Years ago young women were not allowed to eat between meals. Two sisters belonging to a high family once did this, and, when their mother found it out, she was very angry. She pulled the elder girl toward her, abused her shamefully, and scratched the inside of her mouth all over in pulling out the tallow she had eaten. She said, "What do you mean, especially you, you big girl? It is not right that you should eat anything between meals. What do you mean?" The younger sister was still quite little, therefore nothing was done to her, but she was offended at the treatment her elder sister had received. Finally the mother said, "You are so fond of eating you better marry Mountain Dweller (CâqAnayî')." This being lived upon the mountains and was a great hunter. That evening the sisters ran off into the woods.
Next morning, when her daughters did not appear, their mother thought that they had stayed in bed and called to them, "Isn't it time you were getting out of bed?" By and by, however, she found that they were gone, and the people began searching for them. Their mother would go from one place to another where they had been playing, but nobody saw anything of them for seven days.
Meanwhile, although they were suffering with hunger, the girls went farther and farther into the woods. When they got very far up among the mountains they heard somebody chopping wood, and the
elder sister said to herself, "I wonder if that isn't the man mother was talking about?" Coming closer, they discovered a man with his face painted red. He looked up, saw the girls, and said, "What are you poor girls doing way back here?" Then the elder answered, "Mother abused us. That is why we left our home. She abused us because we ate some tallow. She said, 'You are so fond of eating tallow you better go and marry Mountain Dweller.'"
Then Mountain Dweller, for it was he, invited them into his house, and they found it very grand. Another house near by was full of all kinds of meat drying. Seeing that they looked hungry, he gave them some food. Next morning early, when he was getting ready to hunt, he said to them, "Do you see that curtain over there?" In one part of the house a large skin curtain was hanging. "A very bad woman lives behind that. Don't peep at her."
At their father's village all the people were now mourning for them, and all of their relations had their hair cut and their faces painted black.
The elder sister was now married to Mountain Dweller, the younger being still a little girl. After a while the former became curious to see the bad woman her husband had told her not to look at, so she peeped at her through a hole. At once the bad woman seemed to feel that some one was looking at her, threw up her hands, and screamed. Then both of the girls fell over dead.
By and by Mountain Dweller came home from the hunt, saw them, and knew what had happened. Then he went over to the bad woman and killed her. After that he put eagle down upon the girls' bodies and walked around them several times, shaking his rattle. In that way they were restored to life.
After the girls had lived there for a long time, Mountain Dweller said, "Don't you wish you might see your father and mother again?" The younger said, "Yes," and the elder also wished it. After that Mountain Dweller hunted a great deal to prepare a quantity of meat for his father-in-law. He said to his wife, "Make a little basket, just big enough to put your finger into." When it was done, he shook it and made it very large. Then he put all kinds of meat and tallow and sacks of grease into this basket. He shook it again and made it small with all of the meat inside.
When the girls came to their father's house their little brother ran out, saw them, and went in again crying, "Mother, my sisters are out there." But his mother became angry and said, "Why do you say that? Your sisters have been dead a long time, and yet you say that they are out there." But the boy screamed, "Those are my sisters. Don't I know them?" "Well! let me see the hair from their marten-skin robes." In those times none but high-caste people such as these wore marten skins, so when he came in again bringing pieces
from their robes she and her husband and all her relations went out. There she saw both of her daughters. "My daughters," she cried, and wept with happiness. All in the village ran to see them and were very happy.
Next day the elder girl said to her mother, "Mother, there is a basket a little way back there in the woods. Send after it and have it brought down." All the people went out to it, but returned saying, "It is such a large basket that all the people in the village can't bring it in." Then the girl went up herself, and it became small so that she brought it home easily. As soon as she had gotten it into the house and had set it down, it became large once more. Then she began to unpack it, and the house was filled with all sorts of meats. They feasted on these, and the village people were satisfied and felt very happy. Their mother, however, took too much grease on top of everything else. On going to bed, she drank some very cold water which hardened the grease so that her stomach broke in two.
Nowadays it is a fortunate man that hears Mountain Dweller's ax or sees where he has been chopping. The basket obtained from him at this time is called Mother-basket (KAkuLa), and is used by the GânAxte'dî as an emblem.
222:a For another version see story 92.