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Main > Native American folktales > Fairy tale "The Little Spirit or Boy-Man"

The Little Spirit or Boy-Man

In a little lodge at a beautiful spot on a lake shore, alone with his sister, lived a boy remarkable for the smallness of his stature. Many large rocks were scattered around their habitation, and it had a very wild and out-of-the-way look.

The boy grew no larger as he advanced in years, and yet, small as he was, he had a big spirit of his own, and loved dearly to play the master in the lodge. One day in winter he told his sister to make him a ball to play with, as he meant to have some sport along the shore on the clear ice. When she handed him the ball, his sister cautioned him not to go too far.

He laughed at her, and posted off in high glee, throwing his ball before him and running after it at full speed, and he went as fast as his ball. At last his ball flew to a great distance; he followed as fast as he could. After he had run forward for some time, he saw what seemed four dark spots upon the ice, straight before him.

When he came up to the shore he was surprised to see four large, tall men, lying on the ice, spearing fish. They were four brothers, who looked exactly alike. As the little boy-man approached them, the nearest looked up, and in his turn he was surprised to see such a tiny being, and turning to his brothers, he said:

"Tia! look! see what a little fellow is here."

The three others thereupon looked up too, and seeing these four faces, as if they had been one, the little spirit or boy-man said to himself:

"Four in one! What a time they must have in choosing their hunting-shirts!"

After they had all stared for a moment at the boy, they covered their heads, intent in searching for fish. The boy thought to himself:

"These four-faces fancy that I am to be put off without notice because I am so little, and they are so broad and long. They shall find out. I may find a way to teach them that I am not to be treated so lightly."

After they were covered up, the boy-man, looking sharply about, saw that among them they had caught one large trout, which was lying just by their side.

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