In a deep forest, far from the villages of his people, lived a

hermit. His tent was made of buffalo skins, and his dress was made

of deer skin. Far from the haunts of any human being this old

hermit was content to spend his days.

All day long he would wander through the forest studying the

different plants of nature and collecting precious roots, which he

used as medicine. At long intervals some warrior would arrive at

the tent of the old hermit and get medicine roots from him for the

tribe, the old hermit's medicine being considered far superior to

all others.

After a long day's ramble in the woods, the hermit came home late,

and being very tired, at once lay down on his bed and was just

dozing off to sleep, when he felt something rub against his foot.

Awakening with a start, he noticed a dark object and an arm was

extended to him, holding in its hand a flint pointed arrow.

The hermit thought, "This must be a spirit, as there is no human

being around here but myself!" A voice then said: "Hermit, I have

come to invite you to my home." "How (yes), I will come," said the

old hermit. Wherewith he arose, wrapped his robe about him and


Outside the door he stopped and looked around, but could see no

signs of the dark object.

"Whoever you are, or whatever you be, wait for me, as I don't know

where to go to find your house," said the hermit. Not an answer

did he receive, nor could he hear any noises as though anyone was

walking through the brush. Re-entering his tent he retired and was

soon fast asleep. The next night the same thing occurred again,

and the hermit followed the object out, only to be left as before.

He was very angry to think that anyone should be trying to make

sport of him, and he determined to find out who this could be who

was disturbing his night's rest.

The next evening he cut a hole in the tent large enough to stick an

arrow through, and stood by the door watching. Soon the dark

object came and stopped outside of the door, and said:

"Grandfather, I came to--," but he never finished the sentence,

for the old man let go his arrow, and he heard the arrow strike

something which produced a sound as though he had shot into a sack

of pebbles. He did not go out that night to see what his arrow had

struck, but early next morning he went out and looked at the spot

about where he thought the object had stood. There on the ground

lay a little heap of corn, and from this little heap a small line

of corn lay scattered along a path. This he followed far into the

woods. When he came to a very small knoll the trail ended. At the

end of the trail was a large circle, from which the grass had been

scraped off clean.

"The corn trail stops at the edge of this circle," said the old

man, "so this must be the home of whoever it was that invited me."

He took his bone knife and hatchet and proceeded to dig down into

the center of the circle. When he had got down to the length

of his arm, he came to a sack of dried meat. Next he found a sack

of Indian turnips, then a sack of dried cherries; then a sack of

corn, and last of all another sack, empty except that there was

about a cupful of corn in one corner of it, and that the sack had

a hole in the other corner where his arrow had pierced it. From

this hole in the sack the corn was scattered along the trail, which

guided the old man to the cache.*

From this the hermit taught the tribes how to keep their provisions

when traveling and were overloaded. He explained to them how they

should dig a pit and put their provisions into it and cover them

with earth. By this method the Indians used to keep provisions all

summer, and when fall came they would return to their cache, and on

opening it would find everything as fresh as the day they were

placed there.

The old hermit was also thanked as the discoverer of corn, which

had never been known to the Indians until discovered by the old


*Hiding place.