|"Once the Moon
made the Sun a pair of leggings. Such beautiful work had never
been seen before. They were worked with the colored quills of
the Porcupine and were covered with strange signs, which none
but the Sun and the Moon could read. No man ever saw such leggings
as they were, and it took the Moon many snows to make them.
Yes, they were wonderful leggings and the Sun always wore them
on fine days, for they were bright to look upon.
"Every night when the Sun went
to sleep in his lodge away in the west, he used the leggings
for a pillow, because there was a thief in the world, even
then. That thief and rascal was OLD-man, and of course the
Sun knew all about him. That is why he always put his fine
leggings under his head when he slept. When he worked he almost
always wore them, as I have told you, so that there was no
danger of losing them in the daytime; but the Sun was careful
of his leggings when night came and he slept.
"You wouldn't think that a
person would be so foolish as to steal from the Sun, but one
night OLD-man - who is the only person who ever knew just
where the Sun's lodge was - crept near enough to look in,
and saw the leggings under the Sun's head.
"We have all travelled a great
deal but no man ever found the Sun's lodge. No man knows in
what country it is. Of course we know it is located somewhere
west of here, for we see him going that way every afternoon,
but OLD-man knew everything - except that he could not fool
"Yes, OLD-man looked into the
lodge of the Sun and saw the leggings there - saw the Sun,
too, and the Sun was asleep. He made up his mind that he would
steal the leggings so he crept through the door of the lodge.
There was no one at home but the Sun, for the Moon has work
to do at night just as the children, the Stars, do, so he
thought he could slip the leggings from under the sleeper's
head and get away.
"He got down on his hands and
knees to walk like the Bear-people and crept into the lodge,
but in the black darkness he put his knee upon a dry stick
near the Sun's bed. The stick snapped under his weight with
so great a noise that the Sun turned over and snorted, scaring
OLD-man so badly that he couldn't move for a minute. His heart
was not strong - wickedness makes every heart weaker - and
after making sure that the Sun had not seen him, he crept
silently out of the lodge and ran away.
"On the top of a hill OLD-man
stopped to look and listen, but all was still; so he sat down
"'I'll get them tomorrow night
when he sleeps again'; he said to himself. 'I need those leggings
myself, and I'm going to get them, because they will make
me handsome as the Sun.'
"He watched the Moon come home
to camp and saw the Sun go to work, but he did not go very
far away because he wanted to be near the lodge when night
"It was not long to wait, for
all the OLD- man had to do was to make mischief, and only
those who have work to do measure time. He was close to the
lodge when the Moon came out, and there he waited until the
Sun went inside. From the bushes OLD-man saw the Sun take
off his leggings and his eyes glittered with greed as he saw
their owner fold them and put them under his head as he had
always done. Then he waited a while before creeping closer.
Little by little the old rascal crawled toward the lodge,
till finally his head was inside the door. Then he waited
a long, long time, even after the Sun was snoring.
"The strange noises of the
night bothered him, for he knew he was doing wrong, and when
a Loon cried on a lake near by, he shivered as with cold,
but finally crept to the sleeper's side. Cautiously his fingers
felt about the precious leggings until he knew just how they
could best be removed without waking the Sun. His breath was
short and his heart was beating as a war-drum beats, in the
black dark of the lodge. Sweat, cold sweat, that great fear
always brings to the weak-hearted - was dripping from his
body, and once he thought that he would wait for another night,
but greed whispered again, and listening to its voice, he
stole the leggings from under the Sun's head.
"Carefully he crept out of
the lodge, looking over his shoulder as he went through the
door. Then he ran away as fast as he could go. Over hills
and valleys, across rivers and creeks, toward the east. He
wasted much breath laughing at his smartness as he ran, and
soon he grew tired.
"'Ho!' he said to himself,
'I am far enough now and I shall sleep. It's easy to steal
from the Sun - just as easy as stealing from the Bear or the
"He folded the leggings and
put them under his head as the Sun had done, and went to sleep.
He had a dream and it waked him with a start. Bad deeds bring
bad dreams to us all. OLD-man sat up and there was the Sun
looking right in his face and laughing. He was frightened
and ran away, leaving the leggings behind him.
"Laughingly the Sun put on
the leggings and went on toward the west, for he is always
busy. He thought he would see OLD-man no more, but it takes
more than one lesson to teach a fool to be wise, and OLD-man
hid in the timber until the Sun had travelled out of sight.
Then he ran westward and hid himself near the Sun's lodge
again, intending to wait for the night and steal the leggings
a second time.
"He was much afraid this time,
but as soon as the Sun was asleep he crept to the lodge and
peeked inside. Here he stopped and looked about, for he was
afraid the Sun would hear his heart beating. Finally he started
toward the Sun's bed and just then a great white Owl flew
from off the lodge poles, and this scared him more, for that
is very bad luck and he knew it; but he kept on creeping until
he could almost touch the Sun.
"All about the lodge were beautiful
linings, tanned and painted by the Moon, and the queer signs
on them made the old coward tremble. He heard a night-bird
call outside and he thought it would surely wake the Sun;
so he hastened to the bed and with cunning fingers stole the
leggings, as he had done the night before, without waking
the great sleeper. Then he crept out of the lodge, talking
bravely to himself as cowards do when they are afraid.
"'Now,' he said to himself,
'I shall run faster and farther than before. I shall not stop
running while the night lasts, and I shall stay in the mountains
all the time when the Sun is at work in the daytime!'
"Away he went - running as
the Buffalo runs - straight ahead, looking at nothing, hearing
nothing, stopping at nothing. When day began to break OLD-man
was far from the Sun's lodge and he hid himself in a deep
gulch among some bushes that grew there. He listened a long
time before he dared to go to sleep, but finally he did. He
was tired from his great run and slept soundly and for a long
time, but when he opened his eyes - there was the Sun looking
straight at him, and this time he was scowling. OLD-man started
to run away but the Sun grabbed him and threw him down upon
his back. My! but the Sun was angry, and he said:
"'OLD-man, you are a clever
thief but a mighty fool as well, for you steal from me and
expect to hide away. Twice you have stolen the leggings my
wife made for me, and twice I have found you easily. Don't
you know that the whole world is my lodge and that you can
never get outside of it, if you run your foolish legs off?
Don't you know that I light all of my lodge every day and
search it carefully? Don't you know that nothing can hide
from me and live? I shall not harm you this time, but I warn
you now, that if you ever steal from me again, I will hurt
you badly. Now go, and don't let me catch you stealing again!'
"Away went OLD-man, and on
toward the west went the busy Sun. That is all.