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

It came to pass that the Turtle waxed mighty in his own conceit, and thought that he could take Glooskap’s place and reign in his stead. So he held a council of all the animals to find out how he could be slain. The Lord of Men and Beasts laughed at this. Little did he care for them!

And knowing all that was in their hearts, he put on the shape of an old squaw and went into the council-house. And he sat down by two witches: one was the Porcupine, the other the Toad; as women they sat there. Of them the Master asked humbly how they expected to kill him. And the Toad answered savagely, “What is that to thee, and what hast thou to do with this thing?” “Truly,” he replied, “I meant no harm,” and saying this he softly touched the tips of their noses, and rising went his way. But the two, witches, looking one at the other, saw presently that their noses were both gone, and they screamed aloud in terror, but their faces were none the less flat. And so it came that the Toad and the Porcupine both lost their noses and have none to this day.

Glooskap had two dogs. One was the Loon (Kwemoo), the other the Wolf (Malsum). Of old all animals were as men; the Master gave them the shapes which they now bear. But the Wolf and the Loon loved Glooskap so greatly that since he left them they howl and wail. He who hears their cries over the still sound and lonely lake, by the streams where no dwellers are, or afar at night in the forests and hollows, hears them sorrowing for the Master.

I am indebted for this legend to Mr. Edward Jack, of Fredericton, N. B. “I give it to you,” he writes, “just as it came from an Indian’s lips, as he sat before the fire in my room this evening, smoking his tobacco mixed with willow bark. He has an endless store of Indian lore.” It may be observed that this story gives a far more ingenious reason for Glooskap’s telling his brother what would be his bane than appears in the other version. For he tells him what would indeed deprive him of life, but not forever.

No one can compare the story of Glooskap with that of Manobozho-Hiawatha and the like, as given by Schoolcraft or Cusick, and not decide that the latter seems to be a second-hand version of the former. In one we have the root of the bulrush,–not the light, feathery rush itself. In this story, as in that of Balder and Loki, it is the very apparent harmlessness of the bane which points the incident. Manobozho’s father says that a black rock will kill him; but it does not, although he flies before it. Glooskap declares that a handful of down will cause his death. The double entendre of the swoon is entirely wanting in the Western tale, as is the apparent harmlessness of the medium of death. In the Edda the mistletoe, the softest, and apparently the least injurious, of plants, kills Balder; in the Wabanaki tale it is a ball of down or a rush. The Chippewas change it, like savages, to a substantial root and a black rock, thereby manifesting an insensibility to the point of the original, which is that the most trifling thing may be the cause of the most terrible events.