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BY CYRUS MACMILLAN
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS IN
COLOUR by GEORGE SHERINGHAM
AND FOREWORD BY SIR WILLIAM PETERSON, K.C.M.G.
LONDON: JOHN LANE, THE BODLEY HEAD
NEW YORK: JOHN LANE COMPANY
TORONTO: S. B. GUNDY. MCMXX
The Mayflower Press, Plymouth, England. William Brendon & Son, Ltd.
WHO FIRST TAUGHT ME TO SEE
THE FAIRY WORLD
AND TO HEAR THE HORNS
OF ELF-LAND BLOWING.
This is the book of a soldier-student. Captain Macmillan interrupted his teaching work in Montreal to go overseas with one of our McGill Batteries, and from "Somewhere in France" he has asked me to stand sponsor for his volume.
The author's method resembles that followed by the brothers Grimm a century ago. He has taken down from the lips of living people, pretty much as they were given to him, a series of stories which obviously contain many elements that have been handed down by oral tradition from some far-off past. They are mostly animal stories, with all the usual features of magic and transformation, articulate speech on the part of the animals, and interchange of more or less kindly offices between man and beast.
The result is a collection of fables which—especially as illustrated by an eminent artist—will prove a very acceptable Christmas book for children, and will give their elders also some food for reflection. Not that there is, so far as I have been able to discover, any moral about some at least[Pg viii] of the tales. They are not "stories with a purpose." But they suggest to the adult reader the essential identity of many of the methods by which in a more or less remote antiquity the human race expressed itself in various parts of the world.
That has now become a matter of scientific study. The floating material of popular tradition at different times and in different places has been spread out, as it were, on a dissecting-table by our Folk-lore Societies, and the thoughts and beliefs, customs and superstitions therein preserved have been studied from the comparative point of view for the light they throw on the primitive development of the human mind. Those of us who read the Journal of American Folk-lore, or the papers on Indian mythology recently contributed by C. M. Barbeau to the anthropological series issued by the Geological Survey of Canada, have many sources at hand with which Mr. Macmillan's folk-tales may be profitably compared. Some of the stories—those, for instance, that refer to Shrove Tuesday on the one hand, and packed sardines on the other—are obviously of no earlier date than "the days when Canada was owned by the French." But many of them go back to "long before the white men came to Canada." That these are folk-tales of the universal type is evidenced by the primitive traditions which they[Pg ix] embody. In all such stories striking resemblances occur, whether they are the records of Algonquins or Zulus, Hottentots or Australian Bushmen. To say nothing of charms and incantations, magic coats and magic wands, ogres and giants, mermen and mermaidens, supernatural creatures and speaking beasts, evil spirits in disguise, there are the standing-dishes of all such folk-tales—the strong man and his adventures, the bride carried off by the youthful hero and pursued by her father, the promise that the bride shall be given to anyone who shall accomplish some difficult task, with death as the penalty of failure. These and such-like features are all examples of primitive methods of self-expression, and represent, in the case before us, the Indian's elemental ideas of the universe around him and his relation to it.
Thus Mr. Macmillan's "Wonder Tales," while serving for the pleasure and delight of children, have their points of contact with what we must take to be the background of prehistoric culture on the continent of America. But the children will read and enjoy them for their own sake, and unhampered by any such applications of the comparative method. They will learn in this book the answers to such conundrums as the following—Why Frog croaks, Why Bear eats fish, Why Bunny has a short tail and long hind-legs[Pg x] and a split upper-lip, Why Partridge makes a drumming noise, Why Mosquitoes sting, Why Aspen leaves tremble, What Woodpecker and Bluejay were before they were changed into birds, Why the Moon usually travels alone in the forest. And, if they find anything unsatisfactory about the answers herein recorded, they will have the opportunity of exercising their imaginations to better purpose than was done by those who gave these answers in the days when the world was young!
The tales in this collection have been gathered in various parts of Canada. They have been selected from a larger collection of folk-tales and folk-songs made by the writer for more academic and scientific purposes. They are not the product of the writer's imagination; they are the common possession of the "folk." Many of them are still reverently believed by the Canadian Indians, and all are still told with seriousness around camp fires in forests and on plains, upon the sea and by cottage hearths. The dress in which they now appear may be new, but the skeleton of each story has been left unchanged.
Canada is a country with a romantic past. The atmosphere in which our ancestors lived in the early days of exploration and colonization, if not one of enchantment, was at least one of mystery. The traditions and tales of our country's past are rapidly disappearing in its practical present, and the poetry of its former times is rarely heard above the hum of its modern life. Its "old unhappy far-off things and battles long ago" are fading memories, for comparatively[Pg xii] little has been done to save its old tales from oblivion. That the children of the land may know something of the traditions of the mysterious past in which their forefathers dwelt and laboured is the writer's only excuse for the publication of this volume.
The writer's deepest thanks are here expressed to the nameless Indians and "habitants," the fishermen and sailors, "the spinners and the knitters in the sun," from whose lips he heard these stories.
It is perhaps but fair to explain that the proofs were corrected by the writer in the intervals between other duties on Vimy Ridge, France, and that to this fact and the consequent haste any minor errors may in part at least be attributed.
|The Baker's Magic Wand||3|
|Star-Boy and the Sun Dance||12|
|Jack and His Magic Aids||20|
|The Bad Indian's Ashes||28|
|The Mermaid of the Magdalenes||32|
|The Boy and the Dancing Fairy||38|
|The Mouse and the Sun||46|
|How Rabbit Lost His Tail||60|
|The Partridge and His Drum||66|
|How Summer Came to Canada||74|
|How Turtle Came||82|
|The First Mosquito||88|
|The Moon and His Frog-Wife||96|
|Glooskap and the Fairy||101|
|The Passing of Glooskap||104|
|The Indian Cinderella||116|
|The Boy and His Three Helpers||120|
|The Duck with Red Feet||124|
|The Northern Lights||129|
|The Boy and the Robbers' Magical Booty||138|
|[Pg xiv] The Coming of the Corn||147|
|The Dance of Death||151|
|The First Pig and Porcupine||155|
|The Shrove Tuesday Visitor||162|
|The Boy of Great Strength and the Giants||168|
|The Strange Tale of Caribou and Moose||172|
|Jack and His Wonderful Hen||179|
|The Sad Tale of Woodpecker and Bluejay||184|
|The Stupid Boy and the Wand||188|
|The Blackfoot and the Bear||193|
|The Boys and the Giant||198|
|The Blackfoot and the Bear||Half-title|
|"The great court-tent was filled with Glooskap's people for the Sun's trial"||Frontispiece|
|TO FACE PAGE|
|"Oh, my Seigneur, you commanded a 'tiens-bon-la' and I have brought you one, the best that was ever made"||10|
|"The girl looked through the hole, and saw the Earth far beneath"||14|
|"Where are you going with the cow?"||20|
|The bad Indian||28|
|"So they drew lots to see who should seek him in the forest"||30|
|"A meeting of all the fish in the sea was called"||32|
|"That night when all the village was asleep, the boy went to the foot of the mountain"||40|
|"The snow lay deep on the plains, and many snow-birds were flying around looking for food"||46|
|"I should like to see my mother's people if they are anywhere on the earth"||48|
|"The great eagle made the winds for him"||56|
|"The people were all gathered for the wedding"||62|
|"He saw four beautiful maidens sitting on the ice braiding their hair"||68|
|"Her name is Summer"||78|
|"Glooskap gathered his people on the shore and bade the whales carry them to their old home"||94|
|"The little man weathers the storm in Glooskap's heavy canoe"||102|
|[Pg xvi]"Glooskap walked alone by the ocean"||104|
|"I am tired of the lonely life; I have come for your daughter"||110|
|"She was very beautiful and gentle"||118|
|"The Chief had a beautiful daughter"||122|
|"A very beautiful girl sitting on the bank of the stream"||124|
|"She climbed into a tree that stretched out over the water"||136|
|"Many women sat around in a circle, all sad and weeping"||144|
|"He walked through the forest until he came suddenly upon a wide and open red plain"||148|
|"In the tribe was a very handsome young man"||152|
|"From the beach came a large white seagull"||158|
|"The night was always one of great merriment and feasting"||162|
|"He saw four large fish lying on the ice"||170|
|"In the evening they came to a camp"||172|
|"He bought a large quantity of food, put it in a basket, and carried it to the animal yard"||182|
|"Then he dressed his sister in good clothes and washed and combed her hair"||186|
|"The pigs came grunting over the sand"||190|
|"The people set out to find the giants. Soon they came to their cave"||199|
Once very long ago in the days when Canada was owned by the French there lived on the banks of a great river a wicked lawyer who was in love with a baker's wife. He tried in various ways to get rid of the baker, but without success. They lived not far from the Seigneur who owned all the land around and was very powerful. Now, in front of the Seigneur's palace there was a great lake of more than twelve thousand acres. One morning the lawyer went to the palace and knocked at the door. When the Seigneur came out, he said to him, "Sire, there is a man not far from here who boasts that in less than twice twenty-four hours he can change this lake into a beautiful meadow covered with grass that would give hay enough for all your horses and would be to the great advantage of the colony." Then the Seigneur said, "Who is this man?" The lawyer answered, "He is no less than the baker who furnishes your household with bread." So the Seigneur said, "I will send for him."
[Pg 4]The lawyer went away, and the Seigneur sent a letter to the baker saying that he wanted to see him. The poor baker thought he was to get his pay for the bread he had provided for the Seigneur and all his servants and soldiers. So he was very glad, and went quickly to the palace and knocked at the door. When the Seigneur came out, he asked what was wanted of him. The Seigneur answered that he had heard of his boast that in less than twice twenty-four hours he could change all the lake into a beautiful meadow covered with grass and clover that would feed all the Seigneur's horses and would be a great advantage to the colony. Now, unless within twice twenty-four hours the lake was changed into a meadow, the baker should be hanged before the door of the palace.
Then the Seigneur turned away and the baker went out discouraged, for he did not know what to do. He walked off into the woods and sat down on a log to weep. After a long time an old woman came along and asked what was the matter. He said he was very miserable; he was going to be hanged in twice twenty-four hours; for the Seigneur had commanded him to change all the lake into a meadow, covered with grass and clover, and he was not able to do it. Now, this old woman was a good fairy in disguise and when the baker had done speaking she told him not to be troubled but to go to sleep. She gave him a wand just like a broken stick, which she told him to wave before he slept; it had great power, she[Pg 5] said, and while he slept it would bring to pass whatever he desired. So he waved the wand and went to sleep. When he had slept an hour, he was awakened by the smell of hay, and when he looked about him, he saw that the lake was all gone and that there was only a small river that ran through the middle of a beautiful meadow down to the great river not far away. The good fairy was still by his side. She told him to go to the Seigneur and show him what he had done. He went to the palace, and when he came near, he saw the Seigneur looking out of the window at the meadow, and all the men and horses at work making hay. He knocked at the door, and when the Seigneur came downstairs, he asked him if he was satisfied. The Seigneur said he was not satisfied, because the river had been left running through the middle of the meadow. The baker told the Seigneur that the river had been left to provide water for the animals and to help in making hay, because there was so much hay that all the horses in the land could not draw it and it would have to be brought in boats. Then the Seigneur was satisfied and sent the baker away.
Soon the wicked lawyer came again, and the Seigneur showed him the meadow and the men and women and horses making hay. The lawyer was much surprised to see all this, but he did not say so. Instead, he told the Seigneur that he had no doubt the baker could do a great deal more than that; the baker, he said, had boasted that he could make a [Pg 6]"tiens-bon-la" for the Seigneur that would be worth a great deal more than the meadow and would be a great advantage to the colony. "What is a 'tiens-bon-la'?" asked the Seigneur. "I do not know," answered the lawyer; "but the baker said he could make one." "I will send for him," said the Seigneur. So he sent for the baker, who was just making his bread. When he had put the bread into the oven, he went to the palace and knocked again, and the Seigneur came to the door. The Seigneur said: "I have heard that you boasted that you can make a 'tiens-bon-la' that would be worth more than the meadow and a great advantage to the colony. Now you shall go home and make it, and unless you bring it to me in twice twenty-four hours, you shall be hanged before the palace gate." The baker asked, "What is a 'tiens-bon-la'?" The Seigneur said, "I do not know, but I must have one within twice twenty-four hours." Then he went into his palace again.
The poor baker went away more sorrowful than before. He had no idea of what a "tiens-bon-la" was; but yet he knew he should be hanged unless he made one within twice twenty-four hours. He went out into the forest again and sat down on the same log as he had sat on before, and wept as hard as he could. When he had cried himself to sleep, the good old fairy came again and waked him up and asked him what was the matter. He told her that he should certainly be hanged this time, for he had been ordered to make a[Pg 7] "tiens-bon-la" for the Seigneur, and he did not know what it was. Then the fairy said, "It is only that wicked lawyer who is in love with your wife and wants to get rid of you. You must do what I tell you and the lawyer will be punished, for we shall make a 'tiens-bon-la' that will satisfy the Seigneur. Go to your home and tell your wife that you are commanded to make a 'tiens-bon-la' for the Seigneur and that you have nothing to make it of. Tell her to put two days' provisions in a bag for you, and when she has them all ready, go to your room and take the latch off the window. Then say good-bye to your wife, and walk about the country until it is dark. As soon as you are gone your wife will send for the lawyer and invite him to supper. Before he comes, and after it is dark, you must come back to your house and get in at the window and hide yourself under the bed. Now, the lawyer will not eat without first washing his hands. When he comes, your wife will send him into the room where you are hiding to wash, and when he takes hold of the wash-basin you must cry out 'tiens-bon-la.' Take this wand that I will give you and anything you wave it at when you cry 'tiens-bon-la' will hold fast to whatever it is touching." Then she gave him another wand and went her way.
The baker did as the fairy had told him, and his wife was very glad to learn that he was going away; and she packed up a large bag of provisions and sent him off. As soon as he was out of the house she sent a note to the lawyer telling[Pg 8] him that her husband was gone away for two days and that she would like to have him come to supper. The baker walked around the country until it was dark, and then came back and hid himself under the bed. His wife told the servant to set the table and prepare a nice supper, and then she went to get ready to receive the lawyer. Soon the lawyer arrived. The servant showed him into a room where he might wash his hands after his day's work before he sat down to his meal. The baker was under the bed in the room. There was some water that was not very clean in the wash-basin, and when the lawyer took hold of the basin to throw the water out, the baker, who was under the bed, waved his wand and cried out "tiens-bon-la," and the lawyer's hands stuck to the basin so that he could not let go and the basin stuck to the wash-stand. He called out to the servant to come and help him, but she was busy about the supper and did not hear him. So then he cried out as loud as he could, "Madame, Madame." When the bakers wife heard him, she was dreadfully frightened and ran in to see what was the matter. When she found the lawyer stuck to the wash-stand, which was very large and heavy, she took hold of him with both hands to pull him away. Then her husband cried out from under the bed "tiens-bon-la," and the wife could not let go the lawyer. Then the baker went out and called in some of his friends, and they ate the supper and drank the wine that had been prepared for the lawyer who was stuck to the[Pg 9] wash-stand, and the wife who could not let go the lawyer.
When morning came, the baker took the wand that the fairy had given him and told his wife and the lawyer that if they wanted to get loose they must do as he told them. With his wand he loosened the basin from the wash-stand. Then he made them go out into the street, and he started them towards the Seigneur's palace.
As soon as they all came out into the light, the baker saw that there was a hole in his wife's dress, so he pulled some grass and twisted it into a wisp and filled up the hole. Presently they came to a cow that was feeding by the side of the road. There was not much grass there and the cow was hungry, so when she saw the wisp of grass sticking from the woman's dress she began to eat it; but the baker waved his wand and cried "tiens-bon-la" and the cow's teeth stuck in the grass and the grass stuck to the dress. They all went along until they came to a house where there was a large dog on the doorstep. When the dog saw the people, he jumped over the fence to see where they were going. The cow gave him a switch with her tail across the nose, the baker cried "tiens-bon-la," and the dog stuck to the cow's tail and went along with the rest. When the old woman who owned the dog saw him going off in this manner, she was very angry; she called him but he would not come; then she ran out with the broom that she was using to sweep the floor, and began to[Pg 10] beat the dog to drive him home. But the baker cried out "tiens-bon-la" again and so the broom stuck to the dog and the old woman could not let go the broom. The old woman's husband was quite lame; he ran after his wife, limping along with a stick. He could not go very fast, but he went as well as he could to see what his old woman was beating the dog for. When he came up, he took hold of the woman's dress to pull her away, but the baker cried out "tiens-bon-la" again and the lame farmer had to go limping along with the others.
So they all went to the Seigneur's palace—the lawyer with the heavy wash-basin, the woman holding on to the lawyer, the cow trying to eat the wisp of hay, the dog barking at the cow and sticking to her tail, the old woman with her broom, and the lame farmer limping along with his stick. The baker knocked at the door and when the Seigneur opened it he said: "Oh, my Seigneur, you ordered a 'tiens-bon-la' and I have brought you one, the best that was ever made. If you will be pleased to try it, I hope you will be content." The Seigneur took hold of the basin to take it away from the lawyer, the baker cried "tiens-bon-la" again, and the Seigneur was held to the basin as fast as the others. He tried hard to get away but the "tiens-bon-la" was good and would not let go.
Then the Seigneur asked the baker what he would take to let him off. After a long time the baker said he would let him go if the Seigneur would give a great sum of money[Pg 11] every year to himself and to each of his fifteen children. The Seigneur consented, but the baker said he must have a deed made by a notary. So they sent for the notary and the deed was made, and the Seigneur signed it on the wash-basin. The baker waved his wand backwards, the "tiens-bon-la" was broken, and they all went away happy again, and the baker's wife never again deceived her husband.
Once long ago when the Blackfeet Indians dwelt on the Canadian prairies, it happened that a band of the people were camped near the mountains. It was spring-time, and the warm winds blew over the prairies laden with the scent of wild flowers. One hot cloudless night two girls slept in the long prairie grass beside their tents with no covering but the sky. The elder awoke before dawn and saw the Morning Star just rising. Very beautiful and bright he looked in the clear morning air, with no smoke or dust to hide him. The girl looked long at the Star, and she had strange fancies, and imagined that he was her lover. At last she called her sister and said, "Look at the Morning Star. He is bright and wise. I love only the Morning Star for he is more beautiful than man."
One day in the autumn when the flowers were faded and the grass was yellow with age and the cool winds blew over the prairie and the birds were flying south, as the girl was returning home from a long walk she met a young man on the trail. In his hair was a yellow plume, and in his hand a small shrub with a big spider-web hanging to it. He was very beautiful, and he wore fine clothes of soft skins, and the[Pg 13] odour of his dress was that of the sweet-grass and the pine. As the girl drew aside from the trail to pass, he put forth his hand and stopped her. "Stand aside," she said, "and let me pass." But he answered, "I am the Morning Star. One night in spring when the flowers were blooming, I saw you sleeping in the long grass outside your tent, and I loved you. I heard you say you loved only me, and now I have come to ask you to come with me to the sky to the home of my father, the Sun, where we shall live together and you will have no more troubles nor cares. It is the Land of Little People, the Land of the Ever-Young, where all are happy like children, and no one ever grows old." Then the girl remembered the hot cloudless night in the spring-time when she slept in the tall grass, and she knew now that Morning Star was to be her husband.
And she said, "I must first say good-bye to my father and mother." But Morning Star said, "There must be no leave-taking," and he would not let her go home. He fastened his yellow plume in her hair, and gave her the shrub to hold. He told her to place her feet upon the lowest strand of the spider's web and to hold the uppermost strand in her hands. Then he told her to shut her eyes. After a brief time when he asked her to open her eyes, they were in the sky. They passed on to a large tent. Morning Star said, "This is the home of my father and mother, the Sun and the Moon," and he asked her to enter. As it was day, the Sun[Pg 14] was away on his long journey, but the Moon was at home and she welcomed the girl as her son's bride. And the girl lived happy in the Star country with her husband, and she learned many wonderful things. Not far from her home, near the tent of the Spider Man who weaved webs, a large turnip was growing about which she wondered greatly. But the Moon seeing her wonder said, "You may dig any roots that grow in the sky, but I warn you not to dig up the large turnip. If you do, unhappiness will follow you."
After a time a son was born to the girl, and everywhere the girl went she carried the child. She called him Star-Boy. She often saw the large turnip near the tent of the Spider Man who weaved webs, but mindful of the Moon's warning, she was afraid to touch it. One day, however, her wonder overcame her, and she decided to see what was underneath the turnip. She tried to pull it up but it stuck fast, and she was unable to move it. Then two large cranes, flying from the east, came to her aid, and catching the turnip with their long bills they moved it from side to side, loosened it, and pulled it up. The girl looked through the hole, and saw the earth far beneath her. It was the same hole through which Morning Star had brought her to the sky. She looked long through the hole, and she saw the camps of her people, the Blackfeet, on the plains far below. What she saw was well known to her. It was summer on the prairies. The men were playing games; the women were tanning skins or [Pg 15]gathering berries on the rolling hills. She grew very lonely as she watched, for she wanted to be back on the green prairies with her own people, and when she turned away to go home she was crying bitterly.
When she reached home, Morning Star and his Mother the Moon were waiting for her. Morning Star at once knew from her face what had happened, and he said, "You have pulled up the sacred turnip." When she did not answer, the Moon said, "I warned you not to dig it up, because I love Star-Boy and I do not wish to part with him." It was day, and the Sun was away on his long journey. When he came home in the evening, he asked what was the matter with his daughter for she looked sad and troubled. And the girl answered that she was lonely because she had looked down that day upon her people on the plains. Then the Sun was very angry, and said to Morning Star, "If she has disobeyed, she must go back to her people. She cannot live here." Morning Star and the Moon pleaded with the Sun to let her remain, but the Sun said that it was better that she should go back to the prairies, for she would no longer be happy in the sky.
Then Morning Star led the girl to the house of the Spider Man who had weaved the web that had drawn her up to the sky. He placed Star-Boy on her breast, and wrapped around them both a bright robe. Then he bade them farewell, saying, "We will let you down where your people on the [Pg 16]plains can see you as you fall." Then the Spider Man with his web let her down as she had come, through the hole in the sky.
It was a hot still evening in midsummer when the girl returned to her people. Many of the people were outside their tents, and they saw a bright light in the northern sky. They watched it slowly drop until it reached the ground. They thought it was a shooting star. They ran to the place where the bright light fell, and there they found a strange bundle, inside of which were the woman and her child. Her parents knew her, and she returned with them to their home and lived with them. But she was never happy. Often she took Star-Boy to the top of a high hill in the west, where she sat and mourned for her home in the sky. And daily she watched Morning Star rise from the plains. Once she begged him to take her back to the country of the stars, but he answered, "You disobeyed, and therefore I cannot take you back. Your sin is the cause of your sorrow, and it has brought great trouble to you and your people."
So the Star-woman lived alone and unhappy upon the earth because she had disobeyed. After a time she died, and her son, Star-Boy, was left alone. Although born in the home of the Sun, he was very poor. He had little of the world's goods, and but few clothes to wear. He was so timid that he never played with other children, and he lived much by himself. On his face was a strange scar which became[Pg 17] more marked as he grew older. Because of this and his shy and timid ways, he was laughed at by everybody; other boys stoned him and abused him and called him Scarface.
When Star-Boy became a man he loved a girl of his own people. She was very beautiful, and many young men wanted to marry her, but she refused them all. She told Star-Boy that she would not marry him until he removed the strange scar from his face. He was much troubled by this answer and he talked about it to an old medicine-woman who knew many things. The medicine-woman told him that the scar had been placed on his face by the Sun and that only the Sun himself could take it off. So he decided to go to the home of the Sun.
He went across the prairies and over the mountains for many days, meeting many dangers and suffering great hardships. At last he came to the Great Water in the West—the Pacific Ocean. For three days and nights he lay on the sand fasting and praying to the Sun God. On the evening of the fourth day he saw a bright trail leading across the water to the west. He ran along this path across the water until he came at last to the home of the Sun, where he hid himself and waited. Early next morning the Sun came out of his tent, ready for his day's journey. He saw Star-Boy, but he did not know him, for Star-Boy had grown since he left the country of the stars. The Sun was angry when he saw a creature from earth, and calling his wife, the Moon, he[Pg 18] said, "We will kill him, for he comes from a good-for-nothing race." But the Moon, being kind, prevented it and saved the boy's life. Then Morning Star, the boy's father, handsome and bright, came from his tent. He recognized his child. And, after the usual fashion in the sky, he brought dried sweet-grass and burned it so that the smoke curled around the boy and cleansed him from the dust of the earth. Then he brought him to his father and mother, the Sun and the Moon, and told them who the boy was. And Star-Boy told his story of his long journey, and of the marriage refusal of the girl he loved because of the scar on his face. And they took pity on him, and promised to help him.
Star-Boy lived in the home of the Sun and Moon with Morning Star. Once he went hunting and killed seven large birds which had threatened the life of his father. He gave four of the dead birds to the Sun and three to the Moon. And the Sun, glad to be rid of these pests, resolved to pay him well for his work. As a reward, he took the scar from his face, as the medicine-woman had said. And he made him his messenger to the Blackfeet people on the Canadian plains, and promised that if they would give a festival in his honour once a year, he would heal their sick. The festival was to be known as the Sun Dance. He taught Star-Boy the secrets of the dance and the songs to be used in it, so that he could tell his people. And he gave him two raven feathers to wear, as a sign that he came from the Sun, and a very wonderful[Pg 19] robe. And he gave him a magic flute and a wonderful song, with which he could charm the heart of the girl he loved.
So Star-Boy returned to his people, the Blackfeet of the plains, running along by the Milky Way, the short, bright path to the earth. When he had taught them the secret of the Sun Dance, he married the girl he loved, and the Sun took them back to live with him in the sky. And he made him bright and beautiful, just like his father Morning Star, and gave him work to do. Sometimes the father and son can be seen together in the sky; the people of earth sometimes call the father Venus, and the son Jupiter, but Indians call them Morning Star and Little Morning Star. And since that time, once a year, the Blackfeet of the plains hold the Sun Dance that their sick may all be healed, as it was promised to Star-Boy by the Sun God in the old days.
