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Main > Native American folktales > Fairy tale "The Last of the Thunderbirds"

The Last of the Thunderbirds

Too bad! Too bad! By this time she is torn to pieces and fed to the young demons!"

Not one word did the husband utter. Going into his empty house he took down his bow and his quiver of war arrows and started toward the mountain.

"Don't go! Don't go!" cried the villagers; "of what use is it? She is dead and devoured ere this. You will only add one more to their victims."

Not a word did the hunter reply. He strode on and on and they watched him climbing up and up the mountainside till he was lost to view. At last he gained the rim of the nest and looked in. The old birds were away, but the fierce young eagles greeted him with shrill cries and fiery, flashing eyes. The hunter's heart was full of anger and he quickly bent his bow, loosing the war arrows one after another till the last one of the hateful birds lay dead in the nest.

With heart still burning for revenge, the hunter hid himself beside a great rock near the nest and waited for the parent birds. They came. They saw their young lying dead and bloody in the nest, and their cries of rage echoed from the cliffs on the farther side of the great river. They soared up into the air looking for the one who had killed their young. Quickly they saw the brave hunter beside the great stone, and the mother bird swooped down upon him, her wings sounding like a gale in a spruce forest. Swiftly fitting an arrow to the string, as the eagle came down the hunter sent it deep into her throat. With a hoarse cry she turned and flew away over the hills far to the north.

The father bird had been circling overhead and came roaring down upon the hunter, who, at the right moment, crouched close to the ground behind the stone, and the eagle's sharp claws struck only the hard rock. As the bird arose, eager to swoop down again, the hunter sprang from his shelter and drove two heavy war arrows deep under its wing. Uttering hoarse cries of rage, and spreading his broad wings, the thunderbird floated away like a cloud in the sky, far into the northland, and was never seen again.

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