The Spring Beauty

: Good Stories For Great Holidays



An old man was sitting in his lodge, by the side of a frozen stream. It

was the end of winter, the air was not so cold, and his fire was

nearly out. He was old and alone. His locks were white with age, and he

trembled in every joint. Day after day passed, and he heard nothing but

the sound of the storm sweeping before it the new-fallen sn

One day while his fire was dying, a handsome young man approached and

entered the lodge. His cheeks were red, his eyes sparkled. He walked

with a quick, light step. His forehead was bound with a wreath of

sweet-grass, and he carried a bunch of fragrant flowers in his hand.

"Ah, my son," said the old man, "I am happy to see you. Come in! Tell me

your adventures, and what strange lands you have seen. I will tell you

of my wonderful deeds, and what I can perform. You shall do the same,

and we will amuse each other."

The old man then drew from a bag a curiously wrought pipe. He filled it

with mild tobacco, and handed it to his guest. They each smoked from the

pipe and then began their stories.

"I am Peboan, the Spirit of Winter," said the old man. "I blow my

breath, and the streams stand still. The water becomes stiff and hard as

clear stone."

"I am Seegwun, the Spirit of Spring," answered the youth. "I breathe,

and flowers spring up in the meadows and woods."

"I shake my locks," said the old man, "and snow covers the land. The

leaves fall from the trees, and my breath blows them away. The birds fly

to a distant land, and the animals hide themselves from the cold."

"I shake my ringlets," said the young man, "and warm showers of soft

rain fall upon the earth. The flowers lift their heads from the ground,

the grass grows thick and green. My voice recalls the birds, and they

come flying joyfully from the Southland. The warmth of my breath unbinds

the streams, and they sing the songs of summer. Music fills the groves

where-ever I walk, and all nature rejoices."

And while they were talking thus a wonderful change took place. The sun

began to rise. A gentle warmth stole over the place. Peboan, the Spirit

of Winter, became silent. His head drooped, and the snow outside the

lodge melted away. Seegwun, the Spirit of Spring, grew more radiant, and

rose joyfully to his feet. The robin and the bluebird began to sing on

the top of the lodge. The stream began to murmur at the door, and the

fragrance of opening flowers came softly on the breeze.

The lodge faded away, and Peboan sank down and dissolved into tiny

streams of water, that vanished under the brown leaves of the forest.

Thus the Spirit of Winter departed, and where he had melted away, there

the Indian children gathered the first blossoms, fragrant and delicately

pink,--the modest Spring Beauty.