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

p. 56


The Raven alighted on the beach and took off his wings and beak and became a man. When walking along, the sharp mussel shells attached to the rocks cut and bruised his feet. The day was hot, the sun burned his naked body.

Raven was making his way to the village when he came upon the lodge where the Shadow People lived. When they saw him coming they said among themselves: "Here comes that twister of the truth, who is full of conceit and has so many cunning tricks. We will have to watch him."

When Raven entered their house he was glad to get from under the blistering sun as his feet were sore. Once inside Raven was surprised to see everything was so orderly and clean. Suspended from the racks on the beams hung salmon and halibut. The roof planks had been set back from the smoke hole, allowing the light to brighten up every nook and corner. What impressed him most that there was not a person to be seen. Raven thought: "I'll do a little snooping around."

There were other foods in abundance: fern roots, barks and berries, boxes of oolichan grease were standing in rows. He then observed that there was something following him wherever he went. Although he was not hungry he could not resist the temptation to help himself and finally he selected a nice red salmon.

Then Raven made his way to the elevated platform that surrounded the interior of the lodge and came to the Chief's carved cedar chest, covered with soft sea-otter and other furs. There he sat down in comfort and placed his salmon beside him while he examined his feet which troubled him painfully, but when he reached for his fish it was gone! He thought that this was a trick of his mind and that perhaps he had not brought it after all.

Going back to where the fish were hung, he selected another and went back to his seat, noticing all the time that a Shadow followed close to him, both going and coming. To have a stranger tag him like an evil spirit and be unable to see him was rather mystifying. Raven sat and pondered it over. He laid his salmon beside him and again it disappeared as before. This business of taking a fish and not having it to eat was getting puzzling. He tried a third and then a fourth time and it was then he discovered that the salmon he had taken were still

p. 57

hanging on their hooks. And still beside him on the floor was the same confusing Shadow.

Then he stamped and tramped it on the floor.

While a voice spoke up and said:
"You look to be well fed,
What are you going to do?
Where will this lead you to?"
Whence the questions came,
Raven could not name.
Their bodies were not plain;
He gazed and looked in vain.
Sane or insane was he!
Afraid to wait and see,
He limped toward the door
But, moving as before,
His angry Shadow wriggled.
The others laughed and giggled.
Raven knew ’twas near.
"Something strange is here,
I'll out, and quick away,
They'll have no more to say."

Raven then rambled about the village, passing people who did not appear to notice him and to make sure they did he approached close to where some children were playing games. They paid no attention to him for they did not realize what was on his mind or what he was trying to do. No matter where Raven went or what he did that day there was no escaping from his shadow.

At last Raven found shelter in a place where there were a number of wooden images. There he stopped to rest from thinking and to find himself. Was he more clever than his own intelligence and was he stronger than his own self and would he always have this Shadow for a companion?

Whether Raven found out all these things the Indians do not know, but his deeds and, still more, his conceit, have impressed the Haidas and Kwakiutls through the ages.

Raven rested his thoughts until his feet were better, then he assumed his bird-like shape and flew through the bright and happy skies seeking advice, for Raven had to live by mind and body. When flying high his shadow followed on the ground far below.

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