The Myth of Hiawatha, and Other Oral Legends, Mythologic and Allegoric, of the North American Indians
by Henry R. Schoolcraft
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[6] An abbreviated term for "my grandmother," derived from no-ko-miss.

[7] This is a term for the west wind. It is a derivative from Kabian-oong, the proper appellation for the occident.

[8] An interjection indicating pain.

[9] The scirpus, or bulrush.

[10] Do not—do not.

[11] The Northern Indians, when travelling in company with each other, or with white persons who possess their confidence, so as to put them at ease, are in the habit of making frequent allusions to Manabozho and his exploits. "There," said a young Chippewa, pointing to some huge boulders of greenstone, "are pieces of the rock broken off in Manabozho's combat with his father." "This is the duck," said an Indian interpreter on the sources of the Mississippi, "that Manabozho kicked." "Under that island," said a friend conversant with their language, "under that island Manabozho lost a beaver."

[12] The term weendigo, translated here monster, is commonly applied, at this time, by the Indians, to cannibals. Its ancient use appears, however, to have embraced giants and anomalous voracious beasts of the land, to the former existence of which, on this Continent, their traditions refer.

The word genabik, rendered serpent, appears likewise to have been used in a generic sense for amphibious animals of large and venomous character. When applied to existing species of serpents, it requires an adjective prefix or qualifying term.

[13] The wampum or pearl feather.

[14] An interjection equivalent to shame! shame!

[15] Animal tail, or bottom upward.

[16] A free translation of this expression might be rendered, noble scratchers, or grabbers.

[17] The conaus is the most ancient garment known to these tribes, being a simple extended single piece, without folds. The word is the apparent root of godaus, a female garment. Waub-e-wion, a blanket, is a comparatively modern phrase for a wrapper, signifying, literally, a white skin with the wool on.

[18] Fasts. The rite of fasting is one of the most deep-seated and universal in the Indian ritual. It is practised among all the American tribes, and is deemed by them essential to their success in life in every situation. No young man is fitted and prepared to begin the career of life until he has accomplished his great fast. Seven days appear to have been the ancient maximum limit of endurance, and the success of the devotee is inferred from the length of continued abstinence to which he is known to have attained. These fasts are anticipated by youth as one of the most important events of life. They are awaited with interest, prepared for with solemnity, and endured with a self-devotion bordering on the heroic. Character is thought to be fixed from this period, and the primary fast, thus prepared for and successfully established, seems to hold that relative importance to subsequent years that is attached to a public profession of religious faith in civilized communities. It is at this period that the young men and the young women "see visions and dream dreams," and fortune or misfortune is predicted from the guardian spirit chosen during this, to them, religious ordeal. The hallucinations of the mind are taken for divine inspiration. The effect is deeply felt and strongly impressed on the mind; too deeply, indeed, to be ever obliterated in after life. The father in the circle of his lodge, the hunter in the pursuit of the chase, and the warrior in the field of battle, think of the guardian genius which they fancy to accompany them, and trust to his power and benign influence under every circumstance. This genius is the absorbing theme of their silent meditations, and stands to them in all respects in place of the Christian's hope, with the single difference that, however deeply mused upon, the name is never uttered, and every circumstance connected with its selection, and the devotion paid to it, is most studiously and professedly concealed even from their nearest friends.

Fasts in subsequent life appear to have for their object a renewal of the powers and virtues which they attribute to the rite. And they are observed more frequently by those who strive to preserve unaltered the ancient state of society among them, or by men who assume austere habits for the purpose of acquiring influence in the tribe, or as preparatives for war or some extraordinary feat. It is not known that there is any fixed day observed as a general fast. So far as a rule is followed, a general fast seems to have been observed in the spring, and to have preceded the general and customary feasts at that season.

It will be inferred from these facts, that the Indians believe fasts to be very meritorious. They are deemed most acceptable to the Manitoes or spirits whose influence and protection they wish to engage or preserve. And it is thus clearly deducible, that a very large proportion of the time devoted by the Indians to secret worship, so to say, is devoted to these guardian or intermediate spirits, and not to the Great Spirit or Creator.

[19] The tuft feathers of the red-headed woodpecker are used to ornament the stems of the Indian pipe, and are symbolical of valor.

[20] Abbreviated from Neshomiss, my grandfather.

[21] That part of the intestines of a fish, which by its expansion from air in the first stage of decomposition, causes the body to rise and float. The expression here means float.

[22] The Alcedo or Kingfisher.

[23] This bird has a white spot on the breast, and a tufted head.

[24] Shau-go-dai-a, i.e., a Coward.

[25] The war-cry.

[26] A burrow.

[27] Diminutive form, plural number, of the noun Moez.

[28] The dress of the females in the Odjibwa nation, consists of sleeves, open on the inner side of the arm from the elbow up, and terminating in large square folds, falling from the shoulders, which are tied at the back of the neck with ribbon or binding. The sleeves are separately made, and not attached to the breast garment, which consists of square folds of cloth, ornamented and sustained by shoulder straps. To untie the sleeves or armlets, as is here described, is therefore to expose the shoulders, but not the back—a simple device, quickly accomplished, by which the magician could readily exercise his art almost imperceptibly to the object.

[29] Stop! stop!

[30] It is difficult to throw into the English pronoun the whole of the meaning of the Indian. Pronouns in this language being, like other parts of speech, transitive; they are at once indicative both of the actor, personal, and relative, and the nature of the object, or subject of the action, or relation. This, and that, are not used in the elementary form these pronouns invariably possess in the English. Inflections are put to them indicating the class of natural objects to which they refer. A noun masculine or feminine, requiring an animate pronoun, a noun inanimate, a pronoun inanimate.


The vernal equinox in the north, generally takes place while the ground is covered with snow, and winter still wears a polar aspect. Storms of wind and light drifting snow, expressively called poudre by the French, and peewun by the Indians, fill the atmosphere, and render it impossible to distinguish objects at a short distance. The fine powdery flakes of snow are driven into the smallest crannies of buildings and fixtures, and seem to be endowed with a subtle power of insinuation, which renders northern joinerwork but a poor defence. It is not uncommon for the sleeper, on waking up in the morning, to find heaps of snow, where he had supposed himself quite secure on lying down.

Such seasons are, almost invariably, times of scarcity and hunger with the Indians, for the light snows have buried up the traps of the hunters, and the fishermen are deterred from exercising their customary skill in decoying fish through orifices cut in the ice. They are often reduced to the greatest straits, and compelled to exercise their utmost ingenuity to keep their children from starving. Abstinence, on the part of the elder members of the family, is regarded both as a duty and a merit. Every effort is made to satisfy the importunity of the little ones for food, and if there be a story-teller in the lodge, he is sure to draw upon his cabin lore, to amuse their minds, and beguile the time.

In these storms, when each inmate of the lodge has his conaus, or wrapper, tightly drawn around him, and all are cowering around the cabin fire, should some sudden puff of wind drive a volume of light snow into the lodge, it would scarcely happen, but that some one of the group would cry out, "Ah, Pauppukkeewiss is now gathering his harvest," an expression which has the effect to put them all into good humor.

Pauppukkeewiss was a crazy brain, who played many queer tricks, but took care, nevertheless, to supply his family and children with food. But, in this, he was not always successful. Many winters have passed since he was overtaken; at this very season of the year, with great want, and he, with his whole family, was on the point of starvation. Every resource seemed to have failed. The snow was so deep, and the storm continued so long, that he could not even find a partridge or a hare. And his usual resource of fish had entirely failed. His lodge stood in a point of woods, not far back from the shores of the Gitchiguma, or great water, where the autumnal storms had piled up the ice into high pinnacles, resembling castles.

"I will go," said he to his family one morning, "to these castles, and solicit the pity of the spirits who inhabit them, for I know that they are the residence of some of the spirits of Kabiboonoka." He did so, and found that his petition was not disregarded. They told him to fill his mushkemoot, or sack, with the ice and snow, and pass on toward his lodge, without looking back, until he came to a certain hill. He must then drop it and leave it till morning, when he would find it filled with fish.

They cautioned him, that he must by no means look back, although he would hear a great many voices crying out to him, in abusive terms, for these voices were nothing but the wind playing through the branches of the trees. He faithfully obeyed the injunction, although he found it hard to avoid turning round, to see who was calling out to him. And when he visited his sack in the morning, he found it filled with fish.

It chanced that Manabozho visited him on the morning that he brought home the sack of fish. He was invited to partake of a feast, which Pauppukkeewiss ordered to be prepared for him. While they were eating, Manabozho could not help asking him, by what means he had procured such an abundance of food, at a time when they were all in a state of starvation.

