Native American Tales

Glooscap and the Baby

Glooscap and the BabyGlooscap and the Baby

Algonquian

Glooscap had defeated all the bad things, the wizards, the cannibals, and all the wicked things of the world. One day he boasted to a woman that he could defeat anything and she challenged him. She asked him if he could defeat Wasis; Glooscap thought he could. Wasis was a baby.

Glooscap went to Wasis who was sucked on a piece of maple candy. Glooscap asked Wasis to come to him. The baby ignored him. Glooscap imitated a bird song; the baby ignored him. At one point Glooscap became frustrated and yelled at the baby, but the baby merely burst into tears. Glooscap tried everything he knew, spells and such, but the baby merely smiled.

Glooscap finally became so frustrated that he stormed out. Wasis simply said, “Goo, goo,” when he had gone and to this day babies say “goo” in remembrance of the time that they defeated Glooscap.

Observations

Insert Nelson’s “Haha,” right here.

Oh Glooscap…

The statue above is Glooscap by the way; he’s in many tales.

Themes

Taking candy from a baby isn’t quite as easy as you had imagined, is it, Glooscap?

Babies are fairly ignorant of what happens around them. They’ll pay attention to it if they want to. Glooscap didn’t really know anything about babies and thought they would be easy to conquer. He was wrong.

The woman knew more about conquering a baby than Glooscap did. This story is a bit of a traditional gender role bit, dare I say, a little sexist? It was assumed that a woman would know how to care for a baby over a man. This isn’t necessarily the case, as we know. In this story the big, mighty warrior may very well know all about conquering threats, but does he know about domestic responsibilities? This is all really just a case of you-can’t-talk-authoritatively-and-back-it-up-about-something-you-don’t-have-any-experience-with. In the end it doesn’t matter what gender roles this story may have been pointing out. If you don’t know anything about something, how can you say that you can do it?

Overall

Haha

Weigh In

How would your baby have treated Glooscap?

Do you think Glooscap tangled with any more babies after this?

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