There was once a poor widow who had but one child, a son, Jack by name. Her husband had left her money when he died, but in a few years it was all used up. Jack was a silly fellow; he was always doing stupid things and was of no help to his mother, although his father had said that some day he would do great deeds. Soon the widow became very poor. She lived on a large farm rented from a greedy landlord who lived in the town near by. The rent had to be paid once a year, and when pay day was drawing near, she found she had no money to give the landlord. She had several fine cows, so she thought she would sell one and get money to pay her rent.
One morning she sent Jack off to market with the finest cow she had. As Jack drove the cow along, he passed a house standing in the forest near the road. A man sitting on the steps called to him. "Where are you going with the cow?" he asked. "I am driving her to market to sell her," answered Jack. The man asked him to come in and rest a while, and Jack tied the cow to a tree and went in. Then the man said, "You must give the cow to me." But Jack answered, "I cannot give her to you; I will sell her to[Pg 21] you, for my mother needs the money." The man asked Jack to have something to eat, and placed before him on the table a plateful of food. Jack ate heartily, but the food did not grow less. He ate and ate and could not stop. Soon he became so full that he was almost bursting, but the food had grown no smaller, and he could not stop eating, although he tried very hard. He called to the man to take away the food. But the man answered, "If you will give me your cow, I will take away the plate; if not, you may eat away." So Jack agreed to give him the cow, for he was afraid he would burst from overeating, and in return for the cow the man gave him the dish of magical food. Then he went back home.
When he reached home, his mother asked him for the money from the sale of the cow. But he told her he had been robbed of the cow by the man in the forest. She scolded him, and called him many harsh names, and took the broom to beat him. But when she took hold of him, he placed a little of the magical food in her mouth, and his mother, charmed with the taste, at once asked for more. He gave her the dish, and just as he had done at the man's house, she ate and ate until she too was almost bursting, but she could not stop. When she pleaded with him to take the food away, he said, "I will take it away if you will not beat me," and she agreed.
The next morning his mother sent Jack off to market[Pg 22] with another cow. He passed the same house as on the previous day, and the same man was again sitting on the steps. The man asked him for the cow, but Jack, remembering what had happened the day before, hurried on without reply. Then the man took off the belt he was wearing and threw it down in the middle of the road. At once the belt leaped around both Jack and the cow, tying both tightly together. The man said he would let them free if Jack would give him the cow. But Jack refused. Then the belt began to tighten slowly; it got tighter and tighter, pressing Jack to the cow until he could hardly draw his breath. At last, when he could stand it no longer, he agreed to give up the cow, and the man set him free. In return Jack received the magic belt. When he reached home, his mother again asked him for the money from the sale of the cow. When he told her that he had again been robbed, she was more angry than before; she called him harsh names again, and rushed at him saying she would kill him. But Jack unclasped his magic belt, threw it on the floor, and at once it leaped around his mother, tying her hand and foot. As the belt became tighter and tighter, his mother began to gasp for breath, and cried out to be set free. But Jack said, "I will untie you, if you promise not to beat me." So his mother, almost smothered, agreed. Then he untied her, and she kept her promise.
As the rent-day was near at hand, his mother resolved to[Pg 23] try once more to sell a cow, and the next morning Jack was again sent to market driving the third cow. As he passed the same house by the side of the forest road, the man who had already taken two cows from him sat on the steps. He asked Jack to give him the cow he was driving, just as he had done before. But in answer, Jack picked up a large stone and threw it in anger at the man's head. The man dodged the stone, and took from his pocket a small flute and began to play it. In spite of his efforts to keep still, Jack began to dance. The cow joined in the jig, and both danced and danced up and down the road and could not stop. They danced until Jack was tired out, but he could not stop, although he tried hard. He pleaded with the man to stop playing the flute. The man said, "I will stop if you will give me your cow." But Jack had already lost two cows and he refused. "Then dance away," said the man, and Jack danced until he was almost dropping. Finally he agreed to give up the cow. The dance was stopped, and in return for the cow, Jack received the magic flute.
When he reached home and told his mother that he had been robbed a third time, her rage knew no bounds. She said she would surely kill him this time, but as she sprang upon him, he began to play his flute. His mother began to dance, and when she ordered him to stop playing, he said, "I will stop if you promise not to beat me." At first she refused, but as she danced until she was very tired, she finally[Pg 24] agreed, and Jack escaped punishment. He found too that by playing another tune, he could call with his flute a great swarm of wasps which could not be seen by anyone but himself and which would obey all his commands.
The next day was the rent-day, and there was no money to pay the landlord. The widow was troubled, but Jack said, "I will pay him; be not troubled." Soon the landlord and his servant drove up to the widow's house. When they entered the house, the widow hid herself, for she did not want to meet the cruel landlord without her rent. But Jack met them and politely gave them seats. Then he offered them food after their long drive, and placed before them the dish of magical meat. And they ate and ate, just as Jack and his mother had done, and could not stop. At last they were almost bursting with the food, which grew no less on the dish, and they pleaded with Jack to take the dish away. Jack replied, "I will take it away if you will give up the farm to my mother, for we have paid you more rent than the farm is worth." Finally the landlord, fearing he would burst, agreed. Jack removed the food, and the landlord returned to the town, leaving the farm to Jack and his mother.
Jack soon left the farm and all upon it to his mother, and started out to make his own fortune, taking with him his magic dish, belt and flute. He travelled far, and came at last to a town where a great man lived who had one beautiful daughter. She had many suitors, but she said that she[Pg 25] would marry the man who could make her laugh three times. Jack resolved to make the trial, and went to the man's house. He was an awkward, ugly fellow, and the girl looked on him, with great disgust, but she consented to let him make the trial. First Jack produced his magical dish, and offered it to the girl. She tasted the food and liked it so well that she ate more. She ate and ate as all who had eaten from it had done before her, until she cried out to have it taken away. But Jack would take it away on one condition—she must first laugh. Finally, when she too was almost bursting, she agreed, but she said to herself, "He will not make me laugh a second time."
As soon as Jack had taken away the dish, the girl and her servants rushed upon him to punish him. But he threw down his magic belt, and at once they were all bound together in a heap, tied from head to foot. They begged to be untied. "I will untie you," said Jack to the girl, "if you will laugh." At first the girl refused, but as the belt slowly tightened, and she could stand it no longer, she agreed, and laughed feebly. Then Jack let them go.
No sooner were they set free than they rushed at Jack again to punish him. But he began to play on his flute, and at once the whole company began to dance. When they grew tired, they tried to stop, but they could not. They begged him to stop playing, but he replied, "I will stop when the girl laughs." For a long time she refused, but when she[Pg 26] became so weary of the dance that she could scarcely stand up she agreed, and laughed the third time.
Before Jack could claim her, her father heard what had happened, and he ordered Jack to be brought before him. When he saw such an ugly fellow, he too was disgusted, and said that Jack must be secretly put to death. So poor Jack was seized unexpectedly before he could use his magic aids and thrown into a cage of wild beasts. But when the beasts rushed upon him to eat him up he threw down his magic belt, and they were all tied up in a heap, while Jack escaped from the cage.
Meanwhile a very rich man had won the hand of the man's daughter. On the day of the wedding Jack went again to the man's house and waited. Just as the wedding ceremony was to begin, Jack went in; he sat behind a door in the corner and played a soft tune on his magic flute and called up a great swarm of wasps. The wasps could not be seen by any eyes but Jack's, but they swarmed into the room. Jack told them to sting the rich man waiting at the altar to be the girl's husband. At once the man, feeling them stinging, but unable to see anything, began to jump and scream like a madman. The people looked on in terror, believing that he had become suddenly crazy. The man jumped and yelled and slapped himself, until the girl declared that she would not marry a madman, and her father led her away and the people went out in great disorder. As the girl's father went[Pg 27] out, he saw Jack sitting behind the door. He was surprised to see that he had escaped from the wild beasts' cage, for he believed that the beasts had eaten him up. He knew too that in some mysterious way Jack had been the cause of the uproar. Then the servants brought him word that the beasts in the cage were all tied up, and could not be set free. The man then knew that Jack had great power, so he sent for him and said, "You are a very wonderful man; you have won my daughter." So with great joy and splendour the wedding took place. Jack built a great house, and when the girl's father died, he received all his lands, and he lived happy ever afterwards with his bride, because of the magic dish and belt and flute he had taken in exchange for his cows.
In the old days when giants roamed along the North Pacific Coast, there lived on the banks of a great river a poor Indian woman. She was the daughter of a dead chief—a great man—but she had fallen on evil days. Against her parents' wishes, she had married a worthless fellow; he was lazy and useless, and she was very poor and unhappy. One night a son was born to her. It was a wild stormy night; the winds roared, the thunder crashed, and terrible lightnings forked the sky. The boy was born with strange marks upon him, and on his head were horns like sharp arrow-points. The wise men of the place shook their heads and said, "No good can come from him; he will come to a bad end."
As the boy grew up, it was seen that the prophecy of the wise men would surely come true. He was very wicked, and he soon became known for his bad deeds. He was the terror of all the country on the Pacific Coast. But his mother loved him well, for he was her only child, and she petted him like a baby, even after he was a big boy. He did not take kindly to his mother's caresses, and when she petted him he always grew angry and said, "Don't pet me, I am not[Pg 29] a baby." One day as she petted him, he became very cross as was his habit, and in his rage he ran the arrow-points of his head into her breast and killed her. Then he took to the woods, and lived as an outlaw in the forest. He robbed all who came his way, until he had a great store of goods hidden in a secret place. His hand was against everybody's, and everybody's was against his.
Soon the tale of his crimes spread all over the North Pacific Coast, and he was held in great fear. The Chief of the people called a meeting of his wise council to decide what should be done. They resolved that he must be killed and the land rid of his terrors. So they drew lots to see who should seek him in the forest. The lot fell to his uncle—the brother of his mother—a very brave man. And the uncle set out into the woods to seek his wicked nephew, who was known as "the arrow-headed one."
The outlaw had found a cave in the forest, and there he lived in security. He killed everybody who came near it, and he marked on his spear a notch for each one he killed. In a very short time the notches on his spear numbered fifty. He heard of the council of the wise men and of their effort to capture him, and that his uncle had drawn the lot for the task. He resolved to defend himself against an attack, and he made his cave as strong as he could. He thought that his uncle would come to the cave in search of him.
But his uncle was a very wise old Indian. He knew[Pg 30] better than to attack his nephew's stronghold. Instead, he too selected a cave and turned it into a fort. He took bundles of dry grass and leaves, and shaped them like men, and stood them up around his cave like soldiers always on guard. And he told all the people of the village to stay in hiding until "the arrow-headed-one" was killed. Then he waited alone in his cave.
For several nights "the arrow-headed-one" stayed in his cave waiting for his uncle's attack. But no attack was made. Then he grew tired of waiting, and in a spirit of recklessness and daring he resolved to attack his uncle, for he knew that he was in the cave hardby. He took his spear and bow and arrows, and went to his uncle's cave to kill him. He took with him his helping evil spirit in the form of a small bird about the size of a robin. When he came to the cave, he thought that one of the dummy grass men was his uncle and he hurled his spear at it. And while he was about it, his uncle, hidden behind a rock, shot a poisoned arrow at him and wounded him so badly that he fled back to his own cave. The small bird sucked the poison from his wound, but the wound left him very weak. His uncle had followed in his tracks, and soon came upon him. But "the arrow-headed-one," tired out because of his wound, had little stomach for a fight, and when his uncle entered the cave, he pleaded with him not to kill him. "Do not kill me," he said, "I have a great store of goods hidden in the cave. If you spare me,[Pg 31] I will give you all and make you rich. And I will never kill another person."
But his uncle resolved to put him to death because he had killed his mother and had so many notches on his spear. So he killed him and dragged his body outside and burned it. Then he went home. "Fear no longer," he said to the villagers, "'the arrow-headed-one' is dead." But the evil that the bad Indian had done lived after him. The four winds drove his ashes from the spot where his body was burned. The ashes blew everywhere, and were changed into the little black flies whose descendants to-day torment people in the summer in the northern woods of Canada. And the bad Indian's wickedness still lives in the black flies that came from his ashes.
Far off the north-east coast of Canada is a group of rugged islands called the Magdalenes. They are a lonely, barren group, where grass and flowers and trees grow scantily. There, the northern storms rage with their wildest fury, and the sea breaks with its greatest force upon the bleak rocks. Numberless birds of strange cries and colours fly constantly about. On days when the storm dashes the sea white and angry against the coast, even the thunder of the surf is almost shut out by the screaming of countless gulls; and on clear days the sun is hidden when the birds rise in clouds from their nests. The "Isle of Birds," the Jesuits called one of the islands when they first visited the group hundreds of years ago, and it is an "Isle of Birds" still. It is a wild and rock-bound desolate land.
But although the islands are barren of grass and flowers and trees, the waters around and between them are rich in fish. "The Kingdom of Fish," men call the place, for adventurous traders grow wealthy there reaping the harvest of the sea. The greatest product of the waters is the lobster. He always inhabited these northern seas, and about his power in olden times strange tales are told. Away off the coast of[Pg 33] one of the islands, you can still see on fine moonlight nights in May, and also during the day once a year, a maiden holding a glass in her hand, combing her long hair, and looking wistfully to the land. Sometimes, too, on calm nights you can still hear her strange song above the murmur of the waves. She is the phantom lady of the Island over whom the Lobster in far away days used his power. She is now a prisoner in the deep, held there as a punishment for her deeds.
Now, it happened that long ago when fish were first canned for food there was a great slaughter of sardines—the tiny fish of the sea—by cruel money-greedy traders who caught them, packed them in small boxes, and shipped them to far countries, just as they do to-day. These traders received large money rewards for their labour, for people all over the world liked the little fish and paid a high price for them. The sardines saw their number slowly growing smaller, for, being little, they were helpless against their captors, and among all their family there was great sorrow. In despair they asked the big fish of the sea to help them. At last, in answer to their appeal, a meeting of all the fish in the sea was called. Here the big fish took an oath to help their small cousins in their struggle with man, and to punish when they could all who ate or fished the sardine family. And the little fish rejoiced greatly.
One May day a large ship loaded with packed fish was wrecked on the
sunken rocks of the Magdalene Islands.[Pg 34] Soon the ship was broken up by
the heavy surf on the sharp reef, and her cargo was strewn along the
shore. It happened that in the cargo were many boxes of sardines, and
they too were washed up on the beach by the tide. In the evening, after
the sea had calmed, a fair maiden who lived on the Island with her
father, a fish trader, walked along the shore alone to view the wreckage
of the broken ship. She found, to her delight, one of the boxes in which
the sardines were packed. She resolved at once to eat the contents, for
she too, like all the world at that time, liked the little fish. But
although she tried as hard as she could, she was unable to open the box.
She sat by the side of the sea and sang a song of lament, calling on
anyone who could to open the box for her. She sang:
Away out from the beach a skate-fish was resting on a sand-bar. Hearing the song of the maiden, he quickly swam towards the shore. When he came close enough to hear the words of the song and to know what the box contained, he swam away in great disgust, for he was cousin to the sardines in the box, and came from the same family tree as they. But he was too timid to try to punish the maiden. Then a bold merman heard the song. He had long looked for a land wife to live with him in his home under the sea; now he said,[Pg 35] "Here at last is a shore maiden for me," for the voice of the singer was beautiful to him. So he went to his looking-glass to dress himself in the most genteel fashion. From bright clean sea-weeds and sea-leaves he quickly made himself a new suit, all green and yellow; and he covered his feet with bright-coloured shells, and his neck with pearls which the oyster gave him; and dressing himself carefully, he hastened in the direction of the song. But when he came close enough to hear the words and to know what the box contained, he remembered his oath at the great gathering of the fish, and although he loved the singer he swam hurriedly away. For, like the skate-fish, he too feared to try to punish the maiden.
The maiden was now sore distressed, for it was growing late and the moon was already far up in the sky. The box was still unopened, and the girl was hungry for the fish. Going to the edge of the sea, she knocked the box hard against a large rock that lay in the water, hoping thereby to break it open. But the box would not break. Now, it chanced that under the rock a large black lobster lay sleeping quietly after a long battle with an enemy in the sea. The tapping on the roof of his sleeping-place awoke him, and he rubbed his eyes and listened. The maiden was again singing her song:—
[Pg 36]Then the Lobster remembered his oath at the great gathering of the fish. Unlike the skate-fish and the merman, he had no fear of the maiden, for he knew his power. He determined to punish her, and he resolved at once upon a crafty trick. He came out of his hiding place, and waving his claw politely he said, "Fair lady, I can open the box for you; give it to me and let me try." But when, in answer, she held the box out towards him in her hand, he grasped her by the wrist with his strong claw, and, holding her fast, he swam with her far out to sea. Where he went and what he did with her, no man knows. It is believed that he sold her to the merman who had long sought a shore-wife, and that she is still being slowly changed into a fish. One thing is certain,—she never came back to land. But on the first day of May she always appears on the water away off the coast of the Island; and if that day is fine and clear you can still always see her there. She holds in her hand a looking-glass in which in the sunlight she looks at herself to see if she is nearer to a fish than she was on May Day the year before when she last appeared in the sun; and she is combing her long hair which is now covered with pearls; and she looks with longing eyes to the shore and her old home. And sometimes on moonlight nights in May, when the wind is still and the sea is calm, the fishermen hear her strange sad song across the waters. They know then that she is lonely, and that she is singing her song to lure land-comrades for company to[Pg 37] her side. And on these nights they stay on shore, for they know that if they venture out to sea she will seize them and carry them off for playmates to her home of bright shells far under the sea.
Long ago two Indian boys lived in the Canadian forest with their parents. One boy was much older and larger and stronger than the other. He forced his little brother to do all the hard work about the place. He stole from him all the good things his parents gave him and often he beat him until he cried with pain. If the little boy told his parents of his brother's cruelty, his brother beat him all the harder, and the little boy found that it was more to his comfort not to complain. But at last he could stand the cruelty no longer, and he decided to run away from home. So one morning he took his bow and arrows and an extra pair of moccasins, and set out alone to seek his fortune and to find a kinder world.
Although the boy was small and young, he could run very fast. He could run so fast that when he shot an arrow from his bow, he could outstrip the arrow in its flight. So he ran along very quickly, and when night came on he was very far from home. He was lonely too, for he thought of the bright warm camp fires in the twilight at home, and of his father and mother, and he wished he was back again in his own soft bed. He was frightened too by the strange noises,[Pg 39] and every sound startled him. At last when he was about to cry in his loneliness, an old man came along. The man was very old but he had a kindly face, all wrinkled and weather-beaten, and twinkling eyes that told of a merry heart. "Hello," he said to the boy, "where are you from, and where are you going?" "I have come a long way," said the boy, "and I am very tired and lonesome and far from home, and I don't know where I am going. I am looking for a pleasant land." "You look like a good boy," said the old man; "you say you have come a long way, but I have come much farther than you, and from a very pleasant place. When I began my journey I was young like you. I have never stopped, and now you see that I am very old and bent and wrinkled, while there is not a line in your face. I have travelled a very long road, the road of Long Life." Then the boy said, "I want to go to the place you came from since it is pleasant." But the old man answered, "You can never reach it; it is the Land of Youth; the Childhood Land, men call it, and those who leave it never go back. It is a land of wonderful sights and sounds and dreams. It can be reached only from the road on the other side; you have passed that road and it is too late for you now to go back to it." Then they were silent for a long time, and the boy looked at the old man and wondered. He saw that the old man's shoes were worn out from his long journey and that his feet were sore and weary. So he gave him the extra pair of moccasins he carried. The old man was[Pg 40] very thankful. He gave the boy a little box he had in his pocket and he said, "Take this box; you will find it will help you in times of need, and it will be useful to you in your travels. I am near the end of my journey, and I shall need it no more. You have a long journey before you." The boy put the box in his pocket and lay down to sleep. Then the old man went on his way, and the boy never saw him again.
The next morning, before the boy began his day's journey, he wondered what was in the box the old man had given him. He took it out and opened it. Inside was a little man no bigger than his own thumb, dancing as hard as he could. As soon as the cover was opened and light entered the box, the little man stopped dancing and called to the boy, "What do you want?" The boy knew then that the old man had given him a little fairy to help him in his need. He closed the box and answered, "I wish to be carried far away to a beautiful land where I can get a lovely girl for a comrade, for I am very lonely." At once darkness came upon him and he slept. When he awoke he found he had been asleep but a few seconds, but he was now in a large village in a beautiful land. It was a land of trees and flowers and wonderful streams, where many birds were singing. He came to a house on the border of the village and entered it. Inside was a very old woman; she was the only person in the house. When she saw the boy, she began to cry. He asked her why she was weeping. She answered, "I know why you have come[Pg 41] here. I knew from a dream that you were coming. You have come to seek a very lovely girl as your wife and comrade. She lives in the village. Her father is very rich. He is a great Chief. He asks that each man who seeks to win his daughter must do very hard and dangerous and impossible tasks. If they fail they are put to death. The girl has had many suitors, but all have failed to do her father's tasks and all have been killed. You too will fail and you will surely die." Then the old woman cried louder than before. But the boy said, "I can do any task he sets for me. He cannot kill me." For the boy knew that the dancing fairy would save him.
Soon the boy went to the Chief's house to ask him for his lovely daughter. The Chief told him the conditions on which she could be won. He said that all her suitors had to try to do hard tasks. If they failed they were put to death; the suitor who succeeded should win his daughter. The boy agreed to do as he wished. The Chief said, "The mountain before my house keeps me from seeing the sun in the mornings. You must take it away before you can win my daughter. If you fail you shall be put to death." The boy said he would take away the mountain that night, but the Chief did not think he could do it.
That night when all the village was asleep the boy went to the foot of the mountain. It was a high granite hill, with great trees growing on its top. The boy took out his box[Pg 42] and opened it. The little fairy was dancing as hard as he could, but when he saw the light he stopped and said, "What do you want?" And the boy said, "I want you to take away this mountain before morning." "It shall be done," said the little man. Then the boy closed the box and lay down and went to sleep. He slept soundly all night. When he awoke in the early morning the mountain was gone. All around was only a level meadow. The sun was still low in the eastern sky, but all the village could see it. When the Chief awoke, he wondered greatly. He thought he had lost his daughter at last. But he decided to set another hard task for the boy to do.
Soon the boy went to the Chief to claim his bride. But the Chief said, "You must do another task for me. Not far away there is a village where my enemies live. They have caused me great trouble. You must destroy the village and drive all the people away before you can win my daughter. If you fail to do it to-night, you shall be put to death to-morrow." The boy agreed to do as he wished. And the Chief thought the boy would surely be killed in making the attempt.
That night the boy set out for the distant village. He ran very fast and soon reached the border of it. Then he took out his box and opened it. The fairy stopped dancing and said, "What do you want?" "I want you to destroy this village to-night and drive all the people away," said the[Pg 43] boy. "It shall be done," said the fairy. Then the boy closed the box and went to sleep under a tree. He slept soundly all night. In the morning when he awoke, there was no village in sight. All around him was silence; not a sound of life came to him but the sounds of the forest; the village had been destroyed in the night and all its people were now far away. Then the boy went back and told the Chief that he had done the deed. The Chief sent a messenger to see if the boy spoke the truth, and the messenger came back and said that the task had been done. Then the Chief knew that he was beaten. He knew that the boy had very great power which he could not understand, and he said, "You may take my lovely daughter." So the boy took the girl as his wife and comrade. The Chief gave them a great lodge to live in and servants to wait on them, and they were very happy.
But their happiness was soon ended for a time. One day the boy went away with many others to hunt far in the forest. He put on a hunting suit, but he forgot to take his magic box along with him. He left it behind in the pocket of his coat. In the house was a wicked servant who wanted the boy's possessions for himself. One day he had seen his master opening the box and talking to it. He wondered what his master meant and what was in the box. When his master had gone hunting, the servant went to hang up his clothes. He found the box in the coat pocket. He took it out and opened it. Inside, the little man was dancing as[Pg 44] hard as he could. When he saw the light, he stopped and said, "What do you want?" The servant knew that at last he had found the secret of his master's power. "What do you want me to do?" repeated the little man. The manservant said, "I want you at once to remove this house and all it contains to some place far away." Then he closed the box. At once there was darkness, and when light came again in a few seconds, the house and all in it were far away in the depths of the forest. The servant was very pleased.
Soon the hunters came back. They had taken much game. When the boy came to where his home had been, he found that his house was gone, and his wife and servants and all his possessions were gone with it. He knew at once what had happened. But he knew how to overcome his wicked servant. He took a magic bow and arrow that his mother had given him before he left his old home long before. Then he went out and shot his arrow into the woods. He ran as fast as he could, following the arrow. He ran so fast that he could follow it in its flight. And he kept under the arrow as it sped on and on. When the arrow dropped far in the forest, the boy stopped. Not far in front of him he saw his own house. He hid among the trees until night came. Then he crept softly to the house. There was not a sound. Everyone was asleep. He went in, and there, sure enough, was his coat hanging on a peg. He slipped it on, and in the pocket he found the magic box. He opened it, and there[Pg 45] was the little man dancing as hard as he could. When the cover was lifted, the little man stopped and said, "What do you want?" The boy said, "I want you at once to take this house and all it contains back to the village where it was before." The little man said, "It shall be done." Then the boy went to sleep. He awoke in the morning before the others were up, and sure enough the house was back in the village. Then the boy asked the little man in the box to punish the wicked servant. And the servant was sent far away to be a wanderer on the face of the earth; and he wanders about to this day, and he is always looking for something that never comes, and he has always beautiful dreams that never come true.
After that, the boy and his wife lived happily. The boy never again left the box behind him; he kept it always with him. And when he wanted anything, the little fairy always brought it to him. Soon the old Chief died, and the boy became Chief in his place. He travelled the road of Long Life over which the wrinkled old man had come. When he grew old, he asked the fairy in the box to bring him back to the Land of Youth, but that was the one thing the dancing fairy could not do. So at the end of the long road the old man disappeared over the hill and left his box behind him with the great deeds it had done.
