Grandfather Thunder

(Mahom Pad˘gi) Alnobak

A long time ago there were two Alnobak families living in a very lonely place. They lived far apart. Each family had a daughter, and these girls were great friends.

One beautiful afternoon in the late spring, one of them told her mother she wanted to go to see her friend. The mother said, "No, it is not right for you to go alone, such a pretty girl as you, you must wait until your father or your brother are here to go with you." But the girl insisted, and at last her mother gave in and let her go.

She had not gone very far when she met a tall, handsome young man, who began speaking to her. He continued walking with her and his words were so sweet that she noticed nothing and didn't realize which way she went until at last she looked up and found herself in a strange place where she had never been before.

In front of her was a great hole in the face of a rock. The young man told her that this was his home and invited her in. She refused, but he urged her until she said that if he would go first that she would follow after him.

He then entered the cave, but when she looked at him she saw that he had changed into a fearful Wawondiamegw (a loathly worm).

She screamed and turned to run but at that moment a loud clap of thunder was heard and she was knocked out. When she opened her eyes she was in a large room where an old man sat watching her.

When he noticed that she had awakened he said, "I am your grandfather Thunder and I have saved you." Leading her to the door he showed her the Wawondiamegw, who was dead as a log and chopped into small bits like kindling wood.

The old man had three sons, one named M'dessun. He is the baby, and is very fierce and cruel. It is he who slays men and beasts and destroys property. The other two are kind and gentle. They cool the hot air, revive the parched fields and the crops, and destroy only that which is harmful to the earth.

When you hear low, distant mutterings that is the old man. He told the girl that as often as spring returned she must think of him and show that she was grateful by giving him a little smoke. He then sent her home, where her family had mourned her as dead.

The girl explained all that had happened to her family. She told them when you hear the first roll of the thunder, especially the first thunder in the spring, we must always go out into the open air, build a fire, put a little tobacco upon the fire in a circle and give grandfather a smoke. Since then no Alnobak has feared thunder.

From the Archives of a honored Grandfather

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