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Manibozho the mischief maker.
Start of Story
They spent some days in talking with each other-for these two great
persons did nothing on a small scale, and a whole day to deliver a
single sentence, such was the immensity of their discourse, was quite
an ordinary affair.
One evening Manabozho asked his father what he was most afraid of on
"But is there nothing you dread here-nothing that would hurt you if you
took too much of it? Come, tell me."
Manabozho was very urgent, so at last his father said: "Yes, there is a
black stone to be found a couple of hundred miles from here, over that
way," pointing as he spoke. "It is the only thing on earth I am afraid
of, for if it should happen to hit me on any part of my body it would
hurt me very much." The West made this important circumstance known to
Manabozho in the strictest confidence.
"Now you will not tell anyone, Manabozho, that the black stone is bad
medicine for your father, will you?" he added. "You are a good son,
and I know you will keep it to yourself. Now tell me, my darling boy,
is there not something that you don't like?"
Manabozho answered promptly-"Nothing."
His father, who was of a steady and persevering nature, put the same
question to him seventeen times, and each time Manabozho made the same
But the West insisted-"There must be something you are afraid of."
"Well, I will tell you," said Manabozho, "what it is."
He made an effort to speak, but it seemed to be too much for him.
"Out with it," said the West, fetching Manabozho such a blow on the
back as shook the mountain with its echo.
"Je-ee, je-ee-it is," said Manabozho, apparently in great pain. "Yes,
yes! I cannot name it, I tremble so."
The West told him to banish his fears, and to speak up; no one would
hurt him. Manabozho began again, and he would have gone over the same
make-believe of pain, had not his father, whose strength he knew was
more than a match for his own, threatened to pitch him into a river
about five miles off. At last he cried out:
"Father, since you will know, it is the root of the bulrush." He who
could with perfect ease spin a sentence a whole day long, seemed to be
exhausted by the effort of pronouncing that one word, "bulrush."
Some time after Manabozho observed: "I will get some of the black rock,
merely to see how it looks."
"Well," said the father, "I will also get a little of the bulrush root,
to learn how it tastes."
They were both double-dealing with each other, and in their hearts
getting ready for some desperate work. They had no sooner separated
for the evening than Manabozho was striding off the couple of hundred
miles necessary to bring him to the place where the black rock was to
be procured, while down the other side of the mountain hurried
Ningabinn, the West.
At the break of day they each appeared at the great level on the
mountain-top, Manabozho with twenty loads, at least, of the black
stone, on one side, and on the other the West, with a whole meadow of
bulrush in his arms.
Manabozho was the first to strike-hurling a great piece of the black
rock, which struck the West directly between the eyes, and he returned
the favor with a blow of bulrush that rung over the shoulders of
Manabozho, far and wide, like the long lash of the lightning among the
First one and then the other, Manabozho poured in a tempest of black
rock, while the West discharged a shower of bulrush. Blow upon blow,
thwack upon thwack-they fought hand to hand until black rock and
bulrush were all gone. Then they betook themselves to hurling crags at
each other, cudgeling with huge oak trees, and defying each other from
one mountain top to another; while at times they shot enormous boulders
of granite across at each other's heads, as though they had been mere
jackstones. The battle, which had commenced on the mountains, had
extended far west. The West was forced to give ground. Manabozho
pressing on, drove him across rivers and mountains, ridges and lakes,
till at last he got him to the very brink of the world.
"Hold!" cried the West. "My son, you know my power, and although I
allow I am now fairly out of breath, it is impossible to kill me. Stop
where you are, and I will also portion you out with as much power as
your brothers. The four quarters of the globe are already occupied,
but you can go and do a great deal of good to the people of the earth,
which is beset with serpents, beasts and monsters, who make great havoc
of human life. Go and do good, and if you put forth half the strength
you have to-day, you will acquire a name that will last forever. When
you have finished your work I will have a place provided for you. You
will then go and sit with your brother, Kabinocca, in the north."
Manabozho gave his father his hand upon this agreement. And parting
from. him, he returned to his own grounds, where he lay for some time
sore of his wounds.