In a village somewhere to the northward a high-caste person had married a high-caste girl from a neighboring village. His mother-in-law lived with them, and she disliked her son-in-law very much because he was a lazy fellow, fond only of gambling. As soon as they were through with their meal she would say to the slaves, "Let that fire go out at once." She did not want her son-in-law to have anything to eat there. Long after dark the man would come in, and they would hear him eating. Then his mother-in-law would say, "I suppose my son-in-law has been felling a tree for me." Next morning he would go out again very early. His wife thought it was useless to say anything. The same thing happened every evening.
When summer came all the people went after salmon, and the gambler accompanied them. After he had hung up quite a lot of this salmon and dried it, he took it up into the woods beside a lake and made a house there out of dry wood. Then he began chopping with his stone ax upon a big tree which stood a little distance back. It took him a very long time to bring it down. After he had felled it into the lake he made wedges out of very hard wood and tied their thick ends
with roots to make them strong. He tried to split the tree along its whole length. When he had accomplished this he put crosspieces between to hold the two sections apart. Then he baited his line with salmon, with the bright part turned out, and let it down between. He had been told that there was a monster in that lake, and he was going to find out. By and by he felt his line move, but when he pulled up quickly it broke. The next time, however, he pulled it up still more rapidly and the creature followed it to the surface between the two halves of the tree. Then he pushed the crosspieces out so that the halves of the tree sprang together and caught its head while he jumped ashore. He stood on a grassy spot near by to watch. Then the monster struggled hard to get away, and it was so strong that it kept dragging the tree clear under water, but at last it died. Now the man spread the cedar apart by means of his crosspieces, dragged out the monster's body and examined it. He saw that it had very sharp, strong teeth and that its claws looked like copper. Then he skinned it with the claws, etc., entire, dried it very carefully, got inside, and went into the water. It began to swim away with him, and it swam down to the monster's house under the lake, which was very beautiful.
After this man had come up again, he left his skin in a hole in a dry tree near by and went home, but did not say a word to anybody about what he had discovered. When winter came all went back to their village, and the following spring there was a famine.
One morning the man said to his wife, "I am going away. I will be here every morning just before the ravens are awake. If you hear a raven before I get back don't look for me any more." Then he again got into the monster's skin and swam to his house. He found that from there he could go out into the sea, so he swam along in the sea, found a king salmon and brought it back. He took off his skin and left it where he had put it before. The salmon he carried to town and left on the beach close to the houses.
Next morning this man's mother-in-law got up early, went out, and came upon a salmon. She thought that it had drifted there, so she took it home. Then she came in and said to her husband, "I have found a fine big salmon." They cooked it for all the people in the village and distributed the food, as was formerly the custom. Next evening her son-in-law did the very same thing, only he caught two salmon. Then he went to bed. He told his wife that it was he who was getting these salmon, but she must not say a word about it.
The third time he brought salmon in and his mother-in-law found them she considered the matter very deeply. Her son-in-law would sleep all day, not getting up to eat until it was almost evening. Before this he had been in the habit of rising very early in order to gamble. When he got up next day, the old woman said to him, "The idea of starving people who are sleeping all day. If I did not go
around picking up dead salmon the whole village would be starving." He listened to what she said, and afterward he and his wife laughed about it.
Next evening he went out again and caught a very large halibut, which he also put in front of his mother-in-law's house. By this time the woman thought, "I wonder what this is that is bringing me luck. It must be a spirit. I believe I am going to become the richest person in the world. That is why this is happening to me." When she went out this morning, as was now her custom, and saw the large halibut, she called to her husband and her slaves to bring it up. She felt very proud. Then the chief sent word all through the village, "No one is to go out early in the morning. My wife has had a bad dream," She had not really had such a dream, but she told her husband so because she did not want anybody to get ahead of her. In those days everyone listened to what the chief said and obeyed him. Next morning the young man got a seal and laid it down before the houses.
Meanwhile his mother-in-law treated him worse and worse. She said, "I will never go out again in the morning to find anything. I know that the people in this village would starve if I did not find things." After that she found the seal. Then they singed the hair off, scraped it in water to make the skin white, and cooked it in the skin. The chief invited everyone in the village to his house to eat it. He made speeches and listened to speeches in return which told how his wife had saved all of them. Her son-in-law lay in bed taking everything in. Also when a canoe landed in front of the town his mother-in-law would say, "I suppose my son-in-law has brought in a load of seal," and he listened to her as he lay there.
In the middle of that night the old woman pretended that she had spirits. The spirit in her said, "I am the spirit that finds all this food for you." Then she said to her husband, as she lay in bed, "Have a mask made for me, and let them name it Food-finding-spirit. Have a claw hat a made." So her husband sent for the best carver in town, and he made all of the things she had asked for. Her husband had an apron made for her with puffin beaks all around it.
