Tradition of the L!a'L!asiqwEla.
(Recorded by George Hunt.)
Oldest-One-in-the-World and his tribe lived at Red-Sand-Beach; and Oldest-One-in-the-World had for his princess Man y-colored-Woman, and the woman was blind. Many-colored-Woman had twelve slaves; and she would always go to ?ne?wê'd, where there is wild rice. For a long time she was in the habit of going there; and a long pole stood outside of the house of Chief Oldest-One-in-the-World, and on top of the long pole an eagle was sitting; and it screeched all the time whenever Many-colored-Woman went out paddling with her twelve slaves. Thus Many-colored-Woman knew which way they were going, on account of the princess-pole.
One day the sea was very smooth, and Many-colored-Woman asked her slaves to go to ?ne?wê'd. The slaves were content. They had been paddling a long time when Many-colored-Woman questioned her slaves, and said, "O slaves! why does it take so long before we arrive at ?ne?wê'd," Thus she said. One of them spoke, and said, "O mistress! we cannot make any headway against the tide." Thus he said. Then Many-colored-Woman began to hear the screeching of the eagle faintly. She hardly heard it. Then Many-colored-Woman spoke again, and said, "O slaves! what are you doing?" Thus she said, and took away their paddles and threw them into the water. Then she knew that they were intending to paddle away with their mistress.
Now they were just drifting about on the sea. They were overtaken by night, and day came. Then it was foggy, and Many-colored-Woman could not hear her princess-pole. Then they just went to sleep again. They were again overtaken by night; and in the morning, when daylight came, they heard their canoe, when they were waking, going through something like ice. They looked, and saw that there was much charcoal. Then they found that it was the place named Charcoal-at-North-End-of-World. They went through it, for there was a strong tide. Therefore they went through the charcoal. Night came again; and in the morning, when day came, one of them heard the canoe again running through something. He raised his head and looked, and he saw sand floating on the sea; and they knew now that they were at the place named Floating-Sands.
That is where the charcoal of all the fireplaces of the houses of the villages goes from all around the world. It drifts to the place named Charcoal-at-North-End-of-World, and the sand that is dry on the surface drifts to Sand-floating-on-the-Sea.
They went through it. Again night came; and in the morning, when daylight came, they heard the canoe striking against something hard. One of the slaves again raised his head and saw much driftwood; and this is named Driftwood-floating-on-the-Sea. There all the driftwood goes that comes from all around our world.
It is said they passed right through it, and again night came. In the morning, when day came again, one of the slaves saw that it was shallow where they were drifting
along. Their canoe almost went aground on the sand. They passed over this place; and when evening came, they saw a country far off. It was just as though the land was drawing the canoe towards it. The slaves did not feel like sleeping, because they felt glad on account of the islands that were in sight.
Then they all felt giddy, and they all went to sleep. In the morning, when daylight came, Many-colored-Woman wakened her slaves, for she had heard that the canoe was knocking against something like land. One of the slaves raised his head, and he saw that there was a fine sandy beach, and many houses were there. Then the slave wakened his fellow-slaves; and as soon as they were all awake, they saw a handsome young man coming towards the visitors. As soon as the man arrived at the side of the canoe, he went straight to the place where Many-colored-Woman was sitting, and he took hold of her hand. The man asked Many-colored-Woman, "What brought you here, my dear?" Thus he said. Many-colored-Woman replied at once, and said, "Oh, my dear! this is what brought me here: I came to have you for my husband, my dear!" Thus she said to him. Immediately the handsome man spoke thankfully on account of what Many-colored-Woman had said; and the man said, "Let us go up from the beach to my house." Thus he said to her.
Then they went up from the beach, and Many-colored-Woman held the hand of the man. Now the wise one
among the slaves spoke to the handsome man. H e said, "Oh, my dear! take good care of this woman. She is the princess of Oldest-One-in-the-World. She is blind." Thus he said to him. Immediately they went up from the beach and entered through the snapping door of the house. As soon as they had gone in, the handsome man spoke, and said to Many-colored-Woman, "Welcome, my dear! Go and bathe in the pond of water of life in the house." Thus he said.
