Sacred Texts  Native American  Index  Previous  Next 

{p. 174}




(GROS VENTRE: Kroeber, Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History, i, 102, No. 26)

THERE was a camp. All the children went off to play. They went to some distance. Then one man said, "Let us abandon the children. Lift the ends of your tent-poles and travois when you go, so that there will be no trail." Then the people went off. After a time the oldest girl amongst the children sent the others back to the camp to get something to eat. The children found the camp gone, the fires out, and only ashes about. They cried, and wandered about at random. The oldest girl said, "Let us go toward the river."

They found a trail leading across the river, and forded the river there. Then one of the girls found a tent-pole. As they went along, she cried, "My mother, here is your tent-pole." "Bring my tent-pole here!" shouted an old woman loudly from out of the timber. The children went towards her.

They found that she was an old woman who lived alone. They entered her tent. At night they were tired. The old woman told them all to sleep with their heads toward the fire. Only one little girl who had a small brother pretended to sleep, but did not. The old woman watched if all were asleep. Then she put her foot in the fire. It became red hot. Then she pressed it down on the throat of one of the children, and burned through the child's throat. Then she killed the next one and the next one.

The little girl jumped up, saying, "My grandmother, let me live with you and work for you. I will bring wood and water for you." Then the old woman allowed her and her little brother to live. "Take these out," she said.

Then the little girl, carrying her brother on her back, dragged out the bodies of the other children. Then the old woman sent

{p. 175}

her to get wood. The little girl brought back a load of cottonwood. When she brought it, the old woman said, "That is not the kind of wood I use. Throw it out. Bring another load." The little girl went out and got willow-wood. She came back, and said, "My grandmother, I have a load of wood." "Throw it in," said the old woman. The little girl threw the wood into the tent. The old woman said, "That is not the kind of wood I use. Throw it outside. Now go get wood for me." Then the little girl brought birch-wood, then cherry, then sagebrush; but the old woman always said, "That is not the kind of wood I use," and sent her out again. The little girl went. She cried and cried. Then a bird came to her and told her, " Bring her ghost-ropes for she is a ghost." Then the little girl brought some of these plants, which grow on willows. The old woman said, "Throw in the wood which you have brought." The little girl threw it in. Then the old woman was glad. "You are my good grand-daughter," she said.

Then the old woman sent the little girl to get water. The little girl brought her river-water, then rain-water, then spring-water; but the old woman always told her, "That is not the kind of water I use. Spill it!" Then the bird told the little girl, "Bring her foul, stagnant water, which is muddy and full of worms. That is the only kind she drinks." The little girl got the water, and when she brought it the old woman was glad.

Then the little boy said that he needed to go out doors. "Well, then, go out with your brother, but let half of your robe remain inside of the tent while you hold him." Then the girl took her little brother out, leaving half of her robe inside the tent. When she was outside, she stuck an awl in the ground. She hung her robe on this, and, taking her little brother, fled. The old woman called, "Hurry!" Then the awl answered,[196] "My grandmother, my little brother is not yet ready." Again the old woman said, "Now hurry!" Then the awl answered again, "My little brother is not ready." Then the old woman said, "Come in now; else I will go outside and kill you." She started to go out, and stepped on the awl.

The little girl and her brother fled, and came to a large river An animal with two horns lay there. It said, "Louse me." The little boy loused it. Its lice were frogs. "Catch four, and crack them with your teeth," said the Water-monster. The

{p. 176}

boy had on a necklace of plum-seeds. Four times the girl cracked a seed.[174] She made the monster think that her brother had cracked one of its lice. Then the Water-monster said, "Go between my horns, and do not open your eyes until we have crossed."[179] Then he went under the surface of the water. He came up on the other side. The children got off and went on.

The old woman was pursuing the children, saying, "I will kill you. You cannot escape me by going to the sky or by entering the ground." She came to the river. The monster had returned, and was lying at the edge of the water. "Louse me," it said. The old woman found a frog. "These dirty lice! I will not put them into my mouth!" she said, and threw it into the river. She found three more, and threw them away. Then she went on the Water-monster.[227] He went under the surface of the water, remained there, drowned her, and ate her. The children went on.

At last they came to the camp of the people who had deserted them. They came to their parents' tent. "My mother, here is your little son," the girl said. "I did not know that I had a son," their mother said. They went to their father, their uncle, and their grandfather. They all said, "I did not know I had a son," "I did not know I had a nephew," "I did not know I had a grandson." Then a man said, "Let us tie them face to face, and hang them in a tree and leave them."

Then they tied them together, hung them in a tree, put out all the fires, and left them. A small dog with sores all over his body, his mouth, and his eyes, pretended to be sick and unable to move, and lay on the ground. He kept a little fire between his legs, and had hidden a knife. The people left the dog lying. When they had all gone off, the dog went to the children, climbed the tree, cut the ropes, and freed them. The little boy cried and cried. He felt bad about what the people had done.

Then many buffalo came near them. "Look at the buffalo, my brother," said the girl. The boy looked at the buffalo, and they fell dead.[242] The girl wondered how they might cut them up. "Look at the meat, my younger brother," she said. The boy looked at the dead buffalo, and the meat was all cut up. Then she told him to look at the meat, and when he looked at it, the meat was dried. Then they had much to eat, and the dog became well again. The girl sat down on the pile of buffalo-skins,

{p. 177}

and they were all dressed. She folded them together, sat on them, and there was a tent. Then she went out with the dog and looked for sticks. She brought dead branches, broken tent-poles, and rotten wood. "Look at the tent-poles," she said to her brother. When he looked, there were large straight tent-poles, smooth and good. Then the girl tied three together at the top, and stood them up, and told her brother to look at the tent. He looked, and a large fine tent stood there. Then she told him to go inside and look about him. He went in and looked. Then the tent was filled with property, and there were beds for them, and a bed also for the dog. The dog was an old man. Then the girl said, "Look at the antelopes running, my brother." The boy looked, and the antelopes fell dead. He looked at them again, and the meat was cut up and the skins taken off.

