Next Raven went to Tân-
lutû' (the southern end of Prince of Wales island) and saw a man there named QonA lgî'c. b Raven said to him, "What are you doing here?" "I am a great gambler," he said. "I love to gamble." Said Raven, "You are a gambler but you can not win a thing. If you eat forty devil's clubs and fast many days you will become a great gambler. You will win everything you wish. But why do you want to learn gambling?" The man said, "I have been gambling steadily and I can not win anything. A person won from me my wife's clothing and all of my food and property. Since I have so disgraced myself, I have left my town and have come here to die." Said Raven, "Gambling is not very good. There will always be hard feelings between gamblers, yet I will show you how. One of the sticks has a red mark around it. It will be named nâq (devilfish). You will see the smoke of nâq. When you get the devilfish, you are lucky. As long as it keeps away
from you, you are unlucky." Then he said to the, man, "Make a house for yourself out of devil's clubs first and stay inside while you are fasting. After you have fasted four days, Greatest Gambler (A
lqâ'-s!â'tî) will appear to you."
When the man had fasted for three days, living on nothing but devil's clubs, he started to look for more. Then he found a devil's club, as big around as a large tree, covered with scars, and he took the bark off in eight different spots. Then he went to sleep and dreamed that a man came to him. He said, "Do you know that I am Greatest Gambler? You took the bark off from me in eight spots. It was I standing there." Then Greatest Gambler said to him, "When you leave this place, look around down on the beach and you will find something. When you reach your own village do the same thing again, and you will find something else."
Next morning a real person came to him and said, "I want to see your gambling sticks." So he showed them to him, and he gave them their names. He gave all of them their names at that time. Each stick had a certain mark. One was named devilfish and the others were called after other kinds of animals and fish. They are the same to-day among both Tsimshian and Tlingit. a The two principal sticks besides the devilfish are tuq (a small bright fish found in the sand along shore) and âncâ'djî (a small gregarious bird which seems to feed on the tops of trees).
After Greatest Gambler had showed him how to gamble he prepared to return to his people. When he was getting ready he looked about upon the beach and found a sea otter lying there. When he reached the first place where he had camped on coming away he camped there again and on looking around as directed found a fur seal. He took off the two skins there and dried them. It took him a whole day.
When he at last entered the village everybody made fun of him, saying, "Ayâ'o QonA
lgî'c" (said to be Haida words meaning "Come and let us gamble, QonA lgî'c"). He had made a shirt out of the sea otter and a blanket out of the fur seal, so they were anxious to gamble in order to win those things. When they first heard him speak of gambling they made fun of him, thinking to beat him as before, and the same one who had before won all of his goods sat down opposite. He was a fine gambler and therefore very rich. When they started to play, the poor man began to go through all kinds of performances, jumping up, running about, and saying funny things to his opponent, so that the latter became confused and could not do anything. The poor man began winning his goods, and, when he got tobacco, he would treat the crowd about him with it. Finally the poor man said, "That is enough. I am through," but the rich man answered, "Stay and
let us gamble more," thinking that he would get all of his goods back. The poor man, however, said he was through but would be willing to gamble with him the next day, and he left his opponent sitting there feeling very badly. The same day, however, his opponent went over to him again and again asked him to gamble. "Oh! let us wait until to-morrow," he said, and he spoke kindly to him. Finally they began again. Whatever words the poor man used toward his opponent at this time, people use at this day. By and by he said to the chief, "Let us gamble for food next. I want to feed my people." Then the rich man was angry, sat down, and began gambling with him for food. Again his opponent won everything and said, "That is enough. We have plenty of time to gamble. We will gamble some other day." So they stopped, although the chief would have persevered, and the poor man invited all of his friends in order to give them the food he had won.
