* * * * *
“The deer were the next to hold a council. Each one had some story to tell about the cruelty of men. Each one had lost his father or his mother, his wife or his children, his brother or his sister.
“After much talk, their chief, Little Deer, spoke. ‘It is a law,’ said he, ’among all the kindreds that each may kill to supply his needs. The men folk need our flesh to eat and our skins for clothing.
“’But there is another law. It is that no one shall kill cruelly or needlessly. Upon such as do so, let us send pains and aches. Let us make their joints swell and become stiff, so that they cannot follow us and kill us. Besides, let us make another law, that when a hunter kills one of the deer family, he must pray to the spirit of the deer for pardon. If he has killed to supply his needs and without cruelty, he shall be pardoned. If not, he shall become a helpless cripple.’
“The deer people all agreed to this and sent word to the nearest Indian village, to tell the hunters about the new law.
“Since that time every Indian hunter is careful to pray to the spirit of the deer which he has killed.
* * * * *
“Next the fishes and the snakes held a council. Each one had complaints to make against the cruelty of men. After much talk, A-tos-sa the chief of the snakes spoke.
“‘We of the snake kindred,’ said he, ’will afflict men with diseases of their nerves. They shall tremble and shake when there is nothing to be afraid of. And when they draw the bow-strings, their arrows shall go wide of the mark by reason of the unsteadiness of eye and hand. And we will send upon them in their sleep evil dreams. The ghosts of the snakes which they have needlessly killed shall twine about them, with fearful fangs, ready to pierce their flesh, and the cold sweat of terror shall ooze from their skin, and they shall awake with cries and tremblings.’
“After him the chief of the fishes spoke.
“‘We,’ said he, ’will afflict men with diseases of the stomach. In their sleep, they shall dream of eating raw or decayed fish and their appetites shall pass from them.’
“These plans were agreed upon, and the council of the fishes and the snakes broke up.
* * * * *
“After this, the smaller animals, the birds and the insects, gathered themselves together in a common council. Here, too, all were bitter against the useless cruelty of mankind. After all complaints had been heard, Am-wee-soo the Wasp addressed the council.
“‘Each creature,’ said he, ’has the right to live. Our cruel enemies deprive us of our lives which they cannot restore. It is just that they shall be punished. We, the wasps, the bees, and the flies, will send upon men boils and wasting fevers, which shall sap their strength and bring them to their graves.’