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Main > Native American folktales > Fairy tale "He of the Little Shell"

He of the Little Shell

Once upon a time, all the people of a certain country had died, excepting two helpless children, a baby boy and a little girl.

When their parents died, these children were asleep. The little girl, who was the elder, was the first to awake. She looked around her, but seeing nobody beside her little brother, who lay smiling in his dreams, she quietly resumed her bed.

At the end of ten days her brother moved, without opening his eyes.

At the end of ten days more he changed his position, lying on the other side, and in this way he kept on sleeping for a long time; and pleasant, too, must have been his dreams, for his little sister never looked at him that he was not quite a little heaven of smiles and flashing lights, which beamed about his head and filled the lodge with a strange splendor.

The girl soon grew to be a woman, but the boy increased in stature very slowly. It was a long time before he could even creep, and he was well advancedin years before he could stand alone. When he was able to walk, his sister made him a little bow and arrows, and hung around his neck a small shell, saying:

"You shall be called Dais Imid, or He of the Little Shell."

Every day he would go out with his little bow, shooting at the small birds. The first bird he killed was a tom-tit. His sister was highly pleased when he took it to her. She carefully prepared and stuffed it, and put it away for him.

The next day he killed a red squirrel. His sister preserved this, too. The third day he killed a partridge, and this they had for their evening meal.

After this he acquired more courage, and would venture some distance from home. His skill and success as a hunter daily increased, and he killed the deer, bear, moose, and other large animals inhabiting the forest.

At last, although so very small of stature, he became a great hunter, and all that he shot he brought home and shared with his sister; and whenever he entered the lodge, a light beamed about his head and filled the place with a strange splendor.

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