|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 |
HOW THE HUNTER BECAME A PARTRIDGE
 ONE day in late autumn a hunter in the Micmac country
travelled through the woods, and he heard in the distance
the sound of footsteps beating on the ground.
He hastened to the spot whence the noise came,
and found a man and his wife dancing around a tree.
And on the tree, high among the boughs,
was a Raccoon. The man and his wife
had danced so long that they had worn a trench
in the earth; indeed, they were in it up to their waists.
"Why are you dancing in this strange manner?" asked the hunter.
"We are hungry," they answered, "and we are trying to dance
the tree down to the ground, so that we may catch the Raccoon."
"If I show you a better way than that," said the hunter,
"will you give me the Raccoon's skin?"
 "We will give you the skin," answered the others,
"if you will catch him for us."
So the hunter took his hatchet, and cut down the tree,
and caught the Raccoon. After which he took the skin
and went his way.
He had not gone far along the trail before
he met a strange man carrying on his head
a large Birch wigwam of many rooms.
The hunter was astonished and frightened
at such a sight. But the stranger stopped,
and putting down the wigwam, seated himself
on the ground, and invited the hunter to smoke
and talk with him.
They smoked and talked together for a while.
Then the stranger pointed to the Raccoon's skin
in the hunter's belt, and said, "That is a fine skin;
where did you get it?"
"I got it from the dancing man and his wife,"
replied the hunter.
"Sell it to me," said the stranger,
"and I will give you my belt in exchange."
"I will not have your belt," said the hunter.
"Sell it to me, and I will give you my bow," said the stranger.
"I will not have your bow," said the hunter.
 "Sell it to me, and I will give you my Birch wigwam,"
said the stranger.
"But I cannot carry your wigwam," replied the hunter.
"Lift it upon your head, and see," said the stranger.
The hunter lifted the wigwam, and placed it on his head,
and found it as light as an empty basket.
So he gave the stranger the Raccoon's skin,
and, carrying the wigwam, went on his way.
And when night came he set the wigwam upon
a grassy ridge by the side of a stream,
and entering he looked about. Every room was hung
with fine blankets and rich furs, and furnished beautifully.
The hunter found one room in which was a bed covered
with a White Bear's skin. Now this was a magic skin,
but the hunter did not know it. As the bed was soft,
and he was weary, he lay down and went to sleep.
And when he woke in the morning he saw to his wonder
and delight that above him hung all sorts of good things
to eat—dried Venison and Ducks,
strings of Indian Corn, and baskets of red berries
and Maple Sugar.
 He stretched out his arms, and gave a spring
toward the food, when, lo! the White Bear's skin
melted away, for it was only a heap of snow.
The wigwam was only a Birch Tree,
and the food that hung above were the early buds
of the Birch. The hunter's arms grew spreading
like wings, his body was covered with feathers,
and he flew up to the Birch Tree.
And he was no longer the hunter, but Pulowech the Partridge.
And he had been wintering under the snow,
as the Partridge does, and was now come forth
to greet the beautiful Spring and the Summer.
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