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Title: Folk-Lore and Legends: North American Indian

Author: Anonymous

Release Date: July 14, 2007 [EBook #22072]

Language: English

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These dainty little books.”—Standard.



1. German.
2. Oriental.
3. Scotland.
4. Ireland.


1. England.
2. Scandinavian.
3. Russian.
4. North American Indian.

They transport us into a romantic world.”—Times.


It might have been expected that the Indians of North America would have many Folklore tales to tell, and in this volume I have endeavoured to present such of them as seemed to me to best illustrate the primitive character and beliefs of the people. The belief, and the language in which it is clothed, are often very beautiful. Fantastic imagination, magnanimity, moral sentiment, tender feeling, and humour are discovered in a degree which may astonish many who have been apt to imagine that advanced civilisation has much to do with the possession of such qualities. I know of nothing that throws so much light upon Indian character as their Folk-tales.


Moowis, 1
The Girl who Married the Pine-tree, 9
A Legend of Manabozho, 11
Pauppukkeewis, 15
The Discovery of the Upper World, 33
The Boy who Snared the Sun, 37
The Maid in the Box, 41
The Spirits and the Lovers, 45
The Wonderful Rod, 54
The Funeral Fire, 56
The Legend of O-na-wut-a-qut-o, 63
Manabozho in the Fish’s Stomach, 69
The Sun and the Moon, 72
The Snail and the Beaver, 75
The Strange Guests, 79
Manabozho and his Toe, 88
The Girl who Became a Bird, 90
The Undying Head, 92
The Old Chippeway, 113
Mukumik! Mukumik! Mukumik!, 116
The Swing by the Lake, 119
The Fire Plume, 123
The Journey to the Island of Souls, 129
Machinitou, the Evil Spirit, 134
The Woman of Stone, 144
The Maiden who Loved a Fish, 147
The Lone Lightning, 151
Aggo-dah-gauda, 154
Piqua, 158
The Evil Maker, 177
Manabozho the Wolf, 179
The Man-fish, 186

[Pg 1]


In a large village there lived a noted belle, or Ma-mon-dá-go-Kwa, who was the admiration of all the young hunters and warriors. She was particularly admired by a young man who, from his good figure and the care he took in his dress, was called the Beau-Man, or Ma-mon-dá-gin-in-e. This young man had a friend and companion whom he made his confidant.

“Come,” said he one day, in a sportive mood, “let us go a-courting to her who is so handsome, perhaps she may fancy one of us.”

She would, however, listen to neither of them; and when the handsome young man rallied her on the coldness of her air, and made an effort to overcome her indifference, she repulsed him with the greatest contempt, and the young man retired confused and abashed. His sense of pride was deeply wounded, and he was the more piqued because he had been thus treated in the presence of others, and this affair had been noised about in the village, and became the talk of every lodge circle. He was, [Pg 2] besides, a very sensitive man, and the incident so preyed upon him that he became moody and at last took to his bed. For days he would lie without uttering a word, with his eyes fixed on vacancy, and taking little or no food. From this state no efforts could rouse him. He felt abashed and dishonoured even in the presence of his own relatives, and no persuasions could induce him to rise, so that when the family prepared to take down the lodge to remove he still kept his bed, and they were compelled to lift it from above his head and leave him upon his skin couch. It was a time of general removal and breaking up of the camp, for it was only a winter hunting-camp, and as the season of the hunt was now over, and spring began to appear, his friends all moved off as by one impulse to the place of their summer village, and in a short time all were gone, and he was left alone. The last person to leave him was his boon companion and cousin, who had been, like him, an admirer of the forest belle. The hunter disregarded even his voice, and as soon as his steps died away on the creaking snow the stillness and solitude of the wilderness reigned around.

As soon as all were gone, and he could no longer, by listening, hear the remotest sound of the departing camp, the Beau-Man arose.

Now this young man had for a friend a powerful guardian spirit or personal manito, and he resolved, with this spirit’s aid, to use his utmost power to punish and humble the girl, for she was noted in her tribe for her coquetry, and had treated many [Pg 3] young men, who were every way her equals, as she had treated this lover. He resolved on a singular stratagem by way of revenge.

He walked over the deserted camp and gathered up all the cast-off bits of soiled cloth, clippings of finery, and old clothing and ornaments, which had either been left there as not worth carrying away, or forgotten. These he carefully picked out of the snow, into which some of them had been trodden, and collected in one place. These gaudy and soiled stuffs he restored to their original beauty, and made of them a coat and leggings, which he trimmed with beads, and finished and decorated after the best fashion of his tribe. He then made a pair of moccasins and garnished them with beads, a bow and arrows, and a frontlet and feathers for the head. Having done this he searched about for cast-out bones of animals, pieces of skin, clippings of dried meat, and even dirt. Having cemented all this together he filled the clothes with it, pressed the mass firmly in, and fashioned it, externally, in all respects like a tall and well-shaped man. He put a bow and arrows in its hands, and the frontlet on its head. Having finished it he brought it to life, and the image stood forth in the most favoured lineaments of his fellows. Such was the origin of Moowis, or the Dirt-and-Rag Man.

“Follow me,” said the Beau-Man, “and I will direct you how you shall act.”

Moowis was, indeed, a very sightly person, and as the Beau-Man led him into the new encampment [Pg 4] where the girl dwelt, the many colours of his clothes, the profusion of his ornaments, his manly deportment, his animated countenance, drew all eyes to him. He was hospitably received, both old and young showing him great attention. The chief invited him to his lodge, and he was there treated to the moose’s hump and the finest venison.

No one was better pleased with the handsome stranger than Ma-mon-dá-go-Kwa. She fell in love with him at first sight, and he was an invited guest at the lodge of her mother the very first evening of his arrival. The Beau-Man went with him, for it was under his patronage that he had been introduced, and, in truth, he had another motive in accompanying him, for he had not yet wholly subdued his feelings of admiration for the object against whom he had, nevertheless, exerted all his necromantic power, and he held himself ready to take advantage of any favourable turn which he secretly hoped the visit might take in relation to himself. No such opportunity, however, arose. Moowis attracted the chief attention, every eye and heart was alert to entertain him. In this effort on the part of his entertainers they had well-nigh brought about his destruction by dissolving him into his original elements of rags, snow, and dirt, for he was assigned the most prominent place near the fire, where he was exposed to a heat that he could by no means endure. However, he warded this calamity off by placing a boy between him and the fire; he shifted his position frequently, and evaded, by dexterous manœuvres and timely [Pg 5] remarks, the pressing invitation of his host to sit and enjoy the warmth. He so managed these excuses as not only to conceal his dread of immediate dissolution, but to secure the further approbation of the fair forest girl, who was filled with admiration of one who had so brave a spirit to endure the paralysing effects of cold.

The visit proved that the rejected lover had well calculated the effects of his plan. He withdrew from the lodge, and Moowis triumphed. Before the Beau-Man left he saw him cross the lodge to the coveted abinos, or bridegroom’s seat. The dart which Ma-mon-dá-go-Kwa had so often delighted in sending to the hearts of her admirers she was at length fated to receive. She had married an image.

As the morning began to break the stranger arose, adjusted his warrior’s plumes, and took his forest weapons to depart.

“I must go,” said he, “for I have important work to do, and there are many hills and streams between me and the object of my journey.”

“I will go with you,” said Ma-mon-dá-go-Kwa.

“The journey is too long,” replied her husband, “and you are ill able to encounter the perils of the way.”

“It is not so long but that I will go,” answered his wife, “and there are no dangers I will not share with you.”

Moowis returned to the lodge of his master, and told him what had occurred. For a moment pity took possession of the young man’s heart. He regretted that she whom he so loved should thus [Pg 6] have thrown herself away upon an image, a shadow, when she might have been the mistress of the best lodge in the camp.

“It is her own folly,” he said; “she has turned a deaf ear to the counsels of prudence. She must submit to her fate.”

The same morning Moowis set forth, and his wife followed him at a distance. The way was rough and intricate, and she found that she could not keep up with him, he walked so quickly. She struggled hard and obstinately to overtake him, but Moowis had been for some time out of sight when the sun rose and commenced upon his snow-formed body the work of dissolution. He began to melt away and fall to pieces. As Ma-mon-dá-go-Kwa followed in his track she found piece after piece of his clothing in the path. She first found his mittens, then his moccasins, then his leggings, then his coat, and after that other parts of his garments. As the heat unbound them the clothes also returned to their filthy condition. Over rocks, through wind-falls, across marshes, Ma-mon-dá-go-Kwa pursued him she loved. The path turned aside in all directions. Rags, bones, leather, beads, feathers, and soiled ribbons she found, but caught no sight of Moowis. She spent the day in wandering, and when evening came she was still alone. The snow having now melted, she had completely lost her husband’s track, and she wandered about uncertain which way to go and in a state of perfect despair. At length with bitter cries she lamented her fate.

[Pg 7] “Moowis, Moowis,” she cried, “nin ge won e win ig, ne won e win ig!”—“Moowis, Moowis, you have led me astray, you are leading me astray!”

With this cry she wandered in the woods.

The cry of the lost Ma-mon-dá-go-Kwa is sometimes repeated by the village girls who have made of it a song—

Moowis! Moowis!
Forest rover,
Where art thou?
Ah! my bravest, gayest lover,
Guide me now.
Moowis! Moowis!
Ah! believe me,
List my moan:
Do not, do not, brave heart, leave me
All alone.
Moowis! Moowis!
Footprints vanished!
Whither wend I?
Fated, lost, detested, banished
Must I die!
Moowis! Moowis!
Whither goest thou,
Eye-bright lover?
Ah! thou ravenous bird that knowest,
I see thee hover,
[Pg 8] Circling, circling
As I wander,
And at last
When I fall thou then wilt come
And feed upon my breast.

[Pg 9]


Upon the side of a certain mountain grew some pines, under the shade of which the Puckwudjinies, or sprites, were accustomed to sport at times. Now it happened that in the neighbourhood of these trees was a lodge in which dwelt a beautiful girl and her father and mother. One day a man came to the lodge of the father, and seeing the girl he loved her, and said—

“Give me Leelinau for my wife,” and the old man consented.

Now it happened that the girl did not like her lover, so she escaped from the lodge and went and hid herself, and as the sun was setting she came to the pine-trees, and leaning against one of them she lamented her hard fate. On a sudden she heard a voice, which seemed to come from the tree, saying—

“Be my wife, maiden, beautiful Leelinau, beautiful Leelinau.”

The girl was astonished, not knowing whence the voice could have come. She listened again, and the words were repeated, evidently by the tree against [Pg 10] which she leaned. Then the maid consented to be the wife of the pine-tree.

Meanwhile her parents had missed her, and had sent out parties to see if she could be found, but she was nowhere.

Time passed on, but Leelinau never returned to her home. Hunters who have been crossing the mountain, and have come to the trees at sunset, say that they have seen a beautiful girl there in company with a handsome youth, who vanished as they approached.

[Pg 11]


Manabozho made the land. The occasion of his doing so was this.

One day he went out hunting with two wolves. After the first day’s hunt one of the wolves left him and went to the left, but the other continuing with Manabozho he adopted him for his son. The lakes were in those days peopled by spirits with whom Manabozho and his son went to war. They destroyed all the spirits in one lake, and then went on hunting. They were not, however, very successful, for every deer the wolf chased fled to another of the lakes and escaped from them. It chanced that one day Manabozho started a deer, and the wolf gave chase. The animal fled to the lake, which was covered with ice, and the wolf pursued it. At the moment when the wolf had come up to the prey the ice broke, and both fell in, when the spirits, catching them, at once devoured them.

Manabozho went up and down the lake-shore weeping and lamenting. While he was thus distressed he heard a voice proceeding from the depths of the lake.

[Pg 12] “Manabozho,” cried the voice, “why do you weep?”

Manabozho answered—

“Have I not cause to do so? I have lost my son, who has sunk in the waters of the lake.”

“You will never see him more,” replied the voice; “the spirits have eaten him.”

Then Manabozho wept the more when he heard this sad news.

“Would,” said he, “I might meet those who have thus cruelly treated me in eating my son. They should feel the power of Manabozho, who would be revenged.”

The voice informed him that he might meet the spirits by repairing to a certain place, to which the spirits would come to sun themselves. Manabozho went there accordingly, and, concealing himself, saw the spirits, who appeared in all manner of forms, as snakes, bears, and other things. Manabozho, however, did not escape the notice of one of the two chiefs of the spirits, and one of the band who wore the shape of a very large snake was sent by them to examine what the strange object was.

Manabozho saw the spirit coming, and assumed the appearance of a stump. The snake coming up wrapped itself around the trunk and squeezed it with all its strength, so that Manabozho was on the point of crying out when the snake uncoiled itself. The relief was, however, only for a moment. Again the snake wound itself around him and gave him this time even a more severe hug than before. [Pg 13] Manabozho restrained himself and did not suffer a cry to escape him, and the snake, now satisfied that the stump was what it appeared to be, glided off to its companions. The chiefs of the spirits were not, however, satisfied, so they sent a bear to try what he could make of the stump. The bear came up to Manabozho and hugged, and bit, and clawed him till he could hardly forbear screaming with the pain it caused him. The thought of his son and of the vengeance he wished to take on the spirits, however, restrained him, and the bear at last retreated to its fellows.

“It is nothing,” it said; “it is really a stump.”

Then the spirits were reassured, and, having sunned themselves, lay down and went to sleep. Seeing this, Manabozho assumed his natural shape, and stealing upon them with his bow and arrows, slew the chiefs of the spirits. In doing this he awoke the others, who, seeing their chiefs dead, turned upon Manabozho, who fled. Then the spirits pursued him in the shape of a vast flood of water. Hearing it behind him the fugitive ran as fast as he could to the hills, but each one became gradually submerged, so that Manabozho was at last driven to the top of the highest mountain. Here the waters still surrounding him and gathering in height, Manabozho climbed the highest pine-tree he could find. The waters still rose. Then Manabozho prayed that the tree would grow, and it did so. Still the waters rose. Manabozho prayed again that the tree would grow, and it did so, but not so much as before. [Pg 14] Still the waters rose, and Manabozho was up to his chin in the flood, when he prayed again, and the tree grew, but less than on either of the former occasions. Manabozho looked round on the waters, and saw many animals swimming about seeking land. Amongst them he saw a beaver, an otter, and a musk-rat. Then he cried to them, saying—

“My brothers, come to me. We must have some earth, or we shall all die.”

So they came to him and consulted as to what had best be done, and it was agreed that they should dive down and see if they could not bring up some of the earth from below.

The beaver dived first, but was drowned before he reached the bottom. Then the otter went. He came within sight of the earth, but then his senses failed him before he could get a bite of it. The musk-rat followed. He sank to the bottom, and bit the earth. Then he lost his senses and came floating up to the top of the water. Manabozho awaited the reappearance of the three, and as they came up to the surface he drew them to him. He examined their claws, but found nothing. Then he looked in their mouths and found the beaver’s and the otter’s empty. In the musk-rat’s, however, he found a little earth. This Manabozho took in his hands and rubbed till it was a fine dust. Then he dried it in the sun, and, when it was quite light, he blew it all round him over the water, and the dry land appeared.

Thus Manabozho made the land.

[Pg 15]


A man of large stature and great activity of mind and body found himself standing alone on a prairie. He thought to himself—

“How came I here? Are there no beings on this earth but myself? I must travel and see. I must walk till I find the abodes of men.”

So as soon as his mind was made up he set out, he knew not whither, in search of habitations. No obstacles diverted him from his purpose. Prairies, rivers, woods, and storms did not daunt his courage or turn him back. After travelling a long time he came to a wood in which he saw decayed stumps of trees, as if they had been cut in ancient times, but he found no other traces of men. Pursuing his journey he found more recent marks of the same kind, and later on he came to fresh traces of human beings, first their footsteps, and then the wood they had cut lying in heaps.

Continuing on he emerged towards dusk from the forest, and beheld at a distance a large village of high lodges, standing on rising ground. He said to himself—

[Pg 16] “I will arrive there at a run.”

Off he started with all his speed, and on coming to the first lodge he jumped over it. Those within saw something pass over the top, and then they heard a thump on the ground.

“What is that?” they all said.

One came out to see, and, finding a stranger, invited him in. He found himself in the presence of an old chief and several men who were seated in the lodge. Meat was set before him, after which the chief asked him where he was going and what his name was. He answered he was in search of adventures, and that his name was Pauppukkeewis (grasshopper). The eyes of all were fixed upon him.

“Pauppukkeewis!” said one to another, and the laugh went round.

Pauppukkeewis made but a short stay in the village. He was not easy there. The place gave him no opportunity to display his powers.

“I will be off,” he said, and taking with him a young man who had formed a strong attachment for him and who might serve him as a mesh-in-au-wa (official who bears the pipe), he set out once more on his travels. The two travelled together, and when the young man was fatigued with walking Pauppukkeewis would show him a few tricks, such as leaping over trees, and turning round on one leg till he made the dust fly in a cloud around him. In this manner he very much amused his companion, though at times his performance somewhat alarmed him.

[Pg 17] One day they came to a large village, where they were well received. The people told them that there were a number of manitoes who lived some distance away and who killed all who came to their lodge.

The people had made many attempts to extirpate these manitoes, but the war parties that went out for this purpose were always unsuccessful.

“I will go and see them,” said Pauppukkeewis.

The chief of the village warned him of the danger he would run, but finding him resolved, said—

“Well, if you will go, since you are my guest, I will send twenty warriors with you.”

Pauppukkeewis thanked him for this. Twenty young men offered themselves for the expedition. They went forward, and in a short time descried the lodge of the manitoes. Pauppukkeewis placed his friend and the warriors near him so that they might see all that passed, and then he went alone into the lodge. When he entered he found five horrible-looking manitoes eating. These were the father and four sons. Their appearance was hideous. Their eyes were set low in their heads as if the manitoes were half starved. They offered Pauppukkeewis part of their meat, but he refused it.

“What have you come for?” asked the old one.

“Nothing,” answered Pauppukkeewis.

At this they all stared at him.

“Do you not wish to wrestle?” they all asked.

“Yes,” replied he.

A hideous smile passed over their faces.

“You go,” said the others to their eldest brother.

[Pg 18] Pauppukkeewis and his antagonist were soon clinched in each other’s arms. He knew the manitoes’ object,—they wanted his flesh,—but he was prepared for them.

“Haw, haw!” they cried, and the dust and dry leaves flew about the wrestlers as if driven by a strong wind.

The manito was strong, but Pauppukkeewis soon found he could master him. He tripped him up, and threw him with a giant’s force head foremost on a stone, and he fell insensible.

The brothers stepped up in quick succession, but Pauppukkeewis put his tricks in full play, and soon all the four lay bleeding on the ground. The old manito got frightened, and ran for his life. Pauppukkeewis pursued him for sport. Sometimes he was before him, sometimes over his head. Now he would give him a kick, now a push, now a trip, till the manito was quite exhausted. Meanwhile Pauppukkeewis’s friend and the warriors came up, crying—

“Ha, ha, a! Ha, ha, a! Pauppukkeewis is driving him before him.”

At length Pauppukkeewis threw the manito to the ground with such force that he lay senseless, and the warriors, carrying him off, laid him with the bodies of his sons, and set fire to the whole, consuming them to ashes.

Around the lodge Pauppukkeewis and his friends saw a large number of bones, the remains of the warriors whom the manitoes had slain. Taking three arrows, Pauppukkeewis called upon the Great [Pg 19] Spirit, and then, shooting an arrow in the air, he cried—

“You, who are lying down, rise up, or you will be hit.”

The bones at these words all collected in one place. Again Pauppukkeewis shot another arrow into the air, crying—

“You, who are lying down, rise up, or you will be hit,” and each bone drew towards its fellow.

Then he shot a third arrow, crying—

“You, who are lying down, rise up, or you will be hit,” and the bones immediately came together, flesh came over them, and the warriors, whose remains they were, stood before Pauppukkeewis alive and well.

He led them to the chief of the village, who had been his friend, and gave them up to him. Soon after, the chief with his counsellors came to him, saying—

“Who is more worthy to rule than you? You alone can defend us.”

Pauppukkeewis thanked the chief, but told him he must set out again in search of further adventures. The chief and the counsellors pressed him to remain, but he was resolved to leave them, and so he told the chief to make his friend ruler while he himself went on his travels.

“I will come again,” said he, “sometime and see you.”

“Ho, ho, ho!” they all cried, “come back again and see us.”

He promised that he would, and set out alone.

[Pg 20] After travelling for some time, he came to a large lake, and on looking about he saw an enormous otter on an island. He thought to himself—

“His skin will make me a fine pouch,” and, drawing near, he drove an arrow into the otter’s side. He waded into the lake, and with some difficulty dragged the carcass ashore. He took out the entrails, but even then the carcass was so heavy that it was as much as he could do to drag it up a hill overlooking the lake. As soon as he got it into the sunshine, where it was warm, he skinned the otter, and threw the carcass away, for he said to himself—

“The war-eagle will come, and then I shall have a chance to get his skin and his feathers to put on my head.”

Very soon he heard a noise in the air, but he could see nothing. At length a large eagle dropped, as if from the sky, on to the otter’s carcass. Pauppukkeewis drew his bow and sent an arrow through the bird’s body. The eagle made a dying effort and lifted the carcass up several feet, but it could not disengage its claws, and the weight soon brought the bird down again.

Then Pauppukkeewis skinned the bird, crowned his head with its feathers, and set out again on his journey.

After walking a while he came to a lake, the water of which came right up to the trees on its banks. He soon saw that the lake had been made by beavers. He took his station at a certain spot to see whether any of the beavers would show [Pg 21] themselves. Soon he saw the head of one peeping out of the water to see who the stranger was.

“My friend,” said Pauppukkeewis, “could you not turn me into a beaver like yourself?”

“I do not know,” replied the beaver; “I will go and ask the others.”

Soon all the beavers showed their heads above the water, and looked to see if Pauppukkeewis was armed, but he had left his bow and arrows in a hollow tree a short distance off. When they were satisfied they all came near.

“Can you not, with all your united power,” said he, “turn me into a beaver? I wish to live among you.”

“Yes,” answered the chief, “lie down;” and Pauppukkeewis soon found himself changed into one of them.

“You must make me large,” said he, “larger than any of you.”

“Yes, yes,” said they; “by and by, when we get into the lodge, it shall be done.”

They all dived into the lake, and Pauppukkeewis, passing large heaps of limbs of trees and logs at the bottom, asked the use of them. The beavers answered—

“They are our winter provisions.”

When they all got into the lodge their number was about one hundred. The lodge was large and warm.

“Now we will make you large,” said they, exerting all their power. “Will that do?”

[Pg 22] “Yes,” he answered, for he found he was ten times the size of the largest.

“You need not go out,” said they. “We will bring your food into the lodge, and you shall be our chief.”

“Very well,” answered Pauppukkeewis. He thought—

“I will stay here and grow fat at their expense,” but very soon a beaver came into the lodge out of breath, crying—

“We are attacked by Indians.”

All huddled together in great fear. The water began to lower, for the hunters had broken down the dam, and soon the beavers heard them on the roof of the lodge, breaking it in. Out jumped all the beavers and so escaped. Pauppukkeewis tried to follow them, but, alas! they had made him so large that he could not creep out at the hole. He called to them to come back, but none answered. He worried himself so much in trying to escape that he looked like a bladder. He could not change himself into a man again though he heard and understood all the hunters said. One of them put his head in at the top of the lodge.

“Ty-au!” cried he. “Tut-ty-au! Me-shau-mik! King of the beavers is in.”

Then they all got at Pauppukkeewis and battered in his skull with their clubs. After that seven or eight of them placed his body on poles and carried him home. As he went he reflected—

“What will become of me? My ghost or shadow will not die after they get me to their lodges.”

[Pg 23] When the party arrived home, they sent out invitations to a grand feast. The women took Pauppukkeewis and laid him in the snow to skin him, but as soon as his flesh got cold, his jee-bi, or spirit, fled.

Pauppukkeewis found himself standing on a prairie, having assumed his mortal shape. After walking a short distance, he saw a herd of elks feeding. He admired the apparent ease and enjoyment of their life, and thought there could be nothing more pleasant than to have the liberty of running about, and feeding on the prairies. He asked them if they could not change him into an elk.

“Yes,” they answered, after a pause. “Get down on your hands and feet.” He did so, and soon found himself an elk.

