|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 |
LEGEND OF THE MORNING STAR
 SOSONDOWAH guarded well the Dawn Maid's lodge,
but as the days passed, he began to long to visit the Earth again.
He begged the Dawn Maid to let him depart, but she would not.
One morning, when the East was painted with the red plumes of light,
he looked down on the Earth, and saw a beautiful maiden
standing by a river's brink. And as he looked,
tenderness as swift as an arrow quivered in his heart.
And after that he could not forget the River-Maiden,
for he saw her face each morning in the mists that rose to the Sky.
Once in the Springtime, while the Dawn Maid was sleeping,
Sosondowah left her lodge, and entered into the heart
of a Bluebird that was dipping its wings in the blue of the Sky.
Singing sweetly the bird flew down to the river
and the meadows echoed with its song.
The River-Maiden, standing by the river's
 brink, saw the bird coming, and heard its sweet song.
"It is a Bluebird!" she cried. "The Spring is here!
Now the Windflowers will dance on their stems,
and the Violets will peep from the leaves,
and the berries will ripen in the grass!"
And at her cry the Bluebird came, and sat upon her shoulder,
and nestled its head against her cheek.
And as she caressed it, the heart of Sosondowah,
under the wing of the bird, beat quick with happiness.
But the Sun was near, and he was forced to return
to the Dawn Maid's lodge. And as the Bluebird flew upward,
its sweet song was wafted down to the river.
When the Summer was come, once again while the Dawn Maid
was sleeping, Sosondowah entered into the heart
of a Blackbird that was flying through the woodland
whistling its song. On the Elm, the Ash, and the Oak
it swung in the branches whistling with joy,
until there came a faint call from the river.
Swiftly the Bird flew to the river's brink,
and there was the River-Maiden standing.
"It is a Blackbird!" she whispered. "The Summer is
 here! Now the Fruit will ripen in the trees,
and the Maize will grow high toward the Sun!"
And she held out her hand, and the Blackbird
flew at her call. And as she caressed it
the bird lifted its beak close to her lips.
"It is I!" Sosondowah plaintively whispered,
from the heart of the bird. But she heard him not.
The Sun was near, and he was forced to return
to the Dawn Maid's lodge. And as the Blackbird flew upward,
its rich, whistling notes were wafted down to the river.
In the Autumn, when the trees shed their bright leaves
and the fur of the Elk grows long, Sosondowah
crept into the heart of a huge Night Hawk that was searching
the waters for its prey. Through the mists of the night,
all over the land was heard its harsh cry.
Down to the river it flew, uttering piteous calls
until it found the River-Maiden sleeping on the river's brink.
"It is she! 'T is my bride!" whispered Sosondowah
in the heart of the Hawk. And the bird, swooping down,
lifted the River-Maiden on its broad wings,
and bore her away to the Sky. And all the waters
of Earth heard his harsh cries of triumph wafted down with the dew.
 And meanwhile the Dawn Maid awoke and found the
lodge empty, and Sosondowah gone. Rising in anger,
she painted the East with the red plumes of light.
And soon Sosondowah left the heart of the Hawk,
and returned to the lodge bearing his bride in his arms.
And when the Dawn Maid saw him, she uttered many reproaches.
With her magic arts she touched the River-Maiden,
and turned her into a large and bright Star,
and placed her forever on Sosondowah's forehead.
And there, each day at dawn, she shines beautiful
and bright, and the Pale Face Children
call her "The Morning Star."
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