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- The Algonquin Legends of New England - 6/54 -
When Odin goes with the wolf to fight."
Word for word, ash-tree, giantesses, the supreme god fighting with a wolf, and falling hills, are given in the Indian myth. This is not the Christian Day of Judgment, but the Norse.
In this myth Glooskap has two wolves, one black and the other white. This is an indication of day and night, since he is distinctly stated to have as an attendant Kulpejotei, who typifies the course of the seasons. In the Eddas (Ragnarok) we are told that one wolf now follows the sun, another the moon; one Fenris, the other Moongarm:--
"The moon's devourer In a troll's disguise."
The magic arrows of Glooskap are of course worldwide, and date from the shafts of Abaris and those used among the ancient Jews for divination. But it may be observed that those of the Indian hero are like the "Guse arrows," described in Oervarodd's Saga, which always hit their mark and return to the one who shoots them. [Footnote: _The Primitive Inhabitants of Scandinavia._ By Svent Nilsson. Edited by Sir John Lubbock, 1868.]
It is important here to compare this _old_ Algonquin account of the Creation with that of the Iroquois, or Six Nations, as given by David Cusick, himself an Indian:--
"There was a woman who was with child, with twins. She descended from the higher world, and was received on the turtle. While she was in the distress of travail, one of the infants in her womb was moved by an evil desire, and determined to pass out under the side of the parent's arm, and the other infant endeavored in vain to prevent his design. They entered the dark world by compulsion, and their mother expired in a few minutes. One of them possessed a gentle disposition, and was named Enigorio, the Good Mind. The other possessed an insolence of character, and was called Enigonhahetgea; that is, the Bad Mind. The Good Mind was not content to remain in a dark situation, and was desirous to create a great light in the dark world; but the Bad Mind was desirous that the world should remain in its original state. The Good Mind, determined to prosecute his design, began the work of creation. Of his mother's head he made the sun, of her body the moon. After he had made creeks and rivers, animals and fishes, he formed two images of the dust of the ground in his own likeness, male and female, and by his breathing into their nostrils he gave them living souls, and named them _ea gwe howe_, that is a real people; and he gave the Great Island all the animals--of game for the inheritance of the people.... The Bad Mind, while his brother was making the universe, went through the island, and made numerous high mountains and falls of water and great steeps, and also created reptiles which would be injurious to mankind; but the Good Mind restored the island to its former condition. The Bad Mind made two images of clay in the form of mankind, but while he was giving them existence they became _apes_. The Good Mind discovered his brother's contrivances, and aided in giving them living souls.
Finding that his brother continually thwarted him, the Good Mind admonished him to behave better. The Bad Mind then offered a challenge to his brother, on condition that the victor should rule the universe. The Good Mind was willing. He falsely mentioned that whipping with flags [bulrushes] would destroy his _temporal_ life, and earnestly solicited his brother to observe the instrument of death, saying that by using deer-horns he would expire. [This is very obscure in Cusick's Indian-English.] On the day appointed the battle began; it lasted for two days; they tore up the trees and mountains; at last the Good Mind gained the victory by using the horns. The last words uttered by the Bad Mind were that he would have equal power over the souls of mankind after their death, and so sank down to eternal doom and became the Evil Spirit."
Contrasted with this hardly heathen cosmogony, which shows recent Bible influence throughout, the Algonquin narrative reads like a song from the Edda. That the latter is the original and the older there can be no doubt. Between the "Good Mind," making man "from the dust of the earth," and Glooskap, rousing him by magic arrows from the ash-tree, there is a great difference. It may be observed that the fight with horns is explained in another legend in this book, called the Chenoo, and that these horns are the magic horns of the Chepitch calm, or Great Serpent, who is somewhat like the dragon.
In the Algonquin story, two Loons are Glooskap's "tale-bearers," which occasion him great anxiety by their prolonged absences. This is distinctly stated in the Indian legend, as it is of Odin's birds in the Edda. Odin has, as news-bringers, two ravens.
"Hugin and Munin Fly each day over the spacious earth. I fear for Hugin that he comes not back, yet more anxious am I for Munin."
The Loons, indeed, occasioned Glooskap so much trouble by absences that he took wolves in their place. The ravens of the Edda are probably of biblical origin. But it is a most extraordinary coincidence that the Indians have a corresponding perversion of Scripture, for they say that Glooskap, when he was in the ark, that is as Noah, sent out a white dove, which returned to him colored black, and became a raven. This is not, however, related as part of the myth.
