The Gator Legend of Wendigo’s Court

by Keith Curtis 2002

ira had been travelling for days. It was difficult to keep up, but she knew the beatings would come from Garlok should the gators have to carry her. Something strange had been happening for the last hour though. The ever-present heat and flies of Nunavut had decreased. Now there were no insects at all. Soon Garlok called them to a halt. He ordered them to make camp. As the others busied themselves or slunk off to go hunting, the great lizard beast came up to Tira.

She was afraid of a beating, but the chieftain did not strike her. Instead he gruffly ordered her to come with him in an oily voice that was almost wheedling. She followed, obedience born of long habit. He lead her steadily up and up, till the came to the crest of a ridge. The sky was clearly visible, though it was an odd grayish color. A cold wind blew from the other side of the ridge. Garlok grabbed her and pulled her to the top, making her look beyond.

The sight she saw was very strange. The valley beyond was almost denuded of trees. A cold stinging drizzle wetted her face. Beyond the hill was a low depression where an odd white substance covered patches of the ground. In the center, on a conical hill stood a building. It was unlike any of the ruins she had seen before, even the swallowed remains of the place the Gators called Edmonton. It was made of glass, or crystal, like the shiny sparkly buts to be found in the ruins of the ancient Gators. Garlok pointed to it and spoke.

“Know, little morsel, that you behold the last bit of the beginning of the world. The lands in the beginning were covered with ice and snow. Then the great gators of old gave gifts of gold and precious gems to Wendigo, the ice giant who created the world. They showed their fear and respect to the terrible creature and were rewarded by him. They were taught many secrets and built many wonders, the cities and roads of which now only ruins are left. One day, the giant called all of the creatures of earth together and told them that he was retreating to the mountain tops. He would give the greatest power to those who gave him the greatest gifts.

“The gators gathered much gold and jewels, all their precious things. But then the betrayer man came and stole the gators sacrifice. They presented it to Wendigo as if it were their own. The great ice giant looked upon the sacrifice and said that it was good. The he turned his head to the gators and asked them where their sacrifice was. The Gators had nothing to give, and so they told the great creature that their gift to him was man. He would have man's flesh to eat. And so the gators and men fought, to the great sport of the Wendigo. But the gators were unable to defeat man and take his flesh for the giant. So the giant ruled that man the cunning had stolen the gators' gold, so the gold was man's sacrifice. And he gave his secrets to men.

“He turned to the gators and said that man had stolen gold from the gators, but the gators did not have the strength to give him man's flesh, for the men fought to preserve it. So he cursed the gators for being weak and caused them to crawl in the mud and live in the Jungle, while the men lived in cities and used great magics.

“But the gators knew that if they could give enough gold to the giant, they would be lifted up and man would crawl in the mud. And so it is our right to take gold from men. Also, the power and secrets of men lies in the flesh that they could not give to the giant, so they consume man's flesh to gain his greatness.”

Here he looked at Tira with his cold reptilian stare. The he resumed.

“And one last thing do the gators know. The house of the giant, Wendigo still stands in this secret valley. It is his promise to us that his judgement is not final. If we are strong enough, we will become great. Here is where we sacrifice to the giant. Here we give him the gold taken from men. And here his servants gather it. No gator may now approach the house and live, for we are creatures of heat and mud. But...”

And so saying he took the pouch of booty taken from a raid and flung it with all his might toward the crystal palace. It landed on the ground and burst, coins flying everywhere.

“In the morning all will be gone, and Garlok will be greater. Some day Garlok will be greater still, for Garlok has a secret. A tasty secret that will make him strong and powerful.”

Again the cold look of hunger. Tira did not understand, but shivered in the cold wind.

“Now we must leave. The Gatherer of Gold will come soon for my sacrifice and no gator may look on him and live.”

He grabbed Tira by her hair and lifted her to him. He sniffed her a moment and seemed to be considering something. Then he controlled himself and dropped her to the ground.

“Follow, little meat sack,” he growled.