THE LEGEND OF THE HAND OF THE MEDICINE MAN
There was a time, long ago, when people lived around
Kejimkujik Lake. For a long time all was well, and the people lived off
the land, hunting and fishing, and gathering plants, roots, berries and
nuts, each in their season. The Elders took care of the children,
telling them the old stories and passing on their wisdom and knowledge
of the land and of their way of life. A child was considered a precious
gift to any village, for they would grow up to one day nurture and
protect the people of that village.
Unfortunately, there came a time when a mysterious sickness came to the
village. The young were the ones who suffered the most, and the plague
claimed the lives of many of the village's children. The villagers
looked to the their medicine people, and to those in the surrounding
area, but none of them were able to find the medicines that would cure
It was said that a powerful medicine man lived in a village that lay far
off in the direction of the setting sun. The chief of the village sent
runners to the west, hoping this medicine man would be able to help the
children of the village. The runners ran for days until they reached the
next village, and then new runners would take their place, carrying
their message further and further west, until they finally arrived at
the village where this medicine man lived. He listened to their request,
and agreed to help them.
When this medicine man finally reached the village at Kejimkujik Lake,
there was much sadness, for many children had been lost. The medicine
man immediately went into ceremony, sending his spirit journeying into
the Spirit World. He was accompanied by the powerful Mi'kmaw Spirit
Guide Muin, the black bear, the traditional keeper of medicine
knowledge, and together they sought the cure they needed. At last, after
seven long days, a spirit came forward with the knowledge they needed.
The medicine man immediately went into the woods, seeking the plants
that were needed to make the medicine. Following the instructions he had
been given, he made the medicine and took it back to the village, where
it was given to the children. Within a few days, the medicine began to
take effect, and the children began to recover.
After waiting another seven days to see that all went well, it was time
for the medicine man to return to his village in the west. Before he
left, he went down to the shores of Kejimkujik Lake, where he went down
on one knee to give thanks to Creator for giving him the ability to help
the young Mi'kmaq children. As he stood, he placed his hand on the slate
outcrop to steady himself, and when he removed his hand they found the
imprint of a child's hand impressed into the slate.
To this day, that image remains on the slate on the shores of Kejimkujik
Lake, as a reminder of how precious the life of a child truly is.