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Main > Native American folktales > Fairy tale "The Fire-Plume"

The Fire-Plume

"Netawis! Netawis!" he cried, "is it indeed you? Whence have you come, oh, my cousin?"

They fell upon each other's necks, and wept aloud. And then, without further delay or question, the cousin ran off with breathless dispatch to the village. He seemed like a shadow upon the open ground, he sped so fast.

He entered the lodge where sat the mother of Wassamo in mourning for her son. "Hear me," said the cousin. "I have seen him whom you accuse me of having killed. He will be here even while we speak."

He had scarcely uttered these words when the whole village was astir in an instant. All ran out and strained their eyes to catch the first view of him whom they had thought dead. And when Wassamo came forward, they at first fell from him as though he had been in truth one returned from the Spirit-land. He entered the lodge of his parents. They saw that it was Wassamo, living, breathing and as they had ever known him. And joy lit up the lodge-circle as though a new fire had been kindled in the eyes of his friends and kinsfolk.

He related all that had happened to him from the moment of his leaving the temporary night-lodge with the flame on his head. He told them of the strange land in which he had sojourned during his absence. He added to his mother, apart from the company, that he was married, and that he had left his wife at a short distance from the village.

She went out immediately in search of her; they soon found her in the wood, and all the women in the village conducted her in honor to the lodge of her new relations. The Indian people were astonished at her beauty, at the whiteness of her skin, and still more, that she was able to talk with them in their own language.

The village was happy, and the feast went on as long as the supply held out. All were delighted to make the acquaintance of the old Sand-Spirit's daughter; and as they had heard that he was a magician and guardian of great power, the tobacco which he had sent for by his son-in-law, came in, in great abundance, with every visitor.

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