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A short story by Charles Alexander Eastman
North Wind And Star Boy (Twenty-Fourth Evening)
Title: North Wind And Star Boy (Twenty-Fourth Evening)
Author: Charles Alexander Eastman [More Titles by Eastman]
In the very old days at the beginning of things, Star Boy went about the world as a champion, defending all feeble folk against the attacks of their enemies.
The champion was so strong that he could not bend his bow of wood without breaking it, therefore he armed himself with a bone bow, a bone knife and a stone war-club.
One day, he came to the village of the Frogs, who poured out of their lodges to meet him and set before him food, but no water. "He who goes to the water," said they, "never returns. A great warrior lies there who has swallowed many of us alive, and now we are perishing of thirst!"
Star Boy himself was so thirsty that after he had eaten, he went down to the water, and was instantly swallowed by Tamahay, the Pickerel. But with his bone knife he slashed the Pickerel in the gills and escaped; after which he warned the big fish, saying: "Be careful how you wantonly destroy this people, for some day they will be used to destroy you!"
He then went on his way, as far as another village of Little People, who complained that they had no fire-wood.
"We dare not go to the wood any more," they said, "for there a fierce warrior lives who swoops down from above and devours us!"
Star Boy at once went to the wood, where he was attacked by Hinhan, the Owl. Him he easily conquered with his stone war-club. "Because of your cruelty," he said to the Owl, "the sun shall blind you hereafter, so that you can hunt only in the dark, when the Mouse people are advised to take to their holes and hiding-places."
Now Star Boy travelled northward, until he had reached the very northernmost country, and in that far land he found a people in great distress. That was because they feared Wazeya, the North Wind, who drove away the buffalo herds so that they had no meat. "And when he points his finger at one of us," said they, "that man dies!"
"Come, let us hunt the buffalo!" said Star Boy to them; and although they were starving, they were afraid and unwilling to go. However, he made some of the men go out with him, and upon the open plain they met with North Wind, who at once challenged the champion to do battle. The two rushed upon one another with great fury, and in the first onset Star Boy broke the bow of North Wind; but in the second, Star Boy was overthrown and lay as one dead.
However, after a time he got up again, and they met for the third bout, when lo! neither could prevail against the other, so that in the midst of the fight they were obliged to sit upon a snowbank to rest. Star Boy sat upon his calf-skin and fanned himself with an eagle-wing, and immediately the snow began to melt and the North Wind was forced to retreat. Before he went away, he made a treaty of peace with Star Boy, promising to come to earth for half the year only, and to give timely warning of his approach, so that the people might prepare for his coming and lay up food against the day of scarcity. By this means the winter and summer were established among us.
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