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

Strong Desire and the Red Sorcerer

As they were sitting in the lodge, surrounded by the friends and relatives, the mother of the Red Head regarded the face of her new daughter-in-law for a long time with fixed attention. From this scrutiny she was convinced that this singular and hasty marriage boded no good to her son. She drew him aside, and disclosed to him her suspicions. This can be no female, said she; she has the figure and manners, the countenance, and more especially the eyes, are beyond a doubt those of a man. Her husband rejected her suspicions, and rebuked her severely for entertaining such notions of her own daughter-in-law. She still urged her doubts, which so vexed the husband that he broke his pipe-stem in her face, and called her an owl.

This act astonished the company, who sought an explanation; and it was no sooner given, than the mock bride, rising with an air of offended dignity, informed the Red Head that after receiving so gross an affront from his relatives she could not think of remaining with him as his wife, but should forthwith return to her own friends.

With a toss of the head, like that of an angry female, Strong Desire left the lodge, followed by Red Head, and walked away until he came to the beach of the island, near the spot where they had first landed. Red Head entreated him to remain, urging every motive, and making all sorts of magnificent promises—none of which seemed to make the least impression. Strong Desire, Red Head thought, was very hard-hearted. During these appeals they had seated themselves upon the ground, and Red Head, in great affliction, reclined his head upon his fancied wife's lap. Strong Desire now changed his manner, was very kind and soothing, and suggested in the most winning accent that if Red Head would sleep soundly for awhile he might possibly dream himself out of all his troubles. Red Head, delighted at so happy a prospect, said that he would fall asleep immediately.

"You have killed a good many men in your time, Red Head," said Strong Desire, by way of suggesting an agreeable train of ideas to the sorcerer.

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