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How The Toad And Porcupine Lost Their Noses
by [?]

The Tale of Glooskap As Told By Another Indian. Showing How the Toad and Porcupine lost their Noses.


In the old time. Far before men knew themselves, in the light before the sun, Glooskap and his brother were as yet unborn; they waited for the day to appear. Then they talked together, and the youngest said, “Why should I wait? I will go into the world and begin my life at once.” Then the elder said, “Not so, for this were a great evil.” But the younger gave no heed to any wisdom: in his wickedness he broke through his mother’s side, he rent the wall; his beginning of life was his mother’s death.

Now, in after years, the younger brother would learn in what lay the secret of the elder’s death. And Glooskap, being crafty, told the truth and yet lied; for his name was the Liar, yet did he never lie for evil or aught to harm. So he told his brother that the blow of a ball, or handful of the down of feathers, would take away his life; and this was true, for it would stun him, but it would not prevent his returning to life. Then Glooskap asked the younger for his own secret. And he, being determined to give the elder no time, answered truly and fearlessly, “I can only be slain by the stroke of a cat-tail or bulrush.”

And then the younger, having gathered the down of bird’s feathers, struck the elder, so that he fell dead, and therein he told the truth. But he soon recovered, and in that was his deceit. Howbeit it was well for the world and well for him that he then gathered bulrushes and smote his younger brother, so that he died. But the plant never grew that could harm the Master, wherefore he is alive to this day.

Who was his mother? The female Turtle was his mother.

The Master was the Lord of Men and Beasts. Beasts and Men, one as the other, he ruled them all Great was his army, his tribe was All. In it the Great Golden Eagle was a chief; he married a female Caribou. The Turtle was Glooskap’s uncle; he married a daughter of the Golden Eagle and Caribou. Of all these things there are many and long traditions. Our people tell them in the winter by the fire: the old people know them; the young forget them and the wisdom which is in them.

When the Turtle married, the Master bade him make a feast, and wished that the banquet should be a mighty one. To do this he gave him great power. He bade him go down to a point of rocks by the sea, where many whales were always to be found. He bade him bring one; he gave him power to do so, but he set a mark, or an appointed space, and bade him not go an inch beyond it. So the Turtle went down to the sea; he caught a great whale, he bore it to camp; it seemed to him easy to do this. But like all men there was in him vain curiosity; the falsehood of disobedience was in him, and to try the Master he went beyond the mark; and as he did this he lost his magic strength; he became as a man; even as a common mortal his nerves weakened, and he fell, crushed flat beneath the weight of the great fish.

Then men ran to Glooskap, saying that Turtle was dead. But the Master answered, “Cut up the Whale; he who is now dead will revive.” So they cut it up; (and when the feast was ready) Turtle came in yawning, and stretching out his leg he cried, “How tired I am! Truly, I must have overslept myself.” Now from this time all men greatly feared Glooskap, for they saw that he was a spirit.