Music: Patience by Kelvin Mockingbird
A long time ago, the Great Spirit who lived in the Happy Hunting Grounds, created the universe and all life. The Wise One enjoyed his creation in the
twinkling lights of thousands of stars, the sun and the many galaxies of the universe.
After creating the universe, The Great Spirit sat down to rest. Then he created Glooskap and gave him special spiritual and physical powers. He
called Glooskap to share the sacred pipe and said, "Glooskap, I am going to create people in my own image. I will call them Micmac."
The Great Spirit was pleased with this creation. He took out his sacred pipe and again called Glooskap. As the Great Spirit was smoking he noticed a
large amount of dark, red clay left over. "Glooskap, look at this large piece of clay, the same color as my Micmac people. I will shape this clay into a
crescent form and it will be the most beautiful of all places on Mother Earth. It will become the home of my Micmac people."
The Great Spirit fashioned an enchanting island and called it Minegoo. He dressed her dark red skin with green grass and lush forests of many
different kinds of trees, and sprinkled her with many brightly colored flowers. Her forest floors were like deep soft carpets which would cushion the
moccasined feet of the Micmac people.
Minegoo was so beautiful that it made the Great Spirit extremely happy -- so happy that he thought about placing Minegoo among the stars. After
considering this for a short time, the Wise One decided that Minegoo should be placed in the middle of the singing waters now know as the Gulf of St.
|Fish-Hawk and Scapegrace
A Micmac Legend
Two men met and talked: one was Fish-Hawk, the other was Scapegrace. Now the Fish-Hawk can fly higher than any other ocean bird, and he is
proud and particular as to his food; he is only beaten by the eagle. When he dives and takes a fish the eagle pursues him; he lets it drop; the great
sagamore of the birds catches it; but to less than the chief he yields nothing. But the Scapegrace will eat anything; he is heavy in flying; he is slow and
of low degree.
So when the Scapegrace proposed to the Fish-Hawk that they should become partners the proud bird was angry in his heart, but said nothing, as he
was crafty, and as it occurred to him that he could punish the other; and this he was the more willing to do because the Scapegrace actually proposed
to fly a race with him! So he said, "Let us go together to a certain Indian village." And they went off together.
The Fish-Hawk arrived there far before the other. And on arriving he said, "Beware of him who will come after me. You will know him by these
signs: he is ugly and heavy; he will bring with him his own food. It is coarse and common; in fact it is poison. He wishes to kill you; he will offer it.
Do not eat of it, or you will die."
Then having been very well entertained himself, he took his departure. Scapegrace soon appeared, but was treated with great reserve. He offered his
food, and the people pretended to eat it, but took good care to quietly throw it away. Then he told the chief that he was seeking a wife, and asked if
there were girls to marry in the town. To which the chief replied, "Yes, there is a mother with several daughters, of the Amalchooywech' or Raccoon
He went to see the girls. A bad name had gone before him. One of them stood before the lodge. She saw him, and cried, "Mahgwis wechooveet!"
"Scapegrace is coming!" They received him as if he had been Sickness. He was welcomed like filth on fine clothes. They cried out, "Ulummeye!" "Go
home!" He asked the mother is she had daughters. She answered, "Yes." He asked her is she would give him one. She replied, "I will not." So he went
Now when he had gone Fish-Hawk came again, and asked if Scapegrace had been there. He inquired if all had passed as he predicted. They said it
had. Then it occurred to him to pass himself off for a great prophet, a wise magician, well knowing that he could make much of it. So he said, "It is
well. Remember that you would have all died but for my foresight. That wizard would have poisoned you all. But have no fear. In future I will watch
Then he said to a man of the people that if at any time he should see a large bird flying over the village it would be an omen of great coming danger.
"Then," he said, "think of me; call on me, and I will come." So he departed.
The man thought it all over for a long time. He was shrewd and wise. "He foretold the coming of Scapegrace," he reflected. "Now he pretends to be a
very great sorcerer. We shall see!"
Sure enough, in a few days he saw a bird flying on high. "That," said he, "must be the Wis-kuma-gwasoo." He called him, and he came. "You spoke,"
he said, "of danger to our town. What is it?'
"There is great danger. In a few days your town will be attacked by a Kookwes. Unless you save yourselves you will all be devoured."
"What shall we do to be saved?" asked the man. "When will he come?"
"In seven days," replied the Fish-Hawk. "Before that time you must take to your canoes and flee afar. You may get beyond his reach, but you cannot
before that time get beyond the horrible roar of his voice. And all who hear it will drop dead."
"How can we escape this second danger?" asked the man.
"You must all close your ears, so that you can hear nothing. When the time is over you may return."
The man's name was Oscoon. He led the people away. He closed their ears; he did not close his own. Once he heard a far-away whoop. It was not
very terrible. But he said nothing. After a time the scouts who were sent out returned. They reported that the Kookwes had departed. They had not
even seen him. It was a great escape.
The people thought much of Oscoon. They made him their chief. In a few days the Fish-Hawk returned. He spoke to Oscoon: "Did the giant come?"
"He did." "You escaped?" "By following your advice, we did." "And in which direction did he go?" "Surely you, who knows so much about him, must
know that better than we do." Then the Fish-Hawk saw that he was found out. He flew away, and never returned to the town to play the prophet.
He who would cheat must watch his words well.
The tradition respecting Glooscap is that he came to this country from the east, -far across the great sea; that he was a divine being, though in the
form of a man. He was not far from any of the Indians.
When Glooscap went away, he went toward the west. There he is still tented; and two important personages are near him, who are called Kuhkw
and Coolpujot, -of whom more anon.
Glooscap was the friend and teacher of the Indians; all they knew of the arts he taught them. He taught them the names of the constellations and
stars; he taught them how to hunt and fish, and cure what they took; how to cultivate the ground, as far as they were trained in husbandry. When he
first came, he brought a woman with him, whom he ever addressed as Grandmother, a very general epithet for an old woman. She was not his wife,
nor did he ever have a wife. He was always sober, grave, and good; all that the Indians knew of what was wise and good he taught them.
His canoe was a granite rock. One one occasion he put to sea in this craft, and took a young woman with him as a passenger. She proved to be a bad
girl; and this was manifested by the troubles that ensued. A storm arose, and the waves dashed wildly over the canoe; he accused her of being the
cause, through her evil deeds, and so he determined to rid himself of her.
For this purpose he stood in for the land, leaped ashore, but would not allow her to follow; putting his foot against the heavy craft, he pushed it off to
sea again with the girl on it, telling her to become whatever she desired to be. She was transformed into a large, ferocious fish, called by the Indians
keeganibe, said to have a huge dorsal fin, -like the sail of a boat, it is so large and high out of the water.
The Indians sometimes visit Glooscap at his present residence, so says tradition; this is in a beautiful land in the west. He taught them when he was
with them that there was such a place, and led them to look forward to a residence there, and to call it their beautiful home in the far west, -where, if
good, they would go at death.
The journey to that fair region far away is long, difficult, and dangerous; the way back is short and easy. Some years ago, seven stout-hearted
young men attempted the journey, and succeeded. Before reaching the place, they had to pass over a mountain, the ascent of which was up a
perpendicular bluff, and the descent on the other side was still more difficult, for the top hung far over the base. The fearful and unbelieving could not
pass at all; but the good and confident could travel it with ease and safety, as though it were a level path.
Having crossed the mountain, the road ran between the heads of two huge serpents, which lay just opposite each other; and they darted out their
tongues, so as to destroy whomsoever they hit. But the good and the firm of heart could dart past between the strokes of their tongues, so as to evade
them. One more difficulty remained; it was a wall, as of a thick, heavy cloud, that separated the present world from that beautiful region beyond.
This cloudy wall rose and fell at intervals, and struck the ground with such force that whatever was caught under it would be crushed to atoms; but
the good could dart under when it rose, and come out on the other side unscathed.