Then the girl made fine dresses of the skins for her brother and herself and the dog. Then she called as if she were calling for dogs, and four bears came loping to her. "You watch that pile of meat, and you this one," she said to each one of the bears. The bears went to the meat and watched it. Then the boy looked at the woods and there was a corral full of fine painted horses. Then the children lived at this place, the same place where they had been tied and abandoned. They had very much food and much property.

Then a man came and saw their tent and the abundance they had, and went back and told the people. Then the people were told, "Break camp and move to the children for we are without food." Then they broke camp and travelled, and came to the children. The women went to take meat, but the bears drove them away. The girl and her brother would not come out of the tent. Not even the dog would come out. Then the girl said, "I will go out and bring a wife for you, my brother, and for the dog, and a husband for myself." Then she went out, and went to the camp and selected two pretty girls and one good-looking young man, and told them to come with her. She took them into the tent, and the girls sat down by the boy and the old man, and the man by her. Then they gave them fine clothing, and married them. Then the sister told her brother, "Go outside and look at the camp." The boy went out and looked at the people, and they all fell dead.

{p. 178}


(TSIMSHIAN: Boas, Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, xxxi, 185, No. 25)

There was a custom among our people that the nephew of the chief had to marry the chief's daughter, because the tribe of the chief wanted the chief's nephew to be the heir of his uncle and to inherit his place after his death. This custom has gone on, generation after generation, all along until now, and the places of the head men have thus been inherited. So it is with this story.

A very long time ago there was a great village with many people. They had only one chief. There was also his sister. They were the only two chiefs in the large town. The chief also had a beautiful daughter, and the chief's sister had a fine son. All the people of the village were glad to see the young prince and the young princess growing up, and they expected that these two would soon marry. Therefore the relatives of the prince went and talked with the father of the princess, and they also went to the uncles of the princess and talked to them.

Now, the relatives of the girl accepted, but the girl rejected the proposal and said that she would not marry him; but the young prince loved her very much, and still she refused him The young man loved her still more, and he was always true to her. Moreover, he was very anxious to speak to her, but the young woman rejected him.

Now, the princess wanted to make a fool of her cousin. One day she dressed herself up and went to the end of the village to take some fresh air. The young man saw her pass by his door, and he went after her. Soon he saw her sitting under a large tree, and went up to her, and the girl was very kind to him. She smiled when she saw him coming. Then the young man sat down by her side under the tree as gently as he could. He asked her if she did not want to marry him. The girl said, "If you make a deep cut in your cheek, then you may marry me." Therefore the handsome young man took his knife and cut down his right cheek. The girls laughed at him, and they went home.

When the cheek of the young man was healed, the princess put on her finest dress, passed the door of her cousin, and the

{p. 179}

young man saw her pass by. He followed her, and saw her sit at the same place where he had met her before. He went to her; and she stretched out her hands to greet him, put her arms around him, and kissed him once, since her cousin wanted to marry her. Then the young man loved her still more because she had kissed him the first time ever since he had loved her; and when the young man was overflowing with love, she said, "If you love me so much, show your love and make a cut down your left cheek; then I shall know that you really love me." The young man did not like to do it. However, he wanted to marry her, and so he took his knife and made a cut down his left cheek. They went home, and the young man was always thinking of her.

Soon his wounded cheek was healed. He did not mind his foolish acts. On the following day he saw her passing his door. The young man followed her, and she was sitting under the tree. She smiled at him when he was coming to her, and said, "Do you come to me again, my beloved one?" and he replied, "Yes, I come to marry you." Then he put his arms around her, and she kissed him again. He asked her, "Do you love me, my dear cousin?" and she replied, "Yes, you know how much I love you," and the princess asked him, "Do you also love me, cousin?', and he replied, "Indeed, I love you very much." Thus said the young man, for he wanted to marry her. Then the princess said to him, "Now, show me your love. Cut off your hair; then you may marry me." So the young prince took his knife and cut off his beautiful yellow hair. (In those days the young men and the old men wore their hair as long as women's hair, and it was considered dishonorable to cut a man's hair as we do it now.)

They went home, and on the following day the young man sent some one to her, saying that he wanted to marry her now. Therefore the messenger went to her and told her what her cousin had said; but the woman replied, "Tell him that I do not want to marry a bad-looking person like him, ugly as he is"; and she gave him the nickname Mountain With Two Rock Slides, as he had a scar down each cheek. She laughed at him and scorned him' saying, "I do not want to marry a man who cut his hair like a slave."

The young man's messengers came back to him and told him what she had said. Therefore the youth was very much

{p. 180}

ashamed. He remembered that he also was a prince, and he cried because his own cousin had mocked him.

Now, he decided to leave his father's house and his uncle's house, for he was ashamed before his fellows of the scars which he had made on his own cheeks by order of his beloved one. He went about, not knowing which way to go. Day by day he went, and he came to a narrow trail. He walked along it, and saw a small hut away off. He went toward it. Before it was evening he reached there; and when he was near, he walked up to it quietly. He stood outside and looked through a small hole. Behold! a woman was sitting there by the side of a fireplace. She said, "Come in, dear prince, if it is you who was rejected by his own cousin!" So the young man went in, and the woman made him sit down on the other side of the fire. She gave him to eat. When he started from home, four young men, his own friends, had accompanied him on his way; but three of them had gone back home, and only one, his dearest friend, followed him all along the way until they came to the little hut.

After the old woman had given them to eat, she said to the young man, "Soon you will arrive at the large house of Chief Pestilence, which is just across the little brook yonder. Leave your companion at this side of the brook, and you yourself go to the large house. When you get there, push open the large door, then say this: 'I come to be made beautiful in the house of Pestilence!' Shout this as loud as you can. Then you will see that the house on both sides is full of maimed persons. They will call you to come to their sides; but do not go there, because they will make you like one of them. When they stop calling you, then Chief Pestilence will call you to the rear of the house. Follow his calling. He will make you beautiful." Thus said the old woman to him. On the following day, after they had had their breakfast, they started. As soon as they crossed the brook, the prince said to his companion, "Stay here, and I will go on alone. Wait until I come back to you!" So the companion staid there.

