Monday, September 05, 2011

Legends of the Micmacs

By Silas Tertius Rand
Showing 30 results in this book for stone:
" ...he knew not whether it was a stone, a beast, or a man..."
"Not far from their wigwams was a large flat stone, which they were charged not to remove or touch. This injunction they carefully obeyed for a while; but human nature would not be human nature if curiosity could be forever restrained. The older sister was more prudent and firm than the younger. The latter at length could contain herself no longer, and she resolved to raise the prohibited stone and peep under. She started back with a scream at the sight. "Where are they?" Why, actually up above the sky! a hole in which this stone covers as a trapdoor, and far down through which she sees the world on which she used to live, and the village and home of her childhood. Her elder sister rushed out, and looked down through this hole in the roof of the world; and they both gave way to their grief, and cried till their eyes were red with weeping...The place of the battle is well known; my informant has seen it. The stone upon which WShooweh met his fate is still pointed out. It is of a singular form, — hollow on the top, like a dish; and from this stone, and the circumstance related, the place has ever since borne the name Batkwgdagunuchk', which no one English word can easily translate. It indicates very poetically that on this rock a fellow's head was split; an anvil comes nearest to it. My informant has not seen the rock since he was a small boy; but the form, and the associations connected with it are indelibly fixed upon his memory...The two men went forward; and as they went on they came to the top of a high mountain. Large boulders were lying about, and one was so near the brow of the mountain that they thought they could raise a little sport by means of it. A little effort with the handspike loosened it and set it rolling; away it went, thundering down the side of the mountain, and they after it at the top of their speed, challenging the rock to a race; they kept up till it stopped at the foot of the hill, and then they passed by in triumph. By and by they rested for the night, killed a muskrat, and dressed it; but while the cooking was going forward, they heard a great commotion back in the direction of the rock which they had rooted from its resting-place and challenged to a race. The rock, which happened to be in reality a magician in disguise, had taken a rest, and was now coming on to renew the challenge and finish the race. In vain they attempted to flee, — they could not outstrip the foe; it came thundering on, smashing down trees and clearing a road for itself. They ran to a hill, but in vain. Up after them it rolled, the huge round stone; and the poor fellow had only time to utter the magic words, Noogoon ooskoodeskiick ! (" Let my backbone remain uninjured!") when he was smitten, rolled over by the stone, and ground to powder. The backbone, however, remained, stripped of all its surroundings, but intact. The younger brother had adroitly slipped to one side, and had escaped the ruin. When all was still, he returned to the spot where the backbone lay, and said, Cdgood' wtjUsmook't&mun? (" What are you lying there for?") Whereupon he began to call up the various parts of his body, as before: 'Ntenin ba! ho! (" My body, ho! ") 'Nooloogoon ba! ho! (" My leg, ho! ") and so on, until he had again called all his portions and appurtenances together, — when he arose and inquired wonderingly, "What have I been doing?" His brother reminded him of what had happened: "Yonder stone pursued and destroyed you." "Ah! indeed! Well, I will fix him!" So they attacked the rock; and by dint of fire and hammer, employed for many days, it was reduced to powder, blown into the air, and turned into black flies, all retaining the hatred and spite of the old rock; they attacked men and bit them most viciously, in retaliation for having been conquered...After proceeding a short distance they came upon a stone wigwam, which they entered and found empty; but they learned from its appearance that it belonged to the Porcupine tribe..."

who " built a mound and fortification at the place now called Salsbury, where the mound still remains," and then " It was the beginning of winter when he died; he had directed his people not to bury him, but to build a high flake (?) and lay him on it. This they did, and all left the place. He had told them to come back the following spring. They did so; and to their astonishment they found him alive and walking about, — exhibiting, however, proofs that his death was real, and not a sham. A hungry marten had found the corpse, and had gnawed an ugly-looking hole through one of the old man's cheeks; he still exhibited the gaping wound.
The second time he died he was buried; and a small mound near the river at Amherst Point, in Cumberland, has the honor of being his reputed resting-place. The day before his death he informed his friends that he would die on the morrow, and that they must bury him; but after one night they must open the grave, and he would come out and remain with them forever. He gave them a sign by which they would know when to open the grave. The day would be clear, and there would be not even a single cloud to be seen; but from the clear, open sky there would come a peal of thunder just at the time when the spirit would reanimate his clay.
But he did not rise; his friends and his tribe preferred to let him remain in his resting-place. They not only did not dig him up, but took special care that he should not be able to get out of his grave, even should he come to life. Hence they dug his grave deep, and piled stones upon him to keep him down. The plan succeeded; he has never risen from the dead." [Related by Thomas Boonis.]


  1. On their way down the river they see a huge giant standing on the bank, brandishing a spear, as though looking for fish, but in reality determining to defend the pass against these two formidable invaders of his territory. The little bow is now brought into requisition, and a tiny arrow is sent whizzing at the monster, who leaps to the opposite shore and falls dead. The two boys now pursue their course, and come after a while to a weir belonging to another giant. Kltpooseagunow seizes and tears it to pieces. The owner did not happen to be there, but he soon came to see if anything had been caught. He perceives that his fishing apparatus has been destroyed. He goes home in great wrath, and begins to vent his rage on the innocent and defenceless members of his household. First he raves at his wife for neglecting to watch the weir, and then he kills her; afterwards he kills all the children and his daughter-in-law; he finally falls to upbraiding himself, saying, " It was my own weir, and my own special business to watch it." So he kills himself, and thus our little avenger, in true " Jack-the-giant-killer" style, manages by his adroitness to kill the giant and all his family.

  2. One day, towards winter, he told the old people that he would go a fishing. He returned after a while, and reported that he had caught a whale. They hastened to the shore to look for it; but when they arrived there, all they saw was a pile of very large oysters. They brought out a stone knife, opened the oysters, and feasted upon them. Then the old woman suddenly became inspired with the inclination to dance, and she danced round the oysters with all her might. After she had been wrought up into a furor, one of the oysters began to expand and increase in its dimensions until it had extended about thirty moosk&nlg&negalooch (cubits),1 and had assumed the exact appearance of a whale. All now set to work to slice up the carcass and preserve it for future use.

    1 Moosktintg&ncgalooch means, literally, " elbows placed on j" this is the Indian mode of measuring.