Tales of the North American Indians
The Cannibal Who Was Burned
Five brothers were always hunting. After a while an unknown man came in to them. He came in many times. Once when he was there, the eldest brother’s child began to cry, and, after all of the brothers had tried to quiet it without success, he offered to do so; but when they gave it to him, he secretly sucked the child’s brains out from one side if its head. When he handed it back, and they saw what he had done, they seized wood from the fire and beat the stranger. Then he became angry and killed all of the brothers but the youngest, whom he chased about in the house until morning. The boy ran out, and after a long run, still pursued by the ogre, crossed a high mountain. By and by he crossed another, and saw a lake beneath it. Running thither, he came to a log, composed of two trees growing together so as to make a fork, floating upon the water. Going out upon this, he threw himself into the crotch.
When the pursuer came up, he saw the man’s shadow in the lake, and began jumping at it. Now the man began to sing a North Song, and the lake at once began to freeze over. When all had frozen over except the small hole where the ogre was jumping, it froze so quickly after he had gone in, that he could not get out again when he came up. Then he saw the man on the tree, and asked him to pull him out; but the man only sang louder, so that the ogre was held fast. The man now began to cut some dry wood to build a fire over the ogre’s head, telling him at the same time that he was going to save him. When the fire was lighted, the ashes flying up from the monster’s head turned into mosquitoes. That is how they started.