This is a sample Ministikok newspaper issue, donated by Reverend James Scanlon. Reverend Scanlon has donated a collection which is being scanned and uploaded over the next months. Stay tuned.
An old man, named Papalekisiu [Ptarmigan?], was jealous of his son-in-law and was always trying to find a way to make away with him. One day the son-in-law asked, "Where can we go to find eggs?" The old man said, "There is an island far out on the lake where there are lots of eggs." So the young man said, "All right, let's go to it and get some eggs." So off they went to the island and started walking about looking for eggs. Later, the old man said, "You should go far off. That is where the eggs are always thick." After the son-in-law had gone far away the old man jumped in the canoe and left him on the island. He thought that the young man would starve to death there. The old man paddled toward his house and soon was far away from the island. The son-in-law started to wonder how he would get home. At last he saw a snake with horns swimming close to the island so he asked the snake, "Will you take me across (the lake)?" He sat on the snake's back and twisted the snake's horns with his hands in the direction he wanted to go. At last he saw a storm coming up and there was thunder and lightning. The snake was frightened because of the thunder and lightning. The young man was afraid the snake would dive before they got to land. He had a cicigwan with him which he rattled so the snake could not hear the thunder. At last the snake got ashore and the man was all right. The son-in-law's tent was a good piece away from where the snake put him ashore. He knew that someone always stayed around this lake waiting to kill people. The murderer had a dog along with him. The murderer had line stretched between his tent and the place where the snake had landed the man. Lots of moose shoulder blades were hanging on the line. If anyone touched the line the murderer knew because the shoulder blades would make a noise. The man came to the line and went under, but not far enough because the blades started to make a noise. The murderer's dog came running down and started to bark. The man saw a stump lying on the ground so he ran and hid behind it. He had a mink skin with him and he began to wave it when the dog was barking at him. The murderer came running down thinking he was just about to make a hunt. He saw the mink skin waving over the stump but he could not see the man. He said, "Oh, it seems it is only a little animal," and he went back to his tent. So the young man made for his own tent. When he got to the tent Papalekisin was not there yet, but when the old man returned to the tent his son-in-law was waiting. The old man thought that the son-in-law was a manitu because he had reached the tent after having been left on the island. So old Papalekisin did not manage to kill the young man that time. Sometime later the son-in-law asked, "Where can we find eagle eggs?" The old man said, "I know where an eagle's nest is. You go up the rock before me and go to the eagle's nest." The son-in-law replied, "No, you go first." When the old man had gone pretty high up he fell down, but the young man kept going up. At last he reached the eagle's nest. He looked at the nest and said, "Oh my! There are an awful lot of human bones here." When he looked down he was so far up he could not see the earth and he thought he was done for. He asked the male eagle, "What is your name?" The eagle said, "My name is Kakaluwet ('to hide anything - the hidden')." Then he asked the female eagle, "What is your name?" and she answered, "Kayacacepit ('shifting back')." The young man said to the female eagle, "Let me see you shift back." She shifted back and the man looked down and saw what he took to be the earth way down below. So he told the female eagle, "Shift back again." When he looked down the second time he saw the earth coming closer. So again he said, "Shift back again." When he looked down this time the earth was very close so he went right down and was on the ground once more. When he returned to his tent, again the old man was not there yet. Awhile later the old man came and looked at his son-in-law and said, "Spirit, my son-in-law." This was the second time Papalekisin had tried to make away with the young man. Another time the son-in-law asked, "Where is a good place for jumping? So we can see who can jump the best." The old man said, "I know a good place for jumping." So he took his son-in-law to a rock which had a very wide and very deep crack in it. Papalekisiu said, "You take the first jump across." The young man started running for his jump when the old man said, "Look out, Look out, my son-in-law," but he made the jump easily. The son-in-law said, "You jump now!" As the old man made a run to prepare for the jump, the younger one was singing, "Look out, Look out, my father-in-law!" Papalekisiu said, "Do not speak." He took his jump, but he did not reach the other side and fell to the ground. His head was entirely smashed and was lying all about on the bottom. The son-in-law went down and gathered up the old man's head, putting it together as best as he could. When he went back to the tent he left the old man lying there dead. This was the third time the old man had failed to kill his son-in-law. After a long time Papalekisiu turned up again. He said to the young man, "I nearly slept forever after my big jump!" When the son-in-law had been gathering the old man's head he put the bones back together, but he had forgotten to put the brains in. So that is why the bird Papalekisiu has no brain. Later, the old man and his son-in-law were camped far off in the bush during the winter. They always hung their leggings when they went to bed. The old man said, "This is where we will be hanging our leggings, just over the fire." The young man knew the old man was up to some trick again. After the old man had fallen asleep the young man shifted the leggings. He put his where the old man's had been and moved the old man's leggings to where his had been. Then he went to bed. The old man thought the son-in-law was sleeping soundly so he knocked what he thought were the son-in-law's leggings in the fire with a stick. He did not say anything until he was pretty