Next day the chief again brought over his gambling sticks, and they recommenced. Whenever the poor man saw that his luck was turning, he would jump up, ran around the circle of people, who were watching him closely, run to a little creek near by, wash his hands very clean and return to gamble. He did that over and over again while he was gambling. Sometimes he would run off and chew upon a piece of dried salmon. Then he could see the devilfish smoke much better. This time they staked slaves, and he won quite a number, after which he jumped up, saying that he had gambled enough. The chief begged him to continue, but he said, "No, we have gambled long enough. I will gamble every day with you if you desire, but this is enough for to-day."
Next morning they gambled again. A big crowd always followed him to the gambling place because the way he acted was new to them. He would jump up, call certain of his lucky sticks by name and say, "Now you come out." Before he began gambling he mixed his sticks well together and said, "The âsq!ancâ'dî! sticks will come out." So they came out, flew around and around his head and settled among the other sticks again. He was the only one who could see them.
By this time the chief opposing him had become fairly crazy. He had nothing left but his house, his sisters' children, his wife, and himself. He wanted to stake his sisters' children, but his opponent said, that he would not gamble for people. Then the chief caught hold of him and begged him, and his own friends came to him and said, "Why don't you gamble and win those friends of his? You are very foolish not to." "I do not want to gamble unless I can win something," he said. "What good will those people be to me? I can not, do anything with them after I win them." "You will have the name of having won them. Remember what he did to you. He did not
have pity on you. When he won your wife's clothes did he give them back?" Then the poor man moved a piece of painted moose hide, called ck!ut!ê', around in front of the chief. It made him very angry, but he dared not say anything. The chief lost his nephews, his house, and his wife's clothes and offered to stake his wife, but his opponent refused until his cousin said, "Go on and get everything he has. If you do not want them you can give them back." So he won his wife also. Then he put his gambling sticks away, refusing to gamble for the chief himself, because he knew that there is always trouble at the bottom of gambling. But his friends said, "If he is foolish enough to stake himself and his wife, go on and gamble. After a while he will feel it in his face (i. e., be ashamed)." So he played once more and won his opponent also.
Then he said, "Since you have staked everything and I have won, I suppose that this is all. Do you remember how you won everything from me? You were very hard on me. You even won my wife's clothing, and you did not give me anything back. You left me in such a condition that I could not do a thing to help myself and my wife. You know that I have won you. You belong to me. You might be my slave, but I will not be that hard upon you. I have won you and your wife, but I don't want to claim you. Take your wife also. She is yours and I don't want to claim her either."
High-caste people did not become gamblers, because they always remembered this saying. They always told their children that gambling belonged to lower people and was not work for an honest person. On account of what happened at that time a gambler will now get crazy over the game, and think, when he is using the last money in his purse, "I am going to win it back. I may win it back with the last cent I have." So he keeps on and on until he goes through with everything. The whole town knows that he is going crazy over gambling, but he thinks that he is doing the right thing. When a gambler wins a lot of things from anyone nowadays, he remembers QonA
lgî'c and gives some of them back. He is not as hard on him as the chief was to the poor man. a
It is from QonA
lgî'c also that the gambling sticks have different names and that there are different kinds of nâqs and different sorts of cîcts. These cîcts are lucky gambling sticks, but the lucky medicine that a gambler obtains is also called cîct. In order to get it he has to fast, remain away from his wife, and keep what he is doing secret. At that time he wishes for whatever he desires. This medicine also makes a person brave and is used when preparing for some important action. The name cîct is said to have come from a wolf which had something stuck between its teeth. When a certain man got this out, the wolf said, "I will show you my cîct. I will tell you what it is."
People who cheat have gambling sticks like birds that are able to fly away, and they keep the names of these sticks to themselves.
It is since the time of this first gambler, too, that people have had the custom of saying to a gambler, "Why don't you give a feast with the food you have won?"
Gamblers claim that when the sticks move in a certain way while they are gambling, it means death in the family. If they keep the rules of their cîct it will tell them what animal they are going to kill when they are out hunting.
135:a See pp. 90-91.
135:b Said to be a Haida name.
136:a It appears from examples that no such uniformity really exists.
138:a In this paragraph are seen the effects of missionary teachings.