Algonquin Indian Tales eBook

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

“When she heard this she was very angry, for, with all her foolishness, she had only acted as she did because of her vanity and love of flattery.  Now that the marten had dared make such a request she resolved that he should be punished; so one day, when he was sitting beside her and saying a lot of foolish flattery, she heard the footsteps of her husband approaching, but did not warn the king marten.

“So the man thus caught the old marten sitting by the side of his wife.  At this he was much annoyed, and as the marten suddenly ran out the man asked the woman what it meant.  So she told him all that the marten had said, and of his impertinence in asking her to leave him and become the marten’s wife.  At this the man was very indignant, and so they arranged to punish the marten.

“The next time the man went off he told his wife to fill the kettle with water and put it on the fire to boil.  Then the man took his traps and started off as though he were going on a long journey.  But he only went a little way, just far enough to throw the marten off his guard, and, sure enough, while he was watching he saw the marten go into the wigwam.

“Then the man came quietly to the door and listened.  He heard the marten urging his wife to leave and run away with him.  Then he suddenly sprang into the tent and shouted out: 

“‘Old king marten, what are you doing here?  How dare you talk to my wife?’

“So saying, the man seized the kettle of boiling water and threw its contents at the marten, severely scalding him.  The marten tore at his burning breast as he dashed away into the woods.  And from that day to this all martens have that whitish spot on their chests caused by that burn.”

“What became of the woman?” said Sagastao.

“Never mind now.  We have wasted too much time already on such a good-for-nothing conceited flirt,” said Mary.

CHAPTER XXI.

Shooting Loons—­Why the Loon has a Flat Back, Red Eyes, and Such Queer Feet—­Nanahboozhoo Loses His Dinner—­Origin of Lichens—­Why Some Willows are Red—­The Partridge.

Nothing gave the children greater pleasure than to have the Indians take them in their canoes for a couple of hours’ trip on the bright waters of the beautiful lake that spread out before their home.

These pleasant outings were sometimes rendered exciting and doubly interesting by the sight of a black bear or a deer wandering on the shore or swimming from some point on the island.  At other times there would be numbers of loons, or great Northern divers, as they are generally called.  Their wonderful quickness in diving, then the length of time that they could remain under the water and the great distance they would swim before coming to the surface were watched with great interest by both Sagastao and Minnehaha.

The Indians did not often hunt loons.  In fact they found it so difficult to shoot one that more than its value in ammunition was generally expended in the attempt.  The Indians always declared that these clever birds could see the flash of their guns and dive down out of danger before the shot reached them.

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Algonquin Indian Tales from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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