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Glooskap And Pook-Jin-Skwess, The Evil Pitcher
by [?]

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.