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October: The Month Of Nuts And Witches [The Red Indian Fairy Book] The Nuts of Jonisgyont (Iroquois)   L ISTEN to the Iroquois Grandm...

October: The Month Of Nuts And Witches

October: The Month Of Nuts And Witches [The Red Indian Fairy Book]

October: The Month Of Nuts And Witches [The Red Indian Fairy Book]

The Nuts of Jonisgyont

(Iroquois)  

LISTEN to the Iroquois Grandmother. This is a tale of Jonisgyont, the little Squirrel, and how he got wings.

In the Moon of the Falling Nuts, when the forest flames with crimson and gold, and the birds preen their wings to fly to the South, Jonisgyont ran chattering up and down the trees gathering brown nuts for his Winter food.

Day after day he gathered the nuts, and carried them to a Pine Wood, where he hid them in a hollow Pine Tree. And when he saw that his storehouse was full, he gave little barks of delight, and went leaping from branch to branch. Then he hurried away to the nut trees to play and frisk in the fallen leaves.

Poor little Jonisgyont! When he came back to the Pine Woods, he found his storehouse empty, for all his nuts were gone! Up and down the tree he ran, stamping his tiny feet and scolding as he peeped into every small hole, but he could not find his nuts. Then he called to his neighbours, the forest Woodchuck and the green Bullfrog.

The Woodchuck came creeping out of his burrow, at the foot of the rock near the Pine, and sat up by his door. And the Frog came jumping from the swamp down by the river.

"Poor Jonisgyont!" cried the Woodchuck, stroking his grizzly whiskers. "Who has been stealing all your nuts? Surely he is a rascal and should be well punished!"

"I wonder who has done this!" croaked the Frog, puffing out his sides. "He is very cruel to take all your hard-earned food!" And tears dropped from the Frog's bulging eyes.

But little Jonisgyont listened in silence, for he knew too well that they were his only neighbours who liked nuts.

Now, while the Woodchuck and the Frog were talking, and trying with indignant words to comfort Jonisgyont, Nukdago, the Chief of All Squirrels, passed that way, and heard what they said.

"Something is wrong here," he thought to himself, "and I must see that Jonisgyont does not lose all his Winter food."

Then Nukdago, the Chief, ran back to the Council House beneath the great forest Oak.

And when midnight was come, and the Moon shone bright, Nukdago returned to the Pine Tree and stood in its shadows. Soon the Woodchuck came softly from his burrow, and began to dig in the ground near the tree. And he dug so fast and furiously, that the dirt flew out behind him like a black cloud.

"This is very strange," thought Nukdago, "for Woodchuck finished digging his burrow many Moons ago."

Deeper and deeper the Woodchuck dug, until he had made a large hole. Then he disappeared into his burrow. Soon he returned with his cheeks puffed out, like a bag full of wind. And as he came creeping along, he looked behind him as if he feared some one might see him. Then one by one he dropped fat Hickory nuts from his cheeks into the hole he had dug.

And all night long he carried nuts from the burrow to the hole. And when the Sun began to shine, the wily one covered the hole with grass.

"Too many nuts, too far from the nut trees, for lazy Woodchuck to gather!" thought Nukdago, the Chief. "I will return again to-night and watch." And he ran back to the Council House, beneath the great Oak.

So when midnight was come again, Nukdago returned, and hid in the shadows under the Pine Tree. Soon the Moon appeared, and the green Bullfrog came jumping from the swamp down by the river. He hid behind a moss-grown stone near the tree, and his bright eyes blinked with cunning as if he feared some one might see him. Then he came hopping slowly from behind the stone, with his throat puffed out like a bag full of wind.

He hopped to the swamp, and dropped two Hickory nuts out of his throat, and pushed them under the moss. And all night long he carried nuts from the stone to the swamp.

"Too many nuts, too far from the nut trees, for lazy Bullfrog to gather!" thought Nukdago. "To-morrow I must see justice done!" And he ran back to the Council House beneath the great Oak.

And when the morning was come the wise Nukdago called together all the Big Chiefs of the forest animals. And when they were seated around the Council Fire, Nukdago, sent Jonisgyont to summon the Woodchuck and the Frog.

But soon the little Squirrel came back without them, for the Frog had jumped under the moss-grown stone, and the Woodchuck had hidden in his burrow.

