"Ah, but listen!" said the dogs. "If you wish to be one of us, you must live under the law of dogs, not men. Animals have laws different from those of men. When two dogs meet for the first time, they try their strength to see which is the better dog.
"Men do not fight when strangers meet, they shake hands. As we fight strange dogs, so you, too, must fight strange men, to see which is the best man,—if you are to live under the law of dogs."
The man said he would think it over, and at sunrise give his answer. Indians always sleep before deciding a question.
Next morning, the man said he would live under the law of animals, and fight strange men.
The following day, the man made ready to leave the woods. From the basswood, he made a strong harness for the dogs, so that they could draw the load of game back to the camp for him.
When the sun was high, the man and the dogs started with the sledge load of game. They had not gone far before they saw two strange Indians coming.
"Now," said the dogs to the man, "remember you are living under the dog's law. You must fight these strange men."
The man attacked first one Indian and then the other. At last both turned on him, and when they left him, he was nearly dead. At this, the dogs took a hand. They leaped upon the Indians and drove them from the woods. Then they came back to where their friend lay on the ground, and began to talk with him and lick his face.
The man could not speak for some time, but when his voice came to him, he said to the dogs, "No longer do I wish to live under the law of animals. No more shall I fight strangers. From this time, I shall shake hands with strangers, and bid them welcome. From this time, I shall be a man and live under the law of men."
"Then," said the dogs sadly, "we shall no longer be able to talk with you, and tell you the things that we know. But we will always stand by you. We will be your friends and will fight for you, when you need us as you did to-day."
This is why the Indian and his dog are now unable to speak each other's language. This is also why an Indian's dog will fight to the death for his friend.
Not only is the dog a true friend to the Indian in this world, but in the next as well. It seems that the soul of an Indian on its journey to the Happy Hunting Ground must cross a deep, swift-running stream. On either side of this dark river, there stand two dogs who hold in their teeth a great log upon which the souls pass.
The soul of the Indian who has been kind to his dog crosses the log easily, for the dogs stand guard. As the soul of such an Indian reaches the river, they say, "This Indian was kind to his dog. He gave him of his own food, and the dog always had a warm place by his fire. We will help this Indian to cross."
Then the dogs grip the log firmly in their teeth, and hold it steady while the soul of the kind Indian passes over.
But if the soul of an Indian who has been unkind to his dog comes to the river, the dogs say, "This man was cruel to his dog. He gave his dog no place by the fire, he beat him, he let him go hungry. This man shall not cross."
Then the dogs grip the log lightly in their teeth, and when the soul of the unkind Indian is half way across, they turn it quickly to one side, and the soul is thrown into the deep, dark river.
Many an Indian has been kind to his dog, that he might make sure of a safe crossing on that log.
GREEDY FAWN AND THE PORRIDGE
In the days when there was no one living in this country but the Indians, there were no houses; there were only Indian wigwams. There were no roads and no streets, but Indian trails.
At that time there grew a wonderful chestnut, which the Indians used in their cooking. A very small bit of this chestnut grated into a kettle would make a potful of porridge.
In a certain wigwam lived Deerheart and Sky Elk, and their little son Greedy Fawn. The mother was called Deerheart because she was so loving, and gentle, and kind. The father was named Sky Elk because he was so strong and fleet of foot. Greedy Fawn, too, came rightly by his name. You will soon know why.
One day, Deerheart and Sky Elk went on a long trail. As they left the wigwam, they said to Greedy Fawn, "Do not touch the chestnut, do not build a fire, while we are away."
Greedy Fawn promised. He watched his father and mother disappear down the western trail. Then he went back to the wigwam.
"Now," thought he, "I will have all the porridge I want."
So he ran and gathered some sticks. He built a fire with the sticks. Then he hung the kettle over the fire, and put some water in it. Then he found the chestnut. He grated a little of the chestnut into the kettle, and began to stir. Then he grated some more, and some more, and some more.
Faster and faster Greedy Fawn stirred the boiling porridge, for it began to swell and fill the kettle.
Larger and larger, it grew, and it grew, and it grew.
Greedy Fawn was so frightened he did not know what to do.
"Oh, will it never stop swelling?" he thought. Harder and harder he stirred to keep the porridge from boiling over. Beads of perspiration ran down his little bronze face, yet still he stirred. He dared not stop.
Then he remembered that sometimes his mother would rap the kettle with the porridge stick, if it became too full.
Rap, rap, rap, went the porridge stick on the edge of the kettle. Instantly the kettle began to swell. Larger, and larger, and larger it grew. Greedy Fawn was so frightened he did not know what to do.
Now Greedy Fawn could not reach across the kettle, to stir the porridge with his stick, so he began to run around it. And around, and around, and around the kettle he ran, stirring, and stirring, and stirring.
At last the kettle was so large that it nearly filled the wigwam. There was just space enough left for Greedy Fawn to run around it. And around, and around, and around the kettle he ran, stirring, and stirring, and stirring.
Oh, how his little arms ached! And, oh, how tired his small legs were! But still he ran. He dared not stop.
Here was porridge enough to last a small boy a lifetime, and he could not stop to taste one mouthful!
