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

p. 43



This symbol and legend comes from the Indian tribes of Vancouver Island. It tells of Quil-Tum-Tum, the Earth's first man, surrounded by the Kingdom of Nature; the trees, flowers, foaming creeks, blue skies and towering mountains. This all intrigued him, yet he was lonely. He wished for a companion to share these gifts and to comfort him so he said to himself: "I will create an image of my own likeness and add to it a form more beautiful than my own; something that will be the envy of all the realm of Nature. He then went about it, whittling a stick of timber a little less than his own height. Throughout the rainy weather, night and day he toiled, cutting and scraping with crude knives of stone and shell. He hunted magic herbs in the forest to make flesh and skin to cover the carving which felt warm, but try as he would his carving would not take motion though he rolled it in his blankets and stood it on its head. Tired, vexed and hungry, he found there was no food left to eat in his boxes. Leaving a crude, half-made basket by the fire, he went in search of food.

While he was away, the birds came, robin, flicker, grouse and woodpecker. They all looked in and admired his wooden image, all agreeing that the only way that they could help was for them to fly and tell everyone what Quil-Tum-Tum was trying to do. It was Flicker who told the two maidens with lonely hearts who lived by a stream where it emptied into the sea.

They came to Quil-Tum-Tum's lodge of cedar shakes, sewn together with spruce root cords. They admired the industry of his hands but laughed at his idea of making a woman out of a stick of wood, no matter how beautiful the carving. The two maidens kept the fire burning and hid, waiting his return.

Upon Quil-Tum-Tum's return with food, he was surprised and happy to find the fire burning and the basket finished. He tried again to bring his treasured carving to life but he finally had to cease and go hunting again to rest his thoughts.

On returning he found the two maidens sitting by the fire where his carving was burning. At first he was angry, when they began to laugh he offered them the deer he had brought. They then stirred the fire and cooked him the finest meal he had ever eaten. He liked the two maidens so well that he married them and from them come the tribes that now live on Vancouver Island.

From that day to this there has never been a carving of a woman used as a Totem.

Next: Kwaie’tek, The Sea Gull