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Indigenous Stories

The Giant And The Four Wind Brothers

Categories : Penobscot , Penobscot Stories

There were four brothers in a family that lived in a huge cave on the top of a high mountain in the present state of Maine. One brother was North-wind, one South-wind, another West-wind, and the other one East-wind. They were the ones who made all of the winds blow.

West-wind was the youngest, North-wind the oldest, South-wind second oldest, and East-wind second youngest. To cause the winds, they stood up with their heads above the cave hole and blew. The forthcoming wind occurred according to whichever brother performed--North, South, East, or West.

West-wind was very wild when he blew. North-wind chided him "No, No! Don't do that! You will raise such high winds that you will destroy our good people, the Penobscots."

When West-wind jumped up again to blow, North-wind again told him, "No! No! Stop or you will kill our mother." So lived the Four Wind Brothers, causing and regulating the winds of the world.

North-wind was always the softest wind, East-wind a little stronger and harsher, South-wind with strong gusts, but not as much as West-wind the youngest. Whenever the Four Wind Brothers blew the winds, they were not satisfied until each performed in his particular style to perfection.

Often they would say to each other as a warning, "We must try to care for our friends, the Penobscots, so we do not destroy any thing or any one of them."

About this same time, a Giant Beaver had this home on the top of a great rock by the shore of Big Lake. This Giant Beaver, about one hundred feet long, had a very large lodge. Near him lived a Giant Penobscot who liked to hunt for the Giant Beaver. But Giant Penobscot lived in fear of a Monster Eagle, who kept watching all the time for the right moment to snatch and carry Giant Penobscot to its nest.

Monster Eagle was so large that he could pick up a giant man like an ordinary eagle would carry a rabbit, even though the giant was as tall as the tallest tree. At last Giant Penobscot's family was out of food, and he was compelled to go out and hunt. He took his long-handled ice chisel and went in search of the Giant Beaver.

Giant Penobscot succeeded in driving the Beaver from his Lodge, and he cornered him and killed him. After packing the Giant Beaver on his back, Giant Penobscot joyfully started homeward with his prize.

onster Eagle had seen Giant Penobscot from a great height. Down swooped the Eagle, picking up both Giant Beaver and Giant Penobscot, as easily as carrying two rabbits.

Far up on a rocky mountainside, Monster Eagle flew with its prey to its nest, which was thousands of feet above the valley. Monster Eagle's nest was enormous, with many young eagles in it. When Monster Eagle deposited his victims in the nest, he began feeding the dead beaver to his eaglets. Monster Eagle kept Giant Penobscot safely to one side, until all of the beaver had been eaten.

Then Monster Eagle prepared to kill the Giant Penobscot. He quickly flew high into the air and turned sharply, diving straight down to strike Giant Penobscot with his beak, wings, and claws. But Giant Penobscot held upright his sharp ice chisel with the butt end braced against a rocky ledge beside him. Monster Eagle descended violently upon the point of the ice chisel and he died instantly.

Now that Giant Penobscot was free, he wondered how he could get down to earth again before being eaten by the eaglets as they grew larger. He thought and thought, finally deciding to cut out the body of Monster Eagle and crawl inside the feathered skin, using Eagle's wings to glide down from the mountain.

Coincidentally, on this same mountain lived the Four Wind Brothers. North-wind saw Monster Eagle destroy himself. He also observed Giant Penobscot preparing to fly down to earth. North-wind called his three brothers to come and see.

"Let us all blow gently beneath Eagle's wings and help the good Penobscot to land softly upon the earth," said North-wind to his Brother Winds.

Inside Monster Eagle's wings, the Giant Penobscot soared off the mountain. Gently the Four Wind Brothers blew beneath his wings, guiding him while he easily floated to the Penobscot village below.

Meanwhile, when Giant Penobscot's family found that he had disappeared, they knew he must have been carried away by some flying giant, because his tracks led to nowhere.

One of the ancient men of the Penobscot tribe said, "We must all help our brother escape with our good thoughts. We must wish for his safe return by Chief of the Sky Spirits."

When Giant Penobscot floated safely back to his tribe and told his people of his adventure, the Ancient One said, "It was the strength of our wishes to Chief Sky Spirit that brought you back to your people. Now let us have a thanksgiving feast and rejoice."

Gently the Four Wind Brothers passed over the Penobscot Indian village on their happy return to their mountaintop cave.

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