After that spirits came to her and mentioned what she was going to find. She rattled her rattle, and her spirits would say that she was rattling it over the whole village. Her son-in-law lay abed listening. The whole village believed in her and thought that she was a wonderful shaman.
The first time the woman went out she found one salmon, the next time two salmon, the third time a halibut, the fourth time two halibut, and after that a seal. Now she said her spirits told her that she was going to find two seals, so, her son-in-law who had heard it, went out the following night and found the two seals. His wife felt very badly for
him because her mother nagged him continually. She talked more and more of her spirits all the time, and the high-caste, people invited to their feasts spoke very highly of them. She would sing how high her spirits were, and the village paid her a great deal of attention. But she called her son-in-law Sleeping-man. She gave him to eat only a few scraps left over, and would say to the people, "Leave some scraps there for Sleeping-man."
Next morning she found a sea lion which her son-in-law had caught that night, and again she felt very proud. Her son-in-law kept saying to his wife, "Always listen for the ravens. If you hear the ravens before I come you may know that something has happened to me. If you hear one before I come get right out of bed." When his mother-in-law invited all the people for this sea lion the people would say, "It has been this way from olden times. The chiefs in a village are always lucky." Then the woman acted like a shaman and said, "The people of the village are not to go over that way for wood, but over back of the village." Although she had not a single spirit she made the people believe she had them.
Next morning the son-in-law went out again, caught a whale, and left it in the usual place. The village people were very much surprised when the chief's wife found it, and she was very proud. She filled a large number of boxes with oil from what was left over after the feast. She had boxes full of all kinds of food, which the town people were buying. They looked up to her as to a great lord.
But her son-in-law said to his wife, "Don't help yourself to any of that food. Whatever she gives us we will take." She was treating him worse every day. The son-in-law also said to his wife, "If you see that I am dead in the skin I have, which has been bringing us good luck, do not take me out of it but put me along with the skin in the place where I used to hide it, and you will get help."
This went on for a long time, but he thought he would not get another whale because he had had such a time with the first. Meanwhile his mother-in-law continued to say spiteful things about him, things to make the village people laugh at him, and now that she had spirits she was worse than ever. Quite a long time after this, however, he did catch two whales and tried to swim ashore with them. He worked all night over them, and, when he got near the place where he used to leave things on the beach, the raven called and he died.
When his wife heard the raven's cry she remembered what he had said, and began dressing herself, crying as she did so. Still she remained in doors, knowing that the whole village would go down to see the monster. Then her mother walked out as usual and saw two whales lying there with a monster between them. It had two fins oil its back, long ears, and a very long tail. All of the people went
down to look at it and said to one another, "There is a terrible monster there. Come down to look at it. It is something very strange." They did not know what it was, but supposed that it was the old woman's spirit.
At last, when she heard all this racket going on, the chief's daughter started down the steps from the high foundation such as they used to build on in those days, and she wept very loudly as she descended so that all the people could hear her. They looked at her and wondered what was wrong with her, thinking, "What does that high-caste girl mean by calling the monster her husband?" Nobody would go near, for they were afraid of the chief, of the chief's daughter, and of the monster. But, when the girl had come down, she said to her mother, who was still looking at the monster, "Where are your spirits now? You are a story teller. You say that you have spirits when you have not. That is why this happened to my husband." Now the interest was so intense that people had crawled up on the roofs of the houses and on other high places to look at the monster.
As the girl also stood there looking, she said, "Mother, is this your Food-finding spirit? How is it that your spirit should die? Spirits all over the world never die. If this is your spirit make it come to life again."
Then the girl went close to the monster and said to the village people, "Some of you that are very clean come and help me." Her husband had died in the act of holding the jaws of the monster apart to come out, one hand on each. When the people saw this they were very much surprised and said, "He must have been captured by that monster." From that time on this monster has been known as the GonaqAdê't.
The people helped to take the woman's husband and the monster's skin up to the edge of the lake and put them into the hollow in the tree. There they saw the log, broken hammers, and wedges lying about where he had killed it, and reported to the rest of the people so that everyone went there to look. But the old woman was so ashamed that she remained in doors and died. When they found her body blood was coming out of the mouth.
Every evening after this the dead man's wife went to the foot of the tree which contained his body and wept. One evening, however, she perceived a ripple on the water, and looking up, saw the monster flopping around in the lake. Then the creature said to her, "Come here." It was the voice of her husband. "Get on my back," it said, "and hold tight." She did so, and he swam down to the monster's former house. This monster is the GonaqAdê't that brings good luck to those that see him. His wife also brings good luck to those who see her, and so do their children, "the Daughters of the Creek," who live at the head of every stream.
167:a A hat imitating the claws of some animal.