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The Old Chippeway






Source: Folk-lore And Legends: North American Indian

The old man Chippeway, the first of men, when he first landed on the
earth, near where the present Dogribs have their hunting-grounds,
found the world a beautiful world, well stocked with food, and
abounding with pleasant things. He found no man, woman, or child upon
it; but in time, being lonely, he created children, to whom he gave
two kinds of fruit, the black and the white, but he forbade them to
eat the black. Having given his commands for the government and
guidance of his family, he took leave of them for a time, to go into a
far country where the sun dwelt, for the purpose of bringing it to the
earth.

After a very long journey, and a long absence, he returned, bringing
with him the sun, and he was delighted to find that his children had
remained obedient, and had eaten only of the white food.

Again he left them to go on another expedition. The sun he had brought
lighted up the earth for only a short time, and in the land from which
he had brought it he had noticed another body, which served as a lamp
in the dark hours. He resolved therefore to journey and bring back
with him the moon; so, bidding adieu to his children and his dwelling,
he set forth once more.

While he had been absent on his first expedition, his children had
eaten up all the white food, and now, when he set out, he forgot to
provide them with a fresh supply. For a long time they resisted the
craving for food, but at last they could hold out no longer, and
satisfied their hunger with the black fruit.

The old Chippeway soon returned, bringing with him the moon. He soon
discovered that his children had transgressed his command, and had
eaten the food of disease and death. He told them what was the
consequence of their act--that in future the earth would produce bad
fruits, that sickness would come amongst men, that pain would rack
them, and their lives be lives of fatigue and danger.

Having brought the sun and moon to the earth, the old man Chippeway
rested, and made no more expeditions. He lived an immense number of
years, and saw all the troubles he declared would follow the eating of
the black food. At last he became tired of life, and his sole desire
was to be freed from it.

"Go," said he, to one of his sons, "to the river of the Bear Lake, and
fetch me a man of the little wise people (the beavers). Let it be one
with a brown ring round the end of the tail, and a white spot on the
tip of the nose. Let him be just two seasons old upon the first day
of the coming frog-moon, and see that his teeth be sharp."

The man did as he was directed. He went to the river of the Bear Lake,
and brought a man of the little wise people. He had a brown ring round
the end of his tail, and a white spot on the tip of his nose. He was
just two seasons old upon the first day of the frog-moon, and his
teeth were very sharp.

"Take the wise four-legged man," said the old Chippeway, "and pull
from his jaws seven of his teeth."

The man did as he was directed, and brought the teeth to the old man.
Then he bade him call all his people together, and when they were come
the old man thus addressed them--

"I am old, and am tired of life, and wish to sleep the sleep of death.
I will go hence. Take the seven teeth of the wise little four-legged
man and drive them into my body."

They did so, and as the last tooth entered him the old man died.





Next: Mukumik! Mukumik! Mukumik!

Previous: The Undying Head



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