The legend of Kuikuhâchâu

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Told by Sandy Masty of Whapmagoostui   Translation by Brian Webb

I will tell the legend of Kuikuhâchâu, the man who took the form of the Wolverine. He was the one who confronted the Giant Skunk called Wâniyûyâu. As the legend goes, the Giant Skunk took human form also, using snowshoes when traveling during the winter. Wâniyûyâu was a violent being, who took pleasure in killing everyone he encountered. His method of killing was by using his deadly scent glands. It seemed that no one could kill Wâniyûyâu. He massacred entire camps whenever he came across them. Everyone lived in constant fear, afraid that Wâniyûyâu would arrive at their camp.

Kuikuhâchâu lived off the land with his family of brothers and sisters. He was the eldest. The animals we now consider game were his companions in that time. They lived in their winter camp. One day, Kuikuhâchâu had a premonition that someone from the camp would come across Wâniyûyâu’s path. He mentioned, “Younger siblings, I have the impression that one of you will come across Wâniyûyâu’s path. If you come across his path, be sure not to go near it.”

Shikushâpâu (Ermine Man) left one morning to go off on the hunt. As he walked towards a frozen lake, he saw a trail that went across the ice. He remembered his brother’s warning but wasn’t sure whose path it was. Shikushâpâu walked down towards the shore. He walked along the shore, among the trees. He took off his snowshoes and changed into his ermine form. He burrowed into the snow because this is what ermines are very good at.

Shikushâpâu burrowed his way under the snow towards the trail on the frozen lake. When he thought that he was close to the trail, he carefully popped up out of the snow. But he was still far from the trail. He still had no idea whose trail it was.

He burrowed back into the snow. As he burrowed in the snow, he accidentally hit the trail. The stench of the trail was overwhelming. There was no doubt it was Wâniyûyâu’s trail. Shikushâpâu pushed snow back into his burrow where he had broke into the trail and burrowed back to the shore. He surfaced where he had left his snowshoes. He shifted back into his human form and quickly returned home.

At that exact moment when Shikushâpâu touched Wâniyûyâu’s trail, Wâniyûyâu was forcefully pulled back. Someone had crossed his path. There was no way for Wâniyûyâu to continue on his journey. He had to return to the place where his trail had been crossed. When he tried walking forward, a strong force pulled him back to where he had come from. He could not go forward. He had no choice but to backtrack. He knew the spot where someone had crossed his path was about two days away. Wâniyûyâu walked back on his trail to track and kill whoever crossed his trail.

Shikushâpâu hurried back to camp and told his older brother Kuikuhâchâu what had happened. Kuikuhâchâu ordered his siblings to build the shaking tent. When the shaking tent was built, Kuikuhâchâu entered and performed the ceremony to contact the spirit world for help and to see where Wâniyûyâu was.

Early the next morning, Kuikuhâchâu and his family began their journey to get away from Wâniyûyâu, who was coming for them. When they abandoned their camp, they left the frame of the shaking tent in place.

For days, Kuikuhâchâu and his family moved far. Each night, Kuikuhâchâu performed the shaking tent ceremony. When they left camp the next morning, Kuikuhâchâu made sure the frame of the shaking tent was left in place.

Wâniyûyâu arrived at the lake. He was sure that it was on this particular lake where his trail was crossed. He looked around but he couldn’t see any other path. As Wâniyûyâu walked along his old path, he passed the exact spot where Shikushâpâu had poked through the trail. His snowshoes were pulled back. He turned back again and continued walking past the spot and his snowshoes were pulled back again. He walked back and forth, confused because he didn’t see any other trail.

Wâniyûyâu examined the snow carefully but could not see any trail. As he walked past the spot where Shikushâpâu touched his trail, his snowshoes kept going backwards. His snowshoes broke the snow to finally reveal a tunnel under the snow. He checked the burrow and noticed where it was heading. He knew that this was the one that had crossed his path. Wâniyûyâu followed the burrow.

