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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 me."

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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