Sacred Texts  Native American  Northwest  Index  Previous  Next 

p. 228


A man belonging to the Te'qoedî went hunting on Unuk (Djû'nAx) river, and came to a bear's den. While he was examining it the male bear threw him inside. Then the bear's wife dug a hole in the ground and concealed him there. When the male bear came in he said, "Where is that man that I threw inhere?" "I haven't seen anyone. You haven't thrown anybody inhere." "I did. I threw a man in here." The male bear became angry at her denials and left her, upon which the man married this bear and had children by her, although he had a family at home.

Meanwhile the man's four brothers looked for him continually, keeping away from their wives so as to find him, but in vain. They could see his tracks in the snow, but they could not discover where they led to. They suspected the truth, because other hunters had also been captured there by animals, and the shamans told them that this had happened to him. As soon as they left the town with their dogs, however, the she-bear could feel it and made them pass by.

But the youngest boy had not searched. Finally he started off too, and the bear felt that he was coming, but she found that she could not make him turn aside and said to her husband, "Well! we are caught." The dogs scented him, and, when he looked out, there was his own dog barking. He called to it by its name, Man-for-the-mountains (Câ'yîs!-xwa). Then his brother knew what was the matter and came to the mouth of the den with his spears, determined to bring back his brother alive or dead. When the man saw his youngest brother outside he said, "Stand right there. Don't do any harm. I am here. Although I am with this wild animal, I am living well. Don't worry about me any more."

When he was first taken into this den it looked like a den and nothing more, but that night he thought that he was in a fine house with people all about eating supper, and his wife looked to him like a human being.

In May, when the bears were about to leave their dens, his wife said, "Now you can go to your village. Take good care of your little ones. Don't go near your wife. Don't look toward her even." So he went to the place where his brothers were living and said, "Tell my wife not to come near me for a while. She must have pity on me. Ask her to stay away." Then he began to go off hunting. He had luck from his bear wife, and killing seals was nothing to him. One day, while he was out, he saw some bear cubs coming toward him and presently found that they were his little ones. Then he gave them all the seals he had killed. He fed them every day. When his

p. 229

younger brother went hunting with him and the cubs came running toward the canoe, he would say, "Don't be frightened. Those are your children" (meaning" your brother's children").

By and by his human wife came to him. She was angry with him and said, "Why do your children starve on my hands? What are you doing feeding cubs instead of my little ones?" After that, though he did not dare to say a word to his wife, he began feeding her children. He thought, "I wonder what will happen to me now for feeding the little ones."

Presently he went hunting again and again took some seals to his cubs. As he was going toward them he noticed that they did not act the same as usual. They lay flat on the ground with their ears erect. Then he landed, but, when he got near them, they killed him. It is on account of this story that the Te'qoedî claim the grizzly bear.


228:a See story 19.

Next: 70. Story of the Eagle Crest of the NexA'dî