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The Girl who Always Cried

On the bank of a stream far in the West, Owl-man lived long ago in a little house under the ground. He had very strange habits. He always kept away from the Great Water and he dwelt for the most part in the forest. He had very few friends, and he usually went hunting by himself. He lived on toads and frogs and flies. He would say but little, and when other people sat around him talking pleasantly, he was always silent, gazing into space with wide-open eyes, and trying to look wiser than he really was. Because of this, people thought he was very queer, and strange stories about him soon spread far and wide. It was said that he was very cruel, and that he was silent because he was always brooding over his past wickedness or thinking about some evil deed he was soon going to do. And when children were troublesome or disobedient, their mothers always frightened them into goodness by saying, "The Owl-man from the stream will come and take you if you do not mend your ways." And although the Owl-man was a solitary fellow he thus had great influence in all the land.

Not far away lived a man and a woman who had one adopted daughter. Because she was the only child in the house she was much petted, and she was never satisfied, and she cried and fretted all the time, and kept always asking for things she could not get. She disturbed all the neighbours round about so that they could not sleep because of her constant wailing and complaining. At last her foster-parents grew tired of her weeping and they said, "The Owl-man will carry you off if you do not stop crying." But still she pouted and fretted. And the old man of the house said, "I wish the Owl-man would come and take her away." Now the old man was a great magician, and as he wished, so it came to pass.

That evening it happened that the people were gathered at a feast of shell-fish on the beach by the bright moonlight, as was their weekly custom. But the sorrowful girl would not go with the others. She stayed at home and sulked.

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