ART – Glooscap – Another Favorite by Art MacKay

Glooscap or Glooskap is featured in legends and stories from New England to Newfoundland and Labrador. In fact, recent writers have speculated that Glooscap was, in fact, Scottish Prince Henry Sinclair and some have even extended this to a connection with the Knights Templar .

One of the best compilations of Glooscap stories and the argument for a close connection with early viking travelers is found in Leland’s The Algonquin Legends of New England where he describes Glooscap as follows: 

This is a story of Glooskap. It is told in traditions of the old time that Glooskap was born in the land of the Wabanaki, which is nearest to the sunrise ; but another story says that he came over the sea in a great stone canoe, and that this canoe was an island of granite covered with trees. When the great man, of all men and beasts chief ruler, had come down from this ark, he went among the Wabanaki. And calling all the animals he gave them each a name ….Before men were instructed by him, they lived in darkness ; it was so dark that they could not even see to slay their enemies.1 Glooskap taught them how to hunt, and to build huts and canoes and weirs for fish. Before he came they knew not how to make weapons or nets. He the Great Master showed them the hidden virtues of plants, roots, and barks, and pointed out to them such vegetables as might be used for food, as well as what kinds of animals, birds, and fish were to be eaten. And when this was done he taught them the names of all the stars. He loved mankind, and wherever he might be in the wilderness he was never very far from any of  the Indians. He dwelt in a lonely land, but whenever they sought him they found him. He traveled far and wide : there is no place in all the land of the Wabanaki where he left not his name ; hills, rocks and rivers, lakes and islands, bear witness to him.

Today, the many places that Glooscap has visited honour his connection with their area and have built upon the legends and developed sophisticated tourism themes.

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