During the middle of winter a family was trapped for many days by a bad blizzard. The snow outside was so deep and the storm lasted that eventually their food ran out and the worried that they would starve. Finally, the wind and snow died away. The father, who was known as Makade-waagosh (black fox) ventured outside. He looked to the sky and noticed that more storm clouds were coming and that if he did not act fast his family would perish.
Makade-waagosh took his knife, spear, and bow and immediately left on his most reliable hunting trail, looking for any sign of game. He looked around for some sign of animal footprints in the newly-fallen snow, but the forest was oddly silent. He though that perhaps every creature was deep in their burrows. He was losing hope, but he knew he had to keep trying or his family would surely die.
He continued on his path and he soon perceived a strange hissing sound coming from the trees to his left side. Makade-waagosh stopped walking and he listened, hoping it was an animal that he could kill. It was then that he looked ahead a few yards and noticed what appeared to be bloody footprints on the path in front of him. In fear he gripped his knife tightly, because he suddenly realized what the hissing sound was – a Windigo was in the trees, watching him.
Makade-waagosh knew he would have just one chance to survive.
Slowly, he backed away from the bloody footprints, listening intently to where the hissing sound was coming from. He gripped spear in one hand, knife in the other and tried to make as little sound as he could. Just as he thought the sound of the hissing was fading, the snowbank to his left erupted as the creature rushed forward! It was as tall as a small tree and its fangs were bared for the attack. Makade-waagosh dove to one side, rolling into the snow. The Windigo missed and it rushed past. Makade-waagosh threw his spear at the back of the Windigo. It struck the creature's back and it roared in pain, but it just shook it off and turned to attack again. Makade-waagosh ran behind a small tree and the Windigo looked around to see where he had gone.
Makade-waagosh heard the Windigo walking towards his hiding place. With his back to the tree, Makade-waagosh saw its sharp claws reaching around towards him. He leapt to the side and rushed at the Windigo, thrusting his knife into its black, fathomless eye. The Windigo howled in pain and tried to brush the knife from its face, but Makade-waagosh clung to the creature, stabbing it again and again in the eyes and head. Eventually the Windigo collapsed to the ground dead.
Shaken and his heart pounding with fear and fatigue, Makade-waagosh turned to walk home. He was weakened by lack of food, and was in despair as he knew that the storm come soon and he and his family would die.
As he neared his lodge, he suddenly saw a large deer. It was a fat old buck. It stood still, as if it had been brought to him as a reward for killing the Windigo. With a prayer of thanks to the Creator, Makade-waagosh killed the deer and took it home to his starving family. The meat lasted for many days, until the final storm had blown itself out and he could safely hunt once more.
Dibaajimowin was created as a way to share interesting and unique stories and other information about the Metis and Ojibwe people (and others) so that these can be used by our guests to educate themselves and others about the history, culture, and language of the people.