hardly keep up with
the herd, while his horns had such a huge spread that he sometimes found
them rather in his way.

One cold day the herd went into the woods for shelter; pretty soon
some of the elks who had lingered behind came rushing by with snorts
of-alarm. Hunters were pursuing them.

"Run!" called out the leader to Grasshopper. "Follow us out on the
prairie, where the Indians cannot catch us." Grasshopper tried to follow
them; but his big feet weighted him down, and he ran slowly. Then, as he
plunged madly through a thicket, his spreading horns were entangled in
some low branches that held him fast. Already several arrows had whizzed
by him; another pierced his heart, and he sank to the ground.

Along came the hunters, with a whoop. "Ty-au!" they exclaimed when
they saw the enormous elk. "It is he who made the large tracks on the
prairie. Ty-au!"

As they were skinning him, Man-a-bo-zho joined the party; and at that
moment the _Fee-bi_, or spirit, of Grasshopper escaped through the mouth
of the dead elk, and passed swiftly to the open plains, like a puff of
white smoke driven before the wind. Then, as Man-a-bo-zho watched it
melt away, he

[Illustration: 0000]

saw once more the mortal shape of Grasshopper; and once more he followed
after, breathing vengeance.

As Grasshopper ran on, a new thought came into his head. Above him in
the clear blue sky the birds wheeled and soared. "There is the place for
me," he said, "far up in the sky. Let me have wings, and I can laugh at

Ahead of him was a lake; approaching it, he saw a flock of wild geese
known as brant, feeding among the rushes. "Ha," said Grasshopper,
admiring them as they sailed smoothly here and there. "They will soon be
winging their way to the North. I would like to fly in their company."

He spoke to them, calling them Pish-ne-kuh, his brothers, and they
consented to receive him as one of the flock. So he floated on his back
till feathers sprouted on him, and he became a brant, with a broad
black beak, and a tail that would guide him through the air as a rudder
steers a ship.

Greedy as ever, he fed long after the others had had enough, so that
he soon grew into the biggest brant ever seen. His beak looked like the
paddles of a canoe; when he spread his wings they were as large as two
large _au-puk-wa_, or mats. The wild geese gazed at him in astonishment.
"You must fly in the lead," they said.

"No," answered Grasshopper. "I would rather fly behind." "As you
please," they told him. "But you will have to be careful. By all means
keep your head and neck straight out before you, and do not look down as
you fly, or you may meet with an accident."

It was a beautiful sight to see them flap their wings, stretch their
long necks, and rise with a "whir" from the lake, mounting the wind, and
rushing on before it. They flew with a breeze from the south, faster and
faster, till their speed was like the flight of an arrow.

One day, passing over a village, they could hear the people shouting.
The Indians were amazed at the size of the big

[Illustration: 0000]

brant, flying in the rear of the flock; yelling as loud as they could
yell, their cries made Grasshopper curious. One voice especially seemed
familiar to him, and he could not resist the temptation to draw in his
neck and stretch it down toward the earth. As he did so, the strong
wind caught his tail, and turned him over and over. In vain he tried to
recover his balance; the wind whirled him round and round, as it whirls
a leaf. The earth came nearer, the shouts of the Indians grew louder in
his ears; at last he fell with a thud, and lay lifeless.

It was a fine feast of wild goose that had dropped so suddenly from
the skies. The hungry Indians pounced upon him, and began to pluck his
feathers. This was the very village where Grasshopper had once lived;
little had he dreamed that he would ever return to supply it with such a
dinner, a dinner at which he himself was to be the best dish.

But again his _Fee-bi_, or spirit, went forth, and fled in the form of
Grasshopper; again Man-a-bo-zho, shouting his warcry, followed after.

Grasshopper had now come to the desert places, where there were few
trees, and no signs of animal life. Man-abo-zho was gaining on him; he
must play some new trick. Coming at last to a tall pine-tree growing
in the rock, he climbed it, pulled off all the green needles, and
scattered them about, leaving the branches quite bare. Then he took to
his heels again. When Man-a-bo-zho came, the pine spoke to him, saying:

"See what Grasshopper has done. Without my foliage I am sure to die.
Great Manito, I pray you give me back my green dress."

Man-a-bo-zho, who loves and protects all trees, had pity on the pine. He
collected the scattered needles, and restored them to the branches. Then
he hastened on with such speed that he overtook Grasshopper, and put his
hand out to clutch him. But Grasshopper stepped quickly aside, and spun

[Illustration: 0000]

round and round on one leg in his whirlwind dance, till the air all
about was filled with leaves and sand. In the midst of this whirlwind
he sprang into a hollow tree, and changed himself into a snake. Then he
crept out through the roots, and not a moment too soon; for Man-a-bo-zho
smote the tree with one of his magic mittens, and crumbled it to powder.

Grasshopper changed himself back into his human form, and ran for dear
life. The only thing left for him to do was to hide. But where? In his
headlong flight he had come again to the shores of the Great Lake; and
he saw rising before him the high cliff of the Picture Rocks. If he
could but manage to reach these rocks, the Manito of the Mountain, who
lived in one of the gloomy caverns, might let him in. Sure enough! As he
reached the cliff, calling out for help, the Manito opened the door, and
told him to enter.

