Monday, November 21, 2022

Tricksters: Gluskabe and the Four Wishes

The focus this week is on Abenaki storyteller Joseph Bruchac and the many books of Native American stories he has published. Yesterday's book by Bruchac included some stories about the Algonquian trickster character Gluskabe (Glooskap), and the book I chose for today is a children's book about Gluskabe: Gluskabe and the Four Wishes.

The story takes place after Gluskabe has moved away from the world of humans to live on a far-away island, and the legend goes that anyone who travels all the way to where Glukabe lives will have a wish granted. The book is about four such travelers, each with a different wish for himself. They travel together in a canoe, and each one uses special powers to help them through the difficult journey, but the real adventure is what happens to each one after they meet Gluskabe and receive his gift. You will be surprised by what happens to each one!

Gluskabe in this story is a giver of gifts and a culture hero, the most positive manifestation of the trickster character. Sometimes the trickster acts selfishly but still benefits humanity by accident. In this story, however, Gluskabe is more like a good-hearted god, and his gifts have a creative, world-changing power that befits the trickster identity.

The illustrations are by Christine Nyburg Shrader is an artist based in Washington state; here's her rendering of the canoe making its dangerous journey to Gluskabe's home:

You can find out more about Gluskabe at Wikipedia, and I'll be back tomorrow with more from Joseph Bruchac. Meanwhile, enjoy this book: the story is beautiful and will leave a lasting impression I am sure! 

by Joseph Bruchac

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