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Title: Contribution to Passamaquoddy Folk-Lore
Author: Fewkes, J. Walter, 1850-1930
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Hemenway Southwestern Archæological Expedition




Reprinted from the Journal of American Folk-Lore,
October-December, 1890


The study of aboriginal folk-lore cannot reach its highest scientific
value until some method is adopted by means of which an accurate
record of the stories can be obtained and preserved. In observations
on the traditions of the Indian tribes, the tendency of the listener
to add his own thoughts or interpretations is very great. Moreover, no
two Indians tell the same story alike. These are sources of error
which cannot be eliminated, but by giving the exact words of the
speaker it is possible to do away with the errors of the translator.

I believe that the memory of Indians for the details of a story is
often better than that of white men. There may be a reason for this,
in their custom of memorizing their rituals, stories, and legends. The
K[=a]klan, a Zuñi ritual, for instance, which is recited by the priest
once in four years, takes several hours to repeat. What white man can
repeat from memory a history of equal length after so long an

Phonetic methods of recording Indian languages are not wholly
satisfactory. It is very unlikely that two persons will adopt the same
spelling of a word never heard before. Many inflections, accents, and
gutturals of Indian languages are difficult to reduce to writing.
Conventional signs and additional letters have been employed for this
purpose, the use of which is open to objections. There is need of some
accurate method by which observations can be recorded. The
difficulties besetting the path of the linguist can be in a measure
obviated by the employment of the phonograph, by the aid of which the
languages of our aborigines can be permanently perpetuated. As a means
of preserving the songs and tales of races which are fast becoming
extinct, it is, I believe, destined to play an important part in
future researches.

In order to make experiments, with a view of employing this means of
record among the less civilized Indians of New Mexico,[1] I visited,
in the month of April, the Passamaquoddies, the purest blooded race of
Indians now living in New England. The results obtained fully
satisfied my expectations. For whatever success I have had, I must
express my obligation to Mrs. W. Wallace Brown, of Calais, Me., whose
influence over the Indians is equalled by her love for the study of
their traditions.

[Footnote 1: This work was undertaken as a preparation for similar
observation in connection with the Hemenway Archæological Expedition.
I am indebted to Mrs. Mary Hemenway, of Boston, for opportunities to
make these observations.]

The songs and stories were taken from the Indians themselves, on the
wax cylinders of the phonograph. In most cases a single cylinder
sufficed, although in others one story occupied several cylinders.
None of the songs required more than one cylinder.

I was particularly anxious to secure the songs. The Passamaquoddies
agree in the statement that their stories were formerly sung, and
resembled poems. Many tales still contain songs, and some possess at
this day a rhythmical character. I am not aware that any one has tried
to set the songs to music, and have had nothing to guide me on that

In sacred observances it is probable that the music of the songs
preserves its character even after other parts have been greatly
modified, while the song retains its peculiarity as long as it
continues to be sung. The paraphernalia of the sacred dance may be
modified, as in the case of many New Mexican pueblos, into church
festivals, but the songs must remain unchanged until superseded. It is
noteworthy in this connection that in many of the songs archaic words

The following list indicates the variety of records which were made:--

     1-3. The story of how Glooscap reduced the size of the
     animals. These cylinders give the story in substantially the
     same way as published by Leland in his "Algonquin Legends."

     4. A collection of Indian words corresponding with those
     found on page 82 of the schedule of the United States Bureau
     of Ethnology.

     5. English words with Passamaquoddy translations.

     6, 7. An old tale of how Pookjinsquess stole a child.

     8. Song of the "Snake Dance."

     9. "War Song."

     10. Song sung on the night when the governor's election is
     celebrated. This song was sung by proxy, and contains
     compliments to the feast, thanks to the people for election,
     and words of praise to the retiring chief. It is a very old
     song, unknown to many of the younger Indians.

     11. Numerals from 1 to 20; the days of the week; also, a
     "counting-out" rhyme.

     12-14. Tale of Leux and the three fires.

     15. Tale of Leux and Hespens.

     17. An ancient war song, said to have been sung in the old
     times when the Passamaquoddies were departing for war with
     the Mohawks. A second part contains a song said to have been
     sung in the "Trade Dance," as described below.

     18. War Song.

     19. Pronunciation of the names of the fabulous personages
     mentioned in Passamaquoddy stories.

     20-22. Story of the birth of a medicine-man who turned man
     into a cedar tree.

     23. An ordinary conversation between the two Indians, Noel
     Josephs and Peter Selmore.

     24-27. Modern Passamaquoddy story, introducing many
     incidents of ordinary life.

     29-35. Story of Pogump and the Sable, and of their killing a
     great snake. How the former was left on an island by
     Pookjinsquess, and how the Morning Star saved him from
     Quahbet, the giant beaver.[2]

[Footnote 2: I have given below English versions of these, or the
Indian stories told in English.]

It appears to me that the selections above given convey an idea of
some of the more important linguistic features of the Passamaquoddy
language, but it is needless to reiterate that these results and
observations are merely experimental. In another place I hope to
reproduce the stories in the original, by phonetic methods. I have
here given English versions of some of the stories recorded, as
translated for me by the narrator, or by Mrs. Brown, and added some
explanations which may be of assistance to a person listening when
songs or stories are being rendered on the phonograph.

The majority of the remnants of the Passamaquoddy tribe are found in
three settlements in the State of Maine,--one at Pleasant Point, near
Eastport; another at Peter Dana's Point, near Princeton; and a third
at a small settlement called The Camps, on the border of the city of

The manners and customs of this people are fast dying out. The old
pointed caps, ornamented with beads, and the silver disks, which they
once wore, are now rarely seen except in collections of curiosities.
The old games, dances, and songs are fast becoming extinct, and the
Passamaquoddy has lost almost everything which characterized his

There still remain among the Passamaquoddies certain nicknames borne
by persons of the tribe. These nicknames are sometimes the names of
animals, and in older times were more numerous than at present.
Possibly these names are the survivals of the gentile or clan name
once universal among them as among other Indian tribes.

