Frances Lilian Taylor.

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Two Indian Children
of
Long Ago

BY
FRANCES LILIAN TAYLOR
Author of Adventures in Storyland Readers

ILLUSTRATED BY
L. KATE DEAL

BECKLEY-CARDY COMPANY
CHICAGO




COPYRIGHT, 1920, BY
BECKLEY-CARDY COMPANY
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

[Illustration]




CONTENTS

[Illustration]


PAGE

THE FIRST AMERICANS 7

THE WILD-RICE INDIANS 13

STORIES AND STORY-TELLERS 17

WELCOME TO A PAPOOSE 21

THE INDIAN BABY AND HER CRADLE 25

WHITE CLOUD'S FIRST RIDE 28

NOKOMIS TELLS A STORY 34

THE FIREFLY DANCE 37

SWIFT ELK, THE INDIAN BOY 40

THE NAMING OF SWIFT ELK 45

FIRE AND THE FIRE MAKERS 49

THE THUNDERERS 56

THE LITTLE PEOPLE OF THE FOREST 58

BLACK WOLF TELLS A STORY 62

THE RACE BETWEEN THE CRANE AND THE HUMMING
BIRD 67

HUNTING WILD DUCKS 70

A BRAVE DUCK 77

SUMMER SPORTS 81

THE BALL GAME 85

THE ANIMALS AND THE BIRDS PLAY BALL 89

GATHERING WILD RICE 94

THE ANT AND THE KATYDID 100

HOW WILD RICE WAS DISCOVERED 102

MOVING THE DOLLS' CAMP 106

FINDING A WAR FEATHER 114

THE LYNX AND THE HARE 117

HOW THE ANIMALS SAVED THE TRIBE 119

WINTER EVENINGS 125

THE GROUND-HOG DANCE 131

THE LUCKY HUNTER 134

HOW SICKNESS CAME 140

HOW SPRING CONQUERED WINTER 144

THE GIFT OF CORN 149

THE MAGIC CANOE 154

THE HAPPY HUNTING GROUNDS 158

ABOUT THE BOOK 160




TWO
INDIAN CHILDREN
of LONG AGO

[Illustration]




THE FIRST AMERICANS


We are proud of being Americans. But we must not forget that the
Indians once owned all America, north and south and east and west.

The Indians were the first Americans of whom we read. No people ever
had a greater love for their land, and no race has ever taken more
pleasure in out-of-door life.

After Columbus found the New World, white men came from Europe to make
their homes here. As time went on they drove the Indians farther and
farther west and took away their hunting grounds.

Let us try to imagine our country as it was when the Indians owned it.
Can we picture our land without a house or a store or a railroad? Can
we think of great rivers with no cities on their banks and with no
bridges on which to cross from one side to the other?

Every boy we know likes to go camping. But who would be willing to set
up a camp far away in the deep woods without taking with him tent or
food or blankets?

Before trade with the white men began, the Indians found everything
they needed in the wild land about them. They could make their own
weapons and tools, their canoes and paddles, their houses and
clothing, and even build a fire without matches.

Your fathers leave home to earn money for your food and clothing. Your
mothers see that your meals are cooked and that your clothes are
bought or made.

The Indians took care of their children in much the same way. During
the hunting season the fathers and big brothers went away every
morning to hunt. The men provided all the meat for their families, and
all the skins for clothing and covers.

When a deer or a bear was shot, the hunter brought it to the camp and
threw it down. His work for the day was done - the women could do the
rest.

And it was wonderful to see what the wives and mothers could do with a
big animal. Was there a wigwam in the tribe without food? The meat was
shared to the last mouthful. Was there an abundance? The meat was
dried for long keeping.

Did the son need more covers for his bed? A bear's skin was finished
like a fur rug for his comfort. Did the black-eyed daughter beg for a
new dress? Her mother could make from the deerskin a soft garment
beautifully trimmed with colored beads, stained quills, and fringes.

But what did the Indians do when they could find no more game to shoot
with their arrows? Why, they sent out scouts to select a better place
to live, and the chief gave orders for every one to move.

