By Chief Thomas Fiddler & James R. Stevens
Legends From The Forest
Cree Legends of Sandy Lake, No. 1
By Chief Thomas Fiddler, edited by James R. Stevens, and translated by Edtrip Fiddler.
Other storytellers are Edward Rae, Titus Goodman, Thomas Linklater, and Abel Fiddler.
Legends of the Forest is a collection of foundation stories and other legends as passed down through generations by the Sandy Lake Cree. They are indispensable for understanding the boreal culture of the North. Foundation stories describe events that "occur in the pale before human beings were extant on earth. Only Weesakayjac and the creatures inhabit the forest world." The enigmatic Weesakayjac is a hunter, in human form. "...One can hardly find a better teacher on the wild behaviour of human beings."
These stories are told by Chief Thomas Fiddler with help from his friends Edward Rae, Titus Goodman, Thomas Linklater, and Abel Fiddler. Together with Sacred Legends and Killing the Shamen this volume forms a trilogy of Sandy Lake stories from Penumbra Press.
"The stories illustrate an organic view of existence, an essential for those inhabiting the boreal forest. From the mythological Weesakajac (teacher and fool) to the medicine battles between clans, the feats of the Yorkboat men of the Hudson's Bay era, and the heroes of Old Young Lad, "Great Northern Captain Assup," and James Linklater, these storytellers dramatize the socio-cultural dynamics of their homeland. They give the how-and-why, mysticism, mystery, and madness."
— Lenore Keeshig-Tobias
"Fiddler is the hereditary leader of the Sucker clan at Big Sandy Lake on the Upper Severn River in the province of Ontario. His father, Robert Fiddler, and grandfather, Jack Fiddler, were leaders before him. This lineage is traceable to a great grandfather who had no English name. He was Porcupine Standing Sideways who died in 1891 at the ripe old age of 121 years."
— James R. Stevens
Photo Credit: Thomas Lawrence
(Reprinted: 1991, 1999)
Softcover, 6 X 9 inches,
20 b&w reproductions of paintings by six different native artists