I spent several days at Calais, while collecting traditions with the
phonograph, and also visited Pleasant Point, where I made the
acquaintance of some of the most prominent Indians, including the
governor. Most of them speak English very well, and are ready to grant
their assistance in preserving their old stories and customs. The
younger members of the tribe are able to read and write, and are
acquainted with the ordinary branches of knowledge as taught in our
common schools. I should judge from my own observations that the
language is rapidly dying out. The white women who have married into
the tribe have generally acquired the language more or less perfectly.
In their intercourse with each other, Indians make use of their own

In taking these records with the phonograph I had an interesting
experience. The first time I met Noel Josephs, I greeted him after the
Zuñi fashion. I raised my hand to his mouth, and inhaled from it. He
followed in identically the same manner in which a Zuñi Indian would
respond. I asked him what it meant. He said that it was a way of
showing friendship. He remembered that, when he was a boy, a similar
mode of greeting was common among Indians.[3] Mrs. Brown recalled
having seen a similar ceremony after she was received into the tribe.
The meaning of this similarity I leave to others to conjecture.
In a legend mentioned by Mrs. Brown concerning a game of
"All-tes-teg-enuk," played by a youth against an old man, the latter,
who has magic power, has several times regained his youth by inhaling
the breath of his young opponent.[4]

[Footnote 3: My surprise at this coincidence was very great, but I
confess that I was also interested to hear from the lips of my Indian
friend, at parting, the familiar Italian word, "Addio."]

[Footnote 4: _Some Indoor and Outdoor Games of the Wabanaki Indians_,
Trans. Roy. Soc. Canada, Section II. 1889.]


The Passamaquoddies, no doubt, in old times, had many dances, sacred
and secular. Some of these were very different from what they now are,
and in consequence it is not easy to recognize their meaning. Indians
declare that in their youth dances were much more common. Possibly
some of these will never be danced again. That the Micmacs, neighbors
of the Passamaquoddies, had dances in which elaborate masks were worn,
seems to be indicated by pictographs found on the rocks in Nova
Scotia. Mrs. Brown has in her possession a head-band made of silver,
similar to those worn in ancient times on festive occasions, and
probably at dances. It was not necessarily a badge of a chief. In
excavations made at East Machias, an Indian was found with a copper
head-band and the remnant of a woven tiara. These relics are now in
the hands of Dr. Shehan, of Edmunds, Maine. Copper head-bands have
repeatedly been found on the skulls of Mound Indians. When a boy, I
myself was present at the work of excavating an Indian burial place on
the banks of Charles River, near the end of Maple Street, Watertown.
With one of these skeletons a turtle shell was found, which was
possibly an old Indian rattle.

One of the most interesting of the selections mentioned is the Song of
the Snake Dance, No. 8. Although the ceremonial element has now
disappeared from this song, it may be presumed that it originally had
a religious importance similar to that of the Snake Dances of the
Southwest, since the extent of the worship of the snake among North
American Indians is known. The same dance is also celebrated by the
Micmacs, having been performed by them during the past year. In both
nations, it is generally united with other dances, and seems to be an
appendage to the more formal ones.

The general impression among the Passamaquoddies is that this dance
never had a sacred character. The name is said to have been derived
from the sinuous course of the chain of dancers, and from its
resemblance to the motion of a snake. While there is nothing to prove
that it is a remnant of an ancient snake worship, still it is natural
to presume that such is really the case. There are several tales
relating to the manner in which men were turned into rattlesnakes, and
how the noise of the rattlesnakes has its lineal descendant in the
rattles of the dancers. The Indians told me of several songs used for
snake dances, but in those which were sung I think I detected the same
music, and am confident that the words as given occur in most of them.
The discord at the end of the first line is also a feature of the
snake dances which I have heard.[5]

[Footnote 5: I myself have never witnessed the snake-dance. The
description which follows was obtained from Mrs. Brown, who has seen
it performed twice, as well as from Peter Selmore, Noel Josephs, and
other Indians who have frequently taken part in it. The song was
recorded on the phonograph from the lips of Josephs, who is recognized
by the Indians themselves as one competent to sing the song. Josephs
told me that he remembered when this and other dances took place in a
large wigwam made of bark.]

The dance is performed at weddings and other festive occasions. It is
not used alone, but only with others, and, as I am told, is employed
at all times of festival.


The words of the first strain are as follows:--

    W[)a]y' ho y[=a]rhnie, way ho y[=a]rhnie.

The words of the second strain are as follows:--

    Hew nay ie h[=a]h, hew n[)a]'y ie h[=a]h, hew n[)a]'y ie h[=a]h,
    Hew nay ie h[=a]h, hew nay ie h[=a]h, hew nay ie h[=a]h.

When the strain changes from the first to the second, the words _ho
yar'h nie_ become a discord like _noy[=a]h_.

The first part of the song is sung alone, by the conjurer, as he moves
about the room in search of the snake. In the second part all in the
chain of dancers join in with him in the song. The description of the
song in Passamaquoddy, including the invitation to take part in the
dance, is given on the first part of the cylinder. Calls to the
assembly to join in the dance are interpolated in the second strain.

[Music illustration:

Way ho yah-nie, way ho yahnie, way ho yahnie, way ho yahnie, way ho
yah-nie, way ho-yah.

Hew na-yie hah, hew na-yie hah, hew nayie hah, hew nayie hah, hew
nayie hah.]

The leader or singer, whom we may call the master of the ceremony,
begins the dance by moving about the room in a stooping posture,
shaking in his hand a rattle made of horn, beating the ground
violently with one foot. He peers into every corner of the room,
either seeking the snake or inciting the on-lookers to take part,
meanwhile singing the first part of the song recorded on the
phonograph. Then he goes to the middle of the room, and, calling out
one after another of the auditors, seizes his hands. The two
participants dance round the room together. Then another person grasps
the hands of the first, and others join until there is a continuous
line of men and women, alternate members of the chain facing in
opposite directions, and all grasping each other's hands. The chain
then coils back and forth and round the room, and at last forms a
closely pressed spiral, tightly coiled together, with the leader in
the middle. At first the dancers have their bodies bent over in a
stooping attitude, but as the dance goes on and the excitement
increases they rise to an erect posture, especially as near the end
they coil around the leader with the horn rattles, who is concealed
from sight by the dancers. They call on the spectators to follow them,
with loud calls mingled with the music: these cries now become louder
and more boisterous, and the coil rapidly unwinds, moving more and
more quickly, until some one of the dancers, being unable to keep up,
slips and falls. Then the chain is broken, and all, with loud shouts,
often dripping with perspiration, return to their seats.[6]

[Footnote 6: The last part of this dance somewhat resembles a play
among boys, known as "Snap the whip."]

