How The Robin's Breast Became Red

: Nature Myths And Stories For Little Children

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


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 hi
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


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.