Immediately Many-colored-Woman spoke gratefully on account of what he had said. She came to the corner of the large house, and the man asked Many-colored-Woman to take off her blanket. Many-colored-Woman took off her blanket and her apron, and the man took her on his arms and made her sit down in the water of life. Then the man said, "Oh, my dear! now dive. Dive four times." Thus he said. Immediately Many-colored-Woman dived; and as soon as she came up again, she was able to see our daylight. She dived again, and she continued to dive until she had done so four times. As soon as she had finished, she was a young woman, and she was no longer blind. Immediately Many-colored-Woman was called out of the water by her husband. Then Many-colored-Woman was able to see everything in the house. It is said that the two posts in the rear of the house were thunder-birds, and sea-bears were under the two thunder-birds; and it is said the cross-piece over the thunder-bird posts was a sea-lion, and the posts on each side of the door of the house were each one sea-lion,
and the cross-piece of the post was one sea-lion; and she also saw a carved figure standing at the right-hand side of the door of the house.
As soon as the slaves of Many-colored-Woman came in, the carved figure 2 spoke, and said, "O chief, Abelone-Shell-of-the-World! O chief! treat those well who come into your house, chief." (This is the indwelling power of Chief Wealthy.) Then she saw many feast-dishes,--four seal dishes and the same number of killer-whale dishes, and four whale dishes, and four sea-otter dishes.
Now, Abelone-Shell-of-the-World and Many-colored-Woman were living as husband and wife. They had not been married long when Many-colored- Woman was with child, and she gave birth to a small boy. Abelone-Shell-of-the-World at once named his son Copper-Maker.
Many-colored-Woman did not know who the old man was who was always lying in the rear of the large house. She asked her husband, and said, "Who is that ugly old man lying in the rear of the house?" Thus Many-colored-Woman said to her husband. Abelone-Shell-of-the-World laughed, and said, "Oh, my dear! that is Wealthiest, Copper-Maker. He is my father." Thus he said to her. Then Many-colored-Woman was happy, because she knew that her husband was an important person.
Then she was again with child, and it was not long before she gave birth to a little boy. Abelone-Shell-of-the-World
at once named his son Seaside-of-the-World. Then Many-colored-Woman was very glad on account of her two children; and it was not long before she was again with child, and she gave birth to a little boy; and Abelone-Shell-of-the-World gave one of his own names to his son. Then he had the name Copper-Surface. Now she had three children.
Now, Many-colored-Woman had forgotten her parents on account of her children. After a long time she was again with child, and she gave birth to a boy, and she called her son Place-of-Desire. A long time passed, and the four children of Many-colored-Woman grew up.
One day the four children were left alone, because she had gone out to dig clams. The four boys played, and Place-of-Desire fell down where Copper-Maker was lying on his back. Then Copper-Maker became angry at Place-of-Desire, and he said, "O children! go away. The reason why you came here is not known, children." Thus said Copper-Maker to his grandchildren. At once the eldest of the brothers spoke, and said to his younger brothers, "Don't play. The word that the old man said to us is important." Thus he said, and they went out of the house. As soon as Many-colored-Woman came home, the eldest one called his mother out of the house. He said, "O mother! how did you come into this country?" Thus he said to her. At once Many-colored- Woman replied to their words, and said, "O children! my slaves
paddled away with me, and I was carried by the tide to this place where we are now." Thus she said.
The children said at once that they would go to see their grandfather; and Many-colored-Woman advised her children, and said to them, "O sons! the name of my father is Oldest-One-in-the-World, and the long pole with an eagle sitting on top of it stands outside his house. The eagle screeches all the time;" and she told them about the shallow water, and the floating sand on the sea, and the drifting logs floating on the sea, and the Charcoal-at-North-End-of-World. (She continued,) "These you will meet if you are minded to go to see your grandfather."
The eldest son spoke at once, and said to his mother, "We will escape, for I do not want our father to know it. We will only say that we will go to see the world." The children got ready at once. They took the old canoe and calked it; and as soon as the old canoe was finished, they got ready; and Abelone-Shell-of-the-World questioned his sons, and said, "O sons! what are you getting ready for?" Thus he said to them. The oldest one spoke, and said, "Oh, we are getting ready for this: we want to go and see the world." Thus he said. Then Abelone-Shell-of-the-World just laughed, and said, "My sons, don't conceal your wishes: just tell me that you are going to see your grandfather, Oldest-One-in-the-World. You shall use the self-paddling copper canoe." Thus he said to them. Then he--namely, Abelone-Shell-of-the-World--
took the four baskets, and put into them all kinds of things, and he put them aboard the self-paddling canoe. Then he told Many-colored-Woman that she should also come aboard; but she was unwilling, and she just sent her children (and told them) to go and just leave her.
