Legend of Osisko
It was the summer of 2010 and I had won a trip on the supersonic rail
way to visit my grandmother is Rouyn. I loved to paint and for my school project of technology and
advancement I decide to paint about the environment. Motivate by an old film of Richard Desjardin, the Error Boreal, I painted
the poor reality of the Quebec forests.
My mother had to give written authorization to the Quebec rail so I could travel alone, not that at thirteen I wasn't responsible, but the
rules did not allow me to travel without written consent. The trip from Montreal to Rouyn was supposed to take only and hour, and it was a good that it
was that fast. Not that I was in a rush to see my grandmother, but the supersonic speed did not allow me to see the reality,
of clear cut forests I so artistically painted for my school project.
Most other people on in the train seemed happy on the rail net
and games, but not I. I wanted to enjoy the scenery; even it there was not much left to see. I felt like the speed of transportation
was conspiracy. It was like the business concept worked together as a whole. By making fast trains people and goods could
be transported faster, generating higher profits for the capitalistic machine, but it also kept the critical eyes from seeing
the consequences of such advancement.
As I observed the happy amused costumers on the supper-sonic rail,
I came to notice an old man. He was very old and very tall. He had long white hair and beard that somewhat hide many wrinkles.
He wore big old-fashioned glasses and very shaggy clothing. He was caring a pot with a baby spruce tree on his lap and it
made me curious. Everyone else seemed to ignore him and he didn't seem interested in the games available either. It also seemed
that way because no one sat close to him.
I made my way passed many people, unnoticed for they were all too
busy. Some were so plugged in to the toys of evolution that they seemed more like the robot a friend of mine presented in
competition with my simple painting.
"May I sit here with you," I asked when I approached his seat.
"Certainly, young man. What's your name?"
"I'm Marco and you?" I stretched out my hand.
"I'm Protectius and this is the spirit of Abitibi," he sighted
his little tree.
"The tree is called Spirit of Abitibi?"
"No. It's called Abitibi it is a spirit. It used to be a dragon,
but now it is a tree."
"It was nice meeting you, I think I'll go back to my seat now,"
I said a little scared that this man was weird.
"What's the matter? You don't believe in the spirit of the forest.
Look at this tree and feel its sadness, then tell me if you don't believe it is a spirit."
Now I was scared. He was obviously weird.
"I believe it, but I just remember that I need to check something
on the rail net," I said just so I could excuse myself politely and go back to my seat.
"If you don't believe than why did you win the contest in your
school with a painting that clearly reflected the sadness of the forest?"
"How did you know I won with a painting?"
"It's on the paper, you project made front page," he showed me
the Journal de Montreal newspaper. "What? You thought I was a wizard?"
"No..." I didn't know what to say.
"If I was to have magical powers I would prefer to be the guardian
of Lake Osisko
and the forest," he said with charisma.
"It sure needs one," I said a little more at ease in the presence
of this man that really looked more like a guardian of an ancient treasure. "I painted about the forest because I saw an old
film from Richard Desjardin and thought it would be great to remind people of our dyeing forests and lakes," I explained.
"I read the article, and I believe it was more than just the film
that led to your painting. I believe the spirit of the Osisko inspired you."
"What spirit?" I was becoming interested by this old mans stories.
"It started long ago and it's a long story..."
"I have an hour," I said thinking of the time it would take to
arrive at Rouyn.
"Well, long ago," he started with a gentle voice. It was like the
voice of a grandfather telling a fable. "Spirit Abitibi was placed in Rouyn-Noranda by the Goddess Diana.
"It first took the form of the lake and mankind named it Osisko,
but it was forced to change form and it became a tree. Some people said it would some time take the form of a dragon.
"Its purpose was to protect nature in good conditions so Diana
could go hunting in the light of the full moon on the edges of the water. The noon, the water and the forests are her property
and, like the kings long ago, she didn't like trespassers. Osisko was supposed to keep its waters crystal clean and bathe
the surrounding forests with moister and rain for his master.
"Mankind came to live on the edges of his beauty and soon, chimneys
were up in the air, holes were dug in the ground and trees became the materials for building houses.
"After many cut trees and many houses built, Osisko started to
fall ill. He was no longer alone either. Another spirit came to live with him in the water. She was sent by Mars the Gad of
war and she came from deep beneath the earth, were she had been frozen for millions of years. She war dark and had two heads.