Pauppukkeewiss frankly told him the secret, and repeated the precautions which were necessary to insure success. Manabozho determined to profit by his information, and as soon as he could, he set out to visit the icy castles. All things happened as he had been told. The spirits seemed propitious, and told him to fill and carry. He accordingly filled his sacks with ice and snow, and proceeded rapidly toward the hill of transmutation. But as he ran he heard voices calling out behind him, "Thief! thief! He has stolen fish from Kabiboonoka," cried one. "Mukumik! mukumik! Take it away! Take it away!" cried another.

In fine, his ears were so assailed by all manner of opprobrious terms, that he could not avoid turning his head, to see who it was that thus abused him. But his curiosity dissolved the charm. When he came to visit his bags next morning, he found them filled with ice and snow. A high drifting snow storm never fails to bring up this story. The origin of this queer character is as queer as his acts are phantastic. The myth asserts, that a man of large stature, and great activity of mind and body, found himself standing alone on a prairie. He thought to himself, "How came I here? Are there no beings on this earth but myself? I must travel and see. I must walk till I find the abodes of men." So soon as his mind was made up, he set out, he knew not where, in search of habitations. No obstacles could divert him from his purpose. Neither prairies, rivers, woods, nor storms had the effect to daunt his courage or turn him back. After travelling a long time he came to a wood, in which he saw decayed stumps of trees, as if they had been cut in ancient times, but no other traces of men. Pursuing his journey, he found more recent marks of the same kind; and after this, he came to fresh traces of human beings; first their footsteps, and then the wood they had cut, lying in heaps. Continuing on, he emerged towards dusk from the forest, and beheld at a distance a large village of high lodges, standing on rising ground. He said to himself, "I will arrive there on a run." Off he started with all his speed; on coming to the first large lodge, he jumped over it. Those within saw something pass over the opening, and then heard a thump on the ground.

"What is that?" they all said.

One came out to see, and invited him in. He found himself in company with an old chief and several men, who were seated in the lodge. Meat was set before him, after which the chief asked him where he was going and what his name was. He answered, that he was in search of adventures, and his name was Paup-Puk-Keewiss. A stare followed.

"Paup-Puk-Keewiss!"[31] said one to another, and a general titter went round.

He was not easy in his new position; the village was too small to give him full scope for his powers, and after a short stay he made up his mind to go farther, taking with him a young man who had formed a strong attachment for him, and might serve him as his mesh-in-au-wa.[32] They set out together, and when his companion was fatigued with walking, he would show him a few tricks, such as leaping over trees, and turning round on one leg till he made the dust fly, by which he was mightily pleased, although it sometimes happened that the character of these tricks frightened him.

One day they came to a very large village, where they were well received. After staying in it some time, they were informed of a number of manitoes who lived at a distance, and who made it a practice to kill all who came to their lodge. Attempts had been made to extirpate them, but the war-parties who went out for this purpose were always unsuccessful. Paup-Puk-Keewiss determined to visit them, although he was advised not to do so. The chief warned him of the danger of the visit; but, finding him resolved,

"Well," said he, "if you will go, being my guest, I will send twenty warriors to serve you."

He thanked him for the offer. Twenty young men were ready at the instant, and they went forward, and in due time described the lodge of the manitoes. He placed his friend and the warriors near enough to see all that passed, while he went alone to the lodge. As he entered he saw five horrid-looking manitoes in the act of eating. It was the father and his four sons. They looked hideous; their eyes were swimming low in their heads, as if half starved. They offered him something to eat, which he refused.

"What have you come for?" said the old one.

"Nothing," Paup-Puk-Keewiss answered.

They all stared at him.

"Do you not wish to wrestle?" they all asked.

"Yes," he replied.

A hideous smile came over their faces.

"You go," they said to the eldest brother.

They got ready, and were soon clinched in each other's arms for a deadly throw. He knew their object—his death—his flesh was all they wanted, but he was prepared for them.

"Haw! haw!"[33] they cried, and soon the dust and dry leaves flew about as if driven by a strong wind.

The manito was strong, but Paup-Puk-Keewiss soon found that he could master him; and, giving him a trip, he threw him with a giant's force head foremost on a stone, and he fell like a puffed thing.

The brothers stepped up in quick succession, but he put a number of tricks in force, and soon the whole four lay bleeding on the ground. The old manito got frightened and ran for his life. Paup-Puk-Keewiss pursued him for sport; sometimes he was before him, sometimes flying over his head. He would now give him a kick, then a push or a trip, till he was almost exhausted. Meantime his friend and the warriors cried out, "Ha! ha! a! ha! ha! a! Paup-Puk-Keewiss is driving him before him." The manito only turned his head now and then to look back; at last, Paup-Puk-Keewiss gave him a kick on his back, and broke his back bone; down he fell, and the blood gushing out of his mouth prevented him from saying a word. The warriors piled all the bodies together in the lodge, and then took fire and burned them. They all looked with deep interest at the quantity of human bones scattered around.

Paup-Puk-Keewiss then took three arrows, and after having performed a ceremony to the Great Spirit, he shot one into the air, crying, with a loud voice,

"You who are lying down, rise up, or you will be hit!" The bones all moved to one place. He shot the second arrow, repeating the same words, when each bone drew towards its fellow-bone; the third arrow brought forth to life the whole multitude of people who had been killed by the manitoes. Paup-Puk-Keewiss then led them to the chief of the village who had proved his friend, and gave them up to him. Soon after the chief came with his counsellors.

"Who is more worthy," said he, "to rule than you? You alone can defend them."

Paup-Puk-Keewiss thanked him, and told him he was in search of more adventures. The chief insisted. Paup-Puk-Keewiss told him to confer the chieftainship on his friend, who, he said, would remain while he went on his travels. He told them that he would, some time or other, come back and see them.

"Ho! ho! ho!" they all cried, "come back again and see us," insisting on it. He promised them he would, and then set out alone.

After travelling some time he came to a large lake; on looking about, he discovered a very large otter on an island. He thought to himself, "His skin will make me a fine pouch," and immediately drew up, at long shots, and drove an arrow into his side. He waded into the lake, and with some difficulty dragged him ashore. He took out the entrails, and even then the carcass was so heavy that it was as much as he could do to drag it up a hill overlooking the lake. As soon as he got him up into the sunshine, where it was warm, he skinned him, and threw the carcass some distance, thinking the war-eagle would come, and he should have a chance to get his skin and feathers as head ornaments. He soon heard a rushing noise in the air, but could see nothing; by and by, a large eagle dropped, as if from the air, on the otter's carcass. He drew his bow, and the arrow passed through under both his wings. The bird made a convulsive flight upwards with such force, that the heavy carcass (which was nearly as big as a moose) was borne up several feet. Fortunately, both claws were fastened deeply into the meat, the weight of which soon brought the bird down. He skinned him, crowned his head with the trophy, and next day was on his way, on the lookout for something new.

After walking a while he came to a lake, which flooded the trees on its banks; he found it was only a lake made by beavers. He took his station on the elevated dam, where the stream escaped, to see whether any of the beavers would show themselves. He soon saw the head of one peeping out of the water to see who disturbed them.

"My friend," said Paup-Puk-Keewiss, "could you not turn me into a beaver like yourself?" for he thought, if he could become a beaver, he would see and know how these animals lived.

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

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

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

"Yes," answered their chief; "lay down;" and he soon found himself changed into one of them.

"You must make me large," said he; "larger than any of you."

"Yes, yes!" said they. "By and by, when we get into the lodge, it shall be done."

In they all dove into the lake; and, in passing large heaps of limbs and logs at the bottom, he asked the use of them; they answered, "It is for our winter's provisions."[34] When they all got into the lodge, their number was about one hundred. The lodge was large and warm.

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

"Yes," he answered, for he found he was ten times the size of the largest.

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

"Very well," Paup-Puk-Keewiss answered. He thought, "I will stay here and grow fat at their expense." But, soon after, one ran into the lodge out of breath, saying, "We are visited by Indians." All huddled together in great fear. The water began to lower, for the hunters had broken down the dam, and they soon heard them on the roof of the lodge breaking it up. Out jumped all the beavers into the water, and so escaped. Paup-Puk-Keewiss tried to follow them; but, alas! they had made him so large that he could not creep out of the hole. He tried to call them back, but to no effect; he worried himself so much in trying to escape, that he looked like a bladder. He could not turn himself back into a man, although he heard and understood all the hunters said. One of them put his head in at the top of the lodge.

