|The Red Indian Fairy Book|
|by Frances Jenkins Olcott|
|A choice collection of Native American myths and legends carefully selected from many sources. Most are nature stories telling about birds, beasts, flowers, and rocks of our American meadows, prairies, and forests. The tales are arranged according to the seasons with several stories offered for each month of the year. There are some for early spring, when the maple sap mounts, and the arbutus blooms under the snow; for later spring, when the birds nest, and the wild flowers blow; for summer, with its heat, storms, fishing, and canoeing; for autumn with its corn, nuts, and harvest feast; for winter, with its ice, snow, and adventures. A comprehensive subject index for use by teachers and storytellers is included. Ages 8-12 |
THE SPRING BEAUTY
 AN old man was sitting in his lodge, by the side of a frozen
stream. It was the end of Winter, the air was not so cold,
and his fire was nearly out. He was old and alone. His locks
were white with age, and he trembled in every joint. Day
 day passed, and he heard nothing but the sound of the
storm sweeping before it the new-fallen snow.
One day while his fire was dying, a handsome young man
entered the lodge. His cheeks were red, his eyes sparkled.
He walked with a quick, light step. His forehead was bound
with sweet-grass, and he carried a bunch of fragrant flowers
in his hand.
"Ah, my Son," said the old man, "I am happy to see you.
Come in. Tell me your adventures, and what strange lands
you have seen. I will tell you my wonderful deeds, and
what I can perform. You shall do the same, and we will
amuse each other."
The old man then drew from a bag a curiously wrought
pipe. He filled it with mild tobacco, and handed it to his
guest. They each smoked from the pipe, and then began
"I am Peboan, the Spirit of Winter," said the old man. "I
blow my breath, and the streams stand still. The water
becomes stiff and hard as clear stone."
"I am Seegwun, the Spirit of Spring," answered
 the youth.
"I breathe, and flowers spring up in the meadows and
"I shake my locks," said the old man, "and the snow covers
the land. The leaves fall from the trees, and my breath
blows them away. The birds fly to the distant land, and the
animals hide themselves from the cold."
"I shake my ringlets," said the young man, "and the warm
showers of soft rain fall upon the Earth. The flowers lift
their heads from the ground, and the grass grows thick and
green. My voice recalls the birds, and they come flying
joyfully from the Southland. The warmth of my breath
unbinds the streams, and they sing the songs of Summer.
Music fills the groves wherever I walk, and all Nature
And while they were thus talking, a wonderful change took
place. The Sun began to rise. A gentle warmth stole over the
place. Peboan, the Spirit of Winter, became silent. His head
drooped, and the snow outside the lodge melted away.
Seegwun, the Spirit of Spring, grew more radiant, and rose
joyfully to his feet. The Robin and the Bluebird began to
sing on the top of the lodge. The stream
 murmured past the
door, and the fragrance of opening flowers came softly on
The lodge faded away, and Peboan sank down and
dissolved into tiny streams of water, that vanished under
the brown leaves of the forest.
Thus the Spirit of Winter departed, and where he melted
away the Indian children gathered the first blossoms,
fragrant and delicately pink,—the modest Spring Beauty.
Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics