“But the wicked Mai-sum feigned that lie, too, had been only in sport, and the two brothers lay down again and slept.
“But the next night, while Gloos-cap was sleeping, Mai-sum again arose and struck him upon the forehead with a pine-root.
“This time Gloos-cap, seeing the wickedness of his brother’s heart, and that he was bound to take his life, arose and drove Mai-sum forth into the woods. Then he went away and sat down by the brookside, considering what he should do.
“‘Truly,’ said he to himself, ’he will yet slay me. If he but knew that a flowering rush is fated to be my bane, my life would not be safe for a moment.’
“Now it chanced that the beaver was hidden among the reeds in the brook and heard what Gloos-cap had said. So he went off to Mal-sum, and told him his brother’s secret for a reward.
“The reward was that Mal-sum by his magic power should grant whatever the beaver might ask. So the beaver asked that he might have wings like a wood dove. But Mal-sum only laughed at him. ‘Wings for you!’ he chuckled; ’you, who have nothing to do but paddle about in the mud and eat bark! what need have you of wings? Besides, how would you with that flat tail of yours look with wings!’
“Now you may be sure that the beaver was angry at being thus made sport of. So he went straightway to Gloos-cap and told him that Mal-sum had found out his secret.
“‘Now,’ said Gloos-cap to himself, ’I must needs slay him. He does naught but evil in the world, and I have not yet finished the good work which the Master of Life sent me to do.’ That night he arose and, talking a fern-root, smote the wicked Mal-sum on the head so that he died.
“Now Gloos-cap knew that Mee-ko the Red Squirrel had tempted his brother to try to slay him, and since Mee-ko was so large and of such an evil temper, lie feared that he would do much harm. So meeting Mee-ko one day in the woods, he said, ’Tell me, what would you do if you should see a man?’
“‘If I should see a man,’ answered Mee-ko, ’I would dig up the trees of the forest, so that they would fall upon and slay him. Then I would feast upon his dead body.’
“‘You are too large and too wicked,’ said Gloos-cap. ’I fear I cannot change your temper, but I can your size,’ So he passed his hands over the big red squirrel’s back, and behold, he shrunk and shriveled until he became small, even as small as he is at this day. But his temper remained almost as bad as before. Even to-day, he can scarcely see any creature without scolding and saying bad words.”
XX. LITTLE LUKE AND MOTHER MIT-CHEE THE RUFFLED PARTRIDGE
Up in the woods on the side of the mountain Mother Mit-chee the Ruffled Partridge built her nest, close beside the trail. It was nothing but a little hollow in the ground, lined with leaves.
It was in plain sight and you would have supposed that anyone going along the trail would have seen it. But they didn’t. Old John the Indian and Sam the hired man passed it a dozen times and never noticed it. Even Old Boze did not find it, although he followed Sam up and down the trail many times.