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Manabozho And His Toe






Source: Folk-lore And Legends: North American Indian

Manabozho was so powerful that he began to think there was nothing he
could not do. Very wonderful were many of his feats, and he grew more
conceited day by day. Now it chanced that one day he was walking about
amusing himself by exercising his extraordinary powers, and at length
he came to an encampment where one of the first things he noticed was
a child lying in the sunshine, curled up with its toe in its mouth.

Manabozho looked at the child for some time, and wondered at its
extraordinary posture.

"I have never seen a child before lie like that," said he to himself,
"but I could lie like it."

So saying, he put himself down beside the child, and, taking his right
foot in his hand, drew it towards his mouth. When he had brought it as
near as he could it was yet a considerable distance away from his
lips.

"I will try the left foot," said Manabozho. He did so and found that
he was no better off, neither of his feet could he get to his mouth.
He curled and twisted, and bent his large limbs, and gnashed his
teeth in rage to find that he could not get his toe to his mouth. All,
however, was vain.

At length he rose, worn out with his exertions and passion, and walked
slowly away in a very ill humour, which was not lessened by the sound
of the child's laughter, for Manabozho's efforts had awakened it.

"Ah, ah!" said Manabozho, "shall I be mocked by a child?"

He did not, however, revenge himself on his victor, but on his way
homeward, meeting a boy who did not treat him with proper respect, he
transformed him into a cedar-tree.

"At least," said Manabozho, "I can do something."





Next: The Girl Who Became A Bird

Previous: The Strange Guests



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