At last Greedy Fawn could run no longer. He stumbled and fell by the side of the kettle. He was too weak to rise. The stick fell from his hand, and the porridge boiled on. Higher, and higher, and higher it rose, until it ran over and down the sides of the kettle. Closer, and closer the boiling porridge crept to the little Indian boy, and soon Greedy Fawn and his stick were nearly buried in porridge.
For once Greedy Fawn had all the porridge he wanted. And never again would he have wanted anything, had not Deerheart and Sky Elk heard his cries, and come running like deer up the trail to save him.
WHY HOUNDS OUTRUN OTHER ANIMALS
A hound was chasing a hare through the woods.
Some wolves and panthers were chasing a bull that had been feeding in the valley near the woods. For some time they had been trying to run him down, but they did not seem to gain on him.
When the wolves and panthers saw that they were not gaining on the bull, they halted to take counsel. They decided that it would take a whole day of hard running to get the bull, and a hound was near! Why not go for the hound?
All agreed. They set off for the hound.
Now the bull had heard the wolves and panthers take council, and he, too, set off for the woods.
As he neared the wood, the bull called to the hound and warned him that a pack of wolves and panthers was after him. Just then they came into sight. The hound dared not meet them alone, and he knew not which way to turn.
Then the bull called, "Come, jump on my back. I can outrun them."
The hound ran and leaped on the back of the bull, and away they went.
The bull and the hound talked as they ran. The bull said he thought the wolves would soon grow tired, fall back, and give up the chase. But he was wrong. They were too angry at being outwitted.
"You think to take our game from us," they howled at the bull. "But we will eat hound meat to-night."
The bull saw it was a run for life. All day he ran. For a time it was easy to outrun the wolves and panthers, but at last they began to press hard upon him.
As the sun dropped out of the sky, the bull felt his knees begin to weaken. The weight of the hound was telling on him. A moment later, he stumbled and fell.
In an instant, the pack was upon them. But with one leap, the hound cleared the pack and was off down the trail.
The weaker wolves and panthers leaped upon the bull. The stronger went on.
But now the best of them were no match for the hound. He was fresh and strong, for he had been riding all day. They were tired and worn from the long chase, and soon they gave it up.
Because the hound is able to save his strength for the end of the chase, he can now outrun not only wolves and panthers, but all the other animals.
WHY INDIANS NEVER SHOOT PIGEONS
An Indian hunter went into the forest in search of game.
The forest was so large that it would have taken three days to journey through it. All day he followed the track of the deer, but his arrows brought him no food.
At night, he came to a dark, swift-running stream. He was tired and hungry.
"Here," said he, "I will lie down and rest until sunrise."
He began to search for a bed of pine needles, for the Indian loves the pine tree. It is his friend by day and by night. By day it is his forest guide. At night it gives him a soft, sweet-smelling bed on which to sleep, and it shields him from the storm.
The hunter ran along the stream. It was very dark. He felt no soft pine needles under his moccasined feet, only the knotted roots of trees.
Suddenly the great roots of an oak tree reached out and caught him. He could not free his foot from the oak's grasp.
The sun rose and set. The great tree still held the hunter fast. He was weak from pain and hunger.
It was now two days since he had tasted food. Four notches had been cut in his stick, for the Indian measures time in this way. Each sunrise and sunset, when he is on the trail, is marked by a notch on a small stick which he carries.
Three times did the sun again rise and set, yet the tree did not let go its hold. There were now ten notches on the stick, and the hunter was so weak that he could scarcely cut the last one.
As the sun rose on the fifth day, a bird flew into the tree. He saw the hunter lying on the ground, and came close and spoke to him.
The hunter understood, for in those days men and birds could talk together.
The bird asked the man what he could do for him, and the hunter whispered, "You are strong. You can fly a long trail. Go and tell the chief of my people."
The bird flew swiftly away with the message. He did not wait until the sun was high. He did not stop to eat one berry or one worm. He did not fly high, nor fly low to talk with other birds. He went straight to the people the hunter had told him of.
The West Wind tried to blow him back. A black cloud came up to frighten him, but he went through it. On, and on, and on, he went. Straight to the wigwam of the chief, he carried his message.
The chief had called together the young men who were fleet of foot, and was about to send them forth to find the lost hunter. They were asking the chief what trails they had best take. Before the chief could reply, a beautiful dove-colored bird had flown close to his ear and had spoken to him in soft, low tones.
The chief told the young men what the bird had said, and they set off on the trail the bird had named. Before sunset, they had found the lost hunter.
Carefully they freed him from the grasp of the great oak and bore him to his people. That night there was a feast and a dance in his honor.
Ever since, the Indians have loved the birds that carry the messages, and they never shoot a pigeon.
HOW OLD MAN WINTER WAS DRIVEN BACK
Far away in the North Sky lives Old Man Winter. Every year he leaves his wigwam in the sky and comes to earth.
At the foot of a mountain, he builds a lodge of ice and snow, which no human being, animal, or bird can enter. There he lives for a time.
North Wind is the only friend of Old Man Winter. When he passes near Old Man Winter's lodge, he gives a loud shriek, and with his blustering breath he blows open the door and enters.
Near a fire which glows, but does not warm, North Wind finds a seat. There he and Old Man Winter sit and smoke, and lay their plans for the next snowstorm.
When the council is ended, North Wind departs, to drive up the snow and hail from the corners of the earth.
