Music: Condor Canyon by R, Carlos Nakai
Pocumkwess, or Thoroughfare, is sixty-five miles from Campobello. There was an Indian village there in the old times. Two young Indian girls
had a strange habit of absenting themselves all day every Sunday. No one knew for a long time where they went or what they did. But this was
how they passed their time. They would take a canoe and go six miles down the Grand Lake, where, at the north end, is a great ledge of rock and
sixty feet of water. There they stayed. All day long they ran about naked or swam; they were wanton, witch-like girls, liking eccentric and
They kept this up for a long time. Once, while they were in the water, an Indian who was hunting spied them. He came nearer and nearer, unseen.
He saw them come out of the water and sit on the shore, and then go again; but as he looked they grew longer and longer, until they became snakes.
He went home and told this. (But now they had been seen by a man they must keep the serpent form.) Men of the village, in four or five canoes,
went to find them. They found the canoe and clothes of the girls; nothing more. A few days after, two men on Grand Lake saw the snake- girls on
shore, showing their heads over the bushes. One began to sing.
N'ktieh ieben iut,
Qu'spen ma ke owse.
We are going to stay in this lake
A few days, and then go down the river.
Bid adieu to our friends for us;
We are going to the great salt water.
After singing this they sank into the water. They had very long hair.
A picture of the man looking at the snake-girls was scraped for me by the Indian who told me this story. The pair were represented as snakes with
female heads. When I first heard this tale, I promptly set it down as nothing else but the Melusina story derived from a Canadian French source.
But I have since found that it is so widely spread, and is told in so many different forms, and is so deeply connected with tribal traditions and
totems, that there is now no doubt in my mind that it is at least pre-Columbian.
|At-O-Sis The Serpent--
How two girls were changed to Water-Snakes, and of two others that became Mermaids.
A Passamaquoddy Legend
All Rights Reserved
|Glooscap Fights the Water Monster
A Passamaquoddy Legend
Glooscap yet lives, somewhere at the southern edge of the world. He never grows old, and he will last as long as this world lasts. Sometimes
Glooscap gets tired of running this world, ruling the animals, regulating nature, instructing people how to live. Then he tells us: "I'm tired of it.
Good-bye; I'm going to make myself die now." He paddles off in his magic white canoe and disappears in misty clouds. But he always comes back.
He cannot abandon the people forever, and they cannot live without him.
Glooscap is a spirit, a medicine man, a sorcerer. He can make men and women smile. He can do anything. Glooscap made all the animals creating
them to be peaceful and useful to humans. When he formed the first squirrel, it was as big as a whale.
"What would you do if I let you loose on the world?" Glooscap asked, and the squirrel attacked a big tree, chewing it to pieces in no time. "You're too
destructive for your size," Glooscap said, and remade him small.
The first beaver also was as big as a whale, and it built a dam that flooded the country from horizon to horizon. Glooscap said, "You'll drown all the
people if I let you loose like this." He tapped the beaver on the back, and it shrank to it's present size.
The first moose was so tall that it reached to the sky and looked altogether different from the way it looks now. It trampled everything in its path
--forests, mountains, everything. "You'll ruin everything," Glooscap said. "You'll step on people and kill them." Glooscap tapped the moose on the
back to make it small, but the moose refused to become smaller. So Glooscap killed it and recreated it in a different size and with a different look. In
this way Glooscap made everything as it should be.
Glooscap had also created a village and taught the people there everything they needed to know. They were happy hunting and fishing. Men and
women were happy making love. Children were happy playing. Parents cherished their children, and children respected their parents. All was well
as Glooscap had made it.
The village had one spring, the only source of water far and wide, that always flowed with pure, clear, cold water. But one day the spring ran dry;
only a little bit of slimy ooze issued from it. It stayed dry even in the fall when the rains came, and in the spring when the snows melted. The people
wondered, "What shall we do? We can't live without water." The wise men and elders held a council and decided to send a man north to the source
of the spring to see why it had run dry.
This man walked a long time until at last he came to a village. The people there were not like humans; they had webbed hands and feet.
Here the brook widened out. There was some water in it, not much but a little, though it was slimy, yellowish, and stinking. The man was thirsty
from his walk and was asked to be given a little water, even if it was bad.
"We can't give you any water," said the people with the webbed hands and feet, "unless our great chief permits it. He wants all the water for
"Where is your chief?" asked the man.
"You must follow the brook further up," they told him.
The man walked on and at last met the big chief. When he saw him he trembled with fright, because the chief was a monster so huge that if one
stood at his feet, one could not see his head. He had dug himself a huge hole and damned it up, so that all the water was in it and none could flow
into the stream bed. And he had fouled the water and made it poisonous, so that stinking mists covered it's slimy surface.
The monster had a mile-wide, grinning mouth going from ear to ear. His dull yellow eyes started out of his head like huge pine knots. His body was
bloated and covered with warts as big as mountains.
The monster stared dully at the man with his protruding eyes and finally said in a fearsome croak: "Little man, what do you want?"
The man was terrified, but he said: "I come from a village far down-stream. Our only spring ran dry, because you're keeping all the water for
yourself. We would like you to let us have some of this water. Also, please don't muddy it so much."
The monster blinked at him a few times. Finally he crooked:
"Do as you please,
Do as you please,
I don't care,
I don't care,
If you want water,
If you want water,
The man said, "We need the water. The people are dying of thirst."
The monster replied:
"I don't care,
I don't care,
"Don't bother me,
Don't bother me,
Or I'll swallow you up!"
The monster opened his mouth wide from ear to ear, and inside it the man could see the many things that the creature had killed. The monster
gulped a few times and smacked his lips with a noise like thunder. At this the man's courage broke, and he turned and ran away as fast as he could.
Back at the village the man told the people: "Nothing can be done. If we complain, this monster will swallow us up. He'll kill us all." The people
were in despair. "What shall we do?" they cried.
Now, Glooscap knows everything that goes on in the world, even before it happens. He sees everything with his inward eye. He said: "I must set
things right. I'll have to get water for the people!"
Then Glooscap girded himself for war. He painted his body with paint as red as blood. He made himself twelve feet tall. He used two huge
clamshells for his earrings. He put a hundred black eagle feathers and a hundred white eagle feathers in his scalp lock. He painted yellow rings
around his eyes. He twisted his mouth into a snarl and made himself look ferocious. He stamped, and the earth trembled. He uttered his fearful
war cry, and it echoed and re-echoed from all the mountains. He grasped a huge mountain in his hand, a mountain composed of flint, and from it
made himself a single knife sharp as a weasel's teeth.
"Now I am going," he said, striding forth among thunder and lightning, with mighty eagles circling above him. Then Glooscap came to the village
of people with webbed hands and feet.
