Albert Ernest Jenks.

The childhood of Ji-shib the Ojibwa online

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He was tired and exhausted. The beaver came to
him in his restless dreams that night and took him
by the hand and led him far
away. He led him into the forest
to the old beaver dam on Chip-
peway river, and Ji-shib knew
that he was born there, and that
there the beaver first found him.
He saw that the beaver many
times saved him from being in-
jured; that he had saved his life
from the Bad Spirit of the lake, and from starvation
in Winter. And Ji-shib knew, from the many
wonderful things which the beaver said and did,
that that little animal was wiser, many times wiser,
than he himself, and even wiser than the old Medi-
cine-Men were, for was it not an animal, now living
as a Sacred Spirit, which told the Medicine-Men
how to do the marvelous things they did?

Ji-shib felt that the beaver was not only wiser
than all Indians, but that he was even wiser than
all other animals; he knew everything. And the
beaver would teach him everything, if he was only
worthy and good. And so Ji-shib felt in his dream
that the beaver was his Guardian Spirit, though at
times he came in the form of a beautiful young



The Childhood of Ji-shiB

Indian, and sometimes he was not even visible at all.
Lastly, in his dream that night the beaver
showed him a wigwam, not like the wigwams in
the village, but a pointed one, and raising the
door-flap, told Ji-shiB to enter. There in the wig-
wam was a young Indian girl, and when he spoke
to her she answered him, but he could not under-
stand her words. She allowed him to sit down
beside her, and he noticed that she was very beau-
tiful. And yet he did not understand what it all
meant, he knew only that she was beautiful. The
beaver said to him: "Thus will you outgrow your
boyhood and grow into manhood."

Gradually the beautiful girl faded away, and
Ji-shiB turned to look at the beaver which was
sitting up beside him. Slowly the beaver lay flat
on the ground, and Ji-shiB awoke, curled up in
the hollow tree, looking at the beaver-skin med-
icine bag lying at his feet. And then he knew

surely that the beaver was his
Guardian Spirit. It must be the
Spirit of little A-mi-kons, for had
not A-mi-kons found him at his
birth? Had not the beaver's fur
wrapped him up during his baby-
,. hood? Had not A-mi-kons always
been his medicine bag? A-mi-




The Childhood of Ji-shiB

kons, the little beaver, had always kept him and
always would.

The fast was ended, and Ji-shib, with his beaver-
skin bag in his hand, left the old tree in the forest,
and started slowly homeward. Under the pine
trees, past the great shady maples, stopping to pick
the bright red winter-green berries, lingering a
moment at the wild rice fields to hear the liquid
song of the bobolink they went, Ji-shib and the
beaver, together on and on to the village. And
thus they were always together, for the beaver
watched over Ji-shib and kept him, and Ji-shib
knew that the Spirit of the beaver was at all times
stronger and better and wiser than he.




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Online LibraryAlbert Ernest JenksThe childhood of Ji-shib the Ojibwa → online text (page 5 of 5)