Then the wise Nukdago hastened to the Pine Tree, and told some of his strongest animals to catch the thieves. Soon they dragged the trembling Frog and the shamefaced Woodchuck from their hiding-places. Nukdago then led them to the Council House, and placed them before the Big Chiefs. And the Woodchuck sat there stroking his grizzly whiskers, while the Frog puffed out his sides with rage.

Then said Nukdago to the Big Chiefs: "See these two bad ones? They are thieves! They have robbed little Jonisgyont of all his Winter store." And Nukdago told what he had seen.

The Big Chiefs, when they heard this, sent messengers to the Pine Tree, and they found the nuts just as Nukdago had said. Then they made Nukdago the judge, to punish the thieves.

So the wise Nukdago said to the Frog: "You belong to a tribe that has always been able to get its food without work. You sit in the Sun, and stick out your long lapping tongue, and catch the Flies and Bugs that pass by your door. But poor little Jonisgyont must work hard and long to gather his food for Winter. You sleep all through the cold Moons, and need no food then. But little Jonisgyont stays awake, and must have food to eat so that he may keep alive.

"You have not only stolen, but you have been selfish. Your punishment shall be to lose most of your teeth, so that you can never eat nuts again. Go back, now, to your swamp in disgrace."

And as the Frog hopped from the Council House, one by one most of his teeth fell from his mouth.

"And as for you, Woodchuck," said Nukdago, "you shall not lose your teeth, but your punishment shall be a just one. You, too, sleep through the Winter, and need no food then. In Summer-time Sweet Clover, rich grains, and berries grow for you; and birds and fish are your food.

"You shall not be deprived of green-growing things, but no longer shall you be able to eat birds and fish. Go back, now, in disgrace to your burrow, and stay there until Spring paints your shadow on the snow."

And as the Woodchuck left the Council House in shame, he lost his appetite for birds and fish.

Then the wise Nukdago, turning to Jonisgyont, said, "Little Squirrel, if you had been more watchful, and if you had not run away to play in the fallen leaves, you might have guarded your storehouse.

"Yet I will help you. From now on your eyes shall be bigger and rounder, so that you may see on all sides of you. Webby wings shall grow on your legs, so that you may fly from tree to tree, and reach your storehouse quickly, when thieves are near. But I warn you to hide from the Sun, and work in the shadows."

And as the happy little Jonisgyont left the Council House, his eyes became bigger and rounder, and webbed skin grew on each of his sides from leg to leg, to serve as wings when he spread out his feet and tail.

And as the little one flew from tree to tree he gave many shrill cries of joy, until he reached his storehouse, and there he found all his nuts again.

And ever since then Flying Squirrels have lived in the woods, and Frogs have had only a few teeth, while Woodchucks have lost their appetites for birds and fish.

And when an Iroquois child loses his first tooth, he carries it to a swamp, where Bullfrogs are croaking, and he throws it away and calls:—



     "Froggy! Froggy! my tooth is there!

      Give me another as strong as a Bear!"



And when the Sun paints the forest Woodchuck's shadow on the snow, the Indian boys say, "The Spring is near!"

 

Little Owl Boy

(Arapaho)  

LONG ago, out on the wide prairie, there was an Indian camp, and on the edge of the camp was a tepee, in which lived a brave with his wife and only boy. Now the boy was saucy and bad, and used to shout at his mother and refuse to gather wood and carry water from the spring. His mother scolded and entreated, but all to no purpose, for the boy was saucier than before.

One night, when every one in the camp was asleep, the bad boy began to shout, "Hi! Hi! Ho! Ho!"

"If you do not stop that," said his mother, "I will throw you out to Big Owl Owner-of-Bag, who hunts all night for naughty boys." But the boy only yelled louder.

"All right!" said his mother. "Big Owl, here is this foolish boy!" And with that she picked him up, and threw him out of the tepee into the dark, and pulled down the curtain before the door.

And who should be standing outside but Big Owl, with his bag wide open, and the boy's mother did not know it! The boy gave one yell, and fell into the bag; and then Big Owl quickly gave him a lump of roast tongue to keep him quiet. And shutting the mouth of the bag, Big Owl put the boy on his back, and flew away.