This our seven young heroes succeeded in doing. There they found three wigwams, -one for Glooscap, one for Coolpujot, and one for Kuhkw. These
are all mighty personages, but Glooscap is supreme; the other two are subordinates. Coolpujot has no bones. He cannot move himself, but is rolled
over each spring and fall by Glooscap's order, being turned with handspike's; hence the name Coolpujot (rolled over by handspike's). In the autumn
he is turned towards the west, in the spring towards the east; and this is a figure of speech, denoting the revolving seasons of the year, his mighty
breath and looks, by which he can sweep down whole armies and work wonders on a grand scale, indicating the weather: frost, snow, ice, and
Kuhkw means Earthquake; this mighty personage can pass along under the surface of the ground, making all things shake and tremble by his power.
All these seven visitors had requests to proffer, and each received what he asked for; though the gift did not always correspond with the spirit of the
request; it oftentimes agreed with the letter. For instance, one of these seven visitors was wonderfully enamored of a fine country, and expressed a
desire to remain there, and to live long; whereupon, at Glooscap's direction, Earthquake took him and stood him up, and he became a cedar tree.
When the wind blew through its boughs, they were bent and broken with great fracas, -making a thunder-storm that rolled far and wide over the
country, accompanied by strong winds, which scattered the cedar-boughs and seeds in all directions, producing all the cedar-groves that exist in New
Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and elsewhere.
The other men started, and reached home in a short time.
One of them had asked for medicine that would be effectual in curing disease. This he obtained; but, neglecting to follow implicitly the directions
given, he lost it before he reached home. It was carefully wrapped up in a piece of paper, and he was charged not to undo the parcel until he reached
home. His curiosity got the better of his judgement; he could not see what difference it could make if he just looked at his prize as he was going along.
So he undid the parcel, and presto! The medicine slipped out on the ground, spread and slid in all directions, covering up the face of the earth, and
vanishing from sight.
On another occasion several young men went to see Glooscap in his present abode. One of them went to obtain the power of winning the heart of
some fair one, which all his unaided skill had failed hitherto to do; an hundred times he had tried to get a wife, but the girls all shunned him. Many of
the party who started on this perilous expedition failed to overcome the difficulties that lay in their way, and turned back baffled and defeated; but
several of them succeeded.
They were all hospitably entertained; all presented their requests, and were favorably heard. The man who sought power to captivate some female
heart was the last to proffer his petition. Glooscap and his two subordinated conferred together in a whisper, and then Earthquake informed him that
his ugly looks and still more ugly manners were the chief hindrances to his success; but they must try to help him.
So he was handed a small parcel, and directed not to open it until he reached his own village; this he took, and they all set off for home together. The
night before they arrived, he could restrain his curiosity no longer, he opened the parcel, the foolish fellow! Out flew young women by the scores and
hundreds, covering the face of the earth, piling themselves in towering heaps, and burying the poor fellow, crushing him to the earth under the
accumulating weight of their bodies. His comrades had cautioned him against disobeying the mandate, and had begged him not to undo the parcel;
but he had not heeded the caution.
They now heard him calling for help, but he called in vain, they could not help him; and his cries became fainter and fainter, and finally ceased
altogether. Morning came at last. The young women had all vanished, and the fragments of their comrade were scattered over the ground; he had
been killed and ground to atoms as the result of his unbridled curiosity and disobedience.
|How a certain wicked witch sought to cajole the
great and good Glooskap, and of her punishment
A Micmac Legend
N'karnayoo, of old time. Once it came to pass that Glooskap met with an evil witch, and she had made herself unto a fair young girl, and believed
that he could not know who she was. And she asked him to take her with him in his canoe. So they sailed out over a summer sea: and as they went
the witch sought to beguile him with sweet words; but he answered naught, for he wist well what kind of passenger he had on board. And as they
went on she played her cajoleries, but he remained grim as a bear. Then she, being angry, showed it, and there arose a great storm. The wind howled
over the waves as they rose and fell, like white wolves jumping while they run, the first lightnings flashed, and the sky grew dark as night. The
Master was angered that so mean a creature dared to play him such tricks, and, paddling the canoe to the beach, he leaped ashore. Then giving the
bark, with the witch in it, a push out to sea, he cried to her, "Sail thou with the devil! But never be in human form again, O she-beast!"
Then she being frightened, said, "Master, what wilt thou that I become?" And he replied, "Whatever thou wilt; that grace alone I give thee." And in
despair she plunged into the waters, and became a keegunibe, a ferocious fish, which has upon its back a great fin, which it shows like a sail when
swimming through the water. So the canoe and the witch became one in the evil fish, and the Indians to this day when they see it, cry, "See the witch,
who was punished by the great Master!"
Now of sinful men, evil beasts, foul sorcerers, witches, and giants, there were in those days many who sought to do great harm to Glooskap; but of
them all there did not escape any; verily, no, not one.
|How Glooskap became friendly to the Loons,
and made them his messengers
A Micmac Legend
When Glooskap, was pursuing Win-pe, he one day on Uktukamkw saw from afar flying over water the Kwe-m0o, or Loons. And thrice did their
chief make the circle of the lake, coming near to the land of men and beasts every time, as if he would fain seek somewhat. Then Glooskap asking him
what he wanted, Kwe-moo replied that he would be his servant and friend. So Glooskap taught him a strange long cry like the howl of a dog, and
when the loons were in need of him or would pray to him they were to utter this cry.
And it came to pass that when he was in Newfoundland he came to an Indian town, and they who dwelt therein were all Kwee-moo-uk, or Loons.
And they, as men, were exceeding glad to see their lord, who had blessed them as birds, and did their best to please him. So he made them his
huntsmen and messengers, and in all the tales of Glooskap the Kweemoo ever appears as faithful to him. Whence to this day, when the Indians hear
the cry of the Loon, they say, "Kwemoo el-komik-too-ajul Glooscapal" (He is calling upon Glooskap).
|How Glooskap Had A Great Frolic With Kitpooseagunow,
A Mighty Giant Who Caught A Whale
A Micmac Legend
N'kah-nee-oo. In the old time, Glooskap came to Pulewech Munegoo (Micmac: Partridge Island), and he met Kitpooseagunow, whose mother had
been slain by a fearful cannibal giant. And it was against these that he made war all his life long, as did Glooskap.
Whence it came to pass that they loved one another, which did not at all hinder them from having a hearty and merry encounter, in which they missed
but little of killing one or the other, and all in the best natured way in the world.
Now, having come to Pulewech Munegoo, the lord of men and beasts was entertained by Kitpooseagunow. And when the night came, he who was
born after his mother's death said to his guest, "Let us go on the sea in a canoe and catch whales by torchlight;" to which Glooskap, nothing loath,
consented, for he was a mighty fisherman, as are all the Wabanaki of the seacoast.
Now when they came to the beach there were only great rocks, lying here and there; but Kitpooseagunow, lifting the largest of these, put it on his head,
and it became a canoe. And picking up another, it turned to a paddle, while a long splinter which he split from a ledge seemed to be a spear. Then
Glooskap asked, "Who shall sit in the stern and paddle, and who will take the spear?" Kitpooseagunow said, "That will I." So Glooskap paddled, and
soon the canoe passed over a mighty whale; in all the great sea there was not his like; but he who held the spear sent it like a thunderbolt down into the
waters, and as the handle rose again to sight he snatched it up, and the great fish was caught. And as Kitpooseagunow whirled it on high, the whale
roaring, touched the clouds. Then taking him from the point, the fisher tossed him into the bark as if he had been a trout. And the giants laughed; the
sound of their laughter was heard all over the land of the Wabanaki. And being at home, the host took a stone knife and split the whale, and threw one
half to the guest Glooskap, and they roasted each his piece over the fire and ate it.
Now the Master, having marked the light, which was long in the heaven after the sun went down, said, "The sky is red; we shall have a cold night."