As Wâniyûyâu walked towards the shore, he found the spot where Shikushâpâu had shifted back into a man and where his snowshoe trail began. Wâniyûyâu was not hindered as he followed Shikushâpâu’s trail. He was filled with joy because he knew there were people at the end of this trail and that he was going to kill them.

Wâniyûyâu kept following the trail of Shikushâpâu. He reached the abandoned campsite. He also saw the frame of the shaking tent still in place. He spoke out; “I wonder why they moved away. If they were still here, this is what I would do.”

Wâniyûyâu shifted into his skunk form and shot his putrid scent from his anal scent glands at the frame of the shaking tent. But the shaking tent frame stood strong. It shook only a bit from the force. Wâniyûyâu was puzzled. He walked around to the other side and shot again, expecting to destroy it. But the shaking tent stood firm. Wâniyûyâu continued following their trail.

When Kuikuhâchâu performed the shaking tent ceremony, he was warned of how far Wâniyûyâu was. As they abandoned each campsite, Kuikuhâchâu’s shaking tent stood intact. Each time Wâniyûyâu came upon an abandoned campsite, he tried to knock it down with the spray of his awful scent. But the shaking tent always stood defiantly.

One morning as the group got ready to continue their retreat, Kuikuhâchâu found out that Wâniyûyâu would reach them that evening. He consulted his siblings. “My brothers and sisters, Wâniyûyâu will be upon us this evening. Keep on traveling. As evening falls, we’ll find a beaver lodge. We’ll make camp on the far side of that lake. Let’s make sure Wâniyûyâu will see our camp from the other side of the lake when he arrives.” The younger siblings could only agree.

Ayik (Toad) and Mâtishkûtish (Frog) were the two of his older sisters of the group. As the group traveled, the two old sisters always fell last on the trail. Ayik was the slowest and Mâtishkûtish was only slightly faster. Kuikuhâchâu warned his older sisters Ayik and Mâtishkûtish to keep an eye behind them. Kuikuhâchâu instructed his sisters, “When you see him far away, be sure to play dead.”

They broke camp and prepared for their journey. Ayik fell last on the trail. She did not heed the warning. But Mâtishkûtish kept looking behind as she walked on the trail. She would look back while crossing a frozen lake. But Ayik simply kept on walking without looking behind.

As Wâniyûyâu pursued his next victims, he saw someone crossing a lake ahead. He quickly approached her. He walked over to her side. Only until he was right beside, Ayik realized that she was not alone. Wâniyûyâu innocently asked, “Why are you people walking so far? I’ve been following your trail for a while. The calves of my legs are getting swollen from following you people.”

Ayik strained her eyes to see. She exclaimed, “Oh, a stranger.” She continued, “It’s because Wâniyûyâu is following us. We’re trying to get away from him.”

Wâniyûyâu was really stunned at her arrogance, mentioning his name in his presence, which was a real insult. He asked, “Do you realize who I am? Look at me!” Ayik answered, “I can’t really see. I am almost blind.” As she turned to face him, Wâniyûyâu shot his awful scent at her, killing her instantly. “What nerve she has!” Wâniyûyâu continued following the trail.

The next lake he reached, he caught a glimpse of someone walking far ahead on the lake. Wâniyûyâu was overcome with joy since he would kill another person. As Mâtishkûtish disappeared into the forest, she looked back across the lake and saw a figure already half way across the lake. She realized it was not her sister Ayik.

Mâtishkûtish hauled her toboggan deeper into the forest. When she got deeper into the forest, she took off her snowshoes. She ripped up the covering of her toboggan. She wrapped herself into it. She jumped off the trail and into the untouched snow. As she did this, she transformed into a small frog.

Wâniyûyâu was very eager to reach her and kill her. As he walked into the forest, he found her toboggan and her snowshoes on the trail. He stood there confused. Her tracks ended there. He carefully looked all around. He then noticed something sticking out of the snow. He walked towards it and pulled it.

As he pulled the shredded toboggan covering, a little frog rolled out. She was completely stiff, pretending to be dead. Wâniyûyâu wondered what had happened to her. Mâtishkûtish didn’t budge. Wâniyûyâu thought of shooting her anyway but then decided not to waste his scent on someone whom he thought was already dead. Wâniyûyâu left the listless frog and continued on the trail.

