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March 1, 2002

The bird whose wings made the wind

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Keywords: Mic Mac legend northeast woodland lndian legends Mik’maq oral story american indian folklore native american myths bird whose wings made the wind

Source: Mic Mac oral traditional story

An Indian family resided on the seashore. They had two sons, the oldest of
whom was married and had a family of small children.

This Mic Mac family lived principally
by fishing, and the their favorite food was eels.

Now it came to pass at a
certain time that the weather was so stormy they could not fish. The wind
blew fiercely night and day, and they were greatly reduced by hunger.

Finally
the old father told his boys to walk along the shore, and perhaps they might
find a fish that had floated ashore, as sometimes happened.

One of the
young Mic Mac men started off to try his luck in this line; when he reached a point
where the wind blew so fiercely that he could hardly stand against it, he saw
the cause of all the trouble. At the end of the point there was a ledge of
rocks, called Rocky Point, extending far out; at low water the rocks were
separated from one another by the shallow water, but nearly all covered when
the tide was in. On the farthest rock a large bird, the storm-king, was
standing, flapping his wings and causing all the trouble by the wind he
raised.

The Mic Mac Indian planned to outwit him. He called to the big bird, and
addressed him as “my grandfather,” said, “Are you cold?”

The big bird answered, “No.”

The man replied, “You are cold; let me carry you ashore on my back.”

“Do so,”
was the answer. So the man waded over to the rock on which the bird was
sitting, took him on his back, and carefully carried him from rock to rock,
wading over the intervening spaces of shoal water.

In going down the last
rock, he stumbled on purpose, but pretended it was an accident; and the poor
old bird fell and broke one of his wings.

The Mic Mac man seemed very sorry, and
immediately proceeded to set the bone and bind up the wing. He then directed
the old fellow to keep quiet and not move his wings until the wounded one
healed.

He now inquired if it pained him much, and was told that it did not.

“Remain there and I will visit you again soon, and bring you some food.” He
now returned home, and found that the wind had all died away; there was a
dead calm, so that before long they were supplied with a great abundance of
food, as the eels were plenty and easily taken.

But there can be too much of
even a good thing.

Calm weather continued for a succession of days, causing
the salt water to be covered with a sort of scum.

The Mic Mac Indians say it is the
results of sickness and vomiting among the larger fish; this scum prevents
the fishermen from seeing into the water, and consequently is adverse to
eel-spearing.

This took place on the occasion referred to, and so they sought
for a remedy. The big bird was visited and his wing examined. It was
sufficiently recovered to move now, and he was told to keep both his
wings going, but that the motion must be steady and gentle. This produced the
desired effect.

Mi'kmaq Legends
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