The Algonquin Legends of New England
by Charles Godfrey Leland
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Myths and Folk Lore of the Micmac, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot Tribes



From a scraping on birch bark by Tomak Josephs, Indian Governor at Peter Dona's Point, Maine. The Mik um wees always wears a red cap like the Norse Goblin.]


When I began, in the summer of 1882, to collect among the Passamaquoddy Indians at Campobello, New Brunswick, their traditions and folk-lore, I expected to find very little indeed. These Indians, few in number, surrounded by white people, and thoroughly converted to Roman Catholicism, promised but scanty remains of heathenism. What was my amazement, however, at discovering, day by day, that there existed among them, entirely by oral tradition, a far grander mythology than that which has been made known to us by either the Chippewa or Iroquois Hiawatha Legends, and that this was illustrated by an incredible number of tales. I soon ascertained that these were very ancient. The old people declared that they had heard from their progenitors that all of these stories were once sung; that they themselves remembered when many of them were poems. This was fully proved by discovering manifest traces of poetry in many, and finally by receiving a long Micmac tale which had been sung by an Indian. I found that all the relaters of this lore were positive as to the antiquity of the narratives, and distinguished accurately between what was or was not pre-Columbian. In fact, I came in time to the opinion that the original stock of all the Algonquin myths, and perhaps of many more, still existed, not far away in the West, but at our very doors; that is to say, in Maine and New Brunswick. It is at least certain, as the reader may convince himself, that these Wabanaki, or Northeastern Algonquin, legends give, with few exceptions, in full and coherently, many tales which have only reached us in a broken, imperfect form, from other sources.

This work, then, contains a collection of the myths, legends, and folk-lore of the principal Wabanaki, or Northeastern Algonquin, Indians; that is to say, of the Passamaquoddies and Penobscots of Maine, and of the Micmacs of New Brunswick. All of this material was gathered directly from Indian narrators, the greater part by myself, the rest by a few friends; in fact, I can give the name of the aboriginal authority for every tale except one. As my chief object has been simply to collect and preserve valuable material, I have said little of the labors of such critical writers as Brinton, Hale, Trumbull, Powers, Morgan, Bancroft, and the many more who have so ably studied and set forth red Indian ethnology. If I have rarely ventured on their field, it is because I believe that when the Indian shall have passed away there will come far better ethnologists than I am, who will be much more obliged to me for collecting raw material than for cooking it.

Two or three subjects have, it is true, tempted me into occasional commenting. The manifest, I may say the undeniable, affinity between the myths and legends of the Northeastern Indians and those of the Eskimo could hardly be passed over, nor at the same time the identity of the latter and of the Shaman religion with those of the Finns, Laplanders, and Samoyedes. I believe that I have contributed material not devoid of value to those who are interested in the study of the relations of the aborigines of America with the Mongoloid races of the Old World. This is a subject which has been very little studied through the relations of these Wabanaki with the Eskimo.

A far more hazardous venture has been the indicating points of similarity between the myths or tales of the Algonquins and those of the Norsemen, as set forth in the Eddas, the Sagas, and popular tales of Scandinavia. When we, however, remember that the Eskimo once ranged as far south as Massachusetts, that they did not reach Greenland till the fourteenth century, that they had for three centuries intimate relations with Scandinavians, that they were very fond of legends, and that the Wabanaki even now mingle with them, the marvel would be that the Norsemen had not left among them traces of their tales or of their religion. But I do not say that this was positively the case; I simply set forth in this book a great number of curious coincidences, from which others may draw their own conclusions. I confess that I cannot account for these resemblances save by the so-called "historical theory" of direct transmission; but if any one can otherwise explain them I should welcome the solution of what still seems to be, in many respects, a problem.

I am, in fact, of the opinion that what is given in this work confirms what was conjectured by David Crantz, and which is thus expressed in his History of Greenland (London, 1767): "If we read the accounts which have been given of the most northerly American Indians and Asiatic Tartars, we find a pretty great resemblance between their manner of life, morals, usages, and notions and what has been said in this book of the Greenlanders, only with this difference: that the farther the savage nations wandered towards the North, the fewer they retained of their ancient conceptions and customs. As for the Greenlanders, if it be true, as is supposed, that a remnant of the old Norway Christians incorporated themselves and became one people with them, the Greenlanders may thence have heard and adopted some of their notions, which they may have new-modeled in the coarse mould of their own brain."

Among those who have greatly aided me in preparing this work I deem it to be a duty to mention MISS ABBY ALGER, of Boston, to whom it is cordially dedicated; the REV. SILAS T. RAND, of Hantsport, Nova Scotia, who lent me a manuscript collection of eighty-five Micmac tales, and communicated to me, with zealous kindness, much information by letter; and MRS. W. WALLACE BROWN, of Calais, Maine. It was through this lady that I derived a great proportion of the most curious folk-lore of the Passamaquoddies, especially such parts as coincided with the Edda. With these I would include MR. E. JACK, of Fredericton, New Brunswick. When it is remembered that there are only forty-two of the Hiawatha Legends of Schoolcraft, out of which five books have been made by other authors, and that I have collected more than two hundred, it will be seen how these friends must have worked to aid me.


The authorities consulted in writing this work were as follows:—


Tomah Josephs, Passamaquoddy, Indian Governor at Peter Dana's Point, Maine.

The Rev. Silas T. Rand, Baptist Missionary among the Micmac Indians at Hantsport, Nova Scotia. This gentleman lent me his manuscript collection of eighty-five stories, all taken down from verbal Indian narration. He also communicated much information in letters, etc.

John Gabriel, and his son Peter J. Gabriel, Passamaquoddy Indians, of Point Pleasant, Maine.

Noel Josephs, of Peter Dana's Point, alias Che gach goch, the Raven.

Joseph Tomah, Passamaquoddy, of Point Pleasant.

Louis Mitchell, Indian member of the Legislature of Maine. To this gentleman I am greatly indebted for manuscripts, letters, and oral narrations of great value.

Sapiel Selmo, keeper of the Wampum Record, formerly read every four years, at the kindling of the great fire at Canawagha.

Marie Saksis, of Oldtown, a capital and very accurate narrator of many traditions.

Miss Abby Alger, of Boston, by whom I was greatly aided in collecting the Passamaquoddy stories, and who obtained several for me among the St. Francis or Abenaki Indians.

Edward Jack, of Fredericton, for several Micmac legends and many letters containing folk-lore, all taken down by him directly from Indians.

Mrs. W. Wallace Brown. Mr. Brown was agent in charge of the Passamaquoddies in Maine. To this lady, who has a great influence over the Indians, and is much interested in their folk-lore and legends, I am indebted for a large collection of very interesting material of the most varied description.

Noel Neptune, Penobscot, Oldtown, Maine.


The Story of Glooskap. A curious manuscript in Indian-English, obtained for me by Tomah Josephs.

The Dominion Monthly for 1871. Containing nine Micmac legends by Rev. S.T. Rand.

Indian Legends. (Manuscript of 900 pp. folio.) Collected among the Micmac Indians, and translated by Silas T. Rand, Missionary to the Micmacs.

A Manuscript Collection of Passamaquoddy Legends and Folk-Lore. By Mrs. W. Wallace Brown, of Calais, Maine. These are all given with the greatest accuracy as narrated by Indians, some in broken Indian-English. They embrace a very great variety of folk-lore.

Manuscript Fairy Tales in Indian and English. By Louis Mitchell.

Manuscript: The Superstitions of the Passamaquoddies. In Indian and English.

A History of the Passamaquoddy Indians. Manuscript of 80 pages, Indian and English. All of these were written for me by L. Mitchell, M.L.

Wampum Records. Read for me by Sapiel Selmo, the only living Indian who has the key to them.

David Cusick's Sketches of Ancient History of the Six Nations. Lockport, N.Y., 1848. Printed, but written in Indian-English.

Manuscript: Six Stories of the St. Francis or Abenaki Indians. Taken down by Miss Abby Alger.

Osgood's Maritime Provinces. In this work there are seven short extracts relative to Glooskap given without reference to any book or author.




