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Title: In Indian Tents - Stories Told By Penobscot, Passamaquoddy and Micmac Indians - to Abby L. Alger
Author: Alger, Abby Langdon
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "In Indian Tents - Stories Told By Penobscot, Passamaquoddy and Micmac Indians - to Abby L. Alger" ***

                            IN INDIAN TENTS

                            IN INDIAN TENTS


                          AND MICMAC INDIANS


                             ABBY L. ALGER

                       [Illustration: colophon]

                           ROBERTS BROTHERS

                          _Copyright, 1897_,

                         BY ROBERTS BROTHERS.

                           University Press:


                               This Book


                       AFFECTIONATELY INSCRIBED


                        CHARLES GODFREY LELAND,

                     TO WHOSE INSPIRATION IT OWES
                              ITS ORIGIN.


In the summer of 1882 and 1883, I was associated with Charles G. Leland
in the collection of the material for his book “The Algonquin Legends of
New England,” published by Houghton and Mifflin in 1884.

I found the work so delightful, that I have gone on with it since,
whenever I found myself in the neighborhood of Indians. The supply of
legends and tales seems to be endless, one supplementing and completing
another, so that there may be a dozen versions of one tale, each
containing something new. I have tried, in this little book, in every
case, to bring these various versions into a single whole; though I
scarcely hope to give my readers the pleasure which I found in hearing
them from the Indian story-tellers. Only the very old men and women
remember these stories now; and though they know that their legends
will soon be buried with them, and forgotten, it is no easy task to
induce them to repeat them. One may make half-a-dozen visits, tell his
own best stories, and exert all his arts of persuasion in vain, then
stroll hopelessly by some day, to be called in to hear some marvellous
bit of folk-lore. These old people have firm faith in the witches,
fairies, and giants of whom they tell; and any trace of amusement or
incredulity would meet with quick indignation and reserve.

Two of these stories have been printed in Appleton’s “Popular Science
Monthly,” and are in the English Magazine “Folk-Lore.”

I am under the deepest obligation to my friend, Mrs. Wallace Brown, of
Calais, Maine, who has generously contributed a number of stories from
her own collection.

The woman whose likeness appears on the cover of this book was a famous
story-teller, one of the few nearly pure-blooded Indians in the
Passamaquoddy tribe. She was over eighty-seven when this picture was



THE CREATION                                                          11

GRANDFATHER THUNDER                                                   15

THE FIGHT OF THE WITCHES                                              19

ŪLISKE                                                                30

STORY OF WĀLŪT                                                        34

OLD SNOWBALL                                                          44

ĀL-WŪS-KI-NI-GESS, THE SPIRIT OF THE WOODS                            51

M’TĒŪLIN, THE GREAT WITCH                                             53

SUMMER                                                                57

THE BUILDING OF THE BOATS                                             61

THE MERMAN                                                            66

STORY OF STURGEON                                                     72

GRANDFATHER KIAWĀKQ’                                                  77

OLD GOVERNOR JOHN                                                     81

K’CHĪ GESS’N, THE NORTHWEST WIND                                      84

BIG BELLY                                                             95

CHĪBALOCH, THE SPIRIT OF THE AIR                                      99

STORY OF TEAM, THE MOOSE                                             101

THE SNAKE AND THE PORCUPINE                                          106

WHY THE RABBIT’S NOSE IS SPLIT                                       108

STORY OF THE SQUIRREL                                                111

WAWBĀBAN, THE NORTHERN LIGHTS                                        130

RAVEN’S FEATHERS ARE BLACK                                           134



In the beginning God made Adam out of the earth, but he did not make
Glūs-kābé (the Indian God). Glūs-kābé made himself out of the dirt that
was kicked up in the creation of Adam. He rose and walked about, but he
could not speak until the Lord opened his lips.

God made the earth and the sea, and then he took counsel with Glūs-kābé
concerning them. He asked him if it would be better to have the rivers
run up on one side of the earth and down on the other, but Glūs-kābé
said, “No, they must all run down one way.”

Then the Lord asked him about the ocean, whether it would do to have it
always lie still. Glūs-kābé told him, “No!” It must rise and fall, or
else it would grow thick and stagnant.

“How about fire?” asked the Lord; “can it burn all the time and nobody
put it out?”

Glūs-kābé said: “That would not do, for if anybody got burned and fire
could not be put out, they would die; but if it could be put out, then
the burn would get well.”

So he answered all the Lord’s questions.

After this, Glūs-kābé was out on the ocean one day, and the wind blew so
hard he could not manage his canoe. He had to go back to land, and he
asked his old grandmother (among Indians this title is often only a mark
of respect, and does not always indicate any blood relationship), “Māli
Moninkwess” (the Woodchuck), what he could do. She told him to follow a
certain road up a mountain. There he found an old man sitting on a rock
flapping his wings (arms) violently. This was “Wūchowsen,” the great
Wind-blower. He begged Glūs-kābé to take him up higher, where he would
have space to flap his wings still harder. So Glūs-kābé lifted him up
and carried him a long way. When they were over a great lake, he let
Wūchowsen drop into the water. In falling he broke his wings, and lay
there helpless.

Glūs-kābé went back to sea and found the ocean as smooth as glass. He
enjoyed himself greatly for many days, paddling about; but finally the
water grew stagnant and thick, and a great smell arose. The fish died,
and Glūs-kābé could bear it no longer.

Again he consulted his grandmother, and she told him that he must set
Wūchowsen free. So he once more bore Wūchowsen back to his mountain,
first making him promise not to flap his wings so constantly, but only
now and then, so that the Indians might go out in their canoes. Upon his
consent to do this, Glūs-kābé mended his broken wings; but they were
never quite so strong as at first, and thus we do not now have such
terrible winds as in the olden days.

       *       *       *       *       *

This story was told to me by an old man whom I had always thought dull
and almost in his dotage; but one day, after I had told him some Indian
legends, his whole face changed, he threw back his head, closed his
eyes, and without the slightest warning or preliminary began to relate,
almost to chant, this myth in a most extraordinary way, which so
startled me that I could not at the time take any notes of it, and was
obliged to have it repeated later. The account of Wūchowsen was added to
show the wisdom of Glūs-kābé’s advice in the earlier part of the tale,
and is found among many tribes.


During the summer of 1892, at York Harbor, Maine, I was in daily
communication with a party of Penobscot Indians from Oldtown, among whom
were an old man and woman, from whom I got many curious legends. The day
after a terrible thunderstorm I asked the old woman how they had
weathered it in their tents. She looked searchingly at me and said, “It
was good.” After a moment she added, “You know the thunder is our
grandfather?” I answered that I did not know it, and was startled when
she continued: “Yes, when we hear the first roll of the thunder,
especially the first thunder in the spring, we always go out into the
open air, build a fire, put a little tobacco on it, and give grandfather
a smoke. Ever since I can remember, my father and my grandfather did
this, and I shall always do it as long as I live. I’ll tell you the
story of it and why we do so.

“Long time ago there were two Indian families living in a very lonely
place. This was before there were any white people in the land. They
lived far apart. Each family had a daughter, and these girls were great
friends. One sultry afternoon in the late spring, one of them told her
mother she wanted to go to see her friend. The mother said: ‘No, it is
not right for you to go alone, such a handsome girl as you; you must
wait till your father or your brother are here to go with you.’ But the
girl insisted, and at last her mother yielded and let her go. She had
not gone far when she met a tall, handsome young man, who spoke to her.
He joined her, and his words were so sweet that she noticed nothing and
knew not which way she went until at last she looked up and found
herself in a strange place where she had never been before. In front of
her was a great hole in the face of a rock. The young man told her that
this was his home, and invited her to enter. She refused, but he urged
until she said that if he would go first, she would follow after. He
entered, but when she looked after him she saw that he was changed to a
fearful, ‘Wī-will-mecq’--a loathly worm. She shrieked, and turned to
run away; but at that instant a loud clap of thunder was heard, and she
knew no more until she opened her eyes in a vast room, where sat an old
man watching her. When he saw that she had awaked, he said, ‘I am your
grandfather Thunder, and I have saved you.’ Leading her to the door, he
showed her the Wī-will-mecq, dead as a log, and chopped into small bits
like kindling wood. The old man had three sons, one named ‘M’dessun.’ He
is the baby, and is very fierce and cruel. It is he who slays men and
beasts and destroys property. The other two are kind and gentle; they
cool the hot air, revive the parched fields and the crops, and destroy
only that which is harmful to the earth. When you hear low, distant
mutterings, that is the old man. He told the girl that as often as
spring returned she must think of him, and show that she was grateful by
giving him a little smoke. He then took leave of her and sent her home,
where her family had mourned her as one dead. Since then no Indian has
ever feared thunder.” I said, “But how about the lightning?” “Oh,” said
the old woman, “lightning is grandfather’s wife.”

Later in the summer, at Jackson, in the White Mountains, I met Louis
Mitchell, for many years the Indian member of the Maine Legislature, a
Passamaquoddy, and asked him about this story. He said it was perfectly
true, although the custom was now falling into disuse; only the old
people kept it up. The tobacco is cast upon the fire in a ring, and
draws the electricity, which plays above it in a beautiful blue circle
of flickering flames. He added that it is a well-known fact that no
Indian and no Indian property were ever injured by lightning.


Many, many long years ago, there lived in a vast cave in the interior of
a great mountain, an old man who was a “Kiāwākq’ m’teoulin,” or Giant

Near the mountain was a big Indian village, whose chief was named
“Hassagwākq’,” or the Striped Squirrel. Every few days some of his best
warriors disappeared mysteriously from the tribe, until Hassagwākq at
last became convinced that they were killed by the Giant Witch. He
therefore called a council of all the most mighty magicians among his
followers, who gathered together in a new strong wigwam made for the
occasion. There were ten of them in all, and their names were as
follows: “Quābīt,” the Beaver; “Moskwe,” the Wood Worm; “Quāgsis,” the
Fox; “K’tchī Atōsis,” the Big Snake; “Āgwem,” the Loon; “Kosq,” the
Heron; “Mūin,” the Bear; “Lox,” the Indian Devil; “K’tchīplāgan,” the
Eagle; and “Wābe-kèloch,” the Wild Goose.

The great chief Hassagwākq’ addressed the sorcerers, and told them that
he hoped they might be able to conquer the Giant Witch, and that they
must do so at once if possible, or else their tribe would be
exterminated. The sorcerers resolved to begin the battle the very next
night, and promised to put forth their utmost power to destroy the

But the Giant Witch could foretell all his troubles by his dreams, and
that selfsame night he dreamed of all the plans which the followers of
Striped Squirrel had formed for his ruin.

Now all Indian witches have one or more “poohegans,” or guardian
spirits, and the Giant Witch at once despatched one of his poohegans,
little “Alūmūset,” the Humming-bird, to the chief Hassagwākq’ to say
that it was not fair to send ten men to fight one; but if he would send
one magician at a time, he would be pleased to meet them.

The chief replied that the witches should meet him in battle one by one;
and the next night they gathered together at an appointed place as soon
as the sun slept, and agreed that Beaver should be the first to fight.

The Beaver had “Sogalūn,” or Rain, for his guardian spirit, and he
caused a great flood to fall and fill up the cave of the Giant Witch,
hoping thus to drown him. But Giant Witch had the power to change
himself into a “Seguap Squ Hm,” or Lamprey Eel, and in this shape he
clung to the side of his cave and so escaped. Beaver, thinking that the
foe was drowned, swam into the cave, and was caught in a
“K’pagūtīhīgan,” or beaver trap, which Giant Witch had purposely set for
him. Thus perished Beaver, the first magician.

Next to try his strength was Moskwe, the Wood Worm, whose poohegan is
“Fire.” Wood Worm told Fire that he would bore a hole into the cave that
night, and bade him enter next day and burn up the foe. He set to work,
and with his sharp head, by wriggling and winding himself like a screw,
he soon made a deep hole in the mountain side. But Giant Witch knew very
well what was going on, and he sent Humming-bird with a piece of
“chū-gāga-sīq’,” or punk, to plug up the hole, which he did so well that
Wood Worm could not make his way back to the open air, and when Fire
came to execute his orders, the punk blazed up and destroyed Moskwe, the
Wood Worm. Thus perished the second sorcerer.

Next to fight was K’tchi Atōsis, the Big Snake, who had “Amwess,” the
Bee, for a protector. The Bee summoned all his winged followers, and
they flew into the cave in a body, swarming all over Giant Witch and
stinging him till he roared with pain; but he sent Humming-bird to
gather a quantity of birch bark, which he set on fire, making a dense
smoke which stifled all the bees.

After waiting some time, Big Snake entered the cave to see if the bees
had slain the enemy; but he was speedily caught in a dead fall which the
Witch had prepared for him, and thus perished the third warrior.

The great chief, Hassagwākq’, was sore distressed at losing three of his
mightiest men without accomplishing anything, but still, seven yet

Next came Quāgsis, the Fox, whose poohegan was “K’sī-nochka,” or
“Disease,” and he commanded to afflict the foe with all manner of evils.
The Witch was soon covered with boils and sores, and every part of his
body was filled with aches and pains. But he despatched his guardian
spirit, the Humming-bird, to “Quiliphirt,” the God of medicine, who gave
him the plant “Kī Kay īn-bīsun,”[1] and as soon as it was administered,
every ill departed.

The next to enter the lists was Āgwem, the Loon, whose poohegan was
“K’taiūk,” or Cold. Soon the mountain was covered with snow and ice, the
cave was filled with cold blasts of wind, frosts split the trees and
cracked asunder the huge rocks. The Giant Witch suffered horribly, but
did not yield. He produced his magic stone and heated it red-hot, still,
so intense was the cold that it had no power to help him.

Alŭmūset’s wings were frozen, and he could not fly on any more errands;
but another of the master’s attendant spirits, “Litŭswāgan,” or Thought,
went like a flash to “Sūwessen,” the South Wind, and begged his aid.

The warm South Wind began to blow about the mountain, and Cold was
driven from the scene.

