The Winged Hunter
: IROQUOIS TALES
: Indian Legends Retold
A lone hunter had spent all of his arrows, and was at a loss. He was a
long way from home. Upon the lake were many wild geese, but how was he
to kill them? Finally he swam underneath the flock, caught several by
the feet, and tied them to his belt with withes of basswood bark. When
the geese flew up into the air, they carried the hunter with them.
Now he planned to loosen one or two of the birds so that he might sink<
gradually to the ground, but the rest broke loose suddenly, and he
fell into a tall, hollow stump where he remained a prisoner. To be
sure, it was only a day or two before some women came near after wood,
but his cries frightened them, so that they retreated. Later they
returned with their men and released him.
Immediately the hunter made new arrows with which he killed both deer
and bears, extracting oil from the latter which he kept in leathern
bottles. He now wished to return home; but since he had tried flying,
walking seemed to him too laborious. After much thought, he made
himself a pair of wings out of a thin piece of tanned deerskin, and
flew homeward, carrying the bottles for ballast, and letting fall one
or two into the wigwams of the women who had set him free.