**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


How Glooskap Made Elves, Fairies, Man Of An Ash Tree, Beasts, And Of His Coming
by [?]

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:–