How The Littlest Owl Came
from Things To See In Springtime
After the Great Spirit had made the world and the creatures in it, he made the Gitchee O-kok-o-hoo. This was like an Owl, but bigger than anything else alive, and his voice was like a river plunging over a rocky ledge. He was so big that he thought he had done it all himself, and he became puffed up. He forgot the Great Spirit, who decided to teach him a lesson in this wise:
He called the Blue-jay, the mischief-maker of the woods, and told him what to do. Away went the Blue-jay to the mountain at the top of which was the Gitchee O-kok-o-hoo making thunder in his throat. The Blue-jay flew up to his ear, and said: "Pooh, Gitchee O-kok-o-hoo, you don't call that a big noise! You should hear Niagara; then you would never twitter again."
The Gitchee O-kok-o-hoo was so mad at hearing his big wonderful song called a twitter, that he said: "Niagara, Niagara! I'm sick of hearing about Niagara. I will go and silence Niagara with my voice." So he flew to Niagara while the Blue-jay snickered and followed to see the fun.
Now when Niagara Falls was made the Great Spirit said to it, "Flow on for ever." That last word of the Great Spirit it took up as it rushed on, and never ceases to thunder out "For ever! For ever! For ever!"
When they came to Niagara the mighty cataract, the Blue-jay said, "Now, Gitchee, you can beat that I am sure." So Gitchee O-kok-o-hoo began bawling to drown the noise of it, but could not make himself heard.
"Wa-wa-wa," said the Gitchee O-kok-o-hoo, with great effort and only for a few heart beats.
"For ever, For ever, For ever," thundered the river, steadily, easily, ceaselessly.
"Wa-wa-wa—!" shrieked Gitchee O-kok-o-hoo; but his voice was so utterly lost that he could not hear it himself, and he began to feel small, and smaller; and as he began to feel small, a strange thing happened—he began to get small and smaller, until he was no bigger than a Sparrow; and his voice, instead of being like a great cataract, became like the dropping of water, just a little
And this is why the Indians give to this smallest of the Owls the name of "The Water-dropping Bird," who was once the greatest of all creatures, but is now shrunk to be the littlest of the Owls, because he became proud and forgot the Great Spirit.
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