Hardly had the big door closed with a bang, than along came
Man-a-bo-zho. With his mitten he gave a tap on the rock that made the
splinters fly.

"Open!" he cried, in a terrible voice.,

But the Manito was brave and hospitable.

"I have sheltered you," he said to Grasshopper, "and I would rather die
myself than give you up."

Man-a-bo-zho waited, but no answer came.

"As you will," he said at last. "If the door is not opened to me by
night, I shall call upon the Thunder and the Lightning to do my

The hours passed; darkness fell. Then from a black cloud that had
gathered over the Great Lake, Way-wass-i-mo, the red-eyed Lightning,
shot his bolts of fire. Crash--boom--crash! An-ne-mee-kee, the Thunder,
shouted hoarsely from the heavens. A wild wind arose; the trees of the
forest swayed and groaned, and the foxes hid in their holes.

Way-wass-i-mo, the Lightning, leapt from the black cloud, and darted at
the cliff. The rock trembled; the door was

[Illustration: 0000]

shivered, and fell apart. Out from his gloomy cavern came the Manito
of the Mountain, asking Man-a-bo-zho for mercy. It was granted, and the
Manito fled to the hills.

Grasshopper then appeared; the next moment he was buried under a mass of
rock shaken loose by An-ne-mee-kee, the Thunder. This time he had been
killed in his human form, he could play his mad pranks no more.

But Man-a-bo-zho, the merciful, remembered that Grasshopper was not
wholly bad.

"Your _Fee-bi_" he said, "must no longer remain upon the earth in any
form whatever. As a man you lived an idle, foolish life, and you are no
longer wanted here. Instead, I shall permit you to inhabit the skies."

Saying this, he took the ghost of Grasshopper, and clothed it with the
shape of the war-eagle, bidding him to be chief of all the fowls. .

But Grasshopper, the mischievous, is not forgotten by the people. In
the late winter days, snow fine as powder fills the air like a vapor. It
keeps the hunter from his traps, the fisherman from his hole in the ice.
Suddenly a puff of wind seizes this light, powdery snow, blows it
round and round, and sets it whirling along; and when this happens, the
Indians laugh and say:

"Look! There goes Grasshopper. See how well he dances."

[Illustration: 0073]

[Illustration: 0074]

Mish-o-sha, the Magician

[Illustration: 9074]

N the heart of the great green forest once lived a hunter whose lodge
was many miles distant from the wigwams of his tribe. His wife had long
since died, and he dwelt there all alone with his two young sons, who
grew up as best they could without a mother's care.

When the father was away on a hunting trip, the boys had no companions
but the birds and beasts of the forest, and with some of the smaller
animals they became fast friends. Ad-ji-dau-mo, the squirrel, scampering
from tree to tree, would let his nut-shells fall plump on the roof of
the lodge. That was his way of knocking at the door, coming to pay a
morning call. He was a great talker, without much to say--as is often so
with those whose voices are seldom still. But he was bright and merry,
chattering away cheerfully about nothing in particular; and it made no
difference whether you listened to him or not.

Wa-bo-se, the little white hare, was another friend. One winter's day,
when forest food was scarce, O-ne-o-ta, the lynx, was just about to
pounce upon him, when the boys' father let fly an arrow--and O-ne-o-ta
was no longer interested in little white hares.

Wa-bo-se was grateful for this, and sometimes in his shy way he tried to
show it.

The father and the boys lived mostly on big game, like bear and venison.
This meat would be cut in strips, and cured; sometimes it had to last
them many a long day, when game was scarce, or the woods so dry for want
of rain that the twigs would snap under the hunters feet, and warn the

[Illustration: 0000]

he was coming. So the boys were used to being left alone for weeks at a
time, when their father was absent.

Then came a season of famine. No berries grew on the bushes, grass
withered on the stalk, few acorns hung on the oaks. Some of the brooks
went dry. Thus it happened that the hunter had gone far in search of

Many months passed. When Seegwun, the elder boy, saw that but little
meat remained, he said to his younger brother Ioscoda:

"Let us take what meat is left, and strike out through the forest,
toward the North. I remember our father saying that many moons distant
lies a great lake called Gitche Gurnee, whose waters are alive with

"But can we find our way?" asked Ioscoda, doubtfully. "Never fear!"
called out a voice from overhead.

It was Ad-ji-dau-mo, the squirrel, frisky as ever, though a little lean
for lack of nuts.

"I'll go along with you," he continued, "and so will Wa-bo-se, the white
hare. He can hop ahead and find the trail, and I can jump from tree to
tree, and keep a look-out. Between us, we are bound to go right."

It proved to be a good idea, and Wa-bo-se took the lead. Where the
trail was overgrown with grass, he would nose his way along the ground,
without once going wrong; where the track was plain, he would run ahead,
then stop and sit up on his haunches, to wait for the boys, his long
ears pricked up and moving, to detect the slightest danger.

But nothing happened to alarm them. The lynx, the wildcat and the
wolf had all fled before the famine, and the silent forest was empty of
savage beasts. On and on they went, till it seemed as if the woods would
never end. Then, one day, Ad-ji-dau-mo climbed a tall pine, from whose
topmost bough he could see far over the forest. The sun was shining
bright; as he cocked his eye and looked toward the north,

[Illustration: 0000]

something that seemed to meet the sky sparkled like silver. It was
Gitche Gumee, the Great Lake.

