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The Face Of The Manito

Source: The Book Of Nature Myths

Many years ago the manito of the Indians lived in the sun. Every morning
the wise men of the tribe went to the top of a mountain, and as the sun
rose in the east, they sang, "We praise thee, O sun! From thee come fire
and light. Be good to us, be good to us."

After the warm days of the summer had come, the sun was so bright that
the Indians said to their wise men, "When you go to the mountain top,
ask the manito to show us his face in a softer, gentler light."

Then the wise men went to the mountain top, and this is what they said:
"O great manito, we are but children before you, and we have no power to
bear the brightness of your face. Look down upon us here on the earth
with a gentler, softer light, that we may ever gaze upon you and show
you all love and all honor."

The bright sun moved slowly toward the south. The people were afraid
that the manito was angry with them, but when the moon rose they were
no longer sad, for from the moon the loving face of the manito was
looking down upon them.

Night after night the people gazed at the gentle face, but at last a
night came when the moon was not seen in the sky. The wise men went
sorrowfully to the mountain top. "O manito," they said, "we are never
happy when we cannot gaze into your face. Will you not show it to your

The moon did not rise, and the people were sad, but when morning came,
there was the loving face of the manito showing clearly in the rocks at
the top of the mountain.

Again they were happy, but when dark clouds hid the gentle face, the
wise men went to the foot of the mountain and called sadly, "O manito,
we can no longer see your face."

The clouds grew darker and fell like a cloak over the mountain, the
trees trembled in the wind, the forked lightning shot across the sky,
and the thunder called aloud.

"It is the anger of the manito," cried the people. "The heavens are
falling," they whispered, and they hid their faces in fear.

Morning came, the storm had gone, and the sky was clear. Tremblingly the
people looked up toward the mountain top for the face of the manito. It
was not there, but after they had long gazed in sorrow, a wise man
cried, "There it is, where no cloud will hide it from us." In the storm
the rocks had fallen from the mountain top. They were halfway down the
mountain side, and in them could be seen the face of the manito.

Then the people cried, "Praise to the good manito! His loving face will
look down upon us from the mountain side forever-more."

For a long time all went well, but at last trouble came, for they heard
that a great tribe were on the war-path coming to kill them. "Help us,
dear manito," they cried but there was no help. The warriors came nearer
and nearer. Their war-cry was heard, "O manito," called the people,
"help us, help us!" A voice from the mountain answered, "My children, be
not afraid." The war-cry was still, and when the people looked, for the
warriors, they were nowhere to be seen. The people gazed all around, and
at last one of the wise men cried, "There they are, there they are!"

They were at the foot of the mountain, but the people no longer feared
them, for now they were not warriors but rocks. To keep from harm those
whom he loved, the manito had made the warriors into stone. They stood
at the foot of the mountain, and to-day, if you should go to that
far-away country, you could see the rocks that were once warriors, and
above them, halfway up the mountain side, you could see the face of the

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