In a valley of the Musquodoboit lived the Little People. A man who knew where they lived thought he would tease them. He pulled off his coat and shouted to them to come and fight with him if they dared. No one appeared and he sat down to wait. It was hot and dry and after a time he fell asleep. Hours later when he awoke he bound hand and foot. He could not see the cords that bound him, but he could neither move nor free himself.

He called out, “Ho, there. Who tied me?”

A voice from the cliffs called back, “Neen. It was I.”

The man shouted, “Ho! It was you!”

The voice on the cliff answered, “Neen. It was I.”

“Then untie me,” shouted the man, “and I will never tease you again.”

The man lay very still. Soon he felt hands touching his hands and feet. He sat up and the cords were gone. He got up from the ground and walked off down the valley of the Musquodoboit. He would tell the Indians to leave the Little People alone.

And so they did, until, one day many years later, three Indians, who were hunting in the place where the man had insulted the Little People, decided to call to them.

They shouted, “Ho! Come to your prayers.”      

Down from the cliffs came a silvery voice, “Ho! Come to your prayers!”

The men called back, “Ho! Come and get your dinner.”

The voice answered, “Ho! Come and get your dinner.”

The men laughed and went down the valley of the Musquodoboit. And the little people laughed.

The Three Brothers and the Little People

In a lonely wigwam in the woods lived three brothers. They were unmarried and one brother cared for the wigwam when the other two hunted.

One day a little man came to their door who was no larger than a child. He was cold and hungry and begged to sit by the fire.

The brother who was in the wigwam that day made a place by the fire, and the little man sat down and warmed himself and asked for food. The brother gave him a small portion and he ate it hungrily and asked for more. Again the brother filled his dish and he ate it as greedily as before and asked for more.

There was little food in the wigwam and when the little man pleaded for more and more the brother told him, “No, I cannot give you more. There is only enough left for my brothers.”

But the little man cried so pitifully that the brother gave him food until there was nothing left. When it was gone the little man disappeared, and the brother was left with an empty kettle.

When the brothers came home they were angry. “You should have known he was one of the Little People”, they yelled at the brother. “If he had come when we were here there would be food.”

The next day one of the other brothers cared for the wigwam. Near the end of the day the same little man came to the door and begged for food and to sit by the fire. He begged pitifully and the brother let him come into the wigwam and gave him a small portion of food.

“He shall not have all from me,” he thought, “only this very small portion.”

The little man ate hungrily, and as before, begged for more and more, until the kettle was empty. Then he was gone and the brother was alone.

“He shall not fool me,” the eldest brother shouted angrily when he saw the empty kettle. “Tomorrow I stay in the wigwam.”

When the little man came the eldest brother stood in the doorway.

“There is no food for you today,” he told him.

“There is food,” said the little man.

“There is no food for you,” said the brother.

The little man was angry. He pushed the brother aside and strode boldly into the wigwam.

“Give me food,” he begged pitifully.

But the eldest brother would not listen. He seized him roughly to push him from the wigwam; but the little man was strong and he could not thorw him. They wrestled and the brother was glad when he ran front him. He threw his spear at him.

“Do not come again evil one,” he shouted, as he watched the little man with a spear thrust him go up into the hills.

He told his brothers, “We will not see the little man again. I threw my spear at him.”

But the little man came again and begged the brother to draw the spear from him.

“That will never do,” the brother told him.

“Draw your spear from me,” pleaded the little man, “and I will take you to a place where you and your brothers may find wives to care for your wigwam.”

The eldest brother did not like the work of the wigwam. When he was promised a wife he drew the spear from the little man, “and he led the three brothers up the cliffs into the caves where they saw many tiny women sitting in a circle, and above them a circle of tiny men.

“Here are wives fro you,” said the little man proudly.

The three brothers stood before the tiny women.

“Can you care for a wigwam?” asked the eldest brother.

The little woman of his choice chanted in the voice of the Little People, “I can care for a wigwam.”

“Do you know the roots of the forest that are good to eat?” asked the youngest brother of the woman he had chosen for his wife.

“I know the roots of the forest that are good to eat,” she answered.

The other brother asked the tiny woman of his choice, “Can you make a good strong coat of moose skin?”

“I can make a good strong coat of moose skin,” the tiny woman told him.

When the little women had answered, the brothers took them for their wives, and they and their wives left the caves of the Little People and went down the valley to the brothers ‘ wigwam.

But the wives were not faithful. When the brothers left them alone in the wigwam they were away, and when the brothers called to them, they taunted them from the cliffs with the words the brothers called to them.  

Copyright Marion Robertson,  “Red Earth: Tales of the Micmacs”, 1969. Available from the author, Shelburne, N.S. and from the Nova Scotia Museum, Halifax, N.S.