And his host understood him well, and saw that he would it make it cold by magic. So he bade Marten bring in all the fuel he could find, and all there
was of the oil of a porpoise; and this oil he so multiplied by magic that there was ten times more of it. And they sat down and smoked, and told tales of
old times; but it grew ever colder and colder. And at midnight, when all was burnt out, Marten froze to death, and then the grandmother, but the two
giants smoked on, and laughed and talked. Then the rocks out-of-doors split with the cold, the great trees in the forest split; the sound thereof was as
thunder, but the Master and he who was born after his mother's death laughed even louder. And so they sat until the sun rose. Then Glooskap said to
the dead woman, "Noogume, numchahse!" "Grandmother, arise!" and to his boy, "Abistanooch numchahse!" "Marten, arise!" and they arose, and
went about their work.
And the morning being bright, they went forth far into the forest to find game. But they got very little, for they caught only one small beaver, and
Glooskap gave up his share of this to Kitpooseagunow. And he, taking the skin, fastened it to his garter, whence it dangled like the skin of a mouse at
the knee of a tall man. But as he went on through the woods the skin grew larger and larger and larger, till it broke away by its own weight. Then the
giant twisted a mighty sapling into a withe, and fastened it around his waist. But it still grew apace as he went on, till, trailing after, it tore down all
the forest, pulling away the trees, so that Kitpooseagunow left a clean, fair road behind him.
And when the night came on they fished again, as they had done before; and again it was said, but this time by the host, "The sky is red; we shall have
a cold night." So they heaped up wood more than the first time, but now it was far colder. And soon the boy was dead, and the grandmother also lay
frozen. But when the sun rose the Master brought them back to life, and, bidding good-bye to Kitpooseagunow, went his way.
The most striking feature, however, of this legend is its Norse-like breadth or grandeur and its genial humor, which are very remarkable
characteristics for the fictions of savages. Its resemblance to the Scandinavian tales is, if accidental, very remarkable. The two heroes are, like Thor
and Odin, giant heroes who make war on Jotuns and Trolls: that is, giant-like sorcerers. It is their profession; they live in it. No one can read
Beowulf without being struck by the great resemblance between Grendel, the hideous, semi-human night prowler, and the Kewahqu', a precisely
similar monster, who rises from the depths of waters to wantonly murder man. I do not recall any two beings in any other two disconnected
mythologies so strangely similar. The fishing for the whale re-calls that which is told in the Older Edda (Hymiskvida, 21), where Hymir succeeds in
hooking two of these fish:--
"Then he and Hymir rowed out to sea. Thor rowed oft with two oars, and so powerfully that the giant was obliged to acknowledge they were speeding
very fast. He himself rowed at the prow."
If the reader will compare this account of the Edda with the Micmac story, he cannot fail to be struck with the great resemblance between them. It is
even specified in both that the hero, though a guest, paddles. And in both instances the host catches a whale. Now compare with this the legend of
Manobozho-Hiawatha, who merely catches the great sunfish, and is swallowed by it. Does it not seem as if the Western Indians had here borrowed
from the Micmacs, and the Micmacs from the Norse? Whether this was done directly or through the Eskimo is as yet a problem. It may also be noted
that both in the Edda and in the Micmac story, it is declared that one of the giants picked up the boat and carried it.
It may be observed that most of these Indian traditions were originally poems. It is probable that all were sung, while they still retained the character
of serious mythical or sacred narrative. Now they are in the translation state of heroic tales. But they unquestionably still retain many passages of
very great antiquity, and it is not impossible that Eskimo and even Norse songs are still preserved in them. In this tale the following coincidences with
passages in the Elder Edda (Hymiskvida) are remarkable. In both the host asks his guest to go with him to catch whales, to which the latter assents.
"We three tomorrow night
Shall be compelled
On what we catch to live.'
Thor said he would
On the sea row."
Kitpooseagunow picks up the heavy canoe, with its oars and a spear, and carries them.
grasped the prow
quickly with its hold-water,
lifted the boat
together with its oars
bore to the dwelling
the curved vessel."
Glooskap, asks which of the two shall take the paddle, and which sit in the stern. Hymir inquires,--
"Wilt thou do
half the work with me?
Either the whales
home to the dwelling bear,
Or the boat
Kitpooseagunow drew up a whale.
"The mighty Hymir,
two whales drew
up with his hook."
After this whale-fishing, the Scandinavian giants at home have a trial of strength and endurance. Thor throws a cup at Hymir. This cup can only be
broken on Hymir's head, which is of ice, and intensely hard.
"That is harder
than any cup."
This is therefore an effort on the part of Thor to overcome Cold. Hymir is the incarnation of Cold itself.
"The icebergs resounded
as the churl approached;
the thicket on his cheeks
In shivers flew the pillars
At the Jotun's glance."
That is, the frost cracks the stones and rocks. In the Indian tale the two giants try to see which can freeze the other. In both there is distinctly a
contest. In the Norse tale Strength or Heat fights Frost; in the American, Frost is battled with by Frost as a rival.
It may be observed that the Indian tale is far from being perfect, and that in all probability the whole of it includes a fishing for the sea-serpent.
It is plainly set forth in the Edda that Cold may be overcome by a magic spell. Thus Groa (Grougaldr, 12) promises her son a rune to effect this:--
"A seventh (charm) I will sing thee
If on a mountain high
frost should assail thee,
deadly cold shall not
they body injure,
nor draw it to thy limbs."
|How Glooskap, leaving the World, all the animals mourned for him,
and how, Ere he departed, he gave gifts to men
A Micmac Legend
Now Glooskap had freed the world from all the mighty monsters of an early time; the giants wandered no longer in the wilderness; the cullo terrified
man no more, as it spread its wings like the cloud between him and the sun; the dreadful Chenoo of the North devoured him not; no evil beasts, devils,
and serpents were to be found near his home. And the Master had, moreover, taught men the arts which made them happier; but they were not
grateful to him, and though they worshiped him they were not the less wicked.
"Now when the ways of men and beasts waxed evil they greatly vexed Glooskap, and at length he could no longer endure them, and he made a rich
feast by the shore of the great Lake Minas. All the beasts came to it, and when the feast was over he got into a great canoe, and the beasts looked after
him till they saw him no more. And after they ceased to see him, they still heard his voice as he sang; but the sounds grew fainter and fainter in the
distance, and at last they wholly died away; and then deep silence fell on them all, and a great marvel came to pass, and the beasts, who had till now
spoken but one language, were no longer able to understand each other, and they fled away, each his own way, and never again have they met in
council. Until the day when Glooskap shall return to restore the Golden Age, and make men and animals dwell once more together in amity and
peace, all Nature mourns. And tradition says that on his departure from Acadia the Great Snowy Owl retired to the deep forests, to return no more
until he could come to welcome Glooskap; and in those sylvan depths the owls even yet repeat to the night Koo-koo-skoos! Which is to say in the
Indian tongue, 'Oh, I am sorry! Oh, I am sorry!' And the Loons, who had been the huntsmen of Glooskap, go restlessly up and down through the
world, seeking vainly for their master, whom they cannot find, and wailing sadly because they find him not."
But Ere the Master went away from life, or ceased to wander in the ways of men, he bade it be known by the Loons, his faithful messengers, that
before his departure years would pass, and that whoever would seek him might have one wish granted, whatever that wish might be. Now, though the
journey was long and the trials were terrible which those must endure who would find Glooskap, there were still many men who adventured them.
Now ye shall hear who some of these were and what happened to them. And this is the first tale as it was told me in the tent of John Gabriel, the
When all men had heard that Glooskap would grant a wish to any one who would come to him, three Indians resolved to try this thing; and one was a
Maliseet from St. John, and the other two were Penobscots from Old Town. And the path was long and the way was hard, and they suffered much,
and they were seven years on it ere they came to him. But while they were yet three months' journey from his dwelling, they heard the barking of his
dogs, and as they drew nearer, day by day, it was louder. And so, after great trials, they found the lord of men and beasts, and he made them welcome
and entertained them.
