“While the mighty quarrel, the humble pay the cost.”
I chose today’s subject matter, an Aesopian fable entitled “The Frogs and the Fighting Bulls,” because it brings to mind the plight of Syrians seeking refuge in a reticent Europe.
Four million Syrians have fled their country because their homes, if they are still standing, are not habitable and their government is no longer operative. Syria is a battlefield.
Where have the Mighty been? And will the Mighty now sit at a table and do their very best to fix the problem. I fear they may be politicians first and statesmen second, if ever they become statesmen, and “let the humble pay the cost.”
My kindest regards to all of you.♥
Aesop, with a fox, from the central medallion of a kylix, c. 470 BCE; in the Gregorian Etruscan Museum, Vatican City. 600 BCE – 501 BCE (Photo credit: the Encyclopaedia Britannica)
The Perry Index of Aesopian Fables
In the Perry Index of Aesopian fables, “The Frog and the Fighting Bulls” is fable number 485 and is entitled: “The Frogs Dread the Battle of the Bulls.” Its source is Phaedrus (1st century CE) but I borrowed the text from An Argosy of Fables, 1921 (p. 130), selected by Frederic Taber Cooper(1864 – 1937) and illustrated byPaul Bransom (1885 – 1979). However, this post includes Jean de La Fontaine’s“Les Deux Taureaux et une Grenouille” and its English translation: “The Two Bulls and the Frog.”
You may remember that Phaedrus (1st century CE) is the Latin author who versified Aesop‘s fables, thereby removing them from an oral tradition. (See Oral-formulaic composition, Wikipedia). Babrius (2nd century CE) also took Aesopian fables away from oral literature but he wrote Aesop’s fables in the Greek language.
Subsequent writers of fables have used both Phaedrus and Babrius to publish Aesopian fables in Latin or Greek, or French, or English, or other languages. We are reading a translation of Phaedrus’ Latin collection, but Frederic Taber Cooper has not provided his readers with the name of a translator.
The Frogs and the Fighting Bulls
A FROG, sitting at the edge of a swamp, was watching a battle between two Bulls in an adjoining field. “Alas! what deadly danger threatens us,” he said. Another Frog, overhearing him, asked what he meant, when the Bulls were merely fighting to decide which should lead the herd, and the cattle passed their lives quite apart from the home of the Frogs. “It is true,” rejoined the first Frog, “that they are a different race and live apart from us. But whichever Bull is beaten and driven from his leadership in the woods will come to find some secret hiding place; and I fear that many of us will be trampled to pieces under his hard hoofs. That is why I say that their battle means death and destruction to us.”
Deux Taureaux combattaient à qui posséderait.
Une Génisse avec l’empire.
Une Grenouille en soupirait:
« Qu’avez-vous ? se mit à lui dire
Quelqu’un du peuple croassant.
Et ne voyez-vous pas, dit-elle,
Que la fin de cette querelle
Sera l’exil de l’un ; que l’autre, le chassant,
Le fera renoncer aux campagnes fleuries ?
Il ne régnera plus sur l’herbe des prairies,
Viendra dans nos marais régner sur les roseaux,
Et nous foulant aux pieds jusques au fond des eaux,
Tantôt l’une, et puis l’autre, il faudra qu’on pâtisse
Du combat qu’a causé Madame la Génisse. »
Cette crainte était de bon sens.
L’un des Taureaux en leur demeure
S’alla cacher à leurs dépens :
Il en écrasait vingt par heure. Hélas! on voit que de tout temps Les petits ont pâti des sottises des grands.
Two bulls engaged in shocking battle,
Both for a certain heifer’s sake,
And lordship over certain cattle,
A frog began to groan and quake.
“But what is this to you?”
Inquired another of the croaking crew.
“Why, sister, don’t you see,
The end of this will be,
That one of these big brutes will yield,
And then be exiled from the field?
No more permitted on the grass to feed,
He’ll forage through our marsh, on rush and reed;
And while he eats or chews the cud,
Will trample on us in the mud.
Alas! to think how frogs must suffer
By means of this proud lady heifer!”
This fear was not without good sense.
One bull was beat, and much to their expense;
For, quick retreating to their reedy bower,
He trod on twenty of them in an hour. Of little folks it often has been the fate To suffer for the follies of the great.
Earlier this week, I caught a glimpse of a post showing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu whispering to President Obama. There was a video and a superimposed text. I read the text which, I believe, was an interpretation rather than a quotation of what Prime Minister Netanyahu may have been whispering. To the best of my recollection, Prime Minister Netanyahu was reminding President Obama of the sorry fate of Amerindians. I was truly puzzled.
The Ten Lost Tribes
A few minutes later, I remembered reading that members of certain North-American “tribes,” several Cherokees, for instance, believe they are the descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes. I tried to retrieve the post I had glimpsed, but it had disappeared from my reader.
