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p. 262


When the people of Sealand find a whale they tell a youth to go to the town and to inform the people. A person who has to observe taboos is asked to go up and down [in his canoe] below the whale. Then he goes up and down below the whale. Thus also a person who cohabited the preceding night goes up and down below the whale. If no person who has to observe taboos would go up and down, it would drift away. Those who found the whale do not cut it; they wait for the chief. All the people reach the whale. Then the chief takes a stick and measures the whale from the head to the tail. Then he tells the people: "You will cut here; you will cut there." It is distributed among those people. The common people cut from the tail end. When it is all cut, it is carried to the town into the houses. When the whale is measured, the chief tells the people to make the [measuring] sticks two spans and one hand width long, if the whale is large[; two spans wide if the whale is smaller]. The people are told: "You cut here," and they cut the whale. Everything is done this way. A cut two spans and one hand width large is exchanged for one blanket, or for a string of dentalia five shells longer than a fathom. When a cut two spans large is sold it is exchanged for a ground-hog blanket.

When travelers from Chehalis find a whale it is taken back from them. If it is found at Oysterville, it belongs to the people of Sealand; when it is found north of Oysterville, it belongs to the Willapa. When the people of Sealand find a whale north of Oysterville, it is claimed by the Willapa. If the Willapa find one south of Oysterville, it is claimed by the people of Sealand.

When a person who has taboos sees a whale nearly drifting ashore, it will drift out to sea again. This happens with one who has cohabited the preceding night, with a menstruating woman, with a girl who is menstruant for the first time, and with a murderer. People who have taboos do not go to the beach. When they go often to the beach, no whale will be found and the people get hungry.

When a whale is found in Chehalis all the Nisal and Willapa go to buy whale meat. When a whale is found in Sealand, all the Chehalis go to buy its meat.

When the people are starving, a person who has a supernatural helper of the sea sings to bring a whale. No woman who has her regular menses enters, no young man; else a person might see the singing

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who has cohabited the preceding night. Therefore, also, no woman must enter, as she might become menstruant in the house where they sing. Only old people, boys, and young girls help sing. For five days he sings. Then a youth is sent and told to look seaward. Five times he is sent; then, indeed, he finds a whale adrift. When a man who has cohabited the preceding night enters the house in which the singing goes on, the supernatural helper vanishes at once. Thus also when a menstruant woman enters. The singer is covered with down. He places a pole upright on the beach and says: "Here a whale will drift ashore," and, indeed, it drifts ashore there after he has sang five days. The name of the supernatural helper of the sea is Ikê'tal.

When the Clatsop find a whale, and there are two people, they make holes [in the skin] and tie their straps to it. If they have no strap they take kelp. Each ties as many straps to it as he has relatives. Then they cut the whale. They cut much. Now they send one man to bring word to the town. Then the people go and all cut it. They will not cut where a strap has been tied to it. When the man arrives for whom the strap has been tied to the whale, he cuts at that place. If one man cuts at the strap of another one, they will fight. Those who come last take the lower side of the whale. All those people sell their whale meat. The pieces are not cut--when they are large they are left large, when they are small they are left small. Small ones are not expensive. Large ones are exchanged for a blanket. If there is a strong woman who can carry several cuts, she does so and is paid [for her services]. Sometimes she helps three people; when she is strong she may help four people. Thus also is a youth paid who helps the people carrying several cuts of meat. The Clatsop always eat very early. When a person has not yet eaten and they learn [that a whale has stranded] and they run there, he gets faint and is left behind. He comes too late to the whale and finds that only little is left. He may not arrive until the cutting is finished. The Clatsop always carry their straps and knives, which are tied together, and their mats. All do thus.

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