Gateway to the Classics: The Red Indian Fairy Book by Frances Jenkins Olcott
The Red Indian Fairy Book by  Frances Jenkins Olcott

The First Pine Trees


This is another tale of the old time, before Glooskap, the mighty Magician, set sail in his stone canoe for the Land of the Red Sunrise.

There were three brothers dwelling together. And when they heard that Glooskap had promised to fulfil the wish of any warrior who reached his magic lodge, they decided to brave the dangers in the way.

The first brother was very tall, far above all his fellows, and vain of his height. To make himself look even taller, he put bark in his moccasins, and plastered his hair to stand high, and on the very top he stuck a long Turkey feather. But he wished to be taller yet, so that all the squaws would admire him.

The second brother wished that he might remain forever in the forest, beholding its beauty, and that he need never work again.

The third brother wished to live to a very old age, and always to be in perfect health.

So the three brothers started on their way along the dangerous trail that led to Glooskap's lodge. They came to an exceedingly high mountain in a dark and lonely land. The side of the mountain was as smooth as iron, and the other side was worse, for there the trail led between the heads of two huge Serpents, who darted out their fearful tongues. After that, the trail passed under the Wall of Death which hung over it like a cloud, rising, and falling, and rising again. And if it happened that any man passed beneath the cloud as it fell, he was crushed to death.

But the three brothers escaped all these perils of the trail, and came to the island where Glooskap dwelt. The mighty Magician welcomed them, and bade his younger brother, Martin the Fairy, place food before them. And after they had eaten and were refreshed, they told their wishes.

Now, in another lodge near by lived Cuhkw the Earthquake. He could pass along the face of the land, and make all things shake with terror. Glooskap called Cuhkw, and bade him take the three brothers, and plant them with their feet in the ground. Immediately Cuhkw came rushing from his lodge, and, seizing the three, planted them in the forest. And they became three straight Pine Trees.

The first brother, who wished to be exceedingly tall, was the highest Pine Tree on earth. His head rose above the forest and the wind whistled through his boughs. And to-day his Turkey feather may be seen waving in the air.

The second brother, who wished to remain in the forest, and admire its beauty without working, could never leave it again; because his roots were fastened deep in the ground.

The third brother, who wished to live to a very old age, in perfect health, gained his desire. To-day he stands hale and hearty in the forest, unless men have cut him down.

And if you go into the forest, you may see the tallest Pine Tree with his Turkey feather waving in the wind; and the Tree murmurs all day long, in the Indian tongue:—

"Oh! I am such a great Indian!—

Oh! I am such a tall man!"

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