Long before the white men came to Canada, and when the animals ruled the earth, a little boy and his sister lived alone on the Canadian plains. Their father and mother died when the children were very young. The children had no relations, and they were left to look after themselves. They lived many miles from other people; indeed they had never seen any people but their parents, they lived so far away. The boy was very small; he was no bigger than a baby. The girl was large and strong, and she had to provide food for both of them and do all the work in the house. She had to take care of her little brother, and she took him with her wherever she went so that no harm would come to him. She made him a bow and a number of arrows to play with. One day in winter she went out to gather wood for the fire. She took her little brother with her. She told him to hide while she walked farther on. She said, "You will soon see a flock of snow birds passing near you if you watch. Shoot one of them and bring it home." The snow lay deep on the plains, and many snow birds were flying around looking for food. The boy tried to shoot them, but his aim was not good, and he was unable to hit any[Pg 47] of them. When his sister came back to him, he had no bird and he was very much ashamed. But his sister said, "Never mind. Do not be discouraged. You will have better luck to-morrow."
The next day the girl took her brother with her again when she went to gather wood. She left him behind at the place where he had hidden himself the day before. Again the snow birds came flying past, searching for food. The boy shot several arrows at them, and at last he killed one. When his sister came back to him, he showed her the bird. He was pleased with his success, and he said, "I shall try to kill one each day. You must skin them and when we have enough skins, I shall make a coat from them." And his sister promised to do as he wished. Each day the boy went with his sister and waited for the snow birds to fly past. And each day he killed one and took it home. They skinned the birds and dried the skins. Soon the boy had enough bird skins to make a coat, for he was very small. A few bird skins made his coat. His sister sewed the skins together and the boy put on the coat. He was very proud of it.
One day the boy said to his sister, "Sister, we are all alone in the world. We have never seen any other people except our father and mother. Are there any other people on the earth?" His sister told him that she had heard from her mother that other people lived far away to the east beyond[Pg 48] the mists of the prairie, and that others, from whom his mother had come, lived away to the west beyond the distant hills. The boy said, "I should like to see my mother's people if they are anywhere on the earth." So one day when his sister was away, he put on his bird-skin coat and took his bow and arrows and set out towards the distant hills to see if he could find his mother's people. It was spring-time in the north country. The sun had melted the snow, and little streams were flowing and little blades of grass had begun to peep above the ground. But the earth was soft and wet, and the day was hot, and warm winds blew over the plains. The boy walked for a long time. By the time the sun was high up in the sky, he was very tired for he was very small. He came to a dry knoll and lay down to rest. Soon he fell asleep. As he slept, the sun beat down upon him. It was so hot that it singed his bird-skin coat; then the coat shrank and shrank in the heat until it was only a small patch on his back. When he awoke and stretched himself, he burst his coat in many places, it had grown so tight. He was very cross when he saw how the sun had ruined his coat. He shook his fist at the sun and said, "I will have vengeance; you need not think you are too high to escape me. I will punish you yet." He decided that without his coat he could not go any farther to seek his mother's people, and at evening he returned home.
When he reached home, he showed his sister his ruined[Pg 49] coat. He was very sad, and for weeks he would scarcely eat a bite. And all the time he spoke bitterly of the sun. His sister tried to comfort him. She told him that next winter when the snow birds came flying south again, he could kill more of them and she would make him another coat. But for a long time he would not be comforted. At last he roused himself. He asked his sister to make him a snare, for he was going to catch the sun. She made him a snare from a buffalo-hide cord, but he told her that it would not do. Then she cut off some of her long black hair, and from it she made a braided noose. The boy said that it would do very well. Then he set out to catch the sun. He travelled many days until he came to the Great Water in the East. It was summer in the north country, and the sun rose early. The boy placed his snare just where the sun would strike the land when he rose at dawn out of the sea, and he watched from a distance. Sure enough, in the morning just as the sun rose out of the sea and came above the earth, he was caught in the snare and held fast. The sun could not rise; he was held fast to the earth. The boy was quite pleased with his success. "Now," he said, "I have punished the sun for ruining my bird-skin coat." And he returned to his home on the plains.
That day there was no light upon the earth. It was twilight in all the land. The animals were in great fear and wonder. The birds fled to their nests, and only the owl came out to look for food. At last the animals and the birds called[Pg 50] a council to see what they could do. They found that the sun was tied to the earth by a snare. They decided that some one must go up close to the sun and cut the cord that held him. It was a very dangerous task, for the heat was very great and any one who tried to cut the cord would perhaps be burned to death. So they drew lots to see who should go. The lot fell to Woodpecker. And Woodpecker went up and picked at the cord with his bill. He tried hard to cut it, but it was a strong braid of woman's hair and it could not be cut easily. Woodpecker picked and picked at it for a long time. At last his head was so badly burned that he could stand the heat no longer and he had to fly away without cutting the cord. His head was red from the great heat. And ever since, poor Woodpecker has had a red head because the sun singed him when he tried to set him free.
Then the animals called for a volunteer to undertake the task of cutting the snare. Mouse was at that time the largest and strongest animal in the world, and he thought that because of his great strength, it was his duty to attempt the hard and dangerous task. So he set out. When he reached the snare, he tried to cut the cord with his teeth, but the cord was strong and could not be cut easily. The heat was very great. Mouse would have run away, but he was so big and strong that he was ashamed to leave the task, for he thought that the smaller animals would laugh at him. So he stuck to his work and sawed the cord with his teeth, one hair at[Pg 51] a time. Soon his back began to burn and scorch and smoke. But he stuck to his task. Then he began to melt away because of the great heat, and the whole top of his body was burned to ashes. But still he stuck to his task for a long time, cutting hair after hair. Finally he cut the last hair; the snare parted, and the sun was at last free to continue his day's journey and give light to the world. And the animals and birds rejoiced greatly over the success of Mouse. But poor Mouse had melted almost entirely away in the great heat. When he went up to the snare, he was the largest animal in the world; when he came down, he was the smallest. And his back was burned to ashes. And ever since, Mouse has been the smallest animal in the world, and his coat has always been the colour of gray ashes, because he was scorched when freeing the sun from a snare in the old days.
In far back times many centuries before the white men came from Europe to live in the New World, Eastern Canada was inhabited by Indians. They were a mighty race, great in size and strong in battle. Their descendants live in certain of these parts still, dwelling in settlements of their own apart from the white folk. You may still see them in their strange tents or wigwams, making arrows and baskets and garden-seats. Some of them are still fleet of foot and can run many miles without tiring. But their real greatness has long since gone. They have grown smaller in size, and they are no longer powerful as in the old days. In early times they were called the Children of Light, for of all the people in America they dwelt nearest to the sun-rise. Their great lord and creator was Glooskap. Where he was himself born, and when, no man knows. From the place of his birth he sailed across the sea in a great stone canoe to the part of America nearest to the rising sun. He landed on the eastern shores of Canada. Far out he anchored his canoe and it was so large that it became an island, and great trees grew upon it. When he needed it, it was always ready to do his bidding, but it always became an island when it was not[Pg 53] in use. On the shore of the Atlantic Ocean, Glooskap dwelt many years—ages and ages—until one day he sailed away to the hunting grounds of his fathers far over the sea.
About Glooskap's work many strange tales are told. From his birth and throughout his long life his deeds were very wonderful. He was one of twin brothers, the other being Wolf the son of Wickedness. Glooskap was the son of Goodness. Their mother died at their birth and the two children were left alone. Both had magic power which could keep them from harm, and death could not come to them except in one way. Glooskap could be killed only by a flowering rush, and Wolf only by a fern root; and each alone knew the secret of his own death. Now it was known before Glooskap's birth that he should become the Lord of the Land of the Rising Sun in Canada. But Beaver and Squirrel who were great in those days—and even before his coming—were jealous of his power when he arrived, for they themselves wished to rule the land. They tempted Wolf to kill his brother, and he being the son of Wickedness would have been glad of the chance, but he did not know the secret of his brother's death. One night of bright starlight, Beaver hiding stealthily among the trees as was his custom, heard Glooskap boasting to the stars about his charmed life; he could trust the stars, and he told them that he could be killed only by means of a flowering rush. Then Beaver hurried away to Wolf; he told him that he knew the secret of Glooskap's death and[Pg 54] that he would tell it if Wolf would give him what he wished. To this Wolf agreed and Beaver told him what he had heard Glooskap say to the stars. "What do you want in return for the secret?" asked Wolf. "Wings like a pigeon," answered Beaver. But Wolf said, "You have a tail like a file; what could you do with wings like a pigeon?" And he laughed at him scornfully and would not grant him his wish as he had promised. Thereupon Beaver was very cross and resolved to have vengeance on Wolf. He went quickly to Glooskap and told him that Wolf knew the secret of his death and that he had better be on his guard. The next night Glooskap hid himself among the trees near to Wolf's tent. He heard Wolf boasting to the stars about his charmed life, and telling them the secret of his death,—that he could be killed only by a fern root. And Glooskap, fearing for his own life, for he had no faith in the love of Wolf the son of Wickedness, at once slew his brother with a fern root. Then he changed him into a mountain, where he sleeps to this day like a huge hill.
Glooskap then ruled the country alone. But soon he grew lonely without companions and he decided to people his land. He first made the Fairies and the Elves, and sent them to dwell in the meadows and tiny streams and among the hills and caves. Then he took his bow and arrows, and for many days he shot at the ash trees in the forest. And out of the bark of the trees at which he shot there came first men whom he called Indians, the Children of Light. Then came the[Pg 55] animals—all that had not before lived in his land—and the birds of the air and the fish of the sea, and he gave them each a name. At first all the animals were very large, so large that the head of the deer could touch the tops of the tallest pines. Even Squirrel could tear down the largest trees in the forest. One day Glooskap called all the animals to him to learn if they were friendly to his people. And he said to Bear, "What would you do if you should meet a man?" And Bear answered, "I should eat him up." And Glooskap sent Bear away to the Northland, far from the dwellings of men, to live on fish from the frozen sea. And he said to Squirrel, "What would you do if you should meet a man?" And Squirrel answered, "I should tear down trees on his head." And Glooskap, fearing for his men because of the strength of the animals, decided to make the animals smaller. So he took Squirrel and smoothed his back with his hand for a whole day, until he became very small as he is now, and he made him carry his tail on his back that he might thereby use up some of his strength; but Squirrel still scratches as in the old days.
Glooskap made all the animals smaller and weaker than they were when they were first created. He gave his people power over them, so that the greatest and strongest of all his creatures was man. The animals became his friends and the friends of his people; they could talk like men and they often spoke to them, and they were eager to obey Glooskap and to[Pg 56] help him in his work. Two great wolves became his dogs; he could change their size and make them kind or cruel as he willed. They guarded his tent by day and night and always followed him about, even swimming behind him when he went far away over the sea. The Loons of the beach became his messengers, and one of them—old Tatler—became his chief tale-bearer. They always brought him news from other lands over the water and they also kept him well informed about the deeds of his own people, telling him who were good and who were evil. Fox too brought him tales from places deep in the forest, and was one of his most trusted friends. The Rabbits became the guides of men; one of them—old Bunny—was his scout of the woods, and those who followed him never lost their way. The Partridge built boats for men and animals, until because of the bird's stupidity, Glooskap took away his power. The Whale became his carrier, and old Blob the whale came quickly to his call and carried him on her back when he wished to go far over the sea. The Great Eagle made the winds for him; when she moved her wings the winds blew; she could make them great or gentle as Glooskap commanded, and when Glooskap tied her wings, the winds were still. Each animal and bird had special work to do.
Glooskap's only enemies were Beaver and Badger and Bull Frog. These always plotted against him and tried to destroy his power by stirring up strife among his people.[Pg 57] At last he could be patient with them no longer, and he resolved to drive Beaver away. One day when Beaver watched him from a distance, Glooskap scooped up great handfuls of earth and stones and threw them in anger at his enemy, and Beaver in great fear because of Glooskap's great power, fled far away. The earth that Glooskap threw fell into the ocean and became islands. The spot from which Glooskap had taken the earth became a beautiful bay. To the shores of this bay Glooskap moved his tent, and lived there until he left the earth. When Beaver went away, he built a dam from a high place on the south to the shore on the north, and he thought to live there in comfort. But the dam caused the high tides of the sea to overflow the valley, and it was a constant source of trouble and fear to the people who lived near it. Thereupon Glooskap in anger one day broke the dam and pushed part of it out into the sea. The broken part which he moved out became a cape stretching into the ocean, and there you may see it to this day. Then Beaver, knowing that Glooskap was more powerful than he, troubled him openly no more, but frequently by stealth he tried to do him harm.
When Bull Frog was first created, he was given power over all the fresh-water streams in the land. He dwelt in the stream from which Glooskap's people took water for their use,—for drinking and cooking. But he too proved false to Glooskap, and grew vain of his own great power. Once, that he might show his skill and win a great reputation[Pg 58] among men, he dried up the water in the stream until only the mud remained. The people thirsted without fresh water, and were much distressed, and at last they complained to Glooskap. Glooskap told them not to worry, for he would soon set things right. That he might make sure of Bull Frog's treachery he went himself to the bank of the stream, and there he asked a boy to bring him water to drink. The boy searched for water for a whole day, while Glooskap sat on a log and silently smoked his pipe. At last the boy came back bringing only a small cup, no larger than a thimble, filled with dirty water, and said it was all the water he could get.
Glooskap knew then that his people had told him the truth about Bull Frog's wickedness. In great anger he went himself to the mud where Bull Frog dwelt and asked for water. But Bull Frog stubbornly refused to let the water come forth. Then Glooskap grasped Bull Frog with a mighty grip and squeezed him tight until he crumpled his back and made him soft. With great force he hurled him far out into the mud, and said, "Henceforth you shall live in dirty water; and you shall always croak with a dry throat, as a punishment for your sins." Then with his own magic power he brought forth water so that the stream flowed again, and the people all rejoiced. He promised that never again should any creature have power to dry up the streams. And since that time Bull Frog has lived in muddy pools; he still croaks, for his throat is always dry, and to this day his back is wrinkled and[Pg 59] crumpled and bears the marks of Glooskap's mighty fingers. And since that day the supply of clear fresh water has never failed in the country and the streams have never dried up.
Glooskap was always kind to his people. He taught the men how to hunt and how to build huts and canoes. He taught them what plants were good to eat, and he told them the names of all the stars. But he did not dwell among his men. He dwelt apart from them in a great tent, but when they sought him they always found him. He never married as they did. There dwelt with him as his housekeeper a very wise old woman; her name was Dame Bear, but Glooskap called her always "grandmother." With him too there lived a little boy whom Glooskap always called "little brother." And Glooskap gave him a magic root from the forest by the use of which he could change his shape into various forms. Whether or not Dame Bear was really his grandmother or the little boy his brother, no man knows. But both lived with him until his death.
Glooskap and Dame Bear and the little boy lived together for many ages. Glooskap had a magic belt which gave him power over sickness and hunger and danger and death. And anyone on whom it was placed was given the same strange power. And while Glooskap was with them, his people lived very happily. They never wanted for food or clothing. For Glooskap was kind to his people and wished them to be contented and at peace.
When Glooskap first created the animals in Canada, he took good care that they should all be friendly to himself and to his people. They could all talk like men, and like them they had one common speech. Each had a special duty to do for Glooskap, and each did his best to help him in his work. Of all the animals, the gentlest and most faithful was Bunny the Rabbit. Now, in those first days of his life, Rabbit was a very beautiful animal, more beautiful than he is to-day. He had a very long bushy tail like a fox; he always wore a thick brown coat; his body was large and round and sleek; his legs were straight and strong; he walked and ran like other animals and did not hop and jump about as he does now. He was always very polite and kind of heart. Because of his beauty and his good qualities, Glooskap chose him as his forest guide, his Scout of the Woods. He gave him power that enabled him to know well all the land, so that he could lead people and all the other animals wherever they wished to go without losing their way.
One day in the springtime it chanced that Bunny sat alone on a log in the forest, his long bushy tail trailing far behind him. He had just come back from a long scouting[Pg 61] tour and he was very tired. As he sat resting in the sun, an Indian came along. The Indian was weary and stained with much travel, and he looked like a wayfarer who had come far. He threw himself on the ground close to the log on which Rabbit sat and began to weep bitterly. Bunny with his usual kindness asked, "Why do you weep?" And the man answered, "I have lost my way in the forest. I am on my way to marry this afternoon a beautiful girl whom her father pledged to me long ago. She is loved by a wicked forest Fairy and I have heard that perhaps she loves him. And I know that if I am late she will refuse to wait for me and that she will marry him instead." But Rabbit said: "Have no fear. I am Bunny, Glooskap's forest guide. I will show you the way and bring you to the wedding in good time." The man was comforted and his spirits rose, and they talked some time together and became good friends.
When the man had somewhat got back his strength, they began their journey to the wedding. But Rabbit, being nimble-footed, ran fast and was soon so far in advance of his companion that he was lost to view. The man followed slowly, catching here and there through the green trees a glimpse of his guide's brown coat. As he stumbled along, thinking of his troubles, he fell into a deep pit that lay close to the forest path. He was too weak to climb out, and he called loudly for help. Bunny soon missed his follower, but he heard the man's yells, and turning about, he ran back to the[Pg 62] pit. "Have no fear," said Rabbit as he looked over the edge, "I will get you out without mishap." Then, turning his back to the pit, he let his long bushy tail hang to the bottom. "Catch hold of my tail," he ordered, "hold on tight and I will pull you out." The man did as he was told. Rabbit sprang forward, but as he jumped, the weight of the man, who was very heavy, was more than he could bear, and poor Bunny's tail broke off within an inch of the root. The man fell back into the pit with a thud, holding in his hand poor Rabbit's tail. But Bunny in all his work as a guide had never known defeat, and he determined not to know it now. Holding to a strong tree with his front feet, he put his hind legs into the pit and said to the man, "Take hold of my legs and hang on tight." The man did as he was told. Then Rabbit pulled and pulled until his hind legs stretched and he feared that they too would break off; but although the weight on them was great, he finally pulled the man out after great difficulty. He found to his dismay that his hind legs had lengthened greatly because of their heavy load. He was no longer able to walk straight, but he now had to hop along with a strange jumping gait. Even his body was much stretched, and his waist had become very slender because of his long heavy pull. The two travellers then went on their way, Bunny hopping along, and the man moving more cautiously.
Finally, they reached the end of their journey. The[Pg 63] people were all gathered for the wedding, and eagerly awaiting the coming of the bridegroom. Sure enough, the forest Fairy was there, trying by his tricks to win the girl for himself. But the man was in good time, and he married the maiden as he had hoped. As he was very thankful to Bunny, he asked him to the marriage dance and told him he might dance with the bride. So Rabbit put rings on his heels and a bangle around his neck, after his usual custom at weddings, and joined the merry-makers. Through the forest green where they danced many tiny streams were flowing, and to the soft music of these the dance went on. As the bride jumped across one of these streams during her dance with Bunny, she accidentally let the end of her dress drop into the water so that it got very wet. When she moved again into the sun, her dress, because of its wetting, shrank and shrank until it reached her knees and made her much ashamed. But Rabbit's heart was touched as usual by her plight; he ran quickly and got a deer skin that he knew to be hidden in the trees not far away, and he wrapped the pretty skin around the bride. Then he twisted a cord with which to tie it on. He held one end of the cord in his teeth and twisted the other end with his front paws. But in his haste, he held it so tight and twisted it so hard that when a couple waltzing past carelessly bumped into him the cord split his upper lip right up to the nose. But Rabbit was not dismayed by his split lip. He fastened on the bride's new deer-skin gown, and then he[Pg 64] danced all the evening until the moon was far up in the sky. Before he went away, the man and his bride wanted to pay him for his work, but he would not take payment. Then the bride gave him a new white fur coat and said, "In winter wear this white coat; it is the colour of snow; your enemies cannot then see you so plainly against the white ground, and they cannot so easily do you harm; but in summer wear your old brown coat, the colour of the leaves and grass." And Bunny gratefully took the coat and went his way.
He lingered many days in the new country, for he was ashamed to go back to his own people with his changed appearance. His lip was split; his tail was gone, and his hind legs were stretched and crooked. Finally, he mustered up his courage and returned home. His old friends wondered much at his changed looks, and some of them were cruel enough to laugh at him. But Bunny deceived them all. When they asked him where he had been so long, he answered, "I guided a man to a far-off land which you have never seen and of which you have never heard." Then he told them many strange tales of its beauty and its good people.
"How did you lose your fine tail?" they asked. And he answered, "In the land to which I have been, the animals wear no tails. It is an aristocratic country, and wishing to be in the fashion, I cut mine off."
"And why is your waist so slender?" they asked. "Oh," replied Bunny, "in that country it is not the fashion to be[Pg 65] fat, and I took great trouble to make my waist slight and willowy." "Why do you hop about," they asked, "when you once walked so straight?" "In that land," answered Bunny, "it is not genteel to walk straight; only the vulgar and untrained do that. The best people have a walk of their own, and it took me many days under a good walking-teacher to learn it."
"But how did you split your upper lip?" they asked finally. "In the land to which I have been," said Bunny, "the people do not eat as we do. There they eat with knives and forks and not with their paws. I found it hard to get used to their new ways. One day I put food into my mouth with my knife—a very vulgar act in that land—and my knife slipped and cut my lip, and the wound has never healed."
And being deceived and envying Bunny because of the wonders he had seen, they asked him no more questions. But the descendants of Rabbit to this day wear a white coat in winter and a brown one in summer. They have also a split upper lip; their waist is still very slender; they have no tail; their hind legs are longer than their front ones; they hop and jump nimbly about, but they are unable to walk straight. And all these strange things are a result of old Bunny's accident at the man's wedding long ago.
In far back times when only Indians dwelt in Canada, Glooskap, who was Lord and Master of the tribes, chose Partridge from among all his creatures to be the boat-builder for the birds of the sea. Partridge was then a very wonderful bird, very different from what he is to-day. He dwelt always along the ocean shore, on the banks of great rivers, and he could swim like a duck or a gull. He could change his shape to that of a man. He knew all the country well, and often he wandered far through the woods looking for good trees from which to build his boats. Among all the people he was held in high regard because of his skill. He was always industrious and always busy, and at all hours of the day and late into the night, he could be heard hammering at his canoes, making a sound like a man tapping quickly on a drum. But he lost his reputation through no fault of his own. He no longer builds boats; the power to make the strange sound of his hammering is all that remains with him of his former greatness.
It happened that one very cold day Partridge walked alone over the snow in the deep forest near the shore of a great lake, looking for lumber for his boats. On the bank of a stream[Pg 67] he saw four beautiful maidens sitting on the ice braiding their long hair. He knew that they were the nymphs or fairies of the stream, and he watched them from behind a tree. He had long desired to win a stream fairy for his bride, but up to that time he had found it an impossible task, for the fairies were very timid. As he watched them now, he thought to himself, "Perhaps I can catch one of them and carry her off." So he stealthily slipped from behind the tree and crept along towards the bank. But the water-nymphs, who could hear the smallest sound, heard his footsteps, and looking around, they spied him among the trees. "Oh, oh!" they all cried, and at once they all dropped into the icy water and disappeared.
Now, Partridge, being then a river-dweller and of very great strength, was a good fisherman. Many a time he had caught the slippery harbour seals, and often he had dined plentifully on their meat. He hit upon a crafty trick by which to seize a nymph. He cut a number of branches from a spruce tree, and sticking them upright in the snow on the shore, he hid behind them, and waited for the nymphs to appear again. Sure enough they soon came back and sat again upon the ice braiding their long hair. Partridge put his head over the boughs to take a peep at them so that he might pick out the most beautiful, but again they saw him, and with the same frightened cry, "Oh, oh!" they dropped quickly into the sea. After them went Partridge, although he knew that the water was very cold. He caught one, but she slipped from his arms,[Pg 68] and when he came to the surface, he had only her hair ribbon in his hand.
Now, in those old days water-nymphs in this part of the sea could not live long without their hair ribbons, for the ribbons contained always much of their magic power. Partridge knew this, and he knew too that sooner or later the nymph would wander about on land looking for her lost charm. So he put the ribbon in his pocket and with a light heart he went about his business of seeking wood for his boats. That night when he went back to his tent he hid the ribbon not far from his hand in hope of the fairy's visit; then, pretending to sleep, he closed his eyes and waited. He had not been there long when there came in very softly the beautiful water-nymph in search of her lost ribbon. Now, when a water-nymph sets foot in the dwelling of man or animal without her hair ribbon, she is always powerless. This Partridge knew well. He sprang quickly from his couch, caught her with little trouble, and easily persuaded her to remain with him as his wife. This was against Glooskap's orders, for Glooskap knew that if one of his people married a water-nymph no good could come of it. But Glooskap said nothing.
Partridge and his nymph-wife lived happily enough for a time. But he always feared for her safety when he went far away looking for lumber for his boats, for many evil creatures were always about in the forest. And he always said to her[Pg 69] before he went away, "Keep the doors tightly barred while I am gone, for many wicked people and robbers prowl through the woods, and they will try to enter the tent perhaps to kill you." And she always promised to be on her guard.
One day Partridge went far away in search of lumber for a new fleet of boats he was then building. In the afternoon he came to a grove of wonderful cedar trees. He wished to examine it carefully, and as night was coming on—for winter nights come early in the Canadian woods—he decided to stay there until the next day. So as the day went down, he made a bed of boughs and went to sleep. He had no fear for his wife's safety, for she had promised to keep the doors barred.
