Algonquin Indian Tales eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 176 pages of information about Algonquin Indian Tales.

But here Minnehaha appealed to Souwanas, and said: 

“I have been wondering how it was the old man and his daughters got the fire in the first place from out of the underground.  Will you not tell us that story some time?”

The old man looked grave and was silent for a minute or two, then he replied: 

“I think you had better ask Kinnesasis.  He knows the story better than I do, for in his youth he traveled far West, into the land of the high mountains, where the legend is that the fire was stolen out of the center of the earth.”

“All right.  Thank you, Souwanas.  We are going to take Kinnesasis some presents, and while there we will ask him for the story.”

Here an Indian lad rushed into the wigwam with the word that Kennedy was coming with their cariole.  The children were well wrapped up, and soon with their usual happy, “Wat cheer!  Wat cheer!” they were speeding homeward.

CHAPTER IX.

Kinnesasis—­How the Coyote Obtained the Fire from the Interior of the Earth.

A great time the children had in the wigwam of Kinnesasis.  He was such a jolly little old Indian, and he was specially happy to-day when the children opened out the gifts and presented them.  He was more than delighted with a suit of black clothes sent him from a distance by friends who had heard about him and his needs.  He quickly put on the whole suit, which fitted him very nicely, and then much amused the children by saying: 

“I am sure the man who made these clothes is in heaven, or, if not yet dead, he will go to heaven when he dies.”

“Why, Kinnesasis, it is the kind friends who sent you these clothes you ought to thank, and not make such a fuss over the man who made them; he was paid for making them,” said Sagastao.  But Kinnesasis could only think of the man who made the suit of which he was so proud.

Kinnesasis’s old wife was, if possible, still more delighted with her presents than the old man with his.  She and Minnehaha were always the best of friends, and now as the child handed her gift after gift of warm clothing and food her joy knew no bounds, and, old as she was, when some warm shoes were given her, she sprang up and began singing an Indian song, while with all the agility of a young maiden she spun around the wigwam in rhythmic measure to her words, which, roughly translated, are as follows: 

  “The Good Spirit has pity on me,
  Though for days I had little to eat,
  I was wretched and sad in my heart,
  I was cold, O so cold! in my feet.

  “But now I have plenty of meat,
  Clothes for my body, shoes for my feet,
  I’ll not grumble, nor sorrow, but praise
  The Good Spirit the rest of my days.”

“Well done!” shouted the children when the old woman stopped.  They were greatly delighted with her performance.  Kinnesasis, however, who, as well as his wife, was now a church member, professed to be much shocked at seeing her thus dancing, as though in the wild excitement of the Ghost Dance.  But both Sagastao and Minnehaha stood up for the old wife.  They said the words she sang were good enough for the church, any day, and they were sure nobody could find fault with her thus showing how glad and thankful she was.

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Algonquin Indian Tales from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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