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Of The Wolverine And The Wolves, Or How Master Lox Froze To Death
by [?]


Of old times it came to pass that Master Lox, the Wolverine, or Indian Devil, he who was slain many times and as often rose from the dead, found himself deeply down in luck; for he was crossing a wide and dismal heath in winter-time, being but poorly provided in any way for travel. The wind blew like knives; the snow fell; sleet, frost, hail, and rain seemed to come all together in bad company, and still Lox was not happy, although he had no blanket or fur coat beyond his own. Yet this evil-minded jolly companion with every vice had one virtue, and that was that of all the beasts of the forest or devils in P’lamkik’ he was the hardest hearted, toughest, and most unconquerable, being ever the first to fight and the last to give in, which even then he did not, never having done it and never intending to; whence it happened that he was greatly admired and made much of by all the blackguardly beasts of the backwoods,–wherein they differed but little from many among men.

Now as of all rowdies and rascals the wolves are the worst, we may well believe that it was with great joy Lox heard, as the darkness was coming on, a long, sad howl, far away, betokening the coming of a pack of these pleasant people; to which he raised his own voice in the wolf tongue,–for he was learned in many languages,–and soon was surrounded by some fifteen or sixteen lupine land loafers, who danced, rolling over, barking and biting one another, all for very joy at meeting with him. And the elder, he who was captain, or the sogmo, [Footnote: Sogmo, sagamore, a chief; the word corrupted into sachem.] said, “Peradventure thou wilt encamp with us this night, for it is ill for a gentleman to be alone, where he might encounter vulgar fellows.” And Lox thanked him as if he were doing him a favor, and accepted the best of their dried meat, and took the highest place by their fire, and smoked the chief’s choicest tomawe out of his best pipe, and all that with such vast condescension that the wolves grinned with delight.

And when they laid them down to sleep he that was the eldest, or the sogmo, bade the younger cover their guest Lox over very carefully. Now the tail of the wolf has broad-spreading, shaggy hair, and Lox, being sleepy, really thought it was a fur blanket that they spread, and though the night was cold enough to crack the rocks he threw the covering off; twice he did this, and the chief who looked after him, with all the rest, admired him greatly because he cared so little for the cold or for their care.

And having eaten after they arose, when in the morning they would wend away, the Wolf Chief said unto Lox, “Uncle, thou hast yet three days’ hard travel before thee in a land where there is neither home, house, nor hearth, and it will be ill camping without a fire. Now I have a most approved and excellent charm, or spell, by which I can give thee three fires, but no more; yet will they suffice, one for each night, until thou gettest to thy journey’s end. And this is the manner thereof: that thou shalt take unto thee dry wood, even such as men commonly burn, and thou shalt put them together, even as boys build little wigwams for sport, and then thou shalt jump over it. And truly, uncle, this is an approved and excellent charm of ripe antiquity, kept as a solemn secret among the wolves, and thou art the first not of our holy nation to whom it hath been given.” So they parted.