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Main > Native American folktales > Fairy tale "Origin of the Winds"

Origin of the Winds

In a village on the lower Yukon lived a man and his wife who had no children. One day the woman said to her husband, "Far out on the tundra there grows a solitary tree. Go to that and bring back a piece of the trunk, and make a doll from it. Then it will seem that we have a child."

The man went out of the house and saw a long track of bright light like that made by the moon shining on snow, leading off across the tundra in the direction he had been told to take. It was the Milky Way. Along this path he traveled far away until he saw before him a beautiful object shining in the bright light. Going up to it, he found it was the tree of which he came in search. The tree was small, so he took his hunting-knife, cut off a part of the trunk, and carried the fragment home.

He sat down in the house and carved out from the wood an image of a small boy, and his wife made two suits of clothing for it and dressed it in one of them, "saving the other to put on when he had soiled the first," she said.

"Now, Father, make your little boy a set of toy dishes," she said.

"I see no use in all this trouble. We will be no better off than we were in the first place," said the man.

"Why, yes, we are already better off," said the wife. "Before we had the doll we had nothing to talk about except ourselves. Now we have the doll to talk about and to amuse us."

To please her the husband made the toy dishes, and she placed the doll in the seat of honor on the bench opposite the door, with the dishes full of food and water before it.

When the couple had gone to bed that night the room was very dark and they heard several low, whistling sounds.

"Do you hear that? It is the doll," said the woman, shaking her husband till he awakened.

They got up at once and, making a light, saw that the Doll had eaten the food and drunk the water, and that its eyes were moving. The woman caught it up with delight and fondled and played with it for a long time. When she became tired she put it back on the bench and they went to bed again.

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