sure they were badly burned. Then he said, "My son-in-law, your leggings are all burned up!" The son-in-law answered, "No, there are mine hanging up there." He took down the leggings and showed Papalekisiu that they were his all right. The old man said, "One of us will have to go ahead and bring the news to our tent that one pair of leggings has been burned. Give me the leggings. I will go to the tent." The son-in-law did not answer but put on his own leggings. The old man was left there and later started home. As he was walking home he made a noise, "Pup, pup, pup," because of the cold. He made a pair of leggings from brush because he was cold. That is why the Papalekisiu has hairy legs now. [END] RF COMMENTS: Characters: Old man [a ptarmigan?] and his son-in-law: Three magical; one human trick [Magical] 1) Look for eggs - son-in-law abandoned, brought home by "snake" with horns 2) Look for eagle eggs - climb high; old man falls but son-in-law taken down by female eagle [she shifts 3 times] 3) Go to deep crevice to jump - old man falls; son-in-law pieces his head together but forgets to put in brains [Human] 4) Leggings switched and burned - old man uses brush for leggings & that is why this kind of bird has hairy legs RF COMMENTS Son-in-Law , Harvey Smallboy, JMC This seems to be a continuation of Ayacic and Skinner’s son-in-law. All three have hero left on distant island (a favorite theme according to Fisher). Ayacic & Harvey’s son-in-law get back on a horned serpent & overcome obstacle to get hom. Skinner’s magical is in beginning when older & younger brother escape from Windigo who killed parents. No horned serpent & brothers meet no obstacles. Harvey has hero initiate tests. Both have leap across chasm but different interpretation of old man’s broken head. Harvey has them climb to Eagle’s nest – not in Skinner. Both have burned leggings but with different outcomes for father-in-law – Harvey’s is “that is why bird has hairy legs”; in Skinner he turns self into tree to be used by future generations for firewood. However, the beginning and end are missing. At beginning does not have reason F-in-law wants to abandon son-in-law. At end doesn’t have the burning of the world and turning into birds. Smallboys’ version of son-in-law JMC 32: Give burned leggings and brief account of leap over chasm – say father-in-law has flat head like owl. Harvey says hero pieces head together but forgets brain [does flat head of owl mean no room for brains?]
Once upon a time there lived a great conjuror with his wife and two boys. It seems that the older boy was going to be a greater conjuror than his father. It happened that one of the windigos, so numerous in those days, came to this man's camp and swore to kill him. After they had fought for most of the night the windigo killed him and also his wife, and began to eat them. The boys saw this, and the older boy called for Mikenak, his most loyal helper, to plan a way of escape. They arranged that the two boys should run for their lives into an underground channel. The older boy took his younger brother on his back and ran. While running under the ground, the younger boy got a scratch on his face and began to cry. They ran for three days and three nights. On the morning of the third day they came out on the shore of a big lake. Then both began to cry, and looked along the shore in either direction for someone who could assist them. After a time, the boys saw something swimming very fast in the lake and approaching them. The boys looked about for some means of escape, but before they could run the monster was upon them. It asked them what was wrong and why were they alone. So they told him that the windigo had killed their father and mother, and they had run, before he killed them, too. The big monster told them, "I am he that is called the big Sea Serpent, and I govern all the animals in the sea. Do not be afraid of me. I will save you but you must do as I tell you." "Get unto my back," he continued, "and hold onto my horn" - for he had a big horn, the length of a tent pole, between his eyes. Then he asked them if they saw that island in the middle of the lake. They said that they thought they did. "Well," he said, "that is where I am going to put you ashore. It is a big island and you will find there all kinds of animals to hunt." Just as they had mounted his back and as he was leaving the shore out comes the windigo from the underground place they had come out. The windigo yelled to the big Sea Serpent to bring back the boys to him. The Sea Serpent answered, "What do you want with them?" The windigo said, "I want to eat them." The Sea Serpent then told him to wait, that he would return for him. At this the two boys began to cry and told the Serpent not to go for him. The Serpent told them not to be afraid, but just to look and see what he was going to do to him. The Sea Serpent went back for the windigo and told him also to get on his back. Then the Serpent swam to the deepest part of the lake. As he was going along the windigo began to pinch the Serpent on his back, and the Serpent asked, "What are you doing that for?" The windigo replied, "I am only moving a little" -- and began to laugh. The Serpent was then at the deepest part of the lake. There he threw the windigo off his back, and the windigo drowned. "Now," said the Serpent to the boys, "Listen to what I have to say. Do not forget that you must not leave this island. This is where you are going to live until you grow up to manhood. Now, there lives around here a man called Wamasuse who always passes along the island here. He will always want you to shoot your arrows in the water to see who will shoot the farther. But you must not do it, because if you do he will scoop you up with his big spoon that he carries and throw you into his canoe. He does not paddle his canoe. He need only tap the thwart of his canoe, and it goes as if he was paddling it. Always hide when you hear him coming." It so happened that when Wamasuse was passing along the shore he noticed that someone had been on the shore. Said he, "I must pass along here oftener than I do. I might happily find someone that I shall take home for my son-in-law. My daughter must have a husband." One time as the boys were shooting their arrows at marks