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The Algonquin Legends of New England, by Charles G. Leland, [1884], at

How Glooskap changed Certain Saucy Indians into Rattlesnakes.


You know At-o-sis, the Snake? Well, the worst of all is Rattlesnake. Long time ago the Rattlesnakes were saucy Indians. They were very saucy. They had too much face. They could not be put down by much, and they got up for very little.

When the great Flood was coming Glooskap told them about it. They said they did not care. He told them the water would come over their heads. They said that would be very wet. He told them to be good and quiet, and pray. Then those Indians hurrahed. He said, "A great Flood is coming." Then they gave three cheers for the great Flood. He said, "The Flood will come and drown you all." Then these Indians hurrahed again, and got their rattles, made of turtle-shells, in the old fashion, fastened together,

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filled with pebbles, and rattled them and had a grand dance. Afterwards, when the white men brought cows and oxen into the country, they made rattles of horns.

Yes, they had a great dance. The rain began to fall, but they danced. The thunder roared, and they shook their rattles and yelled at it. Then Glooskap was angry. He did not drown them in the Flood, however, but he changed them into rattlesnakes. Nowadays, when they see a man coming, they lift up their heads and move them about. That's the way snakes dance. And they shake the rattles in their tails just as Indians shake their rattles when they dance. How do you like such music?


A Passamaquoddy tale related by an old woman to Mrs. W. Wallace Brown. These Indians still keep up a very curious snake-dance.

Next: How Glooskap bound Wuchowsen, the Great Wind-Bird, and made all the Waters in all the World Stagnant