Native American Legends
The Giant and the Four Wind Brothers
A Penobscot Legend
There were four brothers in a family that lived in a huge cave
on the top of a high mountain in the present state of Maine. One
brother was North-wind, one South-wind, another West-wind, and the
other one East-wind. They were the ones who made all of the winds
West-wind was the youngest, North-wind the oldest, South-wind second
oldest, and East-wind second youngest. To cause the winds, they
stood up with their heads above the cave hole and blew. The forthcoming
wind occurred according to whichever brother performed--North, South,
East, or West.
West-wind was very wild when he blew. North-wind chided him "No,
No! Don't do that! You will raise such high winds that you will
destroy our good people, the Penobscots."
When West-wind jumped up again to blow, North-wind again told him,
"No! No! Stop or you will kill our mother." So lived the
Four Wind Brothers, causing and regulating the winds of the world.
North-wind was always the softest wind, East-wind a little stronger
and harsher, South-wind with strong gusts, but not as much as West-wind
the youngest. Whenever the Four Wind Brothers blew the winds, they
were not satisfied until each performed in his particular style
Often they would say to each other as a warning, "We must
try to care for our friends, the Penobscots, so we do not destroy
any thing or any one of them."
About this same time, a Giant Beaver had this home on the top of
a great rock by the shore of Big Lake. This Giant Beaver, about
one hundred feet long, had a very large lodge. Near him lived a
Giant Penobscot who liked to hunt for the Giant Beaver. But Giant
Penobscot lived in fear of a Monster Eagle, who kept watching all
the time for the right moment to snatch and carry Giant Penobscot
to its nest.
Monster Eagle was so large that he could pick up a giant man like
an ordinary eagle would carry a rabbit, even though the giant was
as tall as the tallest tree. At last Giant Penobscot's family was
out of food, and he was compelled to go out and hunt. He took his
long-handled ice chisel and went in search of the Giant Beaver.
Giant Penobscot succeeded in driving the Beaver from his Lodge,
and he cornered him and killed him. After packing the Giant Beaver
on his back, Giant Penobscot joyfully started homeward with his
onster Eagle had seen Giant Penobscot from a great height. Down
swooped the Eagle, picking up both Giant Beaver and Giant Penobscot,
as easily as carrying two rabbits.
Far up on a rocky mountainside, Monster Eagle flew with its prey
to its nest, which was thousands of feet above the valley. Monster
Eagle's nest was enormous, with many young eagles in it. When Monster
Eagle deposited his victims in the nest, he began feeding the dead
beaver to his eaglets. Monster Eagle kept Giant Penobscot safely
to one side, until all of the beaver had been eaten.
Then Monster Eagle prepared to kill the Giant Penobscot. He quickly
flew high into the air and turned sharply, diving straight down
to strike Giant Penobscot with his beak, wings, and claws. But Giant
Penobscot held upright his sharp ice chisel with the butt end braced
against a rocky ledge beside him. Monster Eagle descended violently
upon the point of the ice chisel and he died instantly.
Now that Giant Penobscot was free, he wondered how he could get
down to earth again before being eaten by the eaglets as they grew
larger. He thought and thought, finally deciding to cut out the
body of Monster Eagle and crawl inside the feathered skin, using
Eagle's wings to glide down from the mountain.
Coincidentally, on this same mountain lived the Four Wind Brothers.
North-wind saw Monster Eagle destroy himself. He also observed Giant
Penobscot preparing to fly down to earth. North-wind called his
three brothers to come and see.
"Let us all blow gently beneath Eagle's wings and help the
good Penobscot to land softly upon the earth," said North-wind
to his Brother Winds.
Inside Monster Eagle's wings, the Giant Penobscot soared off the
mountain. Gently the Four Wind Brothers blew beneath his wings,
guiding him while he easily floated to the Penobscot village below.
Meanwhile, when Giant Penobscot's family found that he had disappeared,
they knew he must have been carried away by some flying giant, because
his tracks led to nowhere.
One of the ancient men of the Penobscot tribe said, "We must
all help our brother escape with our good thoughts. We must wish
for his safe return by Chief of the Sky Spirits."
When Giant Penobscot floated safely back to his tribe and told
his people of his adventure, the Ancient One said, "It was
the strength of our wishes to Chief Sky Spirit that brought you
back to your people. Now let us have a thanksgiving feast and rejoice."
Gently the Four Wind Brothers passed over the Penobscot Indian
village on their happy return to their mountaintop cave.
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