Sunday, April 10, 2016

Glooscap and His People

I wrote this abridged version of the Algonquin Legend Glooscap and His People that can be found here. I thought the original was a bit long for third graders, but I wanted to keep the flavor of the story.

Out of rocks and clay, the Great Chief Glooscap made the animals: Miko the squirrel, Team the moose, Mooin the bear, and many others. All of Glooscap’s animals were very large, way bigger and stronger than a man.
  His evil wolf-headed brother, Malsum, was jealous and wished to also have a hand in creation, even though he did not have that power. He whispered an evil charm and the remainder of Glooscap’s clay turned to a strange animal: it was not a beaver, a badger, or a wolverine, but a combination of all three, able to change into any of those forms. Malsum named the animal Lox.
Lox, the troublemaker, figured out how to make his mischief.  He went in his wolverine body to Team, and admired his antlers, which reached the top of the pine trees, “If ever you meet a man, you could throw him to the top of the world with those antlers!” Team, thinking this sounded fun, went to Glooscap and asked for a man so he could toss him to the top of the world. Glooscap loved his people and did not like this idea one bit, so he touched Team with his hand and moose became the size he is today.
Next Lox went in his badger form to Miko and said, “With that magnificent tail of yours, you could smash down every lodge in the village.” And Miko proudly swept the nearest wigwam right off the ground. Great Chief Glooscap was nearby, and he caught Miko up in his hand and stroked the squirrels back until he was as small as he is today. “Miko, from now on, you will live in the trees and keep your tail wear it belongs.”
Then Lox put on his beaver shape and went to Mooin the bear, who was the same size he is now, but his throat wad much bigger. “Mooin,” said Lox, “Supposing you met a man, what would you do to him?” The bear scratched his head thoughtfully and at last said, “Eat him! I’d swallow him whole!” Who do you think was nearby? Glooscap, and he made bear’s throat shrink. “From now on you may swallow only very small creatures.” And today the bear, as big as he is, eats only small animals, fish and berries.
Now Great Chief Glooscap called his people together and said, “I made the animals to be man’s friends, but they have acted with treachery and selfishness. From now on, they shall be your servants and provide you with food and clothing.  Now you have power over even the largest wild creatures, yet I charge you to use this power gently.  If you take more than you need for food and clothing, I will send a pitiless giant named Famine, and when he comes, you will suffer hunger and death.
-adapted by S.J.Meyer from Glooscap & His People: An Algonquin Legend

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