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

Manabozho, the Mischief-Maker

And parting from him, he returned to his own grounds, where he lay for some time sore of his wounds.

These being, however, greatly allayed, and soon after cured by his grandmother's skill in medicines, Manabozho, as big and sturdy as ever, was ripe for new adventures. He set his thoughts immediately upon a war excursion against the Pearl Feather, a wicked old manito, living on the other side of the great lake, who had killed his grandfather. He begun his preparations by making huge bows and arrows without number; but he had no heads for his shafts. At last Noko told him that an old man, who lived at some distance, could furnish him with such as he needed. He sent her to get some. She soon returned with her wrapper full. Manabozho told her that he had not enough, and sent her again. She came back with as many more. He thought to himself, "I must find out the way of making these heads."

Instead of directly asking how it was done, he preferred—just like Manabozho—to deceive his grandmother to come at the knowledge he desired, by a trick. "Noko," said he, "while I take my drum and rattle, and sing my war-songs, do you go and try to get me some larger heads, for these you have brought me are all of the same size. Go and see whether the old man is not willing to make some a little larger."

He followed her at a distance as she went, having left his drum at the lodge, with a great bird tied at the top, whose fluttering should keep up the drumbeat, the same as if he were tarrying at home. He saw the old workman busy, and learned how he prepared the heads; he also beheld the old man's daughter, who was very beautiful; and Manabozho now discovered for the first time that he had a heart of his own, and the sigh he heaved passed through the arrow-maker's lodge like a gale of wind.

"How it blows!" said the old man.

"It must be from the south," said the daughter; "for it is very fragrant."

Manabozho slipped away, and in two strides he was at home, shouting forth his songs as though he had never left the lodge.

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