Tales from Temagami - Land of Deep Water

Nenebuc Sends Crow Out, for Disobedience Changes Him Black and Gull Partly Black, then Retires to the West, until he Will Return Again

Nenebuc knew the world was round like a ball, but he didn't know how large it was. He was sitting down, tired. So he said to Crow, "Go fly around the world and don't eat until you come back again. If you do, we will know it." Crow at that time was white. Crow had to do as he was told, because Nenebuc was chiefof all men and animals. So Crow started and flew and flew along the salt water beach. Soon he became very hungry and wondered how far he was away from Nenebuc. One morning he was flying along the shore and he saw and old dead fish. He was so hungry that he tasted a little bit of it, and finally made a meal of it. When he finished eating, he found he had turned black. This is way Crow became black.

Place where Crow, Gull and Owl found first land

When Crow reached the place from which he started out, he found Nenebuc and all the animals waiting for him. He told Nenebuc that he had eaten, and then Nenebuc said to Gull, "You go try. Do the same and don't eat until you come here." So Gull went. When he got to the same place at which CRow had felt hungry, Gull felt hungry. One morning he saw the same dead fish. He thought, "Well, I mustn't eat it, for if I do, I'll be black as Crow." He took one mouthfull and startedflying. When Gull returned, Nenebuc could see a little black on his wings, so he said, "Gull has had a mouthful too."

Then he told Owl, "You go and try to go around the world this time. If you eat, you won't change colour but remain the same colour as you are now.But if you eat, you won't come back here." So Owl started flying. He came to the same lake, saw the dead fish and finished it. He ate a good meal and never returned. (This is called Koko'kowikwe'tuok, "Owl bay", known as Kokoko bay).

Then Nenebuc let all the animals go from the raft. He started west and is there yet, lying on his back, singing and hammering at his wigwam poles, in place of drumming, all the time. He will stay there until he gets up again three years before the end of the world, when he will travel all over the world to see the animals and the Ojibwa again. He will not die until the end of the world.

sleeping indian

the End
Related by Aleck Paul, second chief of Timagami band, to Dr. Frank Speck