In this dance all present take part; it always occurs at the end of
the Passamaquoddy dances, though it may be followed by a dance of the
Micmacs, or other foreign Indians. There was, when last presented, no
special dress adopted for the snake-dance, and the horn rattle is used
also in other dances. It seems probable that everything used in the
old times has disappeared, with the exception perhaps of the
last-named implement, yet the song resembles closely that of the olden
time. The invitations to dance are possibly introduced, and the
boisterous finale may be of modern date. There is recorded also on the
phonograph, with the song, the invitation to the dance in the
Passamaquoddy language. An invitation is extended to all to come to
the dance. It is a proclamation that there will be a good time, much
to eat, "Indian dances," snake dance, and Micmac dances. The shell of
the turtle was used in old times for a rattle, in place of the horn,
and in a story of the origin of the rattlesnake the conqueror is said
to use a rattle of this kind. In the Zuñi dances, and in the Moqui
snake-dance, a turtle rattle is tied to the inside of the left leg.
The rattle, carried in the hand by the Moqui snake dancer, is a gourd,
but the Passamaquoddies seem to find the horn better adapted for their
purpose. The almost universal use of the rattle among the Indians in
their sacred dances is very significant. The meaning of the snake song
is unknown to the Indians who sing it. The words are probably either
archaic or remnants of a sacred language or mystic words of an
esoteric priesthood.

The Indian dances held in honor of the chief (governor) and other
officers continued for several days. On the first night the newly
elected chief sang a song complimentary to the food, thanking the
tribe, greeting the past governor, etc. Noel Josephs, at the last
celebration, sang this song by proxy, as the newly elected chief could
not sing. When sung by proxy, the song is called by another name than
when sung by the person elected. This song is preserved on one of the


I have been told that there is an old custom among the Micmacs, still
remembered by many now alive, which is probably a remnant of a
ceremony with which was connected an old dance. To this custom is
given the name of the "Trade Dance," for reasons which will appear.
The account of the custom was given by Peter Selmore, who witnessed it
not many years ago. It is said to be more common among the Micmacs
than among the Passamaquoddies.

The participants, one or more in number, go to the wigwam of another
person, and when near the entrance sing a song. The leader then
enters, and, dancing about, sings at the same time a continuation of
the song he sang at the door of the hut. He then points out some
object in the room which he wants to buy, and offers a price for it.
The owner is obliged to sell the object pointed out, or to barter
something of equal value. The narrator remembers that the dress of the
participants was similar to that of the Indians of olden times. He
remembers, in the case of women, that they wore the variegated,
pointed cap covered with beads, the loose robe, and leggings. The face
of the participant was painted, or daubed black with paint or powder.

This song is recorded on cylinder 17.

The singer told me, and I can well believe it, that the song is very
ancient. I have little doubt that in this ceremony we have a survival
of dances of the olden times, when they assumed a significance now
either wholly lost or greatly modified.

It is not without probability that the songs sung as ancient songs may
have modern strains in them, but as a general thing I think we can say
that they are authentic. I do not think I draw on my imagination when
I say that one can detect a general character in them which recalls
that of Western Indians. In order to experiment on this, I submitted
the records to a person who had heard the songs of the Plain Indians,
and who did not know whether the song which she heard from the
phonograph was to be Indian or English. She immediately told me
correctly in all cases which was the Indian, although she had never
before heard the Passamaquoddy songs.

The folk stories of the Passamaquoddies are but little known to the
young boys and girls of the tribe. It is mostly from the old and
middle-aged persons that these stories can be obtained. I was told by
one of these story-tellers that it was customary, when he was a boy,
for the squaws to reward them for collecting wood or other duties with
stories. A circle gathered about the fire after work, and listened for
hours to these ancient stories, fragments no doubt of an ancient
mythology, upon which possibly had been grafted new incidents derived
by the Indians from their intercourse with the various Europeans with
whom they had been brought in contact.


I succeeded in getting upon the phonograph several war songs, typical
of a large number known to the Passamaquoddies. The words of many are
improvised, though there is no doubt that the tunes are ancient. The
words of one of these songs are given below.

     I will arise with tomahawk in my hand, and I must have
     revenge on that nation which has slain my poor people. I
     arise with war club in my hand, and follow the bloody track
     of that nation which killed my people. I will sacrifice my
     own life and the lives of my warriors. I arise with war club
     in my hand, and follow the track of my enemy. When I
     overtake him I will take his scalp and string it on a long
     pole, and I will stick it in the ground, and my warriors
     will dance around it for many days; then I will sing my song
     for the victory over my enemy.


Passamaquoddy Indians are believers in a power by which a song, sung
in one place, can be heard in another many miles away. This power is
thought to be due to _m' toulin_, or magic, which plays an important
part in their belief. Several instances were told me, and others have
published similar observations. Leland, in his "Algonquin Legends of
New England," pp. 517, 518, gives a weird account of an Indian who was
so affected by _m' toulin_ that he left his home and travelled north
to find a cold place. Although lightly clad and bare-footed, he
complained that it was too hot for him, and hastened away to find a
climate more congenial to his tastes. In this account one is led to
believe that the man was insane, and that to the Indian insanity is
simply the result of _m' toulin_.


In a very interesting paper of A.F. Chamberlain, on "The Thunder-Bird
among the Algonquins," in the "American Anthropologist," January,
1890, reference is made to the belief in this being among the
Passamaquoddy Indians. On my recent visit to Calais I obtained from
Peter Selmore a story of the origin of the Thunder-Bird, which is
different from any mentioned by Leland. This story, I regret to say, I
was unable to get on the phonograph.

A story of the old times.[7] Two men desired to find the origin of
thunder. They set out and travelled north, and came to high mountains.
These mountains drew back and forth, and then closed together very
quickly. One of the men said to the other, "I will leap through the
cleft when it opens, and if I am caught you can follow and try to find
the origin of thunder." The first one passed through the cleft before
it closed, and the second one was caught. The one that went through
saw, in a large plain below, a group of wigwams, and a number of
Indians playing ball. After a little while these players said to each
other, "It is time to go." They went to their wigwams and put on
wings, and took their bows and arrows and flew away over the mountains
to the south. The old men said to the Indian, "What do you want? Who
are you?" He told his mission, and they deliberated what to do.
Finally they took him and put him in a mortar and pounded him up so
that all his bones were broken. Then they took him out and gave him
wings and a bow and arrows, and sent him away. They told him he must
not go near the trees, for if he did he would go so fast that he could
not stop, but would get caught in the crotch of a tree.

[Footnote 7: The Zuñi folk-tales always begin with a similar
introduction, which may be translated, "In the time of the ancients."
The Passamaquoddies often end a story by the words which, being
translated, mean "this is the end." The same occurs in other Indian

He could not get to his home because the bird Wochowsen blew so hard
that he could make no progress against it. As the Thunder-Bird is an
Indian, the lightning from him never strikes one of his kind.[8]

[Footnote 8: The wind (Wochowsen) is represented as resisting the
Thunder-Bird. According to Chamberlain and Leland, "thunder beings are
always trying to kill a big bird in the south." It is said by the
Passamaquoddies that Wochowsen is the great bird which overspreads all
with his wings and darkens the sky. Often when he passes by, the glare
of the bright sun is ample to blind them.]

