So he turned his steps in the direction of the sound, and went on through the forest swiftly but silently. Though at the first the noise had seemed to come from a place near at hand, it was a long time before he came in sight of the dancers. They were a man and a woman, and they were jumping and dancing about a tree, in the top of which was Hes-puns the Raccoon.
Now all three of them, the raccoon as well as the man and woman, were magicians. The man and the woman were enemies to the other, and as their magic was stronger than his, he had turned himself into a raccoon to escape them.
The hunter did not know this. He went toward them, and as he drew near, he saw that the dancers had worn a ditch waist-deep about the tree.
He went up to them and asked them why they did this strange thing.
Now the man and the woman did not want the hunter to know the truth of the matter. So they said, “We are trying to wear away the earth from the root of this tree, so that we can get it down and catch Hes-puns, We are hungry and we have no tomahawk.”
“Well,” said the hunter, “I have a good tomahawk and I will cut down the tree for you. But you must give me the skin of Hes-puns.”
They agreed to this, and the hunter soon brought the tree to the ground. They caught the raccoon and killed and skinned him. Then they gave the skin to the hunter, who went home.
A few days after this, the hunter saw a stranger coming toward his lodge. On his head he wore a strange kind of cap which looked like a small wigwam. When the hunter went out to meet him, the stranger took off his cap and set it upon the ground. At once it grew larger and larger until it became a beautiful lodge with several fine rooms in it.
The hunter was greatly amazed, but invited the stranger into his own lodge and set food before him. While eating, the visitor chanced to see the pelt of Hes-puns hanging on one of the lodge poles.
Now he was a magician and the brother of the one who had turned himself into a raccoon. As soon as he saw the skin, he knew it by certain marks to be the skin of his brother, and supposed that the hunter had killed him. So he thought, how he might be revenged upon him.
“That is a fine pelt you have there,” said he to the hunter. “I should like to buy it.”
“Yes,” replied the hunter, “it is a fine one, but I do not care to sell it.”
“I will give you more than it is worth,” said the magician. And he offered everything that he had except his magic wigwam.
“No, I do not care to sell it,” answered the hunter to each new offer. But finally, he said, “If you will give me that fine lodge of yours, you may have the skin.”
“It’s a bargain,” said the magician; “the lodge is yours. But you must keep me overnight. We will sleep in your new lodge, which is much finer and better furnished than this.”