BNA: The Making of Lakes and Mountains

This story is part of the British North America unit. Story source: Myths and Legends of British North America by Katharine Berry Judson (1917).

The Making of Lakes and Mountains

ONCE the Bears stole a woman. Now she wanted to escape, and she remembered to do as she was told. When she combed her hair, she gathered the combings together. She prepared some hair oil and she made ready also a whetstone and some red ochre. Then the woman went out to get wood.

Bear was watching her. He went with her. So she piled much wood upon him and tied the bundle. Now she took a little wood herself and ran to the house with it. She threw it down outside. Then she took the things she had made ready and ran away.

After the woman had gone on awhile, the one who watched her came and called out. After she had run awhile longer, she heard them making a great noise in pursuit. When they got very close to her, she poured out some of the hair oil. It became a big lake.

And after she had run on awhile longer, she broke off a piece of the whetstone. It became a mountain.

Now after she had run on again, snowbirds almost surrounded her. Then she poured out some red ochre and the birds all went back to it and painted their faces with it.

Now she ran on again, and after a while when they had almost overtaken her, she threw down the hair combings. They at once became a mass of fallen trees. And while the Bears struggled through these, she went on a long distance.

When she was almost overtaken again, she broke off part of the whetstone and put it in the ground. It became a great mountain. Then as she ran on, she threw down her hair combings and again they became great masses of fallen trees.

Now as she ran on, she saw they had almost overtaken her. She stuck the whole comb into the ground. "Become a mountain!"she said. It became a great mass of mountains which they could not cross. They had to go around.

Then again the snowbirds almost came up with her. She poured out all her red ochre and they began again to paint their faces.

When again she heard the noise of pursuit, she stuck the remainder of the whetstone in the ground. It became a great mountain. And as the birds pursued her, she poured out all the hair oil, and put combings around it, and it became a large lake with masses of fallen trees about it.

She ran on. Then she ran to the shore of the great sea. A man in a canoe paddled near her. She cried, "Let me go with you!"

At first he paid no attention to her, then he said, "Get in."

He let her get into his canoe. Just at that moment, in a great crowd, the Bears came after her. They crowded about the shore and then began to swim out to her. The man put a carved club into the water, and this club of itself killed all the Bears.

The man said to her, "Look out here," and the woman saw the Bears were all dead.

(500 words)

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