Deborah Ellis

Deborah Ellis
Coming to Thunder Bay

Monday, April 23, 2018

Another Winabozho story by Tammo Geertsema

(Part 10 of a new blog story, titled "Wiinabozho and the Magic Bow")

Welcome back in My Storyteller Lodge...

~~ The Feast ~~

Being an expert hunter, Wiinabozho first looked for a big sheet of wiigwaas (birch bark) which he then put down on the ground. Then he cut up all the different parts of mooz and spread the chunks of moozowiiyaas (moose meat) on the birch bark. Next, he started a fire. He made a spit out of a slender tree branch, stuck it through a big prime chunk of meat and placed the meat over the red-hot fire. The fat he had cut off the meat he strung up in the lower branches of a nearby zhingob (spruce) tree.

Wiinabozho, the Great Hunter, worked up quite an appetite! He could hardly wait for that nice piece of meat to get done on the fire! Finally, it was smelling good and his stomach was rumbling away. “Tayaa! I can’t wait!” he said to himself. When it was done he took the meat off the spit and, his mouth watering, sat down to have himself a real nice meal! But then, ay ay ay, alas! As he was just ready to chomp into his first bite, there was a creaking noise coming from somewhere…Oh it was truly a terrible noise! He looked around and not able to find out where it came from, he shrugged his shoulders and said "Ay ay ay I wonder if that noise means something bad is going to happen! But anyway I’m too hungry to care!” And as he was already to take his first bite again, then there was that terrible noise again! “Tci?n, tci?n!" was the way it sounded.

Wiinabozho stopped again and looked around and now he could hear that it was coming from the spruce tree, where he had hung all that fat. Being really annoyed now he growled “Ishte, bizaan daga! Geget sa gidoombiigis!” “Now, do keep silent! Really, too much of a noise you are making!” But alas, louder and louder grew the noise of the creaking. When Wiinabozho looked closer to determine the source of the terrible sound that ruined his appetite, he noticed it came from way up in the upper branches of the tree. Not realizing it was the wind that caused two branches to move around and rub together, he figured that whatever it was that caused the noise, he’d better appease it by a food offer. He sliced off a little bit of fatty tenderloin, and, after he slung his bow over his shoulder he climbed up into the tree, and as he placed the fat where he thought the noise was coming from (right in there where the two branches were rubbing together), he said tot he creaking noise, “Haw dash! Owe gaye giin miijin.” (“Well now! This too must you eat!”)

Of course, as he was putting down the food a big gust of wind came up and moved the branches with such force that he lost his balance! As he fell down, just before he hit the ground, his bow that he carried on his back got stuck between the lower branches and he found himself helplessly dangling from the tree, his feet unable to touch the ground! Try as he might, his bow was seriously stuck and there was no way he could free himself! All he could do now was wait until the wind was going to come up again and make the branches let go of his bow…

He hung there for a great while, and as he was hanging up there, swinging back and forth in the wind, meanwhile repenting his sins while his tummy made terrible grunting noises, he noticed to his dismay that the smell from the moose meat that he had cooked and put out had attracted all kind of awesiinhyag (animals) to his camp! All that poor Wiinabozho could do was to look down from where he was hanging and watch all the ma’iinganag (wolves), gwiingwa’aageg (wolverines), ojiigag (fishers), waabizheshiwag (martens), and waagoshag (foxes) – yes, even the waawaabiganoojiinyag (mice) - feast on the meat he had prepared and arrayed with such great care! Atayaa! As they feasted he yelled at them and cursed and threatened them, but to no avail! The awesiinhyag laughed at poor Wiinabozho! So many times he had played tricks on them, but this time the joke was on him! So they had a good feast and teased him, and said “Giga-waabamin Mishaabooz! See you later Great Hare!”

- To be continued

Read the complete story:

Originally posted in Sault Indigenous Writers Collective

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