The Magician Of Lake Huron
Source: Thirty Indian Legends
The Manatoline, or Spirit, Islands were supposed to be a favorite abode
of the Manitous, or spirits. Perhaps that is why many strange things
happened there. One night, as Masswaweinini, the magician, was lying
asleep, a sound of voices wakened him. "This is Masswaweinini," said
the first voice; "we must have his heart."
"How shall we get it?" said the second voice.
"I shall put my hand into his mouth," said the first, "and pull it out
The magician felt a hand being slipped between his teeth. He waited
until the fingers were all in his mouth, then he bit them hard and they
came off. He heard a cry, then the strangers disappeared. In the
morning he arose, but could find no trace of any one. But when he came
down to the water's edge, he saw a canoe with two people in it. They
were sitting at each end of the canoe, with their arms stretched out.
When he came close to them, he saw they were fairies, and that they had
been turned to stone. One of them had lost the fingers of one hand, so
he knew they were his enemies of the night before. The canoe was laden
with bags of all kinds of treasures, and it was the most beautiful boat
he had ever seen. He lifted out the stone figures and put them in the
woods. As he turned away, one of the figures spoke to him.
"Masswaweinini," it said, "the canoes of the Ottawa Indians will, after
this, always be well laden like our canoe. Your tribe was driven from
their land by their cruel enemies, but they shall be rewarded for their
bravery. The Mighty Spirit will help them, and they shall be given
many treasures in their new home."
The magician then went back to the boat and lifted out the bags. He
carried the boat and hid it among the trees. When he opened the bags,
he found meat and fish and many other things, and took them to his camp.
As he rested in his lodge that night, he would have been very happy, if
he had not been so sorry for his old father and mother. He thought of
them many miles away with none of the comforts he had. "I shall go and
bring them," he said. He had only to think of going when at once he
could move like the wind. So before morning he found himself at the
poor, little camp of his parents. They were still asleep, so without
making any noise, he took them in his arms and carried them back to his
lodge. When they awakened in the morning, they were delighted to find
themselves with their son. All day long they wandered through the
fields and by the shore, and were as happy as children. As the days
and weeks went by, they seemed to grow happier still. But one night
the magician saw his old father look in his tobacco-pouch and then sigh.
"I know what it is you want, my father, it is tobacco; you have not had
any for many moons. Now I shall get some."
"How can you do that?" asked the father, in surprise. "You are
surrounded by enemies and cut off from all supplies."
"I shall make my enemies give me some," said the magician.
That night he set out on a long journey across the frozen lake. So
swiftly did he travel, that by morning he had reached the village of
his enemies. They were surprised to see him, but invited him into
their lodges. "I thank you," he said, "but I shall not go into any
lodge. I shall build a fire on the shore of the lake."
He made himself a tent with the branches of trees, built a fire, and
sat beside it.
"Why have you come to visit us?" asked the chief.
"I want some tobacco for my father," replied the magician.
"Is that all?" said the Indian. "You shall have it;" and he opened his
tobacco-pouch and gave some tobacco to Masswaweinini. The other
Indians did the same, so now the magician had a large supply to take
home. When it became dark, he lay down to sleep beside his fire. In
the middle of the night, the chief and some Indians rushed in,
shouting, "You are a dead man."
"No, I am not," said the magician, "but you are." With his tomahawk he
hit left and right. In a few minutes six lay dead beside him. Then he
wrapped his blanket around him, gathered up his tobacco, and set off.
By evening he had reached his father's lodge, and spread out his gift
before him. The old man was delighted with the present, and thanked
him many times for his kindness. When spring came, the magician built
a beautiful lodge for his parents on the edge of the wrestling ground,
and all through the summer they watched the corn and pumpkins grow.
Next: The Fairies Cliff
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