Tradition of the G*ê'xsEm, a Clan of the DEna'x*da?xu.
(Told by NEg*ê' and Hâ'nidzEm.)
One evening G*â'yusdä?sElas, a descendant of Dzâ'wadalalîs, was sitting in his house, tying a hook to the end
of his fishing-pole. The end of the pole stuck out from the door of his house. While he was at work, he felt some one stepping on the end of his pole. He jumped up to see who it was, but he did not see anything. He continued his work, and soon the same happened again. Again he jumped up, but could not see anything. The same thing happened a third time. He sat down to continue his work, but again somebody stepped on his pole. He jumped up again, ran out of the house; and there he was caught by Cannibal (Baxubakwa'lanuku), who carried him away. He carried him across the mountain Laa'IgEqum. There Cannibal moved his hand as though he were scooping out a little hole, and, behold! there was a pond with vertical walls. He threw the man into it and washed him in the water. Then he carried him along until he reached his own house, which was far away in the mountains. Cannibal said to him, "Take care, and do your best and imitate what you see here! Don't make a mistake!"
Then he heard the people of Cannibal beating time with their batons. Cannibal said to him, "I shall put you down near the door of my house now. Watch what I am doing; and be careful that you notice everything, that you may be able to imitate it. You shall see everything, and you shall not make a mistake." Then they entered. The people at once began to beat time, and Cannibal went around the fire dancing. He bit his people, and devoured some of them, lapping them up with his tongue. When be had gone around the fire and come back to the man, he said, "Did you see everything? You shall do the same." He continued to go around the fire. Four times he did so; then he said to the man, "Now you shall try." The people began to beat time. The man jumped up, danced around the fire four times,
and the fourth time he bit one of the bystanders. Cannibal asked, "Can't you do any better?" At the same time he took hold of him, pulled his body and twisted it, in order to make him strong. Then he made him try again. The batons were beaten, and again the man danced around the fire. When he made his third circuit, he began to bite people. Now he knew almost everything that Cannibal had done. He tried twice more; and when he danced the fourth time, he imitated Cannibal perfectly. Then Cannibal said, "Now you have obtained my power. You shall be like myself. You have now obtained everything from me. Your names shall be Ba'xubakwâ'lanuku, Lawu'lgês, Tâ'nis, Tâ'nisk*as?ô." Then he sent him back home.
There he was heard in the woods in midwinter on top of a mountain. Finally he came down to the village; and the people tried to catch him, but they were unable to do so. Then they made a net and caught him in it. They gave him four slaves to eat. This quieted him, and he staid there. Then the people beat time. Several times he escaped again, and they had to catch him again. They were very much afraid of him, because he devoured people and bit others. They were unable to tame him.
He had a younger brother whose name was GudESqamE'ls, and who thought he would obtain supernatural power in order to be able to tame him. He went into the woods and came to a mountain. There he heard a noise. When he went nearer, he heard somebody crying. As soon as he approached, the noise moved away again. He went on and on for many days without getting nearer. Every day he washed his body, and then he heard the noise again, but he could not reach it. Then he used the clothes of the dead to wash himself. When he had done so, he heard the noise quite near by; and after he
had washed four times with the wrappings of dead people, he saw a woman. He stepped up to her and embraced her waist. Then both fell down in a faint. When he came to, he saw that the woman had long hair. She was Crying-Woman (?lE'lgwa
li'laga). There were deep furrows in her cheeks where the tears used to run down. The woman said to him, "Let me go!" but he only held tighter. "You shall have what I am using." She offered him a harpoon-shaft. "If you point it towards sea-otters, seals, porpoises, or towards mountain-goats, they will fall down dead. Let me go! You shall have this, which enables you to give potlatches all the time (?ma'xusayu or ?ma?xup!êq);" but he only held her tighter. Then she offered him the water of life and the death-bringer, if he would let her go, and the large rattle for taming the cannibal. He was also given the name Life-Maker (Q!wê'q!ulag*ila). Then he let go of her. He took her gifts and put them all into his hair, which was tied together with hemlock-branches. Then he went home.
He said, "What is the noise that I am hearing?" His father replied, "Fool I don't you know that your elder sister has died?" The young man replied, "Why did you not tell me so? Where is she?" The father retorted, "On the other side of the river."--"Let us go over there and see her!" Then the father carried him across; and when he got there, he went around the grave, shaking his rattle. When he had done so four times, she revived. He took her down, and they went back to the village.
He said to his father, "Where are my elder brothers? What has become of them?" They replied, "Why do you ask?"--"I want to see them," he retorted. Then his father showed them to him. He sprinkled them with the water of life; and when he had done so four times, they all arose.
The people saw this, and they were glad of it; and they gave him their princesses as wives, that he might bring back to life their dead ones. They were afraid of him when they saw him using his death-bringer, with which he burned the other side of the river.
Then they planned how to spoil (a?mê'
la) his supernatural powers. They wanted to get their princesses back, because they were ashamed that he had all the best women as wives, and because they were afraid of him. They assembled, and talked about how they could get the better of him. Finally they decided to invite him to a feast. There they gave him menstrual fluid, dung of wolf, and other poison, to kill him. He, however, kicked a rock away, and placed it on a point of land as a fighting hill (xusE'la); and there he built a house for his brother to dance in. They did not succeed in killing him with poison. Then they thought of the power of women, and they gave him all the women from all over the country as his wives. This destroyed his supernatural powers; he became an ordinary man (ba'xus), because he had too many wives. Finally he and his brother died.