told by Joseph Bruchac
Gluscabi and the Wind Eagle
An Abenaki legend
Long ago, Gluscabi lived with his grandmother, Woodchuck, in a small lodge beside the big water.
One day Gluscabi was walking around when he looked out and saw some ducks in the bay.
"I think it is time to go hunt some ducks," he said. So he took his bow and arrows and got into his canoe. He began to paddle out into the bay and as he paddled he sang:
Ki yo wah ji neh
yo ho hey ho
Ki yo wah ji neh
Ki yo wah ji neh.
But a wind came up and it turned his canoe and blew him back to shore. Once again Gluscabi began to paddle out and this time he sang his song a little harder:
KI YO WAH JI NEH
YO HO HEY HO
KI YO WAH JI NEH
KI YO WAH JI NEH.
But again the wind came and blew him back to shore. Four times he tried to paddle out into the bay and four times he failed. He was not happy. He went back to the lodge of his grandmother and walked right in, even though there was a stick leaning across the door, which meant that the person inside was doing some work and did not want to be disturbed.
"Grandmother," Gluscabi said, "what makes the wind blow?"
Grandmother Woodchuck looked up from her work. "Gluscabi," she said, "why do you want to know?"
Then Gluscabi answered her just as every child in the world does when they are asked such a question.
"Because," he said.
Grandmother Woodchuck looked at him. "Ah, Gluscabi," she said. "Whenever you ask such questions I feel there is going to be trouble. And perhaps I should not tell you. But I know that you are so stubborn you will never stop asking until I answer you. So I shall tell you. Far from here, on top of the tallest mountain, a great bird stands. This bird is named Wuchowsen, and when he flaps his wings he makes the wind blow."
"Eh-hey, Grandmother," said Gluscabi, "I see. Now how would one find that place where the Wind Eagle stands?"
Again Grandmother Woodchuck looked at Gluscabi. "Ah, Gluscabi," she said, "once again I feel that perhaps I should not tell you. But I know that you are very stubborn and would never stop asking. So, I shall tell you. If you walk always facing the wind you will come to the place where Wuchowsen stands."
"Thank you, Grandmother," said Gluscabi. He stepped out of the lodge and faced into the wind and began to walk.
He walked across the fields and through the woods and the wind blew hard. He walked through the valleys and into the hills and the wind blew harder still. He came to the foothills and began to climb and the wind still blew harder. Now the foothills were becoming mountains and the wind was very strong. Soon there were no longer any trees and the wind was very, very strong. The wind was so strong that it blew off Gluscabi 's moccasins. But he was very stubborn and he kept on walking, leaning into the wind. Now the wind was so strong that it blew off his shirt, but he kept on walking. Now the wind was so strong that it blew off all his clothes and he was naked, but he still kept walking.
Now the wind was so strong that it blew off his hair, but Gluscabi still kept walking, facing into the wind. The wind was so strong that it blew off his eyebrows, but still he continued to walk. Now the wind was so strong that he could hardly
stand. He had to pull himself along by grabbing hold of the boulders. But there, on the peak ahead of him, he could see a great bird slowly flapping its wings. It was Wuchowsen, the Wind Eagle.
Gluscabi took a deep breath. "GRANDFATHER!" he shouted.
The Wind Eagle stopped flapping his wings and looked around. "Who calls me Grandfather?" he said.
Gluscabi stood up. "It's me, Grandfather. I just came up here to tell you that you do a very good job making the wind blow."
The Wind Eagle puffed out his chest with pride. "You mean like this?" he said and flapped his wings even harder. The wind which he made was so strong that it lifted Gluscabi right off his feet, and he would have been blown right off the mountain had he not reached out and grabbed a boulder again.
"GRANDFATHER!! !" Gluscabi shouted again.
The Wind Eagle stopped flapping his wings. "Yesss?" he said.
Gluscabi stood up and came closer to Wuchowsen.
"You do a very good job of making the wind blow, Grandfather. This is so. But it seems to me that you could do an even better job if you were on that peak over there."