"I want water," he told them. Looking at him, they were afraid. They brought him a little muddy water. "I'll think I'll get more and cleaner water,"
he said. Glooscap went upstream and confronted the monster. "I want clean water," he said, "a lot of it, for the people downstream."
All the waters are mine!
All the waters are mine!
Or I'll kill you!"
"Slimy lump of mud!" cried Glooscap. "We'll see who will be killed!"
They fought. The mountains shook. The earth split open. The swamp smoked and burst into flames. Mighty trees were shivered into splinters. The
monster opened it's huge mouth wide to swallow Glooscap. Glooscap made himself taller than the tallest tree, and even the monster's mile-wide
mouth was too small for him. Glooscap seized his great flint knife and slit the monster's bloated belly. From the wound gushed a mighty stream, a
roaring river, tumbling, rolling, foaming down, down, down, gouging out for itself a vast, deep bed, flowing by the village and on to the great sea
of the east.
"That should be enough water for the people," said Glooscap. He grasped the monster and squeezed him in his mighty palm, squeezed and squeezes
and threw him away, flinging him into the swamp. Glooscap had squeezed this creature into a small bullfrog, and ever since, the bullfrog's skin has
been wrinkled because Glooscap squeezed so hard.
|How a Hunter Visited the Thunder Spirits
Who Dwell in Mount Katahdin
A Passamaquoddy Legend
N'karnayoo. Of old times. Once an Indian went forth to hunt. And he departed from the east branch of the Penobscot, and came to the head of
another branch that leads into the east branch, and this he followed even to the foot of Mount Katahdin. And there he hunted many a day alone, and
met none, till one morning in midwinter he found the track of snowshoes. So he returned to his camp; but the next day he met with it again in a
far-distant place. And thus it was that, wherever he went, this track came to him every day. Then, noting this, as a sign to be observed, he followed
it, and it went up the mountain, Katahdin, which, being interpreted, means "the great mountain," until at last it was lost in a hard snowshoe road
made by many travelers. And since it was hard and even, he took off his agahmook, or snow-shoes, and went ever on and up with the road; and it
was a strange path and strange was its ending for it stopped just before a high ledge, like an immense wall, on a platform at its foot. And there were
many signs there, as of many people, yet he saw no one. And as he stayed it seemed to grow stranger and stranger. At last he heard a sound as of
footsteps coming, yet within the wall, when "lo!" a girl stepped directly out of the precipice upon the platform. But though she was beautiful beyond
belief, he was afraid. And to his every thought she answered in words, and that so sweetly and kindly and cleverly that he was soon without fear,
though he saw that she had powerful m'teoulin, or great magic power. And they being soon pleased one with the other, and wanting each other, she
bade him accompany her, and that by walking directly through the rock. "Have no fear," said she, "but advance boldly!" So he obeyed, and "lo!" the
rock was as the air, and it gave way as he went on. And ever as they went the maiden talked to him, answering his thoughts, so that he spoke not
And anon they came to a great cavern far within, and there was an old man seated by a fire, and the old man welcomed him. And he was very
kindly treated by the strange pair all day: in all his life he had never been so happy. Now as the night drew near, the old man said to his daughter,
"Can you hear aught of your brothers?" Then she went out to the terrace, and returned, said, "No." Then anon he asked her again, and she, going
and returning as before, replied, "Now I hear them coming." Then they listened, when "lo!" there came, as at the door without, a crash of thunder
with a flash of lightning, and out of the light stepped two young men of great beauty, but like giants, stupendous and of awful mien. And, like their
father, their eyebrows were of stone, while their cheeks were as rocks.
And the hunter was told by their sister that when they went forth, which was every few days, their father said to them, "Sons, arise! It is time for
you to go forth over the world and save our friends. Go not too near the trees, but if you see aught that is harmful to those whom we love, strike,
and spare not!" Then they went forth. They flew on high, among the clouds and thus it is that the Thunder and Lightning, whose home is in the
mighty Katahdin, are made. And when the thunder strikes, the brothers are shooting at the enemies of their friends.
Now when the day was done the hunter returned to his home, and when there, found he had been gone seven years. All this I have heard from the
old people who are dead and gone.
This tale was told by Tomah Josephs. It seems to have nothing in common with the very widely spread myth that the thunder is the flapping of the
wings of a giant bird, and the lightning the flashes of its eyes. The tradition is probably of Eskimo origin, supernatural beings partially of stone
being common to Greenland and Labrador. There is a strange but entirely accidental resemblance between this story and Rip Van Winkle, as in the
distant sound of the ninepins like low-muttered thunder, the hospitable entertainment, and finally the seven years as one day. Apparent
resemblances are very deceptive. In the Eskimo mythology the mersugat or kutadlit, who are the higher or benevolent spirits, protecting mortals,
are distinguished from the evil ones dwelling in cliffs, to which there are invisible entrances.
There is a remarkable resemblance between Katahdin and Hrunguir of the Edda. Hrungnir has a face of stone; he is unquestionably a mountain
personified, as Miss Larned declares: "His stony head pierces the blue sky." Both giants are the typical great mountain of their respective countries.
Hrungnir has also very great affinity with the Chenoo giant. He has a stony heart, an insatiable appetite, and is cruel and brutal.
The Iroquois have the very stone giants --or, as Schoolcraft calls them, the stonish giants --themselves, and a very curious picture of them has been
preserved. Of them he remarks, "Who the giants are intended to symbolize is uncertain. They are represented as impenetrable by darts." The
connection between the stone giants of the Indians, the Eskimo, and the Norsemen, if not historical, is at least identical in this, that they all typify the
|How Glooskap bound Wuchowsen, the great Wind Bird,
made all the waters in the world stagnant
A Passamaquoddy Legend
The Indians believe in a great bird called by them Wochowsen or Wuchowsen, meaning Wind-Blow or the Wind-Blower, who lives far to the North,
and sits upon a great rock at the end of the sky. And it is because whenever he moves his wings the wind blows they of old times called him that.
When Glooskap was among men he often went out in his canoe with bow and arrows to kill sea-fowl. At one time it was every day very windy; it
grew worse; at last it blew a tempest, and he could not go out at all. Then he said, "Wuchowsen, the Great Bird, has done this!"
He went to find him; it was long ere he reached his abode. He found sitting on a high rock a large white Bird.
"Grandfather," said Glooskap, "you take no compassion on your Koosesek, your grandchildren. You have caused this wind and storm; it is too
much. Be easier with your wings!"
The Giant-Bird replied, "I have been here since ancient times; in the earliest days, ere aught else spoke, I first moved my wings; mine was the first
voice, --and I will ever move my wings as I will."
