Native American Legends
The bird whose wings made the wind
A Micmac Legend
An Indian family resided on the seashore. They had two sons, the
oldest of whom was married and had a family of small children. They
lived principally by fishing, and the their favorite food was eels.
Now it came to pass at a certain time that the weather was so stormy
they could not fish. The wind blew fiercely night and day, and they
were greatly reduced by hunger. Finally the old father told his
boys to walk along the shore, and perhaps they might find a fish
that had floated ashore, as sometimes happened.
So one of the young men started off to try his luck in this line;
when he reached a point where the wind blew so fiercely that he
could hardly stand against it, he saw the cause of all the trouble.
At the end of the point there was a ledge of rocks, called Rocky
Point, extending far out; at low water the rocks were separated
from one another by the shallow water, but nearly all covered when
the tide was in. On the farthest rock a large bird, the storm-king,
was standing, flapping his wings and causing all the trouble by
the wind he raised. The Indian planned to outwit him.
He called to the big bird, and addressed him as "my grandfather,"
said, "Are you cold?" He answered, "No." The
man replied, "You are cold; let me carry you ashore on my back."
"Do so," was the answer. So the man waded over to the
rock on which the bird was sitting, took him on his back, and carefully
carried him from rock to rock, wading over the intervening spaces
of shoal water. In going down the last rock, he stumbled on purpose,
but pretended it was an accident; and the poor old bird fell and
broke one of his wings.
The man seemed very sorry, and immediately proceeded to set the
bone and bind up the wing. He then directed the old fellow to keep
quiet and not move his wings until the wounded one healed. He now
inquired if it pained him much, and was told that it did not. "Remain
there and I will visit you again soon, and bring you some food."
He now returned home, and found that the wind had all died away;
there was a dead calm, so that before long they were supplied with
a great abundance of food, as the eels were plenty and easily taken.
But there can be too much of even a good thing.
Calm weather continued for a succession of days, causing the salt
water to be covered with a sort of scum. The Indians say it is the
results of sickness and vomiting among the larger fish; this scum
prevents the fishermen from seeing into the water, and consequently
is adverse to eel-spearing. This took place on the occasion referred
to, and so they sought for a remedy. The big bird was visited and
his wing examined. It was sufficiently recovered to admit of motion,
and he was told to keep both his wings going, but that the motion
must be steady and gentle. This produced the desired effect.
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