This is the same bird one of whose wings Glooscap once cut when it had
used too much force. There was for a long time, the story goes, no
moving air, so that the sea became full of slime, and all the fish
died. But Glooscap is said to have repaired the wing of Wochowsen, so
that we now have wind alternating with calm.


The translation of the following tale of Pogump, or Black Cat and the
Sable, was given me by Mrs. W. Wallace Brown.[9] The original was told
into the phonograph in Passamaquoddy by Peter Selmore, in the presence
of Noel Josephs. A bark picture of Pookjinsquess leaving the island,
representing the gulls, and Black Cat on the back of the Snail, was
made by Josephs. A copy of this picture is given at the end of this

[Footnote 9: The version gives only the incidents as remembered, and
can hardly be called a translation.]

Mrs. Brown tells me there is a story which accounts for the hump on
the back of Pookjinsquess, as follows: While leaning against a tree,
some one cut off the tree above and below her shoulders, and she
consequently carries the hump on her back.

Cooloo, the great bird that overspreads all with his wings, was a
chief. His wife was named Pookjinsquess. The Sable and the Black Cat
went in a stone canoe to a place where they make maple sugar. In this
journey they were lost, and separated from each other. Sable in his
wanderings came to a peculiarly shaped wigwam. He went in and found
within a large Snake. The Snake said he was glad the Sable had come,
as he was very hungry. The Snake told him to go into the woods and get
a straight stick, so that when he pierced him he would not tear open
his entrails. Sable then went out and sang in a loud voice a song
which he hoped his brother the Black Cat would hear and come to his
aid.[10] The Black Cat heard him and came to him. Then the Sable told
the Black Cat the trouble he was in, and how the Snake was going to
kill him. The Black Cat told Sable not to be afraid, but that he would
kill the big Snake. He told him that he would lie down behind the
trunk of a hemlock tree which had fallen, and that Sable should search
out a stick that was very crooked, obeying the commands of the big
Snake. When he had found a stick, he should carry it to the Snake, who
would complain that the stick was not straight enough. The Black Cat
instructed Sable to reply that he would straighten it in the fire,
holding it there until the steam came out of the end.[11] While the
Snake was watching the process of straightening the stick and the exit
of the steam, Black Cat told Sable that he should strike the Snake
over the head. The Sable sought out the most crooked stick he could
find, and then returned to the wigwam where the Snake was. The Snake
said the stick was too crooked. The Sable replied, "I can straighten
it," and held it in the fire.[12] When it was hot he struck the Snake
on the head and blinded him.[13] The Snake then followed the Sable,
and, as he passed over the hemlock trunk, Black Cat killed him, and
they cut him in small fragments. Black Cat and Sable called all the
animals and birds to the feast; the caribous, wild horses, and swift
animals and birds were first to arrive at the feast. The Turtle was
the last, and got only the blood. Then the Black Cat and Sable
returned home to Cooloo, whose wife was Pookjinsquess. She thought she
would like to have for her husband Black Cat if she could get rid of
Cooloo. But Black Cat offended Pookjinsquess and made her angry. To
make way with him she invited him to go with her for gulls' eggs. She
took him across the water in a canoe to an island which was very
distant. There they filled baskets with eggs and started home in the
canoe. A large, very beautiful bird flew over them. They both shot
their arrows at it. The bird fell, and Black Cat jumped into the
water to get what they had shot. When he got to where the bird fell he
could not find it. Pookjinsquess went off, singing as she went the
following song, which has been written out from the phonographic
record by Mr. Cheney, and left Black Cat on the island.

[Footnote 10: Probably Sable had a _m' toulin_, or magic power, and
his song was heard by Black Cat, although miles away beyond hills and

[Footnote 11: Evidently to excite the curiosity of the Snake.]

[Footnote 12: The fire was outside the wigwam, and the Snake put his
head out of the wigwam, when he was struck. Possibly the Snake watched
the process of straightening the stick through curiosity, and was off
his guard.]

[Footnote 13: In another story which was told me, Glooscap turned the
eyes of the Snake white in the following manner:--

"Once on a time Glooscap was cooking something in his wigwam, and the
Snake wished to see what it was. So the Snake crawled up the outside
of the wigwam and looked down through the smoke-hole into the cooking
vessel. But Glooscap, who was stirring the pot of cooking food, held
in his hand a great ladle. He noticed the Snake peering in at the
smoke-hole, and, filling the bowl of the ladle full of the hot food,
threw it into the eyes of the Snake. From that time the eyes of the
Snake have been white."]

[Music illustration:

Er tim lee ber nits nah o o o o Wait for me.

Nick ne ar ber yer nay ey.--]

I think there are internal evidences of the antiquity of this song,
although the English sentence, "Wait for me," shows the modern
character of certain of the words. This sentence seems to supply the
place of unknown Indian words. Several Indians assured me that the
song was old. According to Leland, Pookjinsquess sang the following
words when she left Black Cat:--

    Niked ha Pogump min nekuk
    Netsnil sagamawin!

Which he translates,--

    I have left the Black Cat on an island;
    I shall be the chief of the Fishers now.

The best I can make out of the phonographic record given me by Peter
Selmore of the words which she sang is,--

                           > > > >
    Er tin le ber nits nah o o o o.
    Wait for me.
    Nick ne ar ber yer hay ey.

The second line sounds like the English "Wait for me," but is not
distinct. The end of the first line is violently explosive. The third
line ends in a word expressive of strong feeling, possibly revenge.

In a version of this story by Leland, Pookjinsquess leaves Black Cat
on the island, and paddles away, singing songs. In his story, Black
Cat was carried off from the island by the Fox, who swam out to get

Black Cat called to the gulls to defile Pookjinsquess with their dung.
They flew over her, and as she looked up they covered her face with
bird-lime.[14] They then burst out in a laugh, which they still have,
when they saw how changed her face was.

[Footnote 14: According to the narrator, the bird that did this was a
very large one. Possibly it was Cooloo, the offended husband of

Black Cat wandered about the island, until at last he found a wigwam
of the grandfather, the "Morning Star," who told him he was on a very
dangerous island. He told him it was the habit of the Great Beaver to
destroy every one who came to the island.[15]

[Footnote 15: Quahbet, or the Giant Beaver, was not on the best of
terms with Black Cat, for Glooscap had slain many of the beavers,
whose bones still exist, and are of giant size. This hatred probably
arose, says Leland, from the time when Quahbeetsis, the son of the
Beaver, inspired Malsumsis to kill Glooscap.]

