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

Manabozho, the Mischief-Maker

As he stood thus, holding in his hand his large bow, with a quiver well filled with arrows, a deer glided past along the far edge of the prairie, but it was miles away, and no shaft that Manabozho could shoot would be able to touch it.

Presently a cry came down the air, and looking up he beheld a great flight of birds, but they were so far up in the sky that he would have lost his arrows in a vain attempt among the clouds.

Still he stood watchful, and confident that some turn of luck was about to occur, when there came near to the lodge two hunters, who bore between them on poles upon their shoulders, a bear, and it was so fine and fat a bear that it was as much as the two hunters could do with all their strength to carry it.

As they came to the lodge-door, one of the hunters asked if Manabozho lived thereabout.

"He is here," answered Manabozho.

"I have often heard of you," said the first hunter, "and I was curious to see you. But you have lost your magical power. Do you know whether any of it is left?"

Manabozho answered that he was himself in the dark on the subject.

"Suppose you make a trial," said the hunter.

"What shall I do?" asked Manabozho.

"There is my friend," said the hunter, pointing to his companion, "who with me owns this bear which we are carrying home. Suppose you see if you can change him into a piece of rock."

"Very well," said Manabozho; and he had scarcely spoken before the other hunter became a rock.

"Now change him back again," said the first hunter.

"That I can't do," Manabozho answered; "there my power ends."

The hunter looked at the rock with a bewildered face.

"What shall I do?" he asked. "This bear I can never carry alone, and it was agreed between my friend there and myself, that we should not divide it till we reached home. Can't you change my friend back, Manabozho?"

"I would like to oblige you," answered Manabozho, "but it is utterly out of my power."

With this, looking again at the rock with a sad and bewildered face, and then casting a sorrowful glance at the bear, which lay by the door of the lodge, the hunter took his leave, bewailing bitterly at heart the loss of his friend and his bear.

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