The way we received Maple Syrup 

A long time ago, this story happened.

The winter had been extremely long and extremely cold, and the Onkwehonwe or Original people became very sad. Now, it was the time of poorness because all the gardens were empty. Yah othé:nen ase’shón’a, oterashón’a tanon ononhkwashón’a. There were no vegetables, no roots and no medicines. The trees and bushes bared no fruits and even the animals in the forest had become scarce. Yah othé:nen kahikshón’a tánon kontíriyo. All the people were hungry and their minds were low. One boy looked around at all the suffering people and decided to go into the forest where he could think. He sat down beside Wáhta, a maple tree. He sat for a long time, thinking how can he help lift the minds of all the people.

After a while, a skittish squirrel called Aró:sen darted past him and ran up Wáhta, the Maple tree. What a surprise it was. The boy watched as the squirrel jumped from limb to limb. É:so kasasténhtshera! She had so much energy and liveliness. The boy wondered how it could be so. Aró:sen surely was hungry too, wasn’t she? Before long, the boy grew tired and headed back to his home. He decided he will come back when Karahkwa, the sun rose again.

The next day the boy headed back to the forest. Determined not to get distracted and to focus on a way to lift the spirits of the people. He sat down beside a tree, and began to think. It wasn’t long before Aró:sen the squirrel darted past him. The boy sure was surprised to see her again so quickly, and she was still, so full of energy. Once again, he watched her leap from limb to limb. This time though, the boy noticed that she favoured Wáhta the Maple tree, and in between all the leaping and jumping, Aró:sen, the squirrel had stopped to drink from the tree. Aró:sen was drinking from Wáhta!? He stood up to investigate. Sure enough, the boy saw drip-drip-drip a liquid was dripping from the Wáhta, maple tree.

How curious the boy thought. He reached up to touch the liquid then tasted it from his fingertips. Mmm kahneká:kon, it tasted good and a little sweet. The boy fashioned up a make shift bowl from bark and placed it just so, to catch the drips of sap as it drip-drip-dripped from the tree. He decided he will return home for the day and come back the next day to check on this liquid. When he got home, he didn’t tell anyone about Aró:sen or the Wáhta liquid. He wasn’t sure yet, if this will be helpful to lift their minds.

The next day, later in the day, he returned to the Wátha where he had left the bowl. He noticed how Karahkwa, the sun shone so brightly in the spot where he had left it. Karahkwa, the sun made the liquid turn darker in colour. Karahkwa, the sun had even made the liquid thicker, like óhses a syrup. How peculiar the boy thought. He wondered if it tasted different too. With that he lifted the bowl to his lips and took a sip. My goodness! Karahkwa, the sun made the warm liquid even sweeter than it was before! He took a long drink. He knew now, why Aró:sen was so happy and full of life and energy. He knew now, that he could take this wáhta Óhses, maple syrup back to the people and help to raise their minds and energy. “Nyawenkó:wa! Thank you!” the grateful boy shouted! “This Wáhta óhses, Maple Syrup is just what the people need!

Nyá:wen Aró:sen! Nyá:wen Karahkwa! Nyá:wen Wáhta!”

Meet the Artists

Alyssa Bardy

Tewateronhiahkhwa Gleniste