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Native American Legends

Chi Ca Go

An Ojibwa Legend

Once an Ottawan hunter and his wife lived on the shores of Lake Michigan. Then the hunters went south, toward the end of the lake, to hunt. When he reached the lake where he had caught Beaver the year before, it was still covered with ice. Then he tapped the ice to find the thinner places where the Beaver families lived. He broke holes at these weaker points in the ice, and went to his wigwam to get his traps.

Now the hunter's wife chanced to pass one of these holes and saw a Beaver on the ice. She caught it by the tail and called to the hunter to come and kill it quickly, before it could get back into the water. "No," said the hunter, "if I kill this Beaver, the others will become frightened. They will escape from the lake by other openings in the ice."

Then the woman became angry, and they quarreled. When the sun was near setting, the hunter went out on the ice again, to set more traps. When he returned to his tepee, his wife had gone. He thought she had gone to make a visit. The next morning she had not returned, and he saw her footprints. So he followed her trail to the south.

As he followed her trail, he saw that the footprints gradually changed. At last they became the trail of a skunk. The trail ended in a marsh, and many skunks were in that marsh. Then he returned to his people. And he called the place, "The Place of the Skunk." Between Milwaukee and Chicago, going south where Chicago now stands.

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