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HOW IT CAME ABOUT
STORIES




FRANK B. LINDERMAN

lUastratedby CARLE MICHEL BOOG



University of California Berkeley



BETTY HOAG MCULYNN
COLLECTION




BY FRANK B. LINDERMAN

HOW IT CAME ABOUT STORIES

INDIAN OLD-MAN STORIES

More Sparks from War Eagle's Lodge-Fire

INDIAN WHY STORIES

Sparks from War Eagle's Lodge-Fire



BUNCH-GRASS AND BLUE-JOINT

ON A PASSING FRONTIER
Sketches from the Northwest

CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS




HOW IT CAME ABOUT STORIES







"Well, they don't bother me very much," laughed the Weasel



HOW IT CAME ABOUT
STORIES

Sv
FRANK B. LINDERMAN

[CO -SKEE- SEE-CO- COT]




Illustrated by
CARLE MICHEL BOOG



NEW YORK

CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
1921



COPYRIGHT, 1921, BY
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS



September, 1921



THE SCRIBNER PRESS



I DEDICATE THIS BOOK TO MY DAUGHTERS
WILDA, VERNE, AND NORMA

WHO HAVE LEARNED TO LISTEN IN THE STILL PLACES

AND WHO HAVE ENJOYED THESE PAGES

IN THEIR MAKING

FRANZ B. LINDERMAN



From the land where yet the tepee

Mingles smoke with evening's haze,

And the antlered elk is monarch

Of the silent forest ways;

Where the trail in seeming fondness,

To the river ever clings,

And Nature whispers "silence"

When the water-ouzel sings.



FOREWORD

THESE stories should not be confounded with
Indian Why Stories nor with Indian Old-man
Stories, as they are altogether imaginary, and
are told in the hope of entertaining young
Americans and interesting them in the strange
habits of our wild animals and birds.

I have assumed that the animals, speaking at
the Council-fire, accept Old-man as their Crea-
tor, as does the Redman of the forest and
plains, and have used him accordingly.

I believe in the cultivation of appreciation
for the work and beauties of nature as a firm
foundation for better citizenship. Such appre-
ciation is a special grace a favor that is the
real parent of every noble impulse. It may be
cultivated, and when once attained is never
lost. Its rewards are immediate and far-reach-

vii



viii FOREWORD

ing. It is the only real paymaster the just
judge of compensation.

It lends a sweeter softness to the ouzel's morning

song;

It emphasizes virtue and it magnifies a wrong;
It makes your fellows love you; it makes you want

to live
This grace, if nature gives it, is thejbest she has to

give.



CONTENTS
BOOK I

PAGE

AT THE BIG LAKE WHEN THE MOON is FULL i

BOOK II

NEAR THE FOOT OF THE MOUNTAIN WHEN

THE MOON is DARK 117



ILLUSTRATIONS

"Well, they don't bother me very much," laughed the

Weasel Frontispiece



FACING PAGE



The Council 42

"Wait! Wait! "begged the Bear 114

And the Weasel saw the Lynx go by 162

The Spider said: "The Weasel has said that the Bob-cat

is not the only thief in the world " 182

Then, with an angry snarl, he aimed a blow at the fire

itself . 218




BOOK I

AT THE BIG LAKE WHEN THE MOON
IS FULL



CHAPTER I

, ever so long ago, this world was
new. That is, it was lots newer than it
is to-day, and the animals and birds that lived
in the forests and upon the plains used to meet
and talk about their habits and peculiarities.
They never told how they came by them, how-
ever, and always excused themselves from an-
swering direct questions concerning them. This
secrecy made their neighbors and friends won-
der the more. The Wolf, meeting the Bear,
would ask him what had become of his tail, and
the Blue-grouse, coming down to the lowlands
to build her nest in the springtime, wondered
why her cousin, the Sage-hen, had no gizzard
as did other birds of their kind. And so it
went on until one day the Bear met the Weasel
in a cedar swamp in the springtime.
"Say, my little brother/' said the Bear,

3



HOW IT CAME ABOUT STORIES

"that old white robe of yours looks rather rag-
ged almost as ragged as my own/'

"Yes, it does," admitted the Weasel. "I 'm
turning brown now. It will soon be summer,
and if I were to wear my winter robe of white,
anybody could see me in the woods. I 'm
afraid of Owls, anyhow. I '11 be glad when
I 'm brown again."

