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Pretty Woman


Source: Indian Legends Retold

Once in time of famine there were two children deserted by their
parents, because they could not find food enough for all. The boy and
girl were perishing of hunger when they were discovered wandering in
the wood by Old Crow Woman. The kind old body took them to her poor
teepee and went out to search for something to eat.

While she was gone, the girl, who was very clever, picked four grains
of corn out of the dust and tossed them into the air. In this way each
grain became a fine full ear, which they roasted and ate. She then
threw up the small skin tent, and it came down large and beautiful.
She took her little brother in her arms and threw him up, and he was a
tall youth. Finally she said to him: "Brother, throw me up, too!" and
he did as she asked.

The half-starved little girl came down again a remarkably pretty
woman, and when Old Crow returned with a few grains of corn in her
beak, she was astonished to find so beautiful a girl sitting and
making moccasins before the largest and handsomest lodge she had ever

When the Mole poked his long nose through the earth to look at Pretty
Woman, she ordered him back, saying, "I am not the light."

Three times the Hummingbird circled round her head with buzzing wings,
but she drove him away. "I am not a flower," said she. He went home
and told all the people that he had seen the most beautiful woman in
the world, and the woods were soon full of suitors.

Since Old Crow Woman was the girl's chaperon, they all appealed to
her. One said: "I will lay down the richest of bear skins for her to
walk on, all the way to my village."

"That will never do," replied the old woman. "She might slip on the
skins and hurt herself."

The second lover offered to lay down a line of mortars all the way.
"You must not do that," said Old Crow. "The mortars might roll and
trip her up."

The third man declared: "My people shall lie down on the ground, and
she may tread upon them as she comes to me a bride!"

To this the old woman made no objection, and Pretty Woman walked all
the way to her future home upon the bodies of the people.

Next: The Crane And The Hummingbird

Previous: The Hunter Who Became A Deer

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