When men had heard that Glooskap, the lord of men
and beasts, would grant a wish to anyone who could come to him, three
Indians resolved to attempt the journey. One was a Maliseet from St.
John, and the other two were Penobscots from Old Town. The path was
long and the way hard, and they suffered much during the seven years
that it took them. But while they were still three months' journey
from his home, they heard the barking of his dogs, and as they drew
nearer day by day, the noise was louder. And so after great trials,
they found him, and he made them welcome and entertained them.
Before they went, he asked them what they wanted. And the eldest, an
honest, simple man with no standing at home because he was a bad
hunter, said he wanted to be a master at catching and killing game.
Then Glooskap gave him a flute, or magic pipe, which pleases every ear
and has the power of persuading every animal to follow him who plays
it. The man thanked the lord and left.
The second Indian, on being asked what he would have, replied, "the
love of many women." And when Glooskap asked how many, he said, "I
don't care how many, just so there are enough and more than enough."
The god seemed displeased to hear but, smiling, gave the man a bag
which was tightly tied and told him not to open it until he reached
home. So the second Indian thanked the lord and left.
The third Indian was a gay and handsome but foolish young fellow whose
whole heart was set on making people laugh. When asked what he chiefly
wanted, he said he would like to be able to make a certain quaint and
marvelous sound, like breaking wind or belching, which was frequently
heard in those primitive times among all the Wabanaki. The effect of
this noise is such that they who hear it always burst out laughing.
And to him Glooskap was also affable, securing from the woods a
certain magic root which, when eaten, would create the miracle the
young man sought. But Glooskap warned him not to touch the root until
he got home. Elated, the man thanked the lord and left.
It had taken the three Indians seven years to get there, but seven
days were all they needed to return home. Yet only one of the men ever
saw his lodge again. This was the hunter, who trudged through the
woods with his pipe in his pocket and peace in his heart, happy to
know that as long as lived he would always have venison in his larder.
But the man who loved women, yet had never even won a wife, was
anxious to know whether Glooskap's magic would work. He hadn't gone
very far into the woods before he opened the bag. And there flew out
by the hundreds, lie white doves swarming about him, beautiful girls
with black burning eyes and flowing hair. Wild with passion, they
threw their arms around him and kissed him as he responded to their
embraces. But they crowded thicker and thicker, wilder and more
passionate. He asked them to give him air, but they would not, and he
tried to escape, but he could not; and so, panting, crying for breath,
he smothered. And those who came that way found him dead, but what
became of the girls no man knows.
Now, the third Indian went merrily along the path when all at once it
flashed on his mind that Glooskap had given him a present. And without
the least though of Glooskap's warning, he drew out the root and ate
it. Scarcely had he done this before he realized that the had the
power of uttering the weird and mystic sound to perfection. It rang
over the hills and woke the distant echoes until it was answered by a
solemn owl, and the young man felt that it was indeed wonderful. So he
walked on gaily, trumpeting as he went, happy as a bird.
But by and by he began to feel weary of his performance. Seeing a
deer, he drew an arrow, stole closer, and was just about to shoot when
in spite of himselft the wild, unearthly sound broke forth like a
demon's warble. The deer bound away, and the young man was cursed. By
the time he reached Old Town half dead with hunger, he was not much to
laugh over, though at first the Indians did chuckle, which cheered him
up a little. But as the days went on they wearied of his joke and
began to avoid him. His unpopularity made him feel that his life was a
burden, and he went into the woods and killed himself.