This is not a recent theory. One of its early proponents was Indian trader James Adair (c.1709 – 1783) who published The History of the Indians, in 1775, an Internet Archive publication. (See Ten Lost Tribes, Native Americans.) Moreover, the theory is also supported by Israeli scholars.
The prevailing theory remains that Amerindians came to the Americas via the Behring Strait or through the Beringia Land Bridge. These Native Americans would belong to the Clovis culture,13,200 to 12,900 calendar years ago, or the Folsom complex, about 9,000 calendar years ago. The Clovis culture used pointed projectiles called the Clovis point. As for the Folsom complex, its hunters used the Folsom point. Both projectiles are in the shape of a leaf and both Clovis and Folsom are locations in New Mexico.
However, there is evidence of other entryways. For instance, aboriginals may have lived in Beringia for a long time, long enough for Beringians to be ancestors to Native Americans.
Aboriginals may also originate from countries located in southeast Asia and would have arrived by boat to the west coast of the Americas.
But the above, does not preclude the possibility of North American aboriginals being members of the Ten Lost Tribes. Identifying the origin of first Americans now includes DNA analysis, a reliable tool.
If Cherokees are descendants of the Ten Lost Tribes, Sequoya who created the Cherokee syllabary could be a descendant of the Ten Lost Tribes and Jewish. At the moment, sources differ as to the identity of Sequoya’s father. Some claim that his father was a peddler from Swabia (Germany) whose name was Guyst, Guist, or Gist. Sequoya’s English-speaking friends called him George Guess or George Gist. According to Josiah C. Nott, Sequoyah was the “son of a Scotchman.”
In 1971, writer Traveller Bird, a Cherokee who claims Sequoyah was his ancestor, wrote a book entitled Tell Them They Lie: The Sequoyah Myth. In Traveller Bird’s opinion, Sequoyah was a Cherokee. His mother was named Wuteh and, at one point, the two left Tennessee and settled in Alabama where Sequoya created his Cherokee syllabary and married Sally Benge in 1815. In 1829, Sequoyah moved to a location near the present city of Sallisaw, Oklahoma.
Sequoya was self-taught, but very gifted and resourceful. Once his syllabary was accepted, the literacy rate of Cherokees surpassed that of the local European population (see Sequoyah, Wikipedia). Exceptional resourcefulness is a characteristic often attributed to the Jews.
Amerindians speak several languages, which points to different ancestry and some tribes have moved. At one point in their history, there was a migration of Cherokees from the vicinity of Lake Superior to the southeast of the current United States.
I will never know what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu whispered to President Obama, but it may have been about the possible Jewish origins of certain North American Aboriginals. It’s an interesting hypothesis.
With kind regards to all of you and apologies for being away from my computer. I’ve not been well.♥
Massasoit = Wampanoag chief or sachem
Pokanotet = a tribe belonging to the Wampanoag confederacy
Wamsutta = Alexander (Massasoit’s 1st son)
Metacomet = Philip (Massasoit’s 2nd son)
In my last post, dated 16 September 2015, I mentioned King Philip’s War. One is tempted to think King Philip was a European monarch. He wasn’t. Philip is the name adopted by Metacomet or Metacom (c. 1638 – 1676), to which the English attached the word King. Philip was the second son of Wampanoagchief (sachem)Massasoitwhohad five children. Hisfirst son was Wamsutta, renamed Alexander.
Massasoit smoking a peace pipe with Governor John Carver in Plymouth, 1621. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
the “Mayflower:” arrival of Pilgrims at Plymouth (Plymouth Colony)
peaceful coexistence fostered by sachem Massasoit
suspicious death of Wamsutta = Alexander
Although, he would not allow Wampanoags to become Christians, Wampanoag chief Massasoit, or the sachem Ousa Mequin, had promoted peaceful coexistence with the Pilgrims who had settled in Plymouth Colony. The Mayflower had arrived on 11 November 1620 in what we now know as the “Cape Cod fishhook” (see Nauset on the map shown above), in the present-day New England state of Massachusetts, named after the Massachusett tribe. During the first winter, half of the Pilgrims died, about 50, but more ships arrived. The “Fortune” was the second ship to reach Plymouth Colony and on board was Philip Delano (from “de la Noye” FR), an ancestor of PresidentFranklinDelano Roosevelt.
After Massasoit’s death, in c. 1661, and the death of his first son Wamsutta (ca. 1634 – 1662),renamed Alexander, Philip became chief of the Wampanoags. His brother Wamsutta had angered Plymouth Colony settlers by selling land to “outsiders.” Wamsutta had therefore been imprisoned for three days and died shortly after his release, causing suspicion among Wampanoags.
