Графични страници
PDF файл


The shoulders were broad and strong, like those of the buffaloe, and covered with hair—the neck thick and short, and full at the back.

Thus far Chemanitou had worked with little thought, but when he came to the head he thought a long while. He took a round ball of clay into his lap, and worked it over with great

While he thought, he patted the ball upon the top, which made it very broad and low; for Chemanitou was thinking of the panther feet, and the buffaloe neck. He remembered the Puek-wud-jinnies playing in the eye sockets of the great unfinished animal, and he bethought him to set the eyes out, like those of a lobster, so that the animal might see upon every side.

He made the forehead broad and full, but low; for here was to be the wisdom of the forked tongue, like that of the serpent, which should be in his mouth. He should see all things, and know all things. Here Chemanitou stopped, for he saw that he had never thought of such a creation before, one with but two feet, a creature who should stand upright, and see upon every side.

The jaws were very strong, with ivory teeth, and gills upon either side, which arose and fell whenever breath passed through them. The nose was like the beak of the vulture. A tuft of porcupine quills made the scalp-lock.

Chemanitou held the head out the length of his arm, and turned it first upon one side and then upon the other. He passed it rapidly through the air, and saw the gills rise and fall, the lobster eyes whirl round, and the vulture nose look keen. Chemanitou became



the shoulders. It was the first time he had made un upright figure.

It seemed to be the first idea of a man.

It was now nearly night; the bats were flying through the air, and the roar of wild beasts began to be heard. A gusty wind swept in from the ocean, and passed over the island of Metówac, casting the light sand to and fro. A heavy scud was skimming along the horizon, while higher up in the sky was a dark thick cloud, upon the verge of which the moon hung for a moment, and then was shut in.

A panther came by and stayed a moment, with one foot raised and bent inward, while he looked up at the image, and smelt the feet, that were like his own.

A vulture swooped down wiin a great noise of its wings, and made a dash at the beak, but Chemanitou held him back.

Then came the porcupine, and the lizard, and the snake, each drawn by its kind in the image.

Chemanitou veiled his face for many hours, and the gusty wind swept by, but he did not stir. He saw that every beast of the earth seeketh its kind ; and that which

! is like draweth its likeness unto himself.

sad; yet

the head upon

[ocr errors]


The Master of Life thought and thought. The idea grew into his mind that at some tine he would create a creature who should be made not after the things of the earth, but after himself.

He should link this world to the spirit world, -being made in the likeness of the Great Spirit, he should be drawn unto his likeness.

Many days and nights, whole seasons, passed while Chemanitou tnought upon these things. He saw all things.

Then the Master of Life lifted up his head; the stars were looking down upon the image, and a bat had alighted upon the forehead, spreading its great wings upon each side. Chemanitou took the bat and held out its whole leathery wings, (and ever since the bat, when he rests, lets his body hang down,) so that he could try them over the head of the image. He then took the life of the bat away, and twisted off the body, by which means the whole thin part fell down over the head, and upon each side, making the ears, and a covering for the forehead like that of the hooded serpent.

Chemanitou did not cut off the face of the image below, he went on and made a chin, and lips that were firm and round, that they might shut in the forked tongue, and the ivory teeth ; and he knew that with the lips and the chin it would smile, when life should be given to it.

The image was now all done but the arms, and Chemanitou saw that with a chin it must have hands. He grew more grave.

He had never given hands to any creature.

He made the arms and the hands very beautiful, after the manner of his own.

Chemanitou now took no pleasure in his work that was done—it was not good in his sight.

He wished he had not given it hands; might it not, when trusted with life, might it not begin to create ? might it not thwart the plans of the master of life himself!

He looked long at the image. He saw what it would do when life should be given it. He knew all things.

He now put fire in the image: but fire is not life.

He put fire within, and a red glow passed through and through it The fire dried the clay of which it was made, and gave the image an exceedingly fierce aspect. It shone through the scales upon the breast, and the gills, and the bat-winged ears. The lobster eyes were like a living coal.

Chemanitou opened the side of the image, but he did not enter. He had given it hands and a chin.

It could smile like the manittoes themselves.

He made it walk all about the island of Metówac, that he might see how it would act. This he did by means of his will.

He now put a little life into it, but he did not take out the fire. Chemanitou saw the aspect of the creature would be very terrible, and yet that

the cave.

he could smile in such a manner that he ceased to be ugly. He thought much upon these things. He felt it would not be best to let such a creature live; a creature made up mostly from the beasts of the field, but with hands of power, a chin lifting the head upward, and lips holding all things within themselves.

While he thought upon these things, he took the image in his hands and cast it into the cave.

But Chemanitou forgot to take out the life!

The creature lay a long time in the cave and did not stir, for his fall was very great. He lay amongst the old creations that had been thrown in there without life. Now when a long time had passed Chemanitou heard a great noise in

He looked in and saw the image sitting there, and he was trying to put together the old broken things that had been cast in as of no value.

Chemanitou gathered together a vast heap of stones and sand, for large rocks are not to be had upon the island, and stopped the mouth of the cave. Many days passsed and the noise grew louder within the cave. earth shook, and hot smoke came from the ground. The Manittoes crowded to Metowac to see what was the matter.

Chemanitou came also, for he remembered the image he had cast in there, and forgotten to take away the life.

