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Main > Native American folktales > Fairy tale "The Boy who Set a Snare for the Sun"

The Boy who Set a Snare for the Sun

At the time when the animals reigned in the earth, they had killed all the people but a girl and her little brother, and these two were living in fear, in an out-of-the-way place. The boy was a perfect little pigmy, and never grew beyond the size of a mere infant; but the girl increased with her years, so that the task of providing food and shelter fell wholly upon her. She went out daily to get wood for the lodge-fire, and she took her little brother with her that no mishap might befall him; for he was too little to leave alone. A big bird, of a mischievous disposition, might have flown away with him. She made him a bow and arrows, and said to him one day, "My little brother, I will leave you behind where I have been gathering the wood; you must hide yourself, and you will soon see the snow-birds come and pick the worms out of the logs which I have piled up. Shoot one of them and bring it home."

He obeyed her, and tried his best to kill one, but he came home unsuccessful. His sister told him that he must not despair, but try again the next day.

She accordingly left him at the gathering-place of the wood, and returned to the lodge. Toward night-fall she heard his little footsteps crackling through the snow, and he hurried in and threw down, with an air of triumph, one of the birds which he had killed. "My sister," said he, "I wish you to skin it, and stretch the skin, and when I have killed more, I will have a coat made out of them."

"But what shall we do with the body?" said she; for they had always up to that time lived upon greens and berries.

"Cut it in two," he answered, "and season our pottage with one half of it at a time."

It was their first dish of game, and they relished it greatly.

The boy kept on in his efforts, and in the course of time he killed ten birds—out of the skins of which his sister made him a little coat: being very small, he had a very pretty coat, and a bird skin to spare.

"Sister," said he, one day, as he paraded up and down before the lodge, enjoying his new coat, and fancifying himself the greatest little fellow in the world—as he was, for there was no other beside him—"My sister, are we really alone in the world, or are we playing at it?

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