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that we can keep dry!" When they got there, be tied the rope with which he was leading Elephant securely to a limb. Then, unnoticed by Elephant, be set fire to the hay which the latter was carrying. Of a sudden Elephant began to feel the burning: he sprang quickly to one side to get out from under the hay, and his tusk was broken off. "Give this to me," said Rabbit. "Why, what do you want of it? Still, as it isn't of any more use to me, you may have it." So Rabbit seized it and went back to God.

Again, God sent Rabbit to bring Rattlesnake to him. Rabbit took a stick and hunted about until he found Rattlesnake lying asleep, and he laid the stick down beside him. Forthwith Rattlesnake woke up, and said, "Why do you do that?" — "I want to see how long you are," answered Rabbit, and he began to measure him. Presently Rabbit said, "Let me tie you to the stick." Rattlesnake refused at first; but Rabbit said, "I must tie you in order to get your measure, because you are so crooked." Finally Rattlesnake let him have his way; and Rabbit tied him firmly to the stick, and carried him back to God.

After Rabbit had performed the last of his tasks, of which there were many more than my informant could remember, God said, "You see that you are clever enough, and do not need any more power."


Anciently there was no death in the world; but finally a man fell sick, and the people sent Rabbit to God to inquire whether he would die. God said, "No, he will not die, he will get well." Rabbit started back with this answer; but in his haste he stumbled and fell on his face, and in doing so split his nose in the manner in which it is seen to this day. And unfortunately this caused him to forget the message he had received, so he retraced his steps and asked the question over again. This time, however, God was angry at being disturbed a second time, and he said, "Tell them he will have to die." Since then there has been death on earth.


Rabbit fooled the people so much, that finally they wanted to kill him. So he said to them, "All right, then, since I have to stay somewhere, I will go to live with God." When God saw him, however, he said, "Go back! your place is in the brush and weeds." But when Rabbit got back to the place where men were living, he told them that God had said their place was to be in the brush and weeds. The Indians, therefore, all went in among the brush and weeds; and that is how they came to have their homes there. Finally, however, God heard of the new deception Rabbit had practised; and he punished him by depriving him of speech and sending him also into the brush and weeds, where he had told him his place was to be.

1 Leonhard Schultze, Aus Namaland und Kalahari, p. 448; W. H. I. Bleek. Reynard tV.'- Fox in South Africa, p. 69; O. Dahnhardt, Natursagen 3: 32.


The last of the three tasks recorded in the story of "The Labors of Rabbit" I have taken down before, as have other students; and the motive for these tasks, proof of Rabbit's all-sufficient cleverness, recurs frequently. This is, however, so far as I can remember, the first time in which several tasks have been mentioned; i.e., it is the first time that the "labors of Hercules" idea has been found grafted on this story. All Louisiana Indians have much to say of Elephant, who is inconsistently represented as a man-eater. It is probable that the name has been associated with a monster which played a great part in true Indian stories, but the two have been almost inextricably confounded. The bear mentioned in stories is said not to be the common black bear, but a brown bear found more often toward Texas.

A more truly Indian story of the origin of death was given by the same informant, and is incorporated into Bulletin 43 (see p. 358).


A few additional notes regarding Chitimacha beliefs and medical practices may be given.

The Chitimacha thought that if in youth a man killed a lizard, when he grew up he would get lost in the woods. Anciently one of the professional doctors or shamans called Hekx-atxk6'n, and his entire family, turned into bears, and for this reason a doctor could not eat bear-meat without becoming sick.

It was believed that if one took a sharp splinter obtained from a cypress that had been struck by lightning, and with it drew blood by cutting about a decayed tooth which was causing trouble, the tooth would come out of itself in pieces. All of the old doctors kept such splinters, but not in their houses, lest lightning be drawn to them. Sometimes they used them in bleeding a person. If such a splinter were in a person's body, it would not heal; and I suppose that they were made use of in witchcraft, but of this I am not sure. It is to be noted that the Natchez had somewhat similar ideas regarding trees that had been struck by lightning. There was also a vine called "toothache medicine" or "toothache grass" (i ttkynic po) which was used for an ulcerated tooth. It has a white flower, and, when taken into the mouth, burns like pepper. Kimukun atyki'n was the name of a plant used to heal sores. The bark was mashed up and laid upon the sore. The leaves of two distinct kinds of sumac were smoked, one commonly, mixed with tobacco, the other by those practising witchcraft. The former was called kacu' or bacuktd; the latter, kiteka'ftk cue. The bark of this last is rougher than that of the other.

There are a few plants, besides, for which I have only the native names and the uses. Such were the nd'fte po ("striking medicine or plant")i used when one had been struck by lightning; wa'pltin po ("knife medicine"), used to cure knife-wounds; tusku'n katsl' po, used when one ran a nail into his foot; kq'na po ("eye medicine"); mo'ymoyman, a bitter herb, like quinine in taste, and good for fevers, such as malaria; po'xkd'nk, used as an emetic; cump, formerly employed in yellow-fever. Still another medicine was called tcd'tqkopu', which seems to contain the word tco'ta ("crawfish"). It has a red flower, and a root like that of an onion. Plants that will counteract the poison of snakes are said to be identified by following a king snake after it has had an encounter with a venomous serpent. It is claimed that it will go to a particular plant after having been stung by a copperhead, another after having been stung by a water-moccasin, and so for the other poisonous serpents, including the several varieties of rattlesnake. My informant claimed that both ash and cane were poisonous to a rattlesnake, and that if cane were run through any part of a rattlesnake's body, it seemed to paralyze the whole.