They had reached a place where nuts were plentiful, and many green
things grew that would fatten the white hare. So Wa-bo-se and the
squirrel bade good-bye to the boys, who could now make their way with
ease. Soon they came to the edge of the woods. They heard a piping
cry. It was Twee-tweesh-ke-way, the plover, flying along the beach; in
another moment the great glittering waters lay before them.

Seegwun with his sharp hunting knife cut a limb from an ash-tree, and
made a bow; from an oak bough he whittled some arrows, which he tipped
with flint. He found feathers fallen from a gull's wing for the shaft; a
strip cut from his deer-skin shirt supplied the bow-string. Then giving
the bow and arrow to Ioscoda, to practice with, he gathered some seed
pods from the wild rose, to stay their hunger.

An arrow, badly aimed by his brother, fell into the lake, and Seegwun
waded in, to recover it. He had walked into the water till it reached
his waist, and put out his hand to grasp the arrow, when suddenly, as if
by magic, a canoe came skimming along like a bird. In the canoe was an
ugly old man, who reached out, seized the astonished boy, and pulled him
on board.

"If I must go with you, take my brother, too!" begged Seegwun. "If he is
left here, all alone, he will starve."

But Mish-o-sha, the Magician, only laughed. Then striking the side of
the canoe with his hand, and uttering the magic words, _Chemaun Poll_,
it shot across the lake like a thing alive, so that the beach was
quickly lost to sight. Soon it came to rest on a sandy shore, and
Mish-o-sha, leaping out, beckoned him to follow.

They had landed on an island. Before them, in a grove of cedars, were
two wigwams, or lodges; from the smaller one two lovely young girls came
out, and stood looking at them.

[Illustration: 0000]

To Seegwun, who had never before seen a girl, these maidens looked like
spirits from the skies. He gazed at them in wonder, half expecting they
would vanish. For their part they looked at him without smiling; in
their dark eyes were only sympathy and sadness.

"My daughters!" said the old man to Seegwun, with a chuckle that
displayed his long, yellow teeth. Then turning to the girls:

"Are you not glad to see me safely back?" he asked,"and are you not
pleased with my handsome young friend here?" They bent their heads
politely, but said nothing.

"It's a long time since you were favored with such a visitor," he went
on, in a loud whisper to the elder girl. "He would make you a fine

The maiden murmured something under her breath, and Mish-o-sha gave her
a wicked look.

"We shall see, we shall see!" he muttered to himself, laughing like a
magpie, and rubbing his long, bony hands together.

Seegwun, much troubled in mind, and hardly knowing what to make of it
all, resolved to keep his eyes open. Luckily Mish-o-sha was sometimes
careless. He walked on ahead, and entered his lodge, leaving the others
together; whereupon the elder girl, approaching Seegwun, spoke to him
quickly: "We are not his daughters," she said. "He brought us here as he
brought you. He hates the human race. Every moon he seizes a young man,
and pretends he has borne him here as a husband for me. But soon he
takes him off in his canoe, and the young man never comes back. We feel
sure Mish-o-sha has made away with them all."

"What must I do?" asked Seegwun. "I care less for myself than for
my little brother. He was left behind on a wild beach, and may die of

"Ah!" said the maiden. "You are really good and unselfish;

[Illustration: 0000]

so, no matter what comes of it, we must aid you. Koko-ko-ho, the
great owl, keeps watch all night on the bare limb of that big cedar.
Wait till Mish-o-sha falls asleep, then wrap yourself from head to foot
in his blanket, and steal softly to the door of our lodge. Whisper my
name,Nin-i-mo-sha, and I shall come out and tell you what to do."

"Nin-i-mo-sha," murmured the youth. "What a beautiful name!" Then,
before he could thank her, the girls were gone.

Mish-o-sha now appeared, and made a sign to Seegwun to join him. The old
man seemed to be in a good humor, and passed the time telling stories;
but Seegwun was not deceived by this pretense of friendship. When the
Magician was sound asleep, he rose, wrapped Mish-o-sha's blanket around
him, and walked carefully to the door of the little lodge.

"Nin-i-mo-sha!" he whispered, and his heart beat fast; for Nin-i-mo-sha
in the Indian tongue is "My Sweetheart." "Seegwun!" she answered; and
his name, meaning "Spring," came like music from her lips.

She drew aside the curtain, and came out.

"Here," she said, "is food that will last your brother for several days.
Get into Mish-o-sha's canoe, pronounce the magic charm, and it will take
you where you wish. You can be back before daybreak."

"But the owl?" asked Seegwun. "Will he not cry out?" "Walk with a stoop,
the way Mish-o-sha walks," she explained. "Ko-ko-ko-ho, when he
sees you, will cry 'Hoot, hoot!' You must answer, 'Hoot, hoot, whoo!
Mish-o-sha.' Then he will let you pass."

Seegwun did as he was told, and was soon skimming across the lake.
Having landed on the beach, he began to bark like a squirrel; and at
this friendly signal his brother ran up and flung his arms around him.
Seegwun made a shelter for the boy, and told him he would come
again. Then he returned in the canoe, and was soon fast asleep in the
Magician's lodge.