But, ere they went, he asked them what they wanted. And the eldest, who was an honest, simple man, and of but little account among his people,
because he was a bad hunter, asked that he might excel in the killing and catching of game. Then the Master gave him a flute, or the magic pipe, which
pleases every ear, and has the power of persuading every animal to follow him who plays it. And he thanked the lord, and left.
Now the second Indian, being asked what he would have, replied, "The love of many women". And when Glooskap, asked how many, he said, "I care
not how many, so that there are but enough of them, and more than enough." At hearing this the Master seemed displeased, but, smiling anon, he
gave him a bag which was tightly tied, and told him not to open it until he had reached his home. So he thanked the lord, and left.
Now the third Indian was a gay and handsome but foolish young fellow, whose whole heart was set on making people laugh, and on winning a
welcome at every merry-making. And he, being asked what he would have or what he chiefly wanted, said that it would please him most to be able to
make a certain quaint and marvelous sound or noise, which was frequent in those primitive times among all the Wabanaki, and which it is said may
even yet be heard in a few sequestered wigwams far in the wilderness, away from men; there being still here and there a deep magician, or man of
mystery, who knows the art of producing it. And the property of this wondrous sound is such that they who hear it must needs burst into a laugh;
whence it is the cause that the men of these our modern times are so sorrowful, was also affable, sending Marten into the woods to seek a certain
mystical and magic root, which when eaten would make the miracle the young man sought. But he warned him not to touch the root ere he got to his
home, or it would be the worse for him. And so he thanked the lord, and left.
It had taken seven years to come, but seven days were all that was required to tread the path returning to their home, that is, for him who got there.
Only one of the all the three beheld his lodge again. This was the hunter, who, with his pipe in his pocket, and not a care in his heart, trudged through
the woods, satisfied that so long as he should live, there would always be venison in the larder.
But he who loved women, and had never won even a wife, was filled with anxious wishfulness. And he had not gone very far into the woods before he
opened the bag. And there flew out by hundreds, like white doves, swarming all about him, beautiful girls, with black burning eyes and flowing hair.
And wild with passion the winsome witches threw their arms about him, and kissed him as he responded to their embraces; but they came ever more
and more, wilder and more passionate. And he bade them give way, but they would not, and he sought to escape, but he could not; and so panting,
crying for breath, smothered, he perished. And those who came that way found him dead, but what became of the girls no man knows.
Now the third went merrily onward alone, when all at once it flashed upon his mind that Glooskap had given him a present, and without the least heed
to the injunction that he was to wait till he had reached his home drew out the root and ate it; and scarce had he done this ere he realized that he
possessed the power of uttering the weird and mystic sound to absolute perfection. And as it rang o'er many a hill and dale, and woke the echoes of the
distant hills, until 't was answered by the solemn owl, he felt that it was indeed wonderful. So he walked on gayly, trumpeting as he went, over hill
and vale, happy as a bird.
But by and by he began to weary of himself. Seeing a deer he drew an arrow and stealing silently to the game was just about to shoot, when despite
himself the wild, unearthly sound broke forth like a demon's warble. The deer bounded away, and the young man cursed! And when he reached Old
Town, half dead with hunger, he was worth little to make laughter, though the honest, Indians at first did not fail to do so, and thereby somewhat
cheered his heart. But as the days went on they wearied of him, and, life becoming a burden, he went into the woods and slew himself. And the evil
spirit of the night-air, even Bumole, or Pamola, from whom came the gift, swooped down from the clouds and bore him away to 'Lahmkekqu', the
dwelling place of darkness, and he was no more heard of among men.
As regards the destruction of the giants by Glooskap, it may be observed that the same tradition exists among the Six Nations. Cusick tells us that
about 1250 years before Columbus discovered America a powerful tribe called Otne-yar-heh, that is, Stone Giants, who were ravenous cannibals,
overran the country, and nearly exterminated the inhabitants.
These Stone Giants practiced themselves in rolling on the sand; by this means their bodies became hard. Then Tas-enyawa-gon, the Holder of the
Heavens, came to earth as a giant, and, being made their chief, led them into a hollow, where he overwhelmed them with rocks. Only one escaped to
the far North. The reader will recognize in these the Chenoos, or Kewahqu', who cover themselves with pitch and roll on the ground. But no one can
deny that, while that which Cusick narrates has much in common with the mythology of the Wabanaki, it is much less like that of the Edda; that
Indian grotesqueness has in it greatly perverted an original; and finally, that it certainly occupies a position midway between the mythology of the
Northeastern Algonquins and that of the Chippewas, Ottawas, and other Western tribes. Examination shows this in every story. Thus the Wabanaki
warrior makes his bow infallible in aim by stringing it with a cord made of his sister's hair. This is Norse, as it was of old Latin. But in the Iroquois
the young man "adorns his arms with the hairs of his sister." Here the tradition has begun to weaken.
It may be interesting to visitors to Niagara to know that the army of Stone Giants crossed the river during their journey just below the Falls.
|How Glooskap made a magician of a young man,
who aided another to win a wife and do wonderful deeds
A Micmac Legend
It is well known unto all Indians who still keep the true faith of the olden time that there are wondrous dwellers in the lonely woods, such as elves and
fairies, called by the Micmacs, Mikumwessos, and by the Passamaquoddies, Oonahgawessos. And these can work great wonders, and also sing so as
to charm the wildest beasts. From them alone come the magic pipes or flutes, which sometimes pass into possession of noted sorcerers and great
warriors; and when these are played upon, the woman who hears the melody is bewitched with love, and the moose and caribou follow the sound even
to their death. And when the Megumawessos are pleased with a mortal they make him a fairy, even like themselves.
N'Karnayoo. In old times there was an Indian village, and in it were two young men. [Footnote: According to another Micmac version of this legend,
the elder of these pilgrims was Keekwahjoo, the Badger, and the younger Caktoogwasees, or Little Thunder.] who had heard that Glooskap, where he
left the world, would bestow on those who came to him whatever they wanted. So they went their way, an exceeding long pilgrimage, until they came
to a great island, where he dwelt. And there they first met with Dame Bear and Marten, and next with the Master himself. Then they all, sitting down
to supper, had placed before them only one extremely small dish, and on this there was a tiny bit of meat, and nothing more. But being a bold and jolly
fellow, the first of the pilgrims, thinking himself mocked for sport, cut off a great part of the meat, and ate it, when that which was in the dish grew in
twinkling to its former size; and so this went on all through the supper, every one eating his fill, the dish at the end being as full as ever.
Of these two, one wished to become a Mikumwess, and the other to win a very beautiful girl, the daughter of a great chief, who imposed such cruel
tasks on all who came for her, that they died in attempting them.
And the first was taken by Glooskap; and after he had by a merry trick covered him with filth and put him to great shame, he took him to the river, and
after washing him clean and combing his hair gave him a change of raiment and a hair string of exceeding great magic virtue, since when he had
bound it on he became a Mikumwess, having all the power of the elfin-world. And also because he desired to excel in singing and music, the Master
gave him a small pipe, and it was that which charmed all living beings; and then singing a song bade him join in with him. And doing this he found
that he could sing, and ever after had a wondrous voice.
Now to seek the beautiful girl it was necessary to sail over the sea; and during this adventure the Mikumwess was charged to take care of the younger
pilgrim. So he begged the Master to lend him his canoe. And Glooskap answered, "Yes, I will do this for thee, if thou wilt honestly return it when thou
needest it no more. Yet in very truth I did never yet lend it to mortal man but that I had to go after it myself."
Thereupon the young man promised most faithfully that he would indeed return the canoe, and with this they got them ready for the journey. But
when they came to the bay there was no canoe, and they knew not what was to be done. But Glooskap pointed to a small island of granite which rose
amid the waves, and it was covered with tall pine-trees. "There is my canoe!" said he; and when he had taken them unto it, it became a real canoe, with
masts, and they set sail on it, rejoicing.
