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ARCHIVED - Our Voices, Our Stories:
First Nations, Métis and Inuit Stories

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Voices of Métis


When Elder Brother was young he was really greedy and he was lazy and he didn't want to do what he was told and so the animals, all of Creation, one day they had a meeting and they decided they wouldn't help him anymore and so they just shunned him. And he was really hungry and he woke up and because he was lazy he hadn't combed his hair, he hadn't cleaned himself and so he started walking, thinking somebody would give him duck soup or something. Anyway, nobody gave him any food and nobody helped him with anything, and nobody talked to him and so by the end of the day he was really, really hungry and he didn't understand why he didn't have any help and so he came to a little fire and there was Grandmother.

Grandmother was cooking food and this is the First Grandmother, she was the first female on the earth. Anyway she was cooking her lunch, and he looked at it and he thought, "oh she's not around here anyplace, she's really old and she won't know if I eat these, she'll think they fell in the fire and burned." And so he took these little ducks that she had roasting over the fire and he grabbed them and he gobbled them all up really quickly and then he took the feet and he stuck them in the ashes and he kind of messed it up and it looked like these little ducks had fell in the fire. And he went and laid down under a big tree and he was laying there looking at the clouds and thinking, you know, what he was going to do tomorrow because that's what lazy people do they sort of lay around and think about what they're going to do tomorrow. And he started to fall asleep.

And in the meantime First Grandmother was out in the bush doing some work, picking medicine or whatever, but she had the gift of sight and hearing and she knew what he had done. And so she said: "that's it, I'm going to teach him a lesson," and so she sang a song. And the song went over the trees and it moved around and it found him laying under a tree. And the song entered him. And as she sang the song she started to go higher and higher and the higher she went with the notes the more his stomach swelled up and finally his stomach was hurting so bad so he stood up and there were little chickadees sitting up on the tree branches and they were watching all this because chickadees are kind of like the newspaper in the forest and they were reporting back on all of his actions and so they were kind of hanging over this branch to see what he was up to. And he got up and his stomach was hurting and he said: "I have to do something. I don't know what's wrong with me?"

At that point she really hit a high note and so he blew this great big fart and it was the first fart in all Creation, nobody had ever heard one before. And these poor little chickadees almost fell off the branches they were so frightened and then the smell so horrible they had to fly away. And he couldn't stop because she kept singing. And he was staggering and trying to walk home. And he just blew little ones, and big ones, and all kinds. You know when you try to stop, you can't quit. And finally he told his bum that he was going to punish it if it didn't stop. And so it didn't stop so he went and sat on the fire to burn his bum.

And the story goes on and on from there. It takes many days to tell. We'd have to come back tomorrow and help our granny again so that we'd get the rest of the story. You know when you're a little girl or a little boy and you hear that from the time that you're little well for sure you're going to comb your hair in the morning and wash up and you're not going to be greedy and try to take any of the old people's food or anybody else's because you could end up like Elder Brother. And the stories were so funny but you also knew that they could be true, especially when you'd heard somebody making all kinds of rude noises and you knew that they had been overeating at the table and kind of taking food away from everybody else.

So those stories had all of these little lessons but it also told us at the same time the role of those little birds in Creation and how we should treat them with respect because they had a role in their territory. So that was one of my favourite stories, simply because when you're a kid, you know, you like the word "fart." We were no different as children than anybody else. The word "fart" is "boikedo" which is kind of like "big wind." And we would all just roll around laughing which made it even worse when you'd lay in bed and you'd think about your mother told you to comb your hair and you didn't. Everybody is just going to kill themselves laughing when they hear you. So those stories that were a part of those special stories that were told to children and what those did was they instilled values, and manners, and taboos and all of those kinds of things in our minds. And when you heard them over and over again you grew up and you knew that you shouldn't be dirty and that you shouldn't be greedy, you know, you shouldn't be stingy or you shouldn't be dishonest because there were so many stories about this character.