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Main > Native American folktales > Fairy tale "Manabozho, the Mischief-Maker"

Manabozho, the Mischief-Maker

Manabozho lifted up a huge war-cry, beat his drum, took the scalp of the Manito as his trophy, and calling the woodpecker to come and receive a reward for the timely hint he had given him, he rubbed the blood of the Shining Manito on the woodpecker's head, the feathers of which are red to this day. Full of his victory, Manabozho returned home, beating his war-drum furiously, and shouting aloud his songs of triumph. His grandmother was on the shore ready to welcome him with the war-dance, which she performed with wonderful skill for one so far advanced in years.

The heart of Manabozho swelled within him. He was fairly on fire, and an unconquerable desire for further adventures seized upon him. He had destroyed the powerful Pearl Feather, killed his serpents, and escaped all his wiles and charms. He had prevailed in a great land fight, his next trophy should be from the water.

He tried his prowess as a fisherman, and with such success that he captured a fish so monstrous in size and so rich in fat that with the oil Manabozho was able to form a small lake. To this, being generously disposed, and having a cunning purpose of his own to answer, he invited all the birds and beasts of his acquaintance; and he made the order in which they partook of the banquet the measure of their fatness for all time to come. As fast as they arrived he told them to plunge in and help themselves.

The first to make his appearance was the bear, who took a long and steady draught; then came the deer, the opossum, and such others of the family as are noted for their comfortable case. The moose and bison were slack in their cups, and the partridge, always lean in flesh, looked on till the supply was nearly gone. There was not a drop left by the time the hare and the martin appeared on the shore of the lake, and they are, in consequence, the slenderest of all creatures.

When this ceremony was over, Manabozho suggested to his friends, the assembled birds and animals, that the occasion was proper for a little merrymaking; and taking up his drum, he cried out:

"New songs from the South, come, brothers, dance!

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