[Illustration: 0000]

Mish-o-sha, who trusted in his owl, suspected nothing. How should he
know what lovers can do when they put their heads together?

"You have slept well, my son," said he. "And now we have a pleasant
journey before us. We are going to an island where thousands of gulls
lay their eggs in the sand, and we shall get all we can carry away."

Remembering what Nin-i-mo-sha had said, Seegwun shivered. But she
kissed her hand, and waved him a good-bye; and this put heart in him.

As the canoe sped away, he made sure that his hunting knife slipped
easily in its sheath, and he did not take his eyes off Mish-o-sha for a

When they reached the island the gulls rose in great numbers, and flew
screaming above their heads.

"You gather the eggs," said the Magician, "while I keep watch in the

Seegwun hastened ashore, glad to quit the old man's company. Then the
Magician cried out to the gulls:

"Ho, my feathered friends! Here is the human offering I promised you
when you agreed to call me master. Fly down, my pretty ones! Fly down,
and devour him!"

Striking the side of his canoe, he abandoned the youth to the mercy of
the birds.

With harsh cries, the gulls swept down on Seegwun. Never had he heard
such a clamor. Ten thousand wings beat the air, and stirred it like a
storm. Whirling and darting they came upon him in a cloud. But Seegwun
did not flinch. Shouting the _Saw-saw-quan_, or war-cry, he seized the
first bird that attacked him. Then grasping it by the neck, he held it
high above his head in his left hand, and with his right hand drew his
knife, which glittered in the sun.

"Hold!" he cried. "Hold, you poor fools! Beware the vengeance of the
Great Spirit."

[Illustration: 0000]

The gulls paused in their attack, but still circled around him, with
sharp beaks extended.

"Hear me, O Gulls!" he continued. "The Great Spirit gave you life that
you might serve mankind. Slay me, and you slay one made to rule over all
the beasts and birds. I tell you, beware!"

"But Mish-o-sha is all powerful." screamed the gulls. "He has bidden us
destroy you."

"Mish-o-sha is no Manito," answered Seegwun. "He is only a wicked
magician who would use you for his own evil ends. Bear me on your wings
back to his island; for it is he who must be destroyed."

Then the gulls, persuaded that Mish-o-sha had tricked them, drew close
together, that the youth might lie upon their backs. Rising on the wind,
they carried him across the waters, setting him down gently by the lodge
before the Magician had arrived there.

Nin-i-ino-sha rejoiced when she saw it was really Seegwun. "I was not
mistaken in you," she told him. "It is plain that the Great Spirit
protects you. But Mish-o-sha will try again, so be on your guard."

The Magician now arrived in his magic canoe. When he saw Seegwun he
tried to smile pleasantly. But having had little practice in thinking
kind thoughts, he only grinned like a gargoyle, which, excepting perhaps
the hyena, has the most painful possible smile. >

"Good, my son!" he managed to say. "You must not misunderstand me. I did
it to test your courage; and now Nin-i-mo-sha is sure to love you. Ah,
my children, you will make a happy pair!"

Nin-i-mo-sha turned away to hide her disgust, but Seegwun pretended to
believe the malicious old man was in earnest.

"However," continued the Magician, "I owe you something for having
seemed to play you such a trick. I see you wear

[Illustration: 0000]

no ornaments. Come with me, then, to the Island of Glittering Shells,
and soon you will be attired as becomes a handsome warrior."

The island where they landed was indeed a wonderful place, covered with
colored shells that gleamed in the sun like jewels.

"Look!" said Mish-o-sha, as they walked along the beach. "Out there a
little way. See it shining on the bottom." Seegwun waded in. When the
water reached his thighs, the Magician made a leap for the canoe, and
shoved it far out into the lake.

"Come, King of Fishes!" he called. "You have always served me well. Here
is your reward."

Then, striking his canoe, he quickly disappeared. Immediately an
enormous fish, with jaws wide open, rose to the surface a few feet away.
But Seegwun only smiled, saying as he drew his long blade:

"Know, Monster, that I am Seegwun--named after him whose breath warms
the ice-bound waters and clothes the hills with green. The cowardly
Mish-o-sha, fearing the anger of the Great Spirit, seeks to make you
do what he dares not do himself. Spill but one drop of my blood, and it
will dye the waters of the lake, in which all your tribe will miserably
perish.' "Mish-o-sha has deceived me," said the King of Fishes. "He
promised me a tender maiden, and has brought instead a youth with the
eyes of a warrior. How shall I aid you, my Master?"

"Wretch!" exclaimed Seegwun. "Rejoice that he did not keep his frightful
promise. You deserve to die at my hands, but I give you a chance to
repent. Take me on your back to the island of Mish-o-sha, and I will
spare your life."

The King of Fishes hastened to take Seegwun astride his broad back, and
swam so swiftly that he reached the island soon after Mish-o-sha. The
Magician was explaining to Nini-mo-sha how the youth had fallen from the
canoe into the

[Illustration: 0000]

jaws of a big fish, when along came Seegwun himself, strolling up from
the Lake as if he had returned from an everyday excursion. Even so,
Mish-o-sha still sought to excuse himself.

