The Ak Uk O Jeesh Or The Groundhog Family





ODJIBWA FABLE





A female akukojeesh, or groundhog, with a numerous family of young

ones, was burrowing in her wauzh, or hole in the ground, one long

winter, in the north, when the young ones became impatient for spring.

Every day the mother would go out and get roots and other things, which

she brought in to them to eat; and she always told them to lie close

and keep warm, and never to venture towards the mouth of the wauzh. But

they became very impatient at last to see the light and the green

woods. "Mother," said they, "is it not almost spring?" "No! no!" said

she, in a cross humor, "keep still and wait patiently; it hails, it

snows, it is cold--it is windy. Why should you wish to go out?" This

she told them so often, and said it in such a bad temper, that they at

last suspected some deception. One day she came in, after having been a

long while absent, and fell asleep, with her mouth open. The little

ones peeped in slily, and saw on her teeth the remains of the nice

white bulbous roots of the mo-na-wing, or adder's tongue violet. They

at once knew it was spring, and without disturbing the old one, who

only wanted to keep them in till they were full grown, away they

scampered, out of the hole, and dispersed themselves about the forest,

and so the family were all scattered.





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