"Ty-au!" cried he; "Tut Ty-au! Me-shau-mik—king of the beavers is in." They all got at him, and knocked his skull till it was as soft as his brains. He thought, as well as ever he did, although he was a beaver. Seven or eight of them then placed his body on poles and carried him home. As they went, he reflected in this manner: "What will become of me? my ghost or shadow will not die after they get me to their lodges." Invitations were immediately sent out for a grand feast. The women took him out into the snow to skin him; but, as soon as his flesh got cold, his Jee-bi went off.

Paup-Puk-Keewiss found himself standing near a prairie, having reassumed his mortal shape. After walking a distance, he saw a herd of elk feeding. He admired the apparent ease and enjoyment of their life, and thought there could be nothing pleasanter than the liberty of running about and feeding on the prairies. He asked them if they could not turn him into their shape.

"Yes," they answered, after a pause. "Get down on your hands and feet." And he soon found himself an elk.

"I want big horns, big feet," said he; "I wish to be very large."

"Yes! yes!" they said.

"There!" exerting their power; "are you big enough?"

"Yes!" he answered, for he saw that he was very large. They spent a good time in grazing and running. Being rather cold one day, he went into a thick wood for shelter, and was followed by most of the herd. They had not been long there before some elks from behind passed the others like a strong wind. All took the alarm, and off they ran, he with the rest.

"Keep out on the plains," they said.

But he found it was too late, as they had already got entangled in the thick woods. Paup-Puk-Keewiss soon smelt the hunters, who were closely following his trail, for they had left all the others and followed him. He jumped furiously, and broke down saplings in his flight, but it only served to retard his progress. He soon felt an arrow in his side; he jumped over trees in his agony, but the arrows clattered thicker and thicker upon his sides, and at last one entered his heart. He fell to the ground, and heard the whoop of triumph sounded by the hunters. On coming up, they looked on the carcass with astonishment, and with their hands up to their mouths exclaimed Ty-au! Ty-au! There were about sixty in the party, who had come out on a special hunt, as one of their number had, the day before, observed his large tracks on the plains. After skinning him and his flesh getting cold, his Jee-bi took its flight from the carcass, and he again found himself in human shape, with a bow and arrows.

But his passion for adventure was not yet cooled; for, on coming to a large lake with a sandy beach, he saw a large flock of brant, and, speaking to them, asked them to turn him into a brant.

"Yes," they replied.

"But I want to be very large," he said.

"Very well," they answered; and he soon found himself a large brant, all the others standing gazing in astonishment at his large size.

"You must fly as leader," they said.

"No," answered Paup-Puk-Keewiss, "I will fly behind."

"Very well," they said. "One thing more we have to say to you. You must be careful, in flying, not to look down, for something may happen to you."

"Well! it is so," said he; and soon the flock rose up into the air, for they were bound north. They flew very fast, he behind. One day, while going with a strong wind, and as swift as their wings could flap, while passing over a large village, the Indians raised a great shout on seeing them, particularly on Paup-Puk-Keewiss's account, for his wings were broader than two large aupukwa.[35] They made such a noise, that he forgot what had been told him, about looking down. They were now going as swift as arrows; and, as soon as he brought his neck in and stretched it down to look at the shouters, his tail was caught by the wind, and over and over he was blown. He tried to right himself, but without success. Down, down he went, making more turns than he wished for, from a height of several miles. The first thing he knew was, that he was jammed into a large hollow tree. To get back or forward was out of the question, and there he remained till his brant life was ended by starvation. His Jee-bi again left the carcass, and he once more found himself in the shape of a human being.

Travelling was still his passion; and, while travelling, he came to a lodge in which were two old men with heads white from age. They treated him well, and he told them that he was going back to his village to see his friends and people. They said they would aid him, and pointed out the direction he should go; but they were deceivers. After walking all day, he came to a lodge looking very much like the first, with two old men in it with white heads. It was, in fact, the very same lodge, and he had been walking in a circle; but they did not undeceive him, pretending to be strangers, and saying, in a kind voice, "We will show you the way." After walking the third day, and coming back to the same place, he found them out in their tricks, for he had cut a notch on the doorpost.

"Who are you," said he to them, "to treat me so?" and he gave one a kick and the other a slap, which killed them. Their blood flew against the rocks near the lodge, and this is the reason there are red streaks in them to this day. He then burned their lodge down, and freed the earth of two pretended good men, who were manitoes.

He then continued his journey, not knowing exactly which way to go. At last he came to a big lake. He got on the highest hill to try and see the opposite side, but he could not. He then made a canoe, and took a sail into the lake. On looking into the water, which was very clear, before he got to the abrupt depth, he saw the bottom covered with dark fishes, numbers of which he caught. This inspired him with a wish to return to his village and to bring his people to live near this lake. He went on, and towards evening came to a large island, where he encamped and ate the fish he had speared.

Next day he returned to the main land, and, in wandering along the shore, he encountered a more powerful manito than himself, called Manabozho. He thought best, after playing him a trick, to keep out of his way. He again thought of returning to his village; and, transforming himself into a partridge, took his flight towards it. In a short time he reached it, and his return was welcomed with feastings and songs. He told them of the lake and the fish, and persuaded them all to remove to it, as it would be easier for them to live there. He immediately began to remove them by short encampments, and all things turned out as he had said. They caught abundance of fish. After this, a messenger came for him in the shape of a bear, who said that their king wished to see him immediately at his village. Paup-Puk-Keewiss was ready in an instant; and, getting on to the messenger's back, off he ran. Towards evening they went up a high mountain, and came to a cave where the bear-king lived. He was a very large person, and made him welcome by inviting him into his lodge. As soon as propriety allowed, he spoke, and said that he had sent for him on hearing that he was the chief who was moving a large party towards his hunting-grounds.

"You must know," said he, "that you have no right there. And I wish you would leave the country with your party, or else the strongest force will take possession."

"Very well," replied Paup-Puk-Keewiss. "So be it." He did not wish to do anything without consulting his people; and besides, he saw that the bear-king was raising a war party. He then told him he would go back that night. The bear-king left him to do as he wished, but told him that one of his young men was ready at his command; and, immediately jumping on his back, Paup-Puk-Keewiss rode home. He assembled the village, and told the young men to kill the bear, make a feast of it, and hang the head outside the village, for he knew the bear spies would soon see it, and carry the news to their chief.

Next morning Paup-Puk-Keewiss got all his young warriors ready for a fight. After waiting one day, the bear war-party came in sight, making a tremendous noise. The bear-chief advanced, and said that he did not wish to shed the blood of the young warriors; but that if he, Paup-Puk-Keewiss, consented, they two would have a race, and the winner should kill the losing chief, and all his young men should be slaves to the other. Paup-Puk-Keewiss agreed, and they ran before all the warriors. He was victor, and came in first; but, not to terminate the race too soon, he gave the bear-chief some specimens of his skill and swiftness by forming eddies and whirlwinds with the sand, as he leaped and turned about him. As the bear-chief came up, he drove an arrow through him, and a great chief fell. Having done this, he told his young men to take all those blackfish (meaning the bears), and tie them at the door of each lodge, that they might remain in future to serve as servants.

After seeing that all was quiet and prosperous in the village, Paup-Puk-Keewiss felt his desire for adventure returning. He took a kind leave of his friends and people, and started off again. After wandering a long time, he came to the lodge of Manabozho, who was absent. He thought he would play him a trick, and so turned everything in the lodge upside down, and killed his chickens. Now Manabozho calls all the fowls of the air his chickens; and among the number was a raven, the meanest of birds, which Paup-Puk-Keewiss killed and hung up by the neck to insult him. He then went on till he came to a very high point of rocks running out into the lake, from the top of which he could see the country back as far as the eye could reach. While sitting there, Manabozho's mountain chickens flew round and past him in great numbers. So, out of spite, he shot them in great numbers, for his arrows were sure and the birds very plenty, and he amused himself by throwing the birds down the rocky precipice. At length a wary bird cried out, "Paup-Puk-Keewiss is killing us. Go and tell our father." Away flew a delegation of them, and Manabozho soon made his appearance on the plain below. Paup-Puk-Keewiss made his escape on the opposite side. Manabozho cried out from the mountain—

"The earth is not so large but I can get up to you." Off Paup-Puk-Keewiss ran, and Manabozho after him. He ran over hills and prairies with all his speed, but still saw his pursuer hard after him. He thought of this expedient. He stopped and climbed a large pine-tree, stripped it of all its green foliage, and threw it to the winds, and then went on. When Manabozho reached the spot, the tree addressed him.

