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The Coming of Gluscabi

A Native American story told by Joseph Bruchac

Joseph Bruchac
Joseph Bruchac

After Tabaldak had finished making human beings, he dusted his hands off and some of that dust sprinkled on the Earth. From the dust Gluscabi formed himself. He sat up from the Earth and said, “Here I am.” So it is that some of the Abenaki people call Gluscabi by another name, “Odzihozo,” which means, “the man who made himself from something.” He was not as powerful as Tabaldak, The Owner, but like his grandchildren, the human beings, he had the power to change things, sometimes for the worse. When Gluscabi sat up for the Earth, The Owner was astonished. “How did it happen now that you came to be?” he said. Then Gluscabi said, “Well, it is because I formed myself from this dust left over from the first humans that you made.” “You are very wonderful,” The Owner told him…. “I am wonderful because you sprinkled me,” Gluscabi answered…Then the Owner said, “Behold here how wonderful is my work. By the wish of my mind I created all this existing world, oceans, rivers, lakes.” And he and Gluscabi gazed open-eyed.

— From “The Coming of Gluscabi” in Native American Stories told by Joseph Bruchac

Joseph Bruchac (b. 1942) is an American writer and anthologist with a particular focus on northeastern Native American and Anglo-American lives and folklore. The author of poetry, novels, and short stories, Bruchac is descended from the Abenaki, one of the Algonquian-speaking peoples, and also has English and Slovak ancestors. Coauthor with Michael J. Caduto of the Keeper of the Earth series, from which the above selection was culled, Bruchac has also been instrumental in helping many Native American writers find publishers.

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Joseph Bruchac
Joseph Bruchac

After Tabaldak had finished making human beings, he dusted his hands off and some of that dust sprinkled on the Earth. From the dust Gluscabi formed himself. He sat up from the Earth and said, “Here I am.” So it is that some of the Abenaki people call Gluscabi by another name, “Odzihozo,” which means, “the man who made himself from something.” He was not as powerful as Tabaldak, The Owner, but like his grandchildren, the human beings, he had the power to change things, sometimes for the worse. When Gluscabi sat up for the Earth, The Owner was astonished. “How did it happen now that you came to be?” he said. Then Gluscabi said, “Well, it is because I formed myself from this dust left over from the first humans that you made.” “You are very wonderful,” The Owner told him…. “I am wonderful because you sprinkled me,” Gluscabi answered…Then the Owner said, “Behold here how wonderful is my work. By the wish of my mind I created all this existing world, oceans, rivers, lakes.” And he and Gluscabi gazed open-eyed.

— From “The Coming of Gluscabi” in Native American Stories told by Joseph Bruchac

Joseph Bruchac (b. 1942) is an American writer and anthologist with a particular focus on northeastern Native American and Anglo-American lives and folklore. The author of poetry, novels, and short stories, Bruchac is descended from the Abenaki, one of the Algonquian-speaking peoples, and also has English and Slovak ancestors. Coauthor with Michael J. Caduto of the Keeper of the Earth series, from which the above selection was culled, Bruchac has also been instrumental in helping many Native American writers find publishers.

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