"My daughter," said he. "I was only trying to find out how much you
cared for him."

But all the while he was saying to himself that the next time he would
not fail. And the next time was the very next day.

"My owl is growing old, and cannot live much longer," he explained. "I
should like to catch a young eagle, and tame him. Will you help me?"

Seegwun consented, and went with him in the magic canoe to a rocky point
of land reaching out into the lake. There, in the fork of a tall pine,
was an eagle's nest, in which were some young eagles, who could not yet

"Quick!" said Mish-o-sha. "Climb the tree before the old birds return."

[Illustration: 0083]

Seegwun had almost reached the nest when the Magician spoke to the pine,
commanding it to grow taller. At once it began to rise, until it was
so high, and swayed so in the wind, that he felt it would take all
his courage to get down again. At the same time the Magician uttered a
peculiar cry, at which the father and mother eagles came swooping from
the clouds to protect their young.

"Ho, ho!" laughed Mish-o-sha. "This time I have made no mistake. Either
you will fall and break your neck, or the eagles will scratch your eyes

Striking his canoe, he vanished in the mist.

The eagles now circled around Seegwun, who, resting on a branch, thus
addressed them:

"My brothers, behold the eagle's feather in my hair! It proves my
admiration for your bravery and skill. Yet in me you see your master;
for I am a man, and you are only birds. Obey me, then, and bear me to
Mish-o-sha's island."

[Illustration: 0000]

This praise pleased the eagles, who respected the youth's cool courage.
Mounting on the back of the enormous male bird, Seegwun was borne
through the air, and set down safely on the enchanted island.

Mish-o-sha now saw that neither bird nor beast would harm this handsome
youth, who seemed to be protected by some powerful Manito. It must be
done some other way.

"One more test," he said to Seegwun, "and then you may take Nin-i-mo-sha
for your wife. But first you must prove your skill as a hunter. Come!"

They made a lodge in the forest; and Mish-o-sha, by his magic, caused
a snow-storm, with a stinging gale from the north, like a flight of
icy arrows. Seegwun, that night, before going to sleep, had hung his
moccasins and leggings by the fire to dry; and Mish-o-sha, rising first,
at daybreak, took one of each and threw them into the flames. Then he
rubbed his hands, and laughed like a prairie wolf.

"What is it?" asked Seegwun, sitting up.

"Alas, my son!" said Mish-o-sha. "I was just too late. This is the
season of the moon when fire attracts all things. It has drawn to it one
of your moccasins and leggings, and destroyed them. Yeo, yeo! I should
have warned you."

Seegwun held his tongue, though the thing was plain enough. Mish-o-sha
meant that he should freeze to death. But Seegwun, praying silently to
his Manito for aid, took from the fireplace a charred stick with which
he blackened one leg and foot, murmuring at the same time a charm. Then
putting on his remaining moccasin and legging, he was ready tor the

Their way led through snow and ice, into thickets of thorn, and over
bogs half-frozen, where Seegwun sank to the knees. But his prayer had
been heard; the charm worked, and the youth walked on, dry shod. With
his first arrow he slew a bear.

[Illustration: 0000]

"Now," he said, looking the Magician full in the eye. "I see you are
suffering from the cold. Let us go back to your island."

At Seegwun's bold look, Mish-o-sha bent his head, and mumbled some
foolish answer. At last he had met his match; and he knew it.

"Take up the bear on your shoulders!" commanded Seegwun.

Again the Magician obeyed. For the first time they returned together
to the island, where the two young girls looked on in amazement to see
the proud Mish-o-sha staggering under the weight of the bear, grunting
with helpless rage.

"His power is broken," agreed Nin-i-mo-sha, when Seegwun had told her
all. "But we shall never sleep in safety until we are really rid of him.
What is best to do?"

They put their heads together; and when they had talked it over,
Nin-i-mo-sha laughed merrily.

"He deserves a greater punishment," she said. "The world will not be
safe as long as he has life. Yet what we plan to do will revenge us,
without shedding a single drop of blood." The next day Seegwun said to
the Magician:

"It is time that we rescued my brother, whom we left all alone on the
beach. Come with me."

Mish-o-sha made a wry face, but prepared to go. Landing on the beach,
they soon spied the boy, who joyfully clambered into the canoe. Then
Seegwun said to the old man:

"Those red willows over on the bank would make good smoking mixture.
Could you manage to climb up there and cut me some?"

"To be sure, my son, to be sure," answered Mish-o-sha, walking rapidly
toward the willows. "I am not so weak and good-for-nothing as you seem
to think."

Seegwun struck the canoe with his hand, pronouncing the magic words,
_Chemaun Poll_; and away it went with the two

[Illustration: 0000]

brothers aboard, leaving the Magician high and dry, and gnashing his
yellow teeth.

The girls ran to meet them at the shore, Nin-i-mo-sha rejoicing that the
old man had been left behind, while her sister could think of nothing
but the attractive boy who looked so much like his big brother.

"But Mish-o-sha can call the canoe back to him," said Nin-i-mo-sha,
"until a way is found to break the charm. Some one must keep watch, with
his hand upon it."

Ioscoda begged permission to do his part; so they left him, with night
coming on, sitting on the sand and holding fast to the canoe.

