Indian Games, Dances & Native Songs - online book

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INDIAN GAMES AND DANCES               65
were arranged, and at last the contestants assembled at the appointed spot — the animals on the ground, while the birds took position in the tree-tops to await the throwing up of the ball. On the side of the animals were the bear, whose ponderous weight bore down all opposition; the deer, who excelled all others in running; and the terrapin, who was invulnerable to the stoutest blows. On the side of the birds were the eagle, the hawk and the great Tlaniwa — all noted for their swiftness and power of flight. While the latter were preening their feathers and watching every motion of their adversaries below, they noticed two small crea­tures, hardly larger than mice, climbing up the tree on which was perched the leader of the birds. Finally they reached the top and humbly asked the captain to be allowed to join in the game. The captain looked at them a moment, and, seeing that they were four-footed, asked them why they did not go to the ani­mals where they properly belonged. The little things explained that they had done so, but had been laughed at and rejected on account of their diminutive size. On hearing their story the bird captain was disposed to take pity on them, but there was one serious difficulty in the way — how could they join the birds when they had no wings? The eagle, the hawk and the rest now crowded around, and after some discussion it was de­cided to try and make wings for the little fellows. But how to do it! All at once, by a happy inspiration, one bethought himself of the drum which was to be used in the dance. The head was made of ground-hog leather, and perhaps a corner could be cut off and utilized for
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III