Folk Tale How Summer Came To Canada

 How Summer Came To Canada

Once, long ago, only Red Indians lived in Canada. Their great lord and creator was named Glooskap. No one knew where Glooskap had come from, he had sailed far across the sea in a stone canoe and landed one day on the shores of Canada. Being lonely, he had created the fairies and the elves, then he made the Indians, to live in the beautiful land of Canada with him and lastly, the birds and the animals.

The Red Indians were happy, for Glooskap was kind and good, until a great giant came from the far North. He was very old and very strong and even Glooskap's magic had no power on him, for his name was Winter. Canada grew very cold. There was ice and snow everywhere, no plants or flowers would grow and soon there was very little food and the people were starving. Even the fires they lit hardly kept them from freezing. Then, one of the birds told Glooskap of a land far across the sea, where it was always warm and the flowers always bloomed. It lay far to the South and its queen was the only person of whom the giant Winter was afraid, for she was the only one on Earth whose power was greater than his. Glooskap, determined to set out once in search of her, went down to the seashore and called to his old friend the whale. When she came Glooskap told her of the journey he wished to make and asked her to carry him over the sea. The whale agreed, but she told Glooskap that he must keep his eyes shut all the time. "If you open them, I shall certain go aground on a reef or a sand-bar,"  she told him, "and if I cannot get off again you might be drowned." Glooskap promised to keep his eyes tightly shut and he set off, riding on the whale's back. It was a long journey and they had to travel for many days. All the while, the air grew warmer and gentle breezes flew and they carried the scent of fruit and flowers. 

Soon, they were no longer in the deep water of the ocean, but travelling through shallow water and little clams, which lived in the sand, sang a song to the whale. "Keep out to sea, big whale," they sang, "for here the water is shallow and you will go aground." The whale did not understand what they were saying, so she asked Glooskap and Glooskap, who was in a hurry to get ashore, replied, "They tell you to go faster, for there is a great storm coming." Then he opened one eye, to see if the water was shallow enough for him to jump off the whale's back and reach the shore. As he opened his eye, the whale went aground on a sand bank, as Glooskap had hoped she would and the water was so shallow that he was able to jump ashore. The whale was very angry, for she was afraid that she might not be able to get off the sandbank, 'but with one mighty push, Glooskap sent her skimming back into deep water again. Then, so that they might remain friends, he gave her a present.

He threw out to her a pipe and a bag of Indian tobacco leaves. The whale was delighted. As she swam out to sea again, she lit the pipe and began to smoke it. Glooskap could see her blowing the smoke up until she was far out to sea and to this day the whale has Glooskap's pipe. Sailors sometimes see her rise to the surface to smoke it and blow the smoke up into the air. Then Glooskap set out to find the queen. He found a road which led through banks of flowers and he followed it until it led him to an orange grove. From beyond it, he heard the sound of laughter and when he crept nearer, he saw a group of girls. In their midst was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen and he was sure that this was the queen for whom he was searching. He took his magic pipe and played a soft tune and, unable to resist the sound, she came across to the grove to find out where the music came from. 

When she reached him, Glooskap picked her up in his arms and fled, running swift as the wind towards his own land, far to the North. As he ran, he unwound behind him a long cord made from moose hide, for he wanted to know the way back to the Land of the Flowers. When they reached Canada, the giant welcomed them gladly, for all the people were now under his power and fast asleep and he thought that he could put Glooskap and his lovely companion to sleep, too. He invited them both into his tent, but to his surprise his magic had no effect on them. He was the one who fell under their spell. Soon he found drops of sweat trickling down his face and his tent began to melt away. All the things which Winter had put to sleep began to wake again. The rivers began to flow, the buds appeared on the trees, the grass and the corn began to grow once more and all the people began to wake from their sleep.

The queen laughed. "I am Summer," she said to the giant. "Your magic has no power over me." The giant, knowing that his long reign was at an end began to weep and Summer felt sorry for him, so she said, "I have proved that I am stronger than you, but I will not banish you completely. I will give you the far Northland, where you can do no harm, for your kingdom. There you may rule and I will never disturb you. You may return to Glooskap's country for six months every year, but your reign must not be so severe. I shall return myself from the Southland to rule for the other six months. Winter had to accept. He went far away to the North, returning to Glooskap's country for six months every year, but never was he as severe as before. When Winter came, Summer would run back to her home in the Southland, following the cord which Glooskap had placed there, but always at the end of six months, she ran back, to drive old Winter back to his home in the North and make sure all the trees and flowers began to grow again.  

 For More Bedtime Stories  Click Here