"Great chief," said the tree, "will you give me my life again? Paup-Puk-Keewiss has killed me."

"Yes," replied Manabozho; and it took him some time to gather the scattered foliage, and then renewed the pursuit. Paup-Puk-Keewiss repeated the same thing with the hemlock, and with various other trees, for Manabozho would always stop to restore what he had destroyed. By this means he got in advance; but Manabozho persevered, and was fast overtaking him, when Paup-Puk-Keewiss happened to see an elk. He asked him to take him on his back, which the elk did, and for some time he made great progress, but still Manabozho was in sight. Paup-Puk-Keewiss dismounted, and, coming to a large sandstone rock, he broke it in pieces and scattered the grains. Manabozho was so close upon him at this place that he had almost caught him; but the foundation of the rock cried out,

"Haye! Ne-me-sho, Paup-Puk-Keewiss has spoiled me. Will you not restore me to life?"

"Yes," replied Manabozho; and he restored the rock to its previous shape. He then pushed on in the pursuit of Paup-Puk-Keewiss, and had got so near as to put out his arm to seize him; but Paup-Puk-Keewiss dodged him, and immediately raised such a dust and commotion by whirlwinds as made the trees break, and the sand and leaves dance in the air. Again and again Manabozho's hand was put out to catch him; but he dodged him at every turn, and kept up such a tumult of dust, that in the thickest of it, he dashed into a hollow tree which had been blown down, and changed himself into a snake, and crept out at the roots. Well that he did; for at the moment he had got out, Manabozho, who is Ogee-bau-ge-mon,[36] struck it with his power, and it was in fragments. Paup-Puk-Keewiss was again in human shape; again Manabozho pressed him hard. At a distance he saw a very high bluff of rock jutting out into the lake, and ran for the foot of the precipice, which was abrupt and elevated. As he came near, the local manito of the rock opened his door and told him to come in. The door was no sooner closed than Manabozho knocked.

"Open it!" he cried, with a loud voice.

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

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

"Open it!" Manabozho again cried.

The manito kept silent. Manabozho, however, made no attempt to open it by force. He waited a few moments. "Very well," he said; "I give you only till night to live." The manito trembled, for he knew he would be shut up under the earth.

Night came. The clouds hung low and black, and every moment the forked lightning would flash from them. The black clouds advanced slowly, and threw their dark shadows afar, and behind there was heard the rumbling noise of the coming thunder. As they came near to the precipice, the thunders broke, the lightning flashed, the ground shook, and the solid rocks split, tottered, and fell. And under their ruins where crushed the mortal bodies of Paup-Puk-Keewiss and the manito.

It was only then that Paup-Puk-Keewiss found he was really dead. He had been killed in different animal shapes; but now his body, in human shape, was crushed. Manabozho came and took their Jee-bi-ug, or spirits.

"You," said he to Paup-Puk-Keewiss, "shall not be again permitted to live on the earth. I will give you the shape of the war-eagle, and you will be the chief of all fowls, and your duty shall be to watch over their destinies."

[31] This word appears to be derived from the same root as Paup-puk-ke-nay, a grasshopper, the inflection iss making it personal. The Indian idea is that of harum scarum. He is regarded as a foil to Manabozho, with whom he is frequently brought in contact in aboriginal story craft.

[32] This is an official who bears the pipe for the ruling chief, and is an inferior dignity in councils.

[33] This is a studied perversion of the interjection Ho. In another instance (vide Wassamo) it is rendered Hoke.

[34] We may mention, for the youth who may read these tales, that beavers live by gnawing the bark of trees.

[35] Mats.

[36] A species of lightning.





There once lived an Indian in the north, who had ten daughters, all of whom grew up to womanhood. They were noted for their beauty, but especially Oweenee, the youngest, who was very independent in her way of thinking. She was a great admirer of romantic places, and paid very little attention to the numerous young men who came to her father's lodge for the purpose of seeing her. Her elder sisters were all solicited in marriage from their parents, and one after another, went off to dwell in the lodges of their husbands, or mothers-in-law, but she would listen to no proposals of the kind. At last she married an old man called OSSEO, who was scarcely able to walk, and was too poor to have things like others. They jeered and laughed at her, on all sides, but she seemed to be quite happy, and said to them, "It is my choice, and you will see in the end, who has acted the wisest." Soon after, the sisters and their husbands and their parents were all invited to a feast, and as they walked along the path, they could not help pitying their young and handsome sister, who had such an unsuitable mate. Osseo often stopped and gazed upwards, but they could perceive nothing in the direction he looked, unless it was the faint glimmering of the evening star. They heard him muttering to himself as they went along, and one of the elder sisters caught the words, "Sho-wain-ne-me-shin nosa."[37] "Poor old man," said she, "he is talking to his father, what a pity it is, that he would not fall and break his neck, that our sister might have a handsome young husband." Presently they passed a large hollow log, lying with one end toward the path. The moment Osseo, who was of the turtle totem, came to it, he stopped short, uttered a loud and peculiar yell, and then dashing into one end of the log, he came out at the other, a most beautiful young man, and springing back to the road, he led off the party with steps as light as the reindeer.[38] But on turning round to look for his wife, behold, she had been changed into an old, decrepit woman, who was bent almost double, and walked with a cane. The husband, however, treated her very kindly, as she had done him during the time of his enchantment, and constantly addressed her by the term of ne-ne-moosh-a, or my sweetheart.

When they came to the hunter's lodge with whom they were to feast, they found the feast ready prepared, and as soon as their entertainer had finished his harangue (in which he told them his feasting was in honor of the Evening or Woman's Star), they began to partake of the portion dealt out, according to age and character, to each one. The food was very delicious, and they were all happy but Osseo, who looked at his wife and then gazed upward, as if he was looking into the substance of the sky. Sounds were soon heard, as if from far-off voices in the air, and they became plainer and plainer, till he could clearly distinguish some of the words.

"My son—my son," said the voice, "I have seen your afflictions and pity your wants. I come to call you away from a scene that is stained with blood and tears. The earth is full of sorrows. Giants and sorcerers, the enemies of mankind, walk abroad in it, and are scattered throughout its length. Every night they are lifting their voices to the Power of Evil, and every day they make themselves busy in casting evil in the hunter's path. You have long been their victim, but shall be their victim no more. The spell you were under is broken. Your evil genius is overcome. I have cast him down by my superior strength, and it is this strength I now exert for your happiness. Ascend, my son—ascend into the skies, and partake of the feast I have prepared for you in the stars, and bring with you those you love.

"The food set before you is enchanted and blessed. Fear not to partake of it. It is endowed with magic power to give immortality to mortals, and to change men to spirits. Your bowls and kettles shall be no longer wood and earth. The one shall become silver, and the other wampum. They shall shine like fire, and glisten like the most beautiful scarlet. Every female shall also change her state and looks, and no longer be doomed to laborious tasks. She shall put on the beauty of the starlight, and become a shining bird of the air, clothed with shining feathers. She shall dance and not work—she shall sing and not cry."

"My beams," continued the voice, "shine faintly on your lodge, but they have a power to transform it into the lightness of the skies, and decorate it with the colors of the clouds. Come, Osseo, my son, and dwell no longer on earth. Think strongly on my words, and look steadfastly at my beams. My power is now at its height. Doubt not—delay not. It is the voice of the Spirit of the stars that calls you away to happiness and celestial rest."

The words were intelligible to Osseo, but his companions thought them some far-off sounds of music, or birds singing in the woods. Very soon the lodge began to shake and tremble, and they felt it rising into the air. It was too late to run out, for they were already as high as the tops of the trees. Osseo looked around him as the lodge passed through the topmost boughs, and behold! their wooden dishes were changed into shells of a scarlet color, the poles of the lodge to glittering wires of silver, and the bark that covered them into the gorgeous wings of insects. A moment more, and his brothers and sisters, and their parents and friends, were transformed into birds of various plumage. Some were jays, some partridges and pigeons, and others gay singing birds, who hopped about displaying their glittering feathers, and singing their song. But Oweenee still kept her earthly garb, and exhibited all the indications of extreme age. He again cast his eyes in the direction of the clouds, and uttered that peculiar yell, which had given him the victory at the hollow log. In a moment the youth and beauty of his wife returned; her dingy garments assumed the shining appearance of green silk, and her cane was changed into a silver feather. The lodge again shook and trembled, for they were now passing through the uppermost clouds, and they immediately after found themselves in the Evening Star, the residence of Osseo's father.

