: The Stories Mother Nature Told Her Children
What will Nannie do now? Here in our New-England towns it would seem
hard enough to have one's house swept away before one's eyes; but then
you know you could take the next train of cars, and go to your aunt in
Boston, or your uncle in New York, to stay until a new house could be
prepared for you. But here is Nannie hundreds and thousands of miles
away from any such help; for there are not only no railroads to travel
on, but not even common roads nor horses nor wagons; nevertheless,
there are neighbors who will bring help.
You remember reading in your history, how, when our great-great-
grandfathers came to this country to live, they found it occupied by
Indians. The Indians are all gone from our part of the country now; but
out in the far North-West, where Nannie lives, they still have their
wigwams and canoes, still dress in blankets, and wear feathers on their
heads, and in that particular part of the country lives a tribe called
the Flatheads. They take this odd name because of a fashion they have of
binding a board upon the top of a child's head, while he is yet very
young, in order that he may grow up with a flattened head, which is
considered a mark of beauty among these savages, just as small feet are
so considered among the Chinese, you know.
The Flatheads are Nannie's only neighbors, and perhaps you would
consider them rather undesirable friends; but when I tell you how they
came at once with blankets and food, and all sorts of friendly offers of
shelter and help, you will think that some white people might well take
a lesson from them.
They had been in the habit of bringing venison and salmon to the
settlement for sale; and when Nannie's mother tells them that she has no
longer any money to buy, they say, "Oh, no, it is a potlatch!" which in
their language mean a present.
Happily the warm weather is approaching; and a little girl who has lived
out of doors so much does not find it unsafe to sleep in the hammock
which Hunter has slung for her among the trees, or even on the ground,
rolled in an Indian blanket; and when her shoes wear out, she can safely
run barefooted in the woods or on the sand.
Before many weeks have passed, some of the tall fir-trees are cut down,
and a new house is built, this time safely perched on top of the cliff;
and, so far as I know, the Frost Giants have never succeeded in touching