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

Manabozho, the Mischief-Maker

Stop, stop!" he said to the tree. He put it down, exclaiming—"I can not eat with such a noise;" and starting away he climbed the tree, and was pulling at the limb which had offended him, when his fore-paw was caught between the branches so that he could not free himself.

While thus held fast, he saw a pack of wolves ad vancing through the wood in the direction of his meat. He suspected them to be the old wolf and his cubs, but night was coming on and he could not make them out.

"Go the other way, go the other way!" he cried out; "what would you come to get here?"

The wolves stopped for a while and talked among themselves, and said:

"Manabozho must have something there, or he would not tell us to go another way."

"I begin to know him," said an old wolf, "and all his tricks. Let us go forward and see."

They came on; and finding the moose, they soon made away with it. Manabozho looked wistfully on to see them eat till they were fully satisfied, when they scampered off in high spirits.

A heavy blast of wind opened the branches and released Manabozho, who found that the wolves had left nothing but the bare bones. He made for home, where, when he related his mishap, the old wolf, taking him by the fore-paw, condoled with him deeply on his ill-luck. A tear even started to his eye as he added:

"My brother, this should teach us not to meddle with points of ceremony when we have good meat to eat."

The winter having by this time drawn fairly to a close, on a bright morning in the early spring, the old wolf addressed Manabozho: "My brother, I am obliged to leave you; and although I have sometimes been merry at your expense, I will show that I care for your comfort. I shall leave one of the boys behind me to be your hunter, and to keep you company through the long summer afternoons."

The old wolf galloped off with his five young ones; and as they disappeared from view, Manabozho was disenchanted in a moment, and returned to his mortal shape.

Although he had been sometimes vexed and imposed upon, he had, altogether, passed a pleasant winter with the cunning old wolf, and now that he was gone, Manabozho was downcast and low in spirit.

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