Passamaquoddy Legends of the Mountian
Married to the Spirit of Katahdin
As told by Lewis Mitchell, Passamaquoddy, 1890
“Was this the end?”
Once there was a girl who was called Red Rose and she was very beautiful. One day she wandered in the woods a long way from home. She came to a place where Mount Katahdin was in view. As she looked at it she wished for a husband as big and strong as the mountain. She was very tired from the long walk, so she fell asleep at the base of a tree. As Red Rose slept, she dreamt of a tall man. When she awoke there was an immense Native standing before her. “I am the Spirit of Katahdin,” he said. “I know your wish, and I have come to marry you.” He asked her to go to the mountain with him, but it is a long way. “ I cannot walk so far,” she said. “ I did not ask you to walk,” he answered. “ I will carry you.”
So he sat her upon his shoulder, and went away with her to Katahdin. The entrance to the mountain was in its side between some rocks where it could not be easily found. The Spirit of Katahdin took her within the mountain past the rocks and there she lived with him very happily.
After a few years, Red Rose gave birth to a little boy and a little girl. As the years passed, Red Rose began to grow homesick. “ I wish that I could go home,” she said one day. ”You shall have your wish,” answered the Spirit of Katahdin. He gave her some medicine that made her once more young and beautiful. As a parting gift he said that whenever his daughter passed her hand over her lips, the words would come true, and whatever his son pointed a finger at would die.
So Red Rose went home to her Tribe by the great waters of the Passamaquoddy Bay. She took the children with her to meet their Passamaquoddy family. When they reached home it was a time of famine. There was nothing to eat in the wigwams; there was no game in the woods; there were no fish in the river or lakes. Everyone was sad. Red Rose felt sad also, but the little girl passed her hand over her mouth and said that there was game in the woods. At once the woods were full of game. The little boy pointed his finger at the deer and it fell dead. Then he pointed at a moose and it fell dead. He happened to point at a tribal member and he too fell dead. Then the little girl passed her hand over her mouth and said that the lakes and rivers were full of eels. Then they were full of eels, and there was a great deal to eat. Everyone was happy, and there was no more famine.
Over the years the Passamaquoddy were attacked by the tribes from the east. The spirit of Katahdin came and gave the Passamaquoddy people, a magic bow. Arrows shot out from it in every direction, and every arrow killed an enemy. The other tribe was frightened and fled. Katahdin also gave Red Rose more medicine so that every 100 years she becomes young and beautiful again. Every 100 years she comes back to visit the Passamaquoddy, and she is very, very beautiful indeed. It is said among the Elderly of the Tribe that many grandparents saw Red Rose when she came on the last century visit. For a long time Natives were afraid to go up to the top of Mount Katahdin for they may meet the Spirit of the Mountain, who dwells in its heart beyond the secret stone portals.