Now he went on alone. Soon he saw a large house in the distance, and went as quickly as he could. He pushed open the door, ran in, and shouted at the top of his voice, "I came to be made beautiful, Chief Pestilence!" Then all the maimed people on both sides of the house beckoned to him and shouted. Those on one side would say, "Come this way, come this way!" and

{p. 181}

those on the other side said, "Come, come, come!" The prince remained standing in the doorway. There were many good-looking women among these maimed persons. They shouted and called him; but he stood still, waiting until Chief Pestilence should come forth from his room in the rear of the large house.

Soon the noise of the maimed people ceased. Then the door of the chief's room was opened, and, behold! Chief Pestilence came forth with his beautiful daughter. He said, "Dear prince, come this way!" Then the young man went to him and sat down on his right side.

Then Chief Pestilence ordered his attendants to bring his bathtub. They brought him a large tub full of hot water. Then the chief took the young man, put him into this tub, and, as soon as he was in the tub,[257] the water began to boil and the water boiled over the tub, boiling of its own accord. When the dross was all off, the chief took the bare bones of the young man, put them on a wide board, joining them together, and after he had done so, he called to his young daughter, who leaped over the bones. Then the young man was alive again.[258] His features were changed, and his body was as white as snow.[259]

Then the chief said, "Bring me a nice comb!" and his attendants brought him a comb of crystal. The chief took it and combed the prince's hair down to his loins. His hair was red, like tongues of fire. He was the most beautiful of all.

The chief did not want to let him go at once, but kept him in his house for two days. The young man thought he had been there two days, but in reality two years had passed.[143] Then the young man remembered his friend whom he had left by the brook before he entered the house of Chief Pestilence. Now, the prince told the young woman that he loved his friend by the brook; therefore the young woman said, "Let us go to see him!" They went together; and when they came to the place, they found the man's bare bones heaped up there. Therefore the young prince wept, but the young woman commanded him to take the bare bones to her father's house. The young man did what the young woman had told him, and took the bare bones to the chief. The chief ordered his attendants to bring his bathtub. They brought it to him, and he put the bare bones into the tub. Then the water began to boil, and the dross of the bare bones boiled over the tub. Thus the young man saw what the Chief Pestilence had done to him.

{p. 182}

Then the chief took out the bones and placed them on a wide board and joined them together;[260] and the young woman leaped over them four times,[261] and the young man was alive again.

Next the chief asked for his own comb. They brought it to him, and the chief asked what color of hair he wanted. The man said, "Dark-yellow hair." He also asked him how long he wanted it; and the man said, "Right down to the knee." So the chief combed his hair down to his knees; and this man was lighter color than the other. Now they started for home. It was not many days before they arrived at their home. The prince looked like a supernatural being, and his friend too was handsomer than any of the other people. They came and visited them; and all the people talked about these two men who had just come back from the house of Chief Pestilence, who had transformed them and given them great beauty.

The young people coveted their beauty, and they questioned them one day to know how far the house of Chief Pestilence was from their village. Then the prince's friend told them that it was not very far away.

Now, let us go back to the princess who years ago had refused to marry her own cousin. She was very anxious to see her cousin who had just come home from the house of Chief Pestilence. People were talking about it, that he was more beautiful than any other person in the village; and she heard the people say that he looked like a supernatural being. Therefore the young woman tried hard to see him. One day the chief, the father of the princess, invited his nephew to his house. The prince went with some of the chief's head men; and as soon as the prince entered his uncle's house, the young princess looked at him. Oh, how fine he looked! and more beautiful than any of the people. Then she tried to make her rejected cousin turn and look at her, but the young man took no notice of her courting. His hair was like fire, and his face shone like the rays of the sun.

Now, the young woman came down from her room, and walked to and fro behind the guests, laughing and talking, trying to make the beautiful prince look at her; but he took no notice of her. As soon as the feasting was over, he arose and went home, and the young princess felt full of sorrow.

The following day she sent her maid to call the beautiful prince. When the girl came to him and told him what her

{p. 183}

mistress had said to the prince, he did not answer a word, and the maid went back to her mistress and told her that the prince would not answer her a word. She sent to him again; and when the girl came to him, she told him that her mistress wanted him to come and see her. But he said to the girl, "Go and tell her that she rejected me then, so I will not go to her now." Then the girl went and told her mistress what the prince had said. The princess sent her girl again. "Go and tell him that I will do whatever he desires me to do." She went and told him what her mistress had said: "My mistress says that whatever you desire her to do she will do." Then the prince said to the girl, "Go and tell her that I desire her to cut down her right cheek, and I will come and be her guest." Therefore the girl went and told her mistress what the prince had said. So the princess took her knife and cut down her right cheek. She said to her maid, "Go and tell him that I will do whatever he wants me to do." She went and told the prince what her mistress had done.

Again the beautiful prince said, "Just tell her to cut down her other cheek, and then I will come and see her." So she went and told her mistress, and thereupon the princess cut her left cheek. Again she sent her maid, who went to him and told him. This time he said, "Let her cut her hair, then I will go to her." She went and told her, and the princess took her knife and shaved off her hair, and she sent her hair to him. The maid took it to the prince; but when the prince saw the hair, he refused to accept it. "Don't bring it near me! It is too nasty! Take it back to your mistress and tell her that I don't want to see the ugly scars on her cheeks and her ugly shaved hair. It is too nasty for me." Then he left, and laughed louder and louder, mocking her; and the girl returned to her mistress very sad.