Moreover, the number of settlers was growing rapidly. Between 1620 and 1640, 20,000 Puritans arrived in New England wishing to settle. It became clear to Chief Philip, who lived at Mount Hope, that Native Americans would eventually lose territory that had always been theirs and their culture. By 1678, the English population in New England was approximately 60,000 (see Plymouth Colony, Wikipedia).
Raids by Amerindians
murder of John Sassamon, a scholar among the Massachusett people
The conflict began when officials in Plymouth Colony(Massachusetts) hanged three Wampanoags for the 1675 murder of Christianized MassachusettJohn Sassamonwho had attended Harvard College for a year. Because he could read and write, John Sassamon had worked for Massasoit and may have known and told that King Philip and allies, such as the Narragansett peopleof Rhode Island and the Abenakis of le Maine,were planning raids on settlers. The war’s theatre was Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode IslandandMaine, where Jean-Vincent d’Abbadie was cultivating the Abenakis‘ loyalty to New France, hoping to stave off invasions from the south.
Initially, Amerindians destroyed twelve of the region’s towns. White lives were lost and the economy, ruined. (See King Philip’s War, Wikipedia.) By the end of the three-year conflict, most of King Philip’s warriors had died. Out of Philip’s 3,400 warriors, 400 had survived. Among his 3,500 opponents, 2,900 had survived. Metacomet, King Philip, had retreated to his home at Mount Hope when he realized Native Americans could not defeat the colonists, led by Benjamin Church. King Philip was killed in 1676 “while walking in the forest.” (See King Philip’s War, Wikipedia.) Many captured Native Americans, including Metacomet’s son and, according to some reports, his wife, were sold into slavery and sent to Bermuda.
The Treaty of Casco (1678)
end of the war (1676, for King Philip)
For King Philip, the war ended in 1676. But hostilities continued until the Treaty of Casco was signed. The loss of lives had been enormous. The war King Philip and his allies had initiated was a bloodbath and the greater victims. They were losing their land and their values were threatened. Moreover, the ravages of war led to famines. Longfellow‘s Song of Hiawatha is fiction, but facts support much of what he wrote. Minnehaha dies in a famine. Northeastern Amerindians were hunters, but they also grew their food. The war caused interruptions and destruction.
Particularly destructive were the communicable diseases settlers brought to the Americas: the plague, smallpox, typhoid, measles, venereal diseases, influenza… Many Europeans had died and still died of such diseases, but exposure had created a degree of immunity. North American Indians, however, had no immunity to the diseases of Europeans. Entire populations were wiped out.
Elijah Tahamont, or Dark Cloud, an Abenaki Actor and Model (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It could be that the major fallacy of the Age of Discovery was the notion that land discovered was land conquered; that it belonged to the nation that had discovered it. Native Americans were disowned. Moreover, etched in the mind of colonists was another misconception. They believed they had the right to own black slaves who would work on their plantations. One can’t imagine a greater danger than being the possession of another human being. A new aristocracy had arisen: the wealthy.
In short, King Philip was a Native American whose real name was Metacomet or Metacom (other spellings exist). Metacomet could tell that the land of Native Americans would be taken away from them.
Attacks on settlers were an ignominy, but so were encroachments on land that had always ensured the survival of Native Americans: their fields and hunting grounds.
Both sons continued to fight the English, which had been their father’s mission, but did so in what appears a less aggressive manner. Jean-Vincent participated in King Philip’s War (1675 -1678), a conflict which was a response to attacks on New England settlers by Amerindians. Jean-Vincent d’Abbadie had played an active role in these attacks. King Philip’s War decimated the Amerindian population of New England. Of a total of 3,400 men, only 400 Amerindians survived, but on Britain’s side, of a total of 3,500, 2,900 men survived.
Jean-Vincent d’Abbadie did fulfill his responsibilities. However, when Jacques de Chambly, was freed, the French having paid a ransom, Jean-Vincent married Pidianske and soon identified with his Abenaki tribe. He had an habitation built surrounded by wigwams.
At the foot of my last post, I inserted a video, a French television programme. The programme’s host states that Jean-Vincent was an Abenaki. It was a clear case of self-identification, but Jean-Vincent d’Abbadie, Baron de Saint-Castin, an unlikely candidate, became an Abenaki chief (sachem), no less. He was assimilated.
Bernard-Anselme d’Abbadie, Baron de Saint-Castin
Bernard-Anselme (active as of 1707) Jean-Vincent’s first-born and fourth Baron de Saint-Castin continued to cultivate the loyalty of his tribe, following in his father’s footsteps. However, he married Marie-Charlotte d’Amours de Chauffours, of Port-Royal, the daughter of Louis d’Amours de Chauffours (born at Quebec – died in Paris, 1718). He thereby entered a prominent French family.
