June 27, 2009

Gluscabi and the Wind Eagle


Long ago, Gluscabi lived with his grandmother, Woodchuck, in a small lodge beside the big water. One day Gluscabi was walking around when he looked out and saw some ducks in the bay.

 “I think it is time to go hunt some ducks,” he said. So he took his bow and arrows and got into his canoe. He began to paddle out into the bay and as he paddled he sang:

Ki yo wah ji neh
yo hey ho hey
Ki yo wah ji neh
Ki yo wah ji neh

But a wind came up and it turned his canoe and blew him back to shore. Once again Gluscabi began to paddle out and this time he sang his song a little harder.


But again the wind came and blew him back to shore. Four times he tried to paddle out into the bay and four times he failed.Gluscabie was not happy. He went back to the lodge of his grandmother and walked right in, even though there was a stick leaning across the door, which meant that the person inside was doing some work and did not want to be disturbed.

“Grandmother,” Gluscabi asked, “What makes the wind blow?”

Grandmother Woodchuck looked up from her work. “Gluscabi,” she said, “Why do you want to know?”

Then Gluscabi answered her just as every child in the world does when they are asked such a question. “Because,” he said.

Grandmother Woodchuck looked at him. “Ah, Gluscabi, ” she said. “Whenever you ask such questions I feel there is going to be trouble. And perhaps I should not tell you. But I know that you are very stubborn and would never stop asking. So, I shall tell you. If you walk always facing the wind you will come to the place where Wuchowsen stands.”

 “Thank you, Grandmother,” said Gluscabi. He stepped out of the lodge and faced into the wind and began to walk.

 He walked across the fields and through the woods and the wind blew hard. He walked through the valleys and into the hills and the wind blew harder still. He came to the foothills and began to climb and the wind still blew harder.

Now the foothills were becoming mountains and the wind was very strong. Soon there were no longer any trees and the wind was very, very strong.

The wind was so strong that it blew off Gluscabi’s moccasins. But he was very stubborn and he kept on walking, leaning into the wind. Now the wind was so strong that it blew off his shirt, but he kept on walking. Now the wind was so strong that it blew off all his clothes and he was naked, but he still kept walking.

Now the wind was so strong that it blew off his hair, but Gluscabi still kept walking, facing into the wind. The wind was so strong that it blew off his eyebrows, but he still continued to walk.

Now the wind was so strong that he could hardly stand. He had to pull himself along by grabbing hold of the boulders. But there, on the peak ahead of him, he could see a great bird flapping its wings. It was Wuchowsen, the Wind Eagle.

Gluscabi took a deep breath, “GRANDFATHER!” he shouted.

The Wind Eagle stopped flapping his wings and looked around. “Who calls me Grandfather?” he said.

Gluscabi stood up. “It’s me, Grandfather. I came up here to tell you that you do a very good job making the wind blow.”

The Wind Eagle puffed out his chest with pride. “You mean like this?” he said and flapped his wings even harder. The wind that he made was so strong that it lifted Gluscabi right off his feet, and he would have been blown right off the mountain had he not reached out and grabbed a boulder again.

“GRANDFATHER!!!” Gluscabi shouted again.

The Wind Eagle stopped flapping his wings. “Yes?” he said.

Gluscabi stood up and came closer to Wuchowsen. “You do a very good job of making the wind blow, Grandfather. This is so. But it seems to me that you could do an even better job if you were on that peak over there.”

The Wind Eagle looked over toward the other peak. “That may be so,” he said, “but how would I get from here to there?”

Gluscabi smiled. “Grandfather,” he said, “I will carry you. Wait here.”

Then Gluscabi ran back down the mountain until he came to a big basswood tree. He stripped off the outer bark and from the inner bark he braided a strong carrying strap which he took back up the mountain to the Wind Eagle.

