Myths and Legends of the Mississippi Valley and the Great Lakes

Page: 70

Afterwards he played with the other children and slept there that night. In the morning, their father took him down the trail. They went down a trail that had a cornfield on one side and a peach orchard on the other, until they came to a cross trail. Then the man said,

“Go along this trail across that ridge and you will come to the river road that will take you straight to your home.”

So he went back to his house. The boy went down [209] the trail, but soon he turned and looked back. There was no cornfield there; there were no peach trees or house—nothing but trees on the mountain side. Still he was not frightened. He went on until he came to the river trail in sight of his home. He saw many people standing about talking. When they saw him, they ran towards him shouting, “Here he is! He is not drowned or killed in the mountains!”

Then they said, “Where have you been? We have been looking for you ever since yesterday noon.”

“A man took me over to his house, just across the ridge,” said the boy. “I thought Udsi-skala would tell you where I was.”

Udsi-skala said, “I have not seen you. I was out all day in my canoe looking for you. It was one of the Nunnehi who made himself look like me.”

His mother said, “You say you had plenty to eat there?”

“Yes,” said the boy.

“There is no house there,” his mother answered. “There is nothing there but trees and rocks, but we hear a drum sometimes in the big bald peak above. The people you saw were the Nunnehi.”




THERE is another race of spirits, the Little People. They live in rock caves and in the mountain side. They hardly reach to a man’s knee, but they are very handsome, with long hair falling to the ground. They work wonders, and are fond of music. They spend half their time drumming and dancing. If their drum is heard in lonely places in the mountains, it is not safe to follow it. They do not like to be disturbed and they throw a spell over people who annoy them. And even when such a person at last gets back home, he seems dazed.

Sometimes the Little People come near a house at night, but even if people hear them talking, they must not go out. And in the morning, the corn is gathered, or the field cleared, as if a great many people had been at work.

When a hunter finds a knife in the woods, he must say, “Little People, I want to take this,” because it may belong to them. Otherwise, they may throw stones at him as he goes home.