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Page 27 - The Magical Dancing-Doll

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1983/8/1 (297 reads)

The Magical Dancing-Doll' There was once living in the forest an In? dian couple who had seven sons, the oldest of whom was very unkind to the youngest. He used to impose hard tasks upon him, de? prive him of his just allowance of food, and beat him. Finally, the lad determined to endure it no longer, and resolved to run away. His name, from his occupation, was Noojekesigunodasit. His particular work was to take the rags from the mocca? sins, when pulled off, wring them and dry them. So he requests his mother to make him a small bow and arrow, and thirty pairs of moccasins. She complies with his request, and when all are finished he takes the moc? casins and his bow, and starts. He shoots the arrow ahead, and runs after it. In a short time he is able to outrun the arrow and reach the spot where it is to fall be? fore it strikes the ground. He then takes it up and shoots again, and flies on swift? er than the arrow. Thus he travels straight ahead, and by night he has gone a long dis? tance from home. In the mean time his six brothers with their father have all been out hunting. When they return at evening, he is not there, and the older brother finding him absent is greatly enraged; he wants him to wring out and dry the wrappers of his feet. He inquires what has become of him. Being told that he has gone away, he resolves to pursue him and bring him back. So the next morning off he goes in pursuit, carefully following in his brother's tracks. For one hundred days in succession he follows on, halting every night and resting till morn? ing. But during all this time he has only reached the spot where his brother passed his first night. He sees no sign before this of his having kindled a fire or e- rected a shelter; so he becomes discour? aged, gives up the pursuit, and returns home. The little boy in the mean time has been pursuing his way; he has met a very old man and had an interview with him. Tame al- een ak tame wejeen? ("Whither away, and where are you from?") the old man asks. "I have come a long distance," says the boy; "and you,--where are you from?" "You say, my child, you have come a long distance," the old man replies; "but I can assure you the distance you have come is nothing in comparison with what I have travelled over; for I was a small boy when I started, and since that day I have never halted, and you see that now I am very old." The boy answers, "I will try to go to the place from whence you came." "You can never reach it," the other answers. "But I will try," replies the boy. Seeing that the old man's moccasins are worn out, the boy of? fers him a new pair; he accepts them grate? fully and says: "I, in return, will do you a great favor. Here, take this box; you will find it of essential service to you in your travels." He then gives him a Story-collector Rev. Silas Tertius Rand, and two Indian children. small box with a cover properly secured, which he puts in his "pouch;" and each goes his way. After a while the boy begins to wonder what the box contains. He takes it out and ' opens it. As soon as he has removed the cover, he starts with an exclamation of surprise; for he sees a small image in the form of a man dancing away with all his might, and reeking with perspiration from the long-continued exertion. As soon as the light is let in upon him, he stops dancing, looks suddenly up, and exclaims, "Well! what is it? What is wanted?" The truth now flashes over the boy. This is a supernatural agent, a manitoo, a god, from the spirit-world, which can do anything that he is requested to do. "I wish," says the boy, "to be transported to the place from whence the old man came." He then closes the box; suddenly his head swims, the darkness comes over him, and he faints. On coming to himself again, he finds himself near a large Indian village, and knows that this is the place from whence the old man had strayed. He walks into the first wigwam he comes to (a point of etiquette usually observed by the Indi? ans on visiting a village), and is kindly received and invited up toward the back part of the wigwam, the place of honor. There is but one person in the wigwam, and that is an old woman, who begins to weep bitterly as soon as the young man is seated. He asks the cause of her grief, and is told that it is on his account. She CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE (2-
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