A boy was walking along in front of the houses of a very populous village early one morning when a quill fell right in front of him. The boy picked it up and started to run away, but it lifted him up into the air out of sight. After that several other people were missed, and no one knew what had become of them. Finally, however, they saw another going up very rapidly, and so discovered what was the matter. Now, the people watched very closely, and, when another was seen to be taken up, a man seized him by the legs. He, however, was also lifted into the air. Then another grasped him, and all of the people of the village kept on doing this, thinking to break the
string, until no one was left in that town except a woman and her daughter. These two lived at one end and refused to touch the others.
The mother of this girt was very fond of making spruce-root baskets, and, when she went after roots, the girl always accompanied her. When her mother cut off the ends of the roots out in the forest her daughter would chew them because they were sweet, and swallow the juice, after which she would spit them out and take more. Finally she got so used to chewing them that she would chew up fine the roots themselves and swallow them.
Now, after this had gone on for some time, the girl saw that she was growing large, and presently she gave birth to a boy baby. While this child was still very small she bathed him in cold water to make him strong, and he grew very fast.
When he was partially grown he one day saw the quill which had carried away the people, picked it up and pulled on it very hard. Then he noticed that someone was pulling it up. This invisible person tried to pull him up also, but he was very strong and ran out roots into the ground in every direction so that he could not be moved. All that he could see was the quill. He tried hard to find a line fastened to it, but there was nothing visible except the quill pulling up and down. He determined to hold on, however, to see what would happen, and at last he felt something break and the quill come away in his hands.
While Roots continued sitting in the same place a boy came to him saying, "Where is that quill of mine? Give it to me." Then Roots answered, "Well! where are my village people? Give them to me." "Give me the quill first," said the boy. "No, give me back my village people first, and I will give you the quill." Then he begged very hard for his village people, and the boy begged very hard for the quill, until at last Roots heard the noise of people coming. At that he handed back the quill and the boy vanished.
The people did not come that day, however, and Roots was uneasy, feeling that he had been very foolish to give the quill back before his friends had returned. Next morning early, however, he heard a great noise as of people moving about, and he jumped out of bed to look. The houses throughout the village were filled with their former occupants, who had come back during the night. All were very glad to get back after their long absence, for where they had been they seemed to have suffered. All complained of the mean master that they had had, but they could not tell whether they had been made slaves or not. All were very good to Roots for having restored them.
Afterward Roots, the full form of whose name is Root-ends (XAt cugû'Lk!î), was known everywhere, and all of the strong people would go to his village to test him. Among them went a strong rock, called Itc!, who felt that he was very powerful. When they began to
contend, Roots jumped upon Itc! first but could not move him. Then Roots looked at his antagonist and saw that he was half buried in the ground although a human being. This made Roots angry and he stooped down, picked Itc! up, and threw him down headlong. After he had done so he looked and lo! there lay only a rock. If it had not been for the numbers of roots that Roots sent out, however, Itc! would have beaten him.
192:a See story 13.