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The Sky Walker Of Huron






Category: THE CENRAL STATES AND THE GREAT LAKES

Source: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

Here is the myth of Endymion and Diana, as told on the shores of Saginaw
Bay, in Michigan, by Indians who never heard of Greeks. Cloud Catcher, a
handsome youth of the Ojibways, offended his family by refusing to fast
during the ceremony of his coming of age, and was put out of the paternal
wigwam. It was so fine a night that the sky served him as well as a roof,
and he had a boy's confidence in his ability to make a living, and
something of fame and fortune, maybe. He dropped upon a tuft of moss to
plan for his future, and drowsily noted the rising of the moon, in which
he seemed to see a face. On awaking he found that it was not day, yet the
darkness was half dispelled by light that rayed from a figure near
him--the form of a lovely woman.

Cloud Catcher, I have come for you, she said. And as she turned away he
felt impelled to rise and follow. But, instead of walking, she began to
move into the air with the flight of an eagle, and, endowed with a new
power, he too ascended beside her. The earth was dim and vast below,
stars blazed as they drew near them, yet the radiance of the woman seemed
to dull their glory. Presently they passed through a gate of clouds and
stood on a beautiful plain, with crystal ponds and brooks watering noble
trees and leagues of flowery meadow; birds of brightest colors darted
here and there, singing like flutes; the very stones were agate, jasper,
and chalcedony. An immense lodge stood on the plain, and within were
embroideries and ornaments, couches of rich furs, pipes and arms cut from
jasper and tipped with silver. While the young man was gazing around him
with delight, the brother of his guide appeared and reproved her,
advising her to send the young man back to earth at once, but, as she
flatly refused to do so, he gave a pipe and bow and arrows to Cloud
Catcher, as a token of his consent to their marriage, and wished them
happiness, which, in fact, they had.

This brother, who was commanding, tall, and so dazzling in his gold and
silver ornaments that one could hardly look upon him, was abroad all day,
while his sister was absent for a part of the night. He permitted Cloud
Catcher to go with him on one of his daily walks, and as they crossed the
lovely Sky Land they glanced down through open valley bottoms on the
green earth below. The rapid pace they struck gave to Cloud Catcher an
appetite and he asked if there were no game. Patience, counselled his
companion. On arriving at a spot where a large hole had been broken
through the sky they reclined on mats, and the tall man loosing one of
his silver ornaments flung it into a group of children playing before a
lodge. One of the little ones fell and was carried within, amid
lamentations. Then the villagers left their sports and labors and looked
up at the sky. The tall man cried, in a voice of thunder, Offer a
sacrifice and the child shall be well again. A white dog was killed,
roasted, and in a twinkling it shot up to the feet of Cloud Catcher, who,
being empty, attacked it voraciously.

Many such walks and feasts came after, and the sights of earth and taste
of meat filled the mortal with a longing to see his people again. He told
his wife that he wanted to go back. She consented, after a time, saying,
Since you are better pleased with the cares, the ills, the labor, and
the poverty of the world than with the comfort and abundance of Sky Land,
you may return; but remember you are still my husband, and beware how you
venture to take an earthly maiden for a wife.

She arose lightly, clasped Cloud Catcher by the wrist, and began to move
with him through the air. The motion lulled him and he fell asleep,
waking at the door of his father's lodge. His relatives gathered and gave
him welcome, and he learned that he had been in the sky for a year. He
took the privations of a hunter's and warrior's life less kindly than he
thought to, and after a time he enlivened its monotony by taking to wife
a bright-eyed girl of his tribe. In four days she was dead. The lesson
was unheeded and he married again. Shortly after, he stepped from his
lodge one evening and never came back. The woods were filled with a
strange radiance on that night, and it is asserted that Cloud Catcher was
taken back to the lodge of the Sun and Moon, and is now content to live
in heaven.





Next: The Coffin Of Snakes

Previous: Wallen's Ridge



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