Why the Ice Roof Fell by Mabel Powers
A great many winters ago, there lived at the foot of a certain lake a
tribe of wicked Indians. These Indians were so fierce, and warlike, and
wasteful, they went about destroying everything.
They laid low a tract of beautiful forest trees, for no good purpose.
They tore up shrubs and plants that gave them food and medicine. They
shot their arrows into every bird or animal they saw, just for sport.
The great trees—their silent brothers of the wood—trembled and sighed
when they heard these Indians coming. The squirrels darted into hollow
trees, and birds flew in alarm at their footsteps. The deer and rabbit
ran from the trail.
At last the Great Spirit became very angry with this tribe. Always he
had taught the Indians never to kill an animal, unless for food and
protection; never to fell a tree, unless for fuel or shelter; never to
dig up shrubs or plants, unless for some good use.
"All life," the Great Spirit had said, "is sacred and beautiful. It must
not be wasted."
And never before had he known the Indians to waste the beautiful living
things about them. The Great Spirit was very sad.
The ice formed very thick on the lake that winter.
One night, there came a great storm of wind and rain. The ice broke
loose from the shores, and the wind blew it down the lake. At the foot
of the lake, a mass of ice was piled high over the shore, where lived
these wasteful Indians.
Like a giant roof, the ice spread over the little Indian village lying
there asleep, but the Indians did not know. They slept on, unaware of
their danger, for a deep, heavy sleep had come upon them.
Just as the sun rose, the ice roof gave way and fell upon the sleeping
Indians, crushing them in their wigwams.
The waste they had brought upon their brothers of the wood had brought
punishment upon them. The Great Spirit had destroyed these wicked
Indians, that the good Indians might keep his world beautiful.
Ever after, as long as the Indians occupied the country, before the
White man came, no trees were felled, and no animals or birds were
killed, unless for some wise and useful purpose.