Old Man Winter also leaves his lodge. He stalks over the mountains and valleys of the Red Children. The land becomes white with his breath. The rivers are stilled, and all the voices of the wood are hushed as he passes. A deep sleep falls upon every living thing.
No sound is heard in the forest but the rapping on the trees. Old Man Winter carries a great hammer, and he strikes the trees a blow as he passes. The colder it grows, the louder and more frequently he raps. The trees snap, and the Indian lodges crack with his blows.
One day, as Old Man Winter was stalking through a forest, he came upon a hunter's lodge. For days the snow had been falling. No track of deer or rabbit was to be seen, and the hunter and his little boy sat within, weak from hunger. They were also very cold, for the fire in the lodge burned low.
Old Man Winter laughed and shook his hammer in glee, as he drew near. Once, twice, three times, he rapped. The little boy within heard him, and rapped three times in reply,—just as Old Man Winter had done.
At this, the hunter spoke. He told the boy that he must not mock a nature spirit, lest some harm should come to him. He might be captured and made to serve that spirit.
Now when Old Man Winter heard the mocking raps of the little boy within the lodge, he was very angry. He breathed fiercely upon the little lodge. It shrank and shivered at his touch like a living thing. He struck it several sharp blows with his hammer, and passed on.
The fire inside the lodge burned lower and lower. The hunter and his little son drew closer and watched the last flame flicker and die out.
As they sat by the ashes, numb with the cold, all of a sudden a new warmth filled the lodge. The South Wind gently opened the door, and a young chieftain, with a face like the sun, entered. He saw the dying hunter and the boy, and he warmed them back to life. When they were stronger, he helped them to rekindle the fire. Then he told them to take a few dried blackberries that they had in the lodge, and boil them in water.
He said they must eat a portion of the blackberries, and throw the rest at Old Man Winter when he returned. This would frighten him away, for he was terribly afraid of blackberries.
Blackberries mean sunshine and summer heat. Old Man Winter cannot stay where they are. He never visits the earth at blackberry time.
The hunter and the little boy said they would do as they had been told. Soon the young chieftain left the lodge, with the South Wind.
Not many days later, Old Man Winter returned, and again came rapping at their lodge. But this time the hunter and the little boy were ready. They threw the blackberries at him, as they had been told, and he ran in fear to his ice lodge.
The South Wind and the young chieftain with a face like the sun were near. They followed close upon the Old Man's track. When he was again inside the ice lodge, the South Wind rapped gently at the door.
"Begone!" said the Old Man. "No one but North Wind is welcome to my lodge."
Then the South Wind breathed soft and warm upon the door of the ice lodge, and it melted at their feet. The young chieftain passed in and sat down by the strange fire that had no heat. The South Wind stayed without, and sang, soft and low.
The Old Man was very angry. He raged about the lodge and ordered the young chieftain with sunshine in his face and warmth in his breath to depart.
"I am great and powerful," said the Old Man. "When I touch the sky, the snow falls. When I speak, hunters hide in their lodges; animals crawl into their holes; and birds fly in fear.
"When my hand touches the earth, it grows cold and hard, and all life dies. Begone! or I will make an ice man or a snow man of you."
But the young chieftain moved not. He only sat and smiled at the bluster of the Old Man.
Slowly he filled a pipe, and handed it to the Old Man, saying, "Here, smoke with me. It will give you strength to go to your lodge in the North Sky. It is time for you to depart. You are old, and tired, and worn. You and North Wind have had your day. The days that are to come belong to South Wind and to me.
"I, too, am powerful, and I am young! I do not fear you. When I touch the earth, it grows soft and warm. Every living thing stirs in its sleep,—birds and bees, flowers and trees, animals and men. When I speak, the sleeping sun awakes. See! already he begins to send down his arrows. Hasten! that they may not find you, on the trail to the North Sky."
The Old Man trembled. His legs and arms grew weak. Icicles fell from his beard. Great tears rolled down his cheeks.
"Who are you?" he whispered, as he was melting at the young chieftain's feet.
"I am Go hay—the Spring," answered the young chieftain. "All the earth is glad, when I come to drive you back to your lodge in the North Sky, for I bring sunshine, and love, and joy."
But the Old Man did not hear. He was far on the North Sky trail, and Spring and South Wind were masters of earth.
WHY LIGHTNING SOMETIMES STRIKES
An old man of the Iroquois nation once wished to make a beautiful Indian maiden his wife. The old man had many rare furs and valued strings of wampum. These he brought and laid at the door of the wigwam where the maiden lived.
The father and mother were pleased with the old man's gifts. They told him that when the Planting Moon should come, the maiden should go to his wigwam.
Now the maiden did not love the old man. She did not wish him to make her his wife. "I will never sit at his wigwam door," she said.
It was midwinter, when the old man brought the gifts, the time of the pale, cold moon. From that time, the maiden watched, with a heavy heart, the moons wax and wane.
At last the snows disappeared. No more was the North Wind heard shrieking about the lodge. The gentle South Wind had come, bringing with him the singing birds.
The little brooks awoke and sang. They were happy that spring had come, and all the earth children were glad,—except the maiden. Her heart grew more heavy and sad, as the face of the sun grew brighter.
Then the Planting Moon came. The maiden watched the moon hang her horn in the sky. Then she ran swiftly to the great river that flowed not far from the lodge. Lightly she sprang into her canoe. A few quick strokes, and the canoe was in midstream.