Bernard-Anselme began by dividing his time between Port-Royal, where he had his family residence, and Pentagouet, his native village, which remained an advanced bastion of the Acadian defences. But he was not really an Abenaki chief in the absolute sense, as his father had been[.] (Bernard-Anselme, DCB/DBC.)
His sisters also married in the best Acadian families:
In December the baron’s sisters married Philippe Mius d’Entremont and Alexandre Le Borgne de Belle-Isle respectively; thus the Saint-Castins, Franco-Abenaki half-breeds, became linked by marriage with the best Acadian families.” (See Bernard-Anselme, DCB/DBC.) 
When news of Jean-Vincent’s death reached Nouvelle-France, Bernard-Anselme viewed himself as fourth Baron d’Abbadie de Saint-Castin, a title he would later claim.
In 1714, a year after Acadia fell to the British, by virtue of the Treaty of Utrecht (1713), Bernard Anselme and Marie-Charlotte sailed to France. In 1717, three years after his arrival in France, Bernard-Anselme, who had faced considerable opposition, was admitted into the States of the Béarn in the order of the nobility.” (Bernard-Anselme, DCB/DBC.) It was a short-lived privilege as he died in 1720.
However, in the spring of 1720, he had written « Mémoire des services rendus par les sieurs de Saint-Castin, père et fils, » in which it is clearly stated that ties between the French and Native Americans protected the French and had to be secured. It is as though Bernard-Anselme were writing that Jean-Vincent, his father, had married an Amerindian in the line of duty. Bernard-Anselme died in the Béarn and was survived by his wife (d. 1734, at Pau), and his three daughters. The baronetcy fell to Marie-Anselme, Bernard-Anselme’s daughter.
Mighty as were buccaneers, on 5 October 1710, Acadia nevertheless fell to Francis Nicholson, commanding 2,000 soldiers and 36 ships. How could Acadia’s governor, Auger de Subercase, win this particular battle with only 500 soldiers and 127 militia men? Bernard-Anselme was on the high seas when Acadia fell to Britain. When he returned to Port-Royal, the capital of Acadie, it had been renamed Annapolis Royal, in honour of Queen Anne who supplied Nicholson with the ship, men and the artillery he required.
A year later, an optimistic Vaudreuil named Bernard-Anselme d’Abbadie governor of what remained of Acadie, the current Cape Breton Island and Prince Edward Island, but Acadia, Nova Scotia and le Maine, could not be recaptured. It was still possible for Bernard-Anselme to ensure the loyalty of the Abenaki in a defeated Maine and other North American “Indians.” However, the Abenaki themselves needed the protection of the French. After King Philips’ War, a response to attacks on settlers, Amerindians knew there was little if any willingness on the part of Britain to accommodate Native Americans.
Allow me a “footnote.”
My last post allowed us a glimpse at a form of acculturation: a “process of cultural change and psychological change that results following meeting between cultures,” (Wikipedia). But in the case of Jean-Vincent d’Abbadie, acculturation did not happen in the direction sought by colonists, i.e. the assimilation of North American natives into a European culture. French ensign, Jean-Vincent d’Abbadie, Baron de Saint-Castin, was assimilated into Abenaki culture.
Jean-Vincent’s acculturation cannot be confused with that of Europeans involved in fur trading, beginning with the French, who married Amerindians. The history of the Bois-Brûlés (burnt wood), the Métis people of the central provinces of the current Canada, differs from that of North Eastern “Indians.” The Métis people became a separate nation. There is no Métis nation in Eastern Canada, but its population is métissé(e), often, if not mostly, unknowingly.
Joseph d’Abbadie de Saint-Castin
But to return to our tale of two brothers, Bernard-Anselme and Joseph, Joseph inherited his father’s looks. He was blue-eyed and blond. He and a yet-to-be identified brother, a third brother, continued to fight the British and were paid to do so, as had been Bernard-Anselme who died in France in 1720. Like his father Jean-Vincent, Joseph was also a chief, a great chief, of the Abenaki. In 1721, he was tricked into going aboard a British ship. He had been deceitfully invited for refreshments. Once he was aboard the ship, it lifted anchor. Joseph d’Abbadie was therefore imprisoned in Boston from November 1721 until May 1722. If he left prison, it was not for his blue eyes, but because he was a “great chief.” It seems his captors wanted to appease Amerindians.
By 1726, he was nevertheless recognized as an officer in the French army and served until 1746, when his unidentified brother died of wounds “received in a brawl” (see Joseph d’Abbadie de Saint-Castin). After the death of his brother, in 1746, Joseph was never seen again. It seems he literally “took to the woods,” or went into hiding. The French were losing the war.
First our story is about self-identification. Bernard-Anselme and Joseph were sons of a different mind. One brother could be French, but not the other. Such was the reality they carved out for themselves.