"You are hard to see in the winter-time,"
said the Bear.

"Yes, and that's because I'm white, you
see. I 'm just as hard to see in summer when
I have changed my coat to brown," laughed
the Weasel.

"I wonder why we have so much winter,
anyhow," mused the Bear, as he scratched his
ear with his hind paw.

"Well, I have heard that the Muskrat knew,
but he has never told me," replied the Weasel.
"I don't mind the winter, and you ought not to
dislike it. You sleep all the time, while I have
to make my living in the snow, small as I am."

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HOW IT CAME ABOUT STORIES

"It doesn't take much to make you fat,"
returned the Bear. "One mouthful for me
would make a feast for you for a month. Think
of that ! It takes a lot of food to make me fat.
It is well for me that I can sleep in the winter,
for my legs are too short for the deep snows.
Besides, I am so heavy that I 'd sink out of
sight in the snow-drifts. You can skip along
over them like a light breeze, and a mouthful
of food is a big feast for you. I think you are
favored, myself/'

"Humph!" sniffed the Weasel. "I wish /
could curl up where it 's warm and do nothing
but sleep through the cold weather. But if I
tried it, I 'd starve to death, that 's all. I have
to work, work, work all the time to keep alive
while you sleep, sleep, sleep."

"Heigh-ho!" sighed the Bear. "OW-man
made us all. I wonder why he did such queer
things for us. Here you are so tiny and I am
so large and strong. Then there 's the Beaver.
He can stay under water quite a while, and yet

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HOW IT CAME ABOUT STORIES

he is no relation to the Fish-people that live in
the water. I can't stay under water at all. I
can swim, of course; but a Fish cannot walk on
the land as I do. He dies in the air. I wonder
why, don't you? The Duck-people can swim
in the water, fly in the air, walk on the land,
and stay under water a long time. Some peo-
ple had a great many favors given them, I
think."

"You know why you are made to sleep in
the winter-time, and I know why I change my
coat with the seasons. I suppose the rest of
our kind know why OW-man made them as he
did, so that is all that is necessary, I should
think," said the Weasel.

"Yes, I suppose so," agreed the Bear. "But
I, for one, would like to hear them tell their
stories. Let us call a Council of all the animals
and birds. Let it be held at the Big Lake where
the forest reaches to the waters, so that those
who live in the streams can be there with us."

"That's a good idea," declared the Weasel.

6



HOW IT CAME ABOUT STORIES

"A mighty good idea. It would help to pass
the summer, too."

"We will do it," decided the Bear. "You
tell everybody you see, and I will do the same
thing. Let us set the day now. When the
moon is full next time would be fine, I think.
Tell everybody that there will be no quarrel-
ling, and that the Council will last for four days
and four nights. That will give every one a
chance to tell about himself."

"All right," agreed the Weasel. "I see lots
of people. I '11 have work telling the Mouse-
people and the Rabbits, I suppose, for they are
afraid of me."

"I don't blame them," laughed the Bear.
"But tell all you see, and begin now. I have
to be going. It 's getting late. I '11 tell the
Wolf to-night. We are not very good friends,
but I can manage it, I guess." Then he went
on digging roots and looking for forest-people
that he might tell them of the coming Coun-
cil by the Big Lake.

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HOW IT CAME ABOUT STORIES

The Weasel watched him from a fallen tree.
"You clumsy, bob-tailed, big-footed lout," he
whispered. " I 'd hate to have to carry so much
of a body about. It must keep you busy to
put any fat on your ribs." Then he began to
hunt for a bird's nest that he might suck the
eggs.