Next to try his fate was Kosq, the Heron, whose guardian spirit was
“Chenoo,” the giant with the heart of ice, who quickly went to work with
his big stone hatchet, chopped down trees, tore up rocks, and began to
hew a vast hole in the side of the mountain; but the Giant Witch now for
the first time let loose his terrible dog “M’dāssmūss,” who barked so
loudly and attacked Chenoo so savagely that he was driven thence in

The next warrior was Mūin, the Bear, whose poohegans were “Petāgŭn,” or
Thunder, and “Pessāquessŭk,” or Lightning. Soon a tremendous
thunderstorm arose which shook the whole mountain, and a thunder-bolt
split the mouth of the cave in twain; the lightning flashed into the
cavern and nearly blinded the Giant Witch, who now for the first time
knew what it was to fear. He yelled aloud with pain, for he was
fearfully burned by the lightning. Thunder and Lightning redoubled their
fury, and filled the place with fire, much alarming the foe, who
hurriedly bade Humming-bird summon “Haplebembo,” the big bull-frog, to
his aid. Bull-frog appeared, and spat out his huge mouth full of water,
which nearly filled the cave, quenching the fire, and driving away
Thunder and Lightning.

Next to fight was Lox, the Indian Devil. Now Lox was always a coward,
and having heard of the misfortunes of his friends, he cut off one of
his big toes, and when Striped Squirrel called him to begin the battle,
he excused himself, saying that he was lame and could not move.

Next in order came K’tchīplāgan, the Eagle, whose poohegan was
“Aplāsŭmbressit,” the Whirlwind. When he entered the enemy’s abode in
all his fury and frenzy of noise, the Giant Witch awoke from sleep, and
instantly “K’plāmūsūke” lost his breath and was unable to speak; he
signed to Humming-bird to go for “Culloo,” the lord of all great birds;
but the Whirlwind was so strong that the Humming-bird could not get out
of the cave, being beaten back again and again. Therefore the Giant
Witch bade Thought summon Culloo. In an instant the great bird was at
his side, and made such a strong wind with his wings at the mouth of the
cave that the power of the Whirlwind was destroyed.

Hassagwākq’ now began to despair, for but one witch remained to him, and
that was Wābe-kèloch, the Wild Goose, who was very quiet, though a
clever fellow, never quarrelling with any one, and not regarded as a
powerful warrior. But the great chief had a dream in which he saw a
monstrous giant standing at the mouth of the enemy’s cave. He was so
tall that he reached from the earth to the sky, and he said that all
that was needful in order to destroy the foe was to let some young woman
entice him out of his lair, when he would at once lose his magic power
and might readily be slain.

The chief repeated this dream to Wābe-kèloch, ordering him to obey these
wise words. Wild Goose’s poohegan was “Mikŭmwess,” the Indian Puck, a
fairy elf, who speedily took the shape of a beautiful girl and went to
the mouth of the cave, where he climbed into a tall hemlock-tree,
singing this song as he mounted:

    “Come hither, young man,
     Come list to my song,
     Come forth this lovely night,
     Come forth, for the moon shines bright,
     Come, see the leaves so red,
     Come, breathe the air so pure.”

Giant Witch heard the voice, and coming to the mouth of the cave, he was
so charmed by the music that he stepped out and saw a most lovely girl
sitting among the branches of a tree. She called to him: “_W’litt
hoddm’n, natchī pen eqūlin w’liketnqu’ hēmus_,”--“Please, kind old man,
help me down from this tree.” As soon as he approached her, Glūs-kābé,
the great king of men, sprang from behind the tree, threw his
“timhēgan,” his stone hatchet, at him and split his head open. Then
addressing him, Glūs-kābé said: “You have been a wicked witch, and have
destroyed many of Chief Hassagwākq’s best warriors. Now speak yet once
again and tell where you have laid the bones of your victims.” Giant
Witch replied that in the hollow of the mountain rested a vast heap of
human bones, all that remained of what were once the mightiest men of
Striped Squirrel’s tribe.

He then being dead, Glūs-kābé commanded all the birds of the air and the
beasts of the forest to assemble and devour the body of Giant Witch.

This being done, Glūs-kābé ordered the beasts to go into the cave and
bring forth the bones of the dead warriors, which they did. He next bade
the birds take each a bone in his beak and pile them together at the
village of Hassagwākq’.

He then directed that chief to build a high wall of great stones around
the heap of bones, to cover them with wood, and make ready “eqūnāk’n,”
or a hot bath.

Then Glūs-kābé set the wood on fire and began to sing his magic song;
soon he bade the people heap more wood upon the fire, and pour water on
the steaming stones. He sang louder and louder, faster and faster, until
his voice shook the whole village; and he ordered the people to stop
their ears lest the strength of his voice should kill them. Then he
redoubled his singing, and the bones began to move with the heat, and to
sizzle and smoke and give forth a strange sound. Then Glūs-kābé sang his
resurrection song in a low tone; at last the bones began to chant with
him; he threw on more water, and the bones came together in their
natural order and became living human beings once more.

The people were amazed with astonishment at Glūs-kābé’s might; and the
great Chief Hassagwākq’ gathered together all the neighboring tribes and
celebrated the marvellous event with the resurrection feast, which
lasted many days, and the tribe of Striped Squirrel was never troubled
by evil witches forever afterward.


I was sitting on the beach one afternoon with old Louisa Flansouay
(François) and the other Indians, when she suddenly rose with an air of
great determination, saying to me, “Come into camp and I tell you a
story!” (No story can ever be told in the open air; if the narrator be
not under cover, evil spirits may easily take possession of her.)

I gladly followed old Louisa, who is a noted story-teller, and heard the
following brief but thrilling tale.

Many, many years ago a great chief had an only daughter who was so
handsome that she was always known by the name of “Ūliske,” which is to
say “Beauty.” All the young men of the tribe sought her hand in
marriage, but she would have nothing to say to them. Her father vainly
implored her to make a choice; but she only answered him, “No husband
whom I could take, would ever be any good to me.”

Every year at a certain season, she wandered off by herself and was gone
for many days; where she went no one could discover, nor could she be
restrained when the appointed time came round.

At last, however, she yielded to persuasion and took a husband. For a
time all went well. When the season for her absence was at hand, she
told her husband that she must go. He said he would go with her, and as
she made no objection, they set out on the following morning and
travelled until they came to a lovely, lonely lake. A point of land ran
out into the water, well wooded and provided with a pleasant wigwam.
Here Ūliske beached the canoe; they went ashore and remained for two
days and nights, when the husband disappeared. Ūliske in due time
returned to her tribe and reported his loss. Her father and his
followers sought long and anxiously, but no trace of him was ever found.
Later on, Ūliske took a second husband, a third and a fourth, always
quietly yielding to persuasion, and always saying as at first, that no
husband whom she took could ever be any good to her. One after the
other visited with her the peninsula in the lake and disappeared in the
same sudden and mysterious way.

The fifth husband was known as “Ū-el-ŭm-bek,” “the handsome, the brave,”
and he made up his mind to solve the strange riddle of his predecessors.
When he and Ūliske reached the peninsula, he said that, while she got
supper, he would keep on in the canoe and see what fish or game he could
find. He went but a little way, then drew the canoe up among the bushes
and searched in every direction till he found a well beaten foot-path.
“Now I shall know all,” he said, and hid himself behind a tree. Soon
Ūliske came from the wigwam and went down to the water. Undressing
herself, and letting down her long black hair, she began to beat upon
the water with a stick and to sing an ancient Indian song. As she sang,
the water began to heave and boil, and coil after coil slowly uprose
above the surface a huge Wi-will-mekq’, a loathly worm, its great horns
as red as fire. It swam ashore and clasped Ūliske in its scaly folds,
wrapping her from head to foot, while she caressed it with a look of
delight. Then Ū-el-ŭm-bek knew all. The Wi-willmekq’ had cast a spell
upon Ūliske so that to her it appeared in the likeness of a beautiful
young hero. The worm had destroyed her four husbands, and, had he not
been prudent, would have drowned him as well. Waiting until Ūliske was
alone, he returned to the wigwam before she had had time to wash off the
slimy traces of Wi-will-mekq’s embraces, and charged her with her
infatuation. Giving her no time to answer, he hurriedly chewed a magic
root with which he had provided himself, flung it into the lake, thus
preventing any attack as he crossed the water, got into the canoe and
paddled away, leaving Ūliske to her fate, well knowing that as she had
failed to supply her loathly lover with a fresh victim, she must herself
become the prey of his keen appetite.

Rejoining his tribe, he frankly told his story. Even the chief declared
that he had done well, and of Ūliske nothing more was ever heard.


In old times there were many witches among the Indians. Indeed, almost
every one was more or less of a magician or sorcerer, and it was only a
question as to whose power was the strongest.

In the days of which I speak, one family had been almost exterminated by
the spells of a famous m’téūlin, and only one old woman named
“M’déw’t’len,” the Loon, and her infant grandson were left alive; and
she, fearing lest they should meet with the same fate, strapped the baby
on her back upon a board bound to her forehead, as was the ancient way,
and set forth into the wilderness. At night she halted, built a wigwam
of boughs and bark, and lay down, lost in sad thoughts of the future;
for there was no brave now to hunt and fish for her, and she must needs
starve and the baby too. As she mourned her desolate state, a voice said
in her ear: “You have a man, a brave man, Wālūt,[3] the mighty warrior;
and all shall be well if you will take the beaver skin from your old
’t’bān-kāgan,’[4] spread it on the floor, and place the baby on it.”
This she did, and then fell peacefully asleep. When she waked, she saw,
standing in the middle of the skin, a tall man. At first, she was
terrified; but the stranger said, “Fear not, ‘Nochgemiss,’[5] it is only
I!” and truly, as she gazed, she recognized the features of the baby
whom she had laid upon the beaver fur, so few hours before. Even before
day dawned, he had brought in a huge bear, skinned and dressed it. All
day he came and went, bringing fish and game, great and small, and the
old woman was glad.

Next morning, the skin which hung at the door of the wigwam was raised,
and a girl looked in and smiled at Wālūt. His grandmother said, “Follow
her not, for she is a witch, and would destroy you.” The next day and
the next and so on, for five days, the same thing was repeated; but on
the sixth day, the girl not only lifted the curtain, but she entered
in, went straight to Wālūt’s sleeping place and began to arrange his
bed. This done, she drew from her bosom “nokoksis,” tiny brass kettles,
and proceeded to cook a meal,--soup, corn and meat,--all in perfect
silence. Grandmother watched her, but said nothing. When the meal was
cooked, the girl set a birch-bark dish before grandmother and Wālūt, and
began to ladle out the soup. Although the kettle was so small that it
seemed no bigger than a child’s toy, both the dishes were filled and
plenty then remained. No word was said; but when night came, the girl
lay down beside Wālūt and thus, by ancient Indian law, became his wife.
Their happy life, however, was of short duration, for the girl’s mother,
“Tomāquè,” the Beaver, was a mighty magician, and was angry because her
daughter had married without her consent. She therefore stole her away
and deprived her of all memory of her husband and the past. Wālūt was
determined to recover his bride, and his grandmother, wishing to help
him, took from the old bark kettle a miniature bow and arrows. These she
stretched and stretched until they became of heroic size. She strung the
bow with a strand of her own hair, and gave it to her grandson, telling
him that no arrow shot from that bow could ever miss its mark. She also
dressed him from head to foot in the garb of an ancient warrior,
formerly the property of his grandfather, as was the bow. She told him
that he had a long, hard road to go, and many trials to overcome; but he
was not afraid. All day he travelled, and, at night fall, came to a
wigwam in which lived an old man. Wālūt asked him where Tomāquè might be
found. The old man answered: “I cannot tell you, my child. You must ask
my brother who lives farther on. He is much older than I, and he may
know. To-night you can rest here, if you can put up with the hardships
of my wigwam.” Wālūt accepted this offer, and the old man began to heap
great stones on the fire. It grew hotter and hotter, and Wālūt thought
his last hour had come; but he said to himself, “I can suffer,” and he
piled more stones on the fire, and built a wall of them about the
wigwam, so that it grew hotter than ever, and the old man said, “Let me
out, let me out, I am too hot!” But Wālūt said, “I am cold, I am cold!”
and so he conquered the first magician.

Next night he came to the home of the second brother, who made the same
answer to his inquiries as the first, and also offered him a night’s
shelter if he could bear the hardships of the wigwam. No sooner had
Wālūt accepted his offer, than he sat down and bade his guest pick the
insects from his head and destroy them, after the old custom, by
cracking them between his teeth. Now these insects were venomous toads
which would blister Wālūt’s lips and poison his blood. Luckily he had a
handful of cranberries in his pocket, and for every toad, he bit a
cranberry.[6] The old man was completely deceived, and when he thought
that his guest had imbibed enough poison to destroy him, he bade him
desist from his task. Thus Wālūt passed successfully through the second
trial. On the third day he journeyed until he came to the abode of the
third brother, oldest of all, seemingly just tottering on the brink of
the grave. Wālūt again asked for Tomāquè, and the old man answered:
“To-morrow, I will tell you. Rest here to-night, if you can bear the
hardships of my home.” As they sat by the fire the old man began to rub
his knee, and instantly flames of fire darted from every side; but Wālūt
was on his guard, and uttered a spell which drew the old man slowly, but
surely, into the fire which he had created, and he perished. “Rub your
knee, old man,” cried Wālūt, “rub your knee until you are tired!”

Next morning as he drew the curtain, boom, boom, a noise like thunder
fell upon his ear. It was the drumming of a giant partridge. Wālūt
fitted an arrow to his bow and shot the bird to the heart, well knowing
that it was his wife’s sister “Kākāgūs,” the Crow, who had come to
capture him. Towards evening he reached a great mountain towering above
a quiet lake. As he looked, he saw upon the summit, his wife,
embroidering a garment with porcupine quills, for this was where she
lived with her mother. Catching sight of him, she plunged at once into
the centre of the mountain, having no memory of her husband. He,
however, hid himself, feeling sure that she would come forth again, and
being determined to seize her before she could again disappear. Soon
indeed he saw her and tried to grasp her, but only caught at her long
hair. Instantly, she drew her knife, cut off her hair, and vanished
into the mountain, where her mother loudly reprimanded her, saying, “I
told you never to go outside; you see now that I was right. Nothing
remains but for you to go in search of your hair.” Next day, therefore,
the girl set forth, and on reaching the wigwam of the second old man,
her grandfather, for all of the old men were of her kin, the veil was
lifted and she knew that it was her husband who had sought her and
stolen her hair. She at once rejoined him; he restored her long locks,
and, by his magic power, they again grew upon her head and for a year
all went well. At the end of that time she became the mother of a boy,
whom she called “Kīūny” the Otter. Soon all the game and fish
disappeared. Wālūt went out every day, searching the woods and waters
for many miles around; but, night after night, he came home
empty-handed, and starvation seemed very near at hand. Then Nochgemiss,
the Grandmother, warned them that Tomāquè was bent on revenge, and bade
Wālūt go forth and slay her. She armed him with a bone spear from the
old pack kettle, and he travelled to the mountain. It was mid-winter and
the lake was covered with clear ice. Deep down beneath the ice a giant
beaver swam to and fro, no other than Tomāquè herself. Vainly Wālūt
plunged his spear into the depths. Again and again she evaded him,
until, in a fury, he cried, “Your life or mine!” and at last succeeded
in striking her; but so powerful was she that she raised him into the
air, using the spear in his hand as a lever, the other end being deep in
her side. The result seemed doubtful; but grandmother, who knew all that
was passing, flew to her boy’s aid and, in the shape of a huge snake,
Atōsis, wound herself about Tomāquè, fold upon fold, and at last
conquered the foe and crushed her to death, Wālūt dealing the final

Grandmother hastened home, leaving Wālūt unconscious of the help that
she had given him, and found Kīūny gasping with fever. His mother, well
aware of all that had passed, through the power of second sight, also
knew that the baby’s illness was caused by Tomāquè’s dying curse.
Meantime Wālūt returned, and his grandmother told him that all she could
do, would be to save him; that wife and child must perish, as indeed
they soon did.

