Tradition of the G*ê'xsEm of the DEna'x*da?xu.
(Told by NEg*ê' and Hâ'nidzEm.)
Dzâ'wadalalîs was sent down from the sky at the time when mountains and rivers came into existence. He came
to a pretty place called Lô'gwal?Eldzas. With him came a woman named LêgEkwi'?laku. They had four daughters. The oldest was Wâ'numg*ilayugwa; the second, Gu'ntêlag; the third, Ë'k*!âlalîsEmêg; the fourth, Ë'k*!alalä
lî?laku. With him came his house, which had a snapping door. The corner-posts of the house-front were grizzly bears. Dzâ'wadalalîs was so famous, that people from all over the world came to see him. The door of his house was open; but whenever a person wanted to enter, it closed. Thus many people were killed. There was a seat in the rear of the house the back of which was stone. On the seat was a mat which was covered all over with sharp stone spikes (tE?na').
Q!â'nêqê?laku came southward, starting from the north. He visited all the tribes, trying to find a wife. On his way he came to Knights Inlet. When he was passing near Alert Bay, he threw all his clothing out of the canoe. This was transformed into the numerous islands that lie between Vancouver Island and Knights Inlet. At that time the mountains were all bare. He threw his comb on the mountains, and it was transformed into trees.
While on his way, the Ma'malêleqala saw him. They shouted, "What are you going to do, lord (?mâ'?mêLasai')?" and he replied, "I am going to marry the daughter of Dzâ'wadalalîs." The Ma'malêleqala answered, "You are foolish. Do you know what is going to happen? He is very dangerous. Nobody who enters his house leaves it again alive." Q!â'nêqê?laku said, "Let us go ashore to see them." Then he threw something ashore, and said, "You shall be the deer of later generations." He went on.
When he came to G*iô'x, the people saw him. They shouted, "Where are you going?" He replied, "I am going to marry the daughter of Dzâ'wadalalîs." The
people answered, "Take care! He is dangerous. Nobody escapes alive from his house." Then he approached the shore, and threw fish to them. For that reason the river of G*iô'x is full of salmon.
Then he came to Q!walâ'd or T!ô'qo?yu. The people there shouted, "Where are you going?" He replied, "I am going to marry the daughter of Dzâ'wadalalîs." They replied, "You are foolish. He is very dangerous. Nobody escapes alive from his house. Look at my face! It is cut all over. I have tried to marry her, and I lost all my hair." While he was still speaking, this man suddenly became a mountain, which may be seen up to the present day. On account of its scar this mountain is called K*!ê'k*!êLEmaku.
He went on and came to Ha'nwade. There he was called again; and the people asked, "Where are you going?" He replied, "I am going to marry the daughter of Dzâ'wadalalîs."--"Take care!" they answered. "He is dangerous, but we wish you success." In return he threw some boiled salmon ashore. Therefore there are many salmon in the river of Ha'nwade.
Then he came to Â'snak*!a. There he saw many people on the beach who were digging cinquefoil (t!Exsô's) and clover-roots (LEx*sE'm). He went ashore at L!â'qwaxstelis. He saw smoke rising and went near. He saw that geese and ducks were in camp there, who were steaming their roots on red-hot stones. He went ashore and sat down next to them, and he noticed that they were all blind. The birds at once scented him, and one of them said, "I wonder whether our lord, G*î'î, is here! I smell Q!â'nêqê?laku." Q!â'nêqê?laku took up what they were steaming to look at it, and he asked, "What are you steaming here?" They replied, "Cinquefoil-roots." Q!â'nêqê?laku responded, "This is what ravens eat. Are you
blind? Those are not roots." They replied, "We cannot see." He called them to come near, and he spat on their eyes and questioned them, and asked whether they could see. They said, "No, we cannot see." He spat on their eyes a second time, and still they said they could not see, although they were immediately able to see, but they desired to have still better eyesight. A third time he spat on their eyes. Then they said they could see a very little. After he had spat on their eyes a fourth time, and when they were not yet content, he said, "Your eyesight is good enough. If you should be able to see still better, you would see all the monsters under water." Then the birds, who were now able to see, asked him, "Where are you going?" He replied, "I am going to marry the daughter of Dzâ'wadalalîs." They said, "He does not live far from here, just above us." Then Q!â'nêqê?laku left his canoe ashore, and continued walking up the inlet. He left two seals there which he had carried along as travelling-provisions.
When he turned the point and reached the mouth of the river, he heard a noise. There he saw a person moving about whose head was moving from side to side; and when he came near, he saw that it was a woman building a canoe. He looked on for a time, and noticed that she was blind. Her infant child was in a cradle next to her. After a while Q!â'nêqê?laku went and pinched the toe of the child. The child began to cry. The woman said, "Don't touch my poor child!" He repeated this three times; and the woman said, "What causes my child to cry, although it never cried before? Somebody must be here. Don't do that!" Then Q!â'nêqê?laku said, "What are you doing here?" She replied, "I am making a canoe." Q!â'nêqê?laku asked, "Are you unable to see what you are working at? You have cut right through
it with your adze. Are you blind?" She said, "I am blind. I cannot see what I am doing." Then he called her and spat on her eyes, and asked, "Can you see now?"--"No," she replied. He spat on her eyes again, and now she was able to see a little. After he had spit on her eyes a third time, she could see still more; and after he had repeated it a fourth time, she could see very well. He said, "Now you can see well enough. If your eyes should be still better, you would be able to see the monsters under water." Then the woman asked, "Where are you going, lord?" He replied, "I am going to marry the daughter of Dzâ'wadalalîs." She said, "I wish you success. Come here!" He went to her, and she rubbed his whole body with sandstone (tE?na') to make it hard. She also gave him juice of alder-bark, bird's-down, an ermine mask, and a wren mask, and told him what to do.
