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

So they plotted to kill Turtle, and his nephew, who was about to leave, told him how it would be. “First of all, they will build a mighty fire and throw you in it. But do thou, O uncle, go cheerfully, for by my power thou wilt in nowise suffer. Then they will speak of drowning, but thou must beg and pray that this may not be; and then they will the more seek to do so, and thou shalt fight them to the bitter end, and yet it shall be.”

And as he said, so it came to pass; and Mikchich, being of good cheer, bade farewell to his nephew. [Footnote: This is amusingly, though not very clearly, set forth in the Indian manuscript as follows: “Make believe but you dond want be trown. So he shaken hands witt is nuncel kick hororch good by do him. Tell is uncle you–I shall not be kill and I am going Lever (to live)–we may meet again.”] And they seized him and threw him into a great fire, but he turned over and went to sleep in it, being very lazy; and when the fire had burnt out he awoke, and called for more wood, because it was a cold night.

Then they seized him yet again, and spoke of drowning. But, hearing this, he, as if he were in mortal dread, begged them not to do this thing. And he said they might cut him to pieces, or burn him, as they would, but not to throw him into the water. [Footnote: This in the original is extremely like Brer Rabbit’s prayer not to be thrown into the brier-bush. As this legend is one of the oldest of the Algonquin, and certainly antedating the coming of the whites, I give it the priority over the negro.] Therefore they resolved to do so, and dragged him on. Then he screamed horribly and fought lustily, and tore up trees and roots and rocks like a madman; but they took him into a canoe and paddled out into the middle of the lake (or to the sea), and, throwing him in, watched him sink as he vanished far down below. So they thought him dead, and returned rejoicing.

Now the next day at noon there was a hot sunshine, and something was seen basking on a great rock, about a mile out in the lake. So two young men took a canoe and went forth to see what this might be. And when they came to the edge of the rock, which was about a foot high, there lay Mikchich sunning himself; but seeing them coming to take him, he only said, “Good-by,” and rolled over plump into the water, where he is living to this day. In memory whereof all turtles, when they see any one coming, tip-tilt themselves over into the water at once.

And Turtle lived happily with his wife, and she had a babe. New it happened in after-days that Glooskap came to see his uncle, and the child cried. “Dost thou know what he says?” exclaimed the Master. “Truly, not I,” answered Mikchich, “unless it be the language of the Mu-se-gisk (P., Spirits of the Air), which no man knoweth.” “Well,” replied Glooskap, “he is talking of eggs, for he says ‘Hoo-wah! hoo-wah!’ which methinks is much the same as ‘Waw-wun, waw-wun.’ And this in Passamaquoddy means egg.” “But where are there any?” asked Mikchich. Then Glooskap bade him seek in the sand, and he found many, and admired and marveled over them greatly; and in memory of this, and to glorify this jest of Glooskap, the Turtle layeth eggs even to this day.

* * * * *

The great Glooskap was a right valiant smoker; in all the world was no man who loved a pipe of good tobacco so much as he. In those days the summers were longer in the land of the Wabanaki, the sun was warmer, and the Indians raised tomawe (tobacco, P.), and solaced themselves mightily therewith. [Footnote: I have met with an old Indian woman in New Brunswick who told me that her grandmother remembered to have seen tobacco raised there by the Passamaquoddy.] And there came to Glooskap a certain evil-minded magician, who sought to take his life, as the Master very well knew, for he read the hearts of men as if they had been strings of wampum. And this m’teoulin (P., magician), believing himself to be greatest in all things, thought to appall Glooskap by outdoing him at first in something at which he excelled; for a fish is frightened when another swims faster, but not till then.

And the man sat down to smoke with an exceeding long pipe with a great bowl, but that of Glooskap grew to be much greater. Then, having filled his pipe, the sorcerer exhausted and burnt it out at one pull, and then blew all the smoke out of his nose at one puff. So he sat and looked at the Master. But Glooskap, whose pipe held ten times as much tobacco, did the same, and blowing it out split the rocky ground, so that a great chasm opened before them. Then they were silent awhile, till the Master said, “If you can do that you may kill me.” But he could not, and so went back with shame to those who had sent him. [Footnote: In this “tale of tobacco,” told me by John Gabriel, the evil-minded magician is described as a Black Cat. This is probably an error, as Glooskap himself appears as chief of the Black Cats in another tale. It may be, however, that this was Pook-jin-skwess in disguise.]