Then Glooskap rose in his might; he rose to the clouds; he took the Great Bird-giant Wuchowsen as though He were a duck, and tied both his wings,
and threw him down into a chasm between deep rocks, and left him lying there.
The Indians could now go out in their canoes all day long, for there was a dead calm for many weeks and months. And with that all the waters
became stagnant. They were so thick that Glooscap could not paddle his canoe. Then he thought of the Great Bird, and went to see him.
As he had left him he found him, for Wuchowsen is immortal. So, raising him, he put him on his rock again, and untied one of his wings. Since then
the winds have never been so terrible as in the old time.
The reader will find the main incident of this story repeated in "Tumilkoontaoo, the Broken Wing," from the Micmac, in which there is no mention of
Glooskap. This of Wuchowsen is from the Passamaquoddy manuscript by Louis Mitchell. It is unquestionably the original. Glooskap, as the
greatest magician, most appropriately subdues the giant eagle of the North, the terrible god of the storm.
No one who knows the Edda will deny that Wuchowsen, or the Wind-blower, as he appears in the Passamaquoddy tale, is far more like the same
bird of the Norsemen than the grotesque Thunder Bird of the Western tribes. He is distinctly spoken of by the Indians of Maine as a giant and a bird
in one, sitting on a high cliff at the end of the sky, the wind - not thunder - coming from his pinions:-
"Tell me ninthly,
Since thou art called wise,
Whence the wind comes,
That over ocean passes,
Itself invisible to man.
"Hraesvelg he is called
Who at the end of heaven sits,
A Jotun (giant) in eagle's plumage:
From his wings comes,
It is said, the wind
That over all men passes."
(The Lay of Vafthrudnir. The Edda, trans. by B. Thorpe.)
|How Glooskap changed certain
saucy Indians into Rattlesnakes
\A Passamaquoddy Legend
You know At-o-sis, the Snake? Well, the worst of all is Rattlesnake. Long time ago the Rattlesnakes were saucy Indians. They were very saucy.
They had too much face. They could not be put down by much, and they got up for very little.
When the great Flood was coming Glooskap told them about it. They said they did not care. He told them the water would come over their heads.
They said that would be very wet. He told them to be good and quiet, and pray. Then those Indians hurrahed. He said, "A great Flood is coming."
Then they gave three cheers for the great Flood. He said, "The Flood will come and drown you all." Then these Indians hurrahed again, and got their
rattles, made of turtle-shells, in the old fashion, fastened together, filled with pebbles, and rattled them and had a grand dance. Afterwards, when the
white men brought cows and oxen into the country, they made rattles of horns.
Yes, they had a great dance. The rain began to fall, but they danced. The thunder roared, and they shook their rattles and yelled at it. Then Glooskap
was angry. He did not drown them in the Flood, however, but he changed them into rattlesnakes. Nowadays, when they see a man coming, they lift
up their heads and move them about. That's the way snakes dance. And they shake the rattles in their tails just as Indians shake their rattles when
they dance. How do you like such music?
|How Glooscap conquered the great Bull-Frog, and in what manner all
the Pollywogs, Crabs, Leeches, and other water creatures were created
A Passamaquoddy and Micmac Legend
N'karnayoo, of old times, there was an Indian village far among the mountains, little known to other men. And the dwellers therein were very
comfortable: the men hunted every day, the women did the work at home, and all went well in all things save in this. The town was by a brook, and
except in it there was not a drop of water in all the country round, unless in a few rain-puddles. No one there had ever found even a spring.
Now these Indians were very fond of good water. The brook was of a superior quality, and they became dainty over it.
But after a time they began to observe that the brook was beginning to run low, and that not in the summer time, but in autumn, even after the rains.
And day by day it diminished, until its bed was as dry as a dead bone in the ashes of a warm fire.
Now it was said that far away up in the land where none had ever been there was on this very stream another Indian village; but what manner of
men dwelt therein no one knew. And thinking that these people of the upper country might be in some way concerned in the drought, they sent one of
their number to go and see into the matter.
And after he had traveled three days he came to the place; and there he found that a dam had been raised across the rivulet, so that no water could
pass, for it was all kept in a pond. Then asking them why they had made this mischief, since the dam was of no use to them, they bade him go and see
their chief, by whose order this had been built.
And when he came to him, lo, there lay lazily in the mud a creature who was more of a monster than a man, though he had a human form. For he
was immense to measure, like a giant, fat, bloated, and brutal to behold. His great yellow eyes stuck from his head like pine-knots, his mouth went
almost from ear to ear, and he had broad, skinny feet with long toes, exceeding marvelous.
The messenger complained to this monster, who at first said nothing, and then croaked, and finally replied in a loud bellow,-
"Do as you choose,
Do as you choose,
Do as you choose.
"What do I care?
What do I care?
What do I care?
"If you want water,
If you want water,
If you want water,
Go somewhere else."
Then the messenger remonstrated, and described the suffering of the people, who were dying of thirst. And this seemed to please the monster, who
grinned. At last he got up, and, making a single spring to the dam, took an arrow and bored a hole in it, so that a little water trickled out, and then he
"Up and begone!
Up and begone!
Up and begone!"
So the man departed, little comforted. He came to his home, and for a few days there was a little water in the stream; but this soon stopped, and
there was great suffering again.
Now these Indians, who were the honestest fellows in all the world, and never did harm to any one save their enemies, were in a sorry pickle. For it
is a bad thing to have nothing but water to drink, but to want that is to be mightily dry. And the great Glooscap, who knew all that was passing in
the hearts of men and beasts, took note of this, and when he willed it he was among them; for he ever came as the wind comes, and no man wist how.
And just before he came all of these good fellows had resolved in council that they would send the boldest man among them to certain death, even to
the village which had built the dam that kept the water which filled the brook that quenched their thirst, whenever it was not empty. And when there
he was either to obtain that they should cut the dam, or do something desperate, and to this intent he should go armed, and sing his death song as he
went. And they were all agog.
Then Glooscap, who was much pleased with all this, for he loved a brave man, came among them looking terribly ferocious; in all the land there was
not one who seemed half so horrible. For he appeared ten feet high, with a hundred red and black feathers in his scalp-lock, his face painted like fresh
blood with green rings round his eyes, a large clam shell hanging from each ear, a spread eagle, very awful to behold, flapping its wings from the
back of his neck, so that as he strode into the village all hearts quaked. Being but simple Indians, they accounted that this must be, if not Lox the
Great Wolverine, at least Mitchehant, the devil himself in person, turned Wabanaki; and they admired him greatly, and the squaws said they had
never seen aught so lovely.
