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

Manabozho, the Mischief-Maker

He had just time to free the bird which had been beating the drum, when his grandmother came in and delivered to him the big arrow-heads.

In the evening the grandmother said, "My son, you ought to fast before you go to war, as your brothers do, to find out whether you will be successful or not."

He said he had no objection; and having privately stored away, in a shady place in the forest, two or three dozen juicy bears, a moose, and twenty strings of the tenderest birds, he would retire from the lodge so far as to be entirely out of view of his grandmother, fall to and enjoy himself heartily, and at night-fall, having just dispatched a dozen birds and half a bear or so, he would return, tottering and wo-begone, as if quite famished, so as to move deeply the sympathies of his wise old grand-dame.

The place of his fast had been chosen by the Noko, and she had told him it must be so far as to be beyond the sound of her voice or it would be unlucky.

After a time Manabozho, who was always spying out mischief, said to himself, "I must find out why my grandmother is so anxious to have me fast at this spot."

The next day he went but a short distance. She cried out, "A little further off;" but he came nearer to the lodge, the rogue that he was, and cried out in a low, counterfeited voice, to make it appear that he was going away instead of approaching. He had now got so near that he could see all that passed in the lodge.

He had not been long in ambush when an old magician crept into the lodge. This old magician had very long hair, which hung across his shoulders and down his back, like a bush or foot-mat. They commenced talking about him, and in doing so, they put their two old heads so very close together that Manabozho was satisfied they were kissing each other. He was indignant that any one should take such a liberty with his venerable grandmother, and to mark his sense of the outrage, he touched the bushy hair of the old magician with a live coal which he had blown upon.

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Category: United States folktales
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