THE INDIAN WHO LOST HIS WIFE
Retold by Andrew Lang
ONCE upon a time there was a man and his wife who lived in the
far from the rest of the tribe. Very often they spent the day
hunting together, but after awhile the wife found that she had
things to do that she was obliged to stay at home; so he went
though he found that when his wife was not with him he never had
luck. One day, when he was away hunting, the woman fell ill, and
few days she died. Her husband grieved bitterly and buried her
house where she had passed her life; but as the time went on he
lonely without her that he made a wooden doll about her height
size for company and dressed it in her clothes. He seated it in
of the fire and tried to think he had his wife back again. The
day he went out to hunt, and when he came home the first thing
was to go up to the doll and brush off some of the ashes from
which had fallen on its face. But he was very busy now, for he
cook and mend, besides getting food, for there was no one to help
And so a whole year passed away.
At the end of that time he came back from hunting one night and
some wood by the door and a fire within. The next night there
only wood and fire, but a piece of meat in the kettle, nearly
eating. He searched all about to see who could have done this,
could find no one. The next time he went to hunt he took care
go far and came in quite early. And while he was still a long
he saw a woman going into the house with wood on her shoulders.
made haste and opened the door quickly, and instead of the wooden
his wife sat in front of the fire. Then she spoke to him and said:
"The Great Spirit felt sorry for you because you would not
comforted, so he let me come back to you, but you must not stretch
your hand to touch me till we have seen the rest of our people.
do I shall die."
So the man listened to her words, and the woman dwelt there and
the wood and kindled the fire, till one day her husband said to
"It is now two years since you died. Let us now go back
to our tribe.
Then you will be well and I can touch you."
And with that he prepared food for the journey, a string of deer's
flesh for her to carry and one for himself; and so they started.
the camp of the tribe was distant six days' journey, and when
yet one day's journey off it began to snow, and they felt weary
longed for rest. Therefore they made a fire, cooked some food,
spread out their skins to sleep.
Then the heart of the man was greatly stirred and he stretched
arms to his wife, but she waved her hands and said:
"We have seen no one yet. It is too soon."
But he would not listen to her and caught her to him, and behold!
was clasping the wooden doll. And when he saw it was the doll
pushed it from him in his misery and rushed away to the camp and
them all his story. And some doubted, and they went back with
the place where he and his wife had stopped to rest, and there
doll, and besides, they saw in time snow the steps of two people,
the foot of one was like the foot of the doll. And the man grieved
sore all the days of his life.