It was a tiresome task for a little boy already weary with long waiting.
To amuse himself he began to count the stars. First he counted those
in the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper, then the ones that look like a
high-back chair, and the three big bright ones in the belt of Orion the
Hunter. He did not know them by these names, which were given them long
afterward; but he recognized the cluster called O-jeeg An-nung, the
Fisher, who brought Summer from the sky because his boy was cold.

Ioscoda also was cold, sitting there in the wet sand. But Indian boys
do not complain. Yet seeing the Fisher stars, he thought of his own dear
father, and wondered where he might be. Had Ioscoda been a white boy,
instead of a red, we think the sand he sat on might have been a little
wetter for his tears. As it was, he found himself looking at the sky
through a kind of fog. What was it? He rubbed his eyes, lost his count,
and began all over again.

The worst of it was that Indians could reckon only with their
fingers--unless you include their toes; and Ioscoda's toes were tucked
away snugly in his moccasins, quite out of sight and question. How many
fingers had he counted--and how--many--stars--?

[Illustration: 0000]

The fog, or whatever it was, filled his eyes. Lap, lap! went the little
waves, rocking the canoe like a cradle. Soo, soo! sighed the wind in the
cedars. All else earthly nodded and was still; even the stars blinked
and winked, as if weary of watching the world.

And Ioscoda slept.

Whoo, whoo! The cry of Ko-ko-ko-ho, the owl, shrilled evilly on the
ears. It was only for a moment. The shadows lifted, a squirrel barked.
Wa-bun, the East Wind, rising above the rim of the waters, let loose his
silver arrows. It was day.

Ioscoda sat up, only half aroused, and looked out over the lake. Was he
still on the wild beach, waiting for his brother? Then he remembered,
and gave a guilty start. The canoe was gone!

Gone, but come again! There it appeared, gliding straight toward him;
and in it sat Mish-o-sha.

"Good-morning, child!" called the Magician, as the canoe grated on the
sand. "Are you not glad to see your grandfather again?"

Ioscoda clenched his small fists. He was very brave, and he was angry.

"You are _not_ my grandfather," he said, "and I am _not_ glad to see you

"_Esa, esa!_ (Shame, shame!)" chuckled the old man. "But Seegwun will be
glad to see me, and so will my dear daughters. I hope they have not been
worried about me."

He was much pleased with his cleverness in outwitting them all, and was
now as impudent as before. But Seegwun bided his time. He thought of
another plan.

"Grandfather," said he, "it seems that we must continue to live here
together. Let us therefore lay in a supply of meat for the winter. Come
with me to the mainland. I am sure you must be a mighty hunter."

[Illustration: 0000]

Mish-o-sha's vanity was his weakest point.

"_Eh, yah!_" he answered, boastfully. "I can run all day with a dead
deer on my back. I have done it."

"Good!" said Seegwun. "The wind is going north again, and we shall need
all our strength on the march."

Now Seegwun had somehow learned the Magician's dearest secret, which
was this: Mish-o-sha's left leg and foot were the only parts of his
body that could be harmed. No arrow could pierce his heart; a war-club
brought down upon his head would be shivered into splinters. As well
strike him with a straw. But his left leg and foot. Ah! It was not for
rheumatism that his legging was so well laced. And _why_ did he always
sit down with his left foot tucked up under him? Ha! Why, indeed?
Seegwun had found the answer.

They made a rude lodge in the forest, just as they had done before. And
again it came bitter cold; only this time it was Seegwun that brought
the storm. He could not help laughing. There was the blazing fire, and
there on the couch was Mish-o-sha, sound asleep.

Seegwun softly rose, took both the Magician's moccasins and leggings,
and threw them into the flames.

"Get up, grandfather," he called. "It's the season when fire attracts
all things, and I fear you have lost something you may need."

When Mish-o-sha saw what had happened he looked so frightened that
Seegwun was almost sorry for him. But remembering Nin-i-mo-sha and his
little brother, he could think of no other way. "We must be going," he

They set out through the snow. My, how cold it was! Mish-o-sha began to
run, thinking this would help; while Seegwun followed, fearing that if
he led, the Magician might send an arrow through his back. After running
for an hour, the Magician was quite out of breath, and his legs and feet
were growing numb and stiff.

[Illustration: 0000]

They had come to the edge of the forest, and reached the shore of the
lake. Here Mish-o-sha stopped. When he tried to take another step, he
could not lift his feet. How heavy they had grown! He tried again; but
something strange had happened. His toes sank into the sand, and took
the form of roots. The feathers in his hair, and then the hair itself,
changed gradually into leaves. His outstretched arms were branches,
swaying in the wind; bark appeared on his body.

Seegwun looked and wondered. That which had been Mish-o-sha was no
longer a man, but a tree, a sycamore hung with button-balls, leaning
crookedly toward the lake.

At last the wicked old Magician had met his master. No more would his
evil spell be cast on the young and innocent Seegwun lingered a moment,
to make sure that Mish-o-sha would not come to life. Then he took his
way across the water, where the others, anxiously awaiting him, were
told the good news.

"Mish-o-sha is no more," said Seegwun. "He can never harm us again. Let
us leave this place where we have suffered so much, and make our home on
the mainland."