So they came in time to a very large island, where they drew up the canoe and hid it in the bushes. Then they went forward to seek for people, and
found a village in which dwelt the chief who had the beautiful daughter, in seeking whom so many had lost their lives.
And having found him, they went into his wigwam, and were placed on the seat of honor. Now when an Indian seeks a wife, he or his mutual friend
makes no great ado about it, but utters two words, which tell the whole story. And these are Sewin-coadoo-gwah-loogwet', which mean - in Micmac,
"I am tired of living alone." And the chief, hearing this, consented that the young man should marry her whom he sought; but on one condition: and
this was that he should slay and bring unto him the head of a certain horned dragon, called in Micmac Chepichealm. So this was agreed upon, and the
two strangers went to the wigwam which was assigned them.
Now in the night he that was Mikumwess arose and went alone and afar until he came to the den of the dragon, and this was a great hole in the
ground. And over this he laid a mighty log, and then began the magic dance around the den. So the serpent, or the great Chepichealm, hearing the call
came forth, putting out his head after the manner of snakes, waving it all about in every way and looking round him. While doing this he rested his
neck upon the log, when the Indian with a blow of his hatchet severed it. Then taking the head by one of the shining yellow horns he bore it to his
friend, who in the morning gave it to the chief. And the old man said to himself, "This time I fear me I shall lose my child."
Yet the young man had more to do; for the chief said, "I would fain see my son coast down yonder hill on hand-sled." Now this hill was an exceeding
high mountain; the sides thereof were ragged with rocks and terrible with trees and ice. Then two toboggans were brought out, one of them for the
two strangers, and this he that was Mikumwess was to direct. And on the other were two powerful men, and these were both boo-oinak, who hoped to
see the former soon fall out, and then to run over them. And at the word they went flying fearfully down the mountain, and yet ever faster, as if to
death. And soon he that sought the girl went whirling headlong from the sled, and the two boo-oinak gave a loud hurrah; for they knew not that this
had been done with intent by the Mikumwess, that he might get them before him. So he put forth his hand, and, seizing the younger man, turned a little
aside, but in an instant went on after; and erelong the sled of the boo-oinak stopped, but the other, bounding upwards from a mighty wall of ice, flew
far over their heads onwards; nor did it stop in the valley, but, running with tremendous speed up the opposite hill and into the village, struck the side
of the chief's wigwam, ripping it up from end to end ere it stopped. And the old man, seeing this, said, "This time I have lost my daughter!"
Yet the young man had more to do; for the chief said, "There is here a man who has never been beaten in running, and thou must strive with him in
that and overcome him, to win thy wife." And the race was appointed; but ere it came off he that was Mikumwess lent to his friend the magic pipe to
give him power.
And when he that was the racer of the village met the young man, the youth said, "Who art thou?" and he replied, "I am Wey-ad-esk" (the Northern
Lights); "but who art thous?" And he answered, "I am Wosogwodesk" (the Chain Lightning). And they ran. In an instant they were no longer in
sight; they were far away over the most distant hills. Then all sat and waited, and ere it was noon he that was the Chain Lightning returned, and he
was not our of breath, nor weary, and he had gone round the world. And at evening they saw the Northern Lights return, and he trembled and
quivered with fatigue; yet for all that he had not been round the world, but had turned back. And the old chief, seeing him beaten, exclaimed, "This time
I shall lose my child?"
And yet there was another trial of the young man ere he could win her whom he wanted. For the chief had a man whom no one could overcome in
swimming and diving, and it was chiefly in this last thing that he excelled. And the young man must strive with him. And when they met he asked the
an of the village his name, and he replied, "I am an Ukchigumooech" (a Sea Duck); "but who are you?" And he answered, "I am a Kweemoo" (a Loon).
So they dived, and after a time the Sea Duck rose again for breath, but those who waited long indeed ere they saw the Loon. And an hour passed, and
he came not, and yet another ere they beheld him; but when he at last rose the old chief said, "This is the end of all our weary work, for this time I have
lost my child."
Yet it was not the end of the wonderful deeds which were done in that village by the power of the great Glooskap. For the Mikumwess, at the great
dance which was held that evening at the wedding, astonished all who beheld him. As he danced around the circle, upon the very hard beaten floor,
they saw his feet sink deeper at every step, and ever deeper as the dance went on; ploughing the ground up into high uneven ridges, forming a trench as
he went, until at length only his head was to be seen.
And this ended the dancing for that night, since the ground was no longer to be danced upon by anybody except wizards and witches.
Then the young man and his wife and the Mikumwess entered their canoe and sailed boosijk (homewards). And yet their trials were not over. For
they had not gone far when they saw an awful storm coming to meet them; and he that had the Elfin spells knew that it was raised in boo-oin, or
sorcery, since these storms are the worst of all. Then, without fear, he rose, and, filling his lungs and puffing his cheeks, he blew against the tempest,
wind against wind, until he blew the wind away, and the great water was 'aoobuneak', as calm and smooth as before.
So they sailed on over the sunlit sea, but it was not long before the Elf-gifted saw rising among the waves far before them a dark mass, which soon
proved to be a tremendous Beast coming to attack them. And as he drew near they saw it was Quahbeet, the giant beaver, and his eyes were angry.
But the Mikumwess, seeing this, steered straight to meet the monster, and, coming to him, said, "I am the great hunter of beavers; lo, I am their
butcher; many a one has fallen by my hand." Now the Beaver had placed himself under water, with his tail out of it and rising upwards, that he might
sink the canoe with a blow thereof; for the Beaver strikes mightily in such wise, as is his wont. But he of the magic power, with one blow of his
tomahawk, cut the tail from the body, and sailed onward.
Yet they had not gone far when, on rounding a point, they saw before them another animal of giant size, who likewise had his tail in the air, waiting to
overcome them, and this was A-bekk-thee-lo, the Skunk. Yet ere he made his hideous attack the Mikumwess, ever on the watch, caught up his spear,
and, hurling it, pierced A-bekk-thee-lo, who did but kick two or three times ere he died. And, stepping ashore, he who had slain him took a pole, a long
dead pine, which lay upon the sand, and, transfixing the Skunk, lifting him high in air, and, planting the tree on the ground, left him, saying scornfully,
as he left, "Lik cho je nain!" which, being interpreted, meaneth, "And now show your tail there!"
So they returned safely. And Glooskap met them at the landing, and his first words were, "Well, my friends, I see that you have brought back my
canoe." And they answered, "We have, indeed." Then he inquired, "Has all gone well with ye?" And they replied that it had. Then Glooskap, laughing,
let them know that in all they had experienced he had been busy, and that in all their triumphs he had had a hand. And to the Mikumwess he said, "Go
now thy ways, thous and these, and ever lead happy lives: thou amid the Elfin, they among mankind. And be sure of this, that if danger or trouble
should come to you, you have but to think of me, and verily aid will come." So they rose and went to their wigwams.
Footnote: In its earlier form this must have been a very remarkable narrative, or poem. That the two combatants in the race were originally the
personified Northern Lights and Lightning, and that these were not merely names assumed for boasting, is shown by the incident that the Lightning
actually passed round the world, while the Aurora Borealis only covered a portion of it. The diving is either a later addition, or it represents the same
stupendous spirits taking on the appearance of mastering the element of water as well as that of fire. Without carrying the Solar myth theory to
extremes, it cannot be denied that Glooskap appears in several of these stories as Spring, or as the melter of ice, the conqueror of the frozen stream and
of the iceberg. In this narrative he is active and creative Nature itself, directing and sporting with the warring elements. His vast practical joking
cannot fail to remind the reader yet again of the Norse deities and their jovial household godhood.
