Solomon Ratt: cihcipiscikwân / Rolling Head (th-dialect)

So what is all this storytelling about anyway?

Before I was whisked off to the residential school my parents (mostly my mother) would tell us our traditional stories of wîsahkîcâhk. Once I was at the school I no longer heard these stories since I was home only in the summer months and traditional stories were only told in the winter. These stories contain lessons on how to survive in our world which is always in flux.

In the first story of the wîsahkîcâhk cycle called “cihcipiscikwân – Rolling Head” we can find all the teachings of the Circle of Life:

  1. there are the four cardinal points in the flight of wîsahkîcâhk and his younger brother as they flee from the evil Rolling Head;
  2. in the various characters who are in the story are represented four mode of mobility: walkers, swimmers, flyer, and crawlers;
  3. four stages of life: infancy, adolescence, adulthood, and old age;
  4. four orders of life: human, animal, plant, and mineral;
  5. four elements: earth, fire, water, and air;
  6. four essential requirements for a healthy life: protection, nourishment, growth, and wholeness;
  7. four aspects of human nature: emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual.

When we no longer tell our stories we lose all this.

In the video above, Sol gives a new retelling of the initial narrative of the Cree Trickster Cycle. The table below provides the corresponding text, in Cree and in English.

cihcipiscikwânRolling Head
Opening[Diegesis]
kayâs îsa, kî-piyakwahkamikisiw awa piyak nâpîw ikwa wîwa ikwa mîna nîso ocawâsimisiwâwa, nîso nâpîsisa, piyak nâpîsis mitoni î-ati-oskinîkîsit ikwa ana kotak nâpîsis kaciskaw î-kaskihtât ta-pimohtît. î-kî-piyakohpikihâwasocik îsa ôko ôtî pikwataskamikâhk, ôtî kanataskîhk. kî-mitho-wîcâyâmitowak îsa: tahto-kîsikâw kî-kospiw awa nâpîw, î-mâh-mâcît ikwa namwâc mwâsi kî-kwîta-mîcisowak wîtha ithikohk î-kî-nihtâ-mâcît.Long ago, as it were, there lived in a lone lodge, a man and a woman, along with their two children, two boys; one boy was almost a teen, the other boy a mere toddler. They raised their children on their own, in the wilderness, on the sacred land. They lived happily with each other: every day the man went into the bush to hunt and they seldom ran out of food eat because he was a good hunter indeed.
kî-cihkîthihtam opimâtisiwin, î-kî-mitho-wîcâyâmât wîwa ikwa ocawâsimisa.He was happy in his life, happy in the companionship of his wife and children.
Action 1[Focalization and direct discourse]
kîtahtawî ati-ispathin î-ati-mîscihâwasot ita kâ-kîwîkicik. ohcitaw poko nawac wahthaw ta-nâh-nitawi-mâcît. âskaw mâna piyako-tipiskanisiw. ikosi ay-ihkin kinwîsîs ikwaEventually a time came when game became scarce in his area. He had to go further and further to hunt. Sometimes he would stay overnight.
kâ-pî-kîwît miskawîw wîwa î-wawîsîhothit ikwa î-sîkwîstikwânîthit tâpiskôc îsaTime passed and on occasion whenever he would come home he would find his wife dressed in her finery but her hair would be messed as if she’d been in a hurry.
î-kî-papâsi-pathihothit. mâmaskâtîthihtam kâ-itahkamikisithit. kiskîthihtam wîthaHe wondered about her appearance.
î-ati-pîtosiyayâthit. ita mâna kâ-kî-nahîthihtamithithit nawac ikwa kotak kîkwayHe noticed that she had changed somehow.
î-otamîthihtamithit. oskîsikothiwa nawac poko kî-kîkwîyâkwanithiwa.Instead of the happy contented look he used to see on her face, there was now an air of restless preoccupation. A strange light was in her eye.
