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Myths and Legends of the Mississippi Valley and the Great Lakes

Page: 37

Iagoo went hunting. He followed the trail of the deer through the forest. He shot a deer and skinned it. He lifted the meat upon his shoulders. As he came from his hunting place, Iagoo saw a person on a prairie before him. He pursued that person. Iagoo ran half a day after that one. Then he remembered the meat upon his shoulders. He remembered he carried the body of the deer.

Iagoo had many adventures. He found mosquitoes in a bog-land. They were very large. The wing of one he used for a sail for his canoe, when the breeze blew. The nose of that insect was as large as his wife’s digging stick.

One day Iagoo watched a beaver’s lodge. He watched for the peering head of a beaver. Behold! An ant went by. She had killed a hare. She dragged hare’s body on the ground behind her.

[104]

OJEEG, THE SUMMER-MAKER

Ojibwa

OJEEG was a great hunter. He lived on the southern shore of Lake Superior. Ojeeg had a wife and one son.

Now the son hunted game as the father taught him. He followed the trails over the snow. For snow lay always on the ground. It was always cold. Therefore the boy returned home crying.

One day as he went to his father’s wigwam in the cold and snow he saw Red Squirrel, gnawing the end of a pine cone. Now the son of Ojeeg had shot nothing all day because his hands were so cold. When he saw Red Squirrel, he came nearer, and raised his bow.

Red Squirrel said, “My grandson, put up your arrow. Listen to me.”

The boy put the arrow in his quiver.

Red Squirrel said, “You pass my wigwam very often. You cry because you cannot kill birds. Your fingers are numb with cold. Obey me. Thus it shall always be summer. Thus you can kill many birds.”

From Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology.
Permanent Ash-Bark Wigwam of the Wild Rice Gathering Ojibwa.

[105] Red Squirrel said again, “Obey me. When you reach your father’s wigwam, throw down your bow and arrows. Begin to weep. If your mother says, ‘My son, what is the matter?’ do not answer her. Continue weeping. If she says, ‘My son, eat this,’ you must refuse the food. Continue weeping. In the evening when your father comes in he will say to your mother, ‘What is the matter with my son?’ She will say, ‘He came in crying. He will not tell me.’ Your father will say, ‘My son, what is the matter? I am a spirit. Nothing is too hard for me.’ Then you must answer, ‘It is always cold and dreary. Snow lies always upon the ground. Melt the snow, my father, so that we may have always summer.’ Then your father will say, ‘It is very difficult to do what you ask. I will try.’ Then you must be quiet. You must eat the food they give you.”


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