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

Sheem, the Forsaken Boy

The old magician did the same, carefully hanging his own in a separate place, and they lay down to sleep.

Owasso, from a glance he had given, suspected that the magician had a mind to play him a trick, and to be beforehand with him, he watched an opportunity to get up and change the moccasins and leggings, putting his own in the place of Mishosha's, and depending on the darkness of the lodge to help him through.

Near daylight, the old magician bestirred himself, as if to rekindle the fire; but he slyly reached down a pair of moccasins and leggings with a stick, and thinking they were no other than those of Owasso's, he dropped them into the flames; while he cast himself down, and affected to be lost in a heavy sleep. The leather leggings and moccasins soon drew up and were burned.

Instantly jumping up and rubbing his eyes, Mishosha cried out:

"Son-in-law, your moccasins are burning; I know it by the smell."

Owasso rose up, deliberately and unconcerned.

"No, my friend," said he, "here are mine," at the same time taking them down and drawing them on. "It is your moccasins that are burning."

Mishosha dropped his head upon his breast. All his tricks were played out—there was not so much as half a one left to help him out of the sorry plight he was in.

"I believe, my grandfather," added Owasso, "that this is the moon in which fire attracts, and I fear you must have set your foot and leg garments too near the fire, and they have been drawn in. Now let us go forth to the hunt."

The old magician was compelled to follow him, and they pushed out into a great storm of snow, and hail, and wind, which had come on over night; and neither the wind, the hail, nor the snow, had the slightest respect for the bare limbs of the old magician, for there was not the least virtue of magic in those parts of old Mishosha's body. After a while they quite stiffened under him, his body became hard, and the hair bristled in the cold wind, so that he looked to Owasso—who turned away from him, leaving the wicked old magician alone to ponder upon his past life—to Owasso he looked like a tough old sycamore-tree more than a highly-gifted old magician.

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