The Search for Little Thunder

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told by Gwen Bear (.wav, 1.6 mb)


Koluskap, who had not seen his brother Mikumwesu in a very long time, decided to visit. On the way, he bagged four bears. When he reached his brother’s camp, he saw no traces of his brother, but noticed that the wigwam was occupied. Koluskap left the bears by the Wolastoq and went up to the camp where he found Mikumwesu’s wife reclining on the floor. Groundhog told her granddaughter to arise and receive her brother-in-law; Koluskap shook hands with the old woman and her granddaughter. “Why are you sad?” asked Koluskap. Groundhog, in tears, recounted the whole story of the disappearance of the baby, Little Thunder, how the Chief and the other girls mocked Granddaughter because Mikumwesu had deserted her, and how worry was making the young woman ill. The story greatly angered Koluskap who wanted to destroy all of the people with one peal of thunder. When he asked when they expected Mikumwesu to return, Koluskap was told that it was unlikely his brother would ever return. Koluskap decided to search for the missing boy himself.

By the Wolastoq

Koluskap called to Thunder who came down and talked, admitting he had taken away Mikumwesu’s boy. “I took the baby to punish the disobeying wife,” explained Thunder. “If she goes to the mountain peak for seven days and kisses everyone for seven days, she’ll regain her beauty and son.” Thunder departed and Koluskap asked Groundhog to go down to the Wolastoq and retrieve the four bears he had left there.


With Groundhog occupied, Koluskap went to the wigwam to talk with Granddaughter. He asked his brother’s wife to arise and told her not to be ashamed. As she arose, Koluskap was surprised by her appearance and couldn’t believe this was the beautiful woman his brother had married. When he asked Granddaughter for proof, she brought out a cradle that had Mikumwesu’s belt as a head-strap. Satisfied that this was indeed his brother’s wife, Koluskap outlined Thunder’s directions to regain her son, adding, “Take this white bearskin from one of my bears to lie in. Every time you hear a peal of thunder, strike this flint. If you survive four days, I will rescue you.”

The old woman returned from the river with her burden, singing while she skinned the bears. The Chief was surprised at her happy spirits and wondered why. The Chief sent his Clam to see why Groundhog was singing. The Clam did as she was told and hid near the wigwam. She returned to her father, the Chief, and said, “No wonder she is singing she is skinning bears.” The surprised Chief wondered how the old woman had gotten the bears. “I heard a voice,” continued the Clam, “that sounded a lot like Koluskap.” The Chief was not pleased to hear this and began scheming how to get the better of Koluskap.


Meanwhile, Koluskap tied Granddaughter in his pouch and shot her on an arrow all the way to the mountain. Granddaughter took the bear skin and laid it down, sat on it and looked around. Black clouds were all around and thunder from a great distance could be heard.


Back at Groundhog’s camp, the brother of the old woman’s granddaughter returned after a long time and wanted to see his sister. Koluskap told the young man the whole story. “It’s the old Chief’s doings,” announced Groundhog bitterly. “Since your sister married Mikumwesu they have been plotting to hurt her and her son because they are jealous.” This angered Granddaughter’s brother and he vowed to destroy the Chief and his relatives as two stones grew out of his cheeks. “You are talking very strong,” remarked Koluskap. “You are a stone man. Will you carry out these threats?” The young man replied that he would because he had spent a long time with the Thunders and knew about their powers, but consented to accompany Koluskap to the mountain to see his sister.


Koluskap shot another arrow toward the mountain peak and it was seized by Groundhog’s grandson, carrying him to the mountain. When he saw his sister, the young man was further enraged. “I will show the people what a Thunder can do,” he said angrily as he leaped heavily to the ground, lightening striking just as they left. He gave a shout and lightening struck down the mountain and tore up the ground all around it. Koluskap marveled at this power and remarked that Granddaughter’s brother was indeed the chief of the Thunders.

Thunder and Lightening pattern

The Chief was shaken by the explosion but felt confident that the wife of Mikumwesu had been destroyed in the mountain’s destruction. He immediately sent his Clam to Groundhog’s camp to spy. The Clam reported that she had heard the voice of another man, one she thought was Granddaughter’s brother, the one from the Thunders. This greatly annoyed the Chief and made him fearful because his own power was diminished.


Koluskap objected to Thunder, the Groundhog’s grandson, destroying the old Chief and his people. He wished for them to be reduced in power to the point of being like the common people. He also explained that the use of power should be used to build as much as to destroy. To reveal his own power, Koluskap restored the mountain, placing a lake at its peak. “Never again shall any Thunder destroy the mountains,” he said. “Thunder will only have power to destroy the serpents which are under the earth.”