The Roc

sinbad_giant_roc

Ililiw nîpâ-kîwekopan e kî natawešket sâkahikanihk. Mitâwakâm pimâtakâskôpan. Ot eškan piminikâtahamokopan.
ᐃᓕᓕᐤ ᓃᐹ ᑮᐌᑯᐸᓐ ᐁ ᑮ ᓇᑕᐌᔥᑫᑦ ᓵᑲᐦᐃᑲᓂᐦᒃ᙮ ᒥᑖᐗᑳᒻ ᐱᒫᑕᑳᔅᑰᐸᓐ᙮ ᐅᑦ ᐁᔥᑲᓐ ᐱᒥᓂᑳᑕᐦᐊᒧᑯᐸᓐ᙮
The man must have been heading home at night after hunting beaver on the lake.  He was walking out on the ice and would have been carrying his chisel over his shoulder.

Mištasiwa mâka kî ohpaholikow. Kî wâpamew kotakiya ililiwa e wâštahowelici, eko mâka e iši-tepwet, “Mištasiw ni pimaholikw kîlawâw kâ wâštahoweyekw!”
ᒥᔥᑕᓯᐗ ᒫᑲ ᑮ ᐅᐦᐸᐦᐅᓕᑯᐤ᙮ ᑮ ᐙᐸᒣᐤ ᑯᑕᑭᔭ ᐃᓕᓕᐗ ᐁ ᐙᔥᑕᐦᐅᐌᓕᒋ, ᐁᑯ ᒫᑲ ᐁ ᐃᔑ ᑌᐺᑦ, ᒥᔥᑕᓯᐤ ᓂ ᐱᒪᐦᐅᓕᒄ ᑮᓚᐙᐤ ᑳ ᐙᔥᑕᐦᐅᐌᔦᒄ!
That’s when the Roc plucked him from the ground. Seeing men waving he cries out, “You who are waving! The Roc has taken me!”

Nâspic mâka e išpâpiskâlik kî iši-pakitaholikow ita e iši-itašelici.
ᓈᔅᐱᒡ ᒫᑲ ᐁ ᐃᔥᐹᐱᔅᑳᓕᒃ ᑮ ᐃᔑ ᐸᑭᑕᐦᐅᓕᑯᐤ ᐃᑕ ᐁ ᐃᔑ ᐃᑕᔐᓕᒋ᙮
It dropped him in a high rocky place where it brooded.

Môšak mâka kihcilâw Mištasiw e natawahot. Misiwe mâka tôwihkâna petaholew, atihkwa nešta môswa.
ᒨᔕᒃ ᒫᑲ ᑭᐦᒋᓛᐤ ᒥᔥᑕᓯᐤ ᐁ ᓇᑕᐗᐦᐅᑦ᙮ ᒥᓯᐌ ᒫᑲ ᑑᐎᐦᑳᓇ ᐯᑕᐦᐅᓓᐤ, ᐊᑎᐦᑾ ᓀᔥᑕ ᒨᔀ᙮
Now, the Roc would constantly fly off to hunt. It would bring back all kinds of animals, caribou and moose.

Ana ililiw nâspic kî nanâhîhkawew mištašîšiša e ašamât wacištonihk e ihtâlici. Misiwe kekwâliw tôtamawew.
ᐊᓇ ᐃᓕᓕᐤ ᓈᔅᐱᒡ ᑮ ᓇᓈᐦᐄᐦᑲᐌᐤ ᒥᔥᑕᔒᔑᔕ ᐁ ᐊᔕᒫᑦ ᐗᒋᔥᑐᓂᐦᒃ ᐁ ᐃᐦᑖᓕᒋ᙮ ᒥᓯᐌ ᑫᒀᓕᐤ ᑑᑕᒪᐌᐤ᙮
The man really took care of the young rocs as he fed them in their nest. He did everything for them.

Keka mihcetw waškwaya petahotâw Mištasiw. Eko ana ililiw pâsipitahk e wacištonihkawât mištasiwa.
ᑫᑲ ᒥᐦᒉᑦ ᐗᔥᑾᔭ ᐯᑕᐦᐅᑖᐤ ᒥᔥᑕᓯᐤ᙮ ᐁᑯ ᐊᓇ ᐃᓕᓕᐤ ᐹᓯᐱᑕᐦᒃ ᐁ ᐗᒋᔥᑐᓂᐦᑲᐙᑦ ᒥᔥᑕᓯᐗ᙮
By and by the Roc brings back much birch bark, which the man rips to pieces as he makes their nest.