Not long after, in the early morning, a girl lifted the skin which hung
at the opening of the wigwam and looked in. As Wālūt glanced up at her,
she fled. He pursued her, but almost instantly lost sight of her. Next
day, came another girl, to whom he also gave chase, also in vain. On the
third morning, he was more successful, because this time the girl was
more willing to be followed. He tracked her to her home, but did not
enter, wishing first to consult his grandmother. She told him that these
were the three daughters of “Mōdāwes,” or Famine. The youngest girl, she
said, would be a good wife to him; and she directed him, when she came
next day, to touch her lightly on the arm.

The girl came; he pursued her and, fleet-footed though she was, he
managed to touch her before she escaped into her mother’s wigwam. Ere
long, to her mother’s rage and fury, but much to the delight of her
sisters, a little boy was born to her, who, in reality, was Wālūt
endowed with this form by his grandmother’s aid,--no baby, but a strong
brave man.

Now, Mōdāwes was a cannibal, and the ridge-pole of her wigwam was strung
with cups made from the skulls of her victims. Wālūt, seeing these, was
at once aware that they were all that was left of those who had fallen
prey to the witch’s horrible appetite. He resolved to slay her; but as
her daughters had been very kind to him, he wished to spare them, and
said to himself: “I wish that a snow-white deer would pass by!”
Instantly, the white deer moved slowly before the door. The three girls
sprang after it. Wālūt rose to his full stature; clad in his
grandfather’s ancient dress, he snatched his timhēgan from his belt and,
with a single blow, laid Mōdāwes dead at his feet. He then set fire to
the wigwam and returned to Grandmother Loon. When the three daughters of
Mōdāwes gave up their hopeless chase of the enchanted deer and came
home, no home was there, only a black heap of ashes. They mourned for
their dear baby, whom they naturally supposed had perished in the
flames; but they never again found the path which led to Wālūt’s lodge.


Many years ago an Indian family, consisting of an old father and mother,
their two sons, and their baby grandson were camping in the woods for
the winter hunt. In the same neighborhood lived a horrible old witch and
her three daughters. This witch ate nothing but men’s brains and skulls.
She would pick the bones clean, and dry them, and had a long row of such
trophies all round the upper part of her wigwam, looking like so many
snowballs. From this she took her name, and was known as old Snowball.
The girls were very beautiful, and set out by turns every evening to
ensnare some young man for their mother’s meal. So it happened that soon
after the Indian family had settled in camp, one twilight, as they sat
round the fire, a beautiful girl passed by, so charming the eldest son,
that he set out in pursuit of her and never returned, having fallen a
prey to Snowball. A night or two later, another equally lovely girl
appeared, and the second son, who was a widower, and the father of the
baby boy, started to chase her, with the same result. The same fate
befell even the old man, and the poor old woman was left alone with the
baby. She was terribly afraid that the witch would get him too, and kept
him hidden in a great birch-bark basket, t’bān-kāgan. As he grew older
and began to talk and run about, he was always wishing that he were a
grown man, that he might help his grandmother, hunt for her and fetch in
wood for her. At last, the old woman, who was something of a magician,
told him that if he really was so anxious to be big, he might lie down
that night on the other side of the fire, and she would see what could
be done. Next morning, behold, he was a full grown man. His grandmother
brought out her husband’s pack kettle, and gave him all the tools and
weapons which he needed, stringing his bow with her own hair.
Thenceforth, he brought in plenty of game, and they would have been very
happy if the old woman had not constantly dreaded the appearance of the
witch’s daughter. At last she came, looking more fascinating than ever;
but the young man went on with his work, and never raised his eyes.
Next night, the second daughter passed by; he looked up at her, but that
was all. The third night, the third daughter, youngest and fairest of
all, appeared. He sprang up to follow her; but his grandmother begged
him to stay, or she would kill him as she had slain so many of his
family. He finally consented to wait till another night, and said that
he would not chase her, but merely follow and see where she went. His
grandmother wept bitterly, but did her best to ward off misfortune, by
seeing that he took the bow strung with her hair, and also a certain
small bone from the mink, possessed of great magical power. The young
man soon turned himself into a tiny bird, “chūkālisq’,” and hopped about
almost in reach of the girl’s hand. He seemed so tame that she thought
she might lay her hand on him, and indeed after several attempts she did
contrive to catch him and put him in her bosom. Then she ran home to
tell her mother of the lovely bird that she had found. “That is no
bird,” said her mother; “just let me look at him.” She put her hand in
her breast, but there was nothing there. From that moment she grew
bigger and bigger, and in due time gave birth to a fine boy. Her mother
wanted to kill the child; but she would not consent, and, for safe
keeping, carried the baby always in an Indian bark cradle strapped over
her shoulders. Meantime, the spell of her beauty held possession of the
young man, and he could not rest till he saw her once more. Turning
himself into a deer, he sought Snowball’s lodge, where he gambolled and
played about until the three girls ran out to see the pretty creature,
forgetting the baby who had been left behind. The deer led them into the
forest, and then sped back to the lodge, where he found the witch just
about to kill the child and devour its brains. Taking his spear, he at
once slew her and, hiding himself, killed the two older girls in turn as
they returned home. When the third daughter appeared, he stepped forward
and claimed her as his wife. “Now,” said he, “you must stand aside, for
I am going to burn up the lodge with the bodies of your mother and
sisters.” She was very unwilling, but at last yielded. The old witch was
loath to die, and rose repeatedly from the flames; but the magic spear
was too much for her. The young man, with his wife and baby, went home
to his grandmother, and for a year lived very happily. Then the young
woman became sad and silent and, when questioned, said that great
trouble was at hand, that her aunt, who was a powerful sorceress, was
coming to avenge the murder of her kindred, and she feared the
consequences. The grandmother made all preparations, this time stringing
the bow with the young woman’s hair. Next day the baby began to cry, and
nothing would quiet him, until the old woman thought of giving him her
husband’s bark pack kettle, where some of his ancient treasures were
still kept. Then the baby smiled, and began to turn over the things and
play with them. Suddenly he laughed aloud and cooed for joy and toddled
to his father with a little bone. “Fool that I am,” exclaimed the old
woman, “how could I forget that! This may save us yet.” (It was Luz, the
ancient resurrection bone of the Jews, and had once formed part of the
anatomy of one of the greatest magicians ever known.) The young man
bound it to the head of his spear and set forth, his grandmother having
told him that the time had come, and that he must that day kill the
great Beaver (his wife’s aunt), or the whole family must perish. He soon
came to a great lake where there was a beaver dam as high as a
mountain. He could see the big Beaver moving about under the ice; but
all his efforts to pierce the ice were in vain, it grew thicker and
thicker under his spear, and rose in great waves. He returned at
nightfall discouraged, but started out again next day, his grandmother
tearing apart her scarlet bead-wrought legging, and bidding him fling
that on the ice to see if it would not break the charm. All day he
strove, but even the legging was of no avail. Next day he took the
second legging, and at last succeeded in striking his spear through the
ice and into the enemy, Quābīt. Then began a mighty battle, Beaver
struggling to break the spear or to escape, and the young man fighting
to retain his hold. At home the baby began to scream and cry, and the
women knew their hero was in danger. The grandmother wept as if her boy
were already dead; but his wife said, “Fear not, for I will help him.”
She flung a handful of magic roots out at the door, and instantly a
sheet of water lay there, and she was at her husband’s side. She told
him not to loose the spear, but to watch well, that she would fight his
battle. “If you see me pass under the ice before my aunt, all is well;
but if she comes first, she has conquered, and we must all perish. I
shall be all white like snow, while she is jet black.” The young man
stood rooted to the spot, while the ice cracked and heaved with fearful
noises. At last the white beaver passed before him under the clear ice,
and he knew that victory was his. His wife then told him that there was
still another and a more terrible enemy to be conquered before he and
his could be safe. This triumph too she gained, though at a fearful
cost, for she was never again to see her husband, home, or child. The
young man went back to his grandmother with drooping head, and heard how
the baby had kept his grandmother informed of the progress of the fight
by his changing tears and smiles. And that is all about it.


Seeing a smoke come from the top of a mountain, the children asked the
elders what it was, or who could live there, and the fathers told them:
“That is the home of ‘Āl-wūs-ki-ni-gess,’ a tree-cutter, whose hatchet
is made of stone. He throws it from him; it cuts the tree and returns to
its master’s hand at each blow. One stroke of his hatchet will fell the
largest tree. No one ever saw him save Glūs-kābé, who often goes to the
cave to visit him. He is a harmless creature, and only fights when
ordered to do so by Glūs-kābé. He lives in that mountain, on deer,
moose, or any meat he can kill. Sometimes he goes out to sea with
Glūs-kābé, to catch ‘K’chī būtep,’ the Great Whale.

“‘Āl-wūs-ki-ni-gess and ‘Kiāwāhq’ once had a big fight, which lasted for
two days. Kiāwāhq’ put forth all his power to conquer, but failed. He
uprooted huge trees, expecting them to fall and crush his rival in
strength; but Āl-wūs-ki-ni-gess would hurl his hatchet and split the
tree asunder. Kiāwāhq’ strove to drag him into the sea, but the wood
spirit is as strong in the water as on land, to say nothing of the fact
that when he is in the water, ‘K’chīquī-nocktsh,’ the Turtle, comes to
his aid. Once Kiāwāhq’ got his foe between two great trees and felt sure
he could slay him as they fell. Āl-wūs-ki-ni-gess seized his axe and
struck the trees which fell. The wind caused by their fall was so mighty
that it left Kiāwāhq’ faint and exhausted. He was forced to beg for
quarter, and promised his enemy that if he would spare his life, he
would give him a stone wigwam and be his good friend forever. So the
wood spirit had mercy and accepted his offer. That is how he got that
cave where he still lives.”

This was the answer of the elders to their children’s question.


In a certain place, alone by herself, lived an old woman whom none dared
to approach, for she had bewitched many Indians.

In the spring of the year when the men came back from their long winter
hunting for furs, they would gather together and build what they called
eqū’nāk’n,[7] hot-baths, to drive off their diseases. They would enter
the hut, and heat it red-hot until it would almost roast them. They
would strip off their clothes, and dance and sing songs to drive off

Once before the performance ended, they were amazed to see a woman among
such a crowd of men; but they feared to speak to her. One young man
laughed when she threw off her clothes. This angered her, and she said:
“You laugh at me now; but I will send a flood to destroy you.” Then she
left the hut.

After a time, the youth who had laughed, said, “Hark!”

All stopped to listen, and they heard the rush of water, and knew the
witch had kept her word,--the flood was upon them. But the young man was
something of a sorcerer too, and had a rattlesnake for poohegan, or
messenger (all witches have at least one poohegan).

He instantly changed all his comrades into beaver and fish.

“Ha! ha!” laughed “Copcomus,” Little One, for such was the youth’s name.
“You cannot finish your work, old witch. I will be avenged on you yet. I
will pray Glūs-kābé to follow and kill you.”

They all swam out of the eqū’nāk’n, and when the water ceased to flow,
Copcomus went along the stream and saw a large number of beaver building
a house like eqū’nāk’n, so he changed them all back to Indians again.
They were very glad, and thanked him heartily.

“Now,” said Copcomus, “we must hold a council at once and decide what to
do with the old witch, for she will try to destroy us yet.”

Some said, “We will burn her wigwam;” one said: “No, she would know of
our coming and turn us into some evil thing!” Another said his idea was
to persuade the great bird, Wūchowsen, Wind, to move his wings harder
and faster, thus causing “Uptossem,” the Whirlwind, to destroy her; but
Copcomus said: “I will see to-night what is best.” (Witches always see
in their sleep how their enemies may be destroyed).

The old woman too saw in her sleep that Copcomus was plotting to kill
her; so she sent her messenger, the Humming-bird, to bid Wūchowsen not
to move his wings faster than usual.

Copcomus cried to his poohegan: “Go, creep into her wigwam and bite the
old witch;” and he tied cedar bark about the snake’s rattle, that it
might make no noise.

The snake went by night, glided in and bit the old woman’s big toe. The
pain waked her, and her toe swelled rapidly. She sent the Humming-bird
to seek Āl-wūs-ki-ni-gess, the Wood Spirit.

The bird flew to the cave in the mountain, and when Āl-wūs-ki-ni-gess
asked: “How now, little bird?” the bird replied: “The Great Witch bids
you come with your hatchet without delay.” So the Spirit lit his pipe
and set forth. When he reached his journey’s end, he found the witch
moaning with pain. “What is the matter, ‘Mookmee’ [Grandma]?” he asked.

Her only reply was: “Cut off my toe at once.”

He raised his axe, but K’chīquīnocktsh, the Turtle, Glūs-kābé’s uncle,
who had been sent by Glūs-kābé to help Copcomus, jogged his elbow and
the hatchet cut off her leg.

Next day Copcomus said to his men: “We must go and implore Glūs-kābé to
conquer the witch. No one else can do it.” So they besought the mighty
Master to help them. He laughed aloud, and said: “What! all these strong
men with warclubs, spears, and bows, to slay one poor old woman! Why, my
uncle could do the work single-handed.”

“She must die,” said Copcomus; “we will send your uncle, the Turtle, and
let him do the work single-handed.”

So the Turtle set forth once more; but as he is a slow traveller, it
took him two days to reach the witch’s home. “What is the matter,
Grandma?” he asked. “Alas!” she cried, “Āl-wūs-ki-ni-gess has killed

Turtle then drew his hunting-knife and finished her.


