A Cree Legend
I don't know how the other communities call it but here in Whapmagoostui, we call this legend Achaanwaapush (Cannibal Rabbit). He was a
cannibalistic creature. He was a person with the features of a rabbit and he habitually slaughtered people.
There was a family of Lynx people camped out on the land. One day the Lynx adults were getting ready to set off for a Beaver hunt. As they left, they
said to their young Lynx children, "Achaanwaapush will reach our camp today." The young Lynx were forewarned what would happen. The adult
Lynx said, "When Achaanwaapush enters our tepee, he'll want the place warm and he'll want to be scratched and soothed. But make sure that you
don't use your claws so Achaanwaapush will become frustrated and will want to be scratched more vigorously. After he tells you to scratch him
more forcefully, rip him open along his ribs." the Lynx men left with their wives to hunt for Beaver. Only the children were left at the camp.
During the day, the old Cannibal Rabbit reached the camp of the Lynx and entered the tepee. As he opened the door flap and saw the young Lynx
children sitting around inside the tepee, he said, "Grandchildren, put some wood in the fire and I'll warm up and you'll scratch my back." The Lynx
children agreed. They fed the fire and the place was nice and toasty. Achaanwaapush got undressed and told the Lynx children to scratch his back.
The children began rubbing Achaanwaapush's back using only their paws. The old Cannibal Rabbit stopped them and asked, "What's going on?
How come you're not scratching me? Let me check your claws. I told you to scratch my back. Do it with more force." The Lynx children agreed.
The old Cannibal Rabbit laid down again. The young Lynx children put their paws along his spine and stuck out their claws and pulled down along
his ribs. They ripped the Cannibal Rabbit's skin and teared him open. The Lynx children killed Achaanwaapush. As they joyfully butchered him,
they said, "Our parents will eat the abdomen meat."
After hunting Beaver, the Lynx adults said, "Let's go home. Achaanwaapush must have reached our children." On their way back, they saw the
Cannibal Rabbit's trail leading to their camp. Just seeing his trail frightened them. The Lynx men told their wives to walk far behind. The Lynx men
snuck up to their tepee as they got near. One Lynx man jumped in the entrance and the other pounced for the smoke hole of their tepee to attack
Achaanwaapush. They believed that the Cannibal Rabbit had slaughtered their children but the startled Lynx children said, "What are you doing?
We've killed Achaanwaapush." The Lynx men were glad and said, "It's a good thing you did that." When the wives of the Lynx arrived, the rest of the
camp was already rejoicing and happily cooking a feast of the Cannibal Rabbit. This is the legend that I heard.
Music: River Journey by AH-NEE-MAH
|Frog and Rabbit
A Cree Legend
Once, Rabbit lived with Frog. Rabbit ran around hunting. He found a Beaver lodge along a creek. He thought it was an evil cannibal emerging
from the snow. Rabbit was really terrified. He ran home very frightened. Frog said to Rabbit, "are you out of your mind? It was probably just a
Beaver lodge." she told him, "Let's go over there." She told him to take his ice chisel along. They left.
Here was a Beaver lodge standing there. Frog told her husband, "Let's try to kill the Beavers." She told him, "Make a hole in the ice there." Rabbit
chiseled a hole in the ice. Frog ran towards the hole and jumped in. Rabbit stood there and waited.
Frog surfaced and said, "Break open your Beaver lodge now." Rabbit broke open the lodge. Here were all the Beaver that were in the lodge that she
had killed. Both Frog and Rabbit dragged their Beavers home.
Rabbit skinned the Beaver and cooked them. After he had cooked them, he ate. Rabbit didn't give any of the Beaver meat to his wife, Frog. She told
him. "Feed me." He didn't. Frog got annoyed and threatened him by saying, "Hey, I'm going to tell Owl that you're not feeding me." Rabbit still
didn't feed Frog. Frog got angry and said, "Owl, Rabbit isn't feeding me his Beavers." They could hear Owl hooting. Now, Rabbit was really
frightened. He gave Frog the Beaver meat she was asking for. She said, "Owl, its OK. He is feeding me now."
After living together for a while, I guess they finished off eating their Beavers. Rabbit went to look for food again. He saw the large tracks of
someone. He was really frightened again. Rabbit ran home. That is also why a rabbit is very cowardly today. He said, "I have seen the large tracks
of someone." Frog said, "It must be a Moose because I had heard that a Moose is walking around." She must have heard that a Moose was walking
around. She said, "Let's go track it." They left.