The current ran swift and strong. The little craft was carried swiftly down the river toward the great falls known as Niagara Falls. As the canoe neared the falls, the maiden was seen to rise and stretch out her arms, as though about to leap. A smile was on her face, and a song was on her lips, as the canoe shot into the mist that overhung the water.
Then, from the caverns below a dark blanket floated upward, as though spread to catch the maiden. It was Heno, the Thunder Spirit, who dwelt behind the falls. He had caught her in the folds of his blanket, and had saved her from the great rocks below.
Heno took the maiden to live with him, in his lodge behind the falls. There she was very happy, so happy that her smile shone through the mist, and the Indians cried, "See! A rainbow!"
In her new home the maiden learned many wonderful things. She found she possessed strange powers, not known to her before. She could float on a cloud at will, and she seemed filled with a strange fire.
One day, the young woman was given a son. Heno and she were very happy. Many moons the mother and child played together. When Heno was away on one of his journeys through the sky, they would ride the great bubbles of foam that went dashing through the rocks. Sometimes they would catch sunbeams in a net, as they sat on the edge of a cloud and fished.
One day, Heno asked the young woman if she would like to visit her people.
"If you wish," he said, "you shall return for a time, taking our son with you. But remember, both of you possess powers unknown to the earth children. Be careful how you use them. Never let another child strike the boy, for that child would at once wither and die. Never strike the boy yourself, for he would fall stunned to earth."
The woman listened to Heno's words. Soon they were wrapped in his great cloud blanket, and were floating over the river. When they came to the home of her people, Heno left the woman and the boy by the river, and went on further to the east.
The people were glad to see the woman, whom they had mourned as dead. She told them of the wonderful things she had learned in her new home. She told them also how Heno was freeing their land of a monster serpent, that trailed underneath the earth, poisoning their springs and causing sickness. Always, she said, Heno carried a basket of great rocks on his back, which he hurled at the monster whenever he saw him. Soon he would kill the serpent, and they would be sick no more.
During many days, the mother and the little boy stayed with the earth people. Sometimes, when the child was playing by the river, he would see a dark cloud approaching. Then he would clap his hands with joy and cry, "There comes my father!"
The black cloud would float earthward, and Heno would stop and have a word with the mother and the boy. As he left them he always said, "Do not let anyone strike the boy."
But one day, the mother did not watch the boy, and he fell to playing with some earth children. They grew angry as they played, and struck the boy. Instantly these earth children fell dead to the ground. Then the mother laid hands on the boy, to punish him, and he fell to earth.
At this, there came a great rumbling and roaring through the sky, and Heno appeared. He took the lifeless child in his arms, crying, "You have disobeyed. No longer shall you have this great power I gave you. You shall remain on earth and be simply an earth woman. I will take the boy to my abode. Henceforth, our lodge shall be in the sky. There he will return to life, and ever after he will go with me on my journeys through the sky."
Then the sky shook and trembled. The door of the sky lodge opened, and Heno and the boy were seen no more.
Now, when a rumbling and rolling through the sky is heard, the Indians say, "'Tis the voice of Heno! He is coming from his lodge in the sky!"
But when a flash of fire is seen, and a loud crash is heard, they say, "That is the boy! He is trying to hit the earth children with a fire stone. He remembers how they struck him, a long time ago."
WHY THE HARE HAS A SPLIT LIP AND SHORT TAIL
Once a rabbit began to run back and forth through the woods, calling for snow, snow, snow! It was one of those large gray rabbits, with long ears, that people call hares.
As this hare ran back and forth through the woods, he sang at the top of his voice, "Ah gon ne yah—yeh! Ah gon ne yah-yeh! Ah gon ne yah—yeh! dah gen, dah ton, Ah gon ne yah—yeh! Ah gon ne yah—yeh!" This meant, "Snow, snow, snow! How I would run if I had snow! Snow, snow, snow! How I would run if I had snow!"
Now, strange as it may seem, as this hare ran back and forth singing for snow, snow, snow, some flakes of snow began to fall. The hare was so delighted that he jumped up and down for joy.
"Ah gon ne yah—yeh! Ah gon ne yah—yeh! Ah gon ne yah—yeh!" he sang, in short, quick notes of joy. And the higher he jumped, and the louder he sang, the faster and thicker the snow came.
The hare was so delighted that he again began to run. All day long he ran, back and forth through the woods, calling for "Snow, snow, snow! How I would run if I had snow!" And the snow fell faster and faster. Thicker and thicker it came. The path in which the rabbit ran grew higher and higher, as the snow fell deeper and deeper.
But at last the hare was so tired that he could run no longer. He no longer sang for "Snow, snow, snow! How I would run if I had snow," for he now had more snow than he wanted. The snow was up to the tiptops of the trees, and it was very hard to run.
The hare was very tired. He thought he must take a rest. Night was coming on. He looked about him. Near the path were the top branches of a willow tree, sticking out above the snow. He sprang into a crotch of those branches. There he could sit and rest for a time. Soon he fell asleep. He slept all night and part of the next day.
That night it began to rain, and it rained very, very hard. The snow began to melt, and it melted very, very fast, and when that hare awoke, not a flake of snow was to be seen!