Action 2[Focalization]
kî-ay-apiw piyakwâw î-kanawâpamât ocawâsimisa î-mîtawîthit, kâ-pistâpimât wîwa î-ati-wawîsîhothit î-wî—nâcinihtîthit kihciwâk sakâsihk. ikosi âh-itôtamithiwa âta namôtha katâc ta-nâcinihtânowithikStaying home one day, watching his children play, he noticed his wife getting up in her finery to fetch wood in a nearby bush. This she did repeatedly, even when it seemed altogether unnecessary.
Action 3[Focalization, tagged direct discourse]
namôtha nânitaw itwîw awa nâpîw, mâka itasowîw î-wî-nitawâpînikît tânihk-ôma kâ-itahkamikisithit, ta-wîcihât kîspin ispathihikoci. ikosi piyakwâw sipwîhtîw, âhkihtâp î-nitawi-mâcît. kâsôw sakâsihk cîki mîskanâsihk ita mâna kâ-pimohtîthit.The man said nothing, but made up his mind to do some investigating in order to help her if it were possible. So one day he went away, merely pretending to go on a hunt. He hid in the bush along the path she usually followed.
“mahti kâ-itôtahk,” itîthihtam. “Let me see what she does,” he thought.
Action 4[Focalization]
He saw her coming. Something in her eager gait so aroused his curiosity that he followed her, hiding in the bushes quickly whenever she slowed down.wâpamîw î-pî-âstamohtîthit. mitoni papâsohtîthiwa ispî kâ-ati-pimitisahwât, kâkâsôpathihow sakâsihk ispî kâ-nisihkâci-pimohtîthit.
Action 5[Focalization, free direct discourse]
wâpamîw î-nakîthit paskwâcîhk. tasopathihosiw ikwa ocihciya âpacihtâw î-sîkahosot. otinam miscikos mohcihk ohci ikwa pah-pâwaham paskwâcîhk. He saw her stop by an old, decaying, stump (mound caused by uprooted tree). She straightened her dress and ran her fingers through her hair. Then she picked up a stick from the ground and tapped on the stump.
-Thump! Thump! –Thump! Thump!-Thump! Thump! –Thump! Thump!
-ninâpîm, kâ-sâkihak, nitakohtân!-My husband, my handsome one, I have come!
-Thump! Thump! – Thump! Thump!-Thump! Thump! – Thump! Thump!
-ninâpîm, nitakohtân!-My husband, my beautiful love, I have come!
Thump! Thump! – Thump! Thump!Thump! Thump! – Thump! Thump!
-ninâpîm, kâ-mithosit, nitakohtân!-My husband, I have come!
Thump! Thump! – Thump! Thump!Thump! Thump! – Thump! Thump!
-ninâpîm, kâ-sâkihak, nitakohtân!­ My husband, my dear one, my love, I am here!
ikota ohci paskwâcîhk kâ-pî-wathawîyahtawîthit mihcît kinîpikwa. kikostâsinam awa nâpîw. misiwî omiyâwihk pimâhtawîthiwa anihi kinîpikwa.Out of the stump crawled many snakes. The man was horrified! The snakes crawled all around his wife as she fondled them.
Action 6[free indirect discourse]
namwâc nânitaw itôtam mâka ikota ohci kisowi-sipwîhtîw. piyak-tipiskanisiw. Not stopping to make his presence known he went away in anger. He stayed over night.
Action 7[Focalization, direct and indirect discourse]
kihtwâm kâ-wâpanithik kinwîsk pimohtîw mihcît pisiskiwa miyâskawî mâka pîthisk nipahîw môswa. namwâc âhpô kî-ohci-pahkonîw ikosi kâ-ati-kîwît. mahkatâmow, tâpiskôc î-kakwâtaki-nîstosit, pihtokîw wîkihk.The next day he walked a long time passing many animals before he killed a moose. Without even stopping to take out the insides, he went home. Sighing, as if in great weariness, he entered the lodge.
“nikî-nipahâw môswa ,” itîw wîwa, “ mâka osâm nitahkosin ta-nikwatisoyân. kîtha poko ta-nâtaman wiyâs.”“I have killed a moose,” he told his wife, “but I am too sick to fetch it home. You must go for the meat.”
wihtamawîw ita kâ-kî-nakatât anihi môswa, wahthaw okapîsîwiniwahk ohci, ikwa ohctaw poko sîmâk ta-sipwîhtîthit kîspin nohtî-pî-kîwîthci ê-mwayî-pahkismothik. nawac poko namâc nohtî-sipwîhtîw awa iskwîw.He explained to her where the carcass lay, far from camp, so that she must leave right away if she were to return before dark. She showed a marked reluctance to go.