Then Glooscap, having heard the whole story, bade them be of good cheer, declaring that he would soon set all to rights. And he without delay
departed up the bed of the brook; and coming to the town, sat down and bade a boy bring him water to drink. To which the boy replied that no water
could be had in that town unless it were given out by the chief. "Go then to your chief," said the Master, "and bid him hurry, or, verily, I will know the
reason why." And this being told, Glooscap received no reply for more than an hour, during which time he sat on a log and smoked his pipe. Then
the boy returned with a small cup, and this not half full, of very dirty water.
So he arose, and said to the boy, "I will go and see your chief, and I think he will soon give me better water than this." And having come to the
monster, he said, "Give me to drink, and that of the best, at once, thou Thing of Mud!" But the chief reviled him, and said, "Get thee hence, to find
water where thou canst." Then Glooscap thrust a spear into his belly, and lo! There gushed forth a mighty river; even all the water which should have
run on while in the rivulet, for he had made it into himself. And Glooscap, rising high as a giant pine, caught the chief in his hand and crumpled in his
back with a mighty grip. And lo! It was the Bull-Frog. So he hurled him with contempt into the stream, to follow the current.
And ever since that time the Bull-Frog's back has crumpled wrinkles in the lower part, showing the prints of Glooscap's awful squeeze.
Then he returned to the village; but there he found no people, -no, not one. For a marvelous thing ha come to pass during his absence, which shall be
heard in every Indian's speech through all the ages. For the men, being, as I said, simple, honest folk, did as boys do when they are hungry, and say
unto one another, "What would you like to have, and what you?" "Truly, I would be pleased with a slice of hot venison dipped in maple-sugar and
bear's oil." "Nay, give me for my share succotash and honey." Even so these villagers had said, "Suppose you had all the nice cold, fresh, sparkling,
delicious water there is in the world, what would you do?"
And one said that he would live in the soft mud, and always be wet and cool.
And another, that he would plunge from the rocks, and take headers, diving, into the deep, cold water, drinking as he dived.
And the third, that he would be washed up and down with the rippling waves, living on the land, yet ever in the water.
Then the fourth said, "Verily, you know not how to wish, and I will teach you. I would live in the water all the time, and swim about in it forever."
Now it chanced that these things were said in the hour which, when it passes over the world, all the wishes uttered by men are granted. And so it was
with these Indians. For the first became a Leech, the second a Spotted Frog, the third a Crab, which is washed up and down with the tide, and the
fourth a Fish. Ere this there had been in all the world none of the creatures which dwell in the water, and now they were there, and of all kinds. And
the river came rushing and roaring on, and they all went head-long down to the sea, to be washed into many lands over all the world.
|How Glooskap is making arrows, and preparing for a great battle.
The twilight of the Indian Gods
A Passamaquoddy Legend
"Is Glooskap living yet?" "Yes, far away; no one knows where. Some say he sailed away in his stone canoe beyond the sea, to the east, but he will
return in it one day; others, that he went to the west. One story tell that while he was alive those who went to him and found him could have their
wishes given to them. But there is a story that if one travels long and is not afraid, he may still find the great sagamore (sogmo). Yes. He lives in a
very great, a very long wigwam. He always making arrows. One side of the lodge is full of arrows now. They so thick as that. When it is all quite
full, he will come forth and make war. He never allows any one to enter the wigwam while he is making these arrows."
"And on whom will he make war?" "He will make war on all, kill all; there will be no more world, --world all gone. Dunno how quick, --mebbe long
time; all be dead then, mebbe, --guess it will be a long time."
"Are any to be saved by any one?" "Dunno. Me hear how some say world all burn up some day, water all boil all fire; some good ones be taken up in
good heaves, but me dunno, --me just hear that. Only hear so."
It was owing to a mere chance question that this account of the Last Day was obtained from an Indian. It was related to Mrs. W. Wallace Brown, of
Calais, Maine, by Mrs. Le Cool, an old Passamaquoddy Indian. It casts a great light on the myth of Glooskap, since it appears that a day is to come
when, like Arthur, Barbarossa, and other heroes in retreat, he is to come forth at a new twilight of the gods, exterminate the Iglesmani, and establish
an eternal happy hunting-ground. This preparing for a great final battle is more suggestive of Norse or Scandinavian influence than of aught else. It
is certainly not of a late date, or Christian, but it is very much like the Edda and Ragnarok. Heine does not observe, in the Twilight of the Gods, that
Jupiter or Mars intend to return and conquer the world. But the Norsemen expected such a fight, when arrows would fly like hail, and Glooskap is
supposed to be deliberately preparing for it.
A very curious point remains to be noted in this narration. When the Indians speak of Christian, or white, or civilized teachings, they say, "I heard,"
or. "I have been told." This they never do is regards their own ancient traditions. When Mrs. Le Cool said that she "had heard" that some were to be
taken up into good heavens, she declared, in her way, that this was what Christians said, but that she was not so sure of it. The Northwestern
Algonquin always distinguish very accurately between their ancient lore and that derived from the whites. I have often heard French fairy tales and
Aesop's fables Indianized to perfection, but the narrator always knew that they were not N'Karnayoo, "of the old time."
Glooskap is now living in a Norse-like Asa-heim; but there is to come a day when the arrows will be ready, and he will go forth and slay all the
wicked. Malsum the Wolf, his twin brother, the typical colossal type of all Evil, will come to life, with all the giant cannibals, witches, and wild devils
slain of old; but the champion will gird on his magic belt, and the arrows will fly in a rain as at Ragnarok; the hero will come sailing in his wonderful
canoe, which expands to hold an army.
Thus it will be on
"That day of wrath, that dreadful day,
When heaven and earth shall pass away,"
with all things, in blood and death and fire. Then there will come the eternal happy hunting-grounds.
If this was derived from Christian priest, it must be admitted that it has changed wonderfully on the way. It is to me very heathen, grimly archaic,
and with the strong stamp of an original. Its resemblance to the Norse is striking. Either the Norsemen told it to the Eskimo and the Indians, or the
latter to the Norsemen. None know, after all, what was going on for ages in the early time, up about Jotunheim, in the North Atlantic! Vessels came
to Newfoundland to fish for cod since unknown antiquity, and, returning, reported that they had been to Tartary.
It may be assumed at once that this Indian Last Battle of the Giants, or of the good hero giants against the Evil, led by the Malsum-Fenris Wolf, was
not derived from the Canadian French. The influence of the latter is to be found even among the Chippewas, but they never dealt in myths like this.
It is very remarkable indeed that the one great principle of the Norse mythology is identical with that of the Indian. So long as man shall make war
and heroism his standard, just so long his hero god exists. But there will come a day when mankind can war no more, when higher civilization must
prevail. Then there will be a great final war, and death of the heroes, and death of their foes, and after all a new world.
