WHEN an Indian boy was eleven years old, he was sent into a forest far away from his home. He had to stay there all alone and fast for seven days and nights.
The Indians thought that at this time a spirit came into the youth which helped him to become a great chief and warrior.
Excerpt from the publication: Nature myths and stories for little children – by Cooke, Flora J. (Flora Juliette), 1864-1953 / Publication date [c1895] / Publisher: A. Flanagan – Chicago
The spirit also told the boy what his name should be in the tribe.
Once there was a fierce Indian war chief who had only one son.
The little boy was not strong, but his father loved him more than anything else on earth.
When this boy was eleven years old, the chief went out into the forest and built a small lodge for him to stay in.
In it he placed a mat of reeds which his good squaw had woven with great care.
By the side of the mat he laid a bow, some arrows and his own great tomahawk.
Next, he painted pictures upon the trees along the path leading from the wigwam to the lodge.
He did this that the little boy might easily find his way home.
When everything was ready he sadly sent his son away into the forest.
He missed him so much that he went every morning to look at him.
Each day he asked him if the spirit had not come to him.
Each day the little boy shook his head without opening his eyes.
On the fifth day his son said to him,
” Father, take me home or I shall die. No spirit will come to me.”
The old chiefs pride was greater than his pity and he said,
” No, my son, you must not be a coward. You shall be as wise as a fox and as strong as a bear.
” Better that you should die than that boy and squaw should cry ‘Shame’ upon your father’s son.
” Be patient, I will come in two days and bring you food.”
The sixth day came and the little boy lay upon the mat white and still.
On the seventh, when the chief came with the sun’s first rays, his son was not in the lodge nor about it.
Above the door sat a bird with brown coat and red breast, which until this time had been unknown to man.
Sadly the chief listened to the bird and understood its message.
“Mourn me not, great chief,”
“I was once your son.
” I am happy now and free.
” I am the friend of man and shall always live near him and be his companion.
“I shall bring the tidings of spring.
“When the maple buds shoot and the wild flowers come, every child in the land shall know my voice.
“I shall teach how much better it is to sing than
“Chief, listen, chief,
Be more gentle ; be more loving.
Chief, teach it, chief,
Be not fierce, oh, be not cruel ;
Love each other I
Love each other ! “