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Smokyriversongs' Look At Indian Life And The Lore
Karok - Malecite













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Karok Indian Lore:

 


How Coyote Got His Cunning

Kareya was the god who in the very beginning created the world.
First he made the fishes in the ocean; then he made the animals on land; and last of all he made a man. He had, however, given all the animals the same amount of rank and power.
So he went to the man he had created and said,
"Make as many bows and arrows as there are animals. I am going to call all the animals together, and you are to give the longest bow and arrow to the one that should have the most power, and the shortest to the one that should have the least."

So the man set to work making bows and arrows, and at the end of nine days he had turned out enough for all the animals created by Kareya.
Then Kareya called them all together and told them that the man would come to them the next day with the bows, and the one to whom he gave the longest would have the most power.

Each animal wanted to be the one to get the longest bow. Coyote schemed to outwit the others by staying awake all night. He thought that if he was the first to meet the man in the morning, he would get the longest bow for himself.
So when the animals went to sleep, Coyote lay down and only pretended to sleep. About midnight, however, he began to feel genuinely sleepy. He got up and walked around, scratching his eyes to keep them open. As time passed, he grew sleepier. He resorted to skipping and jumping to keep awake, but the noise waked some of the other animals, so he had to stop.

About the time the morning star came up, Coyote was so sleepy that he couldn't keep his eyes open any longer. So he took two little sticks and sharpened them at the ends, and with these he propped his eyelids open. Then he felt it was safe to sleep, since his eyes could watch the morning star rising. He planned to get up before the star was completely up, for by then all the other animals would be stirring. In a few minutes, however, Coyote was fast asleep.
The sharp sticks pierced right through his eyelids, and instead of keeping them open, they pinned them shut. When the rest of the animals got up, Coyote lay in a deep sleep.

The animals went to meet the man and receive their bows.
Cougar was given the longest, Bear the next-longest, and so on until the next-to-last bow was given to Frog.
The shortest bow was still left, however.
"What animal have I missed?" the man cried.

The animals began to look about, and they soon spied Coyote lying fast asleep. They all laughed heartily and danced around him.
Then they led him to the man, for Coyote's eyes were pinned together by the sticks and he could not see. The man pulled the sticks out of Coyote's eyes and gave him the shortest bow.
The animals laughed so hard that the man began to pity Coyote, who would be the weakest of them all. So he prayed to Kareya about Coyote, and Kareya responded by giving Coyote more cunning than any other animal.

And that's how Coyote got his cunning.

 


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Kiowa Indian Lore:

 

Bears' Lodge

One day long ago a traveling party of the Kiowa people were crossing the great prairie and camped by a stream. Many of the Bear people lived near by, and they smelled the Kiowa people. The Bear people were hungry, and some of the Bear warriors went to hunt the Kiowa people.

Seven young girls from the Kiowa camp were out gathering berries, up along the stream, far from the campsite. The Bears came upon them and growled as they attacked. The girls ran out across the open prairie, until they came to a large rock. They climbed onto the rock, but the bears began to climb the rock also.

The girls began singing a prayer to the rock, asking it to protect them from the Bear people. No one had ever honored the rock before, and the rock agreed to help them. The rock, who had laid quietly for centuries, begun to stand up and reach the sky. The girls rose higher and higher as the rock stood up. The Bear warriors began to sing to the Bear gods, and the bears grew taller as the rock rose up.

The Bears tried to climb the rock as it grew steeper and higher, but their huge claws only split the rock into thousands of strips as the rock grew up out of their reach. Pieces of the rock were scraped and cut away by the thousands and fell in piles at the foot of the rock. The rock was cut and scarred on all sides as the bears fought to climb it.

At last, the Bears gave up the hunt, and turned to go back to their own homes. They slowly returned to their original sizes. As the huge Bears came back across the prairie, slowly becoming smaller, The Kiowa saw them and broke up camp. They fled in fear, and looking back at the towering mountain of rock, they guessed that it must be the lodge of these giant Bears. "Tso' Ai'," some people say today, or "Bears' Lodge."