along the shore, the arrow of the older boy happened to fall into the water. As luck would have it, Wamasuse appeared around the point of the island just where they were shooting, and tapped his canoe in the direction of the submerged arrow. Wamasuse spoke first: "One of you boys come out for the arrow" - shoving the arrow toward the shore. The older boy was just going to get it, but his younger brother stopped him, telling him not to go for the arrow, and saying, "Remember what the Sea Serpent told us about this man." Wamasuse told them that the Serpent had been telling them only a lot of lies. He at last got the boy to wade out for his arrow. Just as the boy reached for his arrow Wamasuse scooped him up with his big spoon and threw him into the bow of the canoe, saying, "You shall be my son-in-law." And away they went, Wamasuse tapping the thwart of his canoe. When the younger brother saw his brother taken away he rolled on the sand, crying until he fell asleep. When he awoke from his sleep the sun was nearly setting. As he was crying, he saw a big black bear coming toward him. When the bear came up to the boy, the bear told him not to cry any more, that he would live with him and be his companion. So they both went into the bush to where the two boys used to spend the night. By this time Wamasuse was home at his camp. After he sat a while in his wigwam he said to his daughter, "Go down to the canoe and bring up your husband that I have brought for you." The daughter went down to the canoe and looked in but saw no one. She returned to the wigwam and told her father that he was lying. Wamasuse retorted, "Did you look everywhere in and about the canoe? Look in the very end of the bow of the canoe, and you will see him." When the daughter looked as she was told she saw two lights like two small boats in the very end of his canoe. So she took the boy out of the canoe and saw that he was crying. She began to cry also, and said to the boy, "You should not have come here with my father because he will only kill you after a while." She took him into the wigwam and washed his face and combed his hair and kissed him on his forehead. After also giving him something to eat, she turned to scold her father for bringing her a husband that she could not live long with, for her father would only kill him after a while. The boy would go out every day to shoot squirrels and whiskey jacks around and about the wigwam. Wamasuse went on his usual trip every day in his canoe, tapping the thwart of his canoe, and so travelling along the shores of the lake. As the boy grew up he began to hunt farther afield and started to cache the best part of his hunt, storing it up for future use. He grew up to manhood. Every evening when he came home his wife always washed his face and kissed him afterwards. One day when Wamasuse and his son-in-law were at home the young man asked Wamasuse if there was no place where they could have some sport. Wamasuse replied, "There is such a place where I used to have my sport and where I used to jump. We will go over there to jump, my son, and we will see who will jump the farther. We shall go in the morning." They started off the next morning, and traveled for two days without getting there. On the third morning the young man said to Wamasuse, "When are we going to get there?" Wamasuse stopped and pointed to where they were going, and asked the young man if he saw that high land over there. The young man said that he thought he could. "That is where it is," said Wamasuse. After some time they got there. The young man looked about and saw a deep chasm. He looked over the edge of the chasm, and saw the bottom covered with bones of dead men; - those Wamasuse had lured them to their death. So you can imagine how many husbands Wamasuse's daughter must have had! "Here," said Wamasuse, "is where I used to jump. Now, son, you must jump first." So the young man measured the distance with his eye and thought that he could manage it. He took a run and jumped over, landing on the other side. Just as he jumped Wamasuse blew a blast at him to make him fall in the center. But the young fellow was prepared for such an emergency and landed safely on the other side. "Now, Wamasuse," said the young man, "it is your turn." But Wamasuse got very excited and said, "I am afraid to jump over this time. I have never been like this before." Twice he took a run, but in each case he stopped at the edge. The young man said, "You said you always played here. What are you afraid of now?" Wamasuse took a long run and jumped. Just as he was about half way over the young man blew a blast at him. Down went Wamasuse. He fell to the bottom and there he lay without moving. The young man looked at him for some time and saw that he did not move. So he looked around for a way to get down to him and in one corner he saw steps leading to the bottom. So before he went down he blew three blasts on it in case it might close over him and kill him. For Wamasuse was very cunning and was a great conjuror. He got down to him and spoke to Wamasuse, asking him if he was alive. Wamasuse said, "There is very little life in me. My head is broken." The young man looked at his head and saw that it was split in three pieces. He then took his handkerchief, that was about his head, and bound up the head of Wamasuse and laid him out with a stone for a pillow. Wamasuse then said, "Tell my daughter not to expect me to return to my lodge, for I don't expect to live." Then the young man began to look around. After gazing about for a while he said, "It is awful to see the bottom of this place. It is entirely covered with human bones." Then he climbed out by the same way that he had gone down and went back to his lodge. When he arrived his wife washed his face as usual and kissed him. Then she said, "Where is my father?" He said, "Your father is lying at the bottom of his jumping place, with his head split into three pieces." Then she began to cry, but the young man said, "If you saw the piles of bones - the bones of your dead husbands - you would not want to cry." He then told her, "Your father will be back in three days, for I fixed up his head." So it happened that Wamasuse return to his lodge on the third day more dead than alive. He just managed to crawl into