THE MAGIC BUNDLE (The Indian Fairy Book, 1869) BY CORNELIUS MATHEWS
A poor man, called Iena, or the Wanderer, was in the habit of roaming about from place to place, forlorn, without relations, and almost helpless. He had often wished for a companion to share his solitude; but who would think of joining their fortunes with those of a poor wanderer, who had no shelter but such as his leather hunting-shirt provided, and no other household in the world than the bundle which he carried in his hand, and in which his hunting-shirt was laid away?
One day as he went on a hunting excursion, to relieve himself of the burden of carrying it, Iena hung up his bundle on the branch of a tree, and then set out in quest of game.
On returning to the spot in the evening, he was surprised to find a small but neat lodge built in the place where he had left his bundle; and on looking in he beheld a beautiful female, sitting on the further side of the lodge, with his bundle lying beside her.
During the day Iena had so far prospered in his sport as to kill a deer, which he now cast down at the lodge door.
Without pausing to take the least notice, or to give a word of welcome to the hunter, the woman ran out and began to see whether it was a large deer that he had brought. In her haste she stumbled and fell at the threshold.
Iena looked at her with astonishment, and thought to himself, “I supposed I was blessed, but I find my mistake. Night-Hawk,” said he, speaking aloud, “I will leave my game with you that you may feast on it.”
He then took up his bundle and departed. After walking some time he came to another tree, on which he suspended his bundle as before, and went in search of game.
Success again attended him, and he returned, bringing with him a deer, and he found that a lodge had sprung up as before, where he had hung his bundle. He looked in and saw a beautiful female sitting alone, with his bundle by her side.
She arose and came out toward the deer which he had deposited at the door, and he immediately went into the lodge and sat by the fire, as he was weary with the day’s hunt, which had carried him far away.
The woman did not return, and wondering at her delay, Iena at last arose, and peeping through the door of the lodge, beheld her greedily eating all the fat of the deer. He exclaimed, “I thought I was blessed, but I find I was mistaken.” Then addressing the woman: “Poor Marten,” said he, “feast on the game I have brought.”
He again took up his bundle and departed; and, as usual, hung it upon the branch of a tree, and wandered off in quest of game.
In the evening he returned, with his customary good luck, bringing in a fine deer. He again found that a lodge had taken the place of his bundle. He gazed through an opening in the side of the lodge, and there was another beautiful woman sitting alone, with a bundle by her side.
As soon as he entered the lodge, she rose cheerfully, welcomed him home, and without delay or complaining, she brought in the deer, cut it up as it should be, and hung up the meat to dry. She then prepared a portion of it for the supper of the weary hunter. The man thought to himself, “Now I am certainly blessed.”
He continued his practice of hunting every day, and the woman, on his return, always welcomed him, readily took charge of the meat, and promptly prepared his evening meal; and he ever after lived a contented and happy man.
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