time as Old Man was walking along, he came to a place where
many squirrels were playing in some very hot ashes. While some
squirrels lay in the ashes, others would cover them with even
more ashes. When the buried squirrels became so hot that they
couldn't take the heat any more, they would call out to the
others, who would take them out at once. After Old Man had watched
them for a little while, he asked them if he could play with
When the squirrels said okay, he
asked, "May I be baked first?"
"Oh, no," replied the
squirrels. "We are afraid that you don't know how to
play and that you'd be burned. We'll be baked first to show
Old man asked them again, but again
they refused. At last Old Man agreed with them, on the condition
that they'd let him cover all of them all at once. "There
are so many of you," he said, "that it will save
a lot of time to bury you all at once."
The squirrels agreed, and so he
covered them all with hot ashes, with the exception of one
who was about to become a mother. She begged him so pitifully
not to be put in the ashes that Old Man said, "Well,
go ahead. Run away, so that there may be other squirrels."
When all the other squirrels were
covered with ashes, some of them became too warm and called
out to Old Man to be taken out. Instead, he heaped more ashes
over them and roasted them to death.
Old Man took some red willows and made a scaffold on which
he laid his roasted squirrels. They made the willows greasy,
which is why the red willow is greasy, even to this day. He
ate as many of the squirrels as he could; in fact, he ate
so many squirrels and became so full that he laid down beside
a tree and went right to sleep.
While he was asleep, Lynx came along
and ate all of the squirrels that were still on the scaffold.
When Old Man woke up and found his roasted meat gone, he followed
after the tracks, and finally came upon Lynx, who was fast
Old Man was so angry at Lynx that
he grabbed Lynx by the ears and shortened his head by banging
it into a stone. He pulled out the long tail and, after snapping
it in half, stuck the brush part on Lynx's rear. He stretched
the legs and the body of Lynx until they were long and skinny.
Then Old Man threw him on the ground and said to him, "You
bobcats will always have a bobtail. You will always be so
short of breath that you will never run very far."
Man then realized that he'd been burnt by the hot ashes. So
he called upon the wind to blow. Because the cool air made
him feel better, he kept telling the wind to blow harder and
harder. Soon, the wind was so wild that he was scooped up
and blown far away. Every single tree he grabbed was pulled
out of the ground, and he couldn't stop until he grabbed onto
a birch tree. When the wind died down finally, he spoke angrily
to the birch tree: "Why do you have so strong roots?
Why can't I pull you up like all the other trees? I was having
such a good time being blown all over, and then you stopped
He was so angry that he pulled out
a knife and he slashed at the birch tree. This is why the
birch tree has such beat-up looking bark now.