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Pine Root

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      MAY/JUNE 1990      p14  
There was an old man
and his grandson, a young man
who lived by themselves.
And the old man was
very fond of his grandson.
He was always hunting.

Then one day "Now my grandchild
will try and kill something
that you may use for a hat,"
he said to his grandchild.

"Yes" answered the other.
"I am alarmed that someone
will come to you," the Old Man
said to his grandson.
Indeed he kills a jack rabbit;
He skinned it.
Now then grandchild.
I will try to kill another one
for your hat.
He said to his grandchild.
"Yes" said the other.

And so he killed a raven;
he skinned it.
"Now my grandchild
as I hunt each day
If someone arrives
do not look at him/her."
The grandfather said.

"Grandfather, try and kill a partridge
I will have it for a tobacco pouch."
The Young man said.

"Certainly, my grandchild.
What you said is good.
I Will supply it for you.
In it put this stone, an arrowhead,"
He said to his grandson.

Then the Old man made a set of darts.
"Now my grandchild,
don't forget to take these darts;
as you leave; they are for your use,"
said the Grandfather.
"Yes" he said.
"And now my grandchild sit here," he said,
and he blew his breath on him.
There appeared a stone, sitting.
"Now I am leaving you too weak.
Perhaps someone will overcome you"
His grandfather said to him
grandchild, allow me, lie down
lie down flat on your back"
His grandfather told him.
He blew his breath on him repeatedly;
As roots appeared from all sides;
roots coming from deep underground,
until he was firmly tied down by the roots.

"My grandchild, this will be your name,
he said; 'Pine Root Person' is your name.
Do not look at anyone," his grandfather said.
"Try to remember to grab these darts.
I will tie them on the door flap frame
all these things I give to you,
and also your tobacco pouch,"
said the grandfather;
do not look at anyone who is to come."

"Yes my grandpa," he replied
Therefore he refused to look at anything at the door; he lay
covered;
He wrapped his head with his blanket.
Suddenly a ringing sound approached
when he heard it he covered his head.
Someone came laughing cheerfully.
"These are women," he thought;
"These are the ones my grandfather meant," he thought.
They came in right away.
Oh! So this is where he sleeps,
he who will not look at us; our sweetheart."
They said.
Surely they must be beautiful! this young man thought.

And so they kept talking to him. Saying all kinds of things to him. He would not speak to them.

"Our sweetheart, Pine Root really hates us,"
they said.
"Go on, let us go home, my sister-wife!"
they said.
It happened one stayed to peek in,
while the other laughed on her way.
"By now they have departed," he thought.
Therefore I will look at the doorway," he thought;
"For now there is no one to see," thinking this
he uncovered his head;
and looked towards the doorway immediately.
"Oh, so he is not sleeping after all
He who will not look at us," she said,
as she went on her way laughing.

He jumped to his feet
breaking all the pine roots
as he was moved with force
Those things grandfather prepared
he took with him.
He followed them at the same distance all the time.
He carried those things made for him,
His hat, his tobacco pouch and his darts.

Finally they arrived at a lake;
Lands was not visible, in the direction
one of his sweethearts was leading them.
"Hey, hey! Sometimes it is customary to tell;
What is you name, sweetheart Pine Root? She said.
"Now, now, I will not be the first
to tell you my name!" He told his sweethearts.
"Yes, sister-wife; you first, tell our sweetheart
your name," she said to her younger sister.

"Yes, As far as that point of land, that far,
'Snowfall of awls' I am called she said.
"Then lead on" he said to them.
And it became slippery, on the ice.
He took his dart; supporting himself with it
as a cane; he took another:
he attached an arrowhead to it;
he walked on the great expanse of ice.
Though awls were falling on his head
Yet he continued to walk.
When they reached the point
lo,'they were still accompanied by their sweetheart.

"Oh, would we have been amused by our sweetheart,
sister-wife! And now it is his turn, let him name himself,"
"Oh no! You first, you will tell me
Your names,"
"Yes! I As far as that point of land, that far;
'Blown-on-ice-walker' is my name," she said.

And he will be swept away on the smooth ice
by the wind.
The lake was not frozen in the middle
the wind was to blow him there.
And as they headed out,
There came a great wind.
This Young man took his darts;
and he leaned on them as canes.
Although it was windy
He kept on walking.
Finally they arrived.

"Haw!"
Oh, our sweetheart continues to be with us
now it is his turn to name himself."

"Yes, my sweethearts.
I have two names, he said.
Not far over there, at this point,
That far.
'Hot-water-rain' is my name.
As far as that point."

"Then be off, my sweetheart;
We will follow you."
As soon as he started out.
It began to rain.
Like boiling water
that is how hot is was.

And they said.
"Oh, I am scalded
These women held themselves
here and there.

These arrived with difficulty.
Then "My, our sweethearts' name is so
difficult!
He will name himself once more."

"Yes"
"But now your little cabins are in sight.
Now my sweetheart
As far as that house in sight, there;
'Walking backwards - stooped - skirts - pulled up
is my name."

And so these women
pulled up their skirts like this; (sign language)
walking backwards, and stooped.