She came slowly; and her mistress asked her, "My dear, what tidings do you bring?" Then she told her mistress how scornfully he had spoken of the ugly scars on her cheeks, and of her shaving her hair, and that everybody had been laughing at her, and that every one had heard him mocking her. Then the young princess was very much ashamed. She set out with her maid, and walked along crying. She wanted to hang herself, but her maid talked to her and comforted her all the way. They went on and on, trying to go to the house of Chief Pestilence. Her heart took courage, for she hoped to get there and ask Chief

{p. 184}

Pestilence to make her beautiful. They went on and on, and passed many mountains and rivers and valleys, and reached the edge of a large plain. There they met a man, who asked them which way they intended to go; and the princess told him that they intended to go to the house of Chief Pestilence. She passed by him, and did not look at him, for she was ashamed to let any one look at her.

Soon they saw a large house in the distance. They went toward it; and when they reached the door, they went right in and shouted as they stood in the doorway, "We come to the house of Chief Pestilence to be made beautiful!" Then all the maimed people on both sides of the house called to them, "Come, come, come!" and those on the other side shouted, "This way, this way, this way!" and the princess went to those who called her to come; and the other one went too those who shouted "This way!"

Then the maimed people fell on the princess, broke her backbone, and made her lame. They turned her head to one side, and broke one of her arms; and those on the other side plucked out one of the eyes of her maid, tore up one side of her mouth, and scratched the two women all over their bodies, and then threw them outside. There they lay wounded, and nobody came to help them. The princess was more severely injured than her maid.

When the maid felt a little better, she saw her mistress lying there with wounds all over her body. She went too her, and saw how she was bruised. They were both in great distress, and the princess was groaning. So her maid helped her up and led her home. They spent many days coming down, and finally arrived at their home. Then she lay in bed, and finally died.


(OSAGE: Dorsey, Field Museum: Anthropological Series, vii, 26, No. 22)

Once there was a man living by the big water. He was a deer hunter. He would go out and kill wild turkeys and bring them in. Finally his mother-in-law fell in love with him. There was a swing by the water, and the old woman and her daughter would swing across it and back. After a while, the old woman partially cut the rope, so that it would break. While the husband

{p. 185}

was out hunting one day the old woman said to her daughter, "Let us go to the swing, and have some fun." The old woman got in first, and swung across the water and back. Then the girl got in the swing and she swung across all right, but when she was half-way back, the rope broke in two, and the girl fell into the water and was drowned.

The old woman went home and got supper for her son-in-law. The man came in just at dark, and he missed his wife, and said, "Mother-in-law, where is my wife?" The old woman said, "She has gone to the swing, and has not yet returned." The old woman began to prepare supper for her son-in-law. The man said, "Do not give me any supper." So he started to cry. The old woman said, "Do not cry; she is dead, and we cannot help it. I will take care of the baby. Your wife got drowned, so she is lost entirely." The man cut off his hair and threw his leggings away and his shirt, and was mourning for his wife. He would go out, and stay a week at a time without eating. He became very poor. Finally he said he was going off to stay several days; that he could not help thinking of his wife. He went off and stayed several days, and when he came home he would cry all the time.

One time, when he was out mourning, a rain and thunderstorm came up, and lightning struck all around the tree he was sitting under. He went back home and saw his baby, but stayed out of his sight. Again he went out, and it rained and thundered, and he went up by a big tree and lightning struck a tree near by him. The Lightning left him a club, and said, "Man, I came here to tell you about your wife for whom you are mourning. You do not know where she is, or how she came to be missing. That old woman drowned her in the big water. The old woman broke the rope and the girl is drowned in the big water. This club you must keep in a safe place. I was sent here to you, and I will help you get your wife back, and you must not be afraid of the big water. Go ahead and try to get her, and the fourth day you will get her all right."

The man went to the big water, and he saw his wife out in the water, and she said, "I cannot get to you. I am tied here with chains. I am going to come up four times." The next time she came out half-way. She said, "Bring me the baby, and I will let her nurse." So the man took the baby to her mother and let her nurse.[263] The woman said, "They are pulling me,

{p. 186}

and I must go. But the next time you must get me." So she came out the third time up to her knees. The man took the baby to her and let it nurse again. The woman said, "I have got to go back. They are pulling me by the chains. I must go, but the next time will be the last. I want you to try your best to get me." The man said, "I am going to get you, without doubt." The woman came out the fourth time, and the man hit the chain with the club and it seemed as though lightning struck it, and broke it. He got his wife.

So they went home, and the old woman said, "My daughter, you have got home." But the woman said not a word. Then the man heated an arrow red-hot and put it through the old woman's ears.[264] So they killed the woman.


(WICHITA: Dorsey, Publications of the Carnegie Institution, xxi, 124, No. 17)

In the story of Healthy-Flint-Stone-Man, it is told that he was a powerful man and lived in a village and was a chief of the place. He was not a man of heavy build, but was slim. Often when a man is of this type of build he is called "Healthy-Flint-Stone-Man," after the man in the story. Healthy-Flint-Stone-Man had parents, but at this time he had no wife. Soon afterwards he married, and his wife was the prettiest woman that ever lived in the village. When she married Healthy-Flint-Stone-Man they lived at his home. She was liked by his parents, for she was a good worker and kind-hearted. As was their custom, the men of the village came at night to visit Heal thy-Flint-Stone-Man, and his wife did the cooking to feed them, so that he liked her all the more, and was kind to her.

Early in the morning a strange woman by the name of Little-Old-Woman came to their place and asked the wife to go with her to get wood. Out of kindness to Little-Old-Woman she went with her, leaving her husband at home. Little-Old-Woman knew where all the dry wood was to be found. When they reached the place where she thought there was plenty of wood they did not stop. They went on past, although there was plenty of good dry wood. The wife began to cut wood for the old woman and some for herself. When she had cut enough for both she fixed it into two bundles, one for each. Little-Old-Woman

{p. 187}

knelt by her pile and waited for the wife to help her up. Little-Old-Woman then helped the wife in the same way, and they started toward their home. They talked on the way about their manner of life at home. Arrived at the village, the old woman went to her home. When the wife got home she began to do her work.