"If I were as small as that Weasel-person,
I 'd be afraid some one would step on me,"
mused the Bear, as he dug and ate the root of
camas that grew in a meadow-place. "His head
is larger around than his body, and his tail
well, it 's nearly as long as himself. . . . There
goes the Wolf now ! Hey, Brother Wolf, wait
a minute!"

The Wolf stopped. "I suppose you want
something," he snarled as the Bear came through
some bushes, cracking the dead branches under
foot with his great weight.

"I do and I don't," said the Bear.

"You do and you don't, hey?" said the Wolf
as he put his front feet upon a log. "Well, I

8



HOW IT CAME ABOUT STORIES

don't understand that at all. You don't look
as mean as you are. I guess it's your stub tail
that makes you look so funny. How does it
happen that a big person like you wears so
short a tail?"

"Now, that is what I wanted to talk to you
about," said the Bear. "You see, I have won-
dered why it is that you can see so well. I
don't see half as much as you do. My nose is
fine, though. Nobody can smell any better
than I, but I don't see so very well, even in the
daytime. Now, all the animal people have
peculiarities that are strange to those who do
not possess them, so I - - that is, the Weasel
and I have decided to call a Council at the
Big Lake when the moon is full next time.
There will be no quarrelling, and each animal
there will be expected to tell how and why he
came by the peculiarities he possesses see ?
It will be great sport, and we shall hear many
stories that we can tell to our grandchildren
when we are old. Will you come?"

9



HOW IT CAME ABOUT STORIES

"Yes, of course I '11 come/' said the Wolf,
"but I '11 have to bring my wife."

"That 's all right. I 'm going to bring my
wife, too," said the Bear. "Besides that, I '11
have to bring the children."

"You have only two, while I have five chil-
dren," said the Wolf, "but I can't leave them
at home for four days and nights."

"Of course you can't. Bring them along.
And tell everybody you see, will you?"

"Yes," said the Wolf. "I '11 tell everybody
I find. Good-by." And he trotted away with
his nose to the breeze, leaving the Bear standing
by the log.

"That Wolf-person smells something to eat,
I suppose," mused the Bear, as he watched the
Wolf trotting away in a straight line through
the forest. "The sun is getting low. I sup-
pose I 'd better be moving toward the hills."

He began to follow a deer trail toward the
foot-hills. His head was swinging from side to
side as he lumbered along the way, when

10



HOW IT CAME ABOUT STORIES

"Whew! Whew! Whew!" a white-tail Deer
whistled in the bushes ahead of him.

"That 's the Deer," said the Bear. "I don't
suppose he will wait. He has smelled me and
will run. Oh, Brother Deer!" he called.

"Oh, I see you," said the Deer.

"Well, I don't see you," said the Bear.

"I know you don't. I 've always wondered
why your eyes are not better and -

"That 's just what I wanted to talk to you
about," said the Bear. "I have wondered why
you have no gall sack on your liver. Your
cousin, the Antelope, has a gall sack but no
dew-claws. You have dew-claws, you know.
Old-man made us all, but in his making he did
many strange things, so I that is, the Weasel,
the Wolf, and I have decided to call a Coun-
cil so that each animal may tell his story. It 's
to be held at the Big Lake, where the timber
reaches to the water, so the Fish-people can be
there if they want to."

"When is that to be?" asked the Deer.

11



HOW IT CAME ABOUT STORIES

"When the moon is full next time. Will you
come?"

"Yes, but don't keep edging up to me that
way. I don't trust you very much/' said the
Deer.

"I won't harm you," said the Bear. "And
there is to be no quarrelling at the Council.
Will you tell everybody you see?"

"I will. Who is going to tell the Fish-peo-
ple?"

"Oh, I '11 get the Beaver to do that. He sees
a good many Fish every day," said the Bear.
"But I don't expect many of the Fish-people.
I 'm glad you like the idea of the Council, and
don't forget the time."

"I won't. But say, I don't want to be in
the sun too much from now until August. My
horns are in the velvet and soft. I have to
stay in the shade so they will grow and not
harden."

"Oh, it will be shady at the lake," said the
Bear. "Good-by. And tell everybody."

12



HOW IT CAME ABOUT STORIES

"All right. It looks like rain, doesn't it?"

