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

Manabozho, the Mischief-Maker

Do you eat nothing else with your raccoon? tell me!"

"Yes, that is all," answered the young Woodpecker; "we have nothing else."

"Tell your father," continued Manabozho, "to come and visit me, and let him bring a sack. I will give him what he shall eat with his raccoon-meat."

When the young one returned and reported this message to his father, the old woodpecker turned up his nose at the invitation. "I wonder," he said, "what he thinks he has got, poor fellow!"

He was bound, however, to answer the proffer of hospitality, and he went accordingly, taking along a cedar-sack, to pay a visit to Manabozho.

Manabozho received the old red-headed woodpecker with great ceremony. He had stood at the door awaiting his arrival, and as soon as he came in sight Manabozho commenced, while he was yet far off, bowing and opening wide his arms, in token of welcome; all of which the woodpecker returned in due form, by ducking his bill, and hopping to right and left, upon the ground, extending his wings to their full length and fluttering them back to his breast.

When the woodpecker at last reached the lodge, Manabozho made various remarks upon the weather, the appearance of the country, and especially on the scarcity of game.

"But we," he added, "we always have enough. Come in, and you shall not go away hungry, my noble bird!"

Manabozho had always prided himself on being able to give as good as he had received; and to be up with the woodpecker, he had shifted his lodge so as to inclose a large dry tamarack-tree.

"What can I give you," said he to the woodpecker; "but as we eat so shall you eat."

With this he hopped forward, and, jumping on the tamarack-tree, he attempted to climb it just as he had seen the woodpecker do in his own lodge. He turned his head first on one side, then on the other, in the manner of the bird, meanwhile striving to go up, and as often slipping down. Ever and anon he would strike the tree with his nose, as if it had been a bill, and draw back, but he pulled out no raccoons; and he dashed his nose so often against the trunk that at last the blood began to flow, and he tumbled down senseless upon the ground.

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