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15. Blue-Jay and Iô'i

There were Blue-Jay and Iô'i. One night the ghosts when out to buy a wife. They bought Iô'i. [Her family] kept the dentalia [which they had given] and at night they were married. On the following morning Iô'i had disappeared. Blue-Jay stayed at home for a year, then he said: "I shall go and search for my sister." He asked all the trees: "Where do people go when they die?" He asked all the birds,

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but they did not tell him. Then he asked an old wedge. It said: "Pay me, and I shall carry you there." Then he paid it, and it carried him to the ghosts. The wedge and Blue-Jay arrived near a large town. There was no smoke [rising from the houses]. Only from the last house, which was very large, they saw smoke rising. Blue-Jay entered this house and found his elder sister. "Ah, my brother," said she, "where do you come from? Have you died?" "Oh, no, I am not dead. The wedge brought me hither on his back." Then he went and opened all those houses. They were full of bones. A skull and bones lay near his sister. "What are you doing with these bones and this skull?" [asked Blue-Jay]. His sister replied: "That is your brother-in-law; that is your brother-in-law." "Pshaw! Iô'i is lying all the time. She says a skull is my brother-in-law!" When it grew dark the people arose and the house was [quite] full. It was ten fathoms long. Then he said to his sister: "Where did these people come from?" She replied: "Do you think they are people? They are ghosts." He stayed with his sister a long time. She said to him: "Do as they do and go fishing with your dipnet." "I think I will do so" [replied he]. When it grew dark he made himself ready. A boy [whom he was to accompany] made himself ready also. Those people always spoke in whispers. He did not understand them. His elder sister said to him; "You will go with that boy; he is one of your brother-in-law's relations." She continued: "Do not speak to him, but keep quiet." Now they started. They almost reached a number of people who went down the river singing in their canoes. Then Blue-Jay joined their song. They became quiet at once. Blue-Jay looked back and saw that [in place of the boy] there were only bones in the stern of his canoe. They continued to go down the river and Blue-Jay was quiet. Then he looked back towards the stern of the canoe. The boy was sitting there again. He said to him in a low voice: "Where is your weir?" He spoke slowly. The boy replied: "It is down the river." They went on. Then he said to him in a loud voice: "Where is your weir?" And only a skeleton was in the stern of the canoe. Blue-Jay was again silent. He looked back and the boy was sitting again in the canoe. Then he said again in a low voice: "Where is your weir?" "Here," replied the boy. Now they fished with their dipnets. Blue-Jay felt something in his net. He lifted it and found only two branches in his net. He turned his net and threw them into the water. After a short while he put his net again into the water. It became full of leaves. He turned his net and threw them into the water, but part of the leaves fell into the canoe. The boy gathered them up. Then another branch came into [Blue-Jay's] net. He turned his net and threw it into the water. Some leaves came into it and he threw them into the water. Part of the leaves fell into the canoe. The boy gathered them up. [Blue-Jay] was pleased with two of the branches [which had caught in his net]. He

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thought: "I will carry them to Iô'i. She may use them for making fire." These branches were large. They arrived at home and went up to the house. Blue-Jay was angry, because he had not caught anything. The boy brought a mat full of trout up to the house and the people roasted them. Then the boy told them: "He threw out of the canoe what we had caught. Our canoe would have been full if he had not thrown it away." His sister said to him: "Why did you throw away what you had caught?" "I threw it away because we had nothing but branches." "That is our food," she replied. "Do you think they were branches? The leaves were trout, the branches fall salmon." He said to his sister: "I brought you two branches, you may use them for making fire." Then his sister went down to the beach. Now there were two fall-salmon in the canoe. She carried them up to the house and entered carrying them in her hands. Blue-Jay said, to his elder sister: "Where did you steal these fall salmon!" She replied: "That is what you caught." "Iô'i is always lying."

On the next day Blue-Jay went to the beach. There lay the canoes of the ghosts. They had all holes and part of them were mossgrown. He went up to the house and said to his sister: "How bad are your husband's canoes, Iô'i." "Oh, be quiet," said she; "the people will become tired of you." "The canoes of these people are full of holes." Then his sister said to him: "Are they people? Are they people? They are ghosts." It grew dark again and Blue-Jay made himself ready. The boy made himself ready also. They went again. Now he teased the boy. When they were on their way he shouted, and only bones were there. Thus he did several times until finally they arrived. Now they fished with their dipnets. He gathered the branches and leaves [which they caught] and when the ebb-tide set in their canoe was full. Then they went home. Now he teased the ghosts. He shouted as soon as they met one, and only bones were in the canoe. They arrived at home. He went up to his sister. She carried up [what he had caught]; in part fall salmon, in part silver-side salmon.