Down came the lodge poles. The trained dogs were called and loaded,
and away they all went. Just think of a whole village moving and
leaving nothing behind but the land!

[Illustration]

The Indians spent much time in feasting, dancing, and games. During
the summer the men had little else to do, for they seldom hunted while
the wild animals were caring for their young.

Each tribe was ruled by a chief and a council of warriors. All their
lands were held in common, and no one suffered want except when food
was scarce for all.

Every boy was watched with interest by the whole village. His first
walking was noticed, and his first success in hunting was often
celebrated by a feast.

[Illustration]

When the corn was ripe, the Indians held one of the most important
dances of the year to show their thanks to the Great Spirit for the
gift of corn.

In times of sickness, the medicine man came with rattle and drum to
drive away the evil spirits that were believed to have caused the
trouble. If the sick person grew worse, Indians, with their faces
painted black, crowded the wigwam and more medicine men were called.

They drummed harder and harder. They yelled and beat their rattles,
thinking that they were helping the sick one to recover.

When anyone in the tribe died, the things he had cared for most were
placed in his grave. There were toys for a little child, and weapons
and blankets for a warrior. The favorite horse of a chief was often
killed to be his companion on the journey to the land of spirits. Even
food was carried to the burial place because the trail was long that
led to the Happy Hunting Grounds.

After many years, the early customs became greatly changed. To-day
large numbers of Indians are living in the white man's way. Some are
well educated and own houses, farms, and even automobiles. Their
children are trained in government schools. There are writers among
them whose books we like to read, and there are artists who paint
interesting pictures of Indian life.

During the great World War the Indians begged to join the army, and
hundreds enlisted. Young men from many tribes were in France, and
there were no braver soldiers.




THE WILD-RICE INDIANS


Every boy and girl who studies geography can find the Great Lakes. In
the states south and west there are hundreds of small lakes and rivers
where wild rice grows in the shallow water.

During the early days of our country, different tribes of Indians
gathered the wild rice for food, and many battles were fought for the
rice fields.

From the birch trees of the forest the men obtained bark for their
canoes. In these light boats the women pushed their way through the
thickets of ripe grain. They beat the stalks with short sticks,
letting the rice fall into the canoes.

The wild rice was eaten raw from the growing plants. It was also
parched while green for daily use, and bushels of the ripe grain were
stored away for the long, cold winter.

[Illustration]

At harvest time there was always good hunting, for great flocks of
ducks, geese, and other birds flew to the rice stalks to eat the seeds.

In the spring the women, boys, and old men spent weeks at the sugar
camp. They caught the maple sap in small bark dishes and boiled it
into sugar. The boys kept the fires going under the kettles and, for
the first few days, ate nearly all the sugar they made.

Many kinds of berries grew in this northern country. These the Indian
women picked and dried. Indeed, the underground storehouse of a
wigwam housekeeper was full of good things to eat.

Hiawatha is said to have lived on the shore of one of the Great Lakes.
Before the white men sold fire water to the Indians, there were many
happy homes in the forest. The ways of living were the same as we read
about in Longfellow's poem, and the children were trained to be brave
and honorable and to respect their elders.

The boys were trained in woodcraft. They learned the names and habits of
wild animals. They could find their way alone through dense forests; and
they could see farther and hear better than any boys we know.

The girls were taught by their mothers to be modest and industrious.
They made beautiful beadwork to trim dresses and moccasins. They could
set up a wigwam, prepare food, and keep a clean and orderly home.

This little book tells how children lived and played long ago in the
wild-rice country. Their tribe was then at peace with the fierce
Indians farther west. A few men of the village had traveled north with
furs, but the children had never seen a white man.

The old-time life of the Indians is ended. But there are camps in the
unsettled lands of the wild-rice region where many strange customs can
still be seen; where the Indian drum is heard, and the women gather
wild rice as in the olden time.




STORIES AND STORY-TELLERS


The Indians of long ago had no books and no schools; but each tribe
had its story-tellers, who went from one wigwam to another. Everywhere
they were welcomed by old and young and begged to return.

The stories were told and retold by their hearers until learned.
Indian mothers quieted their fretful little ones by stories and songs
just as other mothers have always done.