It was the tracks of a Moose. They tracked the Moose. Then they reached it standing there. Frog and Rabbit creeped towards the Moose. Frog told
Rabbit, "Stand here." Frog approached the Moose. When she got close to it, she burrowed into the snow. She emerged at the leg of the of the Moose.
She carefully climbed up the leg and entered into the anus of the Moose. She went to the heart of the Moose and that was where she started biting and
chewing at the heart.
Rabbit was just watching the Moose standing there. Then the Moose who just stood there not noticing anything, suddenly collapsed. Rabbit just
stood there. Then Frog emerged from the nostrils of the Moose. They butchered it and took all the meat home. They had plenty of food.
Then one night, they heard a cannibal screaming. They could hear the evil being coming closer. Then it reached them. Rabbit jumped into the food
that was on the platform. That was where he hid. Frog jumped into the pot of blood. The evil cannibal barged into their lodge and began eating their
food. Then Frog heard the cannibal enjoying itself as it ate her husband, Rabbit. The cannibal ate Rabbit.
The monstrous cannibal turned over the pot of blood where Frog had jumped in. She burrowed into the boughs and burrowed into the ground. The
evil creature didn't find out about her. It didn't know where she was. Frog couldn't be killed. That is how long the legend is.
Once upon a time the Indians were camping. They had ten lodges. There were ten of them; and the eldest brother, Mudjikiwis, was sitting in the
It was winter, and all the Indians has their side-bags on; and every day they went off and hunted in the direction which they faced as they sat.
Mudjikiwis always took the lead, and the others followed.
Once when he came home to his camp, he saw smoke just as he crossed the last hill. When he approached the lodge, he saw a pile of wood neatly
stacked by the door. He himself had always cooked the dinner, and when he saw it ready, he was very glad. "There is surely a girl here!" he thought.
"There must be some one who has done this."
He had many brothers younger than himself. "Maybe some one is trying to marry them, or some girl wants me!"
When he arrived at the lodge, he saw a girl's pigeon-toed tracks, and he was delighted. "It is a girl!" he cried, and he rushed in to see her, but there
was no one there. The fire was just started, the meat cooked and ready, and water had been drawn. Some one had just finished work when he came.
There were even ten pairs of moccasins hanging up. "Now, at last, there is some one to sew for us! Surely one of us will get married!" he thought,
and he also thought that he would be the fortunate one. He did not touch anything, but left everything as he had found it for his brothers to see.
After a while the brother next to him in age came in. He looked up and saw all the moccasins, and he too was very glad. Then Mudjikiwis said, "I do
not know which of us is going to be married. A girl has just left here, but I cannot tell who she is, and there are ten of us. One of us is loved by some
They were soon joined by the third, and then by the fourth brother, and the fire was out by that time. The youngest brother was the most handsome
one of the family. "If one of us should marry, Mudjikiwis, we shall have to hunt hard and not let our sister-in-law hunger or be in need," he said. "I
shall be very glad if we have a sister-in-law. Don't let her chop wood; she cannot attend to all of us. We just want her to cook and mend our clothes."
At night they were all crying, "He, he, he!" until dark came, because they were so glad. "I cannot attend to all my brothers, and I do not need to do so
any more!" cried Mudjikiwis.
The next day nine went off, and left the youngest brother on guard to see the girl. Mudjikiwis came back first, and found that the tenth boy had not
been taken. "Oh, well! Leave our ninth brother next time," he said. "Then we will try it once more with our eighth brother."
Three of them then kept house in succession, but the woman did not come. They then left the fifth one, and said, "If no one comes, make dinner for us
yourself." Soon after they had left, some one came along making a noise like a rattle, for she had bells on her leggings.
"Oh, she shall not know me!" said the youth. "I shall be a bit of eagle-down," and he flew up between the canvas and the poles of the lodge. Presently
the girl entered. She had very long hair, and was very pretty. She took the axe and went out to cut wood, and soon brought in four armfuls. Then
she made the fire, took down the kettles, and prepared dinner. When she had done so she melted some snow, took another armful of wood, and
started another fire.
After she had finished she called to the youth to come down from his hiding-place. "Maybe you think I don't know you are up there," she said. So he
came down and took a seat with her by the fire.