The Ancient History of the Six Nations, by David Cusick, gives us in one particular a strange coincidence with the Edda. It tells us that the Bad Mind, the principle of Evil, forced himself out into life, as Cusick expresses it in his broken Indian-English, "under the side of the parent's arm;" that is, through the armpit. In the Edda (Vafthrudnismal, 33) we are told of the first beings born on earth that they were twins, begotten by the two feet of a giant, and born out of his armpit.
"Under the armpit grew, 't is said of the Hrimthurs, a girl and boy together; foot with foot begat, of that wise Jotun, a six-headed son."
There are in these six lines six coincidences with red Indian mythology: (1.) The Evil principle as a Jotun's first-born in the one and the Bad Mind in the other are born of the mother's armpit. (2.) In one of the tales of Lox, the Indian devil, also a giant, we are told that his feet are male and female. (3.) In both faiths this is the first birth on earth. (4.) The six-headed demon appears in a Micmac tale. (5.) There is in both the Eddaic and the Wabanaki account a very remarkable coincidence in this: that there is a Titanic or giant birth of twins on earth, followed by the creation of man from the ash-tree. (6.) The Evil principle, whether it be the Wolf-Lox, in the Wabanaki myths, or Loki in the Norse, often turns himself into a woman. Thus the male and female sex of the first-born twins is identified.
According to the Edda, the order of births on earth was as follows:--
First, two giants were born from the mother's armpit.
Secondly, the dwarfs were created.
Thirdly, man was made from the ash-tree.
According to the Wabanaki, this was the order:--
First, two giants were born, _one_ from his mother's armpit.
Secondly, the dwarfs (Mikumwessuk) were created from the bark of the ash-tree.
Thirdly, man was made from the _trunk_ of the ash.
The account of the creation of the dwarfs is wanting in the present manuscript.
_Of the Great Deeds which Glooskap did for Men; how he named the Animals, and who they were that formed his Family._
_Woodenit atbk-hagen Gloosekap_: [Footnote: Passamaquoddy.] this is a story of Glooskap. It is told in traditions of the old time that Glooskap was born in the land of the Wabanaki, which is nearest to the sunrise; but another story says that he came over the sea in a great stone canoe, and that this canoe was an island of granite covered with trees. When the great man, of all men and beasts chief ruler, had come down from this ark, he went among the Wabanaki. [Footnote: This part of the legend is from a very singular and I may add almost unintelligible manuscript, _Storey about Glooscap_, written in English by a Passamaquoddy Indian. The word _ark_ which occurs in it reminds me that the Indian from whom I obtained it once asked me if I did not think that Glooskap was the same as Noah. This sentence is as follows in the Indian-English of the original: "Gloosecap hat left from ark come crosse even wiht wabnocelel."] And calling all the animals he gave them each a name: unto the Bear, _mooin_; and asked him what he would do if he should meet with a man. The Bear said, "I fear him, and I should run." Now in those days the Squirrel (_mi-ko_) was greater than the Bear. Then Glooskap took him in his hands, and smoothing him down he grew smaller and smaller, till he became as we see him now. In after-days the Squirrel was Glooskap's dog, and when he so willed, grew large again and slew his enemies, however fierce they might be. But this time, when asked what he would do should he meet with a man, Mi-ko replied, "I should run up a tree."
Then the Moose, being questioned, answered, standing still and looking down, "I should run through the woods." And so it was with Kwah-beet the Beaver, [Footnote: This is very obscure in the original manuscript. It reads "Herask beaber did do anything just look behager."] and Glooskap saw that of all created beings the first and greatest was Man.
Before men were instructed by him, they lived in darkness; it was so dark that they could not even see to slay their enemies. [Footnote: This was read to me by an Indian from a wampum record, now kept at Sebayk. I do not think I am mistaken in the phrase. It probably refers to ignorance of warlike weapons.] Glooskap taught them how to hunt, and to build huts and canoes and weirs for fish. Before he came they knew not how to make weapons or nets. He the Great Master showed them the hidden virtues of plants, roots, and barks, and pointed out to them such vegetables as might be used for food, as well as what kinds of animals, birds, and fish were to be eaten. And when this was done he taught them the names of all the stars. He loved mankind, and wherever
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