Tales of the North American Indians
Beaver And Porcupine
The beaver and the porcupine were great friends and went about everywhere together. The porcupine often visited the beaver’s house, but the latter did not like to have him come because he left quills there. One time, when the porcupine said that he wanted to go out to the beaver’s house, the beaver said, “All right, I will take you out on my back.” He started, but instead of going to his house he took him to a stump in the very middle of the lake. Then he said to him, “This is my house,” left him there, and went ashore.
While the porcupine was upon this stump he began singing a song, “Let it become frozen. Let it become frozen so that I can cross to Wolverine-man’s place.” He meant that he wanted to walk ashore on the ice. So the surface of the lake froze, and he walked home.
Some time after this, when the two friends were again playing together, the porcupine said, “You come now. It is my turn to carry yon on my back.” Then the beaver got on the porcupine’s back, and the porcupine took him to the top of a very high tree, after which he came down and left him. For a long time the beaver did not know how to get down, but finally he climbed down, and they say that this is what gives the broken appearance to tree bark.