Of Glooskap's Birth, and of his Brother Malsum, the Wolf

How Glooskap made the Elves and Fairies, and then Man of an Ash-Tree, and last of all the Beasts, and of his Coming at the Last Day

Of the Great Deeds which Glooskap did for Men; how he named the Animals, and who they were that formed his Family

How Win-pe, the Sorcerer, having stolen Glooskap's Family, was by him pursued. How Glooskap for a Merry Jest cheated the Whale. Of the Song of the Clams, and how the Whale smoked a Pipe

Of the Dreadful Deeds of the Evil Pitcher, who was both Man and Woman; how she fell in Love with Glooskap, and, being scorned, became his Enemy. Of the Toads and Porcupines, and the Awful Battle of the Giants

How the Story of Glooskap and Pook-jin-skwess, the Evil Pitcher, is told by the Passamaquoddy Indians

How Glooskap became friendly to the Loons, and made them his Messengers

How Glooskap made his Uncle Mikchich, the Turtle, into a Great Man, and got him a Wife. Of the Turtles' Eggs, and how Glooskap vanquished a Sorcerer by smoking Tobacco

How Glooskap sailed through the Great Cavern of Darkness

Of the Great Works which Glooskap made in the Land

The Story of Glooskap as told in a few Words by a Woman of the Penobscots

How Glooskap, leaving the World, all the Animals mourned for him, and how, ere he departed, he gave Gifts to Men

How Glooskap had a Great Frolic with Kitpooseagunow, a Mighty Giant who caught a Whale

How Glooskap made a Magician of a Young Man, who aided another to win a Wife and do Wonderful Deeds

How a certain Wicked Witch sought to cajole the Great and Good Glooskap, and of her Punishment

Of other Men who went to Glooskap for Gifts

Of Glooskap and the three other Seekers

Of Glooskap and the Sinful Serpent

The Tale of Glooskap as told by another Indian, showing how the Toad and Porcupine lost their Noses

How Glooskap changed Certain Saucy Indians into Rattlesnakes

How Glooskap bound Wuchowsen, the Great Wind-Bird, and made all the Waters in the World stagnant

How Glooskap conquered the Great Bull-Frog, and in what Manner all the Pollywogs, Crabs, Leeches, and other Water Creatures were created

How the Lord of Men and Beasts strove with the Mighty Wasis, and was shamefully defeated

How the Great Glooskap fought the Giant Sorcerers at Saco, and turned them into Fish

How Glooskap went to England and France, and was the first to make America known to the Europeans

How Glooskap is making Arrows, and preparing for a Great Battle. The Twilight of the Indian Gods

How Glooskap found the Summer


The Surprising and Singular Adventures of two Water Fairies who were also Weasels, and how they each became the Bride of a Star. Including the Mysterious and Wonderful Works of Lox, the Great Indian Devil, who rose from the Dead

Of the Wolverine and the Wolves, or how Master Lox froze to Death

How Master Lox played a Trick on Mrs. Bear, who lost her Eyesight and had her Eyes opened

How Lox came to Grief by trying to catch a Salmon

How Master Lox, as a Raccoon, killed the Bear and the Black Cats, and performed other Notable Feats of Skill, all to his Great Discredit

How Lox deceived the Ducks, cheated the Chief, and beguiled the Bear

The Mischief-Maker. A Tradition of the Origin of the Mythology of the Senecas. A Lox Legend

How Lox told a Lie


How Master Rabbit sought to rival Kecoony, the Otter

How Mahtigwess, the Rabbit, dined with the Woodpecker Girls, and was again humbled by trying to rival them

Of the Adventure with Mooin, the Bear; it being the Third and Last Time that Master Rabbit made a Fool of himself

Relating how the Rabbit became Wise by being Original, and of the Terrible Tricks which he by Magic played Loup-Cervier, the Wicked Wild-Cat

How Master Rabbit went to a Wedding and won the Bride

How Master Rabbit gave himself Airs

The Young Man who was saved by a Rabbit and a Fox


The Chenoo, or the Story of a Cannibal with an Icy Heart

The Story of the Great Chenoo, as told by the Passamaquoddies

The Girl-Chenoo


Of the Girl who married Mount Katahdin, and how all the Indians brought about their own Ruin

How a Hunter visited the Thunder Spirits who dwell on Mount Katahdin

The Thunder and Lightning Men

Of the Woman who married the Thunder, and of their Boy


How Two Girls were changed to Water-Snakes, and of Two others that became Mermaids

Ne Hwas, the Mermaid

Of the Woman who loved a Serpent that lived in a Lake

The Mother of Serpents

Origin of the Black Snakes


The Adventures of the Great Hero Pulowech, or the Partridge

The Story of a Partridge and his Wonderful Wigwam

How the Partridge built Good Canoes for all the Birds, and a Bad One for Himself

The Mournful Mystery of the Partridge-Witch; setting forth how a Young Man died from Love

How one of the Partridge's Wives became a Sheldrake Duck, and why her Feet and Feathers are red




How a Woman lost a Gun for Fear of the Weewillmekq'

Muggahmaht'adem, the Dance of Old Age, or the Magic of the Weewillmekq'

Another Version of the Dance of Old Age


M'teoulin, or Indian Magic

Story of the Beaver Trapper

How a Youth became a Magician

Of Old Joe, the M'teoulin

Of Governor Francis

How a Chiefs Son taught his Friend Sorcery

Tumilkoontaoo, or the Broken Wing

Fish-Hawk and Scapegrace

The Giant Magicians















Among the six chief divisions of the red Indians of North America the most widely extended is the Algonquin. This people ranged from Labrador to the far South, from Newfoundland to the Rocky Mountains, speaking forty dialects, as the Hon. J. H. Trumbull has shown in his valuable work on the subject. Belonging to this division are the Micmacs of New Brunswick and the Passamaquoddy and Penobscot tribes of Maine, who with the St. Francis Indians of Canada and some smaller clans call themselves the Wabanaki, a word derived from a root signifying white or light, intimating that they live nearest to the rising sun or the east. In fact, the French-speaking St. Francis family, who are known par eminence as "the Abenaki," translate the term by point du jour.

The Wabanaki have in common the traditions of a grand mythology, the central figure of which is a demigod or hero, who, while he is always great, consistent, and benevolent, and never devoid of dignity, presents traits which are very much more like those of Odin and Thor, with not a little of Pantagruel, than anything in the characters of the Chippewa Manobozho, or the Iroquois Hiawatha. The name of this divinity is Glooskap, meaning, strangely enough, the Liar, because it is said that when he left earth, like King Arthur, for Fairyland, he promised to return, and has never done so. It is characteristic of the Norse gods that while they are grand they are manly, and combine with this a peculiarly domestic humanity. Glooskap is the Norse god intensified. He is, however, more of a giant; he grows to a more appalling greatness than Thor or Odin in his battles; when a Kiawaqu', or Jotun, rises to the clouds to oppose him, Glooskap's head touches the stars, and scorning to slay so mean a foe like an equal, he kills him contemptuously with a light tap of his bow. But in the family circle he is the most benevolent of gentle heroes, and has his oft-repeated little standard jokes. Yet he never, like the Manobozho-Hiawatha of the Chippewas, becomes silly, cruel, or fantastic. He has his roaring revel with a brother giant, even as Thor went fishing in fierce fun with the frost god, but he is never low or feeble.

Around Glooskap, who is by far the grandest and most Aryan-like character ever evolved from a savage mind, and who is more congenial to a reader of Shakespeare and Rabelais than any deity ever imagined out of Europe, there are found strange giants: some literal Jotuns of stone and ice, sorcerers who become giants like Glooskap, at will; the terrible Chenoo, a human being with an icy-stone heart, who has sunk to a cannibal and ghoul; all the weird monsters and horrors of the Eskimo mythology, witches and demons, inherited from the terribly black sorcery which preceded Shamanism, and compared to which the latter was like an advanced religion, and all the minor mythology of dwarfs and fairies. The Indian m'teoulin, or magician, distinctly taught that every created thing, animate or inanimate, had its indwelling spirit. Whatever had an idea had a soul. Therefore the Wabanaki mythology is strangely like that of the Rosicrucians. But it created spirits for the terrible Arctic winters of the north, for the icebergs and frozen wastes, for the Northern Lights and polar bears. It made, in short, a mythology such as would be perfectly congenial to any one who has read and understood the Edda, Beowulf, and the Kalevala, with the wildest and oldest Norse sagas. But it is, as regards spirit and meaning, utterly and entirely unlike anything else that is American. It is not like the Mexican pantheon; it has not the same sounds, colors, or feelings; and though many of its incidents or tales are the same as those of the Chippewas, or other tribes, we still feel that there is an incredible difference in the spirit. Its ways are not as their ways. This Wabanaki mythology, which was that which gave a fairy, an elf, a naiad, or a hero to every rock and river and ancient hill in New England, is just the one of all others which is least known to the New Englanders. When the last Indian shall be in his grave, those who come after us will ask in wonder why we had no curiosity as to the romance of our country, and so much as to that of every other land on earth.

Much is allowed to poets and painters, and no fault was found with Mr. Longfellow for attributing to the Iroquois Hiawatha the choice exploits of the Chippewa demi-devil Manobozho. It was "all Indian" to the multitude, and one name answered as well in poetry as another, at a time when there was very little attention paid to ethnology. So that a good poem resulted, it was of little consequence that the plot was a melange of very different characters, and characteristics. And when, in connection with this, Mr. Longfellow spoke of the Chippewa tales as forming an Indian Edda, the term was doubtless in a poetic and very general sense permissible. But its want of literal truth seems to have deeply impressed the not generally over particular or accurate Schoolcraft, since his first remarks in the Introduction to the Hiawatha Legends are as follows:—

"Where analogies are so general, there is a constant liability to mistakes. Of these foreign analogies of myth-lore, the least tangible, it is believed, is that which has been suggested with the Scandinavian mythology. That mythology is of so marked and peculiar a character that it has not been distinctly traced out of the great circle of tribes of the Indo-Germanic family. Odin and his terrific pantheon of war gods and social deities could only exist in the dreary latitudes of storms and fire which produce a Hecla and a Maelstrom. These latitudes have invariably produced nations whose influence has been felt in an elevating power over the world. From such a source the Indian could have derived none of him vague symbolisms and mental idiosyncrasies which have left him as he is found to-day, without a government and without a god."