The Kiowa girls were afraid, high up on the rock, and they saw their people break camp and leave them there, thinking the girls had all already been eaten by the Bears.

The girls sang again, this time to the stars. The stars were happy to hear their song, and the stars came down and took the seven girls into the sky, where they became the Seven Sisters. and each night they pass over Bears' Lodge and smile in gratitude to the rock spirit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kwaiutl Indian Lore:

 

 

"The Ghost Country"

The ghosts live in four houses, each one deeper than the preceeding one. A Koskimo woman was crying on account of her dead father. They buried him and she was crying under the grave for four days. The people called her but she refused to leave. On the fourth day she heard somebody come who called her. "I call you downward, Crying Woman."

Then she jumped up and the ghost said, "Follow me." He went downward and she followed him. They came to a a house called Hemlock-Leaves-on-Back. They entered the house and an old woman was sitting near the fire. She said, "Ah, ah, ah, ah. Sit down near the fire." They took poles to take down dry salmon and prepared to roast it. They placed it on a small food mat and broke it up and gave it to Crying Woman.

Just when she was about to take it, a person came in and invited her to another house called Maggots-on-Bark-on-Ground. Then the woman who lived in the first house said, "Ah, ah, ah, ah. Go with them. They are higher in rank than we are." She followed the person who had invited her and entered the next house. She saw an old woman sitting by the fire and seemed to be the same one whom she had seen first. She prepared food in the same way, giving her something to eat.

Just when she was about to eat, another woman came to her and invited her into her house, which was called Place-of-Mouth-Showing-on-Ground. The woman in the second house said, "Go with her. They are higher in rank than we are." When she entered, the same old woman seemed to be sitting by the fire. Again they prepared something for her to eat.

When she was just about to begin, she was called by another person into the fourth house, called Place-of-Never-Return. Again the woman said, "They are higher in rank that we. Go." When she entered she saw her father sitting at the end of the house. And when he saw her he became angry and said, "Why do you come here? This is the place which nobody ever returns. Whoever enters the first three houses may return. But if you come here, you must stay. Do not eat what is offered to you and go back."

Then he called the ghosts to take her back. She was lying under the grave tree like one dead. The ghosts came back singing the following song:

hama yahahaha

She was like one dead when she came back. When her father spoke to her he said, "When we take you back we will sing so that the Koskimo may here our song." They brought her up alive on a board. The people heard the song, but they did not see anyone. Then they took the board into the winter-dance house. This songs belongs originally to the Koskimo and was carried from there to the Newettee and to the Nċkwado.

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Wakiash And The First Totem Pole

The totem poles of Northwest Coast tribes were actually family crests rather than religious icons, denoting the owner's legendary descent from an animal such as the bear, raven, wolf, salmon, or killer whale. Coming into a village, a stranger would first look for a house with a totem pole of his own clan animal. Its owner was sure to receive him as a friend and offer him food and shelter. Totem poles "also preserved ancient customs by making sure that in every region within visiting distance of others the old stories were repeated, and the old beliefs about the spirits, the origin of fire and other myths, were basically the same despite linguistic differences between main tribal groups."*

Wakiash was a chief named after the river Wakiash because he was open-handed and flowing with gifts, even as the river flowed with fish.

It happened once that the whole tribe was having a dance. Wakiash had never created a dance of his own, and he was unhappy because all the other chiefs had fine dances. So he thought: "I will go up into the mountains to fast, and perhaps a dance will come to me."

Wakiash made himself ready and went to the mountains, where he stayed, fasting and bathing, for four days. Early in the morning of the fourth day, he grew so weary that he lay upon his back and fell asleep. Then he felt something on his breast and woke up to see a little green frog.

"Lie still," the frog said, "because you are on the back of a raven who is going to fly you and me around the world. Then you can see what you want and take it." The raven began to beat its wings, and they flew for four days, during which Wakiash saw many things. When they were on their way back, he spotted a house with a beautiful totem pole in the front and heard the sound of singing inside the house. Thinking that these were fine things, he wished he could take them home.