Again, the second time, the old woman came around and asked the wife to go with her to fetch wood. They started away together, and this time went farther than on the first time to get their wood, though they passed much good wood. The wife cut wood for both and arranged it in two piles, but this time she herself first knelt by her pile and asked the old woman to take hold of her hands and pull her up; then the wife helped the old woman with her load. They returned home, and on the way the old woman said to the wife, "If you will go with me to fetch wood for the fourth time I shall need no more help from you." They again went far beyond where any other women had gone to get wood. When they got to the village they parted. The wife wondered why the old woman came to her for help. She found the men passing the time talking of the past as usual. She kept on doing her duty day after day.

The third time the old woman came for the wife to ask her to help her fetch wood, as she was all out of it again. Again they went out, and this time they went still further for the wood, and now they were getting a long way from the village. The wife cut wood and arranged it in two bundles, one for each of them to carry. This time it was the old woman's turn first to be helped up with the wood. They helped each other, and on the way home the old woman told the wife that they had only once more to go for wood, and the work would all be done. She always seemed thankful for the help she received. They reached the village and went to their homes. The wife found her men as usual, and commenced to do her work. After the men were through eating they went home, though some stayed late in the night.

Finally the old woman came the fourth time[266] to ask the wife to go with her and help her fetch some wood. This time they went about twice as far as they had gone the third time from the village. When the old woman thought they were far enough they stopped, and the wife began cutting wood for both of them. When she had cut enough she arranged it in two

{p. 188}

bundles. Now it was the wife's turn to be helped up with the wood, but the old woman refused to do it as usual and told her to go ahead and kneel by the bundle of wood. The wife refused. Now, each tried to persuade the other to kneel first against the bundle of wood. The old woman finally prevailed, and the wife knelt against the wood, and as she put her robe around her neck the old woman seemed pleased to help her, but as the old woman was fixing the carrying ropes she tightened them, after slipping them around the wife's neck until the wife fell at full length, as though dying.

The old woman sat down to rest, as she was tired from choking the wife. Soon she got up and untied the wife. Now, they were in the thick timber, and there was flowing water through it. After the old woman had killed the wife she blew into the top of her head and blew the skin from her, hair and all.[267] This she did because she envied the wife her good looks, since the wife was the best-looking woman in the village, and her husband was good-looking and well thought of by all the prominent men, and the old woman wanted to be treated as well as the wife had been treated. Then the old woman began to put on the wife's skin, but the wife was a little smaller than the old woman, though the old woman managed to stretch the skin and drew it over her, fitting herself to it. Then she smoothed down the skin until it fitted her nicely. She took the wife's body to the flowing water and threw it in, having found a place that was never visited by anyone, and that had no trail leading to it. She then went to her pile of wood and took it to her home. She found the men visiting the chief.

The chief did not discover that she was not his wife. The old woman knew all about the former wife's ways, for she had talked much with her when they were coming home with the wood, and she had asked the wife all sorts of questions about her husband. She understood how the men carried on at the chief's place. The wife had told the chief that the old woman had said that they were to go for wood four different times, and the last time being the fourth time, he supposed it was all over and his wife had got through with the old woman. So, as the old woman was doing his wife's duty, he thought her to be his wife until the time came when the skin began to decay and the hair to come off. Still there were big crowds of men around, and the old woman began to be fearful lest they would find her

{p. 189}

out. So she made as if she were sick. The chief tried to get a man to doctor her, but she refused to be doctored. Finally he hired a servant to doctor her. This was the man who always sat right by the entrance, ready to do errands or carry announcements to the people. His name was Buffalo-Crow-Man. He had a dark complexion. The old woman began to rave at his medicine working. He began to tell who the old woman was, saying that there was no need of doctoring her; that she was a fraud and an evil spirit; and that she had become the wife of the chief through her bad deeds. The old woman told the chief not to believe the servant; and that he himself was a fraud and was trying to get her to do something wrong. The servant then stood at the feet of the old woman and began to sing.

Then over her body he went and jumped at her head. Then he commenced to sing again, first on her left side, then on her right. He sang the song[*] four times, and while he was doing this the decayed hide came off from her. The servant told the men to take her out and take her life for what she had done to the chief's wife, telling how she had fooled the chief. They did as they were told. The servant told the men he had suspected the old woman when she had come around to get the wife to go after wood with her; that when going after wood they always went a long distance, so that no one could observe them, but that he had always flown very high over them,. so they could not see him, and had watched them; that on the fourth time they went for wood he had seen the old woman choke the wife with the wife's rope; how the old woman had secured the whole skin of the wife and had thrown her body into the flowing water. He told the men where the place was, and directed them there the next day. The men went to their homes, feeling very sad for the wicked thing the old woman had done.

On the next day the chief went as directed, and he came to a place where he found a pile of wood that belonged to his former wife. He went to the place where he supposed his wife to be. He sat down and commenced to weep. There he stayed all night and the next day. He returned to his home, but he could not forget the occurrence. So he went back again and stayed another night and again returned home. The chief was full of sorrow. He went back to the place the third time, and when he got there he sat down and commenced to weep. Again

[*. The song with its Indian words and music is given in the original text.]

{p. 190}

he stayed all night, and early next morning it was foggy and he could not see far. While he sat and wept he faced the east, and he was on the west side of the flowing waters, so that he also faced the flowing water wherein his wife's body was thrown.

He heard some one singing, but he was unable to catch the sound so that he could locate the place where the sound came from. He finally discovered that it came from the flowing water. He went toward the place and listened, and indeed it was his wife's voice, and this is what she sang:

I am the one (you seek),
I am here in the water.

As he went near the river he saw in the middle of the water his wife standing on the water. She told him to go back home and tell his parents to clean their grass-lodge and to purify the room by burning sage. She told her husband that he might then return and take her home; that he should tell his parents not to weep when she should return, but that they should rejoice at her return to life, and that after that he could take her home. So the man started to his home. After he arrived he told his mother to clean and purify the lodge; and that he had found his wife and that he was going back again to get her. He told her that neither she nor any of their friends should weep at sight of the woman. While his mother was doing this cleaning he went back to the river and stayed one more night, and early in the morning he heard the woman singing again. He knew that he was to bring his wife back to his home. When he heard her sing he went straight to her. She came out of the water and he met her. She began to tell her husband about her troubles--how she met troubles and how he was deceived. That day they went to their home, and Flint-Stone-Man's parents were glad to see his wife back once more. They lived together until long afterward.


