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Main > Native American folktales > Fairy tale "Strong Desire and the Red Sorcerer"

Strong Desire and the Red Sorcerer

There was a man called Odshedoph, or the Child of Strong Desires, who had a wife and one son. He had withdrawn his family from the village, where they had spent the winter, to the neighborhood of a distant forest, where game abounded. This wood was a day's travel from his winter home, and under its ample shadow the wife fixed the lodge, while the husband went out to hunt. Early in the evening he returned with a deer, and, being weary and athirst, he asked his son, whom he called Strong Desire, to go to the river for some water. The son replied that it was dark, and he was afraid. His father still urged him, saying that his mother, as well as himself, was tired, and the distance to the water very short. But no persuasion could overcome the young man's reluctance. He refused to go.

"Ah, my son," said the father, at last, "if you are afraid to go to the river, you will never kill the Red Head."

The stripling was deeply vexed by this observation; it seemed to touch him to the very quick. He mused in silence. He refused to eat, and made no reply when spoken to. He sat by the lodge door all the night through, looking up at the stars, and sighing like one sorely distressed.

The next day he asked his mother to dress the skin of the deer, and to make it into moccasins for him, while he busied himself in preparing a bow and arrows.

As soon as these were in readiness, he left the lodge one morning, at sunrise, without saying a word to his father or mother. As he passed along, he fired one of his arrows into the air, which fell westward. He took that course, and coming to the spot where the arrow had fallen, he was rejoiced to find it piercing the heart of a deer. He refreshed himself with a meal of the venison, and the next morning he fired another arrow. Following its course, after traveling all day he found that he had transfixed another deer. In this manner he fired four arrows, and every evening he discovered that he had killed a deer.

By a strange oversight, he left the arrows sticking in the carcasses, and passed on without withdrawing them.

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