Near to a Chippewa village lay a large lake, and in this lake there

lived an enormous turtle. This was no ordinary turtle, as he would

often come out of his home in the lake and visit with his Indian

neighbors. He paid the most of his visits to the head

chief, and on these occasions would stay for hours, smoking and

talking with him.

The chief, seeing that the turtle was very smart and showed great

wisdom in his talk, took a great fancy to him, and whenever any

puzzling subject came up before the chief, he generally sent for

Mr. Turtle to help him decide.

One day there came a great misunderstanding between different

parties of the tribe, and so excited became both sides that it

threatened to cause bloodshed. The chief was unable to decide for

either faction, so he said, "I will call Mr. Turtle. He will

judge for you."

Sending for the turtle, the chief vacated his seat for the time

being, until the turtle should hear both sides, and decide which

was in the right. The turtle came, and taking the chief's seat,

listened very attentively to both sides, and thought long before he

gave his decision. After thinking long and studying each

side carefully, he came to the conclusion to decide in favor of

both. This would not cause any hard feelings. So he gave them a

lengthy speech and showed them where they were both in the right,

and wound up by saying:

"You are both in the right in some ways and wrong in others.

Therefore, I will say that you both are equally in the right."

When they heard this decision, they saw that the turtle was right,

and gave him a long cheer for the wisdom displayed by him. The

whole tribe saw that had it not been for this wise decision there

would have been a great shedding of blood in the tribe. So

they voted him as their judge, and the chief, being so well pleased

with him, gave to him his only daughter in marriage.

The daughter of the chief was the most beautiful maiden of the

Chippewa nation, and young men from other tribes traveled hundreds

of miles for an opportunity to make love to her, and try to win her

for a wife. It was all to no purpose. She would accept no one,

only him whom her father would select for her. The turtle was very

homely, but as he was prudent and wise, the father chose him, and

she accepted him.

The young men of the tribe were very jealous, but their jealousy

was all to no purpose. She married the turtle. The young men

would make sport of the chief's son-in-law. They would say to him:

"How did you come to have so flat a stomach?" The turtle

answered them, saying:

"My friends, had you been in my place, you too would have flat

stomachs. I came by my flat stomach in this way: The Chippewas and

Sioux had a great battle, and the Sioux, too numerous for the

Chippewas, were killing them off so fast that they had to run for

their lives. I was on the Chippewa side and some of the Sioux were

pressing five of us, and were gaining on us very fast. Coming to

some high grass, I threw myself down flat on my face, and pressed

my stomach close to the ground, so the pursuers could not see me.

They passed me and killed the four I was with. After they had gone

back, I arose and lo! my stomach was as you see it now. So hard

had I pressed to the ground that it would not assume its original

shape again."

After he had explained the cause of his deformity to them, they

said: "The Turtle is brave. We will bother him no more." Shortly

after this the Sioux made an attack upon the Chippewas, and every

one deserted the village. The Turtle could not travel as fast as

the rest and was left behind. It being an unusually hot day in the

fall, the Turtle grew very thirsty and sleepy. Finally scenting

water, he crawled towards the point from whence the scent

came, and coming to a large lake jumped in and had a bath, after

which he swam towards the center and dived down, and finding some

fine large rocks at the bottom, he crawled in among them and fell

asleep. He had his sleep out and arose to the top.

Swimming to shore he found it was summer. He had slept all winter.

The birds were singing, and the green grass and leaves gave forth

a sweet odor.

He crawled out and started out looking for the Chippewa camp. He

came upon the camp several days after he had left his winter

quarters, and going around in search of his wife, found her at the

extreme edge of the village. She was nursing her baby, and as he

asked to see it, she showed it to him. When he saw that it was a

lovely baby and did not resemble him in any respect, he got angry

and went off to a large lake, where he contented himself with

catching flies and insects and living on seaweed the remainder of

his life.