“I want big horns and big feet,” said he. “I wish to be very large.”

“Yes, yes,” they said. “There,” exerting all their power, “are you big enough?”

“Yes,” he answered, for he saw he was very large.

They spent a good time in playing and running.

Being rather cold one day he went into a thick wood for shelter, and was followed by most of the herd. They had not been there long before some elks from behind passed them like a strong wind. All took the alarm, and off they ran, Pauppukkeewis with the rest.

“Keep out on the plains,” said they, but he found it was too late to do so, for they had already got entangled in the thick woods. He soon smelt the [Pg 24] hunters, who were closely following his trail, for they had left all the others to follow him. He jumped furiously, and broke down young trees in his flight, but it only served to retard his progress. He soon felt an arrow in his side. He jumped over trees in his agony, but the arrows clattered thicker and thicker about him, and at last one entered his heart. He fell to the ground and heard the whoop of triumph given by the warriors. On coming up they looked at the carcass with astonishment, and, with their hands up to their mouths, exclaimed—

“Ty-au! ty-au!”

There were about sixty in the party, who had come out on a special hunt, for one of their number had, the day before, observed Pauppukkeewis’s large tracks in the sand. They skinned him, and as his flesh got cold his jee-bi took its flight, and once more he found himself in human shape.

His passion for adventure was not yet cooled. On coming to a large lake, the shore of which was sandy, he saw a large flock of brant, and, speaking to them, he asked them to turn him into a brant.

“Very well,” said they.

“But I want to be very large,” said he.

“Very well,” replied the brant, and he soon found himself one of them, of prodigious size, all the others looking on at him in amazement.

“You must fly as leader,” they said.

“No,” replied Pauppukkeewis, “I will fly behind.”

“Very well,” said they. “One thing we have [Pg 25] to say to you. You must be careful in flying not to look down, for if you do something may happen to you.”

“Be it so,” said he, and soon the flock rose up in the air, for they were bound for the north. They flew very fast with Pauppukkeewis behind. One day, while going with a strong wind, and as swift as their wings would flap, while they passed over a large village, the Indians below raised a great shout, for they were amazed at the enormous size of Pauppukkeewis. They made such a noise that Pauppukkeewis forgot what had been told him about not looking down. He was flying as swift as an arrow, and as soon as he brought his neck in, and stretched it down to look at the shouters, his tail was caught by the wind, and he was blown over and over. He tried to right himself, but without success. Down he went from an immense height, turning over and over. He lost his senses, and when he recovered them he found himself jammed in a cleft in a hollow tree. To get backward or forward was impossible, and there he remained until his brant life was ended by starvation. Then his jee-bi again left the carcass, and once more he found himself in human shape.

Travelling was still his passion, and one day he came to a lodge, in which were two old men whose heads were white from age. They treated him well, and he told them he was going back to his village to see his friends and people. The old men said they would aid him, and pointed out the way they [Pg 26] said he should go, but they were deceivers. After walking all day he came to a lodge very like the first, and looking in he found two old men with white heads. It was in fact the very same lodge, and he had been walking in a circle. The old men did not undeceive him, but pretended to be strangers, and said in a kind voice—

“We will show you the way.”

After walking the third day, and coming back to the same place, he discovered their trickery, for he had cut a notch in the door-post.

“Who are you,” said he to them, “to treat me so?” and he gave one a kick and the other a slap that killed them. Their blood flew against the rocks near their lodge, and that is the reason there are red streaks in them to this day. Then Pauppukkeewis burned their lodge.

He continued his journey, not knowing exactly which way to go. At last he came to a big lake. He ascended the highest hill to try and see the opposite shore, but he could not, so he made a canoe and took a sail on the water. On looking down he saw that the bottom of the lake was covered with dark fish, of which he caught some. This made him wish to return to his village, and bring his people to live near this lake. He sailed on, and towards evening came to an island, where he stopped and ate the fish.

Next day he returned to the mainland, and, while wandering along the shore, he encountered a more powerful manito than himself, named [Pg 27] Manabozho. Pauppukkeewis thought it best, after playing him a trick, to keep out of his way. He again thought of returning to his village, and, transforming himself into a partridge, took his flight towards it. In a short time he reached it, and his return was welcomed with feasting and songs. He told them of the lake and of the fish, and, telling them that it would be easier for them to live there, persuaded them all to remove. He immediately began to lead them by short journeys, and all things turned out as he had said.

While the people lived there a messenger came to Pauppukkeewis in the shape of a bear, and said that the bear-chief wished to see him at once at his village. Pauppukkeewis was ready in an instant, and getting on the messenger’s back was carried away. Towards evening they ascended a high mountain, and came to a cave, in which the bear-chief lived. He was a very large creature, and he made Pauppukkeewis welcome, inviting him into his lodge.

As soon as propriety allowed he spoke, and said that he had sent for him because he had heard he was the chief who was leading a large party towards his hunting-grounds.

“You must know,” said he, “that you have no right there, and I wish you to leave the country with your party, or else we must fight.”

“Very well,” replied Pauppukkeewis, “so be it.”

He did not wish to do anything without consulting his people, and he saw that the bear-chief was raising a war-party, so he said he would go back that [Pg 28] night. The bear-king told him he might do as he wished, and that one of the bears was at his command; so Pauppukkeewis, jumping on its back, rode home. Then he assembled the village, and told the young men to kill the bear, make ready a feast, and hang the head outside the village, for he knew the bear spies would soon see it and carry the news to their chief.

Next morning Pauppukkeewis got all his young warriors ready for the fight. After waiting one day, the bear war-party came in sight, making a tremendous noise. The bear-chief advanced, and said that he did not wish to shed the blood of the young warriors, but if Pauppukkeewis would consent they two would run a race, and the winner should kill the losing chief, and all the loser’s followers should be the slaves of the other. Pauppukkeewis agreed, and they ran before all the warriors. He was victor; but not to terminate the race too quickly he gave the bear-chief some specimens of his skill, forming eddies and whirlwinds with the sand as he twisted and turned about. As the bear-chief came to the post Pauppukkeewis drove an arrow through him. Having done this he told his young men to take the bears and tie one at the door of each lodge, that they might remain in future as slaves.

After seeing that all was quiet and prosperous in the village, Pauppukkeewis felt his desire for adventure returning, so he took an affectionate leave of his friends and people, and started off again. After wandering a long time, he came to the lodge of [Pg 29] Manabozho, who was absent. Pauppukkeewis thought he would play him a trick, so he turned everything in the lodge upside down and killed his chickens. Now Manabozho calls all the fowl of the air his chickens, and among the number was a raven, the meanest of birds, and him Pauppukkeewis killed and hung up by the neck to insult Manabozho. He then went on till he came to a very high point of rocks running out into the lake, from the top of which he could see the country as far as eye could reach. While he sat there, Manabozho’s mountain chickens flew round and past him in great numbers. So, out of spite, he shot many of them, for his arrows were sure and the birds many, and he amused himself by throwing the birds down the precipice. At length a wary bird called out—

“Pauppukkeewis is killing us: go and tell our father.”

Away flew some of them, and Manabozho soon made his appearance on the plain below.

Pauppukkeewis slipped down the other side of the mountain. Manabozho cried from the top—

“The earth is not so large but I can get up to you.”

Off Pauppukkeewis ran and Manabozho after him. He ran over hills and prairies with all his speed, but his pursuer was still hard after him. Then he thought of a shift. He stopped, and climbed a large pine-tree, stripped it of all its green foliage, and threw it to the winds. Then he ran on. When Manabozho reached the tree, it called out to him—

[Pg 30] “Great Manabozho, give me my life again. Pauppukkeewis has killed me.”

“I will do so,” said Manabozho, and it took him some time to gather the scattered foliage. Then he resumed the chase. Pauppukkeewis repeated the same trick with the hemlock, and with other trees, for Manabozho would always stop to restore anything that called upon him to give it life again. By this means Pauppukkeewis kept ahead, but still Manabozho was overtaking him when Pauppukkeewis saw an elk. He asked it to take him on its back, and this the animal did, and for a time he made great progress. Still Manabozho was in sight. Pauppukkeewis dismounted, and, coming to a large sandstone rock, he broke it in pieces, and scattered the grains. Manabozho was so close upon him at this place that he had almost caught him, but the foundation of the rock cried out—

“Haye! Ne-me-sho! Pauppukkeewis has spoiled me. Will you not restore me to life?”

“Yes,” replied Manabozho, and he restored the rock to its previous shape. He then pushed on in pursuit of Pauppukkeewis, and had got so near as to put out his arm to seize him, when Pauppukkeewis dodged him, and raised such a dust and commotion by whirlwinds, as to make the trees break, and the sand and leaves dance in the air. Again and again Manabozho’s hand was put out to catch him, but he dodged him at every turn, and at last, making a great dust, he dashed into a hollow tree, which had been blown down, and, changing himself [Pg 31] into a snake, crept out at its roots. Well that he did; for at the moment Manabozho, who is Ogee-bau-ge-mon (a species of lightning) struck the tree with all his power, and shivered it to fragments. Pauppukkeewis again took human shape, and again Manabozho, pursuing him, pressed him hard.

At a distance Pauppukkeewis saw a very high rock jutting out into a lake, and he ran for the foot of the precipice, which was abrupt and elevated. As he came near, the manito of the rock opened his door and told him to come in. No sooner was the door closed than Manabozho knocked at it.

“Open,” he cried in a loud voice.

The manito was afraid of him, but said to his guest—

“Since I have sheltered you, I would sooner die with you than open the door.”

“Open,” Manabozho cried again.

The manito was silent. Manabozho made no attempt to force the door open. He waited a few moments.

“Very well,” said he, “I give you till night to live.”

The manito trembled, for he knew that when the hour came he would be shut up under the earth.

Night came, the clouds hung low and black, and every moment the forked lightning flashed from them. The black clouds advanced slowly and threw their dark shadows afar, and behind was heard the rumbling noise of the coming thunder. When the clouds were gathered over the rock the thunders [Pg 32] roared, the lightning flashed, the ground shook, and the solid rock split, tottered, and fell. Under the ruins lay crushed the mortal bodies of Pauppukkeewis and the manito.

It was only then that Pauppukkeewis found that he was really dead. He had been killed before in the shapes of different animals, but now his body, in human shape, was crushed.

Manabozho came and took his jee-bi, or spirit. “You,” said he to Pauppukkeewis, “shall not be again permitted to live on the earth. I will give you the shape of the war-eagle, and you shall be the chief of all birds, and your duty shall be to watch over their destinies.”

[Pg 33]


The Minnatarees, and all the other Indians who are not of the stock of the grandfather of nations, were once not of this upper air, but dwelt in the bowels of the earth. The Good Spirit, when he made them, meant, no doubt, at a proper time to put them in enjoyment of all the good things which he had prepared for them upon earth, but he ordered that their first stage of existence should be within it. They all dwelt underground, like moles, in one great cavern. When they emerged it was in different places, but generally near where they now inhabit. At that time few of the Indian tribes wore the human form. Some had the figures or semblances of beasts. The Paukunnawkuts were rabbits, some of the Delawares were ground-hogs, others tortoises, and the Tuscaroras, and a great many others, were rattlesnakes. The Sioux were the hissing-snakes, but the Minnatarees were always men. Their part of the great cavern was situated far towards the mountains of snow.

The great cavern in which the Indians dwelt was [Pg 34] indeed a dark and dismal region. In the country of the Minnatarees it was lighted up only by the rays of the sun which strayed through the fissures of the rock and the crevices in the roof of the cavern, while in that of the Mengwe all was dark and sunless. The life of the Indians was a life of misery compared with that they now enjoy, and it was endured only because they were ignorant of a fairer or richer world, or a better or happier state of being.

There were among the Minnatarees two boys, who, from the hour of their birth, showed superior wisdom, sagacity, and cunning. Even while they were children they were wiser than their fathers. They asked their parents whence the light came which streamed through the fissures of the rock and played along the sides of the cavern, and whence and from what descended the roots of the great vine. Their father could not tell them, and their mother only laughed at the question, which appeared to her very foolish. They asked the priest, but he could not tell them; but he said he supposed the light came from the eyes of some great wolf. The boys asked the king tortoise, who sulkily drew his head into his shell, and made no answer. When they asked the chief rattlesnake, he answered that he knew, and would tell them all about it if they would promise to make peace with his tribe, and on no account kill one of his descendants. The boys promised, and the chief rattlesnake then told them that there was a world above them, a beautiful world, peopled by creatures in the shape of beasts, having [Pg 35] a pure atmosphere and a soft sky, sweet fruits and mellow water, well-stocked hunting-grounds and well-filled lakes. He told them to ascend by the roots, which were those of a great grape-vine. A while after the boys were missing; nor did they come back till the Minnatarees had celebrated their death, and the lying priest had, as he falsely said, in a vision seen them inhabitants of the land of spirits.

The Indians were surprised by the return of the boys. They came back singing and dancing, and were grown so much, and looked so different from what they did when they left the cavern, that their father and mother scarcely knew them. They were sleek and fat, and when they walked it was with so strong a step that the hollow space rang with the sound of their feet. They were covered with the skins of animals, and had blankets of the skins of racoons and beavers. They described to the Indians the pleasures of the upper world, and the people were delighted with their story. At length they resolved to leave their dull residence underground for the upper regions. All agreed to this except the ground-hog, the badger, and the mole, who said, as they had been put where they were, they would live and die there. The rabbit said he would live sometimes above and sometimes below.

When the Indians had determined to leave their habitations underground, the Minnatarees began, men, women, and children, to clamber up the vine, and one-half of them had already reached the surface of the earth, when a dire mishap involved the [Pg 36] remainder in a still more desolate captivity within its bowels.

There was among them a very fat old woman, who was heavier than any six of her nation. Nothing would do but she must go up before some of her neighbours. Away she clambered, but her weight was so great that the vine broke with it, and the opening, to which it afforded the sole means of ascending, closed upon her and the rest of her nation.

[Pg 37]


At the time when the animals reigned on the earth they had killed all but a girl and her little brother, and these two were living in fear and seclusion. The boy was a perfect pigmy, never growing beyond the stature of a small infant, but the girl increased with her years, so that the labour of providing food and lodging devolved wholly on her. She went out daily to get wood for their lodge fire, and took her brother with her so that no accident might happen to him, for he was too little to leave alone—a big bird might have flown away with him. She made him a bow and arrows, and said to him one winter day—

“I will leave you behind where I have been chopping; you must hide yourself, and you will see the gitshee-gitshee-gaun ai see-ug, or snow-birds, come and pick the worms out of the wood, where I have been chopping. Shoot one of them and bring it home.”

He obeyed her, and tried his best to kill one, but came home unsuccessful. She told him he must not despair, but try again the next day. She accordingly [Pg 38] left him at the place where she got wood and returned home. Towards nightfall she heard his footsteps on the snow, and he came in exultingly, and threw down one of the birds he had killed.

“My sister,” said he, “I wish you to skin it and stretch the skin, and when I have killed more I will have a coat made out of them.”

“What shall we do with the body?” asked she, for as yet men had not begun to eat animal food, but lived on vegetables alone.

“Cut it in two,” he answered, “and season our pottage with one-half of it at a time.”

She did so. The boy continued his efforts, and succeeded in killing ten birds, out of the skins of which his sister made him a little coat.

“Sister,” said he one day, “are we all alone in the world? Is there nobody else living?”

His sister told him that they two alone remained; that the beings who had killed all their relations lived in a certain quarter, and that he must by no means go in that direction. This only served to inflame his curiosity and raise his ambition, and he soon after took his bow and arrows and went to seek the beings of whom his sister had told him. After walking a long time and meeting nothing he became tired, and lay down on a knoll where the sun had melted the snow. He fell fast asleep, and while sleeping the sun beat so hot upon him that it singed and drew up his birdskin coat, so that when he awoke and stretched himself, he felt, as it were, bound in it. He looked down and saw the damage done, [Pg 39] and then he flew into a passion, upbraided the sun, and vowed vengeance against it.

“Do not think you are too high,” said he; “I shall revenge myself.”

On coming home he related his disaster to his sister, and lamented bitterly the spoiling of his coat. He would not eat. He lay down as one that fasts, and did not stir or move his position for ten days, though his sister did all she could to arouse him. At the end of ten days he turned over, and then lay ten days on the other side. Then he got up and told his sister to make him a snare, for he meant to catch the sun. At first she said she had nothing, but finally she remembered a little piece of dried deer’s sinew that her father had left, and this she soon made into a string suitable for a noose. The moment, however, she showed it to her brother, he told her it would not do, and bade her get something else. She said she had nothing—nothing at all. At last she thought of her hair, and pulling some of it out made a string. Her brother again said it would not answer, and bade her, pettishly, and with authority, make him a noose. She replied that there was nothing to make it of, and went out of the lodge. When she was all alone she said—

“Neow obewy indapin.”

Meanwhile her brother awaited her, and it was not long before she reappeared with some tiny cord. The moment he saw it he was delighted.

“This will do,” he cried, and he put the cord to his mouth and began pulling it through his lips, and [Pg 40] as fast as he drew it changed to a red metal cord of prodigious length, which he wound around his body and shoulders. He then prepared himself, and set out a little after midnight that he might catch the sun before it rose. He fixed his snare on a spot just where he thought the sun would appear; and sure enough he caught it, so that it was held fast in the cord and could not rise.

The animals who ruled the earth were immediately put into a great commotion. They had no light. They called a council to debate the matter, and to appoint some one to go and cut the cord—a very hazardous enterprise, for who dare go so near to the sun as would be necessary? The dormouse, however, undertook the task. At that time the dormouse was the largest animal in the world; when it stood up it looked like a mountain. It set out upon its mission, and, when it got to the place where the sun lay snared, its back began to smoke and burn, so intense was the heat, and the top of its carcass was reduced to enormous heaps of ashes. It succeeded, however, in cutting the cord with its teeth and freed the sun, but was reduced to a very small size, and has remained so ever since. Men call it the Kug-e-been-gwa-kwa.

[Pg 41]


There once lived a woman called Monedo Kway (female spirit or prophetess) on the sand mountains, called The Sleeping Bear of Lake Michigan, who had a daughter as beautiful as she was modest and discreet. Everybody spoke of her beauty, and she was so handsome that her mother feared she would be carried off, so to prevent it she put her in a box, which she pushed into the middle of the lake. The box was tied by a long string to a stake on shore, and every morning the mother pulled the box to land, and, taking her daughter out of it, combed her hair, gave her food, and then putting her again in the box, set her afloat on the lake.

One day it chanced that a handsome young man came to the spot at the moment the girl was being thus attended to by her mother. He was struck with her beauty, and immediately went home and told his love to his uncle, who was a great chief and a powerful magician.

“My nephew,” replied the old man, “go to the mother’s lodge and sit down in a modest manner without saying a word. You need not ask her a [Pg 42] question, for whatever you think she will understand, and what she thinks in answer you will understand.”

The young man did as he was bid. He entered the woman’s lodge and sat with his head bent down in a thoughtful manner, without uttering a word. He then thought—

“I wish she would give me her daughter.” Very soon he understood the mother’s thoughts in reply.

“Give you my daughter!” thought she. “You! no, indeed! my daughter shall never marry you!”

The young man went away and reported the result to his uncle.

“Woman without good sense!” exclaimed the old man. “Who is she keeping her daughter for? Does she think she will marry the Mudjikewis (a term indicating the heir or successor to the first in power)? Proud heart! We will try her magic skill, and see whether she can withstand our power.”

He forthwith set himself to work, and in a short time the pride and haughtiness of the mother was made known to all the spirits on that part of the lake, and they met together and resolved to exert their power to humble her. To do this they determined to raise a great storm on the lake. The water began to roar and toss, and the tempest became so severe that the string holding the box broke, and it floated off through the straits down Lake Huron, and struck against the sandy shores at its outlet. The place where it struck was near the lodge of a decayed old magician called Ishkwon Daimeka, or [Pg 43] the keeper of the gate of the lakes. He opened the box and let out the beautiful daughter, whom he took into his lodge and made his wife.

When her mother found that her daughter had been carried off by the storm, she raised loud cries and lamented exceedingly. This she continued to do for a long time, and would not be comforted. At last the spirits began to pity her, and determined to raise another storm to bring the daughter back. This was even a greater storm than the first. The water of the lake washed away the ground, and swept on to the lodge of Ishkwon Daimeka, whose wife, when she saw the flood approaching, leaped into the box, and the waves, carrying her off, landed her at the very spot where was her mother’s lodge.

Monedo Kway was overjoyed, but when she opened the box she found her daughter, indeed, but her beauty had almost all departed. However, she loved her still, because she was her daughter, and now thought of the young man who had come to seek her in marriage. She sent a formal message to him, but he had heard of all that had occurred, and his love for the girl had died away.

“I marry your daughter!” replied he. “Your daughter! no, indeed! I shall never marry her!”

The storm that brought the girl back was so strong that it tore away a large part of the shore of the lake and swept off Ishkwon Daimeka’s lodge, the fragments of which, lodging in the straits, formed those beautiful islands which are scattered in the St. Clair and Detroit rivers. As to Ishkwon [Pg 44] Daimeka himself, he was drowned, and his bones lie buried under the islands. As he was carried away by the waves on a fragment of his lodge, the old man was heard lamenting his fate in a song.

[Pg 45]


At the distance of a woman’s walk of a day from the mouth of the river, called by the pale-faces the Whitestone, in the country of the Sioux, in the middle of a large plain, stands a lofty hill or mound. Its wonderful roundness, together with the circumstance of its standing apart from all other hills, like a fir-tree in the midst of a wide prairie, or a man whose friends and kindred have all descended to the dust, has made it known to all the tribes of the West. Whether it was created by the Great Spirit or filled up by the sons of men, whether it was done in the morning of the world, ask not me, for I cannot tell you. Know it is called by all the tribes of the land the Hill of Little People, or the Mountain of Little Spirits. No gifts can induce an Indian to visit it; for why should he incur the anger of the Little People who dwell in it, and, sacrificed upon the fire of their wrath, behold his wife and children no more? In all the marches and counter-marches of the Indians, in all their goings and returnings, in all their wanderings by day or by night to and from lands which lie beyond it, their paths are so [Pg 46] ordered that none approaches near enough to disturb the tiny inhabitants of the hill. The memory of the red-man of the forest has preserved but one instance when their privacy was violated, since it was known through the tribes that they wished for no intercourse with mortals. Before that time many Indians were missing each year. No one knew what became of them, but they were gone, and left no trace nor story behind. Valiant warriors filled their quivers with arrows, put new strings to their bows, new shod their moccasins, and sallied out to acquire glory in combat; but there was no wailing in the camp of our foes: their arrows were not felt, their shouts were not heard. Yet they fell not by the hands of our foes, but perished we know not how.

Many seasons ago there lived within the limits of the great council-fire of the Mahas a chief who was renowned for his valour and victories in the field, his wisdom in the council, his dexterity and success in the chase. His name was Mahtoree, or the White Crane. He was celebrated throughout the vast regions of the West, from the Mississippi to the Hills of the Serpent, from the Missouri to the Plains of Bitter Frost, for all those qualities which render an Indian warrior famous and feared.

In one of the war expeditions of the Pawnee Mahas against the Burntwood Tetons, it was the good fortune of the former to overcome and to make many prisoners—men, women, and children. One of the captives, Sakeajah, or the Bird-Girl, a beautiful creature in the morning of life, after being adopted [Pg 47] into one of the Mahas families, became the wife of the chief warrior of the nation. Great was the love which the White Crane had for his wife, and it grew yet stronger when she had brought him four sons and a daughter, Tatokah, or the Antelope. She was beautiful. Her skin was fair, her eyes were large and bright as those of the bison-ox, and her hair black, and braided with beads, brushed, as she walked, the dew from the flowers upon the prairies. Her temper was gentle and her voice sweet.

