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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, March 8, 2006

Sometimes it pays to think like a thief

Adapted by Amy Friedman

Jillian Gilliland

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"Glooscap's Lesson" is a Micmac Indian legend.

Long ago, the creator of the Micmac, Gisoolg, created the chief Glooscap. From his home in the Bay of Fundy, Glooscap watched over the creatures of the Earth and taught them important lessons.

One of these lessons went like this: "The best way to catch a weasel is to think like a weasel."

Ableegumooch the rabbit had learned many lessons from Glooscap. One day as Ableegumooch hopped through the forest, he spied Keoonik the otter swimming in the lake. On the shore lay a string of eels. "I think I'll steal my friend's food," the rabbit said, and he snatched the eels and bounded away.

When Keoonik saw his eels were gone, he knew whom to blame, for he and the rabbit always played tricks on each other.

Keoonik went to the village, where he found the rabbit. "Where are my eels?" he cried.

"I gave them to the people," Ableegumooch said, "for someone has been stealing their food; they are starving."

The pair called a truce and said, "We'll find the thieves together."

Before long, they passed by Uskoos the weasel and Abukcheech the mouse. "Will you help us find the thieves who are stealing the people's food?" Ableegumooch asked.

"You can count on us," Uskoos said.

But Keoonik the otter pulled his rabbit friend aside. "The people's robes are scratched and chewed," he whispered. "And who scratches and chews?"

"The weasel and the mouse," Ableegumooch whispered. "Perhaps they are the thieves."

Ableegumooch and Keoonik trailed the mouse and the weasel to a large burrow, where other weasels and mice were gathered. The rabbit and the otter eavesdropped.

"It is time to destroy the people," said Uskoos, "We deserve to have this place to ourselves."

Suddenly Ableegumooch had to sneeze. "Ahhhhhchoooooo!"

Furious, the weasels and mice dragged the eavesdroppers from their hiding spot. "Spies!" they cried. "You must join our group or die!"

"I, I ... " Ableegumooch began to speak. And then he heard the magic flute of Glooscap. Ableegumooch closed his eyes, and then remembered. "To catch a weasel, think like a weasel."

"Yes!" he said. "We'll join! We'll destroy the people!"

Keoonik did not quite understand, but he trusted his friend.

"The people deserve the worst," said Ableegumooch. "We saw them hide their food in a secret place."

"Show us this place!" the mice called.

Keoonik smiled. Now he understood. He raced through the forest, up toward the hills, the mice and weasels on his heels. Ableegumooch pointed to the top of a hill. "You see those rocks?" he said. "That's where the people hid their food."

The mice and weasels stampeded to the top of that hill. The first to reach the top saw there was no storehouse of food. There was only a sheer drop down to the icy sea.

But the animals were running so fast, they could not stop, and one by one they teetered and fell into the sea.