A man named Xaku'tc! was very fond of hunting and hunted almost every day with his brother-in-law, bringing home seal and all sorts of game which he had speared. There was no money in those days.
It was winter. One morning when he went out he speared a porpoise near the place where a devilfish lived, and began to skin it there, letting its blood spread out over the water. He told his steersman to keep a sharp lookout for the devilfish.
While they were moving along slowly skinning it, they saw the color of the devilfish coming toward them from under the water. It had its arms extended upward ready for action.
Xaku'tc! had a big spear ready by his side, while his brother-in-law began to sharpen his knife and thought to do great things with it. When the devilfish came up out of the water he jumped into the midst of its arms along with his knife and was swallowed so quickly that he was able to do nothing; so his brother-in-law had to fight by himself. After he had fought with it for a long time he killed it, and it began to sink with him. The canoe stood up on one end before it went under, and he climbed up on the thwarts as high as he could go. At last the devilfish went right under with them, and finally floated up again at a place called Narrow point (Ku
Some one must have witnessed this fight, for they cut the devilfish open to see if the hunter were there, and found him stowed away snugly inside of it. That was the man that people often talk about in these days as Xaku'tc!. b He it was who killed the devilfish.
Afterward his spirit came to one of his friends. People now try to get strength from him because he killed this devilfish. In olden times, when one killed a great creature, his strength always came to another person. Then his strength came to a certain person, impelling him to go to war.
They used to put a light, thin-skinned coat on this person's back to try his strength by endeavoring to pull it off, but they were not able to do so. They would pull this coat as far back as his shoulders, but, try as hard as they might, they could not get it farther. Then [the spirit in this shaman] told his name. He said, "I am Xaku'tc!. I have been swallowed by a devilfish, and I come to you as a spirit (yêk)." Many people came to see the shaman when he was possessed and to try him with the coat which no one could pull off. What do you think it was that held it on his back?
After they had tested all of his spirits they started south to war. They were always warring with the southern people. They and the southern people hated each other. When they went down with this shaman they always enslaved many women and sometimes destroyed a whole town, all on account of his strength.
There was a brave man among the southern people, called Q!ôga', who liked to kill people from up this way. One time a little boy they had captured escaped from the fort where he was. He had a bow and arrows with him. The brave man discovered where he was, went after him, and pulled him out from under the log where he was hiding. But meanwhile the spirits in the canoes of the northern people had seen Q!ôga'. Then Q!ôga' took the little boy down on the beach and said to him, "Shoot me in the eye." He put an arrow in his bow and took such good aim that the arrow passed straight through it. The point of this arrow was made of the large mussel shell. The brave man fell just like a piece of wood thrown down. The little boy had killed him. Then all ran to the little boy and took off his head. The chiefs passed his dried scalp from one to another and wondered at what he had done. They named him ever after Little-head (Qâcâ'k!u), and the man he killed was called One-Little-head-killed (Xûgâ'wadjaget). Even now they relate how Little-head killed the brave man. Then the northern people came around the fort and destroyed everybody there, some of those in the canoes being also killed.
After that the southern people started north to war. They had a shaman among them. On the way they came to a man named Murrelet (Tc!ît). When this man was young, he had been trained to run up steep cliffs by having a mountain-sheep's hoof tied to his leg or neck, and being held up to the walls of the house and made to go through the motions of climbing. They said, "Is this the man they talk about so much who can run up any mountain?" This is what they said when they were chasing him. Then they caught him and took him into one of their canoes.
Now the war chief said to his friends, "Let us take him ashore to that cliff." So they took him to a place called Bell point (Gao
lîtu') where part of the town of Huna is, to try him there. They said to him, "Murrelet, go up this cliff." When he attempted it, however, he fell back into the canoe. All the people in the canoes laughed at him. They said, "Oh! you little thing. Why is it that they say you are the best runner up this way?" After he had fallen back the third time, he said, "This is not the way I am dressed when I go up a cliff. I always carry a stone ax, a staff, and a flint, and I always carry along a seal's stomach full of grease." They prepared these things for him and gave them to him. Then he
started up, wearing his claw snowshoes, which must have been shod with points as strong as the iron ones people have now. He stepped up a little distance, shook himself, and looked down. Then he called like the murrelet and went up flying. The warriors were surprised and said, "Now give him some more things to put on his feet." They talked about him in the canoes. They said, "Look! he is up on the very top of the mountain peeping at us." Then he lit fires all along on top of the mountain. All the war canoes went along to another place where was a sandy beach.