his lodge and lie down. So he lay groaning for three day more, and on the third day in the evening he got up and called for meat to be given to him. So his daughter gave him meat and drink and told him not to do anything like that again. "You will not come back the next time," she said. "Not so," said Wamasuse, "I can look after my self all right." All the time that Wamasuse was laid up his son-in-law was not idle. He went out hunting every day and was storing part of the game he killed for future use. By this time he had two sons born to him, and they were now big enough to play outside of the door of the lodge. It must be remembered that Wamasuse never had to go out hunting. The animals that he lived on were always at the door of his lodge. After some time the young man began to think of trying Wamasuse again. By this time the latter was quite all right again. One day the young man said to him, "My father, is there no place near here where we could go to find the eggs of the big sea gulls?" "Yes," said Wamasuse, "there is such a place out in the sea. We will go by canoe in the morning." They traveled again by canoe for three days and on the third day the young man said, "Where is this place you told me of? We do not seem to be getting there." Wamasuse pointed with his hand and said, "Do you see that land way out there?" The young man said, "I can just about make it out." "That is the place where the big sea gulls lay their eggs," said Wamasuse. So they came to the place. It was a big island. There they saw the big sea gulls sitting on their nests. Then they began to gather the eggs and put them in their blankets. The young man then said, "There are very few eggs on this end of the island on which we put ashore." This was said just to try Wamasuse, to see what he would say. "Then, my son," said Wamasuse, "I think that if you go to the other end of the island you will get more and better eggs over there." So the man went. He knew all the time what Wamasuse would do, and just as he was getting to the other end of the island he looked back and saw Wamasuse shoving off from the shore, tapping the thwart of his canoe with all his might. The young man called out to him and said, "My father, you are leaving." But Wamasuse did not even look back, but kept on going with all his might. The man called after him, "You can go. I am going too and will get home before you." While he was picking up the eggs one of the big gulls flew at him and attempted to strike him with its beak. But the man clubbed it on the head, skinned it, and put the skin over himself. The he flew around the island for a while until he thought that he would not fall. He then made after Wamasuse. After some time he caught up to Wamasuse, who was furiously tapping his thwart. The man flew over him so that his shadow would fall on Wamasuse. When the latter saw the shadow of the gull he looked up. Just as he looked up the man dropped his dung on Wamasuse's face. "Oh!" said Wamasuse, "the gulls have already eaten my son-in-law. What a stink this gull's dung is!" The man flew right on to his lodge and before he had quite arrived there he glided to the ground, took off the gull skin and hung it on the willows. He then took his blanket of eggs and went into his lodge. His wife as usual washed his face and kissed him. After they had eaten some of the eggs he told his two boys to go and play at the water's edge with the egg shells, and to watch for their grandfather. Only then did his wife know that he had not done anything to the old man. So after some time they saw the old man coming along with his canoe. He came ashore, and as he was going to get out of his canoe he saw the boys drinking water out of the egg shells. He sat there and looked at them for a long time, wondering where they had got them from. He then asked the boys where they had gotten the eggs. The boys replied, "Our father brought them." "Your father brought them!" The big sea gulls have eaten your father. Did I not smell the dung of one of them that passed me as I was canoeing homeward?" "Go into the lodge if you do not believe us," said the boys, "and you will see him." So Wamasuse drew his canoe ashore and went into the lodge. He spied his son-in-law and sat and stared at him for a long time, wondering how he could have gotten back." His daughter said to him, "What are you looking at? Is it the first time that you see us eat your food? Don't stare so." So the young man went out to hunt as usual, storing away part of every kill he made. This he did for many days. Then one evening when they were at home the man said to Wamasuse, "Is there no place where we could get some eagle quills to put on our arrows, so that we could try one another and determine who is the best shot?" "Yes, my son," said Wamasuse, "there is such a place three days travel from here. We will go off in the morning to get the quills." Well, the same thing happened as before. They sighted nothing until the third day. That day they arrived, and when they got there, there was a large pine tree standing by itself in a large, bare plain. "Now," said Wamasuse, "you had better go up first, young man, and get the quills for your arrows. The eagle's nest is up at the top of this tree." So the young man started to climb up and after he had climbed for some time he commenced to wonder why he could not get to the top where the nest was. It appears that Wamasuse blew a blast at the tree and it began to grow up. After doing this, Wamasuse set off back to his lodge as fast as his legs could carry him. Then the young man blew three blasts on the tree and it stopped growing. He climbed up the rest of the way, and as he was getting to the top one of the young eagles from the nest tried to hit him in the eye. Of course, this was Wamasuse's doing. The young man hit the eagle on the head with his club, as he had done before to the gull. In like manner, he slew them all, throwing them to the ground. Then he went to the top of the tree where the nest was and looked down. He could hardly see the ground, so high was he. The lakes looked like dishes, he was so high up. He then descended the tree and skinned one of the young eagles and put the skin on himself. Then he took off the quills of the others to carry back with him. He flew around