THE JUNIOR CLASSICS
SELECTED AND ARRANGED BY
WILLIAM PATTEN, MANAGING EDITOR OF THE HARVARD CLASSICS
INTRODUCTION BY CHARLES W. ELIOT, LL.D., PRESIDENT EMERITUS OF HARVARD UNIVERSITY
WITH A READING GUIDE BY WILLIAM ALLAN NEILSON, Ph. D., PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH, HARVARD UNIVERSITY, PRESIDENT SMITH COLLEGE, NORTHAMPTON, MASS., SINCE 1917
Fairy and Wonder Tales
The purpose of The Junior Classics is to provide, in ten volumes containing about five thousand pages, a classified collection of tales, stories, and poems, both ancient and modern, suitable for boys and girls of from six to sixteen years of age. Thoughtful parents and teachers, who realize the evils of indiscriminate reading on the part of children, will appreciate the educational value of such a collection. A child’s taste in reading is formed, as a rule, in the first ten or twelve years of its life, and experience has shown that the childish mind will prefer good literature to any other, if access to it is made easy, and will develop far better on literature of proved merit than on trivial or transitory material.
The boy or girl who becomes familiar with the charming tales and poems in this collection will have gained a knowledge of literature and history that will be of high value in other school and home work. Here are the real elements of imaginative narration, poetry, and ethics, which should enter into the education of every English-speaking child.
This collection, carefully used by parents and teachers with due reference to individual tastes and needs, will make many children enjoy good literature. It will inspire them with a love of good reading, which is the best possible result of any elementary education. The child himself should be encouraged to make his own selections from this large and varied collection, the child’s enjoyment being the object in view. A real and lasting interest in literature or in scholarship is only to be developed through the individual’s enjoyment of his mental occupations.
The most important change which has been made in American schools and colleges within my memory is the substitution of leading for driving, of inspiration for drill, of personal interest and love of work for compulsion and fear. The schools are learning to use methods and materials which interest and attract the children themselves. The Junior Classics will put into the home the means of using this happy method.
Committing to memory beautiful pieces of literature, either prose or poetry, for recitation before a friendly audience, acting charades or plays, and reading aloud with vivacity and sympathetic emotion, are good means of instruction at home or at school This collection contains numerous admirable pieces of literature for such use. In teaching English and English literature we should place more reliance upon processes and acts which awaken emotion, stimulate interest, prove to be enjoyable for the actors, and result in giving children the power of entertaining people, of blessing others with noble pleasures which the children create and share.
>From the home training during childhood there should result in the child a taste for interesting and improving reading which will direct and inspire its subsequent intellectual life. The training which results in this taste for good reading, however unsystematic or eccentric it may have been, has achieved one principal aim of education; and any school or home training which does not result in implanting this permanent taste has failed in a very important respect. Guided and animated by this impulse to acquire knowledge and exercise the imagination through good reading, the adult will continue to educate him all through life.
The story of the human race through all its slow development should be gradually conveyed to the child’s mind from the time he begins to read, or to listen to his mother reading; and with description of facts and actual events should be mingled charming and uplifting products of the imagination. To try to feed the minds of children upon facts alone is undesirable and unwise. The immense product of the imagination in art and literature is a concrete fact with which every educated human being should be made somewhat familiar, that product being a very real part of every individual’s actual environment.
The right selection of reading matter for children is obviously of high importance. Some of the mythologies, Old Testament stories, fairy tales, and historical romances, on which earlier generations were accustomed to feed the childish mind, contain a great deal that is barbarous, perverse, or cruel; and to this infiltration into children’s minds, generation after generation, of immoral, cruel, or foolish ideas is probably to be attributed in part the slow ethical progress of the race. The commonest justification of this thoughtless practice is that children do not apprehend the evil in the bad mental pictures with which we foolishly supply them; but what should we think of a mother who gave her children dirty milk or porridge, on the theory that the children would not assimilate the dirt? Should we be less careful about mental and moral food materials? The Junior Classics have been selected with this principle in mind, without losing sight of the fact that every developing human being needs to have a vision of the rough and thorny road over which the human race has been slowly advancing during thousands of years.
Whoever has committed to memory in childhood such Bible extracts as Genesis i, the Ten Commandments, Psalm xxiii, Matthew v, 8-12, The Lord’s Prayer, and I Corinthians xiii, such English prose as Lincoln’s Gettysburg speech, Bacon’s “Essay on Truth,” and such poems as Bryant’s “Waterfowl,” Addison’s “Divine Ode,” Milton’s Sonnet on his Blindness, Wotton’s “How happy is he born or taught,” Emerson’s “Rhodora,” Holmes’s “Chambered Nautilus,” and Gray’s Elegy, and has stamped them on his brain by frequent repetition, will have set up in his mind high standards of noble thought and feeling, true patriotism, and pure religion. He will also have laid in an invaluable store of good English.
While the majority of the tales and poems are intended for children who have begun to do their own reading, there will be found in every volume selections fit for reading aloud to younger children. Throughout the collection the authors tell the stories in their own words; so that the salt which gave them savor is preserved. There are some condensations however, such as any good teller of borrowed stories would make; but as a rule condensation has been applied only in the case of long works which otherwise could not have been included. The notes which precede the condensations supply explanations, and answer questions which experience has shown boys and girls are apt to ask about the works condensed or their authors.
The Junior Classics constitute a set of books whose contents will delight children and at the same time satisfy the legitimate ethical requirements of those who have the children’s best interests at heart.
Charles W. Eliot
Notices of copyright on material used in these volumes appear on the back of the title pages of the particular volumes in which the stories are printed. A complete list of acknowledgments to authors and publishers, for their kind permission to use copyrighted material, is given on pages 3 to 6 of Volume Ten.
INTRODUCTION Charles, W. Eliot
PREFACE William Patten
TALES OF THE AMERICAN INDIANS
Manabozho H. R. Schoolcraft
The Woodpecker H. R. Schoolcraft
Why the Diver Duck Has So Few Tail Feathers H. R. Schoolcraft
Manabozho Changed to Wolf H. R. Schoolcraft
Manabozho is Robbed H. R. Schoolcraft
Manabozho and the Woodpeckers H. R. Schoolcraft
The Boy and the Wolves Andrew Lang
The Indian Who Lost His Wife Andrew Lang
TALES FROM INDIA
Punchkin E. Frere
The Sun, Moon and Wind E. Frere
Why the Fish Laughed Joseph Jacob
The Farmer and Money Lender Joseph Jacob
Pride Goeth Before a Fall Joseph Jacob
The Wicked Sons Joseph Jacob
Tiger, Brahman, and Jackal Flora Annie Steel
The Lambikin Flora Annie Steel
The Rat’s Wedding Flora Annie Steel
The Jackal and the Partridge Flora Annie Steel
The Jackal and the Crocodile Flora Annie Steel
The Jackal and the Iguana Flora Annie Steel
The Bear’s Bad Bargain Flora Annie Steel
The Thief and the Fox Ramaswami Raju
The Farmer and the Fox Ramaswami Raju
The Fools and the Drum Ramaswami Raju
The Lion and the Goat Ramaswami Raju
The Glowworm and Jackdaw Ramaswami Raju
The Camel and the Pig Ramaswami Raju
The Dog and the Dog Dealer Ramaswami Raju
The Tiger, Fox, and Hunters Ramaswami Raju
The Sea, the Fox, and the Wolf Ramaswami Raju
The Fox in the Well Ramaswami Raju
TALES FROM THE NORSELAND
Ashiepattle P. C. Asbjörnsen
The Squire’s Bride P. C. Asbjörnsen
The Doll in the Grass P. C. Asbjörnsen
The Bear and the Fox P. C. Asbjörnsen
The Lad Who Went to the North Wind Sir George W. Dasent
The Husband Who Was to Mind the House Sir George W. Dasent
How One Went Out to Woo Sir George W. Dasent
Why the Bear is Stumpy-Tailed Sir George W. Dasent
Boots and the Princess Sir George W. Dasent
The Witch in the Stone Boat Andrew Lang
TALES FROM FRANCE, SPAIN, AND POLAND
The Snuffbox Paul Sébillot
The Golden Blackbird Paul Sébillot
The Half-Chick Andrew Lang
The Three Brothers Hermann R. Kletke
The Glass Mountain Hermann R. Kletke
TALES FROM RUSSIA
Huntsman the Unlucky John T. Naaké
Story of Little Simpleton John T. Naaké
The Golden Fish Lillian M. Gask
TALES FROM SERBIA
The Wonderful Hair W.S. Karajich
The Language of Animals W.S. Karajich