"Um-hu. Hope it does rain," said the Bear.
"It makes digging lots easier."

The sun was nearly down now. The shad-
ows were long across the deer trail, as the Bear
pursued his way toward the foot-hills. " I won-
der how the Weasel is getting along," he mused.
"Everybody I have asked is going to come. I
am anxious to hear what they have to say, too.
Hello ! there 's the Weasel now. Oh, Weasel -
say !" cried the Bear.

"Good land!" said the Weasel. "Do you
suppose I didn't see you ? I 've been listening
to your footsteps for a long time, and I Ve been
waiting for you. I Ve seen a lot of people about
that Council and they are all coming all but
the Rabbit. He says he will have nothing to
do with us. He says he has more enemies than
anybody else, and that it keeps him busy to
stay alive. Why, he wouldn't let me get near
enough to talk to him without yelling. He 's
an awful coward."

13



HOW IT CAME ABOUT STORIES

"I know he is," said the Bear. "But you
can't blame him. Everybody that eats meat is
after him. I wouldn't trust you myself if I
were the Rabbit, but I '11 get the Pine Squirrel
to talk to him. I 'd like to get the Rabbit to
the Council because of his tail. I 'd like to
know how he came by it, wouldn't you?"

"Yes, I would, but, good land, I wasn't
thinking of killing him when I was asking him
to a party," said the Weasel.

"No, I suppose not, but you 're pretty cun-
ning and would do anything to get hot blood."

"What 's that ! Do you mean to say -

"Now, now, brother! I meant no harm. I
was just excusing the poor Rabbit, that 's all.
Forgive me if my words angered you."

"Well, they did," said the Weasel.

"Who else did you see besides the Rabbit?"
asked the Bear, changing the subject.

"Oh, I saw the Mice-people and the Chip-
munk and the Grouse and the Magpie. That
Magpie-person never takes anything seriously.

14



HOW IT CAME ABOUT STORIES

He laughed and jabbered and made fun of the
Council a liars' convention, he called it.
That made me angry, and so I told him no
gathering of liars would be complete without
his presence. Instead of being insulted, he
said all right, he 'd be there, and that talent
was at a premium anywhere. A robin was
calling him everything she could think of while
we were talking. He had sucked every egg in
her nest. My ! she was good and angry. But,
of course, the Magpie '11 be on hand. You
couldn't keep him away if you tried. Who did
you see?"

"I saw the Wolf and the Deer," said the
Bear. "They will come. Both will tell every-
body they see. They travel a great deal and
so see many people. Our Council will be a
great success, I know."

"I think so, myself," said the Weasel. "I
am glad you thought of it. That Chipmunk-
person's clothes are strange. I wonder how he
came by them."

15



HOW IT CAME ABOUT STORIES

"I don't know," said the Bear slowly.
"Some people say that I scratched him, and so
made those marks on his back, but that 's not
true. I hope he comes to the Council. I 'd
like to hear him tell about his clothes."

"Oh, he'll come, all right. No use asking
the Flies and Mosquitoes, is there ? "

"No, goodness, no! Don't say a word to
them about it. We should have thought of it
before this, because somebody might ask them
to come. There isn't a single thing that I want
to know about those people. I wish OW-man
had not made them," said the Bear, in disgust.

"Well, they don't bother me very much,"
laughed the Weasel.

"No, I suppose not, and they don't harm me
as much as they do some people. The Deer
can't stand still when those Fly-people are
around. I do hope they don't learn of the
Council until it 's too late for them to get there.
Well, I must be going. I want to cross the
mountains to-night. Good-by."

16



HOW IT CAME ABOUT STORIES

"That 's a long way for a slow traveller/'
said the Weasel.

"Yes, but I can make it. I shall pass the
place where the Beaver-person is working, to-
night. He is messing up a lot of country, too.
That Beaver-person would make a lake of the
whole world if he could, I guess/'

"I like him/' declared the Weasel.