for while until he thought that he would not tire, and then flew away back to his lodge. He got there before Wamasuse arrived. His wife washed his face as usual and gave him some food. After a while he told his boys to play outside and watch for their grandfather. The boys took the quills their father had brought back and stuck them up in the ground and shot at them with their bow and arrows. After playing with the quills for a long time they saw Wamasuse coming afar off. They ran into the lodge and said, "Our grandfather's coming now." So they ran to meet him, holding their quills. Wamasuse came up and stood and looked at them holding their quills. At last he asked them where they got the quills. The boys said, "Our father brought them." "Your father," said Wamasuse, "will be dead by this time, eaten by the great eagles." "Our father is in the lodge," said the boys. "You are lying," said Wamasuse. "Go into the lodge and look if you don't believe us," replied the boys. So he went in and sure enough there was his son-in-law sitting with his wife. Now Wamasuse could not understand how the man had managed to get back. His daughter then began to scold him. "Are you going to stop your tricks now, seeing that my husband has come back again?" But Wamasuse said nothing. The next day the man went out to hunt and store up part of his kill as usual for future use. This he did for many weeks. One day when they were both at home the young man thought to himself, "Now I will give him the final trial this time, and so put an end to him." He always knew beforehand what Wamasuse would say. So he said to Wamasuse, "My father, is there some place near here where we could chisel beaver?" "Oh," said Wamasuse, "there is such a place where I used to chisel beaver." "I would like to eat beaver," said the young man. "It is a three days' journey from here," said Wamasuse. "But we will get there if you want to go," he added. They started the next morning and got there on the third evening. The next day they began to chisel the beaver and killed a number of them. In the evening they made camp and they began to roast a young beaver each. When they went to bed they hung up their leggings over the fire to dry, for it would be cold in the morning, and they were to go home to their lodge. Wamasuse then said that he was sick and that he had eaten too much. But he was only shamming and made more fire and sat close to the fire to warm his belly, groaning all the while and going out to defecate all the time. The young man said nothing. After a while the young man began to snore and sham sleep. But he was watching Wamasuse on the quiet all the time. Wamasuse, after going out once more, came in and looked at his son-in-law and thought he was sound asleep. He then took the young man's leggings and hung them on his own side of the fire and put his own leggings on the side his son-in-law was occupying. Then he put more wood on the fire to make it burn up good, and went out once more. While he was out the young man got up and took back his leggings and put them where they were hanging before and put back Wamasuse's leggings where they were at first. He lay down and feigned sleep again. Shortly after, Wamasuse came in. By this time the fire was in full blaze. Wamasuse took a stick and pushed his own leggings into the fire, thinking they were those of his son-in-law. They were, in fact, his own. The young man was watching on the quiet all the time. When they were nearly burnt up, Wamasuse, who had feigned sleep, jumped up and yelled at his son-in-law: "My son, your leggings are burning!" His son-in-law arose and took down his leggings, and said, "These are my leggings. I hung them here when I went to bed." "Oh, truly," said Wamasuse, "they are mine." What Wamasuse had intended was that his son-in-law would have nothing to put on his legs in the morning when they started back. He was playing his last card, but the young fellow was too smart for him. There were the same signs here as in the other places, - human bones lying all around - as Wamasuse had beaten all his other sons-in-law at one place or another. In the morning when they were going to go home they started to load their toboggans with the beaver they had killed, the young man said to Wamasuse, "Why don't you wrap your legs with your small beaver skins. If you do not have enough, I will lend you some of mine." "Not so," said Wamasuse. "I can save myself yet." He then took the burnt-out coals off the fire and blackened up his whole legs. So they started for home and after they had traveled for a while the young man began to hear something cracking now and then, but he never looked back for he knew what it was. After a while Wamasuse called to his son-in-law. So the latter stopped and looked back. "I am unable to go any father," said Wamasuse. "Those are my legs you hear cracking with the frost. I will give up here and turn into a juniper, so if the earth gets peopled they will use the juniper for their toboggans and snow shoes." Then he said, "You might take these beaver that I killed with you for my grandchildren." But he was told to throw them in the snow. The young man started off and after going a little way he looked back and what did he see but a fine juniper standing straight as it could be. This was Wamasuse turned into a tree. The young man traveled for three days and on the third day he reached his lodge. When his wife saw that her father did not come back she asked her husband, "What did you do to the old man that he is not back?" He said, "Your father has killed himself at last - since he would not stop his foolishness." The woman began to cry and he said to her, "I don't think I would cry for one that did so much to me as your father did to you. So you should not cry now." He lived there for a long time hunting and caching food as he killed the game. After a time he began to long for his brother that Wamasuse had left on the island. So one evening he said to his wife, "I am going off to look for my brother where Wamasuse left him the time he took me. If I don't find him I shall come back again, but if I find him I may not return." So he left his wife and boys after telling his wife where she would find all the food that he had cached for them. Then they all began to cry