The Emperor Trojan’s Ears W.S. Karajich
The Maiden Who Was Wiser Than the King W.S. Karajich
AN IRISH TALE
The Three Sons Lady Gregory
TALES FROM CHINA AND JAPAN
Hok Lee and the Dwarfs Andrew Lang
A Dreadful Boar Adele M. Fielde
The Five Queer Brothers Adele M. Fielde
The Accomplished Teakettle A.B. Mitford
Adventures of Little Peachling A.B. Mitford
A TALE FROM NEW GUINEA
The Two Lizards Annie Ker
A TALE FROM JAMAICA
De King and De Peafowl Mary P. Milne-Horne
SOME OLD FAVORITES
Hansel and Grethel W. and J. Grimm
Thumbling W. and J. Grimm
The Six Swans W. and J. Grimm
Snow-White and Rose-Red W. and J. Grimm
The Ugly Duckling Hans C. Andersen
The Tinder-Box Hans C. Andersen
The Constant Tin Soldier Hans C. Andersen
The Fir Tree Hans C. Andersen
The Flying Trunk Hans C. Andersen
The Darning Needle Hans C. Andersen
Pen and Inkstand Hans C. Andersen
Cinderella Miss Mulock
Little Red Riding-Hood Charles Perrault
The Story of the Three Bears Robert Southey
Puss in Boots Charles Perrault
Jack the Giant-Killer Joseph Jacobs
Tom Thumb Joseph Jacobs
Blue Beard Charles Perrault
The Brave Little Tailor Anonymous
The Sleeping Beauty Charles Perrault
The Fair One With Golden Locks Miss Mulock
Beauty and the Beast Mme. d’AuLnoy
Jack and the Beanstalk Anonymous
Hop-o’-My-Thumb Joseph Jacobs
The Goose-Girl Anonymous
He Who Knew Not Fear Anonymous
THE FABLES OF AESOP
The Town Mouse and the
Country Mouse Aesop
The Man, Boy, and Donkey Aesop
The Shepherd’s Boy Aesop
The Fox and the Stork Aesop
The Crow and the Pitcher Aesop
The Frogs Desiring a King Aesop
The Frog and the Ox Aesop
The Cock and the Pearl Aesop
The Fox Without a Tail Aesop
The Fox and the Cat Aesop
The Dog in the Manger Aesop
The Fox and the Goat Aesop
Belling the Cat Aesop
The Jay and the Peacock Aesop
The Ass and the Lap-Dog Aesop
The Ant and the Grasshopper Aesop
The Woodman and the Serpent Aesop
The Milkmaid and Her Pail Aesop
The Lion and the Mouse Aesop
Hercules and the Waggoner Aesop
The Lion’s Share Aesop
The Fox and the Crow Aesop
The Dog and the Shadow Aesop
The Wolf and the Lamb Aesop
The Bat, Birds, and Beasts Aesop
The Belly and the Members Aesop
The Fox and the Grapes Aesop
The Swallow and the Birds Aesop
HE OFTEN TREMBLED AT WHAT HE HEARD AND SAW, Manabozho the Mischief- Maker, Frontispiece illustration in color from the painting by Dan Sayre Groesbeck
WHILE THEY WERE STUPIDLY STARING, THE KETTLE BEGAN FLYING ABOUT THE ROOM, The Accomplished and Lucky Teakettle, From the painting by Warwick Goble
A VERY OLD WOMAN, WALKING UPON CRUTCHES, CAME OUT, Hansel and Grethel, >From the painting by Arthur Rackham
THEN BLUE BEARD BAWLED OUT SO LOUD THAT HE MADE THE WHOLE HOUSE TREMBLE, Blue Beard, From the painting by Edmund Dulac
BEING INFORMED OF EVERYTHING BY A LITTLE DWARF WHO WORE SEVEN-LEAGUE BOOTS, Sleeping Beauty, From the painting by Edmund Dulac
THERE are some things in this world we can get along without, but, the experience of many thousand years has shown us that the fairy tale is not one of them. There must have been fairy tales (or fables, or folk tales, or myths, or whatever name we choose to give them) ever since the world began. They are not exclusively French, German, Greek, Russian, Indian or Chinese, but are the common property of the whole human family and are as universal as human speech.
All the world over, fairy tales are found to be pretty much the same. The story of Cinderella is found in all countries. Japan has a Rip Van Winkle, China has a Beauty and the Beast, Egypt has a Puss in Boots, and Persia has a Jack and the Beanstalk.
Those wise people who have made a careful study of literature, and especially of what we call folk tales or fairy tales or fables or myths, tell us that they all typify in some way the constant struggle that is going on in every department of life. It may be the struggle of Summer against Winter, the bright Day against dark Night, Innocence against Cruelty, of Knowledge against Ignorance. We are not obliged to think of these delightful stories as each having a meaning. Our enjoyment of them will not be less if we overlook that side, but it may help us to understand and appreciate good books if we remember that the literature of the world is the story of man’s struggle against nature; that the beginnings of literature came out of the mouths of story- tellers, and that the stories they told were fairy tales-imaginative stories based on truth.
There is one important fact to remember in connection with the old fairy tales, and that is that they were repeated aloud from memory, not read from a book or manuscript.
The printing of books from type may be said to date from the year 1470, when Caxton introduced printing into England. It is said that the first book printed in English which had the pages numbered was a book of tales, “Aesop’s Fables.”
As late as 1600 printed books were still so rare that only rich men could own them. There was one other way of printing a story-on sheepskin (split and made into parchment) with a pen-but that was a long and laborious art that could only be practiced by educated men who had been taught to write. The monks were about the only men who had the necessary education and time, and they cared more for making copies of the Bible and Lives of the Saints than they did of fairy tales. The common people, and even kings and queens, were therefore obliged to depend upon the professional story-teller.
Fairy tales were very popular in the Middle Ages. In the long winter months fields could not be cultivated, traveling had to be abandoned, and all were kept within doors by the cold and snow. We know what the knight’s house looked like in those days. The large beamed hail or living room was the principal room. At one end of it, on a low platform, was a table for the knight, his family, and any visiting knights and ladies. At the other tables on the main floor were the armed men, like squires and retainers, who helped defend the castle from attack, and the maids of the household.
The story-teller, who was sometimes called a bard or skald or minstrel, had his place of honor in the center of the room, and when the meal was over he was called upon for a story. These story-tellers became very expert in the practice of their art, and some of them could arouse their audiences to a great pitch of excitement. In the note that precedes the story “The Treason of Ganelon,” in the volume “Heroes and Heroines of Chivalry,” you can see how one of these story-tellers, or minstrels, sang aloud a story to the soldiers of William the Conqueror to encourage them as he led them into battle.
The fairy tales collected by the Brothers Grimm were first published in 1812. They spent thirteen years collecting them, writing them down as they were told by the peasants in Hesse, a mountainous province of Germany lying far removed from the great main roads.
Their friends helped them, but their best friend was the wife of a cowherd, a strong, intelligent woman of fifty, who had a perfect genius for storytelling. She knew she told the stories well, and that not many had her gift. The Grimms said that though she repeated a story for them three times, the variations were so slight as to be hardly apparent.
The American Indian stories of Manabozho the Mischief-Maker and his adventures with the Wolf and the Woodpeckers and the Ducks were collected in very much the same way by Henry R. Schoolcraft (1793- 1864), the explorer and traveler, who lived among the Indian tribes for thirty years.
Mrs. Steel has told us how she collected her Hindu stories, often listening over and over to poor story-tellers who would spoil a story in trying to tell it, until one day her patience would be rewarded by hearing it from the lips of the best storyteller in the village, who was generally a boy.
As all nations have their fairy tales, you will find in this collection examples of English, Irish, French, German, Scandinavian, Icelandic, Russian, Polish, Serbian, Spanish, Arabian, Hindu, Chinese, and Japanese fairy tales, as well as those recited around the lodge fires at night by American Indians for the entertainment of the red children of the West.
I hope the work may prove for many a boy and girl (of any age up to a hundred) the Golden Bridge over which they can plunge into that marvelous world of fairies, elves, goblins, kobolds, trolls, afreets, jinns, ogres, and giants that fascinates us all, lost to this world till some one wakes us up to say “Bedtime!”
Such excursions fill the mind with beautiful fancies and help to develop that most precious of our faculties, the imagination.
MANABOZHO, THE MISCHIEF-MAKER
Adapted from H. R. Schoolcraft
THERE was never in the whole world a more mischievous busybody than that notorious giant Manabozho. He was everywhere, in season and out of season, running about, and putting his hand in whatever was going forward.
To carry on his game he could take almost any shape he pleased. He could be very foolish or very wise, very weak or very strong, very rich or very poor-just as happened to suit his humor best. Whatever anyone else could do, he would attempt without a moment’s reflection. He was a match for any man he met, and there were few manitoes* (*good spirits or evil spirits) that could get the better of him. By turns he would be very kind or very cruel, an animal or a bird, a man or a spirit, and yet, in spite of all these gifts, Manabozho was always getting himself involved in all sorts of troubles. More than once, in the course of his adventures, was this great maker of mischief driven to his wits’ ends to come off with his life.
