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Strange tale of caribou and moose.
Start of Story
To this Moose
agreed. When he went to bed, the daughter warned him to
be on his guard. The mother put a thick skin over him for
a blanket, covering him all up. Then she went to get
another, saying that it was a cold night. Moose knew he
would soon smother without air under the thick skins when
she piled them over him, and while she was gone he cut a
hole through the skin with his magic knife so that his nose
would go through it. The woman came back with other
skins, and covered him with a great many, but in each skin
Moose cut a hole over his nose so that he might get air.
The woman left him, believing that he would smother in the
night, for she did not want her daughter to wed ; but Moose
breathed freely and slept soundly.
The next morning the woman uncovered him, thinking
that he was dead ; but Moose said he had slept well. The
woman wondered greatly, and resolved upon another plan to
kill him. A great tree grew near the tent. It was hemlock,
and bigger than a haystack at the bottom.
It had thick bark
which was loose at the top. The woman gave Moose a long
pole and told him to knock down the bark. Moose took the
pole and knocked a piece off, but as it fell he jumped from
under it, for he could jump far. The heavy bark fell with a
great crash. Then he knocked off all the bark until the tree
was stripped, but he was unharmed. The woman wondered
greatly. She resolved upon another plan to kill him. The
next day she took Moose to an island far off the coast.
There were no trees on the island. They left their canoe on
the beach and walked inland. The woman said, "Wait here
awhile ; I will come back soon." Then she went back to the
beach. She took the canoe and paddled home, leaving Moose
behind. " Now," she said, " he will starve, for he cannot get
off the island, and there is nothing there to eat." When
Moose came back to the beach, after waiting a long while, he
saw the canoe a mere speck on the water far away. He was
much troubled, for he thought that now he would surely die,
and he cried loudly.
But the sea-gulls flying above the beach
heard his cries, and two large gulls came down to him. They
told him not to cry, for they would save him. One went to
each side of him and told him to take hold and hang on. So
he put an arm around each gull s neck, and they rose into
the air with him and flew over the sea. Moose was very
frightened when he looked down at the water. But the gulls
took him home safely. He sat a long time on the beach,
and then the woman came paddling her canoe from the
island. When she reached the land, Moose said, "What
kept you so long ? I have been waiting for you a long time."
But he did not tell her how he had come home. The woman
was so surprised she did not know what to say. But she
resolved upon another plan to kill him.
The next day she invited Moose to a wrestling match on
a high hill. The hill was full of stones. Moose decided
that to save his own life he must kill the woman, because he
had had enough of her treachery. They wrestled, and Moose
let the woman throw him down, but because he was agile he
saved himself from a great fall.
He let her throw him a
second time, but again he was unharmed, to her great sur
prise. The contest was three falls. The woman was sure
she could kill him the third time. But the third time, Moose
threw her down so hard that her back was broken on the
stones. Then he tossed her high in the air, and she fell so
hard that she was broken in pieces. Moose was then free
from danger. He married the woman s daughter ; but he
was not very happy. The daughter was like her mother and
caused him trouble, for she was often very wicked. She was
a great fisher, and went often to the streams to fish. She
could go under the water and stay a long time and bring up
fish in her hands. One night in winter she went down
through a hole in the ice to fish. It was very cold, and
while she was down, the hole froze over and she could not
get out. She called to Moose to break the ice, but Moose
was glad to be rid of her and he would not let her out. So
she was drowned in the stream.
Moose never married again, and ever afterwards he lived
a lonely life. He did not like company any more. That is
why he is usually seen by himself, and why he usually travels
alone in the forest. But Caribou, on the other hand, likes
company, and that is why he is usually seen with five or six
others of his kind, and why he seldom travels alone.