The frog, who knew his thoughts, told the raven to stop. As the bird coasted to the ground, the frog advised the chief to hide behind the door of the house.

"Stay there until they begin to dance," the frog said. "Then leap out into the room."

The people tried to begin a dance but could do nothing--neither dance nor sing. One of them said, "Some things the matter; there must be something near us that makes us feel like this." And the chief said, "Let one of us who can run faster than the flames of the fire rush around the house and find what it is." So the little mouse said that she would go, for she could creep anywhere, even into a box, and if anyone were hiding she would find him. The mouse had taken off her mouse-skin clothes and was presently appearing in the form of a woman. Indeed, all the people in the house were animals who looked like humans because they had taken off their animal-skin clothes to dance.

When the mouse ran out, Wakiash caught her and said, "Ha, my friend, I have a gift for you." And he gave her a piece of mountain-goat's fat. The mouse was so pleased with Wakiash that she began talking to him. "What do you want?" she asked eventually. Wakiash said that he wanted the totem pole, the house, and the dances and songs that belonged to them. The mouse said, "Stay here; wait till i come again."

Wakiash stayed, and the mouse went in and told the dancers, "I've been everywhere to see if there's a man around, but I couldn't find anybody." And the chief who looked like a man, but was really a beaver, said, "Let's try again to dance." They tried three times but couldn't do anything, and each time they sent the mouse to search. But each time the mouse only chatted with Wakiash and returned to report that no one was there. The third time she was sent out, she said to him, "Get ready, and when they begin to dance, leap into the room."

When the mouse told the animals again that no one was there they began to dance. Then Wakiash sprang in, and at once they all dropped their heads in shame, because a man had seen them looking like men, whereas they were really animals.

The dancers stood silent until at last the mouse said: "Let's not waste time; let's ask our friend what he wants."

So they all lifted up their heads, and the chief asked the man what he wanted. Wakiash thought he would like to have the dance, because he had never had one of his own. Also, he thought, he would like to have the house and the totem pole that he had seen outside. Though the man did not speak, the mouse divined his thoughts and told the dancers. And the chief said, "Let our friend sit down. We'll show him how we dance, and he can pick out whatever dance he wants."

So they began to dance, and when they had ended, the chief asked Wakiash what kind of dance he would like. The dancers had been using all sorts of masks. Most of all Wakiash wanted the Echo mask and the mask of the Little Man who goes about the house talking, and talking, and trying to quarrel with others. Waskiash only formed his wishes in his mind; the mouse told them to the chief. So the animals taught Wakiash all their dances, and the chief told him that he might take as many dances and masks as he wished, as well as the house and the totem pole.

The beaver-chief promised Waskiash that things would all go with him when he returned home, and that he could use them all in one dance. The chief also gave him for his own the name of the totem pole, Kalakuyuwish, meaning sky pole, because the pole was so tall.

So the chief took the hose and folded it up like a little bundle. He put it into the headdress of one of the dancers and gave it to Wakiash, saying, "When you reach home, throw down this bundle. The house will become as it was when you first saw it, and they you can begin to give a dance."

Wakiash went back to the raven, and the raven flew away with him toward the mountain from which they had set out. Before they arrived, Wakiash fell asleep, and when he awoke, the raven and the frog were gone and he was alone.

It was night by the time Wakiash arrived home. He threw down the bundle that was in the headdress, and there was the house with its totem pole! The whale painted on the house was blowing, the animals carved on the totem pole were making their noises, and all the masks inside the house were crying aloud.

At once Wakiash's people woke up and came out to see what was happening, and Wakiash found that instead of four days, he had been away for four years. They all went into the new house, and Wakiash began to make a dance. hen the Echo came, and whoever made a noise, the Echo made the same by changing the mouthpieces of its mask. When they had finished dancing, the house was gone; it went back to the animals. And all the chiefs were ashamed because Wakiash now had the best dance.