It may not be doubted that the beautiful Tatokah had many lovers; but the heart of the maiden was touched by none of the noble youths who sought her. She bade them all depart as they came; she rejected them all. With the perverseness which is often seen among women, she had placed her affections upon a youth who had distinguished himself by no valiant deeds in war, nor by industry or dexterity in the chase. His name had never reached the surrounding nations. His own nation knew him not, unless as a weak and imbecile man. He was poor in everything which constitutes the riches of Indian life. Who had heard the twanging of Karkapaha’s bow in the retreat of the bear, or who had beheld the war-paint on his cheek or brow? Where were the scalps or the prisoners that betokened his valour or daring? No song of valiant exploits had been heard from his lips, for he had none to boast of—if he had done aught becoming a man, he had done it when none was by. The beautiful Tatokah, who knew and lamented the [Pg 48] deficiencies of her lover, strove long to conquer her passion without success. At length, since her father would not agree to her union with her lover, the two agreed to fly together. The night fixed came, and they left the village of the Mahas and the lodge of Mahtoree for the wilderness.

Their flight was not unmarked, and when the father was made acquainted with the disgrace which had befallen him, he called his young men around him, and bade them pursue the fugitives, promising his daughter to whomsoever should slay the Karkapaha. Immediately pursuit was made, and soon a hundred eager youths were on the track of the hapless pair. With that unerring skill and sagacity in discovering footprints which mark their race, their steps were tracked, and themselves soon discovered flying. What was the surprise of the pursuers when they found that the path taken by the hapless pair would carry them to the mountain of little spirits, and that they were sufficiently in advance to reach it before they could be overtaken. None of them durst venture within the supposed limits, and they halted till the White Crane should be informed of his daughter and her lover having placed themselves under the protection of the spirits.

In the meantime the lovers pursued their journey towards the fearful residence of the little people. Despair lent them courage to perform an act to which the stoutest Indian resolution had hitherto been unequal. They determined to tell their tale to the [Pg 49] spirits and ask their protection. They were within a few feet of the hill when, on a sudden, its brow, on which no object had till now been visible, became covered with little people, the tallest of whom was not higher than the knee of the maiden, while many of them—but these were children—were of lower stature than the squirrel. Their voice was sharp and quick, like the barking of the prairie dog. A little wing came out at each shoulder; each had a single eye, which eye was to the right in the men, and to the left in the women, and their feet stood out at each side. They were armed like Indians, with tomahawks, spears, bows, and arrows. He who appeared to be the head chief—for he wore an air of command, and had the eagle feather—came up to the fugitives and said—

“Why have you invaded the village of our race whose wrath has been so fatal to your people? How dare you venture within the limits of our residence? Know you not that your lives are forfeited?”

Tatokah, for her lover had less than the heart of a doe and was speechless, related their story. She told them how they had loved, how wroth her father had been, how they had stolen away and been pursued, and concluded her tale of sorrow with a flood of tears. The little man who wore the eagle feather appeared moved by what she said, and calling around him a large number of men, who were doubtless the chiefs and counsellors of the nation, a long consultation took place. The result [Pg 50] was a determination to favour and protect the lovers.

At this moment Shongotongo, or the Big Horse, one of the braves whom Mahtoree had despatched in quest of his daughter, appeared in view in pursuit of the fugitives. It was not till Mahtoree had taxed his courage that Big Horse had ventured on the perilous quest. He approached with the strength of heart and singleness of purpose which accompany an Indian warrior who deems the eyes of his nation upon him. When first the brave was discovered thus wantonly, and with no other purpose but the shedding of blood, intruding on the dominions of the spirits, no words can tell the rage which appeared to possess their bosoms. Secure in the knowledge of their power to repel the attacks of every living thing, the intrepid Maha was permitted to advance within a few steps of Karkapaha. He had just raised his spear to strike the unmanly lover, when, all at once, he found himself riveted to the ground. His feet refused to move, his hands hung powerless at his side, his tongue refused to utter a word. The bow and arrow fell from his hand, and his spear lay powerless. A little child, not so high as the fourth leaf of the thistle, came and spat on him, and a company of the spirits danced around him singing a taunting song. When they had thus finished their task of preparatory torture, a thousand little spirits drew their bows, and a thousand arrows pierced his heart. In a moment innumerable mattocks were employed in preparing him a grave, and he was hidden from the [Pg 51] eyes of the living ere Tatokah could have thrice counted over the fingers of her hand.

When this was done, the chief of the little spirits called Karkapaha before him, and said—

“Maha, you have the heart of a doe. You would fly from a roused wren. We have not spared you because you deserve to be spared, but because the maiden loves you. It is for this purpose that we will give you the heart of a man, that you may return to the village of the Mahas, and find favour in the eyes of Mahtoree and the braves of the nation. We will take away your cowardly spirit, and will give you the spirit of the warrior whom we slew, whose heart was firm as a rock. Sleep, man of little soul, and wake to be better worthy the love of the beautiful Antelope.”

Then a deep sleep came over the Maha lover. How long he slept he knew not, but when he woke he felt at once that a change had taken place in his feelings and temper. The first thought that came to his mind was of a bow and arrow, the second was of the beautiful maiden who lay sleeping at his side. The little spirits had disappeared—not a solitary being of the many thousands who, but a few minutes before, had filled the air with their discordant cries was now to be seen or heard. At the feet of Karkapaha lay a tremendous bow, larger than any warrior ever yet used, a sheaf of arrows of proportionate size, and a spear of a weight which no Maha could wield. Karkapaha drew the bow as an Indian boy bends a willow twig, and the spear [Pg 52] seemed in his hand but a reed or a feather. The shrill war-whoop burst unconsciously from his lips, and his nostrils seemed dilated with the fire and impatience of a newly-awakened courage. The heart of the fond Indian girl dissolved in tears when she saw these proofs of strength and these evidences of spirit which, she knew, if they were coupled with valour—and how could she doubt the completeness of the gift to effect the purposes of the giver?—would thaw the iced feelings of her father and tune his heart to the song of forgiveness. Yet it was not without many fears, tears, and misgivings on the part of the maiden that they began their journey to the Mahas village. The lover, now a stranger to fear, used his endeavours to quiet the beautiful Tatokah, and in some measure succeeded. Upon finding that his daughter and her lover had gone to the Hill of the Spirits, and that Shongotongo did not return from his perilous adventure, the chief of the Mahas had recalled his braves from the pursuit, and was listening to the history of the pair, as far as the returned warriors were acquainted with it, when his daughter and her lover made their appearance. With a bold and fearless step the once faint-hearted Karkapaha walked up to the offended father, and, folding his arms upon his breast, stood erect as a pine, and motionless as that tree when the winds of the earth are chained. It was the first time that Karkapaha had ever looked on angry men without trembling, and a demeanour so unusual in him excited universal surprise.

[Pg 53] “Karkapaha is a thief,” said the White Crane.

“It is the father of Tatokah that says it,” answered the lover, “else would Karkapaha say it was the song of a bird that has flown over.”

“My warriors say it.”

“Your warriors are singing-birds; they are wrens. Karkapaha says they do not speak the truth. Karkapaha has a brave heart and the strength of a bear. Let the braves try him. He has thrown away the woman’s heart, and become a man.”

“Karkapaha is changed,” said the chief thoughtfully, “but how and when?”

“The Little Spirits of the mountain have given him a new soul. Bid your braves draw this bow. Bid them poise this spear. Their eyes say they can do neither. Then is Karkapaha the strong man of his tribe?” As he said this he flourished the ponderous spear over his head as a man would poise a reed, and drew the bow as a child would bend a twig.

“Karkapaha is the husband of Tatokah,” said Mahtoree, springing to his feet, and he gave the maiden to her lover.

The traditionary lore of the Mahas is full of the exploits, both in war and in the chase, of Karkapaha, who was made a man by the Spirits of the Mountain.

[Pg 54]


The Choctaws had for many years found a home in regions beyond the Mountains of Snow, far away to the west of the Mississippi. They, however, decided, for some reason or other, to leave the place in which they dwelt, and the question then arose in what direction they should journey. Now, there was a jossakeed (priest) who had a wonderful rod, and he said that he would lead them.

For many years, therefore, they travelled, being guided by him. He walked before them bearing the rod, and when night was come he put it upright in the earth, and the people encamped round it. In the morning they looked to see in what direction the rod pointed, for each night the rod left its upright position, and inclined one way or another. Day after day the rod was found pointing to the east, and thither the Choctaws accordingly bent their steps.

“You must travel,” said the jossakeed, “as long as the rod directs you pointing to the direction in which you must go, but when the rod ceases to point, and stands upright, then you must live there.”

[Pg 55] So the people went on until they came to a hill, where they camped, having first put up the rod so that it did not lean at all. In the morning, when they went to see which direction the rod pointed out for them to take, they found it upright, and from it there grew branches bearing green leaves. Then they said—

“We will stop here.”

So that became the centre of the land of the Choctaws.

[Pg 56]


For several nights after the interment of a Chippewa a fire is kept burning upon the grave. This fire is lit in the evening, and carefully supplied with small sticks of dry wood, to keep up a bright but small fire. It is kept burning for several hours, generally until the usual hour of retiring to rest, and then suffered to go out. The fire is renewed for four nights, and sometimes for longer. The person who performs this pious office is generally a near relative of the deceased, or one who has been long intimate with him. The following tale is related as showing the origin of the custom.

A small war party of Chippewas encountered their enemies upon an open plain, where a severe battle was fought. Their leader was a brave and distinguished warrior, but he never acted with greater bravery, or more distinguished himself by personal prowess, than on this occasion. After turning the tide of battle against his enemies, while shouting for victory, he received an arrow in his breast, and fell upon the plain. No warrior thus killed is ever buried, and according to ancient [Pg 57] custom, the chief was placed in a sitting posture upon the field, his back supported by a tree, and his face turned towards the direction in which his enemies had fled. His headdress and equipment were accurately adjusted as if he were living, and his bow leaned against his shoulder. In this posture his companions left him. That he was dead appeared evident to all, but a strange thing had happened. Although deprived of speech and motion, the chief heard distinctly all that was said by his friends. He heard them lament his death without having the power to contradict it, and he felt their touch as they adjusted his posture, without having the power to reciprocate it. His anguish, when he felt himself thus abandoned, was extreme, and his wish to follow his friends on their return home so completely filled his mind, as he saw them one after another take leave of him and depart, that with a terrible effort he arose and followed them. His form, however, was invisible to them, and this aroused in him surprise, disappointment, and rage, which by turns took possession of him. He followed their track, however, with great diligence. Wherever they went he went, when they walked he walked, when they ran he ran, when they encamped he stopped with them, when they slept he slept, when they awoke he awoke. In short, he mingled in all their labours and toils, but he was excluded from all their sources of refreshment, except that of sleeping, and from the pleasures of participating in their conversation, for all that he said received no notice.

[Pg 58] “Is it possible,” he cried, “that you do not see me, that you do not hear me, that you do not understand me? Will you suffer me to bleed to death without offering to stanch my wounds? Will you permit me to starve while you eat around me? Have those whom I have so often led to war so soon forgotten me? Is there no one who recollects me, or who will offer me a morsel of food in my distress?”

Thus he continued to upbraid his friends at every stage of the journey, but no one seemed to hear his words. If his voice was heard at all, it was mistaken for the rustling of the leaves in the wind.

At length the returning party reached their village, and their women and children came out, according to custom, to welcome their return and proclaim their praises.

“Kumaudjeewug! Kumaudjeewug! Kumaudjeewug! they have met, fought, and conquered!” was shouted by every mouth, and the words resounded through the most distant parts of the village. Those who had lost friends came eagerly to inquire their fate, and to know whether they had died like men. The aged father consoled himself for the loss of his son with the reflection that he had fallen manfully, and the widow half forgot her sorrow amid the praises that were uttered of the bravery of her husband. The hearts of the youths glowed with martial ardour as they heard these flattering praises, and the children joined in the shouts, of which they scarcely knew the meaning. Amidst all this uproar and bustle no one seemed conscious of the presence [Pg 59] of the warrior-chief. He heard many inquiries made respecting his fate. He heard his companions tell how he had fought, conquered, and fallen, pierced by an arrow through his breast, and how he had been left behind among the slain on the field of battle.

“It is not true,” declared the angry chief, “that I was killed and left upon the field! I am here. I live; I move; see me; touch me. I shall again raise my spear in battle, and take my place in the feast.”

Nobody, however, seemed conscious of his presence, and his voice was mistaken for the whispering of the wind.

He now walked to his own lodge, and there he found his wife tearing her hair and lamenting over his fate. He endeavoured to undeceive her, but she, like the others, appeared to be insensible of his presence, and not to hear his voice. She sat in a despairing manner, with her head reclining on her hands. The chief asked her to bind up his wounds, but she made no reply. He placed his mouth close to her ear and shouted—

“I am hungry, give me some food!”

The wife thought she heard a buzzing in her ear, and remarked it to one who sat by. The enraged husband now summoning all his strength, struck her a blow on the forehead. His wife raised her hand to her head, and said to her friend—

“I feel a slight shooting pain in my head.”

Foiled thus in every attempt to make himself [Pg 60] known, the warrior-chief began to reflect upon what he had heard in his youth, to the effect that the spirit was sometimes permitted to leave the body and wander about. He concluded that possibly his body might have remained upon the field of battle, while his spirit only accompanied his returning friends. He determined to return to the field, although it was four days’ journey away. He accordingly set out upon his way. For three days he pursued his way without meeting anything uncommon; but on the fourth, towards evening, as he came to the skirts of the battlefield, he saw a fire in the path before him. He walked to one side to avoid stepping into it, but the fire also changed its position, and was still before him. He then went in another direction, but the mysterious fire still crossed his path, and seemed to bar his entrance to the scene of the conflict. In short, whichever way he took, the fire was still before him,—no expedient seemed to avail him.

“Thou demon!” he exclaimed at length, “why dost thou bar my approach to the field of battle? Knowest thou not that I am a spirit also, and that I seek again to enter my body? Dost thou presume that I shall return without effecting my object? Know that I have never been defeated by the enemies of my nation, and will not be defeated by thee!”

So saying, he made a sudden effort and jumped through the flame. No sooner had he done so than he found himself sitting on the ground, with his [Pg 61] back supported by a tree, his bow leaning against his shoulder, all his warlike dress and arms upon his body, just as they had been left by his friends on the day of battle. Looking up he beheld a large canicu, or war eagle, sitting in the tree above his head. He immediately recognised this bird to be the same as he had once dreamt of in his youth—the one he had chosen as his guardian spirit, or personal manito. This eagle had carefully watched his body and prevented other ravenous birds from touching it.

The chief got up and stood upon his feet, but he felt himself weak and much exhausted. The blood upon his wound had stanched itself, and he now bound it up. He possessed a knowledge of such roots as have healing properties, and these he carefully sought in the woods. Having found some, he pounded some of them between stones and applied them externally. Others he chewed and swallowed. In a short time he found himself so much recovered as to be able to commence his journey, but he suffered greatly from hunger, not seeing any large animals that he might kill. However, he succeeded in killing some small birds with his bow and arrow, and these he roasted before a fire at night.

In this way he sustained himself until he came to a river that separated his wife and friends from him. He stood upon the bank and gave that peculiar whoop which is a signal of the return of a friend. The sound was immediately heard, and a canoe was despatched to bring him over, and in a short time, [Pg 62] amidst the shouts of his friends and relations, who thronged from every side to see the arrival, the warrior-chief was landed.

When the first wild bursts of wonder and joy had subsided, and some degree of quiet had been restored to the village, he related to his people the account of his adventures. He concluded his narrative by telling them that it is pleasing to the spirit of a deceased person to have a fire built upon the grave for four nights after his burial; that it is four days’ journey to the land appointed for the residence of the spirits; that in its journey thither the spirit stands in need of a fire every night at the place of its encampment; and that if the friends kindle this fire upon the spot where the body is laid, the spirit has the benefit of its light and warmth on its path, while if the friends neglect to do this, the spirit is subjected to the irksome task of making its own fire each night.

[Pg 63]


A long time ago there lived an aged Odjibwa and his wife on the shores of Lake Huron. They had an only son, a very beautiful boy, named O-na-wut-a-qut-o, or He that catches the clouds. The family were of the totem of the beaver. The parents were very proud of their son, and wished to make him a celebrated man; but when he reached the proper age he would not submit to the We-koon-de-win, or fast. When this time arrived they gave him charcoal instead of his breakfast, but he would not blacken his face. If they denied him food he sought bird’s eggs along the shore, or picked up the heads of fish that had been cast away, and broiled them. One day they took away violently the food he had prepared, and cast him some coals in place of it. This act decided him. He took the coals and blackened his face and went out of the lodge. He did not return, but lay down without to sleep. As he lay, a very beautiful girl came down from the clouds and stood by his side.

“O-na-wut-a-qut-o,” she said, “I am come for you. Follow in my footsteps.”

[Pg 64] The young man rose and did as he was bid. Presently he found himself ascending above the tops of the trees, and gradually he mounted up step by step into the air, and through the clouds. At length his guide led him through an opening, and he found himself standing with her on a beautiful plain.

A path led to a splendid lodge, into which O-na-wut-a-qut-o followed his guide. It was large, and divided into two parts. At one end he saw bows and arrows, clubs and spears, and various warlike instruments tipped with silver. At the other end were things exclusively belonging to women. This was the house of his fair guide, and he saw that she had on a frame a broad rich belt of many colours that she was weaving.

“My brother is coming,” she said, “and I must hide you.”

Putting him in one corner she spread the belt over him, and presently the brother came in very richly dressed, and shining as if he had points of silver all over him. He took down from the wall a splendid pipe, and a bag in which was a-pa-ko-ze-gun, or smoking mixture. When he had finished smoking, he laid his pipe aside, and said to his sister—

“Nemissa,” (elder sister) “when will you quit these practices? Do you forget that the greatest of the spirits has commanded that you shall not take away the children from below? Perhaps you think you have concealed O-na-wut-a-qut-o, but do I not know of his coming? If you would not offend me, send him back at once.”

[Pg 65] These words did not, however, alter his sister’s purpose. She would not send him back, and her brother, finding that she was determined, called O-na-wut-a-qut-o from his hiding-place.

“Come out of your concealment,” said he, “and walk about and amuse yourself. You will grow hungry if you remain there.”

At these words O-na-wut-a-qut-o came forth from under the belt, and the brother presented a bow and arrows, with a pipe of red stone, richly ornamented, to him. In this way he gave his consent to O-na-wut-a-qut-o’s marriage with his sister, and from that time the youth and the girl became husband and wife.

O-na-wut-a-qut-o found everything exceedingly fair and beautiful around him, but he found no other people besides his wife and her brother. There were flowers on the plains, there were bright and sparkling streams, there were green valleys and pleasant trees, there were gay birds and beautiful animals, very different from those he had been accustomed to. There was also day and night as on the earth, but he observed that every morning the brother regularly left the lodge and remained absent all day, and every evening his sister departed, but generally for only a part of the night.

O-na-wut-a-qut-o was curious to solve this mystery, and obtained the brother’s consent to accompany him in one of his daily journeys. They travelled over a smooth plain which seemed to stretch to illimitable distances all around. At [Pg 66] length O-na-wut-a-qut-o felt the gnawings of hunger and asked his companion if there was no game about.

“Patience, my brother,” replied he; “we shall soon reach the spot where I eat my dinner, and you will then see how I am provided.”

After walking on a long time they came to a place where several fine mats were spread, and there they sat down to refresh themselves. At this place there was a hole in the sky and O-na-wut-a-qut-o, at his companion’s request, looked through it down upon the earth. He saw below the great lakes and the villages of the Indians. In one place he saw a war-party stealing on the camp of their enemies. In another he saw feasting and dancing. On a green plain some young men were playing at ball, and along the banks of a stream were women employed in gathering the a-puk-wa for mats.

“Do you see,” asked the brother, “that group of children playing beside a lodge? Observe that beautiful and active lad,” said he, at the same time darting something from his hand. The child immediately fell on the ground, and was carried by his companions into the lodge.

O-na-wut-a-qut-o and his companion watched and saw the people below gathering about the lodge. They listened to the she-she-gwau of the meeta, to the song he sang asking that the child’s life might be spared. To this request O-na-wut-a-qut-o’s companion made answer—

“Send me up the sacrifice of a white dog.”

[Pg 67] A feast was immediately ordered by the parents of the child. The white dog was killed, his carcass was roasted, all the wise men and medicine-men of the village assembling to witness the ceremony.

“There are many below,” said O-na-wut-a-qut-o’s companion, “whom you call great in medical skill. They are so, because their ears are open; and they are able to succeed, because when I call they hear my voice. When I have struck one with sickness they direct the people to look to me, and when they make me the offering I ask, I remove my hand from off the sick person and he becomes well.”

While he was saying this, the feast below had been served. Then the master of the feast said—

“We send this to thee, Great Manito,” and immediately the roasted animal came up. Thus O-na-wut-a-qut-o and his companion got their dinner, and after they had eaten they returned to the lodge by a different path.

In this manner they lived for some time, but at last the youth got weary of the life. He thought of his friends, and wished to go back to them. He could not forget his native village and his father’s lodge, and he asked his wife’s permission to return. After some persuasion she consented.

“Since you are better pleased,” she said, “with the cares and ills and poverty of the world, than with the peaceful delights of the sky and its boundless prairies, go. I give you my permission, and since I have brought you hither I will conduct you back. Remember, however, that you are still my [Pg 68] husband. I hold a chain in my hand by which I can, whenever I will, draw you back to me. My power over you will be in no way diminished. Beware, therefore, how you venture to take a wife among the people below. Should you ever do so, you will feel what a grievous thing it is to arouse my anger.”

As she uttered these words her eyes sparkled, and she drew herself up with a majestic air. In the same moment O-na-wut-a-qut-o awoke. He found himself on the ground near his father’s lodge, on the very spot where he had thrown himself down to sleep. Instead of the brighter beings of a higher world, he found around him his parents and their friends. His mother told him that he had been absent a year. For some time O-na-wut-a-qut-o remained gloomy and silent, but by degrees he recovered his spirits, and he began to doubt the reality of all he had seen and heard above. At last he even ventured to marry a beautiful girl of his own tribe. But within four days she died. Still he was forgetful of his first wife’s command, and he married again. Then one night he left his lodge, to which he never returned. His wife, it is believed, recalled him to the sky, where he still dwells, walking the vast plains.

[Pg 69]


One day Manabozho said to his grandmother—

“Noko, get cedar bark and make me a line whilst I make a canoe.”

When all was ready he went out to the middle of the lake a-fishing.

“Me-she-nah-ma-gwai (king-fish),” said he, letting down his line, “take hold of my bait.”

He kept repeating these words some time; at last the king-fish said—

“What a trouble Manabozho is! Here, trout, take hold of his line.”

The trout did as he was bid, and Manabozho drew up his line, the trout’s weight being so great that the canoe was nearly overturned. Till he saw the trout Manabozho kept crying out—

“Wha-ee-he! wha-ee-he!”

As soon as he saw him he said—

“Why did you take hold of my hook? Esa, esa! shame, shame! you ugly fish.”

The trout, being thus rebuked, let go.

Manabozho let down his line again into the water, saying—

[Pg 70] “King-fish, take hold of my line.”

“What a trouble Manabozho is!” cried the king-fish. “Sun-fish, take hold of his line.”

The sun-fish did as he was bid, and Manabozho drew him up, crying as he did so—

“Wha-ee-he! wha-ee-he!” while the canoe turned in swift circles.

When he saw the sun-fish, he cried—

“Esa, esa! you odious fish! why did you dirty my hook by taking it in your mouth? Let go, I say, let go.”

The sun-fish did as he was bid, and on his return to the bottom of the lake told the king-fish what Manabozho had said. Just then the bait was let down again near to the king, and Manabozho was heard crying out—

“Me-she-nah-ma-gwai, take hold of my hook.”

The king-fish did so, and allowed himself to be dragged to the surface, which he had no sooner reached than he swallowed Manabozho and his canoe at one gulp. When Manabozho came to himself he found he was in his canoe in the fish’s stomach. He now began to think how he should escape. Looking about him, he saw his war-club in his canoe, and with it he immediately struck the heart of the fish. Then he felt as though the fish was moving with great velocity. The king-fish observed to his friends—

“I feel very unwell for having swallowed that nasty fellow Manabozho.”

At that moment he received another more severe blow on the heart. Manabozho thought, “If I am [Pg 71] thrown up in the middle of the lake I shall be drowned, so I must prevent it.” So he drew his canoe and placed it across the fish’s throat, and just as he had finished doing this the king-fish tried to cast him out.

Manabozho now found that he had a companion with him. This was a squirrel that had been in his canoe. The squirrel helped him to place the canoe in the proper position, and Manabozho, being grateful to it, said—

“For the future you shall be called Ajidanneo (animal tail).”

