“So that night she hid herself in the wood pile, and, sure enough, after a while she heard the sound of bells ringing and animals softly crying out, and then a loud ‘Hi! Hi!’ after which all was still.
“Then, as she cautiously looked out from her hiding place, there before her was a great creature standing beside the wigwam. He was so tall that his head was higher than the smoke hole at the top, and he was peeping down into the wigwam. But, big as he was, she had a mother’s loving heart after all, and as she thought of her boy fastened up there in one of his big ears she was determined to rescue him if possible. So she cautiously moved along until she was able to seize one of his legs, which she did with all her strength, and at the same instant she shouted for her husband to come and help. Out he rushed, and between them they tumbled the tall ghost over and, sure enough, in one of his big ears they found their little boy.
“Poor little fellow. He was half-starved, and so thin and weak that he could hardly stand. But they helped him into the wigwam and gave him some soup, made out of some birds that his father had killed that day.
“The tall ghost was so frightened by the sudden way in which he had been seized that as soon as he could get up he hurried away, and was never seen in that part of the country again. Some tribes say he went South, and there, when he was stealing children and carrying them off in his ears, he was caught by the angry parents and burned to death on a big wood pile.”
“Did the little boy get better?” asked Minnehaha.
“O yes, he did, after a while; but he was a long time in getting over the fright he had had. It did him good, however, for after that he was never rude and saucy to his mother and did all he could to help her.”
“Did it do the mother any good?” asked Sagastao, who had not been altogether satisfied with her treatment of the boy.
“Yes, indeed,” said Mary; “for after that terrible fright she was never known to shout out at her boy such words as, ’I hope the ghost will catch you,’ or any other of the unpleasant ones which she sometimes had used when she was angry with him.”
“Thank you, Sakehow,” said both the children. “A pretty good story, that.”
Then what a jolly romp they had with Jack and Cuffy! The two splendid dogs were the children’s special protectors and companions.
[Illustration: “Their dog trains were in almost constant demand.”]
Happy Christmas Holidays—Indians Made Glad with Presents—Souwanas Tells How Nanahboozhoo Stole the Fire from the Old Magician and Gave It to the Indians.
The Christmas holidays were times of innocent festivities and gladness among the Indians and their white friends, both at the mission and at the trading post.