Conte Ojibwé : Skunk Woman

Le terme Ojibwé vient de Outchibou, nom donné au XVIIe siècle à un groupe qui vivait au nord de ce qui est aujourd’hui Sault Ste. Marie, en Ontario.Voici un de leur conte : Skunk woman (en anglais).

Les Ojibwés faisaient partie d’une série de groupes très proches, mais distincts, occupant un territoire situé entre le nord-est de la baie Géorgienne et l’est du lac Supérieur. Ces peuplades qui se rassemblent près de la ville actuelle de Sault Ste. Marie sont aussi appelées Saulteaux, un terme qui désigne aujourd’hui principalement les peuples ojibwés du nord-ouest de l’Ontario et du sud-est du Manitoba.

Ojibwé Skunk woman

Skunk woman

Once there was an Ojibwe man who was a good hunter, but he had a very bad temper. He would always yell at his brothers or the other men whenever they made a mistake. Soon nobody wanted to go hunting with him anymore.

Eventually the hunter got married, so he and his wife went off on their own. She was a hard-working woman, and he was a good provider, so they were happy together by themselves. But one day he lost his temper with her too. She made a lot of noise while he was trying to trap beaver and spoiled his trapping, so he really yelled at her a lot. His wife ran back to the wigwam and took their son. She sang a song, but I don’t know how it goes. It had the same idea as « Your father doesn’t want us anymore, your father doesn’t want us anymore. » And she went away.

That night when the hunter came back, he saw that they were gone. And he felt bad, because he knew he shouldn’t have lost his temper. So he decided to follow them. He found their tracks in the mud and hurried after his wife and son. He was good at tracking and he thought he could catch up to them soon. So he hurried along, but as he went, he started to see that something was happening to their footprints. They didn’t look like moccasin prints anymore. They were starting to look like skunk footprints.

Suddenly the hunter arrived in a marsh. The footprints ended, and he was surrounded by skunks. There was nothing there but skunks. He couldn’t tell which ones were his wife and child. So he had to go back home.

After a while the hunter remarried, and he always told his children, « Don’t eat skunks. You must never eat skunks, because your brother is a skunk now. You might be eating your brother. » And they never did. That family never ate skunks again. And as for the hunter, he changed his attitude, and he didn’t yell at his family members any more.