Nâspic kispakihkwašikopan Mištasiw e nipât. šay mâka wawânelihtam ililiw ke tôtahk. Itelihtam, “Nika wî kakwe-nipahâwak. Mâhti! Nika saskahwâwak mekwâc e nipâcik waškwâhk e pimišihkik.” Keka peyakwâw mekwâc e nipâlici kî saskahwew eko wetatâmahwât ot eškan ohci. Misiwe mâka kî nipahew.
ᓈᔅᐱᒡ ᑭᔅᐸᑭᐦᑾᔑᑯᐸᓐ ᒥᔥᑕᓯᐤ ᐁ ᓂᐹᑦ᙮ ᐋᔕᔾ ᒫᑲ ᐗᐙᓀᓕᐦᑕᒻ ᐃᓕᓕᐤ ᑫ ᑑᑕᐦᒃ᙮ ᐃᑌᓕᐦᑕᒻ, ᓂᑲ ᐐ ᑲᑴ ᓂᐸᐦᐋᐗᒃ᙮ ᒫᐦᑎ, ᓂᑲ ᓴᔅᑲᐦᐙᐗᒃ ᒣᒀᒡ ᐁ ᓂᐹᒋᒃ ᐗᔥᒀᐦᒃ ᐁ ᐱᒥᔑᐦᑭᒃ! ᑫᑲ ᐯᔭᒀᐤ ᒣᒀᒡ ᐁ ᓂᐹᓕᒋ ᑮ ᓴᔅᑲᐦᐌᐤ ᐁᑯ ᐌᑕᑖᒪᐦᐙᑦ ᐅᑦ ᐁᔥᑲᓐ ᐅᐦᒋ᙮ ᒥᓯᐌ ᒫᑲ ᑮ ᓂᐸᐦᐁᐤ᙮
The Roc must have passed out hard when it slept. Now the man is already at a loss for what to do. He thinks to himself, “I’m going to have to try to kill them. Let me see, I’ll light them up as they lie asleep in the birch bark!” In due course, one day as they slept, the man lit them on fire and beat them with his chisel. He killed them all.

Eko mâka etelihtahk, “Tânte kê kî kîweyân?” Peyakw mâka mištašîšiša ospiskwanâliw e šîkwâhkahtelik pîhcišimolow. Eko tiyîhtipipalihot nâspic e išpâpiskâlik ohci. Keka kipihcipaliw. Walawîw. Itâpiw. Akâwâc tepâpahtam askîliw. Tâpiskôc aštâhkonak e aspišimonihkâniwahk išinâkwan e išinâkosicik mištikwak.
ᐁᑯ ᒫᑲ ᐁᑌᓕᐦᑕᒃ, ᑖᓐᑌ ᑫ ᑮ ᑮᐌᔮᓐ? ᐯᔭᒄ ᒫᑲ ᒥᔥᑕᔒᔑᔕ ᐅᔅᐱᔅᑾᓈᓕᐤ ᐁ ᔒᒀᐦᑲᐦᑌᓕᒃ ᐲᐦᒋᔑᒧᓗᐤ᙮ ᐁᑯ ᑎᔩᐦᑎᐱᐸᓕᐦᐅᑦ ᓈᔅᐱᒡ ᐁ ᐃᔥᐹᐱᔅᑳᓕᒃ ᐅᐦᒋ᙮ ᑫᑲ ᑭᐱᐦᒋᐸᓕᐤ᙮ ᐗᓚᐐᐤ᙮ ᐃᑖᐱᐤ᙮ ᐊᑳᐙᒡ ᑌᐹᐸᐦᑕᒻ ᐊᔅᑮᓕᐤ᙮ ᑖᐱᔅᑰᒡ ᐊᔥᑖᐦᑯᓇᒃ ᐁ ᐊᔅᐱᔑᒧᓂᐦᑳᓂᐗᐦᒃ ᐃᔑᓈᑾᓐ ᐁ ᐃᔑᓈᑯᓯᒋᒃ ᒥᔥᑎᑾᒃ᙮
He then thinks to himself, “How will I manage to get home?” Of the little rocs’ incinerated bodies, only their backs remained. Squeezing himself into one of these backs, he rolls himself down from that high rocky place. Eventually he stops rolling. He climbs out. He looks around. He can barely see the earth. The trees (look so small) they resemble a litter of boughs.