This tradition is Micmac, and taken almost entirely from Mr. Rand's manuscript. It should be borne in mind that it is not from a single story of this
collection, but from a careful analysis and comparison of them all, that their entire value is to be ascertained.
Certain incidents in this tale deserve special attention. The young men go to a land of evil sorcerers, of boo-oin. When one is required to run a race he
conquers because he is really the Lightning. When Thor visits Utgard Loki, there is also a race, in which Hugi wins, because he is Thought disguised as
a man. Glooskap has a canoe, which is sometimes immensely large, but which at other times shrinks to a very small size.
In the Edda, Odin is said to have had made for him by the dwarfs a boat, Skidbladnir, which, like Glooskap's bark, expanded or diminished. Sigurd, in
the New Edda, is obliged to kill a dragon, and it is very remarkable that he does it by a special previous preparation. That is to say, he digs a little
ditch, and when the dragon crawls over it the hero pierces him with his sword. In this story the Indian lays a log over the dragon's hole, to enable him
to chop his head off. The dragon, or horned snake, is an old-time tradition in America, or pre-Columbian.
|How Glooskap Made His Uncle Mikchich, the Turtle, Into a Great Man, and Got Him A Wife.
Of Turtles' Eggs, and How Glooskap Vanquished a Sorcerer by Smoking Tobacco.
A Micmac Legend
Now when Glooskap left Uktukamkw, or Newfoundland, it was in a canoe, and he came to Piktook (Micmac for Pictou), which means the bubbling
up of air, because there is much bubbling in the water near that place. And here there was an Indian village, and in that place the Master met with a
man whom he loved all his life.
And this was not because this man, whose name in Micmac is Mikchich and in Passamaquoddy Chick-we-notchk, the Turtle, was great, or well
favored, or rich. For truly he was none of these, being very poor and lazy, no longer young, and not very clever or wise in any way. It is said that he
was indeed Glooskap's uncle, but others think that this was by adoption. However, this old fellow bore all his wants with such good nature that the
Master, taking him in great affection, resolved to make of him a mighty man. Which came to pass, and that in a strange manner, as we shall see.
For coming to Piktook, where there were about a hundred wigwams, Glooskap, being a very handsome, stately man, with the manner of a great chief,
was much admired, and that not a little by all the women, so that every one wished to have him in the house. Yet he gave them all the go-by, and dwelt
with his old uncle, in whose quaint ways and old-time stories he took great delight. And there was to be a great feast with games, But Glooskap did
not care to go, either as a guest or a performer in the play.
Still he inquired of Mikchich if he would not take part in it, telling him that all the maidens would be there, and asking him why he had never married,
and saying that he should not live alone. Then the uncle said, "Poor and old and plain am I; I have not even garments fit for a feast; better were it for
me to smoke my pipe at home." "Truly, if that be all uncle," replied Glooskap, "I know I can tailor and fit you to a turn; and have no care as to your
outside or your face, for to him who knows how, it is as easy to make a man over as a suit of clothes." "Yes; but, nephew," said Mikchich, "how say
you as to making over the inside of a mortal?" "By the great Beaver!" answered the Master, "that is something harder to do, else I were not so long at
work in the world. But before I leave this town I shall do that also for you; and as for this present sport, do but put on my belt." And when he had
done that, Mikchich became so young and handsome that no man or woman ever saw the like. And then Glooskap dressed him in his own best
clothes, and promised him that to the end of his days, whenever he should be a man, he would be the comeliest of men; and because he was patient and
tough, he should, as an animal, become the hardest to kill of all creatures on the face of the earth, as it came to pass.
So Mikchich went to the feast. Now the chief of Piktook had three beautiful daughters, and the youngest was the loveliest in the land. And on her he
cast his eyes, and returning said, "I have seen one whom I want." Now all the young men in Piktook desired this girl, and would kill any one who
would win her.
So the next day Glooskap, taking a bunch, of wawbap (Passamaquoddy: wampum), went to the chief and proposed for Mikchich, and the mother at
once said "Yes." So the girl made up a bed of fresh twigs and covered it with a great white bear-skin, and went to Mikchich, and they returned and had
dried meat for supper. So they were married.
Now Turtle seemed to be very lazy, and when others hunted he lounged at home. One day his young wife said to him that if this went on thus they
must soon starve. So he put on his snow-shoes and went forth, and she followed him to see what he would do. And he had not gone far ere he tripped
and fell down, and the girl, returning, told her mother that he was worthless. But the mother said, "He will do something yet. Be patient."
One day it came to pass that Glooskap said to Mikchich, "Tomorrow there will be a great game at ball, and you must play. But because you have made
yourself enemies of all the young men here, they will seek to slay you, by crowding all together and trampling upon you. And when they do this it will
be by your father-in-law's lodge, and to escape them I give you the power to jump high over it. This you may do twice, but the third time will be
terrible for you, and yet it must be."
All this happened as he foretold; for the young men indeed tried to take his life, and to escape them Mikchich jumped over the lodge, so that he seemed
like a bird flying. But the third time he did this he was caught on the top of the tent-poles, and hung there dangling in the smoke which rose from below.
Then Glooskap, who was seated in the tent, said, "Uncle, I will now make you the sogmo, or great chief of the Tortoises, and you shall bear up a great
nation." Then he smoked Mikchich so long that his skin became a hard shell, and the marks of the smoke may be seen thereon to this day. And
removing his entrails he destroyed them, so that but one short one was left. And he cried aloud, "Milooks! (Micmac) My nephew, you will kill me!"
But the nephew replied, "Not so. I am giving you great life. From this time you may roll through a flame and never feel it, and live on land or in the
water. And though your head be cut off, it will live for nine days, and your heart, even, shall beat as long when taken from your body." So Mikchich
And this came betimes, for he soon had need of it all. For the next day all the men went on a hunt, and the Master warned him that they would seek to
slay him. Now the young men went on before, and Turtle lingered behind; but all at once he made a magic flight far over their heads, unseen, and
deep in the forest he slew a moose. Then he drew this to the snow-shoe track or road, and when his foes came up there he sat upon the moose,
smoking, and waiting for them. Now Glooskap had told him that they would see some one come out ahead of them all that day, and when this came to
pass they were more angered in their hearts than ever.
So they plotted to kill Turtle, and his nephew, who was about to leave, told him how it would be. "First of all, they will build a mighty fire and throw
you in it. But do thou, O uncle, go cheerfully, for by my power thou wilt in nowise suffer. Then they will speak of drowning, but thou must beg and
pray that this may not be; and then they will the more seek to do so, and thou shalt fight them to the bitter end, and yet it shall be."
Ans as he said, so it came to pass; and Mikchich, being of good cheer, bade farewell to his nephew. And they seized him and threw him into a great
fire, but he turned over and went to sleep in it, being very lazy; and when the fire had burnt out he awoke, and called for more wood, because it was a
Then they seized him yet again, and spoke of drowning. But, hearing this, he, as if he were in mortal dread, begged them not to do this thing. And he
said they might cut him to pieces, or burn him, as they would, but not to throw him into the water. Therefore they resolved to do so, and dragged him
on. Then he screamed horribly and fought lustily, and tore up trees and roots and rocks like a madman; but they took him into a canoe and paddled
out into the middle of the lake (or to the sea), and, throwing him in, watched him sink as he vanished far down below. So they thought him dead, and
Now the next day at noon there was a hot sunshine, and something was seen basking on a great rock, about a mile out in the lake. So two young men
took a canoe and went forth to see what this might be. And when they came to the edge of the rock, which was about a foot high, there lay Mikchich
sunning himself; but seeing them coming to take him, he only said, "Good-by," and rolled over plump into the water, where he is living to this day. In
memory whereof all turtles, when they see any one coming, tip-tilt themselves over into the water at once.
And Turtle lived happily with hi wife, and she had a babe. Now it happened in after-days that Glooskap came to see his uncle, and the child cried.