Meanwhile, his wife waited at home for his coming. When the stars came out, she knew that he would not come home that night, and being sleepy she went to bed, first seeing that the doors were securely fastened. She felt very lonely all by herself in the big tent, for Partridge, because of the troublesome noise of his boat-building, dwelt a good distance away from his neighbours. At midnight she was awakened by a loud knocking at the door. "Open the door," said a voice outside; "I am cold and hungry and I have come far." But mindful of the warning of Partridge, the nymph-wife paid no heed to the call. Now, the voice was that of a wicked sorcerer who always prowled through the forest, and who knew that Partridge was away. He wished to kill and eat the nymph. He was a very clever and sly fellow, and he[Pg 70] could imitate the voices of all men and animals to lure people to their death. For a long time after his first call he was silent. Then he knocked again and imitated the voice of the nymph's brothers and sisters, and said, "Oh, sister, we have followed you for a long time until at last we have found you; open the door to us." But still the nymph was suspicious and refused to unbar the door. Then the sorcerer imitated her father's voice and called her "daughter." But still she would not let him in. At last he talked like her mother, and said, "Oh, daughter, open the door; I have come far in search of you, and I am very cold and hungry and tired." The nymph-wife was deceived at last, for she thought the voice was that of her old mother from the stream. Hastily she opened the door. At once the wicked sorcerer—the evil spirit of the woods—pounced upon her, and killing her at a blow, he greedily devoured her like a wolf, until not a bone was left.
The next morning Partridge came home. He found the door of his house open and his wife absent. He wondered greatly, for he remembered her promise, and he could not believe that she had been killed. So he resolved to use his magic power to learn where she had gone. He took his magic wooden plate and filled it with water, and placed it in a corner of the tent while he slept. When he awoke, the dish was full not of water but of blood, and he knew from this sign that his wife had been killed by the sorcerer. He determined to punish her slayer, and taking his axe and his[Pg 71] bow and arrows and his magic charm, he left his work and set out in pursuit of the sorcerer. He knew that the sorcerers travelled in pairs; he knew too that they had many tricks by which to escape punishment, and that they could take on various shapes. So he went along cautiously.
By evening he reached a great lone land in the far north where he thought he found traces of two of the evil ones. He came to a large cave which he entered, intending to pass the night there. From a huge rock at the side of the cave a man's foot was sticking. He knew that here was one of the sorcerers who had gone into the rock to sleep as was their custom, leaving his foot sticking out so that his comrade could pull him out when he had slept long enough. Partridge quickly cut off the foot close to the rock, and there the sorcerer was left closed up forever in the stone. There the rock remains to this day. Just as Partridge had finished the cutting, the sorcerer's companion came in, and Partridge knew,—for he had seen him often about his tent,—that here at last was the murderer of his wife. When the sorcerer saw no foot sticking from the rock, he knew at once that his brother was forever locked up in the stone, and he became very angry. Then he saw Partridge whom he knew to be his brother's slayer, but giving no sign of his knowledge, he received him kindly. He bolted the door of the cave, and then made a great fire thinking to roast Partridge alive and thereby have a good meal. But Partridge used his magic[Pg 72] charm against heat and helped the sorcerer to pile more wood on the fire, saying that he was very cold. Soon the cave grew hotter and hotter until at last its sides became red and the flames shot high to the roof, and even before he knew it the sorcerer was overcome by the great heat. Partridge threw him upon the fire, where he was quickly burned to cinders. Then, well pleased with his vengeance, he returned quickly to his home.
But from that day poor Partridge was never himself again. He sorrowed greatly for his dead nymph-wife, until he became stupid and could not do his work well, but he went faithfully about his duties, finishing the great fleet of boats for the birds and animals. Finally came the day when all were to be launched, and Glooskap and all his people gathered to see the fleet go by. It was a very wonderful sight on a great inland sea. The eagle had a large canoe which he paddled with the ends of his wings; all the birds of the sea and the river had very wonderful boats,—the crane and the duck, the snipe and the curlew, the plover and the gull, the wild goose and the loon and the kingfisher. And the boats were all of different colours, each colour the same as that of the bird for whom the boat was made. All the birds were supplied with boats. Even the humming-bird had a tiny canoe of many wonderful colours, and he had a little paddle not larger than a small pin.
Partridge's own canoe was the last to be launched. The[Pg 73] people all watched for it in patience and eagerness, for they thought that because he had built such wonderful boats for the other birds, he would have a particularly good one for himself. Now, Partridge had built his own canoe last, while he sorrowed for his dead wife. His brain had been muddled by his great grief. He reasoned foolishly that since a boat with two ends could be rowed in two directions, a boat with no ends at all could be rowed in all directions. So he made his own boat round like a saucer. But when it was launched and he tried to paddle it, he made no headway, for it turned round and round but always stayed in one place. All the people and the birds when they saw it laughed heartily at him and called him "fool." Then poor Partridge's grief was increased. He knew that he had forever lost his reputation as a boat-builder among the birds of the sea. He had no wish to dwell longer among them, and he decided to leave them for ever. So he flew far away into the forest, and since that time he has never been seen upon the shore of the sea, nor near a river or lake. He stays on land,—far in the deep woods, and he has forgotten even how to fish and how to swim. But he still keeps one remnant of his old life. He still makes a drumming noise as if he is hammering a canoe, and deep in the forest you can still hear his strange sound. You know then that he is mindful of old times when he built boats upon the shore and all day long and far into the night tapped lightly with his hammer.
Once during Glooskap's lifetime and reign in Canada it grew very cold. Everywhere there was snow and ice, and in all the land there was not a flower nor a leaf left alive. The fires that the Indians built could not bring warmth. The food supply was slowly eaten up, and the people were unable to grow more corn because of the hard frozen ground. Great numbers of men and women and children died daily from cold and hunger, and it seemed as if the whole land must soon perish.
Over this extreme cold Glooskap had no power. He tried all his magic, but it was of no avail. For the cold was caused by a powerful giant who came into the land from the far North, bringing Famine and Death as his helpers. Even with his breath he could blight and wither the trees, so that they brought forth no leaves nor fruit; and he could destroy the corn and kill man and beast. The giant's name was Winter. He was very old and very strong, and he had ruled in the far North long before the coming of man. Glooskap, being brave and wishing to help his people in their need, went alone to the giant's tent to try to coax or bribe or force him to go away. But even he, with all his magic power, at[Pg 75] once fell in love with the giant's home; for in the sunlight it sparkled like crystal and was of many wonderful colours, but in the night under the moonlight it was spotlessly white. From the tent, when Glooskap looked out, the face of the earth was beautiful. The trees had a covering of snow that gave them strange fantastic shapes. The sky was filled by night with flashing quivering lights, and even the stars had a new brightness. The forest, too, was full of mysterious noises. Glooskap soon forgot his people amid his new surroundings. The giant told him tales of olden times when all the land was silent and white and beautiful like his sparkling tent. After a time the giant used his charm of slumber and inaction, until Glooskap fell asleep, for the charm was the charm of the Frost. For six months he slept like a bear. Then he awoke, for he was very strong and Winter could not kill him even in his sleep. But when he arose he was hungry and very tired.
One day soon after he awoke, his tale-bearer, Tatler the Loon, brought him good news. He told of a wonderful Southland, far away, where it was always warm, and where lived a Queen who could easily overcome the giant; indeed, she was the only one on earth whose power the giant feared. Loon described carefully the road to the new country. Glooskap, to save his people from Winter and Famine and Death, decided to go to the Southland and find the Queen. So he went to the sea, miles away, and sang the magic song[Pg 76] that the whales obeyed. His old friend Blob the Whale came quickly to his call, and getting on her back he sailed away. Now, the whale always had a strange law for travellers. She said to Glooskap: "You must shut your eyes tight while I carry you; to open them is dangerous, for, if you do, I will surely go aground on a reef or a sand bar and cannot get off, and you may then be drowned." And Glooskap promised to keep his eyes shut. Many days the whale swam, and each day the water grew warmer, and the air grew gentler and sweeter, for it came from spicy shores; and the smells were no longer those of the salt sea, but of fruits and flowers and pines. Soon they saw in the sky by night the Southern Cross. They found, too, that they were no longer in the deep sea, but in shallow water flowing warm over yellow sands, and that land lay not far ahead. Blob the Whale now swam more cautiously. Down in the sand the clams were singing a song of warning, telling travellers in these strange waters of the treacherous sand bar beneath. "Oh, big whale," they sang, "keep out to sea, for the water here is shallow and you shall come to grief if you keep on to shore." But the whale did not understand the language of the little clams. And he said to Glooskap, who understood, "What do they sing?" But Glooskap, wishing to land at once, answered, "They tell you to hurry for a storm is coming,—to hurry along as fast as you can." Then the whale hurried until she was soon close to the land.[Pg 77] Glooskap, wishing the whale to go aground so that he could more easily walk ashore, opened his left eye and peeped, which was contrary to the whale's laws. And at once the whale stuck hard and fast on the beach, so that Glooskap, springing from her head, walked ashore on dry land. The whale, thinking that she could never get off, was very angry, and sang a song of lament and blame. But Glooskap put one end of his strong bow against the whale's jaw, and taking the other end in his hands, he placed his feet against the high bank, and, with a mighty push, he sent old Blob again into the deep water. Then, to keep the whale's friendship, he threw her an old pipe and a bag of Indian tobacco leaves—for Glooskap was a great smoker—and the whale, greatly pleased with the gift, lighted the pipe and smoking it swam far out to sea. Glooskap watched her disappear from view until he could see only clouds of her smoke against the sky. And to this day the whale has Glooskap's old pipe, and sailors often see her rise to the surface to smoke it in peace and to blow rings of tobacco smoke into the air.
When the whale had gone, Glooskap walked with great strides far inland. Soon he found the way of which Loon had told him. It was the Rainbow Road that led to the Wilderness of Flowers. It lay through the land of the Sunrise, beautiful and fresh in the morning light. On each side were sweet magnolias and palms, and all kinds of trees and flowers. The grass was soft and velvety, for by night[Pg 78] the dew was always on it; and snow and hail were unknown, and winds never blew coldly, for here the charm of the Frost had no power.
Glooskap went quickly along the flower-lined Rainbow Road, until he came to an orange grove where the air was sweet with the scent of blossoms. Soon he heard sounds of music. He peered through the trees, and saw that the sounds came from an open space not far ahead, where the grass was soft and where tiny streams were flowing and making melody. It was lilac-time in the land, and around the open space all kinds of flowers in the world were blooming. On the trees numberless birds were singing—birds of wonderfully coloured feathers such as Glooskap had never heard or seen before. He knew that he had reached at last the Wilderness of Flowers, of which old Tatler the Loon had spoken. He drew deep breaths of honeysuckle and heliotrope and countless other flowers, until he soon grew strong again after his long voyage.
Then he crept close to the edge of the open space and looked in from behind the trees. On the flower-covered grass within, many fair maidens were singing and dancing, holding in their hands chains of blossoms, like children in a Maypole game. In the centre of the group was one fairer than all the others—the most beautiful creature he had ever seen,—her long brown hair crowned with flowers and her arms filled with blossoms. For some time Glooskap gazed in silence,[Pg 79] for he was too surprised to move or to utter speech. Then he saw at his side an old woman,—wrinkled and faded, but still beautiful,—like himself watching the dance. He found his voice and asked, "Who are those maidens in the Wilderness of Flowers?" And the old woman answered, "The maiden in the centre of the group is the Fairy Queen; her name is Summer; she is the daughter of the rosy Dawn,—the most beautiful ever born; the maidens dancing with her are her children, the Fairies of Light and Sunshine and Flowers."
Glooskap knew that here at last was the Queen who by her charms could melt old Winter's heart and force him to go away, for she was very beautiful and good. With his magic song he lured her from her children into the dark forest; there he seized her and held her fast by a crafty trick. Then, with her as a companion, he began his long return journey north by land. That he might know the way back to the Wilderness of Flowers, he cut a large moose hide, which he always carried, into a long slender cord, and as he ran north with Summer, he let the cord unwind behind him, for he had no time to mark the trail in the usual way. When they had gone, Summer's children mourned greatly for their Queen. For weeks the tears ran down their cheeks like rain on all the land, and for a long time, old Dawn, the Queen's mother, covered herself with dark mourning clouds and refused to be bright.
[Pg 80]After many days, still holding Summer in his bosom—for she loved him because of his magic power—Glooskap reached the Northland. He found none of his people, for they were all asleep under the giant's power, and the whole country was cold and lonely. At last he came to the home of old Winter. The giant welcomed him and the beautiful girl, for he hoped to freeze them both and keep them with him always. For some time they talked together in the tent, but, although he tried hard, the giant was unable to put them to sleep. Soon old Winter felt that his power had vanished and that the charm of the Frost was broken. Large drops of sweat ran down his face; then his tent slowly disappeared, and he was left homeless. Summer used her strange power until everything that Winter had put to sleep awoke again. Buds came again upon the trees; the snow ran down the rivers, carrying away the dead leaves; and the grass and the corn sprang up with new life. And old Winter, being sorrowful, wept, for he knew that his reign was ended, and his tears were like cold rain. Summer, the Queen, seeing him mourn and wishing to stop his tears, said: "I have proved that I am more powerful than you; I give you now all the country to the far north for your own, and there I shall never disturb you; you may come back to Glooskap's country six months of every year and reign as of old, but you will be less severe; during the other six months, I myself will come from the south and rule the land." Old Winter could do nothing but[Pg 81] accept this offer gracefully, for he feared that if he did not he would melt entirely away. So he built a new home farther north, and there he reigns without interruption. In the late autumn he comes back to Glooskap's country and reigns for six months, but his rule is softer than in olden times. And when he comes, Summer, following Glooskap's moose-hide cord, runs home with her birds to the Wilderness of Flowers. But at the end of six months she always comes back to drive old Winter away to his own land, to awaken the northern world, and to bring it the joys that only she, the Queen, can give. And so, in Glooskap's old country Winter and Summer, the hoary old giant and the beautiful Fairy Queen, divide the rule of the land between them.
On the shores of a great water in Canada is a land where Indians once dwelt. In the days of French rule it was a garrisoned fort. The remains of the old moat and ramparts and stockade are still seen in the centre of what is now a large green meadow; but they are now overgrown with grass, and should you go there, on summer days you can see children playing upon them, picking wild flowers and making daisy chains, unmindful of the past fortunes of the spot on which they play. Behind you across the river which empties here is a city in modern dress. Before you is the sea with two little islands not far away resting in the summer haze upon its bosom. Moaning gas-buoys toss about in the gentle roll of the waters; by night red beacon lights lift their bright heads all about to light the sailor's road; summer cottages nestle on the beach before you; the hum of modern life is in your ears and the sight of it is in your eyes as you stand to-day upon the cliff.
But it was not always so. Long before the coming of the white race, before beacon lights and cities and summer cottages were known, this land was the home of Indians. Many of their descendants live there still, at peace with the[Pg 83] white folk who took their lands and their forests. They are the remnants of Glooskap's people. It was here, on the beach in the little cove, that the Turtle was first created and where he first dwelt. Long ago, after the white men came, he fled from these waters; and although his descendants are still sometimes caught by fishermen off the coast, neither he nor his children nor any of his tribe ever went back to the place of his creation. But the place of his birth is still pointed out.
It was in Glooskap's time that the Turtle came into being. There dwelt in the land an old Indian, a lazy, poor, and by no means beautiful man. As a hunter he had been of no value; he lived alone; and now he had come to the end of his life with little of the world's goods to his credit. But although he was poor, he was of a merry heart and a good nature, and he was well liked by all. Now, the chief of the tribe had three beautiful daughters who were much sought for by the young men of the village, all of whom wished to win their love. The eldest was the loveliest in the land; her name was Flower of the Corn. The old Indian would gladly have made one of these girls his wife for he was tired of living alone, but she on her part thought him worthless, and he on his part feared that if he wooed her, her many other suitors would be jealous and would perhaps take his life. So the old man kept his secret to himself and continued his sad existence.
It happened that one day Glooskap came into the land to[Pg 84] see his people. Of all the tents in the village he chose that of the old man as his resting place, for he had known him a long time and liked him because of his good nature and his merry heart. He was not with him long before he knew his secret, that he loved Flower of the Corn; and he also learned of his fear to woo her. Glooskap encouraged him and urged him to make his wishes known to the chief. But the old Indian said, "I am old and poor and I have no good clothes to wear, and I know that I should meet only with scorn." But Glooskap placed upon him his magic belt, and at once the old man became young and handsome; he also gave him fine clothes. Then he sent him to the chief's home. And the old man said, after the fashion of Indians when they wish to marry, "I am tired living alone. I have come for your eldest daughter." And the old chief, when he saw him so beautiful because of Glooskap's magic power, could not refuse his request and Flower of the Corn became his bride.
As the old man had feared, the young men of the village were very angry because he had won so beautiful a wife, and they resolved to do him harm. At first they tried to take vengeance on Glooskap, for as they had seen little of him they did not know of his great power. A great wedding feast was held for the old man and his bride, to which all the young men were invited. Two of the most jealous sat next to Glooskap, one on each side, and during the feast they plotted to kill him. But Glooskap heard them plotting against his[Pg 85] life and he knew that the time had come for him to show his strength. So at the end of the wedding feast, as he arose from the table he turned to each one and tapped him gently on the nose. When each rubbed the spot that Glooskap had touched, he found that his nose had disappeared. In great shame and anger they fled from the feast, and never afterwards dwelt among men. One of these was Toad; the other was Porcupine. And since that time neither Toad nor Porcupine has ever had a nose and their faces have always been flat because of Glooskap's touch at the banquet long ago.
Some days after the wedding feast, a great festival was held in the village. Glooskap knew that here again an attempt would be made upon the old Indian's life by his jealous enemies. He feared too that after he had gone from the village his old friend would surely be treacherously killed, and, as the time of his going away was at hand, he resolved upon a plan to save him from danger. He told the old man that at the festival his enemies would try to trample him under their feet during a game of ball. And he gave him a magic root which, if he ate it before the game, would give him power to jump high when they crowded in upon him. Sure enough, in the game of ball the young men surrounded the old man and watched for a chance to crush him. Twice he jumped high over their heads and escaped unhurt. But the third time when he jumped he stuck upon the top of a tent and could not get down.
[Pg 86]Inside the tent sat Glooskap quietly smoking his pipe and waiting for this very thing to happen. He made a smouldering fire from which the smoke rose in great clouds and passed out at the top of the tent around the old man, and he smoked and smoked great pipefuls of tobacco until far into the night. And the old man hung to the tent poles, dangling in the smoke until midnight. He hung there so long that from the smoke of the smouldering fire and that of Glooskap's pipe, his old skin became as hard as a shell. And Glooskap said to him, "I have done this thing for your own good. I fear that if I leave you here, after I have gone your enemies will kill you. I make you now chief of the Tortoise race and your name shall be called Turtle; hereafter you may roll through a flame of fire and you will not be burned nor will you feel pain, and you may live in water or on land as you prefer. And you shall have a very long life; and although your head be cut off you shall live nine days afterwards. And when your enemies throw you into the fire or into the water you need have no fear." Then he took him down from the tent pole.
The next day the old Indian's enemies, angry because he had escaped at the festival, built a great fire in the forest, and seizing him as he walked alone in the woods, they threw him upon it. But he went to sleep in the flame and when he awoke he called for more wood, telling them that he was very cold. They wondered greatly, and after plotting together[Pg 87] they resolved to throw him into the sea. They carried him far out in a canoe and dropped him overboard, and went ashore well pleased with their work, for they believed that at last they had taken vengeance. The next day was a day of great heat. At low tide when some of his enemies looked out to sea they saw basking in the sun on a sand-bar far away a strange figure. They were curious, and they rowed out to see what it was that shone so brightly in the sun. When they reached the sand-bar after paddling a long time they saw that it was the old Indian. There he was, sunning himself on the sand-bar, his hard smoked back shining in the bright light. As they came near, he said, "Good day," and grinning at them mischievously, he rolled lazily off the sand-bar and disappeared in the water.
Glooskap before he left the island, used his magic power to change Flower of the Corn in the same way and he sent her into the sea to live with her husband. And he gave her power to lay eggs in the sand. And the two lived happily for many long years, and raised up a mighty race. But still the Turtle rolls sideways into the sea like his old ancestor if men come near him as he suns himself on the sand. And you can still see on his back the marks of Glooskap's smoke. When the white men came, he left the land of his creation, but his descendants to this day live to a great age and grow to a great size along the Atlantic coast.
When Glooskap lived with his people it happened once that the tribes grew jealous of his power. This jealousy was not because of any evil in themselves; it was prompted by a wicked sorceress who during the absence of Glooskap prevailed upon the people to do him harm. Some said that the sorceress was angry because she had once loved Glooskap and he had refused to return her love; others said that she was much older than Glooskap, that before his birth she had herself ruled the earth for a long time, and that when Glooskap came he had put an end to her reign. The truth of the matter no man knows, but it is certain that she was very powerful and that she always watched for a chance to harm Glooskap.
Her chance came when Glooskap went for six weeks on a hunting trip far into the forest. She then told the people that he was neglecting them, and she soon persuaded them to pack up and leave him, for she believed that he would perish if he were left alone. When the people went away, they took with them Dame Bear, Glooskap's old grandmother, and his little brother, whom Glooskap had left behind. The band journeyed hastily across the land to the sea; then they sailed in[Pg 89] their canoes to a great island, where they stopped and set up their tents. And the sorceress left the road they travelled well guarded by evil beasts and dragons who, she hoped, would kill Glooskap if he tried to follow them. She made Dame Bear and the little boy her slaves, and compelled them to do much hard work. She gave them but little food and but scanty clothing, so that they were soon very miserable.
When Glooskap came back to his home at the end of six weeks, he found that his people had disappeared. His friend Fox, who had watched slyly the people's departure and the wicked woman's tricks, told him all that had happened. Glooskap did not blame his people, for he knew that their going away had been brought about by his old enemy. But that he might teach his people the folly of their act,—for he knew that they would now be very hungry and poor,—he tarried alone in his home-land for many years before he set out to find them and to take vengeance on their wicked leader. Then, taking his magic belt and his two dogs, he set out upon his long journey. He went across the sea to another land, and then he travelled eastward, his dogs following close behind him. Here he was far from the road that his people had travelled, and there were no dragons to bar his progress.
Soon he came to a village where the people were friendly. He heard from an old man and woman about the road along which the sorceress and his own people had passed. The old man told him of the dragons ahead of him and of the evil,[Pg 90] hideous creatures that had been left to guard the way. But Glooskap, unafraid, and trusting in his dogs and his magic belt, set out along the enchanted road. At last he came to a narrow pass in the hills watched over by two terrible dogs. He put his magic belt around the necks of his own dogs for a moment, and at once they grew to an immense size; and they easily killed the beasts of his enemy, and he passed on unharmed.
After some hours he came to a high hill. At the bottom was a large tent in which he knew, from the tale of the old man of the friendly village, that a wicked man lived with his two beautiful daughters. He knew too that they waited his coming, for prompted by the sorceress they wished to kill him. As he looked down from the top of the hill, he saw the two daughters approaching afar off. They were very beautiful and fair; but Glooskap remembered the old man's warning and he resolved to be on his guard. One of them carried in her hands a string of costly beads. They met him with pleasant smiles and invited him to the tent below the hill; and they tried to place the beads about his neck to show him their great love. But Glooskap knew that the beads were enchanted, and that if he placed them around his neck he should lose his strength and power. So he set his dogs upon the girls, and the dogs were so terrible because of his magic belt that the girls ran away in great fear; as they ran, they dropped the string of beads, without which they had no[Pg 91] power. Glooskap picked up the beads and then cautiously entered the tent of his enemies. On a couch of skins near the door the old man was dozing, and before he could rise, Glooskap placed the beads about his neck and killed him with a blow. Then he went on his way. He met with many enemies on this evil road, but by the aid of his dogs and his magic belt and the enchanted beads he overcame them all and was unharmed.
At last he reached the sea, and he looked over the dark water to another land and wondered how to get across. Finally, he sang the magic song that the whales always obeyed. Old Blob the whale came quickly to his call, and getting on her back he sailed away to the eastward. His two dogs swam close behind Old Blob. The whale soon brought him to the land where he knew that his people dwelt. He sprang ashore, his dogs following him, and set out with long rapid strides in search of his enemies. At the end of a few hours' journey he found traces of old camp-fires, and he knew that his people were not far away. At last he reached the place where they were living. In the distance he saw a camp, which because of his magic power he knew to be that of the sorceress. Near by was his little brother, whom the wicked sorceress had made her slave; he was pale and much worn, and he was clad only in rags; he was seeking wood for a fire and as he gathered up the dry sticks he cried, and sang a song of lament,—"Where is Glooskap, my big brother?[Pg 92] Alas! he is far away, and I shall never see him again." Then Glooskap took pity on his little brother, and gave a signal that the little boy knew well. And his brother, turning around, spied Glooskap behind the trees afar off, and running to him cried out with joy, for he knew that help had at last come.
But Glooskap knew that to overcome his great enemy and to free his people, he must be very careful and use his craftiest tricks. He told his little brother to be silent, and to tell no one but Old Dame Bear, the grandmother, that he had come. He sent him back to his hard work in the camp, and promised that when the twilight came he should be freed. And he said, "Do what you can to make the wicked woman angry, for when anger comes to her, her power leaves her; when you are sent to rock her baby to sleep at twilight, snatch it from its cradle and throw it into the camp-fire. Then run to me where I hide here among the trees; take Dame Bear with you, and all will be well."
His little brother then went back to his hard work in the woman's tent and told Dame Bear what he had seen and heard. And the two waited patiently for the twilight. At the sunset hour the little boy, still supperless, was sent by the sorceress to rock her baby to sleep. For the first time in his long separation from his big brother he worked with joy, and without hunger, for he knew that he would soon be free. Suddenly he snatched from the cradle-hammock the woman's[Pg 93] baby,—a wicked child like her mother,—and hurled her into the camp-fire. Then, taking Dame Bear by the arm, he ran towards Glooskap's hiding place. The baby howled with pain and cursed loudly as she had heard her mother do, and rolled herself out of the fire. And the sorceress was very angry, and muttering dire threats she ran after the boy and Dame Bear. They soon reached Glooskap, who sprang from his hiding place, his magic belt around him. When the sorceress saw Glooskap, she was more angry than before, so that her strength left her and she was powerless. Yet she gave battle.
Glooskap tore up a huge pine tree from its roots and hurled it at his enemy. It entered her side and stuck there, and although she tried with all her might she could not draw it out. Glooskap could now have killed her with a blow, but he did not wish to do that. He wanted to let her live in misery, and to give her a greater punishment than death. And so, yelling with pain and shame, the sorceress ran back to her tent, while Glooskap took Dame Bear and his little brother to his own camp among the trees and gave them food. He knew now that the battle was over, for it had long been known that if the wicked woman's side was once pierced her power would never return.
