**** 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!

Of The Dreadful Deeds Of The Evil Pitcher, Who Was Both Man And Woman
by [?]

Of the Dreadful Deeds of the Evil Pitcher, Who Was Both Man and Woman, and how she fell in love with Glooskap, and, being scorned, became his Enemy. Of the Toads and Porcupines, and the Awful Battle of the Giants.


When Glooskap came into the world it abounded in giants, monsters, sorcerers and witches, fiends and devils. Among the witches there was, one whom the Passamaquoddy call Pook-jin-skwess, or the Pitcher. [Footnote: It is not impossible that this well-known Indian witch gave her name to Moll Pitcher, the famous fortune-teller of Lynn.] And they have a legend that she once fell in love with Glooskap when he was young and had not gained the power of his riper age. He fled before her, and she pursued him. It was a dreadful flight, since to make rapid steps both took the form of giants by their m’-te-oulin (P.), or magic power. It was like an awful storm in winter, the wind chasing the cloud; it was like a frightful tempest in summer, the lightning chasing the thunder. As the snow lay deep, both had snow-shoes on. When they came to the shore Glooskap leaped from the main-land to the island of Grand Manan, [Footnote: A leap of about nine miles.] and so escaped her. Now the snow-shoes of Glooskap were sams’ook (P.), or round, while those of Pook-jin-skwess were long and pointed, [Footnote: The Penobscots give the long shoes to Glooskap.] and the marks of them as they jumped are to be seen deep in the rocks to this day.

When Glooskap came to the camp, which was at Ogumkegeak (M.), now called Liverpool, he found no one. But there lay the witch-kwed-lakun-cheech (M.), or birch-bark dish of Martin, and from it, or, as another legend states, from an old man and woman who dwelt hard by, he learned that Win-pe and the families had been gone for seven years, along a road guarded by wicked and horrible beings, placed by Win-pe to prevent the Great Master from finding him. For it was a great triumph for him to keep Glooskap’s friends as slaves, and all the land spoke thereof.

And these monsters were Pook-jin-skwess, or the Evil Pitcher herself, in many forms; for she could be man or woman, [Footnote: In the Tales and Traditions of the Eskimo, we are told that a woman named Arnakuak, being apparently gifted by magic with the ability to change her sex, had her daughter-in-law; Ukuamak, for a wife, and, having eloped with her, was followed and killed by her own son. As this is almost immediately followed by a story of a man who gave birth to a child, it would appear that the idea was common to both Eskimo and Indians. Only the wicked magicians in Indian tales change their sex, like Loki in the Edda.] or many of them, and also several girls, when she willed it. Now it is a great part of Indian m’teoulin (P.) to know what one’s enemies are planning and plotting, and all their tricks and darkened paths; and in this Glooskap went beyond them all, for before his time every one went his own way, even in wickedness. But Glooskap first of all threw out his soul unto others.

And when he came to Ogumkeok he found a hut, and in it, seated over a fire, the ugliest old hag he had ever seen, trembling in every limb, as if near death, dirty, ragged, and loathsome in all ways. Looking up at him with bleared eyes, she begged him to gather her a little firewood, which he did. And then she prayed him to free her from the wah gook(M.), or vermin, with which she was covered, and which were maddening her with their bites. These were all devils in disguise, the spirits of foul poison, such as she deemed must kill even the Master. Now Glooskap, foreseeing all this, had taken with him, as he came, from a bog many cranberries. And bidding Pook-jin-skwess bend over, he began to take from her hair the hideous vermin, and each, as he took it, became a horrid porcupine or toad. [Footnote: In the Eskimo mythology, Arnarkuagsak, the old woman of the sea, is tormented by vermin about her head. These are really the souls of still-born or murdered infants, who have become imps. The first thing which the angakok or sorcerer, who visits her must do is to free her from these pests. The descent of the sorcerer to this mother of all the monsters of the sea, who are at the same time giants, when they choose to assume the human form, recalls that of Odin to Hela. Both make this journey to hell, not for themselves, but in the interests of mankind.] Then the hag asked, “Have you found one?” “I have,” replied the Master. “Basp!” (M.) “Crush it!” was her answer, and Glooskap crushed a cranberry; and she, hearing the noise, thought that he had done as she bid, and that the poison on his fingers would penetrate to his life. But he put the imps, one by one, under the wooden platter, which lay before him. As this went on he put the witch to sleep. When she awoke he was gone. The foul porcupines and toads were swarming all over the ground, having upset their hive. And filled with fury at being made a jest of, since it was a great despite that he had not even found it worth while to kill her when asleep, she burst out into her own form, which was beautiful as sin, wild as the devil, and gathering up all her imps, and making herself far more magical by fiercer will, went onward to encounter him again.