"Doest thou know what he says?" exclaimed the Master. "Truly, not I," answered Mikchich, "unless it be the language of the Mu-se-gisk
Passamaquoddy: Spirits of the Air), which no man knoweth." "Well," replied Glooskap, "he is talking of eggs, for he says 'Hoo-wah! Hoo-wah!'
which methinks is much the same as 'Waw-wun, waw-wun.' And this in Passamaquoddy means egg. "But where are there any?" asked Mikchich.
Then Glooskap bade him seek in the sand, and he found many, and admired and marveled over them greatly; and in memory of this, and to glorify
this jest of Glooskap, the Turtle layeth eggs even to this day.
The great Glooskap was a right valiant smoker; in all the world was no man who loved a pipe of good tobacco so much as he. In those days the
summers were longer in the land of the Wabanaki, the sun was warmer, and the Indians raised tomawe (Passamaquoddy: tobacco), and solaced
themselves mightily therewith. And there came to Glooskap a certain evil-minded magician, who sought to take his life, as the Master very well knew,
for he read the hearts of men as if they had been strings of wampum. And this m'teoulin (Passamaquoddy: magician), believing himself to be greatest
in all things, thought to appall Glooskap by outdoing him at first in something at which he excelled; for a fish is frightened when another swims faster,
but not till then.
And the man sat down to smoke with an exceeding long pipe with a great bowl, but that of Glooskap grew to be much greater. Then, having filled his
pipe, the sorcerer exhausted and burnt it out at one pull, and then blew all the smoke out of his nose at one puff. So he sat and looked at the Master.
But Glooskap, whose pipe held ten times as much tobacco, did the same, and blowing it out split the rocky ground, so that a great chasm opened before
them. Then they were silent awhile, till the Master said, "If you can do that you may kill me." But he could not, and so went back with shame to those
who had sent him.
|How Glooskap Sailed Through The Great Cavern of Darkness
A Micmac Legend
Now it is told in another tradition --and men tell even this differently-- that pitche, in these old times Glooskap's seven neighbors, who were all so
many different animals, took away his family, and that he followed them, even as it has been written, unto Newfoundland. And when he came there it
was night, and, finding Marten alone, he took him forth into the forest to seek food, putting his belt on the boy, which gave him such power that he
hunted well and got much meat.
So it came to pass that the next morning Dame Kah-kah-gooch, the Crow, observed that Marten was drying meat on his wigwam. And this she spread
abroad. But when the people learned that the child had done this, a great fear came upon them all, and they sat every man in his lodge and awaited
death, for they knew that the Master had come.
And he indeed came; but when he saw them all as frightened as rabbits before the wild-cat, he laughed aloud and forgave them, for he was noble and
generous. And as they were hungry-- for he had come in hard times-- he gave them much venison, and sorrow departed from their wigwams. But as
they had left him of old, he now left them. When they knew him not they left him to die; now that they know him they feared lest they should perish
without him. But he turned his steps towards other paths.
Now having made a canoe, the Master, with Marten and Dame Bear, went upon a mighty river. As the story says, it was broad and beautiful at first,
and so they sailed away down towards its mouth. Then they came to great cliffs, which gathered round and closed over them. But the river ran on
beneath these, and ever on far underground, deeper and deeper in the earth, till it dashed headlong into rapids, among rocks and ravines, and under
cataracts which were so horrible that death seemed to come and go with every plunge of the canoe. And the water grew narrower and the current
more dreadful, and fear came upon Marten and the woman, so that they died. But the Master sat with silent soul, though he sang the songs of magic,
and so passed into the night, but came forth again into sunlight. And there was a lonely wigwam on the bank, into which he bore Marten and the
grandmother, and saying, "Numchahse! Arise!" lo, they arose, and deemed they had only slept. And now Glooskap had gained the greatest power.
This incident of passing through darkness, on a roaring stream in a frail bark, before emerging to sunlight or illumination, was not only in the ancient
myths. We are reminded of it by the storm through which Jesus passes with the disciples. That it made a great impression upon the Indians is shown
by its being told of Pulewech, the Partridge, who is a type of Glooskap, and who, like him, makes war on the powers of evil, set forth in the Porcupines.
The Indians, who imagined and selected so many wild and terrible tests to form the Shaman, or sorcerer, as well as the warrior, would hardly neglect
that of de profundis clamavi, the storm, the waves, darkness, and the roaring flood.
If there is really any Norse influence in this tale, this river must be the one mentioned in the Vafthrudnismal,--
"Ifing the stream is called
which earth divides between
the Jotuns and the gods.
Open it shall run
throughout all time.
On that stream no ice shall be."
It will be observed that, having gone down or across this, stream, Pulewech finds himself in the country of the Evil sorcerers; that is, Jotunheim. To
conquer a river among the Norse, in a dream, was a sign of victory; to be carried away by one was a terrible omen.
"Me thought a river ran
Through the whole house,
that it roared violently,
rushed over the benches,
brake the feet of you
Nothing the water spared;
Something that will portend."
(Atlamal, in Groenlenzku, 25.)
|How Kluskap Made the Birds
A Micmac Legend
Kluskap delighted in the great variety of beautiful leaves of the fall. He looked forward each season to the array of pleasing colors and after they had
dropped he felt sad because of the fleeting beauty that had passed.
How delightful it would be if these colors could be with us always, he thought. I'll turn these colorful leaves into beautiful birds. And with a wave of his
hand the leaves became robins, tanager, goldfinches and canaries.
|How Kluskap Sang Through The Rapids and Found A New Home
A Micmac Legend
As time went on, Kluskap grew weary of saving people from nasty creatures and listening to their woes. He loved people, but did not wish to live
around them all the time. "I want to be only as tall as any Mikmaq man," he decided. "I want a secluded house by a river, where I can live in peace and
quiet, well away from the troubles of the world."
Kluskap summoned his wolves, whom he had not seen in many years. "We are going on a long journey," he told them. "It must be kept a secret. I
don't want people to see me unhappy."
"What is our destination?" the wolves asked.
"I can tell you what I want,: said Kluskap, "but I can;t tell you where. I want you both to fly to every corner of the Earth. Find me a house to live in. It
must be near a river, where fish are plentiful and nobody will come to me with their woes. Things are fine in the world now, the creatures who would
harm mankind are all dead or on the moon. It is up to people to take care of themselves. I need a rest."
The wolves flew off and were gone for a year. Kluskap waited in his cave.
Finally, the two wolves returned. "We have found your house," they said. "But it is not a simple matter to get to it."
"Let's go," Kluskap said happily, "I've been waiting. I'm ready."
The wolves led Kluskap to a river he had never seen before. One the sandy bank was his canoe. "Old friend," he said to the canoe, "we have been
through many adventures together. Now we are about to go through yet another.
Kluskap climbed in. He tied each of his wolves to a canoe slat. He took up his oar and started downstream. The day was clear and sunny, the water
was calm, with only harmless whirlpools and ripples in the shallows. Kluskap glided his canoe along with little effort.
"Why not practice your wild-rapids song?" the wolves suggested. "It is your most powerful song."
"Look around you," Kluskap said, with a wide sweep of his hand. "There's no need for my rapids song."
"This is a strange and powerful river," the wolves warned Kluskap. "We traveled on it for many days. We almost drowned in this river. It has many
deceptions. It plays many tricks."
"Pipe down," Kluskap said, laughing. "I'm enjoying my escape from the worries of mankind."
Kluskap closed his eyes and let the river breeze wash over his face. He leaned back and let his canoe drift with the current.
But when he opened his eyes, Kluskap saw ten vultures circling above. "Am I dead?" he asked his wolves. "Have I died and am I traveling to the land
of ghosts and bones?"
"No," said one wolf, "those are death-birds all right, but you have not died, great Kluskap. Those vultures are waiting for us to collide into hagged
rocks and capsize. They are waiting for us to wash ashore, so they can land on our faces and tear us apart with their beaks."