"My son," said the old man, "hang that cage of birds, which you have brought along in your hand, at the door, and I will inform you why you and your wife have been sent for." Osseo obeyed the directions, and then took his seat in the lodge. "Pity was shown to you," resumed the king of the star, "on account of the contempt of your wife's sister, who laughed at her ill fortune, and ridiculed you while you were under the power of that wicked spirit, whom you overcame at the log. That spirit lives in the next lodge, being a small star you see on the left of mine, and he has always felt envious of my family, because we had greater power than he had, and especially on account of our having had the care committed to us of the female world. He failed in several attempts to destroy your brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, but succeeded at last in transforming yourself and your wife into decrepit old persons. You must be careful and not let the light of his beams fall on you, while you are here, for therein is the power of his enchantment; a ray of light is the bow and arrows he uses."

Osseo lived happy and contented in the parental lodge, and in due time his wife presented him with a son, who grew up rapidly, and was the image of his father. He was very quick and ready in learning everything that was done in his grandfather's dominions, but he wished also to learn the art of hunting, for he had heard that this was a favorite pursuit below. To gratify him, his father made him a bow and arrows, and he then let the birds out of the cage that he might practise in shooting. He soon became expert, and the very first day brought down a bird, but when he went to pick it up, to his amazement, it was a beautiful young woman with the arrow sticking in her breast. It was one of his younger aunts. The moment her blood fell upon the surface of that pure and spotless planet, the charm was dissolved. The boy immediately found himself sinking, but was partly upheld, by something like wings, till he passed through the lower clouds, and he then suddenly dropped upon a high, romantic island in a large lake. He was pleased on looking up, to see all his aunts and uncles following him in the form of birds, and he soon discovered the silver lodge, with his father and mother, descending with its waving barks looking like so many insects' gilded wings. It rested on the highest cliffs of the island, and here they fixed their residence. They all resumed their natural shapes, but were diminished to the size of fairies; as a mark of homage to the King of the Evening Star, they never failed, on every pleasant evening, during the summer season, to join hands, and dance upon the top of the rocks. These rocks were quickly observed by the Indians to be covered, in moonlight evenings, with a larger sort of Puk Wudj Ininees, or little men, and were called Mish-in-e-mok-in-ok-ong, or turtle spirits, and the island is named from them to this day.[39] Their shining lodge can be seen in the summer evenings when the moon shines strongly on the pinnacles of the rocks, and the fishermen, who go near those high cliffs at night, have even heard the voices of the happy little dancers.

[37] Pity me, my father.

[38] The C. Sylvestris inhabits North America, north of latitude 46 deg..

[39] Michilimackinac, the term alluded to, is the original French orthography of Mish En I Mok In Ong, the local form (sing. and plu.), of Turtle Spirits.




Pauwating[40] was a village where the young men amused themselves very much in ancient times, in sports and ball-playing.

One day, as they were engaged in their sports, one of the strongest and most active, at the moment he was about to succeed in a trial of lifting, slipped and fell upon his back. "Ha! ha! ha!" cried the lookers-on, "you will never rival Kwasind." He was deeply mortified, and when the sport was over, these words came to his mind. He could not recollect any man of this name. He thought he would ask the old man, the story-teller of the village, the next time he came to the lodge. The opportunity soon occurred.

"My grandfather," said he, "who was Kwasind? I am very anxious to know what he could do."

"Kwasind," the old man replied, "was a listless idle boy. He would not play when the other boys played, and his parents could never get him to do any kind of labor. He was always making excuses. His parents took notice, however, that he fasted for days together, but they could not learn what spirit he supplicated, or had chosen as the guardian spirit to attend him through life. He was so inattentive to his parents' requests, that he, at last, became a subject of reproach.

"'Ah,' said his mother to him one day, 'is there any young man of your age, in all the village, who does so little for his parents? You neither hunt nor fish. You take no interest in anything, whether labor or amusement, which engages the attention of your equals in years. I have often set my nets[41] in the coldest days of winter, without any assistance from you. And I have taken them up again, while you remained inactive at the lodge fire. Are you not ashamed of such idleness? Go, I bid you, and wring out that net, which I have just taken from the water.'

"Kwasind saw that there was a determination to make him obey. He did not, therefore, make any excuses, but went out and took up the net. He carefully folded it, doubled and redoubled it, forming it into a roll, and then with an easy twist of his hands wrung it short off, with as much ease as if every twine had been a thin brittle fibre. Here they at once saw the secret of his reluctance. He possessed supernatural strength.

"After this, the young men were playing one day on the plain, where there was lying one of those large, heavy, black pieces of rock, which Manabozho is said to have cast at his father. Kwasind took it up with much ease, and threw it into the river. After this, he accompanied his father on a hunting excursion into a remote forest. They came to a place where the wind had thrown a great many trees into a narrow pass. 'We must go the other way,' said the old man, 'it is impossible to get the burdens through this place.' He sat down to rest himself, took out his smoking apparatus, and gave a short time to reflection. When he had finished, Kwasind had lifted away the largest pine trees, and pulled them out of the path.

"Sailing one day in his canoe, Kwasind saw a large furred animal, which he immediately recognized to be the king of beavers. He plunged into the water in pursuit of it. His companions were in the greatest astonishment and alarm, supposing he would perish. He often dove down and remained a long time under water, pursuing the animal from island to island; and at last returned with the kingly prize. After this, his fame spread far and wide, and no hunter would presume to compete with him.

"He helped Manabozho to clear away the obstructions in the streams, and to remove the great wind-falls of trees from the valleys, the better to fit them for the residence of man.

"He performed so many feats of strength and skill, that he excited the envy of the Puck-wudj In-in-ee-sug, or fairies, who conspired against his life. 'For,' said they, 'if this man is suffered to go on, in his career of strength and exploits, we shall presently have no work to perform. Our agency in the affairs of men must cease. He will undermine our power, and drive us, at last, into the water, where we must all perish, or be devoured by the wicked Neebanawbaig.'[42]

"The strength of Kwasind was all concentrated in the crown of his head. This was, at the same time, the only vulnerable part of his body; and there was but one species of weapon which could be successfully employed in making any impression upon it. The fairies carefully hunted through the woods to find this weapon. It was the burr or seed vessel of the white pine. They gathered a quantity of this article, and waylaid Kwasind at a point on the river, where the red rocks jut into the water, forming rude castles—a point which he was accustomed to pass in his canoe. They waited a long time, making merry upon these rocks, for it was a highly romantic spot. At last the wished-for object appeared; Kwasind came floating calmly down the stream, on the afternoon of a summer's day, languid with the heat of the weather, and almost asleep. When his canoe came directly beneath the cliff, the tallest and stoutest fairy began the attack. Others followed his example. It was a long time before they could hit the vulnerable part, but success at length crowned their efforts, and Kwasind sunk, never to rise more.

"Ever since this victory, the Puck Wudj Ininee have made that point of rock a favorite resort. The hunters often hear them laugh, and see their little plumes shake as they pass this scene on light summer evenings.

"My son," continued the old man, "take care that you do not imitate the faults of Kwasind. If he had not so often exerted his strength merely for the sake of boasting, he would not, perhaps, have made the fairies feel jealous of him. It is better to use the strength you have, in a quiet useful way, than to sigh after the possession of a giant's power. For if you run, or wrestle, or jump, or fire at a mark, only as well as your equals in years, nobody will envy you. But if you would needs be a Kwasind, you must expect a Kwasind's fate."

[40] i.e. Place of shallow cataract, named Sault de Ste. Marie on the arrival of the French. This is the local form of the word, the substantive proper terminates in Eeg.

[41] Nets are set in winter, in high northern latitudes, through orifices cut in the ice.

[42] A kind of water spirits.





There lived a hunter in the north who had a wife and one child. His lodge stood far off in the forest, several days' journey from any other. He spent his days in hunting, and his evenings in relating to his wife the incidents that had befallen him. As game was very abundant, he found no difficulty in killing as much as they wanted. Just in all his acts, he lived a peaceful and happy life.

One evening during the winter season, it chanced that he remained out later than usual, and his wife began to feel uneasy, for fear some accident had befallen him. It was already dark. She listened attentively, and at last heard the sound of approaching footsteps. Not doubting it was her husband, she went to the door and beheld two strange females. She bade them enter, and invited them to remain.

She observed that they were total strangers in the country. There was something so peculiar in their looks, air, and manner, that she was uneasy in their company. They would not come near the fire; they sat in a remote part of the lodge, were shy and taciturn, and drew their garments about them in such a manner as nearly to hide their faces. So far as she could judge, they were pale, hollow-eyed, and long-visaged, very thin and emaciated. There was but little light in the lodge, as the fire was low, and served by its fitful flashes, rather to increase than dispel their fears. "Merciful spirit!" cried a voice from the opposite part of the lodge, "there are two corpses clothed with garments." The hunter's wife turned around, but seeing nobody, she concluded the sounds were but gusts of wind. She trembled, and was ready to sink to the earth.

