Native American Legends
The Legend of the Great White Pine
An Ojibwa Legend
Those of you that have hiked or driven through the great Ontario
Provincial Park that forms most of the Sibley Peninsula and have
gazed in wonderment at the magnificent 'White Pines that literally
cover the area right up to the Sleeping Giant, may be interested
to know that, according to legend, these did not get there by accident.
About two thousand years ago, a tribe of Ojibway Indians lived
on the shore of Thunder Bay in the vicinity of Sibley Peninsula
and had for their Chief a very wise and much traveled Indian, of
Golden Eagle, for that was the chieftain's name, at the time of
this story, had reached the age of ninety years and was very close
Calling his son to his bedside, the old man took a deerskin bag
from under the furs and, placing the bag in his son's hands, softly
spoke this message: "Ti-Baki- Enane, my days are few. In this
bag you will find many seeds that I have brought from a great distance.
Take good care of them and, whenever a new child is born to my people,
plant a seed in good earth for it. Soon, great trees will grow from
the seeds and my people will build their homes from the wood. They
will also build great ships and they will prosper".
"I will do as you wish, my father", answered Ti-Baki-Enane
and quietly left the old man to end his days in peace. For years,
the young man faithfully planted the seeds whenever a new papoose
was born and soon beautiful white pines dotted the land. As they
became large enough to bear cones, Ti-Baki-Enane gathered more and
One night, while he lay asleep in his tepee, he was suddenly awakened
by a strange sound, his tepee seemed to glow with a bright light
and there, at the foot of his bed of furs, stood the Spirits of
his father and two other Great Chiefs.
The Spirit of Golden Eagle spoke very softly. "My son, you
have kept your promise well and we are well pleased. We have come
to give you a great duty to perform. Tonight, the greatest Child
the world has ever known will be born. Pick the finest seed that
you have and go to the highest place and plant it at once. All men
will see the tree that springs from it, and wonder ... Farewell,
Immediately Ti-Baki-Enane arose and, selecting the largest and
finest-looking seed, ran to the top of Thunder Hill and there he
Truly this was a special tree, for it grew three times faster than
any other, and in a few years it towered at least five times higher
than the White Pines around it. So tall was it that at night the
stars seemed to hang from its great boughs.
It soon got the name of the "Great Papoose Tree" and
Indians came from miles around to see it and each would hang, a
little pair of moccasins, or a child's buckskin shirt and many other
little gifts for the children that had lost their parents. Deer
and the little animals of the woods would sleep in safety under
it and many a lost Indian would find refuge for the night beneath
its friendly boughs.
This great and magnificent tree lived for thirty years and then
one Friday, it was struck down during one of the terrible storms
for which Thunder Bay is noted.
Now, nothing remains of this beautiful White Pine, but the memory
of it is kept alive each year as we place the little gifts for our
children under the starlit fragrant bough of our own.
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