the Rabbit, was a handsome young man, and, moreover, of a kind
disposition. One day, when he was hunting, he heard a child
crying bitterly, and made all haste in the direction of the
On the further side of the wood
he found one tormenting a baby boy with whips and pinches,
laughing heartily meanwhile and humming a mother's lullaby.
"What do you mean by abusing this
innocent child?" demanded the Rabbit; but the other showed
a smiling face and replied pleasantly:
"You do not know what you are talking
about! The child is fretful, and I am merely trying to quiet
Mashtinna was not deceived, for
he had guessed that this was Double-Face, who delights in
teasing the helpless ones.
"Give the boy to me!" he insisted;
so that Double-Face became angry, and showed the other side
of his face, which was black and scowling.
"The boy is mine," he declared,
"and if you say another word I shall treat you as I have treated
Upon this, Mashtinna fitted an arrow
to the string, and shot the wicked one through the heart.
He then took the child on his arm
and followed the trail to a small and poor teepee. There lived
an old man and his wife, both of them blind and nearly helpless,
for all of their children and grand- children, even to the
smallest and last, had been lured away by wicked Double-Face.
"Ho, grandfather, grandmother! have
brought you back the child!" exclaimed the Rabbit, as he stood
in the doorway.
But the poor, blind old people had
so often been deceived by that heartless Double-Face that
they no longer believed anything; therefore they both cried
"You liar! we don't believe a word
you say! Get away with you, do!"
Since they refused to take the child,
and it was now almost night, the kind-hearted young man wrapped
the boy in his own blanket and lay down with him to sleep.
The next morning, when he awoke, he found to his surprise
that the child had grown up during the night and was now a
handsome young man, so much like him that they might have
been twin brothers.
"My friend, we are now comrades
for life!" exclaimed the strange youth. "We shall each go
different ways in the world, doing all the good we can; but
if either is ever in need of help let him call upon the other
and he will come instantly to his aid!"
The other agreed, and they set out
in opposite directions. Not long after, the Rabbit heard a
loud groaning and crying as of some person in great pain.
When he reached the spot, he found a man with his body wedged
tightly in the forks of a tree, which the wind swayed to and
fro. He could not by any means get away, and was in great
"I will take your place, brother!"
exclaimed the generous young man, upon which the tree immediately
parted, and the tree-bound was free. Mashtinna took his place
and the tree closed upon him like a vise and pinched him severely.
The pain was worse than he had supposed,
but he bore it as long as he could without crying out. Sweat
beaded his forehead and his veins swelled to bursting; at
last he could endure it no longer and called loudly upon his
comrade to help him. At once the young man appeared and struck
the tree so that it parted and Mashtinna was free.
He kept on his journey until he
spied a small wigwam quite by itself on the edge of a wood.
Lifting thedoor-flap, he saw no one but an old blind man,
who greeted him thankfully.
"Ho, my grandson! you see me, I
am old and poor. All the day I see no one. When I wish to
drink, this raw-hide lariat leads me to the stream near by.
When I need dry sticks for my fire, I follow this other rope
and feel my way among the trees. I have food enough, for these
bags are packed with dried meat for my use. But alas, my grandson,
I am all alone here, and I am blind!"
"Take my eyes, grandfather!" at
once exclaimed the kind-hearted young man. "You shall go where
you will, and I will remain here in your place."
"Ho, ho, my grandson, you are very
good!" replied the old man, and he gladly took the eyes of
the Rabbit and went out into the world. The youth stayed behind,
and as he was hungry, he ate of the dried meat in the bags.
This made him very thirsty, so he
took hold of the raw-hide rope and followed it to the stream;
but as he stooped to the brink, the rope broke and Mashtinna
The water was cold and the bank
slippery, but after a hard struggle he got out again and made
his way back to the teepee, dripping wet and very miserable.
Wishing to make a fire and dry his clothes, he seized the
other rope and went to the wood for sticks.
However, when he began to gather
the sticks he lost the rope, and being quite blind he did
nothing but stumble over fallen logs, and bruise himself against
the trunks of trees, and scratch his face among the briers
and brambles, until at last he could bear it no longer, and
cried out to his comrade to come to his aid.
Instantly the youth appeared and
gave him back his eyes, saying at the same time:
"Friend, be not so rash in future!
It is right to help those who are in trouble, but you must
also consider whether you are able to hold out to the end."