But there was the hare away up in the tiptop of that willow tree! What to do he did not know. He was very hungry. He wondered how long he could stay there and not starve. He saw some tender buds on the branches. He ate those, and then he gnawed bark for a time.
However, sooner or later, the hare knew he must jump or starve. He looked down at the earth. It looked very good to him. He could see some fresh green moss and some beautiful grass. One jump, and they were his! But what a jump!
At last the hare whipped his courage up to the jumping point. He shut his eyes, and gave one great jump to earth. But when he jumped, he caught his tail on the branch of the willow tree and left part of it up there. And when he jumped, he struck the front of his face on a sharp stone, and the stone split his upper lip in two.
Ever since then, hares have had split lips and short tails, and ever since then, willow trees have had tails, or catkins, on them, in the spring.
CORN PLUME AND BEAN MAIDEN
The Great Spirit had smiled upon his Red Children. The land was filled with plenty, for the Great Spirit had given to them the three sustainers of life, the corn, the bean, and the squash. Flowers bloomed, birds sang, and all the earth was glad with the Red Children, for the gifts of the Great Spirit.
On one side of a hill grew the tall, waving corn, with its silk tassels and plumes. On another side, beans, with their velvety pods, climbed toward the sky. Some distance down a third slope, beautiful yellow squashes turned their faces to the sun.
One day, the Spirit of the corn grew restless. There came a rustling through the waving leaves, and a great sigh burst from the heart of the tall stalks. The Spirit of the corn was lonely.
After that, every morning at sunrise, a handsome young chief was seen to come and stand on the brow of the hill. On his head were shining red plumes. Tall, and strong, and splendid he stood, wrapped in the folds of his waving blanket, whose fringed tassels danced to the summer breeze.
"Che che hen! Che che hen! Some one I would marry! Some one I would marry!" the young chieftain would sing, many, many times.
One day, his voice reached the Squash Maiden, on the other side of the hill. The Squash Maiden drew about her a rich green blanket, into which she had woven many flaunting gold trumpet-shaped flowers. Then she ran swiftly to the young chieftain.
"Marry me! Marry me!" said the Squash Maiden, as she spread her beautiful gold and green blanket at his feet.
Corn Plume looked down at the Squash Maiden sitting on her blanket at his feet. She was good to look upon, and yet Corn Plume was not content. He wanted a maiden who would stand by his side, not always sit at his feet.
Then Corn Plume spoke thus to the Squash Maiden.
"Corn Plume cannot marry Squash Maiden. She is very beautiful, but she will not make song in Corn Plume's heart. Squash Maiden will grow tired of his lodge. She will not stay in his wigwam. She likes to go a long trail, and wander far from the lodge.
"Corn Plume cannot make Squash Maiden his wife, for he is not content with her. But she shall be Corn Plume's sister, and sit in his lodge whenever she will. The maiden Corn Plume weds must be ever at his side. She must go where he goes, stay where he stays."
Next morning at sunrise, the voice of Corn Plume was again heard, singing from the hilltop, "Che che hen! Che che hen! Some one I would marry! Some one I would marry! Che che hen! Che che hen!"
This time his song reached the ears of the Bean Maiden. Her heart sang, when she heard the voice of Corn Plume, for she knew that he was calling her. So light of heart was Bean Maiden, that she ran like a deer up the hillside. On and on, up and over the brow of the hill she climbed, till she reached the young chieftain's side.
Then Corn Plume turned and beheld the most beautiful maiden he had ever seen. Her eyes were deep and dark, like mountain pools. Her breath was sweet as the waters of the maple. She threw off her blanket of green, and purple, and white, and stretched her twining arms to him.
Corn Plume desired to keep Bean Maiden forever close to him. He bent his tall plumed head to her. Her arms wound round and round the young chieftain, and Corn Plume was content.
So closely were the arms of Corn Plume and the Bean Maiden entwined, so truly were they wed, that the Indians never attempted to separate them. Ever after, corn and beans were planted in the same hill, and often a squash seed was added.
Since the Great Spirit had placed the corn, the bean, and the squash together on a hill, the Indian said they should continue to live and grow and occupy a hill together.
The door of Corn Plume's lodge was ever open to the Squash Maiden, if she chose to enter. But seldom did she stay in his wigwam. More often, she was found running off on a long trail.
But Bean Maiden remained true to Corn Plume. Always she was found by his side. Never did she leave the lodge unless he went with her. Corn Plume's lodge was her lodge, and her trail was his trail.
And because the Spirits of the corn and the bean are as one, the Indians not only plant and grow them together, but cook and eat them together. "In life, they were one," they say, "We will not separate them in death."
And now, when a great rustling and sighing of the corn is heard in the White man's land, the Indians often say, "'Tis the Spirit of Corn Plume, crying for his lost Bean Maiden!"
HOW THE ROBIN BURNED HIS BREAST
Some Indian hunters once made their way north, to hunt for moose. It was at the time of Falling Leaves.
They journeyed for several days, until they came to a lake. Close by the lake they built a log cabin. Moss was placed between the logs to keep out the wind, and a thick roof was made from hemlock boughs. In the center of the roof, a small opening was left for the smoke from the lodge fire to pass out.
