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How Glooskap Had A Great Frolic With Kitpooseagunow, A Giant Who Caught A Whale
by [?]


(Micmac.)

N’kah-nee-oo. In the old time (P.) Glooskap came to Pulewech Munegoo (M., Partridge Island), and here he met with Kitpooseagunow, [Footnote: Kitpooseagunow, “one born after his mother’s death,” is a magician-giant, who plays in the Algonquin mythology a part only inferior to that of Glooskap, whom he in every way resembles. Both are benevolent, both make war on wicked sorcerers and evil wild beasts, and both, finally, are much like Gargantua and Pantagruel in their sense of humor. They are sometimes made the heroes of the same adventure in different stories. The true origin of the name, according to Mr. Rand, is as follows: “After a cow moose or caribou has been killed, her calf is sometimes taken out alive, and reared by hand. As may be supposed, the calf is very easily tamed. The animal thus born is called Kitpooseagunow, and from this a verb is formed which denotes the act.”–Legends of the Mic Macs, Old Dominion Monthly, 1871.

This giant was also called the Protector of the Oppressed. He probably represents the Glooskap myth in another form.] whose mother had been slain by a fearful cannibal giant. And it was against these that he made war all his life long, as did Glooskap. Whence it came to pass that they loved one another, which did not at all hinder them from having a hearty and merry encounter, in which they missed but little of killing one or the other, and all in the best natured way in the world.

Now, having come to Pulewech Munegoo, the lord of men and beasts was entertained by Kitpooseagunow. And when the night came, he who was born after his mother’s death said to his guest, “Let us go on the sea in a canoe and catch whales by torchlight;” to which Glooskap, nothing loath, consented, for he was a mighty fisherman, as are all the Wabanaki of the seacoast. [Footnote: Glooskap would seem to have been the prototype of the giant fisher so well known in song:–

“His rod was made of a sturdy oak,
His line, a cable, in storms ne’er broke;
He baited his hook with a dragon’s tail,
And sat on a rock and bobbed for whale.”

A fabulous monster, apparently identical with the dragon, is common in Micmac stories.]

Now when they came to the beach there were only great rocks, lying here and there; but Kitpooseagunow, lifting the largest of these, put it on his head, and it became a canoe. And picking up another, it turned to a paddle, while a long splinter which he split from a ledge seemed to be a spear. Then Glooskap asked, “Who shall sit in the stern and paddle, and who will take the spear?” Kitpooseagunow said “That will I.” So Glooskap paddled, and soon the canoe passed over a mighty whale; in all the great sea there was not his like; but he who held the spear sent it like a thunderbolt down into the waters, and as the handle rose again to sight he snatched it up, and the great fish was caught. And as Kitpooseagunow whirled it on high, the whale, roaring, touched the clouds. Then taking him from the point, the fisher tossed him into the bark as if he had been a trout. And the giants laughed; the sound of their laughter was heard all over the land of the Wabanaki. And being at home, the host took a stone knife and split the whale, and threw one half to the guest Glooskap, and they roasted each his piece over the fire and ate it.

Now the Master, having marked the light, which was long in the heaven after the sun went down, said, “The sky is red; we shall have a cold night.” And his host understood him well, and saw that he would make it cold by magic. So he bade Marten bring in all the fuel he could find, and all there was of the oil of a porpoise; and this oil he so multiplied by magic that there was ten times more of it. And they sat them down and smoked, and told tales of old times; but it grew ever colder and colder. And at midnight, when all was burnt out, Marten froze to death, and then the grandmother, but the two giants smoked on, and laughed and talked. Then the rocks out-of-doors split with the cold, the great trees in the forest split; the sound thereof was as thunder, but the Master and he who was born after his mother’s death laughed even louder. And so they sat until the sun rose. Then Glooskap said to the dead woman, “Noogume, numchahse!” (M.) “Grandmother, arise!” and to his boy, “Abistanooch numchahse!” “Marten, arise!” and they arose, and went about their work.