Then they tied all the canoe ropes to the body of Murrelet's steersman, intending to use him as an anchor. Murrelet heard him crying and ran down the mountain toward him. He turned the world over with his foes. a As he came he made a noise like the murrelet. When he got near he told the man to cry very loudly. Probably this man was his brother. It is rather hard to say. Then he said, "I am going to cut the ropes now. Cry harder." So he cut all of the ropes, and they ran off, while the war canoes floated away. Afterward, however, the warriors found where they had drifted to and recovered them.
Then they started for the fort toward which they had originally set out and captured it.
One high-caste woman they saved and carried south. They took good care of her on account of her birth. At the time when she was captured she was pregnant, and her child was born among the southern people. They also took good care of him; and while he was growing up his mother would take some of his blood and put it upon his nose to make him brave.
For a long time he was ignorant that they were slaves, until one day a young fellow kicked his mother in the nose so that it bled. Then they told him, but he said, "You people know that she is my mother. Why don't you take good care of her even if she is a slave?" After that a spirit possessed him. It was sorrow that made him have this spirit. Then he ordered them to make a paddle for him, and they made him a big one. His spirit was so very powerful that he obtained enough blankets for his services to purchase his mother's freedom. Afterward he got ready to come north with his father and mother, and they helped him to load his canoe. Before he started his father's people asked him not to bring war down upon them. No one else went with them because his spirit was going to guide them.
When they were about to start they put matting over his mother, and, whenever they were going to encamp, they never went right ashore but always dropped anchor outside. How it happened they did not know, but on the way up his mother became pregnant
and what was born from her had strength. This strength was what brought them up. During that journey the shaman never ate.
When they came to the beach his friends did not know at first who he was, but his mother related all that had happened. Then his friends came in and began to help him show his spirits. He was getting other spirits from the country of the people he was going to war against. From his wrist up to his elbow he made as many black spots as there were towns he intended to conquer, and, while all were helping him with his spirits, the spots one after another began to smoke. His father told him to remember the place where he had stayed and not destroy it. So, when the spots burned, the burning stopped at the one at his elbow which he simply cleaned away with his hand. This meant that he would extinguish the fire at that point and not fight there.
Then all of his friends prepared themselves and set out to war. They came straight up to a certain fort without attempting to hide, and the fort people shouted, "Come on, you Chilkat people." They had no iron in those days, but were armed with mussel-shell knives and spears, and wore round wooden fighting hats. They destroyed all the men at this fort and enslaved the women and children. Afterward they stood opposite the fort, took off their war hats and began to scalp all they had killed. When they got off they put the scalps on sticks and tied them all around the canoe. They called this, "Shouting out for the scalped heads" (KêcayAt-dus-hu'ktc). They felt very happy over the number of people they had killed and over the number of slaves they had captured. There were no white people here then, not even Russians. It was very close to the time when Raven made us. The people who were doing these things were Kâ'gwAntân. They had started to war from Lucâ'cak!î-ân and KAq!Anuwû'.
After that all the southern people started north to make war, coming by the outside passage. The first place they reached while rounding this island was Murrelet-point fort (Ao
lî-tc!î'tînû). One canoe started off to spy upon them and was chased ashore but was carried across a narrow strip of land and so got back. Therefore this place is called Things-taken-over (Â'nAxgA lna'). Then they came right up to the fort, destroyed it, and captured the women. There must have been a hundred canoes coming to war. In those days they always used bows and arrows.