Finally he came to a place opposite Dzâ'wadê. There he sat down, and soon the four daughters of Dzâ'wadalalîs came to bathe. When they saw him sitting there, they said, "There is a small man sitting there, probably he is a runaway slave." And the youngest daughter ran back to her father and told him, "We have found a runaway slave." The father asked her to call him into the house, and said that he was to be their messenger and their workman. The youngest daughter went back to where Q!â'nêqê?laku was sitting, and said, "What are you doing here? What do you want?" He replied, "I want to marry the daughter of Dzâ'wadalalîs." Then the girls said, "We are his daughters. Pick out the one whom you want." Then he asked for the youngest one. He went to her, put his finger into her vagina, and the teeth tried to bite him, but he broke them out. Then her sisters were ashamed of her. He lay down with her and made her his wife.
The youngest daughter asked him to follow her into the house, and told him to follow close at her heels. She said, "When the door opens, I will go in; you must follow at once. I will go at once into my room." Then Q!â'nêqê?laku put on his ermine-skin, the girl went in, and when the door opened again, he passed through unharmed. He went into the room and staid there.
When Dzâ'wadalalîs discovered that his daughter was married, he muttered angrily, "You shall not remain alive!" On the following morning he started a large fire in the house, pretending that he intended to prepare breakfast for his son-in-law. Then he called him out of the room, saying that he would treat him well. He wanted him to believe that he was going to give a feast. Q!â'nêqê?laku put on his ermine-skin, and Dzâ'wadalalîs threw him on to the mat with sharp spikes. Q!â'nêqê?laku pretended to be dead, and Dzâ'wadalalîs threw the ermine out of the house, saying, "Serves you right! Why do you come to make me ashamed?" but Q!â'nêqê?laku returned in the shape of an ermine.
At night Dzâ'wadalalîs heard his daughter and her husband talking together, and he said to his wife, "With whom is our daughter whispering there?" The woman took a torch and looked into the room, and replied, "Our daughter's husband is back again." Then Dzâ'wadalalîs said, "To-morrow I will treat him as my son-in-law. I will prepare a feast for him." Then he called him. "Arise, son-in-law! I will treat you as my son-in-law." Then Q!â'nêqê?laku jumped out of the room in the shape of a large deer. Dzâ'wadalalîs took it by the legs and threw it down on the seat. The deer pretended to be dead, and Dzâ'wadalalîs threw it out of the house, saying, "Serves you right! Why do you come to make me ashamed?"
In the evening Q!â'nêqê?laku, however, returned into the house. Soon the woman gave birth to a child, and Dzâ'wadalalîs seemed to have given up the plan of killing his son-in-law, because he thought that he was possessed of supernatural powers (nau'alaku). One day he called him to go and get cedar-wood to make a cradle for the child. Q!â'nêqê?laku hid the alder-bark and the bird's down in his armpits, under his blanket. They came to a place at the mouth of the river where a large cedar was lying....
(When Q!â'nêqê?laku was in the tree, he let the alder-juice ooze out, which Dzâ'wadalalîs believed to be his blood; and blew out the bird's-down, which Dzâ'wadalalîs believed to be his brains. When he was gone, Q!â'nêqê?laku put on the wren-skin, hopped over the tree, crying, "Tsuk, tsuk" By jumping about on the tree he split it.)
Then he assumed the shape of a man, took one half of the cedar-tree on his shoulder, ran down to the beach, and called to Dzâ'wadalalîs, "Why do you leave your work?" and Dzâ'wadalalîs went back to get his son-in-law. Q!â'nêqê?laku took four pieces of rotten wood and told his father-in-law to cross just above the mouth of the river. Then he carved porpoises (hâ'tsawê) out of the rotten wood and threw them into the water. They began to jump against the canoe and frightened Dzâ'wadalalîs. Q!â'nêqê?laku blew and spat on them, and the water became quiet.
Then he told Dzâ'wadalalîs to paddle on; and while they were below the mouth of the river, he threw a second piece of wood into the water. Then a large tree suddenly arose out of the water, and it looked as though it were going to fall on the canoe. Then Dzâ'wadalalîs begged him to desist. "Have pity on me!" he said. Q!â'nêqê?laku replied, "I did not begin it, I am only treating you as you have treated me." Dzâ'wadalalîs was almost dead
with fear. Then Q!â'nêqê?laku threw the third piece into the water, which he had rubbed into a fine dust. Then the whole water began to rise like a plank, being lifted up first on one side, then on the other. The wind began to blow, and Dzâ'wadalalîs was very much afraid. Many sea-monsters made their appearance. The chief sea-monster looked like a person. Then Dzâ'wadalalîs fainted, and his intestines fell out of his anus. Although he was in the stern of the canoe, they extended right to the middle.
After a while, when the tide rose, the sea became quiet again. Then they ascended the side branch of the river, going up to their house. Then Q!â'nêqê?laku jumped ashore and went to his wife. She said to him, "You have staid away a long time. Where is your father-in-law?" He replied, "Go and see." She went down to the canoe and found him there dead. She said to her husband, "You have overpowered your father-in-law." Then Q!â'nêqê?laku took a piece of wood and set fire to it at the end, and, beginning at the bow of the canoe, he blew the fire towards Dzâ'wadalalîs, gradually walking towards the stern of the canoe. While he was doing so, the intestines of the old man gradually crawled back into his body, and he came to life again. When he opened his eyes, he said, "Have I not slept a long time?" Q!â'nêqê?laku then took his wife and his child along. The G*ê'xsEm are descended from Dzâ'wadalalîs.