142 THE LITTLE AND BIG BROTHERS
hind legs as they spoke, and stretching out their fore-paws to him.
' But how am I to help you ?' asked the little brother, almost weeping. ' I can kill people, and destroy trees and mountains, but I have no power over men.' And the two elder brothers came up and put their paws on his shoulders, and they all three wept together.
The heart of the bear chief's sister was moved when she saw their misery, and she came gently up behind, and whispered:
' Little boy, gather some moss from the spring over there, and let your brothers smell it.'
With a bound all three were at the spring, and as the youngest plucked a handful of wet moss, the two others sniffed at it with all their might. Then the bearskin fell away from them, and they stood upright once more.
' How can we thank you ? how can we thank you ? ' they stammered, hardly able to speak; and fell at her feet in gratitude. But the bear's sister only smiled, and bade them go home and look after the little girl, who had no one else to protect her.
And this the boys did, and took such good care of their sister that, as she was very small, she soon forgot that she had ever had a father and mother.
[From the Bureau of Ethnology, U.S.']