The Wind Eagle looked toward the other peak. "That may be so," he said, "but how would I get from here to there?"
Gluscabi smiled. "Grandfather," he said, "I will carry you. Wait here." Then Gluscabi ran back down the mountain until he came to a big basswood tree. He stripped off the outer bark and from the inner bark he braided a strong carrying strap which he took back up the mountain to the Wind Eagle. "Here, Grandfather," he said. "Let me wrap this around you so I can lift you more easily." Then he wrapped the carrying strap so tightly around Wuchowsen that his wings were pulled in to his sides and he could hardly breathe. "Now, Grandfather," Gluscabi said, picking the Wind Eagle up, "I will take you to a better place." He began to walk toward the other peak, but as he walked he came to a place where there was a large crevice, and as he stepped over it he let go of the carrying strap and the Wind Eagle slid down into the crevice, upside down, and was stuck.
"Now," Gluscabi said, "it is time to hunt some ducks."
He walked back down the mountain and there was no wind at all. He walked till he came to the treeline and still no wind blew. He walked down to the foothills and down to the hills and the valleys and still there was no wind. He walked through the forests
and through the fields, and the wind did not blow at all. He walked and walked until he came back to the lodge by the water, and by now all his hair had grown back. He put on some fine new clothing and a new pair of moccasins and took his bow and arrows and went down to the bay and climbed into his boat to hunt ducks. He paddled out into the water and sang his canoeing song:
Ki yo wah ji neh
yo ho hey ho
Ki yo wah ji neh
Ki yo wah ji neh.
But the air was very hot and still and he began to sweat. The air was so still and hot that it was hard to breathe. Soon the water began to grow dirty and smell bad and there was so much foam on the water he could hardly paddle. He was not pleased at all and
he returned to the shore and went straight to his grandmother's lodge and walked in.
"Grandmother," he said, "what is wrong? The air is hot and still and it is making me sweat and it is hard to breathe. The water is dirty and covered with foam. I cannot hunt ducks at all like this."
Grandmother Woodchuck looked up at Gluscabi. "Gluscabi," she said, "what have you done now?"
And Gluscabi answered just as every child in the world answers when asked that question. "Oh, nothing," he said.
"Gluscabi," said Grandmother Woodchuck again, "tell me what you have done."
Then Gluscabi told her about going to visit the Wind Eagle and what he had done to stop the wind.
"Oh, Gluscabi," said Grandmother Woodchuck, "will you never learn? Tabaldak, The Owner, set the Wind Eagle on that mountain to make the wind because we need the wind. The wind keeps the air cool and clean. The wind brings the clouds which give us rain to wash the Earth. The wind moves the waters and keeps them fresh and sweet. Without the wind, life
will not be good for us, for our children or our children's children." Gluscabi nodded his head. "Kaamoji, Grandmother," he said. "I understand."
Then he went outside. He faced in the direction from which the wind had once come and began to walk. He walked through the fields and through the forests and the wind did not blow and he felt very hot. He walked through the valleys and up the hills and there was no wind and it was hard for him to breathe. He came to the foothills and began to climb and he was very hot and sweaty indeed. At last he came to the mountain where the Wind Eagle once stood and he went and looked down into the crevice. There was Wuchowsen, the Wind Eagle, wedged upside down.
"Uncle?" Gluscabi called.
The Wind Eagle looked up as best he could. "Who calls me Uncle?" he said.
"It is Gluscabi, Uncle. I'm up here. But what are you doing down there?"
"Oh, Gluscabi," said the Wind Eagle, "a very ugly naked man with no hair told me that he would take me to the other peak so that I could do a better job of making the wind blow. He tied my wings and picked me up, but as he stepped over this crevice he dropped me in and I am stuck. And I am not comfortable here at all."
"Ah, Grandfath . . . er, Uncle, I will get you out."
Then Gluscabi climbed down into the crevice. He pulled the Wind Eagle free and placed him back on his mountain and untied his wings.
