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The Red Indian Fairy Book by  Frances Jenkins Olcott

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SHINGEBISS

(Chippewa)

[246] ONCE Shingebiss, the Wild Duck, lived alone in a little lodge by the side of a bay. It was cold Winter weather, and the ice lay thick on the water. But Shingebiss did not fear the cold, for his lodge was snug and warm, and his fire burned bright. He had four big logs, each of which would burn for a month.

So Shingebiss was hardy and happy, and no matter how bad the weather was, he went each day out on the ice, and, pulling up the rushes with his bill, dived through the hole he had made. Thus he caught many Fish, and got plenty of food.

One day the Northwest Wind came blustering from the Northland. He blew over the Earth, and at the touch of his icy breath the forest creatures shivered and crept into their holes. Then he blew across the bay, and around the lodge of Shingebiss. But the little Wild Duck did not care. He went out on the ice just the same, and pulling up the rushes, dived down and fished. And as he [247] dragged a string of Fish to his warm lodge, he sang:—


"O Northwest Wind, I know your plan!

You are but my fellow-man!"

"Hi! Ho!" said the Northwest Wind; "but this is a brave Duck!" He does not seem to mind the cold. But I'll blow my hardest and freeze his blood."

So he blew ten times colder blasts, and piled up the drifting snow, and filled the air with ice-needles that stung the face.

But Shingebiss did not mind it at all, and he searched the ice for more rushes, and, diving through the hole, caught many Fish. Then, as he went home dragging a bigger string than usual, he sang:—


"Blow you may, your coldest breeze,

Shingebiss you cannot freeze!"

"Hi! Ho!" said the Northwest Wind; "I will visit his lodge, and freeze his fire." So he went to the door of Shingebiss's lodge, and blew a terrible blast straight through it.

But Shingebiss only stirred his fire the more, [248] and the flames sprang up and cooked his Fish, and made the lodge warmer. And as he did so, he sang:—


"Sweep the strongest wind you can,

Shingebiss is still your man!"

Then the Northwest Wind grew very angry, and, entering the lodge, sat down and blew into the fire.

But Shingebiss stirred it again, and the flames leaped up and roared, and threw out a fearful heat. And as he did so, he sang:—


"Hi! for life! And ho! for bliss!

Who so free as Shingebiss!"

The tears began to flow down the cheeks of the Northwest Wind, and he felt that he was melting away. "Hi! Ho!" said he; "I can't stand this!" So he flew out of the door. In a great rage he rushed over the bay, and made the ice thicker and piled the snow higher.

But all the happier was Shingebiss! He searched the ice for rushes, and dived and fished. And as he went back to his snug, warm lodge, he sang:—


[249] "Northwest Wind, I know your plan!

You are but my fellow-man!

Blow you may, your coldest breeze,

Shingebiss you cannot freeze.

Sweep the strongest wind you can,

Shingebiss is still your man.

Hi! for life! and ho! for bliss!

Who so free as Shingebiss!"

"Hi! Ho!" said the Northwest Wind; "he certainly is a wonderful Duck! I cannot freeze nor starve him; so I'll let him alone." And he rushed blustering back to his home in the Northland.


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