for him, and he could hear them crying for a long time as he was walking. He was tempted at times to turn back. However, he traveled on, and on the third day he came to the island where he had last seen his brother. There he saw a big lodge standing. And as he was going up to it he heard a deep-throated groan. The next moment a big man came out of the lodge with a bow and arrow, ready to shoot him. He called out, "Don't shoot me. I am your brother, who was taken from you. If you will look in the water you will see that scar on your face where you got a scratch the time we were running under the ground when the windigo was chasing us." So the man looked into the water and sure enough he saw the scar on his face. The other man then went up to his younger brother, and they embraced. All this time the bear would not stop growling at him. so the younger brother spoke to him and said, "You must not do that. This is my brother." The younger man asked his brother about where he had been and how he had got on. His brother told all that had happened to him and about his father-in-law, Wamasuse. Then the younger man told also about how the bear took pity on him after he was left alone on the island, and had taught him how to hunt. Then the older brother told how Wamasuse had conjured him and had tried to kill him, but could not, and how in the end he beat Wamasuse. He also told his brother about his two boys that were born to him by the daughter of Wamasuse. The younger brother said, "You might have as well brought them along." "Well," the other said, "I thought we would not be able to do what we are going to do if I took them with me." So after living there for a time, preparing themselves for their last long journey, they started out for the other world. As they left the lodge the bear would go along with them, but they told him that he could not go with them. Then the bear began to howl and to cry after them, and the bear would not hear of leaving them. But at the end of the third day they got the bear to go back. Thus they traveled along, resting only where night overtook them, until they got up to the clouds and so reached the other world. It is not known how the family of the son-in-law of Wamasuse got on after he had left them, and here ends the doings of Wamasuse. [END] JMC note: in Loutitt's ms Wamasuse is sometimes spelled Wamasus. RF COMMENTS Wamasuse [Son-in-law] Loutitt JMC, written out for him in English and sent 1927 or 1928 (a great story for “threes”) Story well told, smooth, logical , detailed. Sometimes seems to insert explanations that possibly would not have been in the original? e.g., “Son-in-law knew what W was thinking and what he would say when asked about places where eggs, or eagle gulls, could be found.” Story is probably an Albany one as it is closer to Skinner’s (father-in-law’s name is same) vs. Harvey’s Moose story where name differs, lacks introduction – same events of contest but different details.
There was an old man Ayaceo. He married a wife and had two children with her, a boy [Ayacec] and a girl. And a little later he took another wife and then he had also his first wife and he wasn't good to her at all. Of course his first wife didn't like that at all. She was kind of miserable over it. So the old fellow had a few children by his second wife and it was a good thing the boy was beginning to grow up and help his mother and sister with hunting. One day the old man was away and the second wife came to say that there were partridges on the trees there. So this boy Ayacec took out his bow and arrow and began to shoot at partridges. This woman was picking up the birds as the boy was knocking them down. There was a wounded bird fluttering stuck on his arrow. When it was fluttering like that he shoved the bird between the woman's legs and the bird fluttered like that and was scratching on her legs. He did that because he didn't like her. That was why his father wasn't pleased with him at all. Then the old man came up to his boy and said they would go out for eggs. So he came to his boy and said, "We will go for eggs out to an island." So they went and after they were travelling to the island the old man with his magic was shifting the island further and further out. So the boy turned to his father at last and said, "How is it we cannot get to that island? It seems to be the same distance all the time." So the old man said, "It was always like that when people went out to that island." So they eventually got to the island and began to collect eggs there. There were all kinds of eggs there. When the old man thought he had enough he told his son, "We will go off now. Go back." So when they were ready to start out he said to his son, "I saw some pretty eggs over there. Get them so the younger children can have them for playthings." So the boy went there to where his father pointed and looked around and he couldn't see any eggs. He shouted back, "Where are our eggs?" And the old man said, "Further on still, still on further." So the boy of course went further on and was looking around. He looked up to shout to his father and saw the old man was away out already paddling off. So he sung out, "Father, you are leaving me." So the old man sung back to his son, "Why did you scratch your tc'tuc (aunt and stepmother)?" So the boy took up a stone and threw it after his father and the ripple of the water nearly capsized the old man. But anyway the old man went off. And the boy sat down and began to cry. While he was crying there he heard somebody talk to him. And looking up he saw a big seagull (micetci'yaku). So the boy told the gull that his father left him and he didn't know how he could get back. So the seagull pitied the boy and told him he would gladly help him if he could. So he said to the boy, "You get on my back and if I can fly around this island three times with you on my back I will be able to save you." But the gull couldn't do it. He had to drop the boy before he could make the third trip around the island. So the big gull told him, "I cannot take you across to the mainland." So she told him to pass the night there to lie on one of her wings while she covered him up with the other. So in the morning the gull left him and the boy started wandering about the island crying. He was