Then he recommenced his attack on the king-fish’s heart, and by repeated blows he at last succeeded in killing him. He could tell that he had effected this by the stoppage of the fish’s motion, and he could also hear the body beating against the shore. Manabozho waited a day to see what would happen. Then he heard birds scratching on the body, and all at once the rays of light broke in. He could now see the heads of the gulls, which were looking in at the opening they had made.

“Oh!” cried Manabozho, “my younger brothers, make the opening larger, so that I can get out.” The gulls then told one another that Manabozho was inside the fish, and, setting to work at once to enlarge the hole, they, in a short time, set him free. After he got out Manabozho said to the gulls—

“For the future you shall be called Kayoshk (noble scratchers), for your kindness to me.”

[Pg 72]


There were once ten brothers who hunted together, and at night they occupied the same lodge. One day, after they had been hunting, coming home they found sitting inside the lodge near the door a beautiful woman. She appeared to be a stranger, and was so lovely that all the hunters loved her, and as she could only be the wife of one, they agreed that he should have her who was most successful in the next day’s hunt. Accordingly, the next day, they each took different ways, and hunted till the sun went down, when they met at the lodge. Nine of the hunters had found nothing, but the youngest brought home a deer, so the woman was given to him for his wife.

The hunter had not been married more than a year when he was seized with sickness and died. Then the next brother took the girl for his wife. Shortly after he died also, and the woman married the next brother. In a short time all the brothers died save the eldest, and he married the girl. She did not, however, love him, for he was of a churlish disposition, and one day it came into the woman’s [Pg 73] head that she would leave him and see what fortune she would meet with in the world. So she went, taking only a dog with her, and travelled all day. She went on and on, but towards evening she heard some one coming after her who, she imagined, must be her husband. In great fear she knew not which way to turn, when she perceived a hole in the ground before her. There she thought she might hide herself, and entering it with her dog she suddenly found herself going lower and lower, until she passed through the earth and came up on the other side. Near to her there was a lake, and a man fishing in it.

“My grandfather,” cried the woman, “I am pursued by a spirit.”

“Leave me,” cried Manabozho, for it was he, “leave me. Let me be quiet.”

The woman still begged him to protect her, and Manabozho at length said—

“Go that way, and you shall be safe.”

Hardly had she disappeared when the husband, who had discovered the hole by which his wife had descended, came on the scene.

“Tell me,” said he to Manabozho, “where has the woman gone?”

“Leave me,” cried Manabozho, “don’t trouble me.”

“Tell me,” said the man, “where is the woman?” Manabozho was silent, and the husband, at last getting angry, abused him with all his might.

“The woman went that way,” said Manabozho at last. “Run after her, but you shall never catch her, and you shall be called Gizhigooke (day sun), [Pg 74] and the woman shall be called Tibikgizis (night sun).”

So the man went on running after his wife to the west, but he has never caught her, and he pursues her to this day.

[Pg 75]


The father of the Osage nation was a snail. It was when the earth was young and little. It was before the rivers had become wide or long, or the mountains lifted their peaks above the clouds, that the snail found himself passing a quiet existence on the banks of the River Missouri. His wants and wishes were but few, and well supplied, and he was happy.

At length the region of the Missouri was visited by one of those great storms which so often scatter desolation over it, and the river, swollen by the melted snow and ice from the mountains, swept away everything from its banks, and among other things the drowsy snail. Upon a log he drifted down many a day’s journey, till the river, subsiding, left him and his log upon the banks of the River of Fish. He was left in the slime, and the hot sun beamed fiercely upon him till he became baked to the earth and found himself incapable of moving. Gradually he grew in size and stature, and his form experienced a new change, till at length what was once a snail creeping on the earth ripened into man, erect, tall, and stately. For a long time after his change to a human being he [Pg 76] remained stupefied, not knowing what he was or by what means to sustain life. At length recollection returned to him. He remembered that he was once a snail and dwelt upon another river. He became animated with a wish to return to his old haunts, and accordingly directed his steps towards those parts from which he had been removed. Hunger now began to prey upon him, and bade fair to close his eyes before he should again behold his beloved haunts on the banks of the river. The beasts of the forest were many, but their speed outstripped his. The birds of the air fluttered upon sprays beyond his reach, and the fish gliding through the waves at his feet were nimbler than he and eluded his grasp. Each moment he grew weaker, the films gathered before his eyes, and in his ears there rang sounds like the whistling of winds through the woods in the month before the snows. At length, wearied and exhausted, he laid himself down upon a grassy bank.

As he lay the Great Spirit appeared to him and asked—

“Why does he who is the kernel of the snail look terrified, and why is he faint and weary?”

“That I tremble,” answered he, “is because I fear thy power. That I faint is because I lack food.”

“As regards thy trembling,” answered the Great Spirit, “be composed. Art thou hungry?”

“I have eaten nothing,” replied the man, “since I ceased to be a snail.”

Upon hearing this the Great Spirit drew from under his robe a bow and arrow, and bade the man [Pg 77] observe what he did with it. On the topmost bough of a lofty tree sat a beautiful bird, singing and fluttering among the red leaves. He placed an arrow on the bow, and, letting fly, the bird fell down upon the earth. A deer was seen afar off browsing. Again the archer bent his bow and the animal lay dead, food for the son of the snail.

“There are victuals for you,” said the Spirit, “enough to last you till your strength enables you to beat up the haunts of the deer and the moose, and here is the bow and arrow.”

The Great Spirit also taught the man how to skin the deer, and clothed him with the skin. Having done this, and having given the beasts, fishes, and all feathered creatures to him for his food and raiment, he bade the man farewell and took his departure.

Strengthened and invigorated, the man pursued his journey towards the old spot. He soon stood upon the banks of his beloved river. A few more suns and he would sit down upon the very spot where for so many seasons he had crawled on the slimy leaf, so often dragged himself lazily over the muddy pool. He had seated himself upon the bank of the river, and was meditating deeply on these things, when up crept from the water a beaver, who, addressing him, said in an angry tone—

“Who are you?”

“I am a snail,” replied the Snail-Man. “Who are you?”

“I am head warrior of the nation of beavers,” [Pg 78] answered the other. “By what authority have you come to disturb my possession of this river, which is my dominion?”

“It is not your river,” replied the Wasbasha. “The Great Being, who is over man and beast, has given it to me.”

The beaver was at first incredulous; but at length, convinced that what the man said was true, he invited him to accompany him to his home. The man agreed, and went with him till they came to a number of small cabins, into the largest of which the beaver conducted him. He invited the man to take food with him, and while the beaver’s wife and daughter were preparing the feast, he entertained his guest with an account of his people’s habits of life. Soon the wife and daughter made their appearance with the food, and sitting down the Snail-Man was soon at his ease amongst them. He was not, however, so occupied with the banquet that he had not time to be enchanted with the beauty of the beaver’s daughter; and when the visit was drawing to a close, so much was he in love, that he asked the beaver to give her to him for his wife. The beaver-chief consented, and the marriage was celebrated by a feast, to which all the beavers, and the animals with whom they had friendly relations, were invited. From this union of the Snail-Man and the Beaver-Maid sprang the tribe of the Osages,—at least so it is related by the old men of the tribe.

[Pg 79]


Many years ago there lived, near the borders of Lake Superior, a noted hunter, who had a wife and one child. His lodge stood in a remote part of the forest, several days’ journey from that of any other person. He spent his days in hunting, and his evenings in relating to his wife the incidents that had befallen him in the chase. As game was very abundant, he seldom failed to bring home in the evening an ample store of meat to last them until the succeeding evening; and while they were seated by the fire in his lodge partaking the fruits of his day’s labour, he entertained his wife with conversation, or by occasionally relating those tales, or enforcing those precepts, which every good Indian esteems necessary for the instruction of his wife and children. Thus, far removed from all sources of disquiet, surrounded by all they deemed necessary to their comfort, and happy in one another’s society, their lives passed away in cheerful solitude and sweet contentment. The breast of the hunter had never felt the compunctions of remorse, for he [Pg 80] was a just man in all his dealings. He had never violated the laws of his tribe by encroaching upon the hunting-grounds of his neighbours, by taking that which did not belong to him, or by any act calculated to displease the village chiefs or offend the Great Spirit. His chief ambition was to support his family with a sufficiency of food and skins by his own unaided exertions, and to share their happiness around his cheerful fire at night. The white man had not yet taught them that blankets and clothes were necessary to their comfort, or that guns could be used in the killing of game.

The life of the Chippewa hunter peacefully glided away.

One evening during the winter season, it chanced that he remained out later than usual, and his wife sat lonely in the lodge, and began to be agitated with fears lest some accident had befallen him. Darkness had already fallen. She listened attentively to hear the sound of coming footsteps; but nothing could be heard but the wind mournfully whistling around the sides of the lodge. Time passed away while she remained in this state of suspense, every moment augmenting her fears and adding to her disappointment.

Suddenly she heard the sound of approaching footsteps upon the frozen surface of the snow. Not doubting that it was her husband, she quickly unfastened the loop which held, by an inner fastening, the skin door of the lodge, and throwing it open she saw two strange women standing before it. [Pg 81] Courtesy left the hunter’s wife no time for deliberation. She invited the strangers to enter and warm themselves, thinking, from the distance to the nearest neighbours, they must have walked a considerable way. When they were entered she invited them to remain. They seemed to be total strangers to that part of the country, and the more closely she observed them the more curious the hunter’s wife became respecting her guests.

No efforts could induce them to come near the fire. They took their seats in a remote part of the lodge, and drew their garments about them in such a manner as to almost completely hide their faces. They seemed shy and reserved, and when a glimpse could be had of their faces they appeared pale, even of a deathly hue. Their eyes were bright but sunken: their cheek-bones were prominent, and their persons slender and emaciated.

Seeing that her guests avoided conversation as well as observation, the woman forbore to question them, and sat in silence until her husband entered. He had been led further than usual in the pursuit of game, but had returned with the carcass of a large and fat deer. The moment he entered the lodge, the mysterious women exclaimed—

“Behold! what a fine and fat animal!” and they immediately ran and pulled off pieces of the whitest fat, which they ate with avidity.

Such conduct appeared very strange to the hunter, but supposing the strangers had been a long time without food, he made no remark; and his wife, [Pg 82] taking example from her husband, likewise restrained herself.

On the following evening the same scene was repeated. The hunter brought home the best portions of the game he had killed, and while he was laying it down before his wife, according to custom, the two strange women came quickly up, tore off large pieces of fat, and ate them with greediness. Such behaviour might well have aroused the hunter’s displeasure; but the deference due to strange guests induced him to pass it over in silence.

Observing the parts to which the strangers were most partial, the hunter resolved the next day to anticipate their wants by cutting off and tying up a portion of the fat for each. This he did: and having placed the two portions of fat upon the top of his burden, as soon as he entered the lodge he gave to each stranger the part that was hers. Still the guests appeared to be dissatisfied, and took more from the carcass lying before the wife.

Except for this remarkable behaviour, the conduct of the guests was unexceptionable, although marked by some peculiarities. They were quiet, modest, and discreet. They maintained a cautious silence during the day, neither uttering a word nor moving from the lodge. At night they would get up, and, taking those implements which were then used in breaking and preparing wood, repair to the forest. Here they would busy themselves in seeking dry branches and pieces of trees blown down by the wind. When a sufficient quantity had been gathered [Pg 83] to last until the succeeding night they carried it home upon their shoulders. Then carefully putting everything in its place within the lodge, they resumed their seats and their studied silence. They were always careful to return from their labours before the dawn of day, and were never known to stay out beyond that hour. In this manner they repaid, in some measure, the kindness of the hunter, and relieved his wife from one of her most laborious duties.

Thus nearly the whole year passed away, every day leading to some new development of character which served to endear the parties to each other. The visitors began to assume a more hale and healthy aspect; their faces daily lost something of that deathly hue which had at first marked them, and they visibly improved in strength, and threw off some of that cold reserve and forbidding austerity which had kept the hunter so long in ignorance of their true character.

One evening the hunter returned very late after having spent the day in toilsome exertion, and having laid the produce of his hunt at his wife’s feet, the silent women seized it and began to tear off the fat in such an unceremonious manner that the wife could no longer control her feelings of disgust, and said to herself—

“This is really too bad. How can I bear it any longer!”

She did not, however, put her thought into words, but an immediate change was observed in the two [Pg 84] visitors. They became unusually reserved, and showed evident signs of being uneasy in their situation. The good hunter immediately perceived this change, and, fearful that they had taken offence, as soon as they had retired demanded of his wife whether any harsh expression had escaped her lips during the day. She replied that she had uttered nothing to give the least offence. The hunter tried to compose himself to sleep, but he felt restive and uneasy, for he could hear the sighs and lamentations of the two strangers. Every moment added to his conviction that his guests had taken some deep offence; and, as he could not banish this idea from his mind, he arose, and, going to the strangers, thus addressed them—

“Tell me, ye women, what is it that causes you pain of mind, and makes you utter these unceasing sighs? Has my wife given you any cause of offence during the day while I was absent in the chase? My fears persuade me that, in some unguarded moment, she has forgotten what is due to the rights of hospitality, and used expressions ill-befitting the mysterious character you sustain. Tell me, ye strangers from a strange country, ye women who appear not to be of this world, what it is that causes you pain of mind, and makes you utter these unceasing sighs.”

They replied that no unkind expression had ever been used towards them during their residence in the lodge, that they had received all the affectionate attention they could reasonably expect.

[Pg 85] “It is not for ourselves,” they continued, “it is not for ourselves that we weep. We are weeping for the fate of mankind; we are weeping for the fate of mortals whom Death awaits at every stage of their existence. Proud mortals, whom disease attacks in youth and in age. Vain men, whom hunger pinches, cold benumbs, and poverty emaciates. Weak beings, who are born in tears, who are nurtured in tears, and whose whole course is marked upon the thirsty sands of life in a broad line of tears. It is for these we weep.

“You have spoken truly, brother; we are not of this world. We are spirits from the land of the dead, sent upon the earth to try the sincerity of the living. It is not for the dead but for the living that we mourn. It was by no means necessary that your wife should express her thoughts to us. We knew them as soon as they were formed. We saw that for once displeasure had arisen in her heart. It is enough. Our mission is ended. We came but to try you, and we knew before we came that you were a kind husband, an affectionate father, and a good friend. Still, you have the weaknesses of a mortal, and your wife is wanting in our eyes; but it is not alone for you we weep, it is for the fate of mankind.

“Often, very often, has the widower exclaimed, ‘O Death, how cruel, how relentless thou art to take away my beloved friend in the spring of her youth, in the pride of her strength, and in the bloom of her beauty! If thou wilt permit her once more to [Pg 86] return to my abode, my gratitude shall never cease; I will raise up my voice continually to thank the Master of Life for so excellent a boon. I will devote my time to study how I can best promote her happiness while she is permitted to remain; and our lives shall roll away like a pleasant stream through a flowing valley!’ Thus also has the father prayed for his son, the mother for her daughter, the wife for her husband, the sister for her brother, the lover for his mistress, the friend for his bosom companion, until the sounds of mourning and the cries of the living have pierced the very recesses of the dead.

“The Great Spirit has at length consented to make a trial of the sincerity of these prayers by sending us upon the earth. He has done this to see how we should be received,—coming as strangers, no one knowing from where. Three moons were allotted to us to make the trial, and if, during that time, no impatience had been evinced, no angry passions excited at the place where we took up our abode, all those in the land of spirits, whom their relatives had desired to return, would have been restored. More than two moons have already passed, and as soon as the leaves began to bud our mission would have been successfully terminated. It is now too late. Our trial is finished, and we are called to the pleasant fields whence we came.

“Brother, it is proper that one man should die to make room for another. Otherwise, the world would be filled to overflowing. It is just that the goods gathered by one should be left to be divided among [Pg 87] others; for in the land of spirits there is no want, there is neither sorrow nor hunger, pain nor death. Pleasant fields, filled with game spread before the eye, with birds of beautiful form. Every stream has good fish in it, and every hill is crowned with groves of fruit-trees, sweet and pleasant to the taste. It is not here, brother, but there that men begin truly to live. It is not for those who rejoice in those pleasant groves but for you that are left behind that we weep.

“Brother, take our thanks for your hospitable treatment. Regret not our departure. Fear not evil. Thy luck shall still be good in the chase, and there shall ever be a bright sky over thy lodge. Mourn not for us, for no corn will spring up from tears.”

The spirits ceased, but the hunter had no power over his voice to reply. As they had proceeded in their address he saw a light gradually beaming from their faces, and a blue vapour filled the lodge with an unnatural light. As soon as they ceased, darkness gradually closed around. The hunter listened, but the sobs of the spirits had ceased. He heard the door of his tent open and shut, but he never saw more of his mysterious visitors.

The success promised him was his. He became a celebrated hunter, and never wanted for anything necessary to his ease. He became the father of many boys, all of whom grew up to manhood, and health, peace, and long life were the rewards of his hospitality.

[Pg 88]


Manabozho was so powerful that he began to think there was nothing he could not do. Very wonderful were many of his feats, and he grew more conceited day by day. Now it chanced that one day he was walking about amusing himself by exercising his extraordinary powers, and at length he came to an encampment where one of the first things he noticed was a child lying in the sunshine, curled up with its toe in its mouth.

Manabozho looked at the child for some time, and wondered at its extraordinary posture.

“I have never seen a child before lie like that,” said he to himself, “but I could lie like it.”

So saying, he put himself down beside the child, and, taking his right foot in his hand, drew it towards his mouth. When he had brought it as near as he could it was yet a considerable distance away from his lips.

“I will try the left foot,” said Manabozho. He did so and found that he was no better off, neither of his feet could he get to his mouth. He curled and twisted, and bent his large limbs, and gnashed [Pg 89] his teeth in rage to find that he could not get his toe to his mouth. All, however, was vain.

At length he rose, worn out with his exertions and passion, and walked slowly away in a very ill humour, which was not lessened by the sound of the child’s laughter, for Manabozho’s efforts had awakened it.

“Ah, ah!” said Manabozho, “shall I be mocked by a child?”

He did not, however, revenge himself on his victor, but on his way homeward, meeting a boy who did not treat him with proper respect, he transformed him into a cedar-tree.

“At least,” said Manabozho, “I can do something.”

[Pg 90]


The father of Ran-che-wai-me, the flying pigeon of the Wisconsin, would not hear of her wedding Wai-o-naisa, the young chief who had long sought her in marriage. The maiden, however, true to her plighted faith, still continued to meet him every evening upon one of the tufted islets which stud the river in great profusion. Nightly, through the long months of summer, did the lovers keep their tryst, parting only after each meeting more and more endeared to each other.

At length Wai-o-naisa was ordered off upon a secret expedition against the Sioux, and so sudden was his departure that he had no opportunity of bidding farewell to his betrothed. The band of warriors to which he was attached was a long while absent, and one day there came the news that Wai-o-naisa had fallen in a fight with the Menomones.

Ran-che-wai-me was inconsolable, but she dared not show her grief before her parents, and the only relief she could find from her sorrow was to swim over by starlight to the island where she had been accustomed to meet her lover, and there, calling upon [Pg 91] his name, bewail the loss of him who was dearer to her than all else.

One night, while she was engaged in this lamentation, the sound of her voice attracted some of her father’s people to the spot. Startled by their appearance the girl tried to climb a tree, in order to hide herself in its branches, but her frame was bowed with sorrow and her weak limbs refused to aid her.

“Wai-o-naisa!” she cried, “Wai-o-naisa!”

At each repetition of his name her voice became shriller, while, as she endeavoured to screen herself in the underwood, a soft plumage began to cover her delicate limbs, which were wounded by the briers. She tossed her arms to the sky in her distress and they became clothed with feathers. At length, when her pursuers were close upon her, a bird arose from the bush they had surrounded, and flitting from tree to tree, it fled before them, ever crying—

“Wai-o-naisa! Wai-o-naisa!”

[Pg 92]


In a remote part of the north lived a man and his only sister who had never seen human being. Seldom, if ever, had the man any cause to go from home, for if he wanted food he had only to go a little distance from the lodge, and there place his arrows with their barbs in the ground. He would then return to the lodge and tell his sister where the arrows had been placed, when she would go in search of them, and never fail to find each struck through the heart of a deer. These she dragged to the lodge and dressed for food. Thus she lived until she attained womanhood. One day her brother, who was named Iamo, said to her—

“Sister, the time is near when you will be ill. Listen to my advice, for if you do not it will probably be the cause of my death. Take the implements with which we kindle our fires, go some distance from our lodge and build a separate fire. When you are in want of food I will tell you where to find it. You must cook for yourself and I for myself. When you are ill do not attempt to come near the lodge or bring to it any of the utensils you use. Be sure to always have fastened to your belt whatever you [Pg 93] will need in your sickness, for you do not know when the time of your indisposition will come. As for myself, I must do the best I can.” His sister promised to obey him in all he said.

Shortly after her brother had cause to go from home. His sister was alone in the lodge combing her hair, and she had just untied and laid aside the belt to which the implements were fastened when suddenly she felt unwell. She ran out of the lodge, but in her haste forgot the belt. Afraid to return she stood some time thinking, and finally she determined to return to the lodge and get it, for she said to herself—

“My brother is not at home, and I will stay but a moment to catch hold of it.”

She went back, and, running in, suddenly seized the belt, and was coming out, when her brother met her. He knew what had happened.

“Did I not tell you,” said he, “to take care? Now you have killed me.”

His sister would have gone away, but he spoke to her again.

“What can you do now? What I feared has happened. Go in, and stay where you have always lived. You have killed me.”

He then laid aside his hunting dress and accoutrements, and soon after both his feet began to inflame and turn black, so that he could not move. He directed his sister where to place his arrows, so that she might always have food. The inflammation continued to increase, and had now reached his first rib.

[Pg 94] “Sister,” said he, “my end is near. You must do as I tell you. You see my medicine-sack and my war-club tied to it. It contains all my medicines, my war-plumes, and my paints of all colours. As soon as the inflammation reaches my chest, you will take my war-club, and with the sharp point of it cut off my head. When it is free from my body, take it, place its neck in the sack, which you must open at one end. Then hang it up in its former place. Do not forget my bow and arrows. One of the last you will take to procure food. Tie the others to my sack, and then hang it up so that I can look towards the door. Now and then I will speak to you, but not often.”

His sister again promised to obey.

In a little time his chest became affected.

“Now,” cried he, “take the club and strike off my head.”

His sister was afraid, but he told her to muster up courage.

“Strike,” said he, with a smile upon his face.

Calling up all her courage, his sister struck and cut off the head.

“Now,” said the head, “place me where I told you.”

Fearful, she obeyed it in all its commands.

Retaining its animation, it looked round the lodge as usual, and it would command its sister to go to such places where it thought she could best procure the flesh of the different animals she needed. One day the head said—

[Pg 95] “The time is not distant when I shall be freed from this situation, but I shall have to undergo many sore evils. So the Superior Manito decrees, and I must bear all patiently.”

In a certain part of the country was a village inhabited by a numerous and warlike band of Indians. In this village was a family of ten young men, brothers. In the spring of the year the youngest of these blackened his face and fasted. His dreams were propitious, and having ended his fast, he sent secretly for his brothers at night, so that the people in the village should not be aware of their meeting. He told them how favourable his dreams had been, and that he had called them together to ask them if they would accompany him in a war excursion. They all answered they would. The third son, noted for his oddities, swinging his war-club when his brother had ceased speaking, jumped up: “Yes,” said he, “I will go, and this will be the way I will treat those we go to fight with.” With those words he struck the post in the centre of the lodge, and gave a yell. The other brothers spoke to him, saying—

“Gently, gently, Mudjikewis, when you are in other people’s lodges.” So he sat down. Then, in turn, they took the drum, sang their songs, and closed the meeting with a feast. The youngest told them not to whisper their intention to their wives, but to prepare secretly for their journey. They all promised obedience, and Mudjikewis was the first to do so.

The time for departure drew near. The youngest gave the word for them to assemble on a certain night, [Pg 96] when they would commence their journey. Mudjikewis was loud in his demands for his moccasins, and his wife several times demanded the reason of his impatience.

“Besides,” said she, “you have a good pair on.”

“Quick, quick,” replied Mudjikewis; “since you must know, we are going on a war excursion.”

Thus he revealed the secret.