The Indian stories are strange, and some are very beautiful. There are
wonderful tales of the sun, moon, and stars; of animals and birds and
trees; of the thunder and the lightning and the winds.

Through stories the children learned the strange beliefs of their
parents. They were taught to call the sun their father and the moon
their mother, and all the animals and birds their brothers.

The Indians believed that good and bad spirits were all around them on
the earth and above them in the sky.

They thought that animals and birds could talk, and that they listened
to everything which was said in the wigwams.

Tales of fearless hunters and brave warriors made the boys wish to
become as brave as their fathers. Tales of the men that had brought
great good to their people led the children to hope that they, too,
might sometime bring blessings to their tribe.

The children learned that their fathers worshiped the Great Spirit, and
that no warrior ever went on the warpath without offering many prayers.

They were taught that many of their dances were thank offerings to the
Great Spirit, and that the war dance was for success in battle.

In winter evenings the Indians gathered around the wigwam fire. This
was their only light. The fathers and grandfathers told wonderful
stories of war and hunting, and related the old tales they had heard
when they were children.

[Illustration]

Night after night the boys were drilled in repeating the stories they
had heard. The whole family listened attentively, helping all, and
praising the one who did the best.

Special training was given to the boys of the tribe who showed the most
talent. They were carefully prepared to take the places of the older
story-tellers, for the tribal tales must never be lost nor forgotten.

The Indian belief that animals can talk is shown in many of their best
stories. Here is one about the birds.

[Illustration]




WELCOME TO A PAPOOSE

[Illustration]


Little Wren flies here and there about the village of wigwams. She is
the news gatherer for the bird council.

She peers into the tent openings and listens to the talk of the
mothers. She flits about the trees where children play.

When a little son is born, she carries the news to the birds, and they
are sad. "Alas, alas!" they cry. "We hear the whistle of his arrow.
The boy will grow, and he will shoot us with his bow and arrows."

But when the wren chatters about the coming of a baby girl, the birds
chirp merrily. They sing of the grains she will scatter when she
grinds the corn into meal.

They sing of the wild rice she will let drop when she comes with her
loaded canoe from the rice harvest. "Sing merrily, sing merrily," they
say. "Another woman child has come to feed us!"

The cricket hops in the wigwam. And the cricket is glad when the baby
is a girl. "I shall hide among the floor mats and sing where she
plays," he chirps.

But the cricket is sad when the baby is a boy. "He will shoot me, he
will shoot me!" chirps the cricket. For, as soon as the boy is old
enough, he will be given a tiny bow; and he will fit the sharp arrow
and shoot the cricket and the grasshopper.

The woodpecker welcomes the girl baby. He sings of the wood worms he
will find when the girl goes with her mother for wood. For the women
of the wigwam break the dry branches for the fire, and the wood worms
fall from their hiding places.

But the raven rejoices at the sight of the boy baby in his cradle. "My
food, my food!" he croaks. A hunter has come to the camp. He will
shoot the rabbit and the squirrel and the deer; and food for the
hungry ravens will be left where his arrows fall.

The Indian father rejoices when he looks at his son. "May he grow to
be a brave hunter and a fearless warrior." Such is the Indian's wish.

[Illustration]




THE INDIAN BABY AND HER CRADLE


Why is the happy song of the robin heard beside the lodge? Why chirps
the cricket so merrily?

Can you not guess? There is a new daughter in the wigwam. Another wood
gatherer and fire maker has come to the tribe.

"Bring the new cradle, Nokomis. Let me have the beautiful cradle I
have made for my little daughter." And Good Bird, the mother, points
with pride to a strange-looking object that is not at all like the
cradle your baby sleeps in.

A straight board leans against the inner lining of the lodge. To one
side of it is fastened a white doeskin bag which is trimmed with
beautiful fringes and beadwork. Can this be a baby's cradle?

Nokomis, the grandmother, opens the bag, which is laced down the
middle with colored strings. She makes a bed of soft moss upon the
hard board and lays the papoose very straight in its little frame.