crying when he saw an animal along the water's edge. It was a big fish (mice ka'ke ak weo [horned serpent]). The "fish" asked the boy, "What is wrong with you?" He told this "fish" that his father had left him and he didn't know how to get across to the mainland. So this "fish" pitied the boy and told him he would try to help him. He told the boy to go to one of the high places on the island and see if there were any clouds showing along the horizon. The boy went and said that he saw no clouds at all. So the "fish" told him to get three stones and they were to be of three different sizes. So he told the boy to get on his back and that he would try to save him. He told the boy, "If you want me to go quick you will tap my horns with the little stone; if you want me to go quicker, you will tap my horns with the medium sized one; if you want me to go quicker still, tap my horns with the largest one." Off they went. The boy began to tap the horns with the small stone and it was going pretty quickly. But he wished to go more quickly so he tapped with the second stone. At last he could see black clouds coming up and so he knew a storm was coming. He got the biggest stone and was tapping the horns with it and the animal was travelling most quickly. At last he could hear the thunder and lightening. The animal heard the thunder too and he asked the boy, "What was that?" The boy said, "It is just the vibration of your own body." So he was still tapping the horns with the biggest stone and the animal was going very quickly but still the storm was just coming upon them. The full force of the storm was upon them just when he could see bottom. So the boy jumped off the back of the animal and waded into the shore and the animal went away back into the deep water. Now when he got ashore the first thing he saw was some fox tracks and thinking to run into the trees for shelter from the storm he saw a little wigwam (mi'cuwap) and he wasn't quite sure whether it was friend or foe that was there. Anyway he made up his mind to go to it and he tapped on the door and out came Fox Woman (Macecickweo). She pitied him right away and she seemed to be an ally (powagan) of the boy's mother. So the Fox Woman took him in and brought him a meal. He saw a little kettle hanging on the fire and thought, "If that is going to be my meal it will not be half a snack for me." When the meal was ready the Fox Woman took it out and set it before him. He ate and ate and he was quite satisfied. Now the Fox Woman told him that the way was very dangerous, the way he had to go back to his mother. She advised him how to act at each of these dangerous places. The first ones that he came to would be two old men called "ma mi iu ka te'wuts". When anyone comes to them they call the stranger into the micuap and begin to tell him an atayokan and thus put their listener to sleep. When he dozed off to sleep they would trap him with their big legs and kill him. So she told the boy how to act and that she would accompany him that far. The next ones he would come to would be the two blind old women with pointed elbows, "ka tcin' tuc ku netc." She told him exactly how to act when they tried to cut the victim to death when he went into their tent. The third ones he would come to were the "pa kus kan" (dry bones hung across the road and they rattled when anybody passed by). She told him how to act then, too. The Big Legs, the Pointed Elbows and the Dry Bones were powagans of the old man. Now they set off and the Fox Woman went with the boy until they came to the first camp, the Big Legs. The Fox Woman remained outside disguised like a pup, and the boy went into the tent. The fellows with the big legs began to tell him stories and finally the boy made out he was falling asleep. Then he saw the fellows lifting their big legs to trap him and just at this moment the Fox Woman rushed in and grabbed the fellow's leg and the boy grabbed a billet pretending to beat off the "pup" but actually beat the fellows and killed the Big Legs. So the Fox Woman didn't go with him any further and returned from there but she gave him a weasel skin to trick the Dry Bones. So the boy went on his journey again, alone now. Eventually he came to the place where the Pointed Elbows were. Of course, first of all he went right up onto the tent and looked down from above. He saw some meat in a kettle on the fire. He got a stick and helped himself to the meat and these old women heard him and they knew it was Aiyacec. They went one to each side of the door to get ready for him when he should come in. After he took the meat he went down from the tent and took a log that was there, shoved it into the doorway and made a racket just as if he were going in. They started to work and thought they were hurting Aiyacec but actually they killed each other. So he was through with both of these old women. Now there was one more place to get through so he went on his way again and came to the last obstacle. There was a string of dry bones hung right across the road. Before coming to the bones the boy began to dig and he was going to dig himself right under the bones. Yet the dogs of the Dry Bones knew him and started to bark as he as digging saying, "Ayacec n'mikina" (in Fort George language "Ayacec n'mitc i ta' nan"). So he made a little hole to the surface of the ground where he was and poked the weasel skin out so the people came to the conclusion the dogs were barking at a weasel and began to abuse the dogs for giving a false alarm. So he dug himself right under these bones and came out away past the bones and of course they didn't realize at all. He got safely through the last obstacle. Now at home the old mother was always crying, crying for her son. She would fancy she would hear her boy say, "Mother, I am back now" and she would look up and see only a little bird. One time the old man told her, "It is no use for you to be crying for your son, you will never see him again." But one day as usual she was crying for her son and heard a voice saying, "Mother I am home now." She looked up and saw her boy standing there. She ran into the tent and collected some muskrat skins and was spreading them on the ground for her boy to tramp upon. When the old man saw his son he did the same, beaver skins and bear