"Oh, so do I so do I," the Bear hastened
to say. "He's a person that minds his own
business and harms nobody. If it weren't for
his old dams and ponds and mud-holes, I should
find no fault with him. But he likes mud and
knows how to make it. He works hard all
the time and never eats meat. I don't see
how he can do it. Well, I surely must be
going. Good-by."

"Good-by till the Full of the Moon," called
the Weasel, and hopped upon a log.

The Bear turned and was quite a way along
the deer trail when the Weasel cried, "Say ! say !
shall I invite the Skunk-person if I see him?"

17



HOW IT CAME ABOUT STORIES

"Why, yes, of course. Why not?"

"Oh, nothing; but when he doesn't behave I
don't like to sit near him, that 's all."

"He'll behave," called back the Bear.
"He '11 behave, and I 'd give anything to know
how he came by that awful smell. . . . Well,
my goodness ! If we don't stop talking I '11
never get where I 'm going. Be sure and tell
everybody there is to be no quarrelling at the
Council. Tell them that I'll see to it that
there will be order there for four days and four
nights. After that the weak ones will be given
from sun-up to sun-down in which to hide.
Then everything will be as before, except that
we shall know some good stories to tell our
grandchildren. Good-by ! "

" Coog Coog-a-noots Sto-kay ! Coog
Coog-a-noots Sto-kay !"

The deep sounds came from a dark thicket of
fir-trees ahead of the Bear. It was night. He
had talked a great deal and had not noticed the
darkness coming into the forest.

18



HOW IT CAME ABOUT STORIES

"Coog Coog-a-noots Sto-kay ! Coog
Coog-a-noots Sto-kay !"

"That's the Owl-person," mused the Bear,
as he climbed over a dead tree on the ground.
"That's the Owl-person, and he is speaking
Piegan to-night. I '11 tell him about the Coun-
cil, even if I am late."

"Say, Owl-person," he called.

"Coog Coog-a-noots - - Sto-kay !" The
Owl paid no attention to the Bear. He pre-
tended he did not see him and kept calling:
"Coog Coog-a-noots Sto-kay!" until the
Bear was under the tree where he sat, with his
big, round eyes peering into the night.

"Say, Owl-person, I want to talk to you, if
you will stop that noise. You are speaking
Piegan. You are saying that the Ghost-people
are abroad, but I don't believe in ghosts, so
you needn't try to make me believe you are
a dead person. Now, listen! The Wolf, the
Deer, the Weasel, and I, and a lot of us have
decided to call a Council at the Big Lake, where

19



HOW IT CAME ABOUT STORIES

the forest reaches to the water's edge, so the
Fish-people may come if they choose. You
know that we all have peculiar traits, and some
of us do funny things. You sleep in the day-
time and hunt at night. All other people sleep
while you wake the Echo-people from their beds
with your voice. I 'd like to know why, and I
suppose you would like to know how it came
that my tail is so short."

"Yes, I would/' admitted the Owl. "You
don't appear to be all there with so short a tail.
I 've often noticed it. Coog Coog-a-noots
-Sto-kay!"

"Oh, keep quiet," growled the Bear.

"Well, I have to answer that fellow, don't
I?" said the Owl. "What makes you so
cross? Hear him?"

"Yes, I hear him, but can't you finish talking
before you hoot any more?"

"When is the Council to be?"

"When the moon is full next time."

"Why the moon?" asked the Owl. "The

20



HOW IT CAME ABOUT STORIES

darker it is the better I like it. Coog Coog-
a-noots Sto-kay !"

"There you go again/' growled the Bear.

"Well, I have to," said the Owl. "You
don't know our rules. I 'm doing the best I
can. I '11 come to your Council, if that 's what
you want."

"That is what I want, but tell everybody you
see, will you? Tell them all, except the Fly-
people and the Mosquitoes. They bother some
people terribly, and they don't know anything
worth telling. You '11 tell everybody, will you ? "

" Yes. Excuse me a moment. Coog Coog-
a-noots Sto-kay ! I couldn't help it. It 's a
law. That fellow has called twice now, but
I '11 be at the Council. Besides, I '11 tell every-
body I see, though I don't see many people.
Everybody is asleep when I am out, but I '11
do the best I can. There 's that fellow again.
Excuse me. Coog Coog-a-noots Sto-kay ! "
But the Bear had left in disgust.