"But I see no hagged rocks!" said Kluskap.
"Please," the wolves begged, "sing your wild-rapids song."
"No," said Kluskap, "I'm enjoying the view. You wolves worry far too much. You've got to learn to enjoy life."
"The house we picked out is truly peaceful," one wolf replied. "We will enjoy life greatly once we are there."
"Sing me a song," Kluskap said. "If you insist on singing, you sing. Make it a song of great enthusiasm. A song of quiet waters, and no vultures in the
"All right," said the wolves, "we will sing."
But when the wolves began to sing, they sang Kluskap's wild-rapids song! They howled it with great fear in their hearts.
Kluskap was annoyed. "Stop!" he said, "that's my song! That's my most magical song. Only I can sing it. You're ruining the song!"
"Teach us, then," the wolves pleaded.
With much pride, Kluskap puffed out his chest, took a deep breath, and sang his powerful wild-rapids song. The song had in it the names of every
Mikmaq and animal who had ever drowned. As he sang, Kluskap noticed a peculiar thing. With each name in the song, a new vulture appeared in the
Finally, the vultures were so numerous that they blocked out the sun.
Now even Kluskap grew worried.
When the sun vanished entirely behind this thick cloud of vultures, Kluskap and his wolves suddenly found themselves amid towering cliffs. The cliffs
closed in on them, and the river rushed them toward thundering white-water rapids just up ahead. Kluskap clung to his wolves. Even his magic canoe
felt flimsy in the turbulence. Every so often the sun flashed through a vulture's wing feathers, reflecting off the rcks and blinding Kluskap. "What is
going on?" Kluskap cried.
"Sing your rapids song!" the wolves shouted. "Sing! Sing!"
The canoe slid forward into a treacherous gulch. The churning of the rapids became so loud that Kluskap could not even hear his own singing. The
canoe jumped and spun sideways, then tumbled down a waterfall, which led to a second waterfall, then a third, a fourth, and a fifth. "We are falling
off the world!" Kluskap thought, but he did not say it. He sang as loudly as he could.
They landed below the last waterfall, and saw up ahead an even more menacing sight. Protruding from the turbulent rapids were rocks that stood like
Kluskap could hear the wolves' hearts pounding with wild alarm.
"Kluskap,: the wolves said, "close your eyes and imagine a well-built house. It is made of logs and there is a fire in the fireplace and a good meal on the
table. Life there is peaceful, terrible rapids are only a memory."
Kluskap tightly closed his eyes. "I see it!" he said. "I see my house! And you are right there with me, my wolves!"
"Now sing, Kluskap!" the wolves said. "Sing as you have never sung before. Sing from all your experiences, from all your adventures, from all your
days on the Earth!"
And suddenly, the canoe passed through the dangerous ravine and out into the sunlight. The river here was cold and deep, and the speckled stones that
lay at the bottom had traveled as far as Kluskap and his wolves had. Kluskap peered into the water and said to the stones, "I feel like I have known you
my whole life."
"Look!" the wolves said.
Kluskap shaded his eyes from the sun and saw his house, there on a knoll not far from the riverbank. "It is just as you described it," he said to the
wolves. And he began to weep.
Since that day many people have tried to find Kluskap's house, but Kluskap and his wolves are the only ones who know where it is. There is no map to
Kluskap is happy. He spends his days fishing and running with his wolves. At night, after supper, Kluskap and his wolves talk of their adventures.
"We have done much good," Kluskap likes to say.
Kluskap is the size of any Mikmaq man now, that is true. But if one of his wolves should venture far and wide, returning with the news that mankind
is in trouble, he will become a giant again, and will hazard the mystical river with his wolves in order to help his people.
|How Master Rabbit Gave Himself Airs
A Micmac Legend
It happened once that Lox was living in great luxury. He had a wigwam full of hundreds of dried sea ducks, moose meat, maple-sugar, and corn. He
gave a dinner, and among the guests invited Martin and Mahtigwess, the Rabbit.
Now it is a great weakness of Master Rabbit that he is much given to hinting at one minute, and saying pretty plainly the next, that he has been in
better society than that around him, and has lived among great people, and no one was quicker than the Marten to find out that wherein any one was
foolish or feeble. So when Master Rabbit, smoothing down his white fur, said it was the only kind of a coat worn by the aristocracy, Marten humbly
inquired, "if that were so, how he came by it."
"It shows," replied Master Rabbit, "that I have habitually kept company with gentlemen."
"How did you get that slit in your lip?" inquired Marten, who knew very well what this Indian really was.
"Ah!" replied the Rabbit, "where I live they use knives and forks. And one day, --while eating with some great sagamores, my knife slipped, and I cut
"And why are your mouth and whiskers always going when you are still? Is that high style?"
"Yes; I am meditating, planning, combining great affairs; talking to myself, you see. That's the way we do."
"But why do you always hop? Why don't you sometimes walk, like other people?"
"Ah, that's our style. We gentlemen don't run, like the vulgar. We have a gait of our own, don't you know?"
"Indeed! Well, if you don't mind a question, I would like to know why you always scamper away so suddenly, and jump so far and so rapidly when
"Aw! Don't you know? I used to be employed in very genteel business; public service, --in fact, diplomatic. I carried dispatches (weegadigunn,
Micmac; wighiggin, Pass.) --books, letters, papers, and so I got in the way of moving nimbly. Now it comes naturally to me. One of my old
Upon this Marten gave it up. He had seen something of good society himself, as he lived habitually with Glooscap, but Master Rabbit was too much for
|How Master Rabbit Went Fishing
A Micmac Legend
In old times, Master Rabbit lived with his grandmother in a comfortable little wigwam. In Summer it was easy for him to get food, but when Winter
came and the ice was thick on the river, and the snow was deep on the plain, he and his grandmother often went hungry.
One cold day Master Rabbit was running through the forest looking for something to eat, and by and by he came to a lonely wigwam on the bank of a
river. A smooth path of ice slanted from the door down to the water. And inside the wigwam sat the Otter.
Master Rabbit went in, and the Otter welcomed him, and told his daughter to get the fire ready to cook the dinner. Then the Otter took from the wall his
hooks on which he strung Gish, and went to fetch a mess. He sat on the top of the icy slide and, coasting down it, plunged under the water. Soon he
came back with a great bunch of Eels strung on his hooks. His daughter dressed the Eels, and cooked them, and they all sat down to eat.
"Hi! Ho!" thought Master Rabbit, "but this is an easy way to get a living! I am clever, so why can't I do the same thing as well as this Otter? Of course
I can! I'll try!" So he invited the Otter to dine with him in three days, and went home.
The next morning, Master Rabbit said to his grandmother, "Come, let us move our wigwam down to the lake." So they moved it, and he chose a spot
close to the edge of the shore. Then he made a nice slide of ice, like the Otter's, from the door of the wigwam down to the water.
On the third day the Otter came, and entered the wigwam. Master Rabbit welcomed him, and told his grandmother to get the fire ready to cook the
"What am I to cook, Grandson?" she asked.
"I'll see to that," said he. And he took from the wall a stick on which to string Eels.
Then he sat on the slide and tried to coast down it, but he did not know how. First he went to the right, then he went to the left, then he spun around.
After that he shot down the slide, and went head over heels into the water. There he lost his breath; and the water was cold, and he was almost
"What strange thing is he trying to do?" asked the Otter.
"He must have seen some one do that," said the grandmother, with surprise, "and is trying to do the same thing."
"Is that all!" said the Otter. Then he called out to Master Rabbit, "Hi! Ho! Come out of there, and give me your Eel stick."
So poor Master Rabbit came creeping out of the water, sputtering, shivering, and almost frozen. He limped into the wigwam, and his grandmother
dried his fur, and warmed him by the fire
As for the Otter, he plunged into the lake, and soon returned with a load of Fish. He threw them down on the floor, and went off in disgust, without
waiting for dinner.