Why the Moose has a Baggy Coat (y-dialect)

A seventh story from the collection originally published only in English by Stan Cuthand in 1973, newly translated back into Cree for storytelling month by Solomon Ratt. This is how cultural reclamation and linguistic revitalization work hand in hand!

êkwako ohci kâ-misâyik oskotâkay môswaWhy the Moose has a Baggy Coat
Translated into Cree by Solomon Ratt (2024)Stan Cuthand, Ed., nêhiyâw atayohkêwina (Cree Legends): Stories of Wîsahkêcâhk. Saskatoon: Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre (1973, rev. 1977, 1988). Pp 62-66
pêyakwâw êsa, kayâs, namôya pisiskiwak kî-ohci-mihyawêsâkaniyiwak êkwa namôya kî-ohci-mitêskaniwak. êkwa ispîhk kâ-kî-ati-kisinâk mêtoni mâna pisiskiwak kî-kawaciwak, ispîhk kâ-kî-tahkiyowêyik. namôya kî-kîsowâyiw opapaki-asâkayiwâwa.Once upon a time, the animals did not have fur coats and horns. However, when the world became very cold, the cold winds made the animals suffer. Their thin coats were not warm.
pêyakwâw, ê-kî-kîsikâk, maskwa kî-nitomêw kotaka pisiskiwa ta-pê-mâmawapiyit. nikik, pisiw, wâpos, apisimôsos, êkwa mahkêsîs mîna kahkiyaw kotakak pisiskiwak sakâhk ohci kî-pê-itohtêwak.One day the Bear decided to call a meeting. He asked all the animals to come. The otter, the lynx, the rabbit, the deer and the fox and all the others of the forest came.
kî-wiyasiwêwak ta-wîhtamawâcik kisê-manitowa kîkway kâ-kî-nitawêyihtahkik, ta-nitotamawâcik kîsôwahona. kî-wiyasiwânawan apisimôsos, kâkwa, êkwa maskwa ka-nitonawâcik ostêsiwâwa, wîsahkêcâhkwa. wîsahkêcâhk kî-kaskimâw ta-wîhtamawât kisê-manitowa kîkway kâ-nitawêyihtahkik.They decided to tell the Creator of their needs, and ask him for warmer coats. It was decided that the deer, the porcupine and the bear would go out in search of their brother, Wisahkecahk. Wisahkecahk agreed to tell their Creator what their needs were.
wîsahkêcâhk kinwêsk kî-pimâcihow wacîhk isi. mêtoni kinwêsk piyisk kâ-kî-pêtohtêt kisê-manitow. kinwêsk kî-pîkiskwêw. wîsahkêcâhk kî-natohtawêw êkwa namôya kî-ohci-pîkiskwêw.Wisahkecahk went on a long journey to the Mountains. After a long time, the Creator came. He spoke a long time. Wisahkecahk listened and did not speak.
kisê-manitow kî-sipwêhtêw. wîsahkêcâhk kâwi kî-nâtêw pisiskiwa.The Creator left. Wisahkecahk went back to the animals.
kî-wîhtamawêw kisê-manitowa ê-kî-kitimâkêyimikocik; êkwa wiyawâw ka-nâh-nawasônâcik itowahk wayâna kâ-nitawêyimâcik.He told them the Creator took pity on them; and that they would have the choice of fur coats they wanted.
kahkiyaw pêyakwan-ispîhk kî-pîkiskwêwak êkwa kî-nâtisahwêwak kîko wayâna kâ-nitawêyimâcik. kapê nîpin kî-atoskêw wîsahkêcâhk. kâ-kî-pê-takwâkiniyik mihcêt wayâna êkwa mitêskana kî-ayâwêw.Everybody talked at once and they ordered what they wanted. Wisahkecahk worked all summer. By fall he had many coats and horns.
