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How Lox came to grief by trying to catch a Salmon

A Passamaquoddy Legend

Kusk, the Crane, had two brothers. One of these was Lox, the Wolverine, or Indian Devil. And his other brother was Koskomines, the Blue Jay.

Kusk was very lazy, and one day, being hungry, thought he would go and get a dinner from Lox. Lox served him a kind of pudding-soup in a broad, flat platter. Poor Kusk could hardly get a mouthful, while Lox lapped it all up with ease.

Soon after, Kusk made a fine soup, and invited Lox to dinner. This he served up in a jug, a long cylinder. None of it had Lox. Kusk ate it all.

The next day the pair went to dine with Blue Jay. Blue Jay said, "Wait till I get our food." Then he ran out on a bough of a tree which spread over a river, and in a minute fished out a large salmon. "Truly," thought Lox, "that is easy to do, and I can do it."

So the next day he invited the Blue Jay and Crane to feed with him. Then he, too, ran down to the river and out on a tree, and, seeing a fine salmon, caught at it with his claws. but he had not learned the art, and so fell into the river, and was swept away by the rushing current.

This is one of Æsop's fables Indianized and oddly eked out with a fragment from a myth attributed to both Manobozho and the Wabanaki Rabbit. As the Wolverine has a great resemblance to Loki, it may be here observed that, while he dies in trying to catch a salmon, "Loki, in the likeness of a salmon, cast himself into the waterfall of Frânângr," which was effectively his last act in life before being captured by the gods, as told in the Edda. Otter, in the Edda, caught a salmon, and was then caught by Loki. There is, of course, great confusion here, but the Indian tale is a mere fragment, carelessly pieced and indifferently told. Lox is, like Loki, fire, and perishes by water.

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