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The Red Indian Fairy Book by  Frances Jenkins Olcott


 

 

THE NOISY CHIPMUNK

(Yakima)

[105] ONCE there was an Indian village, and in it lived a Chipmunk and his grandmother. He was a very noisy little Chipmunk, and his grandmother used to say:—

"My Grandson, when you are out in the woods, you must not make so much noise, or something will find and catch you."

But he did not mind her, and every morning he went to the woods, and ran about until he found some berries. Then he climbed a tree, and sat on a limb, and while he ate the berries he made all the noise he could.

In the evening his grandmother always told him stories, and once she told him about a Giant who wandered about the woods chasing Chipmunks and other creatures. He had a bag full of red-hot stones, and whenever he caught a small animal he popped it into the bag and cooked it.

"I do not believe that!" said the little Chipmunk, "for I have roamed the woods for two or [106] three years, and have never heard nor seen the Giant."

"Nevertheless," said his grandmother, "if you make too much noise, the Giant will come and catch you."

Well, one day the little Chipmunk went out as happy and mischievous as ever. He scurried along looking for berries, and then he thought, "I'll go as far as I can, for I wish to see that Giant."

So he went on and on, till he came to a high bluff, and on it he found a quantity of berries. So he sat on the top of the bluff, and while he ate, he tried to make as much noise as he could, for he thought, "Maybe the Giant will hear me and come."

And the Giant did hear him and come; for he lived under the bluff. He heard all the noise that the little Chipmunk made, and he came creeping quietly, but he was not able to reach the Chipmunk, because the bluff was too high.

"Come down, little one," said he, as pleasantly as he could, "and I'll give you a heap of fine berries."

[107] But the little Chipmunk said, "No! If I do, you will catch me and make a fine meal for yourself!" So he stayed up on the bluff.

Well, it got to be evening, and the little Chipmunk was tired of waiting for the Giant to leave, and tried to think of a plan to get away. So he broke off some branches from a bush, and threw them down. The Giant heard them fall, and thought it was the little Chipmunk, and sprang on top of them. But it was not the Chipmunk at all, only branches of bushes, and when he looked up to the top of the bluff, the little scamp was gone!

Then the Giant ran, and he took such long strides that soon he saw the little Chipmunk leaping home as fast as he could. And the Giant ran and ran, and just as the little Chipmunk was about to spring into his grandmother's house, the Giant overtook him and grabbed his back. But the little Chipmunk slipped away, and jumped into the house. So he was safe, and the Giant, grumbling with rage, had to go home without his supper.

That is why Chipmunks have white stripes on their backs—the marks of the Giant's fingers.


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