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Great Head






Category: TSIMSHIAN TALES

Source: Indian Legends Retold

High up on an inaccessible cliff, there dwells an immense Head, very
fierce, with long, bushy hair and huge staring eyes. The people call
it the Great Head, and fear it very much.

There was once a family of ten boys who lost their parents at about
the same time of a mysterious disease. As they knew no near
relatives, the brothers continued to live alone in the forest.
However, one day the eldest failed to return from the hunt, and in the
morning the second brother went to look for him. That night he, too,
was missing. On the next day, the third brother set out to search for
the others, and so on until only one of the ten was left.

Now the youngest brother had scarcely started on their trail when he
stumbled over a queer little old man, half buried in the ground, and
entirely covered with green mold.

When he had dug him out and revived him by rubbing him with oil, the
boy told the stranger his story.

"I can tell you what has become of your brothers," exclaimed the
little old man. "Without doubt, it is my brother, Great Head, who has
enticed them away."

"What! the Great Head is your brother?" asked the boy.

"Yes, he is," replied the little old man.

"Then you must know his ways and can help me to outwit him."

"I can tell you what he eats. Huge billets of maple wood--only
maple--are his favorite tid-bit."

"And is there anything he is afraid of?" the boy inquired.

"He fears my arrows, which grow ever larger as they fly!"

First the boy worked very hard chopping a great maple tree into
blocks; then he invited Great Head to a feast. But Great Head would
not come.

Then the little man, his brother, crept slyly to the foot of the cliff
through the long grass, and sent forth a magic arrow, which grew
larger and larger as it sped toward the mark. A great noise arose,
like that of a hurricane rushing through a forest. Down tumbled Great
Head to the foot of the precipice, and the nine youths whom he had
held captive were freed from the spell, and came joyfully home
again.





Next: How The Daylight Came

Previous: The Winged Hunter



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