On a lonely river, in a small village, once lived a man named Gizhiiyaanimad and his wife Baashkaabigwanii. They had three children: two sons, Bizhiins and Gekek, a daughter named Anangokwe. The children grew up to be fine people and one day the daughter married a man who came to her father and offered many furs and gifts for her. Her father accepted these, even though the man, Wiiyagasenh was known to be a bad man, and even though Anangokwe did not like him. Sadly, Anangokwe went away with her new husband and soon found he was a very jealous man who often hit her for no reason other than he enjoyed being cruel.
One day, Wiiyagasenh decided to go hunting in a very remote area that was quite a distance away from camp. Gizhiiyaanimad and Baashkaabigwanii knew that Wiiyagasenh was often brutal and abusive to Anangokwe, and they were afraid that he might kill her while out hunting while she was alone with him. They decided to send Bizhiins along with under the pretense of ‘helping’ his brother in law. The two men and the Anangokwe camped near a lake that had lots of nesting ducks in the rushes along the shore. They set up camp and took up hunting.
One day, when her brother was out hunting by himself, Anangokwe's husband ordered her to bring him a duck egg for breakfast. While down at the shore of the lake, she met a man who said to her “Aniin young lady. What do you want?” Anangokwe responded, “My husband has sent me to get an egg” she answered. He gave her one, which she carried home and set down outside the wigwam. When her husband asked her if she had brought the egg, she told him that she had left it outside. He went out and looked at it, then said very angrily “I don't want a small egg like this! I will surely starve. I want a big one.” Anangokwe returned to the lake and, meeting the same man again, said to him “It is a big egg that my husband wants.” The man smiled and he picked up an egg twice the size of a normal duck egg. He gave her the big egg and she walked back to the camp and again left outside the wigwam. But her husband only became angrier and said, “Stupid woman! This egg is not big enough. Bring me a bigger one” and he hit her across the face. So for the third time she returned to the lake and told the man that her husband was not satisfied. The man took her hand and said, “Young woman. Nothing you can do will satisfy your husband. He only wants to kill you. Remain with me. You must not go home.”
The woman stayed with the man. Her brother returned from his hunting and asked her husband “Where is your wife…my sister?” “I do not know,” the husband answered. After discussing it, Biizhins and Wiiyagasenh followed Anangokwe's tracks to the lake and looked out over the water. Suddenly, Anangokwe rose up from the middle of the lake. She told her brother what had happened. In anger, Bizhiins turned to his brother in law and hit him with his club, killing him. Anangokwe then said to Bizhiins, “Brother. Return to our parents. You must tell them to come to this lake at the same time as this next year.” Bizhiins told her he would, and he returned to his village and reported this to his parents.
Exactly a year later, Gizhiiyaanimad and Baashkaabigwanii came to the lake, and Anangokwe rose from the water. In one arm she was holding a baby girl, and in the other was a baby boy. She said to her parents, “Mother and father. Take these children and raise them. When they grow up let them marry for love and not because of custom. I married the wrong man because if it, and I was miserable.”
From that day forward, the people made the decision to take love into consideration when choosing spouses for their sons and daughters.
In a village near a large lake lived a small boy called Miskogwan (Red feather). He lived in a small lodge with his great-grandfather. They were very poor because Miskogwan’s parents had been killed during a Dakota raid on his village when he was just a baby, and his great-grandfather had to raise him all by himself. Even so, the old man taught him to how to shoot with his bow and they were able to get by pretty well.
Miskogwan’s great grandfather was an amazing storyteller. He would tell Miskogwan all about the old ways and different stories about how each creature in the forest had its own different personality. Miskogwan used the knowledge that his great grandfather taught him to understand how each animal thought. This helped him to hunt them better, and he soon became a precocious young man who was known for his keen hunting prowess.
Springtime came, and little Miskogwan hunted frogs in the area around the large lake. Miskogwan would take his little bow and arrows and kill all the frogs he could get. He rarely left any for any of the other animals, and he and his great grandfather enjoyed lots of frog leg soup.
One day a crane walked over to where Miskogwan was sneaking up on a few fat frogs. The crane spoke to Miskogwan, “Hey. Miskogwan! Can’t you leave some for me and my brothers to eat?” The crane continued, “If you leave some for me, I’ll give you my nicest feather.” Miskogwan said, “Ha! Why would I want your old dirty feathers? Leave me alone. I can do what I want. Just be glad I’m not hunting cranes.”
The crane went back to his brothers and they talked about what they should do about Miskogwan. After much discussion it was decided that they should seek the help of a particularly old and wise owl who lived near Miskogwan's village on an island with some large trees on it. The cranes told the old owl that Miskogwan must be punished. The cranes said that they were starving because Miskogwan killed the frogs and the birds. No one could live in peace. The old owl agreed to do what he could.
One evening, the old owl perched himself on a tree close to Miskogwan's wigwam, and said, “Koo Koo!” Miskogwan's great grandfather called to Miskogwan, “Boy, come in now. The owl is calling for you.” Miskogwan said, “Never mind. I’ll get my straightest arrow and shoot him.” Great grandfather said, “You must watch yourself. The owl has large claws. Hemight catch you too. You should come in and go to sleep.” But Miskogwan disobeyed and went out and shot at the owl. He missed the mark! The old owl was angry and he swooped down and picked up Miskogwan. He then flew off with him across the lake to his island.
The old owl flew to his nest and dropped Miskogwan into it. The owl told his chicks, “Here is a naughty little boy. He’s too big for you now, but when you grow a bit you can eat him up.” Then the owl flew away.
The next day, the owl called to the cranes. He said, “I have caught naughty Miskogwan. When your babies are old enough we’ll let them join my chicks in eating him.” Miskogwan cried for help, but he couldn't get down.
Back in the village Miskogwan’s great grandfather knew that he was lost. He prayed to the Manitou to help find Miskogwan. The Manitou took pity on his and looked for Miskogwan. He found him and returned to the great grandfather and told him that Miskogwan was a prisoner in the owl’s tree. The Manitou told the great grandfather to give a great feast and ask the owl to return Miskogwan. The old man gathered every frog, fish, squirrel, and rabbit he could find and gave a huge feast. He called to the cranes and the owl to come eat and to forgive Miskogwan. They came and ate. Then the owl told the great grandfather he would be released, but only if Miskogwan promised not to overhunt any more. Miskogwan promised, and he was returned. From that day forward he listened to the animals.