(BELLA COOLA: Boas, Jesup North Pacific Expedition, i, 83)

Once upon a time there was a youth whose name was Anutkoats, who was playing with a number of girls behind the village. While they were playing, a noise like the cracking of twigs was

{p. 191}

heard in the woods. The noise came nearer and nearer. The youth hid behind a tree, and saw that a Snanaik was approaching. She was chewing gum, which caused the noise. He advised the children to run away, but they did not obey. When they saw the gum, they stepped up to the Snanaik and asked her to give them some. The Snanaik gave a piece of gum to all the children, and when she saw Anutkoats, who was advising the children to return home, she took him and threw him into the basket which she was carrying on her back. Then she took all the other children and threw them on top of him into her basket. After she had done so, she turned homeward. Then Anutkoats whispered to the girls to take off their cedar-bark blankets, and to escape through a hole that he was going to cut in the basket. He took his knife, cut a hole in the bottom of the basket, and fell down. The girls also fell down one by one until only one of them was left.

All the children returned home and told their parents what had happened. The mother of the girl who had not been able to escape began to cry, mourning for her daughter. She cried for four days and four nights. Then her nose began to swell, because she had been rubbing it all the time. She had thrown the mucus of her nose on the ground. Now when she looked down, she saw that something was moving at the place where it had fallen. She watched it from the corners of her eyes, and soon she discovered that her mucus was assuming the shape of a little child.[269] The next time she looked, the child had grown to the size of a new-born baby. Then the woman took it up, and the child began to cry. She carried it into the house, and washed the baby for four days. Then the child, who was very pretty and had red hair, began to speak,[112] and said, "My father, the Sun, sent me to ask you to stop crying. I shall go out into the woods, but pray don't cry, for I am sent to recover your daughter. I know where she is. Make a small salmon-spear for me, which I shall need." Thus spoke the boy.

Then the woman asked an old man to make a salmon-spear, which she gave to her son. His mother gave him ear-rings made of abalone shells, and the boy played about with his spear, and always wore his ear ornaments. One day when his mother was crying again, the boy said, "Mother, I ask you once more, don't cry, for my father the Sun sent me down to bring back your daughter. He will show me where she is. I shall start to

{p. 192}

day to recover my sister from the Snanaik, who stole her. Don't worry about me." Then the boy went up the river. After he had gone some distance, he came to a tree which overhung the river. He climbed it, and looked down in order to see if there were any fish in the water. Soon he heard a noise some distance up the stream, and gradually it sounded nearer. Then he saw the Snanaik coming down the river. When she reached the tree, she stopped and looked down into the clear water. She saw the image of the boy, who was sitting on the tree, and thought it was her own reflection. She said, "How pretty I am!" and she brushed her hair back out of her face. When she did so, the boy imitated her movements in order to make her believe that she was looking at her own reflection. When she laughed, he laughed also, in order to deceive her. But at last the Snanaik looked upward, and saw the boy sitting in the tree.[270]

Then she addressed him with kindly words, and asked him to come down. She said, "What did your mother do in order to make you so pretty?" The boy replied, "You cannot endure the treatment I had to undergo in order to become as pretty as I am." The Snanaik begged, "Oh, come down and tell me. I am willing to stand even the greatest pain in order to become as pretty as you are. What are you doing up there?" Then the boy said, "I was watching for salmon, which I desire to harpoon with my salmon-spear." The Snanaik repeated, "Oh, come down, and do with me whatever you please in order to make me as pretty as you are." The boy replied, "I don't believe you can endure the wounds that I have to inflict upon you." She replied, "You may cut me as much as you please. I want to become as pretty as you are. "[271] Then the boy climbed down the tree, and the Snanaik asked, "What must we do first?" He said, "We must go up this river to find two stone knives with which my mother used to cut off my head."

They walked up the river, and found the stone knives. Then the boy said to the Snanaik, "Now lie down on this stone. Put your neck on this knife." The Snanaik did as she was bidden. Then the boy took the other knife, told the Snanaik to shut her eyes, and cut off her head. The head jumped back to the body, and was about to unite with it,[272] when the boy passed his hands over the wound, and thus prevented the severed head from joining the body again. Thus he had killed her.

{p. 193}

Then he went to the Snanaik's house. He found his sister whom the Snanaik had killed and smoked over her fire. He took the body down, and patted it all over with his hands. Thus he resuscitated the girl.[273] On looking around in the house, he found the dried bodies of other children, whom he also brought back to life. Then he took the girl and the other children home.


(HAIDA: Swanton, Jesup North Pacific Expedition, V, 265, No. 34)

Five brothers were always hunting. After a while an unknown man came in to them. He came in many times. Once when he was there, the eldest brother's child began to cry, and, after all of the brothers had tried to quiet it without success, he offered to do so; but when they gave it to him, he secretly sucked the child's brains out from one side if its head. When he handed it back, and they saw what he had done, they seized wood from the fire and beat the stranger. Then he became angry and killed all of the brothers but the youngest, whom he chased about in the house until morning. The boy ran out, and after a long run, still pursued by the ogre, crossed a high mountain. By and by he crossed another, and saw a lake beneath it. Running thither, he came to a log, composed of two trees growing together so as to make a fork, floating upon the water. Going out upon this, he threw himself into the crotch.

When the pursuer came up, he saw the man's shadow in the lake, and began jumping at it. Now the man began to sing a North Song, and the lake at once began to freeze over.[61c] When all had frozen over except the small hole where the ogre was jumping, it froze so quickly after he had gone in, that he could not get out again when he came up. Then he saw the man on the tree, and asked him to pull him out; but the man only sang louder, so that the ogre was held fast. The man now began to cut some dry wood to build a fire over the ogre's head, telling him at the same time that he was going to save him. When the fire was lighted, the ashes flying up from the monster's head turned into mosquitoes.[275] That is how they started.