Similarly, a large number of French Canadians look upon the Battle of the Plains of Abraham as the decisive event in the fall of New France. New France was conquered by Britain in a battle fought on Abraham Martin’s field on 13 September 1959.
That is not entirely the ‘truth.’ Nouvelle-France was ceded to Britain in 1763, under the terms of the Treaty of Paris. In fact, there was another battle, won by the French. On 28 April 1760, the Chevalier de Lévis defeated the British at the Battle of Sainte-Foy, but it is as though this battle never occurred.
It could be that being conquered by Britain is a fate kinder than being ceded by one’s motherland, a motherland that kept its sugar-rich colonies.
Officially, Acadie was the first province of New France to fall to Britain, by virtue of the Treaty of Utrecht, in 1713, and under the terms of the Treaty of Paris, in 1763, New France was conquered by Britain. It is also official that Acadians were deported in 1755 by the British and that no embittered descendant of Huguenots (French Protestants) had any role to play in this horrible event. Fortunately, I can’t remember the name of my Huguenot, which probably means that the British deported the Acadians unassisted.
As for our brothers, Bernard-Anselme was French and Joseph, an Abenaki and a chief. Our story therefore remains one of self-identification.
Reality is often conditioned by the human mind, which at times is a creative and forgiving mind. How else could we survive an otherwise horrific past?
 Alexander Ross names Canadiens voyageurs ‘Baptiste,’ in Ross’s Adventures of the First Settlers on the Oregon or Columbia River, 1810-1813 (Carlisle Massachusetts: Applewood Books Reprint [London, 1849]).
At that time in the history of New France, Daniel de Rémy de Courcelle (1626 – 1698) was governor-general and the Filles du Roy, the King’s Daughters, were arriving in Nouvelle-France so settlers could marry French women. Eight hundred women immigrated to New France between 1663 and 1673.
The Régiment de Carignan-Salières was sent to New France in 1665, by Louis XIV, king of France, to protect French settlers who were frequently attacked by Iroquois, allies of the British. According to the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, “[i]t is probable that in 1666 Jean-Vincent took part with his regiment in the campaign of the Marquis de Tracy against the Iroquois.” He returned to France in 1668.
Hector d’Andigné de Grandfontaine, governor of Acadia (1670 – 1673)
However, in 1670, the Baron of Saint-Castin accompanied Captain Hector d’Andigné de Grandfontaine (1627 – 1696), formerly of the Régiment de Carignan-Salières. Grandfontaine had been appointed governor of Acadia, newly restored to France by virtue of the Treaty of Breda (1667). Both Grandfontaine and Saint-Castin took up residence at Pentagouet, le Maine, on the Penobscot River.
Le Maine is the current state of Maine, in the Northeast of the United States. However, until 1713, le Maine was part of Acadia, one of the two provinces of New France. It was contested territory as ownership of this land was claimed by France, England and Holland. As we know, it belonged to the aboriginals, but …
The town of Castine, Maine, is named after the Baron de Saint-Castin and, from 1670 until 1674, it was the capital of Acadia. However, if Castine is the baron’s namesake, it is largely because he mingled with Amerindians which, of course, benefited New France, but also showed that Jean-Vincent did not look upon Amerindians as inferior human beings. In fact, he married an Amerindian woman and, after her death, her sister.
Abenaki Couple, an 18th-century watercolour by an unknown artist. Courtesy of the City of Montreal Records Management & Archives, Montreal, Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The alliance he created between the French and the Amerindians was more than friendship. If Jean-Vincent, baron de Saint-Castin, has gone down in the annals of history, the best explanation is that he married Pidianske the daughter of Penobscot chief Madockawando (born in Maine c. 1630; died 1698), renamed Marie-Mathilde.
Pidianske and Pidiwamiska
Marie-Mathilde bore the baron ten children. As for her husband, he became an Abenaki chief afterMadockawando‘s death in 1698. Grandfontaine, whom Jean-Vincent accompanied to Maine, served briefly, a mere three years, from 1670 until 1673. He was replaced by Jacques de Chambly, who was taken prisoner by Dutch pirates. So was Jean-Vincent who was tortured, but escaped and alerted officials. Pentagouet, however, ceased to be the capital of Acadia and the baron went to live with his tribe, using his Pentagouet quarters as a trading-post.
According to the video at the bottom of this post FR, after the death of Marie-Mathilde, Jean-Vincent d’Abbadie married Pidianske’s sister, Pidiwamiska, who bore him two children. Charles-Anselme d’Abbadie and Joseph, two of Jean-Vincent’s sons, were also militant Abenakis, but could not match their father’s exceptional leadership.
