The Disappearance of Little Thunder

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told by Gwen Bear (.wav, 940k)


Koluskap stayed with Mikumwesu and his wife, Groundhog’s granddaughter, a good length of time and did considerable hunting. Mikumwesu distinguished himself as a hunter, bagging game that few others could get. While on a hunting trip Mikumwesu and his wife had a son named Little Thunder. One day before going out to hunt, Mikumwesu cautioned his wife not to leave the boy alone. It so happened that while Mikumwesu was away hunting, his wife’s grandmother, Groundhog was in the woods tapping maple trees to make maple sugar. Granddaughter decided she might as well join her grandmother while she gathered the sap, since the baby was sleeping. While she helped collecting the sap, a feather fell before her, reminding her of her husband’s warning. Granddaughter immediately started back to the wigwam, noticing that the sky had become very black. She found the wigwam empty and began to cry. After a short time she went to the Wolastoq thinking that perhaps the boy had wandered off and gotten into a water hole. But her search was in vain and she returned in tears to her grandmother.


“Why are you crying?” asked Groundhog. Granddaughter told her that the boy was lost. Groundhog reprimanded her granddaughter for failing to listen to her husband. Upon hearing the harsh words, Granddaughter’s beauty disappeared and she looked like she had before Mikumwesu arrived at the village. All of the good fortune left the two women and they had difficulty even surviving. All the while, Mikumwesu did not return from hunting. He stayed away for fifteen years and during this time Granddaughter continually worried about her lost son.


One night Groundhog and Granddaughter heard someone place a load outside of their door. The old woman woke up her granddaughter announcing that Mikumwesu must have returned. They heard him knock his snowshoes together to remove the snow and shortly afterwards he poked his head through the camp door. He looked all around but failed to see his son. He asked his wife for the boy, but she replied that he was lost.

Up a tree

“You won’t see me again until the boy returns,” he stated, “and your looks will become worse and worse.” Granddaughter pleaded with Mikumwesu not to leave and she even ran after him. He escaped by flying up a tree, alighting in a crotch and began to sing. The old woman and her granddaughter were again left alone and they wept. The Chief and the other girls now heard of Granddaughter’s plight, and going to her, they ridiculed her for winning her husband under false pretenses of beauty.

The Chief and the girls mocked Granddaughter continuously over her dishonesty and the loss of her son, her beauty, and her husband. The young woman’s anguish increased, even though her grandmother, Groundhog tried to comfort her.