Laced and bound, this strange cradle is hung to the top of the lodge.
A bow of curved wood protects the baby's head from injury, should the
cradle fall.

As the little papoose swings gently, the Indian mother sings a
lullaby, and this is the one she often sings:

"Wa wa - wa wa - wa wa yea,
Swinging, swinging, lullaby.
Sleep thou, sleep thou, sleep thou.
Little daughter, lullaby.
Wa wa - wa wa - wa wa."

Slower and slower swings the cradle and the black eyes close in sleep.

"What shall we name the little one?" asks the mother.

Nokomis stands in the door of the wigwam. Through the trees she sees the
blue water of the lake. White clouds are moving rapidly across the sky.

"White Cloud shall be her name," answers Nokomis.

Good Bird, the mother, smiles and nods. As she watches the cradle, she
talks to the sleeping child.

"My little woman, you shall be a fire maker and a lodge keeper like
your mother. You shall help me tan the skins for clothing. I will
teach you to make beautiful dresses and trim them with beadwork and
quills. Your father and your brother will be proud to wear the
moccasins you make.

"You shall go with me to the lake when the rice is ready to harvest.
Together we will hunt the wild berries and the nuts. You shall be your
mother's helper, my little daughter, White Cloud."




WHITE CLOUD'S FIRST RIDE


White Cloud, the baby daughter of Good Bird, is having her first ride
out of doors. Do you think she is in a baby buggy like your little
sister's? Or do you suppose her mother draws her in a tiny cart?

You can never guess unless you know how Indian mothers contrive to take
their babies with them when they are carrying heavy loads. White Cloud
is laced in her strange cradle and bound securely to her mother's back.

On the bent strip of board that arches over the head of the cradle are
fastened playthings made of carved wood and bone. The bright toys
jingle and rattle, and the baby laughs.

To-day the little arms and hands are firmly laced inside the beaded
bag. So the child can not reach out and play with the noisy images as
she loves to do.

Laced, bound, and protected, the baby is safe even when her mother
pushes through the thickest forest.

[Illustration]

The boys, who run everywhere, have brought good news to the camp. "The
June berries are ripe in the forest," they say. So the mothers are
starting with children and bags for the berry picking.

It is not yet sunrise; but it is the custom of the Indians to rise
early. The men, with bows and arrows, knives and spears, have already
gone away to their daily business - the hunt.

The older lads are with their fathers, and the little boys have begun a
long summer's day of shouting, swimming, mud throwing, and mischief.
Among them is White Cloud's brother, a sturdy boy of four years.

Here and there are old men sitting in front of their lodges and
smoking their long pipes. Inside, the grandmothers are busy preparing
food and dressing skins for clothing.

Most of the women, like Good Bird, carry their babies and berry sacks
upon their backs; but some of them have large dogs trained as burden
carriers.

Here comes Two Joys, the mother of twins. She is followed by a pair of
dogs, each dragging a strapping brown baby boy.

One by one, the women and girls wade the streams and climb the hills,
following the trail that leads to the forest. There they separate,
each to make her own choice of bushes.

White Cloud's mother chooses a thicket where the berries are large and
abundant. She fastens her baby's cradle to the top of a low tree. The
wind swings the cradle, and, like the Mother Goose baby, the Indian
papoose rocks on the tree top. Let us hope that the bough will not
break.

The birds chirp and sing in the branches. A squirrel comes near to see
what strange object is hanging in his tree. The baby wakes and cries
with fright, and the squirrel scampers away.

Good Bird is filling her bags of woven grass with purple berries. She
does not pick them as we do, but breaks off long branches loaded with
fruit. Then, with a heavy stick, she beats the branch and the berries
fall on a large skin that is spread on the ground.

For dinner Good Bird has only dried meat and the sweet, juicy berries.
But she does not think of wishing for more.

At last the ripe fruit is gathered. The baby is fretting, and the
mother takes the cradle from the tree top. She unlaces the bag and
lays the little one on the warm grass.

Now the fruit must be packed and tied and the large skin be rolled
up. While the mother works the child grows restless and cries. You can
never guess why. She is asking in baby language to be put back on her
stiff board!