Then Wakiash made a house and masks and a totem pole out of wood, and when the totem pole was finished, the people composed a song for it. This pole was the first the tribe had ever had. The animals had named it Kalakuyuwish, "the pole that holds up the sky," and they said it made a creaking noise because the sky was so heavy. And Wakiash took for his own the name of the totem pole, Kalakuyuwish.

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Lanape Indian Lore:

 

The Snow Boy
One time long ago a young girl had a baby boy. No one knew who was his father. They say he had no father.

When he was old enough to crawl around, he would get angry at the other children sometimes, and when angry would take hold of their hands and suck their fingers.

It was seen that their fingers turned black and stiff as if frozen from cold when he had sucked them.

When he got a little older, he told people that he could stay with his mother, that he did not belong there, he must go.
"My name is snow and ice," he said.

He said he had been sent by those above to show them how to track anything-people or animals. And he told them how to do it.

"When I come again," he said, "you can track anything: remember when snow falls that it is I who have come to visit you."

Then he told his mother to take him down and put him on a piece of ice-to go down to the river, for it was early spring.

They took him down and and put him on a cake of floating ice. And beside him they put a bark vessel full of sweetened, pounded parched corn, kahamakun, for they thought he might need food. Then he drifted away down the river.

Until recent years the Delaware's would go down to the river with a little bark vessel of kahamakun as an offering to the snow boy. When a large piece of ice appeared, they would give two or three whoops, and the ice would swing in towards the shore.

Then they put the little bark boat on the ice and talk to Snow Boy. They tell him they are glad to see him again and tell him to take this corn with him. Then they ask him to help them in tracking game.


 


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Luiseno Indian Lore:

 

Dance Of The Dead

Once a year the people left their village and went up Palomar Mountain to gather acorns. Everyone went, young and old, and even the ill were carried along on litters so that the village could stay together at this important time. the homes were left empty, no one was afraid of thieves in those days.

While the village was deserted, a man from another nearby village came. He found everyone gone. He knew where they had gone, and why, so he knew he could not see his friends this trip. He decided to spend the night and go on his way the next morning. He did not go into anyone's lodge, but rather he took a large basket normally used to store grain and turned it over. He crawled under the basket, where the wind could not bother him. He fell asleep.

In early evening, but long before dark, he was awakened by someone calling people out to dance. At first he thought the people of the village had come back from acorn gathering. Then being an old man himself, he began to recognize the voices of people he had known many years ago, but who were now long dead. He began to realize the voices were spirits of the dead! While the people of the village were away, the dead had returned to dance.

The old man lay quietly under the basket, listening to the voices of all the people, all the way back to the ancient days. He heard the Woman Who Was Turned To Rock as she sang, He heard the Man Who Scoop Rock With His Hand as he sang, All the people of the ancient days were here in the village again.

The old man could not stand to wait any longer. After he had listened for hors, he wanted to look at the people he had known as a young man and see the faces of the people he had only heard about in old stories. He threw the basket off and looked where the dead had been dancing.

There was only a flock of birds, and they flew away, startled by the basket overturning. The turtle shell rattle the dead had been playing all night as they danced lay on the ground. It was now just a piece of soap root.

The old man was not allowed to see The Dance Of The Dead.

 

 

 

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Lumbee Indian Lore:

 


The Symbolism of the Eagle Feather
In the beginning, the Great Spirit above gave to the animals and birds wisdom and knowledge and the power to talk to men. He sent these creatures to tell man that he showed himself through them. They would teach a chosen man sacred songs and dance, as well as, much ritual and lore.

The creature most loved by the Great Spirit was the eagle, for he tells the story of life. The Eagle, as you know, has only two eggs, and all living things in the world are divided into two. Here is man and woman, male and female and this is true with animals, birds, trees, flowers and so on. All things have children of two kinds so that life may continue.

