This happened a long, long time ago, when the cedar, the fir, and the pine still had needles that yellowed and dropped in the autumn instead of staying green all winter.
One day, in those olden times, a hunter went out into the woods to catch something for his tribe. He was the cleverest and bravest hunter of his tribe, but game was scarce, and so he walked and walked. He went farther than any hunter had ever dared to go, until he saw a bog so vast that no beast could have crossed it, no bird could have flown across it, only the frogs would be able to see what was on the other side, and they weren't telling. The hunter thought to himself: If the animals here can't cross this bog, what kinds of animals might live on the other side?
The more he thought about it, the more curious he became.e.org/images/stories/tree.gif
"I must find out," he said to himself. "Whatever happens, I must get to the other side."
And so he took a good running start, and leapt clear across the bog. He looked around in excitement, but everything looked the same: the same earth, the same grass, the same trees. "Silly me!" he said. "There was no need to risk my life."
Suddenly his mouth dropped open with wonder. In a little clearing stood seven rabbits. They were standing quietly, waiting, but they were harnessed like horses.
Suddenly seven people came out of seven burrows in the earth, exactly like all people, only they were tiny, miniature people. In fact, only when the rabbits flattened their ears, were these little people taller than the rabbits, but when the rabbits' ears stood up, the people were smaller than the rabbits.
"Who are you?" asked the hunter.
"We are the people," said the tiny men. "We are immortal. We wash ourselves in living water, and we never die. And who are you? "
"I am a hunter."
The little men clapped their hands with joy.
"Oh, good! Oh, good!" they cried in chorus
And one of them, the eldest, with white hair and a long white beard, came forward and said:
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