To begin at the beginning, Manabozho, while yet a youngster, was living with his grandmother near the edge of a great prairie. It was on this prairie that he first saw animals and birds of every kind; he also there made first acquaintance with thunder and lightning. He would sit by the hour watching the clouds as they rolled by, musing on the shades of light and darkness as the day rose and fell.
For a stripling, Manabozho was uncommonly wide-awake. Every sight he beheld in the heavens was a subject of remark, every new animal or bird an object of deep interest, and every sound was like a new lesson which he was expected to learn. He often trembled at what he heard and saw.
The first sound he heard was that of the owl, at which he was greatly terrified, and, quickly descending the tree he had climbed, he ran with alarm to the lodge. “Noko! noko! grandmother!” he cried. “I have heard a monedo.”
She laughed at his fears, and asked him what kind of a noise it made. He answered. “It makes a noise like this: ko-ko-ko-ho!”
His grandmother told him he was young and foolish; that what he heard was only a bird which derived its name from the peculiar noise it made.
He returned to the prairie and continued his watch. As he stood there looking at the clouds he thought to himself, “It is singular that I am so simple and my grandmother so wise; and that I have neither father nor mother. I have never heard a word about them. I must ask and find out.”
He went home and sat down, silent and dejected. Finding that this did not attract the notice of his grandmother, he began a loud lamentation, which he kept increasing, louder and louder, till it shook the lodge and nearly deafened the old grandmother.
“Manabozho, what is the matter with you?” she said, “you are making a great deal of noise.”
Manabozho started off again with his doleful hubbub, but succeeded in jerking out between his big sobs, “I haven’t got any father nor mother, I haven’t.”
Knowing that he was of a wicked and revengeful nature, his grandmother dreaded to tell him the story of his parentage, as she knew he would make trouble of it.
Manabozho renewed his cries and managed to throw out for a third or fourth time, his sorrowful lament that he was a poor unfortunate who had no parents or relatives.
At last she said to him, to quiet him, “Yes, you have a father and three brothers living. Your mother is dead. She was taken for a wife by your father, the West, without the consent of her parents. Your brothers are the North, East, and South; and being older than you your father has given them great power with the winds, according to their names. You are the youngest of his children. I have nursed you from your infancy, for your mother died when you were born.”
“I am glad my father is living,” said Manabozho, “I shall set out in the morning to visit him.”
His grandmother would have discouraged him, saying it was a long distance to the place where his father, Ningabinn, or the West, lived.
This information seemed rather to please than to discourage Manabozho, for by this time he had grown to such a size and strength that he had been compelled to leave the narrow shelter of his grandmother’s lodge and live out of doors. He was so tall that, if he had been so disposed, he could have snapped off the heads of the birds roosting on the topmost branches of the highest trees, as he stood up, without being at the trouble to climb. And if he had at any time taken a fancy to one of the same trees for a walking stick, he would have had no more to do than to pluck it up with his thumb and finger and strip down the leaves and twigs with the palm of his hand.
Bidding good-by to his old grandmother, who pulled a very long face over his departure, Manabozho set out at a great pace, for he was able to stride from one side of a prairie to the other at a single step.
He found his father on a high mountain far in the west. His father espied his approach at a great distance, and bounded down the mountainside several miles to give him welcome. Apparently delighted with each other, they reached in two or three of their giant paces the lodge of the West which stood high up near the clouds.
They spent some days in talking with each other-for these two great persons did nothing on a small scale, and a whole day to deliver a single sentence, such was the immensity of their discourse, was quite an ordinary affair.
One evening Manabozho asked his father what he was most afraid of on earth.
“But is there nothing you dread here-nothing that would hurt you if you took too much of it? Come, tell me.”
Manabozho was very urgent, so at last his father said: “Yes, there is a black stone to be found a couple of hundred miles from here, over that way,” pointing as he spoke. “It is the only thing on earth I am afraid of, for if it should happen to hit me on any part of my body it would hurt me very much.” The West made this important circumstance known to Manabozho in the strictest confidence.
“Now you will not tell anyone, Manabozho, that the black stone is bad medicine for your father, will you?” he added. “You are a good son, and I know you will keep it to yourself. Now tell me, my darling boy, is there not something that you don’t like?”
Manabozho answered promptly-“Nothing.”
His father, who was of a steady and persevering nature, put the same question to him seventeen times, and each time Manabozho made the same answer-‘ ‘Nothing.”
But the West insisted-“There must be something you are afraid of.”
“Well, I will tell you,” said Manabozho, “what it is.”
He made an effort to speak, but it seemed to be too much for him.
“Out with it,” said the West, fetching Manabozho such a blow on the back as shook the mountain with its echo.
“Je-ee, je-ee-it is,” said Manabozho, apparently in great pain. “Yes, yes! I cannot name it, I tremble so.”
The West told him to banish his fears, and to speak up; no one would hurt him. Manabozho began again, and he would have gone over the same make-believe of pain, had not his father, whose strength he knew was more than a match for his own, threatened to pitch him into a river about five miles off. At last he cried out:
“Father, since you will know, it is the root of the bulrush.” He who could with perfect ease spin a sentence a whole day long, seemed to be exhausted by the effort of pronouncing that one word, “bulrush.”
Some time after Manabozho observed: “I will get some of the black rock, merely to see how it looks.”
“Well,” said the father, “I will also get a little of the bulrush root, to learn how it tastes.”
They were both double-dealing with each other, and in their hearts getting ready for some desperate work. They had no sooner separated for the evening than Manabozho was striding off the couple of hundred miles necessary to bring him to the place where the black rock was to be procured, while down the other side of the mountain hurried Ningabinn, the West.
At the break of day they each appeared at the great level on the mountain-top, Manabozho with twenty loads, at least, of the black stone, on one side, and on the other the West, with a whole meadow of bulrush in his arms.
Manabozho was the first to strike-hurling a great piece of the black rock, which struck the West directly between the eyes, and he returned the favor with a blow of bulrush that rung over the shoulders of Manabozho, far and wide, like the long lash of the lightning among the clouds.
First one and then the other, Manabozho poured in a tempest of black rock, while the West discharged a shower of bulrush. Blow upon blow, thwack upon thwack-they fought hand to hand until black rock and bulrush were all gone. Then they betook themselves to hurling crags at each other, cudgeling with huge oak trees, and defying each other from one mountain top to another; while at times they shot enormous boulders of granite across at each other’s heads, as though they had been mere jackstones. The battle, which had commenced on the mountains, had extended far west. The West was forced to give ground. Manabozho pressing on, drove him across rivers and mountains, ridges and lakes, till at last he got him to the very brink of the world.
“Hold!” cried the West. “My son, you know my power, and although I allow I am now fairly out of breath, it is impossible to kill me. Stop where you are, and I will also portion you out with as much power as your brothers. The four quarters of the globe are already occupied, but you can go and do a great deal of good to the people of the earth, which is beset with serpents, beasts and monsters, who make great havoc of human life. Go and do good, and if you put forth half the strength you have to-day, you will acquire a name that will last forever. When you have finished your work I will have a place provided for you. You will then go and sit with your brother, Kabinocca, in the north.”
Manabozho gave his father his hand upon this agreement. And parting from. him, he returned to his own grounds, where he lay for some time sore of his wounds.
WHY THE WOODPECKER HAS RED HEAD FEATHERS
Adapted from H. R. Schoolcraft
WHEN his wounds had all been cured by his grandmother’s skill in medicine, Manabozho, as big and sturdy as ever, was ripe for new adventures. He set his thoughts immediately upon a war excursion against the Pearl Feather, a wicked old manito, living on the other side of the great lake, who had killed his grandfather.
He began his preparations by making huge bows and arrows without number, but he had no arrow heads. At last his grandmother, Noko, told him that an old man who lived at some distance could furnish him with some, and he sent her to get them. Though she returned with her wrapper full, he told her that he had not enough and sent her again for more.
In the meanwhile he thought to himself, “I must find out the way of making these heads.”
Instead of directly asking how it was done, he preferred-just like Manabozho-to deceive his grandmother, in order to learn what he wanted by a trick. “Noko,” said he, “while I take my drum and rattle, and sing my war songs, do you go and try to get me some larger heads, for these you have brought me are all of the same size. Go and see whether the old man is not willing to make some a little larger.”