So together they went forth, his sweetheart, her sister, and the boy,
with Seegwun showing the way. The trail he took led them again to the
great forest, and once more to the lodge from which he had set out. And
there they lived happily for the rest of their days.

[Illustration: 0090]

The Fairy Bride

[Illustration: 9090]

NCE there was a lovely young girl named Neen-i-zu, the only daughter of
an Indian chief, who lived on the shore of Lake Superior; Neen-i-zu, in
the Indian language, means "My Dear Life." It was plain that her parents
loved her tenderly, and did everything in their power to make her
happy and to shield her from any possible harm.

There was but one thing that made them uneasy. Neen-i-zu was a favorite
with the other young girls of the village, and joined them in their
play. But she liked best of all to walk by herself in the forest, or
to follow some dim trail that led to the heart of the little hills.
Sometimes she would be absent for many hours; and when she returned, her
eyes had the look of one who has dwelt in secret places, and seen
things strange and mysterious. Nowadays, some persons would have called
Neen-i-zu "romantic." Others, who can never see a thing that is not just
beneath their noses, would have laughed a little, in a superior sort of
way, and said she was a "dreamer." What was it that Neen-i-zu saw and
heard, during these lonely walks in the secret places of the hills? Was
it perhaps the fairies? She did not say. But her mother, who wished her
to be more like other girls, and who would have liked to see her marry
and settle down, was much disturbed in mind.

The mischievous little fairies known as Puk-Wudjies were believed to
inhabit the sand dunes where Neen-i-zu so often went to walk. These
were the sand-hills made by Grasshopper, when he danced so madly at
Man-a-bo-zho's wedding,

[Illustration: 0000]

whirling the sand into great drifts and mounds that may be seen to this
very day. The Puk-Wudjies loved these hills, which were seldom
visited by the Indians. It was just the place for leap-frog and
all-hands-'round; in the twilight of summer days they were said to
gather here in little bands, playing all manner of pranks. Then, as
night came, they would make haste to hide themselves in a grove of
pine-trees known as the _Manito Wac_, or the Wood of the Spirits.

No one had ever come close to them; but fishermen, paddling their
canoes on the lake, had caught glimpses of them from afar, and had heard
the tiny voices of these merry little men, as they laughed and called to
one another. When the fishermen tried to follow, the Puk-Wudjies would
vanish in the woods; but their foot-prints, no larger than a child's,
could be seen on the damp sand of a little lake in the hills.

If anything more were needed to convince those doubters who did not
believe in fairies, the proof was quickly supplied by fishermen and
hunters who were victims of their tricks. The Puk-Wudjies never really
harmed anyone, but they were up to many kinds of mischief. Sometimes
a hunter, picking up his cap in the morning, would find the feathers
plucked out; sometimes a fisherman, missing his paddle, would discover
it at last in a tree. When such things happened it was perfectly plain
that Puk-Wudjies had been up to their pranks, and few persons were still
stupid enough to believe it could be anything else.

Neen-i-zu had her own ideas concerning these little men; for she, like
Morning Glory, had often listened to the tales that old Iagoo told. One
of these stories was the story of a Happy Land, a far-off place where it
was always Summer; where no one wept or suffered sorrow.

It was for this land that she sighed. It filled her thoughts by day,
when she sought the secret places of the hills, and sat in some lonely
spot, listening to the mysterious voices that whispered in the breeze.
Where was this Happy Land--this place without pain or care?

Tired out at night, she would sink into her bed. Then from their hiding
places would come stealing the small messengers of Weenz, the
Spirit of Sleep. These kindly gnomes--too small for the human eye to
see--crept quickly up the face of the weary Neen-i-zu and tapped gently
on her forehead with their tiny war-clubs, called _pub-ga-mau-guns_.
Taptap--tap!--till her eyelids closed, and she sought the Happy Land
in that other pleasant land of dreams.

[Illustration: 0093]

She, too, had seen the foot-prints of the Puk-Wudjies on the sandy beach
of the little lake, and had heard their merry laughter ring out in the
grove of pines. Was it their only dwelling place, she asked herself, or
were they not messengers from the Happy Land, sent to show the way to
that mortal who believed in it, and longed to enter.

Neen-i-zu came to think that this must be really so. Oftener than ever,
she made her way to the meadow bordering on the Spirit Wood, and sat
there gazing into the grove. Perhaps the Puk-Wudjies would understand,
and tell the fairies whom they served. Then some day a fairy would
appear at the edge of the pines, and beckon her to come. That would
surely happen, she thought, if she wished it long enough, and could give
her wishes wings. So, sitting there, she composed the words of a song,
and set it to the music the pines make when the south wind stirs their
branches. Then she sang:=

`Spirit of the laughing leaves,

``Fairy of the forest pine,

`Listen to the maid who grieves ``For that happy land of thine.

`From your haunt in summer glade `Hasten to your mournful maid.=

Was it only her fancy, that she seemed to hear the closing

[Illustration: 0000]

words of her song echoed from the deep woods where the merry little men
had vanished? Or was it the Puk-Wudjies mocking her?

