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Main > Native American folktales > Fairy tale "Iktomi and the turtle"

Iktomi and the turtle

Then the leap! But Patkasa tripped upon a stick and fell hard against the side of the deer.

"He-he-he!" exclaimed Iktomi, pretending disappointment that his friend had fallen.

Lifting him to his feet, he said: "Now it is my turn to try the high jump!" Hardly was the last word spoken than Iktomi gave a leap high above the deer.

"The game is mine!" laughed he, patting the sullen Patkasa on the back. "My friend, watch the deer while I go to bring my children," said Iktomi, darting lightly through the tall grass.

Patkasa was always ready to believe the words of scheming people and to do the little favors any one asked of him. However, on this occasion, he did not answer "Yes, my friend." He realized that Iktomi's flattering tongue had made him foolish.

He turned up his nose at Iktomi, now almost out of sight, as much as to say: "Oh, no, Ikto; I do not hear your words!"

Soon there came a murmur of voices. The sound of laughter grew louder and louder. All of a sudden it became hushed. Old Iktomi led his young Iktomi brood to the place where he had left the turtle, but it was vacant. Nowhere was there any sign of Patkasa or the deer. Then the babes did howl!

"Be still!" said father Iktomi to his children. "I know where Patkasa lives. Follow me. I shall take you to the turtle's dwelling." He ran along a narrow footpath toward the creek near by. Close upon his heels came his children with tear-streaked faces.

"There!" said Iktomi in a loud whisper as he gathered his little ones on the bank. "There is Patkasa broiling venison! There is his teepee, and the savory fire is in his front yard!"

The young Iktomis stretched their necks and rolled their round black eyes like newly hatched birds. They peered into the water.

"Now, I will cool Patkasa's fire. I shall bring you the broiled venison. Watch closely. When you see the black coals rise to the surface of the water, clap your hands and shout aloud, for soon after that sign I shall return to you with some tender meat."

Thus saying Iktomi plunged into the creek.

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