One Marriage blessed by the Church
There is confusion regarding the baron’s marriages. He seems to have married twice, à la façon du pays, but one couple’s vows were blessed by the Catholic Church in the last quarter of 1684, at Pentagouet. As requested by Monseigneur François de Laval, the Bishop of Quebec, Father Jacques Bigot, the Jesuit missionary to the Abenakis, married the couple. However, the baron had become an Amerindian, spoke the language of Amerindians and lived with them. He was an Abenaki chief and a successful fur trader.
Born in Béarn, Pyrénées-Atlantiques (Gascony), in 1652, Jean-Vincent d’Abbadie returned to France in 1701 hoping to consolidate his title and inheritance as third baron de Saint-Castin. His effort in that regard was thwarted by family members. He had been absent for a very long time. He died at Pau, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, in 1707, in his fifties. Opposition to his legitimate claim proved more deleterious than life in a wigwam.
Cover page of an 1864 edition of Longfellow’s “Tales of a Wayside Inn” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The poem refers to Saint-Castin’s father, but Castine’s father had probably died prior to his son’s departure for New France. However, the image of an ageing father awaiting the return of his son in a French castle was far too compelling for Longfellow not to depict.
A Father Grieves
Facts being at times uncertain in the life of Jean-Vincent d’Abbadie, fiction demanded a grieving father.
Baron Castine of St. Castine
Has left his château in the Pyrenees,
And sailed across the western seas.
When he went away from his fair demesne
The birds were building, the woods were green;
And now the winds of winter blow
Round the turrets of the old château,
The birds are silent and unseen,
The leaves lie dead in the ravine,
And the Pyrenees are white with snow.
His father, lonely, old, and gray,
Sits by the fireside day by day,
Thinking ever one thought of care;
Through the southern windows, narrow and tall,
The sun shines into the ancient hall,
And makes a glory round his hair.
The house-dog, stretched beneath his chair,
Groans in his sleep as if in pain,
Then wakes, and yawns, and sleeps again,
So silent is it everywhere,–
So silent you can hear the mouse
Run and rummage along the beams
Behind the wainscot of the wall;
And the old man rouses from his dreams,
And wanders restless through the house,
As if he heard strange voices call.
Founded in 1604, four years before Quebec, Acadia was the first province of New France to be handed however to Britain. At the time Jean-Vincent d’Abbadie arrived in Maine, the total number of Acadians was 885. As for the inhabitants of Quebec or Canada, they numbered 3,200 people. (See Canadian Military History.)
The French and the Amerindians
The story of Jean-Vincent d’Abbadie provides insight into the relationship between the French and the Amerindians. French voyageurs learned to live as did the Amerindians, or would have perished. They entered every nook and cranny of the North-American continent and married Amerindians, creating the Métis people. However, there were very few French settlers, and most lived on the shores of the Saint Lawrence River and in Acadie.
Grey Day, Laurentians by A. Y. Jackson, 1928 (Photo credit:wikiart.org)
It is still summer in Sherbrooke. In fact, summer did not begin until late July, if not later. Yet, we will soon be fascinated by autumn’s palette of colours: shades of red, yellow, purple, burgundy: a study in vibrant colours. This type of scenery was depicted by members of the Group of Seven(see Group of Seven, Canadian Encyclopedia). And so was winter. Above is A. Y. Jackson’s Red Maple (1914), an early painting, but most of the paintings I am showing are winter landscapes depicting Quebec. Jackson was born in Montreal, and it would appear we all belong to the land of our youth.
The Red Maple by A. Y. Jackson, 1914 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Therefore, A. Y. Jackson was an unlikely member of the Group of Seven, of which he was a founding member all of whom portrayed Canada’s wilderness. Matters changed, when Jackson exhibited his Edge of the Maple Wood(1910), shown below. The painting drew the attention of the Group ofSeven’s only wealthy member, Lawren Harris, who purchased it. Jackson could not earn a living in Montreal.
Saint-Tite-des-Caps by A. Y. Jackson (Photo credit: Google Images
Barns by A. Y. Jackson (Photo credit: wikiart.org)
A Quebec Village (Photo credit: Heffel Gallery)
The Group of Seven
Recognition worked its magic and induced A. Y. Jackson to move to Toronto where he first shared a studio with Tom Tompson (Canadian Encyclopedia), the artist featured in my last post.
“Jackson taught Thomson aspects of technique, especially colour, while Thomson taught Jackson about the Canadian wilderness (see A. Y. Jackson, Canadian Encyclopedia).”
Jackson visited Algonguin Park, where Thomson built his cabin, loved its scenery and chose to be a landscape artist. He also went west, to the Rocky Mountains, but by and large, he worked in Ontario areas associated with the Group of Seven such as Algonguin Park, the Algoma district, Georgian Bay and the North Shore (Lake Superior), etc. But Jackson also painted Quebec.
The “West Wind” is a major character in The Song of Hiawatha. It is Mudjekeewis, Hiawatha’s father, presuming he has a father.
