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Native American Legends

Míkmaq legend of the Turtle

A Micmac Legend

In the long ago turtle was the great story teller of all the birds and animals of Kluskap's land. During the summer he had many friends, but when the cold Winter King came from the northland, most of the birds flew south to the home of the warm Summer Queen and many of the animals hibernated deep underground. Turtle did not know how to do this. He walked so slowly that the cold Winter King soon caught up with him. He nearly froze. He was so very cold and lonesome.

However, his great friendliness was his way to rescue. He talked to the geese about taking him to the warm south. They agreed to do so only if they could find some way to stop turtle from talking, for he was a bore to the geese who liked to honk their tales far and wide. The wiley geese found a way. They carried turtle by his mouth on a stick and, of course, once off the ground he didn't dare open his mouth.

He did not enjoy his stay in the land of the Summer Queen. It was too warm in his heavy shell and he missed many of his dear friends. The next summer the maidens of the Queen brought him back to Kluskap's land and taught him how to hibernate.

It is said that if you find a turtle hibernating from the cold of the great Winter King he will be deep under the soil telling stories all winter long to his many friends.

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