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The Thunder Bird Tootooch Legends, by W.L. Webber, [1936], at

p. 26

Sisuith or Se-Sook, The Two Headed Snake

Sisuith or Se-Sook, THE TWO-HEADED SNAKE

Among the clan legends of the Northwest Indians at Alert Bay, one of the most important is that of Sisuith or Se-Sook.

Sisuith was a fabulous double-headed, horned, Oluk (Snake) with his heads one at each end. In the middle there was a human head with two protruding horns. This Ta-mah-no-us oluk (mystic snake) had the power to assume the shape of a fish and it was said that when he swam in the rivers he was measuring the life of the people.

The penalty of seeing, touching or eating Sisuith was a horrifying death. The joints of the victim were dislocated and the body bent backwards until the head touched the heels. Wherever Sisuith's pil-pil (blood) touched the skin of a human being, it turned to stone.

The ancestors of the Indians possessed supernatural Skookum (power) and were favored by Sisuith. If they possessed a belt made of his cast-off skin they were capable of performing magical feats such as turning Sisuith into a canoe which could move very rapidly through the water with the aid of its powerful fins. The eyes could be used as slinging stones with disastrous effect against their enemies.

The Houses of these mythical people had Sisuith carved on their cross-beams and when visitors entered the tongues of the serpent would constantly wag.

These symbols are used by clan members today in the ornamenting of their houses and articles of daily use. They are also carved on their Totem Poles.

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