“mâhti nîkân nika-nâcinihtân!”“Let me get some wood first!”
“nama! sîmâk sipwîhtî!”“No! Go at once!”
sakamotîthanîwîw awa iskwîw ispî kâ-ati-sipwîhtît ikwa î-mwayî-sipwîhtît kakwî-kîmôci-pakitinam maskisiniyâpîs kotawânihk ikosi nawac wîpac ta-takosihk. mâka awa nâpîw wâpamîw ikota î-pakiciwîpinamithit maskisiniyâpîs.Mumbling to herself, she started off. On her way out of the camp she paused by the fire, seeming to tie her moccasins tighter for the long journey ahead. As soon as she was out of sight her husband rushed to the fire and saw a piece of sinew from her moccasin lace contracting in the fire. He knew it was an act of magic to make shorter the distance she had to go.
otinam animîthiw maskisiniyâpîs ikwa sâpopatâw mîna ati-sîpîkipitam ikosi nawac kinwîsk ta-pimohtîthit anihi iskwîwa. He scooped the sinew from the fire with a stick and, wetting it, stretched it to its utmost length, thereby counteracting the effect of her act.
Action 8[Focalization, free direct discourse]
tahkohtastâw maskisiniyâpiy nîpîhk anita mohcîhk kîsiskaw pihtokîw mîkiwâpihk î-nitawi-postiskahk wîwa otayânisa, î-iskwîwosîhot. tahkonam mohkomân, ispahtâw sakâhk itî kâ-kî-wâpamât wîwa î-mîtawâkâtât kinîpikwa, ikwa tâpiskôc wîwa, pâh-pâwaham paskwâciy.Setting the sinew aside on a wet leaf on the ground he quickly went into the lodge and dressed in her finery, dressing like a woman. Arming himself with a knife, he marched into the bush to where he had seen his wife playing with the snakes and, like her, tapped on the stump.
-Thump! Thump! –Thump! Thump!-Thump! Thump! –Thump! Thump!
-ninâpîm, kâ-sâkihak, nitakohtân!-My husband, my handsome one, I have come!
-Thump! Thump! – Thump! Thump!-Thump! Thump! – Thump! Thump!
-ninâpîm, nitakohtân!-My husband, my beautiful love, I have come!
Thump! Thump! – Thump! Thump!Thump! Thump! – Thump! Thump!
-ninâpîm, kâ-mithosit, nitakohtân!-My husband, I have come!
Thump! Thump! – Thump! Thump!Thump! Thump! – Thump! Thump!
-ninâpîm, kâ-sâkihak, nitakohtân!­ -My husband, my dear one, my love, I am here!
tâpwî-mâni-mâka, tâpiskôc nistam pî-wathawîyahtawîwak aniki kinîpikwak paskwâcîhk ohci. mayaw kâ-pî-itohtîthit, kîkikwayawîsâwâtîw, kîkâc kahkithaw mîscihîw, piyak poko paspîhîw, anihi î-apisîsisithit ikwa ikota othasowîw.And sure enough, as before long the snakes crawled out of the stump. As quickly as they came, the man severed their heads, killing all but one, and a small one at that. To this lone survivor he pronounced his decree.
“ispî ati-mihcîticik ithiniwak ôta askîhk namwâc ka-kaskihtân ta-wanâhowiyan. Kapî kika-apisîsisin ikwa ta-wihcasin ta-nipahikawiyan. “When the earth is peopled by men you will not have the power to interfere with them. You will be small and easily conquered.”
kâ-pôni-wihtak ôma môsahkinîw anihi kâ-kî-nipahât kinîpikwa ikwa kîwîpahtâw, î-nitawi-kwayâtisît, mwayî-takosinithici wîwa.Having made this pronouncement he scooped up some of the dead snakes and hurried to his camp to make preparations for his wife’s return.
