The Girl and the Chenoo Monster ~ Canadian Folktale Legend Stories - Read free bedtime stories for kids online


The Girl and the Chenoo Monster

The Girl and the Chenoo Monster

Illustrated By: Stella Wei

ONE AUTUMN, in a place that is now called Canada but in those days was the land of the Passamaquoddy tribe, a girl and her three older brothers went to the forest to hunt for game over the winter. They found a good place to make camp and built a wigwam. Since she was the youngest, each morning after her three older brothers went hunting, the girl took care of the camp, gathered fresh firewood, repaired holes in their wigwam, and prepared dinner. Before nightfall, the brothers would return carrying the game they captured.  Over dinner they would all share stories of the day's adventures.


The Girl and the Chenoo Monster


One night at dinner the brothers were silent. "Why are you all so quiet?" said their sister.

"Today I saw strange footprints to the north," said her eldest brother, "like those of a man, but much larger."

"So did I," said the brother who ventured south. The third brother, who hunted to the west, nodded in agreement. No one needed to say anything else because they were all thinking the same thing: a Chenoo must be nearby, the cruel, brutal giant cannibal from the far icy north.

After a tense minute the eldest brother smiled and said, "Oh, it must have just been the tracks of a bear." And they all laughed with relief and joked how they had been fooled by mere bear tracks. But the girl did not laugh. She, too, had seen tracks when she had gathered berries to the east, and knew they were not the tracks of a bear.


They were from a Chenoo monster.


Before sunrise the next morning, the brothers left to hunt. But the girl did not tend to her usual tasks. She cleared the wigwam and piled each bearskin that she and her brothers slept upon in a single pile in the center. Beside the bearskin pile, she laid baskets filled with berries and fruit. She gathered fresh firewood, then sat by the fire and waited.

While the sun was still low in the sky, a very large shadow was cast over her fire. Out of the woods stepped the terrible Chenoo monster.


The Girl and the Chenoo Monster


Huge and horrible-looking, he looked fiercely at her. The sister smiled pleasantly at the beast and said, "Grandfather, my heart is glad that at last you have come to see us. Where have you been for so long? I prepared a fire for your lunch. Or perhaps you would like to lay down inside first and rest? Your bed is made and there are baskets of fruit by it. You look tired from your travels."

The Chenoo monster was amazed beyond measure at such a greeting where he expected yells and prayers.  In quiet wonder, he let himself be led into the wigwam.

The girl said she had brought a suit she had stitched to fit him. She told him to dress himself and be cleaned. He did as she told. He sat inside the wigwam on the bearskin bed. He did not lie down and looked sad, but kept quiet.

She arose and went out. She kept gathering wood for the fire.

The Chenoo monster rose and followed her. She was in great fear. "Now," she thought, "my death is near. He will kill and devour me."

monster said,

a storm. Soon the pile of wood was twice as high as the top of their wigwam. She cried out, "Grandfather, there is enough! You must be tired from all your cutting, please rest." So the

be pleased to know our Grandfather is in the tent." Surprised, they started to object but she firmly held her hand outstretched and said, "I

the girl said with a smile, "Grandfather, you have awakened!  I am glad, because now your grandsons have come back and we can all

the brothers, staring fixedly at the

mumbled her second brother,

a deer,"


"have your brothers

will cook for your dinner, Grandfather," said

carried three full-grown moose, one under each arm and a third wrapped around his

the girl and her three brothers had to lay down on the dirt outside. But it was

wigwam nearby, and the brothers and their sister moved back into their own. He ate most of what he captured, but there was plenty of bear meat and deer leftover for the rest of

quite high since he swung trees around like kindling, didn't watch where anything would smash, and

day the girl said, "Grandfather, soon it will

the Chenoo monster. "But your people would scream

anything at all,"

sweat lodge and

and when it was finished and had brought in plenty of hot coals, the Chenoo monster went inside. The sweat lodge pulsed with an orange hue from the heat of the burning coals, but

in a voice they

must have been the Chenoo monster, yet seemed much more like a normal, very old human man, hunched over and wrinkled, with a white beard that reached to his knees. His wounds had

the heart of the Chenoo monster was made of ice and was

but it was so fiercely cold that it put out all the flames. So she restarted the fire and

be the Chenoo monster then

meat, back to their village, where they traded the skins for whatever they wanted

how the kindness of one girl

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folktale retold by Elaine

Malecite, and Penobscot tribes. Like many other Native American/First Nation tribes, the Abenaki allied themselves with the French against the British in the "French and Indian War" of the early 1700s.

were known to tear up forests and rend rocks, and change the whole face of Nature in their hideous battles or horrible revels. The strength of the Chenoo was believed to depend

in cruelty. This descent from goodness into utter wickedness is believed to track a dark superstition, older than we can now fathom. Though in the Chenoo stories a reverse turn


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