Very soon Good Bird is ready and, with the cradle and bags strapped to
her back, she starts for home. Other berry pickers loaded with fruit
join her, and together they walk the trail that leads back to the camp.

Nokomis is watching for the baby. She lifts the cradle and hangs it to
the lodge pole. The little one is restless. She turns her head from
side to side, her black eyes shining.

Then the grandmother sings the owl song in which Indian babies delight:

"Ah wa nain, ah wa nain,
Who is this, who is this,
Giving light, light bringing
To the roof of my lodge?"

The singer changes her voice to imitate a little screech owl and
answers:

"It is I - the little owl -
Coming
Down! down! down!"

As she sings, she springs toward the baby and down goes the little
head. How the papoose laughs and crows! Again Nokomis sings:

"Who is this, eyelight bringing,
To the roof of my lodge?
It is I, hither swinging -
Dodge, baby, dodge."

Over and over the lullaby is sung, now softer and now slower. The
eyelids droop, and the little one is quiet.




NOKOMIS TELLS A STORY


Good Bird had prepared the evening meal, but no one came to eat it.
Her husband, Fleet Deer, was late in returning from the hunt, and her
little son was still shouting and running with his boy playmates.

The tired baby slept, and the two women sat outside the wigwam in the
warm June evening.

"Now that I have a little daughter, I must learn all your stories,
Nokomis," said Good Bird. "Suppose you tell one while we wait."

"I heard a new one last moon," answered Nokomis. "Our village
story-teller has traveled far from our camp. He visited another tribe
and heard all their stories. I will tell you the tale he told about
the first strawberries:

"In the very earliest times a young girl became so angry one day that
she ran away from home. Her family followed her, calling and
grieving; but she would not answer their calls, nor even turn her head.

[Illustration]

"The great sun looked down with pity from the sky and tried to settle
the quarrel. First he caused a patch of ripe blueberries to grow in
her path.

"The girl pushed her way through the low bushes without stooping to
pick a berry.

"Further on the sun made juicy blackberries grow by the trail, but the
runaway paid no attention to them.

"Then low trees laden with the purple June berry tempted her, but
still she hurried on.

"Every kind of berry that the sun had ever helped to grow, he placed
in her path to cause delay, but without success.

"The girl still pressed on until she saw clusters of large ripe
strawberries growing in the grass at her feet.

"She stooped to pick and to eat. Then she turned and saw that she was
followed.

"Forgetting her anger, she gathered the clusters of ripe, red berries
and started back along the path to share them with her family.

"Then she went home as if nothing had ever happened!"




THE FIREFLY DANCE


It is a summer evening. There is no moon, and the stars twinkle
brightly in the sky. A half circle of Indian lodges fronts a small
lake. Wide meadows slope to its shores.

All the air is alive with lights, twinkling, whirling, sparkling.
Thousands of fireflies are swarming above the grass.

The meadow is full of Indian boys and girls, little and big, dancing
the firefly dance. Advancing and retreating, turning and twisting,
bowing and whirling, they imitate the moving lights about them and
above them.

In front of the lodges sit the warriors and the squaws looking on.

Good Bird is watching every move of her son. He is one of the most
active dancers on the field.

"Look, Nokomis!" she says, "No boy is straighter than your grandson,
and there is no better dancer."

[Illustration]

Fleet Deer says nothing, but he is thinking of the time when his son
will take part in the war dance of his tribe.

Little White Cloud stands by her mother. She has known three winters
and is now a chubby, pretty little Indian girl.

Suddenly she begins to imitate her brother. She throws out her tiny
brown arms, turns round and round, jumps and bows, while Nokomis and
Good Bird shout with laughter.

Listen! the children are singing. What do they say? It is the song of
the fireflies that we hear.

Nokomis has chanted the same words and melody for many a lullaby, and
she keeps time, singing the same song:

"Wau wau tay see, wau wau tay see,
Flitting white fire insect,
Waving white fire bug,
Give me light before I go to bed,
Give me light before I go to sleep!
Come, little dancing white fire bug,
Come, little flitting white fire beast,
Light me with your bright white flame,
Light me with your little candle."






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