Action 9[Tagged direct discourse, indirect discourse]
nitomîw okosisis ikwa wihtamowîw î-mâthipathihikocik. Calling his sons to him he told them that a great misfortune had come upon them.
“âhkosiw kikâwîwâw,” itîw. “niwî-maskihkiwâpostamowâw ta-nanâtawihahk mâka kîspin kipîhtînâwâw îkâ î-minihkwît ôta ohci tapasîk! ôho niyo kîkway ka-mîthitinâwâw ta-paspîhikoyîk ispî ati-kostâcikoyîko: ôma oskâcihk âpatan kihci-okâwîminakasiyak ta-ohpikicik; ôma âhpit âpatan asiniy-waciya ta-ohpikiki; awa posâkan ta-kwahkitikâkân; ikwa ôma amiskowîpit kakî-ohci-osîhtân sîpiy. ikwa poko ta-kâsoyîk wâtihkânihk ta-nitohtamîk. kîspin kikâwîwâw îkâ minihkwîci maskihkîwâpoy sîmâk ôta ohci tapasîk namôtha athisk awasimî iyako kikâwîwâw. mitho-pimôtêhok nikosisak! Tapika ta-mithopathihikoyîk kiyâm ôta mîkwâc î-mathipathihikoyahk. ispî ôtî nîkân nohtî-wâpamiyîko ispimihk kîwîtinohk isi itâpik, ikota kihciwâk ocîhkatâkohk athisk wîtha nika-nâkatîthimik “Your mother is not well,” he told them, “I am going to make a broth for her to drink to make her well but if you hear she doesn’t drink it, you must run for your lives! Here are things that will be useful when danger approaches: this awl will provide a hedge of thorns; this flint will form mountains; this piece of tree fungus will provide fire; and this beaver-tooth will form a great river. Now you must hide underground here and listen. Remember, if your mother doesn’t drink the broth, flee for your lives for she will no longer be your mother. Farewell my sons! May your lot be such that good may come to the Earth through this evil that has befallen us. In days to come, should you want to see me, look up to the Northern skies, for I shall be there next to the North Star for he will protect me.”
nâpîw kâtîw okosisa wâtihkânihk ikwa akwanaham iyakwîthiw akohp ohci, itîw otâpacihkikan îkâ nânitaw ta-wihtamowâthit anihi iskwîwa. pihtaw piyak asinîs wanihow sîpâ akohpihk namwâc ohci-pihtawîw. ikota ohci ati-pahkwîsikanâpohkâkîw anihi kinîpikwa kâ-kî-nipahât.The man hid his sons in a hole under a blanket and forbade every object that was in their dwelling to tell the woman anything. Unfortunately, he missed a small stone that had slipped under the blanket. Then he made his broth from the dead snakes.
Action 10[Tagged and free direct discourse, focalization, indirect discourse]
namôtha osâm kinwîsk kâ-takopahtâthit wîwa, î-pahkatâmothit ikwa î-apwîsithit. pakicowîpinam onayahcikan ikwa sakâhk ati-kwakwî-ispahtâw mâka tîpwâtik onâpîma.Some time passed before the mother arrived, panting and covered with perspiration. She dropped her load and started for the bush but her husband called her back.
“âstam nîwa, api, mâskôc kinohtîkatân.” nah-nisihkâc kotawânihk itohtîw ikwa nahapiw.“Come, my wife, sit, you must be hungry.” Reluctantly she came back to the campfire and sat down.
“mmm, kîkwây ôma kâ-wihkimâkwahk?!”“Mmmmm, what is that that smells so good!”
“omiskôm ana kinâpîm kinîpik,” itwîw awa nâpîw î-kisowâhikot, “î-paskwîsikanîstamâtân ôma!”“It’s the blood of your husband the snake,” the man said angered by her manner, “from it I have made a broth for you!”
“namôtha tâpwî!” itwîw awa iskwîw î-ispahtât sakâhk ita kâ-kî-ayâthit kinîpikwa. ikota kâ-takopahtât pâh-pâwaham paskwâciy.The woman got up quickly, angered that this may be so!
