BNA: Turtle and Thunder

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

Turtle and Thunder
Ojibwa

ONCE Turtle was living all alone in a lake. Several times he was hit by something. When he came out to see what it was, he could see nothing at all. One day he was struck again. He thought he would ask someone to help him. When he came out of the water, he went into the woods. He cried, "Who will help me? Who will help me?"

Deer ran out from among the shrubs and said, "I will help you."

"Come on," said Turtle, "let me see how you can fight."

Deer started to fight a tree and broke his horns. Turtle said, "Oh, you will not last long enough."

He left Deer and again called out, "Who will help me?"

Bear came out and said, "I will help you."

Turtle said, "Let me see how you can fight."

Bear started to fight a tree, but he was so clumsy jumping around, that Turtle said, "Oh, you won't last long if you have to fight the giant I am after."

Turtle again began to call, "Who will help me?"

He called this as he came to a little swamp, and he heard small voices saying, "We will."

"Come out and show me how you can fight," said Turtle.

And behold! a crowd of little Turtles came out and began to fight him. Soon Turtle cried, "You're the very people I am looking for."

So he led them to the lake where he lived and left them just outside. Then he went home. Soon a big stone fell down upon the little turtles and killed them all.

When Turtle ran out to see what had happened, he saw a big bird overhead.

Turtle ran to his neighbor who had ducked into the water. He asked, "What bird was that?"

Muskrat answered, "That is the Thunder Bird, and I am very much afraid of him."

Ever since that day Turtle has stayed in the water when there was a thunderstorm.


(400 words)



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