Two Indian Children Of Long Ago Part 6

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BLACK WOLF TELLS A STORY

The boys were practicing with their bows and arrows. After a few trials, in which little skill was shown, Swift Elk threw down his bow.

"I'm tired of shooting," he said. "Come on, boys, let's go to the lake for a swim."

Black Wolf, the oldest warrior of the tribe, was sitting on the ground near by, watching the sport.

"Do not give up," said the old man. "You are a big boy now. Only by skill in shooting can you become a brave warrior. Let no one know you are tired or weak. Remember the boy who was changed to the lone lightning of the North."



"Tell us the story," Swift Elk begged. "Then we will practice again and do our best."

The boys threw themselves on the ground near Black Wolf, and he began the story.

"There was once a little boy who had no one to care for him. His father had been killed in war, and his mother taken captive by the enemy.

"Minno, the lonely boy, lived in his uncle's wigwam, but he was not wanted there. He had hard work to do and very little to eat.

"He was too weak to join the rough games of his playmates, and he did not become skillful with his bow and arrows like the other boys of the tribe.

"At last he became so thin from hunger that the uncle feared his cruel treatment would become known.

"So he told his wife to feed the boy with bear's meat. 'Give him plenty of fat,' he ordered. 'Cram him with bear's fat.' It was now the uncle's plan to kill the boy by overfeeding.

"One day when Minno had been nearly choked with fat meat, he ran away.

He wandered about in the woods, and when night came he was afraid of the wild beasts. So he climbed into a tall tree and fell asleep in the branches.

"In his dreams a person came to him from the upper sky and said: 'My poor little lad, I pity you. Follow me, and be sure to step in my tracks.'

"So the lad arose and followed his guide up, up, into the upper sky.

There he was given twelve magic arrows and told to shoot the manitoes of the North.

"'They are the evil spirits of the air,' said his guide. 'You must go to war against them. I have given you magic arrows that will kill them if your aim is true.'

"The boy placed an arrow with great care, but failed to kill a manito.

One, two, three, four, five, six arrows had left his bow, each leaving behind it a long streak of lightning. But not one had reached its mark.

"Carefully he aimed; seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven. Alas! his skill was not equal to his task.

[Ill.u.s.tration]

"Long he held the twelfth arrow. He looked around on every side. The evil spirits had wonderful power, and they could change their forms in a moment.

"The boy let his last arrow fly toward the heart of the chief of the manitoes. But the evil spirit saw it coming and changed himself into a rock.

"'How dare you try to kill me!' cried the angry manito. 'Now you shall suffer. You shall evermore be like the trail of your arrow.'

"And he changed the boy into the lone lightning which you so often see, my children, in the northern sky."

"I wish I could shoot as well as I can run," Swift Elk said. "It is easy to win in the races, but I can never beat in a shooting match."

"You can if you will practice more than the other boys. You remember how the crane beat the humming bird in a race."

"Tell us about it, tell us," begged all the boys. "Then we will shoot our arrows all day long until the sun hides his face."

The old man was silent for a time. Then he said, "I will tell you just one more story. And you shall keep your word and practice until the darkness creeps over the earth."

THE RACE BETWEEN THE CRANE AND THE HUMMING BIRD

[Ill.u.s.tration]

The crane dared the humming bird to a race. The humming bird was as swift as an arrow, but the crane flew slowly.

At the word they both started. The humming bird was far ahead and he stopped to roost on a limb; but the crane flew all night.

The humming bird woke in the morning, thinking it would be no trouble to win the race. He was very much surprised when he pa.s.sed the crane spearing fish for his breakfast!

"How did the Slow One get ahead?" he thought. "I must start earlier in the morning." He flew swiftly until dusk, when he stopped to roost on a tree.

The crane flew all night. Before morning he was again ahead, and he had finished his breakfast when the Swift One pa.s.sed him.

"This is indeed strange," thought the humming bird. "But I can fly a little faster, and it will be no trouble to win." So he stopped again, far ahead, to take his usual sleep.

The crane flew all night, as usual. He pa.s.sed the sleeping humming bird at midnight and was well on his way before he was overtaken. The humming bird flew as long as he could see, and before midnight he was again ahead.

Each night the humming bird slept. Each night the crane flew. "Gaining a little; gaining a little!" he said to himself.

Later and later in the day did the Swift One pa.s.s the Slow One.

Earlier and earlier in the night did the Slow One pa.s.s the Swift One.

On the last day of the race the crane was a night's travel ahead. He took his time at breakfast. The humming bird pa.s.sed him at sundown and stopped to sleep.

The next morning the humming bird flew like the wind and reached the goal early in the day. But there stood the heavy crane waiting, for he had flown all night!

HUNTING WILD DUCKS

Swift Elk had sharpened his arrows and taken his strongest bow from the wooden peg over his bed.

"I have seen wild ducks flying by the lake," he said. "I am going to hide in the long gra.s.s and watch for them. If they come again, they shall feel my arrows. To-night we eat roast duck."

Two Indian Children Of Long Ago Part 6

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Two Indian Children Of Long Ago Part 6 summary

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