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Native American Legends

How Glooscap Created Sugarloaf Mountain

An Abenaki Legend

A long time ago, the people used to live near the riverbanks in the summer time, and they could watch all the salmon going up the river to spawn. One day, they noticed the salmon could not get up the river anymore.

Remember, in those days the beaver were very, very big. And they had built a dam across the Restigouche River. That is why the salmon could not get up the river to spawn.

The people were very upset indeed! Because they knew if the salmon could not get up the river to have their babies, there would be no more salmon and they would have none for food in the winter.

So they held a council with all the people. They said that they didn't want to rely on Glooscap. They decided they would go out in their canoes to fight the beavers.

The men got in their canoes but when they got close to the beavers, they splashed the water with their huge tails. The canoes and the men went flying up into the air and fell into the water. They could not get past the beavers in order to destroy the dam. The beavers were just too big.

So they swam ashore and they reconsidered calling Glooscap. At the time, Loon was Glooscap's messenger. They asked Loon to call him.

Loon made his wailing sound and called Glooscap. It was carried across the water to Glooscap, and our friend soon came riding on the back of his whale.

Glooscap asked them, "Why did you call me?"

They tell him about the beavers and how they had made a dam all the way across the river, and how the salmon could no longer get up the river to spawn.

They say that they will not have any more salmon to eat if they can't get up the river and have their babies.

So Glooscap walked to the middle of the dam and hit it with his club. When he hit the dam, parts of it flew away. One of these parts became an island. It is now called Heron Island. Another part that flew away is now called Bantry Point.

Glooscap caught the leader of the beavers and swung him around and around by his tail. When Glooscap let go, the beaver landed many miles away and turned into rock. Today, that rock is called Sugarloaf Mountain.

Glooscap then turned to the other beavers. They were afraid, so instead, he stroked their heads. And with each stroke, they became smaller and smaller, until they reached the size they are today.

Glooscap promised the people that the beavers in New Brunswick would never grow that big again. The beavers will not build a dam so big that it stops the salmon from getting through. The people will never have to worry about that problem again.

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