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THE JUNIOR CLASSICS

 

MANAIBOZHO IS CHANGED INTO AWOLF

Adapted from H. R. Schoolcraft

ONE evening, as Manabozho was walking along the shore of a great lake,
weary and hungry, he met a great magician in the form of an Old Wolf,
with six young ones, coming toward him.

The Wolf no Sooner caught sight of him than he told his whelps, who
were close beside him, to keep out of the way of Manabozho, "For I
know," he said, "that it is that mischievous fellow whom we see
yonder."

The young wolves were in the act of running off when Manabozho cried
out, "My grandchildren, where are you going? Stop and I will go with
you. I wish to have a little chat with your excellent father."

Saying which, he advanced and greeted the Old Wolf, expressing himself
as delighted at seeing him looking so well. "Whither do you journey?"
he asked.

"We are looking for a good hunting-ground to pass the winter," the Old
Wolf answered. "What brings you here?"

'I was looking for you," said Manabozho. "For I have a passion for the
chase, brother. I always admired your family; are you willing to
change me into a wolf?"

The Wolf gave him a favorable answer, and he was forthwith changed into
a wolf.

"Well, that will do," said Manabozho. "But," he said, looking at his
tail, "could you oblige me by making my tail a little longer and more
bushy, just a little more bushy?"

"Certainly," said the Old Wolf; and he straightway gave Manabozho such
a length and spread of tail that it was continually getting between his
legs, and it was so heavy that it was as much as he could do to carry
it. But, having asked for it, he was ashamed to say a word, and they
all started off in company, dashing up the ravine.

After getting into the woods for some distance they ran across the
tracks of moose. The young ones scampered off in pursuit, the Old Wolf
and Manabozho following at their leisure.

"Well," said the Old Wolf, by way of starting the conversation, "who do
you think is the fastest of the boys? Can you tell by the jumps they
take?"

"Why," he replied, "that one that takes such 'long jumps, he is surely
the fastest."

"Ha! ha! you are mistaken," said the Old Wolf. "He makes a good start,
but he will be the first to tire out; this one who appears to be behind
will be the one to kill the game."

By this time they had come to the spot where the boys had started in
chase. One had dropped what seemed to be a small medicine-sack, which
he carried for the use of the hunting party.

"Take that, Manabozho," said the Old Wolf.

"Why, what will I do with a dirty dog skin?"

The Old Wolf took it up; it was a beautiful robe.

"Oh, I will carry it now," cried Manabozho.

"Oh, no," said the Wolf, who had used his magical powers, "it is a robe
of pearls. Come along!" And away he sped at a great rate of speed.

"Not so fast," called Manabozho after him; and then he added to himself
as he panted after, "Oh, this tail!"

Coming to a place where the moose had lain down, they saw that the
young wolves had made a fresh start after their prey. "'Why," said the
Old Wolf, "this moose is thin. I know by the tracks. I can always
tell whether they are fat or not." A little farther on, one of the
young wolves, in dashing at the moose, had broken a tooth on a tree.

"Manabozho," said the Old Wolf, "one of your grandchildren has shot at
the game. Take his arrow; there it is."

"No," replied Manabozho, "what will I do with a dirty dog's tooth?"

The Old Wolf took it up, and behold it was a beautiful silver arrow.

When they at last overtook them, they found that the youngsters had
killed a very fat moose. Manabozho was very hungry, but the Old Wolf
just then again exerted his magical powers, and Manabozho saw nothing
but the bones picked quite clean. He thought to himself, "Just as I
expected; dirty, greedy fellows. If it had not been for this log at my
back I should have been in time to have got a mouthful"; and he cursed
the bushy tail which he carried to the bottom of his heart.

The Old Wolf finally called out to one of the young ones, "Give some
meat to your grandfather."

One of them obeyed, and coming near to Manabozho he presented him the
end of his own bushy tail, which was now nicely seasoned with burs
gathered in the course of the hunt. Manabozho jumped up and called
out: "You dog, do you think I am going to eat you?" And he walked off
in anger.

"Come back brother," cried the Wolf. "You are losing your eyes. You
do the child injustice. Look there I" and behold a heap of fresh meat
was lying on the spot, all prepared.

Manabozho turned back, and at the sight of so much good food put on a
smiling face. "Wonderful!" he said, "how fine the meat is !"

"Yes," replied the Old Wolf, "it is always so with us; we know our work
and always get the best. It is not a long tail that makes the hunter."

Manabozho bit his lip.



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