Manataka American Indian Council

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OJIBWA

TRADITIONAL STORIES

 

 

A Coyote Story
Author Unknown

Coyote was walking along a lake and saw a flock of ducks, which put him in the mood for a good duck dinner. So he stuffed a bag full of grass and walked past the ducks, stepping lively and singing a catchy tune. "Where are you going?" asked one of the ducks.

"I am going to a circle," replied Coyote. "What's in the bag?" asked the duck.

"Songs that I am bringing to the circle," replied Coyote.

"Oh, please sing your songs for us," the ducks all said. "I'm very busy"

"Please please, please, please ...." "I'm running late ," "Please, please, please,  please....".

 

"Oh, alright.  I'll sing a song for you, but I need your help. All of you stand in three lines. The fattest ones in the front, those in the middle who are neither fat nor thin, and the thin ones in back. "

All of you close your eyes and dance and sing as loud as you can. Don't anyone open your eyes or stop singing, because my songs are very powerful and if you do that you may go blind! Is everyone ready?" "We are!" replied the ducks, and they fell into lines and began dancing and singing along with Coyote's tune.

Coyote moved up and down the line, thumping the ducks on the head and stuffing them into his bag. The ducks were singing and dancing so hard that no one could hear the thumps or know what was happening.

This would have gone on till none were left, if not for one scraggly duck in the back who opened his eyes and saw what was going on. "Hey, he's going to get us all!" cried the scraggly one.

At this, the other surviving ducks opened their eyes and made their getaway.  Coyote wasn't too upset; he already had a lot of ducks in his bag. He went home  and ate good for a good while.

The ducks went home and mourned their dead, and gave thanks to The Great Duck that one of them had been  wise enough to open his eyes, and that the rest of them had been  wise enough to listen to the one who gave warning.

From Blue Panther Keeper of Stories.

 


 

Andek

A Story about the Crow


When Great Spirit was creating the flyers of creation, all the flyers had great purpose. The Eagle was to be the peoples messenger of prayers and thanks.  The Hawk too was a messenger of the peoples needs and good medicine. The Loon was the teacher of love and relationships.  Andek (the Crow) however was without purpose.

He had no special color, or the powerful wings of the Eagle.  So, he flew around looking for purpose like many people today are doing.  Andek visited Mkwa (the Bear) and asked him to teach his ways.  Mkwa did and eventually Andek got bored and unsatisfied with Mkwa.  For some reason the ways of the bear didn't fit with him, so Andek went off and sought a new way and hopefully would find purpose. The beaver, the loon, the wolf, the coyote, the fish, all of creation he learned from, but still Andek gained no purpose or satisfaction with life.

Then came the day where Andek heard Idiom (the Squirrel) crying in a hole of the oak.  So he flew to Idiom and said, "Hi idiom , what troubles your heart today?" 

Idiom looking poorly said to Andek, "I am sad and feeling drained about my life."  Andek advised idiom to visit Mkwa (the Bear) for some medicine for his health and the Turtle to find his heart.  So, both Andek and Idiom went to visit the Bear and Turtle and they were both great helpers to Idiom.  The Turtle travels slow and is paced in all matters of life, he never misses a thing.  Bear is chief of the medicine ways and he placed great healing upon Idiom.    At last Squirrel felt balanced and returned to his purpose with vigor and refreshed spirit.

Andek flew around the bush feeling great about what had happened. Then there was another cry in the woods.   Always curious about such things, Andek went to investigate only to find Rabbit was crying in her borrow.

Andek asked the Rabit, "Waboose what troubles you today?"

"I wanna die Andek cried.  "

"What is it that has brought you to such ends?,"  aked Andek. 

Waboose was crying about Wagoosh (the Fox) and how there is no peace with Wagoosh around.   Andek carefully listened to everything Rabbit said.  Quietly Andek advised his little friend that her purpose is found in her strong legs and long ears.  

"Waboose, said Andek, "Surely you can listen very well and can tell when Wagoosh is coming and you can easily out run Wagoosh."

Yes, Waboose thought to herself.  I can and I will feel good about it too.  "Thank you, Andek."

As time went on as it does, the word traveled all across the lands about the Crow who was born without purpose, so he though, but found good purpose in helping others to either find or renew their purpose.  From that day Andek travels throughout the land making friends with all creation by helping them find the right path.

