Sunday, March 14, 2021

The Punishment Of The Otters

The Punishment Of The Otters [Red Folk And Wild Folk]

The Punishment Of The Otters [Red Folk And Wild Folk]

Once there were four brothers who always lived In the forest. The three eldest brothers hunted, while the youngest one stayed behind to watch the camp, gather firewood, prepare the meals, and make arrows.

The Punishment Of The Otters [Red Folk And Wild Folk]

One day, while the young brother was out in the swamps, looking for wood with which to make arrows, he was attracted by a queer little sound, as if a woman were singing. He looked around and found a beautiful young Indian girl, sitting under a tree.

"What are you doing alone, away out here in the forests?" he asked.

The girl answered that she had no home and was only wandering about; so the young hunter asked her to go home with him, but the girl was afraid.

“My brothers and I have a lodge In the forest, If you will share It with us, you can be our sister and we will be very kind to you, " urged the young red man.

At last, the girl decided to go with him, and they walked along until they reached the lodge, which was to be this young girl's new home.

When the brothers came home and saw their new sister, they were glad to welcome and provide for her as they had never had a sister of their own.

The new sister did all their work and cooked for them, and it was not long before they loved her very dearly. The youngest brother was always left at home to make arrows for the hunters and to take care of the sister.

One day after the young red man had used all his arrow wood, he said to his sister: "I must leave you for a little while to-day, my sister; I must search for wood. Lie on your bed of furs and rest until I come back," and then he started toward the swamp.

He was gone longer than he expected. He knew the lodge was safe and that he need not hurry, for had he not a sister at home who would prepare the evening meal for his hungry brothers?

When the brothers reached home, they saw no smoke from the fire, so they hurried along, calling, "Sister, Sister"; but she did not answer. They rushed into the lodge; she was gone!

In search of her they went over the mountains and far into the plains, but finding no trace of her, they returned to their lodge and lay down for a little rest. They had all fallen asleep but the eldest brother, and he lay awake, trying to think if there were any places they had not searched, when he heard some one weeping.

"Brothers," he called softly, "I think I hear our sister crying. Listen!" 

 They listened, and surely they heard her in their own lodge ; the eldest brother gently lifted her bed of furs ; but, instead of finding his sister under it, he found a great hole, wide enough to crawl through.

The sound seemed to come from this hole, and he said: "Stay here, while I find out whither this hole leads."

The young man crept along very carefully, and each step seemed to bring him closer and closer to the sound, until the hole opened into a large room, and there, lying tightly bound with ropes made from the wild grapevine, was the poor sister crying very hard.

“How did you get down here, my sister?" asked the young man. "Our youngest brother left me in the lodge while he went to gather wood for arrows. I was lying on my skin bed, when the otters dug a hole and pulled me through the ground.

The Punishment Of The Otters [Red Folk And Wild Folk]

 "There are four otter brothers. One is white, and, when he enters, a white light flashes from his eyes into the room; the red otter casts a red light over everything; the yellow brother throws a yellow light; comes the black otter. He has no light, and is the poorest. The other otters have all been cruel to me, and, if it had not been for their poor little black brother, I should not be alive. He brought food and soup when the others were away.

My poor little sister! Have courage for a little while, and I will return and punish the wicked otters." The Indian went back to the lodge.

"Brothers," said he, "the otters have stolen our sister! Come, we will punish them."

Each took a heavy club, and they went down to the sister's prison. First they unbound their sister, and then they waited; at last they heard a slight noise; then there came a white light. Up went the clubs, and soon the white otter was dead.

In a short time the room began to brighten with a soft red light. The red brother was coming, and the hunters were ready for him.

The yellow light was already upon them, and the yellow otter might have escaped had he suspected any danger, but the brothers were quick, and the three wicked otter brothers were dead.

The black otter took longer to come; he was carrying some food for the poor prisoner. The brothers could hear him; but, as he gave no light, they did not know how close he might be. They waited quietly, and at last they saw him stick his head through the opening, when they caught him with their hands and soon they were all on their way to the upper world.

The black otter was unhappy, for he did not like being a prisoner and asked the brothers to let him go.

 "Yes," said the eldest brother, "because you were kind to our sister, we will take pity on you, and free you."

 Since then all the otter people have been black, because he was the father of all otters.