The Alom-bag-winno-sis or “The Alom,” which I shortened as a kind of nickname- are dwarfish cryptids from the folklore of the Abenaki native people. The Abenaki, according to Wikipedia are indigenous of the Americas– located in the northeastern United States as well as Eastern Canada.
The mythologies of the tribe, are comprised of many traditional narratives, from a mytho-graphical perspective. Traditional narratives are usually religious in nature. The religious ceremonies are led by medicine keepers, called Medeoulin, Mdawinno, or Midewiwin (which would be an amazing starting point for researching this topic for deeper character development...because these medicine men form a secretive society called the Grand Medicine society. Who doesn’t love a secret society?)
The Abenaki spiritual and religious stories are deeply, deeply rooted in nature and are rich with the symbolism of the seasons, weather, plants, animals, earth, water, sky and fire. The nature rich folklore naturally mirrors the beliefs of the people.
The principle of an all embracing, universal and omniscient Great Spirit, a connection to the Earth, diverse creation narratives and collective memories of ancient ancestors are common and show up in the stories of the region, but who are these Alom-bag-winno-sis, (or the Alom-begwi-no-sis?) in these stories?
The Alom are a mischievous, small race of men who overturn canoes and can increase or decrease body size at will. They also own a pot which can transform a few kernels of maize into a huge quantity. Seeing one supposedly foretells death by drowning.
Belief Periods and changing Myths of the Abenaki people
The history of the Abenaki is divided into three time periods. In the first, the Ancient Age, humanity and animal-life are undifferentiated.
In the second, the Golden Age, humans are still animals, but quantitatively different.
In the third, the Present Age, animals and humanity are totally differentiated. For Mythological creatures and cryptids, as well as character development ideas from the Ancient Age, the Golden Age and the Present Age, please click here.
“Alom,” Writing Prompt
Since the Alom are mischievous creatures and essentially bad omens to encounter, I have decided to have a little fun with this prompt. Let’s say you are walking through the woods in Vermont. It’s a gorgeous sunny day, picture perfect really. You stop with someone you love to have a picnic. You lay down a checkered picnic blanket and set the picnic basket on top. The wine glasses come out and you toast to the new job you just landed.
“Things are going to get a lot better, now.” You say, kissing your partner. Then you see him. Over in the clearing to the right of you, there is a small person dressed to the nines in Native American gear. He’s carrying a tomahawk, and you think that you are looking at a child, but upon further inspection, and only by looking into his eyes, can you tell that this person is of significant age. The eyes are too knowing, to be a child’s eyes.
Locking eyes, you nudge your partner and say;
“Hey, look. There is a person over in that clearing.” The person you are with, doesn’t see the Alom, however because this is your bad omen. When you look back into the clearing, you are both perplexed as to what has happened to the person. The only clue that the person you had witnessed was supernatural, was the fact that they seemed to have disappeared into thin air.
You go about your day.
Later there is an incident in the bathtub. What happens, but more importantly, why does it happen. We don’t know a lot about the motivations of the “Alom,” this is a chance for you to tell us your interpretation of him or her. Why is he so mischievous and why do people end up dead after seeing her?
If you find this fun and interesting and decide to expand on this story- let me know how this story continues in the comment section below, and as usual…happy writing