One Legend Of The Flute


I woke one morning to the call of an elk. The sun rained drops of light to the forest floor. I imagined the elk was singing of a glorious and wonderful morning. This was his way of giving thanks. I grabbed my flute and headed out to the lake, just as it was greeting the morning sun. I sat facing east, first, giving thanks to the Creator and then gave the day a gift of song. I too, like the elk, was happy. Three loons greeted me and we conversed through song.

They asked me, "Do you know where the voice of flute came from?" I did not. The loon's said long ago their ancestor's were once members of the Anishenabeg people. One of their ancestors, a little girl, who was a chief's daughter, named Tiobi, was an important friend to the loon. Tiobi loved the loons and would greet them everyday at the lake. She had a great respect for them and the loons respected her. Tiobi convinced her people not to hunt the loon; they were a sacred bird. She said the loons cry because they are lost and the Anishenabeg people should help them.

Tiobi woke one morning and paddled in a canoe out to the center of the lake. She reached towards a lost loon in the water and said, "Don't worry my friend I will help you find your way," but the canoe tipped over and Tiobi fell in and drowned. Tiobi's father was very sad. The next morning a loon cried out from the lake but the chief did not hear. The loon called to elk and said, "My friend could you please sing your morning song?" The elk sung gloriously and the chief woke to the song. He ran down to the lake to where the elk had been singing but found no elk, instead he saw a loon looking up upon him. "I see white spots on your back and believe these are tears," said the chief. "Have you lost your way my friend?" Suddenly the Chief thought he knew the loon and felt as if he were in the presence of his daughter. He cried, "My daughter, it's you!" He felt very happy but he also felt sad. The Chief could not understand what she was saying.

So he ran into the woods and called out to the Great Spirit. " Great Spirit, help me understand what my daughter, the loon, is saying. How can I talk to her so she can understand me?" Lighting flashed and hit a tree where a woodpecker had been working and a branch fell. The chief picked it up and saw it had holes in it and holes at both ends. He blew in one side of the stick and it made a beautiful sound, just like the loon.

The chief quickly ran back and blew into the stick and through song he said, "Daughter this is a gift from the Great Spirit. It is called a flute and I will sing to you like the elk, and you will hear my heart and I will hear yours. You have lost your way and so too have all the Anishenabeg that have died by drowning. You have become the tribe of the 'Loons' and cry because you are sad. We do not hear your cry; your tears have been marked on your back as a reminder. I will sing a song of prayer for you with the mighty and powerful gift from the Great Spirit and you will find you way to the council table and sit among our people who will be there waiting for you." The chief played joyously and the loons disappeared. Every year the loon reappeared and the chief knew these loons where tragedies of the people who live among the lakes.

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