That night they met and started. The snow was on the ground, and they travelled all night lest others should follow them. When it was daylight, the leader took snow, made a ball of it, and tossing it up in the air, said—

“It was in this way I saw snow fall in my dream, so that we could not be tracked.”

Immediately snow began to fall in large flakes, so that the leader commanded the brothers to keep close together for fear of losing one another. Close as they walked together it was with difficulty they could see one another. The snow continued falling all that day and the next night, so that it was impossible for any one to follow their track.

They walked for several days, and Mudjikewis was always in the rear. One day, running suddenly forward, he gave the Saw-saw-quan (war-cry), and struck a tree with his war-club, breaking the tree in pieces as if it had been struck by lightning.

“Brothers,” said he, “this is the way I will serve those we are going to fight.”

The leader answered—

“Slowly, slowly, Mudjikewis. The one I lead you to is not to be thought of so lightly.”

[Pg 97] Again Mudjikewis fell back and thought to himself—

“What, what! Who can this be he is leading us to?”

He felt fearful, and was silent. Day after day they travelled on till they came to an extensive plain, on the borders of which human bones were bleaching in the sun. The leader said—

“These are the bones of those who have gone before us. None has ever yet returned to tell the sad tale of their fate.”

Again Mudjikewis became restless, and, running forward, gave the accustomed yell. Advancing to a large rock which stood above the ground he struck it, and it fell to pieces.

“See, brothers,” said he, “thus will I treat those we are going to fight.”

“Be quiet,” said the leader. “He to whom I am leading you is not to be compared to that rock.”

Mudjikewis fell back quite thoughtful, saying to himself—

“I wonder who this can be that he is going to attack;” and he was afraid.

They continued to see the remains of former warriors who had been to the place to which they were now going, and had retreated thus far back again. At last they came to a piece of rising ground, from which they plainly saw on a distant mountain an enormous bear. The distance between them was very great, but the size of the animal caused it to be seen very clearly.

[Pg 98] “There,” said the leader; “it is to him I am leading you. Here our troubles will only commence, for he is a mishemokwa” (a she-bear, or a male-bear as ferocious as a she-bear) “and a manito. It is he who has what we prize so dearly, to obtain which the warriors whose bones we saw sacrificed their lives. You must not be fearful. Be manly; we shall find him asleep.”

The warriors advanced boldly till they came near to the bear, when they stopped to look at it more closely. It was asleep, and there was a belt around its neck.

“This,” said the leader, touching the belt, “is what we must get. It contains what we want.”

The eldest brother then tried to slip the belt over the bear’s head, the animal appearing to be fast asleep, and not at all disturbed by his efforts. He could not, however, remove the belt, nor was any of the brothers more successful till the one next to the youngest tried in his turn. He slipped the belt nearly over the beast’s head, but could not get it quite off. Then the youngest laid his hands on it, and with a pull succeeded. Placing the belt on the eldest brother’s back, he said—

“Now we must run,” and they started off at their best pace. When one became tired with the weight of the belt another carried it. Thus they ran till they had passed the bones of all the warriors, and when they were some distance beyond, looking back, they saw the monster slowly rising. For some time it stood still, not missing the belt. Then they heard [Pg 99] a tremendous howl, like distant thunder, slowly filling the sky. At last they heard the bear cry—

“Who can it be that has dared to steal my belt? Earth is not so large but I can find them,” and it descended the hill in pursuit. With every jump of the bear the earth shook as if it were convulsed. Very soon it approached the party. They, however, kept the belt, exchanging it from one to another, and encouraging each other. The bear, however, gained on them fast.

“Brothers,” said the leader, “have none of you, when fasting, ever dreamed of some friendly spirit who would aid you as a guardian?”

A dead silence followed.

“Well,” continued he, “once when I was fasting I dreamed of being in danger of instant death, when I saw a small lodge, with smoke curling up from its top. An old man lived in it, and I dreamed that he helped me, and may my dream be verified soon.”

Having said this, he ran forward and gave a yell and howl. They came upon a piece of rising ground, and, behold! a lodge with smoke curling from its top appeared before them. This gave them all new strength, and they ran forward and entered the lodge. In it they found an old man, to whom the leader said—

“Nemesho (my grandfather), help us. We ask your protection, for the great bear would kill us.”

“Sit down and eat, my grandchildren,” said the old man. “Who is a great manito? There is none [Pg 100] but me; but let me look;” and he opened the door of the lodge, and saw at a little distance the enraged bear coming on with slow but great leaps. The old man closed the door.

“Yes,” said he; “he is indeed a great manito. My grandchildren, you will be the cause of my losing my life. You asked my protection, and I granted it; so now, come what may, I will protect you. When the bear arrives at the door you must run out at the other end of the lodge.”

Putting his hand to the side of the lodge where he sat, he took down a bag, and, opening it, took out of it two small black dogs, which he placed before him.

“These are the ones I use when I fight,” said he, and he commenced patting with both hands the sides of one of the dogs, which at once commenced to swell out until it filled the lodge, and it had great strong teeth. When the dog had attained its full size it growled, and, springing out at the door, met the bear, which, in another leap, would have reached the lodge. A terrible combat ensued. The sky rang with the howls of the monsters. In a little while the second dog took the field. At the commencement of the battle the brothers, acting on the advice of the old man, escaped through the opposite side of the lodge. They had not proceeded far in their flight before they heard the death-cry of one of the dogs, and soon after that of the other.

“Well,” said the leader, “the old man will soon share their fate, so run, run! the bear will soon be after us.”

[Pg 101] The brothers started with fresh vigour, for the old man had refreshed them with food; but the bear very soon came in sight again, and was evidently fast gaining upon them. Again the leader asked the warriors if they knew of any way in which to save themselves. All were silent. Running forward with a yell and a howl, the leader said—

“I dreamed once that, being in great trouble, an old man, who was a manito, helped me. We shall soon see his lodge.”

Taking courage, the brothers still went on, and, after going a short distance, they saw a lodge. Entering it, they found an old man, whose protection they claimed, saying that a manito was pursuing them.

“Eat,” said the old man, putting meat before them. “Who is a manito? There is no manito but me. There is none whom I fear.”

Then he felt the earth tremble as the bear approached, and, opening the door of the lodge, he saw it coming. The old man shut the door slowly, and said—

“Yes, my grandchildren, you have brought trouble upon me.”

Taking his medicine sack, he took out some small war-clubs of black stone, and told the young men to run through the other side of the lodge. As he handled the clubs they became an enormous size, and the old man stepped out as the bear reached the door. He struck the beast with one of his clubs, which broke in pieces, and the bear stumbled. The [Pg 102] old man struck it again with the other club, and that also broke, but the bear fell insensible. Each blow the old man struck sounded like a clap of thunder, and the howls of the bear ran along the skies.

The brothers had gone some distance before they looked back. They then saw that the bear was recovering from the blows. First it moved its paws, and then they saw it rise to its feet. The old man shared the fate of the first, for the warriors heard his cries as he was torn in pieces. Again the monster was in pursuit, and fast overtaking them. Not yet discouraged, the young men kept on their way, but the bear was so close to them that the leader once more applied to his brothers, but they could do nothing.

“Well,” said he, “my dreams will soon be exhausted. After this I have but one more.”

He advanced, invoking his guardian spirit to aid him.

“Once,” said he, “I dreamed that, being sorely pressed, I came to a large lake, on the shore of which was a canoe, partly out of water, and having ten paddles all in readiness. Do not fear,” he cried, “we shall soon get to it.”

It happened as he had said. Coming to the lake, the warriors found the canoe with the ten paddles, and immediately took their places in it. Putting off, they paddled to the centre of the lake, when they saw the bear on the shore. Lifting itself on its hind-legs, it looked all around. Then it waded [Pg 103] into the water until, losing its footing, it turned back, and commenced making the circuit of the lake. Meanwhile the warriors remained stationary in the centre watching the animal’s movements. It travelled round till it came to the place whence it started. Then it commenced drinking up the water, and the young men saw a strong current fast setting in towards the bear’s mouth. The leader encouraged them to paddle hard for the opposite shore. This they had nearly reached, when the current became too strong for them, and they were drawn back by it, and the stream carried them onwards to the bear.

Then the leader again spoke, telling his comrades to meet their fate bravely.

“Now is the time, Mudjikewis,” said he, “to show your prowess. Take courage, and sit in the bow of the canoe, and, when it approaches the bear’s mouth, try what effect your club will have on the beast’s head.”

Mudjikewis obeyed, and, taking his place, stood ready to give the blow, while the leader, who steered, directed the canoe to the open mouth of the monster.

Rapidly advancing, the canoe was just about to enter the bear’s mouth, when Mudjikewis struck the beast a tremendous blow on the head, and gave the saw-saw-quan. The bear’s limbs doubled under it, and it fell stunned by the blow, but before Mudjikewis could strike again the monster sent from its mouth all the water it had swallowed with such force that the canoe was immediately carried by the [Pg 104] stream to the other side of the lake. Leaving the canoe, the brothers fled, and on they went till they were completely exhausted. Again they felt the earth shake, and, looking back, saw the monster hard after them. The young men’s spirits drooped, and they felt faint-hearted. With words and actions the leader exerted himself to cheer them, and once more he asked them if they could do nothing, or think of nothing, that might save them. All were silent as before.

“Then,” said he, “this is the last time I can apply to my guardian spirit. If we do not now succeed, our fate is decided.”

He ran forward, invoking his spirit with great earnestness, and gave the yell.

“We shall soon arrive,” said he to his brothers, “at the place where my last guardian spirit dwells. In him I place great confidence. Do not be afraid, or your limbs will be fear-bound. We shall soon reach his lodge. Run, run!”

What had in the meantime passed in the lodge of Iamo? He had remained in the same condition, his head in the sack, directing his sister where to place the arrows to procure food, and speaking at long intervals.

One day the girl saw the eyes of the head brighten as if with pleasure. At last it spoke.

“O sister!” it said, “in what a pitiful situation you have been the cause of placing me! Soon, very soon, a band of young men will arrive and apply to me for aid; but alas! how can I give what I would with so much pleasure have afforded [Pg 105] them? Nevertheless, take two arrows, and place them where you have been in the habit of placing the others, and have meat cooked and prepared before they arrive. When you hear them coming, and calling on my name, go out and say, ‘Alas! it is long ago since an accident befell him. I was the cause of it.’ If they still come near, ask them in, and set meat before them. Follow my directions strictly. A bear will come. Go out and meet him, taking my medicine sack, bow and arrows, and my head. You must then untie the sack, and spread out before you my paints of all colours, my war eagle-feathers, my tufts of dried hair, and whatsoever else the sack contains. As the bear approaches take these articles, one by one, and say to him, ‘This is my dead brother’s paint,’ and so on with all the articles, throwing each of them as far from you as you can. The virtue contained in the things will cause him to totter. Then, to complete his destruction, you must take my head and cast it as far off as you can, crying aloud, ‘See, this is my dead brother’s head!’ He will then fall senseless. While this is taking place the young men will have eaten, and you must call them to your aid. You will, with their assistance, cut the carcass of the bear into pieces—into small pieces—and scatter them to the winds, for unless you do this he will again come to life.”

The sister promised that all should be done as he commanded, and she had only time to prepare the meal when the voice of the leader of the band of [Pg 106] warriors was heard calling on Iamo for aid. The girl went out and did as she had been directed. She invited the brothers in and placed meat before them, and while they were eating the bear was heard approaching. Untying the medicine sack and taking the head the girl made all ready for its approach. When it came up she did as her brother directed, and before she had cast down all the paints the bear began to totter, but, still advancing, came close to her. Then she took the head and cast it from her as far as she could, and as it rolled upon the ground the bear, tottering, fell with a tremendous noise. The girl cried for help, and the young men rushed out.

Mudjikewis, stepping up, gave a yell, and struck the bear a blow on the head. This he repeated till he had dashed out its brains. Then the others, as quickly as possible, cut the monster up into very small pieces and scattered them in all directions. As they were engaged in this they were surprised to find that wherever the flesh was thrown small black bears appeared, such as are seen at the present day, which, starting up, ran away. Thus from this monster the present race of bears derives its origin.

Having overcome their pursuer the brothers returned to the lodge, and the girl gathered together the articles she had used, and placed the head in the sack again. The head remained silent, probably from its being fatigued with its exertion in overcoming the bear.

Having spent so much time, and having traversed [Pg 107] so vast a country in their flight, the young men gave up the idea of ever returning to their own country, and game being plentiful about the lodge, they determined to remain where they were. One day they moved off some distance from the lodge for the purpose of hunting, and left the belt with the girl. They were very successful, and amused themselves with talking and jesting. One of them said—

“We have all this sport to ourselves. Let us go and ask our sister if she will not let us bring the head to this place, for it is still alive.”

So they went and asked for the head. The girl told them to take it, and they carried it to their hunting-grounds and tried to amuse it, but only at times did they see its eyes beam with pleasure. One day, while they were busy in their encampment, they were unexpectedly attacked by unknown enemies. The fight was long and fierce. Many of the foes were slain, but there were thirty of them to each warrior. The young men fought desperately till they were all killed, and then the attacking party retreated to a high place to muster their men and count the missing and the slain. One of the men had strayed away, and happened to come to where the head was hung up. Seeing that it was alive he eyed it for some time with fear and surprise. Then he took it down, and having opened the sack he was much pleased to see the beautiful feathers, one of which he placed on his head.

It waved gracefully over him as he walked to his [Pg 108] companions’ camp, and when he came there he threw down the head and sack and told his friends how he had found them, and how the sack was full of paints and feathers. The men all took the head and made sport of it. Many of the young men took the paint and painted themselves with it; and one of the band, taking the head by the hair, said—

“Look, you ugly thing, and see your paints on the faces of warriors.”

The feathers were so beautiful that many of the young men placed them on their heads, and they again subjected the head to all kinds of indignity. They were, however, soon punished for their insulting conduct, for all who had worn the feathers became sick and died. Then the chief commanded the men to throw all the paints and feathers away.

“As for the head,” he said, “we will keep that and take it home with us; we will there see what we can do with it. We will try to make it shut its eyes.”

Meanwhile for several days the sister had been waiting for the brothers to bring back the head; till at last, getting impatient, she went in search of them. She found them lying within short distances of one another, dead, and covered with wounds. Other bodies lay scattered around. She searched for the head and sack, but they were nowhere to be found, so she raised her voice and wept, and blackened her face. Then she walked in different directions till she came to the place whence the head had been taken, and there she found the bow and arrows, which had been left behind. She searched further, hoping [Pg 109] to find her brother’s head, and, when she came to a piece of rising ground she found some of his paints and feathers. These she carefully put by, hanging them to the branch of a tree.

At dusk she came to the first lodge of a large village. Here she used a charm employed by Indians when they wish to meet with a kind reception, and on applying to the old man and the woman who occupied the lodge she was made welcome by them. She told them her errand, and the old man, promising to help her, told her that the head was hung up before the council fire, and that the chiefs and young men of the village kept watch over it continually. The girl said she only desired to see the head, and would be satisfied if she could only get to the door of the lodge in which it was hung, for she knew she could not take it by force.

“Come with me,” said the old man, “I will take you there.”

So they went and took their seats in the lodge near to the door. The council lodge was filled with warriors amusing themselves with games, and constantly keeping up the fire to smoke the head to dry it. As the girl entered the lodge the men saw the features of the head move, and, not knowing what to make of it, one spoke and said—

“Ha! ha! it is beginning to feel the effects of the smoke.”

The sister looked up from the seat by the door; her eyes met those of her brother, and tears began to roll down the cheeks of the head.

[Pg 110] “Well,” said the chief, “I thought we would make you do something at last. Look! look at it shedding tears,” said he to those around him, and they all laughed and made jokes upon it. The chief, looking around, observed the strange girl, and after some time said to the old man who brought her in—

“Who have you got there? I have never seen that woman before in our village.”

“Yes,” replied the old man, “you have seen her. She is a relation of mine, and seldom goes out. She stays in my lodge, and she asked me to bring her here.”

In the centre of the lodge sat one of those young men who are always forward, and fond of boasting and displaying themselves before others.

“Why,” said he, “I have seen her often, and it is to his lodge I go almost every night to court her.”

All the others laughed and continued their games. The young man did not know he was telling a lie to the girl’s advantage, who by means of it escaped.

She returned to the old man’s lodge, and immediately set out for her own country. Coming to the spot where the bodies of her adopted brothers lay, she placed them together with their feet towards the east. Then taking an axe she had she cast it up into the air, crying out—

“Brothers, get up from under it or it will fall on you!”

This she repeated three times, and the third time all the brothers rose and stood on their feet. Mudjikewis commenced rubbing his eyes and stretching himself.

[Pg 111] “Why,” said he, “I have overslept myself.”

“No, indeed,” said one of the others. “Do you not know we were all killed, and that it is our sister who has brought us to life?”

The brothers then took the bodies of their enemies and burned them. Soon after the girl went to a far country, they knew not where, to procure wives for them, and she returned with the women, whom she gave to the young men, beginning with the eldest. Mudjikewis stepped to and fro, uneasy lest he should not get the one he liked, but he was not disappointed, for she fell to his lot; and the two were well matched, for she was a female magician.

The young men and their wives all moved into a very large lodge, and their sister told them that one of the women must go in turns every night to try and recover the head of her brother, untying the knots by which it was hung up in the council lodge. The women all said they would go with pleasure. The eldest made the first attempt. With a rushing noise she disappeared through the air.

Towards daylight she returned. She had failed, having only succeeded in untying one of the knots. All the women save the youngest went in turn, and each one succeeded in untying only one knot each time. At length the youngest went. As soon as she arrived at the lodge she went to work. The smoke from the fire in the lodge had not ascended for ten nights. It now filled the place and drove all the men out. The girl was alone, and she carried off the head.

[Pg 112] The brothers and Iamo’s sister heard the young woman coming high through the air, and they heard her say—

“Prepare the body of our brother.”

As soon as they heard that they went to where Iamo’s body lay, and, having got it ready, as soon as the young woman arrived with the head they placed it to the body, and Iamo was restored in all his former manliness and beauty. All rejoiced in the happy termination of their troubles, and when they had spent some time joyfully together, Iamo said—

“Now I will divide the treasure,” and taking the bear’s belt he commenced dividing what it contained amongst the brothers, beginning with the eldest. The youngest brother, however, got the most splendid part of the spoil, for the bottom of the belt held what was richest and rarest.

Then Iamo told them that, since they had all died and been restored to life again, they were no longer mortals but spirits, and he assigned to each of them a station in the invisible world. Only Mudjikewis’ place was, however, named. He was to direct the west wind. The brothers were commanded, as they had it in their power, to do good to the inhabitants of the earth, and to give all things with a liberal hand.

The spirits then, amid songs and shouts, took their flight to their respective places, while Iamo and his sister, Iamoqua, descended into the depths below.

[Pg 113]


The old man Chippeway, the first of men, when he first landed on the earth, near where the present Dogribs have their hunting-grounds, found the world a beautiful world, well stocked with food, and abounding with pleasant things. He found no man, woman, or child upon it; but in time, being lonely, he created children, to whom he gave two kinds of fruit, the black and the white, but he forbade them to eat the black. Having given his commands for the government and guidance of his family, he took leave of them for a time, to go into a far country where the sun dwelt, for the purpose of bringing it to the earth.

After a very long journey, and a long absence, he returned, bringing with him the sun, and he was delighted to find that his children had remained obedient, and had eaten only of the white food.

Again he left them to go on another expedition. The sun he had brought lighted up the earth for only a short time, and in the land from which he had brought it he had noticed another body, which [Pg 114] served as a lamp in the dark hours. He resolved therefore to journey and bring back with him the moon; so, bidding adieu to his children and his dwelling, he set forth once more.

While he had been absent on his first expedition, his children had eaten up all the white food, and now, when he set out, he forgot to provide them with a fresh supply. For a long time they resisted the craving for food, but at last they could hold out no longer, and satisfied their hunger with the black fruit.

The old Chippeway soon returned, bringing with him the moon. He soon discovered that his children had transgressed his command, and had eaten the food of disease and death. He told them what was the consequence of their act—that in future the earth would produce bad fruits, that sickness would come amongst men, that pain would rack them, and their lives be lives of fatigue and danger.

Having brought the sun and moon to the earth, the old man Chippeway rested, and made no more expeditions. He lived an immense number of years, and saw all the troubles he declared would follow the eating of the black food. At last he became tired of life, and his sole desire was to be freed from it.

“Go,” said he, to one of his sons, “to the river of the Bear Lake, and fetch me a man of the little wise people (the beavers). Let it be one with a brown ring round the end of the tail, and a white spot on the tip of the nose. Let him be just two seasons [Pg 115] old upon the first day of the coming frog-moon, and see that his teeth be sharp.”

The man did as he was directed. He went to the river of the Bear Lake, and brought a man of the little wise people. He had a brown ring round the end of his tail, and a white spot on the tip of his nose. He was just two seasons old upon the first day of the frog-moon, and his teeth were very sharp.

“Take the wise four-legged man,” said the old Chippeway, “and pull from his jaws seven of his teeth.”

The man did as he was directed, and brought the teeth to the old man. Then he bade him call all his people together, and when they were come the old man thus addressed them—

“I am old, and am tired of life, and wish to sleep the sleep of death. I will go hence. Take the seven teeth of the wise little four-legged man and drive them into my body.”

They did so, and as the last tooth entered him the old man died.

[Pg 116]


Pauppukkeewis was a harum-scarum fellow who played many queer tricks, but he took care, nevertheless, to supply his family and children with food. Sometimes, however, he was hard-pressed, and once he and his whole family were on the point of starving. Every resource seemed to have failed. The snow was so deep, and the storm continued so long, that he could not even find a partridge or a hare, and his usual supply of fish had failed him. His lodge stood in some woods not far away from the shores of the Gitchiguma, or great water, where the autumnal storms had piled up the ice into high pinnacles, resembling castles.

“I will go,” said he to his family one morning, “to these castles, and solicit the pity of the spirits who inhabit them, for I know that they are the residence of some of the spirits of Rabiboonoka.”

He did so, and his petition was not disregarded. The spirits told him to fill his mushkemoots or sacks with the ice and snow, and pass on towards his lodge, without looking back, until he came to a certain hill. He was then to drop his sacks, and leave [Pg 117] them till morning, when he would find them full of fish.

The spirits cautioned him that he must by no means look back, although he should hear a great many voices crying out to him abusing him; for they told him such voices would be in reality only the wind playing through the branches of the trees.

Pauppukkeewis faithfully obeyed the directions given him, although he found it difficult to avoid looking round to see who was calling to him. When he visited the sacks in the morning, he found them filled with fish.

It happened that Manabozho visited him on the morning when he brought the fish home, and the visitor was invited to partake of the feast. While they were eating, Manabozho could not help asking where such an abundance of food had been procured at a time when most were in a state of starvation.

Pauppukkeewis frankly told him the secret, and and what precautions to take to ensure success. Manabozho determined to profit by the information, and, as soon as he could, set out to visit the icy castles. All things happened as Pauppukkeewis had told him. The spirits appeared to be kind, and told Manabozho to fill and carry. He accordingly filled his sacks with ice and snow, and then walked off quickly to the hill where he was to leave them. As he went, however, he heard voices calling out behind him.

“Thief! thief! He has stolen fish from Rabiboonoka,” cried one.

[Pg 118] “Mukumik! Mukumik! take it away, take it away,” cried another.

Manabozho’s ears were so assailed by all manner of insulting cries, that at last he got angry, and, quite forgetting the directions given him, he turned his head to see who it was that was abusing him. He saw no one, and proceeded on his way to the hill, to which he was accompanied by his invisible tormentors. He left his bags of ice and snow there, to be changed into fish, and came back the next morning. His disobedience had, however, dissolved the charm, and he found his bags still full of rubbish.

In consequence of this he is condemned every year, during the month of March, to run over the hills, with Pauppukkeewis following him, crying—

“Mukumik! Mukumik!”