He followed her at a distance as she went, having left his drum at the lodge, with a great bird tied at the top, whose fluttering wings should keep up the drumbeat, the same as if he were standing there beating the drum himself. He saw the old workman busy, and learned how he prepared the heads; he also beheld the old man’s daughter, who was very beautiful. Manabozho discovered for the first time that he had a heart of his own, and the sigh he heaved passed through the arrow maker’s lodge like a young gale of wind.
“My how it blows!” said the old man.
“It must be from the south, though,” said the daughter, “it is so fragrant.”
Manabozho slipped away, and in two strides he was at home, shouting forth his songs as though he had never left the lodge. He had just time to untie the bird which had been beating the drum when his grandmother came in and gave him the big arrowheads.
In the evening the grandmother said, “My son, you ought to fast before you go to war, as your brothers do, to find out whether you will be successful or not.”
He said he had no objection. Having privately stored away in a shady place in the forest two or three dozen juicy bears, a moose, and twenty strings of the tenderest birds, he would retire from the lodge so far as to be entirely out of view of his grandmother and fall to and enjoy himself heartily. At nightfall, having dispatched a dozen birds and half a bear or so, he would return, tottering and forlorn, as if quite famished, so as to make his grandmother feel sorry for him.
When he had finished his term of fasting, in the course of which he slyly dispatched twenty fat bears, six dozen birds, and two fine moose, Manabozho sung his war song and embarked in his canoe, fully prepared for war.
Besides his weapons he took along a large supply of oil.
He traveled rapidly night and day, for he had only to will or speak, and the canoe went. At length he arrived in sight of the fiery serpents, and stopped to study them. He noticed that they were of enormous length and of a bright color, that they were some distance apart, and that the flames which poured forth from the mouths reached across the pass, so he said good morning and began talking with them in a very friendly way. They were not to be deceived, however.
“We know you, Manabozho,” they said, “you cannot pass.”
Turning his canoe as if about to go back, he suddenly cried out with a loud and terrified voice: “WHAT IS THAT BEHIND YOU?”
The serpents thrown off their guard, instantly turned their heads, and in a moment Manabozho glided silently past them.
“Well,” said he, softly, after he had got by, “how about it?”
He then took up his bow and arrows, and with deliberate aim shot every one of them easily, for the serpents were fixed to one spot and could not even turn around.
Having thus escaped the sentinel serpents, Manabozho pushed on in his canoe until he came to a part of the lake called Pitch-Water, as whatever touched it was sure to stick fast.
But Manabozho was prepared with his oil and, rubbing his canoe freely with it, from end to end, he slipped through with ease-and he was the first person who had ever succeeded in passing through the Pitch-Water.
“Nothing like a little oil,” said Manabozho to himself.
Having by this time come in view of land, he could see the lodge of the Shining Manito, high upon a distant hill. At the dawn of day he put his clubs and arrows in order and began his attack, yelling and shouting and beating his drum, and calling out so as to make it appear that he had many followers:
“Surround him! surround him! run up! run up!”
He stalked bravely forward, shouting aloud, “It was you that killed my grandfather,” and shot off a whole forest of arrows.
The Pearl Feather appeared on the height, blazing like the sun, and paid back Manabozho with a tempest of bolts which rattled like hail.
All day long the fight was kept up, and Manabozho had fired all of his arrows but three without effect, for the Shining Manito was clothed in pure wampum. It was only by immense leaps to right and left that Manabozho could save his head from the sturdy blows which fell about him on every side, like pine.trees, from the hands of the Manito. He was badly bruised, and at his very wits’ end, when a large Woodpecker flew past and lit on a tree. It was a bird he had known on the prairie, near his grandmother’s lodge.
“Manabozho,” called out the Woodpecker, “your enemy has a weak point; shoot at the lock of hair on the crown of his head.”
The first arrow he shot only drew a few drops of blood. The Manito made one or two unsteady steps, but recovered himself. He began to parley, but Manabozho, now that he had discovered a way to reach him, was in no humor to trifle, and he let slip another arrow which brought the Shining Manito to his knees. Having the crown of his head within good range Manabozho shot his third arrow, and the Manito fell forward upon the ground, dead.
Manabozho called the Woodpecker to come and receive a reward for the timely hint he had given him, and he rubbed the blood of the Shining Manito on the Woodpecker’s head, the feathers of which are red to this day.
Full of his victory, Manabozho returned home, beating his war drum furiously and shouting aloud his song of triumph. His grandmother was on the shore to welcome him with the war dance, which she performed with wonderful skill for one so far advanced in years.
WHY THE DIVER DUCK HAS SO FEW TAIL FEATHERS
Adapted from H. R. Schoolcraft
HAVING overcome the powerful Pearl Feather, killed his serpents and escaped all is wiles and charms, the heart of Manabozho welled within him. An unconquerable desire for further adventures seized upon him. He had won in a great fight on land, so he determined -his next success should come to him from the water.
He tried his luck as a fisherman and with such success that he captured 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 the same time having a cunning plan of his own, he invited all the birds and beasts of his acquaintance to come and feast upon the oil, telling them that the order in which they partook of the banquet -would decide 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 and steady draft; then came the deer, the opossum, and such others of the family as are noted for their comfortable covering. The moose and the buffalo were late in arriving on the scene, and the partridge, always lean in flesh, looked on till the supply was nearly gone. There was not -a drop left by the time the hare and the marten appeared on the shore of the lake, and they are, in consequence, the slenderest of all creatures.
When this ceremony was over Manabozho suggested to his friends, the assembled birds and animals, that the occasion was proper for a little 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, as he stood in the circle, saw a fat fowl which he fancied pass him, he adroitly wrung its neck and slipped it under his belt, at the same time beating his drum and singing at the top of his lungs to drown the noise 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 eye and saw what Manabozho was doing. Giving a spring, and crying: “Ha-ha- a! Manabozho is killing us!” he made a dash for the water.
Manabozho was so angry that the creature should have played the spy that he gave chase, and just as the Diver Duck was getting into the water he gave him a kick, which is the reason that the diver’s tail feathers are few, his back flattened, and his legs straightened out, so that when he is seen walking on land he makes a sorry looking figure.
The other birds, having no ambition to be thrust in Manabozho’s belt, flew off, and the animals scampered into the woods.
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.
MANABOZHO IS ROBBED BY THE WOLVES
Adapted from H. R. Schoolcraft
SHORTLY after this the Old Wolf suggested to Manabozho that he should go out and try his luck in hunting by himself. When he chose to put his mind to it he was quite expert, and this time he succeeded in killing a fine fat moose which he thought he would take aside slyly and devour alone.
He was very hungry and he sat down to eat, but as he never could go to work in a straightforward way, he immediately fell into great doubts as to the proper point at which to begin.
“Well,” said he, “I do not know where to commence. At the head? No, people will laugh, and say, ‘He ate him backward.'”
He went to the side. “No,” said he, “they will say I ate him sideways.”
He then went to the hind quarter. “No, that will not do, either; they will say I ate him forward. I will begin here, say what they will.”
He took a delicate piece from the small of the back, and was just on the point of putting it to his mouth when a tree close by made a creaking noise. He seemed vexed at the sound. He raised the morsel to his mouth the second time, when the tree creaked again.
“Why,” he exclaimed, “I cannot eat when I hear such a noise. “Stop, stop! ” he cried to the tree. He put down the morsel of meat, exclaiming. “I CANNOT eat with such a noise,” and starting away he climbed the tree and was actually pulling at the limb which had bothered him, when his forepaw was caught between the branches so that he could not free himself.
While thus held fast he saw a pack of wolves advancing through the wood in the direction of his meat. He suspected them to be the Old Wolf and his cubs, but night was coming on and he could not make them out. “Go the other way, go the other Way!” he cried out; “what do you expect to get here?”
The Wolves stopped for a while and talked among themselves, and said: “Manabozho must have something there, or he would not tell us to go another way. “
“I begin to know know him,” said the Old Wolf, “and all his tricks. Let us go forward and see.” They came on and, finding the moose soon made away with it.
Manabozho looked wistfully on while they ate until they were fully satisfied, when off they scampered in high spirits. A heavy blast of wind opened the branches finally, and released him. The wolves had left nothing but bare bones. He made for home.
When he related his mishap, the Old Wolf, taking him by the forepaw, condoled with him deeply on his ill luck. A tear even started to his eye as he added: “My brother, this should teach us not to meddle with points of ceremony when we have good meat to eat.”
MANABOZHO AND THE WOODPECKERS
Adapted from H. R. Schoolcraft
MANABOZHO lost the greater part of his magical power through letting his young wolf grandson fall through the thin ice and drown. No one knew where his grandmother had gone to. He married the arrow maker’s daughter, and became the father of several children, but he was very poor and scarcely able to procure a living. His lodge was pitched in a distant part of the country, where he could get no game, and it was winter time. One day he said to his wife, “I will go out walking and see if I can find some lodges.”