One head was a goat and the other a wolf.
"The men that dug the holes in the ground knew about this terrible
spirit, but never told a soul. Mars ordered them with promises of rubies, diamonds and gold.
"The bad spirit in the lake smoked. The goat head smoked a pipe
and the wolf a cigar. Their body was like a giant fish with wings. The legs and tail were like a scorpion. Her name was Polucius.
"Pulucius job was to prepare fields for war so Mars could amuse
himself. She smoked and smoked with her two heads until Osisko could no longer live in harmony with Polucius. Osisko left
and transformed himself into a tree.
"Polucius was so happy to have all the space to her self that she
smoked even more and more freely. She invited many dark souls into, now her lake, and they amused themselves at scaring off
the fish the plants and the birds.
"The water that was once innocent and pure became very dark and
very dirty. The atmosphere warmed up and the clouds were afraid to fly over, so the rain stopped.
"The sun was angry at the sight so he stopped sending the northern
lights to illuminate the night skies. He also burned harder during the day on the area about to become Mars battlefield.
"One day, Goddess Diana decided to go hunting on her forests of
Abitibi. When she got there she was in shock. When she saw the two headed monster smoking away and turning her beautiful lake Osisko into something
so terrible, she pulled out an arrow out of her back pouch and aimed it at the heart of the monster with her Godly bow. Then
she released it with anger. The arrow of a goddess can kill any spirit, but just as it was about to reach the monster, Mars
flying shield diverted it.
"Diana realised it was Mars doings so she challenged him to war,
but she lost in battle. She knew then it was time to let go of her Abitibi and maybe her hopes. A woman can leave Abitibi
but Abitibi never leaves a woman. She had one last hope, the Titan that protects all humans.
"She went to see him and he gave her the box of Pandora, a little
box that the Gods have placed hope and miseries and that all miseries had escaped but hope was still locked inside. He told
her to secretly place the box is the waters of Osisko, but to break off the lid first so hope can exit into the water.
"He also told her that is was no use to fight Mars unless she could
find a human pure at heart to work her bow.
"Mars can only fight other Gods; it's the curse of Zeus. Diana
don't know where to find a human pure at heart so she went to speak to Abitibi witch was now a dying tree on the shores of
"She told the tree everything and that is was up to him to find
a pure hearted human to take on the towheaded monster.
"She left Abitibi with one Godly arrow and a bow. Then she went
off to the other side of the earth, where the lakes are still pure and crystal clean.
"Mars took her out of Abitibi, but Abitibi was determined to stay
in Diana's heart forever.
"Abitibi started to plan how it would go about finding a human
to do the job and realised it was going to be very hard if it remained a tree. It decided to transform it self into a dragon
and live in Lake Osisko.
"There it could, maybe one day, meet a human pure at heart to accept
the job and the challenge.
"Years went by and all it witnessed was youth migrations, some
tourist attractions, fears in the community and inspired film makers.
"One day it lost almost all its magical energy and he became very
ill. He tried to transform himself back to a tree, but it was only able to transform to a small dyeing tree.
"That's why I took it to Montreal,
to take it to a specialist, it's doing better now but it needs to be planted in a good spot."
The story was incredible,
but I had the sense he was talking about his little tree on his lap.
"Are you talking about your tree?" I asked.
"What tree did you
think I was talking about?"
"Okay. The story of the Goddess of hunting and the God of war was
interesting, but associating it with your plant tree is ridiculous," I said in misbelieve.
"You liked the old mythological stories. Your eyes and facial expressions
were full of delight, but you don't believe that this tree could be the Spirit Abitibi?"
"Well then, I think you better go back to your seat. You're not
pure at heart and you're just like all the rest." Protectius seemed angry.
It made me scared again to the point of accepting the suggestion
of moving back to my seat. The train was arriving anyway and I needed to grab my things.
I walked to my seat
without looking back. All I could think was how I could be so naive. To sit thee and let my child content enjoy such a ridiculous
story told by an old weird man. "Did I not learn anything about talking to strangers?" I asked myself.
The train arrived at the sophisticated Horne terminal and I was
anxious to greet my grandmother. I could already smell and taste her wonderful cooking, no offence Mom.
Other sections of
The old Wizard
The Tribunal in the Rock
The French Version
is available in all French Canadian Librauries and the English version is coming to your libraury soon.