One day when Porcupine went about at the edge of a large lake, Great-Beaver was swimming about in the great lake, being happy. He struck the water with his big tail, dived, and was happy.
Then Porcupine was standing at the edge of the water, and saw how happy Beaver was on the water. Then Porcupine shouted to Bear, "O friend! come ashore, that I may speak to you for a while!" Then Beaver looked at him and swam slowly towards him.
Then Porcupine spoke to him: "I will show you my playground over there." Therefore Beaver went ashore, and followed Porcupine. When they got there, they arrived at the foot of a great spruce-tree.
Then Porcupine said to Beaver, "If you, on your part, try my playground, friend, (you will find it) very sweet and a good pastime. It is better than anything in the world. Try it, too, friend! You will find it good." But Beaver was very much afraid. He stood away from it, and looked up to the top of the great tree.
Then he said, "No, I never did this;" but Porcupine increased the bait. "Nothing will happen to you. It is not difficult. It is better than on the water. Look at me! I will go first." Thus said Porcupine. Then he climbed the great tree. When he came to the top of the great
tree, he threw himself down--rolling down along the tips of the branches, he said, "Vessel of moss, vessel of moss!" Then he struck the ground, and he arose unhurt.
Then he said to Beaver, "Did you see me, friend? That is not difficult. You try it too!" Thus said Porcupine.
"I will take you up." Then Beaver agreed. "Oh," said Porcupine, "hold fast to my neck! I will carry you up." Then Beaver did so. Beaver held firmly around his neck. Then he went up the tree with him. Thus they arrived on top of the tall tree.
Then Porcupine put Beaver down on a branch on top of the tree. Then Beaver was afraid, because he did not know how to hold on to the tree. Only Porcupine is the one who knows how to do it, for his claws are long.
"Go on!" said Porcupine. "Hold on to the branch firmly, friend! I'll go down first." Then Beaver did so. Then Porcupine let go of the top of the tree, and he rolled down. Then he said the following: "Vessel of moss!" He struck the ground and arose. Then he went a little distance away and looked at Beaver (to see) if he was coming down.
Then Beaver was dismayed while he was holding on to the branch of the tree, and Porcupine was running about at the foot of the tree. He looked up to his friend, and this is what Beaver said: "I am much afraid that I may die."--"Oh, no! friend, nothing will happen to you. You are not in danger. It is only good play. Look at me! I am not dead. Although I fell down, I am not hurt. Go on! Try it!"--"I cannot do it," said Beaver. "When you really come down, and when you reach the
ground, say, 'On the stone, on the stone!' Then you will strike on moss."
Then Great-Beaver let go of the branch; and while he was coming down, he shouted, "Stone, stone!" Then he struck the ground, and the great one lay there. Then Porcupine made fun of him. "Your belly is knocked out, Great-Beaver! your belly is knocked out!" Then Porcupine left him and went to his town; but Great-Beaver was lying at the foot of the tree, being dead.
After some time, Beaver began to breathe again. Then he went to his house in the water, feeling much pain. For a long time he lay sick in his house, which was in the middle of the lake, for Beaver likes to be in the water. After he had been sick for some time, he was almost well. Every day he got better. Then he was quite well again.
Porcupine thought that Beaver was dead. Beaver began to swim about on the water, and struck his tail on the water. Behold! Porcupine stood on the green grass near the shore, and looked out to where Beaver was swimming about. Then Porcupine shouted, "Is that you, friend? Are you alive?" Thus spoke Porcupine. "Certainly," said Beaver, "I am always alive."
Then Beaver went ashore to where Porcupine was standing on the shore, who was near the water [inland]. "O friend! suppose you taste for a while my playground over there."--"I do not wish to do it, because I do not know how to swim. Therefore I am afraid to try it, lest I die."--"Oh, no!" said Beaver, "nothing will happen to you. Your play is harder, but this is very good for me. You will be very clean when you stand in the water. Your body will be very clean. I will carry you on my back if you are afraid." Thus said Beaver.
That was the reason why Porcupine went to him. Then Beaver said, "Hold around my neck. Put your nose on the nape of my neck, that the water may not get into your nose." Thus said Beaver to Porcupine. "If you should feel that you are beginning to drown, scratch my back, that I may know; then I will emerge. Now, then, I'll go! Hold on to my neck!"
Then Great-Beaver went about in the great lake, and Porcupine was on his back. Then he went through the water, and he came up again. Twice he did so. Then the fear of Porcupine increased very much. Then Beaver dived for a long time. Before he did so, he struck the water with his tail. Then he stood right down to the bottom of the lake.
Porcupine was almost about to die, when Beaver began to dive; and Porcupine scratched the back of Beaver, but Beaver did not mind it. He stood right down to the bottom of the great lake.
He staid there for a long time, and only then he came up. Then he threw little Porcupine, who was almost dead, on a little island right in the middle of the great lake. Then he went to his house.
Then the little dead Porcupine lay there; (but) when the sun rose, (his rays) struck Porcupine, who was lying there; and when the heat really struck Porcupine, he came to life again. He arose. Then he went about on the little island, and he was very hungry, (but) he had no way to go ashore. Then he sat down in the middle of the island and cried, and his heart was heavy.
Then he opened his song, and this was his song:--
"The sky is burning here and there, burning are my dear children."
When he began to sing, lightning came from the north.
[paragraph continues] Then it burned down river. He continued to sing. The north wind arose now, and it was cold. Then the wind increased. At midnight the wind had come to be very strong. Then ice stretched across to the shore of the water, and the sky was quite clear. There were no clouds. There was only a winter sky. It was very cold, and the whole lake was covered with ice.
Then Porcupine went across, and went across to his country; but Great-Beaver went right down to the bottom, where the water of the great lake was deep, but Porcupine went to his house. He went very slowly. His stomach was full of water, and he always felt like vomiting. He longed to kill Beaver some day when he should be well. He was sick for a long time in his house in a cave. Then the ice melted.
But Great-Beaver was swimming about again, being happy, while Porcupine tried to cure himself. Therefore he went out of his town, and he saw Great-Beaver swimming about at the edge of the water. Then Porcupine said, "Is it you, friend?"--"Yes, I am happy in the great lake here."--"Come ashore for a while! I should like to talk to you." But Beaver said, "I am very much in a hurry to return to my house. I cannot go to you. I shall see you some other day." That was when Beaver left Porcupine. Then Porcupine was very angry, and they did not meet again. That is the end of the story.