Amelia M. Paget.

The people of the plains online

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sight of these made Wee-sack-ka-chack feel
very hungry and reminded him of the meal
of which the fox had deprived him. He
sat down by the shore of the lake and began
crying out to the geese in a most pitiful
tone to come near him, as he wished them
to help him out with their natural enemy
the fox, who had treated him very badly.
When the geese came near he asked them to
turn him into a bird, as like themselves as
194



A TRANSFORMATION

possible. This the geese agreed to do, so
very soon Wee-sack-ka-chack felt his body
being covered with feathers and wings
sprouting out at his shoulders. He tried to
fly, and only managed to get out a few
yards into the lake when he fell in among
the geese. The geese warned him not to try
flying for a few minutes longer, as his
wings were not strong enough to carry him.
He followed this advice and explained to
the geese why he was so anxious to fly. He
wished to catch up to the fox, and asked
them to accompany him and help him get
rid of their cunning enemy.

After waiting for some time the geese
told Wee-sack-ka-chack his wings were
ready, and to lead the way, which he was
only too glad to do. As he started off in
a certain direction the geese told him not
to go that way, as they had seen a wigwam
and were afraid they might be shot by the
occupant if they passed over or near it.
But this was exactly what Wee-sack-ka-
chack desired, so he kept on in the same
course, explaining to his companions as he
flew that the wigwam was occupied by his
195



THE PEOPLE OF THE PLAINS

young brother, who would not touch them.
Very soon they came in sight of the wig
wam, and Wee-sack-ka-chack began honking
like a goose; this was for a signal to his
friend in the tent, who came out at the
sound with bow and arrow, and, taking aim,
shot at the passing geese. Alas for Wee-
saek-ka-chack s calculations, instead of one
of his companions being shot, he found to
his horror that it was his own wing that
the archer had found. He came tumbling
down, and the geese immediately hurried
away, making good their escape. As
Wee-sack-ka-chack fell, he found himself
at the door of the tent, without a feather
upon his body, which surprised his friend
very much and was also a surprise to him
self. He tried to explain his masquerade
as a goose, much to the friend s amusement,
who chaffed him upon his success and
reminded him that he should have appeased
his hunger as the geese did while he was
one of them.

But Wee-sack-ka-chack did not stay to
hear all his friend had to say, as he was
quite determined to get a meal for himself
196



THE TALKING GRASS

before the sun had set, so, borrowing a bow
and arrow, he again set out.

He travelled for some distance without
seeing anything he could try his skill upon,
and, becoming very tired, sat down to rest.
As he rested he looked around and was
struck with the excellent quality of the
grass which grew around him, saying to
himself that " as the deer and buffalo ate
grass and grew fat upon it, why should
not he have some of it?" He felt sure the
sun would set and find him as hungry as
when he first started out in the morning.
Getting up, he went to a particularly green
place and began picking up some grass with
the intention of eating it.

Now we know he understood all lan
guages and could speak with all animals,
birds and fishes, so he also could speak with
and understand all plants and trees. As
he picked the grass up, he said, " My little
friend, I am very hungry and must eat you,
though I should much prefer some of my
little friends who are in the habit of eating
you." The plant answered him and said,
" My older brother, you must not eat me.
I am only intended for the food of your
197



THE PEOPLE OF THE PLAINS

little friends. If you eat me you will not
be able to kill anything with your bow
and arrow." But Wee-sack-ka-chack only
laughed and said, " My young friend, I must
eat you, for I am hungry." After he had
eaten a few blades of the grass he started
forth again on his hunt. Presently he
reached a beautiful valley, and to his de
light he saw on the opposite hill a group of
four jumping deer. He managed to get
quite near them and, adjusting his bow and
arrow, took aim and shot. But alas, his
arrow refused to go farther than a few feet
and the sinew string of his bow made such
a peculiar squeak that the deer were startled
and ran over the hill and out of sight.
Wee-sack-ka-chack was reminded of the
threat of his little friend, and, realizing
that he had not been satisfied in the least
by his eating the grass, began to regret very
much not having taken its advice and
waited for more suitable food with which
to appease his hunger. However, he thought
he would try his luck once more before
going back and apologizing. Very soon he
came upon some more deer and again tried
198



WHY NO INDIAN EATS GRASS

to kill one, but with the same result. He
turned back to the spot he had taken the
grass from for his meal, and, reaching it,
began to implore the forgiveness of his little
friend, and asking to have restored to him
once more his cunning with the bow and
arrow. He promised never again to eat
any plant not intended for his use. The
little friend then said, " Go, my big brother ;
you always make us believe that you are
wiser than any of us, but you see even wise
men sometimes make mistakes and turn to
the most insignificant for aid."

Wee-sack-ka-chack soon after came upon
the four deer he had seen earlier in the
day, and to his joy succeeded in killing one
and satisfying his hunger. He did not for
get his promise to the little plant, for he
never allowed anyone to eat of it again.
That is why no Indian ever eats grass.
There are many things they learned
through the experiences of Wee-sack-ka-
chack, and this is one of them.



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Online LibraryAmelia M. PagetThe people of the plains → online text (page 9 of 9)