She had lingered later than usual; it was time to go. The new moon swung
low in the western sky, with its points turned upwards to the heavens.
An Indian would say he could hang his powder horn upon it, and that it
meant dry weather, when the leaves crackled under the hunter's feet, and
the animals fled before him, so that he was unable to come
near-enough to shoot. And Neen-i-zu was glad of this. In the Happy Land,
she declared no one would suffer, and no life would be taken.

Yet it was a hunter that her mother wished her to marry, a man who spent
his whole life in slaying the red deer of the forest; who thought and
talked of almost nothing else.

This came into her mind as she rose from her seat in the meadow, and
cast a farewell glance at the pines. The rays of the crescent moon
touched them with a faint light; and again her fancy came into play.
What was it that seemed to move along the edge of the mysterious
woods? Something with the dim likeness of a youth--taller than the
Puk-Wudjies--who glided rather than walked, and whose garments of light
green stood out against the darker green of the pines. Neeni-zu looked
again; but the moon hid behind the hills. All was black to the eye;
to the ear came no sound but the creepy cry of the whip-poor-will. She
hastened home.

That night she heard from her mother's lips what she had long expected
and feared. "Neen-i-zu," said her mother. "I named you 'My dear Life,'
and you are as dear as life to me. That is why I wish you to be safe and
happy. That is why I wish you to marry a good man who will take the best
care of you now, and will protect and comfort you when I am gone. You
know the man I mean."

"Yes, mother," answered Neen-i-zu. "I know him well

[Illustration: 0000]

enough--as well as ever I want to know him. He hunts the deer, he kills
the deer, he skins the deer. That is all he does, that is all he thinks,
that is all he talks about. It is perhaps well that someone should do
this, lest we starve for want of meat. Yet there are many other things
in the world, and this hunter of yours is content if he does but kill."

"Poor child!" said her mother. "You are too young to know what is best
for you."

"I am old enough, mother dear," answered Neen-i-zu, "to know what my
heart tells me. Besides, this hunter you would have me marry is as tall
as a young oak, while I am not much taller than one of the Puk-Wudjies.
When I stand up very straight, my head comes little higher than his
waist. A pretty pair we would make!"

What she said was quite true. Neen-i-zu had never grown to be much
larger than a child. She had a graceful, slender body, little hands and
feet, eyes black as midnight, and a mouth like a meadow flower. One who
saw her for the first time, passing upon the hills, her slight figure
sketched against the sky, might have thought that she herself was a

For all her gentle, quiet ways, and her love of lonely places, Neen-i-zu
was often merry. But now she seldom laughed; her step was slow; and
she walked with her eyes fixed upon the ground. "When she is married,"
thought her mother, "she will have other things to occupy her mind, and
she will no longer go dreaming among the hills."

But the hills were her one great joy--the hills, and the flowery meadows
where the lark swayed to and fro, bidding her be of good cheer, as he
perched on a mullein stalk. Every afternoon she sat, singing her little
song. Soon she would sing no more. The setting sun would gild the pine
grove, the whip-poor-will would complain to the stars; but the picture
would be incomplete; there would be no Neen-i-zu. For the wedding day
was named; she must be the hunter's wife.

[Illustration: 0000]

On this day set for her marriage to the man she so disliked, Neen-i-zu
put on the garments of a bride. Never had she looked so lovely.
Blood-red blossoms flamed in her jet-black hair; in her hand she held a
bunch of meadow flowers mingled with the tassels of the pine.

Thus arrayed, she set out for a farewell visit to the grove. It was a
thing they could not well deny her; but as she went her way, and the
hills hid her from sight, the wedding guests looked uneasily at one
another. It was something they could not explain. At that moment a cloud
blew up from nowhere, across the sun; where light had been there was
now a shadow. Was it a sign? They glanced sidelong at the hunter, but
the bridegroom was sharpening his sheath knife on a stone. Sunshine or
shadow, his thoughts were following the deer.

Time passed; but Neen-i-zu did not return. Then so late was the hour,
that the wedding guests wondered and bestirred themselves. What could be
keeping her so long? At last they searched the hills; she was not there.
They tracked her to the meadow, where the prints of her little moccasins
led on and on--into the grove itself; then the tracks disappeared.
Neen-i-zu had vanished.

They never saw her more. The next day a hunter brought them strange
news. He had climbed a hill, on his way home by a short cut, and had
paused there a moment to look around. Just then his dog ran up to him,
whining, with its tail between its legs. It was a brave dog, he said,
that would not run from a bear, but this one acted as if he had seen
something that was not mortal.

Then the hunter heard a voice, singing. Soon the singing stopped, and he
made out--far off--the figure of Neen-i-zu, walking straight toward the
grove, with her arms held out before her. He called to her, but she did
not hear, and drew nearer and nearer to the Spirit wood.

[Illustration: 0000]

"She walked like one who dreams," said the hunter, "and when she had
almost reached the woods, a young man, slender as a reed, came out to
meet her. He was not one of our tribe. No, no! I have never seen his
like. He was dressed in the leaves of the forest, and green plumes
nodded on his head. He took her by the hand. They entered the Sacred
Grove. There is no doubt that he was a fairy--the fairy Evergreen. There
is nothing more; I have finished."

So Neen-i-zu became a bride, after all.

[Illustration: 0097]

[Illustration: 0102]

[Illustration: 0103]

[Illustration: 0104]

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "American Indian Fairy Tales" ***

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