Eko mîna tiyîhtipipalihot. Mîna kipihcipaliw. Ewako ôma askiy.
ᐁᑯ ᒦᓇ ᑎᔩᐦᑎᐱᐸᓕᐦᐅᑦ᙮ ᒦᓇ ᑭᐱᐦᒋᐸᓕᐤ᙮ ᐁᐗᑯ ᐆᒪ ᐊᔅᑮ᙮
So he rolls himself down again and again he stops. This then is the earth.

Eko welawît. Eko miyâcît. Ililiwa otihtew ekâ e nihtâ-mîcisolici, piko e milâhtamilici. Ekwâni e tôtamilici e mîcisolici. Kî ašamikow mâka. Eko mâka peyakw ot awâšimišiliwa kâ kiskinawâpamikot e mîcisot.
ᐁᑯ ᐌᓚᐐᑦ᙮ ᐁᑯ ᒥᔮᒌᑦ᙮ ᐃᓕᓕᐗ ᐅᑎᐦᑌᐤ ᐁᑳ ᐁ ᓂᐦᑖ ᒦᒋᓱᓕᒋ, ᐱᑯ ᐁ ᒥᓛᐦᑕᒥᓕᒋ᙮ ᐁᒀᓂ ᐁ ᑑᑕᒥᓕᒋ ᐁ ᒦᒋᓱᓕᒋ᙮ ᑮ ᐊᔕᒥᑯᐤ ᒫᑲ᙮ ᐁᑯ ᒫᑲ ᐯᔭᒄ ᐅᑦ ᐊᐙᔑᒥᔑᓕᐗ ᑳ ᑭᔅᑭᓇᐙᐸᒥᑯᑦ ᐁ ᒦᒋᓱᑦ᙮
So he gets out and then starts off. He reaches a group of people that do not know how to eat for real – they only smell. That’s how they eat. So they fed him and one of their children learned how to eat by watching him.

Mîna mâka wetihtât aweliwa – ewakwânihi wîwa. Namawîla mâka ohci kiskelimikow wîwa wîla e âwit. Ôma mâka kî itew, “Nîla ô kâ kî kihtaholit Mištasiw!”
ᒦᓇ ᒫᑲ ᐌᑎᐦᑖᑦ ᐊᐌᓕᐗ – ᐁᐗᒀᓂᐦᐃ ᐐᐗ᙮ ᓇᒪᐐᓚ ᒫᑲ ᐅᐦᒋ ᑭᔅᑫᓕᒥᑯᐤ ᐐᐗ ᐐᓚ ᐁ ᐋᐎᑦ᙮ ᐆᒪ ᒫᑲ ᑮ ᐃᑌᐤ, ᓃᓚ ᐆ ᑳ ᑮ ᑭᐦᑕᐦᐅᓕᑦ ᒥᔥᑕᓯᐤ!
Again he reaches someone, this one is his wife. She does not know however that it is him (he must have been unrecognizable by then). So he says to her, “I am the one that was taken by the Roc!”


This story was first published in 1881 in Horden’s A Grammar of Cree Language under the name “An Indian’s Adventure.” Although it was first published in an Anglican alphabetic orthography and provided with an interlinear translation, Horden described it as a story first “written by a native in the syllabic characters…” that was included in the grammar so language learners could get a sense of “the Cree idiom and the arrangement of words in sentences.” As a traditional story originally written by a native Moose Cree-speaker in the late 1800s, it is perhaps one of the earliest examples of a genuine Cree language âtayôhkân. In this blogpost, the alphabetic orthography has been modernized and provided with its equivalent in syllabics. The story was also retranslated into English for the benefit of non-Cree speakers. Finally, a few minor adjustments and corrections were made to the text to facilitate its reading. This story was published on this blog on June 24, 2015.

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4 thoughts on “The Roc

    • Yes! In fact, stories of these giant birds are known throughout Cree country. Please click on the Âtayôhkân tab at the top of this page to get more information about the origin of this story in particular.

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    • Cree stories sometimes convey warnings concerning traditional taboos, but usually do not convey anything that can be termed a “moral.” They also typically contain explanations, often comical, of why things are the way they are today. For instance, this version of the story of the Roc is a shortened version. But longer versions include an explanation of how humans got to have an intergluteal cleft and interlabial sulci. As you can imagine, there is some humour to that version of the story.

      Thank you for reading!

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