Her husband at this moment entered and dispelled her fears. He threw down the carcass of a large fat deer. "Behold what a fine and fat animal," cried the mysterious females, and they immediately ran and pulled off pieces of the whitest fat,[43] which they ate with greediness. The hunter and his wife looked on with astonishment, but remained silent. They supposed their guests might have been famished. Next day, however, the same unusual conduct was repeated. The strange females tore off the fat and devoured it with eagerness. The third day the hunter thought he would anticipate their wants by tying up a portion of the fattest pieces for them, which he placed on the top of his load. They accepted it, but still appeared dissatisfied, and went to the wife's portion and tore off more. The man and his wife felt surprised at such rude and unaccountable conduct, but they remained silent, for they respected their guests, and had observed that they had been attended with marked good luck during the residence of these mysterious visitors.

In other respects, the deportment of the females was strictly unexceptionable. They were modest, distant, and silent. They never uttered a word during the day. At night they would occupy themselves in procuring wood, which they carried to the lodge, and then returning the implements exactly to the places in which they had found them, resume their places without speaking. They were never known to stay out until daylight. They never laughed or jested.

The winter had nearly passed away, without anything uncommon happening, when, one evening, the hunter stayed out very late. The moment he entered and laid down his day's hunt as usual before his wife, the two females began to tear off the fat, in so unceremonious a way, that her anger was excited. She constrained herself, however, in a measure, but did not conceal her feelings, although she said but little. The guests observed the excited state of her mind, and became unusually reserved and uneasy. The good hunter saw the change, and carefully inquired into the cause, but his wife denied having used any hard words. They retired to their couches, and he tried to compose himself to sleep, but could not, for the sobs and sighs of the two females were incessant. He arose on his couch and addressed them as follows:—

"Tell me," said he, "what is it that gives you pain of mind, and causes you to utter those sighs. Has my wife given you offence, or trespassed on the rights of hospitality?"

They replied in the negative. "We have been treated by you with kindness and affection. It is not for any slight we have received that we weep. Our mission is not to you only. We come from the land of the dead to test mankind, and to try the sincerity of the living. Often we have heard the bereaved by death say that if the dead could be restored, they would devote their lives to make them happy. We have been moved by the bitter lamentations which have reached the place of the dead, and have come to make proof of the sincerity of those who have lost friends. Three moons were allotted us by the Master of Life to make the trial. More than half the time had been successfully past, when the angry feelings of your wife indicated the irksomeness you felt at our presence, and has made us resolve on our departure."

They continued to talk to the hunter and his wife, gave them instructions as to a future life, and pronounced a blessing upon them.

"There is one point," they added, "of which we wish to speak. You have thought our conduct very strange in rudely possessing ourselves of the choicest parts of your hunt. That was the point of trial selected to put you to. It is the wife's peculiar privilege. For another to usurp it, we knew to be the severest trial of her, and consequently of your temper and feelings. We know your manners and customs, but we came to prove you, not by a compliance with them, but a violation of them. Pardon us. We are the agents of him who sent us. Peace to your dwelling, adieu!"

When they ceased, total darkness filled the lodge. No object could be seen. The inmates heard the door open and shut, but they never saw more of the two Jeebi-ug.

The hunter found the success which they had promised. He became celebrated in the chase, and never wanted for anything. He had many children, all of whom grew up to manhood, and health; peace, and long life were the rewards of his hospitality.

[43] The fat of animals is esteemed by the N.A. Indians among the choicest parts.



Iagoo is the name of a personage noted in Indian lore for having given extravagant narrations of whatever he had seen, heard, or accomplished. It seems that he always saw extraordinary things, made extraordinary journeys, and performed extraordinary feats. He could not look out of his lodge and see things as other men did. If he described a bird, it had a most singular variety of brilliant plumage. The animals he met with were all of the monstrous kind; they had eyes like orbs of fire, and claws like hooks of steel, and could step over the top of an Indian lodge. He told of a serpent he had seen, which had hair on its neck like a mane, and feet resembling a quadruped; and if one were to take his own account of his exploits and observations, it would be difficult to decide whether his strength, his activity, or his wisdom should be most admired.

Iagoo did not appear to have been endowed with the ordinary faculties of other men. His eyes appeared to be magnifiers, and the tympanum of his ears so constructed that what appeared to common observers to be but the sound of a zephyr, to him had a far closer resemblance to the noise of thunder. His imagination appeared to be of so exuberant a character, that he scarcely required more than a drop of water to construct an ocean, or a grain of sand to form the earth. And he had so happy an exemption from both the restraints of judgment and moral accountability, that he never found the slightest difficulty in accommodating his facts to the most enlarged credulity. Nor was his ample thirst for the marvellous ever quenched by attempts to reconcile statements the most strange, unaccountable, and preposterous.

Such was Iagoo, the Indian story-teller, whose name is associated with all that is extravagant and marvellous, and has long been established in the hunter's vocabulary as a perfect synonym for liar, and is bandied about as a familiar proverb. If a hunter or warrior, in telling his exploits, undertakes to embellish them; to overrate his merits, or in any other way to excite the incredulity of his hearers, he is liable to be rebuked with the remark, "So here we have Iagoo come again." And he seems to hold the relative rank in oral narration which our written literature awards to Baron Munchausen, Jack Falstaff, and Captain Lemuel Gulliver.

Notwithstanding all this, there are but a few scraps of his actual stories to be found. He first attracted notice by giving an account of a water lily, a single leaf of which, he averred, was sufficient to make a petticoat and upper garments for his wife and daughter. One evening he was sitting in his lodge, on the banks of a river, and hearing the quacking of ducks on the stream, he fired through the lodge door at a venture. He killed a swan that happened to be flying by, and twenty brace of ducks in the stream. But this did not check the force of his shot; they passed on, and struck the heads of two loons, at the moment they were coming up from beneath the water, and even went beyond and killed a most extraordinary large fish called Moshkeenozha.[44] On another occasion he had killed a deer, and after skinning it, was carrying the carcass on his shoulders, when he spied some stately elks on the plain before him. He immediately gave them chase, and had run, over hill and dale, a distance of half a day's travel, before he recollected that he had the deer's carcass on his shoulders.

One day, as he was passing over a tract of mushkeeg or bog-land, he saw musquitoes of such enormous size, that he staked his reputation on the fact that a single wing of one of the insects was sufficient for a sail to his canoe, and the proboscis as big as his wife's shovel. But he was favored with a still more extraordinary sight, in a gigantic ant, which passed him, as he was watching a beaver's lodge, dragging the entire carcass of a hare.

At another time, for he was ever seeing or doing something wonderful, he got out of smoking weed, and in going into the woods in search of some, he discovered a bunch of the red willow, or maple bush, of such a luxuriant growth, that he was industriously occupied half a day walking round it.

[44] The muscalunge.



Mudjekewis and nine brothers conquered the Mammoth Bear, and obtained the Sacred Belt of Wampum, the great object of previous warlike enterprise, and the great means of happiness to men. The chief honor of this achievement was awarded to Mudjekewis, the youngest of the ten, who received the government of the West Winds. He is therefore called Kabeyun, the father of the winds. To his son, Wabun, he gave the East; to Shawondasee, the south, and to Kabibonokka, the north. Manabozho being an illegitimate son, was left unprovided. When he grew up, and obtained the secret of his birth, he went to war against his father, Kabeyun, and having brought the latter to terms, he received the government of the Northwest Winds, ruling jointly with his brother Kabibonokka the tempests from that quarter of the heavens.

Shawondasee is represented as an affluent, plethoric old man, who has grown unwieldy from repletion, and seldom moves. He keeps his eyes steadfastly fixed on the north. When he sighs, in autumn, we have those balmy southern airs, which communicate warmth and delight over the northern hemisphere, and make the Indian Summer.

One day, while gazing toward the north, he beheld a beautiful young woman of slender and majestic form, standing on the plains. She appeared in the same place for several days, but what most attracted his admiration, was her bright and flowing locks of yellow hair. Ever dilatory, however, he contented himself with gazing. At length he saw, or fancied he saw, her head enveloped in a pure white mass like snow. This excited his jealousy toward his brother Kabibonokka, and he threw out a succession of short and rapid sighs—when lo! the air was filled with light filaments of a silvery hue, but the object of his affections had for ever vanished. In reality, the southern airs had blown off the fine-winged seed-vessels of the prairie dandelion.

