THE DUCK WITH RED FEET
hunter in old times lived on the bank of a river far
away in the Canadian forest. He passed all his days in
the deep woods where he had great success in catching
and killing game. There was no better hunter than he in
all the country. Every evening he returned to his home,
bringing his day's catch with him. His father and
mother were both dead and he had no sister. He had only
one brother. This brother was very small. He was so
small that the hunter kept him in a little box; when he
went away in the morning to hunt, he always closed the
box up tight so that his little brother could not get
out, for he feared that if he got out harm would come
to him. Every night he took him out of the box to give
him food, and the little man was so hungry that he
always ate a great lot of food. The little man slept
always with his brother, but every morning he was
carefully locked up in the box. And in time he grew
very tired of his prison.
evening as the hunter came down the river from his
hunting journey he saw a very beautiful girl sitting on
the bank of the stream. He decided he would catch her
and take her home to be his wife, for he was lonely. He
 the beach as silently as he could, but she
saw him coming and she jumped into the water and
disappeared. She went to her home at the bottom of the
river and told her mother that the hunter had tried to
catch her. But her mother told her that she should not
have run away. She said, "The hunter who tried to catch
you was intended to be your husband. You must wait for
him to-morrow and tell him you will be his wife."
A VERY BEAUTIFUL GIRL SITTING ON THE BANK OF THE STREAM.
next night as the hunter came down the river the girl
was again sitting on the bank. He paddled over as he
had done on the evening before, but this time she did
not run away. She said, "I have been waiting for you.
You may take me for your wife." And the man, well
pleased with his beautiful prize, placed her in his
canoe and took her home. He did not tell her of his
little brother in the box. He cooked a beaver for the
evening meal. He and his wife ate half of it, but he
placed the other half away in the cup-board. Then he
told his wife to go to sleep, and she went to bed and
soon fell asleep. When she awoke in the morning her
husband had gone for his day's hunting, for he had to
leave early to go a long distance into the forest. She
found too that the half of the beaver he had put in the
cup-board was gone. And she wondered what had become of
evening when her husband came home, he cooked another
beaver for their meal. Again they ate one half of it,
and the man placed the other half of it to one side.
 a word did he say of his brother in the box.
Then the man sent his wife to bed as on the previous
night, and soon she was fast asleep. When she awoke in
the morning, her husband was gone for his day's
hunting. The half of the beaver which he had placed to
one side was also gone, but she knew he had not taken
it. She was afraid, and all day she wondered where the
meat had gone. She decided that she would find out what
had happened to it.
night when her husband came home, he cooked half a
small moose for their evening meal. They ate part of
it, and the man placed the remainder of it to one side
as usual. Then he told his wife to go to sleep. She
went to bed and pretended to sleep, but she stayed wide
awake, peeping through half-closed eyelids. When her
husband thought she was sleeping soundly, he unlocked a
little box that stood on a low shelf, and took out a
little man and gave him the moose meat he had put
aside. The little man ate every bit of it. He looked
very strange. He was all red from head to heels, as if
he were covered with red paint, and he said not a word.
When he had greedily eaten all the meat, the man washed
him and combed his hair and then put him back in the
box and locked him up. The woman wondered greatly at
this strange happening, but she could not keep from
laughing heartily to herself because of the funny
appearance of the little red man.
next day the man left early for his day's hunting. When
she was sure he was far away, she thought she would
take a peep at the queer little red man in the box. She
found the key hanging on the wall, and opened the box
and called to the little man to come out. But he would
not come. He seemed to be very much afraid of her. She
coaxed him to come out, but he refused. Then she caught
him and pulled him out. He looked at her for a long
time, but he would say not a word. Then he ran to the
door, which was open, and with a sudden jump he sprang
into the air and disappeared. The woman called to him,
but he would not come back. He was never seen again.
The woman was very much afraid. But she was more
frightened when she looked at her hands. They were all
red because she had caught the little red man, and many
red spots were on her arms and on her feet where the
red colouring from the man had dropped. She tried to
wash off the red spots, but she could not remove them.
She washed and rubbed her hands all day, but the stains
would not come off. When her husband came home in the
evening, he knew when he saw her red hands what had
happened. He knew that his brother of the box had gone.
And he was very angry. He seized a rod and ran at her
to beat her. She was afraid he would kill her, and she
ran to the river and jumped in to go back to her old
home. But as she reached the water, she was changed
from what she was. At once she became a Sheldrake Duck.
The red spots remained on her,
 and the sea could not
wash them off. And to this day the Sheldrake Duck has
red stains on her feet and feathers, because she was
curious and took the funny little red man from the box
in the olden days.
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