Turtle Gets a Whale

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told by Gwen Bear (.wav, 860k)

Turtle asked Koluskap what he needed to do as a married man. “Just like everyone else,” Koluskap advised. “Work and support and raise a family.” A few days later, Koluskap found Turtle still in the wigwam with his wife. Koluskap scolded him but Turtle said, “You told me to raise a family! That’s what I was trying to do!” Koluskap said, “I didn’t mean that.”

Turtle's Camp

“What did you mean then?” Turtle asked. Koluskap explained that he meant for Turtle to go hunting, like every other man who gets married. “Why didn’t you tell me before?” asked an embarrassed Turtle. “I thought you knew,” replied Koluskap. “Everyone knows this.”

“Now,” said Koluskap, “go hunting! Get a whale!”

“How do I catch a whale?” inquired Turtle. And so Koluskap started to teach Turtle how to hunt.

Falls near Mouth of Wolastoq

Koluskap said to Turtle, “Go out to the ocean at low tide and make a deadfall. When the tide comes in, the whale will get caught in it. Use seven loads of logs for weights. Test it to see if you need more weight.”

So Turtle built the trap and then wondered how to test it, especially the trigger. Finally he crawled in which sprung the trap, the weight of the logs coming down upon him. Turtle was caught in his own trap. He could not get out any way he squirmed. Koluskap, who was waiting for him, suspected something had happened, as he was making everything happen anyway. After Koluskap let Turtle suffer there for a day and a night, he wished him out of the trap saying to Turtle, “How did you get in there?” Turtle replied, “I was testing it.” Koluskap said, “I didn’t mean go in the trap, you could have tested it with a log. Then you would have seen how much it would hold.” They then returned to the village.


A week later, Koluskap asked Turtle, “Have you checked your trap to see how much you have caught? Uncle, this is what a married man does.” Early the next morning, when Turtle got to his trap, he found a big whale in it. He put the whale on his shoulder, returned to the village and threw it down at the door where Koluskap was staying. Turtle peaked in and said, “Nephew, I’ve got him.” Koluskap replied irritably, “You fool, you’re supposed to take it to the house of your wife’s father.”

So Turtle threw the whale over his shoulder again and took it to the Chief’s house. The Chief examined the whale and was very surprised and impressed. “Never could a man carry a whale before,” said the Chief.