Ice Man Puts Out The Fire
: CHEROKEE TALES
: Indian Legends Retold
Once upon a time there was a forest fire, and the fire went deep down
to the roots of a poplar tree, and there it smoldered for a long time.
The people tried to put it out, but they could do nothing. By and by
they grew frightened, fearing lest it might burn down to the middle of
the earth, or spread over all the world. So they sent a messenger to
the far north, to beg the Ice Man to help them.
Now the Ic
Man is a little fellow, with two heavy braids of black
hair hanging over his shoulders. After he had heard all about the
fire, he nodded, and loosening one braid he breathed upon the strands.
Instantly the wind began to blow. He shook out the hair again, and it
began to rain. When he undid the other braid, it hailed violently,
and the fourth time he blew upon his hair, the storm became so
terrific that the messenger hastened homeward.
When he got home, he saw the fire at the roots of the poplar was still
burning, and the pit looked deeper and wider than ever. Many people
were standing sadly about it, and as they stood there the wind began
to blow. Soon a cold rain fell hissing on the hot coals. Then large
hailstones were mixed with the rain, and before long the tempest grew
so fierce that they were forced to run for shelter. When it stopped at
last, they came out again to look, and the pit of fire was nothing but
black coals covered with lumps of ice.