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17. THE ORPHAN (6)

An old woman was living with a poor orphan boy whose father and mother were dead. One time he went into a canebrake and saw something there. He came back and asked her about it. "That thing is a bear," she said. "People kill it." Later on he said to her,

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"What thing with a white and red tail is it which always walks around?" and she answered, "It is a deer. That thing is killed." "Another thing which has speckled wings walks around," he said, and she answered, "That creature is killed." He said, "Something white with spots walks about," and she answered, "That sort of thing is not killed; it is a chicken."

By and by he started off, found where the chickens lived, and drove them until he got them near the town. Then he came home and lay down, covering himself with his blanket. She said to him, "Why do you not drive in the chickens?" and he answered, "I have driven them in." "All right; kill some birds and bring them in," she said. "Get your bow and arrows, go out, and kill some redbirds and some jays." He killed them and brought them back, and she picked off each feather and made a headdress ornamented about with bird feathers. Then he put this on and she gave him a flute she had made for him and sent him away. "Put on your fine clothes and go close to the town blowing on your flute," she said, so he started on with them.

When he got close to the town, blowing upon that flute, all of the jays and redbirds cried out. While he was going along thus Rabbit met him carrying some twisted cords. "I am going to tie up terrapin," he said. "Let us dive into the water to hunt terrapin," he kept saying. "No indeed," the youth answered. But Rabbit kept teasing him until he consented. When they got to the water Rabbit said, "Let us take off our clothes." The youth refused repeatedly, but Rabbit overcame him with his importunities. So they took off their shirts and both dived into the water. The orphan hunted about everywhere in the water for terrapin; but Rabbit, as soon as he had dived, came out, took all of the clothes, and carried them off. The orphan stayed in the water until he had tied up a lot of terrapin and then he brought them out. He found that Rabbit had carried off all of the clothes, leaving just one old shirt. He put this on, took the terrapin, and went on.

On the way he climbed into a persimmon tree near by and stood there eating the fruit. Some of the persimmons he mashed between his hands and rubbed upon his shirt so that he became yellow all over. Then he got down, took the terrapin, and started on. By and by he came to the house of a certain woman with his terrapin and sat down near it; a young girl came to the door and saw him. She said to her mother, "A person is sitting down there," and her mother answered, "Talk to him. He may have come to see you." So she talked to him. Then he gave his terrapin to her, they cooked them and ate, and that night the youth and the girl were married.

The house was an old one, but when it became dark it seemed to fall, and when day came they awoke to find that it had become new. (Completed at end of second version.)

Next: 18. The Orphan (Second Version)