There lived near “Kīsus,” the Sun, a beautiful woman named “Niffon,”
Summer. She dressed in green leaves, and her wigwam was decked with
leaves and flowers of many different sorts. Her grandmother, Sogalŭn,
Rain, lived far away, but when she visited her granddaughter, she always
warned her never to go near “Let-ogus-nūk,” the North, where her worst
enemy, “Bovin,” Winter, lived, saying: “If you do go, you will lose all
your beauty, your dress will fade, your hair will turn gray, and your
strength will leave you.”

But Niffon paid no heed to her grandmother’s warning. One fine morning
as she sat in her wigwam gazing northward, and saw no signs of
Bovin,--the sun was shining and she could see for a long distance,--a
beautiful region lay stretched before her, broad rivers, and lakes, and
high mountains,--something within her bade her go forth to see that
strange country; so she started on her long journey. She knew that her
grandmother could not see her, and though she seemed to hear her say:
“Do not go near your enemy; he will surely slay you,” she did not heed
it, but journeyed on and on. The mountains and lakes seemed far away;
but she did not lose heart. Looking back, she could see nothing of her
own lovely home. The bright sun overhead was the only thing not new and
strange to her. She felt a vague sadness and distress; and when once
more a voice murmured: “Do not go, my daughter,” she resolved to turn
back, but it was too late. Some unseen power now forced her towards the
north. Still the mountains and lakes were as far away as ever; her dress
was beginning to fade; her long hair had turned gray; her strength was
failing fast; the sun, too, had lost his power; and, as she neared her
journey’s end, she saw that the mountains were but heaps of snow, the
beautiful lakes but fields of ice.

Meantime her grandmother, seeing no smoke rise from Niffon’s wigwam,
grew alarmed and concluded to visit her. When she got there, she found
the wigwam empty, the green boughs on the floor withered and dry, and
the leaves faded. “Oh, my poor grandchild is in the clutches of Bovin,”
she cried, and summoned her bravest warriors, “Sūwessen,” the South
Wind, “Hy-chī,” the East Wind, and “Snoteseg-du,” the West Wind, and
bade them hasten northward and fight like devils to save Niffon.

These invisible warriors started on their journey, and as they did so,
Bovin felt that something was wrong, and ordered his braves,
“Letū-gessen,” North Wind, and “K-lkegessen,” Northeast Wind, to hurry
southwards and meet the foe.

Sweat began to pour from Bovin’s every limb, his nose grew thin, and his
feet shrivelled away. Another day and the giants met; large flakes of
snow mixed with raindrops flew in every direction; sharp gusts of
contrary winds were heard. The drops of sweat on Bovin’s brow grew
larger and larger. By this time, the hair on Niffon’s head was snow
white and her dress tattered and faded.

The roar of the wind grew ever louder and sharper; the snow and rain
fell faster and thicker; at last Bovin fell from his place and broke one
of his legs, and Niffon knew her enemy was conquered.

Bovin bade one of his warriors tell Niffon to depart; he will harm her
no more.

Then she turned again towards her own country, her beauty all gone, an
old old woman.

Many hours pass; by degrees, as she travels her strength returns, she
moves faster, and, as the air grows warmer and softer, she feels happier
and begins to look young again; her hair returns to its natural color,
her dress is green once more. She sees the lakes and rivers shining; but
it will still be many days before she reaches her wigwam, and she must
meet her grandmother before she sees her dear home.

At last the air was warm, the clouds grew dark, the rain began to fall,
and the wind blew fiercely; amidst the darkest clouds she saw a large
wigwam; she entered and found her grandmother reclining on a bed of
skins, so changed that she hardly knew her.

The old woman looked up and said: “My child, you have nearly caused my
death. I have lost all my power through your disobedience. I can never
help you in your future wars. My great fight with Bovin has taken all my
strength; go and never depend upon me more.”


When the water was first made, all the birds and the fowl came together
to decide who should make their canoes for them, so that they might
venture out upon the water.

The Owl proposed that the Loon should do the work; but the Black Duck
said: “Loon cannot make canoes; his legs are set too far behind. Let the
Owl make them.”

Then the Loon said: “The Owl cannot make canoes; his eyes are too big.
He can’t work in the day-time for the sun would put out his eyes.”

Then the Duck laughed and made fun of the Owl. This made the Owl angry,
and he said to Black Duck: “You ought to be ashamed of your laugh; it
sounds like the laugh of ‘Kettāgŭs,’[9] quack, quack, quack.”

Then all the fowls laughed aloud at the Duck. The Owl said: “Let ‘Sīps’
[the Wood Duck] build our boats.”

“How can he build canoes,” cried all the rest, “with his small neck?”

“He is too weak,” said the Loon.

The birds were quite discouraged; but they liked the looks of the water
very much. At last “Kosq’,” the Crane, spoke: “My friends, we cannot
stay here much longer. I am very hungry already. Let us draw lots, and
whoever draws the lot with a canoe marked on it shall be the builder of

All were satisfied with this suggestion, and the Raven was appointed to
prepare the lots; but the Owl objected, saying: “He is a thief; I know
he is.”

“Well,” said the Night Hawk, “let us get Flying Squirrel to make them.”

“But Flying Squirrel is not here.”

“Well, let some one go for him.”

“Well, let us get Fox to go for him,” said the Loon.

“Oh! I can’t trust the Fox to go,” said the Owl; “for he would eat
Squirrel on the way. Just let me give you a word of advice. Let
Āfiguessis [Little Mouse] go for the Squirrel.”

“Yes,” said K’chīplāgan, Eagle, the great chief, “we must do as he
proposes. Come, Āfiguessis, you must go for the Flying Squirrel.”

When they saw the Squirrel coming, all cried: “Room! Make room for him!”

Then the Squirrel stood up before the chief and asked: “What can I do
for you, my friends?”

Eagle told him that they wanted him to make a picture of a canoe on
birch bark with his teeth; to make many more pieces all alike; then to
put them in his “miknakq,”[10] and let each bird take one. “Whoever gets
the piece with the canoe on it, shall make our canoes.”

The Squirrel went at once and stripped the bark from a birch-tree,
prepared the lots, and put them in his pouch.

“Who takes the first?” asked the Owl.

“Let ‘Mid-dessen’ [Black Duck] take the first,” said the chief.

Mid-dessen stepped forward, and came back with a piece of bark in his
bill. So each one went in his turn, and the lot fell to the Partridge.

Now the Partridge is always low-spirited and hardly ever speaks a word;
and this set all the other birds in an uproar, and they all sang songs,
each after his own fashion, and they decided to have a great feast.

“Get the horn,” said the chief. When it was brought, he gave it to Sīps,
the “mū-ta-quessit,” or dance-singer; then the big dance began, and it
lasted for many days.

When the feast was over, the chief said: “Now, Partridge, you must make
the canoes, sound and good, and all alike. Cheat no one, but do your
work well.”

The first one made had a very flat bottom; this he gave to the Loon, who
liked it much. The next, flat bottomed too, was for Black Duck; then one
for Wābèkèloch, the Wild Goose. This was not so flat.

Another was for Crane. It was very round. The Crane did not like his
boat, and said to Eagle: “This canoe does not suit me. I would rather
wade than sit in a canoe.”

The Partridge made canoes for all the birds, some large, some small, to
suit their various size and weight. At last his work was done. “Now,”
said he to himself, “I must make myself a better canoe than any of the
rest.” So he made it long and sharp, with round bottom, thinking it
would swim very fast.

When it was finished, he put it in the water; but, alas, it would not
float; it upset in spite of all that he could do. He saw all his
neighbors sailing over the water, and he fled to the woods determined to
build himself a canoe.

He has been drumming away at it ever since, but it is not finished yet.


In a large wigwam, at the bottom of the sea, lived “Hāpōdāmquen,” the
merman. He had two sons and three daughters. The elder son
“Psess’mbemetwigit,” Flying Star, was very brilliant and held a lofty
position; while the younger “Hess,” the Clam, was the laziest and
slowest of the family.

The daughters were named “T’sāk,” Lobster, “Hānāguess,” Flounder, and
“Wābè-hākeq’,” White Seal.

Every morning the old man gave orders to his children as to where they
should go, and what they should do, warning them against his two mighty
enemies, “Lampeguen,” another species of Merman, and Water Witch.

One day as they were about to go hunting, Flying Star told his brother
of a fearful dream that he had had the night before. He dreamed that he
and his brother were in a large stone canoe, moving swiftly towards the
steep running water (falls), when the canoe turned over, and they both
went to the bottom of this great “Cobscūk,” cataract. They were
surrounded by singular beings, whose chief took a “wūs-āp-gūk”
(rawhide), and tied their arms and legs together, then carried them to a
strange village, where his warriors held council as to what should be
done with the sons of Hāpōdāmquen. It was decided to kill them at once,
as the best means to destroy the foe, for without Flying Star,
Hāpōdāmquen must surely starve. They decided that the older son should
be slain by “M’dāsmūs” (a mythical dog, very large and fierce), and the
younger by a war club. Just as they loosed M’dāsmūs, Flying Star awoke.

Upon hearing this dream, Hess at once repeated it to his father.

Old Hāpōdāmquen knew at once that “Āglōfemma,” the chief of the
“Lampegwinosis,” was about to attack him. He told his children to watch
well, and stand their ground as long as a breath of life remained. To
each he gave careful directions: Flying Star was to take up his position
in the clouds, and thence watch the sea; if he saw any strange
commotion, or heard any strange noise, he was to fly from the clouds to
the sea, and kill everything that rose to the surface.

Hess, the Clam, was to post himself in the mud at the bottom of the sea,
and was told that Hāpōdāmquen would leave his pipe in the north side of
the wigwam. If the contents of the pipe were undisturbed, his children
might know that he still lived; but if the “nespe-quomkil,” willow
tobacco, were gone, and the pipe was partly filled with blood, they
might know that he was dead.

“Go, Hess,” the old man commanded, “bury yourself in the mud, five
lengths of your body, and listen well. You will surely hear when the
battle begins. Do not try to escape, or you will perish.”

T’sāk, the Lobster, was to take up her station half-way between the
surface and the bottom, and was cautioned not to rise to the surface at
any time.

Hānāguess, the Flounder, was ordered to come to the surface, where she
was to watch and follow the little bubbles; for when her father left his
wigwam, the bubbles would rise to the top of the water.

Wābè-hākeq’, the White Seal, was the bravest and brightest of the
Hāpōdāmquen family; she was to accompany her father to the land of the

The old man knew that only the chief and a handful of men would be in
the village; the fiercest warriors would be lying in ambush for his two
sons at the falls, where Flying Star and Clam always went to spear eel.
If Hess had failed to tell his father of Flying Star’s fateful dream,
even now they would both be suffering torture at the hands of the foe.
As it was, the old man and his brave daughter would attack the village
by night, while the enemy slept and dreamed of battle and war.

Hāpōdāmquen always wore his hair very long, streaming behind him three
times the length of his body. As they neared the village, he felt
something heavy clinging to his hair,--it was tiny beings, as small as
the smallest insect, the poohegans, or guardian spirits, of the chief of
the Lampegwinosis, little witches who tried by their combined weight to
lessen the old man’s speed, so that they might gain time to warn their
master of the enemy’s approach.

The Lampegwinosis were taken entirely by surprise; the strongest men
were away, only the old and weak were at home. The great army of
Hāpōdāmquen, composed of all the lobsters, seals, flounders, and clams,
was at hand, and the battle began. It was a fearful fight, lasting for
two days and nights. The Lampegwinosis chief tried to escape to the
surface; but the waves rose mountain high, and he was always driven back
by the watchful Flounder.

Flying Star slew all those warriors who reached the surface; while White
Seal attacked the tiny witches, putting forth all her magic power before
she succeeded in subduing them. Then she went to her father’s aid. He
was almost exhausted; but she directed her sister, the Lobster, to bite
the hostile chief in his tenderest part, and hang to him until the White
Seal could put an end to him. T’sāk held on, and White Seal killed the
foe with one blow of her battle-axe. This ended the conflict.

Hess remained in the mud, where, from time to time, he heard his father
encouraging his men. When all was still once more, he crawled out and
went to his father’s wigwam. He was so glad to find the pipe
undisturbed, that he sang a song of peace.

Hāpōdāmquen ordered his warriors to return to their homes until he
should again summon them; and he went back to his wigwam, where he found
his lazy son, Clam, still singing.

All the bubbles and foam had vanished from the sea. Flying Star and
Flounder, coming home, found their father happy, though badly hurt, for
he had lost all his beautiful hair in the fight.

As the Lampegwinosis braves wended their disconsolate way back from the
falls, they saw their old Chief-with-feathers-on-his-head borne off by
an animal resembling an otter, whom they recognized as Hākeq’, the brave
daughter of Hāpōdāmquen. They moaned for their chief; but Hāpōdāmquen
still lives to destroy little children who disobey their mother by going
near the water.


“This story,” said old Louisa, “is from ’way, ’way back, ever so long
ago;” and indeed it seemed to me that it was so old that only fragments
of it remained; but I give it as best I can.

Many, many years ago there were three tribes of Indians living not far
apart: the Crows, Kā-kā-gūs, the Sturgeons “Hā-bāh-so,” and the Minks,
“Mūs-bes-so.” These tribes were all at war, one with the other, and the
Minks, being very crafty and cunning, as well as brave, at last
conquered the other tribes, and drove them forth in opposite directions.

Now the followers of Kā-kā-gūs found their way to a dry and desert
region where they died of hunger and thirst; the tribe of Hā-bāh-so
found plenty of food, but were overtaken by a pestilence which destroyed
all but the old chief and his grandson. Meantime, the Minks found that
the game had been expelled with the enemy, and they suffered greatly
from hunger.

Old Sturgeon, as I said, had enough and more than enough to eat. He and
his grandson built an “āgonal,” a storehouse of the old style, which
they filled to overflowing with smoked fish and dried meat.

Mink, hearing of this, sent a messenger to investigate. He was well
received, and fed with the best. The Mink himself determined to pay the
old man a visit, knowing that enemy though he was, he would be kindly
treated while a guest, according to Indian etiquette. He asked Sturgeon
where he got all his supplies, and was told that they came from the far
north. Then he said, “Are you alone here?” “Yes,” said Hā-bāh-so,
“except my grandson;” pointing to a huge Sturgeon who lay flopping by
the fire.