When Mudjikiwis came home, he saw another big pile of wood. When he came near, he cried, "He, he, he!" to show that he was well pleased. "I could
not attend to the needs of my brothers," he shouted, "I could not cook for them, and I could not provide my relatives with moccasins!" He entered the
door and bent down, for Mudjikiwis had on a fisher-skin head-band with an eagle-quill thrust in behind. As he came in, he saw a pretty girl sitting
there. When he sat down, he said, "Hai, hai, hai! The girl is sitting like her mother."
He pulled off his shoes and threw them to his youngest brother, and received a fine pair of moccasins from his sister-in-law. He was delighted, and
cried, "Hai, hai, hai!" Soon all the other brothers came back, all nine of them, and each received new moccasins.
Mudjikiwis said, "I have already advised you. Do not let our sister-in-law chop wood or do any hard work. Hunt well, and do not let her be
hungry." Morning came, and Mudjikiwis was already half in love with his sister-in-law. He started out, pretending that he was going to hunt, but
he only went over a hill and stopped there. Then he wrapped his blanket around himself. It was winter, and he took some mud from under the snow
and rubbed it over his forehead and on his hat-band. He had his ball-headed club with him, which had two eyes that winked constantly. Soon he
saw his sister-in-law, who came out to chop wood.
He went to speak to her, but the girl had disappeared. Soon she came back. There was one pile of wood here, and one there. Mudjikiwis stopped at
the one to the west. He had his bow, his arrows, and his club with him. He held his club on the left arm, and his bow and arrows on the right arm,
folded his arms across his breast, and was smiling at her when she came up. "O my brother-in-law! I don't want to do that," she cried.
Then Mudjikiwis was angry because she scorned him. He took an arrow and shot her in the leg, and fled off to hunt. That night he returned late, last
of all. As he came close to the lodge, he called out, "Yoha, yoha! What is wrong with you? You have done some kind of mischief. Why is there no
wood for our sister-in-law?" He went in. "What is wrong with our sister-in-law, that she is not home?" he demanded. His brother then said, "Why
are you so late? You used to be the first one here."
Mudjikiwis would not speak in reply. The married brother came in last. The young brother was tired of waiting, and asked each, "You did not see
your sister-in-law, did you?" The others replied, "Mudjikiwis came very late. He never did so before."
"I shall track my wife," said the husband. So he set off in pursuit of her. He tracked her, and found that she had brought one load of wood. He
second trail ended at a little lodge of willows that she had made, and where she was. She cried to him, "Do not come here! Your brother Mudjikiwis
has shot me. I told him I did not want to receive him, and then he shot me down. Do not come here. You will see me on the fourth night. If you want
to give me food, put it outside the door and go away, and I shall get it."
Her husband went home, as she commanded. After that the youth would bring her food, after hunting, every night. "It is well. Even though our
brother shot my wife, I shall forgive him, if I can only see her after four nights," he said. The third night he could hardly stay away, he wanted to see
her so badly. The fourth day at dawn he went to the lodge; and as he drew near, she cried, "Do not come!" but he went in, anyway, and saw her
there. "I told you not to come, but you could not restrain yourself. When your brothers could not attend to themselves, I wished to help them," she
cried. So he went home satisfied, since he had seen her.
They breakfasted, and he started out again with food for her. She had gone out, for he found her tracks, little steps, dabbled with blood. Then he
went back home, and said to his brothers, "My brothers, I am going to go after my wife."
He dressed, and followed her footprints. Sometimes he ran, and at sunset he wanted to camp. So he killed a rabbit; and as he came out of the brush,
he saw a lodge. "He, my grandchild!" called a voice, "You are thinking of following your wife. She passed here at dawn. Come in and sit down!
Here is where she sat before you." He entered, and found an old woman, who told him to sit in the same place where his wife had sat.
He gave her the rabbit he had shot, as he was really hungry. "Oh, my grandchild must be very hungry!" she cried, "so I shall cook for him," said the
old crone. Her kettle was no larger than a thimble. She put in one morsel of meat and one little berry. The youth thought that was a very small
allowance, when he was really hungry.
"O my grandchild!" the old woman said aloud in answer to his thoughts, "no one has ever eaten all my kettle holds. You are wrong if you think you
won't get enough of this."
