Sacred Texts  Native American  Northwest  Index  Previous  Next 


At the farther end of Tenakee inlet (T!î'nage) is a little bay called Where-sweetness-killed-a-person (GAtlqô'wageya). One summer there were many people encamped there drying salmon, and among them many lively young people. One day some girls took a canoe and crossed the bay to a strawberry patch on the other side. Afterwards a man named Ts!êL! went down into the water to wade over to them but was swallowed by a halibut. So they named the place Kots!ê'L! after this man.

Near this inlet is a high cliff in front of which a big clam formerly lived. It used to stick its head (lit. penis) high up out of the water. It always had its valves open, and if a canoe passed that way, it would close them on it (lit. shut its mouth on it), and the canoe was gone.

Raven heard of this clam, and he instructed a little mink to call to it, "Stick out your head and let us see you," (îli'l-AnAxdâ'x ts!Agâ'x dustî'n), while the people stood ready above with sharpened sticks. But, instead of speaking as it was told, the mink said, "Raven made clam" (Yêl dje'aosîni gâL!). Finally the mink said plainly as he had been directed, "Stick your head out of the water and let us see you," and it began to put out its head. He said, "A little more." When it was well out, all the people seized their sticks and plunged them into it, cutting the ligament which held the valves together so that they sprang apart. Then the whole bay began to smell badly from it. On the rock slide back of the place where this clam used to run out its head all sorts of things now grow. It is called Clam-slide (Yês-kâdê').

p. 22

Next: 3. English Version of the Story of the Four Brothers