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One night in War Eagle's lodge, Other-person asked:
"Why don't the Bear have a tail, grandfather?"
War Eagle laughed and said: "Our people do not know why,
but we believe he was made that way at the beginning,
although I have heard men of other tribes say that the
Bear lost his tail while fishing.
"I don't know how true it is, but I have been told that
a long time ago the Bear was fishing in the winter,
and the Fox asked him if he had any luck.
'No,' replied the Bear, 'I can't catch a fish.'
'Well,' said the Fox, 'if you will stick your long
tail down through this hole in the ice, and sit very still,
I am sure you will catch a fish.'
"So the Bear stuck his tail through the hole in the ice,
and the Fox told him to sit still, till he called him;
then the Fox went off, pretending to hunt along the bank.
It was mighty cold weather, and the water froze all about
the Bear's tail, yet he sat still, waiting for the Fox to
call him. Yes, the Bear sat so still and so long that his
tail was frozen in the ice, but he didn't know it.
When the Fox thought it was time, he called:
'Hey, Bear, come here quick - quick! I have a Rabbit
in this hole, and I want you to help me dig him out.'
Ho! The Bear tried to get up, but he couldn't.
'Hey, Bear, come here, there are two Rabbits
in this hole,' called the Fox.
"The Bear pulled so hard to get away from the ice,
that he broke his tail off short to his body.
Then the Fox ran away laughing at the Bear.
"I hardly believe that story, but once I heard
an old man who visited my father from the country
far east of here, tell it. I remembered it.
But I can't say that I know it is true, as I can the others.
"When I told you the story of how Old-man made the world over,
after the water had made its war upon it, I told you how
the first man and woman were made. There is another story
of how the first man found his wife, and I will tell you that.
"After Old-man had made a man to look like himself,
he left him to live with the Wolves, and went away.
The man had a hard time of it, with no clothes to keep
him warm, and no wife to help him, so he went out
looking for Old-man.
"It took the man a long time to find Old-man's lodge,
but as soon as he got there he went right in and said:
'Old-man, you have made me and left me to live with
the Wolf-people. I don't like them at all. They give
me scraps of meat to eat and won't build a fire.
They have wives, but I don't want a Wolf-woman.
I think you should take better care of me.'
'Well,' replied Old-man, 'I was just waiting for you
to come to see me. I have things fixed for you.
You go down this river until you come to
a steep hillside. There you will see a lodge.
Then I will leave you to do the rest. Go!'
"The man started and travelled all that day.
When night came he camped and ate some berries
that grew near the river. The next morning he
started down the river again, looking for the
steep hillside and the lodge. Just before sundown,
the man saw a fine lodge near a steep hillside,
and he knew that was the lodge he was looking for;
so he crossed the river and went into the lodge.
"Sitting by the fire inside, was a woman.
She was dressed in buckskin clothes, and was
cooking some meat that smelled good to the man,
but when she saw him without any clothes,
she pushed him out of the lodge, and dropped the door.
"Things didn't look very good to that man, I tell you,
but to get even with the woman, he went up on the steep
hillside and commenced to roll big rocks down upon her lodge.
He kept this up until one of the largest rocks knocked
down the lodge, and the woman ran out, crying.
"When the man heard the woman crying, it made him sorry
and he ran down the hill to her. She sat down on the ground,
and the man ran to where she was and said:
'I am sorry I made you cry, woman. I will help you fix your lodge.
I will stay with you, if you will only let me.'
"That pleased the woman, and she showed the man how
to fix up the lodge and gather some wood for the fire.
Then she let him come inside and eat. Finally,
she made him some clothes, and they got along
very well, after that.
"That is how the man found his wife -- Ho!"