Sacred Texts  Native American  Northwest  Index  Previous  Next 


There is a place in the neighborhood of Cross sound called K!udê'sq!ak, which people used to frequent in olden times to hunt, catch halibut, and so on. People were then in the habit of traveling from camp to camp a great deal. One time a man and his wife went out to get cedar bark off from some trees, and the man went quite a distance up into the woods from his wife with. his stone ax and tree climber. This tree-climber was an apparatus composed of ropes, with a board for the climber to stand on. But, while he was high up in a tree, the board slipped from under the man's feet, and the rope held him tight to the tree by his neck so that he died. Since he did not come back, his wife went home and reported that he was missing. Then they hunted for him everywhere, and finally a man found him hanging from the tree dead. The dead man was brother of a chief. So they took the board that had fallen from under his feet home, laid it across the neck of a slave and killed him to be revenged on the board. They kept the board and exhibited it at feasts. Afterward people were called for the death feast.

People continued going to the different bays hunting, and one day a canoe with two men in it anchored close by a cliff. While they were there one of them saw two huge devilfish arms moving across the bay. They ran ashore and hid under a rock, letting the arms pass over them, while the devilfish took the canoe into its hole under water.

Then the men started up the hill. On their way home they saw in a small creek what appeared to be a little halibut, but on coming

p. 48

closer they found that it was only a white rock which had that appearance.

After they had reached home and had reported what had happened, all the people began to chop at a log. Then they started a big fire and began to burn it. But, when it was half burned, they put out the fire by throwing hot water upon it. They were going to take it to the devilfish hole and drown it there. So they took it over to that place and let it down, but never saw it again.

Later four other men went hunting by canoe one autumn to a place called WAtAs!â'x, where they encamped. By and by one of the party, on going to his traps, found a big land otter in one of them. He took the bough of a tree, twisted it around the land otter's neck, and carried it home. He did not know what it was. As he dragged it home it went bouncing along behind him and at every bounce something whistled behind him. Arrived at camp he began to skin it. Then he said to his brothers, "Go and get your pot ready to cook it," but, when they began to cut it up to put it in, something whistled. "That is just what I heard on the way," he said.

After the pot had boiled and they had begun eating, something began to whistle in a tree near by and threw a rock down. They threw one back and soon rocks were flying back and forth. It was a great thing to fool with. By and by the men said, "You might cut our faces," so, instead of throwing rocks, they seized long cones and threw these back and forth all night. Toward morning the being in the tree, which was a land-otter-man, began to hit people, and they on their part had become very tired. Finally they tried to get him down by lighting a fire under the tree where he was sitting. When it was burning well, all suddenly shouted, and he fell into it. Then they threw the fire over him, and he burned up. But when they started for the beach to go home, all wriggled from side to side and acted as if they were crazy; and when anyone went to that place afterward he would act in the same manner.

These men lived at a place called Person-petrified (CAkdahAna'), and when they came home, it was told them, "A woman and her child have been lost from this place." This woman had been attacked by some strange man, whom she also killed with the pole which was used to take off cedar bark. At that time many persons had disappeared, and the people were wearied out looking for them. Now, however, they were determined to find the murderers, so all got into one canoe and started along the coast. After a time the high waves compelled them to encamp, and all went up into the woods to hunt through them for a beach. Then they came to a house made of driftwood, where the murderers lived. They went to each end where the main stringer protruded, lifted it off of its

p. 49

supporting posts and let it fall on the occupants. Those who tried to get out between the logs they-killed. Then they set the ruined house on fire and burned it with all it contained; and they broke up the canoe belonging to those people.

Close by lived a shaman related to the same people. His spirits told him that there was a mountain near by where flint could be obtained. His spirits had so much strength that he went right to that place and broke it off. In those days every time a shaman cut an animal's tongue he had more strength, so, when his strength was all combined, it amounted to considerable.

At that time the people did not have any flint, but, after the spirit discovered it, all knew where it was to be found, and they have since brought it from there.

Next: 19. Kâts!