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p. 236

The Elk Hunter

A youth was in the habit of setting traps. He always killed bears. One year he had set his traps [as usual], and when he went to look after them [he heard] a woman crying in a trap. He reached her. Her hand was caught in the trap. She was a pretty woman. Her hair was brown, her feet and her hands were tattooed. He opened the trap and took her hand out of it. She said to him: "You will excel all the people. You have caught even me in your trap. You will be a great hunter." The youth said: "I shall carry you to our town." Thus he spoke to his supernatural helper. "I shall show you to the Indians." Now he carried her home. His relatives saw her and all died. He died also.

After many years another boy saw her. He had no father and no mother. He was poor. He was a small boy. She said to him: "When you have grown a little larger, you will excel all hunters. I did not tell the first Indian [not to show me] and behold, he showed me to the people. When you go elk hunting carry only a stick in your hand and paint that stick." The boy grew up and became a youth. Then he sang:

"I did not tell him thus, the first one, and behold, he showed me to the Indians.
I did not tell him thus, the first one. Behold!"

He also sang:

"If the orphan boy remembers what is told of olden times,
If the orphan boy remembers what is told of olden times,
He shall excel all others."

The people helped him singing. An old man was brought there who came to listen. He had been a hunter. He listened to the singer and said: "Oh, help our boy sing; he saw a supernatural being. He saw

p. 237

the hunter spirit." He sang five days. Cedar bark was dyed red and put on him. A stick was painted red and given to him. Then he went up the river. He went a long distance. He sang when he was going into the woods. Now he drove the elks [toward the water]. His relatives had remained in the town. One of them said: "An elk is coming down to the water." They took their arrows. Another one came; again one and again one came. They counted them, but when they had counted seventy they lost the number. The old man said: "Let the elks alone; do not shoot them; perhaps the boy who sings is driving these elks." They stood near the water and the opening was quite full of them. Then the boy came down singing. He took that stick and pointed seaward to the water. The elks stood there a short while and then they swam seaward. When the boy came to the sea he shouted, and all the elks died. Now he called the wind to blow landward and a northerly wind arose. The elks drifted ashore, and the beach in front of the town was full of them. Now his relatives went down to the beach. They cut up only the fat ones. The lean ones were skinned merely. Then the houses of his relatives became full. Now, whenever he went to hunt elk, he carried only a stick, and shouted. As soon as an elk met him it died. He excelled all hunters,

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