Native American Legends
How the People hunted the Moose
An American Indian Legend - Nation Unknown
One night, a family of moose was sitting in their lodge. As they
sat around the fire, a very strange thing happened. A pipe came
floating through their door! Sweet-smelling smoke came from the
long pipe and it made a circle around their lodge, passing close
to the Moose People.
The old bull moose saw the pipe, but said nothing, so it passed
by him. The cow moose said nothing, so the pipe passed by her, too.
The pipe passed each of the Moose People until it reached the youngest
bull moose who was near the door, of the lodge.
"You've come to me," he said to the pipe. Then, he reached
out, took the pipe, and started to smoke it.
"Oh, my son," said the old bull moose, "now you
have killed us! This is a pipe from the Human People. They're smoking
this pipe now and asking for success in tomorrow's hunt. They will
find us now. Because you smoked their pipe, they will find us."
"I'm not afraid," said the young bull moose. "I
can run faster than any of those Human People. They can't catch
The old bull moose said nothing else.
When it was morning, the Moose People left their lodge. They went
across the land looking for food. But, as soon as they got to the
edge of the forest, they smelled the hunters. It was the time of
year when there is a thin crust on the snow, and it made it hard
for the Moose People to move quickly.
"These Human People will catch us!" said the cow moose.
Their feet have feathers, like the grouse. They can walk on top
of the snow."
Then, the Moose People started to run as the Human People followed
them. The young bull moose who had smoked from the pipe ran away
from the others. He was still sure that he could outrun the hunters.
But, the hunters had on snowshoes, and the young moose's feet sank
into the snow. The Human People followed him until he was tired,
and then they shot and killed him.
After they killed him, they thanked him for smoking their pipe
and for giving himself to them so that they could survive. They
treated his body with care, and they soothed his spirit.
That night, the young bull moose woke up in his lodge surrounded
by his Moose People. Next to his bed was a present that the Human
People had given to him. He showed it to the others.
"See," he said. "It wasn't such a bad thing for
me to accept the long pipe that the Human People sent us. Those
hunters treated me respectfully. So, it is right for us to let the
Human People catch us."
And, so it is to this day. Hunters who show respect to the moose,
and other animals, are always the ones who have successful hunt.
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