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How A Hunter Visited The Thunder Spirits Who Dwell In Mount Katahdin
by [?]

Now when the day was done the hunter returned to his home, and when there, found he had been gone seven years. All this I have heard from the old people who are dead and gone.

This tale was told me by Tomah Josephs (P.). It seems to have nothing in common with the very widely spread myth that the thunder is the flapping of the wings of a giant bird, and the lightning the flashes of its eyes. The tradition is probably of Eskimo origin, supernatural beings partially of stone being common to Greenland and Labrador. There is a strange but entirely accidental resemblance between this story and Rip Van Winkle, as in the distant sound of the nine-pins like low-muttered thunder, the hospitable entertainment, and finally the seven years as one day. Apparent resemblances are very deceptive. In the Eskimo mythology the mersugat or kutadlit, who are the higher or benevolent spirits, protecting mortals, are distinguished from the evil ones by dwelling in cliffs, to which there are invisible entrances.

There is a remarkable resemblance between Katahdin and Hrungnir of the Edda. Hrungnir has a face of stone; he is unquestionably a mountain personified, as Miss Larned declares: “His stony head pierces the blue sky.” [Footnote: Tales of the Elder Edda, p. 235.] Both giants are the typical great mountain of their respective countries. Hrungnir has also very great affinity with the Chenoo giant. He has a stony heart, an insatiable appetite, and is cruel and brutal.

The Iroquois have the very stone giants–or, as Schoolcraft calls them, the stonish giants–themselves, and a very curious picture of them has been preserved. [Footnote: Vide Cusick’s Five Nations, 2d edition, and Schoolcraft’s Indian Tribes, vol. i p: 429.] Of them he remarks, “Who the giants are intended to symbolize is uncertain. They are represented as impenetrable by darts.” The connection between the stone giants of the Indians, the Eskimo, and the Norsemen, if not historical, is at least identical in this, that they all typify the mountains.