[Pg 119]


There was an old hag of a woman who lived with her daughter-in-law and her husband, with their son and a little orphan boy. When her son-in-law came home from hunting, it was his custom to bring his wife the moose’s lip, the kidney of the bear, or some other choice bits of different animals. These the girl would cook crisp, so that the sound of their cracking could be heard when she ate them. This kind attention of the hunter to his wife aroused the envy of the old woman. She wished to have the same luxuries, and, in order to obtain them, she at last resolved to kill the young wife. One day she asked her to leave her infant son to the care of the orphan boy, and come out and swing with her. The wife consented, and the mother-in-law took her to the shore of a lake, where there was a high ridge of rocks overhanging the water. Upon the top of these rocks the old woman put up a swing, and, having fastened a piece of leather round her body, she commenced to swing herself, going over the precipice each time. She continued this for a short while, and then, stopping, told her daughter-in-law [Pg 120] to take her place. She did so, and, having tied the leather round her, began to swing backwards and forwards. When she was well going, sweeping at each turn clear beyond the precipice, the old woman slyly cut the cords, and let her drop into the lake. She then put on some of the girl’s clothing, entered the lodge in the dusk of the evening, and went about the work in which her daughter-in-law had been usually occupied at such a time. She found the child crying, and, since the mother was not there to give it the breast, it cried on. Then the orphan boy asked her where the mother was.

“She is still swinging,” replied the old woman.

“I will go,” said he, “and look for her.”

“No,” said the old woman, “you must not. What would you go for?”

In the evening, when the husband came in, he gave the coveted morsels to what he supposed was his wife. He missed the old woman, but asked nothing about her. Meanwhile the woman ate the morsels, and tried to quiet the child. The husband, seeing that she kept her face away from him, was astonished, and asked why the child cried so. His pretended wife answered that she did not know.

In the meantime the orphan boy went to the shores of the lake, where he found no one. Then he suspected the old woman, and, having returned to the lodge, told the hunter, while she was out getting wood, all he had heard and seen. The man, when he had heard the story, painted his face black, and placed his spear upside down in the earth, and [Pg 121] requested the Great Spirit to send lightning, thunder, and rain, in the hope that the body of his wife might arise from the water. He then began to fast, and told the boy to take the child and play upon the lake shore.

Meanwhile this is what had happened to the wife. After she had plunged into the lake, she found herself in the hold of a water-tiger, who drew her to the bottom. There she found a lodge, and all things in it as if arranged for her reception, and she became the water-tiger’s wife.

Whilst the orphan boy and the child were playing on the shore of the lake one day, the boy began to throw pebbles into the water, when suddenly a gull arose from the centre of the lake, and flew towards the land. When it had arrived there, it took human shape, and the boy recognised that it was the lost mother. She had a leather belt around her, and another belt of white metal. She suckled the baby, and, preparing to return to the water, said to the boy—

“Come here with the child whenever it cries, and I will nurse it.”

The boy carried the child home, and told the father what had occurred. When the child cried again, the man went with the boy to the shore, and hid himself behind a clump of trees. Soon the gull made its appearance, with a long shining chain attached to it. The bird came to the shore, assumed the mother’s shape, and began to suckle the child. The husband stood with his spear in his hand, [Pg 122] wondering what he had best do to regain his wife. When he saw her preparing to return to the lake he rushed forward, struck the shining chain with his spear, and broke it. Then he took his wife and child home. As he entered the lodge the old woman looked up, and, when she saw the wife, she dropped her head in despair. A rustling was heard in the place; the next moment the old woman leaped up, flew out of the lodge, and was never heard of more.

[Pg 123]


Wassamo was living with his parents on the shores of a large bay on the east coast of Lake Michigan. It was at a period when nature spontaneously furnished everything that was wanted, when the Indians used skins for clothing, and flints for arrow heads. It was long before the time that the flag of the white man had first been seen in these lakes, or the sound of an iron axe had been heard. The skill of our people supplied them with weapons to kill game, with instruments to procure bark for their canoes, and they knew to dress and cook their victuals.

One day, when the season had commenced for fish to be plentiful near the shore of the lake, Wassamo’s mother said to him—

“My son, I wish you would go to yonder point, and see if you cannot procure me some fish. You may ask your cousin to accompany you.”

He did so. They set out, and, in the course of the afternoon, arrived at the fishing-ground. His cousin attended to the nets, for he was grown up to manhood, but Wassamo had not yet reached that age. They put their nets in the water, and encamped [Pg 124] near them, using only a few pieces of birch-bark for a lodge to shelter them at night. They lit a fire, and, while they were conversing together, the moon arose. Not a breath of wind disturbed the smooth and bright surface of the lake. Not a cloud was seen. Wassamo looked out on the water towards their nets, and saw that almost all the floats had disappeared.

“Cousin,” he said, “let us visit our nets. Perhaps we are fortunate.”

They did so, and were rejoiced, as they drew them up, to see the meshes white here and there with fish. They landed in good spirits, and put away their canoe in safety from the winds.

“Wassamo,” said his cousin, “you cook that we may eat.”

Wassamo set about it immediately, and soon got his kettle on the flames, while his cousin was lying at his ease on the opposite side of the fire.

“Cousin,” said Wassamo, “tell me stories, or sing me some love-songs.”

The other obeyed, and sang his plaintive songs. He would frequently break off, and tell parts of stories, and would then sing again, as suited his feelings or fancy. While thus employed, he unconsciously fell asleep. Wassamo had scarcely noticed it in his care to watch the kettle, and, when the fish were done, he took the kettle off. He spoke to his cousin, but received no answer. He took the wooden ladle to skim off the oil, for the fish were very fat. He had a flambeau of twisted bark in one hand to [Pg 125] give light; but, when he came to take out the fish, he did not know how to manage to hold the light, so he took off his garters, and tied them tight round his head, and then placed the lighted flambeau above his forehead, so that it was firmly held by the bandage, and threw its light brilliantly about him. Having both hands thus at liberty, he began to take out the fish. Suddenly he heard a laugh.

“Cousin,” said he, “some one is near us. Awake, and let us look out.”

His cousin, however, continued asleep. Again Wassamo heard the laughter, and, looking, he beheld two beautiful girls.

“Awake, awake,” said he to his cousin. “Here are two young women;” but he received no answer, for his cousin was locked in his deepest slumbers.

Wassamo started up and advanced to the strange women. He was about to speak to them, when he fell senseless to the earth.

A short while after his cousin awoke. He looked around and called Wassamo, but could not find him.

“Netawis, Netawis (Cousin, cousin)!” he cried; but there was no answer. He searched the woods and all the shores around, but could not find him. He did not know what to do.

“Although,” he reasoned, “his parents are my relations, and they know he and I were great friends, they will not believe me if I go home and say that he is lost. They will say that I killed him, and will require blood for blood.”

[Pg 126] However, he resolved to return home, and, arriving there, he told them what had occurred. Some said, “He has killed him treacherously,” others said, “It is impossible. They were like brothers.”

Search was made on every side, and when at length it became certain that Wassamo was not to be found, his parents demanded the life of Netawis.

Meanwhile, what had happened to Wassamo? When he recovered his senses, he found himself stretched on a bed in a spacious lodge.

“Stranger,” said some one, “awake, and take something to eat.”

Looking around him he saw many people, and an old spirit man, addressing him, said—

“My daughters saw you at the fishing-ground, and brought you here. I am the guardian spirit of Nagow Wudjoo (the sand mountains). We will make your visit here agreeable, and if you will remain I will give you one of my daughters in marriage.”

The young man consented to the match, and remained for some time with the spirit of the sand-hills in his lodge at the bottom of the lake, for there was it situated. At last, however, approached the season of sleep, when the spirit and his relations lay down for their long rest.

“Son-in-law,” said the old spirit, “you can now, in a few days, start with your wife to visit your relations. You can be absent one year, but after that you must return.”

Wassamo promised to obey, and set out with his [Pg 127] wife. When he was near his village, he left her in a thicket and advanced alone. As he did so, who should he meet but his cousin.

“Netawis, Netawis,” cried his cousin, “you have come just in time to save me!”

Then he ran off to the lodge of Wassamo’s parents.

“I have seen him,” said he, “whom you accuse me of having killed. He will be here in a few minutes.”

All the village was soon in a bustle, and Wassamo and his wife excited universal attention, and the people strove who should entertain them best. So the time passed happily till the season came that Wassamo and his wife should return to the spirits. Netawis accompanied them to the shores of the lake, and would have gone with them to their strange abode, but Wassamo sent him back. With him Wassamo took offerings from the Indians to his father-in-law.

The old spirit was delighted to see the two return, and he was also much pleased with the presents Wassamo brought. He told his son-in-law that he and his wife should go once more to visit his people.

“It is merely,” said he, “to assure them of my friendship, and to bid them farewell for ever.”

Some time afterwards Wassamo and his wife made this visit. Having delivered his message, he said—

“I must now bid you all farewell for ever.”

[Pg 128] His parents and friends raised their voices in loud lamentation, and they accompanied him and his wife to the sand-banks to see them take their departure.

The day was mild, the sky clear, not a cloud appeared, nor was there a breath of wind to disturb the bright surface of the water. The most perfect silence reigned throughout the company. They gazed intently upon Wassamo and his wife as they waded out into the water, waving their hands. They saw them go into deeper and deeper water. They saw the wave close over their heads. All at once they raised a loud and piercing wail. They looked again. A red flame, as if the sun had glanced on a billow, marked the spot for an instant; but the Feather-of-Flames and his wife had disappeared for ever.

[Pg 129]


Once upon a time there lived in the nation of the Chippeways a most beautiful maiden, the flower of the wilderness, the delight and wonder of all who saw her. She was called the Rock-rose, and was beloved by a youthful hunter, whose advances gained her affection. No one was like the brave Outalissa in her eyes: his deeds were the greatest, his skill was the most wonderful. It was not permitted them, however, to become the inhabitants of one lodge. Death came to the flower of the Chippeways. In the morning of her days she died, and her body was laid in the dust with the customary rites of burial. All mourned for her, but Outalissa was a changed man. No more did he find delight in the chase or on the war-path. He grew sad, shunned the society of his brethren. He stood motionless as a tree in the hour of calm, as the wave that is frozen up by the breath of the cold wind.

Joy came no more to him. He told his discontent in the ears of his people, and spoke of his determination to seek his beloved maiden. She had but removed, he said, as the birds fly away at the [Pg 130] approach of winter, and it required but due diligence on his part to find her. Having prepared himself, as a hunter makes ready for a long journey, he armed himself with his war-spear and bow and arrow, and set out to the Land of Souls.

Directed by the old tradition of his fathers, he travelled south to reach that region, leaving behind him the great star. As he moved onwards, he found a more pleasant region succeeding to that in which he had lived. Daily, hourly, he remarked the change. The ice grew thinner, the air warmer, the trees taller. Birds, such as he had never seen before, sang in the bushes, and fowl of many kinds were pluming themselves in the warm sun on the shores of the lake. The gay woodpecker was tapping the hollow beech, the swallow and the martin were skimming along the level of the green vales. He heard no more the cracking of branches beneath the weight of icicles and snow, he saw no more the spirits of departed men dancing wild dances on the skirts of the northern clouds, and the farther he travelled the milder grew the skies, the longer was the period of the sun’s stay upon the earth, and the softer, though less brilliant, the light of the moon.

Noting these changes as he went with a joyful heart, for they were indications of his near approach to the land of joy and delight, he came at length to a cabin situated on the brow of a steep hill in the middle of a narrow road. At the door of this cabin stood a man of a most ancient and venerable appearance. He was bent nearly double with age. [Pg 131] His locks were white as snow. His eyes were sunk very far into his head, and the flesh was wasted from his bones, till they were like trees from which the bark has been peeled. He was clothed in a robe of white goat’s skin, and a long staff supported his tottering limbs whithersoever he walked.

The Chippeway began to tell him who he was, and why he had come thither, but the aged man stopped him, telling him he knew upon what errand he was bent.

“A short while before,” said he, “there passed the soul of a tender and lovely maiden, well-known to the son of the Red Elk, on her way to the beautiful island. She was fatigued with her long journey, and rested a while in this cabin. She told me the story of your love, and was persuaded that you would attempt to follow her to the Lake of Spirits.”

The old man, further, told Outalissa that if he made speed he might hope to overtake the maiden on the way. Before, however, he resumed his journey he must leave behind him his body, his spear, bow, and arrows, which the old man promised to keep for him should he return. The Chippeway left his body and arms behind him, and under the direction of the old man entered upon the road to the Blissful Island. He had travelled but a couple of bowshots when it met his view, even more beautiful than his fathers had painted it.

He stood upon the brow of a hill which sloped gently down to the water of a lake which stretched [Pg 132] as far as eye could see. Upon its banks were groves of beautiful trees of all kinds, and many canoes were to be seen gliding over its water. Afar, in the centre of the lake, lay the beautiful island appointed for the residence of the good. He walked down to the shore and entered a canoe which stood ready for him, made of a shining white stone. Seizing the paddle, he pushed off from the shore and commenced to make his way to the island. As he did so, he came to a canoe like his own, in which he found her whom he was in pursuit of. She recognised him, and the two canoes glided side by side over the water. Then Outalissa knew that he was on the Water of Judgment, the great water over which every soul must pass to reach the beautiful island, or in which it must sink to meet the punishment of the wicked. The two lovers glided on in fear, for the water seemed at times ready to swallow them, and around them they could see many canoes, which held those whose lives had been wicked, going down. The Master of Life had, however, decreed that they should pass in safety, and they reached the shores of the beautiful island, on which they landed full of joy.

It is impossible to tell the delights with which they found it filled. Mild and soft winds, clear and sweet waters, cool and refreshing shades, perpetual verdure, inexhaustible fertility, met them on all sides. Gladly would the son of the Red Elk have remained for ever with his beloved in the happy island, but the words of the Master of Life came to him in the pauses of the breeze, saying—

[Pg 133] “Go back to thy own land, hunter. Your time has not yet come. You have not yet performed the work I have for you to do, nor can you yet enjoy those pleasures which belong to them who have performed their allotted task on earth. Go back, then. In time thou shalt rejoin her, the love of whom has brought thee hither.”

[Pg 134]


Chemanitou, being the Master of Life, at one time became the origin of a spirit that has ever since caused him and all others of his creation a great deal of disquiet. His birth was owing to an accident. It was in this wise:—

Metowac, or as the white people now call it, Long Island, was originally a vast plain, so level and free from any kind of growth that it looked like a portion of the great sea that had suddenly been made to move back and let the sand below appear, which was, in fact, the case.

Here it was that Chemanitou used to come and sit when he wished to bring any new creation to life. The place being spacious and solitary, the water upon every side, he had not only room enough, but was free from interruption.

It is well known that some of these early creations were of very great size, so that very few could live in the same place, and their strength made it difficult for even Chemanitou to control them, for when he has given them certain powers they have the use of the laws that govern those powers, till [Pg 135] it is his will to take them back to himself. Accordingly it was the custom of Chemanitou, when he wished to try the effect of these creatures, to set them in motion upon the island of Metowac, and if they did not please him, he took the life away from them again. He would set up a mammoth, or other large animal, in the centre of the island, and build it up with great care, somewhat in the manner that a cabin or a canoe is made.

Even to this day may be found traces of what had been done here in former years, and the manner in which the earth sometimes sinks down shows that this island is nothing more than a great cake of earth, a sort of platter laid upon the sea for the convenience of Chemanitou, who used it as a table upon which he might work, never having designed it for anything else, the margin of the Chatiemac (the stately swan), or Hudson river, being better adapted to the purposes of habitation.

When the Master of Life wished to build up an elephant or mammoth, he placed four cakes of clay upon the ground, at proper distances, which were moulded into shape, and became the feet of the animal.

Now sometimes these were left unfinished, and to this day the green tussocks to be seen like little islands about the marshes show where these cakes of clay were placed.

As Chemanitou went on with his work, the Neebanawbaigs (or water-spirits), the Puck-wud-jinnies (little men who vanish), and, indeed, all the [Pg 136] lesser manitoes, used to come and look on, and wonder what it would be, and how it would act.

When the animal was completed, and had dried a long time in the sun, Chemanitou opened a place in the side, and, entering in, remained there many days.

When he came forth the creature began to shiver and sway from side to side, in such a manner as shook the whole island for leagues. If its appearance pleased the Master of Life it was suffered to depart, and it was generally found that these animals plunged into the open sea upon the north side of the island, and disappeared in the great forests beyond.

Now at one time Chemanitou was a very long time building an animal of such great bulk that it looked like a mountain upon the centre of the island, and all the manitoes from all parts came to see what it was. The Puck-wud-jinnies especially made themselves very merry, capering behind its great ears, sitting within its mouth, each perched upon a tooth, and running in and out of the sockets of the eyes, thinking Chemanitou, who was finishing off other parts of the animal, would not see them.

But he can see right through everything he has made. He was glad to see the Puck-wud-jinnies so lively, and he bethought him of many new creations while he watched their motions.

When the Master of Life had completed this large animal, he was fearful to give it life, and so it was left upon the island, or work-table of Chemanitou, [Pg 137] till its great weight caused it to break through, and, sinking partly down, it stuck fast, the head and tail holding it in such a manner as to prevent it slipping further down.

Chemanitou then lifted up a piece of the back, and found it made a very good cavity, into which the old creations which failed to please him might be thrown.

He sometimes amused himself by making creatures very small and active, with which he disported awhile, and finding them of very little use in the world, and not so attractive as the little vanishers, he would take out the life, taking it to himself, and then cast them into the cave made in the body of the unfinished animal.

In this way great quantities of very odd shapes were heaped together in this Roncomcomon, or Place of Fragments.

He was always careful before casting a thing he had created aside to take out the life.

One day the Master of Life took two pieces of clay and moulded them into two large feet, like those of a panther. He did not make four—there were two only.

He put his own feet into them, and found the tread very light and springy, so that he might go with great speed and yet make no noise.

Next he built up a pair of very tall legs, in the shape of his own, and made them walk about a while. He was pleased with the motion. Then followed a round body covered with large scales, like those of the alligator.

[Pg 138] He now found the figure doubling forward, and he fastened a long black snake, that was gliding by, to the back part of the body, and wound the other end round a sapling which grew near, and this held the body upright, and made a very good tail.

The shoulders were broad and strong, like those of the buffalo, and covered with hair. The neck thick and short, and full at the back.

Thus far Chemanitou had worked with little thought, but when he came to the head he thought a long while.

He took a round ball of clay into his lap, and worked it over with great care. While he thought, he patted the ball of clay upon the top, which made it very broad and low, for Chemanitou was thinking of the panther feet and the buffalo neck. He remembered the Puck-wud-jinnies playing in the eye sockets of the great unfinished animal, and he bethought him to set the eyes out, like those of a lobster, so that the animal might see on every side.

He made the forehead broad and full, but low, for here was to be the wisdom of the forked tongue, like that of the serpent, which should be in its mouth. It should see all things and know all things. Here Chemanitou stopped, for he saw that he had never thought of such a creation before, one with two feet—a creature that should stand upright, and see upon every side.

The jaws were very strong, with ivory teeth and gills upon either side, which rose and fell whenever [Pg 139] breath passed through them. The nose was like the beak of the vulture. A tuft of porcupine-quills made the scalp lock.

Chemanitou held the head out the length of his arm, and turned it first upon one side and then upon the other. He passed it rapidly through the air, and saw the gills rise and fall, the lobster eyes whirl round, and the vulture nose look keen.

Chemanitou became very sad, yet he put the head upon the shoulders. It was the first time he had made an upright figure. It seemed to be the first idea of a man.

It was now nearly right. The bats were flying through the air, and the roar of wild beasts began to be heard. A gusty wind swept in from the ocean and passed over the island of Metowac, casting the light sand to and fro. A wavy scud was skimming along the horizon, while higher up in the sky was a dark thick cloud, upon the verge of which the moon hung for a moment and was then shut in.

A panther came by and stayed a moment, with one foot raised and bent inward, while it looked up at the image and smelt the feet that were like its own.

A vulture swooped down with a great noise of its wings, and made a dash at the beak, but Chemanitou held it back.

Then came the porcupine, the lizard, and the snake, each drawn by its kind in the image.

Chemanitou veiled his face for many hours, and the gusty wind swept by, but he did not stir.

[Pg 140] He saw that every beast of the earth seeks its kind, and that which is like draws its likeness to itself.

The Master of Life thought and thought. The idea grew into his mind that at some time he would create a creature who should be made, not after the things of the earth, but after himself.

The being should link this world to the spirit world, being made in the likeness of the Great Spirit, he should be drawn unto his likeness.

Many days and nights—whole seasons—passed while Chemanitou thought upon these things. He saw all things.

Then the Master of Life lifted up his head. The stars were looking down upon the image, and a bat had alighted upon the forehead, spreading its great wings upon each side. Chemanitou took the bat and held out its whole leathery wings (and ever since the bat, when he rests, lets his body hang down), so that he could try them over the head of the image. He then took the life of the bat away, and twisted off the body, by which means the whole thin part fell down over the head of the image and upon each side, making the ears, and a covering for the forehead like that of the hooded serpent.

Chemanitou did not cut off the face of the image below, but went on and made a chin and lips that were firm and round, that they might shut in the forked tongue and ivory teeth, and he knew that with the lips the image would smile when life should be given to it.

[Pg 141] The image was now complete save for the arms, and Chemanitou saw that it was necessary it should have hands. He grew more grave.

He had never given hands to any creature. He made the arms and the hands very beautiful, after the manner of his own.

Chemanitou now took no pleasure in the work he had done. It was not good in his sight.

He wished he had not given it hands. Might it not, when trusted with life, create? Might it not thwart the plans of the Master of Life himself?

He looked long at the image. He saw what it would do when life should be given it. He knew all things.

He now put fire in the image, but fire is not life.

He put fire within and a red glow passed through and through it. The fire dried the clay of which the image was made, and gave the image an exceedingly fierce aspect. It shone through the scales upon the breast, through the gills, and the bat-winged ears. The lobster eyes were like a living coal.

Chemanitou opened the side of the image, but he did not enter. He had given it hands and a chin.

It could smile like the manitoes themselves.

He made it walk all about the island of Metowac, that he might see how it would act. This he did by means of his will.

He now put a little life into it, but he did not take out the fire. Chemanitou saw the aspect of the creature would be very terrible, and yet that it [Pg 142] could smile in such a manner that it ceased to be ugly. He thought much upon these things. He felt that it would not be best to let such a creature live—a creature made up mostly from the beasts of the field, but with hands of power, a chin lifting the head upward, and lips holding all things within themselves.

While he thought upon these things he took the image in his hands and cast it into the cave. But Chemanitou forgot to take out the life.

The creature lay a long time in the cave and did not stir, for its fall was very great. It lay amongst the old creations that had been thrown in there without life.

Now when a long time had passed Chemanitou heard a great noise in the cave. He looked in and saw the image sitting there, and it was trying to put together the old broken things that had been cast in as of no value.

Chemanitou gathered together a vast heap of stones and sand, for large rocks are not to be had upon the island, and stopped the mouth of the cave. Many days passed and the noise within the cave grew louder. The earth shook, and hot smoke came from the ground. The manitoes crowded to Metowac to see what was the matter.

Chemanitou came also, for he remembered the image he had cast in there of which he had forgotten to take away the life.

Suddenly there was a great rising of the stones and sand, the sky grew black with wind and dust. [Pg 143] Fire played about on the ground, and water gushed high into the air.

All the manitoes fled with fear, and the image came forth with a great noise and most terrible to behold. Its life had grown strong within it, for the fire had made it very fierce.

Everything fled before it and cried—

“Machinitou! machinitou,” which means a god, but an evil god.

[Pg 144]


In one of the niches or recesses formed by a precipice in the cavern of Kickapoo Creek, which is a tributary of the Wisconsin, there is a gigantic mass of stone presenting the appearance of a human figure. It is so sheltered by the overhanging rocks and by the sides of the recess in which it stands as to assume a dark and gloomy character. Of the figure the following legend is related:—

Once upon a time there lived a woman who was called Shenanska, or the White Buffalo Robe. She was an inhabitant of the prairie, a dweller in the cabins which stand upon the verge of the hills. She was the pride of her people, not only for her beauty, which was very great, but for her goodness. The breath of the summer wind was not milder than the temper of Shenanska, the face of the sun was not fairer than her countenance.

At length the tribe was surprised in its encampment on the banks of the Kickapoo by a numerous band of the fierce Mengwe. Many of them fell fighting bravely, the greater part of the women and children were made prisoners, and the others fled to [Pg 145] the wilds for safety. It was the fortune of Shenanska to escape from death or captivity. When the alarm of the war-whoop reached her ear as she was sleeping in her lodge with her husband, she had rushed forth with him and gone with the braves to meet their assailants. When she saw half of the men of her nation lying dead around, then she fled. She had been wounded in the battle, but she still succeeded in effecting her escape to the hills. Weakened by loss of blood, she had not strength enough left to hunt for a supply of food, and she was near perishing with hunger.

