Long ago, when human beings were new in the eastern part of Turtle Island, they barely lived through the long winters, their bodies and spirits weakened by the cold and dark. Though they worked to gather and preserve enough food for the winter it was not enough to keep them well and strong. The Creator saw the sadness of the people so he decided to ask the tree nation if there was something which could be done to restore their happiness. The leader of the trees, the maple, offered to give its blood to the people so they may be restored to good health. So it was that at the end of the winter months the sap flowed freely from the maple. So it was, that at the end of the winter months the sap flowed freely from the maple. The sap was dark and sweet, a syrup which the people drank after putting basswood tubes into the trees so the precious fluid went into their pots almost without effort. Satisfied that the people were once again happy and strong the Creator left to attend to his duties in other worlds. Some time passed before the Creator was able to return to this world. It was once again the end of winter with snow still on the ground. He went to one of the villages only to find it empty, the longhouses cold with only ashes in the fire pits. He saw that there were tracks leading into the nearby woods which he followed.