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

The Summer Fairies


In the long ago, when people lived in the Early Red Morning, the little Fairies of Light played in the forest and meadows. Their Queen was Summer, and wherever they danced the most beautiful flowers sprang up, the reddest berries ripened in the green grass, and the sweetest birds sang in the trees.

Once Glooskap, the mighty Indian, left the Land of Summer and Fairies, and journeyed to the Northland, where all was ice and snow. And there where the coldest winds blew hard he found an ancient wigwam. He entered the wigwam and saw a great Giant sitting.

"Welcome! O Glooskap!" said the Giant. "Welcome to my land of cold. My name is Winter. Sit here beside me, and I will tell you many tales of the old time."

So Glooskap seated himself, and Winter gave him a pipe, and while they both smoked the great Giant told stories of the old time. As he did so, he wove a magic spell of Frost, and froze Glooskap's tongue so that he could not speak, and bound his limbs so that he could not move.

Winter talked on and froze, and Glooskap fell into a magic slumber. For six months he slept like a toad. Then the charm fled, and he awoke and arose, and, leaving the Land of Winter, began to travel Southward.

At every step the air grew warmer, and the little flowers sprang up in his path, and talked to him. And so he travelled on until at last he came to the Forest where the Fairies of Light were dancing with Summer, their Queen,—Summer, the most beautiful of all the Fairies.

When Glooskap saw her, he caught her up and hid her in his bosom, and then hastened away. All the little Fairies of Light hurried after, but Glooskap cut a moose-hide into a long cord and let it trail behind him. The Fairies of Light pulled at the cord, but as he went Glooskap let it run out, and though the Fairies pulled hard, soon he left them far behind.

Northward he hurried until he came once more to the land of ice and snow, and to the wigwam of Winter, the Giant.

Winter welcomed him as before, for he hoped to freeze Glooskap again into a magic sleep. But this time Glooskap had Summer hidden in his bosom. This time Glooskap told all the tales of the old time. He told stories of the hot Southland, and wove a magic spell of sunshine. He took Summer, the Queen, from his bosom.

Soon Winter began to thaw, and the water ran down his face. He melted more and more until he melted quite away. The wigwam, too, dissolved into little streams of water.

Then everything awoke. Warm breezes began to blow. The snow vanished and the snow-water ran away to the sea. The little Fairies, guided by the moose-cord, came trooping from the South to find Summer, their Queen. The birds flocked to the North, and everywhere the flowers sprang up.

Then Glooskap, rejoicing, left Summer the Queen and the Fairies of Light to make the North beautiful for the people, and returned once more to his home.

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