The Land of the Ancestors

Among those who heard of this version there was talk of making the journey to the land of the ancestors. Soon an opportunity across - a young man who died, and his father who loved his only son dearly, decided to lead a group to seek him. Although they thought the journey would not be long, they were many many days on route, and all but five or six of the travelers died before reaching the land of the ancestors.

When they arrived at their destination, the first thing they noticed was the spirits of moose, beavers, dog, canoes, and snow shoes, which had accompanied the human spirit to this land. Buried with the human person who died, these other than human spirits journeyed to the land of the ancestors and they acted in the service of the human spirits.

But their observation of the spirits was cut short by the arrival of Papkootparout, who, in the form of a giant and fully armed, was awesome. "Whoever you are" he thundered, "prepare yourselves to die, since you have had the temerity to make this journey and come all alive into the land of the dead." With these words, he raised his club to smash the intruders.

The beavered father pleaded the giant, explaining his love for his son, asking the guardian to accept the gifts he had brought, and pleading for his son's spirit. Moved by compassion, Papkootparout agreed to the father's request, but insisted first on a game of traditional Mi'gmaq dice....The guardian of the land of the ancestors the wagered Indian corn, tabaco, and some fruits, which he answered them were the food of the souls. The Mi'gmaq played dice all day with him, and all they won, so in the end they received corn and tabaco from Papkootparout.

The giant made the dead son's spirit the size of a nut, wrapped it tightly in a little bag, and presented it to the father. He gave him orders to return at once to his own country; and lay out, immediately after his arrival, the body of his son in a Wigwam made for the purpose; to replace the soul come out through that and return to his country, which it was leaving only with extreme repugnance.

The travelers returned to their village, and began to carry out the giant's instructions.....In order to help with the preparation, the father left his son's spirit in the car of a woman, who overcome by curiosity, opened the bag. Where up on the son's spirit escaped back to the land of the ancestors. Upon having this news, the father died of grief; and thus he soon followed his son to the land of the ancestors.

Kendra Metallic Wysote
Grade 7

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