While I was away on our recent camping adventure, I had started a "campfire" story to entertain you in my absence.

It was not your typical campfire story - at least I hope no one was scared!    You can catch up with Sunset Cool Down Part One and Part Two.

Now the campfire legends we might actually share around a mystical flame bonfire...

can you see those colours?!!

.... might have it's origins based in our First Nations cultural traditions.  

We stayed at Bonnechere Provincial Park, and that is located near the reserved lands of the  Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation which is in the Bonnechere/Ottawa Valley.    Our canoe journey was along the Little Bonnechere River, which is a border to their lands.

It is not uncommon in this area to see pictographs on cave walls, abandoned old settlements, or the most beautiful Native art in some stores.    Even though I am not of a Native tradition, I am very much aware of their cultural...and most importantly the conversationalist, influence in this area.   And I love that we have that mix.

So today I will share a Native Legend campfire story that I told my kids on our recent adventure.  It is actually one of Seneca Native Legend -- a First Nations that is further west from our Ottawa Valley, but you will see why I choose this particular tale.

Got your marshmallows?


THE Bear thought herself a very powerful creature and was always trying to exhibit her strength before other animals.   One day she got into a dispute with a Chipmunk, and the Chipmunk asked, 

"Why do you boast so much? You have no great power."

The Bear was angry and declared that she had such power that she could, if she wished, prevent the sun from rising in the morning.

The Chipmunk said, "You cannot."

"Wait and see," replied the Bear.

The Chipmunk was not to be fooled. He declared that he would wait. 

"We shall have the sun at the usual time," said he.

 So the two sat facing the East, both chanting under their breath the whole night long.

Bear growled the sun will not come up, the sun will not come up, for I powerful and strong Bear command it!

While Chipmunk quietly teetered beside him the sun is going to rise.  the sun is going to rise.   because Bear is foolish, the sun is going to rise! 

As the night began to fade, and the glimmer of light began to appear on the horizon, both Bear and Chipmunk chanted louder. 

When the sun came up the Chipmunk laughed and made fun of the Bear and her boasting, till the Bear was so terribly angry that she turned on the Chipmunk.  He escaped, for his burrow was close by, but as he reached it, the Bear was so nearly upon him that she stretched out her paw to clutch him; but he slipped from under it and went into the hole.

The next day the Chipmunk appeared with three marks on his back, marks of the Bear's claws. 
Chipmunks carry those marks to this day.   And may it remind you, as it does Chipmunk, to be careful of whom you make fun of:  for you may be the foolish one in the end!

  And that is the tale of how our dear little camp mate Chippy got his stripes!

ImagesByCW Photography