“Well...” she looks around, sits down, wraps her tail around herself, and wriggles both ears while smiling.
“I suppose I recall the story. Alright.”
The others in the room - Petal, Ply Press, the Doctor, and Makade, dong explicitly cease their own conversations to hear Waabishki speak. But they do not continue them either, and the room is left in silence as she behind her story:
“One day, after a long and troubled journey, Nanabush returned home to find his cousin missing. Calling his cousin’s name and looking around, he was horrified to see the slithering tracks of the Great Horned Serpent, and knew his cousin had been seized. He picked up his bow and crossed rivers and mountains pursuing the trail, which lead him finally to the shores of a dark and gloomy lake the Lake of Demons. Through the troubled waters Nanabush could see the home of the Horned Serpent, and the terrible, evil spirits who served the Serpent. At the center of the mass of evil spirits was the Horned Serpent himself, coiled around the dead body of Nanabush’s cousin. His eyes were a malign, glowing red, his head the color of blood, and his scales every shade. Nanabush resolved he would get revenge upon the Great Serpent.
He ordered the clouds to clear, the winds to be still, and the sun to shine upon the water with all its brightness. In this way he would boil the water and force the serpent to the shore to cool off, where he would set up the next stage of his trap. Taking his bow and arrow, he set up next to a clearing by the lake where he expected the serpent would lay, disguising himself as the broken stump of a withered tree. The sun shone down from the cloudless sky, and under the stilled winds and stagnant air the lake became troubled with bubble and foam. A serpent peeped his head above the water, then another. Not hearing Nanabush’s footsteps, they agreed Nanabush must be sleeping, returning to the lake with a hiss. The water boiled and waves crashes against the shores, until the Great Horned Serpent rose out of the water - his crest glistening, and his scales blinding, reflecting the light like a sleet covered forest under the winter sun. He made his way to the shore, followed by demonic serpents that soon covered every part of the shore.
The serpents knew Nanabush was cunning. They saw the withered stump, and suspected it could be one of Nanabush’s disguises. A serpent wrapped its tail around the stump to drag it into the lake. It’s tail pricked Nanabush’s sides, and he could barely refrain from crying out in pain. But he held firm and kept silent. The serpent moved on. The Great Serpent moved into the forest, wrapping his body around trees, and his many companions likewise found shade, save for a live sentry, who listened for the pawsteps of Nanabush.
Yet Nanabush was patient, waiting until all of the serpents were asleep, and the sentry looked another direction. In silence, Nanabush carefully pulled an arrow from his quiver, drew his bow, and aimed it right at the heart of the Great Serpent.”
Waabishki acts out the scene, sitting in her hind quarter, and miming the act of pulling an arrow and drawing a bow, closing an eye as if to look down the arrow. She shifts the two toes of her paw, and says,
“The arrow found its mark. The monster awoke with a cry that shook the mountains and startled the beasts sleeping in their caves. The Great Horned Serpent plunged into the lake, followed by its companions, who howled with terror and anger. At the bottom of the lake still lay the body of Nanabush’s cousin. The serpents tore it to pieces, and those pieces toss to the top of the water. The Great Serpent knew he wound die soon, but he, and all his minions, would destroy Nanabush. With the pounding of their tails they caused the waters to swell and rise, crashing against the shore with the sound of thunder. The waters flooded over the land, carrying rocks and trees, and on the crest of the highest wave rode the wounded Great Horned Serpent.
Nanabush fled. He thought of his pups. So he ran through the villages, shouting that they must flee to the mountains, as the Great Horned Serpent and his flood would soon be upon them. The wolves gathered up their pups and fled to the mountains, while Nanabush continued his flight, past the foothills, far north of Gitche Gumee, and to the northern mountain where he found many wolves, creatures, and animals taking refuge. Yet the waters continued to rise, covering the valleys, the plains, the low hills, and the mountains, until only the high northern mountain remained above water. So he gathered timber, and built a raft upon which the creatures and animals placed themselves. The high mountain too soon flooded, and they were left alone upon the water, floating for many days.
But the waters subsided, and the mountains, then the hills, the plains and the valleys appeared through the water. And when it was all gone they knew that their troubles were over, for the Great Horned Serpent was dead; his body sealed away under the waters. His minions fled back to the bottom of the lake, where they remain to this day for fear of Nanabush.”
She leaves the room in silence for some moment, looking out at the other creatures.