"Oh now what are these silly women up to?"

"Oh, mother, do not say anything!
You might name your son-in-law!
We are doing his name
up to your house
when we bump into it!"
The cry of a child was heard
As they walked backwards
With their dresses up
They bumped into their house.
They then stopped.

"Hey my children, sit over there
on his bed;
I have nightmares so often;
I might accidentally bump into my son-in-law."
When darkness fell
they went to bed.
Before dawn, suddenly
this old lady was crawling about;
She had an awful nightmare.
At last her son-in-law shoved her aside.

"Oh, my children, that lake over there
There is a big beaver there
I ate its head and tail,"
said this old woman.
That is when I stopped dreaming
Tomorrow my son-in-law would kill It."
she said.

The Young man heard all this.
Then when daybreak came
He went early in the morning
He took his axe and his darts.
When he reached the lake
He chopped the ice in the middle of the lake.
He chopped a big hole.

And "Oh my grandfather, come out!
I came to feed you this,
that you like" he said.

Suddenly a big beaver appeared
with its mouth wide open
He struck it with his dart
and killed it.
He took the head and the tail;
He took them home.
He threw them into the house.
"Here they are that your mother
wanted to eat"
The old woman cried
"My dream spirit, my dream spirit" she sobbed.
"Oh as it was predetermined
go and feed them to the people!
They will eat these things;
and that which is killed,
let them fetch it.
They will eat it"

Again night came.
They went to bed.
And once again
this old woman had a nightmare.


Pine Root

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      MAY/JUNE 1990      p15  
Pine Root When she woke up;
"I dreamed that my son-in-law killed a big deer.
When he killed that deer
that is when I stopped dreaming.
When eating the head" she said

Then in the morning exactly,
Voices were head saying
"Their he goes," by the people.
He jumped out of his house
There; passing by was a deer
jumping as it went
He threw a dart at it;
he killed it;
he only took it's head.
He flung it into the house.
"Here is what your mother wants to eat!"
he called them.

Again the old woman cried.
"My guardian spirit is killed!
That I am grieving," she cried.
"Now my children,
go and feed the people."

"Yes" they replied.
Then the other people eat it.

Then night fell.

Again the old woman had a nightmare.
"Now my children.
I dreamed that an elk ran by here.
And that my son-in-law killed it,
and I ate its' head."
That was the end of my dream," she said.

In the morning, he was told.
"I will not kill it this time"
thought Pine Root.
"There goes the elk, how strangely large!"
it was said and he went out
He only took one dart.

He threw a dart at it
As it ran past,
And off it went with his dart
in its belly.
The Young man went home.
He took all his darts, his hats
and followed it.
He kept coming to where it had sat
at last it was in the afternoon.
At frequent intervals it had sat
Presently he came to a nice stand of trees
There were willows round about.
It was beginning to snow.
"In any case, it will die not far away.
I will sleep here.
I will keep a fire going;
I will have fire" he thought
It was a big stand of mostly young poplars
Then he cleared away the snow
and made a fire.
It grew dark.

Close by was a tree,
a dry poplar tree.
"I shall put this on my fire"
he thought, and started to take it.
As he did so, oh, oh! Cried the tree.
He left it alone.
So instead he moved;
on the other side of the fire
he spread willows and grass
he could not sleep,
It was very windy,
And it began to snow.

Suddenly, on the lee-side
This Young man heard something.
With surprise he looked
and there was a person stumbling,
coming with her leggings that
were gathered down here;
she had not tied them up.

"Good gracious! grandmother!
My dear grandma will freeze to death!
Now, my grandma
sit over there.
I was chasing an elk
and wounded it, and I am tired
trampling over the deep snow.
Tomorrow I shall kill it, grandma.
We will eat some meat."

"Oh my grandchild,
I am very hungry.
Over here is a camp; to that camp
the people are moving.
They went off and left me behind;
now I am lost."

"Certainly grandma
I will take you home.
To the camp, tomorrow
after I kill the elk
I will take you home
you are too cold."

He pulled up her leggings
and tied up her moccasins.
He was very kind to his grandma.

"Now Grandma, I am going to sleep
Try to keep the fire going" he said
Oh grandchild if I am able
I will put the wood on the fire."
His grandma said to him.
And so the Young man went to sleep.
He was not going to sleep
He wanted to deceive her;
for he thought, "This is my mother-in-law."

Finally, "My grandchild I am cold" she said.
In spite of her, he continued as if asleep,
"hhhrr" went the young man.
Presently the old woman sat up.

"My! It is ordered I will add him,
To be as my tree."
He was listening
then she untied something;
it turned out to be a medicine bundle.

"Oh no, not his one!
This is the restorer,"
said the old woman.
She put it down.
She untied another
Taking another medicine,

"Oh my! This is it" she said.
Then the old woman chewed a twig.
Then she touched the medicine with it.
"So this is the medicine
with which I make trees," she said.
Then she held it up his grandson
meaning to touch him with it;
He seized her arm.
"Why, you halitosis-beast!"
He seized the twig
"Oh my grandchild, wait a minute!
You have defeated me" she said
"Now, my grandchild, wait,
the time will come when people
will multiply in the future.
They will take decayed wood
by which to keep a child warm
who is to grow up
I too will assist a child
to grow up.
I will dwell in the land
of the setting sun.
When a person says,
"I have dreamt of the old woman.
He will speak the truth
So now grandchild touch me."
He touched his grandmother
with this medicine;
and there appeared a trunk of a tree
Thus the old woman become
a dead stump
Then he took the medicine
that his grandmother had said.
"Oh, this one, this is the restorer"
With it he touched a tree
Lo there appeared an elderly man.