In April 2012, I published a post featuring Tom Thomson‘s “West Wind” (1917). The “West Wind” is also a major character in the art of Tom Thomson (5 August 1877 – 8 July 1977). I sense similarities.
Thomson died before the Group of Seven was formed. However, given the subject matter of his paintings, his style as an artist, not to mention his lifestyle, that of a woodsman, he is considered as a precursor to members of the Group of Seven, arguably Canada’s most renowned group of artists. However, his lifestyle and the very title of the painting featured above also suggest cultural kinship with the Amerindians of the Central Woodland, thus identified by Stith Thompson.
Tom Thomson settled in Algonquin Park in 1914, where he worked as a firefighter and guide, but lived in a cabin, devoting most of his time to his art. Thomson died during a canoeing trip. He was only 39. His premature death has served to transform him into a legend. The legend, however, is his art.
Landscape by Tom Thomson 1915
Evening, Canoe Lake by Tom Thomson, 1916
Pine Island, Georgian Bay by Tom Thomson 1916
The Jack Pine by Tom Thomson, 1917
Testimonials to a virgin past about to be destroyed for profit are numerous. Climate protected the Central Woodland. It was cold and therefore uninviting to loggers. But ‘improved’ harvesting technologies won the day. The Arctic is melting down.
There’s land left, but too much was harvested in a way that could not allow regrowth. It was harvested in the name of profit, and the prospect of profit numbs reason.
Humans kill. They kill in the name of profit. They also kill in the name of God. They kill.
Manabozho created land and whatever land had been lost to a flood, he created again. Such was his godliness.
Manabozho in the flood. (Illustration by R. C. Armour, from his book North American Indian Fairy Tales Folklore and Legends, 1905) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Pictured above, for the second time in this little series on North American Indians, is Manabozho or Nanabozho and his “brothers:” the beaver, the otter and the muskrat. We know that Manabozho, a Objiwa, who lived near Lake Superior, Longfellow’s “Gitche Gumee,” was swallowed by the king-fish whom he killed by pounding on his heart. Manabozho is a “Culture Hero:” he “made land.”
The Historical Hiawatha
Hiawatha, “the hero of these legends [Longfellow’s legends],” was not Hiawatha (who was a historical Iroquois leader of the sixteenth century”), but Manabozho who “joined Huron (the Wyandot people) Deganawida in a plan to end warfare among Native Americans in what is now New York State.”
In fact, as a follower of the Great Peacemaker, Deganawida, the historical Hiawatha did as “Gitche Manito, the mighty, the creator of the nations[.]” (Canto i) requests Longfellow’s Hiawatha to do. He brought peace.
In The Song of Hiawatha, Gitche Manito, a creator, was tired of the wars waged among Amerindian tribes and sent a prophet: Hiawatha. The Iroquois and Hurons speak related languages.
“I have given you lands to hunt in, I have given you streams to fish in, I have given you bear and bison, I have given you roe and reindeer, I have given you brant and beaver, Filled the marshes full of wild-fowl, Filled the rivers full of fishes: Why then are you not contented? Why then will you hunt each other?”
“I am weary of your quarrels,…” (Canto i)
Hiawatha(Photo credit: Gutenberg[EBook #9080]) (The artist’s name is at the top right of the image.)
From the full moon fell Nokomis (Photo credit:Gutenberg [EBook #31922]
Westward, Westward, Hiawatha sailed into the fiery sunset (Photo credit: Gutenberg [EBook #31922]
Manabozho as Creator
Longfellow’s source was Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, but although Hiawatha is generally considered a substitute for Manabozho, Manabozho was a creator, in which he again differs from Longfellow’s Hiawatha. According to Stith Thompson:
“[s]ometimes we find the Creator living in a world before he has created it, and sometimes we are told of a primeval water presumably covering a not-yet-created. The latter conception is present in almost every American Indian creation story, with the probable exception of the Eskimo. It is on such a body of primeval water that the Creator, sometimes with a companion, finds himself floating about on a boat or raft. He sends various animals down to the bottom of the water to try to find some earth. One after another, they float back dead and unsuccessful. Finally, one of them, usually the muskrat, comes back with a bit ofsoil between his paws. The Creator takes this soil and works with it so that it expands and becomes the earth floating upon the original flood.” (my bold letters)
This is the story, entitled “A Legend of Manabozho,” R. C. Armour illustrated in North American Indian Fairy Tales Folklore and Legends (1905).This Manabozho “made the land.” (p. 11 and p. 14) He is also the shapeshifter we have already met. As we have seen, he was able to transform himself into the trunk of a tree to escape a snake. Afterwards, his “brothers” were the beaver, the otter and the muskrat.