Suddenly there was a great rising of the stones and sand—the sky grew black with wind and dust. Fire played about the ground, and water gushed high into the air.

All the Manittoes fled with sear; and the image came forth with a great noise and most terrible to behold. His life had grown strong within him, for the fire had made it very fierce.

Everything fled before him and cried_MACHINITO- MACHINITO—which means a god, but an evil god!

The above legend is gathered from the traditions of Iagou, the great Indian narrator, who seems to have dipped deeper into philosophy than most of his compeers. The aboriginal language abounds with stories related by this remarkable personage, which we hope to bring before tho public at some future time. Whether subsequent events justify the Indian in making Long Island the arena of the production of Machinito or the Evil Spirit, will seem more than apocryphal to a white resident. However we have nothing to do except to relate the fact as it was related.

As to these primitive metaphysics, they are at least curious; and the coolness with which the fact is assumed that the origin of evil was accidental in the process of developing a perfect humanity, would, at an earlier day, have been quite appalling to the schoolmen.

E. 0. .

WHEN an Indian corpse is put in a coffin, among the tribes of the LakeAlgonquins, the lid is tied down, and not nailed. On depositing it in the grave, the rope or string is loosed, and the weight of the earth alone relied on, to keep it in a fixed position. The reason they give for this, is, that the soul may have free egress from the body.

Over the top of the grave a covering of cedar bark is put, to shed the rain. This is roof-shaped and the whole structure looks, slightly, like a house in miniature. It has gable ends. Through one of these, being the head, an aperture is cut. On asking a Chippewa why this was done, he replied,—“ To allow the soul to pass out, and in.”

“I thought," I replied, " that you believed that the soul went up from the body at the time of death, to a land of happiness. How, then, can it remain in the body ?"

“ There are two souls," replied the Indian philosopher.
4 How can this be? friend."
“It is easily explained," said he.

“You know that, in dreams, we pass over wide countries, and see hills and lakes and mountains, and many scenes,

before our eyes, and affect us. Yet, at the same time, our bodies do not stir, and there is a soul left with the body,-else it would be dead. So, you perceive, it must be another soul that accompanies us."

This conversation took place, in the Indian country. I knew the In. dian very well, and had noticed the practice, pot general now, on the frontiers, of tying the coffin-lid, in burials. It is at the orifice in the bark sheeting mentioned, that the portion of food, consecrated in feasts for the dead, is set. It could not but happen, that the food should be eaten by the hystrix, wolf, or some other animal, known to prowl at night; nor that, Indian superstition, ever ready to turn slight appearances of this kind to account, should attribute its abstraction to the spirit of the deceased.


which pass

[ocr errors]





THERE was once a little boy, remarkable for the smallness of his stature. He was living alone with his sister older than himself. They were orphans, they lived in a beautiful spot on the Lake shore; nany large rocks were scattered around their habitation. The boy never grew larger as he advanced in years. One day, in winter, he asked his sister to make him a ball to play with along shore on the clear ice. She made one for him, but cautioned him not to go too far.–Off he went in high glee, throwing his ball before him, and running after it at full speed; and he went as fast as his ball. At last his ball flew to a great distance: he followed it as fast as he could. After he had run for some time, he saw four dark substances on the ice straight before him. When he came up to the spot he was surprised to see four large, tall men lying on the ice, spearing fish. When he went up to them, the nearest looked up and in turn was surprised to see such a diminutive being, and turning to his brothers, he said, " Tia! look! see what a little fellow is here.” After they had all looked a moment, they resumed their position, covered their heads, intent in searching for fish. The boy thought to himself, they imagine me too insignificant for common courtesy, because they are tall and large; I shall teach them notwithstanding, that I am not to be treated so lightly. After they were covered up the boy saw they had each a large trout lying beside them. He slyly took the one nearest him, and placing his fingers in the gills, and tossing his ball before him, ran off at full speed. When the man to whom the fish belonged looked up, he saw his trout sliding away as if of itself, at a great rate—the boy being so small he was not distinguished from the fish. He addressed his brothers and said, “See how that tiny boy has stolen my fish; what a shame it is he should do so." The boy reached home, and told his sister to go out and get the fish he had brought home. She exclaimed, “ where could you have got it? I hope you have not stolen it.” “Ono,” he replied, “ I found it on the ice.” “How" persisted the sister, “could you have got it there?”—“No matter," said the boy, “ go and cook it.” He disdained to answer her again, but thought he would one day show her how to appreciate him. She went to the place he left it, and there indeed she found a monstrous trout. She did as she was bid, and cooked it for that day's consumption. Next morning he went off again as at first. When he came near the large men, who fished every day, he threw his ball with such force that it rolled into the ice-hole of the man of whom he had stolen the day before. As he happened to raise himself at the time, the boy said, “Neejee, pray hand me my ball.” “ No indeed," answered the man, " I shall not," and thrust the ball under the

, ice. The boy took hold of his arm and broke it in two in a moment, and threw him to one side, and picked up his ball, which had bounded back from under the ice, and tossed it as usual before him. Outstripping it in speed, he got home and remained within till the next morning. The man whose arm he had broken hallooed out to his brothers, and told them his case, and deplored his fate. They hurried to their brother, and as loud as they could roar threatened vengeance on the morrow, knowing

« ПредишнаНапред »