-Thump! Thump! –Thump! Thump!“It is not true!” she said running to her lovers in the bush. When she got there she tapped the tree as she had done before.
“ninâpîm, kâ-sâkihak, nitakohtân!” mâka namwâc awiya pî-itohtîthiwa. -Thump! Thump! –Thump! Thump!
-Thump! Thump! – Thump! Thump!“My husband, my handsome one, I have come!” But no one came.
-ninâpîm, nitakohtân! kiyâpic namwâc awiya pî-itohtîthiwa.-Thump! Thump! – Thump! Thump!
Thump! Thump! – Thump! Thump!“My husband, my beautiful love, I have come!” Still no one came.
-ninâpîm, kâ-mithosit, nitakohtân! mitoni ati-wawânîthimow, î-mâtot. Kihtwâm kocihtâw. Thump! Thump! – Thump! Thump!
Thump! Thump! – Thump! Thump!“My husband, I have come!” She was now desperate, crying, she tried again.
-ninâpîm, kâ-sâkihak, nitakohtân! âstam!Thump! Thump! – Thump! Thump!
nah-nisihkâc kâ-pî-wathawîyahtawîthit piyak kinîpikosisa, î-apisîsisithit.“­My husband, my dear one, my love, I am here! Come!” Then very slowly, the small snake, the survivor, crawled out of the stump.
“tâniwîhkâk mâka kotakak?!”“Where are the others?!”
“awiyak ana kî-pî-itohtîw kahkithaw î-nipahât,” itwîw ana kinîpikos. kwayask kisowâsow ana iskwîw. ispâhtâw mîkiwâhpihk î-kakwâtaki-thawîsit.“Someone came and killed them all,” answered the small snake. The woman was furious! She ran back to the lodge in a rage!
Action 11[Focalization, free direct discourse]
ikwa mîkowâhpihk kî-mamanîw îsa awa nâpîw: athapiya kî-ahthîw iskwâhtîmihk ikwa ikota nîpawiw, î-miciminâhk cîkahikan, î-pîhât wîwa. pî-kisî-pimohtîthiwia, î-kisowâsithit, mâka athapîhk ostikwân otahwâthiw, kisî-tîpwîw! sîmâk nâpîw kîskikwayawîsâwâtîw cîkahikan ohci. ispî î-ati-pahkihtihk mohcihk isi tîpwâram omiyaw anima mistikwân.In the meantime, the man had been making preparations; he had pulled a net over the door; and he stood, with axe in hand, ready for his wife’s return. She approached furiously but on entering the lodge, her head became stuck in the net. She screamed in rage and frustration. Quickly the man severed her head from the Trunk. As the Head tumbled to the ground it yelled at the Trunk.
“otitihtin! nipa! nîtha ninawaswâtimâwak ocawâsimisa.“Grab him! Kill him! I’ll go after his children!”
âta athapîhk î-otahwâmakak miya otihtinîw nâpîwa ikwa kinwîsk mâsihitowak, mitoni misiwî pihcâyihk mîkiwahpihk î-tah-tihtipîcik, mâka pîthisk ispimihk isi ati-ispathiwak ithikohk sôhki î-mâsihitocik, pîthisk ikotî ispimihk ati-acâhkosiwiwak.Though enmeshed in the net the Trunk grabbed the man and they struggled inside the lodge, rolling from one side to the other from East to West, from North to South. Their struggle was so fierce that they eventually worked their way into the heavens in their frenzy and they became stars.
Narrative closure: focalization.
âhpô anohc kiyâpic kakî-wâpamânawak: nâpîw ana ocîkatâhk ikwa miyaw kâ-nawaswâtikot, aniki atim-acâhkwak, namwâc kaskihtâw ta-otihtinikot athisk ana êkâ kâ-âhcît acâhkos î-nâkatawîthimikot.Even today you can see them: the man is the Big Dipper and the Trunk chasing him is the Little Dipper; the Little Dipper, however, can’t get too close to the Big Dipper for Polaris, the North Star, stays close to protect the man.
