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Oliver D. Bernuetz's Stories

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Waha and the Wasis

This is a story (adapted from an Algonquin myth) that Eiritha worshippers like to tell when their husbands get too full of themselves.

All know that Waha is the mightiest of all warriors. Over both Men and Beasts is he Lord. He has mastered the ghosts of the night and the spirits of the day. Ages ago after achieving many great feats during his epic wanderings he decided to return home. His mother, Eiritha looked after his lodge and he expected her to greet him in the accepted manner. Instead she stood looking at a strange creature on the floor. Waha had done battle with ghosts and devils and all manner of Chaos but he had never seen the like of this creature before.
"What manner of beast is this?" he asked.
"This is the mighty Wasis," she replied. "And be warned that if you meddle with him, you will be in trouble. I must serve him night and day."
"I would not put up with such a tyrant," said Waha.
"You would have no choice," said Eiritha. "Mighty Wasis holds in one hand the past and in the other he holds the future. Of all the world is he the master."
"Not of Waha," cried Waha. "I am Lord of Men and of Beasts. I am undefeated!"
He walked right up to mighty Wasis.
"I, Waha, am not afraid of you," he said.
The Wasis gurgled.
Waha took up his warrior's stance. "I am the strongest of the strong," he said.
The Wasis sat and sucked on a marrow bone.
"I am Lord of Men and Beasts," thundered Waha. "Come here!"
But the Wasis howled back. He screamed and screamed and screamed until Waha thought his head would split.
"Stop that!" he shouted.
But the mighty Wasis just kept on screaming.
Desperate to quiet him, Waha danced his ghost dance and sang the songs to raise the dead. Then Waha danced his spirit dance and sang the songs to scare away devils.
And, finally, the Wasis stopped screaming, looked at Waha, and smiled, a big smile as wide as the world. "Goo!" he said.
Totally exhausted by his heroic efforts to stop the Wasis's screaming and howling, Waha collapsed in a dead faint.
So whenever you see a baby sitting on the floor with a big smile all over its face, chuckling "Goo! Goo!" for no reason at all, you may be sure it is remembering the day it defeated the great Waha, Lord of Men and Beasts, defeater of Chaos.
Of all the beings that have ever been created since the beginning, a baby is the only one that nobody has ever got the better of - nor ever will until the end of time.

This myth adapted from "Glooskap and the Wasis" from The Illustrated Book of Myths published by Fenn Publishing, copyright 1995

Last modified January 07, 1998 

Last updated October 07, 2016

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