In short, Hiawatha described above as Manabozho, is not Manabozho, in that he does not make land. (See The Song of Hiawatha, Wikipedia.) He is a hero because of his legendary deeds. Nanabozho, however, is the Ojibwa “Culture Hero:” a creator and a shapeshifter. In The Song of Hiawatha, the only deity is Gitche Manito, as his name suggests: Manito.
“I have given you lands to hunt in, I have given you streams to fish in, I have given you bear and bison, …” (Canto I)
One wonders why Longfellow called his variant of Manabozho, Hiawatha. It could simply be that he considered Hiawatha a more poetical name than Manabozho. Longfellow was a poet and poetry has its own imperatives, hence a degree of poetic license. Yet, both Hiawatha and Manabozho or Nanabozho, are inside the stomach of a fish.
Hiawatha and Winnehaha (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Hiawatha, by Edmonia Lewis, marble, 1868, Newark Museum.
Minnehaha, by Edmonia Lewis, marble, 1868, Newark Museum.
Hiawatha is the son of Mudjekeewis and Wenonah, but his birth is described as “miraculous” in Brewers Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. According to Chambers Biographical Dictionary, his name means “He Makes Rivers.”
He was brought up by his grandmother Nokomis (featured in an image above), his mother Wenonah having died at the time of his birth. Using his “magic mittens” and “enchanted” moccasins, an Amerindian variant of European seven-league boots, he goes to avenge his mother who appears to have been seduced by Mudjekeewis, the West Wind. Father and son fight but are reconciled. (Canto iv)
Hiawatha is the son of Wenonah and Mudjekeewis
Hiawatha wants to avenge his mother, who was abused by Mudjekeewis
Hiawatha and Mudjekeewis are reconciled
Hiawatha defeats Mondamin, the Corn Spirit and becomes the leader of his people
Maize grows from the buried body of Mondamin
Hiawatha kills the sturgeon Nahma (who has swollen both Hiawatha and his canoe)
He destroys Pearl-Feather, the sender of disease and death
Hiawatha marries Minnehaha, daughter of an arrow-maker and a Dakotah once hostile Dakotah, she is brought up by Nokowis, as is Hiawatha
Wedding feast and Song of the Evening Star: idyllic time of peace and culture. Osseo is reminiscent of “Beauty and the Beast” and Apuleius’ Golden Ass
Hiawatha rules until the death of Chibiabos, the musician man
Hiawatha kills Pau-Puk-Keewis, who has insulted him
Kwasing dies, killed by Puk-Wudjies, the little people, a variant of Pygmies
Ghosts are famished and soon afterwards Hiawatha’s people are victims of a famine
Famine kills Minnehaha
Bees: fore-runner of the white
Hiawatha leaves for the Isles of the Blest in Keewaydin to rule the kingdom of the Northwest Wind.”
Hiawatha tells his people to heed a missionary offering a new religion.
The Squirrel is named Jidanneo and each seagull, a Kayoshk
The Evening Star: Osseo
I had planned to tell the story of Osseo and his wife Oweenee and will, briefly. It resembles “Beauty and the Beast,” but metamorphoses are so numerous that one is reminded of Apuleius’ Golden Ass.
Oweenee, the youngest of ten beautiful daughters, marries Osseo, an ugly old man, because she loves him. Her nine sisters laugh. Osseo goes through an entry in an oak tree and emerges as a beautiful man. Oweenee, however, has become an ugly old woman. Osseo loves her as she loved him. As for the nine sisters and their husbands, they have been transformed into birds. Osseo’s father arrives just in time, and tells Osseo to put the birds in a gilded cage and to bring the cage to his wigwam.
Although she looks old, Oweenee gives birth to a boy. When he learns to use his arrow, the boy points at the birds and hits one of them. The bird falls, but he is no longer a bird but a beautiful woman with an arrow in her bosom. She bleeds and her blood triggers metamorphoses. Oweenee is her beautiful self again and the birds are humans, but small: Puk-Wudjies (see 12, Summary). In fact, we are at the wedding again…
Then come scourges.
Canto xiv is about the importance of literacy…, but it cannot be discussed in this post as I must close and we haven’t discussed Glooscap, a gigantic creator who comes out of nothing, ex nihilo.
Stith Thompson writes about the work of ethnologists: Henry Schoolcraft (28 March 1794 – 10 December 1864), James Mooney (10 February 1861 – 22 December 1921)and, especially, Franz Boas, a famous ethnologist.
Not all tribes were removed, Southwest tribes weren’t. So anthropologists have collected hundreds of stories. However, although Longfellow was familiar with Amerindian lore, The Song of Hiawatha was written by a poet and lovingly.
It has been mocked, but it remains a favourite. For one thing, if well written, stories of star-crossed lovers are popular. Moreover, Longfellow knew that the Southeast Cherokee had been removed from their land, knowledge that undoubtedly saddened him and may explain the scourges.