After walking some time he finally discovered a lodge at a distance. There were children playing at the door, and when they saw him approaching they ran in and told their parents Manabozho was coming.
It was the home of the large Red-Headed Woodpecker. He came to the door and asked Manabozho to enter, and the invitation was promptly accepted. After some time the Woodpecker, who was a magician, said to his wife: “Have you nothing to give Manabozho? he must be hungry.”
She answered, “No.”
“He ought not to go without his supper,” said the Woodpecker. “I will see what I can do.”
In the center of the lodge stood a large tamarack tree. Upon this the Woodpecker flew, and commenced going up, turning his head on each side of the tree, and every now and then driving in his bill. At last he pulled something out of the tree and threw it down, when, behold, a fine fat raccoon lay on the ground. He drew out six or seven more, and then came down and told his wife to prepare them.
“Manabozho,” he said, “this is the only thing we eat; what else can we give you?”
“It is very good,” replied Manabozho.
They smoked their pipes and conversed, and after a while Manabozho got ready to go home, so the Woodpecker said to his wife, “Give him the Other raccoons to take home for his children.”
In the act of leaving the lodge Manabozho on purpose dropped one of his mittens, which was soon after observed upon the ground. “Run,” said the Woodpecker to his eldest son, “and give it to him; but mind that you do not give it into his hand; throw it at him, for there is no knowing what he may do, he acts so curiously.”
The boy did as he was directed. “Grandfather,” he said, as he came up to him, “you have left one of your mittens, and here it is.”
“Yes,” he said, making believe he did not know he had dropped it, “so I did; but don’t throw it, you will get it wet on the snow.”
The lad, however, threw it, and was about to return when Manabozho cried out, “Bakah! Bakah! Stop, stop; is that all you eat? Do you eat nothing else with your raccoon? Tell me!”
“Yes, that is all, answered the Young Woodpecker; “we have nothing else.”
“Tell your father,” continued Manabozho, “to come and visit me, and let him bring a sack. I will give him what he shall eat with his raccoon meat.”
When the young one returned and reported this message to his father the Old Woodpecker turned up his nose at the invitation. “I wonder,” he said “what he thinks he has got, poor fellow!” He was bound, however, to answer the offer of hospitality, and he went accordingly, taking along a cedar-sack, to pay a visit to Manabozho.
Manabozho received the Old Red-Headed Woodpecker with great ceremony. He had stood at the door awaiting his arrival, and as soon as he came in sight Manabozho commenced, while he was yet far off, bowing and opening wide his arms, in token of welcome; all of which the Woodpecker returned in due form, by ducking his bill and hopping to right and left, extending his wings to their full length and fluttering them back to his breast.
When the Woodpecker at last reached the lodge Manabozho made several remarks upon the weather, the appearance of the country, and especially spoke of the scarcity of game. “But we,” he added-“we always have enough. Come in, and you shall not go away hungry, my noble birds!”
Manabozho had always prided himself on being able to give as good as he had received; and to be up with the Woodpecker he had shifted his lodge so as to inclose a large dry tamarack tree.
“What can I give you?” said he to the Woodpecker; “as we eat so shall you eat.”
With this he hopped forward and, jumping on the tamarack tree, he attempted to climb it just as he had seen the Woodpecker do in his own lodge. He turned his head first on one side and then on the other, as the Woodpecker does, striving to go up the tree, but as often slipping down. Every now and then he would strike the tree with his nose, as if it was a bell, and draw back as if to pull something out of the tree, but he pulled out no raccoons. He dashed his nose so often against the trunk that at last the blood began to flow, and he tumbled down senseless on the ground.
The Woodpecker started up with his drum and rattle to restore him, and by beating them violently he succeeded in bringing him to.
As soon as he came to his senses, Manabozho began to lay the blame of his failure upon his wife, saying to his guest: “Nemesho, it is this woman relation of yours-she is the cause of my not succeeding. She has made me a worthless fellow. Before I married her I also could get raccoons.
The Woodpecker said nothing, but flying on the tree he drew out several fine raccoons. “Here,” said he, “this is the way we do” and left him in disdain, carrying his bill high in the air, and stepping over the doorsill as if it were not worthy to be touched by his toes.
THE BOY AND THE WOLVES
Retold by Andrew Lang
ONCE upon a time an Indian hunter built himself a house in the middle of a great forest, far away from all his tribe; for his heart was gentle and kind and he was weary of the treachery and cruel deeds of those who had been his friends. So he left them and took his wife and three children, and they journeyed on until they found a spot near to a clear stream, where they began to cut down trees and to make ready their wigwam. For many years they lived peacefully and happily in this sheltered place, never leaving it except to hunt the wild animals, which served them both for food and clothes. At last, however, the strong man fell sick, and before long lie knew he must die. So he gathered his family round him and said his last words to them.
“You, my wife, the companion of my days, will follow me ere many moons have waned to the island of the blessed. But for you, 0 my children, whose lives are but newly begun, the wickedness, unkindness, and ingratitude from which I fled are before you. Yet I shall go hence in peace, my children, if you will promise always to love each other and never to forsake your youngest brother.”
“Never!” they replied, holding out their hands. And the hunter died content.
Scarcely eight moons had passed when, just as he had said, the wife went forth and followed her husband; but before leaving her children she bade the two elder ones think of their promise never to forsake the younger, for he was a child and weak. And while the snow lay thick upon the ground they tended him and cherished him; but when the earth showed green again the heart of the young man stirred within him, and he longed to see the wigwams of the village where his father’s youth was spent.
Therefore he opened all his heart to his sister, who answered: “My brother, I understand your longing for our fellow-men, whom here we cannot see. But remember our father’s words. Shall we not seek our own pleasures and forget the little one?”
But he would not listen, and, making no reply, he took his bow and arrows and left the hut. The snows fell and melted, yet he never returned, and at last the heart of the girl grew cold and hard and her little boy became a burden in her eyes, till one day she spoke thus to him: “See, there is food for many days to come. Stay here within the shelter of the hut. I go to seek our brother, and when I have found him I shall return hither.”
But when, after hard journeying, she reached the village where her brother dwelt and saw that he had a wife and was happy, and when she, too, was sought by a young brave, then she also forgot the boy alone in the forest and thought only of her husband.
Now as soon as the little boy had eaten all the food which his sister had left him, he went out into the woods and gathered berries and dug up roots, and while the sun shone he was contented and had his fill. But when the snows began and the wind howled, then his stomach felt empty and his limbs cold, and he hid in trees all the night and only crept out to eat what the wolves had left behind. And by and by, having no other friends, he sought their company, and sat by while they devoured their prey, and they grew to know him and gave him food. And without them he would have died in the snow. But at last the snows melted and the ice upon the great lake, and as the wolves went down to the shore the boy went after them. And it happened one day that his big brother was fishing in his canoe near the shore, and he heard the voice of a child singing in the Indian tone:
“My brother, my brother!
I am becoming a wolf,
I am becoming a wolf!”
And when he had so sung he howled as wolves howl. Then the heart of the elder sank and he hastened toward him, crying: “Brother, little brother, come to me;” but he, being half a wolf, only continued his song. And the louder the elder called him, “Brother, little brother, come to me,” the swifter he fled after his brothers the wolves and the heavier grew his skin, till, with a long howl, he vanished into the depths of the forest.
So, with shame and anguish in his soul, the elder brother went back to his village, and with his sister mourned the little boy and the broken promise till the end of his life.
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 forest far from the rest of the tribe. Very often they spent the day in hunting together, but after awhile the wife found that she had so many things to do that she was obliged to stay at home; so he went alone, though he found that when his wife was not with him he never had any luck. One day, when he was away hunting, the woman fell ill, and in a few days she died. Her husband grieved bitterly and buried her in the house where she had passed her life; but as the time went on he felt so lonely without her that he made a wooden doll about her height amid size for company and dressed it in her clothes. He seated it in front of the fire and tried to think he had his wife back again. The next day he went out to hunt, and when he came home the first thing he did was to go up to the doll and brush off some of the ashes from the fire which had fallen on its face. But he was very busy now, for he had to cook and mend, besides getting food, for there was no one to help him. And so a whole year passed away.
At the end of that time he came back from hunting one night and found some wood by the door and a fire within. The next night there was not only wood and fire, but a piece of meat in the kettle, nearly ready for eating. He searched all about to see who could have done this, but could find no one. The next time he went to hunt he took care not to go far and came in quite early. And while he was still a long way off he saw a woman going into the house with wood on her shoulders. So he made haste and opened the door quickly, and instead of the wooden doll 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 be comforted, so he let me come back to you, but you must not stretch out your hand to touch me till we have seen the rest of our people. If you do I shall die.”