The sun began to set and the family group found a beaver lodge on the far shore of a lake they were crossing. Kuikuhâchâu and his brothers approached the beaver lodge and proceeded to try and catch the beaver inside. They gathered all the poles he needed and shoveled the snow away and Kuikuhâchâu began chiseling the ice next to the beaver lodge. The others were busy setting up their camp, near the shore of the lake. Kuikuhâchâu instructed his younger brothers to help the others setting up camp and to remain there. Kuikuhâchâu knew that Wâniyûyâu was on their trail, coming for them.

As Wâniyûyâu was getting closer, Kuikuhâchâu could sense his presence. Wâniyûyâu emerged from the forest and saw people on the distant shore of the lake. He was overcome with joy because he was sure to kill everyone.

As Kuikuhâchâu chiseled the ice, he kept his back to Wâniyûyâu. Wâniyûyâu had his eyes fixed on the one chiseling next to the beaver lodge as he walked towards him. The rest of the family watched apprehensively from the shore. Kuikuhâchâu listened to the sound of Wâniyûyâu’s snowshoes on the snow, coming towards him.

Wâniyûyâu approached Kuikuhâchâu. He took Kuikuhâchâu’s snow shovel and tapped Kuikuhâchâu on the shoulder. Wâniyûyâu was overly confident, thinking that he took Kuikuhâchâu by surprise. Wâniyûyâu spoke out, “I’ve accidentally been seen by my next victim.” Kuikuhâchâu looked up acting like he didn’t know what was going on.

Wâniyûyâu asked, “What are you people walking towards since you’ve been traveling so far? The calves of my legs are getting swollen from following you people.” Kuikuhâchâu continued chiseling the ice and answered, “We’re trying to get away from your scent glands. That’s why we’ve walked so far. It’s because you make everything so putrid whenever you’re a guest.”

Wâniyûyâu said, “Brother, you are quick to offend me. You offend me when I’m your guest.” Kuikuhâchâu replied, “How can I offend you when I speak the truth about you?” Wâniyûyâu was filled with rage. He shifted into his giant skunk form and shouted, “Brother, look at me and see who I am!”

The Giant Skunk Wâniyûyâu turned his back to Kuikuhâchâu to shoot his scent at him. Kuikuhâchâu jumped into the hole in the snow where he had shoveled and crawled into the chiselled ice hole. Wâniyûyâu shot his horrible scent, thinking that he would kill Kuikuhâchâu instantly. When Wâniyûyâu did this, the victim looked like he was shot with a shotgun and was killed instantly.

Wâniyûyâu turned back but didn’t see anything. He only saw the snow where he shot his scent. He didn’t see Kuikuhâchâu. Wâniyûyâu moved towards the hollow in the snow where Kuikuhâchâu had been chiseling. He saw Kuikuhâchâu crouching in the snow where he had shoveled.

Wâniyûyâu was completely enraged since he had wasted his shot of his deadly scent. He moved towards the hollow in the snow. He aimed directly at Kuikuhâchâu crouching in the hollow of the snow. As soon as Wâniyûyâu got into position, Kuikuhâchâu shifted into the wolverine and jumped on Wâniyûyâu’s anus, clamping it shut with his powerful jaws. Wâniyûyâu was taken by surprise. “Ouch! Brother, you’re breaking my arrows.”

Kuikuhâchâu waved to his younger siblings to come over. They all came running down with their spears. When they got to him, they began stabbing Wâniyûyâu’s body. Kuikuhâchâu kept his grip on the scent glands. They repeatedly stabbed the Giant Skunk until he showed no signs of life. Wâniyûyâu was dead. Kuikuhâchâu cautiously let go of Wâniyûyâu’s scent glands.

Some of the scent had gotten into Kuikuhâchâu’s eyes and he couldn’t open them. Kuikuhâchâu asked for his head to be wrapped in their mother’s teepee covering. Kuikuhâchâu told his younger siblings that he would have to wash himself in the sea because if he washed himself inland, water everywhere would have a foul taste.