While she lay beneath the shade of a tree there came to her a being not of this world.

“Shenanska,” said he, in a gentle voice, “thou art wounded and hungry, shall I heal thee and feed thee? Wilt thou return to the lands of thy tribe and live to be old, a widow and alone, or go now to the land of departed spirits and join the shade of thy husband? The choice is thine. If thou wilt live, crippled, and bowed down by wounds and disease, thou mayest. If it would please thee better to rejoin thy friends in the country beyond the Great River, say so.”

Shenanska replied that she wished to die. The spirit took her, and placed her in one of the recesses of the cavern, overshadowed by hanging rocks. He then spoke some words in a low voice, and, breathing on her, she became stone. Determined that a woman so good and beautiful should not be forgotten by the world, he made her into a statue, to which he [Pg 146] gave the power of killing suddenly any one who irreverently approached it. For a long time the statue relentlessly exercised this power. Many an unconscious Indian, venturing too near to it, fell dead without any perceptible wound. At length, tired of the havoc the statue made, the guardian spirit took away the power he had given to it. At this day the statue may be approached with safety, but the Indians hold it in fear, not intruding rashly upon it, and when in its presence treating it with great respect.

[Pg 147]


There was once among the Marshpees, a small tribe who have their hunting-grounds on the shores of the Great Lake, near the Cape of Storms, a woman whose name was Awashanks. She was rather silly, and very idle. For days together she would sit doing nothing. Then she was so ugly and ill-shaped that not one of the youths of the village would have aught to say to her by way of courtship or marriage. She squinted very much; her face was long and thin, her nose excessively large and humped, her teeth crooked and projecting, her chin almost as sharp as the bill of a loon, and her ears as large as those of a deer. Altogether she was a very odd and strangely formed woman, and wherever she went she never failed to excite much laughter and derision among those who thought that ugliness and deformity were fit subjects for ridicule.

Though so very ugly, there was one faculty she possessed in a more remarkable degree than any woman of the tribe. It was that of singing. Nothing, unless such could be found in the land of spirits, could equal the sweetness of her voice or the beauty of her songs. Her favourite place of resort [Pg 148] was a small hill, a little removed from the river of her people, and there, seated beneath the shady trees, she would while away the hours of summer with her charming songs. So beautiful and melodious were the things she uttered, that, by the time she had sung a single sentence, the branches above her head would be filled with the birds that came thither to listen, the thickets around her would be crowded with beasts, and the waters rolling beside her would be alive with fishes, all attracted by the sweet sounds. From the minnow to the porpoise, from the wren to the eagle, from the snail to the lobster, from the mouse to the mole,—all hastened to the spot to listen to the charming songs of the hideous Marshpee maiden.

Among the fishes which repaired every night to the vicinity of the Little Hillock, which was the chosen resting-place of the ugly songstress, was the great chief of the trouts, a tribe of fish inhabiting the river near by. The chief was of a far greater size than the people of his nation usually are, being as long as a man, and quite as thick.

Of all the creatures which came to listen to the singing of Awashanks none appeared to enjoy it so highly as the chief of the trouts. As his bulk prevented him from approaching so near as he wished, he, from time to time, in his eagerness to enjoy the music to the best advantage, ran his nose into the ground, and thus worked his way a considerable distance into the land. Nightly he continued his exertions to approach the source of the delightful sounds [Pg 149] he heard, till at length he had ploughed out a wide and handsome channel, and so effected his passage from the river to the hill, a distance extending an arrow’s-flight. Thither he repaired every night at the commencement of darkness, sure to meet the maiden who had become so necessary to his happiness. Soon he began to speak of the pleasure he enjoyed, and to fill the ears of Awashanks with fond protestations of his love and affection. Instead of singing to him, she soon began to listen to his voice. It was something so new and strange to her to hear the tones of love and courtship, a thing so unusual to be told she was beautiful, that it is not wonderful her head was turned by the new incident, and that she began to think the voice of her lover the sweetest she had ever heard. One thing marred their happiness. This was that the trout could not live upon land, nor the maiden in the water. This state of things gave them much sorrow.

They had met one evening at the usual place, and were discoursing together, lamenting that two who loved one another so should be doomed to always live apart, when a man appeared close to Awashanks. He asked the lovers why they seemed to be so sad.

The chief of the trouts told the stranger the cause of their sorrow.

“Be not grieved nor hopeless,” said the stranger, when the chief had finished. “The impediments can be removed. I am the spirit who presides over fishes, and though I cannot make a man or woman [Pg 150] of a fish, I can make them into fish. Under my power Awashanks shall become a beautiful trout.”

With that he bade the girl follow him into the river. When they had waded in some little depth he took up some water in his hand and poured it on her head, muttering some words, of which none but himself knew the meaning. Immediately a change took place in her. Her body took the form of a fish, and in a few moments she was a complete trout. Having accomplished this transformation the spirit gave her to the chief of the trouts, and the pair glided off into the deep and quiet waters. She did not, however, forget the land of her birth. Every season, on the same night as that upon which her disappearance from her tribe had been wrought, there were to be seen two trouts of enormous size playing in the water off the shore. They continued these visits till the pale-faces came to the country, when, deeming themselves to be in danger from a people who paid no reverence to the spirits of the land, they bade it adieu for ever.

[Pg 151]


A little orphan boy, who had no one to care for him, once lived with his uncle, who treated him very badly, making him do hard work, and giving him very little to eat, so that the boy pined away and never grew much, but became, through hard usage, very thin and light. At last the uncle pretended to be ashamed of this treatment, and determined to make amends for it by fattening the boy up. He really wished, however, to kill him by overfeeding him. He told his wife to give the boy plenty of bear’s meat, and let him have the fat, which is thought to be the best part. They were both very assiduous in cramming him, and one day nearly choked him to death by forcing the fat down his throat. The boy escaped, and fled from the lodge. He knew not where to go, and wandered about. When night came on he was afraid the wild beasts would eat him, so he climbed up into the forks of a high pine-tree, and there he fell asleep in the branches.

As he was asleep a person appeared to him from the high sky, and said—

[Pg 152] “My poor lad, I pity you, and the bad usage you have received from your uncle has led me to visit you. Follow me, and step in my tracks.”

Immediately his sleep left him, and he rose up and followed his guide, mounting up higher and higher in the air until he reached the lofty sky. Here twelve arrows were put into his hands, and he was told that there were a great many manitoes in the northern sky, against whom he must go to war and try to waylay and shoot them. Accordingly he went to that part of the sky, and, at long intervals, shot arrow after arrow until he had expended eleven in a vain attempt to kill the manitoes. At the flight of each arrow there was a long and solitary streak of lightning in the sky—then all was clear again, and not a cloud or spot could be seen. The twelfth arrow he held a long time in his hands, and looked around keenly on every side to spy the manitoes he was after, but these manitoes were very cunning, and could change their form in a moment. All they feared was the boy’s arrows, for these were magic weapons, which had been given to him by a good spirit, and had power to kill if aimed aright. At length the boy drew up his last arrow, took aim, and let fly, as he thought, into the very heart of the chief of the manitoes. Before the arrow reached him, however, he changed himself into a rock, into which the head of the arrow sank deep and stuck fast.

“Now your gifts are all expended,” cried the enraged manito, “and I will make an example of [Pg 153] your audacity and pride of heart for lifting your bow against me.”

So saying, he transformed the boy into the Nazhik-a-wä wä sun, or Lone Lightning, which may be observed in the northern sky to this day.

[Pg 154]


Aggo-dah-gauda had one leg hooped up to his thigh so that he was obliged to get along by hopping. He had a beautiful daughter, and his chief care was to secure her from being carried off by the king of the buffaloes. He was peculiar in his habits, and lived in a loghouse, and he advised his daughter to keep indoors, and never go out for fear she should be stolen away.

One sunshiny morning Aggo-dah-gauda prepared to go out fishing, but before he left the lodge he reminded his daughter of her strange lover.

“My daughter,” said he, “I am going out to fish, and as the day will be a pleasant one, you must recollect that we have an enemy near who is constantly going about, and so you must not leave the lodge.”

When he reached his fishing-place, he heard a voice singing—

“Man with the leg tied up,
Man with the leg tied up,
Broken hip—hip—
[Pg 155] Man with the leg tied up,
Man with the leg tied up,
Broken leg—leg—

He looked round but saw no one, so he suspected the words were sung by his enemies the buffaloes, and hastened home.

The girl’s father had not been long absent from the lodge when she began to think to herself—

“It is hard to be for ever kept indoors. The spring is coming on, and the days are so sunny and warm, that it would be very pleasant to sit out of doors. My father says it is dangerous. I know what I will do: I will get on the top of the house, and there I can comb and dress my hair.”

She accordingly got up on the roof of the small house, and busied herself in untying and combing her beautiful hair, which was not only fine and shining, but so long that it reached down to the ground, hanging over the eaves of the house as she combed it. She was so intent upon this that she forgot all ideas of danger. All of a sudden the king of the buffaloes came dashing by with his herd of followers, and, taking her between his horns, away he cantered over the plains, and then, plunging into a river that bounded his land, he carried her safely to his lodge on the other side. Here he paid her every attention in order to gain her affections, but all to no purpose, for she sat pensive and disconsolate in the lodge among the other females, and scarcely ever spoke. The buffalo king did all he could to [Pg 156] please her, and told the others in the lodge to give her everything she wanted, and to study her in every way. They set before her the choicest food, and gave her the seat of honour in the lodge. The king himself went out hunting to obtain the most delicate bits of meat both of animals and wild-fowl, and, not content with these proofs of his love, he fasted himself and would often take his pib-be-gwun (Indian flute) and sit near the lodge singing—

“My sweetheart,
My sweetheart,
Ah me!
When I think of you,
When I think of you,
Ah me!
How I love you,
How I love you,
Ah me!
Do not hate me,
Do not hate me,
Ah me!”

In the meantime Aggo-dah-gauda came home, and finding his daughter had been stolen he determined to get her back. For this purpose he immediately set out. He could easily trace the king till he came to the banks of the river, and then he saw he had plunged in and swum over. When Aggo-dah-gauda came to the river, however, he found it covered with a thin coating of ice, so that he could not swim across nor walk over. He therefore determined to wait on the bank a day or two till the ice might [Pg 157] melt or become strong enough to bear him. Very soon the ice was strong enough, and Aggo-dah-gauda crossed over. On the other side, as he went along, he found branches torn off and cast down, and these had been strewn thus by his daughter to aid him in following her. The way in which she managed it was this. Her hair was all untied when she was captured, and as she was carried along it caught in the branches as she passed, so she took the pieces out of her hair and threw them down on the path.

When Aggo-dah-gauda came to the king’s lodge it was evening. Carefully approaching it, he peeped through the sides and saw his daughter sitting there disconsolately. She saw him, and knowing that it was her father come for her, she said to the king, giving him a tender glance—

“I will go and get you a drink of water.”

The king was delighted at what he thought was a mark of her affection, and the girl left the lodge with a dipper in her hand. The king waited a long time for her, and as she did not return he went out with his followers, but nothing could be seen or heard of the girl. The buffaloes sallied out into the plains, and had not gone far by the light of the moon, when they were attacked by a party of hunters. Many of them fell, but the buffalo-king, being stronger and swifter than the others, escaped, and, flying to the west, was never seen more.

[Pg 158]


A great while ago the Shawanos nation took up the war-talk against the Walkullas, who lived on their own lands on the borders of the Great Salt Lake, and near the Burning Water. Part of the nation were not well pleased with the war. The head chief and the counsellors said the Walkullas were very brave and cunning, and the priests said their god was mightier than ours. The old and experienced warriors said the counsellors were wise, and had spoken well; but the Head Buffalo, the young warriors, and all who wished for war, would not listen to their words. They said that our fathers had beaten their fathers in many battles, that the Shawanos were as brave and strong as they ever were, and the Walkullas much weaker and more cowardly. They said the old and timid, the faint heart and the failing knee, might stay at home to take care of the women and children, and sleep and dream of those who had never dared bend a bow or look upon a painted cheek or listen to a war-whoop, while the young warriors went to war and drank [Pg 159] much blood. When two moons were gone they said they would come back with many prisoners and scalps, and have a great feast. The arguments of the fiery young men prevailed with all the youthful warriors, but the elder and wiser listened to the priests and counsellors, and remained in their villages to see the leaf fall and the grass grow, and to gather in the nut and follow the trail of the deer.

Two moons passed, then a third, then came the night enlivened by many stars, but the warriors returned not. As the land of the Walkullas lay but a woman’s journey of six suns from the villages of our nation, our people began to fear that our young men had been overcome in battle and were all slain. The head chief, the counsellors, and all the warriors who had remained behind, came together in the great wigwam, and called the priests to tell them where their sons were. Chenos, who was the wisest of them all (as well he might be, for he was older than the oak-tree whose top dies by the hand of Time), answered that they were killed by their enemies, the Walkullas, assisted by men of a strange speech and colour, who lived beyond the Great Salt Lake, fought with thunder and lightning, and came to our enemies on the back of a great bird with many white wings. When he had thus made known to our people the fate of the warriors there was a dreadful shout of horror throughout the village. The women wept aloud, and the men sprang up and seized their bows and arrows to go to war with the Walkullas and the strange warriors who had helped [Pg 160] to slay their sons, but Chenos bade them sit down again.

“There is one yet living,” said he. “He will soon be here. The sound of his footsteps is in my ear as he crosses the hollow hills. He has killed many of his enemies; he has glutted his vengeance fully; he has drunk blood in plenteous draughts. Long he fought with the men of his own race, and many fell before him, but he fled from the men who came to the battle armed with the real lightning, and hurling unseen death. Even now I see him coming; the shallow streams he has forded; the deep rivers he has swum. He is tired and hungry, and his quiver has no arrows, but he brings a prisoner in his arms. Lay the deer’s flesh on the fire, and bring hither the pounded corn. Taunt him not, for he is valiant, and has fought like a hungry bear.”

As the wise Chenos spoke these words to the grey-bearded counsellors and warriors the Head Buffalo walked calm and cool into the midst of them. There he stood, tall and straight as a young pine, but he spoke no word, looking on the head chief and the counsellors. There was blood upon his body, dried on by the sun, and the arm next his heart was bound up with the skin of the deer. His eye was hollow and his body gaunt, as though he had fasted long. His quiver held no arrows.

“Where are our sons?” inquired the head chief of the warrior.

“Ask the wolf and the panther,” he answered.

“Brother! tell us where are our sons!” [Pg 161] exclaimed the chief. “Our women ask us for their sons. They want them. Where are they?”

“Where are the snows of last year?” replied the warrior. “Have they not gone down the swelling river into the Great Lake? They have, and even so have your sons descended the stream of Time into the great Lake of Death. The great star sees them as they lie by the water of the Walkulla, but they see him not. The panther and the wolf howl unheeded at their feet, and the eagle screams, but they hear them not. The vulture whets his beak on their bones, the wild-cat rends their flesh, both are unfelt, for your sons are dead.”

When the warrior told these things to our people, they set up their loud death-howl. The women wept; but the men sprang up and seized their weapons, to go to meet the Walkullas, the slayers of their sons. The chief warrior rose again—

“Fathers and warriors,” said he, “hear me and believe my words, for I will tell you the truth. Who ever heard the Head Buffalo lie, and who ever saw him afraid of his enemies? Never, since the time that he chewed the bitter root and put on the new moccasins, has he lied or fled from his foes. He has neither a forked tongue nor a faint heart. Fathers, the Walkullas are weaker than us. Their arms are not so strong, their hearts are not so big, as ours. As well might the timid deer make war upon the hungry wolf, as the Walkullas upon the Shawanos. We could slay them as easily as a hawk pounces into a dove’s nest and steals away her [Pg 162] unfeathered little ones. The Head Buffalo alone could have taken the scalps of half the nation. But a strange tribe has come among them—men whose skin is white as the folds of the cloud, and whose hair shines like the great star of day. They do not fight as we fight, with bows and arrows and with war-axes, but with spears which thunder and lighten, and send unseen death. The Shawanos fall before it as the berries and acorns fall when the forest is shaken by the wind in the beaver-moon. Look at the arm nearest my heart. It was stricken by a bolt from the strangers’ thunder; but he fell by the hands of the Head Buffalo, who fears nothing but shame, and his scalp lies at the feet of the head chief.

“Fathers, this was our battle. We came upon the Walkullas, I and my brothers, when they were unprepared. They were just going to hold the dance of the green corn. The whole nation had come to the dance; there were none left behind save the sick and the very old. None were painted; they were all for peace, and were as women. We crept close to them, and hid in the thick bushes which grew upon the edge of their camp, for the Shawanos are the cunning adder and not the foolish rattlesnake. We saw them preparing to offer a sacrifice to the Great Spirit. We saw them clean the deer, and hang his head, horns, and entrails upon the great white pole with a forked top, which stood over the roof of the council wigwam. They did not know that the Master of Life had sent the Shawanos to mix blood with the sacrifices. We saw them take the new corn [Pg 163] and rub it upon their hands, breasts, and faces. Then the head chief, having first thanked the Master of Life for his goodness to the Walkullas, got up and gave his brethren a talk. He told them that the Great Spirit loved them, and had made them victorious over all their enemies; that he had sent a great many fat bears, deer, and moose to their hunting-ground, and had given them fish, whose heads were very small and bodies very big; that he had made their corn grow tall and sweet, and had ordered his suns to ripen it in the beginning of the harvest moon, that they might make a great feast for the strangers who had come from a far country on the wings of a great bird to warm themselves at the Walkullas’ fire. He told them they must love the Great Spirit, take care of the old men, tell no lies, and never break the faith of the pipe of peace; that they must not harm the strangers, for they were their brothers, but must live in peace with them, and give them lands and wives from among their women. If they did these things the Great Spirit, he said, would make their corn grow taller than ever, and direct them to hunting-grounds where the moose should be as thick as the stars.

“Fathers and warriors, we heard these words; but we knew not what to do. We feared not the Walkullas; the God of War, we saw, had given them into our hands. But who were the strange tribe? Were they armed as we were, and was their Great Medicine (Great Spirit) like ours? Warriors, you [Pg 164] all knew the Young Eagle, the son of the Old Eagle, who is here with us; but his wings are feeble, he flies no more to the field of blood. The Young Eagle feared nothing but shame, and he said—

“‘I see many men sit round a fire, I will go and see who they are!’

“He went. The Old Eagle looks at me as if he would say, ‘Why went not the chief warrior himself?’ I will tell you. The Head Buffalo is a head taller than the tallest man of his tribe. Can the moose crawl into the fox’s hole? Can the swan hide himself under a little leaf? The Young Eagle was little, save in his soul. He was not full-grown, save in his heart. He could go and not be seen or heard. He was the cunning black-snake which creeps silently in the grass, and none thinks him near till he strikes.

“He came back and told us there were many strange men a little way before us whose faces were white, and who wore no skins, whose cabins were white as the snow upon the Backbone of the Great Spirit (the Alleghany Mountains), flat at the top, and moving with the wind like the reeds on the bank of a river; that they did not talk like the Walkullas, but spoke a strange tongue, the like of which he had never heard before. Many of our warriors would have turned back to our own lands. The Flying Squirrel said it was not cowardice to do so; but the Head Buffalo never turns till he has tasted the blood of his foes. The Young Eagle said he had eaten the bitter root and put on the new [Pg 165] moccasins, and had been made a man, and his father and the warriors would cry shame on him if he took no scalp. Both he and the Head Buffalo said they would go and attack the Walkullas and their friends alone. The young warriors then said they would also go to the battle, and with a great heart, as their fathers had done. Then the Shawanos rushed upon their foes.

“The Walkullas fell before us like rain in the summer months. We were as a fire among rushes. We went upon them when they were unprepared, when they were as children; and for a while the Great Spirit gave them into our hands. But a power rose up against us that we could not withstand. The strange men came upon us armed with thunder and lightning. Why delays my tongue to tell its story? Fathers, your sons have fallen like the leaves of a forest-tree in a high wind, like the flowers of spring after a frost, like drops of rain in the sturgeon moon! Warriors, the sprouts which sprang up from the withered oaks have perished, the young braves of our nation lie food for the eagle and the wild-cat by the arm of the Great Lake!

“Fathers, the bolt from the strangers’ thunder entered my flesh, yet I did not fly. These six scalps I tore from the Walkullas, but this has yellow hair. Have I done well?”

The head chief and the counsellors answered he had done very well, but Chenos answered—

“No. You went into the Walkullas’ camp when [Pg 166] the tribe were feasting to the Great Spirit, and you disturbed the sacrifice, and mixed human blood with it. Therefore has this evil come upon us, for the Great Spirit is very angry.”

Then the head chief and the counsellors asked Chenos what must be done to appease the Master of Breath.

Chenos answered—

“The Head Buffalo, with the morning, will offer to him that which he holds dearest.”

The Head Buffalo looked upon the priests, and said—

“The Head Buffalo fears the Great Spirit. He will kill a deer, and, in the morning, it shall be burned to the Great Spirit.”

Chenos said to him—

“You have told the council how the battle was fought and who fell; you have shown the spent quiver and the scalps, but you have not spoken of your prisoner. The Great Spirit keeps nothing hid from his priests, of whom Chenos is one. He has told me you have a prisoner, one with tender feet and a trembling heart.”

“Let any one say the Head Buffalo ever lied,” replied the warrior. “He never spoke but truth. He has a prisoner, a woman taken from the strange camp, a daughter of the sun, a maiden from the happy islands which no Shawano has ever seen, and she shall live with me, and become the mother of my children.”

“Where is she?” asked the head chief.

[Pg 167] “She sits on the bank of the river at the bend where we dug up the bones of the great beast, beneath the tree which the Master of Breath shivered with his lightnings. I placed her there because the spot is sacred, and none dare disturb her. I will go and fetch her to the council fire, but let no one touch her or show anger, for she is fearful as a young deer, and weeps like a child for its mother.”

Soon he returned, and brought with him a woman. She shook like a reed in the winter’s wind, and many tears ran down her cheeks. The men sat as though their tongues were frozen. Was she beautiful? Go forth to the forest when it is clothed with the flowers of spring, look at the tall maize when it waves in the wind, and ask if they are beautiful. Her skin was white as the snow which falls upon the mountains beyond our lands, save upon her cheeks, where it was red,—not such red as the Indian paints when he goes to war, but such as the Master of Life gives to the flower which grows among thorns. Her eyes shone like the star which never moves. Her step was like that of the deer when it is a little scared.

The Head Buffalo said to the council—

“This is my prisoner. I fought hard for her. Three warriors, tall, strong, and painted, three pale men, armed with red lightning, stood at her side. Where are they now? I bore her away in my arms, for fear had overcome her. When night came on I wrapped skins around her, and laid her under the leafy branches of the tree to keep off the cold, and [Pg 168] kindled a fire, and watched by her till the sun rose. Who will say she shall not live with the Head Buffalo, and be the mother of his children?”

Then the Old Eagle got up, but he could not walk strong, for he was the oldest warrior of his tribe, and had seen the flowers bloom many times, the infant trees of the forest die of old age, and the friends of his boyhood laid in the dust. He went to the woman, laid his hands on her head, and wept. The other warriors, who had lost their kindred and sons in the war with the Walkullas, shouted and lamented. The woman also wept.

“Where is the Young Eagle?” asked the Old Eagle of the Head Buffalo. The other warriors, in like manner, asked for their kindred who had been killed.

“Fathers, they are dead,” answered the warrior. “The Head Buffalo has said they are dead, and he never lies. But let my fathers take comfort. Who can live for ever? The foot of the swift step and the hand of the stout bow become feeble. The eye grows dim, and the heart of many days quails at the fierce glance of warriors. ’Twas better they should die like brave men in their youth than become old men and faint.”

“We must have revenge,” they all cried. “We will not listen to the young warrior who pines for the daughter of the sun.”

Then they began to sing a mournful song. The strange woman wept. Tears rolled down her cheeks, and she often looked up to the house of the Great [Pg 169] Spirit and spoke, but none could understand her. All the time the Old Eagle and the other warriors begged that she should be burned to revenge them.

