**** 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 Invisible One
by [?]


There was once a large Indian village situated on the border of a lake,–Nameskeek’ oodun Kuspemku (M.). At the end of the place was a lodge, in which dwelt a being who was always invisible. [Footnote: In this Micmac tale, which is manifestly corrupted in many ways, the hero is said to be “a youth whose teeomul (or tutelary animal) was the moose,” whence he took his name. In the Passamaquoddy version nothing is said about a moose. A detailed account of the difficulty attending the proper analysis of this tradition will be found at the end of this chapter.] He had a sister who attended to his wants, and it was known that any girl who could see him might marry him. Therefore there were indeed few who did not make the trial, but it was long ere one succeeded:

And it passed in this wise. Towards evening, when the Invisible One was supposed to be returning home, his sister would walk with any girls who came down to the shore of the lake. She indeed could see her brother, since to her he was always visible, and beholding him she would say to her companions, “Do you see my brother?” And then they would mostly answer, “Yes,” though some said, “Nay,”–alt telovejich, aa alttelooejik. And then the sister would say, “Cogoowa’ wiskobooksich?” “Of what is his shoulder-strap made?” But as some tell the tale, she would, inquire other things, such as, “What is his moose-runner’s haul?” or, “With what does he draw his sled?” And they would reply, “A strip of rawhide,” or “A green withe,” or something of the kind. And then she, knowing they had not told the truth, would reply quietly, “Very well, let us return to the wigwam!”

And when they entered the place she would bid them not to take a certain seat, for it was his. And after they had helped to cook the supper they would wait with great curiosity to see Him eat. Truly he gave proof that he was a real person, for as he took off his moccasins they became visible, and his sister hung them up; but beyond this they beheld nothing not even when they remained all night, as many did.

There dwelt in the village an old man, a widower, with three daughters. The youngest of these was very small, weak, and often ill, which did not prevent her sisters, especially the eldest, treating her with great cruelty. The second daughter was kinder, and sometimes took the part of the poor abused little girl, but the other would burn her lands and face with hot coals; yes, her whole body was scarred with the marks made by torture, so that people called her Oochigeaskw (the rough-faced girl). And when her father, coming home, asked what it meant that the child was so disfigured, her sister would promptly say that it was the fault of the girl, herself, for that, having been forbidden to go near the fire, she had disobeyed and fallen in.

Now it came to pass that it entered the heads of the two elder sisters of this poor girl that they would go and try their fortune at seeing the Invisible One. So they clad themselves in their finest and strove to look their fairest; and finding his sister at home went with her to take the wonted walk down to the water. Then when He came, being asked if they saw him, they said, “Certainly,” and also replied to the question of the shoulder-strap or sled cord, “A piece of rawhide.” In saying which, they lied, like the rest, for they had seen nothing, and got nothing for their pains.

When their father returned home the next evening he brought with him many of the pretty little shells from which weiopeskool (M.), or wampum, was made, [Footnote: In Passamaquoddy wampum is called waw-bap. It is said that a single bead required a full day’s work to make and finish it. It is not many years since it was made much more expeditiously in certain New York villages.] and they were soon engaged napawejik (in stringing them). That day poor little Oochigeaskw’, the burnt-faced girl, who had always run barefoot, got a pair of her father’s old moccasins, and put them into water that they might become flexible to wear. And begging her sisters for a few wampum shells, the eldest did but call her “a lying little pest,” but the other gave her a few. And having no clothes beyond a few paltry rags, the poor creature went forth and got herself from the woods a few sheets of birch bark, of which she made a dress, putting some figures on the bark. [Footnote: Probably by scraping. Birch bark (moskwe) peeled in winter can have the thin dark brown coat scraped away, leaving a very light yellowish-brown ground. Tornah Josephs and his niece Susan, of Princeton, Maine, are experts at this work.] And this dress she shaped like those worn of old. [Footnote: This remark indicates the lateness of the Micmac version of this very old myth.] So she made a petticoat and a loose gown, a cap, leggins, and handkerchief, and, having put on her father’s great old moccasins,– which came nearly up to her knees,–she went forth to try her luck. For even this little thing would see the Invisible One in the great wigwam at the end of the village.