He instructed his brothers to cut up the beast into little pieces and to throw him in all directions. “As you throw the pieces, tell him to remain that size.” Kuikuhâchâu asked to be faced towards the sea. Before leaving, Kuikuhâchâu reassured his brothers and sisters that the Wâniyûyâu was dead and that they should not live in fear. Kuikuhâchâu started running towards the sea.

During this time, everyone lived in constant fear of Wâniyûyâu because he killed off entire camps whenever he came across them. Kuikuhâchâu wanted everyone to know that there was nothing to fear now. As he ran down to the sea, he sang a song, “I got back at Wâniyûyâu.” The people listened to Kuikuhâchâu’s song. The news that Wâniyûyâu was dead began to spread. Everyone commented that Kuikuhâchâu had made the land a good place to live now, since he had vanquished Wâniyûyâu.

As Kuikuhâchâu ran, he bumped into a tree. He asked, “What tree are you?” The tree replied, “I’m the tree that stands deep inland.” Kuikuhâchâu continued running.

After a while, Kuikuhâchâu bumped into another tree. He asked the tree, “What tree are you?” The tree answered back, “I’m the one that stands on the hill that slopes towards the sea.” Kuikuhâchâu kept on running.

He bumped into another tree and asked, “What tree are you?” The tree replied, “I’m the one that stands down the slope towards the sea.” Kuikuhâchâu commented, “I must be very close.” He kept on running.

Not long after, he bumped into another tree. He asked, “What tree are you?” The tree answered, “I’m the one that stands at the shore of the sea.” Kuikuhâchâu continued running.

He bumped into a log at his feet. He asked, “What tree are you?” “I’m driftwood that drifts in the sea.” As Kuikuhâchâu continued, his feet were treading water. He shredded the teepee covering that was wrapped around his head. He washed himself in the sea. He was now able to see. His eyesight was clear and sharp.

As Kuikuhâchâu washed himself in the sea, he decided to release some of his power into the sea, since the Giant Skunk Wâniyûyâu was now gone. The wolverine part of him separated and swam out into the sea. Kuikuhâchâu the man, walked back to shore.

Since his head was wrapped all this time, Kuikuhâchâu had no idea where he came from. As he ran through the forest, he sang a song, “I wonder where I came from.”

One day as Kuikuhâchâu ran, he came across a trail of people who had been traveling. He followed it and reached a campsite. There were two teepees, a small one and a large one. It was obvious that the large teepee had been feasting on caribou but the small teepee had nothing to show that they were eating. It seemed that the people who lived in the small teepee were hungry.

Kuikuhâchâu suspected that his brother was in the area. He looked at the large abandoned teepee with disgust. He commented, “Who is this person with plenty of food? He must be out of his mind not to share food with people who are obviously hungry.” Kuikuhâchâu was exasperated with the greedy ones.

Kuikuhâchâu continued to follow the trail. He reached the camp of the two teepees. The two teepees stood close to each other. He walked towards the small one and peaked in. Only his young nephews sat inside. They looked gaunt and underfed. The boys saw him and exclaimed, “Our uncle has arrived! We’ll be eating for sure.” Kuikuhâchâu remarked, “Eating? Eating what? I am hungry also. I have no food with me!”

Kuikuhâchâu said, “It seems your neighbour has plenty of food. But you guys are hungry!” The boys mumbled, “He doesn’t share any food with us.” Kuikuhâchâu thought of a plan and said, “Wait, I’ll get some food for you.”

He went over to the large teepee. In contrast to the small teepee, the children inside looked healthy and well fed. Plenty of caribou meat hung on racks all around inside the teepee. The children were left to watch over the teepee. Kuikuhâchâu entered and sat down.

He commented to the children, “You people have plenty of food.” He asked them, “Which part of the caribou does your father like best?” The children pointed to a particular meat rack with delicious looking meat lined with rich fat and the solidified caribou grease. “Your father’s food sure does look good.”

