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How The Robin's Breast Became Red

from Nature Myths And Stories For Little Children





Long ago in the far North, where it is very cold, there was only one
fire.

A hunter and his little son took care of this fire and kept it burning
day and night. They knew that if the fire went out the people would
freeze and the white bear would have the Northland all to himself. One
day the hunter became ill and his son had the work to do.

For many days and nights he bravely took care of his father and kept the
fire burning.

The white bear was always hiding near, watching the fire. He longed to
put it out, but he did not dare, for he feared the hunter's arrows.

When he saw how tired and sleepy the little boy was, he came closer to
the fire and laughed to himself.

One night the poor boy could endure the fatigue no longer and fell fast
asleep.

The white bear ran as fast as he could and jumped upon the fire with his
wet feet, and rolled upon it. At last, he thought it was all out and
went happily away to his cave.

A gray robin was flying near and saw what the white bear was doing.

She waited until the bear went away. Then she flew down and searched
with her sharp little eyes until she found a tiny live coal. This she
fanned patiently with her wings for a long time.

Her little breast was scorched red, but she did not stop until a fine
red flame blazed up from the ashes.

Then she flew away to every hut in the Northland.

Wherever she touched the ground a fire began to burn.

Soon instead of one little fire the whole north country was lighted up.

The white bear went further back into his cave in the iceberg and
growled terribly.

He knew that there was now no hope that he would ever have the Northland
all to himself.

This is the reason that the people in the north country love the robin,
and are never tired of telling their children how its breast became red.





Next: An Indian Story Of The Robin

Previous: Aurora And Tithonus



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