skins he spread for his son to walk upon. And the boy kicked away the skins his father laid and walked on the skins his mother laid down for him. That night he was singing a conjuring song and in this song he said, "The land is going to burn and the water is going to boil." When the old man heard his son singing he began to sing and in his song he sang, "The land is not going to burn and the water is not going to boil." In the morning the boy told his mother what he was going to do. She did not like the idea but she said it would be all right. So he drew a mark on the ground and told his mother and sister to stay on that side of the mark and they would be safe there. Then he shot an arrow on the land and it began to burn and he shot an arrow in the water and the water began to boil. So when Old Ayaceo saw the land burning he was scared and sang out to his son, "What will I do with your brothers and sisters?" So the boy told his father, "Shove them into your grease rogans." So they all perished there. Only Aiyacec and his mother and sister were left alive. So the old woman didn't like it at all after everything was destroyed, so he told his mother, "It will be all right. I will make you into a bird." He did that and called her "robin" (pi pi ceo). She flew up to a branch and began to call like a robin. Then he turned his sister into a blackbird (cah cah ke iu) and when he was through with her she flew to a branch and began to call like a bird. Then he said he would fix himself into a peacock (te te seu). He said he wouldn't show in this part of the country, but the robin and blackbird are around here. [END] Sam Iserhoff RH1938 Ayacec COMMENT: story told at Rupert's House, but indicates it is from Fort George SUMMARY: Father (Ayaceo) takes son Ayacec to gather eggs and deserts him but son is befriended by Fox Woman, outwits three obstacles, returns home, and kills his father, second wife, and children by second wife (a) Son abandoned on island is befriended by seagull who says if she can carry him three times around island he will take him home - but fails. (b) Thunderbird befriends him and tells him to get three stones and to tap on T's horns to make him go quickly. Boy reaches mainland shore. (c) Boy finds Fox Woman who is friendly, gives him a small meal which is replenished so he has his fill. Then she warns him of three obstacles he will encounter on his way home: "Big Legs," "Pointed Elbows," and "Dry Bones." (d) FW goes with him to Big Legs and stays outside disguised as a dog, then enters the tent to distract Big Legs, while Ayacec kills them. He gets by Pointed Elbows and Dry Bones by cunning and trickery. (e) When he returns home his mother laid out muskrat skins for him to walk on and father laid out beaver and bear skins [ie. three kinds of skins]. Boy walks only on muskrat skins. (f) Next he sings that "land will burn and water will boil". Father counter sings, "Land will not burn, water will not boil." Boy draws mark on ground and tells mother and sister to stay behind it. Tells father to save his children [by his second marriage] by wrapping in grease [fat], and they burn up. (g) After destruction, turns mother into robin, sister into a crow, and self into a peacock [3 birds] - but only robin and crow are around here. RFH Comments 1) We have two (Ayacic and “Son-in-law” [Skinner has both]) which fit well into detailed themes of Fisher used in her category, “Stories of Adventure.” 2) Then we have two North, where hero overcomes respectively “spirit” North Wind and explains practice of putting grease in fire when bad storm comes; and Omukuceo, who overcomes Niminis and explains eat-all feast. [Perhaps Tcua goes with them as explanatory Shaking-Tent?] but latter is not in contest 3) Man Buried Alive - Mistakalac - doesn’t fit either grouping 4) The basic difference between Ayacic and “Son-in-law” stories is: Although both are taken to island to hunt eggs, Ayacic is helped to mainland by water monster (horned serpent); meets mother’s “ally” who gives him means to overcome obstacles (pointed elbows, et al) sent by father; arrives home & destroys father by burning lard & boiling water; saves mother & turns her and self to birds. Son-in-law gets home before father-in-law; has direct contests with fa-in-law & jump chasm, burned leggings, etc. & overcomes him completely. RFH Comments: If the East Cree were older and, as Fischer suggests, Wisekedjak is a compilation – then Ayacec is non-Wisekedjak and is older, with all the things of Fischer’s Wisekedjak. Skinner’s “The Son of A…….” Moose and Rupert House Old man A……… had 2 wives. Son of one wife had “intimate relations” with co-wife. Father angry. Abandons son on island where gulls eggs. Goes off in canoe. Son brought across water by Walrus (water monster with horns). Gets to shallow water. Son OK but Walrus killed by lightening (another version says man & son rescued by gull). Son told by old woman (maybe personalization of mother’s wish for son’s safety) son would have obstacles from father’s conjuring before reaching home. Given help: meets 2 women with sharp elbows- son defeats them, meets bone, digs hole to go under & people fooled by ermine – dogs persist, but son reaches home. Father frightened – son tells father is sent himself by getting in father’s basket of grease. Son shoots arrows, sets forest on fire, makes rivers fire. Keeps mother safe but burns father up. Son and mother turn into birds, she a robin, he a ____. SkinnerIserhoff 1). A has “intimate” relations with frs.A deliberately crushes her legs [vulva] 2nd wife. Father angry.Ditto: Father angry. 2) Go to island for eggs. Father abandons.Ditto with more details No mention of gullGull tries to save Walrus saves but killed by lightning“Fish” with horns saves and get to deep water 3) Meets old woman (personification ofMeets Fox Woman, mother’s ally mother’s __________)(powagan); gives A endless meal, warns of dangers & what to do omits men with big legs; men with big legs; pointed elbowsDitto; dry bones digs hole fools peopleDitto 5) home safe;Ditto but more details skins to walk on 6) Sings at nightDitto ……………………….. 7) Father told to get in basket of greaseDitto 8) Mother & son turned into birdsMother & son turned into birds Alternative Spellings: RFHAyacec EllisAyâs SkinnerAioswé