Algonquin Indian Tales eBook

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

“The buzzard, that has such wonderful eyes, to see great distances, saw from afar this gathering of the birds and animals, and as he was ever on the lookout for such things he soon joined the rest of the creatures around the deer.  He flew round and round it several times, for he was at first somewhat suspicious.  The closest inspection, however, showed him that it was only a dead deer, and that was the unanimous opinion of all the other animals and birds that gathered there.  There could be no doubt in any creature’s mind but that it was a deer and that it was quite dead.

“The buzzard, now that all his suspicions were gone, in his great greed to get the best he could savagely began, with his powerful beak, tearing a hole in the side of the body that he might get down to the rich fat that is around the kidneys.  This is what those fierce, greedy birds always try to get first.  Deeper and deeper into the flesh he tore, until at length he was able to crowd in his head and neck to reach the dainty morsels he so much prized.

“This was just what Nanahboozhoo was waiting for, and when the head and neck of the buzzard were completely hidden in the body up jumped the deer, and as he did so the flesh closed up so tightly around the head and neck of the buzzard that the greedy bird was there securely held.

“‘Ha, ha, old buzzard!  I did catch you after all, as I said I would,’ said Nanahboozhoo.  ‘Now pull out your neck and head.’

“The buzzard with very great difficulty at length succeeded in drawing his head out of the side of the deer.  The effort to do so, however, was so great that he lost all of the beautiful feathers that once adorned his head and neck.  From that day they have never grown on him again, and there is nothing there to be seen but the red rough-looking skin.

“‘Never again,’ said Nanahboozhoo, ’will feathers cover your neck or head, and so your friends and enemies, as they see you, will be reminded of how Nanahboozhoo punished you for playing one of your tricks on him.  And also from this time forward your food will only be of the rankest kind, and the disagreeable odor will so cling to you that even in the darkest nights your hateful presence will be detected and shunned.’

“Thus,” added Souwanas, “the buzzard is the most despised of birds, because he is such an ugly fellow, with his featherless head and neck, and because his disagreeable odor taints the sweet air wherever he goes.”

CHAPTER XXIII.

A Moonlight Trip on the Lake—­The Legend of the Orphan Boy—­His Appeal to the Man in the Moon—­How He Conquered His Enemies.

Moonlight nights in the Northland are often very beautiful.  There in the summer time the gloaming continues until nearly midnight.  Then nothing can be more glorious than to glide along amid the beautiful fir-clad rocky islands in a birch canoe over the still transparent waters.  So large and luminous are the full moons of July and August that, with the west aglow and with the wondrous aurora flashing and blazing in the north, there is practically little night and no darkness at all.

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Algonquin Indian Tales from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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