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The Algonquin Legends of New England, by Charles G. Leland, [1884], at

Of the Woman who married the Thunder, and of their Boy.


Once a woman went to the edge of a lake 1 and lay down to sleep. As she awoke, she saw a great serpent, with glittering eyes, crawl from the water, and stealthily approach her. She had no power to resist his embrace. After her return to her people her condition betrayed itself, and she was much persecuted; they pursued her with sticks and stones, howling abuse.

She fled from the village; she went afar into wild places, and, sitting down on the grass, wept, wishing that she were dead. As she sat and wailed, a very beautiful girl, dressed in silver and gold, 2 appeared, and after listening to her sad story said, "Follow me!"

Then they went up on high into a mountain, through three rocks, until they came into a pleasant wigwam with a very smooth floor. An old man, so old that

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he was all white, came to meet them. Then he, taking a short stick, bade her dance. He began to sing, and as he sang she gave birth, one by one, to twelve serpents. These the old man killed in succession with his stick as they were born. Then she had become thin again, and was in her natural form.

The old man had a son, Badawk, the Thunder, and a daughter, Psawk-tankapic, the Lightning, and when Thunder returned he offered to take her back to her own people, but she refused to go. Then the old man said to his son, "Take her for your wife and be good to her." So they were married.

In time she bore a son. When the boy could stand, the old man, who never leaves the mountain, called him to stand before him, while he fastened wings to the child. He was soon able, with these wings, to make a noise, which greatly pleased the grandfather. When a storm is approaching, the distant rumbling is the muttering thunder made by the child, but it is Badawk, his father, who comes in the dark cloud and makes the roaring crash, while Psawk-tankapic flashes her lightnings.

In after days, when the woman visited her people, she told them that they never need fear the thunder or lightning.


266:1 It is impossible to distinguish in any Indian story between lake and sea.

266:2 Both silver and gold were known in pre-Columbian times to the Indians. I had a cousin who once found a very old stone pipe in which a small piece of gold had been set. Particles of gold are found in many mountain-streams in New England.

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