Well, the mother listened and listened, and when she could not hear the boy cry any more, she said to her husband, who was lying upon the bed: "You never try to make him stop, though he wakes every one in the camp. For my part I have done just right. This will teach him a good lesson." Then she went to bed, but she could not sleep, nor get the boy out of her mind.

When daylight came, she hurried out, but did not see him anywhere. Then she hastened through the camp, from tepee to tepee, asking, "Have you seen my boy?" And when all the people said, "No," she went home weeping.

Days and weeks passed by, and the boy did not come back, so his mother grieved very much. At last she decided that she would go and search for him the world over. But before she started, she sat down in her tepee, and made some magic garments. Day after day she worked, stopping only to bring in loads of firewood and cook the meals.

First she made two pairs of embroidered moccasins, trimmed beautifully with Porcupine quills. Then she cut out and made a pair of woman's leggings. After that she sewed a shirt ornamented with scalp locks; a Buffalo robe with coloured fringe; another robe with pictures of Eagles in each corner; and a shadow robe beautiful to behold. And all these were likewise decorated with Porcupine quills dyed blue, green, and yellow.

When all were ready, she wrapped them in a bundle, and said to her husband, "Farewell, I am going to find my dear child."

So she started off at a steady gait, and went on and on, over prairie and through ravine, sorrowful and lonely. All at once she heard a voice behind her, but could see no one.

"Where are you going, Woman?" asked the voice.

"I am searching for my dear child," she replied.

"Just keep on and follow the way your heart bids you go," said the voice, "and you will find your child."

So the woman, full of courage, hastened on until evening, when she came in sight of a great river, on the other side of which were high cliffs. When she reached the river, she saw a tepee standing by itself upon the bank. Then a boy, having wings like an Owl's, came running out of the tepee.

When he saw the woman, he shouted: "Hi! Hi! Ho! Ho! I am Little Owl Boy, and there comes my mother! Come in quickly, Mother, before Big Owl Owner-of-Bag gets home. He has gone after Buffalo meat."

The mother, her heart singing with joy, entered and sat down. She looked around, and saw that the tepee was only a big tree, with grapevines hanging down from its branches.

"Dear Mother, I know what you have come for," said the boy. "But you will have a hard time getting me away, for Big Owl is very fierce, and he may kill you. Lie down here under this robe, so that he cannot see you when he comes."

Just then Big Owl began to cry from the distance: "Little Owl Boy! Little Owl Boy! Hoot! Hoot!" for he was returning with some Buffalo meat.

"Quick, Mother, get under this robe," cried the boy. "Don't you hear him coming?"

So the woman, with her bundle, crept under the robe, and the boy covered her over, and spread out his nicely peeled arrow-sticks on top.

Then Big Owl Owner-of-Bag flew in. "Hoot! Hoot! my Grandchild," said he. "I think your mother must be here, for I smell her footprints."

"What if she is and what if she is n't?" said the boy.

"I want you to take my bag," said Big Owl, "and go to the ravine and kill a Buffalo for me. Open the bag, and he will walk right in," said Big Owl.

"Very well," said the boy; "but see that you do not touch my arrow-sticks while I am gone. If you do, I will kill you."

Then he flew away to the ravine, and shot a nice fat Buffalo, after which he opened the bag, and the animal walked right in. He put the bag on his shoulder, and carried it home to Big Owl.

"Hoot! Hoot! my Grandchild," said Big Owl again. "I do think your mother must surely be here, for I smell her body."

"What if she is and what if she is n't?" said the boy.

"Well, this time I want you to take my bag," said Big Owl, "and bring home five Buffalo."

"Very well," said the boy, "but see that you surely do not touch my arrow-sticks, or I will kill you."

And with that he flew away to the ravine, and shot five nice fat Buffalo, and brought them home in the bag.

"Hoot! Hoot! my Grandchild," said Big Owl. "I know that your mother is here, for I smell her robes."

"What if she is and what if she is n't?" said the boy.

"Take the bag," said Big Owl, "and bring home ten Buffalo."

"Very well," said the boy, "but see that you do not even move an arrow-stick, or I will kill you."

And he flew away to the ravine, and shot ten nice fat Buffalo. This time, however, he did not let them walk into the bag, but left them lying on the ground, and flew back to the tepee.

"Hoot! Hoot! my Grandchild," said Big Owl; "where are the Buffalo?"

