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The Red Swan


All this time the Red Swan was carefully concealed in the lodge, behind a curtain, from which Maidwa heard now and then a rustling noise, that fluttered his spirits and set his heart to beating at a wonderful rate.

As soon as Maidwa had partaken of food and laid aside his leggings and moccasins, the old magician commenced telling him how he had lost his scalp, the insults it was receiving, the pain he suffered thereby, his wishes to regain it, the many unsuccessful attempts that had already been made, and the numbers and power of those who retained it. He would interrupt his discourse, at times, with sudden groans, and say:

"Oh, how shamefully they are treating it."

Maidwa listened to all the old magician had to say with solemn attention.

The magician renewed his discourse, and inquired of Maidwa as to his dreams, or what he saw in his sleep, at such times as he had fasted and darkened his face to procure guardian spirits.

Maidwa then told him one dream. The magician groaned.

"No, that is not it," he said.

Maidwa told him of two or three others.

The magician groaned again and again, and said, rather peevishly, "No, these are not the dreams."

"Keep cool," said the kettle, which had left the fire, and was standing in the middle of the floor, where a pleasant breeze was blowing through the lodge, and added, "Have you no more dreams of another kind?"

"Yes," said Maidwa; and he told him one.

"That will do," said the kettle. "We are much pleased with that."

"Yes, that is it—that is it!" the magician added. "You will cause me to live. That was what I was wishing you to say. Will you then go and see if you can not recover my poor scalp?"

"Yes," said Maidwa, "I will go; and the day after to-morrow, when you hear the ka-kak cries of the hawk, you will know that I am successful. You must prepare your head, and lean it out through the door, so that the moment I arrive I may place your scalp on."

"Yes, yes," said the magician. "As you say it will be done."

Early the next morning Maidwa set out to fulfill his promise; and in the afternoon, when the sun hangs toward home, he heard the shouts of a great many people.

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