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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 were safe. 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."


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