|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 |
WHY WILD ROSES HAVE THORNS
 LONG, long ago, Wild Roses had no thorns.
They grew on bushes the stems of which were smooth
and fragrant, and the leaves a delicate green.
The sweet-smelling pink blossoms covered the bushes.
Oh! they were beautiful to see!
But they made such delicious eating, that the Rabbits
and other creatures who loved grass and
 herbs, nibbled the pink petals and green leaves,
and sometimes ate up the bushes. By and by there were only
a few Rose-Bushes left in the whole world.
Well, the Rose-Bushes that were left met together
to see what they could do about it, and they decided
to go and find Nanahboozhoo, and ask him for help.
Now this Nanahboozhoo was a strange fellow.
He had magic power and could make himself as tall as a tree
or as small as a Turtle. He could not be drowned
or burned or killed, and he had a very bad temper
when he was displeased. He was hard to find,
for sometimes he was an animal and at other times a man.
But the Rose-Bushes decided to look for him,
and they hurried away on the back of a wind
that they hired to carry them. And as they went along,
they asked every tree and animal they met,
"Have you seen Nanahboozhoo?" And all answered, "No."
The Rose-Bushes flew on and on, the wind blowing them along,
and by and by they met a little animal that said,
"Nanahboozhoo is in a
 valley among the mountains, where he is planting
and taking care of a flower-garden."
The Rose-Bushes were delighted to hear this,
and told the wind to blow them to that valley,
and it did. As they drew near the flower-garden,
they heard Nanahboozhoo shouting, for he was in a great rage.
At this the Rose-Bushes were dreadfully frightened,
and hid among some Balsam Trees. But they soon learned
why Nanahboozhoo was angry.
Some weeks before he had planted a hedge of Wild Roses
around his garden, and when they were covered
with spicy pink blossoms, he had gone away for a few days.
Just before the Rose-Bushes had arrived and hidden
among the Balsams, he had returned to his garden.
What was his anger to find that the Rabbits
and other creatures had eaten up his hedge of Wild Roses,
and trampled down all his flowers.
Now, when the Rose-Bushes knew why Nanahboozhoo
was shouting with rage, they left their hiding-place,
and a puff of wind blew them straight to Nanahboozhoo's feet.
He was surprised to see them, for he thought that
Rose-  Bushes
had been eaten up; but before he could say a word,
they told him their troubles.
Nanahboozhoo listened, and, after talking things over
with the Rose-Bushes, he gave them a lot of small,
thornlike prickles to cover their branches and stems
close up to the flowers, so that the animals
would not be able to eat them. After that Nanahboozhoo
sent the Rose-Bushes to their home, on the back of the wind.
And ever since that day all Wild Roses have had many thorns.
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