But he still thought so, and did not believe her. After the food was cooked, she said, "Eat, nosis!" and gave him a spoon. He took out the piece of meat
and the berry; but when he had eaten it, the kettle was still full. He did this many times over. When he had finished, he had not eaten it all, yet he had
enough. Then the grandmother told him that he had married one of ten sisters.
"They are not real people," she said, "they are from way up in the skies. They have ten brothers. There are three more of your grandmothers on the
road where you are going. Each will tell you to go back, as I advised you; but if you insist, I will give you two bones to help you climb over the
Now, this old woman was really a moose, and not a human grandmother at all. "If you get into difficulties, you must cry, 'Where is my
grandmother?' and use these two front shin-bones of the moose that I gave you." He slept there, and in the morning she gave him breakfast from the
same kettle. When he was through she said, "Do not walk fast. Even if you rest on the way, you will reach your next grandmother in the evening. If
you walk as fast as you can, you will get there at night."
He followed the trail as fast as he could, for he did not believe his grandmother. In the evening he killed a rabbit; and when he came out of the brush,
there stood another lonely lodge, as before.
"O my grandchild! There is room in here for you to come in," cried a voice. "Your wife passed here early yesterday morning." Yet he had traveled
two days. "She came in here!"
The old woman cooked for him in the same way as his other grandmother had done. Again he did not believe in her kettle, for he had already
forgotten about his first grandmother. This grandmother was older than the first one whom he had left, and who was the youngest of the four
grandmothers he was to meet. They were all sisters. "Why did you not believe my sister when she told you to go slowly? When you go fast, you
make the trail longer. Hau, nosis! It is a difficult country where you are going," she cried. She gave him a squirrel-skin, saying, ''Use this, nosis,
whenever you are in difficulties. 'Where is my grandmother?' you shall say. This is what makes everything easy. You will cry, and you will throw it
away. You will not leave me till the morning."
So very early next day he started off. He went very slowly, and in a few minutes it was night, and he killed another rabbit. When he came out of the
brush, he saw another lodge, a little nearer than the others, and less ragged.
The old woman said to him, "Your wife passed here the same morning that she left up there"; and this grandmother made supper for him, as the
others had done. This time the food was corn. "Nosis, your last grandmother, who is my sister, will give you good advice. Your wife has had a child
already. Go very slowly, and you will reach there at night; it is not far from here. It is a very difficult country where you are going. Maybe you will
not be able to get there."
She gave him a stuffed frog and some glue. "Whenever the mountains are too steep for you to climb, cry, 'Where is my grandmother?' put glue on
your hands, and climb, and you will stick to the rocks. When you reach your next grandmother, she will advise you well. Your child is a little boy."
In the morning he had breakfast, and continued on the trail. He went on slowly, and it was soon night, and he killed another rabbit. When he
reached the next lodge, nearer than all the rest, his grandmother said, "They have been saying you would be here after your wife; she passed here four
days ago at dawn."
The youth entered the tent, and found that his grandmother was a fine young girl in appearance. She said, "Tomorrow at noon your wife is going to
be married, and the young men will all sit in a circle and pass your child around. The man upon whom he urinates will be know as his father, and
she will marry him." The old woman took off her belt, rolled it up nicely, and gave it to him. "This is the last one that you will use," she said, "When
you are in trouble, cry out, 'Where is my grandmother?' and throw the belt out, and it will stick up there, so you can climb to the top. Before noon
you will reach a perpendicular precipice like a wall. Your wife is not of our people. She is one of the Thunderers."
That night the youth camped there. In the morning he had food. "If you manage to climb the mountain somehow," his grandmother said to him
before he started, "you will cross the hill and see a steep slope, and there you will find a nest. There is one egg in it. That is a Thunderer's nest. As you
come down, you will strike the last difficult place. There is a large log across a river. The river is very deep, and the log revolves constantly. There
you will find a big camp, headed by your father-in-law, who owns everything there. There is one old woman just on this side. She is one of us
sisters; she is the second oldest of us. You will see bones strewn about when you get there. Many young men go there when they are looking for their
wives, and their bones you will see lying about. The Thunderer destroys everything. Some have been cut in halves when they tried to get over the
When the youth came to the mountain, he took first the two bones and cried, "O grandmother! Where are you?" and as he cried, she called from far
off, "He, nosis, do not get into trouble!" He drove the bones into the mountain and climbed up hand over hand, driving them in as he climbed. The
bones pierced the rock. When he looked back, he saw that he was far up. He continued until the bones began to grow short, and at last he had to
stop. Then he took out the squirrel-hide, called upon his grandmother for help, and threw the skin ahead. He went up in the air following it. All at
once he stopped, and his nails wore out on the rock as he slipped back. Then he took the glue out of its bundle.
