This week’s fairy tale is one I hadn’t come across before, but it is a lovely one with a moral which I’m finding is common for quite a few fairy/folk tales.
It centres around three young hunters who come across a rabbit. They already have a lot of game but shoot at the rabbit anyway. They are surprised when their arrows come back with no blood. They shoot again but the rabbit has disappeared. In its place is an old man. The old man is sick and asks for their help. They refuse to help him, not realising the man is following them. The old man sees skin hanging on a pole which shows that there’s a clan within the lodges. He asks for some help from the wolf clan but they don’t want any sickness around them. The same happened with the beaver, turtle, deer, hawk, snipe and heron. No one wanted to help him. 😦
The man came across the bear clan. The bear clan mother saw how sick the man was and welcomed him inside. She gave him food and warmth. The next day, the old man told the woman which herbs to fetch to heal him. Soon he was healed. The man stayed with the bear clan for a few days more becoming sick again. This time the old man told her which roots to getch. She did so. Every single time the man fell ill, he could tell the woman what to get. Before long, the woman knew more about healing than anyone else.
The man told the woman that he was sent from the Great Spirit to teach her how to heal. He told her that she was the only one that helped him out. He had imparted his knowledge and now all of the clans would come to the bear clan because they were the most knowledgeable and the greatest.
Before the woman knew it, the man had disappeared. All she saw was a rabbit running away.
An extract from A Year Full of Stories, by Angela McAllister, illustrated by Christopher Corr (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2016)