Action 12[Focalization, free direct discourse]
ikwa mihkiwâhpihk anima mistikwân, cihcipiscikwân awa, ati-tah-tihtipîpathiw î-kâh-kakwîcimât âpacihcikanisa tânitî î-kî-itohtîthit otawâsimisa. namwâc kotak awiyak pîkiskwîw, awa poko asinîs îkâ î-kî-ohci-pihtawât anihi nâpîwa kâ-kî-itwîthit. Meanwhile, inside the lodge the severed head, this is now cihcipiscikwân – Rolling Head, rolls about asking the utensils where her children had gone. None spoke except for a small stone who had not heard the man’s admonishment not to talk.
The small stone told the head that the man had hidden the boys in a hole under the blanket. Cihcipiscikwân – The Rolling Head, immediately gave chase!
Action 13[Focalization]
kwayask sôhkîpathiw cihcipiscikwân î-nawaswâtât nâpîsisa. wâpamîw wahthaw ikwa tîpwî.With great speed cihcipiscikwân – The Rolling Head pursued the boys. She saw them in the distance and hollered.
“tânitî, tânitî kakî-isi-tapasânâwâw? kika-nipahitinâwâw!”“Where, where can you flee! I am going to kill you!”
aniki nâpîsisak pihtawîwak cihcipiscikwâna mâka ana ostîsimâw kiskisiw ohtâwîwâwa kâ-kî-itwîthit îkâ awasimî ôho okâwîwâwa, nawac ati-sôhkânipahtâw.The boys heard the Rolling Head who had been their mother but the older boy, wîsahkîcâhk, remembered his father’s warning that this was no longer their mother and ran on.
Action 14[Focalization, free direct discourse]
nawac kisiwâk pihtâkwanithiw okitowin okâwîwa. kiskisiw anihi mîkiwina kâ-kî-mîthikot ohtâwiya ikwa pakitinîw osîmisa ikwa otâhk-isi-pimosinîw oskâhcihk. sîmâk ikota ohci ohpikinwa kihci-okâwîminakasiyak, sâwanohk ohci isko kîwîtinohk î-ohpikicik. kiposkâkiw ôho cihcipiscikwân, namwâc miskam ita ta-tawâthik. Ever nearer came the voice of his mother. He remembered the gifts that his father had given him and setting his brother down he threw the first of these, the awl - oskâcihk, behind him. Immediately a forest of thorns grew, stretching from the south to the north. The Rolling Head was stopped for she could not find an opening anywhere.
ikosîsi misiwî ikota tah-tihtipîw mâka anihi kihci-okâwîminakasiya ohpikinwa kihcikamâhk ohci isko kotak kihcikamâhk. kîtahtawî kâ-pihtahk kîkway kihci-okâwîminakasîhk, tâpiskôc awiyak î-kaspâchcikît, natohtam. kîtahtawî kâ-wâpamât kihci-mohtîwaw î-pî-tâwisithit kihci-okâwîminakasîhk ohci. tâpwî-pokâni nâcipahtwâw anima ita kâ-tawâtahk mîskanâs ana kihci-mohtîw, mitoni î-ati-napakiskawât, kisik î-wiyahkwâtât, iyakoni, ikwa ati-nawaswâtîw nâpîsisa.She went up and down but the huge hedge of thorns stretched from sea to sea. Then all of a sudden there came a sound from the hedge and Rolling Head stopped to listen. She saw a huge serpent chewing its way through the thorns. Rolling Head ran straight for the path made by the Serpent, crushing it in its hurry to go after the boys.
Action 15[Focalization]
cihcipiscikwân ati-pimipahtâw, wâpamîw nâpîsisa wahthawîs. ikwa-mîna tîpwî.Rolling Head ran on and spied the boys in the distance. Once again she hollered.
“tânitî, tânitî kakî-isi-tapasânâwâw? kika-nipahitinâwâw!”“Where, where can you flee? I am going to kill you!”
