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  • Writer's pictureFolkloristan

The Blind Man's Love


Of the old times: a mother and her son lived in the forest together. As they were walking they came to a tree decorated with a bi-colored ribbon. The boy decided to take the ribbon. His mother counseled him not to take the ribbon, for it clearly belonged to someone else. So they walked on a little way and then the boy asked his mother to go on ahead as he needed to relieve himself. When she was out of sight he hurried back to the tree, took the bi-colored ribbon, cut off a piece and tied it around his waist under his clothes. Because of that ribbon he became so strong that he was able to tear up even large trees by the roots. His mother did not understand how he had become so strong and she began to fear him.

They continued to travel until they came to a wigwam where two man- eating giants

lived. There was much human flesh hanging in the wigwam, but the boy was not afraid. One of the giants approached him with a knife but he was not afraid. After this the giants left the boy alone. His mother married the giants but the boy lived by himself nearby. The giants were afraid of him because he was so strong.

This went on for some time until the boy’s mother became sick. She told him that if she ate berries from a certain place she would get well, so he went to get the berries for his mother because of his love for her. When he found the healing berries, he saw that they were guarded by one hundred lynxes. The lynxes were all asleep, so he walked quietly towards the berries, trying not to awaken them. When he got close, though, the lynxes awakened. But the boy took his club and killed them all. Then he took the berries and went back to his mother, who ate the berries and she lived. And the boy stayed outside.

Then his mother became sick again. She was so skinny that it was as if all her flesh was gone. The boy came to his mother again and asked her what had happened and she told her son that she would not live. He asked her what he could do to save her. She told him that if he brought her some water from far away that smelled a little she would live, so he went to get the water from far away that smelled a little. He found the water that smelled a little hanging in a bucket from the top of a tree near a wigwam.

The boy began to climb the tree to get the water, but when he was half way up the tree a mean man came out of the wigwam. He said that he would kill the boy for stealing his water. He was carrying a huge club. The boy came down the tree, took the club from the mean man and struck him on the head and killed him. He then went into the wigwam and looked all around and he saw a girl sitting there. He asked her why she lived in the wigwam of the mean man and she told him that the mean man stole her, and she had a child for him long ago. He told her that she was free to go home because the mean man was dead. Then he took some of the water that smelled a little and carried it back to his mother. She drank the water and she lived. And the boy stayed outside. For the third time, the boy's mother became very sick, as though she would die. The boy came to his mother again and asked her what he could do to save her. She said that she had to know what the source of his supernatural strength was. The boy knew that she was planning his death, but he told her that he took the bi-colored ribbon which they passed long ago and tied it around his waist. He gave the ribbon to his mother and when the woman had tied the ribbon around her waist she became strong. She began to tear up large trees by the roots. When they came to a very large spruce, she told her son to climb it and she followed him up. Then she pricked his eyes out and left him.

The boy, unable to see, traveled blind. One day, he heard bells and knew a sledge was coming, drawn by dogs. The people brought him to their village. An old man in the village adopted the boy and loved him. Time passed and the chief of the tribe decided to arrange marriages for his daughters. The old man convinced the blind boy, now a young man, to go with the other young men of the village to see who would be chosen to marry the chief’s daughters.

The chief’s oldest two daughters had already chosen powerful warriors for their husbands. But the youngest daughter chose the blind young man. She was the girl he had rescued from the mean man. When he killed the mean man and sent her home, she had made a vow that if she ever saw him again she would marry him.

But her father told her that although the man was kind he was blind and if she married him she would have to leave her family. Then he gave her much wampum, a canoe and servants and sent her and her husband away.

The young man was not happy although he was married. He knew he was poor and

blind and thought that she had married him out of pity. But his wife could not have loved him more. When the sun was high in the sky, she suggested that they go up a hill and the servants would bring them food. But he refused, telling her that she was planning to leave him on the hill with nothing. But his wife insisted that she loved him and she would not leave him. So he agreed to go up the hill with her.

The two started up the hill and soon came to a large lake. A moose came up, feeling its way towards the lake. The moose is blind, the woman told her husband. When the moose came to the water, he put his head under water and for a long time held his head under the water. When he took his head out he looked around. Again, he put his head in water. Again for a long time he held his head in. Then he lifted his head and he looked around. After that his eyes became good again.

For that reason, the woman told her husband to do that, too. But he refused, believing that she planned to drown him. But she insisted that no, the moose’s eyes became good so if he did it too it would happen that way. He agreed to do it. So she led him to the water. For a long time he held his head in water. Then he took it out of the water. His wife told him that his eyes seemed improved. The man told her that she looked like a small woman. So he put his head in the water again. When he raised his head he said certainly his eyes could see. Certainly his eyes could see.

Then they went back to their servants. The young man decided to return to his mother’s wigwam alone. It was evening when he arrived and he saw that the bi-colored ribbon was lying outside. He took the ribbon and tied it on again. When the sun had set he went into the wigwam and killed his mother and his two stepfathers.

Then he returned to his wife and they went back to her father's house. When they came there his father-in-law saw that he could see. He welcomed them back and made the young man his heir. And the young man became a mighty chief.

 

This is an Algonquian tale from North America and has been contributed by the Fairy Encyclopedia.

It is a part of our series, Folklore Worldwide. We are currently open to submissions from around the world, and you are welcome to send us your stories!

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