This is all perfectly true of the myths of Hiawat'ha-Manobozho. Nothing on earth could be more unlike the Norse legends than the "Indian Edda" of the Chippewas and Ottawas. But it was not known to this writer that there already existed in Northeastern America a stupendous mythology, derived from a land of storms and fire more terrible and wonderful than Iceland; nay, so terrible that Icelanders themselves were appalled by it. "This country," says the Abbe Morillot, "is the one most suggestive of superstition. Everything there, sea, earth, or heaven, is strange." The wild cries which rise from the depths of the caverned ice-hills, and are reechoed by the rocks, icebergs, or waves, were dreadful to Egbert Olafson in the seventeenth century. The interior is a desert without parallel for desolation. A frozen Sahara seen by Northern lightning and midnight suns is but a suggestion of this land. The sober Moravian missionary Crantz once only in his life rose to poetry, when more than a century ago he spoke of its scenery. Here then was the latitude of storm and fire required by Schoolcraft to produce something wilder and grander than he had ever found among Indians. And here indeed there existed all the time a cycle of mythological legends or poems such as he declared Indians incapable of producing. But strangest of all, this American mythology of the North, which has been the very last to become known to American readers, is literally so nearly like the Edda itself that as this work fully proves, there is hardly a song in the Norse collection which does not contain an incident found in the Indian poem-legends, while in several there are many such coincidences. Thus, in the Edda we are told that the first birth on earth was that of a giant girl and boy, begotten by the feet of a giant and born from his armpit. In the Wabanaki legends, the first birth was of Glooskap, the Good principle, and Malsum the Wolf, or Evil principle. The Wolf was born from his mother's armpit. He is sometimes male and sometimes female. His feet are male and female, and converse. We pass on only twelve lines in the Edda (Vafthrudnismal, 36) to be told that the wind is caused by a giant in eagle's plumage, who sits on a rock far in the north "at the end of heaven." This is simply and literally the Wochowsen or Windblower of the Wabanaki word for word,—not the "Thunder-Bird" of the Western Indians. The second birth on earth, according to the Edda, was that of man. Odin found Ash and Elm "nearly powerless," and gave them sense. This was the first man and woman. According to the Indians of Maine, Glooskap made the first men from the ash-tree. They lived or were in it, "devoid of sense" till he gave it to them. It is to be observed that primevally among the Norse the ash alone stood for man. So it goes on through the whole Edda, of which all the main incidents are to be found among the sagas of the Wabanaki. The most striking of these are the coincidences between Lox (lynx, wolf, wolverine, badger, or raccoon, and sometimes man) and Loki. It is very remarkable indeed that the only two religions in the world which possess a devil in whom mischief predominates should also give to each the same adventures, if both did not come from the same source. In the Hymiskvida of the Edda, two giants go to fish for whales, and then have a contest which is actually one of heat against cold. This is so like a Micmac legend in every detail that about twenty lines are word for word the same in the Norse and Indian. The Micmac giants end their whale fishing by trying to freeze one another to death.

It is to the Rev. Silas T. Rand that the credit belongs of having discovered Glooskap, and of having first published in the Dominion Monthly several of these Northern legends. After I had collected nearly a hundred among the Passamaquoddy and Penobscot Indians, this gentleman, with unexampled kindness, lent me a manuscript of eighty-four Micmac tales, making in all nine hundred folio pages. Many were similar to others in my collection, but I have never yet received a duplicate which did not contain something essential to the whole. Though the old Indians all declare that most of their lore has perished, especially the more recondite mythic poems, I am confident that much more remains to be gathered than I have given in this work. As it is, I have omitted many tales simply because they were evidently Canadian French stories. Yet all of these, without exception, are half Indian, and it may be old Norse modified; for a French story is sometimes the same with one in the Eddas. Again, for want of room I have not given any Indian tales or chronicles of the wars with the Mohawks. Of these I have enough to make a very curious volume.

These legends belong to all New England. Many of them exist as yet among the scattered fragments of Indian tribes here and there. The Penobscots of Oldtown, Maine, still possess many. In fact, there is not an old Indian, male or female, in New England or Canada who does not retain stories and songs of the greatest interest. I sincerely trust that this work may have the effect of stimulating collection. Let every reader remember that everything thus taken down, and deposited in a local historical society, or sent to the Ethnological Bureau at Washington, will forever transmit the name of its recorder to posterity. Archaeology is as yet in its very beginning; when the Indians shall have departed it will grow to giant-like proportions, and every scrap of information relative to them will be eagerly investigated. And the man does not live who knows what may be made of it all. I need not say that I should be grateful for such Indian lore of any kind whatever which may be transmitted to me.

It may very naturally be asked by many how it came to pass that the Indians of Maine and of the farther north have so much of the Edda in their sagas; or, if it was derived through the Eskimo tribes, how these got it from Norsemen, who were professedly Christians. I do not think that the time has come for fully answering the first question. There is some great mystery of mythology, as yet unsolved, regarding the origin of the Edda and its relations with the faiths and folk-lore of the elder Shamanic beliefs, such as Lapp, Finn, Samoyed, Eskimo, and Tartar. This was the world's first religion; it is found in the so-called Accadian Turanian beginning of Babylon, whence it possibly came from the West. But what we have here to consider is whether the Norsemen did directly influence the Eskimo and Indians. Let us first consider that these latter were passionately fond of stories, and that they had attained to a very high standard of culture as regards both appreciation and invention. They were as fond of recitations as any white man is of reading. Their memories were in this respect very remarkable indeed. They have taken into their repertory during the past two hundred years many French fairy tales, through the Canadians. Is it not likely that they listened to the Northmen?

It is not generally noted among our learned men how long the Icelanders remained in Greenland, how many stories are still told of them by the Eskimo, or to what extent the Indians continue to mingle with the latter. During the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries, says the Abbe Morillot, "there were in Greenland, after Archbishop Adalbert, more than twenty bishops, and in the colony were many churches and monasteries. In the Oestrbugd, one of the two inhabited portions of the vast island, were one hundred and ninety villages, with twelve churches. In Julianshaab, one may to-day see the ruins of eight churches and of many monasteries." In the fifteenth century all these buildings were in ruins, and the colony was exterminated by the pestilence or the natives. But among the latter there remained many traditions of the Scandinavians associated with the ruins. Such is the story of Oren'gortok, given by the Abbe Morillot, and several are to be found in Rink's Legends. When we learn that the Norsemen, during their three centuries of occupation of Greenland, brought away many of the marvelous tales of the Eskimo, it is not credible that they left none of their own. Thus we are told in the Floamanna Saga how a hero, abandoned on the icy coast of Greenland, met with two giant witches (Troldkoner), and cut the band from one of them. An old Icelandic work, called the Konungs Skuggsjo (Danish, Kongespeilet), has much to say of the marvels of Greenland and its monsters of the sea. On the other hand, Morillot declares that the belief in ghosts was brought to Greenland by the Icelanders and Scandinavians. The sagas have not been as yet much studied with a view to establishing how much social intercourse there was between the natives and the colonists, but common experience would teach that during three centuries it must have been something.

There has always been intercourse between Greenland and Labrador, and in this latter country we find the first Algonquin Indians. Even at the present day there are men among the Micmacs and Passamaquoddies who have gone on their hunting excursions even to the Eskimo. I myself know one of the latter who has done so, and the Rev. S. T. Rand, in answer to a question on the subject, writes to me as follows:—

"Nancy Jeddore, a Micmac woman, assures me that her father, now dead, used to go as far as the wild (heathen) Eskimo, and remained once for three years among the more civilized. She has so correctly described their habits that I am satisfied that her statements are correct." [Footnote: The word Eskimo is Algonquin, meaning to eat raw fish, Eskumoga in Micmac, and people who eat raw flesh, or Eskimook, that is, eski, raw, and moo-uk, people. This word recalls in-noo-uk, people, and spirits, in Eskimo, Innue, which has the same double meaning. This was all suggested to me by an Indian.]

These Eskimo brought from the Old World that primeval gloomy Shaman religion, or sorcery, such as is practiced yet by Laplanders and Tartars, such as formed the basis of the old Accadian Babylonian cultus, and such as is now in vogue among all our own red Indians. I believe that it was from the Eskimo that this American Shamanism all came. In Greenland this faith assumed its strangest form; it made for itself a new mythology. The Indians, their neighbors, borrowed from this, but also added new elements of an only semi-Arctic character. Thus there is a series of steps, but every one different, from the Eskimo to the Wabanaki, of Labrador, New Brunswick, and Maine, from the Wabanaki to the Iroquois, and from the Iroquois to the more western Indians. And while they all have incidents in common, the character of each is radically different.

It may be specially noted that while there is hardly an important point in the Edda which may not be found, as I have just shown, in Wabanaki legends, there is very little else in the latter which is in common with such Old World mythology as might have come to the Indians since the discovery by Columbus. Excluding French Canadian fairy tales, what we have left is chiefly Eskimo and Eddaic, and the proportion of the latter is simply surprising. There are actually more incidents taken from the Edda than there are from lower sources. I can only account for this by the fact that, as the Indians tell me, all these tales were once poems, handed down from generation to generation, and always sung. Once they were religious. Now they are in a condition analogous to that of the German Heldenbuch. They have been cast into a new form, but they are not as yet quite degraded to the nursery tale.

It may be objected that if the Norsemen in Greenland were Christians it is most unlikely that they would have taught the legends of the Edda to the heathen; to which I reply that some scholar a few centuries hence may declare it was a most improbable thing that Christian Roman Catholic Indians should have taught me the tales of Glooskap and Lox. But the truth is, we really know very little as to how soon wandering Vikings went to America, or how many were here.