He told the Black Cat to climb a tree, and when he needed help to call
out for him. Night coming on, water began to rise about the base of
the tree, and the Giant Beaver came and began to gnaw at its base. The
friendly ants[16] tried to keep the tree upright, but the water
continued to rise and the Beaver kept on gnawing. Then the Black Cat
in his sore dilemma called out, "Grandpa, come!" The grandfather
responded, "I am coming; wait till I get my moccasins." The water rose
higher. Again Black Cat called out, "Come, grandpa, come!" "I am
coming," his grandfather said; "wait till I get my cap." Again Black
Cat called, "Hurry, grandpa!" "Wait until I get my pipe," said the
grandparent. But the waters had reached him. The tree swayed to and
fro. "Come, grandpa, come!" said Black Cat for the last time. Then he
said, "I am coming; wait till I open my door;" and then he opened the
door of his wigwam and the Morning Star came forth, the water began to
recede, and the Beaver swam away.[17] Then Black Cat's grandfather
told him to come down, and he would send him over the water to the
other shore on the back of the Wewillemuck. Black Cat thought that
Wewillemuck was too small to carry him over, but his grandfather told
him to seat himself between his horns, and when he wished
Wewillemuck[18] to go faster he should tap him on the horns. The
grandfather then gave his grandson a small bow and arrows, and put him
on the snail's back between his horns.

[Footnote 16: The ants assisted Black Cat in many ways. They were also
friendly to Leux, and on one occasion are said to have gathered the
bones and fragments of the "Merry God" together and restored his life.
Whether in the present instance they tried to keep the tree upright by
piling the earth about its trunk or not, the narrator does not say.]

[Footnote 17: Possibly the gnawing of the Beaver is the ripple of the
waves around the base of the tree.]

[Footnote 18: Mrs. Brown has identified Wewillemuck as the snail. Some
of the Indians say that it is a large lizard like an alligator. The
bark picture of this creature, made by Noel Josephs, is that of a
nondescript difficult to identify.]

As they were crossing the channel, Wewillemuck said to the Black Cat,
"When we get near shore tell me." But Black Cat gave Wewillemuck a
sharp rap on the horns, and the snail jumped forward and went so far
that both went a far distance inland. Wewillemuck said, "Why did you
not tell me we were near the land? Now I cannot get back to the water
again." But Black Cat took his small bow and arrows, and with them
carried Wewillemuck back to the water. So pleased was he that he said,
"Scrape from my horns some fine dust, and, whatever you wish, put this
powder upon it and it is yours." So Black Cat scraped off some powder
from the horns of Wewillemuck.

The Raven was told to build a wigwam for Cooloo, who was chief. Pogump
(Black Cat) went to see the chief, and killed him with the powder.
Black Cat went to see Pookjinsquess; he scattered a ring of powder
around her wigwam, and then set it on fire. It blazed up and ignited
the wigwam, burning up the old woman Pookjinsquess; whose ashes, blown
about by the winds, made the mosquitoes.[19]

[Footnote 19: In this manner he obtains his revenge. Dr. Boas tells me
he has heard a similar story of the origin of the mosquitoes on the
West Coast.]

Leland, in his version of this story, represents the Black Cat as
identical with Glooscap,[20] and the Sable as a boy who had a flute by
which he could entice to himself all the animals. The story of the
sticks is similar, but the cutting up of the serpent is not mentioned.
He says that Black Cat, who is preparing his arrows, and will return
and destroy all, is Glooscap, who in another story kills the Snake,
cuts him in fragments, and invites all the animals to eat him. The
Turtle, the grandfather (adopted), arrives last, and only gets the
blood for his share.

[Footnote 20: Mrs. Brown writes me that the Black Cat referred to is
not identical with Glooscap. "There were very many of these
mythological personages," she says, "who were able to do things as
wonderful as Glooscap, but they were not of his nature. He worked for
good, they for selfish purposes."

Mr. Leland's work exhibits throughout want of exactness in recording
just what the Indians told him. It is in deductions and explanations
that error is liable to arise. A story made up from the recital of
several Indians is likely to exhibit their attempts to explain
doubtful parts of the story.]


A story of the old time. In winter, while travelling, Leux met a
number of wolves, which were going in the same direction that he was.
At nightfall the old wolf built a fire and gave Leux supper. He gave
him skins to cover himself while he slept, but Leux said that the fire
was so warm that he did not need or wish a covering. At midnight Leux
awoke and was almost frozen with cold. The next morning Leux was
obliged to part with the wolves.[21]

[Footnote 21: It would seem, from Leland's account, that the wolf
admired Leux greatly because he cared so little for the cold or their

The old wolf said, "How far are you going?" Leux answered, "Three
days' journey." The wolf said then, "I will do for you the very best
thing I can. I will give you three fires, one for each night." The
wolf told him to gather some dry wood, put it in a pile, jump over it,
and it would burn.[22]

[Footnote 22: It was possible that the wolf gave him some charm or
medicine with which to accomplish this.]

Leux parted from the wolf, and as soon as he was out of sight he
thought he would try to make a fire as directed by the wolf, remarking
that he did not think it would burn. So he gathered some dry wood,
made a little pile, and jumped over it, as he had been directed. The
wood was ignited, as the wolf had predicted, much to the surprise of
Leux. Leux then put out the fire. After walking a short distance he
kindled another in the same way. This he put out as before, and at
noon tried again, kindling the fire as before and putting it out
immediately after. Now when night came Leux made a camp and collected
a pile of good dry wood and jumped over it, as he had done previously,
and as he had been directed by the wolf. But this time the wood did
not burn. He repeatedly jumped over the wood, but in vain. The wood
gave off a cloud of smoke, but no blaze appeared. That night it was
bitter cold,--so cold that Leux was nearly frozen to death.[23]

[Footnote 23: The above story is told substantially as here given by
Leland, but with many additions. The source from which Leland obtained
his account is not given. The account which I give is from Noel
Josephs. In Leland's account Leux froze to death.]

One day two young girls (in Leland's account the two girls are
weasels) were walking along, and k'Cheebellock came to them and
carried them to his home in another world high up in the sky. The
girls became homesick in the strange place, and every day they longed
more and more to get back to the earth. Every day they cried for their
homes. At last k'Cheebellock offered to carry them back to the earth,
and took them up to transport them to their native land. But
k'Cheebellock's wings were so large that he could not get to the
ground on account of the high trees. So he left them in the top of a
very high hemlock in the midst of the forest.[24]

[Footnote 24: Notice, also, that the thunder-birds were not able to
approach the trees, and the Indian who was turned into a thunder-bird
was warned not to approach the forest, for he moved so rapidly that he
would get caught in the crotch of a tree.]