"Then shall another come
although I dare not
his name declare.
Few may see
than when Odin
meets the wolf."
The Norsemen may have drawn this from a Christian source; but the Indian, to judge by form, spirit, and expression, would seem to have taken it
from the Norse.
|How Glooskap made the Elves and Fairies, and then Man of an Ash Tree
and last of all, Beasts, and of his coming at the last day
A Passamaquoddy Legend
Glooskap came first of all into this country, into Nova Scotia, Maine, Canada, into the land of the Wabanaki, next to sunrise. There were no Indians
here then (only wild Indians very far to the west.)
First born were the Mikumwess, the Oonahgemessuk, the small Elves, little men, dwellers in rocks.
And in this way he made Man: He took his bow and arrows and shot at trees, the basket-trees, the Ash. Then Indians came out of the bark of the
Ash-trees. And then the Mikumwess said -- called tree-men -- Glooskap made all the animals. He made them at first very large. Then he said to
Moose, the great Moose who was as tall as Ketawkqu's, "What would you do should you see an Indian coming?" Moose replied, "I would tear down
the trees on him." Then Glooskap saw that the Moose was too strong, and made him smaller, so that Indians could kill him.
Then he said to the Squirrel, who was the size of a Wolf, "What would you do if you should meet an Indian?" And the Squirrel answered, "I would
scratch down trees on him." Then Glooskap said, "You also are too strong," and he made him little.
Then he asked the great White Bear what he would do if he met an Indian; and the Bear said, "Eat him." And the Master bade him go and live among
rocks and ice, where he would see no Indians.
So he questioned all the beasts, changing their size or allotting their lives according to their answers.
He took the Loon for his dog, but the Loon absented himself so much that he chose for this service two wolves, one black and one white. But the
Loons are always his tale-bearers.
Many years ago a man very far to the North wished to cross a bay, a great distance, from one point to another. As he was stepping into his canoe he
saw a man with two dogs, one black and one white, who asked to be set across. The Indian said, "You may go, but what will become of your dogs?"
Then the stranger replied, "Let them go round by land." "Nay," replied the Indian, "that is much too far." But the stranger saying nothing, he put him
across. And as they reached the landing place there stood the dogs. But when he turned his head to address the man, he was gone. So he said to
himself, "I have seen Glooskap."
Yet again, but this was not so many years ago, far in the North there were at a certain place many Indians assembled. And there was a frightful
commotion, caused by the ground heaving and rumbling; the rocks shook and fell, they were greatly alarmed, and lo! Glooskap stood before them,
and said, "I go away now, but I shall return again; when you feel the ground tremble, then know it is I." So they will know when the last great war is
to be, for the Glooskap will make the ground shake with an awful noise.
Glooskap was no friend of the Beavers; he slew many of them. Up on the Tobaic are two salt-water rocks (that is, rocks by the ocean-side, near a
freshwater stream). The Great Beaver, standing there one day, was seen by Glooskap miles away, who had forbidden him that place. Then picking
up a large rock where he stood by the shore, he threw it all that distance at the Beaver, who indeed dodged it; but when another came, the beast ran
into a mountain, and has never come forth to this day. But the rocks which the Master threw are yet to be seen.
This very interesting tradition was taken down by Mrs. W. Wallace Brown from a very old Passamaquoddy Indian woman named Molly Sepsis,
who could speak a word of English, with the aid of another younger woman named Sarah.
It will be observed that it is said in the beginning that Glooskap produced the first human beings from the ash-tree. Ash and Elm in the Edda were the
Adam and Eve of the human race. There were no intelligent men on earth--
"Until there came three
mighty and benevolent
Aesir to the world
from their assembly
Ash and Embla (Ash and Elm),
void of destiny.
"Spirit they possessed not,
sense they had not,
blood nor motive powers,
nor goodly color.
Spirit gave Odin,
sense gave Hoenir,
blood gave Lodur
and good color."
It is certain, however, that the ash was the typic tree of all life, since the next verse of the Voluspa is devoted to Yggdrasil, the tree of existence, or of the
world itself. It may be observed that in the Finnish poem of Kalevala it is by the destruction of the great oak that Wainamoien, aided by the hero of
the sea, causes all things to grow. The early clearing away of trees, as a first step towards culture, may be symbolized in the shooting of arrows at
The wolf, as a beast for the deity to ride, is strongly Eddaic.
"Magic songs they sung,
rode on Wolves,
the god (Odin) and gods
We have here within a few lines, accordingly, the ash tree as the parent of mankind, and wolves as the beasts of transport for the supreme deity, both
in the Indian legend and in the Edda.
As Glooskap is directly declared in one tradition to keep by him as an attendant a being who is the course of the sun and of the seasons, it may be
assumed that the black and white wold represent day and night.
Again, great stress is laid in the Glooskap legend upon the fact that the last great day of battle with Malsum, the Wolf, and the frost-giants,
stone-giants, and other powers of evil, shall be announced by an earthquake.
Ash yet standing,
groans that aged tree---
and the Wolf runs...
The monster's kin goes
all with the Wolf...
Tile stony hills are dashed together,
The giantesses totter.
Then arises Hlin's second grief
When Odin goes
with the wolf to fight."
Word for word, ash-tree, giantesses, the supreme god fighting with a wolf, and falling hills, are given in the Indian myth. This is not the Christian
Day of Judgement, but the Norse.
In this myth Glooskap has two wolves, one black and the other white. This is an indication of day and night, since he is distinctly stated have as an
attendant Kulpejotei, who typifies the course of the seasons. In the Eddas (Ragnarok) (Ragnarok) we are told that one wolf now follows the sun,
another the moon; one Fenris, the other Moongarm: --
"The moon's devourer
In a troll's disguise."
The magic arrows of Glooskap are of course worldwide, and date from the shafts of Abaris and those used among the ancient Jews for divination.
But it may be observed that those of the Indian hero are like the "Guse arrows," described in Oervarodd's Saga, which always hit their mark and
return to the one who shoots them.