Here the hunters lived during the Moon of Falling Leaves. Every day they went on the moose trail, but they found no moose. Their arrows brought them little game of any kind. They became discouraged and sick, and one by one the hunters lay down and died.
At last there was but one hunter left. He, too, was sick, and he grew weaker day by day. His food was nearly gone. It was growing cold, and there was little wood in the cabin to burn.
But the man did not give up. Again and again he cried aloud, "Some one will come and help me! Some one will come and help me!"
One day, as he lay there too weak to rise, the fire flickered and went out. It seemed that he must die. But even then he did not give up. Again and again, with his weak voice he cried, "Some one will come and help me! Some one will come and help me!"
And some one did come and help him. His cry was heard, for a bird came flying in through the smoke hole in the roof of the lodge.
The bird had such a cheery, brave voice that the man felt better the moment he flew in. The bird said to the man, "I was near; I heard you calling. I have come to help you."
Then the bird saw that the fire was out, and that the man was cold. He fluttered among the ashes until he found a bit of live coal. With a glad chirp, he flew out through the roof. Soon he was back, with his bill full of dried twigs. He placed them on the fire and began to fan them into flame with his wings. Soon the twigs were blazing. Then he flew out for more twigs,—and more, and more, and more.
The brave little bird kept on carrying twigs until the fire burned hot, and the lodge was warm once more.
When the bird had flown into the lodge, he had had a clean, white breast. After the fire was built, his breast was covered with red and brown spots. He tried to pick them off with his bill, but they would not come off. Instead, they seemed to spread, and his whole breast became red-brown. Then the bird knew that he must have burned his breast to a red-brown, when he was fanning the fire into flame.
But the little bird did not care if he had soiled his white breast, and burned it red-brown. Had he not brought cheer and life to a dying man?
He chirped a few glad notes, then said to the man, "I will go now, but I shall be near your lodge. When you need me, call, and I will come again."
Later in the day, the man again called for help. The fire was getting low, and he was not yet strong enough to go out and gather twigs. Again the bird came to his aid. In and out he flew, many times, after small branches and twigs, until they were piled high on the fire, and once more it crackled and burned.
There was a little wood in the lodge. The man placed it on the fire, and the warmth healed the man, so that soon he was well and strong again.
Every day the man talked with the bird, for he was always near, and his cheery voice and brave words gave the man courage.
Once more he went on the moose trail, and this time his arrows brought him moose. In a short time the hunter had all the meat, skins, and moose hair he wanted. The moose hair he was taking to his wife, to work into pretty forms on moccasins.
The first snow was falling, as the hunter started south on the home trail. The bird hopped along by his side for a little way, then said, "I must leave you now. Winter is coming, and I must be on my way to the Southland, or the snow will catch me. In the spring you will see me again."
When spring came, the bird with the red-brown breast came with his mate, and built a nest close to the hunter's home lodge. In the nest, that summer, there grew up five little birds, and they, too, had red and brown breasts.
And ever since, Robin Redbreast has continued to come and build his nest close to the lodges of men, for Robin Redbreast is a friend to man.
IROQUOIS FAIRY STORIES
HOW MORNING STAR LOST HER FISH
Once the Little People, the Indian fairies, ran with the Red Children through the woods, and played with them beside the streams. Now they are not often seen, for the white man drove them out of the woods with the Indians, and away from the waters, with his big steam noises.
But before steamboats and great mills were on the streams, the Little People were there. They were often seen paddling their tiny canoes, or sliding down the great rocks on the banks. They loved to slide down a bank where one rock jutted out, for then they had a big bounce. They also liked to sport and jump with the fish.
There was a young Indian girl whose name was Morning Star. She was called Morning Star because her face was so bright, and she was always up early in the morning.
Morning Star lived with her father in a comfortable wigwam by a river. Every day she would get up with the sun, and run down to the river where the great rocks were, to catch fish for breakfast.
Morning Star caught her fish in a basket. At night, she would go and fasten her basket between the rocks, in a narrow place of the stream. Then, when the fish swam through in the night, they would get caught in it, and Morning Star would find plenty of fish waiting for her. In the morning, she would take the basket of fish back to the wigwam, and soon the smell of fish frying on hot coals would come from the lodge.
Never since Morning Star began to fish with her basket, had Chief Little Wolf, her father, had to wait for his fish breakfast before starting on the chase. But one morning, neither Chief Little Wolf nor Morning Star breakfasted on fish. This is how it happened.
On this morning, the Indian girl was up as usual with the sun. She ran down the river just as the Great Spirit lifted the sun's smiling face. Morning Star had such a light heart that she was glad just to be alive, and she sang a song of praise as she ran. All true Indians at sunrise lift their arms and faces to the sun, and thank the Great Spirit that he has smiled upon them again.
Happy and fleet as a deer, Morning Star ran on until she came to the great rocks. There she saw a whole tribe of tiny little folk gathered about her basket. Some of them were perched on the sides of the basket, laughing and singing. Others were lifting the fish from it and throwing them into the stream. Still others were opening and closing the splints of the basket for the fish to slip through.
Morning Star knew that these tiny folk were the Jo gah oh. She knew also that these Little People were friends of the fish. They know every twist of a fish net and every turn of a hook. Often they have been known to set fish free, and to guide them into deep, quiet places, far away from the men who fish.