Next day when Mūs-bes-so left, he was loaded with as much meat as he
could carry. When he got home, he told his story, and suggested to his
five daughters that one of them should marry Sturgeon’s grandson, who
would keep them in plenty for the rest of their lives. So the girls set
out to visit the enemy in turn, and each returned saying, “I would not
think of marrying that monster. If ever I marry, I shall choose a man,
and not a fish, for a husband.” So it went until it came to the
youngest girl. She entered Sturgeon’s wigwam and, without a word, made
herself at home, began to arrange the bed and cook the food. When night
fell, and she did not return, her father rejoiced, for he knew she had
married young Sturgeon.

She, meantime, had waked at night to find a handsome youth beside her,
who, with the first rays of daylight, again became a fish. They were
very happy together and knew no care. Every morning she found a supply
of the choicest game or fish at the door, and in due time she became the
mother of a lovely boy.

Her husband proposed to visit her family to exhibit this new treasure,
to which she gladly acceded. He told her that there was but one
difficulty; namely, that she would have to carry him as well as the
baby. She made no objection, and they set forth. When they were almost
in sight of the Mink village, the young man was turned to a big
Sturgeon, which his wife shouldered, taking the baby in her arms.

The old Minks were delighted to see her; but the sisters laughed and
sneered at Sturgeon, and despised their sister for being willing to
accept such a husband. They were very glad, nevertheless, to accept the
supplies of food which he provided every day; and their contempt was
turned to envy when they awaked one night and saw him in his human form.
They then began to plot how they might kill their sister and take her
place; but Sturgeon, learning their plans, comforted his distressed
wife, promising to punish her wicked sisters, whom he did indeed turn
into turtles, in which condition they led a moist and disagreeable life.

After this, he felt that it was time for him to go; so he furnished his
father-in-law with enough provisions to last a year, and set forth on
his return journey with his wife and son.

Before they had gone far, they saw in the distance Kosq’, the Heron,
coming towards them. Now Kosq’ had been a suitor of Mistress Mink before
she married Sturgeon, and the latter knew him to be bent on vengeance.
He told his wife that she must help him, for Kosq’ had great power, and
it would not be easy to overcome him. Together they built a circular
wigwam, in which they shut themselves, Kosq’ prowling about outside,
each determined not to stir from the spot until the other yielded to

Mistress Mink dug in the earth at one side of the wigwam, the bed being
on the other side, and the fire-place in the middle. She dug until a
stream of water flowed forth which not only gave them drink, but which
contained various insects and small creatures which satisfied their

Kosq’ outside dug with his long bill and found little or nothing, this
inner stream attracting all upon which he otherwise might have fed. So
he flew thither and thither, weaker and weaker, and ever and again he
cried to Hā-bāh-so: “Will you give up, now?” “No, no,” was the reply; “I
am strong and well.”

Finally, poor Kosq’, determined not to yield, died of sheer hunger, and
Hā-bāh-so, with his brave wife and child, came from the wigwam, went
back to their old grandfather, and in time built up a village.


As I was sitting with old Louisa I showed her an African amulet which I
was wearing, made of pure jade, inscribed with cabalistic characters to
ward off the evil eye. Thinking to make it clear to her Indian
understanding, I told her that it was to keep off m’tēūlin, sorcerers,
and kiawākq’ (legendary giants with hearts of ice, and possessed of
cannibalistic tastes). She looked very grave, and told me that I did
well to wear it, for there were a great many kiawākq’ in the region of
York Harbor where we were; it was a famous place for them, although they
usually chose a colder place, somewhere far away, where it was winter
almost all the year. This subject once started, she went on to tell me
of an adventure of her father.

Years ago when he was first married, and had but one child, a boy about
two years old, it was his habit to go with his family, in a canoe, in
the late autumn, and camp out far up north in Canada, in search of furs
and skins for purposes of trade. He would build a large comfortable
wigwam in some convenient place, and stay all winter. One year, while
hunting, he came across a deep footprint in the snow, three or four
times as large as that of any man. He knew it was the track of a
kiawākq’, and in terror retraced his steps, and thenceforth carefully
avoided going in that direction. In spite of this precaution, however,
the creature scented him out; for while he was away from the lodge, a
huge monster entered, stooping low to enter, and making himself much
smaller than his natural size, as such creatures have the power to do.
The poor woman, alone there with her child, knew him for what he was,
and knew that her only hope of escape lay in hiding her fear, so she
addressed him as her father, and offered him a seat, telling the little
boy to go and speak to his grandfather. She cooked food for kiawākq’,
warmed him, and paid him every attention. When her husband returned, she
said to him that her father had come to visit them, and he, too,
welcomed the monster, who remained with them all winter, going out to
hunt, and bringing back moose, bear, and other big game, which the man
dressed for him. He seldom spoke; but she often saw him look greedily at
the baby, and sometimes he would put one of the boy’s fingers in his
mouth, as if he could not resist the temptation to bite off the dainty
morsel; but he always let the little fellow go unharmed at last. It was
no use for the family to think of escape, as he could so easily have
overtaken them; and, if angered, they knew that he would destroy them.

Towards spring he told them that the time had come for them to go. He
said that his little finger told him that another and mightier
kiawākq’[11] was on his way to fight with him. “You have been good to
me,” he said, “and I wish to save you. If my enemy conquers me, he will
destroy you; so you must go now, before he sees you. If I live, I will
come to your village.”

So the man with his wife and child got into the canoe and paddled away.
After a while they heard the other kiawākq’ coming afar off, for he tore
up great trees as he came and flung them about like straws, and uttered
terrible roars. Then they heard the noise of the awful fight; but fear
lent speed to their canoe, and they at last lost all sound of the
dreadful kiawākq’.

They never saw their big friend again, and therefore felt sure that he
had perished; but they never dared to go back to that camping ground

“So you see,” said Louisa, “that the kiawākq’ really saved the life of
my family.”[12]


All summer I had not succeeded in coaxing a single story out of Louisa;
but last week she said, “You come Sunday, I tell you a story.” This
seemed to be because I told her I was going away. Sunday, when I took my
seat in the tent, she said, looking very hard at me, “This is a _true_
story; it is about _her_ great, great grandfather,”[13] pointing to her
daughter Susan, “Old Governor John Neptune. He was a witch.” I had often
heard from other Indians tales of old Governor Neptune’s magic powers.
“He was such a witch that all the other witches (m’tēūlin) were jealous
of him, and they tried to beat him. He fell sick, and he could not lift
his head; so he said to his oldest daughter (he had three daughters),
‘Give me some of your hair.’ She did so, and he bound his arrowheads and
spear with it, and strung his bow with the long, strong black hair.
Pretty soon the earth began to heave and rock under him. His daughter
told him of it, and he took his spear and stuck it into the ground just
where it was beginning to break. He thrust it in so deep that his arm
went into the earth up to the elbow, and when he drew it out the iron
was bloody. ‘Now I feel better,’ he said; and he sat up, took his bow
and shot an arrow straight into the air. Then he told his old lady to
make ready and come with him, but not to be afraid. They went to Great
Lake; he told her again not to be scared, took off all his clothes, and
slipped into the lake in the shape of a great eel. Presently the water
was troubled and muddy, and a huge snake appeared. The two fought long
and hard; but at last the old lady saw her husband standing before her
again, smeared with slime from head to foot. He ordered her to pour
fresh water on him, and wash him clean, for now he had conquered all his
enemies. From that day forth they had great good luck in everything.
This was in his youth, before he became governor of the Indians of

“One time in midwinter his wife had a terrible longing for green corn,
and she told him. He went to the fireplace, rolled up some strips of
bark, laid them in the ashes, and began to sing a low song. After a
while he told her to go and get her corn, and there lay the ears all
nicely roasted. He used to make quarters, too. He would cut little round
bits of paper, put them to his mouth, breathe on them, then lay them
down and cover them with his hand. By and by he would lift his hand with
a silver quarter in it.” I remarked that he ought to have been a rich
man; but Louisa said, “Oh, he didn’t make many, just a few now and then.
When he was out hunting in the woods with a party and the tobacco gave
out, they would see him fussing round after they went to bed, and then
he would hand out a big cake of tobacco.”

Louisa said several times, as if she thought me incredulous, “This is a
true story; the old lady told me about the corn herself, and she was the
mother of my brother Joe Nicola’s wife. She was a witch, too.”

I asked Louisa when and how the Indians learned to make baskets and she
said they always knew. When Glūs-kābé went away, he told the ash-tree
and the birch that they must provide for his children; and so they
always had, by furnishing the stuff for baskets and canoes.


When he was a baby he was stolen by “Pūkjinsquess,”[14] and taken to a
far-off lonely country inhabited by invisible people. His first
recollection was of lying under the “k’chīquelsowe mūsikūk,” or

He rose, and, seeing a path, followed it until he reached a wigwam. When
he lifted the door, he saw no one, but heard a voice say: “Come in,

He went in, and the voice said: “If you will be friends with me, I will
be friends with you, and help you in the future.”

He looked about him, but saw nothing but a little stone pipe. He picked
it up, and put it in his bosom, saying: “This must be the one who spoke
to me.”

Then he went out and followed the path still farther. He heard the cry
of a baby, so he hid behind a tree. The sound came nearer. Soon he saw a
hideous old woman with a baby on her back, which she was beating. This
roused his temper, and he shot her with his bow and arrow. She proved to
be Pūkjinsquess, and the baby was his brother, whom she had stolen from
his father, the great East Wind.

He put the baby in his bosom, and kept on his way. The baby said to him:
“There is a camp ahead of us, but you must not go in, for the people are

To this he paid no heed; and when he came to a large, well-built wigwam,
he was eager to see who the bad folks were. He found a crack, and
looking through it, he saw a good looking man, with cheeks as red as
blood, who said: “Come in, friend.”

They talked and smoked for some time; then the strange man, whose name
was Sūwessen, the Southwest Wind, said: “Let us wash ourselves and paint
our cheeks.” They did so, and then kept on talking; but every few
moments the good-looking man would start up and say: “Let us wash

In the evening two beautiful girls (daughters of Southwest Wind) came in
and began to make merry with them; but this tired the Northwest Wind,
and he fell asleep. As soon as he was sound asleep, Sūwessen took a long
pole and tossed him like a ball,[18] saying: “Go where you came from.”

At this, the Wind woke and found himself at the same point from which he
had started as a baby. Angry and discouraged, he felt in his bosom to
see if the stone pipe and his brother were safe; and finding them there,
he threw them on a big rock, and killed both in his rage. Then he
resumed his journey, but took a different course. He now travelled
towards the east, where his father lived.

As he crossed a hill, he saw a lake shining in the valley below. He
turned towards it; but before he reached it, he came to a much travelled
path, which led him to a wigwam, on entering which he saw a very old
woman. She cried: “Oh, my grandchild, you are in a very dangerous place.
I pity you, for few leave here alive. You had better be off. Across the
lake lives your grandfather. If you can swim, you may escape; but be
sure, when you near the beach, to go backward and fill your tracks with

He did as she directed; but as he approached the water, he heard a loud,
strange sound, which came nearer and nearer. It was the great M’dāsmūs,
the mystic dog, barking at him.

He plunged into the water, thus causing M’dāsmūs to lose the trail and
give up the chase.

Northwest Wind went back to his grandmother; but she avoided him,
saying: “You are very wicked; only a few days ago, I heard news in the
air, that you had killed your brother, also your friend, the Little
Stone Pipe.”

Once more he plunged into the lake, and this time reached the farther
shore in safety. There he found his grandfather, “M’Sārtū,” the Eastern
Star. (The Indians believe this to be the slowest and clumsiest of all
the stars.)

The great M’Sārtū welcomed him: “My dear grandson, I see that you still
live; but you are very wicked. I hear in the air that you have killed
your brother, also your friend, the Little Stone Pipe. I also hear that
you have lost your Bird ‘Wābīt’ and your Rabbit. But, my child, you are
in a most perilous place. The great Beaver destroys anything and
everything that comes this way. If you need help, cry aloud to me.
Perhaps I can aid you.”

As soon as night came on, the water began to rise rapidly, compelling
Northwest Wind to climb into a tree. The Beaver soon found him out, and
gnawed the tree with his sharp teeth. Northwest Wind thought his end was
near, and called aloud: “Grandpa, come!”

M’Sārtū answered: “I’m getting up.”

“Come, Grandpa!”

“I am up now.”

“Oh, Grandpa, do come!”

“I am putting on my coat.”

“Hurry, Grandpa!”

“I put my hands in the sleeves.”

By this time the tree was almost gnawed through, and the water was
rising higher and higher.

He called again: “Come, Grandpa, come!”

“I have just got my coat on.”

“Make haste, Grandpa!”

“I will put on my hat.”

“Hurry, Grandpa!”

“I have my hat on.”

“Make haste, Beaver has almost reached me!”

“I am going to my door.”

“Faster, Grandpa!”

“Wait till I get my cane.”

“Be quick, Grandpa!”

“I am raising my door.”

At this, daylight began to break, the water went down slowly, and the
Beaver departed.

The Wind’s Grandfather had saved him.

He hastened to the old man, who told him that close by there was a large
settlement, whose chief was the Great “Culloo.”[19]

“It is he that stole your Rabbit and your Bird Wābīt.”

Northwest Wind now turned his footsteps toward the west. He soon heard a
chopping, and came where there were many men felling trees. He asked how
far it was to their village, and they replied: “From sunrise till noon,”
meaning half a day’s journey.

Then he met men with feathers on their heads, and he asked these where
their village was, where they were going, and what they were doing.

One of them said: “We are hunting game for our great chief, Culloo.”

While he was talking with one of the men the rest went on, and Northwest
Wind said: “You had better turn back with me, for I am going to visit
your chief, Culloo.”

“How shall I disguise myself so that he may not know me?”

“I will do that for you,” said the Wind. He took him by the hair, and
pulled out all the feathers.

“Now we can visit the chief.”

When they reached the village and were going into “Māli Moninkwesswōl,”
Mistress Molly Woodchuck’s hole, she shrieked aloud. By this the chief
knew that she was visited by strangers, so he sent servants to learn who
was there. They returned and said, “Two very handsome youths.”

At this, every young woman in the village went at once to see them, the
chief’s daughters with the rest; and these latter fell in love with the
strangers and married them.

Northwest Wind said to his new friend: “When we go with our wives to
their father’s wigwam, they will put a Rabbit under your pillow, and
under mine, a Bird; then I will turn myself into a Raven. Do you seize
the Rabbit, I will take the Bird. Throw your arms about my neck, and
hold fast to me.”

They did as he planned, and he flew out through the smoke-hole, crying:
“ K’chī Jagawk.”

When he reached his grandfather, he found his wife there before him; for
she had turned herself to Litŭswāgan, or Thought, the swiftest of all

The Eastern Star told Northwest Wind where he might find his father;
then he took out his tobacco to fill his pipe.

