At Klawak was a man of the GânAxA'dî named Dancer (L!ê'Xe) who was very fond of gambling but unable to win. Finally his wife said, "If you gamble again we will leave each other. I don't want to be with you any more. You are gambling too much." Her husband said that he would stop, and for a little while he did so. One day, however, a great game was in progress far out on the marsh, and his wife missed him. She knew where he was and felt very badly. In the evening, when he came home, she found out that he had lost everything in the house. Then she said to him, "You have been gambling again." "Yes," he said. She said nothing more, thinking it was of no use, until late in the evening. Then the men that had won their property came after it, and Dancer got up and showed them where the things were, but his wife did not speak a word. There was nothing left for her except a blanket and pillow. Finally, after they were gone, the woman sat down and began to cry. When she was through she said to him, "The house belonged to you, but you must go out, for you have gambled with all of my things. If you do not go I must. I married against the wishes of my people
and they will not take me in if I leave here." Then her husband said, "Do not feel badly if you should happen to hear of me," and he went away.
This man had seven sisters, all of them very well off, but they would not have anything to do with him. Very early in the morning he went to their houses and awakened the boys. Without asking the permission of their mothers he told them to get their bows and arrows quickly and come along with him. Next morning, after he had walked with them for some distance, they found a canoe, and he had them all get into it. In the evening, when their uncle camped with them, the children began to feel that something was wrong, and some cried, saying that they wanted to get back to their fathers and mothers. Then he told them that they would soon come to a fine town, and kept on going farther and farther away until they reached a place called Sea-lion's-face (Tân-yeda') where Tongass now stands. They kept on beyond this until they came to a large rock some distance out at sea on which were sea otters; these they clubbed.
Some of the boys were now quite large. Later they came to a long sandy beach, and their uncle made a house there out of driftwood. He dried the skins and made that place his permanent residence.
During the second night they spent there, Dancer heard the two dogs he had brought along, barking. He told his sisters' children to get out of bed to see what was the matter. They did so, and, on running out, discovered a large animal coming along, as big as a black bear. At first they thought that it was a bear, but it was of a different color, so they concluded that it was medicine. His nephews shot at it, and the man picked up their arrows and noticed that there was something like clay upon them. Everyone pursued the animal and at last they saw it disappear into a hole in a mountain. Meanwhile Dancer took the clayey substance from all of the arrows, wrapped it in leaves, and put it into the bosom of his shirt, giving the arrows back to the boys.
Now, Dancer made the place his town, and continued to live there with his nephews who were grown up. The stuff he had taken from their arrows he put behind the barbs of others so that they could use them in hunting. He also put some of it on their eyebrows, their hair, and around their mouths. He said it was to make the hair thick in those places, and sure enough they came to have fine eyebrows, hair, and mustaches. They became fine-looking men.
When they went out hunting with the medicine arrows he had made, and shot at a seal, even if the arrow merely came close to the seal without touching it, the seal would die. That was also a great place for sea lions, and whenever they saw one of those animals, their uncle would go out with a fan made from the tail of an eagle, anointed with this medicine, and wave it toward the sea lion. Then the animal
came right up on the beach, and they clubbed it to death. They had all kinds of food in their house and were continually drying meat and skins. The house became so full, in fact, that they had to build a larger one.
By and by their uncle said that he wanted some eagles, and the boys, of whom there were eleven, went out with their bows and arrows, and each brought one in. Then each of them had an eagle's tail fan for himself such as were formerly used in dancing. They also killed all kinds of birds and secured plenty of marten skins and weasel skins. Of these latter the uncle sewed together a marten-skin robe and a weasel-skin shirt for each boy as well as one for himself.
One time Dancer and his nephews went a long distance beyond their village and found a box, beautifully carved and painted, lying upon the beach. They said to one another, "There must be people living over this way." At that time they did not know anything about the Tsimshian. Keeping on farther, they saw still more signs of people, and finally they came to a Tsimshian town.
Then they returned to their own place, and afterward the uncle felt that some people whom they knew were coming to see them. These people were his brothers-in-law, who had been hunting for him continually and had just started out once more. When their canoe came in sight, Dancer said, "There is a canoe coming right along there in the direction we came from." He had composed some songs while he was there, so he said, "You boys must dress yourselves to dance for the people in that canoe." When the canoe got closer he went outside and shouted, "That canoe must stay out there. Don't come in right away." So the canoe stopped, and after a while the boys came out and danced for the canoe people while he sang. The men in the canoe recognized Dancer but not the boys, who had grown up very quickly into fine-looking men. After that they invited the canoe people up to the house. They entered, and all the time they were there kept looking at one another and whispering, wondering what Dancer had done with their children. But, though they camped there one night, they did not ask for them.
Next morning, however, just before they got into their canoe, Dancer said to each man in turn, "This is your boy. This is your boy."
Upon that his brothers-in-law said to him, "We will be right back to see you again. We will come and live with you." Then they went back to their village, and told the news, and the mothers, who had been mourning for their children, felt very happy to know that they were alive. Dancer's sisters, their husbands, and all their people came over to him. Dancer and his nephews had been watching for them and counting the days until they should return. Dancer's wife had not married again and was very anxious to see her husband,
but he did not look for her. The boys had drums made out of deer hide, and, as soon as the canoes arrived, they told them to come close to the beach and they would dance for them. So the canoes stopped, and they came out and danced for the canoe people. Dancer's wife had thought that he would take her in at once, but he would not have anything to do with her.
Then the people were asked to come in and eat, and they were all fed by the boys and their uncle. Afterward they built their houses all about him and made the place their permanent village.