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How Lox told a lie

A Passamaquoddy Legend

Lox had a brother, who had married a red squaw. When she was touched the red color rubbed off. The brother kept this wife in a box.

One day, returning, the brother saw that Lox had red fingers. "Aha!" he cried, in a rage, "you have taken my wife out of the box." But Lox denied it, so that his brother believed him. The next time the husband returned, Lox's fingers were again red. And again he was accused, and once more he denied it. But as he swore with all his might that he was innocent, something, as if on the floor, laughed, and said, You lie. I was with you; I helped you."

Lox thought it was his right foot. So he cut off the toes, and then the foot, but the accusation continued. Thinking it was the other foot, he cut that off; yet as the testimony was continued, he found that it was Taloose, even he himself, the bodily offender in person, testifying against his lying soul. So in a rage he struck himself such a blow with his war-club that he fell dead.

I cannot give in full all the adventures of Lox. I may, however, observe one thing of great importance. Lox, in these tales, is the Evil Principle, that is, a giant by birth. His two feet in this story are male and female; they talk as if they were human. In the Edda, a giant's two feet beget together a six-headed son (Vafthrudnismal):-

"Foot with foot begot
Of that wise Jötun,
A six-headed son."

This six-headed son reappears as a demon in the Passamaquoddy tale of the Three Strong Men.

Taloose, literally translated, is the phallus. The red squaw refers to the Newfoundland Indians, covered with red ochre. They are believed to be now extinct.

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