NANABOZO AND THE BABYCategory: Tales
In the course of time Nanabozo killed all the monsters created by Chakeke-Napok and subdued most of the evil manitoes that lived on the Earth. The Indians could now enjoy a quiet and happy life. After all his victories Nanabozo for the first time allowed himself to rest a little and went to a feast which was prepared for him. At the feast Nanabozo’s kinsmen sang songs about his great victories, and one of them said:
“There is nothing in the world that our Nanabozo cannot subdue.”
Nanabozo did not like to boast, so he kept silent, but a young woman who was in the wigwam laughed suddenly. Nanabozo looked at her and asked:
“Why are you laughing?”
The young woman stopped laughing and said,
. “Oh, Master, you are very wise and your magic powers can do almost everything. But there is still one who cannot be conquered.”
Nanabozo was greatly astonished by her words and asked about the name of this powerful man.
“He is called Wasis,” answered the woman, “but I advise you not to try your powers on him because it is useless.”
Nanabozo asked the young woman to lead him to Wasis and she did as he asked.
Wasis was only a baby, the young woman’s first child. When the woman led Nanabozo into her wigwam, Wasis was sitting on the floor and eating a piece of maple-sugar. Nanabozo was not married and he did not know much about little children. He thought that it was enough to say a word to a child, and it would listen to him, as grown-up people always did. So he smiled at the baby and asked it to come to him. The baby smiled back at him, but did not move from his place. Then Nanabozo imitated the song of a bird. Wasis, however, was too busy with his maple- sugar, and he paid no attention to the beautiful song. Nanabozo, who had never before met anybody who would pay no attention to him, was very angry. In a loud voice he ordered the litlle boy to come up to him at once. Wasis did not understand the order, but, frightened by the angry stranger, he cried so loudly that Nanabozo could not hear his own voice. This made him still angrier. He sang the songs which raise the dead and make rivers change their course. Wasis seemed to think that the stranger was playing a game with him, but he did not like the game and continued to eat the maple-sugar. At last Nanabozo saw that all his magic powers were useless, and ran out of the wigwam. This made Wasis merry and he cried, “Goo, goo.”
And to this day, the Indians say that when a baby cries “Goo!” he remembers the time when he conquered the mighty Nanabozo.