'Wenebojo and the Cranberries': Ojibwe winter story

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Editor's note: In the Ojibwe culture, storytelling is an ancient and important art. It’s how tales and teachings about the world are passed from generation to generation, from elder storytellers to eager children. Winter, especially, is a season of storytelling. But these stories are only to be told when there is snow on the ground.

This is the fourth of several Ojibwe winter stories that have been shared with us, and are being published in the Tribune. To read more of these stories, or to learn more, visit .

'Wenebojo and the Cranberries'

Wenebojo was walking along one day by the edge of a lake and saw some highbush cranberries lying in the shallow water. He stuck his hand in the water and tried to get them, but he couldn't. He tried over and over again to get those cranberries.

Finally, he gave up trying to stick his hand in the water and instead, he tried to grab them with his mouth by sticking his head in the water.

That didn't work either, so he dove down into the water. The water was so shallow that the little rocks on the bottom hurt his face. He jumped out of the water and lay down on his back on the shore, holding his face.


He opened his eyes, and there were the berries hanging above him! He had only seen their reflection in the water.

But he was so angry that he tore the berries off the tree and didn't eat any, and he walked away.

-- As told by Mike Swan, spiritual leader for the Pine Point community and Native American Cultural Liaison for Detroit Lakes Public Schools

Read the other stories:

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