WHY THE BABY SAYS “GOO”
RETOLD BY EHRMA G. FILER
On a sloping highland near the snow-capped mountains of the North was an
Indian village. The Chief of the village was a very brave man, and he had done
many wonderful things.
These were the days of magic and witchery. The Ice Giants had attempted to
raid the land; some wicked Witches had tried to cast an evil spell over the
people; and once a neighboring colony of Dwarfs had tried to invade the village.
But the brave Chief had fought and conquered all these forces of evil and
magic. He was so successful and so good that the people loved him very much.
They thought he could do anything.
Then before long the Chief himself began to be proud and vain. He had
conquered everyone; so he thought he was the greatest warrior in the world.
One day he boastfully said: “I can conquer anything or any person on this
Now, a certain Wise Old Woman lived in this village. She knew one whom the
Chief could not conquer. She decided it was best for the Chief to know this, for
he was getting too vain. So one day she went to the Chief and told him.
“Granny, who is this marvelous person?” asked the Chief, half angrily.
“We call him Wasis,” she solemnly answered.
“Show him to me,” said the Chief. “I will prove that I can conquer him.”
The old grandmother led the way to her own wigwam. A great crowd followed to
see what would happen.
“There he is,” said the Wise Old Woman; and she pointed to a dear little
Indian baby, who sat, round-eyed and solemn, sucking a piece of sugar.
The Chief was astonished. He could not imagine what the old woman meant, for
he was sure he could make a little baby obey him. This Chief had no wife, and
knew nothing about babies. He stepped up closer to the baby, and looking
seriously at him said:
“Baby, come here!”
Little Wasis merely smiled back at him and gurgled, “Goo, Goo,” in true baby
The Chief felt very queer. No one had ever answered him so before. Then he
thought, perhaps the baby did not understand; so he stepped nearer and said
kindly: “Baby, come here!”
“Goo, Goo!” answered baby, and waved his little dimpled hand.
This was an open insult, the Chief felt; so he called out loudly: “Baby, come
here at once!”
This frightened little Wasis, and he opened his little mouth and began to
cry. The Chief had never before heard such a noise. He drew back, and looked
“You see, little Wasis shouts back war-cries,” said the Wise Old Woman.
This angered the Chief, and he said: “I will overcome him with my magic
Then he began to mutter queer songs, and to dance around the baby.
This pleased little Wasis, and he smiled and watched the Chief, never moving
to go to him. He just sat and sucked his sugar.
At last the Chief was tired out. His red paint was streaked with sweat; his
feathers were falling, and his legs ached. He sat down and looked at the old
“Did I not say that baby is mightier than you?” said she. “No one is mightier
than he. A baby rules the wigwam, and everyone obeys him.”
“It is truly so,” said the Chief, and went outside.
The last sound he heard as he walked away was the “Goo, Goo” of little Wasis
as he crowed in victory. It was his war-cry. All babies mean just that
when they gurgle so at you.