The Woman and the Evil Spirit
A Story from the Wampanoag Tribe of Native Americans
A long time ago in Cape Cod in Massachusetts, there was a woman who was sitting in her home with her children. It was night, and her children were all sleeping in their beds. The woman was sitting quietly by the fire, sewing some clothes. It was raining hard outside.
Suddenly, the woman heard the sound of someone outside. She opened the door and went out to see who it was. An old man was standing there.
“Can you please let me warm up inside your home?” he asked. “I’ve been walking in the rain for hours, and I am very cold and wet. Can I please sit by your fire for a few minutes?”
The woman was kind, so she immediately let him inside. The man sat down by the fire, and the woman sat across from him and continued sewing. But after a few minutes, the woman realized that the man looked transparent. She could see right through him, like a ghost!
The woman was scared, but she decided to be brave. She kept on sewing, but she kept an eye on the man. The man just sat by the fire silently.
After a while, the man stood up and started to walk out the door. “Thank you for helping me,” he said. “Do you want any money?”
The woman was surprised by his question, and she didn’t answer right away.
He repeated his question again. “Do you want any money?”
“Yes,” the woman answered.
The man explained, “If you want a large sum of money, all you have to do is go outdoors behind your home. If you dig in the ground next to the big rock, you will find a bag full of money.” Then the man went away.
The woman sat and continued sewing, thinking about what the man had said. Of course she wanted to be rich, but she was also scared of the man. She thought it over for a few hours. Finally, she decided to go outside and dig for the treasure. I might as well go and see if what he said is true, she thought.
The woman went outside, picked up her shovel, and started to dig. But she realized that every time her shovel hit the ground, she could hear her children cry loudly, as if they were in pain. She rushed inside to see what was wrong. But her children were lying peacefully in bed, sleeping.
She went back outside and started digging. But again, as soon as her shovel hit the ground, she heard the sound of her children crying loudly. She rushed inside to comfort them, but they were sleeping peacefully.
The same thing happened a third time and then a fourth time. Finally, the woman gave up. She decided she would try again in the morning, after her children were awake.
The next morning, the woman woke up and immediately remembered the treasure buried outside. While her children were eating breakfast, she went outside to continue digging. But when she looked in the ground, she saw that someone else had been there and had dug a big hole while she was sleeping. There was no treasure. Someone else took it! She was too late.
But after thinking about it for a while, the woman realized that it must have been a trick. The old man was an evil spirit who was testing her to see whether she cared more about her children or about money.
The woman was glad that she had passed the test. She and her children lived for a long time, and they were very happy, even without the big bag of money from the ghost.