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Main > Native American folktales > Fairy tale "White Feather and the Six Giants"

White Feather and the Six Giants

Possessed of his three magic gifts, the young man departed the next morning, to seek his enemies, and to demand revenge.

The six giants lived in a very high lodge in the middle of a wood. He traveled on, in good heart, till he reached this lodge, where he found that his coming had been made known by the little spirits who carry the news. The giants hastened out, and gave a cry of joy as they saw him drawing near. When he approached within hail, they began to make sport of him, saying, "Here comes the little man with the white feather, who is to achieve such wonderful wonders."

When, however, he had arrived among them, they spoke him fair, saying he was a brave man and would do brave things. Their object was to encourage him, so that he would be bold to engage in some fool-hardy trial of strength.

Without paying much heed to their fine speeches, White Feather went fearlessly into their lodge; and without waiting for invitation, he challenged them to a foot-match. They agreed; and, as they said, by way of being easy with him, they told him to begin the race with the smallest of their number.

The point to which they were to run was a peeled tree toward the rising sun, and then back to the starting-place, which was a war-club of iron. Whoever won this stake, was empowered to use it in dispatching the defeated champion. If White Feather should overcome the first giant, he was to try the second, and so on, until they had all measured speed with him. By a dexterous use of the vine, he gained the first race, struck down his competitor, and cut off his head.

The next morning he ran with the second giant, whom he also outran, killed and beheaded.

He went on in this way for the five mornings, always conquering by the aid of his vine, and lopping off the heads of the vanquished giants.

The last of the giants who was yet to run with him acknowledged his power, but prepared secretly to deceive him. By way of parley, he proposed that White Feather should leave the heads with him, and that he would give him a handsome start for odds.

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