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How Glooskap Made His Uncle Mikchich The Turtle Into A Great Man
by [?]

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.

[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.

Still he inquired of Mikchich if he would not take part in it, telling him that all the maidens would be there, and asking him why he had never married, and saying that he should not live alone. Then the uncle said: “Poor and old and plain am I; I have not even garments fit for a feast; better were it for me to smoke my pipe at home.” “Truly, if that be all, uncle,” replied Glooskap, “I trow I can turn tailor and fit you to a turn; and have no care as to your outside or your face, for to him who knows how, ‘t is as easy to make a man over as a suit of clothes.” “Yes; but, nephew,” said Mikchich, “how say you as to making over the inside of a mortal?” “By the great Beaver!” answered the Master, “that is something harder to do, else I were not so long at work in this world. But before I leave this town I shall do that also for you; and as for this present sport, do but put on my belt.” And when he had done that, Mikchich became so young and handsome that no man or woman ever saw the like. And then Glooskap dressed him in his own best clothes, and promised him that to the end of his days, whenever he should be a man, he would be the comeliest of men; and because he was patient and tough, he should, as an animal, become the hardest to kill of all creatures on the face of the earth, as it came to pass.