"I don't care a snap if that noisy person

21



HOW IT CAME ABOUT STORIES

stays away from the Council altogether/' he
snarled, as he pulled a small stick from between
his toes. ' * ' Coog Coog-a-noots Sto-kay ,' ' '
he said. "What a lie! He is not a Ghost-
person. I wonder if the Piegans know he is
using their language to tell lies in the night."
Then he began to climb the mountain, wishing
he owned the Owl's eyes to see in the dark.

Up, up climbed the Bear far up on the
high mountains until he came to the snow upon
their tops. " Ha ! " he cried. "This feels good
to my feet." Then he rolled in the snow and
ate great mouthfuls of it, for he was thirsty
after his climb. "I '11 soon be going down the
hill now," he laughed, as he shook himself to
free his coat from the snow that had stuck to
it. "I like it up here, but there 's more to eat
down lower. The berries will soon be ripe
along the streams. Then I shall feast every
day, as long as they last. I like the summer-
time best, even if I do sleep all winter. Sleep-
ing so much gets to be an old story. Why, I

22



HOW IT CAME ABOUT STORIES

wear the fur off my coat lying around so long as
I have to. I guess that Weasel-person wouldn't
like it so well as he thinks he would. Well,
here I go down the mountain."

The moon was up. It was a very bright
moon, and its light fell along the deer trail
that led down the mountain-side to the river,
passing close to where the Beaver was at work
in a grove of quaking-aspens. A tree fell just
as the Bear reached the place, and he stopped
near the top of it. He kept quiet for a mo-
ment, watching the Beaver, who stood still
after the tree had fallen with a bang, to see if
anybody was near. But not seeing the Bear,
he had commenced to work again when the
Bear spoke. "Hello!" he said. "Do you
work all the time?"

"I have to," replied the Beaver. "Where
are you going?"

"Down to the river. I have business down
there. Besides, I wanted to see you," the Bear
answered.

23



HOW IT CAME ABOUT STORIES

"What do you want to see me about?"

"Well, you see, the Weasel and I that is,
the Weasel, and the Deer, and the Wolf, and I,
and a lot more of us want to hold a Council
near the Big Lake, where the forest reaches to
the water/'

"What for?" asked the Beaver, as he cut a
white chip from a big limb of the tree he had
felled.

"Oh, to begin with," said the Bear, "the
Weasel and I got to talking and wondering how
the Animal-people and the Bird-people came to
possess so many peculiarities. We wondered
why Old-man made them as he did, and we
thought it would be well to meet and let each
one tell How It Came About how he came
to possess the strange powers that differ from
those of others, don't you see?"

"Yes, I see," said the Beaver. "But I know
some folks that might not want to tell. That
Skunk-person, for instance. I suppose he is
ashamed of the smell he makes in the forest."

24



HOW IT CAME ABOUT STORIES

"No, I don't believe he is," declared the
Bear. "And, anyway, it was given him by
Old-man, wasn't it?"

"Yes, I suppose so, but I 'm glad he gave it
to him and not to me."

"So am I, Brother Beaver. But you have a
smell too, remember."

"Smell! Smell! Of course I have a smell,
but it isn't a bad smell. It 's a sweet smell.
Why, there isn't any sweeter perfume than my
musk, and you know it."

"Well, I must say that I like it much better
than that of the Skunk-person, but perhaps he
thinks his musk is sweeter than yours," said the
Bear.

"I know he doesn't!" declared the Beaver.
"That person never uses his musk unless he is
angry or afraid. He knows that other people
do not like it. The Skunk is a mean person.
Why, I have known him to quarrel with others
near my lodge, and I 've even had to move
afterward."

25



HOW IT CAME ABOUT STORIES

"Oh, well," said the Bear. "I wasn't de-
fending the Skunk, but let us hold the Council
and hear him tell how he came by that smell.


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