"My son," said the narrator, "it is not wise to differ in our tastes from other people; nor ought we to put off, through slothfulness, what is best done at once. Had Shawondasee conformed to the tastes of his countrymen, he would not have been an admirer of yellow hair; and if he had evinced a proper activity in his youth, his mind would not have run flower-gathering in his age."





There was a time when all the inhabitants of the earth had died, excepting two helpless children, a baby boy and a little girl. When their parents died, these children were asleep. The little girl, who was the elder, was the first to wake. She looked around her, but seeing nobody besides her little brother, who lay asleep, she quietly resumed her bed. At the end of ten days her brother moved without opening his eyes. At the end of ten days more he changed his position, lying on the other side.

The girl soon grew up to woman's estate, but the boy increased in stature very slowly. It was a long time before he could even creep. When he was able to walk, his sister made him a little bow and arrows, and suspended around his neck a small shell, saying, you shall be called Wa-Dais-Ais-Imid, or He of the Little Shell. Every day he would go out with his little bow, shooting at the small birds. The first bird he killed was a tomtit. His sister was highly pleased when he took it to her. She carefully skinned and stuffed it, and put it away for him. The next day he killed a red squirrel. His sister preserved this too. The third day he killed a partridge (Peena), which she stuffed and set up. After this, he acquired more courage, and would venture some distance from home. His skill and success as a hunter daily increased, and he killed the deer, bear, moose, and other large animals inhabiting the forest. In fine he became a great hunter.

He had now arrived to maturity of years, but remained a perfect infant in stature. One day, walking about, he came to a small lake. It was in the winter season. He saw a man on the ice killing beavers. He appeared to be a giant. Comparing himself to this great man he appeared no bigger than an insect. He seated himself on the shore, and watched his movements. When the large man had killed many beavers, he put them on a hand sled which he had, and pursued his way home. When he saw him retire, he followed him, and wielding his magic shell, cut off the tail of one of the beavers, and ran home with his trophy. When the tall stranger reached his lodge, with his sled load of beavers, he was surprised to find the tail of one of them gone, for he had not observed the movements of the little hero of the shell.

The next day Wa-Dis-Ais-Imid, went to the same lake. The man had already fixed his load of beavers on his odaw'bon, or sled, and commenced his return. But he nimbly ran forward, and overtaking him, succeeded, by the same means, in securing another of the beaver's tails. When the man saw that he had lost another of this most esteemed part of the animal, he was very angry. I wonder, said he, what dog it is, that has thus cheated me. Could I meet him, I would make his flesh quiver at the point of my lance. Next day he pursued his hunting at the beaver dam near the lake, and was followed again by the little man of the shell. On this occasion the hunter had used so much expedition, that he had accomplished his object, and nearly reached his home, before our tiny hero could overtake him. He nimbly drew his shell and cut off another beaver's tail. In all these pranks, he availed himself of his power of invisibility, and thus escaped observation. When the man saw that the trick had been so often repeated, his anger was greater than ever. He gave vent to his feelings in words. He looked carefully around to see whether he could discover any tracks. But he could find none. His unknown visitor had stepped so lightly as to leave no track.

Next day he resolved to disappoint him by going to his beaver pond very early. When Wa-Dais-Ais-Imid reached the place, he found the fresh traces of his work, but he had already returned. He followed his tracks, but failed to overtake him. When he came in sight of the lodge the stranger was in front of it, employed in skinning his beavers. As he stood looking at him, he thought, I will let him see me. Presently the man, who proved to be no less a personage than Manabozho, looked up and saw him. After regarding him with attention, "Who are you, little man," said Manabozho. "I have a mind to kill you." The little hero of the shell replied, "If you were to try to kill me you could not do it."

When he returned home he told his sister that they must separate. "I must go away," said he, "it is my fate. You too," he added, "must go away soon. Tell me where you would wish to dwell." She said, "I would like to go to the place of the breaking of daylight. I have always loved the east. The earliest glimpses of light are from that quarter, and it is, to my mind, the most beautiful part of the heavens. After I get there, my brother, whenever you see the clouds in that direction of various colors, you may think that your sister is painting her face."

"And I," said he, "my sister, shall live on the mountains and rocks. There I can see you at the earliest hour, and there the streams of water are clear, and the air pure. And I shall ever be called Puck Wudj Ininee, or the little wild man of the mountains."

"But," he resumed, "before we part forever, I must go and try to find some Manitoes." He left her, and travelled over the surface of the globe, and then went far down into the earth. He had been treated well wherever he went. At last he found a giant Manito, who had a large kettle which was forever boiling. The giant regarded him with a stern look, and then took him up in his hand, and threw him unceremoniously into the kettle. But by the protection of his personal spirit, he was shielded from harm, and with much ado got out of it and escaped. He returned to his sister, and related his rovings and misadventures. He finished his story by addressing her thus: "My sister, there is a Manito, at each of the four corners of the earth.[45] There is also one above them, far in the sky; and last," continued he, "there is another, and wicked one, who lives deep down in the earth. We must now separate. When the winds blow from the four corners of the earth you must then go. They will carry you to the place you wish. I go to the rocks and mountains, where my kindred will ever delight to dwell." He then took his ball stick, and commenced running up a high mountain, whooping as he went. Presently the winds blew, and, as he predicted, his sister was borne by them to the eastern sky, where she has ever since been, and her name is the Morning Star.

Blow, winds, blow! my sister lingers For her dwelling in the sky, Where the morn, with rosy fingers, Shall her cheeks with vermil dye.

There, my earliest views directed, Shall from her their color take, And her smiles, through clouds reflected, Guide me on, by wood or lake.

While I range the highest mountains, Sport in valleys green and low, Or beside our Indian fountains Raise my tiny hip holla.

[45] The opinion that the earth is a square and level plain, and that the winds blow from its four corners, is a very ancient eastern opinion.





A lynx almost famished, met a hare one day in the woods, in the winter season, when food was very scarce. The hare, however, stood up on a rock, and was safe from its enemy.

"Wabose," said the lynx, in a very kind manner, "come here, my little white one,[46] I wish to talk to you."

"Oh no," replied the hare, "I am afraid of you, and my mother told me never to go and talk to strangers."

"You are very pretty," answered the lynx, "and a very obedient child to your parents, but you must know that I am a relative of yours. I wish to send some word to your lodge. Come down and see me."

The hare was pleased to be called pretty, and when she heard that it was a relative, she jumped down from the place where she stood, and was immediately torn in pieces by the lynx.[47]

[46] Such is the meaning of Wabose.

[47] Oneota.




An old man was sitting in his lodge, by the side of a frozen stream. It was the close of winter, and his fire was almost out. He appeared very old and very desolate. His locks were white with age, and he trembled in every joint. Day after day passed in solitude, and he heard nothing but the sounds of the tempest, sweeping before it the new-fallen snow.

One day, as his fire was just dying, a handsome young man approached and entered his dwelling. His cheeks were red with the blood of youth, his eyes sparkled with animation, and a smile played upon his lips. He walked with a light and quick step. His forehead was bound with a wreath of sweet grass, in place of a warrior's frontlet, and he carried a bunch of flowers in his hand.

"Ah, my son," said the old man, "I am happy to see you. Come in. Come, tell me of your adventures, and what strange lands you have been to see. Let us pass the night together. I will tell you of my prowess and exploits, and what I can perform. You shall do the same, and we will amuse ourselves."

He then drew from his sack a curiously-wrought antique pipe, and having filled it with tobacco, rendered mild by an admixture of certain leaves, handed it to his guest. When this ceremony was concluded they began to speak.

"I blow my breath," said the old man, "and the streams stand still. The water becomes stiff and hard as clear stone."

"I breathe," said the young man, "and flowers spring up all over the plains."

"I shake my locks," retorted the old man, "and snow covers the land. The leaves fall from the trees at my command, and my breath blows them away. The birds get up from the water, and fly to a distant land. The animals hide themselves from my breath, and the very ground becomes as hard as flint."

"I shake my ringlets," rejoined the young man, "and warm showers of soft rain fall upon the earth. The plants lift up their heads out of the earth, like the eyes of children glistening with delight. My voice recalls the birds. The warmth of my breath unlocks the streams. Music fills the groves wherever I walk, and all nature rejoices."

At length the sun began to rise. A gentle warmth came over the place. The tongue of the old man became silent. The robin and bluebird began to sing on the top of the lodge. The stream began to murmur by the door, and the fragrance of growing herbs and flowers came softly on the vernal breeze.

