Tshikapesh and the fish
Story-teller: Jean Raphaël, 1978.
Long ago, there was a man. He was called Tshikapesh. That was his name. He did all sorts of things; some funny and others not so funny. He loved to bathe. At that time, the pike was bad.
One day, while he was bathing, despite being forbidden to do so by his sister, a pike swallowed him. Oh! The pike that had swallowed him wandered everywhere. During this time, Tshikapesh remembered that his sister had tended the hooks.
So, he said to the pike: « Find something to eat. »
The pike replied: « I am not hungry. I have already eaten very well. »
Tshikapesh said to him: « That is nothing, look for something to eat just the same. »
During this time, Tshikapesh’s sister asked herself where her brother was. She doubted that her brother was in the pike’s stomach. She thought that he was dead.
As for the pike, he was moving towards the edge of the lake. Tshikapesh continued to say: « Find something to eat. »
The pike told him: « I am still not hungry. »
A little later, the fish said: « I have found a little something to put between my teeth. »
Tshikapesh said to him: « Go find it. »
The pike jumped on the hook and said: « Look, I am caught on a hook. Now we are going to be pulled along! »
It was Tshikapesh’s sister who pulled on the hook. The pike was truly full. Once the fish was brought to the edge, Tshikapesh’s sister took her knife and cut open the pike’s stomach. And there, she heard her brother shouting in the fish’s stomach.
He said: « Don’t put your knife too far in, you will cut me! »
And it was there that she saw that her brother was in the pike’s stomach. She cut carefully and her brother was able to get out of the fish’s stomach.
Then she asked her brother: « What shall we do with this fish? »
He told her: « Cut it up into small pieces and throw them into the water, because later, it will not be larger than it was. »
She did what Tshikapesh said. She cut it up into small pieces and threw it into the water. After throwing them, his sister said to him: « Tshikapesh stop bathing! » He heard her, but…
Who is Tshikapesh?
Tshikapesh is a character very well known to the Pekuakamiulnuatsh, as much by adults as by children. He is one of the legendary heroes who had a whole series of adventures. One sees them evolve in all sorts of situations.
He is a strange being who is equipped with powers enabling him to modify his size at will. In effect, in the stories, the growth of Tshikapesh is made rapidly, by jumps. He is a baby, then a young man and then an adult.
His family situation
Tshikapesh is an orphan. His father and mother were killed even before he was born, at that time when he was still in his mother’s womb. He has only one older sister who takes care of him. She intervenes all the time, to tell him of dangers or to tell him to stop doing things, with the aim of saving his life which is menaced constantly.
But, despite the warnings of his sister, Tshikapesh cannot stop himself ignoring her advice. Thus, he often finds himself in embarrassing situations, even dangerous, and she must come to his aid.
Tshikapesh promises that he will not do it again, but it is stronger than he is, he always starts again.