"I left them in the ravine," said the boy, "and I want you to take the bag, and fetch them home before it is too late."

So Big Owl took the bag and flew hooting away.

As soon as he was gone, the woman crept from under the robe. Then she untied her bundle, and took out the two pairs of moccasins. She laid one pair inside the tepee, and the other before the entrance. After which, taking the boy by the hand, she stepped on the first pair, then on the second, and began running away as fast as she could, the boy running too. When she reached the first hill, she took the leggings from her bundle, and laid them on the ground; and she and the boy both ran on.

By this time, Big Owl returned with the Buffalo, and, sitting on the top of the tepee, called, "Little Owl Boy! Little Owl Boy! Hoot! Hoot!" But no one answered.

So he flew down and looked into the tepee, and saw that the boy's mother had carried him off. "There is a pair of magic moccasins, and here is another!" he cried. "Hoot! Hoot! the boy and his mother cannot get away from me!"

But before he left the tepee he was forced to walk around the moccasins and count every Porcupine quill. After he had finished, he had to do the same to the moccasins at the entrance. Then, crying, "Hoot! Hoot!" he started off at full speed, although he felt a little dizzy.

When he came to the first hill, he saw the leggings lying there, and was forced to stop and walk round and round them and count all the Porcupine quills. Then, crying, "Hoot! Hoot!" he started off again, although he felt very dizzy.

Well, the boy and his mother saw him coming, so she opened her bundle, and took out the shirt ornamented with scalp locks, and laid it on the ground. After which they both ran on.

When Big Owl reached the scalp-lock shirt he was forced to go round and round it until he had counted all the quills, then off he started, crying, "Hoot! Hoot!" though he felt very sick.

The boy and his mother hurried up another hill, where she laid down the Buffalo robe with coloured fringe, and then they both went on.

When Big Owl reached the robe, he went round and round it, and then, crying very faintly, "Hoot! Hoot!" he flew slowly after, for he could scarcely see.

After this the woman and the boy stopped running and walked along, and when they came to a rock, the woman laid down the robe with pictures of Eagles in the four corners, and they both passed on.

As for Big Owl, when he reached this robe he staggered round and round, and he could no longer cry, "Hoot! Hoot!" and he could hardly fly, for he was so weak.

Then the woman, last of all, laid down the shadow robe so beautiful to see, and she and the boy went and stood a little way off.

Then Big Owl came fluttering his wings and staggering along. They saw him begin to go round and round the robe, counting the quills, until in a little while he was so dizzy and wild that he fell down, and burst into so many pieces that they could never be gathered together again.

October: The Month Of Nuts And Witches [The Red Indian Fairy Book]

After that the woman and the boy hastened to the camp, and when the people saw them coming they went out to meet and welcome them. They praised the mother for being so brave, and shook hands with the boy. Then he lost his Owl wings, and was always glad to bring in the firewood and carry water from the spring for his mother. And he never again, in the middle of the night, cried, "Hi! Hi! Ho! Ho!"

 

The Chestnut Kettle

(Iroquois)  

THIS is a tale of old times. Once there lived two brothers, orphans, who loved each other very much. Their lodge was in a wide wilderness, and the game was plentiful. Each day the elder brother hunted and brought back Buffalo meat and venison, while the younger brother, who was but a lad, stayed at home and gathered wood, built the fire, and cooked the supper.

It happened one evening that the elder brother returned to the lodge and brought plenty of game, which he gave the lad to cook. When the meal was ready, the elder said, "Do you eat your supper; I will smoke before I eat." So the lad ate his supper and went to sleep.

The next morning when the lad woke he found that his brother was gone to hunt. And he saw that all the meat, which had been left in the pot the night before, was still there. He wondered much at this, but when his brother returned bringing game, the lad said not a word, and again cooked the supper. His brother smoked and ate nothing, and the lad went to sleep as before.

And so it happened for many nights; and the elder brother each day grew stronger, and more handsome. At last the lad said to himself: "He must eat something! To-night I will watch and see what he does."

So when the night was come, the lad watched from his bed. After a while the elder brother arose from smoking, and, opening a trap-door in the floor, began to make strange motions. Then he drew forth a small kettle from beneath the trap. He scraped the bottom of it, poured in water, and taking a whip, struck the kettle, saying, "Now, my kettle, grow larger."