It is important here to compare this old Algonquin account of the Creation with that of the Iroquois, or Six Nations, as given by David Cusick, himself
"There was a woman who was with child, with twins. She descended from the higher world, and was received on the turtle. While she was in the
distress of travail, one of the infants in her womb was moved by an evil desire, and determined to pass out under the side of the parent's arm, and the
other infant endeavored in vain to prevent his design. They entered the dark world by compulsion, and their mother expired in a few minutes. One of
them possessed a gentle disposition, and was named Enigorio, the Good Mind. The other possessed an insolence of character, and was called
Enigonhahetgea; that is, the Bad Mind. The Good Mind was not content to remain in a dark situation, and was desirous to create a great light in the
dark world; but the Bad Mind was desirous that the world should remain in its original state. The Good Mind, determined to prosecute his design,
began the work of creation. Of his mother's head he made the sun, of her body the moon. After he had made creeks and rivers, animals and fishes, he
formed two images of the dust of the ground in his own likeness, male and female, and by his breathing into their nostrils he gave them living souls,
and named them ea gwe howe, that is a real people; and he gave the Great Island all the animals-- of game for the inheritance of the people... The Bad
Mind, while his brother was making the universe, went through the island, and made numerous high mountains and falls of water and great steeps,
and also created reptiles which would be injurious to mankind; but the Good Mind restored the island to its former condition. The Bad Mind made
two images of clay in the form of mankind, but while he was giving them existence they became apes. The Good Mind discovered his brother's
contrivances, and aided in giving them living souls.
Finding that his brother continually thwarted him, the Good Mind admonished him to behave better. The Bad Mind then offered a challenge to his
brother, on condition that the victor should rule the universe. The Good Mind was willing. He falsely mentioned that whipping with flags
[bulrushes] would destroy his temporal life, and earnestly solicited his brother to observe the instrument of death, saying that by using deer-horns he
would expire. [This is very obscure in Cusick's Indian-English.] On the day appointed the battle began; it lasted for two days; they tore up the trees
and mountains; at last the Good Mind gained victory by using the horns. The last words uttered by the Bad Mind were that he would have equal
power over the souls of mankind after their death, and so sank down to eternal doom and became the Evil Spirit."
Contrasted with this hardly heathen cosmogony, which shows recent Bible influence throughout, the Algonquin narrative reads like a song from the
Edda. That the latter is the original and the older there can be no doubt. Between the "Good Mind," making man "from the dust of the earth," and
Glooskap, rousing him by magic arrows from the ash-tree, there is a great difference. It may be observed that the fight with horns is explained in
another legend in this book, called the Chenoo, and that these horns of the Chepitch calm, or Great Serpent, who is somewhat like the dragon.
In the Algonquin story, two Loons are Glooskap's "tale-bearers," which occasion him great anxiety by their prolonged absences. This is distinctly
stated in the Indian legend, as it is of Odin's birds in the Edda. Odin has, as news-bringers, two ravens.
"Hugin and Munin
Fly each day
over the spacious earth.
I fear for Hugin
that he comes not back,
yet more anxious am I
The Loons, indeed, occasioned Glooskap so much trouble by absences that he took wolves in their place. The ravens of the Edda are probably of
biblical origin. But it is a most extraordinary coincidence that the Indians have a corresponding perversion of Scripture, for they say that Glooskap,
when he was in the ark, that is as Noah, sent out a white dove, which returned to him colored black and became a raven. This is not, however, related
as part of the myth.
The Ancient History of the Six Nations, by David Cusick, gives us in one particular a strange coincidence with the Edda. It tells us that the Bad Mind,
the principle of Evil, forced himself out into life, as Cusick expresses it in his broken Indian-English, "under the side of the parent's arm;" that is,
through the armpit. In the Edda (Vafthrudnismal, 33) we are told of the first beings born on earth that they were twins, begotten by the two feet of a
giant, and born out of his armpit.
"Under the armpit grew,
it is said of the the Hrimthurs,
a girl and boy together;
foot with foot begat,
of that wise Jotun,
a six-headed son."
There are in these six lines six coincidences with red Indian mythology:
(1.) The Evil principle as a Jotun's first-born in the one and the Bad Mind in the other are born of the mother's armpit.
(2.) In one of thge tales of Lox, the Indian devil, also a giant, we are told that his feet are male and female.
(3.) In both faiths this is the first birth on earth.
(4.) The six-headed demon appears in a Micmac tale.
(5.) There is in both the Eddaic and the Wabanaki account a very remarkable coincidence in this: that there is a Titanic or giant birth of twins on
earth, followed by the creation of man from the ash-tree.
(6.) The Evil principle, whether it be the Wolf-Lox in the Wabanaki myths, or Loki in the Norse, often turns himself into a woman. Thus the male
and female sex of the first-born twins is identified.
According to the Edda, the order of births on earth was as follows:--
First, two giants were born from the mother's armpit.
Secondly, the dwarfs were created.
Thirdly, man was made from the ash-tree.
According to the Wabanaki, this was the order:--
First, two giants were born, one from his mother's armpit.
Secondly, the dwarfs (Mikumwessuk) were created from the bark of the ash-tree.
Thirdly, man was made from the trunk of the ash.
The account of the creation of the dwarfs is wanting in the present manuscript.
|How Glooskap went to England and France,
Was the first to make America known to the Europeans
A Passamaquoddy Legend
There was an Indian woman: she was a Woodchuck (Mon-in-kwess, R). She had lost a boy; she always thought of him. Once there came to her a
strange boy, he called her mother.
He had a pipe with which he could call all the animals. He said, "Mother, if you let any one have this pipe we shall starve."
"Where did you get it?"
"A stranger gave it to me."
One day the boy was making a canoe. The woman took the pipe and blew it. There came a deer and a qwah-beet, - a beaver. They came running; the
deer came first, the beaver next. The beaver had a stick in his mouth; he gave it to her, and said, "Whenever you wish to kill anything, though it were
half a mile off, point this stick at it." She pointed it at the deer, it fell dead.
The boy was Glooskap. He was building a stone canoe. Every morning he went forth, and was gone all day. He worked a year at it. The mother
had killed many animals. When the great canoe was finished he took his (adopted) mother to see it. He said that he would make sails for it. She
asked him, "Of what will you make them?" He answered, "Of leaves." She replied, "Let the leaves alone. I have something better." She had many
buffalo skins already tanned, and said, "Take as many as you need."
He took his pipe. He piped for moose; he piped for elk and for bear, they came. He pointed his stick at them: they were slain. He dried their meat, and
so provisioned his great canoe. To carry water he killed many seals; he filled their bladders with water.
So they sailed across the sea. This was before the white people had ever heard of America. The white men did not discover this country first at all.
Glooskap discovered England, and told them about it. He got to London. The people had never seen a canoe before. They came flocking down to
look at it.
The Woodchuck had lost her boy. This boy it was who first discovered America (England?). This boy could walk on the water and fly up to the sky.
He took his mother to England. They offered him a large ship for his stone canoe. He refused it. He feared lest the ship should burn. They offered
him servants. He refused them. They gave him presents which almost overloaded the canoe. They gave him an anchor and an English flag.
He and his mother went to France. The French people fired cannon at him till the afternoon. They could not hurt the stone canoe. In the night
Glooskap drew all their men-of-war ashore. Next morning the French saw this. They said, "Who did this?"