They started at once, and they steered towards the sun. Then they met what Many-colored-Woman had referred to,--what had been seen by her at the places where she had been paddling. Three days after they had left their father, they heard an eagle screeching. Then the four sons of Many-colored-Woman felt glad. It was evening when they arrived at Red-Sand-Beach, and they went in their canoes right to the beach of the large house in front of which a pole was standing on top of which the eagle was sitting. At once Place-of-Desire was sent by his elder brothers. Place-of-Desire at once went to look at the large house. There was no one sitting in the house. Then he went to look at a small house. There he saw two old people, husband and wife. Place-of-Desire questioned the man, and said, "Oh, my dear! where is Oldest-One-in-the-World?" Thus he said. The old man said at once, "What was your word? Where did you come from? Don't you recognize me? I am called Oldest-One-in-the-World." Thus he said. Place-of-Desire said at once, "O old man! we are the children of Many-colored-Woman, your princess." Thus he said. The old man at once became angry on account of the word of Place-of-Desire; and he said, "Oh, what is your word? Why do you come and make fun of my princess?"
[paragraph continues] Thus he said, while he was beginning to strike Place-of-Desire with the tongs. Then he drove him away.
Then Place-of-Desire went down to the beach, and told his elder brothers. As soon as Place-of-Desire had gone out of the house, the wife of Oldest-One-in-the-World spoke, and said, "Oh, my dear! don't be inconsiderate [in your mind]. Do look at him, if he should come again who came in before. It might be true that he came from our daughter, Many-colored-Woman." Thus she said to him. As soon as she had finished speaking, the four children of Many-colored-Woman came in. Immediately Oldest-One-in-the-World spread out a mat, and the four young men went there and sat down on it. Then Oldest-One-in-the-World split some boards.
At once it was heard by his tribe, and they came immediately to discover why Oldest-One-in-the-World was splitting wood. Then the tribe saw the four children of Many-colored-Woman sitting there. Oldest-One-in-the-World spoke, and praised his children. Then Oldest-One-in-the-World asked them to build a fire in his large house. The young men went at once and built a fire in the middle of it; and as soon as the fire in the large house began to burn, the tribe went in, and also the four children of Many-colored-Woman went into it. When the tribe had gone into the house, the oldest of the four young men said to the tribe of their grandfather that they should go and bring the four baskets out of the canoe. At once they went, but in vain. It was not long before they came back. They were not able to lift them. Then Place-of-Desire was just sent by his elder brothers to go and bring the four baskets. It was not long before
he came, carrying the four baskets. Immediately they opened out what was contained in them, and the house was almost [not] filled with all kinds of property. The eldest of the brothers, Copper-Maker, spoke at once, and said, "O old man! this is sent to you by Many-colored-Woman. This is what is piled up here in the house, that you may invite with it your tribe." Thus he said.
Then, on account of this, they all believed that they were the sons of Many-colored-Woman; and it is said that Oldest-One-in-the-World was the first one to give a potlatch. Then he gave a feast with the food that was sent to him by Many-colored-Woman; and then he came and showed the large house, and the carvings, and the four seal dishes, and the killer-whale dishes, and the others. And this was first given by Copper-Maker; and Seaside-of-the-World came next, and after that came Copper-Surface, and then the youngest one, Place-of-Desire; and then Oldest-One-in-the-World distributed coppers among his tribe, and he was the first who handed down coppers. The four sons of Many-colored-Woman never went back, and Many-colored-Woman never came back to her country.
Some say that Many-colored-Woman did come back, and that the self-paddling copper canoe came back, and that it staid in our country. That is the end.
275:2 This figure is illustrated in Plate XLV, Fig. 4, F. Boas, The Kwakiutl of Vancouver Island (Publications of the Jesup North Pacific Expedition, Vol. V).