Instantly the kettle began to get bigger, and gave out a sound like violent boiling. After a little time he set it to cool, and began to eat greedily from it. "Ah!" thought the lad, "to-morrow I'll find out what it is he eats." And then he went to sleep.

At daylight the elder brother set off to hunt, and the lad awoke. He arose, and hastening, opened the trap door and drew forth the small kettle. In it lay half a chestnut. With a knife he scraped the nut into small bits, and, pouring in water, made a porridge. Then he took the whip, and commenced beating the kettle as his brother had done, saying, "Now, my kettle, grow larger."

Immediately the kettle began to get bigger, and it kept on growing bigger, and the porridge in it increased, giving out a boiling sound. To the lad's surprise the kettle kept on growing, nor could he stop it. At last it was so big that it filled the room, and he was forced to climb on the roof of the lodge, and beat the porridge from the outside.

While he was doing this his brother returned from hunting. When he saw what the lad was about he gave a groan, and cried: "Woe is me! The Magic-Chestnut is gone! Alas! I must die!"

Then he took the whip from the lad, and struck the kettle, saying, "Now, my kettle, grow smaller." And it grew smaller again, and he placed it beneath the trap-door. After which he lay down, sighing sorrowfully. "Alas! I must die!"

When morning came, the elder brother could not get up, he was so weak, nor could he eat anything. Day after day he grew weaker, and each morning the lad would say: "Oh, my Brother! Surely you need not die! Just tell me where the Magic Chestnuts grow, and let me fetch you some!" But his brother never answered.

At last one day, when the lad was weeping, the elder brother said: "Far, far away is a deep and wide river, which can be crossed only by Fairy power. On the other side of the river is a lodge, and near the lodge is a Chestnut Tree, from which many nuts fall to the ground. Night and day a white Heron stands beneath the tree, looking around on all sides. If any one attempts to gather the nuts, the Heron cries out, and twelve Witch-Women rush from the lodge and kill the nut-gatherer. So you see there is no chance for you to fetch the nuts to me, and I must die!"

But the lad answered, "I will go and try for your sake."

Then he made a tiny Birchbark canoe, about three inches long, and put it in his pouch, after which he set out on his journey. Day and night he walked, until at last he came to the deep and wide river. He took the canoe from his pouch, and pulling it at both ends, drew it out until it was large and shapely. Then he placed it on the river, and entering the boat, paddled swiftly across the water.

He reached the other bank in safety, and making the canoe small again, put it in his pouch. Next he sang a magic song, and a Mole came creeping from the ground. The little animal gave him some seed that the Heron loved, and bade him be of good cheer, and go toward the Witch-Women's lodge.

He went courageously on, and scattered the seeds before the white Heron. And while the bird was greedily devouring them, the lad gathered a handful of nuts from the ground, and fled toward the river.

Meanwhile, the Heron had eaten all the seeds, and cried out. Then the twelve Witch-Women came rushing from their lodge. They carried long lines to which were fastened iron hooks. Howling with rage, they ran after the lad to the river.

But he reached there first, and taking the canoe from his pouch, made it big. Then jumping in, he paddled swiftly away from the shore. The Witch-Women threw a line, and the hook caught the side of the canoe, but the lad cut the line with his hatchet, and paddled faster away. Line after line they threw, but he cut them with his hatchet, till all the lines were spoiled. Then, howling with disappointment, the Witch-Women returned to their lodge.

As for the lad, he reached the other shore in safety, and hastened home, fearing lest his brother should die before he could return. He came to the lodge, and, entering it, found his brother just breathing his last.

Quickly the lad drew forth the kettle, and placing the Chestnuts in it, made some magic porridge. This he gave to his brother, who straightway opened his eyes, and arose well and strong.

After which the lad told him all his adventures, and the elder said: "You have done much for me! And from now on we shall both be well and happy."

 

The Ugly Wild Boy

 (Zuñi)

IN the days of old, there lived with his old grandmother a frightfully ugly wild boy. His face and his body were blue. His nose was twisted, and scars of all colours ran down each cheek. And on his head grew a bunch of things like red peppers. Oh! he was fearfully ugly!

Well, one season it had rained so much that the Piñon Trees were laden with nuts, and the Datilas full of fruit, while the Grey-Grass and Red-Top were so heavy with seeds that they bent as if in a breeze.

