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Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Mohegan and Wampanaug legends



Hi dear friends and followers. Today we visit the
Native American Mohegan and Wampanaug legends

Today we will look at a Native legend from what was known by the English at the time as the Plimoth Colony. If you look across Cape Cod Bay from the extreme end of Cape Cod you will find the town of Plimoth. Boston is not listed on this map because it had not yet been established.

There are numerous tribes of Native People listed on this map but it appears that the Wampanoag were the dominant group in the Plimoth area. Just to the west and south were the Mohegan. The following stories are taken from an anthology of Native stories and each is attributed.

The Little People mentioned in the second story are what many would call fairies. Yes, the Native Peoples believed in them, too!


Mohegan and Wampanaug legends

Why Lovers Should Never Become Jealous

There once were a young Mohegan man and woman who were very much in love. All of the older people remarked on it: "Look at that-they are very happy."

One day the young man killed a deer. He brought it to the woman he loved and laid it in her house. But for some unknown reason, he suddenly became jealous. Then he seized the antlers of the deer and rushed up to her and pressed them on her forehead.

The antlers grew on her head, and no one could get them off her. They grew and grew until her parents thought they would grow through the roof of their wigwam. The young woman's family grew increasingly anxious and sent for the powwow or shaman. With a magic oil, he rubbed the place where the antlers were attached to her head, and soon the antlers dropped off.

After all that, the young woman was all right but the young man was so scared by his jealous rage that he ran away and never came back.

(Adapted from William S. Simmons, 1986, Spirit of the New England Tribes: Indian History and Folklore, 1620-1984. Hanover NH: University Press of New England.)

The Silver Pipe

Massasoit was the sachem of the Wampanoag and was widely known for his fairness. King James of England heard about Massasoit and wanted to reward him for his goodness with the
 
gift of a silver pipe. Massasoit prized the pipe given to him by the king, but later gave it to one of his warriors as a reward for bravery.Later in life, the warrior grew ill and knew he was going to die. He asked his wife to bury the pipe with him in his grave. Unfortunately, she was greedy and wanted the pipe for herself, so when her husband died, she hid the pipe and did not bury it with him. A few days later, she went to the place where she had hidden the pipe, intending to smoke it and then hide it again. 

She reached into the hiding place and felt for the pipe, but it moved away from her all on its own. She tried again and again to reach the pipe, but it continued to move on its own, and she suddenly knew that her husband's spirit was keeping it from her. She vowed to do as her husband had asked her and bury the pipe with him if she could reach it. As soon as she made this promise, she reached in again and found the pipe in her hand.

She buried the pipe with her husband and was no longer bothered by his spirit or with guilt over her actions in breaking her promise to him.

(Adapted from William S. Simmons, 1986, Spirit of the New England Tribes: Indian History and Folklore, 1620-1984. Hanover NH: University Press of New England.)

The Little People or Makiaweesug

Long ago, before White people came, there were giants and little people as well. These "little people" were called Makiaweesug by the Mohegan, and those who were especially perceptive could see them sometimes in the woods. They were generally friendly to the Indian people, especially if they were left alone. The Little People were quite shy, and if you stared at them, they would point their finger at you and then you could no longer see them, and they could cause mischief and you wouldn't know whether they were doing it or whether it was just an accident.

If the Makiaweesug came to your house asking for food, you should always give them what they wanted. Otherwise, they might point at you so you couldn't see them and then take whatever food they wanted. And even if the Little People did not come to your house, it was a good idea to leave some food for them so they would not have to come up to the house. Small baskets were made for this purpose, and the Mohegan left these baskets with food at the edge of the woods so the Little People could take it and not bother the people.

Although the Little People were shy, they occasionally needed the help of Indian people. On one dark and stormy night, a Mohegan man and his wife were at home by their fire. 

They heard a rap on the side of their wigwam, and the woman went to see who it was. The wind blew in as she opened the door to see who was there. A Little Person was there-a man-but she thought it was a boy. He said that he needed her help because his wife was sick. She packed up a few things and told her husband that she was going out to help the man. 

With the Little Man leading her, she walked on and on through the storm, and the woman didn't know where she was being taken. At last she saw a light in front of her, and there was a house. Saying nothing, the Little Man led her inside and showed her his wife: a Little Woman lying ill on a bed of skins. The Mohegan woman was surprised, because it was at that point that she realized that she was with the Little People. But keeping her surprise to herself and not asking any questions, she doctored the Little Woman and stayed with them until the Little Woman was well again.

Because the Little Woman was better, it soon was time for the Mohegan woman to go back to her own wigwam. The Little People gave her presents, thanking her for the kindness she had shown in leaving her own home to take care of the sick Little Woman. The Mohegan woman packed up her belongings and medicines and then the Little Man put a skin blindfold over her eyes and led her away from their house and back to her own. When they arrived, she took the blindfold off, but the Little Man was already gone and she could not tell which direction they had come.

She told her husband about her adventure and they wanted to find the Little People and looked and looked for them but couldn't find them. Some think that the Little People died out when the Whites came, but the Mohegan feel that they just live far back in the woods and show themselves only to those who still believe in them.

(Adapted from William S. Simmons, 1986, Spirit of the New England Tribes: Indian History and Folklore, 1620-1984. Hanover NH: University Press of New England.)


Thank you for coming and taking interest in this story. You are also invited to share your thoughts and comments, they are valued and greatly appreciated. Thank you and have a wonderful day

ڰۣIn Loving Light from the Fairy Ladyڰۣ

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