“Oh, Grandpa, give me some of that.”

“No, my dear, I have had this ever since I was young, and I have but a
small bit left.”

“Well, Grandpa, tell me where I may go to find it.”

“You cannot get it,” said M’Sārtū. “Away off on that high point where no
trees grow, there is a smooth rock. On that rock you will see my
footprints. Thence you will see a man looking about him all the time.
He guards the spot so faithfully that none may pluck a leaf.”

Northwest Wind at once set out in search of the tobacco. He found his
grandfather’s tracks on the rock, and, gazing eastward, he saw a man
looking in every direction. This was a powerful Witch, who had never
been conquered.

Every time the Witch turned his back, the Wind crept a little nearer,
until he was within a few feet of his enemy. When the Witch turned and
found the Wind close behind him, he asked, in a voice so terrible that
it cracked the rocks, what he wanted there.

“I want a piece of tobacco,” said the Wind.

The Witch gave him a pinch of dust.

“I don’t want that,” said the Wind. “Give me better.”

At this the Witch seized him, and tried to throw him over the cliff
where there were piles of bones of his victims. As he threw him off, the
Wind again became a Raven, sailed about in the air, until he got the
tobacco leaves, then hastened back to his grandfather.

The Eastern Star was so pleased that he called his old friend the Great
Grasshopper to come and share with him. “N’jāls,” the Grasshopper, had
no pipe but he chewed tobacco.[20]

The Northwest Wind then set out to visit his father, the great East
Wind, but found that he had been dead so long that the ground had sunk
four feet, and the wigwam was all decayed. He called in a loud voice,
summoning the Hearts of All the Trees to help him build a wigwam fit for
a mighty chief.

Instantly, thousands of tiny beings appeared, and in a short time a
wigwam was built, made from the stripped trees, all shining. A tall pole
was fastened to the top, with a large nest for his Bird and a basket at
the bottom of the pole. Every time the Bird sang, the beautiful
“Wābap”[21] dropped from his beak into the basket.

The great East Wind came to life again, and the Northwest Wind’s son was
nearly a year old. It was hard to get firewood to keep the old man and
the child warm, for the snow was very deep and fell nearly every day; so
the Northwest Wind said to his father: “I am going to stop this; I
cannot stand it any longer. I will fight the great North Wind.”

He bade his wife prepare a year’s supply of snowshoes and moccasins;
when they were ready, he moved with his warriors, the Hearts of All the
Trees, against the North Wind, whose army was made up of the Tops of the

Snow fell throughout the battle, for K’taiūk (Cold), was the ally of the
North Wind, and the carnage was fearful.

At last the East Wind told his daughter-in-law to make moccasins and
snowshoes for the child, and he gave the little one a partridge feather,
a part of the tail. In an instant, the child received his magic power
from his grandfather. The snow about the camp melted away, and the boy
followed his father. As he shovelled the snow with his feather, it
melted. The little boy is the South Wind.

When he reached his father, the father was buried in snow, which melted
at the child’s approach. Thus the North Wind was conquered, and agreed,
if they would spare his life, to make his visits less frequent and
shorter. Now the North Wind only comes in winter.


There was once an old hunter called “Mawquejess,” who always carried a
kettle to cook his “michwāgan,” food. When he killed an animal, he would
build a wigwam on the spot, and stay there until the meat was all eaten.
He always made it into soup, and called it, “M’Kessābūm,” my soup. He
had eaten soup until his stomach was distended to a monstrous size. From
this he took his name of Mawquejess, Big Belly.

One day he saw a wigwam, and went to the door to see who lived in it. He
found a boy, who made friends with him and invited him in; but the door
was too small for his big stomach, and the boy was forced to remove the
side of the wigwam to accommodate it.

They were very happy together and Mawquejess did nothing but care for
the camp, while the boy did the hunting. At last Mawquejess told the boy
to go to a certain place and kill a white bear.

His intention was, if he could get a white bear-skin, to marry a chief’s
daughter. The chief had offered her to any one who would kill a white
bear and bring him the skin.[22]

The boy tried to kill the bear for Mawquejess, but failed; and
Mawquejess began to be discouraged; then he thought: “I will go myself.”

He found he was too big to get into the canoe. His legs dangled in the
water so that he could not paddle, and he had to give it up. When the
boy landed him, he made up his mind that the first time he could catch
Mawquejess asleep, his friend should be cut open and the soup allowed to
escape. So he sharpened his stone axe and quickly cut his friend open; a
large stream of soup flowed out. Mawquejess awoke, crying:
“M’Kessābūmisā!” (Alas, my soup!) He went on crying and mourning until
the boy said: “You had better stop crying and try to kill the white

Next day they started; he got into the canoe quite easily, and they
killed the white bear the first time of trying.

“Now,” said Mawquejess, “we will go to the village, to the playground
of the boys. When they come to play, I will try to kill the chief’s son

When they got there, the boys came to play as usual. Mawquejess, who was
hiding behind a bush, struck the young chief and killed him at the first

The rest fled. Then he skinned the young chief, and put on the skin
himself, thus appearing like a war chief. He called his little friend to
follow with the bear-skin. Together they went to the great chief’s
wigwam, where the bear-skin was accepted, and, according to ancient
custom, a big dance was given to celebrate the marriage. It lasted for
many nights.

“Pūkjinsquess,” the chief’s wife, mistrusted her new son-in-law from the
first, and called the attention of others to him. About this time the
skin which he had put on began to decay; and soon he stood revealed, no
young chief, but Mawquejess himself.

They began to kick and beat him. Mawquejess called aloud to his little
friend to help him; but his little friend could not help him, for he was
running for his life, crying: “Let me always belong to the woods.”

Thus he was changed to a Partridge, and flew away; and his pursuers were
forced to give up the chase.

Poor Mawquejess too cried out: “Let me be a crow;” and he was. He also
flew away, saying: “Ca, ca, ca!” (I fly away); and so both escaped.


This being has no body, but head, legs, heart, and wings. He has power
in his shriek, “wāsquīlāmitt,” to slay any who hear him. His claws are
so huge and so strong that he can carry off a whole village at once. He
is sometimes seen in the crotch of a tree, and often flies away with an
Indian in his clutch. Some have become blind until sunset after seeing

In his fights with witches and kiawākq’, he always comes off victorious.

He never eats or drinks, but lives in a wigwam in mid-air. Once
Wūchowsen, the great Wind Bird, went to visit him, saying: “I have
always heard of you, but never had time to visit you; I have always been
too busy.”

“Well,” said Chībaloch, “I am glad to see you, and like you very well.
You are the first and only visitor I have ever had. I have but one fault
to find with you. You move your wings a little too fast for me.
Sometimes my wigwam is almost blown to pieces. I have to fly off for
fear it will fall, and I shall be killed.”

“Well,” said Wūchowsen, “the only thing for you to do, is to move away.
You are rather too near me. You are the nearest neighbor that I have. If
I should stop flapping my wings, my people would all die.”

“I cannot move,” said Chībaloch; “that is the one thing that I cannot
do. If you move your wings faster than I like, I will destroy you and
all your people.”

“Ha, ha!” said Wūchowsen, “Glūs-kābé will defend me and mine.”

“There you are mistaken; for Glūs-kābé dare not fight me, and he does
not like your wings any too well himself. He often says that he cannot
go out in his canoe to kill wild fowl, because your wings go so fast.
Did not Glūs-kābé visit you once and throw you down?”

“Yes, he did; but he soon came back and set me up again,” said the Wind


There was once a young Indian, a very successful hunter. He always went
off alone in the Fall, and came back in Spring loaded with fish and
game. But once when he was off hunting, he began to feel lonely; and he
said, “I wish I had a partner.” When he went back to his wigwam that
night, the fire was burning, supper cooked, and everything ready for
him, though he saw no one. When he had eaten, he fell asleep, being very
tired, and on waking next morning found all in order and breakfast
prepared. This went on for some days. The seventh night, on his return,
he saw a woman in the wigwam. She did not speak, but made all
comfortable, and when the work was done made her bed at one side
opposite his. This lasted all Winter; she seldom or never spoke; but
when Spring came, and it was time for him to return to his village, she
said, “Remember me, always think of me, and do not marry another woman.”
When he got home loaded with skins and meat, his father had chosen a
wife for him; but he would have nothing to say to her. Next Fall he went
back into the woods, and as he approached his wigwam, he saw smoke
coming out of it, and when he entered, there sat the silent woman with a
little boy at her side. She told him to shake hands with his father.
Unlike most children, he was born large and strong enough to hunt with
his father, and be of much help to him, so that they got a double
quantity of game, and in the Spring the man went back to the village so
rich that the Chief wanted him for a son-in-law; but still he remembered
his partner’s words, “Do not forget me. Always think of me,” and held
firm. On his return to the woods he found a second son. Thus he
succeeded in getting more game than ever, and, alas, on going home to
his village, he forgot his woodland mate, and, yielding to the
solicitations of the Chief, married his daughter. In the Fall he took
his wife, his father-in-law, and his own father to the woods with him,
where this time they found not only the two boys but a little girl. The
new wife gazed angrily at the mother and children saying, “You should
have told me you had another wife.” “I have not,” answered the man. At
these words the mother of the children rose up, saying, “I will leave my
children with you; but you must treat them well. Be kind to them, give
them plenty to eat and to wear, for you have abundance of everything.
Never abuse them,” and she vanished.

The boys and men went hunting every day, and the little girl was left
with her stepmother, who beat her and made a drudge of her. She bore it
patiently as long as she could, but at last complained to her brothers,
who promised to help her. Next day the stepmother took hot ashes from
the fire and burnt her in several places, so that she cried aloud. Her
father came in and remonstrated, all in vain. Then he consulted the old
grandfather, who expressed regret, but advised him to wait patiently,
that the woman might become better in time. So the brothers and sister
resolved to run away; the boys slipped out first, and waited for the
girl. When she, too, escaped, they fled; but any one who looked from the
hut would only have seen three young moose bounding over the snow. When
the father came home, he asked for the children; his wife said they had
just stepped out; but when he went to look for them, he saw the moose
tracks, and knew what had happened. He at once took his snowshoes and
tomahawk, and started in pursuit of them. He travelled three days and
three nights, always following the tracks. Every night, he saw where
they had nibbled the bark from the trees and where they had rested in
the snow. On the fourth day he came to a clearing where four moose were
feeding, and he knew the children had found their mother. He struck his
axe into a tree and hung his snowshoes on it, then went to her and
pleaded to be allowed to go with them; so she turned him into a moose,
and they journeyed away together. Meantime, his old father at home
missed his son and his grandchildren, and went to look for them. He
travelled three days and three nights, as his son had done, following
the foot-prints and the tracks until, towards the fourth night, he saw
the tomahawk in the tree, with the snowshoes hanging on it, recognized
them as his son’s, saw that now there were the marks of _five_ moose in
the snow instead of three, and knew that he had come too late. He took
down the axe and snowshoes, and went sadly home to tell the story.

These were the parents of all the moose that we see now. In old times
the Indians used to turn into animals in this way.


There were once two men who lived a long way apart: one was poor and had
nothing but his hunting-grounds; the other was rich, but he wanted the
poor man’s land. The poor man’s poohegan, or attendant spirit, was a
snake; the rich man’s poohegan was a porcupine.

The Porcupine went to visit the Snake; but at first the Snake refused to
let him in, saying: “I will stick my arrow into you.”

The Porcupine said: “Then I will stab you with my sword.”

The Snake said: “My arrow has only one barb; but it is a good one.” And
he ran out his tongue to show the barb.

The Porcupine said: “My tail is full of swords; but I will guard them
very carefully if you will let me come in, for my home is far away.”

The Snake said: “I am here with my children, and am very poor. It is not
for the rich to come to the poor for help; but rather for the poor man
to visit the rich. If one of my children were to go to your house, you
would kill him. Then why do you come here?”

However, the Porcupine promised so fairly that the Snake at last let him
in. All went well at first; but in the morning the Porcupine began to
quarrel, killed the whole Snake family, and took possession of their


In old times the Red Headed Woodpecker once went to visit the Rabbit. He
saw the Rabbit was very poor, and had nothing to eat, so he thought he
would help him out. He took a green withe, tied it round his waist, and
said: “Now I will catch some eels.”

He went to the side of a rotten tree, and pick, pick; Rabbit saw him
pull out eel after eel,[24] and string them on a stick. When the stick
was full, he brought them to camp and cooked them. When they were
cooked, he and Rabbit ate supper, and felt happy. Then the Woodpecker
took his leave, inviting Rabbit to return the visit soon.

In about three weeks Rabbit thought it was time he should accept this
invitation, so he went to see Woodpecker. When he got there he said: “My
turn now to get supper;” for he thought he could catch eels just as
Woodpecker did.

He tied a withe about him, went to a tree, and pick, pick, pick, harder,
then so hard that his nose was flattened and his lip split; but he
caught no eels.

Old man Turtle was visiting Woodpecker at this same time. He took pity
on Rabbit, tied the withe round his own body, and dived down into the
lake, coming up with a back-load of eels.

Rabbit thought: “Well, I can do that. Turtle is a very good old fellow,
I guess I will ask him to come over to see me.” So he said: “Come to see
me where I live.”

Old man Turtle went to see Rabbit; but he is such a slow traveller, that
when Rabbit saw him coming, he thought, “I shall have plenty of time to
get the eels ready,” so he tied the withe round him, and jumped into the
water, but every time he jumped, he bounced right back. He could not
dive at all.

Turtle saw him, went to the lake. Rabbit said: “I have tried and tried;
but I can’t get eels. I guess there are none here.”

The Turtle knew what the trouble was; but he only said: “Let me have
the withe;” and in no time he brought up a back-load. They went home and
cooked them; and Rabbit liked Turtle so well that they were good friends
forever after.[25]


When great Glūskap, lord of men and beasts, had brought order out of the
chaos in which the world was at the beginning, he called together the
animals and assigned to each the position he should hold in the future.
To some he gave the water, to others the land, and to others wings to
fly through the air. Over each tribe he appointed a leader called K’chī,
the Great One. These could command help or power from others called
their poohegans.

In some animals Glūskap found a fierceness, which, when combined with
size and strength, would make them dangerous for Indians to encounter.
To this class belonged Mīko, the Squirrel,--at that time as large as a

Therefore Glūskap stroked him on the back until he became the size that
he now is.

This humbled the proud Mīko, who had been so vain of his appearance, and
so boastful of his strength, that he would scratch down the trees which
happened to be in his way.

