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Strange tale of caribou and moose.
From Canadian Wonder Tales by Cyrus MacMillan.
Start of Story
TWO widows lived side by side in the forest. Their
husbands had long been dead. Each widow had a
-^- little boy. Ono*boy was called Caribou ; the other
was called Moose. One springtime the widows were gather
ing maple sap to make sugar. The two boys played at home.
They talked of the great forest, and decided to travel, to see
the big woods and the mountains far away. In the morning
they set out on their journey. They walked all day, and in
the evening they came to a camp far away in the woods.
The camp was that of the Porcupines. The Porcupines were
kind to the boys, and gave them food. In the morning tl^ey
gave them new moccasins, and told them the road to follow.
The road, they said, had many giants.
The boys travelled all day without mishap. At last they
came to the edge of the wood where the giants lived. Here
they met a woman. She was half Indian, for her mother
was an Indian woman who had been carried off by a giant. Her
mother had long been dead. The woman they met knew
that the boys were of her mother s people, and she treated
them kindly. She told them that ahead of them were three
IN THE EVENING THEY CAME TO A CAMP.
great giants they would have to overcome before they could
pass on their way. She gave them a box containing two
dogs. The box was very small ; it could be hidden in one
hand. The dogs were no bigger than a fly, but when they
were rubbed with the hand they grew very large and cross ;
and the more they were rubbed, the larger and crosser they
became. The dogs were to be used, she said, to defeat the
first giant. Then the woman told them of the second giant.
She said he was very terrible, and that his head was covered
with great toads, the poison of which would kill any one who
touched them. She told them that the giant would ask them
to kill a toad because it hurt his head, hoping thereby to
poison them. She warned them not to touch it, and she
gave them some cranberries, and told them to crush the cran
berries in their hands when the giant made his request and
the noise would make the giant think they were crushing the
poisonous toad. Then she told them of the third giant ;
and she gave them a knife with which to overcome him. It
was a very wonderful knife that could not be turned aside
from anything it attacked.
Then the boys went on their way. Soon they saw the
first giant standing by the side of the path. He rushed at
them as if to kill them ; but they opened their magic box
and took out the dogs. They rubbed them until they grew
very large and cross, and when the giant came near they let
them loose. The dogs soon killed the giant, and the boys
went on their way, leaving the dogs to go back to the woman
who gave them. Soon they came to the second giant. He
was very ugly and terrible, and he had long hair covered
with toads. He met the boys kindly, hoping to deceive
them. Then, just as the woman had told them, he said,
" Something hurts my head. Do you see what it is ?" And
they said, " Yes, it is a great toad." " Kill it," said the giant.
Then the boys put their hands close to his head and crushed
the cranberries the woman had given them, and the giant
thought the noise was that of the crushing of the toad. The
boys then went on their way.
The giant was well pleased,
for he thought they would drop dead very soon because of
the poison, and that next day he would find them and have a
good meal. Soon the boys came to the third giant. He
was very terrible, and he attacked them at once. But one of
the boys drew the magic knife and plunged it into the giant s
breast. The giant could not turn it aside ; it pierced his
heart, and he fell dead. Then the boys knew that they
The next morning the boys decided to separate, and to go
each his own way. Moose went north, and Caribou went
south. By-and-by Moose came to a tent where dwelt a
woman with one daughter. The daughter wished to be
married, but her mother was jealous of her daughter s charms,
and she killed every suitor who wooed her daughter. Her
mother had the power of a witch, which she had received
from the Evil Spirit of the forest. The daughter loved
Moose when she saw him. She warned him that her mother
would try to kill him. Moose asked the mother if he might
have the daughter as his wife, and the mother said, "Yes;
but first you must do whatever I bid you."