I would say in conclusion that, while these legends of the Wabanaki are fragmentary and incomplete, they still read like the fragments of a book whose subject was once broadly and coherently treated by a man of genius. They are handled in the same bold and artistic manner as the Norse. There is nothing like them in any other North American Indian records. They are, especially those which are from the Passamaquoddy and Penobscot, inspired with a genial cosmopolite humor. While Glooskap is always a gentleman, Lox ranges from Punch to Satan; passing through the stages of an Indian Mephistopheles and the Norse Loki, who appears to have been his true progenitor. But neither is quite like anything to be found among really savage races. When it is borne in mind that the most ancient and mythic of these legends have been taken down from the trembling memories of old squaws who never understood their inner meaning, or from ordinary senaps who had not thought of them since boyhood, it will be seen that the preservation of a mass of prose poems, equal in bulk to the Kalevala or Heldenbuch, is indeed almost miraculous.



Of Glooskap's Birth, and of his Brother Malsum the Wolf.

Now the great lord Glooskap, who was worshiped in after-days by all the Wabanaki, or children of light, was a twin with a brother. As he was good, this brother, whose name was Malsumsis, or Wolf the younger, was bad. Before they were born, the babes consulted to consider how they had best enter the world. And Glooskap said, "I will be born as others are." But the evil Malsumsis thought himself too great to be brought forth in such a manner, and declared that he would burst through his mother's side. [Footnote: The reader of Rabelais cannot fail to recall here the remarks of the author as to the extraordinary manner in which it pleased the giant Gargantua to come into the world. The Armenians believe that Christ was born through the right side of the Virgin. The Buddhists say the same of Buddha's birth. (Heth and Moab, London, 1883.) Another and as I believe the correct account declares that Malsum the Wolf was born from his mother's armpit.] And as they planned it so it came to pass. Glooskap as first came quietly to light, while Malsumsis kept his word, killing his mother.

The two grew up together, and one day the younger, who knew that both had charmed lives, asked the elder what would kill him, Glooskap. Now each had his own secret as to this, and Glooskap, remembering how wantonly Malsumsis had slain their mother, thought it would be misplaced confidence to trust his life to one so fond of death, while it might prove to be well to know the bane of the other. So they agreed to exchange secrets, and Glooskap, to test his brother, told him that the only way in which he himself could be slain was by the stroke of an owl's feather, [Footnote: There are different readings of this incident. In Mr. Band's manuscript the alleged means of Glooskap's death is described as being a cat-tail flag (haw-kwee-usqu', Passamaquoddy), while a handful of bird's down is the bane of Malsum the Wolf. The termination sis is a diminutive, here meaning the younger.] though this was not true. And Malsumsis said, "I can only die by a blow from a fern-root."

It came to pass in after-days that Kwah-beet-a-sis, the son of the Great Beaver, or, as others say, Miko the Squirrel, or else the evil which was in himself, tempted Malsumsis to kill Glooskap; for in those days all men were wicked. So taking his bow he shot Ko-ko-khas the Owl, and with one of his feathers he struck Glooskap while sleeping. Then he awoke in anger, yet craftily said that it was not by an owl's feather, but by a blow from a pine-root, that his life would end.

Then the false man led his brother another day far into the forest to hunt, and, while he again slept, smote him on the head with a pine-root. But Glooskap arose unharmed, drove Malsumsis away into the woods, sat down by the brook-side, and thinking aver all that had happened, said, "Nothing but a flowering rush can kill me." But the Beaver, who was hidden among the reeds, heard this, and hastening to Malsumsis told him the secret of his brother's life. For this Malsumsis promised to bestow on Beaver whatever he should ask; but when the latter wished for wings like a pigeon, the warrior laughed, and scornfully said, "Get thee hence; thou with a tail like a file, what need hast thou of wings?"

Then the Beaver was angry, and went forth to the camp of Glooskap, to whom he told what he had done. Therefore Glooskap arose in sorrow and in anger, took a fern-root, sought Malsumsis in the deep, dark forest, and smote him so that he fell down dead. And Glooskap sang a song over him and lamented.

The Beaver and the Owl and the Squirrel, for what they did and as they did it, all come again into these stories; but Malsumsis, being dead, was turned into the Shick-shoe mountains in the Gaspe peninsula.

For this chapter and parts of others I am indebted to the narrative of a Micmac Indian, taken down by Mr. Edward Jock; also to another version in the Rand MS. The story is, in the main-points, similar to that given by David Cusick in his History of the Six Nations, of Enigorio the Good Mind, and Enigonhahetgea, Bad Mind, to which I shall refer anon.

It is very evident that in this tradition Glooskap represents the Good principle, and Malsumsis, the little wolf,—that is the Wolf who is the Younger, rather than little or small,—the Evil one. Malsum typifies destruction and sin in several of these tales. He will arise at the last day, when Glooskap is to do battle with all the giants and evil beasts of olden time, and will be the great destroyer. Malsum is the Wolf Fenris of this the true Indian Edda.

For a further comment on this birth of the twins and its resemblance to a passage in the Edda, the reader is referred to the notes on the next chapter.

How Glooskap made the Elves and Fairies, and then Man of an Ash Tree, and last of all, Beasts, and of his Coming at the Last Day.


Glooskap came first of all into this country, into Nova Scotia, Maine, Canada, into the land of the Wabanaki, next to sunrise. There were no Indians here then (only wild Indians very far to the west).

First born were the Mikumwess, the Oonabgemessuk, the small Elves, little men, dwellers in rocks.

And in this way he made Man: He took his bow and arrows and shot at trees, the basket-trees, the Ash. Then Indians came out of the bark of the Ash-trees. And then the Mikumwees said ... called tree-man.... [Footnote: The relater, an old woman, was quite unintelligible at this point.]

Glooskap made all the animals. He made them at first very large. Then he said to Moose, the great Moose who was as tall as Ketawkqu's, [Footnote: A giant, high as the tallest pines, or as the clouds.] "What would you do should you see an Indian coming?" Moose replied, "I would tear down the trees on him." Then Glooskap saw that the Moose was too strong, and made him smaller, so that Indians could kill him.

Then he said to the Squirrel, who was of the size of a Wolf, "What would you do if you should meet an Indian?" And the Squirrel answered, "I would scratch down trees on him." Then Glooskap said, "You also are too strong," and he made him little. [Footnote: Another account states that Glooskap took the Squirrel in his hands and smoothed him down.]

Then he asked the great White Bear what he would do if he met an Indian; and the Bear said, "Eat him." And the Master bade him go and live among rocks and ice, where he would see no Indians.

So he questioned all the beasts, changing their size or allotting their lives according to their answers.

He took the Loon for his dog; but the Loon absented himself so much that he chose for this service two wolves,—one black and one white, [Footnote: Dogs are used for beasts of burden, to draw sledges, in the North.] But the Loons are always his tale-bearers. Many years ago a man very far to the North wished to cross a bay, a great distance, from one point to another. As he was stepping into his canoe he saw a man with two dogs,—one black and one white,—who asked to be set across. The Indian said, "You may go, but what will become of your dogs?" Then the stranger replied, "Let them go round by land." "Nay," replied the Indian, "that is much too far." But the stranger saying nothing, he put him across. And as they reached the landing place there stood the dogs. But when he turned his head to address the man, he was gone. So he said to himself, "I have seen Glooskap."

Yet again,—but this was not so many years ago,—far in the North there were at a certain place many Indians assembled. And there was a frightful commotion, caused by the ground heaving and rumbling; the rocks shook and fell, they were greatly alarmed, and lo! Glooskap stood before them, and said, "I go away now, but I shall return again; when you feel the ground tremble, then know it is I." So they will know when the last great war is to be, for then Glooskap will make the ground shake with an awful noise.

Glooskap was no friend of the Beavers; he slew many of them. Up on the Tobaic are two salt-water rocks (that is, rocks by the ocean-side, near a freshwater stream). The Great Beaver, standing there one day, was seen by Glooskap miles away, who had forbidden him that place. Then picking up a large rock where he stood by the shore, he threw it all that distance at the Beaver, who indeed dodged it; but when another came, the beast ran into a mountain, and has never come forth to this day. But the rocks which the master threw are yet to be seen.

This very interesting tradition was taken down by Mrs. W. Wallace Brown from a very old Passamaquoddy Indian woman named Molly Sepsis, who could not speak a word of English, with the aid of another younger woman named Sarah.

It will be observed that it is said in the beginning that Glooskap produced the first human beings from, the ash-tree. Ash and Elm in the Edda were the Adam and Eve of the human race. There were no intelligent men on earth—

"Until there came three mighty and benevolent Aesir to the world from their assembly nearly powerless, Ash and Embla (Ash and Elm), void of destiny.

"Spirit they possessed not, sense they had not, blood nor motive powers, nor goodly color. Spirit gave Odin, sense gave Hoenir, blood gave Lodur, and good color." [Footnote: The Edda of Saemund, translated by Benjamin Thorpe. London: Trubner & Co. 1866. Voluspa, v. 17, 18.]

It is certain, however, that the ash was the typic tree of all life, since the next verse of the Voluspa is devoted to Yggdrasil, the tree of existence, or of the world itself. It may be observed that in the Finnish poem of Kalevala it is by the destruction of the great oak that Wainamoien, aided by the hero of the sea, causes all things to grow. The early clearing away of trees, as a first step towards culture, may be symbolized in the shooting of arrows at the ash.