He cried for his grandmother, and heard her answer. She had told him that he would find a hollow at one place, and there he rested on a ledge when
his glue gave out. Then he called for his next grandmother, heard her answer, and cast out his belt, unrolling it. Then he climbed up the sharp
summit. He felt the edge, which was very sharp indeed. Then he became a piece of eagle-down. "The eagle-down loved me once. I shall be it, and
blow over the ledge," he cried.
When he got across, he saw the Thunderer's nest and the two Thunderers and their egg. He found a trail from there on, until he came to the rolling
log that lay across the deep river. Then he became down again, and blew across; and though many others had been drowned there, he crossed alive.
He went on, and at last saw a small, low lodge with a little stone beside it. His last grandmother had told him to enter, as this was the abode of one of
her sisters. So he went in.
"Ha, ha, ha, nosis!" she cried, "They said a long time ago that you were following your wife. She is to be married right now."-- "Yes," he said. The
marriage was to be in a lodge. He went there, peeped in, and a man saw him, who said, "Are you coming in? Our chief says he will pass the child
about and he on whose breast it urinates shall marry its mother."
So he went in. The girl saw him, and told her mother. "Oh, that is the one I married."
When he arrived there, Mudjikiwis (not the youth's brother, but another one, a Thunderer) was there too. They took the child, and one man passed it.
Mudjikiwis, the Thunderer, held some water in his mouth. He seized the child, crying, "Come here, nosis!" and spat the water over himself; but,
when he tried to claim the child, all the others laughed, as they had seen his trick. When the child's real father took it up, it urinated on him. Then all
went out. The chief said, "So not let my son-in-law walk about, because he is really tired. He shall not walk for ten days."
His father-in-law would go off all day. Hanging in the lodge the youth saw his brother's arrow, with which his wife had been shot. The
father-in-law would burn sweet-grass for the arrow at the rare intervals when he came back, for he would be off for days at a time. On the fifth
night the youth felt rested, and could walk a little. Then he asked his wife, "Why does your father smoke that arrow?" and she answered, "Oh, we
never see those things up here. It is from below; and he thinks highly of it; therefore he does so."
On the sixth night he was able to walk around in the brush; and he came to a spring, where he found, on the surface of the water, a rusty stain with
which he painted his face. He returned, and, as he was entering, his father-in-law cried, "Oh, that is why I want a son-in-law that is a human being!
Where did he kill that bear? He is covered with blood. Go and dress it," he ordered. The youth was frightened, as he had not seen any bear at all.
"You people that live below," his wife said, "call them Giant Panthers. Show your brothers-in-law where it is." The youth took his brother-in-law to
the spring. "Here is where I found the Panther," he said.
The ten Thunderers came up and struck the spring, and killed something there. After that the youth looked for springs all the time, and it came to
pass that he found a number. One day he asked his wife, "Why does your father go away for whole days at a time?" and his wife said, "There is a
large lake up there, and he hunts for fish there. He kills one every day, seldom two. He is the only one that can kill them."
The next morning the youth went to the lake, and found his father-in-law sitting by the shore fishing. The old man had a peculiar spear, which was
forked at the end. The youth took it, and put barbs on it, so that the old man was able to catch a number of fish quickly. Then they went home. When
they arrived, his father-in-law said, "My son-in-law has taken many of them. I myself can only kill one, and sometimes two."
So he told all the people to go and get fish and eat them freely. On the following day, the young man, according to his mother-in-law's wish, took his
wife to fish. They took many fish, and carried them home. The father-in-law knew, before they returned, that they had caught many.
The old man had a dream. When he saw how the youth prepared the spear which his daughter had given him, he said, referring to his dream, "My
dream was wrong. I thought the youngest of the ten liked me the best. I made the spear in the way I saw it, not as this one has shown me. It is due to
my dream that it is wrong. Your nine brothers are having a hard time. Now, my sons, your sisters are going away soon to be married."