The people of the town went up on the mesa where the nut trees and Datilas, and grass grew, but they could not gather a thing, for a huge old Bear lived there. He killed some of the people, and chased the rest away.

One day the ugly wild boy said to his grandmother, "I am going out to gather Datilas and Piñon nuts on the mesa."

"Child! Child!" cried his grandmother. "Do not go! Do not by any means go! You know that there is a fierce Bear on the mesa, who will either kill or hurt you dreadfully!"

"I am not afraid," said the boy. "Wait, and see what I shall bring back!"

So he started out, and followed the trail, and climbed the crooked path up the mesa. When he reached the wide plain on top, he began to pick the sweet Datila fruit, and eat it, and to crack a few Piñon nuts between his teeth.

Then suddenly out rushed the huge Bear from the nearest thicket, snarling, "Wha-a-a-a!"

"Don't kill me!" shouted the boy. "Friend, friend, don't bite me! It will hurt! If you'll let me alone, I'll make a bargain with you."

"I'd like to know why I should not bite you," growled the Bear. "I'll tear you to pieces! What have you come to my country for, stealing my fruit and nuts and grass seed?"

"I came to get something to eat," said the boy; "you have plenty."

"Indeed I have not," said the Bear; "I will let you pick nothing. I will tear you to pieces."

"Don't! Don't, and I'll make a bargain with you," said the boy.

"How dare you talk of bargains with me!" yelled the Bear, cracking a small Pine Tree with his paws and teeth, so great was his rage.

"These things are not yours," said the boy, "and I'll prove it."

"How?" asked the Bear.

"They are mine; they are not yours!" cried the boy.

"They are mine, I tell you! They are not yours!" shouted the Bear.

"They are mine!" retorted the boy.

And so they might have quarrelled until sunset, or torn one another to pieces, if the boy had not said:—

"Look here, I'll make a bargain with you."

"What's that?" asked the Bear.

"The one who owns the things on this mesa must prove it by not being frightened at anything the other does," said the boy.

"Ha! Ha!" said the Bear in his big coarse voice. "That's a good plan! I am perfectly willing to try that!"

"Very well," said the boy; "one of us must hide, and then come jumping out on the other one when he does not expect it, and frighten him."

"All right, who shall hide first?"

"Just as you say," replied the boy.

"Then I'll hide first," said the Bear; "for this place belongs to me."

So he turned and ran into the thicket, while the boy went about picking Datilas and eating them, and throwing the skins away.

By and by the Bear came rushing out of the thicket, snapping bushes, and throwing them around so that it was like a sandstorm raging through the forest.

"Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha-a-a-a!" he roared as he came rushing up back of the boy. But the boy never stirred so much as a leaf, and kept on chewing the Datilas.

Then the Bear ran into the thicket, and came out again snarling horribly, "Ha! Ha! Ha! Hu! Hu! Hu-u-u!" and grabbed the boy. But the boy's heart never so much as beat harder.

"By my senses," cried the Bear, "but you are a man! I must give it up! Now, I suppose you will try to frighten me. And unless you can scare me well, I tell you, you must keep away from my Datila and Piñon patch."

Then the boy turned and ran back to his grandmother's house, singing as he went:—



     "The Bear of the Piñon patch, frightened shall be!

      The Bear of the Piñon patch, frightened shall be!"



"Oh, shall he!" cried his grandmother; "I declare, I am surprised to see you come back alive and well!"

"Hurry up, Grandmother," said the boy, "and paint me as frightfully as you can."

"All right, Grandson," said she, "I'll help you!" So she blackened the right side of his face with soot, and painted the left side with ashes, until he looked like a monster. Then she gave him a stone axe that had magic power, and said, "Take this, Grandson, and see what you can do with it."

The boy ran back to the mesa. The Bear was wandering around eating Datilas. The boy suddenly sprang at him yelling, "He! He! He! He! He! He! To-o-o-h!" and he whacked the side of a hollow Piñon Tree with the axe.

Well, the tree shivered with a thundering noise, and the bear jumped as if he had been struck with flying splinters. Then, seeing the boy, he shook himself, and exclaimed, "What a fool I am to be scared by a little wretch like you!" Just then he saw the boy's face, and he was terribly frightened.

