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Main > Native American folktales > Fairy tale "Bokwewa the Humpback"

Bokwewa the Humpback

Bokwewa and his brother lived in a far-off part of the country. By such as had knowledge of them, Bokwewa, the elder, although deformed and feeble of person, was considered a manito, who had assumed the mortal shape; while his younger brother, Kwasynd, manly in appearance, active, and strong, partook of the nature of the present race of beings.

They lived off the path, in a wild, lonesome place, far retired from neighbors, and, undisturbed by cares, they passed their time, content and happy. The days glided by serenely as the river that flowed by their lodge.

Owing to his lack of strength, Bokwewa never engaged in the chase, but gave his attention entirely to the affairs of the lodge. In the long winter evenings he passed the time in telling his brother stories of the giants, spirits, weendigoes, and fairies of the elder age, when they had the exclusive charge of the world. He also at times taught his brother the manner in which game should be pursued, pointed out to him the ways of the different beasts and birds of the chase, and assigned the seasons at which they could be hunted with most success.

For a while the brother was eager to learn, and keenly attended to his duties as the provider of the lodge; but at length he grew weary of their tranquil life, and began to have a desire to show himself among men. He became restive in their retirement, and was seized with a longing to visit remote places.

One day, Kwasynd told his brother that he should leave him; that he wished to visit the habitations of men, and to procure a wife.

Bokwewa objected; but his brother overruled all that he said, and in spite of every remonstrance, he departed on his travels.

He traveled for a long time. At length he fell in with the footsteps of men. They were moving by encampments, for he saw, at several spots, the poles where they had passed. It was winter; and coming to a place where one of their company had died, he found upon a scaffold, lying at length in the cold blue air, the body of a beautiful young woman.

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