Andek is our traveling companion always reminding us that work and dedication will show the way to the purpose we seek.  We cannot find our purpose if we sit on the path.  Crow teaches that you must meet life head-on and create good connections with those around you and work with spirit of friendship.

As  Andek found out, you become your purpose by doing what feels good with good intention.   Walk a good path and you will be guarantee to find your life's purpose.

From Blue Panther Keeper of Stories.



Cloud Catcher and the Moon Woman


Here is the myth of Endymion and Diana, as told on the shores of Saginaw Bay, Michigan by Indians who never heard of Greeks.

Cloud Catcher, a handsome youth of the Ojibwa, offended his family by refusing to fast
during the ceremony of his coming of age and was put out of the paternal wigwam.

It was so fine a night that the sky served him well as a roof.  He had a boy's confidence in his ability to make a living, and something of fame and fortune, maybe.  He dropped on a tuft of moss to plan for his future and drowsily noted a mysterious face in the bright moon.

He suddenly awoke to find that it was not day and the darkness was half dispelled by light that rayed from a figure near him.  It was the form of a lovely woman.

"Cloud Catcher, I have come for you," she said.

As she turned as if to walk away, he felt impelled to rise and follow. But, instead of walking, she began to move into the air with the flight of an eagle, and endowed with a new power, he too ascended beside her. The earth was dim and vast below, stars blazed as they drew near them, yet the radiance of the woman seemed to dull their glory.

Presently they passed through a gate of clouds and stood on a beautiful plain with crystal clear ponds and brooks watering noble trees and leagues of flowery meadow; birds of brightest colors darted here and there, singing like flutes; the stones were agate, jasper and chalcedony.  An immense lodge stood on the plain, and within were embroideries and ornaments, couches of rich furs, pipes and arms cut from jasper and tipped with silver.

While the young man was gazing around him with delight, the brother of his guide appeared and reproved her, advising her to send the young man back to earth at once. But she flatly refused to do so.  Relenting to the wishes of his sister, the brother gave a pipe, a bow and arrows to Cloud Catcher as a token of his consent to their marriage.  Her wished the couple happiness. 

Cloud Catcher could hardly look at the brother who was commandingly tall and dazzling in his gold and silver ornaments.  The brother could not be seen most of the day while his sister was absent part of the night. 

One day, the bother permitted Cloud Catcher to go with him on one of his daily walks.  As they crossed the endless and beautiful Sky Land, they glanced down through open valley bottoms on the green earth below.  The rapid pace they struck gave to Cloud Catcher an appetite and he asked if there were no game.  "Patience," counseled his companion.

On arriving at a spot where a large hole had been broken through the sky, they descended from the sky and reclined on mats.  A silver ornament on the brother's dazzling regalia came off and he flung it into group of children playing in front of a lodge. One of the little ones fell and crying as he was carried inside the lodge. 

Upon hearing of the incident, all the villagers left their sports and labors and looked up at the sky.  The tall brother cried in a voice of thunder, "Offer a sacrifice and the child shall be well again."

So a white dog was killed, roasted, and in a twinkling it shot up the feet of Cloud Catcher, who, being empty, attacked it voraciously.  Many such walks and feasts came after, and the sights of earth and taste of meat filled the mortal with longing to see his people again.

Later Cloud Catcher told his wife that he wanted to go back to the earth. She consented  after a time saying, "Since you are better pleased with the cares, the ills, the labor, and the poverty of the world than with the comfort and abundance of Sky Land, you may return; but remember you are still my husband, and beware how you venture to take an earthly maiden for a wife."  She then rose lightly and clasped Cloud Catcher by the wrist and began to move with him through the air. 

The motion lulled him and he fell asleep, waking at the door of his father's lodge. His relatives gathered and gave him welcome, and he learned that he had been in the sky for a year. He took the privations of a hunter's and warrior's life less kindly than he though to, and after a time he enlivened its monotony by taking to wife a bright-eyed girl of his tribe. In four days she was dead. The lesson was unheeded and he married again. Shortly after, he stepped from his lodge one evening and never came back. The woods were filled with a strange radiance on that night, and it is asserted that Cloud Catcher was taken back to the lodge of the Sun and Moon, and is now content to live in heaven.

From Blue Panther Keeper of Stories.


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