When Glooskap's people heard that he had come, they rejoiced greatly, for they were hungry and cold. The sorceress had failed to provide food for them, and they were[Pg 94] tired of her wicked and cruel rule which was very unlike that of Glooskap. But Glooskap tarried before making friends again with them, and remained for many days in his own camp in the trees watching them from afar. His dogs guarded his grove and kept all away except Dame Bear and his little brother. Meanwhile, the wicked sorceress in pain with the pine tree in her side moved about in great anger, but as her power was now gone, the people refused longer to obey her. And they all laughed at her because of the pine tree sticking in her side. At last, being very angry, she said, "I do not wish to live like this when my power is gone. All the people laugh at me because of the pine tree sticking in my side. I wish that I might change to something that would always be a plague and a torment to man, for I hate mankind." Glooskap heard her wish, although he was afar off, and with his magic power he changed her at once to a mosquito. Then he forgave his people, and as they were hungry he gave them much food and drink, for he had killed many moose in the land. And the people all rejoiced and promised never again to forsake him or to be jealous of his power.
Then Glooskap gathered his people on the shore of the great ocean, and calling the whales, his sea carriers, he bade them carry him and his people from this land back to their old home. There they settled down again in peace. But to this day the wicked sorceress roams over the earth as a mosquito; and the pine tree in her side is a sharp sting. She is[Pg 95] never at rest, but she shall always remain as she wished, a torment to mankind. The only thing on earth she dreads is fire and smoke, for she still remembers that the throwing of her baby into the fire long ago caused the outburst of anger that in the end deprived her of her strength. And by fire and smoke in the summer twilight men still drive her and her descendants from their dwellings.
When Glooskap first reigned upon the earth, what is now the Moon shone by day and what is now the Sun shone by night. Their work was exactly opposite to what it is to-day, for the present Moon was then the Sun and the present Sun was then the Moon. The Moon was then very red and bright; the Sun was pale and silvery. At that time the Sun—the present Moon—kept very irregular hours, and was very careless about his work. Sometimes he rose very early in the morning and set very late at night; at other times he rose very late and went to bed very early. For weeks in the winter he refused to shine at all, and even when he did appear at his work he gave very little warmth and he might just as well have been covered in his clouds. The Moon—the present Sun—was, on the other hand, always faithful to his duties.
At last the people grew tired of the Sun's strange actions and irregularities. They protested loudly against his methods of work, until in the end they sent some of their number to complain to Glooskap. Glooskap rebuked the Sun, but the latter answered that he had done his work as well as he could, and that his accusers were merely his enemies. Glooskap had[Pg 97] really been too busy to notice the Sun's way of working; so, that he might treat all with fairness, he said to the accusers: "Charge the Sun formally and openly with neglect of his duty; I will call a great meeting of all my people; we will hold a trial to judge him; I myself will be the judge; whoever wants to give evidence may do so, and the Sun may make his defence." To this all the people and the Sun agreed.
Now, in those days the Sun had many wives. With some of them he was far from happy, for often they sorely tormented him and tried his patience, and a few of them he would gladly get rid of if he could. One of his scolding wives was Frog. She had a crumpled back and a wrinkled face and a harsh voice; she was always jumping about, and with her of all his wives he was on the least friendly terms. When she heard that her husband was to be tried before Glooskap on a serious charge, she wished to be present at the trial, for she was very inquisitive. But the Sun said, "This trial is for men, not for women; your place is at home and not in the courts of warriors; you must not come." The Frog-wife pleaded to be allowed to go, but the more she pleaded the more sternly the Sun refused his permission. However, being a woman, and not to be outdone by a man, she resolved to go to the trial whether her husband permitted it or not, and she decided to steal into the court quietly after the trial had commenced.
At last the day of the trial arrived. The great court-tent[Pg 98] was filled with Glooskap's people. In the centre of the platform sat Glooskap, and near him sat the Sun, eager to defend himself from the charges of his enemies. When the trial was well advanced, and the evidence had nearly all been taken, the Sun's Frog-wife appeared suddenly at the door. All the seats were filled, but Glooskap with his usual politeness arose to find her a place. But when the Sun saw her there contrary to his wishes, he was very angry. He looked at her sternly with a frown, making at her a wry, twisted face; and drawing down his right eyelid, he said to Glooskap, "Oh, Master, do not trouble yourself to find her a seat; let her sit on my eyelid; that is a good enough seat for her; she can hang on there well enough, for she always wants to stick to me and follow me wherever I go." And at once the Frog-wife jumped to his eyelid and sat there quite comfortably.
Then the trial went on. Because of the Sun's clever defence of himself he was declared "not guilty" of the charges against him. It was decided by the judge, Glooskap,—and all the people, even the accusers, agreed—that under the circumstances he had done his work as well as he could, and that he deserved neither blame nor punishment. But at the close of the trial, when the Sun attempted to go back to his work, he could not get rid of his Frog-wife. He tried with all his might but he could not shake her off. She stuck fast to his eyelid and stubbornly refused to leave her seat, and she said that henceforth she would stay with him to see that he did[Pg 99] his work well. All the people pulled and tugged and coaxed, but they failed to move her. The strongest men in the land came, but even they could not pull her away. Then the people lamented and said to Glooskap: "She covers the side of the Sun's face and hinders his work; she makes him ugly; we must not have our Light of Day disfigured like this and bright on one side only; all the world will laugh at us. What are we to do?" And they were in great sorrow and distress.
But Glooskap in his wisdom found a way out of the difficulty. He said: "Be not troubled, O my people! We will make the Moon and the Sun exchange places; the Moon, who is still perfect and unharmed, shall become the Light of Day instead of Night, and shall take the name Sun. The Sun shall become the Light of Night instead of Day, and shall take the name Moon; for at night it will matter little if one side of his face is dark; and his Frog-wife hanging to his eyelid will by night be little noticed." To this the people all agreed. And so the Sun was changed with the Moon to shine by night, and the Moon was changed with the Sun to shine by day.
So now when the Moon—the old Sun—first appears at his work, he holds away from the earth the side of his face to which his Frog-wife is hanging, for he is very much ashamed of his appearance. And when he turns his head full upon the earth, you can still see, when the sky is clear, his black[Pg 100] Frog-wife hanging to his right eyelid and covering one side of his face. And always when his month's work is nearly done he turns his head abruptly in a frantic effort to shake her off, but he never succeeds. She hangs there always, and because of his Frog-wife's curiosity he shall never shine again by day.
One day Glooskap was in his tent with his old Grandmother. They heard a great noise. "A very big man is coming," said Glooskap, "I hear his footsteps." Time passed but no one came. Soon they heard a great noise again. "He must be a very big man," said Glooskap; "the earth is trembling under his tread, for the calves of my legs are shaking; he is coming nearer." Soon there was a knock at the door. "Come in," said Glooskap. In came a little fellow no bigger than a man's thumb. "You walk very heavily and make a great noise for so small a man," said Glooskap. "Yes," said the little fellow; but not another word would he say.
They sat silent for a long time. Then Glooskap tried to put his strange little caller to the test. "Take something to eat," he said, and he passed him a plateful of food. With his magic power he made the plate very heavy, and he thought that the little man could not hold it but would let it fall on his toes. But the little fellow took it easily, and held it while he ate all it contained. When he had finished eating, he passed it back. But it had grown so heavy because of the little man's power that Glooskap could hardly hold it up.
[Pg 102]Then they went outside. It was blowing very hard. "It is a windy day," said Glooskap. "Oh no," said the little fellow, "it is very calm and pleasant; I should like to have a sail on the sea." Glooskap had a very large heavy canoe. He thought it would be fun to send the little fellow sailing in it, for he thought he could not paddle it. He told him there was a canoe on the beach and that he might take it for a sail. The little man thanked him and went to the beach. Glooskap went back to his tent on the high cliff to watch what would happen. Soon he saw the little man out on the sea in the big heavy canoe. Then he untied the wings of the great Wind Bird, and the winds blew harder than ever and the waves rolled high. But the little man weathered the storm all right; he seemed to be enjoying his sail, and after a time he came ashore safely.
When he came in, Glooskap said, "Did you have a good sail?" "Very good," replied the little man, "but I like stronger winds and a rougher sea." And Glooskap wondered much. Then they went outside again. It was still blowing hard. The little man blew through his nostrils, and the wind from them blew so hard that the grass fell down before it, and Glooskap was knocked head over heels and had to put his arms around a big tree and hold on tight to keep from blowing over the cliff. Then the little man stopped blowing, and they agreed to end their contest and to rest together. Glooskap knew that[Pg 103] the little man was the strong Fairy of the forest of whom he had long heard. The Fairy gave him new power to overcome evil, and then went back to the land-of-little-people from which he had come.
Glooskap, the magic master of the Indian tribes along the Atlantic coast of Canada, had very great power for many ages. But as he grew old, his power gradually grew less. He had done in his long lifetime many great and noble deeds. He had freed his land of all the mighty monsters that had inhabited it before his coming. No evil beasts nor serpents nor dragons were now found near his home, and there were no longer cruel giants in the forest hard by. He had made his people happy. But, strangely enough, his people showed him but scanty gratitude. When he grew old they became evil, and they were not as faithful as in the days of his youth and strength. Even the animals grew treacherous. His dogs, once loyal, were no longer eager to do his bidding, and one stormy day as he fished for porpoises they stubbornly refused to obey his command to head off the fish. Thereupon, in anger, he changed his dogs into a stone island, now a rocky light-housed island on the Atlantic coast. All around him he saw signs of faithlessness, and often he was in great sorrow because of his people's ingratitude.
One afternoon in the autumn, Glooskap walked alone by the ocean, thinking silently of his people's evil ways and of[Pg 105] his own vanished strength. Behind him the tall trees rose on the hills, their leaves now turned to a mass of many colours, yellow and red under the autumn sun. Here and there clusters of red autumn berries peeped through the dying leaves. On the high bank long stalks of golden-rod nodded their faded heads; the grass was withered brown, and from its depths came the doleful sounds of crickets. Before him lay the sea, still and idle and grey in the soft mellow light. Subdued noises came from the tents near by, where his people, busy and expectant, were making arrows for the great annual autumn hunt, for the hunter's moon had come. Otherwise, a strange silence—the silence of Nature's death—filled the air. Glooskap knew, as he moodily walked along the beach, that Summer had gone, that she had fled from the Northland, following the moose-hide cord he had placed for her along the Rainbow Road to the Wilderness of Flowers. Closing his eyes, he could see her again in all her beauty as he had really seen her many years before when he had first found her dancing among her children, the Fairies of Flowers and Light. All the incidents of his long journey in search of her came back to him,—the sail with Old Blob the whale; the Southern Cross in the sky; the song of the clams under the golden sands; the lilac country with its magnolia and jessamine; the fair maiden dancers on the green; and Summer herself with her brown hair and her blossoms. Even his lost youth and his vanished strength seemed to[Pg 106] come back to him. He could feel on his old cheeks again the soft air of the Southland; he could hear the music of its tiny streams; and he opened his nostrils wide in fancy to pleasant odours from scented flowers. And as he dreamed of the old days, he was lonely for Summer his Fairy Queen; for although he was a great warrior he had a woman's tender heart. Somehow, on this autumn day he was filled with a strange feeling of melancholy such as he had never known before. He could not shake the feeling from him. It brought him a deep sense of coming danger which he could not explain.
Suddenly he was aroused from his dreaming by the appearance of his messengers, the Loons, who were still loyal to him. They had been away many days in search of news, and now they came to him over the water uttering strange cries that sounded like foolish laughter. Glooskap knew from their cries that they brought unwelcome tidings. When they met him on the beach they said, "Oh, Master, we bring you a sad message. From away across the ocean a race of strange pale-faced men is coming, smaller in size than our people but more powerful. One of their number is more than a match for a score of your best warriors, for they carry with them many deadly weapons the like of which you have never seen. They are coming in wonderful ships greater than your canoes. They will take all your lands, and will kill those of your people who refuse to submit to their rule." The Loons[Pg 107] would have continued their story, but Glooskap wished to hear no more. He understood now the cause of his melancholy dread. He knew that the pale race of which the Loons had spoken was the race of which he had long heard, and that the white men were coming at last. He knew too that it would be useless to stay to give them battle. His reign on earth, he knew well, was ended for a time and now he must go away. Far out to sea was another hunting ground to which he must sail to join his fathers. It was a place, he had been told, pleasanter by far than his old home on the shores of the great water,—a place to which good warriors went when their work on earth was done. So he returned silently to his tent to get ready for his long journey.
That night he called all his people to the gathering-place. He told them that he was going away, far away, miles and miles over the sunlit sea. Not one of them should go with him. He would be away, he said, many long years, but some day he would come back. He told them nothing of the message of the Loons, nothing of the white men's coming. But he offered as a parting gift to grant them each one last wish. And at once all the people wished for what they most desired, and all their requests were granted; for Glooskap's great power returned for a brief space before he went away.
The people's wishes were very strange and varied. An old man who had been of little value as a hunter asked that he might be great in the killing of game. And Glooskap[Pg 108] gave him a magic flute, which when played upon won the love of women, and brought the moose and caribou to his side to meet their death. And the old man, with not a care in his heart, went his way, for he knew now that he should always have food. A young Indian asked that he might have the love of many people. Glooskap gave him a bag very tightly tied; he told him not to open it until he reached his home, and then his wish would be granted. But the youth, being curious, opened the bag on the way. At once there flew from it numberless girls, all of whom strove for his affection, until in the struggle they trampled him to death. What became of the people no man knows. Another, a gay and frivolous fellow, asked that he might always amuse people. Glooskap gave him a magic root from the forest which would cause anyone who ate it to amuse all whom he met; he told him not to eat it until he reached his home, and then his presence would always be like sunshine to all. But he, being curious, ate the root on the way. For a time he amused all who met him, so that they all laughed and were of a merry heart. But soon, because he had not heeded Glooskap's command, the people grew tired of him and no longer laughed at him. And he grew weary of himself and found no pleasure in his power, which now no longer moved people to laughter. And his life became a burden until in despair he killed himself in the forest. And Old Night Hawk, the evil spirit of the night, came down from the clouds and carried him away to the[Pg 109] dwelling place of Darkness and he was never afterwards heard of among men. Another wished to become a Fairy of the Forest. Glooskap washed him in the sea, and put a magic belt around his waist, and at once he became a Fairy Prince dwelling among the Elves. And he gave him a small pipe which made wondrous music, and to this day you can hear his pipe on sunny days in the meadows.
But the wish that was most difficult to gratify, for it tried Glooskap's greatest power, was that of a youth who wanted to win a beautiful girl for his wife. She was the daughter of a powerful chief, who placed such hard work and cruel tasks on all who desired her that they died in attempting them. Glooskap gave him his stone canoe and bade him sail away to the chief's home; he gave the Fairies of the Deep charge over him, and he tied the wings of the great Eagle, the Wind Bird, so that there might be no wind during his voyage. He gave him also a magic belt and taught him a magic song, both of which should help him in his need.
Soon the youth came without mishap to a large island, the home of the girl he loved. He hid the canoe in the trees and set out inland. At the end of a long road he reached the village where the cruel chief and his daughter lived. He said to the chief, after the fashion of Indians when they want to marry, "I am tired of the lonely life; I have come for your daughter." The chief replied that the youth might have his daughter if he could do certain feats of strength. The youth[Pg 110] knew that these were the feats the attempt of which had cost many before him their lives, but trusting to Glooskap's help, he consented. The chief told him he must slay a great horned dragon that lived in the forest hardby, and that he must bring the dragon's head to his tent on the following morning.
In the night the youth went to the dragon's den. Over the mouth of it he placed a great log; then standing near it he sang the magic song that Glooskap had taught him. Soon the dragon came out in answer to the magic call; he waved his head all about looking for the sound; then he placed his head over the log to listen. At once the youth severed the creature's head with a blow of his axe, and taking it by one of its great horns he brought it in the morning to the chief's camp. And the chief, greatly surprised, said to himself, "I fear he will win my daughter." There were other difficult feats to try the young man's courage, but all of them he did without harm to himself, and with great wonder to the old chief.
Finally, the chief used one of his last and hardest tests. He said, "There is a man of my tribe who has never been beaten in running; you must race with him and beat him if you would win my daughter; you must both run around the world." The old man was sure that here at last the youth would fail. But the youth put on the magic belt that Glooskap had given him, and when all the people were[Pg 111] gathered to watch the contest, he met his rival without fear. He said to the chief's runner, "What do men call you?" And he answered, "I am Northern Light; and what do men call you?" The youth answered, "I am Chain-Lightning."
The starting signal was given by the chief, and the two rivals set out on their race. In a moment they were out of sight, away behind the distant hills. The people all waited patiently for their return. Soon the youth, Chain-Lightning, appeared; he had been around the world, but he was not breathing hard and he was not even tired from his long run. There was yet no sign of his rival. Late in the evening Northern Light came in; but he was very weary, and as he came near he trembled and tottered. He confessed that he had not been all around the world; he had turned back, for Chain-Lightning had gone too fast for him, yet he was very tired. He admitted his defeat. The people wondered greatly at the power of the victorious youth. And the old chief said, "I fear he has won my daughter."
There was still a final test. The chief said, "There is a man of my tribe who has never been overcome in diving and swimming under water. You must strive with him and defeat him if you would win my daughter." And the youth agreed. Again he put on the magic belt and met his rival without fear. When they met by the sea the youth asked the chief's swimmer, "What do men call you?" And he replied, "I am Black Duck; and what do men call you?" He[Pg 112] answered, "I am Loon." When the chief gave the signal they dived and swam under water. In a few minutes Black Duck rose again, for he was out of breath; but the people waited in wonder many hours before Loon rose; and when he came up he was not tired, but laughed heartily. And the old chief, well content, said to him, "My tests are ended; you have won my daughter." That night the great wedding feast was held; and the youth taking with him his bride, set sail for his home in Glooskap's canoe.
A few of those who asked gifts, Glooskap punished before he went away, because of their foolish requests. One who came was very tall and proud of his good looks. He always covered his moccasins with bright beads, and wore coloured coats, and sprinkled himself with strange perfumes, and on the top of his cap he wore a long feather. He asked Glooskap to make him taller and straighter than any of his fellows. And when Glooskap heard his wish, to punish him for his pride he changed him at once to a pine tree. He made him very tall and straight until his head rose above the forest. There he stands to this day, the high green feather in his cap waving always in the wind. And when the wind blows you can still hear him singing with a moaning voice, "I am a great man, I am a beautiful Indian, taller than my fellows." Many others Glooskap punished, but all who had diseases he healed, and sent away happy.
When Glooskap knew that the wishes of all the good[Pg 113] people who had obeyed his commands had been granted, he was ready to set out on his last journey. One day on the shore of the wide ocean he made a great feast to which all his people came and all the animals with them. But it was not a merry gathering, for they knew that they met with Glooskap for the last time before his long absence. In the late autumn afternoon, when the feast was ended, Glooskap prepared to leave them. He threw his kettle into the sea, for he would need it no more, and it became an island. And he tied one wing of the Wind Bird, so that after he had gone away the gales would not blow so strong on the Atlantic coast as they had blown in his lifetime. And he talked long to his people and smoked his last pipe with them and gave them good advice; he spoke of his going away, but of the land to which he was going he would say nothing; he promised that some day after many years had passed he would come again among them. Then in the evening a great stone canoe came over the ocean, guided by two of the Children of Light. And Glooskap, seeing it, said, "It is now the sunset hour, and I must leave you." Many of his people, his good followers who throughout his lifetime had been faithful to him, begged him to allow them to go with him. But he answered, "No; this last great journey I must make alone, for no man can come with me or help me." And just at the turn of the tide as the sun set behind the distant hills, he embarked in the great stone canoe and sailed far out to sea[Pg 114] with the ebbing tide, singing as he went a strange sad song. His people and all the beasts looked after him until in the deepening twilight they could see him no more; but long after they had lost sight of him, his song came to them, weird and doleful, across the water; gradually the sounds grew fainter and fainter, until when night came they died entirely away. Then a strange silence fell upon the earth. The beasts mourned until they lost the power of speech; they fled into the forest in different ways, and since that time they have never met together in peaceful council as in the olden days, and they have never spoken like men. The Great Owl departed in sorrow, and hid himself in the deep forest; since that time he has seldom appeared by day, but at night he always cries, "Koo-koo-koo," which in the Indian language means, "I am sad, I am sad." And the Loon, Glooskap's old messenger, wanders up and down upon the beach calling for his master with loud wild cries. And Glooskap's people grow smaller and smaller in number because of their Master's absence, and they slowly waste away until some day they too shall vanish from the earth.
So Glooskap sailed away over the sea to the distant hunting grounds of his fathers. There he lives still in a great long tent, where he is making arrows, preparing for his last Great Battle. And when the thunder rolls and the lightning flashes those of his people who still remain on earth know that he is angry; where the sea sparkles most brightly in the[Pg 115] sunlight or moans most dismally in the storm, they know that Glooskap is there; when the phosphorescent lights appear at night upon the sea, they know that he is working late by the strange light; and when there are no stars, they know that Glooskap lies asleep, taking his rest. But when his great tent is filled with arrows, Glooskap will come back to fight his last battle and overcome the evil creatures of the world; he will then bring back the Golden Age of happiness to earth; and his people in hope and patience still await his coming.
On the shores of a wide bay on the Atlantic coast there dwelt in old times a great Indian warrior. It was said that he had been one of Glooskap's best helpers and friends, and that he had done for him many wonderful deeds. But that, no man knows. He had, however, a very wonderful and strange power; he could make himself invisible; he could thus mingle unseen with his enemies and listen to their plots. He was known among the people as Strong Wind, the Invisible. He dwelt with his sister in a tent near the sea, and his sister helped him greatly in his work. Many maidens would have been glad to marry him, and he was much sought after because of his mighty deeds; and it was known that Strong Wind would marry the first maiden who could see him as he came home at night. Many made the trial, but it was a long time before one succeeded.
Strong Wind used a clever trick to test the truthfulness of all who sought to win him. Each evening as the day went down, his sister walked on the beach with any girl who wished to make the trial. His sister could always see him, but no one else could see him. And as he came home from[Pg 117] work in the twilight, his sister as she saw him drawing near would ask the girl who sought him, "Do you see him?" And each girl would falsely answer "Yes." And his sister would ask, "With what does he draw his sled?" And each girl would answer, "With the hide of a moose," or "With a pole," or "With a great cord." And then his sister would know that they all had lied, for their answers were mere guesses. And many tried and lied and failed, for Strong Wind would not marry any who were untruthful.
There lived in the village a great chief who had three daughters. Their mother had long been dead. One of these was much younger than the others. She was very beautiful and gentle and well beloved by all, and for that reason her older sisters were very jealous of her charms and treated her very cruelly. They clothed her in rags that she might be ugly; and they cut off her long black hair; and they burned her face with coals from the fire that she might be scarred and disfigured. And they lied to their father, telling him that she had done these things herself. But the young girl was patient and kept her gentle heart and went gladly about her work.
Like other girls, the chief's two eldest daughters tried to win Strong Wind. One evening, as the day went down, they walked on the shore with Strong Wind's sister and waited for his coming. Soon he came home from his day's work, drawing his sled. And his sister asked as usual, "Do[Pg 118] you see him?" And each one, lying, answered "Yes." And she asked, "Of what is his shoulder strap made?" And each, guessing, said "Of rawhide." Then they entered the tent where they hoped to see Strong Wind eating his supper; and when he took off his coat and his moccasins they could see them, but more than these they saw nothing. And Strong Wind knew that they had lied, and he kept himself from their sight, and they went home dismayed.
One day the chief's youngest daughter with her rags and her burnt face resolved to seek Strong Wind. She patched her clothes with bits of birch bark from the trees, and put on the few little ornaments she possessed, and went forth to try to see the Invisible One as all the other girls of the village had done before. And her sisters laughed at her and called her "fool"; and as she passed along the road all the people laughed at her because of her tattered frock and her burnt face, but silently she went her way.
Strong Wind's sister received the little girl kindly, and at twilight she took her to the beach. Soon Strong Wind came home drawing his sled. And his sister asked, "Do you see him?" And the girl answered "No," and his sister wondered greatly because she spoke the truth. And again she asked, "Do you see him now?" And the girl answered, "Yes, and he is very wonderful." And she asked, "With what does he draw his sled?" And the girl answered, "With the Rainbow," and she was much afraid. And she asked[Pg 119] further, "Of what is his bowstring?" And the girl answered, "His bowstring is the Milky Way."
Then Strong Wind's sister knew that because the girl had spoken the truth at first her brother had made himself visible to her. And she said, "Truly, you have seen him." And she took her home and bathed her, and all the scars disappeared from her face and body; and her hair grew long and black again like the raven's wing; and she gave her fine clothes to wear and many rich ornaments. Then she bade her take the wife's seat in the tent. Soon Strong Wind entered and sat beside her, and called her his bride. The very next day she became his wife, and ever afterwards she helped him to do great deeds. The girl's two elder sisters were very cross and they wondered greatly at what had taken place. But Strong Wind, who knew of their cruelty, resolved to punish them. Using his great power, he changed them both into aspen trees and rooted them in the earth. And since that day the leaves of the aspen have always trembled, and they shiver in fear at the approach of Strong Wind, it matters not how softly he comes, for they are still mindful of his great power and anger because of their lies and their cruelty to their sister long ago.
An Indian boy lived alone with his parents in the Canadian forest. His parents were very old, and the boy took care of them and hunted and provided them with food. He was always kind to them, and they told him that because of his goodness to them he would never lack happiness and good fortune. But soon his parents died, and the boy was left alone in the world. He lived far from other people, and now that his parents were gone, he decided to leave his old home and find friends elsewhere. One day before he left home, while he was hunting he killed a raven with his arrow. When he picked up the bird from the snow it was bleeding, and red blood stained his black, glossy feathers. He looked at the dead bird and said, "I wish I could find a comrade whose hair is as black as the raven's wing, whose skin is as white as the snow, and whose lips are as red as these blood stains." As he spoke, an old man came along and said, "I will help you to find such a comrade. I have heard of your goodness." So he gave the boy a belt and told him to wear it always, and that it would bring to him those who could help him. Then he went away and the boy went back to his own home.
