**** 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!


The Chenoo, Or The Story Of A Cannibal With An Icy Heart
by [?]

He became sick; he grew pale. He cast up all the horrors and abominations of earth, things appalling to every sense. When all was over he seemed changed. [Footnote: The Chenoo is not only a cannibal, but a ghoul. He preys on nameless horrors. In this case, “having yielded to the power of kindness, he has made up his mind to partake of the food and hospitality of his hosts,”” to change his life; but to adapt his system to the new regimen, he must thoroughly clear it of the old.”–Rand manuscript. This is a very naive and curious Indian conception of moral reformation. It appears to be a very ancient Eskimo tale, recast in modern time by some zealous recent Christian convert.]

He lay down and slept. When he awoke he asked for food, and ate much. From that time he was kind and good. They feared him no more.

They lived on meat such as Indians prepare. [Footnote: That is, cured, dried, smoked, and then packed and pressed in large blocks.] The Chenoo was tired of it. One day he said, “N’toos” (my daughter), “have you no pela weoos?” (fresh meat). She said, “No.” When her husband returned the Chenoo saw that there was black mud on his snow-shoes. He asked him if there was a spring of water near. The friend said there was one half a day’s journey distant. “We must go there to-morrow,” said the Chenoo.

And they went together, very early. The Indian was fleet in such running. But the old man, who seemed so wasted and worn, went on his snow-shoes like the wind. They came to the spring. [Footnote: “The Micmacs have two words for a spring of water: one for summer, utkuboh, which means that the water is cool; the other for winter, keesoobok, indicating that it is warm.”–S.T. Rand.] It was large and beautiful; the snow was all melted away around it; the border was flat and green. [Footnote: Not uncommon round warm springs even in midwinter, and among ice and snow.]

Then the Chenoo stripped himself, and danced around the spring his magic dance; and soon the water began to foam, and anon to rise and fall, as if some monster below were heaving in accord with the steps and the song. The Chenoo danced faster and wilder; then the head of an immense Taktalok, or lizard, rose above the surface. The old man killed it with a blow of his hatchet. Dragging it out he began again to dance. He brought out another, the female, not so large, but still heavy as an elk. They were small spring lizards, but the Chenook had conjured them; by his magic they were made into monsters.

He dressed the game; he cut it up. He took the heads and feet and tails and all that he did not want, and cast them back into the spring. “They will grow again into many lizards,” he said. When the meat was trimmed it looked like that of the bear. He bound it together with withes; he took it on his shoulders; he ran like the wind; his load was nothing.

The Indian was a great runner; in all the land was not his like; but now he lagged far behind. “Can you go no faster than that?” asked the Chenoo. “The sun is setting; the red will be black anon. At this rate it will be dark ere we get home. Get on my shoulders.”

The Indian mounted on the load. The Chenoo bade him hold his head low, so that he could not be knocked off by the branches. “Brace your feet,” he said, “so as to be steady.” Then the old man flew like the wind,– ne[original illegible] sokano’v’jal samastukteskugul chel wegwasumug wegul; the bushes whistled as they flew past them. They got home before sunset.

The wife was afraid to touch such meat. [Footnote: “The Indians are much less particular than white men as to food, but they avoid choojeeck, or reptiles.”–Rand manuscript.] But her husband was persuaded to eat of it. It was like bear’s meat. The Chenoo fed on it. So they all lived as friends.