{p. 194}


(CHILCOTIN, Farrand, Jesup North Pacific Expedition, ii, 38, No. 23)

Once two men played lehal together, and one of them lost everything he had. Finally he bet his wife, but soon lost her too,[277] and went away sad and sorrowful. He went to a place near Tatlah Lake, and lay down under an overhanging rock, which covered him like a roof. As he lay there and wondered how he could get his property back, he heard some ducks flying over, and, looking up, found to his surprise that he could see the ducks straight through the rock. Then he took his lehal-bones and laid them on top of the rock, and looked to see if they were visible through it, and he found he could see which was the white and which was the black one. Then he was joyful once more, and went home. All that summer he spent alone in the, snow mountains, hunting ground-hogs, and making blankets of their skins, and he made a great many.

About salmon time he came back for the fishing, and met the man who had won his wife, and said, "Come, let us play lehal again, for I have blankets to bet now." So they started in to play again, and this time the man could see right through the other's hands and see the lehal-bones, and so could not lose. However, he let the other man win a few times, just to make him rash. And the other man said, "I think I'm going to beat you this time, just as I did before." The man replied, "Yes, I'm afraid you will." However, he soon started in to win, and won everything back, until his rival had nothing left to play for, except the two women. Then the man said, "Now let us play for my wife again." But the other replied, "I'd rather not play for your wife, for I should like to keep her; but my own wife I'll bet, for I don't care for her." The man agreed, and soon won the woman, and then they started to play for his own wife. When he had won back half of her, the other man said "Let us stop for to-night, so that she can stay with me one night more," But the man answered, "I didn't talk that way the other time we played, and I don't want to stop now." So they played again, and the man won both the women, and thus had his revenge.

{p. 195}


(SMITH SOUND ESKIMO: Boas, Journal of American Folk-Lore, xii, 169, No. 7)

There was a blind boy (or young man) who lived with his mother and sister. They went to a place where there was no one and lived alone. One day, when they were in their tent, a bear came up to it. Though the boy was blind he had a bow, and the woman aimed it at the bear for him. The arrow struck the bear and killed it. The mother, however, deceived her son and told him he had missed it. She cut it up and then cooked it. The young man now smelled the bear-meat, and asked his mother whether it was not bear he was smelling. She, however, told him he was mistaken. Then she and her daughter ate it, but she would give him nothing. His sister, however, put half her food in her dress secretly, to give him later. When her mother asked her why she was eating so much (noticing that she seemed to eat an unusual quantity), the girl answered that she was hungry. Later, when her mother was away, she gave the meat to her brother. In this way he discovered that his mother had deceived him. Then he wished for another chance to kill something, when he might not be thus deceived by his mother.

One day, when he was out of doors, a large loon came down to him and told him to sit on its head. The loon then flew with him toward its nest, and finally brought him to it, on a large cliff. After they had reached this, it began to fly again, and took him to a pond.[279] The loon then dived with him, in order to make him recover his eyesight. It would dive and ask him whether he was smothering; when he answered that he was, it took him above the surface to regain his breath. Thus they dived, until the blind boy could see again. His eyesight was now very strong; he could see as far as the loon, and could even see where his mother was, and what she was doing. Then he returned. When he came back, his mother was afraid, and tried to excuse herself, and treated him with much consideration.

{p. 196}


(SHASTA: Farrand and Frachtenberg, Journal of American Folk-Lore, xxviii, 212, No. 5)

A mother and her ten children were living together. The oldest was a girl.[*] She was mean; and her mother had to hide from her the youngest child, a boy. The girl was wont to ask her mother, "Where is that child you bore some time ago?" to which her mother would reply, "Oh, I lost him long ago." Every morning the daughter saw her mother go down to the spring. She followed her, and noticed that the water was disturbed, as if some one had been swimming there.

One day she found a long hair in the water. She measured it with the hair of her other brothers, and found it to be too long. So she decided to learn whose hair it was. Every night she camped at the spring, until one morning she saw a strange man come down to bathe. Then she knew who had been disturbing the water, and to whom the hair belonged.[281] It was her youngest brother. She fell in love with him, and decided to marry him. She went home and asked her mother to prepare some food for her, as she was going away. Her mother gave her food, and the girl asked, "Who wants to accompany me?" The oldest brother said, "I."--"No," replied the girl, "not you." In a similar manner she refused to go with any of her other brothers. Finally she ran to the side of the house, put her hand there, and said, "This is the one I want to take along." Then the young brother came out from where he had been hidden all these years, and said, "All right! I'll go with you."

They travelled all day. When night came, she said, "Let us stop here!" So they stopped there, and the girl began to prepare the bed. The boy suspected what she wanted of him, but he said nothing. He only wished she might fall sound asleep, so as to be able to run away from her. When she was sound asleep, he put a log in his place and left her, returning to the house.[211] He ran home, and shouted, "Let all get ready to come with me!" They did so, and before departing cautioned everything in the house not to tell his sister where they had gone. But they omitted to tell Ashes.[191]

[*. This story has been sufficiently changed to avoid the use of some very difficult personal names.]

{p. 197}

Early in the morning she woke up and began to speak to the log, thinking it to be her husband; but soon she found out the deception, jumped up in anger, and cried, "I'll kill you!"

In the meantime the brother and his family had entered a basket and were drawn up to the sky.[283] The sister came home, and inquired of everything in the house as to the whereabouts of her mother and brothers. No one would tell. Finally she asked Ashes, and was told that they had gone up to the sky. She looked up, and saw her family half-way up the sky. She began to weep, and called for them repeatedly to come down. But the boy had told them not to look back,[217] no matter how often she might call. Soon, however, the mother looked back, and the basket began to fall. The daughter was glad when she saw the basket coming down. She made a big fire, intending to kill her family as soon as the basket should fall into it. The basket came down; but, when the youth hit the ground, he flew right up and floated away. The girl thought she had killed them all, and was very glad.