“namôth-âna kikâwînaw!” itwîw osîmimâw. nâpîsisak ati-sôhkipahtâwak wîsahkîcâhk î-nayâhthât osîmisa.“That is not our mother!” said the young boy. And the boys ran on with wîsahkîcâhk carrying his younger brother on his back.
nawac kisiwâk pihtamwak okâwîwâwa opihtâkosinithiw.wîsahkîcâhk otinam kotak kîkway kâ-kî-mîthikot ohtâwiya ikwa pakitinîw osîmisa otâhk-isi-pimosinîw âhpit, sîmâk ikota ohci ohpipathinwa asiniy-waciya î-nakiskâkot cihcipiscikwân. Ever nearer came the voice of his mother. Wîsahkîcâhk took the second of the gifts, the ahpit - flint that his father had given him and setting his brother down he threw this behind him. Mountians sprang up from where the flint hit the ground blocking the Rolling Head. She was stopped once again for she could not find an opening anywhere.
kihtwâm nakinâw cihcipiscikwân, namwâc kî-miskam nânitaw-ita ta-tawâthik kiyâm misiwî-ita î-isi-tah-tihtipît. kîtahtawîw kâ-pihtahk kîkway tâpiskôc awiyak î-kaspâhcikîthit asiniy-wacîhk. kipihcîw. wâpamîw kihci-amiskwa î-pî-taskamohtîthit asiniy-wacîhk. tâpwî-pok-âni ispâhtâw mîskanâsihk, ita kâ-tastawâcikîthit kihci-amiskwa, î-nipahhi-napakiskawât, ithikohk î-nanihkisit ta-nawaswâtât nâpîsisa. Rolling Head went up and down the mountain range but could not find an opening. Suddenly she heard a sound of someone chewing through the mountains. She stopped. She saw a giant Beaver coming through the mountains. She immediately ran straight for the beaver’s trail crushing it in her haste to go after the boys.
Action 16[Focalization, free direct discourse]
cihcipiscikwân ati-pimipahtâw, wâpamîw nâpîsisa wahthawîs. ikwa-mîna tîpwî.Rolling Head ran on and spied the boys in the distance. Again she hollered.
“tânitî, tânitî kakî-isi-tapasânâwâw? kika-nipahitinâwâw!”“Where, where can you flee? I am going to kill you!”
“namôth-âna kikâwînaw!” itwîw osîmimâw. nâpîsisak ati-sôhkipahtâwak wîsahkîcâhk î-nayâhthât osîmisa.“That is not our mother!” said the young boy. And the boys ran on with wîsahkîcâhk still carrying his younger brother on his back.
nawac kisiwâk pihtamwak okâwîwâwa opihtâkosinithiw.wîsahkîcâhk otinam kotak kîkway kâ-kî-mîthikot ohtâwiya ikwa pakitinîw osîmisa otâhk-isi-pimosinîw posâkan, sîmâk ikota ohci ohpipathin iskotîw î-nakiskâkot cihcipiscikwân. Ever nearer came the voice of his mother. Wîsahkîcâhk took the third of the gifts, the posâkan – birch fungus, that his father had given him and setting his brother down he threw this behind him. Fire immediately sprang up from where the fungus had hit the ground blocking the Rolling Head. She was stopped once again for she could not find an opening anywhere.
kihtwâm nakinâw cihcipiscikwân, namwâc kî-miskam nânitaw-ita ta-tawâthik kiyâm misiwî-ita î-isi-tah-tihtipît. ohcitaw poko ta-taskamiskâhk animîthiw iskotîw ta-nawaswâtât nâpîsisa.Rolling Head went up and down the edge of the fire but could not find an opening. There was nothing to do but go through the fire in her haste to go after the boys.
Action 17[Focalization]
nawac kisiwâk pihtamwak okâwîwâwa opihtâkosinithiw. wîsahkîcâhk kakwâtaki nîstosiw athisk î-pâh-pimipahtât ikwa î-nayahthât osîmisa. otinam iskwînihk kîkway kâ-kî-mîthikot ohtâwiya, amiskowîpit, mâka î-mwayî-pakitinât osîmisa, kicisikinamiyakwîtiw nîkânihk isi. sîmâk ikota ohci ohpipathin sîpiy, î-nakiskâkocik, î-micimosihkwâw athisk ana cihcipiscikwân namôtha osâm wahthaw îpî-nôkosit.Rolling Head ran on and spied the boys in the distance. Again she hollered.
