: Thirty Indian Legends

Once there was a little duck, whose name was Shingebiss. He lived by

himself in a small lodge, and was very contented and happy. This lodge

was built on the shore of a lake. When the cold winter days came, and

the lake was frozen over, all the other ducks flew away to a warmer

land. But Shingebiss was not afraid of the cold. He gathered four

large logs and took them into his lodge. Each log was big enough to

for a month, and as there were only four cold months, there would

be enough to last him through the winter.

Then each morning he would go to the lake, and hunt for places where

the rushes came through the ice. He would pull these out with his

strong beak, and catch fish through the openings.

Kabibonokka, the north wind, saw him, and said to himself, "What a

strange person this is. He sings and is out on the coldest days. But

I shall stop his singing."

So he blew a cold blast from the north-west, which froze the ice on the

lake much deeper. Still Shingebiss came out in the morning, caught his

fish, and went home singing.

"How strange," said the north wind, "I cannot freeze him; I shall go

and visit his lodge. Perhaps I can put out his fire."

So he went and knocked at the door of the lodge. Shingebiss was

within. He had cooked and eaten his fish, and now was lying on one

side in front of the fire, singing a song. He heard the north wind at

the door, but he pretended that he did not. He went on singing in

quite a loud voice:

"Windy god, I know your plan,

You are but my fellow-man.

Blow you may your coldest breeze,

Shingebiss yon cannot freeze;

Sweep the strongest wind you can,

Shingebiss is still your man.

Heigh, for life--ho, for bliss,

Who so free as Shingebiss?"

The north wind heard him and was very angry. He blew his coldest blast

under the doorway, Shingebiss felt it, but still went on singing. Then

the north wind opened the door, and walked in. He took a seat beside

the fire, and Shingebiss pretended not to see him. He just went on

singing, and after a while took his poker and stirred the logs. This

made them blaze brightly, and in a few minutes tears began to run down

Kabibonokka's cheeks. He pushed his chair away from the fire and tried

to blow his icy breath on the blazing log. But the warm air pushed the

cold breeze back and wrapped Kabibonokka around like a cloak. The

tears were running in streams down his cheeks now, and the heavy frost

on his long beard and hair had melted and made pools of water on the

floor. He could stand it no longer. Rising, he hastily passed out the

door, saying to himself, "I cannot put out his fire, but I shall freeze

the lake so deep that he will not be able to catch any more fish."

So that night he blew his coldest breath. Next morning the ice on the

lake was very thick. Brave little Shingebiss went from one place to

another trying to find a thin spot. At last a bunch of rushes came out

as he pulled, and, looking in the hole, he saw several fine fish. He

sang merrily as he caught them, and the north wind heard the song.

Looking out of his lodge, he saw what Shingebiss was doing. At first

he was very angry, then he began to feel afraid.

"This duck must be helped by some Manitou," he said. "I shall leave

him in peace after this."

Then Kabibonokka went in and closed his lodge door and Shingebiss never

saw him again.