MS/Lakes: How the Hunter Destroyed the Snow

For a similar story in which it is the Ojibwa bird-hero Shingebis who fools the North Wind, see this story in the Native American Fairy Tales Unit: Shin-ge-bis Fools the North Wind.

[Notes by LKG]

This story is part of the Mississippi Valley / Great Lakes unit. Story source: Myths and Legends of the Mississippi Valley and the Great Lakes, edited by Katharine Berry Judson (1914).

How the Hunter Destroyed the Snow

ONCE a hunter with his wife and two children lived in a tepee. Each day the hunter went out for game. He was a good hunter, and he brought back much game.

But one day, after autumn had gone and winter had come, the hunter met Kon, Snow, who froze his feet badly. Then the hunter made a large wooden bowl and filled it with Kon. He buried it in a deep hole where the midday sun could shine down upon it, and where Snow could not run away. Then he covered the hole with sticks and leaves so that Snow would be a prisoner until summer.

Now when midsummer came, and everything was warm, the hunter came back to this hole and pulled away the sticks and leaves. He let the midday sun shine down upon Kon so that he melted. Thus the hunter punished Kon.

But when autumn came again, one day the hunter heard someone say to him, when he was in the forest: “You punished me last summer, but when winter comes I will show you how strong I am.”

The hunter knew it was Kon’s voice. He at once built another tepee, near the one in which he lived, and filled it full of firewood.

At last winter came again. When the hunter was in the forest one day, he heard Kon say: “Now I am coming to visit you, as I said I should. In four days I shall be at your tepee.”

When the hunter returned home, he made ready more firewood; he built a fire at the two sides of the tepee. After four days, everything became frozen. It was very cold. The hunter kept up the fires in the tepee. He took out all the extra fur robes to cover his wife and children. The cold became more severe. It was hard not to freeze.

On the fifth day, towards night, the hunter looked out from his tepee upon a frozen world. Then he saw a stranger coming. He looked like any other stranger, except that he had a very large head and an immense beard. When he came to the tepee, the hunter asked him in. He at once came in, but he would not go near either of the fires. This puzzled the hunter, and he began to watch the stranger.

It became colder and colder after the stranger had come into the tepee. The hunter added more wood to each of the fires until they roared. The stranger seemed too warm. The hunter added more wood, and the stranger became warmer and warmer. Then the hunter saw that as he became warm, he seemed to shrink. At last his head and body were quite small. Then the hunter knew who the stranger guest was. It was Kon, the Cold. So he kept up his fires until Kon melted altogether away.

(500 words)

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