THE LOON'S NECKLACE by William--Adapt. Toye


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How the loon received its markings, according to a Northwest Indian tale that focuses on ""an old man who had recently gone blind"" (the story's less than immediate opening words). Though the man's small son directs his aim so that he can shoot a bear, the carcass is taken away by a sort of witch. And so the man, grieving because he can no longer feed his family, visits the ""wise and magical"" loon--who forthwith cures his blindness by taking him diving in the lake. ""'I can see! cried the old man. He yanked a shell necklace from his chest and tossed it to the bird. . . while a sprinkling of loose shells covered its back."" Graceless that, and the hag's subsequently turning herself into an owl ""to annoy the old man and his family"" seems more a limp addendum than any sort of conclusion. Genuine, but wooden in the telling--nor do Cleaver's woodcut/collage illustrations, in the primitivist manner you'll recognize as Canadian, bring the events to life.

Pub Date: Nov. 17th, 1977
Publisher: Oxford Univ. Press