The girls could not get down out of the tree. As time passed on, after
a long time they saw a young man walking in the woods. They cried out
to him to come and take them down. The first time they called, the
young man did not look up. Now this man was Leux: they called again,
and he replied that he was very busy building a road [trail], and he
said he could not take them down he was so occupied. After a long time
the girls saw Leux pass by again, and they begged him to take them
down from the tree. This time Leux replied that he would take them
down if one of them would consent to become his wife. To this they

Now these girls had their hair tied with long shreds of eelskins. They
took off these strings, which bound their hair behind, and securely
tied them in hard knots on the top branches of the tree upon which
they were. Leux climbed the tree and brought the girls down safe and
sound. He then demanded one of them for his wife.[25]

[Footnote 25: It would be more in accord with the Indian words to say
"have one of them" instead of "have one of them for a wife."]

But the girls said, "First, it is necessary for you to untie and bring
down our hair bands for us." Leux climbed the tree to get the eelskin
hair bands, but they had tied them so securely that it took him a long
time to loosen the knots. When he came down the girls had built a
large and beautiful wigwam. They then made Leux blind[26] [how, the
narrator did not know].

[Footnote 26: The wigwam may have been so dark that he could not see
anything, or perhaps he was blinded by his admiration for the girls.]

Then the maidens call out to him, and now one and now the other
invites him to come to her. As he follows their voices one of them
leads him to fall into the water, and the other makes him stumble on
porcupine quills. Exhausted, Leux then goes to sleep, wearied out with
his exertions, but when he awoke the maidens had vanished.

The story of the Indian maids who were loved by k'Cheebellock, the
spirit of the air, is told in another way by Leland, although that
part of the story which pertains to Leux and the hair bands is the
same in both accounts. In Leland's account we have a beautiful legend,
Micmac and Passamaquoddy, in which two maids, called the weasels, are
loved by the stars, not by k'Cheebellock. It is interesting also to
note that the hair bands in this variant of the story were of eelskin,
a fact which is not brought in Leland's account. k'Cheebellock is a
superhuman deity of the Passamaquoddies, and is represented as a being
without body, but with heart, head, wings, and long legs. He is
stronger than the wind, and is the genius of the air. k'Cheebellock
has sometimes been confounded with Kewok, but Kewok is the cannibal
deity, or a cannibal giant. He is said to have a heart of ice, and to
afflict the Indians in many ways. It is he who tears the bark from the
wigwam, and who frightens men and women. Kewok is the being in whom a
Norse divinity has been recognized by one or two well-known scholars.

In olden times the hair of women was tied with hair strings which were
securely bound to a flat plate on the outside. This plate was formerly
of shell, or later of metal. To this hair string was ascribed certain
magic powers, especially in love affairs, and the possession of it was
a potent spell.


A story of old times. There was once a woman who travelled constantly
through the woods. Every bush she saw she bit off, and from one of
these she came to be with child. She grew bigger and bigger until at
last she could travel no longer, but built a wigwam near the mouth of
a stream. The woman gave birth to a child in the night. She thought it
best to kill the child, but did not wish to murder her offspring.[27]

[Footnote 27: By combining this story with some given by Leland it
would seem that the child was Glooscap. If that is so, this is the
only account in Passamaquoddy lore in which his parthenogenetic origin
is traced. Mrs. Brown insists, however, that the medicine man was not

At last she decided to make a canoe of bark, and in it she put her
child and let it float down the river. The water of the river was
rough, but the child was not harmed, or even wet.[28] It floated down
to an Indian village, and was stranded on the shore near a group of
wigwams. A woman of the village found the baby on the shore and
brought it to her home. Every morning, after the baby had been brought
to the place, a baby of the village died. The Indians did not know
what the matter was until they noticed that the waif which the woman
had found in the bark on the river bank went to the river every night
and returned shortly after. A woman watched to see what this had to do
with the death of the babes, and she saw the child, when it returned
to the wigwam, bring a tongue of a little child, roast and eat it.
Then it laid down to sleep. The next morning another child died, and
then the Indian knew that its tongue had been cut out. It was
therefore believed that the strange child had killed the baby. They
deliberated as to what they should do with the murderer. Some said,
cut him in pieces and cast the fragments into the river. Others said,
cut him up and burn the fragments. This, after much consultation, they
did. They burnt the fragments of the child until nothing but the ashes
remained. Everybody thought it dead, but the next morning it came back
to camp again, with a little tongue as before, roasted and ate the
morsel. The next morning another child was found to have died the
night before. After the weird child had roasted and eaten the tongue
of its victim he laid down to sleep in the same place he had laid
before he had been cut up into fragments and cremated. But in the
morning the child said that it would never kill any more children. He
had now, in fact, become a big boy. He said he would take one of his
bones out of his side. This he tried to do, and as he did it all the
bones came out of his body at the same time. Then he closed his eyes
by drawing his fingers over his eyelids so that his eyes were hidden
(not necessarily blind). He could not move, because he had no bones
and had grown very fat. He became a great medicine man, and told the
Indians that whatever they asked of him he would grant them. Then the
Indians moved away from the place and left the medicine man behind in
a nice wigwam which they built for him. But they were accustomed to go
back when they wished anything, and to ask the conjurer for it. The
Indians used to go to him for medicine of all kinds. When he granted
their request he said, "Turn me over and you will find the medicine
under me."[29]

[Footnote 28: The resemblance of this story to the tale of Moses is
very great. Whether or not it is derived from the early teaching of
the church through Catholic priests, or from still earlier Norse
legends, I leave others to decide.]

[Footnote 29: Dr. Rand (_American Antiquarian_, p. 8, vol. xii. No. 1)
mentions a personage (Koolpejot) as "rolled over by means of a
handspike." He is a great medicine man: he has no bones, always lies
out in the open air, and is rolled over from one side to the other
twice a year, during spring and fall. He adds that an intelligent
Indian once suggested that this was a figurative representation of the
revolution of the seasons.]

Once upon a time a young man who wished the love of women went to him
and asked for a love potion. The old man said, "Turn me over." The
young man turned the conjurer over and found under him an herb. The
old man told him he must not give this away or throw it away. The
young man went home to his wigwam. On his return home all the women of
the place followed him, everywhere and at all times. He longed to be
alone, and did not like to have the women so much about him. At last
he was so much troubled by them that he went back to the conjurer and
gave back the medicine to the medicine man, who took the herb, and the
young man went away without it. Another man went to the conjurer for
medicine. The old man said, "What do you want?" He said, "I want to
live as long as the world stands." The old man said the request was
hard to grant, but he would try to answer it. The conjurer, as was his
wont, said, "Turn me over," and underneath his body was the herb. Then
the conjurer told the man who wished to live forever to go to a place
which was bare of everything, so bare indeed that it was destitute of
all vegetation, and to stand there. He pointed out the place to him.
This the man did, and, looking back at the conjurer, branches grew out
all over him, and he was changed into a cedar tree. He is useless to
every one, and there he will stand forever.

