Mishipzhiw

Also known as Mitchipissy, Missipissy, Master of the Fishes, Underground Panther, Underwater Panther, Great Tiger, Great Lynx, Manetuwi-Rusi-Pissi.

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  • #2270
  • North American North American (culture)
  • Aquatic Aquatic (attribute)
  • Troublesome Troublesome (behaviour)

A water monster from the traditions of the Ojibwa and Algonquin people of North America. It has the body of a cat with a spiked back. It captures its victims with its long tail. It also uses its tail to create storms by waving it in the water. Some say it is a form of lynx or panther, hence its name. One common trick would be to hide under the ice in winter and then leap out to where the was broke and there were swimmers and boats. It devoured many people and destroyed many boats.

There was once a lake whereby in the middle of the lake there was an island of mud. To get to the other side people would paddle in their boats around the island. One day a dane was being held on the other side of the lake. Two girls who were sisters-in-law set out late. they both got into their canoe and paddle straight across the lake. One sister said that they should go around the island not to the island and then across it! But the girl paddling ignored this and went straight to the muddy bank. They then got off their boat and dragged it across the muddy island holding on to their paddles.

Then they spotted a large water hole in the middle of the lake. The hole was swirling around violently like a whirlpool. The sister peered inside and then a large panther jumped out of the hole. It attacked the girls but one of them used the paddle to hit the panthers tail and cried 'This is lightning'. The panther growled and retreated back down the hole. The sisters discovered that they had cut the end of the animal's tail off. This tail had hardened and turned into a magical piece of copper that gave the two girls good luck. Later they told their families and they rented out the tail to many people in the village who'd pay good money to have it so they good have a day or too of good luck. The two girls became very wealthy.

It also features in the old Ojibwa story:

“ Wealth of Stories - Mishebeshu (Ojibwa) Sure I saw the water monster! Why do you think I got back here so fast? Yes, that was me sitting in a tree by the lake wishing myself into a walking stick and making cracking-leaves sounds and making wishes on myself. That's when I saw him! I couldn't think straight so thought crooked, which is how I got to be a snake come winding out and safe at home. All because I saw him.”

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