He answered, "I did it."
They took him prisoner. They put him into a great cannon and fired it off. They looked into the cannon, and there he sat smoking his stone pipe,
knocking the ashes out.
The king heard hoe they had treated him. He said, it was wrong. He who could do such deeds must be a great man. He sent for Glooskap, who
replied, "I do not want to see your king. I came to this country to have my mother baptized as a Catholic." They sent boats, they sent a coach; he was
taken to the king, who put many questions to him.
He wished to have his mother christened. It was done. They called her Molly. Therefore to this day all woodchucks are called Molly. They went
down to the shore; to please the king Glooskap drew all the ships into the sea again. So the king gave him what he wanted, and he returned home.
Since that time white men have come to America.
This is an old Eskimo tale, greatly modernized and altered. The Eskimo believe in a kind of sorcerers or spirits, who have instruments which they
merely point at people or animals, to kill them. I think that the Indian who told me this story was aware of its feebleness, and was ashamed to
attribute such nonsense to Glooskap, and therefore made the hero an Indian named Woodchuck. But among Mr. Rand's Micmac tales it figures as a
later tribute to the memory of the great hero.
|How Lox came to grief by trying to catch a Salmon
A Passamaquoddy Legend
Kusk, the Crane, had two brother. One of these was Lox, the Wolverine, or Indian Devil. And his other brother was Koskomines, the Blue Jay.
Kusk was very lazy, and one day, being hungry, thought he would go and get a dinner from Lox. Lox served him a kind of pudding-soup in a broad,
flat platter. Poor Kusk could hardly get a mouthful, while Lox lapped it all up with ease.
Soon after, Kusk made a fine soup, and invited Lox to dinner. This he served up in a jug, a long cylinder. None of it had Lox. Kusk ate it all.
The next day the pair went to dine with Blue Jay. Blue Jay said, "Wait till I get our food." Then he ran out on a bough of a tree which spread over a
river, and in a minute fished out a large salmon. "Truly," thought Lox, "that is easy to do, and I can do it."
So the next day he invited the Blue Jay and Crane to feed with him. Then he, too, ran down to the river and out on a tree, and, seeing a fine salmon,
caught at it with his claws, but he had not learned the art, and so fell into the river, and was swept away by the rushing current.
This is one of Aesop's fables Indianized and oddly eked out with a fragment from a myth attributed to both Manabozho and the Wabanaki Rabbit. As
the Wolverine has a great resemblance to Loki, it may be here observed that, while he dies in trying to catch a salmon, "Loki, in the likeness of a
salmon, cast himself into the waterfall of Franangr," which was effectively his last act in life before being captured by the gods, as told in the Edda.
Otter, in the Edda, caught a salmon, and was then caught by Loki. There is, of course, great confusion here, but the Indian tale is a mere fragment,
carelessly pieced and indifferently told. Lox is, like Loki, fire, and perishes by water.
|How Lox deceived the Ducks, cheated the Chief, and beguiled the Bear
A Passamaquoddy and Micmac Legend
Somewhere in the forest lived Lox, with a small boy, his brother. When winter came they went far into the woods to hunt. And going on, they reached
at last a very large and beautiful lake. It was covered with water-fowl. There were wild geese and brant, black ducks and wood-ducks, and all the
smaller kinds down to teal and whistlers.
The small boy was delighted to see so much game. He eagerly asked his brother how he meant to catch them. He answered, "We must first go to work
and build a large wigwam. It must be very strong, with a heavy, solid door." This was done; and Lox, being a great magician, thus arranged his
plans for taking the wild-fowl. He sent the boy out to a point of land, where he was to cry to the birds and tell them that his brother wished to give
them a kingly reception. (Nakamit, to act the king.) He told them their king had come. Then Lox, arraying himself grandly, sat with dignity next to
the door, with his eyes closed, as if in great state. Then the little boy shouted that they might enter and hear what the great sagamore had to say. They
flocked in, and took their seats in the order of their size. The Wild Geese came nearest and sat down, then the Ducks, and so on to the smallest, who sat
nearest the door. Last of all came the boy, who entering also sat down by the door, closed it, and held it fast. So the little birds, altumadedajik, sat next
Then they were all told "Spegwedajik!" "Shut your eyes!" and were directed to keep them closed for their very lives, until directed to open them again.
Unless they did this first, their eyes would be blinded forever when they beheld their king in all his magnificence. So they sat in silence. Then the
sorcerer, stepping softly, took them one by one, grasping each tightly by the wings, and ere the knew what he was about had its head crushed between
his teeth. And so without noise or fluttering he killed all the Wild Geese and Black Ducks. Then the little boy began to pity the poor small wild-fowl. He
thought it was a shame to kill so many, having already more than they needed. So stooping down, he whispered to a very little bird to open its eyes. It
did so, but very cautiously indeed, for fear of being blinded.
Great was his horror to see what Lox was doing! He screamed, "Kedumeds'lk!" "We are all being killed!" Then they opened their eyes, and flew about
in the utmost confusion, screaming loudly in terror. The little boy dropped down as if he had been knocked over in the confusion, so that the door flew
wide open, and the birds, rushing over him, began to escape, while Lox in a rage continued to seize them and kill them with his teeth. Then the little
boy, to avoid suspicion, grasped the last fugitive by the legs and held him fast. But he was suspected all the same by the wily sorcerer, who caught him
up roughly, and would have beaten him cruelly but that he earnestly protested that the birds knocked him down and forced the door open, and that he
could by no means help it; which being somewhat slowly believed, he was forgiven, and they began to pluck and dress the game. The giblets were
preserved, the fowls sliced and dried and laid by for the winter's store.
Then having plenty of provisions, Lox gave a feast. Among the guests were Marten and Mahtigwess, the Rabbit, who talked together for a long time
in the most confidential manner, the Rabbit confiding and the Marten attending to him.
Now while this conversation had been going on, Lox, who was deeply addicted to all kinds of roguery and mischief, had listened to it with interest.
And when the two little guests had ceased he asked them where their village was, and who lived in it. Then he was told that all the largest animals had
their homes there: the bear, the caribou or reindeer, deer, wolf, wild cat, to say nothing of squirrels and mice. And having got them to show him the
way, he some time after turned himself into a young woman of great beauty, or at least disguised himself like one, and going to the village married the
young chief. And having left little Marten alone in a hollow tree outside the village, the boy, getting hungry, began to howl for food; which the
villagers hearing were in a great fright. But the young chief's wife, or the magician Lox, soon explained to them what it meant. "It is," she-he said,
"Owoolakumooejit, the Spirit of Famine. He is grim and gaunt; hear how he howls for food! Woe be unto you, should he reach this village! Ah, I
remember only too well what happened when he once came among us. Horror! Starvation!"