The first part of this story strongly reminds one of the story of
Moses, and may have been due to contact with Europeans. It is to be
remarked that the mother of the child became pregnant by eating an
herb. The child is therefore parthenogenetic. According to Leland, the
medicine man who turned the man into a cedar tree is Glooscap.
Glooscap performed many such miracles, as in the case of the story of
the animals. In another story the father of Glooscap is mentioned as a
being who lives under a great fall of water down in the earth. His
face is half red, and he has a single eye. In another he can give to
any one coming to him medicine to grant him whatever he wishes, and in
still another Glooscap is now sharpening his arrows way off in some
distant place. He will return to earth and make war.

"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 long time."

"Are any to be saved by any one?" "Dunno. Me hear some say world all
burn up some day; water all will take fire. Some good ones be taken up
in good heavens, but me dunno; me just hear that. Only hear so."[30]

[Footnote 30: Quoted from Leland's _Algonquin Legends_.]

In their stories the Passamaquoddies tell the old stories as true; but
they speak of other stories as what they hear. The part of the above
account, of the return of Glooscap and the destruction of the world,
they say is true. The last portion shows its modern origin in the
statement that they hear that it is so.

The stories of the birth of Glooscap,[31] his power to work miracles,
and his ultimate return to earth, are very suggestive.

[Footnote 31: According to Leland's story.]

The belief of the Indians in a Great Spirit is a figment of the
imagination on the part of the whites. It is now extremely difficult
to discover what the original belief of the Passamaquoddies was, as
they are now Christianized and have been for many years.

From a scientific standpoint much has been lost by this change. There
are several customs which are undoubtedly modifications of older
observances which they probably replace. That these customs are
secondary modifications, their general character seems to demonstrate.
Still they have certain Indian features, and as such merit record.
There are doubtless certain religious observances which have been
changed by the influence of the whites. If these were rightly
interpreted they might tell some very interesting story of the ancient
beliefs of this people, but many of these observances have been so
modified that their meaning, if they have any, is wholly obliterated.

Among these might be mentioned a common burial custom, an account of
which has never been recorded. I am informed by Mrs. Brown that when
an Indian dies a gun is fired. The coffin is enveloped with fine white
sheeting, and cords are tied around the sheeting to keep the cotton in
place. When the coffin is lowered into the grave the cords are
removed, and the cotton is given to the grave-digger. Possibly this
custom may have been derived from some older one, or may have
originated from contact with the whites. The mode of burial in coffins
and the use of cotton sheeting are certainly modern customs, but may
be modifications of some older ceremonial when other material was

The counting-out rhyme which is given on the cylinder is as follows:--

    Hony, kee bee, l[=a] [=a]-weis, ag-les, huntip.

The inflection on the last word is always a rising one. This is
especially true on the last syllable of the last word, "tip." The
counting out is not very different from that of white children. They
all place two fingers of each hand in a circle; the one who repeats
the doggerel, having one hand free, touches each finger in the circle
saying, _Hony, kee bee, l[=a] [=a]-weis, ag-les, huntip_. Each finger
that the _huntip_ falls on is doubled under, and this is repeated
again and again until there are but three fingers left. The persons
corresponding to these start to run, and the one caught has to play as
_Squaw-oc-t'moos_.[32] To the Indian mind "counting out" has a
significance, and even the simple _huntip_ is a magic word, bringing
good luck, as it lessens the chance of being "_squaw-oc-t'moos_."
["Journal of American Folk-Lore," vol. iii. No. 8, pp. 71, 72.]

[Footnote 32: The word "squat" in Passamaquoddy means fire. Mrs. Brown
spells the name of the swamp woman as follows: _Squaw-oc-t'moos_. The
_a_ is very long, and possibly can be best represented by _aw_.]

One of the songs, said to be a salutation, which was sung on the
cylinders, has been written out from the phonograph by the late Mr.
S.P. Cheney. The words, as nearly as I can make them out, are as

    T'w[=a] too boo hen ee too boo ho [to be way] bla
    Tel ey wees ee lu
    Hoi kay yu kar, heno yah ha,
    Kaye yu kar, hen o yar-hah,
    Kay yu kar, hen o yah-hah, kay yu kar, hen o yar-hah.

The first two lines are sung first to the upper staff, then repeated
to the music on the second, which differs somewhat from the first.
Then follows the third and fourth lines, which are sung to the third
staff, and repeated with slight variation from the fourth.

[Music illustration:

T'w[=a] too boo hen ee too boo ho bla tel ey wees ee lu

Hoi kay yu kar, hen-o yah ha, kay e yu kar hen o yar-hah.]

The question of whether the Indians originally had characters to
designate tones has been discussed by Theodor Baker ("Ueber die Musik
der Nord Amerikanischen Wilden"). Although the Micmacs seemed to have
had an elaborate system of hieroglyphics[33] to designate sounds,
neither they nor their immediate neighbors, according to Vetromile,
had characters to designate tones. The songs were probably committed
to memory, and possibly on that account were often somewhat modified.

[Footnote 33: Pictographic writing, which is so well known among the
Micmacs, was also practised by the Passamaquoddies. The sign of the
Passamaquoddies is a canoe with two Indians in it and a porpoise. This
sign appears on rocks in certain places. The design for the present
flag of this tribe is of late conception, and shows the Christian

The cylinder with Passamaquoddy words and the English equivalents has
the following records, which I have written down as nearly as I could
from the phonograph, and verified by repeating them from my spelling
to the Indians. With two exceptions, the Indians, were able to
understand the word meant, and to give me an English equivalent
identical with that originally recorded. I have made these experiments
of verification in order to test the capabilities of the phonograph.
In the cases where my spelling of the word has failed to convey the
sound of the word, the phonograph was perfectly understood by the
Indian interrogated. This fact seemed to me to bring out a serious
defect in the use of the phonetic method, which may not be confined to
me alone. I doubt very much if the Indians could understand many of
the words in some of the vocabularies of other Indians which have been
published, if the words were pronounced as they are spelled. The
records of the phonograph, although of course sometimes faulty, are as
a general thing accurate. When I wrote out the Passamaquoddy words
given below, I was wholly ignorant of their meaning. I wrote them as I
heard them on the cylinder, placing at their side the English
equivalent. I then pronounced the word to an Indian, and he gave the
same English word which I had myself written from the phonograph:--

     k't[=a]lgus (gin), _ear_.
     Wee tin, _nose_.
     Hük, _body_.
     K'telob[=a]gen, _arms_.
     Sq[)a]t, _fire_.
     K't[=a]gen, _foot_.
     Wittuk, _forehead_.
     (Puks que nor w[=u]k), Pugorken, _blood_.
     Tups kuk, _neck_.
     Wusqu[=a]n, _elbow_.
     Kort, _leg_.
     Q[=u]tque, _knee_.
     Wukum, _heel_.
     Wus quout, _liver (heart)_.
     Wee bee, _tooth_.
     p'k[)u]tt, _smoke_.

