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Main > Native American folktales > Fairy tale "Even a Grass Plant Can Become Someone if it Tries"

Even a Grass Plant Can Become Someone if it Tries

Walking over the hills one day he came near to a strange, black animal eating berries from the bushes. He crept up to it and grasped it by its hind legs. With an angry growl it turned to face him, showing its white teeth. He knew then that he must not let go his hold of it, so he swung it high over his head and brought it down on the ground with such force that the bear lay dead.

In skinning the bear he saw that it contained much fat, and that he might have a light in his house if he could find something that would hold the grease and yet not take fire itself. Going along the beach he found a long, flat stone with a hollow in one surface, and in this the oil remained very well, and with a lighted moss wick he found it much pleasanter to get about his house at night. The bearskin he hung up for a curtain to his door to keep out the cold wind.

In this way he lived for many days, but he was a human being now, and needed human society. He remembered the two young men he had seen on the beach when, as an owl, he sat on the post on the shore.

"Two men passed here once, and I liked them," said he. "They may live not far from here. I should like to see someone like myself. I will go seek them."

He went in search of people. Wandering along the coast for some distance he came to two fine new kayaks lying at the foot of a hill, and in the kayaks were spears, lines, floats, and other hunting implements. After examining these curiously, he noticed a path leading up to a hill. He followed the path and on the top of the hill he found a house with two storehouses near it and several recently killed white whales and many skulls around it.

Wishing to see the people in the house before showing himself, he went with noiseless steps into the entrance way and up to the door. Cautiously lifting one corner of the skin curtain that hung in the doorway, he looked in. Opposite the doorway was a young man sitting at work on some arrows, while a bow lay beside him. He dropped the curtain and stood for some time in doubt as to how to proceed.

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