Man has two eyes, two hands, two feet and he has a body and soul, substance and shadow. Through his eyes, he sees pleasant and unpleasant scenes, through his nostrils he smells good and bad odors, with his ears he hears joyful news and words that make him sad. His mind is divided between good and evil. His right hand he may often use for evil, such as war or striking a person in anger. But his left hand, which is near his heart, is always full of kindness. His right foot may lead him in the wrong path, but his left foot always leads him the right way, and so it goes; he has daylight and darkness, summer and winter, peace and war, and life and death.

In order to remember this lesson of life, look to the great eagle, the favorite bird of the Great Spirit. The eagle feather is divided into two parts, part light, and part dark. This represents daylight and darkness, summer and winter, peace and war, and life and death.

So that you may remember what I have told you, look well on the eagle, for his feathers, too, tell the story of life. Look at the feathers I wear upon my hand, the one on the right is large and perfect and is decorated; this represents man. The one on my left is small and plain; this represents woman. The eagle feather is divided into two parts, dark and white. This represents daylight and darkness, summer and winter. For the white tells of summer, when all is bright and the dark represents the dark days of winter.

My children, remember what I tell you. For it is YOU who will choose the path in life you will follow -- the good way, or the wrong way.


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Lumni Indian Lore:


Komo Kulshan And His Two Wives
Komo Kulshan, a very tall and handsome young man, had two wives, as was the custom of his tribe. One was named Clear Sky; the other, Fair Maiden.
For several years Clear Sky was Kulshan's favorite wife. She was the more beautiful of the two, and she had borne him three children. Fair Maiden was less beautiful, but she was always gentle and kind.
At last she won Kulshan's love through kindness, though as a result she gained Clear Sky's dislike. Clear Sky had a jealous and bitter nature. Soon there was quarreling in the lodge.

One day Clear Sky scolded Komo Kulshan at great length and concluded,
"You should love me more than Fair Maiden. I am the mother of your children."
Kulshan smiled and said nothing.
Clear Sky became angrier.
"I'm going away," she said. "I'll leave you and the children and go away."
She expected him to answer, "Don't go away. You're the mother of my children, and I love you most. Don't go."

But Kulshan did not beg her to stay. Though he loved her and didn't want her to leave, he was too proud to say so. Instead he told her,
"If you want to, you may go as soon and as far as you wish."

Slowly, taking her time, Clear Sky packed her things. She packed all her seeds and bulbs, packed her roots and berries, packed all her flowering plants.
At last she was finished, and her children cried loudly when they saw her leaving. This pleased Clear Sky, who felt sure that Kulshan would call her back when she had gone a little distance.

She started down the mountain valley slowly, alone. When she had gone a short distance, she stopped and looked back.
But Kulshan did not say, "Come home."

She went a little farther and paused on a hill to look back at Kulshan and the children. When she stood on tiptoe, she could see them.
But still Kulshan did not say, "Come back, Clear Sky."

She went on farther south. She was still among the hills and mountains, mountains not so high as Komo Kulshan. He still did not call her, though she stood on the very tips of her toes.

Farther south she climbed to the top of a high hill, rose on tiptoe, and made herself as tall as she could. That way she could just see Kulshan and the children, and they could see her.

By this time she had stretched herself so often that she had become much taller. Sure now that her husband did not want her to return, she decided to make camp where she was. At least on a clear day she would be able to see her family.
So she put down her packs and took out all the seeds and bulbs and roots. She planted them around her, and there she stayed, cultivating them.

Fair Maiden lived with Kulshan for a long time. One day she said to him:
"I want to visit my mother. I'm going to have a baby, and I want to see my mother."
"How can you go to your mother?" asked Kulshan. "There's no trail, nothing but rocks and trees and mountains between us and Whulge."
"I don't know how I can get there, but you'll have to make a passageway for me. I want to see my mother."