The wolf, as a beast for the deity to ride, is strongly Eddaic.

"Magic songs they sung, rode on wolves, the god (Odin) and gods." [Footnote: Rognnir og regin. Odin and the Powers. Note by B. Thorpe to the Hrafnagalar Odins, in Edda, p.30.]

We have here within a few lines, accordingly, the elm as the parent of mankind, and wolves as the beasts of transport for the supreme deity, both in the Indian legend and in the Edda.

As Glooskap is directly declared in one tradition to keep by him as an attendant a being who is the course of the sun and of the seasons, it may be assumed that the black and white wolf represent day and night.

Again, great stress is laid in the Glooskap legend upon the fact that the last great day of battle with Malsum the Wolf and the frost-giants, stone-giants, and other powers of evil, shall be announced by an earthquake.

"Trembles Yggdrasil's Ash yet standing, groans that aged tree.... and the Wolf runs.... The monster's kin goes all with the Wolf.... The stony hills are dashed together, The giantesses totter. Then arises Hlin's second grief When Odin goes with the wolf to fight."

Word for word, ash-tree, giantesses, the supreme god fighting with a wolf, and falling hills, are given in the Indian myth. This is not the Christian Day of Judgment, but the Norse.

In this myth Glooskap has two wolves, one black and the other white. This is an indication of day and night, since he is distinctly stated to have as an attendant Kulpejotei, who typifies the course of the seasons. In the Eddas (Ragnarok) we are told that one wolf now follows the sun, another the moon; one Fenris, the other Moongarm:—

"The moon's devourer In a troll's disguise."

The magic arrows of Glooskap are of course worldwide, and date from the shafts of Abaris and those used among the ancient Jews for divination. But it may be observed that those of the Indian hero are like the "Guse arrows," described in Oervarodd's Saga, which always hit their mark and return to the one who shoots them. [Footnote: The Primitive Inhabitants of Scandinavia. By Svent Nilsson. Edited by Sir John Lubbock, 1868.]

It is important here to compare this old Algonquin account of the Creation with that of the Iroquois, or Six Nations, as given by David Cusick, himself an Indian:—

"There was a woman who was with child, with twins. She descended from the higher world, and was received on the turtle. While she was in the distress of travail, one of the infants in her womb was moved by an evil desire, and determined to pass out under the side of the parent's arm, and the other infant endeavored in vain to prevent his design. They entered the dark world by compulsion, and their mother expired in a few minutes. One of them possessed a gentle disposition, and was named Enigorio, the Good Mind. The other possessed an insolence of character, and was called Enigonhahetgea; that is, the Bad Mind. The Good Mind was not content to remain in a dark situation, and was desirous to create a great light in the dark world; but the Bad Mind was desirous that the world should remain in its original state. The Good Mind, determined to prosecute his design, began the work of creation. Of his mother's head he made the sun, of her body the moon. After he had made creeks and rivers, animals and fishes, he formed two images of the dust of the ground in his own likeness, male and female, and by his breathing into their nostrils he gave them living souls, and named them ea gwe howe, that is a real people; and he gave the Great Island all the animals—of game for the inheritance of the people.... The Bad Mind, while his brother was making the universe, went through the island, and made numerous high mountains and falls of water and great steeps, and also created reptiles which would be injurious to mankind; but the Good Mind restored the island to its former condition. The Bad Mind made two images of clay in the form of mankind, but while he was giving them existence they became apes. The Good Mind discovered his brother's contrivances, and aided in giving them living souls.

Finding that his brother continually thwarted him, the Good Mind admonished him to behave better. The Bad Mind then offered a challenge to his brother, on condition that the victor should rule the universe. The Good Mind was willing. He falsely mentioned that whipping with flags [bulrushes] would destroy his temporal life, and earnestly solicited his brother to observe the instrument of death, saying that by using deer-horns he would expire. [This is very obscure in Cusick's Indian-English.] On the day appointed the battle began; it lasted for two days; they tore up the trees and mountains; at last the Good Mind gained the victory by using the horns. The last words uttered by the Bad Mind were that he would have equal power over the souls of mankind after their death, and so sank down to eternal doom and became the Evil Spirit."

Contrasted with this hardly heathen cosmogony, which shows recent Bible influence throughout, the Algonquin narrative reads like a song from the Edda. That the latter is the original and the older there can be no doubt. Between the "Good Mind," making man "from the dust of the earth," and Glooskap, rousing him by magic arrows from the ash-tree, there is a great difference. It may be observed that the fight with horns is explained in another legend in this book, called the Chenoo, and that these horns are the magic horns of the Chepitch calm, or Great Serpent, who is somewhat like the dragon.

In the Algonquin story, two Loons are Glooskap's "tale-bearers," which occasion him great anxiety by their prolonged absences. This is distinctly stated in the Indian legend, as it is of Odin's birds in the Edda. Odin has, as news-bringers, two ravens.

"Hugin and Munin Fly each day over the spacious earth. I fear for Hugin that he comes not back, yet more anxious am I for Munin."

The Loons, indeed, occasioned Glooskap so much trouble by absences that he took wolves in their place. The ravens of the Edda are probably of biblical origin. But it is a most extraordinary coincidence that the Indians have a corresponding perversion of Scripture, for they say that Glooskap, when he was in the ark, that is as Noah, sent out a white dove, which returned to him colored black, and became a raven. This is not, however, related as part of the myth.

The Ancient History of the Six Nations, by David Cusick, gives us in one particular a strange coincidence with the Edda. It tells us that the Bad Mind, the principle of Evil, forced himself out into life, as Cusick expresses it in his broken Indian-English, "under the side of the parent's arm;" that is, through the armpit. In the Edda (Vafthrudnismal, 33) we are told of the first beings born on earth that they were twins, begotten by the two feet of a giant, and born out of his armpit.

"Under the armpit grew, 't is said of the Hrimthurs, a girl and boy together; foot with foot begat, of that wise Jotun, a six-headed son."

There are in these six lines six coincidences with red Indian mythology: (1.) The Evil principle as a Jotun's first-born in the one and the Bad Mind in the other are born of the mother's armpit. (2.) In one of the tales of Lox, the Indian devil, also a giant, we are told that his feet are male and female. (3.) In both faiths this is the first birth on earth. (4.) The six-headed demon appears in a Micmac tale. (5.) There is in both the Eddaic and the Wabanaki account a very remarkable coincidence in this: that there is a Titanic or giant birth of twins on earth, followed by the creation of man from the ash-tree. (6.) The Evil principle, whether it be the Wolf-Lox, in the Wabanaki myths, or Loki in the Norse, often turns himself into a woman. Thus the male and female sex of the first-born twins is identified.

According to the Edda, the order of births on earth was as follows:—

First, two giants were born from the mother's armpit.

Secondly, the dwarfs were created.

Thirdly, man was made from the ash-tree.

According to the Wabanaki, this was the order:—

First, two giants were born, one from his mother's armpit.

Secondly, the dwarfs (Mikumwessuk) were created from the bark of the ash-tree.

Thirdly, man was made from the trunk of the ash.

The account of the creation of the dwarfs is wanting in the present manuscript.

Of the Great Deeds which Glooskap did for Men; how he named the Animals, and who they were that formed his Family.


Woodenit atbk-hagen Gloosekap: [Footnote: Passamaquoddy.] this is a story of Glooskap. It is told in traditions of the old time that Glooskap was born in the land of the Wabanaki, which is nearest to the sunrise; but another story says that he came over the sea in a great stone canoe, and that this canoe was an island of granite covered with trees. When the great man, of all men and beasts chief ruler, had come down from this ark, he went among the Wabanaki. [Footnote: This part of the legend is from a very singular and I may add almost unintelligible manuscript, Storey about Glooscap, written in English by a Passamaquoddy Indian. The word ark which occurs in it reminds me that the Indian from whom I obtained it once asked me if I did not think that Glooskap was the same as Noah. This sentence is as follows in the Indian-English of the original: "Gloosecap hat left from ark come crosse even wiht wabnocelel."] And calling all the animals he gave them each a name: unto the Bear, mooin; and asked him what he would do if he should meet with a man. The Bear said, "I fear him, and I should run." Now in those days the Squirrel (mi-ko) was greater than the Bear. Then Glooskap took him in his hands, and smoothing him down he grew smaller and smaller, till he became as we see him now. In after-days the Squirrel was Glooskap's dog, and when he so willed, grew large again and slew his enemies, however fierce they might be. But this time, when asked what he would do should he meet with a man, Mi-ko replied, "I should run up a tree."

Then the Moose, being questioned, answered, standing still and looking down, "I should run through the woods." And so it was with Kwah-beet the Beaver, [Footnote: This is very obscure in the original manuscript. It reads "Herask beaber did do anything just look behager."] and Glooskap saw that of all created beings the first and greatest was Man.

