Monday, January 23, 2023

Tricksters. Algonquin Legends of New England.

Continuing on with this week of Glooskap stories at the Internet Archive, I wanted to go back to a classic collection of stories by Charles Leland: The Algonquin Legends of New England.

Charles Leland was one of the founders of folklore studies in America; you can read more about his life and career at Wikipedia. He collected these stories as part of a Eurocentric comparative project as you can see in the book's introduction, but you can safely skip the introduction and just focus on the stories which he collected in 1882 from Passamaquoddy storytellers at Campobello in New Brunswick, Canada. The Passamaquoddy people are members of the Abenaki confederation; for more on Abenaki traditions see yesterday's post. I'll have more to say tomorrow about the older sources that Leland was able to draw on at that time, almost 150 years ago.

The collection of stories opens with Glooscap stories; they occupy 140 pages of the book. There then follow stories about another more sinister trickster, Lox the Wolverine, plus Rabbit stories too! There are also Serpent stories, Partridge stories, and tales of magic.

As part of the Virtual Museum of Canada and the New Brunswick Museum, you can find this online collection of Koluscap stories online told by Gwen Bear and Roseanne Clark. who are Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) storytellers. You can even hear the audio recordings in Wolastoqiyik, as well as reading the English translation. So, for example, here is Gwen Bear telling the story of Koluskap and the Giant Beaver and Roseanne Clark telling the story of Koluskap and his Brother, Malsum. To see the Wolastoqiyik version of the site, just use the language options in the upper right corner.

So, stories to read, and also to listen to! And I'll be back with more Glooscap tomorrow!

by Charles Leland

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