Page:Aino folk-tales.djvu/24

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8
AINO FOLK-LOKE.

the other, in a joking way: "I will become a flea, so as to be able to hop into her bosom." Said the other: "I will become a louse, so as to be able to stay always in her bosom."

"Are those your wishes?" cried their father, the chief thunder-god. "You shall be taken at your word"; and forthwith the one of them who had said he would become a flea was turned into a flea, while he who said he would become a louse was turned into a louse. Hence all the fleas and lice that exist at the present day.

This accounts for the fact that, whenever there is a thunder-storm, fleas jump out of all sorts of places where there were none to be seen before.—(Written down from memory. Told by Ishanashte, 27th Norember, 1886.)


iii.—Why Dogs cannot speak.

Formerly dogs could speak. Now they cannot. The reason is that a dog, belonging to a certain man a long time ago, inveigled his master into the forest under the pretext of showing him game, and there caused him to be devoured by a bear. Then the dog went home to his master's widow, and lied to her, saying: "My master has been killed by a bear. But when he was dying he commanded me to tell you to marry me in his stead." The widow knew that the dog was lying. But he kept on urging her to marry him. So at last, in her grief and rage, she threw a handful of dust into his open mouth. This made him unable to speak any more, and therefore no dogs can speak even to this very day.— (Written down from memory. Told by Ishanashte, 29th November, X886.)


iv.—Why the Cock cannot fly.

When the Creator had finished creating the world, and had returned to the sky, he sent down the cock to see whether the world was good or not, with orders to come back at once. But the world was so beautiful, that the cock, unable to tear himself away, kept lingering on from day to day. At last, after a long time, he was on his way flying back up to the sky. But God, angry with him for his