WHY THE DIVER DUCK HAS SO FEW TAIL FEATHERS
Adapted from H. R. Schoolcraft
HAVING overcome the powerful Pearl Feather, killed his serpents
escaped all is wiles and charms, the heart of Manabozho welled
him. An unconquerable desire for further adventures seized upon
He had won in a great fight on land, so he determined -his next
should come to him from the water.
He tried his luck as a fisherman and with such success that he
an enormous fish, a fish so -rich in fat that with the oil Manabozho
was able to -form a small lake. Wishing to be generous, and at
same time having a cunning plan of his own, he invited all the
and beasts of his acquaintance to come and feast upon the oil,
them that the order in which they partook of the banquet -would
how fat each was to be for all time to -come.
As fast as they arrived he told them to plunge in and help themselves.
The first to make his appearance was the bear, -who took a long
steady draft; then came the deer, the opossum, and such others
family as are noted for their comfortable covering. The moose
buffalo were late in arriving on the scene, and the partridge,
lean in flesh, looked on till the supply was nearly gone. There
not -a drop left by the time the hare and the marten appeared
shore of the lake, and they are, in consequence, the slenderest
When this ceremony was over Manabozho suggested to his friends,
assembled birds and animals, that the occasion was proper for
merrymaking; and taking up his drum he cried out:
"New songs from the South! Come, brothers, dance!"
They all fell in and commenced their rounds. Whenever Manabozho,
stood in the circle, saw a fat fowl which he fancied pass him,
adroitly wrung its neck and slipped it under his belt, at the
beating his drum and singing at the top of his lungs to drown
of the fluttering, crying out in a tone of admiration:
"That's the way, my brothers; that's the way." At last
a small duck of
the diver family, thinking there was something wrong, opened one
and saw what Manabozho was doing. Giving a spring, and crying:
a! Manabozho is killing us!" he made a dash for the water.
Manabozho was so angry that the creature should have played the
that he gave chase, and just as the Diver Duck was getting into
water he gave him a kick, which is the reason that the diver's
feathers are few, his back flattened, and his legs straightened
that when he is seen walking on land he makes a sorry looking
The other birds, having no ambition to be thrust in Manabozho's
flew off, and the animals scampered into the woods.