ONCE upon a time there was a man who had two children, a boy and a girl, whom he treated cruelly. The boy and the girl talked together one day, and the boy, Wah-wah-hoo, said to his sister, "Dear little sister, are you happy with our father?"
"No," answered the girl, whose name was Hah-hah. "He scolds me and beats me, and I can never please him."
"He was angry with me this morning," said the boy, "and he beat me till the blood came. See there!"
"Let us run away," said Hah-hah. "The beasts and the birds will be good to us. They really love us, and we can be very happy together."
That night the two children ran away from their cruel father. They went far into the forest, and at last they found a wigwam in which no one lived.
When the father found that Wah-wah-hoo and his sister were gone, he was very unhappy. He went out into the forest to see if he could find them. "If they would only come again," he said aloud, "I would do everything I could to please them."
"Do you think he tells the truth?" asked the wolf.
"I do not know," answered the mosquito. "He never treated them well when they were with him."
"Wolf," called the father, "will you tell me where my children are?"
Wah-wah-hoo had once told the wolf when a man was coming to shoot him, and so the wolf would not tell where they were.
"Mosquito," said the father, "where are my children?"
Hah-hah had once helped the mosquito to go home when the wind was too strong for him, and so the mosquito would not tell.
For a long time Wah-wah-hoo and his sister were really happy in the forest, for there was no one to scold them and to beat them, but at last there was a cold, cold winter. All the earth was covered with snow. The animals had gone, and Wah-wah-hoo could find no food. Death came and bore away the gentle Hah-hah. Wah-wah-hoo sat alone in the gloomy wigwam wailing for his sister. Then in his sadness he threw himself down from a high mountain and was killed.
All this time the father had been looking for his children, and at last he saw his son lying at the foot of the mountain. Then he too wailed and cried aloud, for he was really sorry that he had treated them so cruelly. He was a magician, and he could make his son live, but he could not make him a boy again.
"You shall be a frog," said he, "and you shall make your home in the marsh with the reeds and the rushes. There you shall wail as loud as you will for your sister, and once every moon I will come and wail for her with you. I was cruel to you and to her, and so I must live alone in my gloomy wigwam."
Every summer night one can hear the frog in the marsh wailing for his dear sister Hah-hah. Sometimes a louder voice is heard, and that is the voice of the father wailing because he was so cruel.