Tales of the North American Indians
Manabozho’s Adventures – D
Manabozho then gathered up his birds, and taking them out upon the sandbar buried them–some with their heads protruding, others with the feet sticking out of the sand. He then built a fire to cook the game, but as this would require some time, and as Manabozho was tired after his exertion, he stretched himself on the ground to sleep. In order to be informed if anyone approached, he slapped his thigh and said to it, “You watch the birds, and awaken me if anyone should come near them.” Then, with his back to the fire, he fell asleep.
After awhile a party of Indians came along in their canoes, and seeing the feast in store, went to the sandbar and pulled out every bird which Manabozho had so carefully placed there, but put back the heads and feet in such a way that there was no indication that the bodies had been disturbed. When the Indians had finished eating they departed, taking with them all the food that remained from the feast.
Some time afterward, Manabozho awoke, and, being very hungry, bethought himself to enjoy the fruits of his strategem. In attempting to pull a baked swan from the sand he found nothing but the head and neck, which he held in his hand. Then he tried another, and found the body of that bird also gone. So he tried another, and then another, but each time met with disappointment. Who could have robbed him? he thought. He struck his thigh and asked, “Who has been here to rob me of my feast; did I not command you to watch [Page 56] while I slept?” His thigh responded, “I also fell asleep, as I was very tired; but I see some people moving rapidly away in their canoes; perhaps they were the thieves. I see also they are very dirty and poorly dressed.” Then Manabozho ran out to the point of the sandbar, and beheld the people in their canoes, just disappearing around a point of land. Then he called to them and reviled them, calling them “Winnibe’go! Winnibe’go! ” And by this term the Menomini have ever since designated their thievish neighbors.