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

The Red Swan

He passed on, and when he emerged from the forest, the sun was just falling below the edge of the sky.

He was bent on success in pursuit of the swan, whose red track he marked well far westward till she was lost to sight. Meanwhile he would tarry for the night and procure something to eat, as he had fasted since he had left home.

At a distance, on a rising ground, he could see the lodges of a large village. He went toward it, and soon heard the watchman, who was set on a height to overlook the place, and give notice of the approach of friends or foes, crying out, "We are visited;" and a loud halloo indicated that they had all heard it.

When Maidwa advanced, the watchman pointed to the lodge of the chief. "It is there you must go in," he said, and left him.

"Come in, come in," said the chief; "take a seat there;" pointing to the side of the lodge where his daughter sat. "It is there you must sit."

They gave him something to eat, and, being a stranger, very few questions were put to him; it was only when he spoke that the others answered him.

"Daughter," said the chief, as soon as the night had set in, "take our son-in-law's moccasins and see if they be torn; if so, mend them for him, and bring in his bundle."

Maidwa thought it strange that he should be so warmly received, and married instantly against his own wishes, although he could not help noticing that the chief's daughter was pretty.

It was some time before she would take the moccasins which he had laid off. It displeased him to see her loth to do so; and when at last she did reach them, he snatched them from her hand and hung them up himself. He lay down and thought of the swan, and made up his mind to be off with the dawn. He wakened early, and finding the chief's daughter looking forth at the door, he spoke to her, but she gave no answer. He touched her lightly.

"What do you want?" she said, and turned her face away from him.

"Tell me," said Maidwa, "what time the swan passed. I am following it; come out, and point the way.

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