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Friday, March 6, 2015

THE STAR BRIDE

(Blackfoot)ONCE in the hot Summer weather, a lovely girl, named Feather Woman, was sleeping among the tall prairie grasses by the side of her lodge. She awoke just as the Morning Star was rising. As she gazed at its brightness, it seemed so beautiful that she loved it with all her heart. She roused her sister, who was sleeping beside her, and said: "Oh, sister, look at the Morning Star! I will never marry anybody except that Star!"
The sister laughed at her, and, getting up, ran into the camp, and told what Feather Woman had said, and the people all mocked and laughed. But Feather Woman paid no heed to their unkind words, but rose each day at dawn, and gazed on the Morning Star.
One morning early, as she went alone to the river, to fetch water for the lodge, she beheld a bright youth standing in the river-path.
"Feather Woman," said he, smiling, "I am Morning Star. I have seen you gazing upward, and am now come to carry you back with me to my dwelling."
At this Feather Woman trembled greatly. Then Morning Star took from his head a rich yellow plume. He placed it in her right hand, while in her other hand he put a branch of Juniper. And he bade her close her eyes, and she did so.
When she opened her eyes, she was in the Sky Land, standing in front of a shining lodge, and Morning Star was by her side. This was the home of his parents, the Sun and the Moon.
The Sun was away, casting his hottest Summer rays on the parched Earth, but the Moon was at home, and she welcomed Feather Woman kindly. She dressed the girl in a soft robe of buckskin trimmed with Elk-teeth. And when the Sun came back that night, he called Feather Woman his daughter.
So she was married to Morning Star, and they lived happily in the shining lodge. In time they had a little son, whom they named Star-Boy.
One day the Moon gave Feather Woman a root-digger, and told her to go about the Sky Land, and dig up all kinds of roots; but on no account to touch the Great Turnip that grew near the lodge. For if she did so, unhappiness would come to them all.
So day after day, Feather Woman went out and dug roots. She often saw the Great Turnip, but though she never touched it, her heart was filled with a desire to see what lay beneath it.
One day as she was wandering near the lodge, she was so overcome by curiosity, that she laid Star-Boy on the ground, and taking her root-digger, began to dig around the Great Turnip. But the digger fastened itself in the side of the Turnip, and she could not withdraw it. Just then two large Cranes flew over her head, and she called them to help her. They sang a magic song, and the Great Turnip was uprooted.
Then Feather Woman looked down through the hole where the Turnip had been, and, lo, far below she saw the camp of the Blackfeet, where she had lived. The smoke ascended from the lodges, and she could hear the laughter of the playing children, and the songs of the women at work. The sight filled her with homesickness, and she went back weeping to the shining lodge.
As she entered, Morning Star looked earnestly at her, and said, "Alas! Feather Woman, you have uprooted the Great Turnip!"
The Sun and the Moon, also, were troubled, when they knew she had been disobedient to their wishes; and they said that she must return at once to Earth. So Morning Star took Feather Woman sadly by the hand, and placing little Star-Boy upon her shoulder, led her to the Spider Man who lived in the Sky Land.
Then the Spider Man wove a web through the hole made by the Great Turnip, and let Feather Woman and her child down to the Earth. And her people saw her coming like a falling Star.
She was welcomed by her parents, and they loved little Star-Boy. And though after that Feather Woman always lived with her people, she was not happy; but longed to return to the Sky Land, and see Morning Star. But her longings were in vain, and soon her unhappy life was ended.




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