If you’re a native Mainer living in Maine right now, you probably never wondered how your home town got its name. You’re content to live in Passadumkeag or Molunkus knowing they’re from the original native tongues, something your Penobscot neighbor might be able to translate (or maybe not, times being what they are). If you’re the sort who asked questions when you were young, you’ve probably moved away by now; I know, because that was me. Asking too many questions makes folks uncomfortable, I’ve found, so nowadays I do it in a big city where everyone already ignores me anyway.
Trouble is, if you don’t ask, you never learn. And so many fine old tales that ought to have been told over and over have started to die out over the years. This is one I heard when I was very young; not long ago I ran across a variant of it in one of the Histories of Paarfi of Roundwood (as translated by Steven Brust) and bethought myself to track down the original, just to make sure (more…)