Before men were instructed by him, they lived in darkness; it was so dark that they could not even see to slay their enemies. [Footnote: This was read to me by an Indian from a wampum record, now kept at Sebayk. I do not think I am mistaken in the phrase. It probably refers to ignorance of warlike weapons.] Glooskap taught them how to hunt, and to build huts and canoes and weirs for fish. Before he came they knew not how to make weapons or nets. He the Great Master showed them the hidden virtues of plants, roots, and barks, and pointed out to them such vegetables as might be used for food, as well as what kinds of animals, birds, and fish were to be eaten. And when this was done he taught them the names of all the stars. He loved mankind, and wherever he might be in the wilderness he was never very far from any of the Indians. He dwelt in a lonely land, but whenever they sought him they found him. [Footnote: This is from the Rand manuscript. The writer remarks that these expressions were the very words of a Micmac Indian named Stephen Flood, "who had no idea that he was using almost the identical expressions of Holy Writ with reference to God."] He traveled far and wide: there is no place in all the land of the Wabanaki where he left not his name; hills, rocks and rivers, lakes and islands, bear witness to him.

Glooskap was never married, yet as he lived like other men he lived not alone. There dwelt with him an old woman, who kept his lodge; he called her Noogumee, "my grandmother." (Micmac.) With her was a youth named Abistariaooch, or the Martin. (M.) And Martin could change himself to a baby or a little boy, a youth or a young man, as befitted the time in which he was to act; for all things about Glooskap were very wonderful. This Martin ate always from a small birch-bark dish, called witch-kwed-lakun-cheech (M.), and when he left this anywhere Glooskap was sure to find it, and could tell from its appearance all that had befallen his family. And Martin was called by Glooskap Uch-keen (M.), "my younger brother." The Lord of men and beasts had a belt which gave him magical power and endless strength. And when he lent this to Martin, the younger brother could also do great deeds, such as were only done in old times.

Martin lived much with the Mikumwess or Elves, or Fairies, and is said to have been one of them.

How Win-pe the Sorcerer, having stolen Glooskap's Family, was by him pursued, and how, Glooskap for a Merry Jest cheated the Whale. Of the Song of the Clams, and how the Whale smoked a Pipe.


N'kah-ne-oo. In old times (P.), in the beginning of things, men were as animals and animals as men; how this was, no one knows. But it is told that all were at first men, and as they gave themselves up to this and that desire, and to naught else, they became beasts. But before this came to pass, they could change to one or the other form; yet even as men there was always something which showed what they were.

Now Glooskap lived on an island named Aja-lig-un-mechk, and with him were many Indians with the names and natures of animals and birds.

These men, but most of all Pulowech, the Partridge, having acquired power themselves, became jealous of Glooskap, and made up their minds to depart when he was away, taking with them Martin and the grandmother. For they had great hope that Glooskap, being left alone on the island, would perish, because they knew not his power. There is another story which says that he was living at the mouth of the Oolostook, at a place called Menogwes (St. John, N. B.), and went away into the forest as far as Goolwahgik (Juan), and had been gone six weeks, when he returned home and found the old woman, whose name was Mooinarkw, [Footnote: Mr. Rand translates this Micmac word as Mrs. Bear.] and Martin had been taken away. Following their tracks to the shore he saw one of his greatest enemies, a terrible sorcerer named Win-pe, just pushing off in his canoe. And with him were his wife and child and Dame Bear and Martin. They were still within call, and Glooskap cried from the shore to the grandmother to send back his dogs, which were not larger than mice, and, as some stories tell us, were squirrels. So she took a woltes-takun, which is a small wooden platter, and on such Indian dice are tossed. This she put in the water, and placed the dogs on it, and it floated to the shore, and Glooskap took it up. Win-pe with his family and prisoners pushed on to Passamoogwaddy (M.), and thence to Grand Manan; and after remaining there a while he crossed over to Kes-poog-itk (Yarmouth), and so went slowly along the southern coast through Oona-mahgik (Cape Breton), and over to Uktukkamkw (Newfoundland), where he was slain.

Now whether it was to gain magical power, or to weaken that of Win-pe, or to chasten the others by suffering, who knows? But Glooskap rested seven years alone before he pursued the enemy, though some say it was seven months. And when the time had come, he took his dogs and went to the shore, and looked far out to sea over the waves, and sang the magic song which the whales obey. [Footnote: In the Tales and Traditions of the Eskimo, by Dr. Henry Rink, we are told in the story of Akigsiak that an old man taught the hero a magic lay for luring a whale to him. In another, Katersparsuk sings such a song to the walrus.] Soon there rose in the distance a small whale, who had heard the call, and came to Glooskap; but he was then very great, and he put one foot on the whale to test his weight, and the fish sank under him. So he sent it away.

Then the lord of men and beasts sang the song again, and there came the largest, a mighty female, and she bore him well and easily over to Kes-poog-itk. But she was greatly afraid of getting into shoal water, or of running ashore, and this was what Glooskap wished her to do that he might not wet his feet. So as she approached she asked him if land were in sight. But he lied, and said "No." So she went on rapidly.

However, she saw shells below, and soon the water grew so shoal that she said in fear, "Moon-as-taba-kan-kari-jean-nook? (M.) Does not the land show itself like a bow-string?" And he said, "We are still far from land."

Then the water grew so shoal that she heard the song of the Clams as they lay under the sand, singing to her that she should throw him off and drown him. For these Clams were his deadly enemies. But Bootup the Whale did not understand their language, so she asked her rider—for he knew Clam—what they were chanting to her. And he replied in a song:—

"They tell you to hurry (cussal) (M), To hurry, to hurry him along, Over the water, Away as fast as you can!"

Then the Whale went like lightning, and suddenly found herself high on the shore. Then she lamented and sang:—

"Alas, my grandchild (noojeech), Ah, you have been my death; I can never leave the land, I shall swim in the sea no more."

But Glooskap sang:—

"Have no fear, noogumee, You shall not suffer, You shall swim in the sea once more."

Then with a push of his bow against her head he sent her off into deep water. And the Whale rejoiced greatly. But ere she went she said, "Oh, my grandson, K'teen pehabskwass n'aga tomawe?" (P.). "Hast thou not such a thing as an old pipe and some tobacco?" He replied,—

"Ah yes. You want tobacco, I behold you."

So he gave her a short pipe and some tobacco, and thereunto a light. And the Whale, being of good cheer, sailed away, smoking as she went, while Glooskap, standing silent on the shore, and ever leaning on his maple bow, beheld the long low cloud which followed her until she vanished in the far away.

In a Passamaquoddy tale of Pook-jin-skwess the Witch, the Clams sing a song deriding the hero. The words are:—

"Mow chow nut-pess sell Peri marm-hole wett."

These words are not Indian, but they are said to mean,—

You look very funny with your long hair streaming in the wind, And sailing on a snail's horn.

The large Clams sing this in a bass voice, the small ones in falsetto. The gypsies say that a Snail, when put on a pie, utters four cries, or squeaks; hence in Germany the Romany call it Stargoli: that is, shtor-godli, four cries.

Of the Dreadful Deeds of the Evil Pitcher, who was both Man and Woman, and how she fell in love with Glooskap, and, being scorned, became his Enemy. Of the Toads and Porcupines, and the Awful Battle of the Giants.


When Glooskap came into the world it abounded in giants, monsters, sorcerers and witches, fiends and devils. Among the witches there was, one whom the Passamaquoddy call Pook-jin-skwess, or the Pitcher. [Footnote: It is not impossible that this well-known Indian witch gave her name to Moll Pitcher, the famous fortune-teller of Lynn.] And they have a legend that she once fell in love with Glooskap when he was young and had not gained the power of his riper age. He fled before her, and she pursued him. It was a dreadful flight, since to make rapid steps both took the form of giants by their m'-te-oulin (P.), or magic power. It was like an awful storm in winter, the wind chasing the cloud; it was like a frightful tempest in summer, the lightning chasing the thunder. As the snow lay deep, both had snow-shoes on. When they came to the shore Glooskap leaped from the main-land to the island of Grand Manan, [Footnote: A leap of about nine miles.] and so escaped her. Now the snow-shoes of Glooskap were sams'ook (P.), or round, while those of Pook-jin-skwess were long and pointed, [Footnote: The Penobscots give the long shoes to Glooskap.] and the marks of them as they jumped are to be seen deep in the rocks to this day.

When Glooskap came to the camp, which was at Ogumkegeak (M.), now called Liverpool, he found no one. But there lay the witch-kwed-lakun-cheech (M.), or birch-bark dish of Martin, and from it, or, as another legend states, from an old man and woman who dwelt hard by, he learned that Win-pe and the families had been gone for seven years, along a road guarded by wicked and horrible beings, placed by Win-pe to prevent the Great Master from finding him. For it was a great triumph for him to keep Glooskap's friends as slaves, and all the land spoke thereof.

And these monsters were Pook-jin-skwess, or the Evil Pitcher herself, in many forms; for she could be man or woman, [Footnote: In the Tales and Traditions of the Eskimo, we are told that a woman named Arnakuak, being apparently gifted by magic with the ability to change her sex, had her daughter-in-law; Ukuamak, for a wife, and, having eloped with her, was followed and killed by her own son. As this is almost immediately followed by a story of a man who gave birth to a child, it would appear that the idea was common to both Eskimo and Indians. Only the wicked magicians in Indian tales change their sex, like Loki in the Edda.] or many of them, and also several girls, when she willed it. Now it is a great part of Indian m'teoulin (P.) to know what one's enemies are planning and plotting, and all their tricks and darkened paths; and in this Glooskap went beyond them all, for before his time every one went his own way, even in wickedness. But Glooskap first of all threw out his soul unto others.