Morning Star called to the Little People and begged them not to let all the fish go. Then she began to climb down the rocks, as fast as she could. The little Chief called up to her, "Fish, like Indian girls, like to be alive."
Then he told the Little People to keep on setting the fish free.
When Morning Star reached her basket, a few fish were still in it. She put out her hand to take them from the Little People,—and not a fish, nor a Jo gah oh was to be seen. The Little People had darted into the rocks, for they go through anything, and the fish had slipped through the tiny spaces between the splints of the basket.
Morning Star heard the laughter of the Little People echo deep within the rocks, for they like to play pranks with the earth children. And far down the stream, she saw the fish leap with joy at being still alive. She took up her empty basket and went back to the wigwam.
That morning for breakfast, Morning Star baked corn cakes on the hot coals. As she ate the hot cakes, she thought they tasted almost as good as fish.
Ever after, when Morning Star saw a fish leap from the stream, she remembered what the Jo gah oh had said: "Fish, like Indian girls, like to be alive."
HOW LITTLE SHOOTER LOST HIS LUCK
One day, an Indian boy was playing beside a stream, when one of the little elf men came along in his canoe. The boy had his bow and arrow with him; so had the little elf man.
The little man stopped and offered to trade bows and arrows. The Indian boy looked first at his bow, and then at that of the little man. His bow was large. The little man's bow was very small. The boy thought his own bow was better, so he said he would not trade.
The little elf man laughed and drew his bow.
"You think only big things are great," he said. "Some day you will learn better. Some day you will want this little bow and these little arrows. Some day you will wish you had traded."
Then he shot an arrow into the clouds, sprang into his canoe, and paddled off up the stream. As he disappeared, he called back to the boy, "You will see me again, sometime!"
The Indian boy ran to his wigwam home. He told his father about the little man he had seen, and how the man wanted to trade bow and arrows.
"And you did not trade?" exclaimed the father.
"No," said the boy, "his bow was small; mine is large."
"Foolish boy!" said the father. "That little man was a Jo gah oh, one of the Little People. They do wonderful things. Their arrows are winged with power. Had you traded bows, you would have become a great hunter, and been able to get near the animals.
"Those little arrows of the Jo gah oh fly swift and far, and always bring back game. The boy who has a Jo gah oh bow and arrow always has good luck. One arrow of theirs is worth a flight of yours. Had you traded bow and arrows, you would have been called 'He shoots the sky.' Now you shall be called 'Little Shooter.'"
Little Shooter grew to be a man. He went often on the chase, but his arrows did not bring much game.
Many times, he wished he could meet the little elf man again, and trade bow and arrows, for sometimes he ran for days and found no track of deer or rabbit. But the little elf man never came.
One day, when Little Shooter had grown to be quite an old man, he was walking in the woods. He stopped under a tree to rest. Several times he felt something fall on his head.
At last he looked up to see what it was.
There sat the little elf man, swinging on the tip of a branch, and throwing nuts and twigs at him. He looked just as he did when Little Shooter met him by the stream long before. He had not grown old or changed at all.
"How long have you been here?" asked Little Shooter.
"I have always been here," said the little man. "I have been in the world ever since the stones were soft."
Then he laughed, and asked, "Does Little Shooter now like big bow and arrows best, or has he learned that sometimes small things are great? Next time, he had better trade with the little man," and aiming another nut at Little Shooter's head, he disappeared in the tree trunk.
HOW AN INDIAN BOY WON HIS NAME
It was bluebird time, many moons ago. Little brooks laughed and danced, and all the forest was glad.
An Indian boy came running through the forest. He, too, was glad, for it was spring!
As he ran down the trail, he saw something hanging from a bush. The bush was but a few rabbit jumps from the trail, so he stopped to see what new flower the spring had brought. He found the new flower to be a tiny papoose cradle.
The boy picked the cradle from the bush, and held it in the palm of his hand. As he looked closer, he saw that there was a tiny papoose in the little cradle. The wee papoose laughed in his face, as he spoke to it.
The boy had never seen so tiny a papoose, and he thought he would take it home to his mother, it was so cunning. She had but nine of her own. He was sure she would like one more, and that there would be a place for the tiny stranger in their wigwam.
He started to run on down the trail, but something seemed to hold him fast. He could not get away. Three times he tried to run, but each time he only circled round that bush. Something held him to the spot.
Just then there came a sharp cry from up the trail. The boy thought some animal must be hurt or in pain. He turned to look and saw a little woman coming. She was less than a foot high, but she ran like a deer to the boy, and cried and begged him to give back her baby.
Then the boy knew it was the love of that little mother that had held him fast. He could not break the love cord between that mother and her baby.
Now the boy had a heart that was soft and kind. He liked to see everything happy. When he saw the little mother crying and begging for her baby, he felt sorry for her.
Many times he had heard his mother tell how every mother bird loves her young; every mother bear, her cub; every mother deer, her fawn; every Indian mother, her papoose. And he knew this little fairy mother must also love her fairy baby, so he put it on the little mother's back, and told her she should have her papoose.
The little mother gave a glad cry, as she felt the baby on her back once more. Then she drew a stone from a bag which she carried, and slipped it on a string of beads that hung from the boy's neck.
The stone shone on his breast like a dewdrop.
"Because you are good, and kind, and unselfish, and because you make everything happy," she said, "you shall wear this good-luck stone. It will bring you whatever you want.
