In times long past, people huddled around their fires at winter. We who live in the age of central heating don't realize how lucky we are, to be able to walk around in our houses in just a sweater, instead of wearing sweaters and jackets and blankets to keep warm around the one fire used to heat the whole house. In the times of the pioneers, and before that the First Nations people, winter was a time for stories.
For the pioneers, maybe they cracked open one of the few books they might have been able to carry over the prairies, at that time the bible or perhaps a book of Shakespeare or poetry. Something that they would have considered worthy to pack in the small amount of space that they had. For the first nations people, they would have to tell stories amongst themselves until the Storyteller came. The Storyteller was a person who went from village to village and tribe to tribe, telling stories in exchange for respite from the harsh winter and some food to eat. Usually, they had a bag around their waist, and each thing in their bag reminded them of a story.
Fortunately, we are lucky enough to have books to read, and the internet to keep us distracted from the fact that it's -25ºC. In honour of those times long past, each Sunday until spring I'm going to share a story from days gone by. I have some good pioneer stories to share, and many First Nations stories. Today, I'm going to share an Algonquin story.
How Niagara Falls was Born
Once, long ago, there lived a very old man on the top of a mountain. The mountain was so high that he could see the ocean many days travel away. Because he lived in the clouds, everything was silvery white: his long braided hair, he house of birch bark, and his five beautiful daughters.
All five daughters were very beautiful. Their clothes were made from the foam of the rapids, they sandals were made from the spray of water on rocks, and their wings made from feathers carried in the wind. They flew with the birds around their mountain home, with their long white hair floating behind them.
One day the sisters decided to leave their father's lodge to play on the rocks by the sea. As they flew over the mountains they saw a bare cliff, higher and steeper than anything that they had seen. The youngest, who was always looking for adventure, decided they should all play on the rock. She dove off of the rock like a bird and her sisters followed. It was so much fun that they flew back up and dove down again and again and soon they forgot all about the distant sea. The sun set and the moon came out and still they played.
In the morning, the cliff was no longer bare. Great amounts of water poured over it, rushing, foaming, sparkling in the sun. The five sisters loved the cliff so much they decided to play there forever. And if you go to Niagara Falls, you can still see the sun shine on the foam of their of their dresses, the spray from their sandals and the feathery mist of their wings.
As Put to Paper by C.J. Taylor.
I hope everyone enjoys these stories!!