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Main > Native American folktales > Fairy tale "Leelinau, the Lost Daughter"

Leelinau, the Lost Daughter

Leelinau was the favorite daughter of a hunter, who lived on the lake shore near the base of the lofty highlands, called Kaug Wudjoo.

From her earliest youth she was observed to be thoughtful and retiring. She passed much of her time in solitude, and seemed ever to prefer the companionship of her own shadow to the society of the lodge-circle.

Whenever she could leave her father's lodge she would fly to remote haunts and recesses in the woods, or sit in lonely reverie upon some high promontory of rock overlooking the lake. In such places she would often, with her face turned upward, linger long in contemplation of the air, as if she were invoking her guardian spirit, and beseeching him to lighten her sadness.

But amid all the leafy haunts, none drew her steps toward it so often as a forest of pines, on the open shore, called Manitowok, or the Sacred Wood. It was one of those hallowed places which is the resort of the little wild men of the woods, and of the turtle spirits or fairies which delight in romantic scenes. Owing to this circumstance, its green retirement was seldom visited by Indians, who feared to fall under the influence of its mischievous inhabitants.

And whenever they were compelled by stress of weather to make a landing on this part of the coast, they never failed to leave an offering of tobacco, or some other token, to show that they desired to stand well with the proprietors of the fairy ground.

To this sacred spot Leelinau had made her way at an early age, gathering strange flowers and plants, which she would bring home to her parents, and relate to them all the haps and mishaps that had occurred in her rambles.

Although they discountenanced her frequent visits to the place, they were not able to restrain them, for she was of so gentle and delicate a temper that they feared to thwart her.

Her attachment to the fairy wood, therefore, grew with her years. If she wished to solicit her spirits to procure pleasant dreams, or any other maiden favor, Leelinau repaired to the Manitowok.

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