The Sky Walker Of Huron





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.





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