"Can you drive him back?" cried all the villagers.
"Yes, 't is in my power. Do but give me the well-tanned hide of a yearling moose and a good supply of moose-tallow, then the noise will cease." And
seizing it, and howling furiously the name of his brother after a fashion which no one could understand, --Aa-chowwa'n!--and bidding him begone, he
rushed out into the night, until he came to Marten, to whom he gave the food, and, wrapping him up well in the moose-skin, bade him wait a while.
And the villagers thought the chiefs wife was indeed a very great conjurer.
And then she-he announced that a child would soon be born. And when the day came Badger handed out a bundle, and said that the babe was in it.
"Noolmusugakelaimadijul," "They kiss it outside the blanket." But when the chief opened it what he found therein was the dried, withered embryo of a
moose-calf. In a great rage he flung it into the fire, and all rushed headlong in a furious pack to catch Badger. They saw him and Marten rushing to
the lake. They pursued him, but when he reached the bank the wily sorcerer cast in a stick; it turned into a canoe, and long ere the infuriated villagers
could reach them they were on the opposite shore in the woods.
Now it came to pass one day that as Lox sat on a log a bear came by, who, being a sociable fellow, sat down by him and smoked a pipe. While they
were talking a gull flew over, and inadvertently offered to Lox what he considered, or affected to consider, as a great insult. And wiping the insult off,
Lox cried to the Gull, "Oh, ungrateful and insolent creature, is this the way you reward me for having made you white!"
Now the Bear would always be white if he could, for the White Bear (wabeyu mooin) is the aristocrat of Beardom. So he eagerly cried, "Ha! Did you
make the Gull white?"
"Indeed I did," replied Lox. "And this is what I get for it."
"Could you, my dear friend, --could you make me white?"
Then Lox saw his way, and replied that he could indeed, but that it would be a long and agonizing process; Mooin might die for it. To be sure the Gull
stood it, but could a Bear?
Now the Bear, who had a frame as hard as a rock, felt sure that he could endure anything that a gull could, especially to become a white bear. So, with
much ceremony, the Great Enchanter went to work. He built a strong wigwam, three feet high, of stones, and having put the Bear into it he cast in
red-hot stones, and poured water on them through a small hole in the roof. Erelong the Bear was in a terrible steam.
"Ah, Doctor Lox," he cried, "this is awfully hot! I fear I am dying!"
"Courage," said Lox, "this is nothing. The Gull had it twice as hot."
"Can't stan it any more, doctor. O-o-o-oh!"
Doctor Lox threw in more hot stones and poured more water on the them. The Bear yelled.
"Let me out! O-o-h! Let me out! O-o-o-oh!"
So he came bursting through the door. The doctor examined him critically.
Now there is on an old bear a small white or light spot on his upper breast, which he cannot see. And Doctor Lox, looking at this said, "What a pity!
You came out just as you were beginning to turn white. Here is the first spot. Five minutes more and you'd have been a white bear. Ah, you have n't
the pluck of a gull; that I can see."
Now the Bear was mortified and disappointed. He had not seen the spot, so he asked Lox if it was really there.
"Wait a minute," said the doctor. He led the Bear to a pool and made him look in. Sure enough, the spot was there. Then he asked if they could not
"Certainly we can," replied the doctor. "But it will be much hotter and harder and longer this time. Don't try it if you feel afraid, and don't blame me if
you die of it."
The Bear went in again, but he never came out alive. The doctor had roast bear meat all that winter, and much bear's oil. He gave some of the oil to
his younger brother. The boy took it in a measure. Going along the creek he saw a Muskrat (Keuchus, Pass.). He said to the Muskrat, "If you can
harden this oil for me, I will give you half." The Muskrat made it as hard as ice. The boy said, "If my brother comes and asks you to do this for him, do
you keep it all." And, returning, he showed the oil thus hardened to his brother, who, taking a large measure of it, went to the Muskrat and asked him
to harden it. The Muskrat indeed took the dish and swam away with it, and never returned.
Then the elder, vexed with the younger, and remembering the ducks in the wigwam, and believing that he had indeed been cheated, slew him.
This confused and strange story is manifestly pieced together out of several others, each of which have incidents in common. A part of it is very
ancient. Firstly, the inveigling the ducks into the wigwam is found in the Eskimo tale of Avurungnak. The Eskimo is told by a sorcerer to let the
sea-birds into the tent, and not to begin to kill them till the tent is full. He disobeys, and a part of them escape. In Schoolcraft's Hiawatha Legends,
Manobozho gets the mysterious oil which ends the foregoing story from a fish. He fattens all the animals in the world with it, and the amount which
they consume is the present measure of their fatness. When this ceremony is over, he inveigles all the birds into his power by telling them to shut their
eyes. At last a small duck, the diver, suspecting something, opens one eye, and gives the alarm.
The sorcerer's passing himself off for a woman and the trick of the moose abortion occurs in three tales, but it is most completely given in this. To this
point the narrative follows the Micmac, Passamaquoddy, and Chippewa versions. After the tale of the chief is at an end it is entirely Passamaquoddy;
but of the latter I have two versions, one from Tomah Josephs and one from Mrs. W. Wallace Brown.
|How Lox told a lie
A Passamaquoddy Legend
Lox had a brother, who had married a red squaw. When she was touched the red color rubbed off. The brother kept this wife in a box.
One day, returning, the brother saw that Lox had red fingers. "Aha!" he cried, in a rage, "you have taken my wife out of the box." But Lox denied it, so
that his brother believed him. The next time the husband returned, Lox's fingers were again red. And again he was accused, and once more he denied
it. But as he swore with all his might that he was innocent, something, as if on the floor, laughed, and said, "You lie. I was with you; I helped you."
Lox thought it was his right foot. So he cut off the toes, and then the foot, but the accusation continued. Thinking it was the other foot, he cut that off;
yet as the testimony was continued, he found that it was Taloose, even he himself, the bodily offender in person, testifying against his lying soul. So in
a rage he struck himself such a blow with his war-club that he fell dead.
I cannot give in full all the adventures of Lox. I may, however, observe one thing of great importance. Lox, in these tales, is the Evil Principle, that is, a
giant by birth. His two feet in this story are male and female; they talk as if they were human. In the Edda, a giant's two feet beget together a
six-headed son (Vafthrudnismal): -
"Foot with foot begot
Of that wise Jotun,
A six-headed son."
This six-headed son reappears as a demon in the Passamaquoddy tale of the Three Strong Men.
Taloose, literally translated, is the phallus. The red squaw refers to the Newfoundland Indians, covered with red ochre. They are believed to be now