Koluskap and the Giant Beaver

audio Listen to story
told by Gwen Bear (.wav, 1.4 mb)


In accomplishing his mission for the good of mankind, Koluskap summoned all the animals to appear before him and asked of each animal what he would do if he met a man. When the bear was asked the question he trotted off a short distance and looked over his shoulder, as he generally does now upon meeting a human being. Koluskap signified his approval.

The squirrel at that time was as big as a lion and when Koluskap asked him what he would do if he met a man, he flew at a stump furiously and tore it with his teeth and claws. Koluskap considered him altogether too dangerous an animal and reduced him to his present size. Bever-P'chee Qua-beet, the big beaver, had been the source of considerable annoyance to the other animals and was cautioned by Koluskap with regard to his future conduct.

Beaver Lodge
Grand Lake

In spite of the warning he had received, the beaver made himself very obnoxious by his behaviour at Pestemohkatiyek (1), and Koluskap determined to drive him away. He came to Pestemohkatiyek and climbed up the hill on the east side of N'monee-quen-ee-moosa-kesq (2), the place of many sugar maples. From the summit of this hill he saw the beaver's house, Qua-beet-a-woosis (3), a dome-shaped island in the bay. But the beaver had been warned of his danger and fled up the river Waweig whence he afterwards went to Men-ah-quesk where he made a dam across the Wolastoq at its mouth. He still continued his evil deeds and his dam was built so big it caused the water to flow back far up the river, and all the country from Jemseg to Pilick became a Jim-quispam, a great lake.

Giant Beaver Tooth

When Koluskap heard the beaver was still a source of annoyance he at once set out for Men-ah-quesk. He saw signs of the beaver's work at Mon-ha-quats (4), and further east he had abundant evidence of his proximity. Here the beaver had a feeding place called Q'uabeet-a-wee-qua-sodek, the beaver's landing place, or Q'ua-sodek for short.

Mouth of Wolastoq

Koluskap explored See-bes-kas-tahgan (5) as far as Moos-ow-tek, the moose's path but, not finding the beaver, came back to the mouth of the Wolastoq where he found the beaver's dam. This he broke with a blow of his ponderous club and the great rush of water that followed swept a part of it out to sea. This fragment became the island Quak-m'kagan'ik, a piece cut out, and the falls are Quabeet-a-wee-sogado, the beaver's rolling dam. A split rock, just below the falls, is Koluskap’s club which he threw away after it had served its purpose in the destruction of the dam. Jim-quispam was greatly reduced in size but remains to this day a large lake (6).

Koluskap's Face

Koluskap pushed on up the river in quest of the beaver. A little below Boar's Head there is to be seen today in the rocky cliff the face of a man with curly hair called Glooscap-sa-kah-beet, Koluskap looking out. They say that only aboriginals can see it.

Still seeking the beaver, Koluskap went on and at length looking up the broad waters of Mah-ti-gek (7), he saw in the distance the beaver's house Q'ua-beet-a-woosis-sec, the beaver's nest. The beaver was very big and dangerous but Koluskap seized him in his brawny arms, strangled him and then flung him to the foot of the island several miles away, where certain rocks were stained red by the beaver's blood.

Tobique Rocks

Koluskap killed the second sized beaver also, but the youngest one got away and went up the Wolastoq. Koluskap followed him a little way and hurled after him two big rocks known as So-bag-wopps, sea rocks, which may still be seen in the river a little below Negotkuk. The beaver eventually escaped to Toma-squatacik (8), where he built himself another house, which is now a big hill opposite the mouth of the Woosis-sec (9).

1. Passamaquoddy
2. Oak Bay
3. Cookson’s Island
4. Manawagonish
5. Marsh Creek
6. Grand Lake
7. Kennebecasis Bay
8. Lake Temiscouata, Quebec
9. Mount Wissuk