A certain woman captured here said, "There is another town up the inlet from us." So they started up about evening and, when the tide was pretty well up, passed through a place where there is a small tide rip. They caught sight of the town far back inside of this and exclaimed, "There's the town." Then they landed just below it and started up into the forest in order to surround it. When it became very dark they began to make noises like birds up in the
woods. In the morning they descended to fight, and the women and children began crying. They captured all. Meanwhile the tidal rapids began to roar as the tide fell.
One woman among the captives was very old. They asked her what time of tide to run the rapids, and she said to herself, "It is of no use for me to live, for all of my friends and brothers are gone. It is just as well to die as to be enslaved." So she said to them, "At half tide."
Then two canoes started down ahead in order to reach some forts said to lie in another direction. They rushed straight under and were seen no more. The old woman was drowned with them. So they made a mark with their blood at the place where these two canoe loads had been drowned to tell what had happened. It may be seen to-day and looks like yellowish paint.
Next day the remaining canoes started out when the tide was high and came to another fort next morning. While they were around behind this a woman came out. Then they seized her and ran a spear up into her body from beneath many times until she dropped dead without speaking. So this fort came to be called, Fort-where-they-stabbed-up-into-a-woman's-privates (KAk!-kagûs-wudû'watA'qînû). Then the people fought with clubs and bows and arrows until all in the fort were destroyed, and started on to another. When they made an attack in those days, they never approached in the daytime but toward morning when everybody was sleeping soundly. Both sides used wooden helmets and spears.
At this fort the women were always digging a big variety of clam (called gAL!), storing these clams in the fort for food. The fort was filled with them. So, when the assailants started up the cliff, one of the men inside struck him with a clam shell just under the war hat so that he bled profusely. He could not see on account of the blood. Then the man in the fort took an Indian ax and beat out his brains. Afterward all in the fort seized clam shells and struck their foes in the face with them so that they could not come up. They threw so fast that the canoes were all kept away; so that place is now called Where-clams-kept-out-the-foes (Xa'osîxani-gâL!). For the same reason this was the only fort where any people were saved, and on the other hand many of the enemy were destroyed by the fort people.
Now they left this fort and came to another, landing on a beach near by, and between them and the fort was what they supposed to be a fresh water pond. Then one of them called Little-bear-man, because he had on a bear-skin coat, began to shoot at the fort with arrows. But the people in the fort shouted to him, "Do not be in such great haste. The tide runs out from the place where you are." Then the bear man said, "The people here say that the tide runs out
from this place, but [I know] that it is a fresh-water pond." Presently the tide began to run out from it as they had told him, so he chopped some wood, made a fire and lay by it to wait. After the tide had ebbed they began to fight, destroyed everybody there, and burned the fort down. Close by the site of this fort is a place called Porpoise-belly (Tcîtcîû'k!).
The warriors thought they were getting much the best of the people up this way, but really only a few were left to look after the forts, most being collected elsewhere.
After they had destroyed all the people in four forts they landed on a long sandy beach to cut off the scalps. When there was no time to scalp, the heads were carried away until there should be more leisure. Scalps and slaves were what people fought for, and they dried the scalps by rubbing them on hot stones or holding them near the fire. Then they again started north. This raid consumed the whole summer.
Southward of Huna was a fort on a high cliff, called Jealous-man fort (Caosîtî'yîqâ-nuwu'). It was named from the man who encamped there who was so jealous of his wife that he would let no one else live near him. When the foes all stopped in front of him, and he could hear them talking, he began to quarrel with them, saying, "You big round heads, you want to destroy all of the people up this way." While they were talking back at him one of their canoes struck a rock and split in two, and, after they had rescued the people in it, they began talking about this circumstance, saying, "If we wait any longer he will quarrel us over as well." So they left him and went on north.
The next fort they attacked is called Huna-people's fort (Hû'naqâwu-nuwu') and it stood just where they were going to turn south again. Here they had the greatest fight of all, and the fort people killed many of them. Finally they broke up all the canoes of these people and started south. At this time they were overloaded with the slaves they had taken, but they went in to every fort they passed near and broke up the canoes belonging to it. The last of these forts was called Fort-that-rapids-run-around (Dâtx-xâtkAnAda'-nû). When they had destroyed all of the canoes there, they said, "Will you people bring any more wars upon us? You will not dare to fight us again." They felt very happy, for they thought that they had destroyed all of the northern people, and that no more raids would be made upon them.