So the man listened to her words, and the woman dwelt there and brought the wood and kindled the fire, till one day her husband said to her:
“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. Now, the camp of the tribe was distant six days’ journey, and when they were yet one day’s journey off it began to snow, and they felt weary and longed for rest. Therefore they made a fire, cooked some food, and spread out their skins to sleep.
Then the heart of the man was greatly stirred and he stretched out his 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! he was clasping the wooden doll. And when he saw it was the doll he pushed it from him in his misery and rushed away to the camp and told them all his story. And some doubted, and they went back with him to the place where he and his wife had stopped to rest, and there lay the doll, and besides, they saw in time snow the steps of two people, and the foot of one was like the foot of the doll. And the man grieved sore all the days of his life.
By E. Frere
ONCE upon a time there was a Raja who had seven beautiful daughters. They were all good girls; but the youngest, named Balna, was more clever than the rest. The Raja’s wife died when they were quite little children, so these seven poor Princesses were left with no mother to take care of them.
The Raja’s daughters took it by turns to cook their father’s dinner every day, while he was absent deliberating with his Ministers on the affairs of the nation.
About this time the Prudhan died, leaving a widow and one daughter; and every day, when the seven Princesses were preparing their father’s dinner, the Prudhan’s widow and daughter would come and beg for a little fire from the hearth. Then Balna used to say to her sisters, “Send that woman away; send her away. Let her get the fire at her own house. What does she want with ours? If we allow her to come here, we shall suffer for it some day.”
But the other sisters would answer, “Be quiet, Balna; why must you always be quarreling with this poor woman? Let her take some fire if she likes.” Then the Prudhan’s widow used to go to the hearth and take a few sticks from it; and while no one was looking, she would quickly throw some mud into the midst of the dishes which were being prepared for the Raja’s dinner.
Now the Raja was very fond of his daughters. Ever since their mother’s death they had cooked his dinner with their own hands, in order to avoid the danger of his being poisoned by his enemies. So, when he found the mud mixed up with his dinner, he thought it must arise from their carelessness, as it did not seem likely that anyone should have put mud there on purpose; but being very kind he did not like to reprove them for it, although this spoiling of the curry was repeated many days.
At last, one day, he determined to hide, and watch his daughters cooking, and see how it all happened; so he went into the next room, and watched them through a hole in the wall.
There he saw his seven daughters carefully washing the rice and preparing the curry, and as each dish was completed, they put it by the fire ready to be cooked. Next he noticed the Prudhan’s widow come to the door, and beg for a few sticks from the fire to cook her dinner with. Balna turned to her, angrily, and said, “Why don’t you keep fuel in your own house, and not come here every day and take ours? Sisters, don’t give this woman any more wood; let her buy it for herself.”
Then the eldest sister answered, “Balna, let the poor woman take the wood and the fire; she does us no harm.” But Balna replied, “If you let her come here so often, maybe she will do us some harm, and make us sorry for it, some day.”
The Raja then saw the Prudhan’s widow go to the place where all his dinner was nicely prepared, and, as she took the wood, she threw a little mud into each of the dishes.
At this he was very angry, and sent to have the woman seized and brought before him. But when the widow came, she told him that she had played this trick because she wanted to gain an audience with him; and she spoke so cleverly, and pleased him so well with her cunning words, that instead of punishing her, the Raja married her, and made her his Ranee, and she and her daughter came to live in the palace.
Now the new Ranee hated the seven poor Princesses, and wanted to get them, if possible, out of the way, in order that her daughter might have all their riches, and live in the palace as Princess in their place; and instead of being grateful to them for their kindness to her, she did all she could to make them miserable. She gave them nothing but bread to eat, and very little of that, and very little water to drink; so these seven poor little Princesses, who had been accustomed to have everything comfortable about them, and good food and good clothes all their lives long, were very miserable and unhappy; and they used to go out every day and sit by their dead mother’s tomb and cry- and say:
“O mother, mother, cannot you see your poor children, how unhappy we are, and how we are starved by our cruel stepmother?”
One day, while they were thus sobbing and crying, lo and behold! a beautiful pomelo tree grew up out of the grave, covered with fresh, ripe pomeloes, and the children satisfied their hunger by eating some of the fruit, and every day after this, instead of trying to eat the bad dinner their stepmother provided for them, they used to go out to their mother’s grave and eat the pommels which grew there on the beautiful tree.
Then the Ranee said to her daughter, “I cannot tell how it is, every day those seven girls say they don’t want any dinner, and won’t eat any; and yet they never grow thin nor look ill; they look better than you do. I cannot tell how it is.” And she bade her watch the seven Princesses, and see if anyone gave them anything to eat.
So next day, when the Princesses went to their mother’s grave, and were eating the beautiful pomeloes, the Prudhan’s daughter followed them, and saw them gathering the fruit.
Then Balna said to her sisters, “Do you not see that girl watching us? Let us drive her away, or hide the pomeloes, else she will go and tell her mother all about it, and that will be bad for us.”
But the other sisters said, “Oh no, do not be unkind, Balna. The girl would never be so cruel as to tell her mother. Let us rather invite her to come and have some of the fruit.” And calling her to them, they gave her one of the pomeloes.
No sooner had she eaten it, however, than the Prudhan’s daughter went home and said to her mother, “I do not wonder the seven Princesses will not eat the dinner you prepare for them, for by their mother’s grave there grows a beautiful pomelo tree, and they go there every day and eat the pomeloes. I ate one, and it was the nicest I have ever tasted.”
The cruel Ranee was much vexed at hearing this, and all next day she stayed in her room, and told the Raja that she had a very bad headache. The Raja was deeply grieved, and said to his wife, “What can I do for you?” She answered, “There is only one thing that will make my headache well. By your dead wife’s tomb there grows a fine pomelo tree; you must bring that here, and boil it, root and branch, and put a little of the water in which it has been boiled on my forehead, and that will cure my headache.” So the Raja sent his servants, and had the beautiful pomelo tree pulled up by the roots, and did as the Ranee desired; and when some of the water, in which it had been boiled, was put on her forehead, she said her headache was gone and she felt quite well.
Next day, when the seven Princesses went as usual to the grave of their mother, the pomelo tree had disappeared. Then they all began to cry very bitterly.
Now there was by the Ranee’s tomb a small tank, and as they were crying they saw the tank was filled with a rich cream-like substance, which quickly hardened into a thick white cake. At seeing this all the Princesses were very glad, and they ate some of the cake, and liked it; and next day the same thing happened, and so it went on for many days. Every morning the Princesses went to their mother’s grave, and found the little tank filled with the nourishing cream-like cake. Then the cruel stepmother said to her daughter: “I cannot tell how it is, I have had the pomelo tree which used to grow by the Ranee’s grave destroyed, and yet the Princesses grow no thinner, nor look more sad, though they never eat the dinner I give them. I cannot tell how it is!”
And her daughter said, “I will watch.”
Next day, while the Princesses were eating the cream cake, who should come by but their stepmother’s daughter. Balna saw her first, and said, “See, sisters, there comes that girl again. Let us sit round the edge of the tank and not allow her to see it, for if we give her some of our cake, she will go and tell her mother; and that will be very unfortunate for us.”
The other sisters, however, thought Balna unnecessarily suspicious, and instead of following her advice, they gave the Prudhan’s daughter some of the cake, and she went home and told her mother all about it.
The Ranee, on hearing how well the Princesses fared, was exceedingly angry, and sent her servants to pull down the dead Ranee’s tomb, and fill the little tank with the ruins. And not content with this, she next day pretended to be very, very ill-in fact, at the point of death- and when the Raja was much grieved, and asked her whether it was in his power to procure her any remedy, she said to him: “Only one thing can save my life, but I know you will not do it.” He replied, “Yes, whatever it is, I will do it.” She then said, “To save my life, you must kill the seven daughters of your first wife, and put some of their blood on my forehead and on the palms of my hands, and their death will be my life.” At these words the Raja was very sorrowful; but because he feared to break his word, he went out with a heavy heart to find his daughters.
He found them crying by the ruins of their mother’s grave.
Then, feeling he could not kill them, the Raja spoke kindly to them, and told them to come out into the jungle with him; and there he made a fire and cooked some rice, and gave it to them. But in the afternoon, it being very hot, the seven Princesses all fell asleep, and when he saw they were fast asleep, the Raja, their father, stole away and left them (for he feared his wife), saying to himself: “It is better my poor daughters should die here, than be killed by their stepmother.”
He then shot a deer, and returning home, put some of its blood on the forehead and hands of the Ranee, and she thought then that he had really killed the Princesses, and said she felt quite well.
Meantime the seven Princesses awoke, and when they found themselves all alone in the thick jungle they were much frightened, and began to call out as loud as they could, in hopes of making their father hear; but he was by that time far away, and would not have been able to hear them even had their voices been as loud as thunder.
