Algonquin Legends: The Colors of the Sunset

Published on January 28, 2013 by Carol

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Algonquin traditional painting and dress

There was once an Indian boy, who supposedly was very good natured, only every day at sunset time he would start to cry and cry, and his parents could not stop him. The called upon all the Indians of their tribe to come and see him, asking them, each in turn, if they knew what ailed their child.

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Among the many Indians present was an old Medicine Woman, whose name ws Kisisok8e, the Sun Woman. “It is the colors of the sunset your child craves for, ” said the Medicine Woman witch. “You must go to a certain place and there, at the bottom of a large lake, you will find all the colors of the sunset.”

The child’s father consented to go in search of the colors. “The lake is very far,” the Witch Woman warned him. After many days, travelling by canoe, the father finally reached the lake of the sun. He saw many strange looking people guarding the lakeshore, and among them was an enormous fish, a polly-wog, whose name was Podonch (Oga. Pike fish), who had a great big belly and a small puckered mouth. The chief caught the polly-wog, and glued his mouth with sturgeon glue, so as the other fish on the shore would not hear him calling for help. He stunned the polly-wog and pushed him into the water, then, in one leap, the Indian dived to the bottom of the lake, and started to search for the colors of the sunset. After much searching the chief found the beautiful colors, and he brought them back to his child.

And ever after, at sunset time the father would give his son the powdered colors of the sun to play with, and never more did he cry when the sun was setting.

Podonch was severely punished by the other fish, for not having guarded the lakeshore, and allowing the chief to carry away the secret colors of the sun. And, for his punishment, they left him his gills to breath from. And, ever since, all the polly-wogs have been born with small puckered up mouths.

Source: Sacred-texts Unabridged
Based on the collective work of, © 2015 Native American Encyclopedia.
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