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INDIAN WHY STORIES



HOW THE MAN FOUND HIS MATE

Each tribe has its own stories. Most of
them deal with the same subjects, differing
only in immaterial particulars.

Instead of squirrels in the timber, the Black-
feet are sure they were prairie-dogs that OLD-
man roasted that time when he made the
mountain-lion long and lean. The Chippewas
and Crees insist that they were squirrels that
were cooked and eaten, but one tribe is essen-
tially a forest-people and the other lives on
the plains--hence the difference.

Some tribes will not wear the feathers of the
owl, nor will they have anything to do with
that bird, while others use his feathers freely.

The forest Indian wears the soft-soled moc-
casin, while his brother of the plains covers the
bottoms of his footwear with rawhide, because
of the cactus and prickly-pear, most likely.

The door of the lodge of the forest Indian
reaches to the ground, but the plains Indian
makes his lodge skin to reach all about the cir-
cle at the bottom, because of the wind.

One night in War Eagle's lodge, Other-
person asked: "Why don't the Bear have a
tail, grandfather?"

War Eagle laughed and said: "Our people
do not know why, but we believe he was made
that way at the beginning, although I have
heard men of other tribes say that the Bear
lost his tail while fishing.

"I don't know how true it is, but I have been
told that a long time ago the Bear was fishing
in the winter, and the Fox asked him if he had
any luck.

"'No,' replied the Bear, 'I can't catch a
fish.'

"'Well,' said the Fox, 'if you will stick your
long tail down through this hole in the ice,
and sit very still, I am sure you will catch a
fish.'

"So the Bear stuck his tail through the hole
in the ice, and the Fox told him to sit still, till
he called him; then the Fox went off, pretending
to hunt along the bank. It was mighty cold
weather, and the water froze all about the
Bear's tail, yet he sat still, waiting for the Fox
to call him. Yes, the Bear sat so still and so
long that his tail was frozen in the ice, but he
didn't know it. When the Fox thought it was
time, he called:

"'Hey, Bear, come here quick--quick! I
have a Rabbit in this hole, and I want you to
help me dig him out.' Ho! The Bear tried
to get up, but he couldn't.

"'Hey, Bear, come here--there are two
Rabbits in this hole,' called the Fox.

"The Bear pulled so hard to get away from
the ice, that he broke his tail off short to his
body. Then the Fox ran away laughing at the
Bear.

"I hardly believe that story, but once I
heard an old man who visited my father from
the country far east of here, tell it. I remem-
bered it. But I can't say that I know it is
true, as I can the others.

"When I told you the story of how OLD-man
made the world over, after the water had made
its war upon it, I told you how the first man
and woman were made. There is another
story of how the first man found his wife, and
I will tell you that.

"After OLD-man had made a man to look
like himself, he left him to live with the Wolves,
and went away. The man had a hard time of
it, with no clothes to keep him warm, and no
wife to help him, so he went out looking for
OLD-man.

"It took the man a long time to find OLD-
man's lodge, but as soon as he got there he
went right in and said:

"'OLD-man, you have made me and left me
to live with the Wolf-people. I don't like
them at all. They give me scraps of meat to
eat and won't build a fire. They have wives,
but I don't want a Wolf-woman. I think you
should take better care of me.'

"'Well,' replied OLD-man, 'I was just waiting
for you to come to see me. I have things fixed
for you. You go down this river until you come
to a steep hillside. There you will see a lodge.
Then I will leave you to do the rest. Go!'

"The man started and travelled all that
day. When night came he camped and ate
some berries that grew near the river. The
next morning he started down the river again,
looking for the steep hillside and the lodge.
Just before sundown, the man saw a fine lodge
near a steep hillside, and he knew that was
the lodge he was looking for; so he crossed the
river and went into the lodge.

"Sitting by the fire inside, was a woman.
She was dressed in buckskin clothes, and was
cooking some meat that smelled good to the
man, but when she saw him without any
clothes, she pushed him out of the lodge, and
dropped the door.

"Things didn't look very good to that man,
I tell you, but to get even with the woman, he
went up on the steep hillside and commenced
to roll big rocks down upon her lodge. He kept
this up until one of the largest rocks knocked
down the lodge, and the woman ran out, crying.

"When the man heard the woman crying,
it made him sorry and he ran down the hill to
her. She sat down on the ground, and the
man ran to where she was and said:

"'I am sorry I made you cry, woman. I will
help you fix your lodge. I will stay with you,
if you will only let me.'

"That pleased the woman, and she showed
the man how to fix up the lodge and gather
some wood for the fire. Then she let him come
inside and eat. Finally, she made him some clothes,
and they got along very well, after that.

"That is how the man found his wife--Ho!"

 


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