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

Manabozho, the Mischief-Maker

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He directed them, to make the sport more mirthful, that they should shut their eyes and pass around him in a circle. Again he beat his drum and cried out:

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

They all fell in and commenced their rounds. Whenever Manabozho, as he stood in the circle, saw a fat fowl which he fancied, pass by him, he adroitly wrung its neck and slipped it in his girdle, at the same time beating his drum and singing at the top of his lungs, to drown the noise of the fluttering, and crying out in a tone of admiration:

"That's the way, my brothers; that's the way!"

At last a small duck, of the diver family, thinking there was something wrong, opened one eye and saw what Manabozho was doing. Giving a spring, and crying:

"Ha-ha-a! Manabozho is killing us!" he made for the water.

Manabozho, quite vexed that the creature should have played the spy upon his housekeeping, followed him, and just as the diver-duck was getting into the water, gave him a kick, which is the reason that the diver's tail-feathers are few, his back flattened, and his legs straightened out, so that when he gets on land he makes a poor figure in walking.

Meantime, the other birds, having no ambition to be thrust in Manabozho's girdle, flew off, and the animals scampered into the woods.

Manabozho stretching himself at ease in the shade along the side of the prairie, thought what he should do next. He concluded that he would travel and see new countries; and having once made up his mind, in less than three days, such was his length of limb and the immensity of his stride, he had walked over the entire continent, looked into every lodge by the way, and with such nicety of observation, that he was able to inform his good old grandmother what each family had for a dinner at a given hour.

By way of relief to these grand doings, Manabozho was disposed to vary his experiences by bestowing a little time upon the sports of the woods. He had heard reported great feats in hunting, and he had a desire to try his power in that way.

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