Native American Legends
Glooskap the Divinity. of Glooskap's Birth, and of his Brother Malsum the Wolf
An Algonquin Legend
Now the great lord Glooskap, who was worshiped in after-days by
all the Wabanaki, or children of light, was a twin with a brother.
As he was good, this brother, whose name was Malsumsis, or Wolf
the younger, was bad. Before they were born, the babes consulted
to consider how they had best enter the world. And Glooskap said,
"I will be born as others are." But the evil Malsumsis thought himself
too great to be brought forth in such a manner, and declared that
he would burst through his mother's side. And as they planned it
so it came to pass. Glooskap as first came quietly to light, while
Malsumsis kept his word, killing his mother.
The two grew up together, and one day the younger, who knew that
both had charmed lives, asked the elder what would kill him, Glooskap.
Now each had his own secret as to this, and Glooskap, remembering
how wantonly Malsumsis had slain their mother, thought it would
be misplaced confidence to trust his life to one so fond of death,
while it might prove to be well to know the bane of the other. So
they agreed to exchange secrets, and Glooskap, to test his brother,
told him that the only way in which he himself could be slain was
by the stroke of an owl's feather, though this was not true. And
Malsumsis said, "I can only die by a blow from a fern-root."
It came to pass in after-days that Kwah-beet-a-sis, the son of
the Great Beaver, or, as others say, Miko the Squirrel, or else
the evil which was in himself, tempted Malsumsis to kill Glooskap;
for in those days all men were wicked. So taking his bow he shot
Ko-ko-khas the Owl, and with one of his feathers he struck Glooskap
while sleeping. Then he awoke in anger, yet craftily said that it
was not by an owl's feather, but by a blow from a pine-root, that
his life would end.
Then the false man led his brother another day far into the forest
to hunt, and, while he again slept, smote him on the head with a
pine-root. But Glooskap arose unharmed, drove Malsumsis away into
the woods, sat down by the brook-side, and thinking aver all that
had happened, said, "Nothing but a flowering rush can kill me."
But the Beaver, who was hidden among the reeds, heard this, and
hastening to Malsumsis told him the secret of his brother's life.
For this Malsumsis promised to bestow on Beaver whatever he should
ask; but when the latter wished for wings like a pigeon, the warrior
laughed, and scornfully said, "Get thee hence; thou with a tail
like a file, what need hast thou of wings?"
Then the Beaver was angry, and went forth to the camp of Glooskap,
to whom he told what he had done. Therefore Glooskap arose in sorrow
and in anger, took a fern-root, sought Malsumsis in the deep, dark
forest, and smote him so that he fell down dead. And Glooskap sang
a song over him and lamented.
The Beaver and the Owl and the Squirrel, for what they did and
as they did it, all come again into these stories; but Malsumsis,
being dead, was turned into the Shick-shoe mountains in the Gaspe
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