Again the boy struck a tree with the magic axe, yelling louder than before. The Earth shook, and the noise was so thunderous that the Bear sneezed from fright. The boy came still nearer, and struck another tree a tremendous blow, and the Earth thundered and trembled more violently than before, and the Bear almost lost his senses from fear. When for the fourth time the boy struck a tree close to the Bear, the old fellow was thrown to the ground by the heavings of the Earth, and the bellowing sounds that came from it.

Then the Bear picked himself up, and ran away as fast as his legs could carry him. He heard the boy coming after him, and went without stopping until he reached the Zuñi Mountains.

"There," said the boy, "I'll chase the old rogue no farther. He's been living all this time on the mesa, where more nuts and fruit and grass seed grow than a thousand Bears could eat; and yet he has never let any one from the town gather a bit!" Then the boy, carrying his magic axe, returned to his grandmother, and told her all that had happened.

"Go," said she, "to the top of the high rock over there, that looks down on the town, and tell the people who wish to gather Datilas and Piñon nuts, that they need not be afraid any more."

So the boy went out, and climbing to the top of the rock, shouted:—

"Ye of the Home of the Eagles! Any of ye who wish to gather Datilas or Piñon nuts, or grass seed to make bread, go ye to the mesa and gather as much as ye will, for I have driven the Bear away!"

Well, some of the people believed what the boy said, and hurried away to the mesa to eat and enjoy themselves. But others would not believe it because he was an ugly wild boy; so they did not go to the mesa, and the rest of the people picked all the nuts and fruit and grass seed.

 

Pitcher the Witch and the Black Cats

(Algonquin)  

IN the days when the great Magician Glooskap dwelt in the land of the Wabanaki he lived in a magic lodge on a lonely island. His servant was old Dame Bear, who kept his lodge and cooked his food. There lived with him, also, his younger brother, Martin the Fairy, who could change himself into baby or man, just as he wished.

Martin, with his Fairy power, made a Birchbark dish, from which he ate. Whenever he went into the forest alone, he left this dish in the lodge so that Glooskap, looking into it, might see all that Martin was doing, for it was a Fairy dish.

One time, Glooskap returned from a long journey, and entered his lodge. The place was empty, the fire was out, and the ashes were cold. He called Dame Bear, but she did not answer. He shouted for Martin, but the boy did not come. Then he looked into the Birchbark dish and saw a distant seashore, and he could see Dame Bear walking through the sand with a baby on her back, who was Martin the Fairy. And all around her ran and leaped many Black Cats.

Then Glooskap knew that Dame Bear and Martin had been stolen by the order of Pitcher the Witch, who ruled the tribe of the Black Cats.

So Glooskap armed himself with his mighty bow, and hastened after the robbers. He followed their tracks to the shore where he found the Black Cats, with Dame Bear and Martin, just pushing off in a canoe.

Glooskap called out to Dame Bear to send back to him his Dogs, so she took from her robes the little Dogs that were no bigger than Mice, and placed them on a wooden platter. This she laid on the water, and it floated to land and stopped at Glooskap's feet. He took the platter up and placed the Dogs in his bosom, and as he did so the canoe of the Black Cats sailed rapidly away over the sea, and disappeared from his sight.

Standing on the shore, Glooskap began to sing a magic song. Louder and louder he sang, and a small Whale heard him and swam to land. Glooskap set his mighty foot upon her back, and as he did so she sank beneath the water.

Then he sent her away and sang another magic song, and a large and powerful Whale came swimming to land. Glooskap, stepping upon her back, found she bore him well. So he bade her journey on, and she swam fast through the waves.

At last, as she drew near another country, the Clams hidden in the sand called out bidding her throw Glooskap from her back, or else soon she would be stranded high upon the land. But the Whale did not understand their language, and she swam swiftly on until she found herself high and dry on the shore.

And as Glooskap stepped from her back, the Whale, lying gasping on the sand, lamented:—



     "Alas! my Grandchild!

      If I cannot leave the land,

      I shall swim in the sea no more!"



And then Glooskap answered gently:



     "Have no fear, Grandmother!

      I'll help you from the land,

      And you shall swim in the sea once more!"

And so saying, he pushed his mighty bow against her side and sent her out into the deep water. And the Whale, rejoicing, went swimming swiftly away.

