Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 9 > Page 31 - "Gluskap's Journey" & a Mastodon Bone

Page 31 - "Gluskap's Journey" & a Mastodon Bone

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1974/10/1 (3751 reads)
 

GLUSKAP'S JOURNEY&aMastodon Bone In 1915 F, G, Speck took dovm a number of Cape Breton Micmac tales from the dicta? tion of Chief Joe Julian of the Sydney band, and John Joe of Whycocomagh, They told him of the wonderful being, Gluskap. They told him:"One time when Gluskap had become the Indian's God, Christ wanted to try him to see if he was fit: so he took Gluskap to the ocean, and told him to close his eyes. Then Christ moved close to the shore an island which lay far out to sea. When Gluskap opened his eyes, he saw it, Christ asked him if he could do as much as that. Then Gluskap told Christ to close his eyes a while. When Christ opened his eyes, he found that Gluskap had moved it back to its place again," The following short tale is especially interesting because it tells us how some of Cape Breton was formed, as well as of the discovery of the bones of a mastadon, a huge elephant-like creature that once lived on Cape Breton. We include here photos of the very bone of which these men are speaking. The tale also includes mention of Fairy Holes, caves well-known by fishermen in St, Ann's Bay, Mr, Speck wrote that about 1860 "five Indians • Joe Bernard, Francis Bernard, Clement Bernard, Joe Newell and Tom Newell • entered the caves which honeycomb this headland, carrying seven torches. They walked as far as the torches would light them, about a mile and a half, found eight brooks in the caves, and when they came out discovered how a rock 300 feet wide' had moved since they had entered. The Indians regard these caves as very mysterious," Recently, Tommy Peggy MacDonald told us that people used to tell of a dog that went in the Fairy Holes and came out some days later at Ross Fer? ry • and when he came out the hair was all off of him. Others told the story, and al? though he was said to come out different places it was always without any hair, GLUSKAP'S JOURNEY Gluskap was the god of the Micmacs. The great diety, Ktc-ni'sxam, made him out of earth and then breathed on him, and he was made. This was at Cape North, Cape Breton • on the eastern side, Gluskap's home was at Fairy Holes, Just in front of the caves at this headland are three little islands in a straight line, long and narrow, known as Cibotix Islands, These are the remains of Gluskap's canoe, where he left it when it was broken. At Plaster Cove (Two'butc, "Looking Out") two girls saw his canoe broken into three pieces; and they laughed, making fun of Gluskap, At this he told them that they would forever remain where they are; and today there are two rocks at Plaster Cove which are the remains of these girls. Next, a little farther north, at Wreck Cove, Gluskap jumped from his canoe when it foundered, lifting his moose-skin canoe-mat out, and left it on the shore to dry. It is there today. There is still to be seen a space of 15 acres of bare ground where the mat lay. Then he started on and went to Table Head (Padalodi'tck), on the south side of Great Bras d'or. Here he had his dinner. Next he struck into Bras d'or Lake straight to Whycocomagh, on the wes? tern end, where, at Indian Island (Wi'sik, "Cabin"), he started a beaver and drove him out, following Bras d'or Lake to St, Patrick's Bay, At Middle River he killed a young beaver, whose bones are still to be seen there, (Speck added to the story: "A Micmac named Ta'mekian (Tom Stevens) a long while ago is said to have found some of these bones • ribs eight feet long • some of which, with a hip-joint of monstrous size he is said to have brought out. The Indians claim that these remains are now in the Museum at Halifax,** • This bone was first in the museum of the Mechanics' Institute and is now part of the collection at the Nova Scotia Museum, See below,) Then Gluskap followed the big beaver until he lost track of him for a while. He stood at Indian Island and took a piece of rock and threw toward the place where he thought the beaver was. This rock is now Red Island, This started the beaver up and he ran back through St. Peter's Channel and burrowed through inderneath, which is the cause of the crooks and windings there now. Then the chase continued outside in the ocean, when the beaver struck out for the Bay of Fundy, Here at Pli'gank (Split Place), Split Point, Gluskap dug out a channel with his paddle, forming Minas Basin, Nova Scotia, There he killed the beaver. Near here is a small island, which is the pot in which he cooked the beaver; and there, too, is another rock, near Pot Rock, ? Volkswagen Porche Audi Serving the Beautiful Island of Cape Breton 564-4006 . 539-5850 55 Victoria Road, Sydney Nova Scotia Town and Country RESTAURANT Red and White FOOD STORES Baddeck' Port Hawkesbury Sydney River & Glace Bay Cape Breton's Magazine/31
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