For nine nights the youth saw a dim light at a distance. The father-in-law said to him, "Do not go there, for a powerful being lives there." The tenth
night, however, the youth disobeyed this injunction. When he reached there, he saw a tall tree, and a huge porcupine that was burrowing at the foot
of the tree. The porcupine struck the tree, and tried to kill it by shooting its quills into it. After the porcupine had shot off all its quills, the youth
knocked it on the head, took two long quills from the tree, and carried them home.
Even before he got there, his father-in-law knew what had happened. They were delighted, for they said that the porcupine would kill the Thunderers
when they tried to attack it. The father-in-law went out, and called to his sons to go and dress the porcupine that the youth had killed. The latter gave
the two quills to his wife, though his father-in-law wanted them. The father-in-law said, "My children, this porcupine killed all our friends when they
went to war against it. My sons-in-law below are miserable and lonely.
The eldest of the daughters, who was called Mudjikiskwe'wic, was delighted at the news. "You will marry the oldest one, Mudjikiwis," she was told.
They were all to be married in order, the eldest girl to the eldest brother, the youngest to the youngest one. The old man said, "Mudjikiskwe'wic shall
take her brother-in-law with her when she goes down to earth." The young women went down. Sh-swsh! Went Mudjikiskwe'wic (the girl) with her
They reached the steep place, and the married woman said to her husband that they would fly around. "If you do not catch me when I fly past, you
will be killed here." The women went off a little ways, and a heavy thunderstorm arose, big black clouds and lightning, yet he saw Mudjikiskwe'wic
in it. She was green, and so was the sun; and as they passed she shouted once, then again a little nearer, and again close by.
Then he jumped off and caught her by the back. He closed his eyes as he did so, and did not open them until the Thunderer wife said, "Now let go!"
Then he found himself at home. He left the girls behind, and went to the lodge and opened the door a little.
|The Jealous Father
A Cree Legend
Once there was an old man named Aioswe who had two wives. When his son by one of these women began to grow up, Aioswe became jealous of
One day, he went off to hunt and when he came back, found marks on one of the women (the co-wife with his son's mother) which proved to him
that his son had been on terms of intimacy with her.
One day the old man and the boy went to a rocky island to hunt for eggs. Wishing to get rid of his son, the old man persuaded him to gather eggs
farther and farther away from the shore. The young man did not suspect anything until he looked up and saw his father paddling off in the canoe.
"Why are you deserting me, father?" he cried.
"Because you have played tricks on your stepmother," answered the old man.
When the boy found that he was really left behind, he sat there crying hour after hour. At last, Walrus appeared. He came near the island and stuck
his head above the water. "What are you crying for, my son?" said Walrus.
"My father has deserted me on this island and I want to get home to the mainland. Will you not help me to get ashore?" the boy replied.
Walrus said that he would do so willingly. "get on my back," said Walrus, "and I will take you to the mainland." Then Walrus asked Aioswe's son if
the sky was clear. The boy replied that it was, but this was a lie, for he saw many clouds. Aioswe's son said this because he was afraid that Walrus
would desert him if he knew it was cloudy. Walrus said, "If you think I am not going fast enough, strike on my horns [tusks] and let me know when
you think it is shallow enough for you to get ashore, then you can jump off my back and walk to the land."
As they went along, Walrus said to the boy, "Now my son, you must let me know if you hear it thunder, because as soon as it thunders, I must go
right under the water." The boy promised to let Walrus know. They had not gone far, when there came a peal of thunder. Walrus said, "My son, I
hear thunder." "Oh, no, you are mistaken," said the boy who feared to be drowned, "what you think is thunder is only the noise your body makes
going so quickly through the water." Walrus believed the boy and thought he must have been wrong.
Some time later, there came another peal of thunder and this time, Walrus knew he was not mistaken, he was sure it was thunder. He was very
angry and said he would drop Aioswe's son there, whether the water was shallow or not. He did so but the lad had duped Walrus with his lies so that
he came where the water was very shallow and the boy escaped, but Walrus was killed by lightning before he could reach water deep enough to dive
in. This thunderstorm was sent to destroy Walrus by Aioswe's father, who conjured for it. Walrus, on the other hand, was the result of conjuring by
his mother, who wished to save her son's life.