Daylight fully revealed to the young man the character of his entertainer. When he looked upon him, he had the icy visage of Peboan.[48] Streams began to flow from his eyes. As the sun increased, he grew less and less in stature, and anon had melted completely away. Nothing remained on the place of his lodge fire but the miskodeed,[49] a small white flower, with a pink border, which is one of the earliest species of northern plants.

[48] Winter.

[49] The Claytonia Virginica.





In times past, a poor Indian was living with his wife and children in a beautiful part of the country. He was not only poor, but inexpert in procuring food for his family, and his children were all too young to give him assistance. Although poor, he was a man of a kind and contented disposition. He was always thankful to the Great Spirit for everything he received. The same disposition was inherited by his eldest son, who had now arrived at the proper age to undertake the ceremony of the Ke-ig-uish-im-o-win, or fast, to see what kind of a spirit would be his guide and guardian through life. Wunzh, for this was his name, had been an obedient boy from his infancy, and was of a pensive, thoughtful, and mild disposition, so that he was beloved by the whole family. As soon as the first indications of spring appeared, they built him the customary little lodge at a retired spot, some distance from their own, where he would not be disturbed during this solemn rite. In the mean time he prepared himself, and immediately went into it, and commenced his fast. The first few days, he amused himself, in the mornings, by walking in the woods and over the mountains, examining the early plants and flowers, and in this way prepared himself to enjoy his sleep, and, at the same time, stored his mind with pleasant ideas for his dreams. While he rambled through the woods, he felt a strong desire to know how the plants, herbs, and berries grew, without any aid from man, and why it was that some species were good to eat, and others possessed medicinal or poisonous juices. He recalled these thoughts to mind after he became too languid to walk about, and had confined himself strictly to the lodge; he wished he could dream of something that would prove a benefit to his father and family, and to all others. "True!" he thought, "the Great Spirit made all things, and it is to him that we owe our lives. But could he not make it easier for us to get our food, than by hunting animals and taking fish? I must try to find out this in my visions."

On the third day he became weak and faint, and kept his bed. He fancied, while thus lying, that he saw a handsome young man coming down from the sky and advancing towards him. He was richly and gayly dressed, having on a great many garments of green and yellow colors, but differing in their deeper or lighter shades. He had a plume of waving feathers on his head, and all his motions were graceful.

"I am sent to you, my friend," said the celestial visitor, "by that Great Spirit who made all things in the sky and on the earth. He has seen and knows your motives in fasting. He sees that it is from a kind and benevolent wish to do good to your people, and to procure a benefit for them, and that you do not seek for strength in war or the praise of warriors. I am sent to instruct you, and show you how you can do your kindred good." He then told the young man to arise, and prepare to wrestle with him, as it was only by this means that he could hope to succeed in his wishes. Wunzh knew he was weak from fasting, but he felt his courage rising in his heart, and immediately got up, determined to die rather than fail. He commenced the trial, and after a protracted effort, was almost exhausted, when the beautiful stranger said, "My friend, it is enough for once; I will come again to try you;" and, smiling on him, he ascended in the air in the same direction from which he came. The next day the celestial visitor reappeared at the same hour and renewed the trial. Wunzh felt that his strength was even less than the day before, but the courage of his mind seemed to increase in proportion as his body became weaker. Seeing this, the stranger again spoke to him in the same words he used before, adding, "Tomorrow will be your last trial. Be strong, my friend, for this is the only way you can overcome me, and obtain the boon you seek." On the third day he again appeared at the same time and renewed the struggle. The poor youth was very faint in body, but grew stronger in mind at every contest, and was determined to prevail or perish in the attempt. He exerted his utmost powers, and after the contest had been continued the usual time, the stranger ceased his efforts and declared himself conquered. For the first time he entered the lodge, and sitting down beside the youth, he began to deliver his instructions to him, telling him in what manner he should proceed to take advantage of his victory.

"You have won your desires of the Great Spirit," said the stranger. "You have wrestled manfully. To-morrow will be the seventh day of your fasting. Your father will give you food to strengthen you, and as it is the last day of trial, you will prevail. I know this, and now tell you what you must do to benefit your family and your tribe. To-morrow," he repeated, "I shall meet you and wrestle with you for the last time; and, as soon as you have prevailed against me, you will strip off my garments and throw me down, clean the earth of roots and weeds, make it soft, and bury me in the spot. When you have done this, leave my body in the earth, and do not disturb it, but come occasionally to visit the place, to see whether I have come to life, and be careful never to let the grass or weeds grow on my grave. Once a month cover me with fresh earth. If you follow my instructions, you will accomplish your object of doing good to your fellow-creatures by teaching them the knowledge I now teach you." He then shook him by the hand and disappeared.

In the morning the youth's father came with some slight refreshments, saying, "My son, you have fasted long enough. If the Great Spirit will favor you, he will do it now. It is seven days since you have tasted food, and you must not sacrifice your life. The Master of Life does not require that." "My father," replied the youth, "wait till the sun goes down. I have a particular reason for extending my fast to that hour." "Very well," said the old man, "I shall wait till the hour arrives, and you feel inclined to eat."

At the usual hour of the day the sky-visitor returned, and the trial of strength was renewed. Although the youth had not availed himself of his father's offer of food, he felt that new strength had been given to him, and that exertion had renewed his strength and fortified his courage. He grasped his angelic antagonist with supernatural strength, threw him down, took from him his beautiful garments and plume, and finding him dead, immediately buried him on the spot, taking all the precautions he had been told of, and being very confident, at the same time, that his friend would again come to life. He then returned to his father's lodge, and partook sparingly of the meal that had been prepared for him. But he never for a moment forgot the grave of his friend. He carefully visited it throughout the spring, and weeded out the grass, and kept the ground in a soft and pliant state. Very soon he saw the tops of the green plumes coming through the ground; and the more careful he was to obey his instructions in keeping the ground in order, the faster they grew. He was, however, careful to conceal the exploit from his father. Days and weeks had passed in this way. The summer was now drawing towards a close, when one day, after a long absence in hunting, Wunzh invited his father to follow him to the quiet and lonesome spot of his former fast. The lodge had been removed, and the weeds kept from growing on the circle where it stood, but in its place stood a tall and graceful plant, with bright-colored silken hair, surmounted with nodding plumes and stately leaves, and golden clusters on each side. "It is my friend," shouted the lad; "it is the friend of all mankind. It is Mondawmin.[50] We need no longer rely on hunting alone; for, as long as this gift is cherished and taken care of, the ground itself will give us a living." He then pulled an ear. "See, my father," said he, "this is what I fasted for. The great Spirit has listened to my voice, and sent us something new,[51] and henceforth our people will not alone depend upon the chase or upon the waters."

He then communicated to his father the instructions given him by the stranger. He told him that the broad husks must be torn away, as he had pulled off the garments in his wrestling; and having done this, directed him how the ear must be held before the fire till the outer skin became brown, while all the milk was retained in the grain. The whole family then united in a feast on the newly-grown ears, expressing gratitude to the Merciful Spirit who gave it. So corn came into the world.

[50] The Algic name for corn. The word is manifestly a trinary compound from monedo, spirit; min, a grain or berry; and iaw, the verb substantive.

[51] The Zea mays, it will be recollected, is indigenous to America, and was unknown in Europe before 1495.





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

A person appeared to him from the upper sky, and said, "My poor little lad, I pity you, and the bad usage you have received from your uncle has led me to visit you: follow me, and step in my tracks." Immediately his sleep left him, and he rose up and followed his guide, mounting up higher and higher into the air, until he reached the upper sky. Here twelve arrows were put into his hands, and he was told that there were a great many manitoes in the northern sky, against whom he must go to war, and try to waylay and shoot them. Accordingly he went to that part of the sky, and, at long intervals, shot arrow after arrow, until he had expended eleven, in vain attempt to kill the manitoes. At the flight of each arrow, there was a long and solitary streak of lightning in the sky—then all was clear again, and not a cloud or spot could be seen. The twelfth arrow he held a long time in his hands, and looked around keenly on every side to spy the manitoes he was after. But these manitoes were very cunning, and could change their form in a moment. All they feared was the boy's arrows, for these were magic arrows, which had been given to him by a good spirit, and had power to kill them, if aimed aright. At length, the boy drew up his last arrow, settled in his aim, and let fly, as he thought, into the very heart of the chief of the manitoes; but before the arrow reached him, the manito changed himself into a rock. Into this rock, the head of the arrow sank deep and stuck fast.

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