Wisahkecahk and the Wihtikow: Solomon Ratt 2016, 2021 (th-dialect)

The Cree word for “sacred story” or “myth” is âtayôhkêwin (in y-dialect), âcathôhkîwin (in th-dialect). Wisahkecahk is the protagonist in many of these stories, which often serve to explain some curious aspect of the natural world, or teach some important cultural lesson. Traditionally, stories of Wîsahkêcâhk could only be told when the ground was covered with snow.

This post includes two of Solomon Ratt’s video tellings (from February 2016, and from 15 February 2021), along with transcribed text and translation from 2019. Scroll down past the text to find the second video.

Recorded in honour of Aboriginal Story Telling Month, February 2016. Traditionally, stories of Wisahkecahk could only be told when the ground was covered with snow.

Although the text for this story is arranged in a table to make it easier for students to compare the English and the Cree, please bear in mind that the English here is Sol’s English retelling of the story, and not a sentence-by-sentence translation.

 Wîsahkîcâhk êkwa wihtikowWîsahkîcâhk and the Wihtikow
1.1piyakwâw îsa Wîsahkîcâhk kî-pah-pimohtîw. kîtahtawî îsa kâ-wâpamât wihtikowa.One day Wîsahkîcâhk was walking along when he came up on a wihtikow.
1.3âh… kîsiskaw kâsôpathihow, athisk î-kostât iyakoni, â, â, ikosi ikota ohci sakâsîhk ohci-kanawâpamîw, î-kakwî-paspîhot.He ran, and quickly hid in the bush because he was scared the wihtikow would eat him.
1.4kîtahtawî poko Wihtikow kâ-matwî-ayamit.All of a sudden, the wihtikow comes and talks to him.
2.1“Wîsahakîcahk, kipasotin. "Wîsahkicâhk, come here! I smell you.
2.2âstam! ninohtî-mîcison ôma.”I'm hungry and I'm going to eat you!"
3ikosi Wîsahkîcâhk ati-nâtîw Wihtikowa, î-mah-mâcosit pâskac, î-mawihkâtisot, athisk î-wî-môwiht.So Wîsahkicâhk had to go to the Wihtikow, and he's walking over there, and he's crying over his face because he doesn't want ot be eaten.
4“Wîsahkîcâhk! nâcinihtî ikwa kotawî ikota ohci kika-môwitin.”And the wihtiko says, "Wîsahkicâhk! Go and get firewood! You can build a fire and I'm going to eat you."
5ikosi Wîsahkîcâhk kospiw, ikota ohci, î-nâcinihtît. kîtahtawî poko kâ-wâpamât sihkosa.And so, Wîsahkîcâhk is picking up wood, and when he sees a weasel, he calls to the weasel,
6“âstam, nisîmis!” itîw."Come here, little sibling!" he says.
7ikwa ana sihkos, “kîkwây? kîwây Wîsahkîcâhk?”And that weasel says, "What? What is it "Wîsahkicâhk?"
8.1“cîstî, nâha nîtî wihtikow. î-wî-môwit ana."See the wihtiko over there? He's gonna eat me.
8.2niyâ! ikotî ispahtâ.
8.3nâcipah…sîkwahtawî ikota ohci okohcâkihk kita-nitawi-paskîmat otakisiyâpiyâhk, ikotî kâ-astîthik.”I want you to run over to him, and, from his rear end, crawl into his belly, into his body, and chew on his heart-strings so he'd kill him.
9ikwa awa sihkos: “ê,..” ânwîthihtam, “awas nikanipin!” And the weasel says, "Well... I don't know about that: He'll kill me. I could die!"
10.1“namô-witha, sihkos.And Wîsahkîcâhk says,
10.2misawâc kâwi kika-pimâcihit. "Well, if you do this, I will give you the finest coat.
10.3ikwa kîspin omisi itôtamani nika-osihtân kahtay nawac kita-mâwaci-mithwâsik.”If you die, I'll bring you back to life, and I will give you the finest coat that anybody else has.
11ê….mithohtam awa sihkos. …ati-nâcipahîw Wihtikowa.So the weasel ran off to the wihtiko.
12.1ikosi awa sihkos ispahtâw itî Wihtikowa kâ-ayâthit.And he ran up the wihtiko's anus.
12.2nitawi-sihkopâhtâw okohcâkithik ikota ohci nitawi-iskwâhtawîw.And he crawled through his intestines and started to bite on the heart strings
12.3ikota î-nitawi-tahtahkwamât otîyihk omisa.And the wihtiko can feel the pain,
12.4ikwa kîtahtawî poko ikwa…And the wihtiko goes...
12.5“Wîsahkîcâhk kithipa! ninohtîkatân ôma."Wîsahkicâhk, I'm hungry, I'm really hungry!"
13.1Wîsahkîcâhk kithipa! ninohtîkatân ôma!”"Wîsahkîcâhk, I'm hungry, I'm really hungry!" ,
14.1ikwâni kîtahtawî poko kâ-pahkisihk awa Wihtikow î-nipit.And so the weasel ran off to the wihtiko and bit him in the heart strings. And eventually, the wihtiko fell down, dead.
14.2ê… Wîsahkîcâhk kwayask mithwîthihtam.And Wîsahkîcâhk is glad.
14.3nâcipahîw anihi Wihtikowa.And he ran over to the wihtiko.
14.4ikota ohci pahkonîw. And skinned him.
14.5ikota ohci, kitahtawî, î-otinât anihi sihkoso.And there, suddenly, he found that weasel.
14.6ikwa awa sihkos î-nipit.And that weasel was dead.
15.1ikota ohci Wîsahkîcâhk kâ-itohtahât sâkahikanihk, î-nitawi-sîpîkinât anihi sihkosa.And so, he takes the weasel out of the wihtiko, and takes him to the lake and blows on him to try to revive him.
15.2î-wâh-wâskinât omisi-isi.And he swishes him around in the water. And the water was washing the blood off him.
15.3ikwa mâna î-pâh-pôtâtât, î-kakwî-pimâcihât.And he'd blow on him and he'd swish him around some more, cleaning him up.
15.4hâ! kinwîsk awa ikosi, osôsithik î-pimi-miciminât, î-sîpîkinât anihi sihkosa.Blow on him again, holding him by the tail as he swishes him and cleans him in the water.
15.5î-pâh-pôtâtât mâna, ikwa mâna, ikwa kîtahtaî kâwi kâ-pimâtisithit.And eventually that weasel came alive.
16“cîstî, nisîmis. kanawâpamiso nipihk!”And Wîsahkîcâhk says to the weasel, "Look at yourself in the water, little brother!"
17.1î… awa sihkos kanawâpamisow nipîhk.And the weasel looks at himself in the water.
17.2ikota wâpamisow, î-wâpiskisit.And he has this beautiful shiny white coat, the most beautiful he had ever seen.
17.3kwayask î-mithonâkosit ana sihkos ikwa ita kâ-kî-miciminikot Wîsahkîcâhkwa osôthik.And he saw that the tip of his tail was black where Wîsahkîcâhk had held it.
17.4ikota kaskicîwâsinithiw kiyâpic osoy anohc kâ-kîsikâthik.And to this day, the weasel is very beautiful. All white with a little black tip on the tail.

A second video telling, recorded via Zoom 15 February 2021:

About Arden Ogg

Arden Ogg is Director of the Cree Literacy Network, launched in 2010 with the goal of creating Cree language literacy materials suitable for use by learners of all ages.
This entry was posted in Audio (th-dialect), Sacred Stories, Solomon Ratt, Storytelling Month (February), Video, Wisahkecahk. Bookmark the permalink.

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