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Native American Legends

Of the great deeds which Glooskap did for men;
How he named the animals, and who they were that formed his family

A Passamaquoddy Legend

Woodénit atók-hagen Gloosekap: this is a story of Glooskap. It is told in traditions of the old time that Glooskap was born in the land of the Wabanaki, which is nearest to the sunrise; but another story says that he came over the sea in a great stone canoe, and that this canoe was an island of granite covered with trees. When the great man, of all men and beasts chief ruler, had come down from this ark, he went among the Wabanaki. And calling all the animals he gave them each a name: unto the Bear, mooin; and asked him what he would do if he should meet with a man. The Bear said, "I fear him, and I should run." Now in those days the Squirrel (mi-ko) was greater than the Bear. Then Glooskap took him in his hands, and smoothing him down he grew smaller and smaller, till he became as we see him now. In after-days the Squirrel was Glooskap's dog, and when he so willed, grew large again and slew his enemies, however fierce they might be. But this time, when asked what he would do should he meet with a man, Mi-ko replied, "I should run up a tree."

Then the Moose, being questioned, answered, standing still and looking down, "I should run through the woods." And so it was with Kwah-beet the Beaver, and Glooskap saw that of all created beings the first and greatest was Man.

Before men were instructed by him, they lived in darkness; it was so dark that they could not even see to slay their enemies. Glooskap taught them how to hunt, and to build huts and canoes and weirs for fish. Before he came they knew not how to make weapons or nets. He the Great Master showed them the hidden virtues of plants, roots, and barks, and pointed out to them such vegetables as might be used for food, as well as what kinds of animals, birds, and fish were to be eaten. And when this was done he taught them the names of all the stars. He loved mankind, and wherever he might be in the wilderness he was never very far from any of the Indians. He dwelt in a lonely land, but whenever they sought him they found him. He traveled far and wide: there is no place in all the land of the Wabanaki where he left not his name; hills, rocks and rivers, lakes and islands, bear witness to him.

Glooskap was never married, yet as he lived like other men he lived not alone. There dwelt with him an old woman, who kept his lodge; he called her Noogumee, "my grandmother." (Micmac.) With her was a youth named Abistanaooch, or the Martin. (Micmac) And Martin could change himself to a baby or a little boy, a youth or a young man, as befitted the time in which he was to act; for all things about Glooskap were very wonderful. This Martin ate always from a small birch-bark dish, called witch-kwed-lakun-cheech (Micmac), and when he left this anywhere Glooskap was sure to find it, and could tell from its appearance all that had befallen his family. And Martin was called by Glooskap Uch-keen (Micmac) "my younger brother." The Lord of men and beasts had a belt which gave him magical power and endless strength. And when he lent this to Martin, the younger brother could also do great deeds, such as were only done in old times.

Martin lived much with the Mikumwess or Elves, or Fairies, and is said to have been one of them.

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