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Lox

This version of the legend comes from Edward Jack's 1895 collection Maliseet Legends.

Very cute the way he gets his living with other animals. He makes fools of them. The bear was too much for him to attack. He met bear alongside of lake. They sat down and had conversation. Lox said, as they were sitting on the lake shore, as a great white gull was flying, "Look at that bird! How proud he is! He would not have been so white, if I had not made him so."

Bear thought he would like to be white, and asked Lox, who told him he could make him white.

"If you do what I want, you will be white as snow."

"I want to be so," says Mouin. Lox went to work and made strong hut. In the centre he dug a hole. He took rocks and put in this hole. After he had done this, he made a fire on stones. After wood was burnt out twice and rocks red hot, he put strong roof on top of hut. He had a hole in the roof, down which he could pour water on the hot rocks. Told Mouin he must go in, which he did. When he got in, Lox closed door. Then Lox poured water on stones, which made Mouin very hot. Mouin could not stand it and asked to be let out. Lox let him out.

Lox said : "What a pity. You just begin to get white. Look at the white spots on your breast." So he went in again. Lox closed everything up tighter than ever. Mouin began to feel very bad and asked to get out, but Lox would not let him. At last there was no noise from Mouin. Then Lox open the door and found him dead. . . .

Lox always had a boy with him. He depended always on this boy for knowledge. Lox would always give this boy the most of the game. They had a great feast over Mouin, until it was all done. They then went on again. All of a sudden they came on to a big lake, chock full of ducks and geese. He asked the boy what he could do to get these birds. Boy said, " Make a great high bough camp, and we 'll call them after it is made." Lox went down to the lake and invited all the fowls to come and hear a pow-wow. So they came, until the camp was full of birds. When he got them all in, he told them that he was going to speak and every one must shut their eyes, that if they opened them they would lose their eyes. They did so. He said he would go round so that all might hear; and thus, as he walked around, he bit off the heads of such birds as he came to. When he had bitten the heads off nearly all, the boy said to a little bird [asic-sis], a sort of hell-diver, " Open your eyes, for Lox will bite your head off." He said, "No."

"Well, then," he says, "just open one eye." He did. As soon as he did, he screeched out. " Lox is killing us all!" Everybody then opened his eyes and saw how many were dead.

They then burst off the roof of the camp and flew out. Lox scolded the boy, who denied it. The boy and Lox divided the fowls, then picked them and opened them and then smoked them. When they got dry they tried the oil out of them, and made birch-bark cossues (ses-kidge = a wool), and put the oil in them. After that was done the boy went down to the bank of the lake with his cossues. There was a musquash swimming in front of him, and he asked Ke-whis, would he be kind enough to cool his oil below the water. Ke-whis did so, and the boy gave him a little ses-kidge for his own use. Then he went up to camp. Lox said, " These are nice and hard ; " and asked the boy how he did it. He told him. Then Lox went down to the lake with his grease (Lox is very saucy; saucy to everybody), and when he saw Ke-whis, he called him to Lox, Ke-taag-a-naoloos = rough-tailed one. Ke-whis did not like Lox's impertinence, but after some time he came ashore. Then Lox gave him his cossue of oil. He took it out to cool and went down with it. He came back. Oil only a little stiff, not hard like the other.

He said, " Lok-ke-taag-a-naaloos, go back with it." He did so, but never returned. He had been instructed to do this by the boy. Lox waited all that day and all night, but Ke-whis never came back. Lox went all around the lake, looking for Ke-whis's hole. He found it at last and began to dig. He did not dig very far till he saw the Musquash's tail. Lox called out, " Dig away. I did not think I should have so short a race with you." (He is always saucy.) Then Ke-whis's tail disappeared, so Lox dug away as hard as he could until he came up against the mountain. He called to the boy to bring something to dig. This he did. Then they dug away. At last Lox got tired and gave it up. Then Lox went on with the boy until they came to another lake that was full of beavers. They thought they would make a spruce-bark canoe so as to get beaver round the edge of the lake. There were lots of wild roses, Kigue-se-gall-ki-gua-nunsel (the flower which has buds after the leaves fall).

(Here ends the manuscript. Originally procured by Edward Jack, Fredericton, N. B.)

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Learn more about:

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