Reprinted from Portage Lake: Memories of an Ojibwe Child- hood, by the late Maude Kegg, edited and transcribed by John D. Nichols. University of Minnesota Press.
Mewinzha Gabekanaansing ingii-taamin. Miish a’aw ni- noshenh, bezhig wa’aw ninoshenh, “Adaawewigamigong izhaadaa,” ikido. Miish wii-wiiji’iweyaan. Niwii-wiijiiwaa adaawewigamigong izhaad. Ziinzibaakwadoons iko nimiinig a’aw Waandane gii-inaa a’aw adaawewinini.
Niwenda-ondendam wii-wiiji’iweyaan gaa-pi-izhi-wiijii- wag. Waasa ingii-izhaamin ingoji go naanan maagizhaa gaye ingodwaaswi diba’igan.
Miish eta go miinawaa imaa gezikwendamaan imaa inibi- moseyaang miikana, odaabaanikana. Mii eta go eniginid a’aw odaabaan. Inzhaashaaginizide gaye, basikawaanagwaa ingiw asiniinsag imaa ani-bimoseyaan.
Baanimaa go imaa gaa-bimooded mikinaakoons en- da-agaashiinyi. Mii imaa izhi-inaabiyaan indigo naa gaa-wa- noodewaad mikinaakoonsag. Mii go bijinag gii-paash- kaawe’owaad.
“Wewiib,” ikido aabanaabamid, “jibwaa-onaagoshig ji-da- goshinaang iwidi endaayaang.”
“Gaawiin,” indinaa, “niwii-naganaasiig ingiw mikinaakoon- sag. Dibi ge-izhaawaagwen.”
Enda-nishkaadizi. “Wiiwegin imaa gigoodaazhishing! Maa- migin! Zaaga’iganiing ga-ani-izhaamin,” ikido.
Mii imaa endazhitaayaan maamiginagwaa baabii’id imaa, maamiginagwaa ingoji go nisimidana, niibowa sa go mikinaa- koonsag, imaa ingoodaazhenzhishing ezhi-wiiweginagwaa, bimoseyaang.
Gomaapii dash igo azhigwa geget zaaga’igan imaa ayaamagad. “Mii imaa o-bagidin,” ikido, “mii ingiw mikinaa- koonsag.” Mii ini-bimoseyaang gaa-izhi-izhaayaang imaa jiigi- biig, miish imaa bebezhig ezhi-bagidinagwaa imaa nibiikaang.
“Gaawiin,” ikido, “mii imaa endazhiikewaad ingiw miki- naakwag,” ikido. Miish ezhi-bagidinagwaa imaa bebezhig, ganawaabamagwaa maamaajiikwazhiwewaad. Enda-wawi- yadendaagoziwag.
Mii eta go imaa minik gezikwendamaan.
The Little Snapping Turtle
Long ago we lived at Portage Lake. One of my aunts said, “Let’s go to the store.” I wanted to go along. I wanted to go with her to the store. The storekeeper, Waandane he was called, used to give me candy.
I was determined to go along, so I went with her. We went a long way, maybe five or six miles.
And then I remember again that we were walking along in the road, the wagon road. It was only as big as a wagon. I was barefoot and kicked the stones as we walked along.
All of a sudden there was a real small turtle crawling along. When I looked there, there were a lot of turtles crawling around. They had just hatched.
“Hurry up,” she said turning to look at me, “so we get home before evening.”
“No,” I told her, “I won’t leave these little turtles. I wonder where they are going.”
She was just mad. “Wrap them in your skirt! Pick them up! We’ll go by a lake on our way,” she said.
And so I got busy and picked them up while she waited for me, picked up about thirty, a whole lot of those turtles, and wrapped them in my little skirt as we walked along.
Sure enough after a while there was a lake. “Go and put those turtles in,” she said. As we went by the shore, I released them one-by-one in the water.
“I’m afraid they’ll drown.”
“No,” she said, “that’s where snapping turtles live,” she said. And so I put them down one-by-one and watched them swim away. They were so cute.
And that’s all I remember of that.