But, as a compensation, Glūskap told him that he could now climb higher
and travel faster than before, besides which he could at times have
wings to suit the situation.

Mīko was comforted, and concluded to travel and become acquainted with
the world of Nature.

“K’chī Megūsawess,” the Martin, taught him the language of other
animals, to enable him to keep out of danger, and Mūinsq’, Mistress
Bear, Glūskap’s adopted grandmother, gave him the Law, with much good
advice; for all Bears are wise, and she was wisest of them all. She

“You must never speak in praise of yourself, but pay attention to all
that is said to you.

“Always control your temper; and, when enraged, say, _chim, chim,
chim_,[26] over and over, as fast as you can, until your anger is over.

“The Law is: ‘Mind your own business.’

“Do this and you will be wise and wealthy.”

Mīko then started out on his travels, but had not gone far when he
remembered a bird named “Laffy Latwin,”[27] whose home in a tall
birch-tree was his especial envy.

He said to himself: “Now is my chance to try the wings of ‘Set-cāto,’
the Flying Squirrel,” and at once he half climbed, half flew, up the
tree, where he found Laffy Latwin still at home.

Laffy Latwin was always good-natured; and all the little birds as well
as insects visited his abode. The little worms too would crawl up the
birch-tree to see their friend. He sang the vesper song every night, as
a signal to them all to go to sleep. When he sings:

    “Woffy[28] Latwin, Laffy Latwin, wickīūtūwit,”

he shuts his eyes for the night; and all the little birds are silent
until his voice is again heard in the morning, when all awake, for they
know that another day has dawned.

When Mīko, who now styled himself Set-cāto, reached the home of Laffy
Latwin, he said:--

“How long have you lived in this tree?”

“Ever since your great grandfather, ‘K’chī Mūsos,’ was born in that
hollow cedar-tree which you just left,” replied Laffy Latwin.

“How long do you mean to stay here?”

“As long as this tree lasts. When this one is gone, I will move to
another,” replied Laffy Latwin.

But Mīko, or Set-cāto, as we must now call him, had never before been so
high above the ground; and though the home of Laffy Latwin was cold and
damp, he was greatly pleased with the situation, and wished to build a
house for himself in the very same hole, so he said:

“My friend, you have lived here long enough. You had better move out,
and let me move in.”

Laffy Latwin was troubled, yet he answered in his usual good-natured

“M’Quensis [my grandchild], I cannot go. If I were to move away, all my
friends would miss me. They could not hear my song as well from any
other tree. Besides, you are young, and are nimbler than I; you can
build your house almost anywhere.”

This opposition only made Set-cāto more desirous of carrying out his
purpose. The old spirit of dominion was aroused within him, and though
his great strength was gone, his teeth were unchanged. He at once began
to gnaw off the limb on which Laffy Latwin’s house stood.

On a neighboring tree lived a tribe of “Ām-wessok,” or Hornets, all
warriors, male and female alike. They were always in training; and their
glittering armor, with its yellow stripes, shone in the sunlight like
tiny sparks, as they flew among the leaves.

They had been watching the movements of Set-cāto all the morning, and
when they saw that he meant mischief, the whole tribe, as one man,
darted from their tree, alighting on his back, and stinging him until he
fell to the ground almost dead.

The news soon spread throughout the Squirrel tribe; the flying, the
gray, the striped, and the red squirrels hastened to his rescue. They
held a council, and resolved that Laffy Latwin must be removed, even if
they had to kill him.

They all marched to the foot of the birch-tree, but found that the only
way to reach him was from the trunk of the tree. Meantime the Hornets
had summoned their friends, the Black Flies, the Midges, and

When the chief of the Squirrels gave orders for the battle to begin, his
followers made a rush for the tree, but only a few could go up at once;
and the Bees, Flies, and Midges would strike them with sharp spears,
forcing the Squirrels to retreat before they were half-way up.

Thus the battle went on until sunset. Up to this time, Laffy Latwin had
been absolutely silent; he knew his situation, and saw all that was
going on; but he had faith that his little warriors would defend him, so
he sang his evening song as usual:--

    “Woffy Latwin, Laffy Latwin, wickīūtūwit.”

Instantly both armies obeyed the call, and went to their respective
wigwams to rest for the night.

Next day, the leaders decided to fight again. The Squirrel chief said to
his men: “We must be more cautious and less fierce. If we can only touch
Laffy Latwin before he sings ‘Woffy Latwin,’ we shall win; but if we
fail to reach him before then, we may as well yield.”

Both armies fought more desperately than ever. The Flies had to sharpen
their spears, and many were killed on both sides; yet the battle went on
all that day.

The Squirrels found it impossible to reach the home of Laffy Latwin, and
when the evening song:--

    “Woffy Latwin, Laffy Latwin, wicklootoowit,”

was again heard, they agreed to retire and leave him forever in peace.

Mīko now had time for reflection; and remembered that he had already
broken the Law, as given him by Mūinsq’, the old Law Maker. This was a
bad beginning for getting wealthy and wise.

When his wounds were healed, he once more set out on his travels, hoping
to gain from the experiences he had had as Set-cāto.

He met many of his tribe, hard at work, and content with their changed
condition; but he could not rest until he reached the Witch Mountain,
the home of Mawquejess, the Great Eater, of whom Mūinsq’ had told him.
On reaching it, he noticed a number of narrow paths, trodden by many
feet; yet seeing no one, and night coming on, he crawled into a hollow
cedar which stood near a large rock, and soon fell asleep.

He was awakened by a loud purring; and he knew that “Alnūset,” the Black
Cat, must be camping close by. At first Mīko was frightened; but his
fear soon turned to wonder what could bring Alnūset, so near to the home
of his greatest enemy; for though Chī-gau-gawk, the Great Crow, steals
the game from Black Cat’s “ketīgnul,” or wooden dead-fall trap, yet
Mawquejess is worse, for he watches until the wigwam is empty, then
enters and eats all he can find, for his appetite is never satisfied.

Mīko’s curiosity was aroused; and, the morning being cloudy, and his
lodgings very comfortable, he decided to stay where he was and watch the
course of events.

Soon he saw that Alnūset had a friend with him, “Mātigwess,” the Rabbit,
a hunter of the same metal; and he heard Black Cat say:

“This will be a good day for hunting. Stormy days are best for such

Mātigwess replied: “I will set the trap. You can go up the mountain and
hunt for big game.”

Mīko thought to himself: “I can see them from here, no matter where they
go. It is growing too cold to venture out.” He watched their movements,
and saw that they must be very hungry, and game scarce.

At last Alnūset came across a big Bear, at which he aimed; but the
Frost had got into his bow, it snapped and broke as he bent it.

The Bear was too big for him to attack with his tomahawk, so he returned
discouraged to the Big Rock.

This Rock resembled a human face, and the moss which grew on the top
looked like long hair, so Mīko was not surprised to hear Alnūset address
it as: “Mūs mī,” my grandfather.

“Mūs mī, if you have any pity for your grandchildren, sing one of your
magic songs to call the animals together.”

At this the stony old man began to sing, and Birds, Moose, Deer, and
Bear, as well as friend Mātigwess, came hurrying to hear the song.

Now Mātigwess is unlike Alnūset in that he carries two bows and three
sets of arrows; and he at once began his deadly work, killing Moose,
Deer, and Bear on every hand, Alnūset dragging them to his camp as
quickly as he could.

The hungry and mischievous Mawquejess was watching him, and when Alnūset
went for a fresh load, he would rush in and eat until he was over-full.

Mīko, from his hole in the tree, saw this thief at work; but he dared
say nothing, and there were so many dead animals piled together that he
thought the two hunters would never miss what Mawquejess ate.

But Mawquejess could not be content to let well enough alone. He went up
to the Rock in his turn, and, imitating the voice of Alnūset, said:--

“Mūs mī, if you feel a spark of pity for your children, you will sing a
song and call your animals together.”

So the old man again broke into song, and all the animals that lay dead,
slain by Mātigwess, came to life and stood around the Rock, now
listening to his weird song. When the song ceased, each went his way
once more.

When Alnūset and Mātigwess reached the wigwam, they found all their game
gone, and saw nothing but tracks and prints of large moccasins. By this
they knew that this was one of the tricks of Mawquejess.

They were disgusted and depressed; but they cooked and ate what bones
and bits were left from the previous day. Night coming on, they did not
hear the songs of the goblins as usual, nothing but the howl of wolves
following the bloody tracks.

Next morning Mātigwess, who was the more powerful in magic of the two,
said to Alnūset: “I had a dream last night, and our Grandfather of the
Mountain[29] told me that Mawquejess had tricked him into singing, and
also said: ‘Mawquejess will visit your camp to-day while you are away!’”

“Very well,” said Alnūset, “then he will not go away. We will fight, and
kill him if we can.”

“No, do you go down the river and look to the trap,” said Mātigwess. “If
there should be any danger, you will hear from me.”

So Alnūset set out at once; and Mātigwess cut down a hollow tree, the
very one in which Mīko lay, and placed it on the fire for a backlog. He
then put out the fire, so that there should be no smoke from the wigwam,
and it might seem deserted. He also set a snare for Mawquejess, by
bending down two large tree forks and fastening them in place with a
twisted birch withe.

This done, he crawled into the hollow log to await the coming of
Mawquejess. Poor Mīko, meantime, had taken refuge under some old roots.

They had not long to wait for Mawquejess, who was soon heard stealing
cautiously along, examining everything suspiciously. He spied Mīko, and
asked him where the two hunters were; but Mīko replied: “I saw them
early this morning going towards the mountain.”

He did not add, as he might truthfully have done: “One of them came
back, hoping to catch you.”

Mawquejess directed Mīko to keep watch, and warn him if he saw them
returning. He then put his head into the wigwam, saw that the fire had
gone out, and that there was only some dried meat hanging on poles; but
this gave him courage to enter, for his appetite was keen this cold

He found that his body was too big to go through the small door of the
wigwam, so he took the hatchet which he always carries and began to chop
a larger entrance. In cutting away the sticks, he cut the withes that
fastened the snare, thus making it useless.

This alarmed Mātigwess, who had hoped to see him caught in the snare,
and then kill him with his bow and arrow.

After working for several hours, Mawquejess got into the wigwam, seized
the fattest piece of venison, and making a fire, began to cook it.

Mātigwess in the hollow log could bear the heat no longer. When his long
tail began to scorch, he sprang out. Mawquejess caught him by the tail,
and strove to hold him in the fire; but the tail broke off close to the
body,[30] and Mātigwess escaped.

He found Mīko, and sent him to tell Alnūset that Mawquejess was in the
wigwam devouring everything. He was nearly maddened by the loss of his
dear tail, and he sang a magic song with great energy:--

    “Bem yak, bem yak, bem yak--bes’m etch kīmek ipp Sānetch.”[31]

This song caused a sudden snow squall, and the woods were filled with
the flakes. Each flake concealed a tiny Rabbit, to whom their chief
cried out:--

“Yoat elguen” (Come this way).

All the snowflakes came toward Mātigwess, and by the time Alnūset
reached the wigwam, the little Rabbits were stabbing and choking
Mawquejess, who began to beg for his life, when he felt them cut off his

The Rabbit chief said: “Yes, he is harmless now; we will spare his
life,” and turning to Alnūset, he asked what should be done with him.

Alnūset advised them to bind him with strong withes, and tie him to the
corner of the wigwam, adding, loud enough for Mawquejess to hear:

“He will make good bait for our traps when we need to use him;” and
Alnūset purred, with long purrs, and swinging his tail from side to
side, looked out of the corners of his eyes, expecting the others to
enjoy what he thought a very good joke; but Mātigwess, with the loss of
his tail, was in no humor for joking.

He sang his song for the snowflakes to disappear, and the snow at once
ceased to fall.

The game had all been frightened away, and nothing was to be heard but
the howl of wolves.

Mātigwess was very hungry, and the young tender leaf shoots, offered by
Mīko from his storehouse, did not satisfy him.

The weather had grown very cold; all the brooks were frozen over, and as
the Beaver, Muskrat, and other water animals could not come out to
feed, their traps were useless, therefore Alnūset’s joke fell short of
the mark.

Mīko did not care for meat himself; but he suggested to the friends:
“You might kill Mawquejess and catch a Wolf, with his carcass for bait.”

Mātigwess raised his tomahawk to strike; but Mawquejess cried out:--

“Don’t kill me! Take me to the lake, and cut six big holes in the ice. I
may help you yet.”

His enemies thought that he might be a good fisherman; and as they knew
nothing about such work, they decided to try his plan.

They put him on a toboggan, hauled him to the lake, and cut the six
holes, as he ordered. Then Mawquejess began to whistle and call. Foam
and bubbles could be seen through the holes in the ice, and soon Kiūnik,
the Otters, poked out their heads, holding fish in their mouths.

Alnūset and Mātigwess now thought better of their foe, and when they had
enough fish, they loaded the toboggan and hauled it back to the wigwam,
with Mawquejess on top. They all spent a very happy evening together,
and became good friends, although Mātigwess could never again have a
long tail. When the weather grew warmer, Mīko grew tired of hearing them
tell of their hair-breadth adventures, and escapes from witches and

He left them, congratulating himself that this time he had broken no
law, quite forgetting that he had failed to “mind his own business” and
had incurred the ill-will of Mawquejess.

The trees were putting forth buds, the young roots of the seedlings were
sweet and tender, and Mīko, having laid off his heaviest fur coat,
looked often in little pools of water left by the spring rains.

He never felt better in his life; and when he came upon a council held
by m’téūlins, or animals having magic powers, he entered the circle
unnoticed, feeling himself the equal of any of them.

The council had met to consider how they might destroy “K’chī Molsom,”
the Great Wolf, who lived with the Great Bat, “K’chī Medsk’weges,” on a
large island which none dared visit for fear of the Great Wolf. Mīko
remembered the Wolf as an old enemy, and hoped to see him slain. He
chattered approval to all that was said. On one occasion, all the
witches met in council to see what they could do to conquer the Wolf;
how they might contrive to kill him.

K’chī Quēnocktsh, the Big Turtle, made the first speech. Said he: “The
only way we can kill K’chī Molsom is to dig a passage under the water to
the island, then dig a big hole right under his wigwam, fill the hole
with sharp sticks and stones; then we will dig out the rest of the
ground. The wigwam will fall, and the Great Wolf will be dashed in
pieces on the sticks and stones.”

The witches thought this idea a good one, but felt that the Wolf had
such power that whoever stepped upon the island would perish.

