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Main > Native American folktales > Fairy tale "Sheem, the Forsaken Boy"

Sheem, the Forsaken Boy

Owasso himself reached home in safety, proof against all kinds of weather, and the magic canoe became the exclusive property of the young man and his wife.

During all this part of Owasso's stay at the lodge of Mishosha, his sister, whom he had left on the main land with Sheem, their younger brother, had labored with good-will to supply the lodge. She knew enough of the arts of the forest to provide their daily food, and she watched her little brother, and tended his wants, with all of a good sister's care. By times she began to be weary of solitude and of her charge. No one came to be a witness of her constancy, or to let fall a single word in her mother-tongue. She could not converse with the birds and beasts about her, and she felt, to the bottom of her heart, that she was alone. In these thoughts she forgot her younger brother; she almost wished him dead; for it was he alone that kept her from seeking the companionship of others.

One day, after collecting all the provisions she had been able to reserve from their daily use, and bringing a supply of wood to the door, she said to her little brother:

"My brother, you must not stray from the lodge. I am going to seek our elder brother. I shall be back soon."

She then set the lodge in perfect order, and, taking her bundle, she set off in search of habitations. These she soon found, and in the enjoyment of the pleasures and pastimes of her new acquaintance, she began to think less and less of her little brother, Sheem. She accepted proposals of marriage, and from that time she utterly forgot the abandoned boy.

As for poor little Sheem, he was soon brought to the pinching turn of his fate. As soon as he had eaten all of the food left in the lodge, he was obliged to pick berries, and live off of such roots as he could dig with his slender hands. As he wandered about in search of wherewithal to stay his hunger, he often looked up to heaven, and saw the gray clouds going up and down. And then he looked about upon the wide earth, but he never saw sister nor brother returning from their long delay.

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