Ojibwa Tale: Showandasee

The term Ojibwe comes from Utchibou, name given to the XVIIe century to a group that lived north of what is now Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Here is one of their stories: Showandasee.

The Ojibway were part of a series of very close, but distinct groups, occupying a territory located between the northeast of the bay Georgian and eastern Lake Superior. These peoples who gathered near present-day Sault Ste. Mary are also called Saulteaux, a term that today refers primarily to the Ojibway peoples of northwestern Ontario and southeastern Manitoba.

Ojibway Showandasee


Long ago, when summer came, Showandasee drifted, heavy and drowsy.
Showandasee was the name the Ojibwa people gave to the South Wind.
They watched him in his summer travels and knew what he loved. Showandasee
loved to laze beneath the shade of the oak trees. He loved to inhale
the sweet ascent of summer blossoms, and when he breathed, the perfume
filled the air. The people watched him float over the waters, dipping
in his fingers to make little rippling waves. Showandasee loved
the summertime, and the people loved Showandasee.

One day, as Showandasee floated lazily, he looked down and saw
a most beautiful sight. There, in a grass, he saw a tall, slender
figure with golden hair. He drifted closer to sigh and wink at the
golden girl. His heart swelled with love. He came closer still,
and thought he might call her to his side. But Showandasee was too
lazy to call, and so he simply drifted past her, admiring her beauty.

The next day Showandasee floated past the field again to see the
beautiful girl. She was even lovelier than the day before. From
that day on, Showandasee always thing this same path, wafting over
the field, looking down on his golden girl as she grew taller. she
waved to him as she stood amidst the swaying grass.

Each day Showandasee fell more deeply in love. He inhaled more
deeply as the summer went on, and when he passed his golden girl,
he let out a long sigh. The air was filled with the sweet fragrance
of Showandasee's breath, and the people gave thanks for his love.
One morning, Showandasee woke at dawn and floated toward his field.

When he glanced down, he rubbed his sleepy eyes, for he could not
find his golden girl. Where she had once stood, he saw a slender
woman, but she was not as tall as his golden girl, and her back
seemed bent from strain. Her hair was no longer shimmering and golden.
Instead, it was as pale as the fading grass.

“What has happened to my golden girl? » he whispered,
and he drifted about, trying to find someone who might tell him
where she had gone. He blew over the fields searching for an answer.
Before long he came upon North Wind, who had been fast asleep all
long summer. Now he was awake and began puff. “Have you seen
my golden girl? Showandasee asked the North Wind.

North Wind laughed, and when he did, the trees below shook at the
sound. “I saw your golden girl,” said the North Wind,
“And I touched her beautiful golden head. When I did, her hair
turned color and she seemed to wilt. »

Showandasee was broken hearted. “you are cruel,” he cried,
but again North Wind laughed, and down below the trees began to
shiver. They waved to Showandasee, calling out, “Blow, Showandasee, blow. »

Showandasee flew across the fields toward his golden girl, but
this time he looked down and saw that North wind had touched her
again. Her hair had turned as white as snow, and she was withered
and old. Showandasee let out a deep sigh, and when he did the tall,
slender girl who had once been so golden and strong began to shake
as hard as the trees. Her hair blew from her head and scattered everywhere.

Not long after Showandasee, too sad to drift lazily, went away
to search the world for his would be golden girl.

Every year he returns. Every year he finds his golden girl again,
tall and beautiful amidst the fields of grass. When he sees her,
he begins once more to float and sigh across the land, and does
so until North Wind appears again and touches all the golden girls
with his here fingers.