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The Gift of the Little People

A Six Seasons of the Asiniskaw Ithiniwak Story

By William Dumas
Illustrated by Rhian Brynjolson
Categories: Children's Fiction, Indigenous, Diseases, Illnesses & Injuries, Values & Virtues, Short Stories, Religion & Faith, Pre-confederation (to 1867)
Series: The Six Seasons of the Asiniskaw Ithiniwak
Imprint: HighWater Press

Interest Age: 9–11
Grade: 4–6
Reading Level: Lexile® Framework for Reading: 870L
Hardcover : 9781553799924, 48 pages, February 2022
Expected to ship: 2022-02-22

Helpless to stop the spread of a deadly sickness, Rocky Cree Elder âhâsiw must travel to the home of the Little People to find a cure before it’s too late.


In this illustrated short story for all ages, celebrated Rocky Cree storyteller William Dumas shares a teaching about the power of community in the face of adversity.

I don’t recall seeing books when I was a little boy. But the old people, they grew up listening to stories. And so, every night, when the old people were done their evening prayers, they would sit and they would tell us stories too.

Along with the spring thaw, the Rocky Cree fill their canoes with furs, eager to trade with the new visitors in mistiwastiahko (Hudson’s Bay). But not all of the new visitors are welcome.

When the canoes return home to the shores of the missinipi river, the Rocky Cree begin to collapse one by one, drenched in sweat and slowly slipping into delirium. âhâsiw struggles to help the sick as more and more people pass into the spirit realm. Exhausted physically, emotionally, and spiritually, he seeks guidance through prayer.

Hope finally comes with a visitor in the night: one of the Little People, small beings just like us. If âhâsiw can journey to their home, he will be given the medicine his people need. All he has to do is paddle through a cliff of solid bedrock to get there.

To save his people from certain death, âhâsiw must overcome doubt to follow the traditional teachings of the Asinikaw Īthiniwak and trust in the gift of the Little People.

This book is a companion story to The Six Seasons of the Asiniskaw Īthiniwak series.