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

Sheem, the Forsaken Boy

But the birds did not seem to be so badly-minded as the old magician had supposed; for a very old bald eagle, quite corpulent and large of limb, alighting on a branch just opposite, opened conversation with him by asking what had brought him there.

Owasso replied that he had not mounted the tree of himself, or out of any disposition to harm his people; that his father-in-law, the old magician who had just left them, had sent him up; that he was constantly sending him on mischievous errands. In a word, the young man was enlarging at great length upon the character of the wicked Manito, when he was interrupted by being darted upon by a hungry-eyed bird, with long claws.

Owasso, not in the least disconcerted, boldly seized this fierce eagle by the neck and dashed it against the rocks, crying out:

"Thus will I deal with all who come near me."

The old eagle, who appeared to be the head of the tribe, was so pleased with this show of spirit that he immediately appointed two tall birds, uncommonly strong in the wings, to transport Owasso to his lodge. They were to take turns in conducting him through the air.

Owasso expressed many obligations to the old eagle for his kindness, and they forthwith set out. It was a high point from which they started, for the pine-tree had shot far, far up toward the clouds, and they could even descry the enchanted island where the old magician lived; though it was miles and miles away. For this point they steered their flight; and in a short time they landed Owasso at the door of the lodge.

With many compliments for their dispatch, Owasso dismissed the birds, and stood ready to greet his wicked father-in-law who now arrived; and when he espied his son-in-law still unharmed, Mishosha grew very black in the face. He had but a single charm left.

He thought he would ponder deeply how he could employ that to the best advantage; and it happened that while he was doing so, one evening, as Owasso and his wife were sitting on the banks of the lake, and the soft breeze swept over it, they heard a song, as if sung by some one at a great distance.

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