"Whew" he said; I am weary of standing."
With the twig he touched a tree close by.
It was almost daybreak.
Wow, there stood a young man.

"Now," he said to the elderly man
"Don't be tired of touching these trees
with this that my grandmother


Pine Root

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      MAY/JUNE 1990      p16  
Called the restorer.
I am going to kill this elk.
I will go with ten men.
So they will pack it in one trip;
for you to roast.
If I live two nights,
I will return," he told them.
"Yes" the others said.

Then he went there.
There, not far away was the dead elk.
He took the head.
He took it home,
he brought it to their house;
he threw it into the doorway.

"Here is what your mother wanted to eat!"
The Young women were weeping,
mourning for their mother.
They were certain
that she was defeated.

When night came
they went to bed.
Suddenly the older sister
had a bad nightmare.
Pine Root shoved her aside
his sister-in-law.
And when she woke up
she told her dream.

"My, my! I dreamt that
our Sweetheart stayed one night
in that empty house.
That is when I stopped dreaming," she said.

He went there in the morning.
He gathered a lot of wood
and brought them into the house.
At nightfall as he sat there
the doorway had disappeared;
the logs became solid.
It was very cold.

He warned himself.
At last the wood was gone.
So he went to bed.
Eventually he said,
"Come now my hat warm me,"
he ordered a big rabbit.
The rabbit was cold in short time.
He took it and blew his breath on it
"Warm me," I told you.

Again it was cold in no time.
He took it again.
And again it became cold.
He would not take it again.
He took his other hat.
"Now my grandfather
flap your wings" he said.
And the raven croaked,
and it beat the walls
where it was covered with ice.
Quickly the raven was overcome by cold.
"Perhaps I will freeze,"
thought this Young man.
So he took his dart,
the raven being overcome with cold
he threw his dart at the fire.
There was a big fire.

That dart blazed high.
Quickly the flame subsided.
The raven lay there freezing.
And he took another dart;
again he threw his dart at the fire.
That too blazed.
He held the raven near the fire.
It was by now almost daybreak.
The fire went out.
He took another;
again he threw a dart at the fire.
The dart made a great blaze.
Eventually as it was dying out
He took his tobacco pouch;
and he slammed it on the ground;
"flap your wings my pouch!" he said
He took his hat.
He blew his breath on it;
Lo, the partridge was alive.
And to the partridge he said,
"Flap your wings!"
Suddenly this partridge ran about indoors,
flapping his wings and saying
"Summer! Summer! Summer!" repeatedly;
while the raven croaked without ceasing,
and the rabbit threw itself
here and there and everywhere.
His dart was still blazing
"Grandfather let my dart blaze higher
I have no more darts!" he prayed.

It was that grandfather who cared for him
that he was addressing.
And soon there was no snow
in the house;
the fire blazed higher.
And the partridge ran around,
making summer indoors,
calling for leaves,
Serving his grandson.
Then before dawn,
everywhere leaves sprang forth,
and inside on the floor
berries grew, they were strawberries.
Because the partridge ceased not
crying "Summer!"
The young man stripped
to the waist, as if in a contest
sat eating strawberries.
It was very hot inside.

And in the morning
when the sun was up.
"Now, my sister-wife go
and throw out our sweetheart.
He will defile our store house."
One of them went there. She heard
the raven croaking repeatedly.
And also the partridge.
When she looked in
He was picking berries.
"Oh my sweetheart,
Can you give us those strawberries
that you are eating?"

"Yes last night I had a dream.
that you and your older sister
ate all these berries.
That is when I woke up."
"Why, that is not difficult to do,
my sweetheart!" she replied.

She went home.

"What now, my sister-wife
What goes on?"
"If we eat up all of the few strawberries,
then our sweetheart will not have nightmares,"
she said.
They went there.

"Now, my sweethearts;
When you eat these up,
then we will go out of here;
These silly women were very glad.
So then they ate berries.
When they had eaten up anyplace,
there the partridge would run;
the strawberries would be back
on the stalks.
At last the women just sat back,
for they had eaten too much.
"Oh my sweetheart,
you have defeated us,
Push us over towards the direction
of the noonday sun.
We will certainly be kind.
When mortal people multiply
and say dreamt of a silly woman;
he will be telling the truth.
Come sweetheart be quick!

"Well!" "Fling yourselves over!" he said.
When they had flung themselves over,
they were on their way,
talking as they went;
to a new abode after their defeat.
These evil ones.

That is the end of this myth.

The above was a translation of the Cree Legend in last month's edition. The legend has ancient and origins and contains many symbolic images. It is a story that tells of the earliest people to live in this land.