And when he came to Ogumkeok he found a hut, and in it, seated over a fire, the ugliest old hag he had ever seen, trembling in every limb, as if near death, dirty, ragged, and loathsome in all ways. Looking up at him with bleared eyes, she begged him to gather her a little firewood, which he did. And then she prayed him to free her from the wah gook(M.), or vermin, with which she was covered, and which were maddening her with their bites. These were all devils in disguise, the spirits of foul poison, such as she deemed must kill even the Master. Now Glooskap, foreseeing all this, had taken with him, as he came, from a bog many cranberries. And bidding Pook-jin-skwess bend over, he began to take from her hair the hideous vermin, and each, as he took it, became a horrid porcupine or toad. [Footnote: In the Eskimo mythology, Arnarkuagsak, the old woman of the sea, is tormented by vermin about her head. These are really the souls of still-born or murdered infants, who have become imps. The first thing which the angakok or sorcerer, who visits her must do is to free her from these pests. The descent of the sorcerer to this mother of all the monsters of the sea, who are at the same time giants, when they choose to assume the human form, recalls that of Odin to Hela. Both make this journey to hell, not for themselves, but in the interests of mankind.] Then the hag asked, "Have you found one?" "I have," replied the Master. "Basp!" (M.) "Crush it!" was her answer, and Glooskap crushed a cranberry; and she, hearing the noise, thought that he had done as she bid, and that the poison on his fingers would penetrate to his life. But he put the imps, one by one, under the wooden platter, which lay before him. As this went on he put the witch to sleep. When she awoke he was gone. The foul porcupines and toads were swarming all over the ground, having upset their hive. And filled with fury at being made a jest of, since it was a great despite that he had not even found it worth while to kill her when asleep, she burst out into her own form, which was beautiful as sin, wild as the devil, and gathering up all her imps, and making herself far more magical by fiercer will, went onward to encounter him again.

Then Glooskap came to a narrow pass in the hills. Here were two terrible beasts, as one story has it, or two monstrous dogs, [Footnote: The Indians had dogs before the coming of the whites. They were wolf-like.] as it is told in another. And they attacked him; but he set his own at them, and they, growing to tremendous size, killed the others. His dogs were so trained that when called to come off they went on, and the more they were bid to be quiet the more they bit.

Soon he came to the top of a high hill, and looking thence over all the land saw afar off a large wigwam, and knew in his heart that an enemy dwelt therein. And coming to it he found an old man and his two daughters. [Footnote: In another account, an old sorceress and her daughters; also an old man and his wife and daughters. According to two versions, these are all separate wizards, but the whole spirit of the Passamaquoddy legends make them Pook-jin-skwess alone.] Now the girls came out greeting [Footnote: In the story of the Rabbit and Lusifee the sorcerer singly twice assumes the form of an old man and his two daughters. There is yet another story, in which a magician thus triples himself with two daughters. It is, I believe, Eskimo, but I cannot distinctly remember as to this.] him with very pleasant glances, wooing softly and sweetly; they offered him a string of sausages, such as the Indians make from the entrails of the bear by only turning them inside out. For the fat, which clings to the outside, fills the skin. When these are washed and dried and smoked, many deem them delicious. But these which the girls offered, as girls do, to show their love, by casting the string round the neck of the favored youth, were enchanted, and had they once put the necklace upon him he would have been overpowered. However, they knew not of this new magic which the Master had brought into the land, by which one can read the heart; so, as they sidled up unto him with smiles and blandishments, waving in the wind as they danced their garlands of enchanted sausages, he looked as if he wanted to be won. And when his dogs growled at them he cried, "Cuss!" (M.), which means Stop! but which the dogs only knew as "Hie, at them!" So they flew at the witches, and these flashed up like fire into their own dreadful forms of female fiends. Then there was a terrible tumult, for never before in the land of the Wabanaki had there been such a battle. All the earth and rocks around were torn up. All the while the Master cried to the dogs, "Stop! These are my sisters. Come off, ye evil beasts! Let them alone! Cease, oh cease!" Yet the more he exhorted them to peace the more they inclined to war, and the more fiercely they fought, until the witches fled.

Then he entered the wigwam where the old sorcerer sat, waiting for him as food. And the Master said, "Are you hungry? Or do you love sausages? Here they are!" Instantly casting the links around his neck, he was taken, and Glooskap slew him with one blow.

Then, going on, he reached the Strait of Camsoke [Footnote: Camsoke means, "There is a high bluff on the opposite side of the river."—S. T. Rand.] (M.), or Canso, and to cross over again sang the song which wins the whales, and one of these rising, carried him to the opposite shore. Thence he made the circle of Oona-mah-gik, keeping round by the southern coast, and coming to the old camps where his enemy had been. From the witch-kwed-lakun-cheech, or birch-bark dish, left by Martin, he learned how long they had been gone. [Footnote: As the gypsy leaves his patteran, or sign, so the Indian makes marks which set forth clearly enough how long he has camped at any place, and how many were in the party, etc. It may be supposed that Martin, not daring to attract Win-pe's attention, effected this by a few secret scratches. Thus three lines and a crescent or moon would mean three nights.] When he came to Uk-tu-tun (M., Cape North) he found they had rowed to Uk-tuk-amqw (M., Newfoundland), and had left three days before.

Then again he sang, and once more a whale carried him over. And now he knew that he was indeed coming to what he sought, for in the deserted camp he found the embers of a fire, still smoking. Advancing rapidly, he saw near the next camp Martin, seeking wood to burn. The youth and the old Dame Bear had been most cruelly treated by Win-pe, and they were nearly starved, but Martin's clothes were good. [Footnote: There is a reason for this singular detail. Nancy Jeddore, the Indian from whom Mr. Rand learned one version of this legend, informed him that the Martin, thin at all times, always has a fine fur, however starved he may be. Dying with hunger, he is always well dressed.] And Martin was so sunk in sorrow that he did not hear Glooskap call him, and not till the Master threw a small stick at him did he look up, and even then he thought it had fallen from a tree. Then, seeing him, he cried out with joy; but Glooskap, who was hiding in the woods, bade him be silent. "Wait till it is dark," he said, "and I will go to your wigwam. Now you may go home and tell your grandmother."

In the other story (M.) it is narrated that as Martin with the grandmother were on the road, and Dame Bear bore him as almost a babe on her back, he turned his head and saw Glooskap following them, and cried out,—

"Where, oh where, Where is my brother? He who fed me often On the marrow of the moose!"

And she replied,—

"Alas for thee, boy! He is far, far away; You will see him no more."

But the little fellow, seeing him again, sang as before, and Dame Bear, turning her head and beholding her Master, was so moved that she fainted and fell to the ground. Then Glooskap raised her in his arms, and when she had recovered she related how cruelly they had been treated by Win-pe. And Glooskap said, "Bear with him yet a little while, for I will soon pay him in full for what he has done."

Then the Master bade the old woman go back to the camp with Martin, and say nothing. It was the youth's duty to go for water and tend the baby in its swinging cot. And Glooskap told him all that he should do. When he should bring water he must mix with it the worst filth, and so offer it to Win-pe, the sorcerer.

And even as he ordered it was done, and Martin meekly offered the foul drink to the evil man, who at the smell of it cried aloud, "Uk say!" (M., Oh, horror!) and bade him bring a cleaner cup. But Martin, bearing the babe, threw it into the fire, and, running to the spot where Glooskap hid, cried out, "Nse-sako! nse-sako!" (M., My brother! my brother!) Win-pe, pursuing him, said, "Cry out to him; your brother cannot help you now. He is far away from here, on the island where I left him. Cry out well, for now you must die!" All this had been done that Win-pe's power might be put to sleep by anger, and his mind drawn to other things. And the Master rose before him in all his might, and stepped forward, while Win-pe drew backward a pace to recover his strength. And with great will the Master roused all the magic within him, and, as it came, he rose till his head was above the tallest pine; and truly in those days trees were giants beyond those of this time. But the lord of men and beasts laughed as he grew till his head was far above the clouds and reached the stars, and ever higher, till Win-pe was as a child at his feet. And holding the man in scorn, and disdaining to use a nobler weapon, he tapped the sorcerer lightly with the end of his bow, like a small dog, and he fell dead.

How the Story of Glooskap and Pook-jin-skwess, the Evil Pitcher, is told by the Passamaquoddy Indians. [Footnote: In this story Glooskap is called Pogumk, the Black Cat or Fisher, that is, a species of wild cat, while Martin is a N'mockswess, sable. There seems to be no settled idea as to what was the totem or innate animal nature of the lord of men and beasts. I have a series of pictures scraped on birch-bark illustrating these myths, executed by a Passamaquoddy, in which Glooskap and the adopted grandmother in the stone canoe are represented as wood-chucks, or ground-hogs. (Mon-in-kwess, P.)]


There was a village of Indians who were all Black Cats, or Po'gum'k. One of them, the cleverest and bravest, went forth every day with bow and arrow, tomahawk and knife, and killed moose and bear, and sent meat to the poor, and so he fed them all. When he returned they came to him to know where his game lay, and when he had told them they went forth with toboggins [Footnote: Toboggin, a sled made very simply by turning up the ends of one or more pieces of wood to prevent them from catching in the snow.] and returned with them loaded with meat. And the chief of the Black Cats was by his mother the son of a bear. [Footnote: A confused but important point in all these myths.]

