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The Faster


There was once a man who had an only child. Ond day he said, "My child, you must know that you are all alone in the world, with no one from whom to hope for anything. Only the spirits can help you." Thus he spoke to his child.

The sun fasted. After he had been fasting for some time his father came to him and said, "My dear son, you have been fasting for a very long period. Surely you have obtained some gift from the spirits. You had better stop now." "Father", answered the boy, "you are quite right, but still I should like to continue. All that you have told me to fast for, all that I have now obtained. I have received the gift of killing an enemy at will; I have obtained the gift of old age. Indeed, the spirits came to me and took me to a doctor's lodge and there they brought me to a person who ws dead and told me that I could restore him to life again. It was then they told me not to fast any longer. Yet in spite of their request I continued. Then the spirits from below came, from the creation lodge they came, and they bestowed all things upon me--victory in war, the ability to cure the sick, success in hunting, a long and complete life--this they gave me. Indeed every spirit to whom Earthmaker had given power, each one bestowed something upon me. "You have fasted enough, they said. But Father, what I most desire is that I shall not die. That is why I do not want to stop. So let me continue. Indeed, only when I have obtained that gift shall I stop."

So the youth continued. The spirits came to him and said, "Young man, you have fasted long enough. Earthmaker has bestowed upon you the gift of living to extreme old age, of obtaining everything you wish." "I am grateful," said the boy, "but what I desire is to never die." The spirits could not disuade him. "Indeed, I shall never be satisfied until I obtain the gift of immortal life," continued the boy. He was unable to face the thought of death; he dreaded it very much.

In the council lode of the spirits it was accordingly decided that he should die. So they looked down upon the place where the boy was fasting and there he lay, dead. Then the spirit spoke to the faterh and said, "All that we promised your son, you shall have. Do not think about his matter [your son's death] anymore and bury him."

j Then the father dug a grave and buried him. "I wonder how it all happened," he thought to himself. "They told me they were unable to dissuade him, and it was for that reason that they killed him, they told me not to think of the matter any more."

Sometime after, when the father went to the grave, he noticed a tree growing at its head. The was his son. Only a tree lives forever, and that is why the spirits transformed him into a tree. The father realized it and was happy. He lived contented and prosperous thereafter.

Now this is what the father himself reported and it was because of this [the fate of the youth] that young people are told not to fast for too long a period.

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