Hunting in Heaven
There was once a man and woman traveling together in the woods, when suddenly they were set upon by wild beasts. The man was seized and devoured by a bear. The woman was also in the same manner eater up by another monstrous animal. But their little child, who was just then born, the wild beasts left untouched.
A woman passing by a short time afterward saw a child lying alone in the woods, and was very much astonished at the sight. She wondered where its parents could be, but on looking all around and seeing nothing of them, she took the child and carried it home to her lodge.
The boy lived, but he did not grow. He increased marvelously in strength, it is true, but not in size; so that, although he remained to all appearance a child, he became strong enough to root up great trees, and to perform other marvelous exploits. His name was an Indian word sounding as much as possible like Jackabeck.
The first thing that he undertook was to seek out and attack the monstrous beasts which had devoured his father and mother. He found them and killed them both, and he identified them as the real devourers of his parents by finding his father's beard in the stomach of one, and his mother's hair in that of the other.
In addition to his great strength he was possessed of a certain mysterious power, through which whatever he blew upon was changed by some sort of magic, just as he wished.
After a while he felt a desire to go to heaven to see what there was there. So he began to climb a tall tree, and when he got to the top of it he blew upon it, and that made it shoot out and grow up higher. He climbed up to the top again and then blew as before, and so on continually. He thus mounted higher and higher, until at last he ascended into heaven.
He found here a delightful country, with green fields and pretty trees and flowers, and ever thing charming. After walking all about the place he returned to the tree and began to descend it, intending to tell the story of what he had seen to his sister -- for it seems he now had a sister -- and bring her up with him to heaven, in order that they might live there for ever.
As he came down the tree he stopped occasionally by the way to build wigwams in the branches, as places of rest for himself and sister in ascending.
When he had reached the ground and had related to his sister what he had seen, she was at first very unwilling to go with him, being afraid to attempt to climb such a tall tree. But she was at last persuaded to make the attempt, and they set out together.
This sister and a little nephew whom she concluded to take with her in the ascent, and they all three began to climb the tree. The sister and her little nephew went first, and Jackabeck came on after them, in order to catch them if they should chance to fall.
Thus they went on up the tree, and whenever they were tired of climbing they stopped to rest at the wigwams which Jackabeck had made among the branches in coming down.
After they had arrived at the top, in order to prevent any other persons from coming up after them, Jackabeck reached down and broke off the stem of the trees as low as he could.
After admiring the beauties of the country for a time with his sister, and congratulating each other on their safe and happy arrival in it, Jackabeck went off into the woods to set traps, as he had been accustomed to do on the earth below, in hopes to catch some animals.
Very early the next morning he went to visit his traps to see what he had caught. As he drew near one of them he saw in it a great glowing ball of fire. It was so bright and so hot that Jackabeck did not dare to go near it. So he ran back to his sister to inform her of this prodigy.
"Sister," said he, "there is a big fire in one of my traps, so fierce and hot that I do not dare to go near it."
"Ah! Jackabeck," said his sister, "you must have caught the sun. He was wandering about undoubtedly in the night, and has fallen into one of your traps. Go and let him out as quick as you can."
So Jackabeck went back, but he found the sun so hot and dazzling that he could not get near enough to let him out of the trap. He was greatly at a loss what to do, but presently on looking around him he found a little mouse, and he blew upon him and made him so large and strong that he could go the the trap and open it in some way so as to let the sun go free.
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