Pook-jin-skwess, the Witch, was a Black Cat. She was a woman or a man as she willed to be; but in these days she was a man. And she, being evil, hated the chief, and thought long how she could kill or remove him, and take his place. Now, one day when all the camp had packed what they had, being about to travel, Pitcher asked the chief to go with him, or with her, as you may will, down to the water-side to gather gulls' eggs. And then they went far out in a canoe, and very far, and still farther, till they came to an island, and there they landed, and while Pogumk (who was Glooskap) sought for eggs, the false-hearted Pitcher stole away in the akweden (P., canoe), and as she paddled she sang a song—

"Nikhed-ha Pogumk min nekuk, Netswil sagamawin!" (P)

"I have left the Black Cat on an island, I shall be the chief of the Fishers now!"

So she came to the village, and the next day they all departed through the woods; there was not one of them left save the one who was worth them all. And at night they camped, expecting every day that the chief would come to them, and till then Pitcher was in his place.

Now on the thirtieth day the chief remembered his friend the Fox, who had m'teoulin (P.), or magic power. And he sang a song, and the Fox heard it, although he was miles away, beyond forests and mountains. And thus knowing all, he went to the shore and swam to the island, where he found the chief. At this time the Black Cat could not swim such a distance, [Footnote: The most powerful manitous, or magicians, in the Chippeway tales, as well as in all others of the Indians, may exhaust their power and be forced to depend on that of inferiors in the great art. In this tale Glooskap is decidedly under a cloud.] but the Fox offered to take him to the mainland. Then they waded into the water, and the Fox said, "Close thine eyes and hold fast to my tail as tightly as thou canst, and be of good faith, oh, my elder brother, and we shall soon gain the shore." Saying this, he swam away and his friend followed. And it went well with them, but the chief grew weary, and he opened one eye a little, and saw that they were not ten feet from the shore. And being of little faith he thought, for he spoke not aloud, "We shall never get to land." But the Fox replied, "Do not believe it." But the journey lasted long, for what seemed to Pogumk to be ten feet was ten miles, and the wind was high and the waters were wild, for Pitcher had called forth a storm. So they swam all day and all the evening before they landed. "And now, my elder brother," said the Fox, "you may go your way." And he went to the camp of the Black Cats.

When he came to the camp it was cold, and there were only ashes, for the people had gone on. So he followed them, and in one day came near them. And the first whom he overtook was his mother, bearing his younger brother Sable ('Nmmok-swess, P.) on her back, so that while she looked forward he looked behind. And as Pogumk peeped out from among the leaves, Sable saw him, and said, "Here comes my brother!" And she turned, but saw nothing, for the chief suddenly hid himself behind a tree. Then they went on, and Sable cried again, "Indeed, mother, I behold my elder brother!" And this time the mother, glancing quickly, caught him, and they all laughed for joy, and she threw Sable down in the leaves, like a stick. Then the chief bade Sable run to the camp. "And when you are there," he said, "build up a great fire of hemlock bark, and take Pitcher's babe, even the babe which she loves, and which you tend, and throw it into the fire, and run to me as fast as you can, for verily thou wilt be in dire need to do so."

And as he commanded it was done; and when the fire was hot, Sable threw the babe into it, and it was burned to death. And Pitcher, being, as one may well believe, maddened at such a sight, pursued him as a starving wolf pursues a rabbit. Then Sable, in great fear, cried aloud, "Oh, my elder brother, my brother!" And Pitcher screamed, "Call aloud to him, for you must run as far as the island where Pogumk is, to save yourself!" And at that word Pogumk stepped forward and confronted her, and said, "Truly, she need not run so far."

And seeing him and hearing this, fear came upon her; but she laughed aloud to hide it, and said, "I did but chase him in sport, for I love Sable." But Pogumk replied grimly, "I know thee and thy tricks, thou the evil one." Then, as his magic had come to him, he used his power, and put Pitcher with her back against a tree; and there she stayed, stuck to it, unable to get away. But the chief and Sable went to the camp. Now Pitcher had a hatchet and wedge, and with much ado she cut herself away, and the Black Cats heard her pounding and chopping all night long. And in the morning she came to them, and there was a great piece of wood sticking to her back, and they laughed her to scorn, and sang at her,—

"He who made the chief Stay on a distant island, He is stuck by the chief Fast with his back to a tree."

Now Pitcher the Witch, being mad with shame and spite, fled from the face of man, and ran through the woods like a wild wolf. And so she came to Bar Harbor (Pes'sonkqu', P.), and sat down on a log, and said, with her heart full of bitterness and malice, "I would that I could become something which should torment all men." And as she said this she became a mosquito (T'sis-o, P.), and so it came to pass that mosquitoes were made. And to this day men see that wherever the Black Cat is, there too is the Sable not far away. [Footnote: The Passamaquoddy version relates that Pitcher in her flight pursued a moose to Bar Harbor, where, having killed him and drawn out the entrails, she petrified him. A Penobscot woman told me she had often seen the moose rock there, and the "inments." But she attributed the deed to Glooskap, to whom it properly belongs, his petrified moose and dogs and the print of his bow, etc., being still shown in Nova Scotia; and it is also said that it was at Freshwater, after returning from Bar Harbor (Maine), that Pitcher was changed into a mosquito. Another story states that Pook-jin-skwess, having pursued young men all her life, changed into a mosquito that she might continue to prey on them.]

Of this Pook-jin-skwess it was said that she had children of her own, begotten by sorcerers and giants and monsters; but as they were all ugly she stole from the Indian women their fairest babes, and brought them up as if they were her own, that she might not be entirely put to shame because of her children. And once she had thus stolen a boy, and when he grew up some one said to him that he should not believe that she was his mother, but should question her as to it. Now the youth, reflecting on this, observed that his brothers and sisters were all as ugly as evil beasts and no better behaved, while he himself was comely and good. Then he asked her what this might mean. And she replied, laughing, "Because they were all begotten (or born) in the night-time, but you are a child of the day and of light." [Footnote: There is probably an allusion in this to the Wabanaki, or Children of Light; that is, the Algonquin. This story was told me by Noel Josephs, a Passamaquoddy. I have been told by an old Passamaquoddy woman that the descendants of Pook-jin-skwess were the 'Nmmok-skwess. This stealing the white boy is related in another tale more folly. It may refer to the early dark Eskimo.]

How Glooskap became friendly to the Loons, and made them his Messengers.


When Glooskap was pursuing Win-pe, he one day on Uktukamkw saw from afar flying over water the Kwe-moo (M.), or Loons. And thrice did their chief make the circle of the lake, coming near to the land of men and beasts every time, as if he would fain seek somewhat. Then Glooskap asking him what he wanted, Kwe-moo replied that he would be his servant and friend. So Glooskap taught him a strange long cry like the howl of a dog, and when the loons were in need of him or would pray to him they were to utter this cry.

And it came to pass that when he was in Newfoundland he came to an Indian town, and they who dwelt therein were all Kwee-moo-uk, or Loons. And they, as men, were exceeding glad to see their lord, who had blessed them as birds, and did their best to please him. So he made them his huntsmen and messengers, and in all the tales of Glooskap the Kweemoo ever appears as faithful to him. Whence to this day, when the Indians hear the cry of the Loon, they say, "Kwemoo el-komik-too-ajul Gloocapal" (He is calling upon Glooskap).

How Glooskap made his Uncle Mikchich the Turtle into a Great Man, and got him a Wife. [Footnote: This legend of the tortoise is carefully compiled from six different versions: the narration of Tomah Josephs, a Passamaquoddy; the Anglo-Indian manuscript, already cited; two accounts in the Rand manuscript; the author quoted without credit in The Maritime Provinces; and one by Mrs. W. Wallace Brown. As the totem of the Tortoise was of the highest rank among the Algonquins, this account of its origin is of corresponding interest. Having employed an old Indian to carve the handle of a war or scalping knife for me, such as was used by his Passamaquoddy ancestors, he carved on it a tortoise. It was especially the totem of the Lenni-Lenape, called by the Passamaquoddies Lel-le-mabe, "the people."] Of Turtles' Eggs, and how Glooskap vanquished a Sorcerer by smoking Tobacco.

(Micmac and Passamaquoddy.)

Now when Glooskap left Uktukamkw, or Newfoundland, it was in a canoe, and he came to Piktook (M. for Pictou), which means the bubbling up of air, because there is much bubbling in the water near that place. And here there was an Indian village, and in that place the Master met with a man whom he loved all his life.

And this was not because this man, whose name in Micmac is Mikchich and in Passamaquoddy Chick-we-notchk, meaning the Turtle, was great, or well favored, or rich. For truly he was none of these, being very poor and lazy, no longer young, and not very clever or wise in any way. It is said that he was indeed Glooskap's uncle, but others think that this was by adoption. However, this old fellow bore all his wants with such good nature that the Master, taking him in great affection, resolved to make of him a mighty man. Which came to pass, and that in a strange manner, as we shall see.

For coming to Piktook, where there were above a hundred wigwams, Glooskap, being a very handsome, stately man, with the manner of a great chief, was much admired, and that not a little by all the women, so that every one wished to have him in the house. Yet he gave them all the go-by, and dwelt with his old uncle, in whose quaint ways and old-time stories he took great delight. And there was to be a great feast with games, but Glooskap did not care to go, either as a guest or a performer in the play.

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