Once, while Jesus was journeying about, He passed near a town where a man named Jairus lived. This man was a ruler in the synagogue, and he had just one little daughter about twelve years of age. At the time that Jesus was there the little ... Read more of THE STORY OF JAIRUS'S DAUGHTER at Children Stories.caInformational Site Network Informational
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Mukakee Mindemoea Or The Toad-woman






Source: The Myth Of Hiawatha

AN ODJIBWA LEGEND.


Great good luck once happened to a young woman who was living all alone
in the woods, with nobody near her but her little dog, for, to her
surprise, she found fresh meat every morning at her door. She felt very
anxious to know who it was that supplied her, and watching one morning,
very early, she saw a handsome young man deposit the meat. After his
being seen by her, he became her husband, and she had a son by him. One
day, not long after this, the man did not return at evening, as usual,
from hunting. She waited till late at night, but all in vain. Next day
she swung her baby to sleep in its tikenagun, or cradle, and then said
to her dog: "Take care of your brother whilst I am gone, and when he
cries, halloo for me." The cradle was made of the finest wampum, and
all its bandages and decorations were of the same costly material.
After a short time, the woman heard the cry of her faithful dog, and
running home as fast as she could, she found her child gone and the dog
too. But on looking round, she saw pieces of the wampum of her child's
cradle bit off by the dog, who strove to retain the child and prevent
his being carried off by an old woman called Mukakee Mindemoea, or the
Toad-Woman. The mother followed at full speed, and occasionally came to
lodges inhabited by old women, who told her at what time the thief had
passed; they also gave her shoes, that she might follow on. There were
a number of these old women, who seemed as if they were all
prophetesses. Each of them would say to her, that when she arrived in
pursuit of her stolen child at the next lodge, she must set the toes of
the moccasins they had loaned her pointing homewards, and they would
return of themselves. She would get others from her entertainers
further on, who would also give her directions how to proceed to
recover her son. She thus followed in the pursuit, from valley to
valley, and stream to stream, for months and years; when she came, at
length, to the lodge of the last of the friendly old Nocoes, or
grandmothers, as they were called, who gave her final instructions how
to proceed. She told her she was near the place where her son was, and
directed her to build a lodge of shin-goob, or cedar boughs, near the
old Toad-Woman's lodge, and to make a little bark dish and squeeze her
milk into it. "Then," she said, "your first child (meaning the dog)
will come and find you out." She did accordingly, and in a short time
she heard her son, now grown, going out to hunt, with his dog, calling
out to him, "Monedo Pewaubik (that is, Steel or Spirit Iron), Twee!
Twee!" She then set ready the dish and filled it with her milk. The dog
soon scented it and came into the lodge; she placed it before him.
"See, my child," said she, addressing him, "the food you used to have
from me, your mother." The dog went and told his young master that he
had found his real mother; and informed him that the old woman, whom
he called his mother, was not his mother, that she had stolen him
when an infant in his cradle, and that he had himself followed her in
hopes of getting him back. The young man and his dog then went on their
hunting excursion, and brought back a great quantity of meat of all
kinds. He said to his pretended mother, as he laid it down, "Send some
to the stranger that has arrived lately." The old hag answered, "No!
why should I send to her--the Sheegowish."[85] He insisted; and she at
last consented to take something, throwing it in at the door, with the
remark, "My son gives you, or feeds you this." But it was of such on
offensive nature that she threw it immediately out after her.

After this the young man paid the stranger a visit, at her lodge of
cedar boughs, and partook of her dish of milk. She then told him she
was his real mother, and that he had been stolen away from her by the
detestable Toad-Woman, who was a witch. He was not quite convinced. She
said to him, "Feign yourself sick, when you go home, and when the
Toad-Woman asks what ails you, say that you want to see your cradle;
for your cradle was of wampum, and your faithful brother, the dog, bit
a piece off to try and detain you, which I picked up, as I followed in
your track. They were real wampum, white and blue, shining and
beautiful." She then showed him the pieces. He went home and did as his
real mother bid him. "Mother," said he, "why am I so different in my
looks from the rest of your children?" "Oh," said she, "it was a very
bright clear blue sky when you were born; that is the reason." When the
Toad-Woman saw he was ill, she asked what she could do for him. He said
nothing would do him good, but the sight of his cradle. She ran
immediately and got a cedar cradle; but he said "That is not my
cradle." She went and got one of her own children's cradles (for she
had four), but he turned his head and said, "That is not mine." She
then produced the real cradle, and he saw it was the same, in
substance, with the pieces the other had shown him; and he was
convinced, for he could even see the marks of the dog's teeth upon it.

He soon got well, and went out hunting, and killed a fat bear. He and
his dog-brother then stripped a tall pine of all its branches, and
stuck the carcass on the top, taking the usual sign of his having
killed an animal--the tongue. He told the Toad-Woman where he had left
it, saying, "It is very far, even to the end of the earth." She
answered, "It is not so far but I can get it;" so off she set. As soon
as she was gone, the young man and his dog killed the Toad-Woman's
children, and staked them on each side of the door, with a piece of fat
in their mouths, and then went to his real mother and hastened her
departure with them. The Toad-Woman spent a long time in finding the
bear, and had much ado in climbing the tree to get down the carcass. As
she got near home, she saw the children looking out, apparently, with
the fat in their mouths, and was angry at them, saying, "Why do you
destroy the pomatum of your brother?" But her fury was great indeed,
when she saw they were killed and impaled. She ran after the fugitives
as fast as she could, and was near overtaking them, when the young man
said, "We are pressed hard, but let this stay her progress," throwing
his fire steel behind him, which caused the Toad-Woman to slip and fall
repeatedly. But still she pursued and gained on them, when he threw
behind him his flint, which again retarded her, for it made her slip
and stumble, so that her knees were bleeding; but she continued to
follow on, and was gaining ground, when the young man said, "Let the
Oshau shaw go min un (snake berry) spring up to detain her," and
immediately these berries spread like scarlet all over the path for a
long distance, which she could not avoid stooping down to pick and eat.
Still she went on, and was again advancing on them, when the young man
at last said to the dog, "Brother, chew her into mummy, for she plagues
us." So the dog, turning round, seized her and tore her to pieces, and
they escaped.





Next: Eroneniera Or An Indian Visit To The Great Spirit

Previous: Wa-wa-be-zo-win Or The Swing On The Pictured Rocks Of Lake Superior



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