LITTLE PEOPLE: GEOW-LUD-MO-SIS-EG
By Pat Paul
In many native communities you will always find a person or two who could tell either a personal story or would know someone who has met or made some kind of a contact with the Geow-lud-mo-sis-eg.
Some people say that the Geow-lud-mo-sis-eg represent some kind of an omen, either good or bad, that can happen to the person who sees them. They can scare the wits out of some people while others don't get too excited over seeing them.
A lot of this fear is based on a person's kind of upbringing or personal convictions. If you happen to be a superstitious kind of a person who has always followed a strict and narrow order of spiritual leaning, the appearance of the Geow-lud-mo-sis-eg could touch-off a shade of apprehension or intimidation which in turn could transform to negative outcomes.
These negative outcomes could possibly lead to kind of personal imbalance or disharmony, because you unconsciously allow negativity to seep in. Whereas if the Geow-lud-mo-sis-eg should appear to a person who is positive, open-minded, receptive and less spiritually constricted, the results could be rewarding.
In other words, it all depends on the state-of-mind of the person who sees them. Fear of them could stir negative impulses, while openness and acceptance could work out quite pleasantly for a person.
Back in the 1950s there was a book written by an author named Edmond Wilson called 'Apologies to the Iroquois', which explained some of the myths and legends of the Iroquois concerning these little beings. In that book, Mr Wilson talks about the existence of at least two tribes of these little creatures who live among the Iroquois, namely with the Tuscaroras of the New York State. The book talks about the tribe of Healers and Tricksters. Apparently the Healer tribe can do some super marvellous things for a person who may be stricken or inflicted with some kind of physical ailment, sickness or such things as open flesh wounds, skin disorders or other visible bodily malfunctions.
The Healers reportedly are able to correct these malfunctions and disorders quite easily just by a person's request and a gift of tobacco to them.
On the other hand, the tribe of Tricksters do their thing by playing pranks and tricks on people. They would often do their tricks in the middle of the night just to make a person's hair stand on end. Little tricks like thumping on the side of your camp or canoe, braiding horse manes, tying up clothes on the clothes line, or a stone thrown into the still waters where you are quietly fishing might be the types of tricks the Tricksters would play on people. Little games such as these would be the harmless variety of mischievous activities that could be expected of the Tricksters.
They, like the Healers, can be appeased with a small gift of tobacco placed on the ground near or where the pranks are taking place. The tricks will then stop immediately after the giving of the tobacco.
Among the Maliseet people, the Geow-lud-mo-sis-eg are often seen beside or near water places like river banks, marshy grounds, brooksides or lakeshores. It's been said also that domestic animals such as cows and horses become attracted to them. Their mischief would entail very fine braiding of strands of hair on the tails of the domestic animals. So barns and stables would be some of the areas where they can appear or show their workmanship.
Some people who fear the Geow-lud-mo-sis-eg and fall victim to tricks or pranks can become very fearful or openly shaken when the little creatures make their appearance to them and many times unpleasant events result. But others have experienced personal healings, good health and good fortune following their contact.
For some reason the Geow-lud-mo-sis-eg don't seem to make their appearance as frequently in these modern 1994 times as they used to in the early part of this century. For instance, in researching this article only the elders relate stories of having seen their braiding workmanship. One particular elder who is seventy-plus talks about the time when his family was visited by them.
In that case the Geow-lud-mo-sis-eg left these fine, rounded, braids on his mother's clothes on the clothesline, which he and his brother unbraided to remove from the line. Later sightings have since been rumoured but not confirmed with the exception of the following.
THE STEP AND TUNNEL
Some elders at Tobique recall their old swimming hole 'mus-kum-odesk' where they used to swim, play and frolic. Mus-kum-odesk is a solid rock and ledge area of the reserve where this strange rock design is located.
Right in the middle of this huge rock-ledge formation is an 18" x 18" block section that is missing as if a person had taken a saw or some kind of a cutter to carve out and remove it, leaving a step-like or a seat-like formation remaining there that the swimmers used to play around for years.
Directly under the 'step' or 'seat' is a tunnel-like opening, or a small 18" diameter hole that goes - god knows where, and is always very black and spooky inside. No one, as I recall, ever explored the tunnel for fear of the ob-o-dum-kin (a reputed legendary or mythical water creature), or the Geow-lud-mo-sis-eg. Some say that both, the step and the tunnel, are creations of the Little People who are reputed to be always around water areas, such as swimming holes, near lakes, rivers, brooks, etc., much like the famous Leprechauns of Ireland.
In 1953 through to 1959 two hydroelectric dams were constructed in the Tobique area and many places where Native people often frequented were flooded over, including the step and the tunnel locations. No pictures exist, to my knowledge, showing this unique area that once used to mystify so many people. The step and tunnel also have never been thoroughly researched nor has adequate explanation of their origin, except for the Geow-lud-mo-sis-eg angle.
One elder who now has passed away looked out of his back window and saw about three of these Geow-lud-mo-sis-eg having a 'good old time' around a fireplace area in the back of his house. But the eerie part of this tale is that it was well after midnight and it was pouring 'cats and dogs' in a summer rainstorm and the Little People's fire was apparently not one bit affected by the tons of water coming down on it. The elder said he sort of got a chilly feeling as he and his wife looked at this unusual scene, but left things be and went to bed pondering on what they just had witnessed. This apparently was one true sighting.
Another strange event that took place in the same house as referred to above, was the visitation of these Geow-lud-mo-sis-eg to a lady living there. In this case, the lady happened to look out of the front door window one cloudy evening and saw four little folks, three boys and one girl, dressed ever so neatly with the girl in a yellow blouse, walking up the driveway towards the house. The lady of the house wondered what all of this was about and became very curious. The main entrance to the house normally is through the back door, and she assumed that the little guys were headed for the back door as she saw them disappearing around the corner. She then went to the back door to see where these four little creatures would be going. As she opened the door, two childlike little people were out there in the yard, jumping for joy, with their arms just a flying and swinging.
Due to her deafness, the woman couldn't tell if the little ones were making any sounds as they jumped.
For a moment she said she turned to call her husband and the little ones just vanished. Next she saw them walking down the front driveway heading back to their camp. She did however caution them to be careful of speeding cars as they crossed the road in front of the house. The woman has been deaf since the 1960s, but is still able to speak perfectly. She watched them as they crossed the road and disappear down towards a hollow area and on to the river. Some young people died soon after, she said.
In conclusion therefore, there is ample evidence that these little beings are around Native communities in New Brunswick as well as other Native places in the continent. As indicated earlier, a person's lot could be well rewarded in one situation, while the opposite or negative outcomes could result in another. It all depends on the attitude or the spirit taken when one sees the Geow-lud-mo-sis-eg.
If you happen to see one one day, be on the positive side and the Geow-lud-mo-sis-eg will reward you for it.
Return to Table of Contents