• Nadya Sayre

The Story of She-Who-Walks-Like-the-Mist



As you know, the story I just told you isn't true. You can get the original story here.


I'm gonna write it out, then I'll go over what I changed, and why. Also, where some of the inspiration came from. What I write won't exactly match what I said, and that's because the story always changed a little, with every telling. More or less the same, but some words might come out different, and when you're giving a tour, you can't keep backtracking, so you roll with what you said.


This next story starts on the shores of Lake Huron, in a Chippewa village.

It changed from Ojibwa to Chippewa simply because I forgot which tribe it was.


The Chief was worried because the Iroquois to the east were getting restless. He knew that if they managed to raid as far as his village, he didn't have enough warriors to defend the village.

The first time I ever heard this story, there was just some unnamed danger that meant the tribe needed to make an alliance. I knew the Iroquois were enemies to the tribes along the lake, so they got stuck being the bad guys. It gave the story a sense of danger and urgency.


They needed to make an alliance, so he turned to his only daughter, She-who-walks-like-the-mist, and told her, "It's time to get married."

Mist Woman had one condition: her father had to allow her to choose the man.

The Chief figures that since he's not going to allow any young men anywhere near his daughter unless they're from a village with plenty of warriors, he's cool with that. And he promised.

Utter nonsense. As far as I've read, Native women had complete control over who they married, and a lot more agency in their own stories than the fairy tales we grew up with. This bit is basically taken from European folklore, simply because it's what my tour guests would understand best.


So the suitors began to come around. Those suitors would bring Mist Woman gifts. She would smile, feed them some wild rice, make polite conversation, and see them out the door again.

Basically from the original, I just had to move the timeline up because my horses walked that fast.


The Chief began to get frustrated, because his daughter would not make a decision.

Mist Woman started taking longer and longer walks, hunting for wild rice, roots, berries - anything to get out of the village for a while.

Yeah, Mist Woman was actually a much more obedient daughter than what I've made her out to be. But it was something my guests could relate to better, I suppose, since this version is the one that worked best, in the end.


One day, she was coming home later than she'd planned, and it was starting to get dark, when out of the forest stepped a young man! He wore white deerskin, with designs on them that she'd never seen before. He offered to walk her to the edge of the village, just to make sure she got home safe.

More or less original. I tried throwing in the cape, but it didn't really seem to work that well. Plus, time.


It must've been some walk, because when they arrived, he proposed. When she saw her father that night, Mist Woman told him she'd finally met the man she wanted to marry.

Okay, I absolutely CANNOT have a couple 'falling in love' without spending a LITTLE time talking to each other! I refuse to join those ranks. So, my couple had time to court. Sure, it was record time, but still, time.


The Chief, naturally, wanted to know more. As soon as he learned that this young man had no village, and no tribe - and therefore, no warriors to help them out - he refused the match, breaking his promise.

Yeah, I made dad a little more reasonable. If you read the original, he heard about the young fella and just lost it. Nopeitty nope, that ain't dope. I gave him a chance.


The next day, Mist Woman took a canoe out to this very Island, with gifts for Gitchi Manitou, hoping he could change her father's heart.

This I picked up from the first tour guide, coming out here. I added in changing the father's heart, sure, and that's cuz it sounded nice.


A few hours later, the Chief followed after, hoping his daughter had changed her mind. But when he found her by the shore, she still told him she would marry no one but that young man. This made the Chief so angry, he tied his daughter to a rock, and left her there.

Mist Woman didn't scream. She didn't shout. She simply cried for the life she would no longer have.

More or less follows the original text, abbreviated for time.


Gitchi Manitou saw her tears, and he had mercy on her. So every tear she shed washed away at the rock underneath her, until it formed a hole. When the hole became big enough, it turned into a portal to the Sky World!

The original legend didn't have Gitchi Manitou. Mist Woman was just crying there long enough for it to naturally wash away. But since I'd introduced Gitchi Manitou to my guests in an earlier story, seemed a shame to waste the knowledge, to Gitchi Manitou makes another appearance.


And through it stepped...her young man. It turns out the reason he didn't have a village or a tribe is because he was one of the Wind Spirits. So he untied her from the rock, took her into his arms, and whisked her through the portal, to the Sky World, where they still live today.

Originally, the sky prince followed a star path. That one was too...bulky for the story. Plus, it all required too much explaining afterward. A simple portal was easier to understand.


I can tell you right now that Arch Rock is still a portal to the Sky World, and I guarantee that if you jump through it, you will be meeting Gitchi Manitou a LOT sooner than you thought.

This is what lightened the mood at the end, and always got a laugh. Engagement is good!


If you haven't seen the video, you can watch it here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=371343560578422


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