Most of the northern people, however, were encamped along the coast to the westward, and, when they heard what had happened, they came from Yakutat, Alsek river, and other places to Lucâ'cak!î-ân. They talked together for a long time and finally decided upon a plan. All the men began to sharpen their stone axes, and, when that was
finished, they came to a big tree they had already marked out and began to chop at it from all sides. This was the biggest tree ever known. While they worked, the women would come around it wailing and mourning for their dead friends. It took two days to chop this tree down, and, if anybody broke his stone ax, they felt very sorry for him and beat the drums as though some one were dead. Then they cut the tree in two and took a section off along the whole length where the upper side of the canoe was to be, and the head workman directed that it be burnt out inside with fire. So all the people assembled about it to work, and as fast as it was burnt they took sticks and knocked off the burnt part so as to burn deeper and to shape it properly when it had been burned enough. There was one heavy limb that they let stand, merely finishing about it. This work took them all winter. During the same time they bathed in the sea and whipped one another in order to be brave in the approaching war.
Toward spring they got inside of the canoe with their stone axes and began to smooth it by cutting out the burnt part. Then they began to give names to the canoe. It was finally called Spruce-canoe (Sît-yâku). The thing they left in the middle was the real thing they were going to kill people with. Finally they finished it by putting in seats.
Now they were only waiting for it to get warmer. In those days there were special war leaders, and in fighting they wore helmets and greaves made of common varieties of wood.
There was a shaman among these people named Qâ
lA'tk! belonging to the Nâste'dî. Because they were going to war, all of his people would come about him to help him capture the souls of the enemy. One time he said to his clothes man, "Go out for food, and be brave. The head spirit is going to help you." So the clothes man went out as directed and the spirit showed him the biggest halibut in the ocean. For the float to his line he used the largest sea-lion stomach, and, when he began to pull it up, it looked as though the whole ocean were flowing into its mouth. But the shaman told him to be courageous and hold on though the hook looked like nothing more than a small spot. It did not even move, for the strength of the spirits killed it, but it was so large that they had to tow it in below the town. Then all the people who were going to fight cut the halibut up and began to dry it. There was enough for all who were going to war and for all the women left at home. When it was dried they started to pack part away in the canoe. Then they pushed the canoe down on skids made of the bodies of two women whom they had captured from the southern people on a previous expedition and whom they now killed for the purpose. Meanwhile the southern people thought that they had destroyed all of those at the north and were scattered everywhere in camps, not taking the trouble to make forts.
Finally all the northern warriors got into the big canoe and they started south. It took probably ten days to get there. At the first camp they reached they killed all the men and put the women and children down on the sharpened limb alive. Of one woman who was saved they asked where the other people were, and she said that they were scattered everywhere in camps which she named. After they had destroyed the second camp they enslaved more women, whom they also put upon the sharpened limb. As they never took any off, the number on this increased continually. Then they asked the woman: "Didn't you expect any war party to come down here?" She said, "No one expected another raid down here, so they built no forts."
The big canoe went around everywhere, killing people, destroying property, and enslaving women. The women captured at each place told them where others were to be found, and so they continued from place to place. 'They destroyed more of the southern people than were killed up this way. When they thought that they had killed everybody they started north, stopping at a certain place to scalp the bodies. Then they reached home, and everybody felt happy. They not only brought numbers of slaves but liberated those of their own people who had been taken south. Since that time people have been freer to camp where they please, and, although the northern and southern people fought against each other for a long time, more slaves were taken up this way, so the northern people did not esteem the southern people very highly. This is said to have been the very oldest war.
72:a Cf. the first part of this story with story 11 and story 31, pp. 150-151.
72:b Said to mean "shaggy," referring to the thick, lumpy hair of the grizzly bear. The man was probably one of the Kâ'gwAntân.
74:a Meaning that he sent sleep on them to make them sleep harder.