Alambegwinosis, the Penobscot word for dwarfed, literally translates to “underwater dwarf man” in the Algonquin language. These creatures live in deep pools of rivers or on the bottom of deep lakes. Typically, three feet tall, the water dwarfs have long straight hair reaching down to his waist. And while they don’t look menacing, they often bring bad luck. Some tales say that if you help a dwarf, he will grant you three wishes, but beware, as they do not always work out in the way you may hope.
According to anthropologist Frank Speck, a Penobscot man fell asleep near a frozen lake while on a hunting trip, and was awakened by the sound of nearby footsteps. Just as he stuck his head out of the tent, he caught a glimpse of an alambegwinosis jumping into a hole in the ice covered lake, illuminated by the light of a dying fire. Days later, as the hunter was crossing a frozen lake on his way home and fell through the ice and died: his death foretold by the dwarf.
Speck tells another tale of a family’s camping trip by a peaceful lake. Shortly after they set up camp, a huge storm struck the lake: thunder shook the sky and intense winds brought foaming waves onto the lake’s surface. After the storm had passed and the family emerged from their tent, they spotted a small man with long hair lying on the shore, an alambegwinosis who had been injured in the storm. The family nursed him back to health, and when he fully recovered, he granted them three wishes.
The family packed up camp and made their way to a local trading post, where they planned to trade the animals they had trapped for household goods.
Once at the trading post, the mother noticed a manufactured broom and exclaimed, “I wish I had that broom.” Instantly the broom appeared in her hands. She had used one of the alambegwinosis’ wishes on the broom.
The father exclaimed, “You wasted one wish on that stupid broom!” And under his breath uttered, “I wish it was stuck up your arse!”, and unfortunately, this wish was granted as well.
Their young son kept calm, and wished that the broom be returned to where it belonged. All three wishes had been used.
So if you find yourself by a lake or river and come across a three-foot tall man with long hair, chances are that it’s an alambegwinosis, and your best bet is to get away from him as fast as possible, no matter how tempting three wishes seem to be.