American Indian Fairy Tales

  • I.

  • Narrator

    THERE never was anyone so wise and knowing as old Iagoo.

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  • There never was an Indian who saw and heard so much.

  • He knew the secrets of the woods and fields, and understood the language of birds and beasts.

  • All his life long he had lived out of doors, wandering far in the forest where the wild deer hide, or skimming the waters of the lake in his birch-bark canoe.

  • Besides the things he had learned for himself, Iagoo knew much more.

  • He knew the fairy tales and the wonder stories told him by his grandfather, who had heard them from his grandfather, and so on, away back to the time when the world was young and strange, and there was magic in almost everything.

  • Narrator

    Iagoo was a great favorite with the children.

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  • No one knew better where to find the beautiful, colored shells which he strung into necklaces for the little girls.

  • No one could teach them so well just where to look for the grasses which their nimble fingers wove into baskets.

  • For the boys he made bows and arrowsβ€”

  • bows from the ash-tree, that would bend far back without breaking, and arrows, strong and straight, from the sturdy oak.

  • But most of all, Iagoo won the children's hearts with his stories.

  • Narrator

    Where did the robin get his red breast?

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  • How did fire find its way into the wood, so that an Indian can get it out again by rubbing two sticks together?

  • Why was Coyote, the prairie wolf, so much cleverer than the other animals;

  • and why was he always looking behind him when he ran?

  • It was old Iagoo who could tell you where and why.

  • Now, winter was the time for story-telling.