[Pg 121]The next day he left his old home and set out to see the world beyond the hills. He was not merry as he went on his way, for he did not gladly leave all behind him. As he went along he met a man on the trail. One of the man's legs was bent up at the knee, and his foot was tied to his thigh, and he hopped along on one foot. The boy said, "Why are you hopping along on one foot?" The man said, "If I did not tie up my leg, I would run so fast that I would be around the world in a few seconds. I know that you are in search of a beautiful comrade. I have come to go along with you." Then he untied his leg, and in a moment he was out of sight. In a few seconds he came back from the opposite direction. He had been around the world. So the man and the boy went along together.
The next day they met a man on the trail with his nose covered up. The boy said, "Why do you keep your nose covered?" The man said, "If I did not keep my nostrils covered, I would blow so hard that there would always be a whirlwind where I am. You are in search of a beautiful comrade. I have come to help you." Then he uncovered his nostrils, and at once there was such a wind that trees were torn down and the man and the boy were knocked head over heels. So the three went along together.
The next day they saw a man in the forest who was cutting down a hundred trees with one blow of his axe. He said to the boy, "You are in search of a beautiful comrade.[Pg 122] I have come to help you." So the four went along together. Soon they came to a village where a great chief lived. The chief had a beautiful daughter; her skin was as white as snow, her lips were as red as blood, and her hair was as black and glossy as the raven's wing. The boy said, "She shall be my comrade. I must win her." So he went to the chief and made known to him his wishes. But the chief said, "The task of winning my daughter is difficult and dangerous. The men of your party must do very hard feats of strength. If they fail, they shall all be put to death. If they succeed, you may have my daughter. But I do not want to give her to a stranger." The boy agreed to attempt the difficult feats and to risk his life and the lives of his party in the effort.
The first feat was a test of speed between one of the boy's party and one of the chief's. The boy untied his friend's leg, and the two rival runners set out on their race. They were to run around the world. The boy's runner came in far ahead and won the race. The next feat was a test of strength in moving rocks down a mountain side. The boy took the Wind-Blower to the mountain top. He uncovered his nostrils, and the contest began. The Wind-Blower blew so hard that the rocks on his side of the hill were all blown down in an instant, and he won the contest. Then the chief said, "The next and last contest is a test of skill and strength in building a house from trees in the forest. I want to see how quickly you can build a house for my daughter." Then the Pine [Pg 123]Chopper went to work, striving with the chief's builder. With one blow of his axe he felled a hundred trees. Then he trimmed them, and he had the house completed before his rival had trees enough cut down. Then the chief said, "You may take my daughter."
After the wedding feast the four men and the bride set out on their journey home. The chief gave them a canoe and told them to go home by sea as the way was shorter. So one morning they set out. But when they were far out on the ocean, they saw a great storm coming behind them on the water. The chief had sent it after them; he hoped to drown them all, for he would rather see his daughter dead than wedded to a stranger. But before it reached them, the Wind-Blower rose in the canoe, and uncovered his nostrils and began to blow. Soon his breath met the wind-storm and there was a great struggle. But he soon overcame the storm and forced it back. The sea around them remained calm, and they reached the land unharmed. Then the Pine Chopper built a house for the boy and his bride. The boy thanked his three friends for their help. They told him that if he ever needed them again they would come quickly to his aid. Then they went on their way. The boy and his bride lived happily in their new home. But he always kept the old man's belt near him to aid him in times of need.
A hunter in old times lived on the bank of a river far away in the Canadian forest. He passed all his days in the deep woods where he had great success in catching and killing game. There was no better hunter than he in all the country. Every evening he returned to his home, bringing his day's catch with him. His father and mother were both dead and he had no sister. He had only one brother. This brother was very small. He was so small that the hunter kept him in a little box; when he went away in the morning to hunt, he always closed the box up tight so that his little brother could not get out, for he feared that if he got out harm would come to him. Every night he took him out of the box to give him food, and the little man was so hungry that he always ate a great lot of food. The little man slept always with his brother, but every morning he was carefully locked up in the box. And in time he grew very tired of his prison.
One evening as the hunter came down the river from his hunting journey he saw a very beautiful girl sitting on the bank of the stream. He decided he would catch her and take her home to be his wife, for he was lonely. He paddled to[Pg 125] the beach as silently as he could, but she saw him coming and she jumped into the water and disappeared. She went to her home at the bottom of the river and told her mother that the hunter had tried to catch her. But her mother told her that she should not have run away. She said, "The hunter who tried to catch you was intended to be your husband. You must wait for him to-morrow and tell him you will be his wife."
The next night as the hunter came down the river, the girl was again sitting on the bank. He paddled over as he had done on the evening before, but this time she did not run away. She said, "I have been waiting for you. You may take me for your wife." And the man, well pleased with his beautiful prize, placed her in his canoe and took her home. He did not tell her of his little brother in the box. He cooked a beaver for the evening meal. He and his wife ate half of it, but he placed the other half away in the cup-board. Then he told his wife to go to sleep, and she went to bed and soon fell asleep. When she awoke in the morning her husband had gone for his day's hunting, for he had to leave early to go a long distance into the forest. She found too that the half of the beaver he had put in the cup-board was gone. And she wondered what had become of it.
That evening when her husband came home, he cooked another beaver for their meal. Again they ate one half of it, and the man placed the other half of it to one side. But not[Pg 126] a word did he say of his brother in the box. Then the man sent his wife to bed as on the previous night, and soon she was fast asleep. When she awoke in the morning, her husband was gone for his day's hunting. The half of the beaver which he had placed to one side was also gone, but she knew he had not taken it. She was afraid, and all day she wondered where the meat had gone. She decided that she would find out what had happened to it.
That night when her husband came home, he cooked half a small moose for their evening meal. They ate part of it, and the man placed the remainder of it to one side as usual. Then he told his wife to go to sleep. She went to bed and pretended to sleep, but she stayed wide awake, peeping through half-closed eyelids. When her husband thought she was sleeping soundly, he unlocked a little box that stood on a low shelf, and took out a little man and gave him the moose meat he had put aside. The little man ate every bit of it. He looked very strange. He was all red from head to heels, as if he were covered with red paint, and he said not a word. When he had greedily eaten all the meat, the man washed him and combed his hair and then put him back in the box and locked him up. The woman wondered greatly at this strange happening, but she could not keep from laughing heartily to herself because of the funny appearance of the little red man.
[Pg 127]The next day the man left early for his day's hunting. When she was sure he was far away, she thought she would take a peep at the queer little red man in the box. She found the key hanging on the wall, and opened the box and called to the little man to come out. But he would not come. He seemed to be very much afraid of her. She coaxed him to come out, but he refused. Then she caught him and pulled him out. He looked at her for a long time, but he would say not a word. Then he ran to the door, which was open, and with a sudden jump he sprang into the air and disappeared. The woman called to him but he would not come back. He was never seen again. The woman was very much afraid. But she was more frightened when she looked at her hands. They were all red because she had caught the little red man, and many red spots were on her arms and on her feet where the red colouring from the man had dropped. She tried to wash off the red spots, but she could not remove them. She washed and rubbed her hands all day, but the stains would not come off. When her husband came home in the evening, he knew when he saw her red hands what had happened. He knew that his brother of the box had gone. And he was very angry. He seized a rod and ran at her to beat her. She was afraid he would kill her, and she ran to the river and jumped in to go back to her old home. But as she reached the water, she was changed from what she was. At once she became a Sheldrake Duck. The red spots remained on her,[Pg 128] and the sea could not wash them off. And to this day the Sheldrake Duck has red stains on her feet and feathers, because she was curious and took the funny little red man from the box in the olden days.
One autumn day in old times a woman and her infant son were lost in the Canadian woods. The woman was going back to her home from a long journey, and in some strange way she wandered from the path. The more she walked about, the more confused she became, and for many days she searched for the right road, but she could not find it. All the time she lived on berries and on the little food she carried. At last she found a cave in the woods, and she decided to use it for a home. She had not been long in the cave when a large bear came in, and she knew then that she had taken refuge in a bear's den. She thought the bear would kill her and her child. But the bear was good. He looked upon them as his own kind and soon they all became friends. The bear hunted during the day, and each night he brought to the cave much meat, which the woman cooked. So they lived comfortably through the long winter.
After a time the woman's child grew to be a very strong boy. The bear taught him to wrestle, and after a few weeks' practice the boy could throw down his teacher. And the mother said, "He will be a great warrior," for she knew that[Pg 130] his strength was more than human. When the boy grew large and strong enough to take care of his mother, they decided to try to find the way back to their old home. So one day they said goodbye to the bear, and set out on their journey. After many hardships and dangers they reached their native village where the people, who had thought them dead, received them with great rejoicing. The boy continued to grow in strength until the people said they had never seen anyone so powerful. There was no limit to his strength.
One day the boy said to his mother, "I am going to travel far away until I find other men who are as strong as I am. Then my strength will be tested and I will come back to you." His mother agreed that he should go, and one morning he set out on his strange journey. He came to the bank of a river, and there he saw a man standing not far ahead of him. As he looked, a large canoe came drifting down the river, filled with people. They had lost their paddles. One of the people called to the man on the bank and asked him to help them to land. The man put out a long pole and placed the end of it under the canoe, and lifted the canoe and all the people to the beach. "There," thought the boy, "is a man as strong as I am." Then the boy ran to the spot and picked up the canoe full of people and carried it up to the bank. He spoke to the man and told him of his own great strength. Then he said, "We are two strong men. Let us go along together until we find a third[Pg 131] man as strong as we are." The man agreed, and he went along with the boy. They travelled far that day, and in the afternoon they came to a country of high rocky hills. It was a lonely and silent place, and no people seemed to be living in it. At last they saw a man rolling a large stone up the side of a mountain. The stone was as large as a house, and the mountain was very steep, but the man rolled the stone up with ease. He had rolled it half way up when the two strangers came along. The boy picked up the stone and threw it to the top of the mountain without difficulty. And the roller-man looked at them with great wonder. Then the boy told him of the strength of himself and his comrade, and said, "We are three strong men. Let us go hunting together." The man agreed, and the three went along together.
They built a house for themselves, to live in while they hunted. They agreed that only two of them should go away at once to hunt, and that the other should stay at home to look after the place and to prepare the evening meal. They decided that each should stay at home in his turn. The next day, the man of the river bank who had lifted the canoe stayed at home. Towards evening he got ready for the coming of his comrades, and he cooked a good meal to have waiting for them. Just as he had finished cooking it, a small boy came in and asked for food. He was very small and worn and ragged, and the man pitied him and told him to eat what he wanted. The boy ate and ate until he had eaten all the[Pg 132] food prepared for the three strong men. Then he went away and disappeared in the side of the mountain. When the two hunters came home they were very hungry, and they were cross when they heard that their meal had all been eaten up. And they vowed vengeance on the little glutton who had taken all their food.
The next day it was the turn of the stone-rolling man to stay at home. In the evening he cooked a good meal for himself and his comrades. But before the hunters came home, the little boy came in again and asked for food. He looked so small and worn and he cried so bitterly that the man did not have the heart to send him away, and he told him to eat what he wanted. The boy ate and ate until not a scrap of food was left. Then he laughed and went out and disappeared in the mountain. When the two hunters came home, they were again very cross to find that their food had all been eaten up by a tiny boy.
The next day the strong boy stayed at home, while the canoe-lifter and the stone-roller went hunting. In the evening the small boy came again, just as he had done on the two previous days. He wept and asked for food. The strong boy told him to eat what he wanted. He ate and ate as before, until he had eaten up the whole meal. Then he got up to go out. But the strong boy caught him and held him fast. There was a long struggle, for the tiny boy was very powerful, and he was almost a match for the strong boy. But at last[Pg 133] he was thrown down, and he pleaded for his life. The strong boy said he would spare him on condition that he would take him to his home. He wanted to see what kind of a place he lived in. And the small boy agreed. Then the strong boy went with him to the side of the mountain. When they reached it, the little boy said, "I am the servant of a terrible giant, who has never been defeated in battle. I think you can overcome him. Take this stick and beat him with it, for it is the only thing that can give him pain." Then he gave him a stick that lay on the ground, and they went on to the giant's cave in the side of the hill. When they went in, the giant sprang upon the strong boy. There was a long fight. It lasted for a whole day, and at last the strong boy overcame the giant and beat him dead with the magic stick. Then the little boy said, "I will reward you for freeing me from my terrible master. I have three beautiful sisters, and you may have whichever one you want for your wife." He took the strong boy to his home in a cave far down in a valley on the other side of a mountain, and there they found the three beautiful girls. The strong boy took the youngest one for himself, and he took the other two for his two comrades. When they came out of the cave, the strong boy found that they would have a very hard path to climb up the steep side of the mountain. Then luckily, as he thought, he saw his two strong comrades standing on the top of the high cliff far above him. They saw him and the three girls far below them.[Pg 134] He called to them to let down a rope, and said, "The three girls I have with me cannot climb the steep path. You must pull them up." So the men above let down a strong cord and the strong boy sent up the two oldest girls first, one at a time. Then, before sending up his own choice, the youngest, he thought he would test the loyalty of his comrades. They were standing far back from the top of the cliff, holding the rope, and they could not see the boy and the girl below. The boy tied a heavy stone to the end of the rope, and called, "I am going up next. Pull away." The men pulled and pulled until they had drawn the weight near the top of the cliff. Then they cut the rope, and down crashed the stone to the bottom of the cliff, where it broke into many pieces. The men above hoped that they had killed their comrade. They did not think that he had meant the two fairy wives for them, so they decided to kill him. But they were outwitted by the boy and the stone. "That is a fine way to reward my kindness," said the boy to his girl companion when he saw the stone in pieces on the rocks. As he spoke he looked up and saw the two fairy girls running away from the two men above, who were left all alone. Then with the magic help of the little boy, the girls' brother, the strong boy at once punished the two men by making them follow the girls. They followed them on and on, but they never found them. And they still follow them; they wander always, and they are never at rest.
[Pg 135]Then the strong boy left the little boy behind him to look after himself, and he took his fairy wife and climbed up the path and went to live far away in the forest. For a time they lived very happily. One day the boy said, "I am going back to my old home to see my people. You must wait here, and in a few days I shall come back." The girl did not want him to go; she feared he would forget her; but he told her that he must go. Then she said, "When you reach your home, a small black dog will meet you at the door. It will jump to lick your hand. But do not let it touch you. It is an evil spirit in disguise, and if it licks your hand you will forget all about me and you will not come back to me." The man promised to be on his guard, and he set out for his native place, leaving his wife behind him. Soon he reached his home, and as he opened the door, sure enough the black dog of which his wife had spoken jumped towards him. Before the strong boy could turn aside, the dog licked his hand as his wife had said. Then he forgot all about his old life in the forest; and he lived with never a thought of the fairy girl he had left behind him far away.
His wife waited long for him to come back. Then she knew that her husband had forgotten her because of the black dog, and late in the autumn she set out to find him. Soon she came to the place where he dwelt. It was morning, and she decided to hide until night, and then go to his home. She went to a stream that ran beside the village, and climbed[Pg 136] into a tree that stretched out over the water. Near by was an old house in which an old man lived. The old man came to the brook for water, and as he bent down to fill his pail, he saw the face of the beautiful girl in the tree reflected in the stream. He called to her to come down from the tree. He had never seen a creature so lovely. He brought her to his tent and gave her food, and he told her that her husband had gone far up the river to hunt. In the evening she went along the river to wait for her husband as he came home. When she saw him coming in his canoe, she sat on the bank of the stream and sang her magic song. It was a song of wonderful melody, such as only fairy maidens can sing, and the sound went far over the water and charmed all who heard it. When her husband heard the song, he stopped to listen. He soon knew that the music was that of his fairy wife of the forest, for no one else on earth could sing so wonderful a song. Then his old life in the forest came back to his mind, with memories of the two strong men and the tiny boy and the three fairy girls. And he remembered his wife to whom he had promised to return. Then he paddled his canoe to the bank, and found his wife, and they were happy again. It was a cold autumn night and the moon was full, and his wife said, "We must not stay here. This is a wicked place where men forget. If you stay here, you will forget me again." Then she shuddered when she thought that her husband might forget her again, and he shuddered when he thought that he[Pg 137] might lose her again. And they continued to tremble in fear. Then she said, "We must go to another land. It is a more beautiful land than this. It is the Land of Eternal Memory where men and women never forget those they loved. I know where it is. We will go to it." Then she sang her magic song, and at once a great bird came through the air to where they sat. And still trembling in fear lest they should forget each other, they sprang to the bird's back, and the bird carried them up to the sky. And there they were changed into Northern Lights. And you can still see them, with their children around them, on autumn nights in the north country, beautiful in the northern sky. And they still tremble when they think of the Land of Forgetfulness they have left and of the pain it caused them in the old days of their youth.
A very rich Seigneur lived once in a large town. He had three beautiful daughters and one son. The son was but a baby. The Seigneur wasted his money in wicked living. He spent much of his time in feasting and drinking and gambling. His wife and daughters were much troubled. Soon his money was all gone. But he decided that he would have to get more somewhere, for he wished to continue in his evil ways of living. One day he met a man in the fields. The man said, "I have heard of your beautiful daughters. Will you give me the eldest for my wife?" The Seigneur said, "You may have one if you pay me a great sum of money." So the man paid the money and took the eldest girl away. Then the Seigneur went back to his old ways. He spent his money on worthless friends, and he was idle for a long time. Soon his money was all gone. One day in the fields he met another man. The man said, "I have heard of your beautiful daughters. Will you give me the oldest one at home for my wife?" The Seigneur said, "You may take her if you will give me a great sum of money for her." The man paid him the money and took the second[Pg 139] girl away. Then the Seigneur spent this money as he had spent all the rest. Soon it was all gone, and he looked for more. Again he met a man in the fields, and he sold him his youngest daughter for a great sum of money. So the three girls were sold to strangers. No one knew where they had gone or what had become of them. Their mother often wept over them. Only her little baby boy was left with her. The Seigneur soon died because of his wicked life, but he had not used up all the money he had received for the third girl, and he left some of it behind. When the little boy grew up he went to school. His mother had told him nothing of his three lost sisters. But his playmates in school told him, for they had heard their parents speak of them. They told him that his father had sold them, and that no one knew where they were. When he asked his mother about it she would not tell him at first; but at last she told him all, and she wept because she did not know where her daughters had gone.
The boy decided to go in search of his sisters. His mother said good-bye to him and wished him good luck. He passed through a lonely forest. As he went along, he came upon three robbers sitting on a grass plot under the trees. They were quarrelling about something. The boy stood and watched them. He heard one of the robbers say, "The boy will decide for us." And the others agreed. They called the boy to them, and one of them said, "We have here[Pg 140] a coat, a sword, and a pair of shoes which we have stolen. All these things have magical power. The coat can make its wearer invisible; the shoes can make the wearer run faster than the winds; and the sword can overcome all enemies. We cannot agree on how to divide the booty. We want you to be umpire in our dispute and decide for us." The boy said he would decide the question, but first he must think about it. Then the robbers set about preparing their evening meal. One gathered wood for a fire; another went to a stream for water; and the third looked after the food. When their backs were all turned to the boy, he put on the strange coat and shoes and took the sword. At once he was invisible. The robbers soon prepared their meal, and looked for the boy. He was nowhere to be seen, and the magical coat and shoes and sword had gone with him. Then they knew that he had outwitted them, and they were very angry.
The boy waved his sword and wished himself at the home of his eldest sister. Away he went at once, running like the wind, and in an instant he stood before a very large house. He went in and asked to see the mistress of the place. When she came to him he called her "sister." But she greeted him coldly, and said, "I have no brother big enough to travel." But he told her of her old home, and soon convinced her that he was indeed her brother. She was very glad to see him. She told him that her husband was a very wonderful man who could do wonderful deeds. Soon her husband[Pg 141] came home. He was pleased to see his brother-in-law, and they all had a very happy time together for several days.
Then the boy decided to go on and find his second sister. When he was leaving, his brother-in-law gave him a scale from a fish's back, and said, "This has very wonderful power. If you ever get into trouble, speak to it and it will bring you help from the sea." Then the boy waved his sword and wished himself at the home of his second sister. At once he stood before a great house. The mistress received him coldly, just as her elder sister had done, until he convinced her that he was indeed her brother. She told him that her husband was a very wonderful man who had great power. Soon her husband came home and greeted him kindly, and they had a happy time together for many days.
Then the boy decided to go on and find his youngest sister. Before he left, his second brother-in-law gave him a small lock of soft wool, and said, "This has great power. If you ever get into trouble, speak to it and it will bring you help from the fields." Then the boy waved his sword and wished himself at the home of his youngest sister. She received him as the others had done; but he soon convinced her that he was her brother, and he found that her husband was a man of great power.
The boy stayed with them a long time. Then he decided to set out to find a wife. His sister told him that in a town far away lived a very rich Seigneur who had two beautiful[Pg 142] daughters. He said, "I will go and win the younger." Before he left, his third brother-in-law gave him a small feather, and said, "This has wonderful power. If you ever get into trouble, speak to it and it will bring you help from the air." Then the boy waved his sword and wished himself at the house of the rich Seigneur. And at once he reached the village, going faster than the winds. Before going to the Seigneur's house he went into a house on the border of the village. Two old women were there. They received him kindly. He told them he had come far to seek the Seigneur's younger daughter. They said, "The Seigneur's elder daughter is to be married to-morrow, but she will not be long with her husband." "Why?" said the boy. They wondered at the boy's ignorance. They said, "Have you not heard of the Giant of the Sea-cave?" He said he had not. Then they took him to the window, and pointed to a high cliff far across the bay. The waves were breaking at its base and the spray dashed high on its side. But he could see a hole like a door in the face of the cliff. One of the old women said, "In that cave lives the Giant of the Sea. As soon as a girl is married in this land, he carries her off to the cave and she is never heard of again. His cave is full of brides. He cannot be killed, for he keeps the secret of his life hidden where no one can find it. He is the terror of all the country." The boy said nothing, but he decided to kill the giant.
The boy then went on to the Seigneur's home to see the[Pg 143] wedding of the Seigneur's elder daughter. There was a great gathering, and there was much rejoicing, for the people did not think that the giant would carry off the Seigneur's daughter. But during the wedding feast the bride disappeared and was seen no more. The people knew that the giant had taken her, and there was great sadness.
Then the boy went to the Seigneur and told him that he wanted to marry his younger daughter. The Seigneur said, "Little good it will do you to marry her, for she will be carried off at once by the Giant of the Sea." "But I can kill the giant," said the boy. "No man can do that," said the Seigneur. Then the boy convinced him of his power, and the Seigneur consented to the marriage. The next day the wedding feast was held. There was but little gladness, for the people knew that the Seigneur's only remaining child would soon be stolen away by the Giant of the Sea. Sure enough, at the feast, the bride disappeared; she was taken to the giant's cave. There was much sadness among the people, but the boy said, "To-morrow I will go and bring her back."
The next day the boy put on his magical coat and shoes and took his sword and went to the giant's cave. The hole in the cliff was closed up and he could not enter, but he cut a hole in the rock with his sword and went in. He found himself in a very large room. Many women sat around in a circle, all sad and weeping, but all very beautiful. In the circle[Pg 144] sat his own wife. At the back of the cave sat the terrible Giant of the Sea. They could not see the boy because of his magical coat. Soon the giant said quickly, "There is a wedding in the town," and disappeared. Then the boy made his presence known to his wife. He told her to ask the giant when he came back where the secret of his life was hidden. He told her not to fear, for he would rescue her. He had time to say but few words when the giant came back, bringing a bride with him. Then the boy's wife said to the giant, "Where do you keep the secret of your life?" He said, "No one has ever asked me that before, and since you are the first to ask me, I will tell you. I keep it in a box far out in the sea. It is in an iron box. There are seven boxes, one inside the other. It is in the inside box." Then he told her the exact spot where the box was hidden. Then she said, "Where do you keep the keys?" He said, "They are hidden beside the box."
When the boy heard this, he went away from the cave and sat on the shore. He took out his fish-scale and told it what he wished, and at once help came to him from the sea, as his brother-in-law had promised. A large whale swam to him and said, "What do you want?" The boy said, "Bring me the iron box and the keys that lie at the bottom of the ocean." He told him where to find them. At once the whale went off, and soon returned with the box and the keys. But the keys were rusty and the boy could not open the lock. Then he[Pg 145] took out his lock of wool and told it what he wished, and at once help came to him from the fields. A large sheep came running to him and said, "What do you want?" The boy said, "Break open this box and each box you find inside." Then the sheep butted with his horns the outer box until he broke it, and butted each one until he broke them all. When he broke the last one the boy was not on his guard, and the giant's secret of life flew out and escaped into the air. Then the boy took out his feather, and told it what he wished. At once a great bird like a goose came flying through the air, and said, "What do you want?" The boy said, "Bring me the giant's secret of life; it has just escaped from the box and is flying in the air." The bird flew away and soon came back with his prisoner—the giant's secret of life—and the boy killed it with his magical sword. Then he went to the cave. He was still invisible. The giant had lost his power, for the secret of his life had been found and killed. So the boy easily killed him with his sword. Then the boy removed his magical coat and showed himself to the brides who sat in the cave. He brought them all back to the Seigneur's home and their husbands came and claimed them. The Seigneur gave the boy a large house near to his own, and there the boy and his wife lived happily. And the boy sent for his mother, and brought her to live with him and his wife. Soon the Seigneur died. He left all his money and his possessions to the boy, and the boy became Seigneur in his[Pg 146] stead, and was lord of all the land. He lived to be very old, and he did many wonderful deeds with the sword and the shoes and the coat which he had taken from the robbers in the forest.
