Mikumwesu Destroys the False Koluskap

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Koluskap and two men went to the river and made two deadfalls to capture serpents which belonged to the old man, the Koluskap imposter. The old man and his snakes had been terrorizing the Chief’s people for a long time. Finishing this task, Koluskap and the men returned to the camp and told the Chief what they had done.

Escaped Snake

As the old man walked to his camp, he passed an area where he had left his helpers, the snakes, and he called for them. The serpents got caught in the trap set by Koluskap, but one, however, was strong enough to escape. Koluskap told the Chief not to worry, that he would follow it and kill it. Koluskap ran very fast, outstripping the snake and then laid in ambush for it. When it came into sight, Koluskap shot it with his bow and arrow. He then called out all the bugs and insects to feed on the snake, which would supply them with food for a very long time. “There,” said Koluskap to the Chief, “all of the imposter’s helpers are dead. You will lose no more men because of the serpents.”

Chief and Sable

While Koluskap and the Chief talked, Weasel arrived and said, “Someone is at Lynx’s camp.” At once Koluskap knew it was his brother, Mikumwesu. The Chief called for his sable and said, “Go see if it really is Mikumwesu.” Sable did as he was told and soon returned declaring that it was Mikumwesu, a very small man. Koluskap was very pleased to see his brother whom he had not seen for a very long time and remarked about the opportune timing. Sable went back to Mikumwesu and asked him to come to the Chief’s wigwam to see his brother. Lynx complained about the Chief always asking to have people come to him, but Mikumwesu chided him for troubling about such a small matter and besides, he hadn’t seen his brother for a long time.

The two brothers greeted each other heartily, Mikumwesu invisibly entering the wigwam through the smoke hole of the wigwam. Mikumwesu did not become visible until he was seen sitting beside Koluskap smoking his pipe. The Chief was astounded by the appearance of Mikumwesu and wondered how such a small man could possess such great power.

Koluskap told Mikumwesu of the imposter who had destroyed almost half of the community and tortured others with the help of his snakes. “I need you to destroy him,” Koluskap said to Mikumwesu and the little brother replied, “I’ll do it right away!” Koluskap advised waiting until the next day, but Mikumwesu was determined to act immediately.

Flying Mikumwesu

Mikumwesu gave his bow to Weasel and instructed him to go to the imposter and shoot him in the eye while the old man slept. Weasel started off but when he came to the imposter’s camp, he was noticed by the old man even though he tried to be quiet. The old man exclaimed, “Ah! Mikumwesu sent you to spy!” So Weasel returned to Mikumwesu and reported that the plan had failed. When Mikumwesu heard this, he decided to go in person.

Tree Limb

Koluskap’s little brother flew to the imposter’s camp and from a tree limb saw the old man playing with baby serpents, saying, “He has killed your father and mother but not you. In time you will do as much damage as your parents did.” Mikumwesu took his bow and shot the imposter in the eye and pinned him to the ground, saying, “Here you will turn to stone, and all people will always be able to see you.” He grabbed the small serpents and tied them to a tree.

Spearing Salmon

Mikumwesu returned to Koluskap and the Chief, recounting the story of the imposter’s destruction. When he found out about the baby serpents, Koluskap called the bears which quickly killed the snakes and divided them with the other animals. The Chief proclaimed that the man who falsely called himself Koluskap was dead. The people all gathered and men were sent out to spear salmon for a great feast.

Banquet Crowd

During the banquet, Koluskap asked Mikumwesu if he had lately seen Uncle Turtle. “About two hundred years ago,” replied Mikumwesu, “and he had fifty children.” A surprised Koluskap remarked that his uncle must have a nation of his own by this time. Koluskap then asked about Mikumwesu’s wife and son. “I’ve not seen them since the time she and my son left, traveling for the west,” Mikumwesu replied. This perplexed Koluskap as he had been traveling that way and had not seen them. “Ah,” said Mikumwesu, “you probably wouldn’t see them. They travel like me, right through the air.”

Many gifts of thanks were offered to Koluskap and Mikumwesu but they refused them all. Ten years passed before they left the village.