A large cooking pot also hung from the rack, it was filled with the rich warm broth of simmered caribou bones with the grease floating on top. Kuikuhâchâu took down the pot and began drinking the broth. The children protested, “That’s our father’s broth! Don’t touch that!” Kuikuhâchâu continued drinking the broth and the children came over to stop him. As the children were trying to grab the pot, Kuikuhâchâu spilled all the broth over them.

Kuikuhâchâu took the emptied pot and filled it with the father’s meat and also put the grease in the pot. The soaked children only watched. As Kuikuhâchâu was about to leave with the pot, the children jumped on him and tried to hang on to the pot. “Don’t touch that.” Kuikuhâchâu took each hand of the children and held their hands next to the fire. The children hands got burnt and they began crying. Kuikuhâchâu left and went back to the other teepee.

He took the pot to the other teepee and prepared a stew for his nephews. As the stew simmered, Kuikuhâchâu ran back to the other teepee to get some caribou blood to add to his stew to make it richer. The children in the other teepee only glared at him.

When the stew was done, the young boys ate until they were full. Kuikuhâchâu had some of his caribou stew also. After eating, Kuikuhâchâu and his nephews made themselves comfortable and relaxed.

Kuikuhâchâu asked, “Where are all the adults?” They answered, “Our parents went with our neighbours to a place where caribou had been seen. When the kill has been made, our parents only bring back the caribou lungs and livers. That’s the only part our neighbour shares with us.” Kuikuhâchâu remarked, “Your neighbour really has no sense at all.”

Kuikuhâchâu’s brother and his wife returned back to camp with caribou lungs and livers skewered on a stick. Kuikuhâchâu invited them to come and eat the stew he had made. As the hungry couple ate, Kuikuhâchâu mentioned, “Your neighbours are very selfish people.” Kuikuhâchâu stayed in his brother’s lodge, where he stretched out to relax and think.

The greedy neighbour and his wife arrived, each of them dragging back a caribou. The neighbour’s name was Minitû. He was a very successful hunter. He was a person who never went hungry. The caribou they brought back were big and fat.

Minitû’s children explained everything that had happened, saying a visitor had arrived and taken meat and also took the cooking pot. Minitû exclaimed, “That visitor must be out of his mind. He’ll be dead for sure since he has no manners.”

Kuikuhâchâu relaxed in the brother’s teepee. Since the two teepees were so close to each other, they could hear everything Minitû was saying. Kuikuhâchâu remained calm and said, “I’ll kill Minitû if he tries to kill me.” Minitû also heard Kuikuhâchâu’s words.

Minitû ordered his children to go fetch the cooking pot. Minitû’s children ran into the other teepee, “Our dad wants his cooking pot. He’s thirsty and wants to make some broth.” Kuikuhâchâu replied, “I’m still using it. I’ll return it when I’m finished with it.”

Kuikuhâchâu emptied the cooking pot and took it outside. From a distance, he tossed the cooking pot into Minitû’s teepee. Kuikuhâchâu called out, “Here’s the cooking pot.” The cooking pot hurled into Minitû’s lodge through the entrance and struck the hearth stones. Minitû was astounded at Kuikuhâchâu’s behaviour.

Minitû took the cooking pot and began making broth from the caribou blood. Minitû mentioned, “Since he has no manners, I’ll kill him.” They dragged in the caribou and proceeded to skin and butcher them. Minitû’s wife fleshed the caribou skin inside, near the entrance. Minitû’s wife was a strong and robust woman and was a good fighter. Minitû brought in his spear and hid it near his resting area.

The broth began to boil. Minitû’s children called out to Kuikuhâchâu, “Guest, you’re invited for a meal.” Kuikuhâchâu was very pleased and shouted back, “Yes, I’m coming.” But he knew very well what Minitû was planning. Kuikuhâchâu told his brother to stay behind.

Kuikuhâchâu entered Minitû’s teepee. Minitû sized him up and thought it would be easy for them to kill Kuikuhâchâu. Minitû thought, “You’re not leaving this teepee alive.” Minitû acted very happy to have Kuikuhâchâu as his guest. “Come sit with me.” Kuikuhâchâu sat down with Minitû at the back of the teepee, which is a place of honour.