K’chī Atōsis, the Great Snake, spoke next: “My opinion,” said he, “is
that all the witches who can fly should go there some dark night, fly
down the smokehole, bind him with strong withes before he can fight, and
bring him out where all may enjoy seeing him put to death.”

Next spoke the Alligator: “The only way to kill the Great Wolf is to lie
in wait for him on the other island. When he is hungry, he will go there
to catch seals; and we will send our best warriors and capture him

Now the Wolf knew that they had evil designs upon him, and sent the Bat
to watch, and to listen to what they had to say, and so was prepared for

The chief of the witches, a hairless bear, then said: “I have listened
to all your plans, and think all good; but the first one suits me best.
We will get ‘K’chī Pā-pā-kā-quā-hā,’ the Great Woodpecker, and Moskwe,
the Wood Worm, to do the work.”

So all the woodpeckers and all the worms set to work to dig the passage.

The Great Wolf knew all that was going on, and sent the Bat every night
to see what progress they made.

He ordered his troops, the Ants, to prepare flint and punk,
Chū-gā-gā-sīq’,--yellow rotten wood found in hollow trees.[32]

The Ants went to work and filled the wigwam with punk, the Bat,
meantime, going every few moments to watch the enemy’s progress. At last
he said that they had landed on the island.

The Wolf ordered everything to be removed from the wigwam,--his bows,
arrows, stone axes, spears, pipes, and the paddles of his great stone
canoe,--then he took the flint and set fire to the punk inside the

The Ants had also filled the mouth of the passage on the mainland with
punk, so that all the witches who went to see the killing of K’chī
Molsom might not escape but perish.

When all was ready, Woodpecker gave the signal, and the wigwam fell into
the hole, to be sure; but the blaze soon filled the passage and all
their hiding-places with fire and smoke.

The witches, vainly hoping to escape, ran to the mouth of the passage on
the mainland, but found it also stopped with fire; and they were all
burned to death.[33]

K’chī Molsom took all his men and his goods in his stone canoe, and went
to the next island, where they built a strong wigwam and thenceforth
lived, more powerful and more to be dreaded than before, fighting many
battles with the spirits of the water.


There once lived an old chief, called “M’Sūrtū,” or the Morning Star. He
had an only son, so unlike all the other boys of the tribe as to
distress the old chief. He would not stay with the others or play with
them, but, taking his bow and arrows, would leave home, going towards
the north, and stay away many days at a time.

When he came home, his relations would ask him where he had been; but he
made no answer.

At last the old chief said to his wife: “The boy must be watched. I will
follow him.”

So Morning Star kept in the boy’s trail, and travelled for a long time.
Suddenly his eyes closed, and he could not hear. He had a strange
sensation, and then knew nothing until his eyes opened in an unknown and
brightly lighted land. There were neither sun, moon, nor stars; but the
land was illumined by a singular light.

He saw human beings very unlike his own people. They gathered about him,
and tried to talk with him; but he could not understand their language.
He knew not where to go nor what to do. He was well treated by this
marvellous tribe of Indians; he watched their games, and was attracted
by a wonderful game of ball which seemed to change the light to all the
colors of the rainbow,--colors which he had never seen before. The
players all seemed to have lights on their heads, and they wore curious
girdles, called “Memquon,” or Rainbow belts.

After a few days, an old man came to him, and spoke to him in his own
tongue, asking if he knew where he was. He answered: “No.”

The old man then said: “You are in the land of Northern Lights. I came
here many years ago. I was the only one here from the ‘Lower Country,’
as we call it; but now there is a boy who visits us every few days.”

At this, the chief inquired how the old man got there, what way he came.

The old man said: “I followed the path called ‘Ketagūswōt,’ or ‘the
Spirits’ Path’ (the Milky Way).”

“That must be the same path I took,” said the chief. “Did you have a
strange feeling, as if you had lost all knowledge, while you travelled?”

“Yes,” said the old man; “I could not see nor hear.”

“Then you did come by the same path. Can you tell me how I may return
home again?”

The old man said: “The Chief of the Northern Lights will send you home,

“Well, can you tell me where or when I may see my son? The boy who
visits you is mine.”

The old man said: “You will see him playing ball, if you watch.”

Morning Star was very glad to hear this, and a few moments later, a man
went around to the wigwams, telling all to go and have a game of ball.

The old chief went with the rest; when the game began, he saw many most
beautiful colors on the playground. The old man asked him if he saw his
son among the players, and he said that he did. “The one with the
brightest light on his head is my son.”

Then they went to the Chief of the Northern Lights, and the old man
said: “The Chief of the Lower Country wishes to go home, and he also
wants his son.”

The chief asked him to stay a few days longer; but he longed to go home,
so the Chief of the Northern Lights called together his tribe to take
leave of M’Sūrtū and his son, and ordered two great birds to carry them
home. As they travelled over the Milky Way, Morning Star had the same
strange sensation as before, and when he came to his senses, he found
himself at his own door. His wife rejoiced to see him; for when the boy
had told her that his father was safe, she had not heeded him, but
feared that he was lost.


Long years ago, in a hollow tree dwelt Mosique, the Wood Worm. Mosique
is a clever builder, and he builds wigwams for many of his neighbors.
Moreover, he is a very proud old man, so that he was anything but
pleased when “Hūhuss,” the Hen Hawk, came to visit him, saying: “Let me
in, Mūsmī [my grandfather]. I have a little bird here for you.”

Now Mosique hated the Hawk, because only a short time before he had
killed one of his best friends, little “Getchkī-kī-lāssis,” the
Chickadeedee, and now he came back to taunt Mosique with the fact.

“Come, Mūsmī, let me in.”

Mosique is a skilful fighter when he is angry; but the powerful Hawk
never believed that that old worm could hurt anything. His house opened
just wide enough for Hūhuss to put in his head; but it opened into a
large room where he kept his tools of every kind.

The Little Birds were glad to see the Hawk go to Mosique’s house, for
they trusted in the Worm’s cunning.

“Come, Mūsmī, let me in. I want you to build me a good warm house. I
will pay you well for it.”

“Yes,” says Mosique, “I will build a house for my grandchildren in your
old skull.”

The Hawk laughed at him, and spat on him.

“You build a house in my skull, indeed,” said he. “Well, let me see what
you can do,” and he poked his head a little farther in.

Mosique strapped his auger to the top of his pate, turned and twisted,
and screwed himself around into Hawk’s head. He soon penetrated his
skull, and Hūhuss shrieked aloud for help, but no help came. He flew up
in agony; he flew so high that he almost reached the blue sky. All the
birds, and all the animals, looked at him, but none knew what would
become of him.

Mosique kept twisting himself around, and soon reached the Hawk’s brain.
Of course, the Hawk could not endure this, and he fell heavily to the
ground, carrying Mosique with him.

Then all the birds flocked together, and had a feast which lasted many
days, singing songs, and dancing, and shaking hands with Mosique in
token of their gratitude and joy. The Little Ants also came to attend
this great feast; and after it was over, Mosique made a long speech,
bidding them: “Tell all the Hawks, his brothers, his sisters, his sons,
and his daughters, to insult me no more. If they do, they must share the
same fate as their chief. You see him now dead. I will give his skull to
our neighbors, the ants, for their wigwam, and also a part of his old
carcass for food.”

The ants ran hastily into Hawk’s skull, and fed upon his brain.

“Now,” added Mosique, “my dear Little Birds, you know I have lived in my
wigwam for a long time. I have never troubled any one, and no one has
troubled me. This is the first one who ever came to disturb me. Here he
lies. Tell your leader, the great Woodpecker, my worst enemy,[34] what I
say. I have never talked so much before in all my life; but do you tell
him that if he ever comes to try to destroy my wigwam, I will serve him
the same as that Hawk. I do not wish to defy him myself, but you can
tell him for me.”

The Little Birds sewed leaves together, placed the Honorable Mosique on
them, raised him high in air, and sang songs of rejoicing over him:--

“K’mūs’m S’n nāhā kisi nāhāhāt ō-usell ennīt kīlon wecki w’litt hassūl
tīgiqu’,” or “our Grandfather Wood Worm has killed Hūhuss. This is what
makes us so happy.”

Then they flew up almost to the sky, came down again, left Mosique in
his wigwam and presented him with a tiny Wīsūwīgesisl, or Little Yellow
Bird,--one of their best singers,--to be his comrade and musician.

Every morning she sings: “Ētuch ūlināgusk tīke ūspesswin!” (Oh, what a
lovely, bright morning! Awake, all ye who sleep!)

This delighted Mosique.

Time passed, and the Raven fancied the looks of Mosique’s Singer, with
her bright yellow feathers shining like gold. He said: “There is but one
way to get the beautiful Singer, and that is to kill Mosique.

“But that is well-nigh impossible. While he is in his wigwam, no living
creature can destroy him. There is but one way to kill him; but it is a
sure way, I never knew it to fail. I have a piece of punk which my
grandfather, the White Otter, gave me, that will do the work.”

So next morning, it being very windy, he went to the foot of the big
tree where Mosique lived, put the punk close against the tree, set it on
fire, and it soon blazed up. Now this was sure death to Mosique.

     (Here part of the story seems to be missing, telling how the Worm
     escaped this “sure death,” but I have been unable to recover it, in
     spite of all my efforts.--A. L. A.)

Mosique, in his rage, gathered together all the Little Birds, and told
his sad story to them.

“That White Bird,” said he, “has not treated me right; but I will have
my revenge. I want you to take me where he lives.”

“We will take you to his wigwam, Grandpa,” said the Little Birds. So
they sewed the leaves together again,[35] and placing Mosique on them,
flew off with him. They soon reached the residence of Raven. Mosique
had with him a lot of “tebequenignel,” or Indian birch-bark torches. The
Little Birds set him down within a few feet of the tall spruce-tree
where the Raven lived. Now the Raven is an early riser, and goes to bed
equally early; so, as soon as it was dark, Mosique crawled up the tree,
and soon came to Raven’s door. He slipped in without being seen or
heard, and bound Raven while he slept. Then he easily made his way down
again, lighted his torches, and soon had the tree in flames. When the
fire reached the Raven, he awaked and cried out: “Oh, Mosique, have pity
on me, and untie me!” but Mosique heeded him not.

These bark torches always make a dense smoke, which soon blackened the
Raven. As the flames drew nearer, the cords which bound the Raven were
burned away, or snapped asunder, and he escaped uninjured. But his
beauty was gone forever. Up to this time, he was a snow-white bird; but
ever since he has been as black as charcoal, down to this very day.


       *       *       *       *       *

_Messrs. Roberts Brothers’ Publications._


A Volume of Stories.


_16mo. Cloth. Price, $1.00_.

These stories are marked with originality and power. The titles are as
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     III. =POOR FOLK.= By FEDOR DOSTOIEVSKY. Translated from the Russian
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     XXV. =DAY-BOOKS.= Chronicles of Good and Evil. By MABEL E. WOTTON.

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One volume, 12mo, cloth, illustrated. Price, $2.00.

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 [1] This plant is much used by an Indian tribe in Lower California
 who are said to live to a great age, one hundred and eighty years
 being no uncommon term of life with them. It is not now known to
 exist among the Eastern Indians. It grew like maize, about two feet
 high, and was always in motion, even when boiling in the pot. Louis
 Mitchell’s mother, whom I knew well, received it from an Indian who
 wished to marry, and to whom she gave in return enough goods to set up
 housekeeping. She divided it with her four sisters, but at their death
 no trace of it was found. It gave him who drank it great length of

 [2] C. G. Leland gives a similar story in his “Algonquin Legends of
 New England.”

 [3] Magician.

 [4] A pack kettle made of birch bark, used by the Indian before the
 days of trunks. I have a toy one a hundred years old or more.

 [5] Grandmother.

 [6] This incident occurs in several tales.

 [7] Stones were heated in a fire on the ground, when red-hot, cold
 water was thrown on them to make a steam.

 [8] A different version of this story is given in C. G. Leland’s
 “Algonquin Legends of New England,” Houghton & Mifflin, Boston, 1884.

 [9] Red-headed duck.

 [10] Leather pouch.

 [11] A kiawākq’s little finger possesses the power of speech, and
 always warns him of approaching danger.

 [12] C. G. Leland gives similar stories in his “Algonquin Legends of
 New England.”

 [13] See also C. G. Leland’s “Algonquin Legends of New England,”
 Houghton & Mifflin, for similar stories.

 [14] An evil witch, see Leland’s “Algonquin Legends of New England.”

 [15] Willow saplings, covered with fungus growth, found about marshy
 places where frogs live.

 [16] Friend.

 [17] The Southwest Wind usually brings warm rain, which brightens the
 face of Nature.

 [18] The Southwest Wind blows hither and thither, very capriciously,
 like the tossing of a ball.

 [19] A mythical bird whose wings are so large as to darken the sun
 when he flies between it and the earth. Indians believe that they must
 fall on their faces when he flies by, or be blind till sunset.

 [20] When Passamaquoddy Indians catch a grasshopper, they hold him in
 the palm of the hand and say, “Give me a chew of tobacco.” The liquid
 that the insect spits looks like tobacco juice.

 [21] Wampum.

 [22] The skin of a white bear is very powerful in magic.

 [23] The Indian who told this tale explained it as being the story
 of the white man and the red man. The white man is the Porcupine who
 came from afar with an army of swords. He promised fairly; he had
 everything; the Indian had only his arrows and his land. He thought it
 was wisest to say: “Take what you will.” But the white man killed him,
 and took all his land.

 [24] Wood worms.

 [25] This version of “The Fox and the Crane” shows how the Indian
 changed the fables of Æsop and La Fontaine, told him by French
 missionaries, to suit his own native surroundings.

 [26] Old Māli Dana, the Passamaquoddy squaw, when asked to explain
 these words, replied: “That what Squirrel say when he get frightened
 or cross.”

 [27] This bird seems to be the robin.

 [28] This appears to have no meaning, but to be only an attempt on the
 part of the Indian story-teller to imitate the notes of the bird.

 [29] K’mūsamīs’n.

 [30] Rabbits ever since have had short tails.

 [31] These words are in an ancient tongue whose meaning is now known
 to none of the Indians, the words only being retained.

 [32] The Indians formerly used this with flint to light their fires.

 [33] Mīko had made good his escape before the fire got to burning
 well; but his beautiful silky coat of brown fur was scorched red by
 the heat, and has remained so ever since.

 [34] Woodpeckers devour the wood worms.

 [35] A worm, of course, could not fly.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "In Indian Tents - Stories Told By Penobscot, Passamaquoddy and Micmac Indians - to Abby L. Alger" ***

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