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

Woodpecker Gray


Listen to the Wyandot Grandmother:—

Once in an Indian village there was a beautiful girl. She lived all alone in a pretty lodge, and had a little gray Woodpecker for a servant.

Whenever the girl wished to go to the dance, she called, "Woodpecker Gray, come and dress me."

Then the little bird came hopping over the floor. He plaited her hair, and wound bright strings of beads in it, and helped her to paint her face with colours like the rainbow.

And after the girl was dressed, she put the paint-pots carefully away and locked them up.

Now, the little bird's feathers were just gray, with a few white spots. And every time he saw his mistress painted so bright and beautiful, he sighed and thought, "How I wish my feathers were red!"

One day, after the girl was gone to the dance, he saw that she had left on the floor a brush dipped in red paint. "Ah ha!" thought he, "now I will make myself pretty!"

So he picked up the brush, and drew it across each side of his head, just above his ears. And so he got two tiny red stripes, and he wears them to-day, as he flies about in the woods.

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