The Bird Lover
The buffalo was the last change he could make, and it was in this form that he had most frequently conquered.
The young hunter, once more a bird, in the act of passing the manito, saw his tongue lolling from his mouth with fatigue.
"My friend," said Monedowa, "is this all your speed?"
The manito made no answer. Monedowa had resumed his character of a hunter, and was within a run of the winning-post, when the wicked manito had nearly overtaken him.
"Bakah! bakah! nejee!" he called out to Monedowa; "stop, my friend, I wish to talk to you."
Monedowa laughed aloud as he replied:
"I will speak to you at the starting-post. When men run with me I make a wager, and I expect them to abide by it—life against life."
One more flight as the blue bird with red wings, and Monedowa was so near to the goal that he could easily reach it in his mortal shape. Shining in beauty, his face lighted up like the sky, with tinted arms and bosom gleaming in the sun, and the parti-colored plume on his brow waving in the wind. Monedowa, cheered by a joyful shout from his own people, leaped to the post.
The manito came on with fear in his face.
"My friend," he said, "spare my life;" and then added, in a low voice, as if he would not that the others should hear it, "Give me to live." And he began to move off as if the request had been granted.
"As you have done to others," replied Monedowa, "so shall it be done to you."
And seizing the wicked manito, he dashed him against the pillar of stone. His kindred, who were looking on in horror, raised a cry of fear and fled away in a body to some distant land, whence they have never returned.
The widow's family left the scene, and when they had all come out into the open fields, they walked on together until they had reached the fragrant bank and the evergreen wood, where the daughter had first encountered her bird lover.
Monedowa turning to her, said:
"My mother, here we must part. Your daughter and myself must now leave you. The Good Spirit, moved with pity, has allowed me to be your friend.
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