“Brothers and warriors,” said Chenos, “our sons did wrong when they broke in upon the sacred dance the Walkullas made to their god, and he lent his thunder to the strange warriors. Let us not draw down his vengeance further by doing we know not what. Let the beautiful woman remain this night in the wigwam of the council, covered with skins, and let none disturb her. To-morrow we will offer a sacrifice of deer’s flesh to the Great Spirit, and if he will not give her to the raging fire and the torments of the avengers, he will tell us so by the words of his mouth. If he does not speak, it shall be done to her as the Old Eagle and his brothers have said.”

The head chief said—

“Chenos has spoken well; wisdom is in his words. Make for the strange woman a soft bed of skins, and treat her kindly, for it may be she is a daughter of the Great Spirit.”

Then they all returned to their cabins and slept, save the Head Buffalo, who, fearing for the woman’s life, laid himself down at the door of the lodge, and watched.

When the morning came the warrior went to the forest and killed a deer which he brought to Chenos, who prepared it for a sacrifice, and sang a song while the flesh lay on the fire.

“Let us listen,” said Chenos, stopping the warriors [Pg 170] in their dance. “Let us see if the Great Spirit hears us.”

They listened, but could hear nothing. Chenos asked him why he did not speak, but he did not answer. Then they sang again.

“Hush!” said Chenos listening. “I hear the crowing of the Great Turkey-cock. I hear him speaking.”

They stopped, and Chenos went close to the fire and talked with his master, but nobody saw with whom he talked.

“What does the Great Spirit tell his prophet?” asked the head chief.

“He says,” answered Chenos, “the young woman must not be offered to him. He wills her to live and become the mother of many children.”

Many were pleased that she was to live, but those who had lost brothers or sons were not appeased, and they said—

“We will have blood. We will go to the priest of the Evil Spirit, and ask him if his master will not give us revenge.”

Not far from where our nation had their council fire was a great hill, covered with stunted trees and moss, and rugged rocks. There was a great cave in it, in which dwelt Sketupah, the priest of the Evil One, who there did worship to his master. Sketupah would have been tall had he been straight, but he was more crooked than a bent bow. His hair was like a bunch of grapes, and his eyes like two coals of fire. Many were the gifts our nation made to him to gain his favour, and the favour of his master. [Pg 171] Who but he feasted on the fattest buffalo hump? Who but he fed on the earliest ear of milky corn, on the best things that grew on the land or in the water?

The Old Eagle went to the mouth of the cave and cried with a loud voice—


“Sketupah!” answered the hoarse voice of the Evil One from the hollow cave. He soon came and asked the Old Eagle what he wanted.

“Revenge for our sons who have been killed by the Walkullas and their friends. Will your master hear us?”

“My master must have a sacrifice; he must smell blood,” answered Sketupah. “Then we shall know if he will give revenge. Bring hither a sacrifice in the morning.”

So in the morning they brought a sacrifice, and the priest laid it on the fire while he danced around. He ceased singing and listened, but the Evil Spirit answered not. Just as he was going to commence another song the warriors saw a large ball rolling very fast up the hill to the spot where they stood. It was the height of a man. When it came up to them it began to unwind itself slowly, until at last a little strange-looking man crept out of the ball, which was made of his own hair. He was no higher than one’s shoulders. One of his feet made a strange track, such as no warrior had ever seen before. His face was as black as the shell of the butter-nut or the feathers of the raven, and his eyes as green as grass. His hair was of the colour [Pg 172] of moss, and so long that, as the wind blew it out, it seemed the tail of a fiery star.

“What do you want of me?” he asked.

The priest answered—

“The Shawanos want revenge. They want to sacrifice the beautiful daughter of the sun, whom the Head Buffalo has brought from the camp of the Walkullas.”

“They shall have their wish,” said the Evil Spirit. “Go and fetch her.”

Then Old Eagle and the warriors fetched her. Head Buffalo would have fought for her, but Chenos commanded him to be still.

“My master,” he said, “will see she does not suffer.” Then they fastened her to the stake. The head warrior had stood still, for he hoped that the priest of the Great Spirit should snatch her away from the Evil One. Now he shouted his war-cry and rushed upon Sketupah. It was in vain. Sketupah’s master did but breathe upon the face of the warrior when he fell as though he had struck him a blow, and never breathed more. Then the Evil One commanded them to seize Chenos.

“Come, my master,” cried Chenos, “for the hands of the Evil One are upon me.”

As soon as he had said this, very far over the tall hills, which Indians call the Backbone of the Great Spirit, the people saw two great lights, brighter and larger than stars, moving very fast towards the land of the Shawanos. One was just as high as another, and they were both as high as the goat-sucker flies [Pg 173] before a thunderstorm. At first they were close together, but as they came nearer they grew wider apart. Soon our people saw that they were two eyes, and in a little while the body of a great man, whose head nearly reached the sky, came after them. Brothers, the eyes of the Great Spirit always go before him, and nothing is hid from his sight. Brothers, I cannot describe the Master of Life as he stood before the warriors of our nation. Can you look steadily on the star of the morning?

When the Evil Spirit saw the Spirit of Good coming, he began to grow in stature, and continued swelling until he was as tall and big as he. When the Spirit of Good came near and saw how the Evil Spirit had grown, he stopped, and, looking angry, said, with a voice that shook the hills—

“You lied; you promised to stay among the white people and the nations towards the rising sun, and not trouble my people more.”

“This woman,” replied the Evil Spirit, “comes from my country; she is mine.”

“She is mine,” said the Great Spirit. “I had given her for a wife to the warrior whom you have killed. Tell me no more lies, bad manito, lest I punish you. Away, and see you trouble my people no more.”

The cowardly spirit made no answer, but shrank down to the size he was when he first came. Then he began as before to roll himself up in his hair, which he soon did, and then disappeared as he came. When he was gone, the Great Spirit shrank till he [Pg 174] was no larger than a Shawano, and began talking to our people in a soft sweet voice—

“Men of the Shawanos nation, I love you and have always loved you. I bade you conquer your enemies; I gave your foes into your hands. I sent herds of deer and many bears and moose to your hunting-ground, and made my suns shine upon your corn. Who lived so well, who fought so bravely as the Shawanos? Whose women bore so many sons as yours?

“Why did you disturb the sacrifice which the Walkullas were offering to me at the feast of green corn? I was angry, and gave your warriors into the hands of their enemies.

“Shawanos, hear my words, and forget them not; do as I bid you, and you shall see my power and my goodness. Offer no further violence to the white maiden, but treat her kindly. Go now and rake up the ashes of the sacrifice fire into a heap, gathering up the brands. When the great star of evening rises, open the ashes, put in the body of the Head Buffalo, lay on much wood, and kindle a fire on it. Let all the nation be called together, for all must assist in laying wood on the fire, but they must put on no pine, nor the tree which bears white flowers, nor the grape-vine which yields no fruit, nor the shrub whose dew blisters the flesh. The fire must be kept burning two whole moons. It must not go out; it must burn night and day. On the first day of the third moon put no wood on the fire, but let it die. On the morning of the second day the Shawanos [Pg 175] must all come to the heap of ashes—every man, woman, and child must come, and the aged who cannot walk must be helped to it. Then Chenos and the head chief must bring out the beautiful woman, and place her near the ashes. This is the will of the Great Spirit.”

When he had finished these words he began to swell until he had reached his former bulk and stature. Then at each of his shoulders came out a wing of the colour of the gold-headed pigeon. Gently shaking these, he took flight from the land of the Shawanos, and was never seen in those beautiful regions again.

The Shawanos did as he bade them. They raked the ashes together, laid the body of Head Buffalo in them, lighted the fire, and kept it burning the appointed time. On the first day of the third moon they let the fire out, assembled the nation around, and placed the beautiful woman near the ashes. They waited, and looked to see what would happen. At last the priests and warriors who were nearest began to shout, crying out—

“Piqua!” which in the Shawanos tongue means a man coming out of the ashes, or a man made of ashes.

They told no lie. There he stood, a man tall and straight as a young pine, looking like a Shawanos, but handsomer than any man of our nation. The first thing he did was to cry the war-whoop, and demand paint, a club, a bow and arrows, and a hatchet,—all of which were given him. Looking [Pg 176] around he saw the white woman, and he walked up to her, and gazed in her eyes. Then he came to the head chief and said—

“I must have that woman for my wife.”

“What are you?” asked the chief.

“A man of ashes,” he replied.

“Who made you?”

“The Great Spirit; and now let me go, that I may take my bow and arrows, kill my deer, and come back and take the beautiful maiden for my wife.”

The chief asked Chenos—

“Shall he have her? Does the Great Spirit give her to him?”

“Yes,” replied the priest. “The Great Spirit has willed that he shall have her, and from them shall arise a tribe to be called Piqua.”

Brothers, I am a Piqua, descended from the man made of ashes. If I have told you a lie, blame not me, for I have but told the story as I heard it. Brothers, I have done.

[Pg 177]


The Great Spirit made man, and all the good things in the world, while the Evil Spirit was asleep. When the Evil Spirit awoke he saw an Indian, and, wondering at his appearance, he went to him and asked—

“Who made you?”

“The Great Spirit,” replied the man.

“Oh, oh,” thought the Evil Spirit, “if he can make such a being so can I.”

So he went to work, and tried his best to make an Indian like the man he saw, but he made some mistake, and only made a black man. When he saw that he had failed he was very angry, and in that state was walking about when he met a black bear.

“Who made you?” he asked.

“The Great Spirit,” answered the bear.

“Then,” thought the Evil Spirit, “I will make a bear too.”

To work he went, but do what he would he could not make a black bear, but only a grizzly one, unfit for food. More disgusted than before, he was walking through the forest when he found a beautiful serpent.

[Pg 178] “Who made you?” he asked.

“The Great Spirit,” replied the serpent.

“Then I will make some like you,” said the Evil Maker.

He tried his best, but the serpents he made were all noisome and poisonous, and he saw that he had failed again.

Then it occurred to him that he might make some trees and flowers, but all his efforts only resulted in his producing some poor deformed trees and weeds.

Then he said—

“It is true, I have failed in making things like the Great Spirit, but I can at least spoil what he has made.”

And he went off to put murder and lies in the hearts of men.

[Pg 179]


Manabozho set out to travel. He wished to outdo all others, and see new countries, but after walking over America, and encountering many adventures, he became satisfied as well as fatigued. He had heard of great feats in hunting, and felt a desire to try his power in that way.

One evening, as he was walking along the shores of a great lake, weary and hungry, he encountered a great magician in the form of an old wolf, with six young ones, coming towards him. The wolf, as soon as he saw him, told his whelps to keep out of the way of Manabozho.

“For I know,” said he, “that it is he we see yonder.”

The young wolves were in the act of running off, when Manabozho cried out—

“My grandchildren, where are you going? Stop, and I will go with you.”

He appeared rejoiced to see the old wolf, and asked him whither he was journeying. Being told that they were looking out for a place where they could find the most game, and best pass the winter, [Pg 180] he said he should like to go with them, and addressed the old wolf in these words—

“Brother, I have a passion for the chase. Are you willing to change me into a wolf?”

The old wolf was agreeable, and Manabozho’s transformation was effected.

He was fond of novelty. He found himself a wolf corresponding in size with the others, but he was not quite satisfied with the change, crying out—

“Oh! make me a little larger.”

They did so.

“A little larger still,” he cried.

They said—

“Let us humour him,” and granted his request.

“Well,” said he, “that will do.” Then looking at his tail—

“Oh!” cried he, “make my tail a little longer and more bushy.”

They made it so, and shortly after they all started off in company, dashing up a ravine. After getting into the woods some distance, they fell in with the tracks of moose. The young wolves went after them, Manabozho and the old wolf following at their leisure.

“Well,” said the wolf, “who do you think is the fastest of my sons? Can you tell by the jumps they take?”

“Why,” replied he, “that one that takes such long jumps; he is the fastest, to be sure.”

“Ha, ha! You are mistaken,” said the old wolf. “He makes a good start, but he will be the first to [Pg 181] tire out. This one who appears to be behind will be the first to kill the game.”

Soon after they came to the place where the young ones had killed the game. One of them had dropped his bundle there.

“Take that, Manabozho,” said the old wolf.

“Esa,” he replied, “what will I do with a dirty dog-skin?”

The wolf took it up; it was a beautiful robe.

“Oh! I will carry it now,” said Manabozho.

“Oh no,” replied the wolf, who at the moment exerted his magic power. “It is a robe of pearls.”

From that moment he lost no opportunity of displaying his superiority, both in the hunter’s and magician’s art, over his conceited companion.

Coming to a place where the moose had lain down, they saw that the young wolves had made a fresh start after their prey.

“Why,” said the wolf, “this moose is poor. I know by the tracks, for I can always tell whether they are fat or not.”

They next came to a place where one of the wolves had tried to bite the moose, and, failing, had broken one of his teeth on a tree.

“Manabozho,” said the wolf, “one of your grandchildren has shot at the game. Take his arrow. There it is.”

“No,” replied he, “what will I do with a dirty tooth?”

The old wolf took it up, and, behold! it was a beautiful silver arrow.

[Pg 182] When they overtook the young ones, they found they had killed a very fat moose. Manabozho was very hungry, but, such is the power of enchantment, he saw nothing but bones, picked quite clean. He thought to himself—

“Just as I expected. Dirty, greedy fellows!”

However, he sat down without saying a word, and the old wolf said to one of the young ones—

“Give some meat to your grandfather.”

The wolf, coming near to Manabozho, opened his mouth wide as if he had eaten too much, whereupon Manabozho jumped up, saying—

“You filthy dog, you have eaten so much that you are ill. Get away to some other place.”

The old wolf, hearing these words, came to Manabozho, and, behold! before him was a heap of fresh ruddy meat with the fat lying all ready prepared. Then Manabozho put on a smiling-face.

“Amazement!” cried he, “how fine the meat is!”

“Yes,” replied the wolf; “it is always so with us. We know our work, and always get the best. It is not a long tail that makes a hunter.”

Manabozho bit his lip.

They then commenced fixing their winter quarters, while the young ones went out in search of game, of which they soon brought in a large supply. One day, during the absence of the young wolves, the old one amused himself by cracking the large bones of a moose.

“Manabozho,” said he, “cover your head with the robe, and do not look at me while I am at these bones, for a piece may fly in your eye.”

[Pg 183] Manabozho covered his head, but, looking through a rent in the robe, he saw all the other was about. At that moment a piece of bone flew off and hit him in the eye. He cried out—

“Tyau! Why do you strike me, you old dog!”

The wolf said—

“You must have been looking at me.”

“No, no,” replied Manabozho; “why should I want to look at you?”

“Manabozho,” said the wolf, “you must have been looking, or you would not have got hurt.”

“No, no,” said Manabozho; and he thought to himself, “I will repay the saucy wolf for this.”

Next day, taking up a bone to obtain the marrow, he said to the old wolf—

“Cover your head, and don’t look at me, for I fear a piece may fly in your eye.”

The wolf did so. Then Manabozho took the leg-bone of the moose, and, looking first to see if the old wolf was well covered, he hit him a blow with all his might. The wolf jumped up, and cried out—

“Why do you strike me so?”

“Strike you?” exclaimed Manabozho. “I did not strike you!”

“You did,” said the wolf.

“How can you say I did, when you did not see me. Were you looking?” said Manabozho.

He was an expert hunter when he undertook the work in earnest, and one day he went out and killed a fat moose. He was very hungry, and sat down to [Pg 184] eat, but fell into great doubts as to the proper point in the carcass to begin at.

“Well,” said he, “I don’t know where to commence. At the head? No. People would laugh, and say, ‘He ate him backward!’”

Then he went to the side.

“No,” said he, “they will say I ate him sideways.”

He then went to the hind-quarter.

“No,” said he, “they will say I ate him forward.”

At last, however, seeing that he must begin the attack somewhere, he commenced upon the hind-quarter. He had just got a delicate piece in his mouth when the tree just by began to make a creaking noise, rubbing one large branch against another. This annoyed him.

“Why!” he exclaimed, “I cannot eat when I hear such a noise. Stop, stop!” cried he to the tree.

He was again going on with his meal when the noise was repeated.

“I cannot eat with such a noise,” said he; and, leaving the meal, although he was very hungry, he went to put a stop to the noise. He climbed the tree, and having found the branches which caused the disturbance, tried to push them apart, when they suddenly caught him between them, so that he was held fast. While he was in this position a pack of wolves came near.

“Go that way,” cried Manabozho, anxious to send them away from the neighbourhood of his meat. “Go that way; what would you come to get here?”

The wolves talked among themselves, and said, [Pg 185], “Manabozho wants to get us out of the way. He must have something good here.”

“I begin to know him and all his tricks,” said an old wolf. “Let us see if there is anything.”

They accordingly began to search, and very soon finding the moose made away with the whole carcass. Manabozho looked on wistfully, and saw them eat till they were satisfied, when they left him nothing but bare bones. Soon after a blast of wind opened the branches and set him free. He went home, thinking to himself—

“See the effect of meddling with frivolous things when certain good is in one’s possession!”

[Pg 186]


A very great while ago the ancestors of the Shawanos nation lived on the other side of the Great Lake, half-way between the rising sun and the evening star. It was a land of deep snows and much frost, of winds which whistled in the clear, cold nights, and storms which travelled from seas no eyes could reach. Sometimes the sun ceased to shine for moons together, and then he was continually before their eyes for as many more. In the season of cold the waters were all locked up, and the snows overtopped the ridge of the cabins. Then he shone out so fiercely that men fell stricken by his fierce rays, and were numbered with the snow that had melted and run to the embrace of the rivers. It was not like the beautiful lands—the lands blessed with soft suns and ever-green vales—in which the Shawanos now dwell, yet it was well stocked with deer, and the waters with fat seals and great fish, which were caught just when the people pleased to go after them. Still, the nation were discontented, and wished to leave their barren and inhospitable shores. The priests had told them of a beautiful [Pg 187] world beyond the Great Salt Lake, from which the glorious sun never disappeared for a longer time than the duration of a child’s sleep, where snow-shoes were never wanted—a land clothed with perpetual verdure, and bright with never-failing gladness. The Shawanos listened to these tales till they came to loathe their own simple comforts; all they talked of, all they appeared to think of, was the land of the happy hunting-grounds.

Once upon a time the people were much terrified at seeing a strange creature, much resembling a man, riding along the waves of the lake on the borders of which they dwelt. He had on his head long green hair; his face was shaped like that of a porpoise, and he had a beard of the colour of ooze.

If the people were frightened at seeing a man who could live in the water like a fish or a duck, how much more were they frightened when they saw that from his breast down he was actually fish, or rather two fishes, for each of his legs was a whole and distinct fish. When they heard him speak distinctly in their own language, and when he sang songs sweeter than the music of birds in spring, or the whispers of love from the lips of a beautiful maiden, they thought it a being from the Land of Shades—a spirit from the happy fishing-grounds beyond the lake of storms.

He would sit for a long time, his fish-legs coiled up under him, singing to the wondering ears of the Indians upon the shore the pleasures he experienced, and the beautiful and strange things he saw in the [Pg 188] depths of the ocean, always closing his strange stories with these words, shouted at the top of his voice—

“Follow me, and see what I will show you.”

Every day, when the waves were still and the winds had gone to their resting-place in the depths of the earth, the monster was sure to be seen near the shore where the Shawanos dwelt. For a great many suns they dared not venture upon the water in quest of food, doing nothing but wander along the beach, watching the strange creature as he played his antics upon the surface of the waves, listening to his songs and to his invitation—

“Follow me, and see what I will show you.”

The longer he stayed the less they feared him. They became used to him, and in time looked upon him as a spirit who was not made for harm, nor wished to injure the poor Indian. Then they grew hungry, and their wives and little ones cried for food, and, as hunger banishes all fear, in a few days three canoes with many men and warriors ventured off to the rocks in quest of fish.

When they reached the fishing-place, they heard as before the voice shouting—

“Follow me, and see what I will show you.”

Presently the man-fish appeared, sitting on the water, with his legs folded under him, and his arms crossed on his breast, as they had usually seen him. There he sat, eying them attentively. When they failed to draw in the fish they had hooked, he would make the water shake and the deep echo with shouts [Pg 189] of laughter, and would clap his hands with great noise, and cry—

“Ha, ha! there he fooled you.”

When a fish was caught he was very angry. When the fishers had tried long and patiently, and taken little, and the sun was just hiding itself behind the dark clouds which skirted the region of warm winds, the strange creature cried out still stronger than before—

“Follow me, and see what I will show you.”

Kiskapocoke, who was the head man of the tribe, asked him what he wanted, but he would make no other answer than—

“Follow me.”

“Do you think,” said Kiskapocoke, “I would be such a fool as to go I don’t know with whom, and I don’t know where?”

“See what I will show you,” cried the man-fish.

“Can you show us anything better than we have yonder?” asked the warrior.

“I will show you,” replied the monster, “a land where there is a herd of deer for every one that skips over your hills, where there are vast droves of creatures larger than your sea-elephants, where there is no cold to freeze you, where the sun is always soft and smiling, where the trees are always in bloom.”

The people began to be terrified, and wished themselves on land, but the moment they tried to paddle towards the shore, some invisible hand would seize their canoes and draw them back, so that an hour’s labour did not enable them to gain the length [Pg 190] of their boat in the direction of their homes. At last Kiskapocoke said to his companions—

“What shall we do?”

“Follow me,” said the fish.

Then Kiskapocoke said to his companions—

“Let us follow him, and see what will come of it.”

So they followed him,—he swimming and they paddling, until night came. Then a great wind and deep darkness prevailed, and the Great Serpent commenced hissing in the depths of the ocean. The people were terribly frightened, and did not think to live till another sun, but the man-fish kept close to the boats, and bade them not be afraid, for nothing should hurt them.

When morning came, nothing could be seen of the shore they had left. The winds still raged, the seas were very high, and the waters ran into their canoes like melted snows over the brows of the mountains, but the man-fish handed them large shells, with which they baled the water out. As they had brought neither food nor water with them, they had become both hungry and thirsty. Kiskapocoke told the strange creature they wanted to eat and drink, and that he must supply them with what they required.

“Very well,” said the man-fish, and, disappearing in the depths of the water, he soon reappeared, bringing with him a bag of parched corn and a shell full of sweet water.

For two moons and a half the fishermen followed the man-fish, till at last one morning their guide exclaimed—

[Pg 191] “Look there!”

Upon that they looked in the direction he pointed out to them and saw land, high land, covered with great trees, and glittering as the sand of the Spirit’s Island. Behind the shore rose tall mountains, from the tops of which issued great flames, which shot up into the sky, as the forks of the lightning cleave the clouds in the hot moon. The waters of the Great Salt Lake broke in small waves upon its shores, which were covered with sporting seals and wild ducks pluming themselves in the beams of the warm and gentle sun. Upon the shore stood a great many strange people, but when they saw the strangers step upon the land and the man-fish, they fled to the woods like startled deer, and were no more seen.

When the warriors were safely landed, the man-fish told them to let the canoe go; “for,” said he, “you will never need it more.” They had travelled but a little way into the woods when he bade them stay where they were, while he told the spirit of the land that the strangers he had promised were come, and with that he descended into a deep cave near at hand. He soon returned, accompanied by a creature as strange in appearance as himself. His legs and feet were those of a man. He had leggings and moccasins like an Indian’s, tightly laced and beautifully decorated with wampum, but his head was like a goat’s. He talked like a man, and his language was one well understood by the strangers.

“I will lead you,” he said, “to a beautiful land, [Pg 192] to a most beautiful land, men from the clime of snows. There you will find all the joys an Indian covets.”

For many moons the Shawanos travelled under the guidance of the man-goat, into whose hands the man-fish had put them, when he retraced his steps to the Great Lake. They came at length to the land which the Shawanos now occupy. They found it as the strange spirits had described it. They married the daughters of the land, and their numbers increased till they were so many that no one could count them. They grew strong, swift, and valiant in war, keen and patient in the chase. They overcame all the tribes eastward of the River of Rivers, and south to the shore of the Great Lake.

Printed by T. and A. Constable, Printers to Her Majesty,
at the Edinburgh University Press.

Transcriber's Note

Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note.

All Native American words have been kept as originally printed, including those with variation in hyphenation or spelling.

The advertisement has been moved to follow the title page.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Folk-Lore and Legends: North American
Indian, by Anonymous


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