MANSTIN was an adventurous brave, but very kind-hearted.

Stamping a moccasined foot as he drew on his buckskin leggins, he

said: "Grandmother, beware of Iktomi! Do not let him lure you into

some cunning trap. I am going to the North country on a long


With these words of caution to the bent old rabbit grandmother

with whom he had lived since he was a tiny babe, Manstin started

off toward the north. He was scarce over the great high hills when

he heard the shrieking of a human child.

"Wan!" he ejaculated, pointing his long ears toward the

direction of the sound; "Wan! that is the work of cruel

Double-Face. Shameless coward! he delights in torturing helpless


Muttering indistinct words, Manstin ran up the last hill and

lo! in the ravine beyond stood the terrible monster with a face in

front and one in the back of his head!

This brown giant was without clothes save for a wild-cat-skin

about his loins. With a wicked gleaming eye, he watched the little

black-haired baby he held in his strong arm. In a laughing voice

he hummed an Indian mother's lullaby, "A-boo! Aboo!" and at the

same time he switched the naked baby with a thorny wild-rose bush.

Quickly Manstin jumped behind a large sage bush on the brow of

the hill. He bent his bow and the sinewy string twanged. Now an

arrow stuck above the ear of Double-Face. It was a poisoned arrow,

and the giant fell dead. Then Manstin took the little brown baby

and hurried away from the ravine. Soon he came to a teepee from

whence loud wailing voices broke. It was the teepee of the stolen

baby and the mourners were its heart-broken parents.

When gallant Manstin returned the child to the eager arms of

the mother there came a sudden terror into the eyes of both the

Dakotas. They feared lest it was Double-Face come in a new guise

to torture them. The rabbit understood their fear and said: "I am

Manstin, the kind-hearted,--Manstin, the noted huntsman. I am your

friend. Do not fear."

That night a strange thing happened. While the father and

mother slept, Manstin took the wee baby. With his feet placed

gently yet firmly upon the tiny toes of the little child, he drew

upward by each small hand the sleeping child till he was a full-

grown man. With a forefinger he traced a slit in the upper lip;

and when on the morrow the man and woman awoke they could not

distinguish their own son from Manstin, so much alike were the


"Henceforth we are friends, to help each other," said Manstin,

shaking a right hand in farewell. "The earth is our common ear, to

carry from its uttermost extremes one's slightest wish for the


"Ho! Be it so!" answered the newly made man.

Upon leaving his friend, Manstin hurried away toward the North

country whither he was bound for a long hunt. Suddenly he came

upon the edge of a wide brook. His alert eye caught sight of a

rawhide rope staked to the water's brink, which led away toward a

small round hut in the distance. The ground was trodden into a

deep groove beneath the loosely drawn rawhide rope.

"Hun-he!" exclaimed Manstin, bending over the freshly made

footprints in the moist bank of the brook. "A man's footprints!"

he said to himself. "A blind man lives in yonder hut! This rope

is his guide by which he comes for his daily water!" surmised

Manstin, who knew all the peculiar contrivances of the people. At

once his eyes became fixed upon the solitary dwelling and hither he

followed his curiosity,--a real blind man's rope.

Quietly he lifted the door-flap and entered in. An old

toothless grandfather, blind and shaky with age, sat upon the

ground. He was not deaf however. He heard the entrance and felt

the presence of some stranger.

"How, grandchild," he mumbled, for he was old enough to be

grandparent to every living thing, "how! I cannot see you. Pray,

speak your name!"

"Grandfather, I am Manstin," answered the rabbit, all the

while looking with curious eyes about the wigwam.

"Grandfather, what is it so tightly packed in all these

buckskin bags placed against the tent poles?" he asked.

"My grandchild, those are dried buffalo meat and venison.

These are magic bags which never grow empty. I am blind and cannot

go on a hunt. Hence a kind Maker has given me these magic bags of

choicest foods."

Then the old, bent man pulled at a rope which lay by his right

hand. "This leads me to the brook where I drink! and this," said

he, turning to the one on his left, "and this takes me into the

forest, where I feel about for dry sticks for my fire."

"Grandfather, I wish I lived in such sure luxury! I would

lean back against a tent pole, and with crossed feet I would smoke

sweet willow bark the rest of my days," sighed Manstin.

"My grandchild, your eyes are your luxury! you would be

unhappy without them!" the old man replied.

"Grandfather, I would give you my two eyes for your place!"

cried Manstin.

"How! you have said it. Arise. Take out your eyes and give

them to me. Henceforth you are at home here in my stead."

At once Manstin took out both his eyes and the old man put

them on! Rejoicing, the old grandfather started away with his

young eyes while the blind rabbit filled his dream pipe, leaning

lazily against the tent pole. For a short time it was a most

pleasant pastime to smoke willow bark and to eat from the magic


Manstin grew thirsty, but there was no water in the small

dwelling. Taking one of the rawhide ropes he started toward the

brook to quench his thirst. He was young and unwilling to trudge

slowly in the old man's footpath. He was full of glee, for it had

been many long moons since he had tasted such good food. Thus he

skipped confidently along jerking the old weather-eaten rawhide

spasmodically till all of a sudden it gave way and Manstin fell

headlong into the water.

"En! En!" he grunted kicking frantically amid stream. All

along the slippery bank he vainly tried to climb, till at last he

chanced upon the old stake and the deeply worn footpath. Exhausted

and inwardly disgusted with his mishaps, he crawled more cautiously

on all fours to his wigwam door. Dripping with his recent plunge

he sat with chattering teeth within his unfired wigwam.

The sun had set and the night air was chilly, but there was no

fire-wood in the dwelling. "Hin!" murmured Manstin and bravely

tried the other rope. "I go for some fire-wood!" he said,

following the rawhide rope which led into the forest. Soon he

stumbled upon thickly strewn dry willow sticks. Eagerly with both

hands he gathered the wood into his outspread blanket. Manstin was

naturally an energetic fellow.

When he had a large heap, he tied two opposite ends of blanket

together and lifted the bundle of wood upon his back, but alas! he

had unconsciously dropped the end of the rope and now he was lost

in the wood!

"Hin! hin!" he groaned. Then pausing a moment, he set his

fan-like ears to catch any sound of approaching footsteps. There

was none. Not even a night bird twittered to help him out of his


With a bold face, he made a start at random.

He fell into some tangled wood where he was held fast.

Manstin let go his bundle and began to lament having given away

his two eyes.

"Friend, my friend, I have need of you! The old oak tree

grandfather has gone off with my eyes and I am lost in the woods!"

he cried with his lips close to the earth.

Scarcely had he spoken when the sound of voices was audible on

the outer edge of the forest. Nearer and louder grew the

voices--one was the clear flute tones of a young brave and the

other the tremulous squeaks of an old grandfather.

It was Manstin's friend with the Earth Ear and the old

grandfather. "Here Manstin, take back your eyes," said the old

man, "I knew you would not be content in my stead, but I wanted you

to learn your lesson. I have had pleasure seeing with your eyes

and trying your bow and arrows, but since I am old and feeble I

much prefer my own teepee and my magic bags!"

Thus talking the three returned to the hut. The old

grandfather crept into his wigwam, which is often mistaken for a

mere oak tree by little Indian girls and boys.

Manstin, with his own bright eyes fitted into his head again,

went on happily to hunt in the North country.