The Legend of the Big Dipper by Clarence A. Smith

I USED to take great delight in listening to the stories told by my folks. Here is one which I can recall from memory· I will tell it in my own words: Once upon a time there were six brothers who had a sister, who was the oldest. One day they were playing “tag.” The sister had scarcely been tagged when she was suddenly transformed into a real bear. The six brothers were terrified and fled toward the village, with the bear in close pursuit. The bear entered the village, killing the people as she went along. The warriors made an attempt to kill her; they sent a shower of arrows and spears at her, but the weapons took no effect. They began to realize that nothing on earth could kill the bear. The whole village was thrown into confusion. The people took to the woods for refuge. A young man who had just returned from a hunting trip was puzzled when he approached the village. He did not see a human being about, nor smoke coming from any of the wigwams. It was like a desolate place, only the singing of birds and the rustling. of leaves could be heard. He found the six brothers, and upon inquiring learned what had taken place. He looked into every wigwam only to find them deserted. He went into his lodge and smoked his pipe in honor of the Great Spirit. After praying to the Great Spirit he took his medicine from a box and began his search for the bear. He found her in the wigwam fast asleep. He put the root which he used as a medicine under her nose; this only stirred her anger and she took after him. He ran, with the bear in close pursuit; he reached the place where the brothers stood waiting, but he had no sooner reached the spot than he and the six brothers shot up toward the heavens as quick as a flash. The Great Spirit changed them into a group of seven stars. As for the bear, she followed them but landed toward the northern skies and was changed into a Great Dipper, which can be seen to this day.

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