In old times there dwelt on the shores of a great lake a mighty warrior. His people had all been driven far away inland by hostile tribes, but he remained behind to roam over the islands in the Lake and to send his people word of any approaching attack. His wife was dead; she had been killed by treacherous foes. He had two little boys, and he kept them with him in his wanderings by the Lake. He was a great magician as well as a man of great strength and he had no fear in his heart. The islands in the Lake were haunted by spirits or "manitous," but the man was not afraid of them, and with his boys he paddled his canoe up and down, watching for signs of his foes. Each night he landed in a cove, and pulled his canoe far up among the trees, and slept in the woods out of the sight of travellers. But he found it very hard to get game and fish, and often his boys were very hungry.
One morning at dawn of day he rose and went to find food for breakfast. He left his little boys asleep under the trees. He walked through the forest until he came suddenly upon a wide and open red plain. There was not a tree or a rock or a blade of grass upon it. He set out across the plain,[Pg 148] and when he reached the middle of it, he met a small man with a red feather in his cap. "Where are you going?" said the little man. "I am going across the plain to the woods on the other side," said the man; "my boys are hungry without food, and I am looking for game." "How strong are you?" said the little man. "I am as strong as the human race," said the man, "but no stronger." "My name is Red Plume," said the little man; "we must wrestle. If you should make me fall, say to me 'I have thrown you'; if you should overcome me you will never want for food, for you will have other nourishment than fish and game." They smoked their pipes for a long while, and then they wrestled. They wrestled for a long time. The warrior was growing weak, for the little man was very strong. But at last he threw Red Plume down and cried, "I have thrown you." And at once the little man disappeared. When the warrior looked on the ground where his opponent had fallen, he saw only a crooked thing like an acorn, with a red tassel on it. He picked it up and looked at it, and as he looked, a voice from it said, "Take off my outside covering; split me into many parts, and throw the parts over the plain; scatter every bit of me; throw my spine near the woods. Then in a month come back to the plain." The warrior did as he was told, and then went back to his boys. On the way he killed a rabbit and cooked it for breakfast. He did not tell his boys what he had seen.
[Pg 149]At the end of a month he went alone again to the plain. In the place where he had scattered the pieces of the strange object, he found blades of strange grass peeping green above the ground. And where he had thrown the pieces of the spine near the wood, little pumpkins were growing. He did not tell his boys what he had found. All summer he watched for his foes, and in the autumn he went again to the place where he had thrown down the man of the Red Plume. The plain was covered with Indian corn in the ear, and there were also pumpkins of great size near the woods. The corn was golden yellow, and red tassels grew from the top of the ears. He plucked some ears of corn and gathered some of the pumpkins and set out to find his boys. Then a voice spoke from the corn. He knew it at once to be the voice of the man of the Red Plume. It said, "You have conquered me. If you had failed, you would still have lived, but often you would have hungered as before. Henceforth you shall never want for food, for when game and fish are scarce you will have bread. And I will never let the human race lack food if they keep me near them." So corn came to the Indians in olden times, and never afterwards did they want for food.
When the man came to his boys, he told them what he had found. He ground some of the corn between stones, and made bread from the meal, and he cooked a pumpkin and ate it. Then he thought of his poor old father and mother far[Pg 150] away beyond the hills, perhaps without food. So that night he took his boys and travelled far through the forest until he found his parents. He told them of his meeting with the man of the Red Plume and of the coming of the corn. And he brought them back with him to the "manitou" islands near the shores of the great lake. And ever afterwards the fields were fruitful and corn was abundant and never failed in the land where Red Plume fell.
Once long ago there lived on the banks of a beautiful Canadian river a powerful Indian tribe. In the tribe was a very handsome young man, very brave and a great hunter. He was loved by a young Indian girl who was likewise very beautiful. But the young man repulsed her love; he was a great warrior; he was busy getting ready for the autumn and winter hunt and he had little time for such nonsense as love. He frankly told the young girl that he did not love her and that she must follow him no more.
Now, the young girl was very angry, for she was proud and beautiful and of a high temper, and she was little used to have her desires refused. She had a very strange power which the Spirit of the Night had placed in her cradle at her birth. It was a power by which she could do great harm to mankind, but she had never used it in all her life. But now in her anger she said to the young man as he went away with his comrades, "You may go; but you will never return as you go." The young man gave no heed to her words; he neither cared for her nor feared her, and with a merry heart he went his way with his companions.
[Pg 152]One day many weeks later, when they were far away in the North Country in the land of ice and snow, the young man became suddenly ill. Then he went raging mad with what the Indians call the wild "madness of the woods." The girl's strange power was upon him. In the band of hunters was the young man's older brother, a very strong and powerful man. He knew what ailed his brother. He went to the river and sang the strange weird song that calls the Evil Spirit of the Stream to man's assistance. Now this was a very dangerous thing to do, for the Spirit of the Stream had no love for cowards; but the man being brave had no fear, as he wished to save his brother's life. After the usual custom, he dared the Evil Spirit of the Stream to come to him. Soon the monster appeared in answer to the challenge, its great eyes shining like fire on the water and its horns rising above the surface. It asked the man what he wished, and the man answered, "I wish you to help me; I wish my brother to be in his right mind again and free from the maiden's wicked power." Then the monster said, "You may have what you wish if you are not afraid"; and the man said that he feared nothing. And the monster asked, "Do you fear me?" And the man said "No." Then said the monster, "Take hold of my horns and scrape them with your knife." The man did as he was told, and he scraped and scraped until he had taken a handful of powder from the monster's horns.
The monster wondered at the man's bravery and said,[Pg 153] "Go to your camp now; put half the scrapings into a cup of water and give it to your brother to drink; put the other half in another cup of water and give it to the maiden to drink when you go back home, and all will be well." Then the Indian returned to the camp and did as the monster had told him, and his brother drank the powdered water and soon got back his senses and his strength.
When the hunt was ended, the band returned home. It was night in the spring-time when they reached their village; the snow had already left the ground and the trees were in bud. In a great tent in the village the annual Spring Dance was in progress, and all the people of the place were gathered. Among them was the maiden lover dancing merrily with the rest. None of the hunting band entered the tent, but they watched the dance from outside the door. The elder brother had mixed a drink as the Evil Spirit of the Stream had told him, by placing the remainder of the powder in a cup of water. And he stood at the door waiting for his chance to give it to the girl. The night was hot and still, and he knew that the dancers would soon grow warm and thirsty. At last the maiden lover came to the door to breathe the cool night air; the man passed her the cup, and without looking at him or knowing him she took it and gladly drained it dry because of her great thirst; then she went back to the dance.
Then a very strange shadow came upon her. When she began to dance she was a young and beautiful girl, the[Pg 154] loveliest of all the maidens in the land. But after she had drunk the magic cup she grew gradually older. Her friends noticed the change and stood rooted with terror; the tales of their parents came back to their memories; they knew that the girl was now passing through the Dance of Death from which no power could save her. Their fears were well founded. At each turn of the dance, a year was added to the girl's life; the colour faded slowly from her cheeks; her shoulders slowly stooped; wrinkles appeared upon her face; her hands trembled as if palsied; her feet lost their nimbleness and her tread was no longer light. She was growing old in the Dance of Death. Yet she was unconscious of it all, and her life ebbed away without her knowing it. At last she reached the end of the room, tottering to the music of the dance; but old age was now upon her, and she fell dead upon the floor. Her power over the young man was forever ended, for the Spirit of the Stream had brought about the Dance of Death. "She will trouble you no more," said the elder Indian to his brother as he gazed upon the shrunken face and form, "her dance is forever ended." The people wondered greatly at the strange happening and their merry-making was hushed; and since that day the Indians in silent fear still point you on the river to the scene of the Dance of Death.
A man and his wife lived once long ago in the Canadian forest. They lived far away from other people, and they found it very lonely. They were very poor, for game was not plentiful, yet they were always happy and contented. They had only one child, a boy, whom they loved well. The boy grew up to be very strong and clever. But he was often lonely without any companions but his parents. The birds and the animals of the woods were his friends, because he was kind to them and they looked upon him as a comrade. At last he grew tired of his lonely life. He longed for adventure. So one day he said to his parents, "I am going far away to see other men and women and to do great deeds." His parents did not want to let him go at first, for they would be very lonely without him. But they knew that he could never become great where he was, and they consented to let him go.
The next morning he set out on his journey. He travelled all day. At night he slept on the ground under the stars. In the morning Rabbit came to where he lay and woke him up. Rabbit said, "Hello, friend; where are you going?" "I am going to find people," said the boy. "That is what I [Pg 156]want to do too," said Rabbit; "we shall go together." So they went on together. They travelled a long distance through the forest. They crossed many small streams and climbed many hills. At last they heard voices through the trees, and soon they saw not far in front of them an Indian village. Rabbit hid among the trees, but the boy went forward alone to see the people. The people were all kind to him and gave him food and asked him to stay with them. But they were all very sad and many of them were weeping. The boy asked them what was the matter. They said, "The Chief has a very beautiful daughter, and word has come to us that to-morrow a great giant is coming to eat her up. It will be useless to send her away, for the giant will follow her. He is a very terrible monster and cannot be killed." Then they continued to weep and lament.
The boy went out to the woods and told Rabbit what he had heard. He said, "We had better go on our way so that we may be far off when the giant comes." But Rabbit said, "No. Go back to the people and tell them you can save the Chief's daughter. Have no fear. When night comes bring the girl here to me and I will save her." So the boy went back to the people and told them not to fear, for he would save the girl from the giant. They laughed at him at first, for everyone who had attempted to stop the giant had been killed. But when they saw that the boy was quite sure of his power, they listened to him. They went to the Chief and told him[Pg 157] what the stranger had said. Then the Chief sent for him and said, "If you can save my daughter from the giant, she shall be yours."
When evening came, the boy brought the girl to where Rabbit was waiting. Rabbit had a little carriage ready, drawn by two little squirrels. When he spoke to the squirrels they grew until they were as large as dogs. They all got into the carriage, the boy and the girl and Rabbit, and away went the squirrels. It was a clear summer night and the moon was full. The road was hard, and they ran along rapidly over the road among the trees, and soon they reached a village far away. They came to a tent on the bank of a stream. The boy went in and found only an old woman. She said, "Death is not far away from you. The giant is close on your heels." Then she wept. She told them to go to the river, for her husband was there. So they went to the river. Rabbit and his squirrels stayed behind to see what the giant would do. The boy and girl found an old man fishing from the bank. He said, "Death is not far away from you, for the giant is close on your tracks. But I will help you." He sprang into the water, and lay there and spread out his arms and legs. Then he said, "Stand on my back." So they stepped to his back. They feared at first that they would fall off; but at once he grew as large as a big canoe, and he swam with them across the river. When they landed on the other side they turned to look at him and they saw then[Pg 158] that he was old Sea Duck, the boy's friend. He pointed to a high mountain. "Go to the mountain," he said, "and there you will find Rabbit." Then he swam away.
The boy and the girl went towards the mountain. But they heard the giant roaring behind them and splashing in the stream as he crossed. When they reached the foot of the mountain, he was almost upon them. At the foot of the mountain Rabbit was waiting for them. The side of the mountain was very steep. It was almost perpendicular. Rabbit took a long pole and held it up. "Climb this," he said. As the boy and the girl climbed, the pole lengthened until they stepped from it to the top of the mountain. Rabbit climbed up after them with his squirrels. The giant saw them all from the foot of the mountain and climbed up the pole after them. But when he was near the top, the boy pushed the pole out and it fell backwards, taking the giant with it. The giant was killed by the fall. Then the boy and the girl and Rabbit got into the squirrel carriage. They went quickly down the other side of the mountain, and over the moonlit road until they came to the girl's native village. When they reached the border of the village, Rabbit said, "Now, old friend, good-bye. I must go away. But if ever again you are in trouble, I will help you if I can." Then Rabbit and his squirrels went away. The boy brought the girl back to the Chief's home. The people all wondered greatly to see her alive. The Chief said to the boy, "You[Pg 159] may have her as your wife." So they were married and a great wedding feast was held.
But two young men of the girl's village were very angry because the girl had married a stranger. Each wanted her for himself. So they decided to kill her husband. They asked him to go fishing with them far out to sea. The next day the boy went with them to the deep-sea fishing place. It was a long sail. When they were almost out of sight of land, the boy's enemies threw him overboard before he could defend himself, and sailed away leaving him struggling in the water. The boy called for help. Not far away was a small island, and from the beach came a large white Sea Gull in answer to his cries. When Sea Gull saw his plight he said, "Have no fear, old friend, I will help you." Sea Gull flew away and the boy lay on his back and floated with the tide. Soon Sea Gull came back carrying a long cord. He let down one end of it and told the boy to hold on to it tight. Then he said, "It is a long swim to the island. But I will tow you there." And Sea Gull towed him to the island, and left him there, saying, "I am very tired after such a long pull. I can go no farther. Good-bye, old friend. Others will help you."
As the boy sat shivering on the island beach, Fox came along. "Hello, old friend," said Fox. "What are you doing here?" The boy told him what had happened, and said, "I am very hungry." Fox said, "I have no food for you, but I can help you in another way." Then Fox picked a blade of[Pg 160] grass from the bank and said, "Eat it." The boy ate it and at once he was changed into a horse and ate grass until he was full and his hunger had left him. When Fox saw that he was full, he gave him another blade of grass, and said, "Eat it." He ate it and at once he was changed back to a boy. Then Fox said, "When night comes, I will take you home, for there is no boat on the island." So they waited for the evening. When night came and the moon came out they went to the water's edge. They could see the lights of the village far away across the sea. "Catch hold of my tail," said Fox, "and hang on tight." The boy caught Fox's tail and Fox swam away, towing the boy behind him. The sea was very rough, and the waves ran high, and the boy thought he would never reach the land. But he held on tight and after some hours they came to the shore. Fox said, "Good-bye, old friend. I must go no farther. But if you are ever again in trouble, call me and I will help you." Then Fox ran away along the beach.
The boy made a fire and dried his clothes and then went to the village. The people all wondered greatly to see him alive. They thought he was dead. They said, "To-morrow one of the men who took you fishing is to marry your wife. He told her you had drowned yourself because you were sorry you had married her. Then he asked her to be his wife and she consented." The boy went to his old home and there found his wife. She was very frightened when she saw him,[Pg 161] for she thought he had come back from the land of the dead. He told her of the treachery of the two men. She wept, but he said, "Do not weep, but rejoice, for I shall punish the two men to-morrow. There will be no wedding feast for them as they expected." The next morning the boy went to the Chief, his father-in-law, and told him what had happened. The Chief said, "Put the two men to death." But the boy said, "No, I have a better form of punishment." Then he called Fox. When Fox came, he said to him, "Bring me two blades of grass that can change men into beasts, such as you used to change me yesterday." Fox ran away and soon came back with the grass. The boy took the two blades, and went to the men who had tried to drown him. He said, "Here is some sweet grass I found under the sea. Taste it." And each took a blade and ate it. At once they were changed. One became a pig and the other became a porcupine, and both had coarse hair or bristles all over them, and they had noses of a strange and funny shape. The boy's punishment of his enemies was then complete. He said, "Live now despised by men, with your noses always to the ground." So the first pig and the first porcupine appeared upon the earth.
In olden times in Canada, Shrove Tuesday, the day before the beginning of Lent, was more strictly observed than it is to-day. The night was always one of great merriment and feasting. Boys and girls of the villages and country places gathered there for the last time before the long period of quiet. They danced until midnight, but the youth or maiden who dared to dance after the hour of twelve was henceforth followed with little luck. This rule was not often broken, for when it was broken the Spirits of Evil always walked the earth and brought disaster to the youthful dancers.
In a remote village on the banks of a great river there dwelt in the seventeenth century a French peasant, a kind and devout old man. He had but one child, a daughter. She was a handsome girl, and naturally enough she had many suitors among the young men of the place. One of these she prized above all the others, and she had promised to become his wife. On the evening of the Shrove Tuesday before the date set for the wedding, as was the custom the young people of the village gathered at her home. It was a simple but joyous gathering, the last which the girl could attend before her marriage. Right merrily the dance went[Pg 163] on, and all the guests were in high spirits. Soon after eleven o'clock a sleigh drawn by a great coal-black horse stopped at the door. It contained but one man. Without knocking at the door, the new-comer entered. The rooms were crowded, but the rumour soon spread whisperingly around that a new presence had appeared, and the simple villagers strove to get a look at the tall figure in fine clothes. The old man of the house received the stranger kindly and offered him the best he had in his home, for such was the custom in the old days. One thing the gathering particularly noted—the stranger kept his fur cap on his head, and he did not remove his gloves; but as the night was cold this caused but little wonder.
After the silence caused by the stranger's entrance the music swelled, and again the dance went on. The new-comer chose the old man's daughter as his partner. He came to her and said, "My pretty lass, I hope you will dance with me to-night, and more than once, too." "Certainly," replied the girl, well pleased with the honour, and knowing that her friends would envy her. During the remainder of the evening the stranger never left her side, and dance after dance they had together. From a corner of the room the girl's lover watched the pair in silence and anger.
In a small room opening from that in which the dancers were gathered was an old and pious woman seated on a chest at the foot of a bed, praying fervently. She was the girl's[Pg 164] aunt. In one hand she held her beads, with the other she beckoned to her niece to come to her.
"It is very wrong of you," she said, "to forsake your lover for this stranger; his manner is not pleasing to me. Each time I utter the name of the Saviour or the Virgin Mary as he passes the door, he turns from me with a look of anger." But the girl paid no heed to her aunt's advice.
At last it was midnight, and Lent had come. The old man gave the signal for the dance to cease. "Let us have one more dance," said the stranger. "Just one more," pleaded the girl; "my last dance before my marriage." And the old man wishing to please his only child,—for he loved her well,—consented, and although it was already Ash Wednesday the dance went on. The stranger again danced with the girl. "You have been mine all the evening," he whispered; "why should you not be mine for ever?" But the girl laughed at his question. "I am a strange fellow," said the stranger, "and when I will to do a thing it must be done. Only say yes, and nothing can ever separate us." The girl cast a glance towards her dejected lover in the corner of the room. "I understand," said the stranger. "I am too late; you love him."
"Yes," answered the girl, "I love him, or rather I did love him once," for the girl's head had been turned by the attentions of the stranger.
"That is well," said the stranger; "I will arrange all, and overcome all difficulties. Give me your hand to seal our plight."
[Pg 165]She placed her hand in his, but at once she withdrew it with a low cry of pain. She had felt in her flesh the point of some sharp instrument as if the stranger held a knife in his hand. In great terror she fainted and was carried to a couch. At once the dance was stopped and the dancers gathered around her, wondering at the sudden happenings. At the same time two villagers came in and called the old man to the door to see a strange sight without. The deep snow for many yards around the stranger's horse and sleigh had melted in the hour since his arrival, and a large patch of bare ground was now showing. Terror soon spread among the guests; they spoke in whispers of fear, and shrank from the centre of the room to the walls as if eager to escape; but the old man begged them not to leave him. The stranger looked with a cold smile upon the dread of the company. He kept close to the couch where the girl was slowly coming back to life. He took from his pocket a beautiful necklace, and said to her, "Take off the glass beads you wear, and for my sake take this beautiful necklace." But to her glass beads was attached a little cross which she did not want to part with, and she refused to take his gift.
Meanwhile, in the home of the priest, some distance away, there was a strange happening. While he prayed for his flock the old priest had fallen asleep. He saw in his slumber a vision of the old man's home and what was happening there. He started quickly from his sleep and called his[Pg 166] servant and told him to harness his horse at once, for not far away a soul was in danger of eternal death. He hurried to the old man's home. When he reached there, the stranger had already unfastened the beads from the girl's neck and was about to place his own necklace upon her and to seize her in his arms. But the old priest was too quick for him. He passed his sacred stole around the girl's neck and drew her towards him, and turning to the stranger he said, "What art thou, Evil One, doing among Christians?" At this remark terror was renewed among the guests; some fell to their knees in prayer; all were weeping, for they knew now that the stranger with the stately presence and the velvet clothes was the Spirit of Evil and Death. And the stranger answered, "I do not know as Christians those who forget their faith by dancing on holy days. This fair girl has chosen to be mine. With the blood that flowed from her hand she sealed the compact which binds her to me for ever."
In answer, the old curé struck the stranger hard across the face with his stole, and repeated some Latin words which none of the guests understood. There was a great crash, as if it thundered, and in a moment amid the noise the stranger disappeared; with his horse and sleigh he had vanished as mysteriously and quickly as he had come.
The guests were long in recovering from their fear, and all night they prayed with the curé that their evil deeds[Pg 167] might be forgiven. That she might be cleansed from her sins and that her promise to the stranger might be rightly broken, the girl entered a convent to pass the remainder of her life. A few years later she died. And since that day in her little village on the banks of the great river, the Shrove Tuesday dancers have always stopped their dance at midnight; for youths and maidens still keep in mind the strange dancer in the fine clothes who wooed the peasant's only daughter and almost carried her off.
On the banks of a mighty river near a great lake in the West, there lived in old times a boy who was very small in size. As he grew older he did not grow larger, and he remained very tiny. He lived alone with his sister, who was older than he. His sister looked upon him as a child and made him toys to play with. One day in winter he asked his sister to make him a ball to play with on the ice of the river. And she made him a ball out of strong cord. The boy played on the ice, throwing the ball in front of him and running after it as it rolled to see if he could catch it. At last the ball went very far in front of him and the wind blew it along so that it did not stop rolling. He followed it a long distance and he saw in front of him four giant men lying on the ice spearing fish. When he came close to them, they looked at him and laughed, and one said, "See what a tiny mite is here," but they did not speak to him. The boy was very cross because they had laughed at his small size, and he thought, "I shall teach them that I am powerful although I am small."
As the boy passed them on his way back, he saw four[Pg 169] large fish lying on the ice beside them. He took the one nearest to him and ran away as fast as he could. When the giant who owned the fish looked up, he saw the boy running away, and he said to his companions, "The small boy has stolen my fish." When the boy reached home, his sister asked him where he had got the fish, and he answered that he had found it on the ice. "How could you get it there?" she asked, but he would not answer; he merely said, "Go and cook it." So they cooked it and ate it for their evening meal.
The next day the boy played again on the ice of the river. The giant men were again fishing. When he came up to where they were, his ball rolled into a hole through which they fished. He asked one of the men to hand him his ball, but the man laughed at him and pushed the ball under the ice with his spear. Then the boy caught the man's arm and twisted it until he broke it, for he had great strength; he picked his ball from under the ice and went home. The man with the broken arm called his comrades and showed them what had happened, and they all swore that they would kill the boy.
The next day the four giant brother fishermen set out to find the boy. Soon they reached his home among the rocks on the bank of the river. The boy's sister heard the noise of their snow shoes on the crusted snow as they came near, and she ran into the house in great fear. But the boy said,[Pg 170] "Have no fear; give me something to eat." She gave him food on a dish which was made from a magic shell, and he began to eat. Just then the men came to the door and were about to push it open when the boy turned his dish up-side-down and at once the door was closed with a large stone. Then the men tried to crack the stone, and at last they made a small hole in it. One of them put his eye to the hole and peeped in, but the boy shot an arrow into his eye and killed him. Then the others, not knowing what had caused their brother to fall, peeped through the hole, and each one was killed in his turn by an arrow shot through his eye.
Then the boy went out and cut them into small pieces, and as he did so he said, "Henceforth let no man be bigger than your pieces are now." So men became of their present size, and they have never since grown to giant stature.
When the springtime came, the boy's sister made him new bows and arrows. He took one of the arrows and shot it far out into the lake. Then he swam out after it, while his sister in fear watched him from the shore and called to him to come back. But he cried loudly, "Fish of the red fins, come and swallow me." And at once a great fish came and swallowed him. Then his sister tied an old moccasin to a strong cord and fastened it to a tree that grew out over the lake. And the fish said to the boy, "What is that floating in the water?" And the boy said, "Take hold of it and swallow it." The fish swallowed it and was held fast to the tree [Pg 171]by the cord. Then the boy took hold of the line and pulled himself and the fish to the shore. His sister cut the fish open and let the boy out. Then they cut up the fish and dried it, and the boy told his sister never again to doubt his strength, for although he was small he was very powerful. And since that time, men have never grown larger than he, but although small they have had power over all other creatures.
Two widows lived side by side in the forest. Their husbands had long been dead. Each widow had a little boy. One boy was called Caribou; the other was called Moose. One springtime the widows were gathering maple sap to make sugar. The two boys played at home. They talked of the great forest, and decided to travel, to see the big woods and the mountains far away. In the morning they set out on their journey. They walked all day, and in the evening they came to a camp far away in the woods. The camp was that of the Porcupines. The Porcupines were kind to the boys, and gave them food. In the morning they gave them new moccasins, and told them the road to follow. The road, they said, had many giants.
The boys travelled all day without mishap. At last they came to the edge of the wood where the giants lived. Here they met a woman. She was half Indian, for her mother was an Indian woman who had been carried off by a giant. Her mother had long been dead. The woman they met knew that the boys were of her mother's people, and she treated them kindly. She told them that ahead of them were three[Pg 173] great giants they would have to overcome before they could pass on their way. She gave them a box containing two dogs. The box was very small; it could be hidden in one hand. The dogs were no bigger than a fly, but when they were rubbed with the hand they grew very large and cross; and the more they were rubbed, the larger and crosser they became. The dogs were to be used, she said, to defeat the first giant. Then the woman told them of the second giant. She said he was very terrible, and that his head was covered with great toads, the poison of which would kill any one who touched them. She told them that the giant would ask them to kill a toad because it hurt his head, hoping thereby to poison them. She warned them not to touch it, and she gave them some cranberries, and told them to crush the cranberries in their hands when the giant made his request and the noise would make the giant think they were crushing the poisonous toad. Then she told them of the third giant; and she gave them a knife with which to overcome him. It was a very wonderful knife that could not be turned aside from anything it attacked.
