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Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Mink and the Fish

Mink found a live pike on the lake shore. He told the pike, "Pike, the Muskie is calling you all kinds of names." "What is he calling me?" asked Pike. Mink answered, "He says you're wall-eyed." Pike did not like to be called names and said, "Well, he's got teeth like a saw blade and a long plated face. He's not pretty either."
There was a muskie nearby, and Mink told him what Pike had said about him. Mink went back and forth, back and forth, getting Muskie and Pike mad at one another. Finally, Pike and Muskie had a big fight and Mink acted as referee. Muskie and Pike ended up killing each other in the fight, so Mink had the last laugh on them.
Mink got a big kettle and boiled and dried the meat. Then he lay down to rest. He was taking life easy. He had the fish eggs, which were his favorite, all together next to him and all he had to do was open his eyes and stick out his tongue out to eat them. Finally, he dozed off.
Some Indians came by in their canoes and saw Mink lying there with all those fish. They came ashore and picked up all the fish and put them in their canoes. Where Mink had all the fish eggs right next to him, they put rocks there. Then they went away.
When Mink woke up, he reached with his tongue for the fish eggs, but instead there were only rocks and stones which broke his teeth. He realized they'd played a trick on him and he just walked away.
(Adapted from Victor Barnouw, 1977, Wisconsin Chippewa Myths and Tales and Their Relation to Chippewa Life, Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press.)

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