After a while the brother came down on the ocean beach, where two Sea-Gull girls found him. At first the girls were afraid of him; but he assured them, saying, "Don't be afraid of me! Touch me, wash me, and you will find that I am all right!" The girls did as directed, and he married them. After a while his wives became pregnant and gave birth to a boy and girl. As soon as the children grew up, the father gave them a bow and arrow, and taught them how to shoot, saying, "When you grow up, I want you to go to my sister over yonder, and watch her secretly." The children grew up and went to their aunt's house, who scared them so, that they ran back in a hurry. Then he said to his children, "Let us all go and kill my sister! She is mean. She killed my family." The children promised to help him.

So they all went, and the young man began to fight with his sister; but he could not kill her, because the only vulnerable spot, her heart, was in the sole of her foot.[246] In vain he shot arrow after arrow at her. He could not kill her. His arrows were all gone, and he was almost exhausted, when Meadow Lark came to his help. She told him to look at her heel. He did so, and saw something bright and shining. On Meadow Lark's advice he directed an arrow at that spot, and thus succeeded in killing the terrible sister.

{p. 198}


(SMITH SOUND ESKIMO: Boas, Journal of American Folk-Lore, xii, 171, No. 7)

A man who was walking, once upon a time, came to a pond, where there were a number of geese. These geese had taken off their garments and had become women, and were now swimming in the pond. The man came up to them without being seen, and seized their feather-garments. He gave them all back but two, whereupon the women put them on and flew away.[132] Finally he gave one of the two remaining ones hers, whereupon she also flew off. The last woman, however, he kept with him, took to his house, and married. Soon she became pregnant and gave birth to two children.

One day, when her husband had gone away, she found some wings, which she took into the house, and hid behind the skin-coverings of the walls. When her husband again went away, she put these on herself and her two children, whereupon they turned to geese and flew away. When the husband returned, they were already far away. However, he decided to follow them, and set out. He walked along the beach, where the tide was low, and kept travelling in this manner a long time. Finally he came to a large pot, where it was hot, and he had (cooked) codfish to eat. He stepped over this, and went on his way once more. Then he came to a large man, who was chopping with an axe, making seals and walruses. He threw the chipped pieces into the water, saying to them, "Be a quajuvaq," and they would be hooded seals, or "Be an uxssung," and they would be ground-seals.[101] The man then offered to take him to his wife. He took him into his boat, but told him to keep his eyes closed[217] and they started off. Soon the husband heard voices of people, and was preparing to look, when the large man forbade him. This happened several times until they reached the shore.

Meanwhile the two children had seen their father coming, and had gone indoors to inform their mother. She, however, said that they were mistaken, for they had gone entirely too far for him ever to come. The children then told her to come out and look for herself, but she was so certain that she did not even do this. Soon the children came in again, saying that their father was coming, and again she refused to believe them

{p. 199}

or to look. Then the man himself entered, and now she quickly feigned to be dead. Her husband took her up, carried her away, and buried her. covering her with stones. Then he went back and sat down. pulling his hood down as a sign of mourning. Meanwhile his wife arose again, and began walking about the tent in which her husband was. Then he took his spear and killed her. Thereupon a great many geese came, which he also killed, but the two boys went away.


(TSIMSHIAN: Boas, Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, xxxi, 86)

Txämsem[*] went on, not knowing which way to go. He was very weak and hungry, and sore of foot. He went on and on in the woods until he saw a house far off. He went toward it, came near. and entered There were a man and his wife, a very pretty young woman, there. They permitted him to come in for they had pity on the poor man who had come to their house. They asked him if he wanted something to eat, and they gave him to eat. Then the young woman tried to cure his ankle, which was hurt by the stone in the house of the Chief Echo. He was now in the house of Little Pitch. He came in, and the people were very kind to him. The wife of Little Pitch put pitch on his sore ankle. After two days he was quite well, and he was very glad. The young woman gave him to eat every day. The house of Little Pitch was full of dried halibut and of all kinds of provisions. Txämsem made up his mind to kill his friend who had treated him so kindly.

On the following evening, after he had eaten his supper, he said to his friend that they would go out the next morning to catch halibut. Little Pitch was willing, and said to Txämsem, " It is not good for me if 1 go out fishing in the sun, because I am so weak. 1 must return home while it is still chilly." Txämsem replied, "I will do whatever you say, sir. I think we shall have plenty of time." Thus spoke Txämsem.

They started for the fishing-ground, and fished all night until daybreak. When the sun rose, Little Pitch wanted to go home; but Txämsem said, "I enjoy fishing. Lie down there in the bow of the canoe, and cover yourself with a mat." Little Pitch lay down, and Txämsem called him "Little Pitch!"--"Hey!"

[*. Pronunciation approximately represented in English by "Chemsem."]

{p. 200}

he replied. After a while Txämsem called him again, "Little Pitch!"--"Hey!" he answered again with a loud voice. Txämsem called him once more, "Little Pitch!" Then he answered "Hey!" in a low voice. Txämsem called him still again. He answered, "Hey, hey!" with a very weak voice. "Now I will pull up my fishing-lines," said Txämsem; and after he had hauled his lines into the canoe, he paddled away home.

Txämsem paddled very hard. He called again, "Little Pitch!" but there was no answer; so he went to see what had happened to Little Pitch. As soon as he touched the mat that covered Little Pitch, behold! pitch was running out all over the halibut. Little Pitch was dead[286] and melted pitch ran all over the halibut. Therefore the halibut is black on one side.[4]

Txämsem was very glad. He paddled along until he reached the shore in front of Little Pitch's house, expecting to get a good supper from Little Pitch's wife. He took the line, tied up his canoe, and went up, glad in his heart. He went on and on, but could not find any house. He searched everywhere, but could not find it. Only a little green spruce tree was standing there, with a drop of pitch upon one side. Finally Txämsem remembered that his canoe was full of halibut; so he went down to the beach, being very hungry, but he could not find his canoe. Only a spruce log with roots was there.[287]