"Uncle," Gluscabi said, "it is good that the wind should blow sometimes and other times it is good that it should be still."
The Wind Eagle looked at Gluscabi and then nodded his head.
"Grandson," he said, "I hear what you say."
So it is that sometimes there is wind and sometimes it is still to this very day. And so the story goes.
People throw away too much
In one year, people in the United States throw away enough trash to fill a bumper-to-bumper line of garbage trucks reaching halfway to the moon.
Every year, forty million acres of tropical rain forest are destroyed worldwide. That's an area larger than the state of California.
Every year, one million sea 50,000 fur seals, and 100,000 marine mammals die from eating or being strangled by plastic waste.
In just two weeks, people in the United States will throw away enough glass bottles and jars to fill up the twin towers of the World Trade Center.
The United States throws away more than twenty-five billion Styrofoam cups each year. If all these cups were placed end to end, they would circle around the earth 436 times.
If just one state in the States recycled all its cans one day, there would be enough aluminum to build more than fifteen jet airplanes.
The average family in the United Sizes uses about 300 gallons of water each day. That is enough to fill a swimming pool every five days.
We Are Plooters
by Jack Prelutsky
illustrated by Paul 0. Zelinsky
We are Plooters,
We don't care,
We make messes
We strip forests
Bare of trees,
We dump garbage
In the seas.
We are Plooters,
Where creatures thrive, Soon there's little Left alive.
When we're around,
We spew poisons
In the air,
We are Plooters,
We don't care.
The Great Kapok Tree
TALE OF THE AMAZON RAIN FOREST
By: Lynne Cherry
In the Amazon rain forest it is always hot, and in that heat everything grows, and grows, and grows. The tops of the trees in the rain forest are called the canopy The canopy is a sunny place that touches the sky The animals that live there like lots of light. Colorful parrots fly from tree to tree. Monkeys leap from branch to branch. The bottom of the rain forest is called the understory. The animals that live in the understory like darkness. There, silent snakes curl around hanging vines. Graceful jaguars watch and wait.
And in this steamy environment the great Kapok tree shoots up through the forest and emerges above the canopy
This is the story of a community of animals that live in one such tree in the rain forest
Two men walked into the rain forest. Moments before, the forest had been alive with the sounds of squawking birds and howling monkeys. Now all was quiet as the creatures watched the two men and wondered why they had come.
The larger man stopped and pointed to a great Kapok tree. Then he left.
The smaller man took the ax he carried an struck the trunk of the tree. Whack! Whack! Whack! The sounds of the blows rang through the forest. The wood of the tree was very hard. Chop! Chop! Chop! The man wiped off the sweat that ran down his face and neck. Whack! Chop! Whack! Chop!
Soon the man grew tired. He sat down to rest at the foot of the great Kapok tree. Before he knew it, the heat and hum of the forest had lulled him to sleep.
A boa constrictor lived in the Kapok tree. He slithered down its trunk to where the man was sleeping. He looked at the gash the ax had made in the tree. Then the huge snake slid very close to the man and hissed in his ear: "Senhor, this tree is a tree of miracles. It is my home, where generations of my ancestors have lived. Do not chop it down."
A bee buzzed in the sleeping man's ear: "Senhor, my hive is in this Kapok tree, and I fly from tree to tree and flower to flower collecting pollen. In this way I pollinate the trees and flowers throughout the rain forest. You see, all living things depend on one another."
A troupe of monkeys scampered down from the canopy of the Kapok tree. They chattered to the sleeping man: "Senhor, we have seen the ways of man. You chop down one tree, then come back for another and another. The roots of these great trees will wither and die, and there will be nothing left to hold the earth in place. -When the heavy rains come, the soil will be washed away and the forest will become a desert."
