Category

Thunder Marriage 
Passamaquoddy Tribe

The Passamaquoddy tribe lived in Maine and New Brunswick. Like other Native Americans, they believed in spirits that were part of Nature. The stories reflect spirit-Gods and humans that breed or befriend each other. The tribe still exists today with a population of about 800, and they reside near Calais, Maine, at the Canadian border.

The following story is called The Woman Who Married Thunder, and of Their Boy, and is about a woman that is attacked by a serpent. She is guided to a great Thunder spirit, who kills the serpent's offspring. Thunder are winged spirits in the sky that we see and hear during storms. The loud noise is generated from the flapping of their wings, and lightning is created from the pipes they smoke. In this particular story, Thunder are male spirits, and Lightning are female. The spirits generally comfort humans to assure them that thunder and lighning are not dangerous.

"Once a woman went to the edge of a lake and lay down to sleep. As she awoke, she saw a great serpent, with glittering eyes, crawl from the water, and stealthily approach her. She had no power to resist his embrace. After her return to her people her condition betrayed itself, and she was much persecuted; they pursued her with sticks and stones, howling abuse.

She fled from the village; she went afar into wild places, and, sitting down on the grass, wept, wishing that she were dead. As she sat and wailed, a very beautiful girl, appeared, dressed in silver and gold, and after listening to her sad story said, 'Follow me!'

Then they went up on high into a mountain, through three rocks, until they came into a pleasant wigwam with a very smooth floor. An old man, so old that he was [extremely pale], came to meet them. Then he, taking a short stick, [ordered] her [to] dance. He began to sing, and as he sang she gave birth, one by one, to twelve serpents. These the old man killed in succession with his stick as they were born. Then she had become thin again, and was in her natural form.

The old man had a son, Badawk, the Thunder, and a daughter, Psawk-tankapic, the Lightning, and when Thunder returned he offered to take her back to her own people, but she refused to go. Then the old man said to his son, 'Take her for your wife and be good to her.' So they were married. 
In time she bore a son. When the boy could stand, the old man, who never leaves the mountain, called him to stand before him, while he fastened wings to the child. He was soon able, with these wings, to make a noise, which greatly pleased the grandfather. When a storm is approaching, the distant rumbling is the muttering thunder made by the child, but it is Badawk, his father, who comes in the dark cloud and makes the roaring crash, while Psawk-tankapic flashes her lightnings.

In [later] days, when the woman visited her people, she told them that they never need fear the thunder or lightning"

Another story about thunder relates to the Thunderbird legend.

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