When Aioswe's son reached the shore, he started for home, but he had not gone far before he met an old woman, who had been sent as the result of a
wish for his safety by his mother (or was a wish for his safety on his mother's part, personified). The old woman instructed the lad how to conduct
himself if he ever expected to reach his home and mother again. "Now you have come ashore there is still a lot of trouble for you to go through before
you reach home," said she, and she gave him the stuffed skin of an ermine (weasel in white winter coat). "this will be one of your weapons to use to
protect yourself," were her words as she tendered him this gift, and she told him what dangers he would encounter and what to do in each case.
Then the son of Aioswe started for his home once more. As he journeyed through the forest he came upon a solitary wigwam inhabited by two old
blind hags, who were the result of an adverse conjuration by his father. Both of these old women had sharp bones like daggers; protruding from the
lower arm at the elbow. They were very savage and used to kill everybody they met. When Aioswe's son approached the tent, although the witches
could not see him, they knew from their magic powers that he was near. They asked him to come in and sit down, but he was suspicious, for he did
not like the looks of their elbows.
He thought of a plan by which he might dupe the old women into killing each other. Instead of going himself and sitting between them he got a large
parchment and fixing it to the end of a pole, he poked it in between them. The old women heard it rattle and thought it was the boy himself coming to
sit between them.
Then they both turned their backs to the skin and began to hit away at it with their elbows. Every time they stabbed the skin, they cried out, "I am
hitting the son of Aioswe! I've hit him! I've hit him!" At last, they got so near each other that they began to hit one another, calling out all the time, "I
am hitting the son of Aioswe!" they finally stabbed each other to death and the son of Aioswe escaped this danger also.
When the young man had vanquished the two old women he proceeded on his journey. He had not gone very far when he came to a row of dried
human bones hung across the path so that no one could pass by without making them rattle. Not far away, there was a tent full of people and big
dogs. Whenever they heard anyone disturb the bones, they would set upon him and kill him. The old woman who had advised Aioswe's son told him
that when he came to this place he could escape by digging a tunnel in the path under the bones.
When arrived at the spot he began to follow her advice and burrow under. He was careless and when he was very nearly done and completely out of
sight, he managed to rattle the bones. At once, the dogs heard and they cried out, "That must be Aioswe's son." All the people ran out at once, but
since Aioswe's son was under ground in the tunnel they could not see him, so after they had searched for a while they returned. The dogs said, "We
are sure this is the son of Aioswe," and they continued to search.
At length, they found the mouth of the hole Aioswe's son had dug. The dogs came to the edge and began to bark till all the people ran out again with
their weapons. Then Aioswe's son took the stuffed ermine skin and poked its head up. All the people saw it and thought it was really ermine. Then
they were angry and killed the dogs for lying.
Aioswe's son escaped again and this time he got home. When he drew near his father's wigwam, he could hear his mother crying, and as he
approached still closer he saw her. She looked up and saw him coming. She cried out to her husband and co-wife, "My son has come home again."
The old man did not believe it. "It is not possible," he cried. But his wife insisted on it. Then the old man came out and when he saw it was really his
son, he was very much frightened for his own safety. He called out to his other wife, "Bring me some caribou skins and spread them out for my son
to walk on." But the boy kicked them away. "I have come a long way," said he, "with only my bare feet to walk on."
That night, the boy sang a song about the burning of the world and the old man sang against him but he was not strong enough. "I am going to set
the world on fire," said the boy to his father, "I shall make all the lakes and rivers boil." He took up an arrow and said, "I am going to shoot this
arrow into the woods; see if I don't set them on fire." He shot his arrow into the bush and a great blaze sprang up and all the woods began to burn.
"the forest is now on fire," said the old man, "but the water is not yet burning." "I'll show you how I can make the water boil also," said his son. He
shot another arrow into the water, and it immediately began to boil. Then the old man who wished to escape said to his son, "How shall we escape?"
The old man had been a great bear hunter and had a large quantity of bear's grease preserved in a bark basket. "Go into your fat basket," said his
son, "you will be perfectly safe there."
Then he drew a circle on the ground and placed his mother there. The ground enclosed by the circle was not even scorched, but the wicked old man
who had believed he would be safe in the grease baskets, was burned to death.
Aioswe's son said to his mother, "Let us become birds. What will you be?" "I'll be a robin," said she. "I'll be a whiskey jack (Canada jay)," he replied.
