Tales from Temagami - Land of Deep Water

The Giant Lynx causes the World Flood and Gathers the Animals on a Raft; Muskrat Dives for Earth, which Nenebuc Transforms into a New World

Michipeshu - the Giant Lynx

As soon as the queen died, a giant stream poured out of the cave and the lake began rising. "That is going to flood the world and be the end," said Nenebuc. So he cut trees and made a kind of raft, abi'ndasa'gan "something to sit or lie upon water with". So he had his raft ready, and the end of the world came. He couldn't see any trees, water covered everything, and he made the flood. He saw all kinds of animals swimming toward his raft and he took them on. "come on, come on," he cried, "and stay here." Fro he wanted to save them, so that after the flood there would be all kinds of animals. The animals stayed on the raft with him for a long while. diving beaver pictograph Some time after this he made a rope of roots and tied it to the Beaver's tail, telling him to dive and to try and reach the land underneath. He knew the water would get lower afterwards. The Beaver ciouldn't reach the land and he came up to the surface of the water again.

Seven days after this he allowed the Muskrat to try and bring the land. Muskrat dove and they waited for a long time, but he didn't come up. This Muskrat doubled up and put his nose into the hair of his breast which enabled him to breathe by the bubbles clinging there. By doing this he could rest and dive still deeper. At last he used up all air in his breast hair and could only grab a little piece of mud. Then he started up to the surface of the water, but drowned before he reached the raft. Nenebuc pulled the Muskrat in and he still was holding the mud. Nenebuc said, "I am goin to dry this. As soon as it is dry, you can all run around again and have this world." So he dried it, but not entirely, and that is the reason why some parts of the world are swampy and wet, while others are dry like this. So the animals had the earth again and the world was made.

the End
Michipeshu was drawn on Agawa Rock by Shingwauk, grand shaman of Lake Superior 400 years ago
Related by Aleck Paul, second chief of Timagami band, to Dr. Frank Speck