“It was the duty of his wife to scrape and clean his garments and wash and resmoke them as often as they needed it. But she neglected her work and would go off gossiping among her neighbors. Her husband was patient with her for a time, but at length, when he heard that Wakonda was coming to pay a visit to the people, to see how they were getting along, he began to bestir himself so as to be decently attired, in clean, handsome apparel, to meet this powerful being, who was able to confer great favors on him, or, if ill-disposed, to injure him greatly.
“He endeavored to get his wife to go to work and remove the dirt that had gathered on his garments. She was so lazy that it was only from fear of a beating that she ever did make any attempt to do as he desired. She took the garments and began to clean them, but she was in a bad humor and did her work in such a slovenly and half-hearted way that there was but very little change for the better after the pretended cleaning.
“When the news was circulated that Wakonda was coming, the husband prepared to dress himself in his best apparel, but great indeed was his anger and disgust when he found that the garments which he had hoped to wear were still disgracefully grimy.
“While the angry husband was chiding the woman for her indolence Wakonda suddenly appeared. To him the man appealed, and asked for his advice in the matter.
“Wakonda quickly responded, and said: ’A lazy, gossiping wife is not only a disgrace to her husband, she is annoying to all around her; and so it will be in this case.’
“Then Wakonda told her husband to take some of the dirt which still clung to his garments, which she was supposed to have cleansed, and to throw it at her. This the man did, and the particles of dirt at once changed into mosquitoes. And so, ever since, especially in the warm days and nights of early summer when the mosquitoes with their singing and stinging come around to trouble us, we are reminded of this lazy, slovenly woman, who was not only a trial to her husband, but by her lack of industry and care brought such a scourge upon all the people.”
“Didn’t Wakonda do anything else?” murmured the little lad; but that blessed thing called sleep now enfolded both the little ones, and with mutterings of “Nanahboozhoo—Wakonda—Souwanas—Mary”—they were soon far away in childhood’s happy dreamland.
More about Mary and the Children—Minnehaha Stung by the Bees—How the Bees Got Their Stings—What Happened to the Bears that Tried to Steal the Honey.
The next morning while Mary was dressing them the children told her of their adventures in the wigwam of the Indians. Mary was really interested, though she pretended to be disgusted at the whole thing, and professed, in her Indian way, to be quite shocked when they both confidentially informed her that they had had such a good time that they were going again even if they had to run away and be whipped for it.