NATIVE AMERICAN LEGENDS - The Chenoo and the Lizard

The Chenoo, or the Story of a Cannibal with an Icy Heart
(Micmac and Passamaquoddy.)

Glooscap or Glooskap is featured in legends and stories from New
England to Newfoundland and Labrador. In fact, recent writers have
speculated that Glooscap was pre-Columbian explorer Scottish
Prince Henry Sinclair and some have even extended this to a
connection with the Knights Templar. One of the best compilations
of Glooscap stories and the argument for a close connection with
early Viking travelers is found in Leland’s The Algonquin Legends
of New England where he describes Glooscap as follows:

This is a story of Glooskap. It is told in traditions of the old time that
Glooskap was born in the land of the Wabanaki, which is nearest to
the sunrise ; but another story says that he came over the sea in a
great stone canoe, and that this canoe was an island of granite
covered with trees. When the great man, of all men and beasts chief
ruler, had come down from this ark, he went among the Wabanaki.
And calling all the animals he gave them each a name ….Before
men were instructed by him, they lived in darkness; it was so dark
that they could not even see to slay their enemies.

Glooskap taught them how to hunt, and to build huts and canoes
and weirs for fish. Before he came they knew not how to make
weapons or nets. He the Great Master showed them the hidden
virtues of plants, roots, and barks, and pointed out to them such
vegetables as might be used for food, as well as what kinds of
animals, birds, and fish were to be eaten. And when this was done
he taught them the names of all the stars. He loved mankind, and
wherever he might be in the wilderness he was never very far from
any of the Indians. He dwelt in a lonely land, but whenever they
sought him they found him. He traveled far and wide : there is no
place in all the land of the Wabanaki where he left not his name;
hills, rocks and rivers, lakes and islands, bear witness to him.
Leland’s original publication in 1884 contained delightful drawings
depicting some of the Glooscap legends. Using some of the
remarkable tools available today, these images have been recreated
and updated to a modern level. Each drawing is accompanied by
an abbreviated version of the legend it represents.

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