They flew off together.
|Warriors of the Rainbow
A Cree Legend
There would come a time when the Earth would be ravaged of it's resources, the sea blackened, the streams poisoned, the deer dropping dead in their
Just before it was too late, the Indian would regain his spirit and teach the white man reverence for the Earth, banding together with him to become
Warriors of the Rainbow.
There was an old lady, from the Cree tribe, named "eyes of Fire", who prophesied that one day, because of the white mans' or Yo-ne-gis' greed, there
would come a time, when the fish would die in the streams, the birds would fall from the air, the waters would be blackened, and the trees would no
longer be, mankind as we would know it would all but cease to exist.
There would come a time when the "keepers of the legend, stories, culture rituals, and myths, and all the Ancient Tribal Customs" would be needed to
restore us to health. They would be mankind's key to survival, they were the "Warriors of the Rainbow". There would come a day of awakening
when all the peoples of all the tribes would form a New World of Justice, Peace, Freedom and recognition of the Great Spirit.
The "Warriors of the Rainbow" would spread these messages and teach all peoples of the Earth or "Elohi". They would teach them how to live the
"Way of the Great Spirit".
They would tell them of how the world today has turned away from the Great Spirit and that is why our Earth is "Sick".
The "Warriors of the Rainbow" would show the peoples that this "Ancient Being" (the Great Spirit), is full of love and understanding, and teach them
how to make the Earth (Elohi) beautiful again. These Warriors would give the people principles or rules to follow to make their path right with the
world. These principles would be those of the Ancient Tribes. The Warriors of the Rainbow would teach the people of the ancient practices of Unity,
Love and Understanding.
They would teach of Harmony among people in all four corners of the Earth.
Like the Ancient Tribes, they would teach the peoples how to pray to the Great Spirit with love that flows like the beautiful mountain stream, and
flows along the path to the ocean of life. Once again, they would be able to feel joy in solitude and in councils. They would be free of petty jealousies
and love all mankind as their brothers, regardless of color, race or religion. They would feel happiness enter their hearts, and become as one with the
entire human race.
Their hearts would be pure and radiate warmth, understanding and respect for all mankind, Nature, and the Great Spirit. They would once again fill
their minds, hearts, souls, and deeds with the purest of thoughts. They would seek the beauty of the Master of Life - the Great Spirit! They would find
strength and beauty in prayer and the solitudes of life.
Their children would once again be able to run free and enjoy the treasures of Nature and Mother Earth. Free from the fears of toxins and
destruction, wrought by the Yo-ne-gi and his practices of greed. The rivers would again run clear, the forests be abundant and beautiful, the animals
and birds would be replenished. The powers of the plants and animals would again be respected and conservation of all that is beautiful would
become a way of life.
The poor, sick and needy would be cared for by their brothers and sisters of the Earth. These practices would again become a part of their daily lives.
The leaders of the people would be chosen in the old way - not by their political party, or who could speak the loudest, boast the most, or by name
calling or mud slinging, but by whose actions spoke the loudest. Those who demonstrated their love, wisdom, and courage and those who showed
that they could and did work for the good of all, would be chosen as the leaders or Chiefs.
They would be chosen by their "quality" and not the amount of money they had obtained. Like the thoughtful and devoted "Ancient Chiefs", they
would understand the people with love, and see that their young were educated with the love and wisdom of their surroundings. They would show
them that miracles can be accomplished to heal this world of its ills, and restore it to health and beauty.
The tasks of these "Warriors of the Rainbow" are many and great. There will be terrifying mountains of ignorance to conquer and they shall find
prejudice and hatred. They must be dedicated, unwavering in their strength, and strong of heart. They will find willing hearts and minds that will
follow them on this road of returning "Mother Earth" to beauty and plenty - once more.
The day will come, it is not far away. The day that we shall see how we owe our very existence to the people of all tribes that have maintained their
culture and heritage. Those that have kept the rituals, stories, legends, and myths alive. It will be with this knowledge, the knowledge that they have
preserved, that we shall once again return to "harmony" with Nature, Mother Earth, and mankind. It will be with this knowledge that we shall find
our "Key to our Survival".
This is the story of the "Warriors of the Rainbow" and this is my reason for protecting the culture, heritage, and knowledge of my ancestors. I know
that the day "Eyes of Fire" spoke of - will come! I want my children and grandchildren to be prepared to accept this task. The task of being one of
the....... "Warriors of the Rainbow."