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Main > Native American folktales > Fairy tale "The Toad-Woman"

The Toad-Woman

She told her that she was near the place where her son was to be found; and she directed her to build a lodge of cedar-boughs, hard by the old Toad-Woman's lodge, and to make a little bark dish, and to fill it with the juice of the wild grape.

"Then," she said, "your first child (meaning the dog) will come and find you out."

These directions the young woman followed just as they had been given to her, and in a short time she heard her son, now grown up, going out to hunt, with his dog, calling out to him, "Peewaubik—Spirit-Iron—Twee! Twee!"

The dog soon came into the lodge, and she set before him the dish of grape-juice.

"See, my child," she said, addressing him, "the pretty drink your mother gives you."

Spirit-Iron took a long draught, and immediately left the lodge with his eyes wide open; for it was the drink which teaches one to see the truth of things as they are. He rose up when he got into the open air, stood upon his hind legs, and looked about. "I see how it is," he said; and marching off, erect like a man, he sought out his young master.

Approaching him in great confidence, he bent down and whispered in his ear (having first looked cautiously around to see that no one was listening), "This old woman here in the lodge is no mother of yours. I have found your real mother, and she is worth looking at. When we come back from our day's sport, I'll prove it to you."

They went out into the woods, and at the close of the afternoon they brought back a great spoil of meat of all kinds. The young man, as soon as he had laid aside his weapons, said to the old Toad-Woman, "Send some of the best of this meat to the stranger who has arrived lately."

The Toad-Woman answered, "No! Why should I send to her, the poor widow!"

The young man would not be refused; and at last the old Toad-Woman consented to take something and throw it down at the door. She called out, "My son gives you this." But, being bewitched by Mukakee Mindemoea, it was so bitter and distasteful, that the young woman immediately cast it out of the lodge after her.

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