On the next morning Blue-Jay went into the town. He found many bones in the houses. When it grew dark [somebody said]: "Ah, a whale has been found." His sister gave him a knife and said to him: "Run! a whale has been found." Blue-Jay ran and came to the beach. He met one of the people whom he asked, speaking loudly: "Where is that whale?" Only a skeleton lay there. He kicked the skull and left it. He ran some distance and met other people. He shouted loudly. Only skeletons lay there. Several times he acted this way toward the people. Then he came to a large log. Its bark was perhaps that thick, There was a crowd of people who peeled off the bark. Blue-Jay shouted and only skeletons lay there. The bark was full of pitch. He peeled off two pieces, I do not know how large. He carried them on his shoulder and went home. He thought: "I really believed it was a whale, and, behold, it is a fir." He went home. When he

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arrived he threw down the bark outside the house. He entered and said to his sister: "I really thought it was a whale. Look here, it is bark." His sister said: "It is whale meat, it is whale meat; do you think it is bark?" His sister went out and two cuts of whale lay on the ground. Iô'i said: "It is a good whale; [its blubber] is very thick." Blue-Jay looked. A whale lay on the beach. Then he turned back. He met a person carrying bark on his back. He shouted and nothing but a skeleton lay there. He took that piece of bark and carried it home on his shoulder. He came home. Thus he did to the ghosts. In course of time he had much whale meat.

Now he continued to stay there. He went again to that town. He entered a house and took a child's skull, which he put on a large skeleton. And he took a large skull, which he put on that child's skeleton. Thus he did to all the people. When it grew dark the child rose to its feet. It wanted to sit up, but it fell down again because its head pulled it down. The old man arose. His head was light. The next morning he replaced the heads. Sometimes he did thus to the legs of the ghosts. He gave small legs to an old man, and large legs to a child. Sometimes he exchanged a man's and a woman's legs. In course of time they began to dislike him. Iô'i's husband said: "These people dislike him, because he mistreats them. Tell him he shall go home. These people do not like him." Iô'i tried to stop her younger brother. But he did not follow her. On the next morning he awoke early. Now Iô'i held a skull in her arms. He threw it away: "Why do you hold that skull again, Iô'i?" "Ah, you broke your brother-in-law's neck." It grew dark. Now his brother-in-law was sick. A man tried to cure him and he became well again.

Now Blue-Jay went home. His sister gave him five buckets full of water and said: "Take care! When you come to burning prairies, do not pour it out until you come to the fourth prairie. Then pour it out." "I think so," replied Blue-Jay. Now he went home. He reached a prairie. It was hot. Red flowers bloomed on the prairie. Then he poured water on the prairie and one of his buckets was half empty. He reached the woods [and soon he came to a] prairie, which was burning at its end. He reached another prairie which was half on fire. "That is what my sister spoke about." He poured out on his road the rest of the bucket. He took another bucket and when it was half empty he reached the woods on the other side of the prairie. He reached still another prairie, the third one. One half of it burned strongly. He took one of his buckets and emptied it. He took one more bucket and emptied one-half of it. Then he reached the woods on the other side of the prairie. Now he had only two buckets and a half left. He reached another prairie which was almost totally on fire. He took that half bucket and emptied it. He took one more bucket and when he reached the woods at the other side of the prairie he had emptied it. Now only one bucket was left. He reached another prairie,

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which was all over on fire. He poured out his bucket. When he had come nearly across he had emptied his bucket. He took off his bearskin blanket and beat the fire. The whole bearskin blanket was burnt. Then his head and his hair caught fire and he was burnt.

Now Blue-Jay was dead. When it was just growing dark he came to his sister. "Kukukukukuku, Iô'i," he said. His sister cried: "Ah, my brother is dead." His trail led to the water on the other side of the river. She launched her canoe and went to fetch him. She reached him. Iô'i's canoe was pretty. She said to him: "And you said that canoe was moss-grown." "Ah, Iô'i is always telling lies. The other ones had holes and were moss-grown." She said to him: "You are dead now [therefore you see them differently]." "Iô'i is always telling lies." Now she carried her brother across to the other side. He saw the people. They sang, they played ihtlukum, they played dice with beaver teeth; the women played their ihtlukum; they played hoops; they played dice with ten disks; they played wacakoa-i. Farther in the town they sang conjurers' songs. Blue-Jay heard them. They were dancing, kumm, kumm, kumm, kumm. He wanted to go to these singers. He tried to sing and to shout, but he was laughed at. He went and tried to shout but they all laughed at him. Then he entered his brother-in-law's house. There was a chief; Iô'i 's husband was good looking. She said: "And you broke his neck." "Iô'i is always telling lies. Whence came these canoes? They are pretty." "And you said they were moss-grown." "Iô'i is always telling lies. The others had all holes. Part of them were moss-grown." "You are dead now [therefore you see everything differently]," said his sister. "Iô'i is always telling lies." He tried to shout at the people, but they laughed at him. Then he gave it up and became quiet. His sister forgot him [for a moment]. When she went to look for him, he stood near the dancers. After five nights he entered their house. His sister opened the door and saw him dancing on his head, his legs upward. She turned back and cried. Now he had again really died. He had died a second time.

Next: 16. Blue-Jay and Iô'i