It so happened that this very day the seven young sons of a neighboring Raja chanced to be hunting in that same jungle, and as they were returning home, after the day’s sport was over, the youngest Prince said to his brothers: “Stop, I think I hear some one crying and calling out. Do you not hear voices? Let us go in the direction of the sound, and find out what it is.”
So the seven Princes rode through the wood until they came to the place where the seven Princesses sat crying and wringing their hands. At the sight of them the young Princes were very much astonished, and still more so on learning their story; and they settled that each should take one of these poor forlorn ladies home with him, and marry her.
So the first and eldest Prince took the eldest Princess home with him, and married her.
And the second took the second; and third took the third; and the fourth took the fourth; and the fifth took the fifth; and the sixth took the sixth; and the seventh, and the handsomest of all, took the beautiful Balna.
And when they got to their own land, there was great rejoicing throughout the kingdom, at the marriage of the seven young Princes to seven such beautiful Princesses.
About a year after this Balna had a little son, and his uncles and aunts were so fond of the boy that it was as if he had seven fathers and seven mothers. None of the other Princes and Princesses had any children, so the son of the seventh Prince and Balna was acknowledged their heir by all the rest.
They had thus lived very happily for some time, when one fine day the seventh Prince (Balna’s husband) said he would go out hunting, and away he went; and they waited long for him, but he never came back.
Then his six brothers said they would go and see what had become of him; and they went away, but they also did not return.
And the seven Princesses grieved very much, for they feared that their kind husbands must have been killed.
One day, not long after this had happened, as Balna was rocking her baby’s cradle, and while her sisters were working in the room below, there came to the palace door a man in a long black dress, who said that he was a Fakir, and came to beg. The servant said to him, “You cannot go into the palace-the Raja’s sons have all gone away; we think they must be dead, and their widows cannot be interrupted by your begging.” But he said, “I am a holy man, you must let me in. Then the stupid servants let him walk through the palace, but they did not know that this was no Fakir, but a wicked Magician named Punchkin.
Punchkin Fakir wandered through the palace, and saw many beautiful things there, till at last he reached the room where Balna sat singing beside her little boy’s cradle. The Magician thought her more beautiful than all the other beautiful things he had seen, insomuch that he asked her to go home with him and to marry him. But she said, “My husband, I fear, is dead, but my little boy is still quite young; I will stay here and teach him to grow up a clever man, and when he is grown up he shall go out into the world, and try and learn tidings of his father. Heaven forbid that I should ever leave him, or marry yon.” At these words the Magician was very angry, and turned her into a little black dog, and led her away; saying, “Since yon will not come with me of your own free will, I will make you.” So the poor Princess was dragged away, without any power of effecting an escape, or of letting her sisters know what had become of her. As Punchkin passed through the palace gate the servants said to him, “Where did yon get that pretty little dog?” And he answered, “One of the Princesses gave it to me as a present.” At hearing which they let him go without further questioning.
Soon after this, the six elder Princesses heard the little baby, their nephew, begin to cry, and when they went upstairs they were much surprised to find him all alone, and Balna nowhere to be seen. Then they questioned the servants, and when they heard of the Fakir and the little black dog, they guessed what had happened, and sent in every direction seeking them, but neither the Fakir nor the dog were to be found. What could six poor women do? They gave up all hopes of ever seeing their kind husbands, and their sister, and her husband again, and devoted themselves thenceforward to teaching and taking care of their little nephew.
Thus time went on, till Balna’s son was fourteen years old. Then, one day, his aunts told him the history of the family; and no sooner did he hear it, than be was seized with a great desire to go in search of his father and mother and uncles, and if he could find them alive to bring them home again. His aunts, on learning his determination, were much alarmed and tried to dissuade him, saying, “We have lost our husbands, and our sister and her husband, and you are now our sole hope; if you go away, what shall we do?” But he replied, “I pray you not to be discouraged; I will return soon, and if it is possible bring my father and mother and uncles with me.” So he set out on his travels; but for some months he could learn nothing to help him in his search.
At last, after he had journeyed many hundreds of weary miles, and become almost hopeless of ever hearing anything further of his parents, he one day came to a country that seemed full of stones, and rocks, and trees, and there he saw a large palace with a tower; hard by was a Malee’s little house.
As he was looking about, the Malee’s wife saw him, and ran out of the house and said, “My dear boy, who are you that dare venture to this dangerous place?” He answered, “I am a Raja’s son, and I come in search of my father, and my uncles, and my mother whom a wicked enchanter bewitched.”
Then the Malee’s wife said, “This country and this palace belong to a great enchanter; he is all powerful, and if anyone displeases him, he can turn them into stones and trees. All the rocks and trees you see here were living people once, and the Magician turned them to what they now are. Some time ago a Raja’s son came here, and shortly afterward came his six brothers, and they were all turned into stones and trees; and these are not the only unfortunate ones, for up in that tower lives a beautiful Princess, whom the Magician has kept prisoner there for twelve years, because she hates him and will not marry him.”
Then the little Prince thought, “These must be my parents and my uncles. I have found what I seek at last.” So he told his story to the Malee’s wife, and begged her to help him to remain in that place awhile and inquire further concerning the unhappy people she mentioned; and she promised to befriend him, and advised his disguising himself lest the Magician should see him, and turn him likewise into stone. To this the Prince agreed. So the Malee’s wife dressed him up in a saree, and pretended that he was her daughter.
One day, not long after this, as the Magician was walking in his garden he saw the little girl (as he thought) playing about, and asked her who she was. She told him she was the Malee’s daughter, and the Magician said, “You are a pretty little girl, and to-morrow you shall take a present of flowers from me to the beautiful lady who lives in the tower.”
The young Prince was much delighted at hearing this, and went immediately to inform the Malee’s wife; after consultation with whom he determined that it would be more safe for him to retain his disguise, and trust to the chance of a favorable opportunity for establishing some communication with his mother, if it were indeed she.
Now it happened that at Balna’s marriage her husband had given her a small gold ring on which her name was engraved, and she had put it on her little son’s finger when he was a baby, and afterward when he was older his aunts had had it enlarged for him, so that he was still able to wear it. The Malee’s wife advised him to fasten the well-known treasure to one of the bouquets he presented to his mother, and trust to her recognizing it. This was not to be done without difficulty, as such a strict watch was kept over the poor Princess (for fear of her ever establishing communication with her friends), that though the supposed Malee’s daughter was permitted to take her flowers every day, the Magician or one of his slaves was always in the room at the time. At last one day, however, opportunity favored him, and when no one was looking the boy tied the ring to a nosegay, and threw it at Balna’s feet. It fell with a clang on the floor, and Balna, looking to see what made the strange sound, found the little ring tied to the flowers. On recognizing it, she at once believed the story her son told her of his long search, and begged him to advise her as to what she had better do; at the same time entreating him on no account to endanger his life by trying to rescue her. She told him that for twelve long years the Magician had kept her shut up in the tower because she refused to marry him, and she was so closely guarded that she saw no hope of release.
Now Balna’s son was a bright, clever boy, so he said, “Do not fear, dear mother; the first thing to do is to discover how far the Magician’s power extends, in order that we may be able to liberate my father and uncles, whom he has imprisoned in the form of the rocks and trees. You have spoken to him angrily for twelve long years; now rather speak kindly. Tell him you have given up all hopes of again seeing the husband you have so long mourned, and say you are willing to harry him. Then endeavor to find out what his power consists in, and whether he is immortal, or can be put to death.”
Balna determined to take her son’s advice; and the next day sent for Punchkin, and spoke to him as had been suggested.
The Magician greatly delighted, begged her to allow the wedding to take place as soon as possible.
But she told him that before she married him he must allow her a little more time, in which she might make his acquaintance, and that, after being enemies so long, their friendship could but strengthen by degrees. “And do tell me,” she said, “are you quite immortal? Can death never touch you? And are you too great an enchanter ever to feel human suffering?”
“Why do you ask?” said he.
“Because,” she replied. “if I am to be your wife, I would fain know all about you, in order, if any calamity threatens you, to overcome, or if possible to avert it.”
“It is true,” he added, “that I am not as others. Far, far away, hundreds of thousands of miles from this, there lies a desolate country covered with thick jungle. In the midst of the jungle grows a circle of palm trees, and in the center of the circle stand six chattees full of water, piled one above another: below the sixth chattee is a small cage which contains a little green parrot; on the life of the parrot depends my life; and if the parrot is killed I must die. It is. however,” he added, “impossible that the parrot should sustain any injury, both on account of the inaccessibility of the country, and because, by my appointment, many thousand genii surround the palm trees, and kill all who approach the place.”
Balna told her son what Punchkin had said; but at the same time implored him to give up all idea of getting the parrot.
