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- Story Hour Readers Book Three - 3/20 -

"What are you singing about?" asked the sea people.

"This is what I am singing about," said the fox. "Are there more large animals in the waters of the sea, or on dry land?"

"Certainly there are more animals in the waters of the sea than on dry land," replied the sea people.

"Well, then, prove it to me!" said the fox. "Come up to the surface of the water and form a raft that will reach from this island to the mainland. Then I can walk over all of you, and I shall be able to count you."

So the large sea people--seals, walruses, porpoises, and whales--came up to the surface of the water.

The sea people formed a great raft, that reached from the island across to the mainland.

This was what the fox wanted. He ran over the great raft, pretending to count the animals.

When at last the fox reached the mainland, he jumped ashore and hastened home.


Of all beasts he learned the language, Learned their names and all their secrets, How the beavers built their lodges, Where the squirrels hid their acorns, How the reindeer ran so swiftly, Why the rabbit was so timid, Talked with them whene'er he met them, Called them "Hiawatha's Brothers."



Big Chief had traveled a long distance through the forest. At last he reached the shore of a lake.

He was very tired, so he sat down upon a rock to rest.

Suddenly a large beaver came up from the water and stood before Big Chief.

"Who are you, that you dare to enter my kingdom?" demanded the beaver.

"I am Big Chief," replied the Indian. "The Great Spirit has given me power over all the animals. Who are you?"

"I am Master Beaver. All the beavers follow me and obey my commands. We are busy people. We always have plenty to do."

Big Chief was not afraid. He showed Master Beaver his bow and arrows and his wampum belt, saying, "These gifts were bestowed upon me by the Great Spirit. I am ruler over the animals of field and forest, over the birds, and over the fish."

When Master Beaver saw the bow and arrows and the wampum belt, he knew that the Indian was very powerful. So he said, less proudly, "Will you come with me and see how the beavers build their lodges?"

Big Chief followed Master Beaver for a short distance along the shore of the lake. He saw many beavers at work cutting down trees with their sharp teeth.

Some of the trees had fallen across the water and reached to an island in the lake.

On the island, other beavers were plastering the spaces between the trees with mud and leaves.

Master Beaver said that this was the way the beavers built a dam.

Then he led Big Chief to the beavers' village on the island. Here were many lodges, built of sticks, grass and moss, and plastered with clay.

At last Master Beaver paused before one of the lodges.

"Enter! This is my home. You are welcome, Big Chief," said Master Beaver.

The Indian followed the beaver through a long, winding tunnel. They came to a large room. The floor of the room was covered with grass and bark.

Big Chief admired the dainty house with its dome-shaped roof.

Master Beaver's wife and his daughter gave the stranger a hearty welcome. They at once prepared a meal of poplar, birch and willow bark, and roots of water lilies.

This was choice food for beavers, but it was not the kind of dinner that Big Chief liked. Nevertheless he was very happy.

Master Beaver's daughter waited upon her father and his guest. She was so very fair that she won the heart of Big Chief.

He no longer wished to live alone. He asked Master Beaver to give the maiden to him, to be his bride. This pleased Master Beaver very much, for he liked Big Chief.

All the beavers and their neighbors were invited to the wedding. The next morning, some of the beavers arrived bringing clay. Then came otters, each carrying a large fish in his mouth as a present for the bride.

They were followed by the weasels, the minks, and the muskrats.

The guests enjoyed the wedding breakfast in the lodge of Master Beaver.

After the feast, the beavers invited the other animals to meet them on the bank of the lake. There they held a council.

They said, "We will build a lodge, which shall be the wedding gift of the beavers."

Then they chose a place under the birch trees that grew near the shore of the lake. Here the beavers began to build a lodge, of sticks of wood and the clay which they had brought with them. Soon the cozy lodge was finished.

Now came the greatest wonder of all. It pleased the Great Spirit to change the bride into a beautiful woman--a wife suited to the noble and handsome Big Chief.

Amid the cheers of their friends, Master Beaver led the happy couple to the cozy lodge near the lake. There they made their home.


"Please tell me one more story about the great Manitou, Grandmother," begged the little Indian boy.

The grandmother liked to tell stories to the boy. She sat down facing him and told him the story of the great Manitou and the squirrels.

This was the story she told:

Once upon a time, there was scarcely any food to be found. The great Manitou and his wife had fasted for many days, and they were very hungry.

"We must have meat," said Manitou.

Then he thought of a plan.

He lifted his bow and aimed a magic arrow through the door of the wigwam.

The arrow sped onward in the forest, until it passed through the body of a bear. It held the bear fast to a tree.

Manitou and his wife went into the forest together. There they found the bear.

Then Manitou said, "We will have a feast and invite our friends."

The birds and beasts were glad to accept the invitation. A large company arrived.

The woodpecker was the first to taste the food. He began to eat greedily, for he was very hungry.

When he put the meat into his mouth, it turned to ashes.

The woodpecker began to cough. "This is very impolite; I must not let Manitou hear me cough," thought he.

The fox was the next to taste the meat. It turned to ashes, and he began to cough.

All the other guests began to cough as soon as they had tasted the meat. They tried very hard not to let Manitou hear them.

They kept on tasting, but the more they tasted the harder they coughed.

At last Manitou became very angry.

"I will make you remember this," said he.

In an instant, the woodpecker, the fox, and all the other guests had disappeared. In their place were many squirrels, running up and down the trees and coughing as squirrels always do when taken by surprise.

To this day, squirrels do not eat meat, but instead they nibble acorns

Story Hour Readers Book Three - 3/20

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