The Native American Story of the Firebird
The Red Indian Fairy Book by Frances Jenkins Olcott
A Whullemooch Story
The Story of the Firebird
Very long ago the Indians of Puget Sound had no fire. They had heard of fire but they had never seen it. They ate all their food raw, and on cold days sat shivering and unhappy. And they had no pleasant lodge fire to gather around on wet nights.
It happened one day, while the people were sitting on the grass eating raw meat, that a beautiful bird suddenly flew above their heads. It had shining feathers, and bright eyes like jewels, and its long, waving tail gave out rays like the Sun. It hovered over the heads of the people, and flew in circles around and around.
"Pretty Bird, what do you want?" said the people.
"I come," replied the bird, "from a beautiful country far away. I am the Firebird, and I bring you the blessing of heat. The rays you see shining about my tail are tongues of flame."
"Oh, pretty Bird," cried the people, "give us the fire, so that we may cook our food and warm ourselves!"
"If you wish the fire," said the bird, "you must earn it. I cannot give it to any one who has done a bad deed or a mean action. To-day let each of you get ready some pitch pine. To-morrow I will return, and then you shall see who will get the fire." So saying, the bird flew away.
The next day it returned. "Have you the pitch pine ready?" asked the bird.
"Yes! yes!" said all the people.
"Very well," said the bird. "Here I go! Catch me if you can. Whoever puts some pitch pine on my tail shall get the fire to warm himself by, and cook his meals on, and to be a blessing to the Children of Puget Sound forever."
Then away flew the bird close to the ground. And away went all the people running after it, braves and squaws, youths and maidens, boys and girls, and little children. Helter-skelter they ran laughing and shouting. Some tripped on stones, others caught in bushes and scratched themselves on thorns, and others fell into water-holes. By and by some of the people went back angrily to their lodges, but the rest kept up the chase.
But no one could catch the Firebird. When one man tried to grasp its tail, the bird cried out, "You are too selfish, you cannot have the fire." And to another man it cried, "You are a thief," and to still another, "You tell lies."
At last the bird flew toward a lodge. In the door was a poor woman taking care of a sick old man.
"Pretty Bird! Pretty Bird!" called she. "I cannot follow you now. Will you not come here and give me your fire?"
"What good have you done?" asked the bird.
"I have done no good," answered the woman sadly. "I have had no time for that. I must stay here and care for my sick father, and look after my little children."
"Kind woman," said the Firebird, "you do your duty, so you are doing good. Bring some wood and put it on my tail, and take the fire."
The woman hastened joyfully to fetch some wood, and when she laid it on the Firebird's tail, the flames blazed up. Then all the other women of the tribe brought wood and got fire from her, and ever after they were able to cook their meat and warm themselves.
As for the Firebird, it flew away and they never saw it again.
That is how the Indians of Puget Sound say they got fire.
The Story of the Firebird
This story of the Firebird is featured in the book entitled the Red Indian Fairy Book by Frances Jenkins Olcott published in Boston, New York by Houghton Mifflin Company in 1917
The Story of the Firebird
The Native American Indian Story of the Firebird provides an opportunity to read about the life and times of Native American Indians and many of their great chiefs and famous leaders. A Classic Short story about Firebird for kids and children of all ages. This short story of the Firebird is great to read to kids and children at bedtime. This very short story contains folklore about the famous people of Native Indian tribes.
The Story of the Firebird for Kids
This short Native American story has been selected to keep the attention of kids and children of all ages. Many of the traditional stories featured in this section are true and others are folk stories or myths and legends. Read our free short story online about Firebird. Read a free, online short story about the people of famous tribes Native American Indians to increase knowledge and understanding of the indigenous people of North America.
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- Firebird, Culture and Mythology
- Interesting story about Firebird for kids and schools
- American Indian Stories, Folklore, Mythology, Myths and Legends - Firebird
- Classic Short story for kids and children
- Read this free, online short story of the Firebird
Firebird - Pictures and Videos of Native Americans
The Story of the Firebird. Discover the vast selection of pictures which relate to the Stories, History and Culture of Native Americans. The pictures show the clothing, War Paint, weapons and decorations of various Native Indian tribes that can be used as a really useful educational history resource for kids and children of all ages. We have included pictures and videos to accompany the main topic of this section - The Native American story of the Firebird. The videos on this website enable fast access to the images, paintings and pictures together with information and many historical facts. All of the articles and pages can be accessed via the Native Indian Tribes Index - a great educational resource for kids.