The Prince, however, replied, “Mother, unless I can get hold of that parrot, you, and my father, and uncles, cannot be liberated: be not afraid, I will shortly return. Do you, meantime, keep the Magician in good humor-still putting off your marriage with him on various pretexts; and before he finds out the cause of delay, I will be here.” So saying, he went away.
Many, many weary miles did he travel, till at last he came to a thick jungle; and, being very tired, sat down under a tree and fell asleep. He was awakened by a soft rustling sound, and looking about him, saw a large serpent which was making its way to an eagle’s nest built in the tree under which he lay, and in the nest were two young eagles. The Prince seeing the danger of the young birds, drew his sword, and killed the serpent; at the same moment a rushing sound was heard in the air, and the two old eagles, who had been out hunting for food for their young ones, returned. They quickly saw the dead serpent and the young Prince standing over it; and the old mother eagle said to him, “Dear boy, for many’ years all our young ones have been devoured by that cruel serpent; you have now saved the lives of our children; whenever you are in need therefore, send to us and we will help you; and as for these little eagles, take them, and let them be your servants.”
At this the Prince was very glad, and the two eaglets crossed their wings, on which he mounted; and they carried him far, far away over the thick, jungles, until he came to the place where grew the circle of palm trees, in the midst of which stood the six chattees full of water. It was the middle of the day, and the heat was very great. All round the trees were the genii fast asleep; nevertheless, there were such countless thousands of them, that it would have been quite impossible for anyone to walk through their ranks to the place; down swooped the strong-winged eaglets-down jumped the Prince; in an instant he had overthrown the six chattees full of water, and seized the little green parrot, which he rolled up in his cloak; while, as he mounted again into the air, all the genii below awoke, and finding their treasure gone, set up a wild and melancholy howl.
Away, away flew the little eagles, till they came to their home in the great tree; then the Prince said to the old eagles, “Take back your little ones; they have done me good service; if ever again I stand in need of help, I will not fail to come to you.” He then continued his journey on foot till he arrived once more at the Magician’s palace, where he sat down at the door and began playing with the Parrot. Punchkin saw him, and came to him quickly, and said, “My boy, where did yon get that parrot? Give it to me, I pray you.”
But the Prince answered, “Oh no, I cannot give away my parrot, it is a great pet of mine; I have had it many years.”
Then the Magician said, “If it is an old favorite, I can understand your not caring to give it away; but come, what will you sell it for?”
“Sir,” said the Prince, “I will not sell my parrot.”
Then Punchkin got frightened, and said, “Anything, anything; name what price you will, and it shall be yours.” The Prince answered, “Let the seven Raja’s sons whom you turned into rocks and trees be instantly liberated.”
“It is done as you desire,” said the Magician, “only give me my parrot.” And With that, by a stroke of his wand, Balna’s husband and his brothers resumed their natural shapes. “Now, give me my parrot,” repeated Punchkin.
“Not so fast, my master,” rejoined the Prince; “I must first beg that you will restore to life all whom you have thus imprisoned.”
The Magician immediately waved his wand again; and whilst he cried, in an imploring voice, “Give me my parrot!’ the whole garden became suddenly alive: where rocks, and stones, and trees had been before, stood Rajas, and Punts, and Sirdars, and mighty men on prancing horses, and jeweled pages, and troops of armed attendants.
“Give me my parrot!” cried Punchkin. Then the boy took hold of the parrot, and tore off one of its wings; and as he did so the Magician’s right arm fell off.
Punchkin then stretched out his left arm, crying, “Give me my parrot!” The Prince pulled off the parrot’s second wing, and the Magician’s left arm tumbled off.
“Give me my parrot!” cried he, and fell on his knees. The Prince pulled off the parrot’s right leg, and the Magician’s right leg fell off: the Prince pulled off the parrot’s left leg, down fell the Magician’s left.
Nothing remained of him save the limbless body and the head; but still he rolled his eyes, and cried “Give me my parrot!” “Take your parrot, then, cried the boy, and with that. he wrung the bird’s neck, and threw it at the magician; and as he did so, Punchkin’s head twisted round and, with a fearful groan, he died!
Then they let Balna out of the tower; and she, her son, and the seven Princes went to their own country, and lived very happily ever afterward. And as to the rest of the world, everyone went to his own house.
HOW SUN, MOON AND WIND WENT OUT TO DINNER
By E. Frere
ONE day Sun, Moon, and Wind went out to dine with their uncle and aunt Thunder and Lightning. Their mother (one of the most distant Stars you see far up in the sky) waited alone for her children’s return.
Now both Sun and Wind were greedy and selfish. They enjoyed the great feast that had been prepared for them, without a thought of saving any of it to take home to their mother-but the gentle Moon did not forget her. Of every dainty dish that was brought round, she placed a small portion under one of her beautiful long fingernails, that Star might also have a share in the treat.
On their return, their mother, Who had kept watch for them all night long with her little bright eye, said, “Well, children, what have yon brought home for me?” Then Sun (who was eldest) said, “I have brought nothing home for you. I went out to enjoy myself with my friends-not to fetch dinner for my mother!” And Wind said, “Neither have I brought anything home for you, mother. You could hardly expect me to bring a collection of good things for you, when I merely went out for my own pleasure.” But Moon said, “Mother, fetch a plate, see what I have brought you.” And shaking her hands she showered down such a choice dinner as never was seen before.
Then Star turned to Sun and spoke thus, “Because you went out to amuse yourself with your friends, and feasted and enjoyed yourself, without any thought of our mother at home-you shall be cursed. Henceforth, your rays shall ever be hot and scorching, and shall burn all that they touch. And men shall hate you, and cover their heads when you appear.
(And that is why the Sun is so hot to this day.)
Then she turned to Wind and said, “You also who forgot your mother in the midst of your selfish pleasures-hear your doom. You shall always blow in the hot, dry weather, and shall parch and shrivel all living things. And men shall detest and avoid you from this very time.”
(And that is why the Wind in the hot weather is still so disagreeable.)
But to Moon she said, “Daughter, because you remembered your mother, and kept for her a share in your own enjoyment, from henceforth you shall be ever cool, and calm and bright. No noxious glare shall accompany your pure rays, and men shall always call you ‘blessed.”
(And that is why the Moon’s light is so soft, and cool, and beautiful even to this day.)
WHY THE FISH LAUGHED
By Joseph Jacobs
As a certain fisherwoman passed by a palace crying her fish, the queen appeared at one of the windows and beckoned her to come near and show what she had. At that moment a very big fish jumped about in the bottom of the basket.
“Is it a he or a she?” inquired the queen. “I wish to purchase a she fish.”
On hearing this the fish laughed aloud.
“It’s a he,” replied the fisherwoman, and proceeded on her rounds.
The queen returned to her room in a great rage; and on coming to see her in the evening, the king noticed that something had disturbed her.
“Are you indisposed?” he said.
“No; but I am very much annoyed at the strange behavior of a fish. A woman brought me one to-day, and on my inquiring whether it was a male or female, the fish laughed most rudely.”
“A fish laugh! Impossible! You must be dreaming.”
“I am not a fool. I speak of what I have seen with my own eyes and heard with my own ears.”
“Passing strange! Be it so. I will inquire concerning it.”
On the morrow the king repeated to his vizier what his wife had told him, and bade him investigate the matter, and be ready with a satisfactory answer within six mouths, on pain of death. The vizier promised to do his best, though he felt almost certain of failure. For live months he labored indefatigably to find a reason for the laughter of the fish. He sought everywhere and from everyone. The wise and learned, and they who were skilled in magic and in all manner of trickery, were consulted. Nobody, however, could explain the matter; and so he returned broken-hearted to his house, and began to arrange his affairs in prospect of certain death, for he had had sufficient experience of the king to know that His Majesty would not go back from his threat. Amongst other things, he advised his son to travel for a time, until the king’s anger should have somewhat cooled.
The young fellow, who was both clever and handsome, started off whithersoever Kismet might lead him. He had been gone some days, when he fell in with an old farmer, who also was on a journey to a certain village. Finding the old man very pleasant, he asked him if he might accompany him, professing to be on a visit to the same place. The old farmer agreed, and they walked along together. The day was hot, and the way was long and weary.
“Don’t yon think it would be pleasanter if you and I sometimes gave one another a lift?” said the youth.
“What a fool the man is!” thought the old farmer.
Presently they passed through a field of corn ready for the sickle, and looking’ like a sea of gold as it waved to and fro in the breeze.
“Is this eaten or not?” said the young man.
Not understanding his meaning, the old man replied, “I don’t know.”
After a little while the two travelers arrived at a big village, where the young man gave his companion a clasp knife, and said, “Take this, friend, and get two horses with it; but mind and bring it back, for it