Moz was of the middle. Moz did not like the low places. Moz did not like the high places. Kumag would sing, "Come with me my sisters, to the sky we go, swim this silver river, we will touch the sky!”
But Moz did not like the high places and would not climb. Aki would taunt Moz, "Come with me my sisters, to the sea we go, swim the salty water, return home with me!”
But Moz did not like the deep water and would not swim in the sea. Kumag noticed that while Aki could swim, she would not climb to the sky. "Aki, you must see the sky! Come with me, my sister, you must know the sky!”
But Aki did not like the river and stayed by the sea. Moz realized that Aki could not climb or swim to the sky. Moz started to tease Aki. "Aki, come with me. Walk with me. If you come with me, I will try. I will try to reach the sky!”
Aki would have none of that. "Silly Moz! When you can swim in the sea with me then I will walk with you.”
Moz feared the deep sea, but she called upon the Sea Spirit, "I am Moz. I will honor you with a swim.”
For two days the sea crew calmer and calmer. It was a good omen. Moz went to the sea and swam. Moz boasted to Aki, "See! I can swim. I can do anything if I try. Come with me to the sky. Aki, won’t you try to reach the sky?”
Aki wanted to touch the sky and the brave deed of Moz lifted Aki’s spirit. Aki swam into the mouth of the Great River, "Yes, Moz, I will try! Let us go and touch the sky!”
Moz and Aki started their journey to the sky. Aki swam up the river and Moz walked. Kumag sang, "Here we go! Oh Sky Spirit, pour forth your golden blood, fill us with love, for my sisters come with me to touch the source of life!”
The journey was long and began with much joy and sisterly love. The Three Sisters had never before had a chance to do something together. But then Moz grew fearful in the steep places and Aki could not pass the white water. Aki wailed, "Kumag, bring the sky a little lower, we have come as far as we can come. Help us touch the sky!”
But there was nothing Kumag could do. Kumag swam in circles around Aki and chanted, "Silly girl, the sky does not move!”
Just then, Sky Spirit crackled and thundered and spoke to Kumag, "Why do you torment your sweet sisters? Not even you can touch the sky.”
Kumag knew she had been wrong to provoke her sisters into making this trek. She tried to send them back down river, "Enough, my brave sisters. You tried, but now you should go back! Sky Spirit commands it!”
Aki left the white water and returned to the sea.
But Moz was both fearful and enthralled by the high places. Moz did not listen to the voice of Sky Spirit echoing through the gorge. Moz would not turn back. "Fear is not as strong as I, I will touch the sky, fear is not as big as I, Kumag does not own the sky.”
Moz continued to climb to the top of the river, staying close to Kumag, who was swimming. Kumag was afraid for Moz, but Kumag had an idea. Kumag knew that they were approaching a cave in the side of the mountain. Maybe this was a way to get Moz to return to the lowlands. Yes, Mountain Spirit would help. Kumag told Moz, "We are almost to the sacred lodge!”
Moz did not know about any sacred lodge. "Show me this sacred lodge.”
They climbed a treacherously steep stretch of the river and then Kumag told Moz, "The lodge is there, behind the square rocks.”
Moz left the stream bed and lumbered over the pile of square rocks. Behind the rocks, Moz found a cave entrance.
Mountain Spirit spoke to Moz from the mouth of the cave, "Why are you here, beast of the plains?”
Moz bowed down before the mouth of the cave. Moz explained, "I want to touch the sky.”
Mountain Spirit chastised Moz. "Only I touch the sky!”
Moz tried to argue with Mountain Spirit. "My sister brought me on this long journey so that I could touch the sky. Will you lower the sky for me, please great Mountain Spirit?"
Mountain Spirit decided to put the foolish Moz in her place. "If I give you the gift of touching the sky, you must do something for me. Go into the cave.”
Moz was afraid. Moz hesitated and complained, "It is dark in there.”
Mountain Spirit tried to trick Moz. "Well, let me tell you about that. I’m making a new sky; Night Sky. Go in the cave and I will let you touch Night Sky.”
Moz had her heart set on touching Day Sky. "But I do so love blue Day Sky. I do not know Night Sky.”
Mountain Spirit shook the ground ominously, “Do not be impertinent! Let me tell you about the gloriously decorated Night Sky. It is beautiful with stars, more stars than can be counted. Now hurry, or I’ll shake down more of these square rocks and close the cave and you will never touch the sky, Day or Night.”
The ground shook again and a large rock above the mouth of the cave trembled. Moz rushed into the cave and then stopped, unable to see. "Where are these wondrous stars? Where are the stars?”
Outside, the rock slab slid down in front of the cave, sealing Moz in. Mountain Spirit said to Moz, "Move forward a little more and you will reach Night Sky.”
Moz walked deeper into the cave and walked through the wall of the cave, emerging as a new constellation in the sky. What remained on the wall of the cave was the image of Moz.
Kumag swam back to the sea. Aki asked her sister, "Where is Moz?”
Much later, Kumag and Aki got to see Moz again, painted in stars. After Mountain Spirit trapped the Moon in his cave he released Night Sky from the cave. But that is another story.
"Moz is a word that some tribes use for ‘moose’. Some however, including my grandfather, insisted that the original moz was a much larger animal. Some have even postulated that the Three Sisters legend originated when there were still mammoth quadrupeds in North America, maybe as recently as 10,000 years ago.” - From a dissertation on the "River Culture" by Dr. Nibii Greene
kumag, n. : possibly akin to "salmon"
(From the glossary of "Abenaki: Mythology and Folklore")
aki, n. : possibly akin to "seal"
(From the glossary of "Abenaki: Mythology and Folklore")