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Native American Legends

The bad weapons

A Blackfoot Legend

Once Old Man was fording a river, when the current carried him down stream, and he lost his weapons. He was very hungry, so he took the first wood he could find, and made a bow and arrows, and a handle for his knife and spear. When he had finished them, he started up a mountain. Pretty soon he saw a bear digging roots, and he thought he would have some fun, so he hid behind a log and called out, "No-tail animal, what are you doing?" The bear looked up, but, seeing no one, kept on digging.

Then Old Man called out again, "Hi, you dirt-eater!" and then he dodged back out of sight. Then the bear sat up again, and this time he saw Old Man and ran after him.

Old Man began shooting arrows at him, but the points only stuck in the skin, for the shafts were rotten and snapped off. Then he threw his spear, but that too was rotten, and broke. He tried to stab the bear, but his knife handle was also rotten and broke, so he turned and ran; and the bear pursued him. As he ran, he looked about for some weapon, but there was none, not even a rock. He called out to the animals to help him, but none came. His breath was almost gone, and the bear was very close to him, when he saw a bull's horn lying on the ground. He picked it up, placed it on his head, and, turning around, bellowed so loudly that the bear was scared and ran away.

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