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Indigenous Stories

The Shut-Eye Dance

Categories : Menomini , Menomini Stories

Manabush was wandering along, stopping now and then to examine a flower, or to watch the flight of a bird or butterfly, when he suddenly saw at a little distance a number of water birds of different kinds. There were duck, geese and swans among them. They were dancing in a circle and were enjoying themselves.

As he drew near them he said to them, "My friends I have brought some songs with me. I will sing for you while you dance. You must all keep your eyes closed while you dance, if not, I will stop singing." The birds consented and began to dance.

As one of them came near to him he grasped it's neck to prevent it's crying out. In this way he killed a number of birds. One bird, a duck, not hearing the voices of it's friends opened it's eyes. It saw the dead dancers laying at the feet of Manabush. It flew into the air and cried out, "My brothers, Manabush is killing us. Fly, or we shall all be killed!" Instantly all of the birds opened their eyes and flew in all directions. All escaped. Manabush called to the duck that had sounded the warning, and said, "For this disobedience you shall always have red eyes." To this day the rings around the eyes of this duck are red.

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