A toucan, a macaw, and a cock-of-the-rock flew down from the canopy. "Senhor!" squawked the toucan, "you must not cut down this tree. We have flown over the rain forest and seen what happens once you begin to chop down the trees. Many people settle on the land. They set fires to clear the underbrush, and soon the forest disappears. Where once there was life and beauty only black and smoldering ruins remain."
A bright and small tree frog crawled along the edge of a leaf In a squeaky voice he piped in the man's ear: "Senhor, a ruined rain forest means ruined lives . . . many ruined lives. You will leave many of us homeless if you chop down this great Kapok tree."
A jaguar had been sleeping along a branch in the middle of the tree. Because his spotted coat blended into the dappled light and shadows of the understory, no one had noticed him. Now he leapt down and padded silently over to the sleeping man. He growled in his ear: "Senhor, the Kapok tree is home to many birds and animals. If you cut it down, where will I find my dinner?"
Four tree porcupines swung down from branch to branch and whispered to the man: "Senhor, do you know what we animals and humans need in order to live? Oxygen. And, Senhor, do you know what trees produce? Oxygen! If you cut down the forests you will destroy that which gives us all life."
Several anteaters climbed down the Kapok tree with their young clinging to their backs. The =striped anteater said to the sleeping man: "Senhor, you are chopping down this tree with no thought for the future. And surely you know that what happens tomorrow depends upon what you do today. The big man tells you to chop down a beautiful tree. He does not think of his own children, who tomorrow must live in a world without trees."
A three-toed sloth had begun climbing down from the canopy when the men first appeared. Only now did she reach the ground. Plodding ever so slowly over to the sleeping man, she spoke in her deep and lazy voice: "Senhor, how much is beauty worth? Can you live without it? If you destroy the beauty of the rain forest, on what would you feast your eyes?"
A child from the Yanomamo tribe who lived in the rain forest knelt over the sleeping man. He murmured in his ear: "Senhor, when you awake, please look upon us all with new eyes."
The man awoke with a start. Before him stood the rain forest child, and all around him, staring, were the creatures who depended upon the great Kapok tree. What wondrous and rare animals they were!
The man looked about and saw the sun streaming through the canopy. Spots of bright light glowed like jewels amidst the dark green forest. Strange and beautiful plants seemed to dangle in the air, suspended from the great Kapok tree.
The man smelled the fragrant perfume of their flowers. He felt the steamy mist rising from the forest floor. But he heard no sound, for the creatures were strangely silent.
The man stood and picked up his ax. He swung back his arm as though to strike the tree. Suddenly he stopped. He turned and looked at the animals and the child.
He hesitated. Then he dropped the ax and walked out of the rain forest.
Lynne Cherry has strong feelings about preserving and protecting the environment. "Nature is the most beautiful thing in the world," she says. "That's why it kills me to see it destroyed, whether in this country or somewhere else:'
She wrote The Great Kapok Tree to spread the alarm about the endangered Amazon rain forest. To prepare for her work on The Great Kapok Tree, Cherry visited the Amazon rain forest in Brazil to study the animals that live there and the plants that grow there. She wanted her drawings to be as accurate as possible.
Cherry continues to work hard to make people more aware of our fragile environment. Her book A River Ran Wild tells the true story of the troubled Nashua River in Massachusetts.
Buzz Like a Bee! Slither Like a Snake!
Perform The Great Kapok Tree with a group of classmates. Each person can play a character from the story. Remember that each animal and the boy have special messages, and unique ways of delivering the messages to the man. Rehearse your play, and then perform it for the rest of your class.
"Preserve and Protect"
Spread the word! Pick one of the animals' messages to the man and turn it into a "Preserve and Protect" poster to help save the rain forest. Summarize the message as a slogan. Then make a poster featuring the animal and Its slogan.
"Boy,Was I ..."
How do you think the man felt when he woke up surrounded by all those animals? What thoughts went through his mind? Write a paragraph that describes what the man might have been thinking.
You've "visited" two forests the rain forest in The Great Kapok Tree and the forest in The Great Yellowstone Fire. How are the forests similar? How are they different? Using the illustrations and photos to help you, write a compare-contrast paragraph or hold a discussion with your partner or a group.