The object of the above list is simply to show how nearly one can
obtain the sound of the word phonetically by the phonograph. It is
thought to illustrate a possible use of this instrument.

Vocabularies of Passamaquoddy words have been published, but as a
general thing they are very incomplete. Miss Abby Alger, of Boston,
has printed a short list of common words and phrases, and in Kilby's
"History of Eastport" the Passamaquoddy names of certain localities,
rivers, etc., are given.

It is probably impossible to get the same story in all its details
from two different Indians. The variations in incidents are very
numerous. Consequently the observer who follows me will undoubtedly
find a great difference between the tale as I give it and as he hears
it. That is to be expected, nor is it probable that these stories
admit of absolute accuracy as long as human memory is fallacious.
These stories are _membra dejecta_ of older ones, and, although lineal
descendants of ancient tales, are probably more or less modified or

The following are a few of the mythological characters which play a
part in many of the stories of the Passamaquoddies. They are all given
on one of the cylinders of the phonograph:--

     _Leux._ Mischief-maker. In certain stories, simple fellow.

     _Kewok._ A formless being with icy heart, and when mentioned
     regarded as a terrible one.

     _Pedogiic._ Thunder.

     _Pesok que tuk._ Lightning.

     _Ooargamess._ Small beings who live about rocks and chatter
     in unknown tongue. Have been seen in late times.

     _Lumpagonosis._ Water beings.

     _Kelphit._ A shapeless (medicine) being who is turned over
     twice each year. Under him are found flowers.

     _Pogumpt._ Black Cat, Fisher.

     _k'Chebollock._ The Spirit of the Air. This being is said to
     be without body, but to have a heart, wings, head, and

     _Cadoux._ Spirit of Night. Said to have been seen lately. An
     evil spirit which tears bark from the wigwam, and in many
     ways frightens the Indians.

     _Pook-jin-squess._ The Jug. Called also the toad woman. In
     some Indian stories spoken of as governor.

     _Noosagess._ A being associated with the wind.

     _Squaw-oc-t'moos._ Swamp woman.

     _Mousham._ Grandfather.

     _Glooscap._ The beneficent being whose deeds are generally
     superhuman, and who figures in many heroic tales of the
     Passamaquoddies. The term as applied to a man is one of
     contempt. To call a man glooscap, or a woman glooscapess, is
     to call them liars.

     _Chematiquess._ The big rabbit. There are many tales in
     relation to Chematiquess. The new one which I have treats of
     his efforts to escape Glooscap.

     _Mickemnise._ The good fellow. I have also heard the
     Ouargamiss called Mickeminn.

     _Hespens._ The raccoon.

     _Quarbet._ The giant beast.

     _M'Sartoo._ The Morning Star.

     _Consuce._ The ancients; said to be the fabricators of stone
     things. These were the makers of the stone axes or tomahawks
     which are found in the territory once inhabited by the

The accompanying plate illustrates the above mentioned story of Pogump
and Pookjinsquess, the original of which was drawn on birch bark by
Noel Josephs.

       *       *       *       *       *

Since the above was written, I have spent some time at Zuñi Pueblo,
New Mexico, during which my studies of aboriginal language with the
phonograph were continued. While it is too early to state the exact
value of the records obtained, it may be interesting to know that I
have succeeded in obtaining some important specimens of the songs,
stories, and prayers of this tribe in the course of the summer. The
songs of the sacred dances of the Zuñians are particularly adapted to
successful recording with the phonograph. Of these there were obtained
several so-called _Ko-ko_ songs, such as are sung in the _Kor-kok-shi_
or rain dances. The song sung at the _Ham-po-ney_, an ancient dance
celebrated every eight or ten years by the women, was also obtained
from one of the participants. This dance, an elaborate corn-dance, is
said to be an ancient ceremony, and is, next in importance to the
dedication of the houses, one of the most striking events in the
Zuñian calendar. The rarity of its performance, and the possibility
that when next performed it may be greatly modified, give a unique
value to this record.

The most important of the ceremonies of the winter at Zuñi Pueblo is
undoubtedly the _Sha-la-ko_, at which certain of the houses to the
number of seven, which have been built during the past year, are
dedicated. The song and prayer of the _Sha-la-ko_ was sung for me into
the phonograph by one of the Zuñians, who had, as I was told, taken
part in the celebration a few years ago.

Among other interesting records may be mentioned the prayer of the
hunter to his fetish when on the hunt; and that of the Priest of the
Bow, formerly sung when he went to war with the Navajos. I also
obtained a song of the _She-vo-la_ dance, which bears evidence of
great antiquity.

I failed to get what I especially desired, viz., a record of the Zuñi
ritual or history of the tribe. Although repeatedly promised that it
should be given, and while at one time I thought that I had obtained
part of it, I must acknowledge an utter failure to accomplish what was
hoped in this line. The Zuñi epic, so called, is still unrecorded on
the phonograph, although at one time I was so confident that I had
obtained it, that I stated such to be the fact, and my statement has
appeared in print.

There is among the Zuñians an interesting ceremonial for rain, which
is observed on the night before the departure of the pilgrims who
visit the Sacred Lake for water, as a preparation for the first of the
solstitial rain dances. I have been able to obtain the chant and words
of this ceremonial, called the _Dw-me-chim-che_, from one who has
taken part in it. The observance is so primitive, and bears so many
evidences of antiquity, that a record of the chant has an importance,
in the study of the customs of this interesting people, second to none
with which I am familiar.

Experience has taught me that records of songs are the best which can
be obtained. These are, as a rule, better adapted to the phonograph.
Rituals and prayers are repeated in such a low tone that they are, as
a general thing, imperfectly reproduced on the wax cylinders of the
phonograph. A natural timidity of the Indians with respect to
repeating the sacred formulæ, and the absolute fear which some of them
have when the records are repeated to them by the phonograph,
prevented my obtaining many of these valuable records. Still I have
made a beginning, and have obtained enough to demonstrate the value, I
think, of the instrument, in the preservation and study of aboriginal

I have prepared an elaborate account of the ceremonies witnessed by
me, in many of which the songs, formulæ, and prayers of the
participants were repeated on the phonograph, and the records
themselves will be published as soon as they are carefully worked out.

_J. Walter Fewkes._


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