After this, Glooskap set out once more to pursue the Black Cats. He walked on for a long time, and when darkness fell he came to an old wigwam and, entering it, saw an ugly hag, in ragged clothes, sitting before a dying fire. She begged him to gather some firewood, and he did so, and kindled the fire to a blaze. Then she prayed him to free her from many little Imps that were tormenting her body.

Now this hag was really Pitcher the Witch, and the Imps were bad Elves. And she knew that if Glooskap tried to harm them, they would sting and kill him. But Glooskap, standing behind her, began to pick the Imps off her body, and as he did so, each turned into a horrible thing,—a slimy Toad or a foul Porcupine. And instead of killing them, he laid them beneath a wooden platter he found at his feet. With his magic power he soothed the hag, so that she soon fell asleep; then he departed.

And when the morning was come, Pitcher the Witch awoke and found Glooskap gone, and the slimy Toads and Porcupines swarming over the floor. She rose in a rage, and hastened after Glooskap, determined to destroy him with her magic power.

Now, Pitcher could change herself into anything she wished. She searched until she found Glooskap by the seashore; then she turned herself into a man. Approaching Glooskap, she invited him to go with her to gather Sea-Gulls' eggs. As he was hungry, he consented.

Getting into a canoe, they paddled off together, going farther and farther from land. After a while they came to a lonely island and stepped out upon the beach.

And while Glooskap was gathering Sea-Gulls' eggs, the evil Pitcher stole away in the canoe, and as she paddled off she sang:—



     "I have left Glooskap on the island!

      I have left Glooskap on the island!

      And I shall be the greatest of Magicians now!"



But Glooskap, when he perceived that Pitcher was gone, began to sing a magic song, and a Fox, that was far away beyond the mountains, heard him. It came running to the shore, and swam to the island, where it found the great Magician waiting. It bade him mount upon its back, saying: "Close your eyes and do not open them until we reach the shore. Hold fast to my tail, and we shall soon be there."

So Glooskap stepped upon its back, and the Fox swam fast through the water. And while they were yet far from the shore, Glooskap, forgetting what the Fox had said, opened his eyes. In a minute the wind began to blow fiercely, and the waves roared and foamed about him; for the evil Pitcher had been able to raise a storm by means of her magic. So the Fox could not reach the land that day, and it swam all through the night. But when morning dawned, it touched the shore. And as Glooskap stepped from its back, the Fox ran away to the forest.

After this Glooskap set out once more to pursue the Black Cats. And as he followed their tracks along a forest trail he saw in the distance old Dame Bear carrying Martin the Fairy on her back. And they were following the Black Cats, who had gone on ahead to prepare their camp for the night.

And Martin looked back, and saw Glooskap. "My Brother! My elder Brother!" he cried, "Oh, Glooskap, help me!"

Just then Pitcher the Witch came hobbling down the forest trail, but she did not see Glooskap. "Cry out for your brother!" said she to Martin the Fairy. "Yes, cry out aloud to him! Much good can he do you, for last night I left him on a lonely island to die!"

Then Martin cried out again, and Glooskap sprang on Pitcher the Witch, shouting: "Now I know you, evil Pitcher! Never again shall you deceive me!"

And with that he bound her by his magic power, and placed her back against a tree, where she stuck fast. Then he led Dame Bear, still carrying Martin, to the camp of the Black Cats. And when the animals knew that Glooskap had overcome Pitcher, they obeyed and served him, for his magic was stronger than theirs.

Now, Pitcher had a hatchet and wedge, and she began to chop herself loose. And all night long the Black Cats heard her chopping and pounding and shrieking with rage. And when morning was come she hobbled into the camp with a piece of the tree stuck to her back. And when the Black Cats saw her, they leaped around her, and laughed, and spit in her face.

Then Pitcher the Witch, when she heard the Black Cats laugh, knew that they would serve her no longer. So she ran through the forest howling like a wild Wolf. At last she came to the shore, and, sitting down upon a log, thought long and fiercely how she might torment men forever.

And as she thought thus, her body began to shrink, and became smaller and smaller, until it was like a thin Fly. Fine wings grew from her sides, and long legs beneath her body, while sharp things like needles protruded from her mouth. She rose buzzing with anger into the air, and became a Mosquito, thirsty for the blood of men.

And ever since that day Mosquitoes have tormented people; and wherever there is a Black Cat, a Witch is sure to be.

 

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