Where Will the Waste Stop?
A Persuasive Essay by Megan Hunter
Megan had some ideas for solving a problem that she saw in her town. She wrote this essay to persuade other people to help.
Washing Elementary School
Fargo, North Mott
"I like to write because it is fun, and is a good way to express your thoughts without talking," said Megan. "I like to talk — don't get me wrong — but writing is just as great!" Megan wrote this essay when she was in the fourth grade.
In addition to writing, Megan likes to sing, act, swim, and read. She also enjoys downhill skiing, watching movies, and spending time with her family, friends, and pets.
Where Will the Waste Stop.
Landfills are a big problem. As I was riding in the car, I saw trash blowing, but not just anywhere. It was blowing outside of the landfill. It just blows out of the landfill and litters the places around it.
Even for a town like mine with 75,000 people in it, landfills are filling fast. Of the 180 acres of landfill space we have; 40 acres are being used. It is expected to be too full to hold trash in 25 to 30 years.
It makes me ashamed of my city, especially when I think that I live in a clean town. How can we attract visitors to our town when one of the borders is a dirty landfill?
I feel that something needs to be done before our city is completely bordered by trash. The things we can do to help are numerous. Here are three of them. One: Call the city government and ask about building fences around the landfill. Two: Recycle. The less trash there is, the less trash there will be blowing around, and the slower the landfill will fill up. Three: Call the city government and remind them that some people do not recycle. Ask if the workers at the landfill would recycle everything that is recyclable. Then there will be more space the landfill, and it will last longer. Remember — if you put your mind to something accomplish it.
The Earth Patrol Guide
to Saving the Environment
Kids Making A Difference Kids all over are working to save the Earth. Here are four examples from 3-2-1 Contact magazine.
Hope for KOPE
Kids at the Hawthorne School in Salt Lake City, UT, started a club called KOPE — Kids Organized to Protect the Environment. For the last three years, they've been working to turn a polluted creek bed into a nature park.
Half hidden in trees, the creek was full of tires, cement blocks and trash. The kids named the place "Hidden Hollow" and decided to clean it up. At the first clean-up event, 300 kids showed up to volunteer!
KOPE kids turned an old creek bed into a nature park.
"We wanted a place where kids can study plants in their natural environment," 10-year-old Tami Curtis told CONTACT.
The KOPE kids then learned that land developers had plans to turn the area into a parking lot. So they organized a "Hope for Hidden Hollow Conference." They invited kids from schools all across the city to help save the Hollow.
"We made a slide show to let people know what was happening," says Tami. She gave the developers tour of the area to get them to change their minds. That didn't work.
But the KOPE kids didn't give up hope. They signed petitions, talked to local business people and went to city council meetings. And guess what?
The council agreed to turn the area into a park! This spring, the kids will help plant shrubs, trees and flowers in the three-acre nature park.
"We didn't give up because we wanted a better place to live," says Tami. "I think our work shows other kids that they can make a difference:'
Rebecca and Phillippa Herbert of West Covina, CA, have also done tons for their neighborhood.
The two sisters discovered that many of their neighbors weren't recycling their trash. People thought it was a hassle to take the garbage to a local recycling center.
"So we thought, “What if we start a recycling center in our front yard?' " Rebecca says. "That way, it would be easy for people to recycle:'
Rebecca, 11, and Phillippa, 13, handed out information flyers in their neighborhood. The flyer said "Please help us recycle and save the Earth:' It told when their center would be open. And it included tips on how to separate trash.
"We got cardboard boxes and labeled them Glass, Newspapers and Metals:' Phillippa explains. "Every Saturday, we sat by the boxes and waited for people to drop off their trash:'
The girls would then bring the boxes to a local recycling center. But they don't recycle trash in their front yard anymore. Their neighbors now do it on their own. Thanks to the girls, people recycle tons of stuff that otherwise would end up in landfills.