Bureau Of American Ethnology,

Smithsonian Institution,

Washington, D.C.



The following Malecite tales furnish us with variants of some themes already known, and a few which are not represented in the material now in print from this tribe. The first two tales relating to the culturehero Gluskap are typical of the region. In W. H. Mechling's collection,1 the lengthy composite culture-hero cycle which he gives contains these episodes, although not in similar associations. In the second story, particularly, a feature of significance is the social explanatory element accounting for the transformation of human beings into marine animals. There is reason to consider this tale in its present form as one of considerable importance, because, in a related form, it occurs among the neighboring Penobscot as a social origin myth, with its scene transferred to the Penobscot valley. The pattern of the story occurs three times in Mechling's Malecite collection, once in Rand's Micmac tales, and in Leland's mixed Wabanaki series, — all in differing associations, yet not in the form recorded here as an explanatory factor. In regard to the culture-hero tales of the Wabanaki tribes, the elementary ideas seem to be largely common property to all. The versions, however, vary considerably in composition around certain central features. There is, moreover, some variation in the versions given by different narrators in the same tribe, as a comparison of Mechling's and Jack's with those given here will show. A more detailed study of the mythology of the northeast, I feel safe in saying, will show the same thing that we see manifested in a minor degree in these collections; namely, the process of element composition in myth cycles, to which Dr. Boas has already called attention.2 The other tales in this collection, through sheer accident in the circumstances of selection among narrators, are new to the records of Malecite folk-lore. It seems improbable, from the present aspect of the situation, that any amount of myth-collecting will be likely to exhaust the possibilities among the eight hundred Malecite now living.


Gluskap lived with his grandmother in a stone canoe which was an island. In this they floated about on the water. Gluskap became lonesome for companions, and asked his grandmother whether or not there were other people in the world. She told him that there were other people far up the river (St. John's River). Then they paddled their island canoe into St. John's harbor, where the canoe went aground and is now to be seen as Partridge Island lying in the mouth of the harbor. Gluskap then got out of the canoe, and started to hunt the beaver who lived in the river above the falls now known as the Reversing Falls. At the first pursuit the beaver ran away up-stream, whereupon Gluskap broke the dam and caused the falls to be as they now are. Then Gluskap pursued him, and, in order to drive him back down-stream, threw an immense stone up-river ahead of the beaver. This stone may still be seen at Tobique, about two hundred miles from the mouth of the river. Then his grandmother told him that there were people at Tobique, and he started up-river to find them. On the way up, Gluskap had to leave his snowshoes behind, as the snow began to melt, and the walking became very bad. The snowshoes may still be seen as the islands in the river called Snowshoe Islands. When he got to Tobique, he found the people so small, that he called them midgets. He was not satisfied. Then he returned to the coast to his grandmother, and the beaver got away.

1 W. H. Mechling, Malecite Tales (Memoir 49, Anthropological Series. No. 4, GSCan).

1 F. Boas, Development of Folk Tales and Myths (Scientific Monthly. October, 1916); and Introduction to the Traditions of the Thompson River Indians (MAFLS 7 [1898]).

* Narrated by Gabe Paul (age 57). at present living at Oldtown, Me., but born and raised at Central Kingsclear, N.B. For another version of the stone canoe, beaver pursuit, and origin of Reversing Falls feature, cf. W. H. Mechling, Malecite Tales (Memoir 49. Anthropological Series, No. 4, Geological Survey of Canada, p. i); and E. Jack, Maleseet Legends (JAFL 8 : 194). The wind episode is given by Mechling in another association (op. cit.. pp. 45 and 49). VOL. XXX.—NO. Il8.—31.

As they were going about on the water in a canoe, the wind became so strong that they could not fish. Gluskap's grandmother then told Gluskap that he would have to fix the wind so that it would not blow so strongly. Said Gluskap, "I know how," and with that he stood up in the canoe, and with his stone knife stabbed into the air. The wind calmed; the sea soon became so calm that the fish could not live; the water became thick and foul. Then Gluskap started travelling to find the source of the wind and to remedy matters. He came to where a large bird lived, and found him lying with one wing cut off. Then he healed the wing and told the bird to fan the air a little at a time, and then allow it to become calm, and then again to fan a little. Since then it has been thus; and the sea is at times rough, and again becomes calm so that people can travel abroad on it.


Agbbe'm kept back all the water in the world; so that rivers

1 Narrated by Gabe Paul. A portion of this tale, the killing of "Akwulabemu." is recorded by Mechling in three places. In one, Gluskap is the hero (pp. lit., pp. 6-7); in two others. Gluskap is not directly concerned with the event (op. cit., pp. 46 and 53-54). H. Stamp (JAFL 28 : 347) provides another variant, with Aza (John) as the hero. The same motive occurs in S. T. Rand, Legends of the Micmacs (p. 68); and a Passamaquoddy occurrence, following rather closely the one cited above, is given by C. G. Leland, Algonquin Legends of New England, pp. 114-119. For the spelling of Indian words see Phonetic Transcription of Indian Languages (Report of Committee of American Anthropological Association).

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