“tânitî, tânitî kakî-isi-tapasânâwâw? kika-nipahitinâwâw!”“Where, where can you flee? I am going to kill you!”
“namôth-âna kikâwînaw!” itwîw osîmimâw. nâpîsisak ati-sôhkipahtâwak wîsahkîcâhk î-nayâhthât osîmisa.“That is not our mother!” said the young boy. And the boys ran on with wîsahkîcâhk still carrying his younger brother on his back.
cihcipiscikwân ati-pimipahtâw, wâpamîw nâpîsisa wahthawîs. ikwa-mîna tîpwî.Ever nearer came the voice of his mother. Wîsahkîcâhk was so tired from running and carrying his younger brother on his back. He took the last of the gifts, the amiskowîpit – beaver tooth, that his father had given him, However before he could set his brother down he dropped the beaver tooth in front of him. A great river immediately sprang up from where the beaver tooth had hit the ground trapping the boys with Rolling Head not far from them.
Action 18[Focalization, free direct discourse]
kwayask cihcipiscikwân mithwîthihtam î-wâpamât nâpîsisa î-micimosinithit, wîpac ta-kahcitinât. mitoni ati-wawânîthihtamwak nâpîsisak, mwîhci kîkâc î-pakicîcik ispî kâ-pihtawâcik awiya î-pîkiskwâtikocik sîpîhk ohci.Rolling Head was greatly pleased that the boys were within her grasp.
“kika-âsowakâmîhotinâwâw nôsisimak” itwîw îsa awa kisîtiniw-môskwahisiw.The boys were about to give up when they heard a voice from the river.
“nispiskwanihk tahkoskîk ikwa kika-âsowahothitinâwâw. mâka piyahtak tahkoskîk athisk î-wîsakîthihtamân nikwayaw.” “I will take you across the river, grandchildren,” said an old bittern.
nahîtawîwak anihi ikwa âsowahothikowak anihi kisîtiniw-môskwahosowa.“Step on my back and I will carry you across, but don’t step on my sore neck.” The boys obeyed and the bittern took them across the river.
cihcipiscikwân nitomîw môskwahosowa î-kakwî-kaskimât ta-âsowathihikot mâka ana môskwahosow namwâc nohtî-âsowahothîw. mâka mistahi mâh-mamihcimîw pîthisk tîpîthimow awa môskwahosow ta-âsowahothât cihcipiscikwâna. Wihtamowîw mâka îkâ ta-tahkoskâtamithit okwaya. kîkâc î-misakâcik kâ-ati-kâh-kwâskohtipathihot cihcipiscikwân, î-pistiskawât môskwahosowa okwayâthik, kâ-pakastawîhikot.Rolling Head called the Bittern and tried to convince him to take her across but at first the Bittern refused. Rolling Head flattered him and flattered him some more until he agreed to take her across. The Bittern told Rolling Head not to step on his sore neck. As they got close to the opposite shore cihcipiscikwân got excited, so excited that she jumped up and down, accidentally stepping on the Bittern’s sore neck. Reacting to the pain the Bittern dumped her into the water.
mawaw wîsahkîcâhk î-wâpamât nîpîhk cihcipiscikwâna pimotahkwâtîw, ikwa itwîw:As soon as wîsahkîcâck saw Rolling Head in the water he shot it with an arrow and pronounced.
“ôta ohci ‘namîw’ kika-itikawin, ta-mowiskwâw ôko ithiniwak kâ-wî-ayâcik ôtî nîkân.”“From this day forth you shall be a ‘namêw,’sturgeon, providing food for the people to come.”
ikos-ânima-îsa. nîstosiwak nâpîsisak. athwîpowak wâsakâm sîpîhk kapî-kîsik, mitoni isko î-tipiskâthik. ispimihk ay-itâpowak, î-kanawâpamâcik ohtâwîwâwa, anihi ocîkatâhkwa.And it was so. The exhausted boys rested along the shore of the river all day and into the night. They looked up at the night sky and watched their father, the Big Dipper.

About Arden Ogg

Arden Ogg is Director of the Cree Literacy Network, a not-for-profit-in-the-making with the goal of creating Cree language literacy materials suitable for use by learners of all ages.
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