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

Sheem, the Forsaken Boy

On went the fish, and on went Owasso, till they reached the shore, near the magician's lodge, in advance of him. He then spoke kindly to the sturgeon, and told him he should not be angry with him for having speared him, as he was created to be meat for man. The sturgeon made no reply, or if he did, it has not been reported; and Owasso, drawing him on shore, went up and told his wife to dress and cook it immediately. By the time it was prepared the magician had come in sight.

"Your grandfather has arrived," said the woman to her son; "go and see what he brings, and eat this as you go"—handing a piece of the fish.

The boy went, and the magician no sooner saw him with the fish in his hand, than he asked him, "What are you eating? and who brought it?"

He replied, "My father brought it."

The magician began to feel uneasy, for he found that he had been outwitted; he, however, put on a grave face, and entering the lodge, acted as if nothing unusual had happened.

Some days after this, Mishosha again requested his son-in-law to accompany him; and Owasso, without hesitation, said "Yes!"

They went out, and, in a rapid passage, they arrived at a solitary island, which was no more than a heap of high and craggy rocks.

The magician said to Owasso, "Go on shore, my son, and pick up all the gulls' eggs you can find."

The rocks were strewn with eggs, and the air resounded with the cry of the birds as they saw them gathered up by Owasso.

The old magician took the opportunity to speak to the gulls. "I have long wished," he said, "to offer you something. I now give you this young man for food."

He then uttered the charm to his canoe, and it shot out of sight, leaving Owasso to make his peace the best way he could.

The gulls flew in immense numbers around him, and were ready to devour him. Owasso did not lose his presence of mind, but he addressed them and said:

"Gulls, you know you were not formed to eat human flesh, nor was man made to be the prey of birds. Obey my words. Fly close together, a sufficient number of you, and carry me on your backs to the magician's lodge."

They listened attentively to what he said, and seeing nothing unreasonable in his request, they obeyed him, and Owasso soon found himself sailing through the air swiftly homeward.

Meanwhile, it appears that the old magician had fallen asleep and allowed his canoe to come to a stand-still; for Owasso, in his flight over the lake, saw him lying on his back in the boat, taking a nap, which was quite natural, as the day was very soft and balmy.

As Owasso, with his convoy of birds, passed over, he let fall, directly in the face of the old magician, a capful of gulls' eggs, which broke and so besmeared his eyes that he could barely see. He jumped up and exclaimed:

"It is always so with these thoughtless birds. They never consider where they drop their eggs."

Owasso had flown on and reached the lodge in safety, and, excusing himself for the liberty, he killed two or three of the gulls for the sake of their feathers to ornament his son's head.

When the magician arrived, soon after, his grandson came out to meet him, tossing his head about as the feathers danced and struggled with the wind.

"Where did you get these?

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