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STORY AND SONG OF THE BIRD'S
NEST.*
Scattered through an elaborate ritual and relig­ious ceremony of the Pawnee tribe are little par­ables in which some natural scene or occurrence serves as a teaching to guide man in his daily life. The following is an example.
The words of the song ("the sound of the young'') are purposely few, so as to guard the full meaning from the careless and to enable the priest to hold the interpretation as a part of his sacred treasure. They are sufficient, however, to attract the attention of the thoughtful; and such a one who desired to know the teaching of the sacred song could first perform certain initiatory rites and then learn its full meaning from the priest.
"One day a man whose mind was open to the teaching of the gods wandered on the prairie. As he walked, his eyes upon the ground, he spied a bird's nest hidden in the grass, and arrested his feet just in time to prevent stepping on it. He paused to look at the little nest tucked away so snug
* An old priest of the rite gave me the story and song through Mr. James R. Murie, an educated Pawnee, and they are here for the first time made public.
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