So Komo Kulshan called together all the animals that have claws - the beavers, the marmots, the cougars the bears, even the rats and mice and moles - and told them to dig a big ditch.
The animals dug a deep one that was wide enough for two canoes to pass. Then Kulshan turned all the water from the mountains near him into the ditch until there was enough to float a fair-sized canoe.
Today the stream is called the Nooksack River.

Before starting, Fair Maiden gathered many kinds of food to take with her. Then she went down the river and out into the salt water of the Whulge.

She ate mussels at one of the islands and left some there. That's why mussels are found on the same island today.
She ate clams at another island and left some there.
She ate camas at another, and that's why a lot of camas grow on Matia Island today.
She ate devilfish and berries at another island and left some.
At every island on her journey she left some kind of fish or root or berry, and that's why the Indian names for these islands are the names or food.

When she got to Flat Top Island, she decided to stay somewhere near it. She stood looking over the water for a long time, trying to choose the best place. The winds blew round her tall figure and made a number of whirlpools. The whirlpools sucked many people in, even some who lived far away, and devoured them.

Fair Maiden kept on standing there, and the winds kept on blowing round her. At last the changer came to her and said,
"Why don't you lie down? If you stand, the winds will create whirlpools, and the whirlpools will suck all the people in."

So Fair Maiden lay down, and the Changer transformed her into Spieden Island. When her child was born, it was a small island of the same shape as Spieden and lying beside it.
Today it is called Sentinel Island.

Kulshan, left with his children in the mountains of the Northwest coastal range, kept stretching upward, trying to see his wives. So did his children.
The Three of them grew taller and taller and became high mountains. One is Shuksan, a little east of Kulshan and almost as tall. Some people say the others are Twin Sisters, a little west and south of Kulshan.

A long journey south of them stands their mother, Clear Sky.
You know her as Mount Rainier, (seen in the 'Paramount' pictures at the end of movies, in the cinema! - Red.)
The seeds and roots she planted there grew and spread, and that's why the lower slopes bloom with flowers of every color. Often on a clear day or night, the mountain dresses in sparkling white and looks with longing at Komo Kulshan and the mountain children near him.



 


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Maida Indian Lore:

 

Tolowim Woman And Butterfly Man
A Tolowim woman went out to gather food.
She took her child with her, and while she worked, she stuck the point of the cradle board in the ground and left the child alone.
A large butterfly flew past, and she started after it and chased it for a long time. She would almost catch it, and then just miss.
She thought, "Perhaps I can't run fast enough because of this heavy thing," and she threw away her deerskin robe.
But still she she never could quite overtake the creature. Finally she threw away her apron too and hurried on,chasing the butterfly until night came.
Then, her child forgotten, she lay down under a tree and went to sleep.

When she awoke in the morning, she found a man lying beside her.
He said, "You have followed me this far; perhaps you would like to follow me always. If so, you must through a lot of my people."

Without thinking of her child at all, the woman rose and followed the butterfly man. By and by they came to a large valley, whose southern side was full of butterflies.
When the two reached the edge of the valley, the man said, "No one has ever come through this valley alive. But you'll be safe if you don't lose sight of me. Follow closely."

They traveled for a long time.
"Keep tight hold of me; don't let go," the butterfly man said again and again.
When they had come half way through the valley, other butterflies swarmed about them in great numbers. They flew every way, all around the couple's heads and in their faces, for they wanted to get the Tolowim woman for themselves.

She watched them for a long time, holding tightly to her new husband. But at last, unable to resist, she let go of him and reached out to seize one of the others. She missed that one and she tried to grab now one, now the other, but always failed, and so she wandered in the valley forever, dazed and lost.

She died there, and the butterfly man she had lost went on through the valley to his home.
And now when people speak of the olden times they say that this woman lost her lover, and tried to get others but lost them, and went crazy and died.



 


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Makah Indian Lore:

 

 

"Forty Dead Men"

At Ozette two brothers undertook whaling, although their father had not been a whaler. The elder was unsuccessful, but the younger killed several whales the first season. Thereafter he was always lucky, while his brother always failed. The elder often asked how he got his power, but the younger whaler told nothing.