Minitû explained, “We haven’t cooked the meat yet. My children told me that you’ve arrived. I was eager to see you. We’ve only made broth so far. Take a drink of the delicious broth and you’ll take home the fresh meat here.” Kuikuhâchâu was delighted, “You sure are generous.”

Kuikuhâchâu took his time to observe the teepee, looking up at the smoke hole and watching Minitû’s wife fleshing the caribou skin near the entrance. He knew that Minitû’s wife was ready to kill him if he wanted to escape through the entrance. He noticed a large gap between the poles up at the smoke hole. Minitû insisted, “Drink the broth. We made it for you but we don’t have a ladle for you.”

Kuikuhâchâu took the pot of hot broth and put it on his knees and tilted the pot to his mouth to drink. Kuikuhâchâu took a sip of the very hot broth. Minitû continued talking as he cunningly reached for his spear but Kuikuhâchâu knew what he was going to do.

Minitû suddenly grabbed his spear to attack Kuikuhâchâu. But Kuikuhâchâu splashed him with the hot broth. Minitû’s wife and children were also scalded. Kuikuhâchâu grabbed the meat he was promised and jumped up onto the rack poles above the fire and made his way out through the smoke hole with the caribou meat in hand. Kuikuhâchâu landed outside safely with the caribou meat.

Everyone inside was screaming with agony. “Our guest burnt us!” Kuikuhâchâu talked back, “I was only defending myself. I knew what you were up to.” Minitû insisted, “No! You’re wrong. Come back inside for your caribou meat.” Kuikuhâchâu answered, “No. You want to kill me. Eat the caribou meat yourself.” Kuikuhâchâu returned to his brother’s teepee.

Minitû had an older son who scouted for caribou. The next morning, Minitû ordered him to look around for caribou. Minitû’s son found fresh tracks of a large herd of caribou. He returned home and told his father. Minitû called out to Kuikuhâchâu, “Fresh tracks have been found. We want you to come. We’ll leave during the night and make the kill in the morning.” Kuikuhâchâu agreed.

As night fell, Minitû called out to Kuikuhâchâu, “Guest, we’re ready to leave.” Kuikuhâchâu told his brother to stay behind. Kuikuhâchâu knew that Minitû would not give up trying to kill him. The caribou hunters left. The moon shone bright.

Minitû told Kuikuhâchâu to lead the way so they could chat as they walked. As they walked, Minitû told stories. Kuikuhâchâu kept his eye on Minitû’s shadow. Minitû carried his spear resting on his shoulder.

Kuikuhâchâu noticed that Minitû was taking his spear as they walked. Minitû pointed his spear towards Kuikuhâchâu’s back. Kuikuhâchâu knew that Minitû was getting ready to stab him. Minitû thrust forward with his spear in hand. Kuikuhâchâu jumped out of the way and the spear plunged into the snow where Kuikuhâchâu had been. Minitû toppled over and broke his spear.

Minitû exclaimed, “Oops, I stumbled and I think I almost killed you!” “You wanted to kill me purposely,” Kuikuhâchâu responded. “I know because I was watching your shadow.”

Minitû insisted that he had tripped. Minitû told Kuikuhâchâu to lead the way again. But Kuikuhâchâu had no trust in Minitû anymore. Kuikuhâchâu refused to lead the way. The two hunters left again with Minitû leading the way this time.

The caribou hunters reached the area where the caribou had been tracked. Minitû’s eldest son was already there. Minitû told his son about the accident that almost happened.

Minitû had many caribou snares with him. The hunters set up the caribou snares. After the snares were set, the hunters flushed the caribou towards the snares. As the caribou got caught, the hunters stabbed them with their spears. Since all the snares belonged to Minitû, all the caribou that were killed were Minitû’s. Minitû’s wife arrived to help butcher and drag the caribou back home.

Kuikuhâchâu headed straight for the first snare. The first snare was called the nîshtâmuhchâuwâyâpî. The first snare always had the best caribou caught in it. Kuikuhâchâu began butchering that particular caribou. He worked quickly. Kuikuhâchâu now had the idea of killing Minitû.

