The Amerindians have an ancient custom whereby old men and women retire to the woods when they feel the end is near. This is what happened to Moowis, an Atikamek warrior and hunter. Starting out at dawn, Moowis crossed the lake and settled on the opposite bank. Come evening, a pack of wolves appeared and waited for the fire to die so they could attack the old man, who then called upon the powerful Windigo. “Give me back the strength that was mine at twenty, then do with me what you will.” Windigo replied,” Turn the prow of your canoe towards the rising sun and paddle through lands that open up. When you reach the great river, you will die.” Filled with new strength, Moowis followed Windigo’s instructions, bypassing mountains and escarpments as he went.
The old man travelled this way for two moons. But when the great river came into sight, he began to meander, hoping to prolong his life. Once he reached the river, however, his canoe capsized, carrying him into the watery depths. This is why the Saint-Maurice River in the Mauricie makes so many detours before flowing into the St. Lawrence.