The younger brother often lay all day with his back to the fire, and he slept there at night. He seldom ate, and then only a little. The way he obtained his power was this: He dreamed of forty ghosts, and then cleared a place in the woods back of the village. Around it was a thick jungle of crab trees, which he made impenetrable by interweaving the trees and brush he had cut down, leaving only a narrow entrance. In the clearing he arranged some brush and small poles in the form of a canoe and four whales in a row. The whales were so large that he could place two corpses under them. Around the edge of the clearing he placed boards so as to make a shelf about two feet from the ground, and on it, bough to upright stakes, he stood forty dead bodies. Each held a stick in it's right hand, and he arranged a rope so that by pulling it he caused all of them to strike with their batons the board on which they stood. Another line raised the left arms of the corpses at the will of the whaler. In the brush canoe he had a full crew of seven dead men, and by means of ropes he made them paddle when he gave the order. In visiting this place the whaler always rested four times after leaving the burial ground, and on reaching the clearing he walked around it four times inside the line of corpses.

One day a son of the elder brother died, and the body was placed in a hole and covered with stones. On the fourth night the younger brother left the house. The other heard him, and softly followed him to the new grave, and silently watched him remove the stones, take out the body, and fill the hole with stones. With the body on his back, and walking in the fashion of whaler at such times, the young man went along the beach and then turned into the woods. The elder brother cautiously followed, pausing when the other rested. Whenever the whaler stopped he screeched like an owl, and prayed, "May I be given a chance to spear a whale, and may the people say it was I that did it!" When finally they reached the clearing, it was dawn.

The whaler threw the body beside the first whale, and made the dead men strike the boards with their sticks. Then he stood the new body beside the stake and lashed it there. He slowly got into the canoe, took up a harpoon, and hurled it at the first brush whale. At that instant his brother sprang through the hedge. The whaler fell unconscious, and the elder leaped upon him. When the whaler opened his eyes, he begged, "Spare my life, and I will show you how to do everything! I will let you use all this, and tell you the best places to wash!"

"Why did you not let me have this when I asked you?" demanded the elder man. "The people have been laughing at me long enough! I asked you this many years ago, but you told me nothing. Now I can take everything you have. If you had told me, this would never have happened. And you took my dead son so soon after I buried him! Though you are my brother, I cannot spare your life!" He stabbed him, but did not kill him. Still the whaler pleaded, "Let me go! Whatever I have shall be yours! If you kill me, you will have no good from these things, because you will not know how to use them. If you try to use them by yourself, you will die soon!" But the elder brother stabbed him to death. Then he lashed the warm body to the other side of the stake that supported his own son. It was now broad daylight, and the man went home and told his wife all.

Four or five days later he returned to the clearing. He pulled on the rope, and the sticks struck the boards. Then he prayed as he had heard his brother do. He got into the brush canoe, threw the harpoon at the first whale, and said, "I have forty dead men for my power! May I spear a while, and may the people say it was I that speared it!" He heard a sound from his dead brother, then the words: "You should be ashamed! You are not doing it the right way!" Then he went home feeling very ill, and that night he died.

 

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When The Animals And Birds Were Created

The Indians who live on the farthest point of the northwest corner of Washington State used to tell stories, not about one Changer, but about the Two-Men-Who-Changed-Things. So did their close relatives, who lived on Vancouver Island, across the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

When the world was very young, there were no people on the earth. There were no birds or animals, either. There was nothing but grass and sand and creatures that were neither animals nor people but had some of the traits of people and some of the traits of animals.

Then the two brothers of the Sun and the Moon came to the earth. Their names were Ho-ho-e-ap-bess, which means "The Two-Men-Who- Changed-Things." They came to make the earth ready for a new race of people, the Indians. The Two-Men-Who-Changed-Things called all the creatures to them. Some they changed to animals and birds. Some they changed to trees and smaller plants.