Minitû saw Kuikuhâchâu butchering the caribou from the first snare. But that would have been Minitû’s best caribou. Minitû told his son to ask Kuikuhâchâu if that was the caribou he wanted to butcher. Minitû’s son went over and asked him. Kuikuhâchâu answered, “I would not be butchering it if I didn’t want it.”

Minitû told his son to fetch the caribou snare from Kuikuhâchâu and to be sure not to get it bloody. Minitû’s son went over to Kuikuhâchâu again and asked for the caribou snare, “My father says not to get it bloody.” Kuikuhâchâu’s hands were already soaked in blood from butchering the caribou. Kuikuhâchâu took the caribou snare and coiled it up with the bloody hands. Minitû’s son was astounded. After coiling the caribou snare, Kuikuhâchâu drenched it into the caribou blood and threw it over to Minitû’s son and said, “Here you go.”

Kuikuhâchâu finished butchering his caribou and got ready to leave, dragging the caribou back to the camp. Minitû still had many caribou to butcher. Minitû saw Kuikuhâchâu and told him, “Pack down the trail for us to head back to camp. We’ll follow your trail when we’re ready to go back in the evening.” Kuikuhâchâu nodded.

Kuikuhâchâu broke a new trail back to the camp. As he walked, he searched around for two good places to attack Minitû and his wife. When he returned back to the camp with his caribou, he told his brother to finish cleaning the caribou and to prepare a good meal for themselves. Kuikuhâchâu went back on the trail with his bow and arrows.

Kuikuhâchâu hid from the trail on a small hill which he had walked over. He saw Minitû coming, walking the same trail dragging a butchered caribou wrapped in the skin. As Minitû walked on the trail, he paused and said to himself, “What a strange feeling I have. I feel like there are arrows going into me.” Kuikuhâchâu whispered to himself, “Of course you are. I’m about to shoot you with my arrows.”

Minitû was dressed in a metallic covering, just like armor. Only his armpits were exposed. Minitû began dragging his caribou again. As he lifted the strap, Kuikuhâchâu shot his arrow into Minitû’s chest, through the armpit. The arrow went straight into Minitû’s heart. Kuikuhâchâu continued shooting his arrows at Minitû. Finally, Minitû was dead.

Kuikuhâchâu went further up the trail to wait for Minitû’s wife. She was far behind on the trail. Kuikuhâchâu hid on a small hill again away from the trail. Finally, he saw Minitû’s wife coming on the trail dragging a butchered caribou.

As Minitû’s wife walked up the small hill, she paused for a moment. She sensed something was going to happen. When she continued walking she lifted her strap and exposed her armpits. Kuikuhâchâu shot his arrow into the woman’s heart but she didn’t die. In her agonizing rage, she tore down trees and came towards Kuikuhâchâu. He kept shooting arrows at her. Finally, Kuikuhâchâu took his last arrow which he had put a spell on and shot it at Minitû Woman. Finally, she died. Kuikuhâchâu returned home.

Kuikuhâchâu told his brother that Minitû and his wife were dead. Minitû’s children were still in their lodge. His brother was willing to adopt Minitû’s children. But Kuikuhâchâu did not accept it. He explained that the children would be exactly the same as their father. Kuikuhâchâu killed Minitû’s entire family. This was how the legend was told. Kuikuhâchâu had vanquished two foes, Wâniyûyâu and Minitû.

Translator’s Notes: The Shaking Tent is used to find game, communicate with helping spirits and other people far away. Kuikuhâchâu used it to find out how far Wâniyûyâu was. Ayik mentioning Wâniyûyâu’s name in his presence was a taboo and was considered an insult. As pieces of Wâniyûyâu were thrown, musk animals appeared. The shredded teepee covering which was wrapped around Kuikuhâchâu’s head turned into seaweed, which is why it had a strong smell when exposed. A powerful sea creature, an aquatic wolverine came to be after Kuikuhâchâu released his power in the sea.

This legend was recorded in one session. It took the elder Sandy Masty almost an hour and a half to recount it and he didn’t even take a break nor did he even take a drink of water.


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