The Water Fairies
A Micmac Legend
Far within a thick forest a young man lived with his parents and older brother. One day while walking along the shore of a lake. he saw a group of beautiful young women playing ball. He was so pleased by their beauty that he moved quietly near and watched them at their Play. They looked different from any girls he had ever seen. for they were dressed in the costumes of the old days.
At last one or them saw him and cried in alarm, "Look out!" None of them had ever seen a man before and so, frightened, they dived into the water and disappeared from his view.
The young man was greatly disappointed, for they were so pretty that he wanted to capture one of them. Thinking that they might return, he planned how he would conceal himself First he broke from a stem a peculiar leaf that has a kind or cover over its top. probably the jack-in-the-pulpit, and placed it on a rock near the lake. Then he made himself very small and hid in the leaf.
After a while he heard the girls come out of the water and begin again their game of ball on the shore. They were near him and yet too far away for him to reach them. Hoping to attract. their attention, he jumped up and down in the leaf and moved nearer them. Just as he was about to seize one of them. she saw him and cried out as before. Again the water fairies dived into the lake and disappeared. Again the young man was discouraged. but soon he was more determined than ever to win one of them for his wife.
While trying to think of a new way or hiding he saw a bunch of reeds growing near the water. He broke off one of them, saw that it was hollow, and hid himself within it.
A third time the water fairies arose from the lake and continued their game of ball. Again they came near the hiding place of the young man. but again something alarmed them and they all ran toward the water. This time, however, the young man seized one of them before she could disappear. She begged him to let her go "I am married," she said. in response to his plea. "But if you will let me go. I will bring my younger sister to you tomorrow."
He released her, and she kept her promise. Next day she returned with her beautiful young sister, who, willingly followed the young man to his wigwam.
Alter their first child was born. the young wife Said that she wished to see her father and mother again. The husband consented, saying that he would like to go with her. So they traveled to the lake, the mother carrying the baby in a case on her back. At the shore, she walked straight, on into the lake. At first her husband was afraid to follow, but she persuade, him to go with her, even under the surface of the water.
Soon things began to look very much as they did in the upper world after a while they reached a large village in the midst of a wooded country of great beauty.
"My father is chief here," the wife explained. And she led her husband to his lodge, where they and the child were warmly welcomed. The chief and his wife had the form of fish below the waist, of human beings above. The father was the ruler, of the many kinds of fish living in village.
For some time the little family from the above world lived pleasantly in the village, but at last the man wanted to return home. He and his wife had not gone far when they were pursued by huge shark. For a while they thought, that they could escape its grasp, but later the wife's strength began to fail her. She took from her back the case in which she carried the child and fastened it on her husband's back.
"Do not wait for me." she said. save yourself and the baby. Go straight toward the sun, and you will reach the shore at the point where we left it. I will try to follow YOU."
The man did as she directed. and so reached the take shore. With the child he sat there, waiting, for a long time. But his wife did not appear. At last he knew that she must have been captured by the shark, and so he went home. What do you think? Was she really captured?
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