“Here, Grandfather,” he said, “let me wrap this around you so I can lift you more easily.” Then he wrapped the carrying strap so tightly around Wuchowsen that his wings were pulled in to his sides and he could hardly breathe.

“Now, Grandfather,” said Gluscabi, picking the Wind Eagle up, “I will take you to a better place.”

He began to walk toward the other peak, but as he walked he came to a place where there was a large crevice, and as he stepped over it he let go of the carrying strap and the Wind Eagle slid down into the crevice, upside down, and was stuck..

“Now,” Gluscabi said, “it is time to go hunt some ducks.”

He walked back down the mountain and there was no wind at all. He waited till he came to the tree line and still no wind blew. He walked down to the foothills and down to the hills and the valleys and still there was no wind. He walked through the forest and the fields and the wind did not blow at all.

He walked and walked until he got back to the lodge by the water, and by now all his hair had grown back.

He put on some fine new clothing and a new pair of moccasins and took his bow and arrows and went back to the bay and climbed into his boat to hunt ducks.

He paddled out into the water and sang his canoeing song:

Ki yo wah ji neh
yo hey ho hey
Ki yo wah ji neh
Ki yo wah ji neh

But the air was very hot and still and he began to sweat. The air was so still and hot that it was hard to breathe. Soon the water began to grow dirty and smell bad and there was so much foam on the water he could hardly paddle.

He was not pleased at all and he returned to the shore and went straight to his grandmother’s lodge and walked in.

“Grandmother,” he said, “what is wrong? The air is hot and still and it is making me sweat and it is hard to breathe. The water is dirty and covered with foam. I cannot hunt ducks at all like this.”

Grandmother Woodchuck looked up at Gluscabi. “Gluscabi,” she said, “what have you done now?”

And Gluscabi answered just as every child in the world answers when asked that question, “Oh, nothing,” he said.

“Gluscabi,” said Grandmother Woodchuck again, “Tell me what you have done.”

Then Gluscabi told her about going to visit the Wind Eagle and what he had done to stop the wind.

“Oh, Gluscabi,” said Grandmother Woodchuck, “will you never learn? Tabaldak, The Owner, set the Wind Eagle on that mountain to make the wind because we need the wind. The wind keeps the air cool and clean. The wind brings the clouds that give us rain to wash the Earth. The wind moves the waters to keep them fresh and sweet. Without the wind, life will not be good for us, for our children, or our children’s children.

Gluscabi nodded his head. “Kaamoji, Grandmother,” he said. “I understand.”

Then he went outside. He faced in the direction from which the wind had once come and began to walk.

He walked through the fields and through the forests and the wind did not blow and he felt very hot. He walked through the valleys and up the hills and there was no wind and it was very hard for him to breathe. He came to the foothills and began to climb and he was very hot and sweaty indeed.

At last he came to the to the mountain where the Wind Eagle once stood and he went and looked down into the crevice. There was Wuchosen, the Wind Eagle, wedged upside down.

“Uncle?” Gluscabi called.

The Wind Eagle looked up as best he could. “Who calls me Uncle?” he said.

 “It is Gluscabi, Uncle. I’m up here. But what are you doing down there?”

“Oh, Gluscabi,” said the Wind Eagle, “a very ugly naked man with no hair told me that he would take me to the other peak so that I could do a better job of making the wind blow. He tied my wings and picked me up, but as he stepped over this crevice he dropped me in and I am stuck. And I am not comfortable here at all.”

“Ah, Grandfath . . . er, Uncle, I will get you out.”

Then Gluscabi climbed down into the crevice. He pulled the Wind Eagle free and placed him back on the mountain and untied his wings.

“Uncle,” Gluscabi said, “it is good that the wind should blow sometimes and other times it is good that it should be still.”

The Wind Eagle looked at Gluscabi and then nodded his head. “Grandson,” he said, “I hear what you say.”

So it is that sometimes there is wind and sometimes it is very still to this very day.

And so the story goes.

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