môswa mâna kî-kâmwâtisiw êkwa kî-nâh-nohtêhkwasiw. kî-miywêyihtam ta-mowât waskatamwa, ta-mîcit nîpiya. kotakak pisiskiwak kî-pê-nâtikow êkwa kî-itikow “îîî, môswa, ta-kiyipiyan piko ta-nâtisahwat kiwayân. ka-mwêstasisin!” “kêyâpic nika-kêstinên” kî-itêyihtam. “misawâc kêyâpic mistahi wayânak ihtakowak.”The Moose was a quiet sleepy creature. He enjoyed eating juicy roots of the water lilies, the sweet leaves of young trees. The others came to the Moose and said, “Say, Moose, you better hurry and order your coat. It may be too late!’’ The Moose continued to eat. “There is time yet,” he thought. “Besides there will be plenty of coats.”
pêyakwâw, ê-kî-kîsikâk, wîsahkêcâhk kî-nitomêw kahkiyaw pisikiwa. “pê-nâtihkok kiwayâniwâwa mîna kitêskaniwâwa,” ê-kî-isi-têpwêt.One day, Wisahkecahk called all the animals. “Come for your coats and horns,” he yelled.
kahkiyaw kî-pê-itohtêwak êkwa pâh-pêyak kî-nawasônêwak otoski-wayâniwâwa. kî-papâsi-ispahtâwak nipîhk ê-kî-nitawi-wâpamisocik.All the animals came and one by one, they put on their new coats. They hurried to the water to look at themselves.
môswa êkotê kî-ati-itohtêw êkwa kâ-kî-nakiskawât otôtêma namôya nîkân kî-ohci-nisitawinawêw. êkwa kî-kiskisiw ta-nâtihsahwât opiponi-wayâna. êkotê kâ-kî-ati-itohtêw mâka nîswâw kî-kipihcîw ta-mîcit nîpiya miscikosihk ohci. piyisk kî-takohtêw.The Moose was on his way and when he met his friends, he did not recognize them at first. Then he remembered to order his winter coat. On the way, he stopped twice to eat sweet leaves of young trees. Finally he arrived.
wîsahkêcâhk kî-itwêw, “kahkiyaw wayâwak mêstinâwak. âtiht piko pîwisikana nitayân. kikitimâkisin. mahti kika-osîhtamâtin kîkway ta-kîsôwâk.”Wisahkecahk said, “All the coats are gone. I only have a few scraps. You are pitiful. Let me fix you with something warm.”
wîsahkêcâhk kî-osîhtâw ê-kî-misâyik miskotâkay, namôya awiyak ê-kî-nitawêyihtahk. kî-akotêyiw okwayâhk môswa. mitêskanak namôya awiyak kâ-kî-nitawêyimât kî-misikitiwak, ê-kî-napakisicik.Wisahkecahk made a large baggy coat, no one wanted. It hung in floppy folds around Moose’s neck. The horns no one wanted, were large and flat.
kî-mâyinâkosiwak, mâka môswa wîpac kî-wanikiskisiw otakotêw-wayâna êkwa onapakitêhkwana. kâwi kî-nitawi-mowêw waskatamwa.They looked so awkward. But the Moose soon forgot his loose coat and flat horns. He returned to eat lily roots.
kotakak aniki pisiskiwak kî-mamihcihikowak otoski-wayâniwâwa. kî-ati-ohtêyihtamitowak êkwa kî-mâh-mâyi-tôtâtowak piko kîkway. ispîhk kâ-kî-wâpamâcik môswa kî-pâhpihêwak ê-nawêyicimâcik owayâniyiwa ohci.The other animals were so proud of their new coats. They grew to be envious and unpleasant to each other. When they saw Moose, they laughed and made fun of his coat.
môswa kî-ati-pîkiskâtam kâ-kî-isi-kitimahikot wîtisâna. kî-mâci-pêyakwahkamikisiw êkwa kî-mâh-mîcisow nisikatanohk.The Moose grew sad that his brothers would treat him so cruelly. He began to live by himself and feed in lonely places.

For more Cree Legends, and past sessions from Indigenous Storytelling month, click here! 

We just discovered that the original 1973 publication  (English only) can still be purchased from SICC. Would it be great to persuade them to publish a new, bilingual edition!
Click here for ordering instructions.

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