“Now Gloos-cap was a mighty magician. By his magic power, he caused the food to turn to ashes in the mouths of the greedy ones. As soon as they tasted the ashes, they tried to talk and scold, but they could scarcely say two words on account of the ashes which got into their throats.
“The angry Gloos-cap waved his hand over them, and by his magic power the quarrelsome, envious, and greedy ones disappeared. In their place there were a number of red squirrels, who chattered and scolded and coughed as red squirrels always do even to this day. These were the foreparents of all the red squirrels in the world.
“‘Now,’ said Gloos-cap to the other creatures, ’take warning by the fate of these who are now squirrels and cease from being quarrelsome, envious, and greedy.’”
XIX. HOW THE RED SQUIRREL BECAME SMALL
“Now in those days Mee-ko the Red Squirrel was much larger than he is to-day,—as large as Moo-ween the Bear; and his temper was even as his size. He desired most earnestly to take revenge upon Gloos-cap the Good for what he had done to him. So he sought out the brother of Gloos-cap, even Mal-sum the Wicked Wolf, and tempted him to kill his brother.
“‘I would gladly slay him,’ said Mal-sum, ’but I know not how it may be done. On account of his magic power, there is only one thing in all the world that can hurt him, and I know not what that is.’
“‘Go you,’ said Mee-ko, ’and pretend to be friendly with him and find out his secret. Then you may slay him.’
“Mal-sum thought this good advice, and acted according to it. For many days he behaved to his brother with pretended kindness, always watching to find out his secret.
“‘My brother,’ said he, one day when they were hunting together, ’you know that there is but one thing in all the world that can hurt either of us, one thing for you, and another for me. Tell me what it is with which you may be slain?’
“Now Gloos-cap the Good knew the wickedness and spite that lay hid in the heart of his brother. So he said, ’Nay, but tell me first, what it is with which you may be slain?’
“And the wicked Mal-sum thought in his heart, ’What would it matter even if he knew the truth? I shall slay him before he can harm me.’ So he answered truly, ’By the stroke of a fern-root only can I be slain. Now what is your secret?’
“But Gloos-cap, knowing his brother’s wickedness, was unwilling to trust him. So he answered falsely and craftily, ’By the stroke of an owl’s feather it is fated that I shall be some day slain.’
“Now the wicked Mai-sum was greatly rejoiced in heart at hearing this. So he left his brother, making some excuse, and went off into the woods alone. There finding an owl, one of my foreparents, he shot him, and, taking some of his feathers, returned home.
“That night while Gloos-cap was sleeping, the wicked Mai-sum arose, and taking the owl’s feather, struck his brother upon the forehead. But Gloos-cap, awakened by the blow, only laughed. ’It is not really a feather,’ said he, ’but a pine-root that shall end my life. I was but joking with you this morning.’