Sacred Texts  Native American  Northwest  Index  Previous  Next 

p. 130

10. Câ'xaL

Câ'xaL'S eldest was dead. Every morning he went to the beach and wailed. Day by day he went to the beach and cried. Once upon a time he discovered two ravens flying from the sea towards the shore. When they came near him he saw that they turned [in the air] over one another. [Sometimes the one was above, then the other.] When they had almost reached him they let fall a round object, which fell on the sand. He went down to the beach and took it. It was an abalone shell. In the evening he went home. Then he said to his wife: "Invite all the people." His wife went and said: "My poor husband invites you." Then all the people came and entered the house. He said:

p. 131

[paragraph continues] "This was carried up to me from the sea. You will see it. Just there they came ashore." Blue-Jay said: "Let us go to-morrow and see where they found it." Early he ran around [saying]: "Quick, quick, arise!" All the people arose and launched two canoes. Then they went out seaward. They traveled a long distance. When the mountains [of their own country] had almost disappeared they discovered land. Blue-Jay said: "Certainly here are abalone shells." After awhile they landed. The ground was full of abalone shells. The people went ashore and picked up these abalone shells. They selected only the very green ones. Blue-Jay gathered those which were near the canoe. Then their chief [Câ'xaL] went away and left them. He went around the island. He took only the large and very green ones. The people waited for their chief. Then Blue-Jay became hungry, and said: "Let us leave him." But part of the people said: "No; we must wait for him; perhaps he met some people." [After awhile] Blue-Jay said: "Come! Let us leave him." It grew dark; then his people left him. They followed Blue Jay's advice and went home. In the evening the chief had gone around the island. Now his people had disappeared; they had left him. Then he lay down under a log and cried: "Why did my people desert me; why did they leave me? "He stayed there for a long time. He carried all the abalone shells [up to the log]. On the next day he found a sea-otter. On the following morning he awoke and heard people talking on the beach below him. He lifted his blanket and looked seaward, but he saw only gulls. He pulled his blanket over his head again. On the next morning, when it grew daylight, he heard again people talking on the beach below. Again he lifted his blanket, but there were only albatross. Five days he heard people [talking on the beach]. On the next morning [he saw] a person standing by him. He lifted his blanket land the stranger said]: "Tomorrow you will be carried back." Early the next morning the person stood again near him, and said: "Arise; now you will be carried back." He looked down to the beach and saw a whale. He carried down his abalone shells. A hole was in the middle of the whale, into which he was placed. [The person said:] "Do not open your eyes while they are carrying you." Now he lay down and he was carried away. All the people carried him. They paddled. The albatross and pelicans were told: "Put down your paddles; put down your paddles." The gulls were told: "Put up your paddles, put up your paddles." The snipes were told: "Put up your paddles, put up your paddles." Then when they were at sea, part of those people departed. When they were, near the land another part departed. Now only the snipes and gulls remained. He felt [the whale] rock, then all was quiet and he lifted his blanket. He lay on the beach. He looked and saw only gulls and snipes. Now he arose. He went inland, carrying all his abalone shells and the sea otters. He took five cuts of the whale. That person had told him to do so. Then that whale returned. Now

p. 132

he went up to his house and staid there. After awhile he saw a child. It approached him, shooting an arrow. [The arrow] struck the ground near him, and he took it and hid it. Then the child came searching for his arrow. When he did not find it he cried: "O, Blue-Jay, you have hidden my arrow. You make me feel miserable. You always tease me; give me my arrow." The child had no hair, and his eyes were sore. His blanket was made of deerskin. Then [Câ'xaL] took him by his arm and said: "Who are you?" "Oh it is I. My father was deserted. Blue-Jay deserted him." Then [Câ'xaL] took [the boy] to the water and washed his face; he blew on his eyes and the boy recovered his eyesight. He said: "Child! it is I; I have returned." He threw away [the boy's] blanket and gave him a sea-otter blanket. "Tell me," he continued, "are you all well?" The boy replied: "Blue-Jay made us miserable; two of your wives are now his wives. He always defecates in our house, and I must wipe him with my blanket. Two only [of your wives] do not like him." "Bring them here." "Oh, they can not see, for they have lost their eyes." Then the boy went home. He sent him to fetch his mother. He said to her: "Father has come home." Then his mother and the other woman began to cry: "O, Blue-Jay has deceived you; he always deceives you." "No, indeed, father has come. I have recovered my eyesight; he sent me to fetch you. Just feel my blanket." Then his mother felt it. It was soft. [The boy continued:] See, you did not believe me! "Then he led them to his father. He reached his father, who washed their faces. Then they recovered their eyesight. Câ'xaL said to them: "Go and sweep our house." They went back and swept the whole house. They carried everything into the house, his whale, his sea otters, and his abalone shells. Then Câ'xaL entered the house.

On the following morning Blue-Jay opened the door and defecated in the doorway. [He called:] "Ê'npêucX, wipe me!" "Take that fire-brand and push his backside," said his father. The boy took it and pushed him. "Heh," cried Blue-Jay: "Oh, he burnt me; certainly his father has returned." Blue-Jay looked into the house and saw the chief sitting in the house. Then he went and told the people: "Our chief has arrived." [Câ'xaL] distributed all his property among his people. He gave them all the abalone shells.

Next: 11. Stikua'