Native American Legends
Nukumi and Fire
A Micmac Legend
One cold, autumn morning in a low valley a great, gray stone sat
covered with dew. The rock was very old and had sat there for many,
many moons. It had seen the passing of many animals and many seasons
but this day as Niskam heated the rock and the dew rose as a mist
from it Niskam decided to give life to this rock. So as the rock
grew hotter and the steam from the dew hovered over it this one
old rock was given the body of an old, old woman. This was Nukumi.
Kluskap had been watching the birds and the plants and the animals
and learning all he could. Now there came a day as he traveled that
he wandered into this valley and there he met Nukumi. As Kluskap
talked to Nukumi he realized how much widow she had and he wanted
to learn all that he could from her. Nukumi explained that she would
be happy to be his grandmother and share her wisdom but as an old
woman meat was necessary for her. She could not live only on plants
Kluskap was so happy to have a grandmother that he called to Marten
swimming in the river. He asked Marten if he would give his life
so that Kluskap's grandmother could live. All of the animals were
friend to Kluskap and Marten said he would do this for his friend.
Now Kluskap told Marten that for this sacrifice he would make Marten
his brother. So Nukumi snapped Marten's neck and placed him on the
ground but Kluskap felt so bad that he called to Kisúlkw
to return Marten to life.
Now Nukumi used her wisdom to speak with Kisúlkw and Kluskap
and Marten was brought back to life so he could return to his river
but where he lay on the ground was the body of another marten. Nukumi
told Kluskap that from this point the animals would be brother and
friend to Kluskap. They would be there willing to provide food and
clothing, shelter and tools but always they must be treated with
the respect given a brother and friend because they would only be
there to provide what is necessary for life. Marten will always
be the first of Kluskap's friends.
Kluskap asked Robin to fly to the place where the lightning had
hit the ground to give Kluskap life, and bring the sparks that were
there to him. Robin flew to the place but he had to use two dry
sticks to carry the sparks because they were so hot. As he flew
the wind caused the sticks to burn and robin's breast turned red.
Still he brought the fire to Kluskap and Nukumi put more wood on
this fire and Niskam breathed on the sparks so that they burned
the wood and created Great Spirit Fire. But all robins after this
had red breasts and when two dry sticks are rubbed together they
So the first meat was cooked over fire and Kluskap and his grandmother
started their time together. Kluskap would help his grandmother
survive and she would share her wisdom and knowledge with him.
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