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The Red Swan

Speed home! You will find the magic arrow at the lodge-door. You will live to a very old age, and die happily. You can go no further in these abodes of ours."

Maidwa looked, as he thought, to the west, and saw a bright light as if the sun was shining in its splendor, but he saw no sun.

"What light is that yonder?" he asked.

The all-boned buffalo answered—"It is the place where those who were good dwell."

"And that dark cloud?" Maidwa again asked.

"It is the place of the wicked," answered the buffalo.

Maidwa turned away, for it was very dark, and it pained his eyes to look upon it; and, moving away by the aid of his guardian spirits, he again stood upon the earth, and beheld the sun giving light as usual.

All else that he learned in the abodes of the dead, and his travels and acts previous to his return homeward, are unknown, for he never spoke of them to any human being.

After wandering a long time to gather knowledge to make his people happy and to add to their comfort, he one evening drew near to his own village. Passing all the other lodges he came to his own door, where he found the magic arrow, as he had been promised. He heard his brothers from within at high words with each other. They were quarreling for the possession of his wife, who, through all his absence, had remained constant, and sadly awaited his return. Maidwa listened in shame and sorrow.

He entered the lodge, holding his head aloft as one conscious of good principle and shining with anger. He spoke not a word, but, placing the magic arrow to his bow, he would have laid his brothers dead at his feet; but just then the talking kettle stepped forward and spoke such words of wisdom, and the singing kettle trolled forth such a soothing little song, and the guilty brothers were so contrite and keenly repentant of their intended wrong, and the Red Swan was so radiant and forgiving, the silent kettle straightway served them up so hearty and wholesome a meal, and the frisky little kettle was so joyful and danced about so merrily, that when the magic arrows were laid away in the medicine-sack by Maidwa, there was that night in all the Indian country no happier family than the three brothers, who ever after dwelt together in all kindness, as all good brothers should.

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