Memeu

I will tell you a story of a woman who had no husband.  This woman had a young son whom she kept with her, until one day when, in his turn, the son was capable of making his own living.

She lived with a man who loved her, but this man did not like her son.  Loving her son very much, she started to ponder:  « What am I going to do with my son? »

Then, one day, the man got into his canoe, while the woman was in the woods to hunt and tend traps to meet their needs.

Then, the man said to the little boy: « Get in with me, I will give you a trip on the water. »

Despite his fear, because he felt strongly that the man did not like him, the young lad got into the canoe.  The water was very calm and it appeared that there was an island far off. « It is there far away that we are going » said the man.  Arriving at the island, he made the child get out.  Once the child had got out, the man abandoned him and returned home.

After some time, the boy began to be hungry.  But there was nothing to eat on the island.  There was nothing that grew to produce berries.  Thus, nothing to put in his mouth.

Then, he thought and said to himself:  « I will walk along the shore and see whether the waves have brought something. »

At last, walking along the shore, he saw a large serpent emerge from the water, that which one calls a horned serpent.  « If I ask it, it could probably help me cross the lake » he said.

He spoke to it thus: « Grand-mother, said he addressing the horned serpent, could you transport me to the other side of the lake where my mother is?

I am very sorry my child, said the latter, but I am not capable of crossing the lake.  Look, it said, if you place small rocks on my back, they will break my spine.  I am too old to carry you.  Continue a little further along the beach, it is your grandfather there who has the means for crossing the water.  It is he who can make the crossing.  He is much more courageous than I.

Yes » replied the boy.

While walking along the beach, he saw a horned serpent come out of the water as his grandmother had predicted when she had said:  « Go see your grandfather. »

So the boy said: « Grandfather, could you carry me from this island where I am to the other bank of the lake so that I can see my mother?

Certainly, replied the serpent, I can take you across.  However, look at the sky and see if it is clear.  If the sky is completely clear, I will be able to make the crossing, but I cannot show myself in the full light of day, since if the thunder booms, the lightning will fall on me. »

The boy replied: « The sky is blue all over, grandfather.  You will have the time to take me across.

That is good, go break alder branches to beat me, said the serpent.  Get many alder branches and hold many in your hands.  Hit me on the horns with an alder branch and when it is completely broken, get another. »

After breaking the alder rods, the boy got onto the serpent, placed himself behind the horns and started to lash out with the branches.

The place from which the boy must leave was very close.  They had almost arrived at their destination, but he had only the last two lashes left.

The serpent continued to advance quickly, when the thunder was heard, even though the sky was still completely clear.  « My grandchild, said the serpent, in a few moments, you will get off on a good bottom. »

While the serpent continued to advance, the lightning struck close behind them.  Seeing that the water was not too deep, the boy jumped into the water.  At the same moment, the thunder struck. « Oh, I am going to die » said the boy.

Then, he walked in the water and at last touched the beach.  He looked around, but saw nothing, absolutely nothing.  « I have no idea where I can find my grandfather, maybe he is dead » he said.

The island where he had come on the back of the serpent was just visible.  He went there, towards the place where his mother was supposed to be, in company with the man with whom she had left.

In effect, the woman had accompanied the man after he had left the child far away.  Thus, both of them had gone to live far away in a place where there was a river, only a river.  « Where will I live?  Asked the boy.  How may I get to the place where I can find my mother? »

The man who stayed with his mother was a sorcerer.  He had deposited on the road, that the boy had to follow, a fiery gum.  He set fire to the gum and it blazed.  The young lad had to follow this route.  « What must I do to go on foot on this route? » said the boy.

Then he thought: « I will put on my leather pants. »

After putting them on (where he had found them to put on, I do not know), he jumped in the fire and with a second bound, he found himself on the other side of the route.  Even though his leather pants were quite shrunken, and partially burned, he could still walk.

Continuing his route, the boy saw a fish hook.  At the place where the fishhook was attached, there was still fire.  The enormous fishhook balanced as if someone had used it for fishing.
How could he walk down this way and avoid the traps that the sorcerer had set for him?

Once more, the boy arranged to overcome the difficulty.  He hit the firewood and on hitting the wood like this, everything fell.  There were no more obstacles and the young lad was able to follow his route freely.

Continuing his route, he saw a large river, but at least, there was something on which he could embark and which would allow him to cross the river.

After accomplishing this crossing, he came at last to the place where found his mother’s cabin.  The man, being a sorcerer, lived in his own cabin, but always in the same campsite.

Then, the boy said to himself: « I will not show myself right away, I will take the form of a bird for a while.  Yes, I will appear in the form of a blackbird.  And if I wish to change my mother he said, I will change her into a golden woodpecker. »

In a single blow the blackbird moved jumping to the cabin door.  In reality, it was the boy who appeared thus.

The blackbird flew all over across the woodcuttings.  Suddenly, he thought, I will call out to the interior in case my mother is there.

So he called: « Mama I am here. »

The woman heard the call, she recognised her son’s voice.  Then the blackbird repeated: « Mama, I am here. »

The woman got up and saw the blackbird that hopped, here and there, making small leaps. « It is surely not him » she said to herself.

After a moment, she returned to sit down inside the cabin.  « What reason could there be for me to hear this voice?.  What is the reason?  Maybe it is a sign that my son will return » she thought.

The woman went into the cabin and sat down.

The blackbird cried again: « Mama, I am here. »

She went out of the cabin and saw her son who stood there.  With a cry of surprise, the woman said to him: « But how were you able to come, my son?  The route had to be very difficult for you to come » she said, since she knew what her son had suffered.  « How were you able to return? » she repeated.

The man who hunted in the area arrived at the camp.  And then, he said to the boy: « How did you get here?  You do not know exactly what I did to get here, and you never will » responded the boy to the man.

The boy knew well that it was the man who had taken him to the island so that he would die of starvation. Today, he has returned to find his mother.

(I do not know exactly what the man had already done to him)

So the boy said: « You will never know what I did to return, and I will never tell you ».

Thus the son and his mother are re-united thanks to the passion of Memeu.