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Main > Native American folktales > Fairy tale "The Bird Lover"

The Bird Lover

"We shall see whose head is to be dashed against the stone."

"We shall," rejoined the mudjee monedo. "I am very old, but I shall try and make a run."

"Very well," again rejoined Monedowa; "I hope we shall both stand to our bargain."

"Good!" said the old manito; and he at the same time cast a sly glance at the young hunter, and rolled his eyes toward where stood the pillar of stone.

"I am ready," said Monedowa.

The starting shout was given, and they set off at high speed, the manito leading, and Monedowa pressing closely after. As he closed upon him, the old manito began to show his power, and changing himself into a fox he passed the young hunter with ease, and went leisurely along.

Monedowa now, with a glance upward, took the shape of the strange bird of red and deep-blue plumage, and with one flight, lighting at some distance ahead of the manito, resumed his mortal shape.

When the mudjee monedo espied his competitor before him, "Whoa! whoa!" he exclaimed; "this is strange;" and he immediately changed himself into a wolf, and sped past Monedowa.

As he galloped by, Monedowa heard a noise from his throat, and he knew that he was still in distress from the birch-bud which he had swallowed at his mother-in-law's lodge.

Monedowa again took wing, and, shooting into the air, he descended suddenly with great swiftness, and took the path far ahead of the old manito.

As he passed the wolf he whispered in his ear:

"My friend, is this the extent of your speed?"

The manito began to be troubled with bad forebodings, for, on looking ahead, he saw the young hunter in his own manly form, running along at leisure. The mudjee monedo, seeing the necessity of more speed, now passed Monedowa in the shape of a deer.

They were now far around the circle of the lake, and fast closing in upon the starting-post, when Monedowa, putting on his red and blue plumage, glided along the air and alighted upon the track far in advance.

To overtake him, the old manito assumed the shape of the buffalo; and he pushed on with such long gallops that he was again the foremost on the course.

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