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The Reed Dancers

A Menomini Legend

Once after a long journey Manabush entered a pleasant little valley. Here he heard the sound of a drum, rattles and people singing and dancing. As he drew nearer he saw the dancers stepping about in a very lively fashion. Their head feathers were moving about in every direction. It was just at dusk, he did not recognize any of the dancers. No one paid any attention to him. He received no friendly greeting. He felt like dancing and wanted to join in this dance. He laid his bunting bag and knife at the roots of a tree. Several times he asked to be invited to dance, but the dancers brushed by him and none replied to his request. So he joined in the dance anyway and greatly enjoyed himself. Then the bright moon overhead revealed how he had been deceived. He had wandered into a field of tall reeds, mistaking these with their feathery plumes for warriors with eagle feather headdresses. Wearily now he spread his blanket beneath a tree and went to sleep.

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