CM . . .
. Volume XIV Number 15 . . . .March 21, 2008
The Mouse Woman Trilogy brings together in a single volume three of Christie Harris’ now classic collections of Northwest Coast First Nations’ tales that were originally published between 1976 and 1979 and which featured the tiny supernatural helper, "Mouse Woman." The volume also contains Douglas Tait’s original drawings. Since two of the three books in the collection were recently reviewed in CM, this review will focus on Mouse Woman and the Muddleheads which presents seven tales about how Mouse Woman had to deal with the muddleheaded behaviour of either humans or narnauks, the latter being supernatural creatures that could appear in animal or human form.
Love is an emotion which has been known to cause individuals to act irrationally or muddleheadedly, and that emotion features in several of the stories in which either a human wants to marry a narnauk ("Robin Woman and Sawbill Duck Woman") or a narnauk wants to marry a human ("The Mink Being Who Wanted to Marry a Princess" and "The Princess and the Copper Canoeman"), both behaviors that were considered contrary to the accepted social code and something which could only lead to no good. Ambition and pride can also contribute to muddleheaded behaviour with the former driving events in "The Sea Hunters Who Were Swallowed by a Whirlpool" and "Asdilda and Omen" while the latter propelled the action in "The Princess Who Rejected Her Cousin." And then there are those who just seem to be born muddleheads as can be observed in "The Rumor" where Mouse Woman deals with the "greedy but none-too-bright narnauk called Big-Raven" who very foolishly steals food from Mouse Woman’s children.
Dave Jenkinson, who lives in Winnipeg, MB, is CM’s editor.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.