pēyakwāw ēsa wīsahkēcāhk kī-pah-pimohtēw wāsakām sākahikanihk. kā-wāpamāt ēsa niska ē-ay-ohpahoyit ēkwa māna kāwī ē-twēhoyit. māmaskātēw.
“tānisi ōma ē-itahkamikisiyēk nisīmitik?” isi-kakwēcimēw ēsa ōhi niska.
“iyaw, ē-takwākik ōma. wīpac ta-pipon ēkwa tāh-tāhkāyāw! ohcitaw piko sāwanohk ta-isi-pimohtēhoyāhk ēkā kita-nipahāskwaciyāhk,” itwēw ēsa awa pēyak niska.
“mahti nīsta! kika-wīcēwitināwāw!” itwēw wīsahkēcāhk.
“māka wiya ēkā ē-otahtahkwaniyan!” itwēw ēsa awa niska.
“hā, tāpwē wēspinac!”
“hāw, cēskwa, kika-māmawi-wīcihitinān,” itwēw awa niska. nitomēw owāhkōmākana ēkwa itēw ta-tah-tahwamāyit wīsahkēcāhkwa omiyāmiyik. ōta tah-tahkwamik ōhi niska: pēyak ostikwānihk, ēkwa ātiht ospitonihk, ēkwa mīna kotaka oskātihk. ēkosi isi-kaskihtāwak ta-pimohtahācik ostēsiwāwa, wīsahkēcāhkwa. ispimihk pāskac ē-itāpiyit ōhi. ē-sāsakicisiniyit.
“ēkāwiya waskawī nistēsē,” itēw ēsa awa niska ostēsa. “kika-kitiskinitinān kīspin waskawīyani!”
“hāw, namwāc nika-waskawīn.” itwēw ēsa wīsahkēcāhk. ēkosi ati-sipwēpihāwak ōki niskak, ē-tahkonācik ostēsiwāwa. miywēyihtam wīsahkēcāhk ayisk wīsta sāwanohk ē-wī-itohtēhot.
kētahtawē kā-pēhtawāt iskwēwa ē-matwē-mōcikihtākosiyit. “kisāstaw ē-pakāsimoyit,” itēyihtam
sēmak waskawīw, ē-kwēskipayihot, ē-kakwē-wāpamāt anihi iskwēwa. mayaw kā-waskawīt, kā-kitiskinikot anihi niska.
mitoni ē-pakastawēsihk ita ōki iskwēwak kā-pakāsimoyit. kwayask pāhpihik!
ēkwāni namwāc sāwanohk ohci itohtēhow wīsahkēcāhk māka kēyāpic ōki niskak sāwanohk itohtēhowak tahto-takwākin ēkwa tāpiskōc kēyāpic ē-miciminācik wīsahkēcāhk.
Once Wisahkecahk was strolling along, around a lake, when he saw some geese flying up and then landing again. He wondered what they were doing.
“Little brothers, what are you doing?” he asked the geese.
“Well, it’s autumn now, but soon it will be winter and very cold. We must travel south so that we don’t freeze to death,” one of the geese replied.
“Me too! I’ll come with you!” said Wisahkecahk.
“… but you don’t have any wings,” replied the goose.
“Hmm, truly this is tragic.”
“Okay, wait. All together we will help you,” said the goose. So the goose called his relatives and told them, using their mouths of course, to grab a hold of Wisahkecahk’s body. So the geese did just that: one at his head, a few at his arms and others at his legs. In this way, the geese were able to carry their older brother Wisahkecahk: who was facing upwards, he was on his back.
“Don’t move older brother,” said the goose; “If you move, we might accidently drop you!”
“Okay, I won’t move!” Wisahkecahk replied as the geese began to fly away holding on to him, their older brother. Wisahkecahk was glad as he too was going south.
Suddenly Wisahkecahk heard some women, and it sounded like they were having fun. “Perhaps they are swimming,” he thought.
Quickly he moved, twisting to try to see those women. As soon as he moved, the geese dropped him.
Wisahkecahk fell right into the water where the women were swimming. Truly they laughed at him.
So Wisahkecahk never made it south but still, when migrating, geese fly in this same formation: as if still holding Wisahkecahk.
© Solomon Ratt
English Translation by Ben Godden
Science tells us that geese fly in formation because they create a sweet spot of reduced air resistance for one another. Or maybe they remember that time they carried wîsahkêcâhk. Photo by Alex Galt, USFWS
Did you know ..
you can hear Solomon Ratt tell two versions of this wonderful story here. Sincere thanks to Solomon and the Cree Literacy Network for allowing us to repost this text.
“Wisahkecahk is the protagonist in many of sacred 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.”
Storyteller: Solomon Ratt
Solomon Ratt is a Cree Language Studies Associate Professor at the First Nations University of Canada and a 2021 Recipient of the Saskatchewan Order of Merit.
Born in a trapper’s cabin on the banks of the Churchill River, just four miles north of Stanley Mission, Solomon Ratt graduated from the University of Regina with a BA (Ord) and BA (Adv) and an MA. He is known for his outstanding contributions to the promotion and preservation of nêhiyawêwin . He is the primary contributor to the Cree Literacy Network, which provides free online resources for learning and is the author of three books, published by University of Regina Press..