List of stories


Wihtiko's Heartbeat
Collected and Illustrated By: James Ratt
Told By: Mary McKenzie
All content 1983 Lac La Ronge Indian Band Education Branch

Some years ago, when people used to believe in the Wihtiko, we had quite a scare after we returned from a hunting trip. We had run into some bad weather and spent most of the day under a pine tree. Because we were unable to start a fire, we decided to head back.

After we returned to camp and had turned our canoe over on dry ground, my grandfather came from his tent to see if we had gotten anything on our hunting trip. We told him what had happened and he told us to come over to his tent to warm up.


We had some tea and dried off. Then my grandmother told us that he had been hearing a sound all day as if someone was chopping down a tree. He thought it might be the heartbeat of a Wihtiko and we better be prepared for the night in case it should be heading towards our camp.

I decided that I should get our Bible out and read a few chapters. That night my grandfather, my nephew and I stayed up late to see what would happen. I was sitting beside a little wood heater and my nephew sat on the other side. My grandfather was sitting by the doorway of the tent. He took a peek outside because the chopping sound became louder as the wind blew harder.


Just as my grandfather had his head all the way out, our dog Kiskanuhk decided to have a peek inside the tent. These two startled each other so much that they jumped away from the doorway at the same time! This gave us all a laugh before we resumed our watch.


I became more frightened after thinking about how fast my grandfather had pulled his head away from the doorway. I was afraid to even walk outside for a few minutes, so I got out the Bible again and read a few more chapters. My nephew said he was staying awake all night and I tried to stay awake with him. However, I fell alseep sometime during the night and woke up with a burnt forehead because we had kept the stove going to keep warm.


In the morning the chopping sound was not as loud as the night before. We decided to go for a ride in the canoe and check out the sound. As we drew closer to the noise, we saw a large crack in a rock by the shoreline where the waves were slapping in and out.


"So, this is what's been keeping us up most of the night!" my grandfather said. We had another good laugh and I was very relieved that it wasn't the Wihtiko's heartbeat after all!

Ayas Story - Mary Cook Dene Stories Muhikunistikwan*
Othapachikew Pelican Narrows Story The Bear Trail* Wesakichak and the Ducks
Wesuhkichak the Medicine Man* Wihtiko Heartbeat* Wesakaychak the Fly Witiko and the Little Person
Witigo and the Two Women The Last Time a Witiko was seen on the Reindeer River

* These stories are from Lac La Ronge Indian Band Education Branch Curriculum Resource Unit and are available with many others for purchase in booklet form.

Write: Lac la Ronge Indian Band Education, Box 480, La Ronge, SK. S0J 1L0