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Main > Native American folktales > Fairy tale "The Red Swan"

The Red Swan

As they went on and came to the lodge of the first old man, their reception and farewell were the same; and when Maidwa glanced to the corner, the silent kettle, which had been the first acquaintance he had made in that family on his travels, was not there. The old man smiled when he discovered the direction of Maidwa's glance, but he said nothing.

When, on continuing their journey, they at last approached the first town which Maidwa had passed in his pursuit, the watchman gave notice as before, and he was shown into the chief's lodge.

"Sit down there, son-in-law," said the chief, pointing to a place near his daughter. "And you also," he said to the Red Swan.

The chief's daughter was engaged in coloring a girdle, and, as if indifferent to these visitors, she did not even raise her head. Presently the chief said, "Let some one bring in the bundle of our son-in-law."

When the bundle was laid before him, Maidwa opened one of the bags which had been given to him. It was filled with various costly articles—wampum, robes, and trinkets, of much richness and value; these, in token of his kindness, he presented to the chief. The chief's daughter stole a glance at the costly gifts, then at Maidwa and his beautiful wife. She stopped working, and was silent and thoughtful all the evening. The chief himself talked with Maidwa of his adventures, congratulated him on his good fortune, and concluded by telling him that he should take his daughter along with him in the morning.

Maidwa said "Yes."

The chief then spoke up, saying, "Daughter, be ready to go with him in the morning."

Now it happened when the chief was thus speaking that there was a foolish fellow in the lodge, who had thought to have got this chief's daughter for a wife; and he jumped up, saying:

"Who is he," looking grimly at Maidwa, "that he should take her for a few presents? I will kill him."

And he raised a knife which he had in his hand, and gave it a mighty flourish in the air. He kept up this terrible flourish till some one came and pulled him back to his seat, which he had been waiting for, and then he sat quiet enough.

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