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Native American Legends

The Empounded Water

A Malecite Legend

Aglabem kept back all the water in the world; so that rivers stopped flowing, and lakes dried up, and the people everywhere began dying of thirst.

As a last resort, they sent a messenger to him to ask him to give the people water; but he refused, and gave the messenger only a drink from the water in which he washed. But this was not enough to satisfy even the thirst of one.

Then the people began complaining, some saying, "I'm as dry as a fish," "I'm as dry as a frog," "I'm as dry as a turtle," "I'm as dry as a beaver," and the like, as they were on the verge of dying of thirst.

At last a great man was sent to Aglabem to beg him to release the water for the people. Aglabem refused, saying that he needed it himself to lie in. Then the messenger felled a tree, so that it fell on top of the monster and killed him.

The body of this tree became the main river (St. John's River), and the branches became the tributary branches of the river, while the leaves became the ponds at the heads of these streams. As the waters flowed down to the villages of the people again, they plunged in to drink, and became transformed into the animals to which they had likened themselves when formerly complaining of their thirst.

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