Then the boys went on their way. Soon they saw the first giant standing by the side of the path. He rushed at them as if to kill them; but they opened their magic box and took out the dogs. They rubbed them until they grew very large and cross, and when the giant came near they let them loose. The dogs soon killed the giant, and the boys[Pg 174] went on their way, leaving the dogs to go back to the woman who gave them. Soon they came to the second giant. He was very ugly and terrible, and he had long hair covered with toads. He met the boys kindly, hoping to deceive them. Then, just as the woman had told them, he said, "Something hurts my head. Do you see what it is?" And they said, "Yes, it is a great toad." "Kill it," said the giant. Then the boys put their hands close to his head and crushed the cranberries the woman had given them, and the giant thought the noise was that of the crushing of the toad. The boys then went on their way. The giant was well pleased, for he thought they would drop dead very soon because of the poison, and that next day he would find them and have a good meal. Soon the boys came to the third giant. He was very terrible, and he attacked them at once. But one of the boys drew the magic knife and plunged it into the giant's breast. The giant could not turn it aside; it pierced his heart, and he fell dead. Then the boys knew that they were safe.
The next morning the boys decided to separate, and to go each his own way. Moose went north, and Caribou went south. By-and-by Moose came to a tent where dwelt a woman with one daughter. The daughter wished to be married, but her mother was jealous of her daughter's charms, and she killed every suitor who wooed her daughter. Her mother had the power of a witch, which she had received[Pg 175] from the Evil Spirit of the forest. The daughter loved Moose when she saw him. She warned him that her mother would try to kill him. Moose asked the mother if he might have the daughter as his wife, and the mother said, "Yes; but first you must do whatever I bid you." To this Moose agreed. When he went to bed, the daughter warned him to be on his guard. The mother put a thick skin over him for a blanket, covering him all up. Then she went to get another, saying that it was a cold night. Moose knew he would soon smother without air under the thick skins when she piled them over him, and while she was gone he cut a hole through the skin with his magic knife so that his nose would go through it. The woman came back with other skins, and covered him with a great many, but in each skin Moose cut a hole over his nose so that he might get air. The woman left him, believing that he would smother in the night, for she did not want her daughter to wed; but Moose breathed freely and slept soundly.
The next morning the woman uncovered him, thinking that he was dead; but Moose said he had slept well. The woman wondered greatly, and resolved upon another plan to kill him. A great tree grew near the tent. It was hemlock, and bigger than a haystack at the bottom. It had thick bark which was loose at the top. The woman gave Moose a long pole and told him to knock down the bark. Moose took the pole and knocked a piece off, but as it fell he jumped from[Pg 176] under it, for he could jump far. The heavy bark fell with a great crash. Then he knocked off all the bark until the tree was stripped, but he was unharmed. The woman wondered greatly. She resolved upon another plan to kill him. The next day she took Moose to an island far off the coast. There were no trees on the island. They left their canoe on the beach and walked inland. The woman said, "Wait here awhile; I will come back soon." Then she went back to the beach. She took the canoe and paddled home, leaving Moose behind. "Now," she said, "he will starve, for he cannot get off the island, and there is nothing there to eat." When Moose came back to the beach, after waiting a long while, he saw the canoe a mere speck on the water far away. He was much troubled, for he thought that now he would surely die, and he cried loudly. But the sea-gulls flying above the beach heard his cries, and two large gulls came down to him. They told him not to cry, for they would save him. One went to each side of him and told him to take hold and hang on. So he put an arm around each gull's neck, and they rose into the air with him and flew over the sea. Moose was very frightened when he looked down at the water. But the gulls took him home safely. He sat a long time on the beach, and then the woman came paddling her canoe from the island. When she reached the land, Moose said, "What kept you so long? I have been waiting for you a long time." But he did not tell her how he had come home. The woman[Pg 177] was so surprised she did not know what to say. But she resolved upon another plan to kill him.
The next day she invited Moose to a wrestling match on a high hill. The hill was full of stones. Moose decided that to save his own life he must kill the woman, because he had had enough of her treachery. They wrestled, and Moose let the woman throw him down, but because he was agile he saved himself from a great fall. He let her throw him a second time, but again he was unharmed, to her great surprise. The contest was three falls. The woman was sure she could kill him the third time. But the third time, Moose threw her down so hard that her back was broken on the stones. Then he tossed her high in the air, and she fell so hard that she was broken in pieces. Moose was then free from danger. He married the woman's daughter; but he was not very happy. The daughter was like her mother and caused him trouble, for she was often very wicked. She was a great fisher, and went often to the streams to fish. She could go under the water and stay a long time and bring up fish in her hands. One night in winter she went down through a hole in the ice to fish. It was very cold, and while she was down, the hole froze over and she could not get out. She called to Moose to break the ice, but Moose was glad to be rid of her and he would not let her out. So she was drowned in the stream.
Moose never married again, and ever afterwards he lived[Pg 178] a lonely life. He did not like company any more. That is why he is usually seen by himself, and why he usually travels alone in the forest. But Caribou, on the other hand, likes company, and that is why he is usually seen with five or six others of his kind, and why he seldom travels alone.
Jack lived with his parents in a remote part of Canada. He had no brothers or sisters. His parents were very poor, and their only possession was a goat that supplied them with milk. When the boy grew up, he decided to go out into the world and earn something to make his parents more comfortable in their old age. So one day he said, "I am going far away to look for work that you may be able to buy better food." His parents did not want him to go, for he was their one source of happiness; but he would not listen to their pleading. With no money and something of a heavy heart he went on his way. It was summer in the land, and when he came out of the forest into the open country he saw people in the meadows making hay. Soon he came to a very large farm where a number of men were busy. He asked the man in charge for work. The man said, "How long do you want to work?" Jack answered, "A week." The man hired him, and he went to work. He was a great worker, and in a week he had done as much as one of the other men could do in a year. The man was pleased with his work.
At the end of the week Jack asked for his wages. The[Pg 180] man gave him a little money in part payment, and an old hen for the other part. Jack was very cross. He said, "I don't want a hen; I want money. Little good an old hen can do me!" But the man would not give him more money. He said, "The hen will lay eggs for you. She will lay two dozen eggs a day—an egg every hour." So Jack with much disgust took the old hen, for he could do no better, and went home. His parents were glad to see him again, and to get the money he had earned; but they laughed at his old hen. But at the end of a day, when she had laid two dozen eggs, they were well pleased.
In a week Jack said, "I am going away again to earn more money." This time his parents were not troubled. They knew he could take care of himself. He said, "I will take the old hen with me and sell her for a great price." So one morning he set out. He went through the forest with his old hen under his arm. He passed again by the meadows where men and women were making hay, but he did not ask for work. As he passed, the people looked at his hen and laughed, but he went along unheeding. He soon came to the town where the Seigneur lived, and he went to a house where he got food and lodging for himself and his old hen. He left the hen there and went to the Seigneur's house. He told the Seigneur that he had a wonderful bird, and offered to sell her to him. "Go and bring me the bird," said the Seigneur. But when Jack brought the old hen to him the[Pg 181] Seigneur was very angry. "Little good an old hen like that will do me," he said. But when Jack told him that she could lay twenty-four eggs a day, he said, "If that is true you may have your price. We will keep her for a day and test your word." So they locked the old hen up for a day. At the end of that time she had laid twenty-four eggs, and the Seigneur wondered greatly. He said, "How much do you want for your hen?" Jack answered, "Whatever you wish to pay me." The Seigneur gave him much money, and Jack, well pleased with his bargain, went home. His parents were glad to have him back, and to get the money he had got for the old hen. They began to live very comfortably.
At the end of a few weeks Jack decided to go away again. He said, "Let me take the old goat and sell her. We can do without her milk." He thought that since he had sold the hen so well, he could make a good sale of the goat. His parents agreed to his wishes. So one morning he tied ribbons and flowers around the old goat's head and covered her with a many-coloured blanket, and set out, leading her behind him. He went along through the forest. It was harvest time, and he passed great farms where reapers were busy cutting yellow grain. But he did not ask for work. The people all looked with wonder at his goat as he passed, but he spoke to no one. Soon he came to the town where the Seigneur lived. He brought his goat to the Seigneur and offered to sell her to him, and the Seigneur gave him much money for her. Then[Pg 182] she was placed in a yard with the Seigneur's other animals. The yard was always guarded by two keepers.
Jack decided not to go home at once. He planned to steal the goat back and take her home. Then he would have the goat and much money too. So he bought a large quantity of food, put it in a basket, and carried it to the animal yard. When the two keepers saw him coming, they ran to him to send him away, for no one else was allowed at night near the yard. But Jack said, "The night is long and cool. The Seigneur sent me to you with this basket of food." The keepers were well pleased with the food, and they sat down and had a good meal. They ate until they were full. Jack said, "If you want to sleep for an hour, I will watch. I like to sit in the moonlight." The harvest moon was full, and the night was as bright as day. The two keepers thanked Jack for his kindness, and lay down on some straw, and were soon fast asleep because of their hearty meal. Jack waited until they were sound asleep. Then he took the old goat and walked quietly away, leading her behind him. The town was all asleep. There was not a sound anywhere. Soon he reached the open country without meeting anyone, and passed by rich harvest fields until he came to the forest. Then he followed the forest path in the bright moonlight, and reached his home before morning. His parents were glad to see him again so soon and to get his money. But when he told them that he had sold the old[Pg 183] goat and stolen her back they were very angry, and his father said, "No good can come of it. The old goat will bring you to a sad end."
After a few days Jack decided to set out again to seek his fortune. He took the stolen goat with him. Before he was out of the forest he came upon a man camped in a green place under the trees. The man asked him who he was. Jack said, "I am a servant of the Seigneur. I take care of his beautiful goats. He gave me this one for myself." The man liked the goat very much, and asked Jack what he would take for her. But Jack said he would not sell her. Then Jack asked him who he was. The man said, "I am a robber. If you will come with me, we will soon be very rich." So Jack agreed to join him. They went along together for some days. But the robber always had his eye on the goat. One night as they slept on the bank of a stream, the robber killed Jack with a blow and threw his body into the river. He wanted his goat. Then he took the old goat and went on his way. Poor Jack's stolen goat had brought him to a sad end.
A sister and brother lived alone in a house in the forest. Their father and mother were dead. The boy had a strange magic power which had been given to him by his parents. The two children loved each other very deeply. The brother cared well for his sister and protected her from all danger. He knew that the forest had many evil creatures who would be glad to carry off his sister if they could. The brother often went far away to hunt. He was often gone for many days. When he went away, he always said to his sister, "Keep the door barred while I am gone, and do not speak to anyone."
One day the brother went far away into the forest. He would not be home till evening. He said to his sister, "Keep the door barred; do not eat until I come back, and do not speak to anyone." Then he went his way into the woods. The sister forgot her brother's warning. It was a hot day, and she opened the door for air. Soon Otter appeared at the door. The girl spoke to him and he came in. Otter spoke to her, but she remembered the warning of her brother and she would speak no more. Otter talked and asked her[Pg 185] questions, but she would not answer. Then Otter became very angry. He determined to make her speak. He caught her roughly and pulled down her hair. Her hair was very long and beautiful and as black as the raven's wing. He dragged her by the hair to the fire, as if he would burn her, and said, "You will speak, you will speak or I will kill you." But she would not speak. Then he cut off her hair, hoping that she would cry out. But still she refused to utter a sound. Then he ate her food. He ate everything in the house, for he was a great eater. But still she said not a word of protest. Then Otter went away in disgust and rage, babbling loudly as he went.
But just as Otter left the house, the girl's brother was coming home. He saw Otter through the trees, and he knew that harm had been done. He came to the house, and through the door he saw his sister with her hair cut short. When he came in, he asked her what was the matter. She told him what had happened. He was very cross, and he scolded her for leaving the door open and for speaking to Otter. He said, "You did not heed my warning. Why did you not run out when Otter came in?" But the girl said, "It would have done no good; he would have followed me and caught me." And the man said, "Why did you not wish for me?" for each had power to bring the other home at once by a wish. But his sister said, "I was so frightened I did not think of it." "Why do you cry?" the brother asked. "Because he hurt[Pg 186] me," she answered, "and because he cut off my beautiful hair."
Then the brother took pity on her. He comforted her and said, "Do not cry for that; I will make your hair grow beautiful again. But your good name is lost; you can never get that back; you have disobeyed my orders; you have talked to a wicked man."
Then he dressed his sister in good clothes, and washed and combed her hair. And as he combed it, it grew longer and longer and more beautiful than before, and the girl was comforted. Then he made paint from roots. He made red paint and blue paint. And he painted her face and head red, and painted his own face and head blue. Then he watched for Otter that he might take vengeance. Soon he saw Otter going to the lake to fish. Otter went down under the water. The brother went to the shore of the lake and sang his magic song. And at once the lake froze over. Otter felt the cold underneath the water, and he came up in great haste. He bumped his head on the ice and broke the ice; then he stuck his head through the hole to see what had happened. But as he looked, the water froze around his neck, and he could get neither under the ice nor upon it. He was held fast, and the brother killed him by breaking his head with a stout stick.
Then the brother went home and told his sister that he had taken vengeance and had killed Otter. And he said, "Now, you and I must part." His sister cried and pleaded[Pg 187] to be forgiven, but he said, "We must part; we cannot dwell longer among our people; they know you have disobeyed me and have done evil."
Then they said good-bye. And the brother said, "You go south-west; I will go north-east; and soon we shall be changed from what we are." Then they parted and went in different ways as he had said. And at once by his magic power they were changed, and she became a Woodpecker and he became a Bluejay. And her head is still red because of the paint he put on her; and he is still blue because of the paint he put on himself. But although they parted, they are still mindful of each other. She always taps on the trees to let her brother know that she is still alive, and he calls, "I am here; I am here," to let her know that he still lives. But he keeps more to the north country, and often in the autumn when the other birds fly south, he remains behind to spend the winter in the north.
Three brothers lived with their mother in the forest. They had no sisters; their father was dead, and their mother was an invalid. The youngest boy was very stupid and silly; he was always doing foolish things, and he could never be trusted to do anything in the right way. His two brothers provided for the home, and worked to get food and clothing for themselves and their mother. While they were away, the youngest boy was left in charge of the house and his sick mother. But each night when the two older boys came home, they found that their brother had made many mistakes during the day. Sometimes he gave all the food in the house away to beggars. So they often beat him. But his mother always said, "He will do better yet." His brothers were more cruel to him each day. One day when they were away, an old woman came to the door and asked for food and clothing. The boy worked hard to give her what she asked for, but when his brothers came home they only beat him for his pains.
That night the boy ran away from home. He decided that he would endure his brothers' cruelty no longer. So he went into the forest with a sad heart and slept under the[Pg 189] trees. In the morning the old woman to whom he had given food the day before came along. He was crying bitterly, for he was hungry and cold. She asked him why he cried, and he told her of his brothers' cruelty. "Never mind," she said, "we will bring happiness out of your sorrow." She gave him a little wand, and told him to carry it with him always and that it would bring him good fortune. Then she told him to go back home and that all would be well. So he put the magic stick under his coat and went home. He reached home early, and his brothers and mother did not know he had been away.
Before they went away to work, his brothers told him to look after the pigs all day. Soon after they had gone, a rich drover came along wanting to buy pigs. The boy said he would sell all he had for a good sum. He first cut off the pigs' tails and placed them in a heap. He sold the pigs to the man and gave the money to his mother. Then he took the tails and went to the swamp near the river and stuck them in the mud. When his brothers came home they asked about the pigs. The boy said they had run to the swamp and had sunk into the mud. The brothers went to the swamp, and there were the tails sticking up from the mire. They pulled each one, and each tail came up. The brothers thought the tails had broken off and that the pigs were sunk in the mud. And they were very angry at the boy.
The next day they decided to drown him and thus get rid[Pg 190] of him. So they placed him in a bag and brought him to the river when the tide was out and the beach was bare. They dug a hole far out in the sand and buried him. They thought the tide would come in over the hole and drown him. When they had gone away, the boy waved his wand and at once the pigs he had sold to the drover came grunting over the sand. He called to them to root up the mud where he lay, and he promised them good food if they would obey him. So they rooted in the sand until the bag was uncovered. Then he kicked a hole in the bag and crawled out. He killed a pig, placed it in the bag and buried it. Soon the tide came in and covered the hole, and the boy hid near his home all night.
The next day when the tide was out and the beach was bare again, the brothers went down to the spot where they had buried the boy. They wanted to dig him up and bury him in a better place. But when they dug up the bag and opened it, they found only a dead pig. They went home in great wonder, but when they reached the house, the boy was sitting on the doorstep laughing at them. Then they decided to try again to kill him. They placed him in a strong bag and set out with him to a high waterfall; they planned to throw the bag into the river above the falls, and he would be dashed to pieces on the rocks as he was carried over. As they went along, they were hungry, and at noon they left the bag on the side of the road and went into a place to eat. While they were eating, the rich drover who had bought the pigs came[Pg 191] along driving a herd of cattle and a flock of sheep. He gave the bag a kick as he passed. The boy called to him, and he stopped and asked what he was doing in the bag. The boy said, "My brothers and I are going on a robbing tour. They hide me in the bag and leave me where much money can be taken. No one else knows that I am in the bag, and it will never be found out where the money has gone." The drover said he would like to go along too. But the boy said, "My brothers will not let you. But you and I can work together unknown to them. You take my place in the bag and I will follow at a distance. My cruel brothers will not know, and when you have taken the money, I will let you out and we will run away together." So the drover took the boy's place in the bag. The boy told him not to utter a sound. Then he ran away and found the drover's cattle and took charge of them.
Soon his brothers came out of the eating-place. They gave the bag a kick and thought that the boy was still in it. Then they went on their way. When they came to a spot above the waterfall, they tossed the bag far out into the stream. It was carried over the falls, and the poor drover was never seen again. Meanwhile the boy had sold all the drover's cattle and sheep. He went home with a large sum of money and gave it to his mother. When his brothers arrived home, he met them at the door and laughed at them. Then his brothers decided to make no further attempt to[Pg 192] kill him, for they saw that it would be of no use. They asked him to let them join him, for they knew that in some way he had received strange power. So the three set out one morning together. As they went along through the forest, a band of robbers fell upon them, and killed the two brothers. But because of his wand, the boy escaped. That night he came upon the robbers' house. The robbers were sitting inside counting out their money. The boy went in with his wand and killed them all. He took their money and went home to his mother. Then he went back to the forest and roused his two brothers from their death sleep. And they all went home and lived happily and comfortably ever afterwards.
One summer long ago, when the Blackfeet Indians roamed freely over the Canadian plains, the son of one of the Chiefs decided to go off alone to seek adventure. He wanted to be a great man like his father, and he thought he could never become great if he always stayed at home. He said to his father, "I am going away far to the West, beyond the mountains. I have heard that our Indian enemies who live there have many fine horses. I will bring some of their horses back to you." His father loved his son well, for he was his only child. He knew that it would be a very dangerous journey, and he tried to persuade his son not to go. But the boy said, "Have no fear for me. If I do not come back before the frost is on the prairies, do not be worried about me. But if I do not come before the snow lies deep on the plains, then you will know that I have gone forever and that I shall never come back." His father knew that only by attempting dangerous deeds and doing hard tasks could his son become great. And although he was loath to see him go, he said good-bye and wished him good luck.
It was summer in the north country when the boy set out. He took a number of companions with him. They travelled[Pg 194] towards the Great Water in the West, and in a few days they passed through the foot-hills and then beyond the mountains. Soon they came to a great river. They saw the trail of Indians along the bank. They followed the trail for many days, and at last in the distance they saw the camps of their enemies. Then they stopped where they would be hidden from their enemies' sight. That night a new summer moon was shining in the sky, and by its light they could see many horses around the distant camp. The moon disappeared early. When it had gone and the night was quite dark, the young man went to the camp to get the horses. He went alone and told his comrades to wait for him. Soon he came back driving many horses. But his enemies had heard him driving the horses and they set out in pursuit of him. When he reached his own camp, he called to his comrades to ride for their lives. All night they rode with their horses. When morning broke, the fleeing Blackfeet could see the dust of their pursuers far behind them. For days they rode with their enemies not far away. They passed at last through the mountains and out again into the rolling foothills. The plains were before them, and already they could feel the wind of the prairies. They thought they were now safe.
But their pursuers slowly but surely gained on them. Soon they were close upon them, and a shower of arrows told the Blackfeet that they would have to fight. The Blackfeet saw on the trail ahead of them a lonely pine tree. It was[Pg 195] surrounded by scrubby trees and shrubs. To this spot they fled. They dug a pit and tried to defend themselves. But their pursuers surrounded the spot and shot their arrows into it. All the young Chief's comrades were soon killed, and when night came on he alone remained alive. He was wounded and weary, but he lay silent in the pit. Then his pursuers built fires all around the place where he lay to prevent his escape and to drive him out of his hiding place. As the fires crept closer, the young man thought that he must surely die. Then he prayed to the Spirit of the Storm that rain might fall, and he used all the charms he carried with him to try to bring rain. Soon a heavy rain began to fall and the fires were put out. The night became very dark, for the sky was covered with storm clouds. In the darkness the young man crawled through the trees and soon reached the open plain. He crawled north into the foothills and hid in a cave in the hills. He covered the front of the cave with grass and boughs and lay hidden out of sight. For many days and nights he lay there waiting for his wounds to heal. At night he crawled out and gathered berries and roots for food. But his wounds did not heal rapidly. He grew weaker and weaker, and at last he was unable to leave the cave. He waited for death. He thought of his home far away to the south-east, and of his people's fear and worry for him, for the snow would soon be deep on the plains.
One day when the snow was falling and he knew that[Pg 196] winter had come, he heard footsteps outside the cave. He thought that an enemy had found him. The footsteps drew nearer, and soon a huge form appeared at the door. It was not an Indian, but a bear. The young man knew then that the cave was the bear's winter home.
He thought that the bear would eat him. But the bear only sniffed and smelled him all over. The man said, "Are you going to kill me or to help me?" The bear said, "I will help you. I will take you home to your people. We will start in a few days." Then the bear licked the man's wounds. The man said he was very hungry, and the bear said he would go out and get food. So he went off and soon came back with a grouse in his mouth. The man ate the grouse and felt better. Each day the bear brought him food, and licked his wounds so that they healed. At last, one morning the bear said, "To-day I must take you home. Get on my back and hold on tight, and I will soon carry you to your people." So the man climbed up on the bear's back and held on tight to his long hair. And the bear trotted off towards the man's home. For many days he ran over the plains. Each night he rested and caught food to feed himself and the man. At last they came one night to the top of a ridge in the plains. From here, as the young man looked, he could see not far away the camps of his people near a broad winding river. The bear said, "Now you see your home-land. We shall camp here to-night. To-morrow you must go on alone, and[Pg 197] I shall go back to the hills." So in the morning the bear got ready to go back. He said, "The snow is lying deep on the hills. I must hurry and find a den for the winter." The man was sorry to see him go. He said, "You have been very kind to me. Can I do anything for you in return for your kindness?" And the bear answered, "You can do one thing for me. Tell your people what I have done for you. And tell them never to kill a bear that has gone to its den for the winter. Tell them always to give a bear a chance to fight or to run for his life." Then the bear said good-bye and trotted away towards his winter home in the distant hills, and the man walked on to his people on the plains. He told his people of his adventures and what the bear had done for him. And since that day the Blackfeet of the Canadian plains will not kill a bear that has gone to its den for the winter. They still remember the favour asked by the bear in return for his kindness to their ancestor in the old days.
Three little boys were hunting in the Canadian woods in old times. They pretended to be big like men. A giant was prowling about looking for food. He saw the boys through the trees. He thought he would catch them and have a good meal. So he slapped his hands together rapidly and made a noise like a partridge drumming. The little boys heard the noise. They thought it was a partridge, and they went towards the sound. The giant caught them. He picked each one by the heels and struck the head of each on the ground. He thought they were all dead. Then he put them in a big birch-bark bag, put it on his back, and started home, well pleased with the thought of the nice meal he was going to have.
But the ground on which he had struck the boys' heads was soft. The boys were only stunned by the blow. And after the giant had walked a little way, the boys came to life again. But they made no sound. One of the boys had a little hunting knife made of stone. The giant walked under the trees, and the branches rattled on the birch-bark bag. When the branches rattled, the boy cut a hole in the bag, and the giant could not hear the noise of the cutting. The boys[Pg 199] slipped through the hole, one after the other. Then they ran home as fast as they could.
The giant was very strong. He had not felt the weight of the boys on his back. And he did not notice a difference in the weight when they slipped out. When he reached home, he left his load outside. One of his brothers was waiting for him. The giant said, "I have a good fat meal outside in my bag. Come out and see it." When they opened the bag, it was empty. The giant was very cross. But with his brother he sat before the fire to eat greedily what food he had in his cave.
When the boys reached home, they told their people what had happened to them. The people set out to find the giants. Soon they came to their cave. The giant and his brother were sleeping before the fire after their hearty meal. The people hid in the trees and shot at the giants. An arrow struck the old giant. He awoke and said to his brother, "I have a stitch in my side." But soon a shower of arrows struck them and they fell dead, and the place was troubled no more by giants.
Inconsistencies in hyphenation of words retained. (foot-hills, foothills; good-bye, goodbye; spring-time, springtime)
The page numbers in the List of Illustrations give the page in the original text which illustrations faced. In this ebook, the illustration tags/illustrations have been moved to a suitable nearby paragraph break. The links in the List of Illustrations navigate to the illustration directly and not to the page anchor of the page shown in the List.
Text of captions in the List of Illustrations may not match text in the captions under the illustrations. Captions in the List of Illustrations do not have terminating periods but corresponding ones under the illustrations do. Captions in the List of Illustrations may be enclosed in quotation marks while the corresponding ones under the illustrations may not. The wording and punctuation of the original text is preserved in all cases, except for:Illustration facing page 10, caption, comma after "LA" changed to single-quote mark. (YOU COMMANDED A 'TIENS-BON-LA' AND I HAVE BROUGHT)
Illustration facing page 102, caption, fixed apostrophe. (IN GLOOSKAP'S HEAVY CANOE.)
Page 7, double-quotes nested within another set of double-quotes. Fixed to single-quote marks. (you must cry out 'tiens-bon-la.')
Page 144, inserted missing comma. (said to the giant, "Where do you)
Page 147, inserted missing period. (wanderings by the Lake.)
Page 196, inserted missing period. (wounds. The man said)
[End of Canadian Wonder Tales by Cyrus Macmillan]