Tales from Temagami - Land of Deep Water

Nenebuc Wounds the Giant Lynx, Disguises Himself in a Toad's Skin, and Finally Slays Her

Giant Snake

He had his bow and arrow with him, and as he went along he saw a great snake. He shot it with his arrow. (The big snake became a high rocky ridge on the protage south of Soothwater lake). He came to a big lake with a nice, sandy shore, where he saw Lions (mici'bizi'w   "giant Lynx"). He couldn't shoot them with his arrowas they were too far away, nor was there any place where he could hide himself until they came to sun themselves by the shore, when they felt too cold in the water. Finally he hit upon a plan. He took some birch bark from a rotten stump , rolled it into a hollow cylinder , and placed it, like a wigam, near the shore. He got inside and made a little hole in the bark through which to shoot and kill the Lions. Michipeshu - the Giant Lynx

When the Lions saw the thing on the beach they grew curious to find out what this strange thing was on the beach that was not there the day before. So they sent a big snake to twist around it and try to upset it, but the snake did not succeed in doing this, for Nenebuc stood too firm. So the Lions came ashore upon the sand and Nenebuc shot of them with his arrow - a she-lion, the wife of the Lion Chief. He did not kill her, but wounded her badly in the side, and the flint arrow point stayed in the wound. She was very badly wounded and went back to a hole which led to a cave in a big rock where she lived. Nenebuc was sorry that he had not killed the Lion queen.


As he went along the shore, the next morning , he heard someone singing and shaking a rattle. Nenebuc stood there wondering and waiting, and pretty soon he saw and old woman making the song. So he went across to see her, and when they met, he asked her, "What are you doing?" " I'm a doctor," she answered. "The queen ofthe Lions has been shot by Nenebuc and I am going to cure her." She didn't know that it was Nenebuc to whom she was talking, for she was too old. So Nenebuc told her, "Let me hear you singing. Is that what you are going to do to cure her?" "Yes, I will sing and then pull out that arrow." The Lions had sent for her at the foot of the lake to cure the queen. Nenebuc picked up a club and killed her, saying, "You are no doctor (macki'ki'winini'kwe 'medicine-person woman') at all." Then he discovered that she was no person at all, but a big toad (oma'kak'i). So he skinned her and put on the skin. The skin had a hole in the groin, and as he had no needle to sew it up with, his scrotum hung out when he put it on himself. This did not worry Nenebuc, for he thought, "It will be all right, unless they notice me too closely.". So he walked past the cave in which the Lions lived and kept singing and rattling all the time.

When the young lions heard him , they said, "There 's the old medicine woman coming." They were very glad to think that their mother would be cured. So they opened the door in the rock and Nenebuc went in, and one of the daughters came to meet him and said, "Come in, old woman." They were very much pleased. Nenebuc said , "don't shut the doors. Leave them open, as the queen needs plenty of fresh air!" (The medicine people always do that now) The he said, "I'm hungry. I've had a long walk and I'm tired." Then they gave him a good meal first. While he was eating, he sat with open legs and the children cried out, "look at the old woman with testicles hanging out!" But the older ones told them to be silent, as they thought some old women had testicles.

When he had finished eating, Nenebuc said, "Don't watch me. I'm goin to pull out the arrow point. You will hear her suffering and me singing , but don't look until you hear her stop suffering. Then she will be cured, and the arrow point will be out. So don't look, for I am going to cure her."

Stone arrow point
Then he began rattling and singing ,and, as he did so,he shoved the arrow point farther into the wound of the queen in order to kill her. When she yelled , her people thought that the hurt was caused in pulling it out. At last one of the little lion children peeped and saw Nenebuc pushing the arrow farther in. He told his sister, "That's Nenebuc himself inside!" Then Nenebuc ran outside and the Queen Lion was dying. Nenebuc had difficulty to clear himself. He pulled off the toad skin and tried to climb up the rock.
Speck's map of Smoothwater lakemap legend
scene of world transformation

the End
Michipeshu (mishipizhiw, michipeshu, mishipizheu, giant lynx, giant cat ) was drawn on Agawa Rock by Shingwauk, grand shaman of Lake Superior 400 years ago.
This story was related by Aleck Paul, second chief of Timagami band, to Dr. Frank Speck, who recorded story and draw this map in 1915
Alex Mathias found this Stone arrow point arrow point at lake Obabika where he lives, in 2002