The Spring Beauty
by Henry R. Schoolcraft (Adapted)
An old man was sitting in his lodge,
by the side
of a frozen stream. It was the end of winter, the
air was not so cold, and his fire was nearly out.
He was old and alone. His locks were white with
age, and he trembled in every joint. Day after
day passed, and he heard nothing but the sound
of the storm sweeping before it the new fallen
One day while his fire was dying, a
handsome young man approached and entered the lodge.
His cheeks were red, his eyes sparkled. He
walked with a quick, light step. His forehead was
bound with a wreath of sweet grass, and he
carried a bunch of fragrant flowers in his hand.
"Ah, my son," said the old man, "I
to see you. Come in! Tell me your adventures,
and what strange lands you have seen. I will tell
you of my wonderful deeds, and what I can
perform. You shall do the same, and we will amuse
The old man then drew from a bag a curiously
wrought pipe. He filled it with mild tobacco, and
handed it to his guest. They each smoked from
the pipe and then began their stories.
"I am Peboan, the Spirit of Winter," said
old man. "I blow my breath, and the streams
stand still. The water becomes stiff and hard as
"I am Seegwun, the Spirit of Spring," answered
the youth. "I breathe, and flowers spring up in
the meadows and woods."
"I shake my locks," said the old man, "and
snow covers the land. The leaves fall from the
trees, and my breath blows them away. The
birds fly to a distant land, and the animals hide
themselves from the cold."
"I shake my ringlets," said
the young man,
"and warm showers of soft rain fall upon the
earth. The flowers lift their heads from the
ground, the grass grows thick and green. My
voice recalls the birds, and they come flying
joyfully from the Southland. The warmth of my
breath unbinds the streams, and they sing the
songs of summer. Music fills the groves whereever I walk,
and all nature rejoices."
And while they were talking thus a wonderful
change took place. The sun began to rise. A gentle
warmth stole over the place. Peboan, the
Spirit of Winter, became silent. His head drooped,
and the snow outside the lodge melted away.
Seegwun, the Spirit of Spring, grew more radiant,
and rose joyfully to his feet. The robin and
the bluebird began to sing on the top of the lodge.
The stream began to murmur at the door, and
the fragrance of opening flowers came softly on
The lodge faded away, and Peboan sank
down and dissolved into tiny streams of water, that
vanished under the brown leaves of the forest.
Thus the Spirit of Winter departed, and where
he had melted away, there the Indian children
gathered the first blossoms, fragrant and
delicately pink - the modest Spring Beauty.