Native American Legends
Míkmaq women who married Star Husbands
A Micmac Legend
Áa, in the morning, when the men have gone out to hunt,
these two women just walk off deeper into the forest, and disappear
from that camp.
They are happy, these two women. They are Skusískwaq, Weasel
Women, and their skins are very white, like every Weasel Person's
fur is, in the wintertime. And these two Skusískwaq are sisters.
Older Sister has Power. She takes them deep into the forest, and
there she builds them a shelter-camp. Younger Sister makes a small
Now it is night. The sun has gone beneath the earth, and those
two sisters, those two Weasels, are lying there looking up at the
stars. Older Sister says to Younger Sister, "Those are Persons
up in the Sky World. Look at their eyes, shining up there."
Younger Sister says, "Which one would you like to have for
your husband, lying with you in the morning? One with big eyes,
or one with little eyes?"
Older Sister says, "I choose that one there, the shiniest
Younger Sister says, "Oh, that one. That one is ugly."
"So," says Older Sister. "So then. Which one would
"I will have that little star there, the little red one."
And then these two Weasel Women fall asleep, looking toward the
east, where their two stars are hunting across the night.
Now it is morning. Younger Sister stretches under her furs; she
is waking up. Her foot touches something.
"Be careful!" cries a little squeaking voice. "You
have upset the bark dish of nepíjekwati, the medicine for
my eyes." Younger Sister sits up. Who has spoken? By her side
is a little small old man, with a wrinkled face and sore red eyes.
It is that small red Star Person. She has called him to be her husband,
by talking in the night. She has called the Star With Sore Eyes.
Now Older Sister begins to wake up. She moves a little under her
sleeping robes. "Watch out, woman," says a man's voice.
It is a deep strong voice. "You have upset the bark dish with
my sikwan, my red ochre." Older Sister rolls over and sits
up. Lying there next to her is a man, a tall man, a strong man.
His face is painted with red ochre. It is her Star Husband, whom
she has called to her by talking in the night. She has called the
Star With Shining Eyes. So these two Weasel Women are caught again,
and they must be the wives of Stars.
"I have nothing to give you to eat," says Older Sister.
"We will not eat until we have come home from hunting,"
says her husband. "You can gather wood and tend the fire, and
prepare for our return. But there is one thing you must not do."
Áa," says Younger Sister's Husband, the Star With Sore
Eyes. "There is one thing you must not do. You must not move
that flat rock which lies before the wigwam. You must not move it,
you must not lift it."
"Very well," says Older Sister. "We will cook for
you on your return."
Now many days go by. The Weasel Women go out to look for sipeknk,
the ground-nuts, wild potatoes. They are digging them up, they are
going to cook them. And Younger Sister is talking again.
"I wonder what is under that flat stone?"
"You leave that flat stone alone," says Older Sister.
But Younger Sister keeps talking about it, and soon she has talked
herself right up to it, and soon she has talked her hands right
on it, and then she is lifting it up.
She lifts up the stone and looks under it.
"What is there?" asks Older Sister.
Younger Sister screams.
"Where are we?" shrieks Younger Sister. "Where are
we, my Older Sister?"
Older Sister pushes her aside, and looks under the stone, looks
to see what is making her little Weasel Sister yell so. And she
sees: they are in the World Above the Sky. They are standing on
top of the sky. The stone is covering a hole in it, and through
this hole she can see down, down, down to the earth below, to the
forest, to the little shelter-camp she built the night the two of
them lay talking together about the eyes of stars.
Older Sister bursts into tears. Younger Sister bursts into tears.
These two Weasel Women weep until their eyes are red with crying.
Way out in the forest of the World Above the Sky, the Star Husbands
are hunting. And they begin to know something, feeling wrong. They
begin to feel their wives crying. "We had better go back,"
says the Star Husband With Shining Eyes. "They must have lifted
the stone," says the Star With Sore Eyes. "Listen to them
It is almost evening when those Star Persons come out of the forest.
Their Weasel Wives are trying to cook, trying to pretend that nothing
But Star Persons have Power, and they know. "What has troubled
you today?" they are asking their wives. "What have you
been crying about?"
"Nothing is wrong," says Younger Sister. "We have
not been crying."
"Ah," says the husband of Older Sister. "I think
you have been looking through the hole in the sky. I think you have
been lifting the stone and looking down at your world. And I think
that you are lonely and want to return to it."
Older Sister looks up at her Star Husband. She cannot say anything.
She looks at him and tears start to come out of her eyes.
"Very well," he says to her. "You may go back to
the earth world."
The old Star With Sore Eyes tells them, "Tonight, Weasel Women,
you must sleep close together. You must keep your fur robes over
your heads. And in the morning, when the sun comes from beneath
the earth, you must lie very still. Do not take the robes from over
your heads, do not open your eyes. First you will hear the chickadee
calling. Keep your eyes shut. Next you will hear Apalpaqmej, Red
Squirrel Person, you will hear him singing. Do not open your eyes.
After a long time, you will hear Atu'tuej, Striped Squirrel. He
will sing, and then you may open your eyes."
"If you do as we have told you," says the tall Star Husband,
"you will find yourselves back in your shelter-camp, the place
you were lying the night you invited us to come and be your husbands."
So these two Weasel Women lie down together and cover their heads
with sleeping robes. The night passes, and in the morning they hear
the chickadee. Younger Sister, always impatient, wants to leap up,
but Older Sister forces her to lie still. "Wait! Wait until
we hear Atu'tuej," she says.
After a long while they hear something singing. What is it? It
is Apalpaqmej, Red Squirrel. And that foolish Younger Sister, that
silly Weasel Woman, she jumps at the noise and throws off the covers.
And then she begins to squeal.
"Where are we, my Older Sister?"
Older Sister sighs and opens her eyes. The sun has come from beneath
the earth, and these Weasel Women are back in their own world. But
they have opened their eyes too soon on the way down, and now they
are stuck in the top of a tall, tall pine tree, a kuow tree. There
are no branches in this tree, except a few at the very top, and
these two women cannot get down.
Native American Legends
Back to Top
Other Native American Legends