Among them was a bad thief. He was always stealing food from creatures who were fishermen and hunters. The Two-Men-Who- Changed-Things transformed him into Seal. They shortened his arms and tied his legs so that only his feet could move. Then they threw Seal into the Ocean and said to him, "Now you will have to catch your own fish if you are to have anything to eat."

One of the creatures was a great fisherman. He was always on the rocks or was wading with his long fishing spear. He kept it ready to thrust into some fish. He always wore a little cape, round and white over his shoulders. The Two-Men-Who-Changed-Things transformed him into Great Blue Heron. The cape became the white feathers around the neck of Great Blue Heron. The long fishing spear became his sharp pointed bill.

Another creature was both a fisherman and a thief. He had stolen a necklace of shells. The Two-Men-Who-Changed-Things transformed him into Kingfisher. The necklace of shells was turned into a ring of feathers around King fishers' neck. He is still a fisherman. He watches the water, and when he sees a fish, he dives headfirst with a splash into the water.

Two creatures had huge appetites. They devoured everything they could find. The Two-Men-Who-Changed-Things transformed one of them into Raven. They transformed his wife into Crow. Both Raven and Crow were given strong beaks so that they could tear their food. Raven croaks "Cr-r-ruck!" and Crow answers with a loud "Cah! Cah!"

The Two-Men-Who-Changed-Things called Blue Jay's son to them and asked, "Which do you wish to be--a bird or a fish?"

"I don't want to be either," he answered.

"Then we will transform you into Mink. You will live on land. You will eat the fish you can catch from the water or can pick up on the shore. "

Then the Two-Men-Who-Changed-Things remembered that the new people would need wood for many things.

They called one of the creatures to them and said "The Indians will want tough wood to make bows with. They will want tough wood to make wedges with, so that they can split logs. You are tough and strong. We will change you into the yew tree."

They called some little creatures to them. "The new people will need many slender, straight shoots for arrows. You will be the arrowwood. You will be white with many blossoms in early summer."

They called a big, fat creature to them. "The Indians will need big trunks with soft wood so that they can make canoes. You will be the cedar trees. The Indians will make many things from your bark and from your roots."

The Two-Men-Who-Changed-Things knew that the Indians would need wood for fuel. So they called an old creature to them. "You are old, and your heart is dry. You will make good kindling, for your grease has turned hard and will make pitch. You will be the spruce tree. When you grow old, you will always make dry wood that will be good for fires."

To another creature they said, "You shall be the hemlock. Your bark will be good for tanning hides. Your branches will be used in the sweat lodges."

A creature with a cross temper they changed into a crab apple tree, saying, "You shall always bear sour fruit."

Another creature they changed into the wild cherry tree, so that the new people would have fruit and could use the cherry bark for medicine.

A thin, tough creature they changed into the alder tree, so that the new people would have hard wood for their canoe paddles.

Thus the Two-Men-Who-Changed-Things got the world ready for the new people who were to come. They made the world as it was when the Indians lived in it.

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Malecite Indian Lore:

 

The Impounded Water

Agabem kept back all the water in the world, so rivers stopped flowing, and the lakes dried up, and the people everywhere began dying of thirst. As a last resort, they sent a messenger to him to ask him to give people water, but he refused, and gave the messenger only a drink from the water in which he washed. But this was not enough to satisfy even the thirst of one. Then the people began complaining, some saying, :I'm as dry as a fish." "I;m as dry as a frog," "I'm as dry as as a turtle," I'm as dry as a beaver," and the like, as they were on the verge of dying of thirst.

At last a great man was sent to Aglabem to beg him to release the water for the people. Aglabem refused, saying that he needed it himself to lie in. Then the messenger felled a tree, so that it fell on top of the monster and killed him. The body body of this tree became the main river and the branches became the tributary branches of the river, while the leaves became the ponds and the heads of these streams. As the waters flowed down to the villages of the people again, they plunged in to drink, and became transformed into the animals which they likened themselves to when complaining of their thirst.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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