"We Little People give this stone to those earth children only, who are strong and yet protect the weak. Wear it always on your breast. Never take it off, and you will become a mighty chief."
Then the little mother gave another glad cry, and with her baby on her back she disappeared into an oak.
The boy ran on. His heart grew lighter and the stone brighter, as he ran. Before he reached his mother's wigwam, his arrows had brought back game for their evening meal.
From the day when the boy met the little Jo gah oh mother in the wood, and was given the stone, he had good luck. Whatever he did, all went well with him. If he went on the chase, he brought back deer. If he planted corn, it grew tall and fine. No boy could throw a ball as far, or could run as fast as he. He could shoot his arrows to the sky, and could send his snow-snakes skimming far beyond the rest.
So lucky was this Indian boy, that his tribe called him "Luck-in-all-moons." "He wears the good-luck stone," the old people said as they sat around the fire, and they nodded their heads knowingly. But they never knew how he came by it, or why he won the stone.
And when "Luck-in-all-moons" grew to be a man, his tribe made him a great chief. Just as the little Jo gah oh mother had said, he became a chief, though not in the chieftain line.
Because he stood so strong and straight, serving the people, protecting the weak, and doing great deeds, he was called the Pine-tree Chief.
"His feet are planted deep in wisdom and strength," they said, "and his head is not far from the sky. He sees far and points us the way. As the topmost branch of the pine points always to the east, so Luck-in-all-moons shall guide us to the sun rising. He shall be our Pine-tree Chief."
HOW THE FAIRIES WORKED MAGIC
Once a little Indian girl was very sad and unhappy. The Great Spirit had taken her father and mother, and she had gone to live with relatives who did not want her. Often she went to sleep hungry, for only the scraps of food that were left from a meal were given to her.
One day, the relatives of the little girl brought in a fine deer from the chase, and made ready for a feast. They told the girl to get out of the lodge, for there was neither room, nor meat for her.
The little girl ran and hid herself in a great field of corn. There she cried aloud.
Soon a band of strange Little People gathered about her, to comfort her. On all sides, from the folds of the green cornstalks they came.
They stroked her head, wiped the tears from her eyes, and said, "Don't cry, little girl. We will take care of you. You shall come and live with us. We will make a feast for you. We know why you are sad, for we can read the thoughts of all the earth children. Come with us, and we will show you more wonderful things than you have ever seen."
At this the little girl dried her tears, and smiled at the kind Little People.
"You are very good to me," she said. "Who are you?"
"We are the Jo gah oh," they replied, "the Little People. Come, and we will show you what we can do."
Then they slipped some winged moccasins upon her feet. They wrapped her in an invisible blanket and put a magic corn plume in her hair, and the next moment all were flying through the air.
They flew to a ledge of great rocks. At the touch of the Little People, the rocks opened, and they passed within.
The girl found herself in a beautiful lodge. Kind Jo gah oh mothers were baking cakes and roasting meat. They welcomed the girl, and soon a feast was spread in her honor.
Now the heart of the little girl was so light that she danced with joy.
"What wonderful people you are! Can you go anywhere, or do anything you wish?"
"Yes," said the little chief, "the Jo gah oh are small, but they are great. Come with us, and you shall see what we can do."
Again they were flying through the air. Soon they reached the lodge where the little girl had lived. It was night, and her relatives were asleep, but she could see the deer that hung outside ready for the feast.
"Now," said the Jo gah oh chief, "we will call out a pack of wolves from the wood yonder, and there will be no fat deer for this selfish feast, at sunrise."
Now no wolves had been seen in that wood for many moons. But at the call of the fairies, a pack sprang from it, ran to the lodge, seized the deer, and tore it into shreds. Then they again disappeared in the wood.
The little girl's eyes were large now with wonder, as they flew back to the fairy lodge in the rocks, but she was not afraid of these strange Little People. She was so happy with them she wished she might always live in a Jo gah oh lodge.
One morning, the little chief said, "Today we shall see more wonders."
This time a tiny canoe was waiting. They stepped into it and sailed down a river until they came to a great tree.
"In that tree," said the little chief, "lives a great, black bear. Every day he comes out that door you see high up in the bear tree. I will make the door fast so he cannot open it. A deep sleep will fall on him. He will sleep for many moons."
Then the chief threw three stones through the open door of the bear tree. Each time, a flame spread like a blanket over the door. A growling and scratching was heard within. Then all became still.
"Now," said the chief, "the bear will sleep until I call him in the spring. He is locked up for the winter. Come, let us go on."
The little girl drew her invisible blanket closer, as the canoe went sailing with the birds through the clouds. The birds that were swift of wing called loudly for a race.
"Come on!" said the fairy chief.
Then he spread wide the invisible sails of his canoe, and they flew past the birds like a streak of lightning. Even the eagle was left far behind. They seemed to shoot through the sky.
And, oh, what fun it was to be a bird! The little girl would have sailed on forever, but the little chief said, "You shall now return to your people. We have given them soft hearts and kind minds. They are calling for you. They will be glad to see you."
And soon the little girl was again in the wigwam of her relatives, sitting by the warm fire.
They greeted her with joy, spread a soft skin for her to sit upon, and gave her the best food. And the little girl lived with them, ever after, and was happy.