There was once upon a time a man who did not care to live with his

tribe in a crowded village, but preferred a secluded spot in the

deep forest, there to live with his wife and family of five

children. The oldest of the children (a boy) was twelve years of

age, and being the son of a distinguished hunter, soon took to

roaming through the forest in search of small game.

One day during his ramblings, he discovered a crane's nest, with

only one young crane occupying it. No doubt some fox or traveling

weasel had eaten the rest of the crane's brothers and sisters. The

boy said to himself, "I will take this poor little crane home and

will raise him as a pet for our baby. If I leave him here some

hungry fox will be sure to eat the poor little fellow." He carried

the young crane home and it grew to be nearly as tall as the boy's

five-year-old sister.

Being brought up in a human circle, it soon grew to understand all

the family said. Although it could not speak it took part in all

the games played by the children. The father of the family was, as

I have before mentioned, a great hunter. He always had a

plentiful supply of deer, antelope, buffalo and beaver meats on

hand, but there came a change. The game migrated to some other

locality, where no deadly shot like "Kutesan" (Never Miss) would be

around to annihilate their fast decreasing droves. The hunter

started out early one morning in hopes of discovering some of the

game which had disappeared as suddenly as though the earth had

swallowed them. The hunter traveled the whole day, all to no

purpose. It was late in the evening when he staggered into camp.

He was nearly dead with fatigue. Hastily swallowing a cup of

cherry bark tea (the only article of food they had in store), he at

once retired and was soon in the sweet land of dreams. The

children soon joined their father and the poor woman sat thinking

how they could save their dear children from starvation. Suddenly

out upon the night air rang the cry of a crane. Instantly the pet

crane awoke, stepped outside and answered the call. The crane

which had given the cry was the father of the pet crane, and

learning from Mr. Fox of the starving condition of his son and his

friends, he flew to the hunting grounds of the tribe, and as there

had been a good kill that day, the crane found no trouble in

securing a great quantity of fat. This he carried to the tent of

the hunter and, hovering over the tent he suddenly let the fat drop

to the earth and at once the pet crane picked it up and carried it

to the woman.

Wishing to surprise the family on their awakening in the morning

she got a good stick for a light, heaped up sticks on the dying

embers, and started up a rousing fire and proceeded to melt or try

out the fat, as melted fat is considered a favorite dish.

Although busily occupied she kept her ears open for any strange

noises coming out of the forest, there being usually some enemies

lurking around. She held her pan in such a position that after the

fat started to melt and quite a lot of the hot grease accumulated

in the pan, she could plainly see the tent door reflected in the

hot grease, as though she used a mirror.

When she had nearly completed her task, she heard a noise as though

some footsteps were approaching. Instantly her heart began to beat

a tattoo on her ribs, but she sat perfectly quiet, calling all her

self-control into play to keep from making an outcry. This smart

woman had already studied out a way in which to best this enemy, in

case an enemy it should be. The footsteps, or noise, continued to

advance, until at last the woman saw reflected in the pan of grease

a hand slowly protruding through the tent door, and the finger

pointed, as if counting, to the sleeping father, then to each one

of the sleeping children, then to her who sat at the fire. Little

did Mr. Enemy suppose that the brave woman who sat so composed at

her fire, was watching every motion he was making. The hand slowly

withdrew, and as the footsteps slowly died away, there rang out on

the still night air the deep fierce howl of the prairie wolf.

(This imitation of a prairie wolf is the signal to the war party

that an enemy has been discovered by the scout whom they have sent

out in advance). At once she aroused her husband and children.

Annoyed at being so unceremoniously disturbed from his deep sleep,

the husband crossly asked why she had awakened him so roughly. The

wife explained what she had seen and heard. She at once pinned an

old blanket around the crane's shoulders and an old piece of

buffalo hide on his head for a hat or head covering. Heaping piles

of wood onto the fire she instructed him to run around outside of

the hut until the family returned, as they were going to see if

they could find some roots to mix up with the fat. Hurriedly she

tied her blanket around her middle, put her baby inside of it, and

then grabbed her three year old son and packed him on her back.

The father also hurriedly packed the next two and the older boy

took care of himself.

Immediately upon leaving the tent they took three different

directions, to meet again on the high hill west of their home. The

reflection from the fire in the tent disclosed to them the poor pet

crane running around the tent. It looked exactly like a child with

its blanket and hat on.

Suddenly there rang out a score of shots and war whoops of the

dreaded Crow Indians. Finding the tent deserted they disgustedly

filed off and were swallowed up in the darkness of the deep forest.

The next morning the family returned to see what had become of

their pet crane. There, riddled to pieces, lay the poor bird who

had given up his life to save his dear friends.