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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Algon and the Sky Girl

Algon and the Sky Girl

An Algonquin Legend

Algon was a great hunter who found a strange circle cut in the
prairie grass. Hiding in the bushes nearby, he watched to see what
might have caused it. Finally, a great willow basket descended from
the sky bearing twelve beautiful maidens.
The maidens got out of the basket and began singing celestial songs
and doing circle dances. All of the girls were beautiful, but the
most beautiful of all was the youngest, with whom Algon was immediately
He ran toward the circle in the hope of stealing her away, but
just as he arrived, the girls were alarmed and left in the basket,
which flew high into the sky. This happened again three more times,
but Algon's resolve only grew. Then he devised a strategy.
He placed a hollow tree trunk near the circle. Inside the tree
trunk lived a family of mice. He took some charms out of his
medicine bag  and transformed himself into a mouse.
When the girls in the basket next arrived, he and the other mice ran among the girls.
The girls stomped on the mice killing all of them but Algon, who
then resumed his human form and carried off his beloved.

He took her to his village and in time she fell in love with him.
They had a son and the three lived very happily for a time. But
as the years passed, the sky- girl grew very homesick. She spent
the entire day gazing up at the sky, thinking of her sisters and
parents. This homesickness continued until she could no longer bear
it. So she built a magic willow basket, placed her son and some
gifts for her people in it, climbed in, and headed for the sky.
She remained there for years.
In her absence, Algon pined for his wife and son. Every day he
went to sit in the magic circle, in the hope that they would return.
He was now growing old.
Meanwhile, in the far-off sky-country, his son was growing into
manhood. The lad asked questions about his father, which made the
sky-girl miss Algon. She and her son spoke to her father, the chief
of the sky-people. He told them to go back to the Earth, but ordered
them to return with Algon and the identifying feature of each of
the Earth animals.

Then the sky-girl and the son returned to Earth. Algon was overjoyed
to see them and was eager to gather the gifts the sky-chief wanted.
From the bear, he took a claw; from the eagle, hawk, and falcon,
a feather; from the raccoon, its teeth; and from the deer, its horns
and hide. He placed all of these gifts in a special medicine bag,
and ascended with his wife and son to the sky- country in their
willow basket. His father-in-law divided the tokens among his people,
offering tokens to Algon and the sky-girl; and they chose the falcon
feather. The chief said that they should always be free to travel
between the sky-country and the Earth, and so Algon and his wife
became falcons. Their descendants still fly high and swoop down
over the forests and prairies.

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