Tradition of the Xô'yalas. 1
(Recorded by George Hunt.)
Now you will listen to the tradition that I am going to tell you about these spirits, those which are referred to by the Kwakiutl as Ghosts. The village of the spirits of the deceased was in our Under-World, and they had for their chief one whose name was Wealth-coming-up, and he had a younger brother whose name was Having-Maggots-on-Back; and the tribe of Wealth-coming-up was numerous. The chief felt uneasy on account of his tribe, for they really could not be counted. Therefore he was considering all the time whether he would move to a large good place. Then he resolved that he would invite the wise men of his tribe.
He sent four attendants to go and invite in the wise men. It did not take the attendants long to call them, when they all came into the house; and then Wealth-coming-up spoke, and said, "Thank you, my dear ones! This is the reason why I invited you in, to consider whether we move to a large good place, and that we may have a look at the Upper-World." Thus he said. Immediately all the wise men spoke together, and said, "That's it, that's it, the Upper-World!" Thus they said.
Then Wealth-coming-up spoke again, and said, "Go on, brother Having-Maggots-on-Back! you shall go up, that you may look for a place for our village." Thus he said. Immediately Having-Maggots-on-Back got ready and went upward. He came right up at Cut-Beach. Then he saw that it was a good rocky place, and the rock was sandstone, and in the middle there was a little river. Then Having-Maggots-on-Back approved of it. He went back to the house of his elder brother, and he told him about the nice place that had been seen by him at Cut-Beach.
Immediately Wealth-coming-up sent his four attendants to go and ask the Ghosts to get ready. Immediately they all got ready. As soon as night came, they all came in great numbers, and the numerous tribe carried their property. Then they all came upward, and the Ghosts each carried soil on his back, and they poured it out on the sandstone. Thus they made a village site at Cut-Beach. As soon as the village site was finished, Wealth-coming-up asked his people to clear. away the trees behind the village, and therefore the place behind the houses of Cut-Beach is thus. Therefore no trees grow up along (the village) on account of the work of the Ghosts, On account of what Wealth-coming-up said about the trees. This is what he said: "Oh, you that grow inland! don't grow seaward of what I made for future
generations." Thus he said. Therefore trees do not grow behind the houses of Cut-Beach. Now there were many large houses of the Ghosts, and there was also a shell beach in front of the houses, on which was a place for the canoes. Then the people in the village lived happily.
Wealth-coming-up saw a village at Side-of-Tide. Those were the ancestors of the tribe named Xô'yalas, who had for their chief one who was named Property-Maker. As soon as Wealth-coming-up saw the village at Side-of-Tide, Property-Maker also saw the village of the Ghosts. Then Property-Maker wished to investigate the village at Cut-Beach, for he was much surprised because it had never been seen before. Therefore he sent his young men to go look at it. Two young men purified themselves with urine; and as soon as the two young men had finished purifying themselves, they all went aboard two canoes; and all the many young men, the ancestors of the Xô'yalas, paddled. They were approaching the beach of the houses of the Ghosts when the Ghosts began to make a loud noise. Then all the men and women, and also the children of the Ghosts, came out of the houses; and the young men of Property-Maker became dizzy, and their bodies were twisted about. Only two of them were not wrong,--those who had washed with urine. They went back, towing their past tribe. Then the two young men guessed why they were not hurt by the supernatural power of the spirits, because they had washed with urine.
[paragraph continues] Then the two young men sprinkled urine over their friends, and at once their bodies straightened out. This is the first time that a cure was made with urine, and so the ancestors of the Xô'yalas always washed with urine, and they have it now for making cures.
Then the ancestors of the Xô'yalas began to make a noise, for they were going to leave the village at Side-of-Tide. As soon as the tribe got ready, the houses on the island began to tremble, and Side-of-Tide began to move on the water; and it stopped on the water at Smooth-Water. As soon as Wealth-coming-up saw the island, he felt glad. Then it occurred to Wealth-coming-up that he was in the condition of having no wife. Therefore he invited his tribe in, and he told them what he desired them to do; and he told them that the one to whom he referred, whom he wanted for his wife, was the princess of Inviter, of the Magic tribe. Immediately his tribe said all at the same time that he should go on; for the tribe would be glad (to see) their chief marry the princess of Inviter.
Then he sent four attendants to woo the princess of Inviter of the Magic tribe. Immediately the wise men and the four attendants went out. The four attendants got ready and launched the large canoe. Then they went aboard. The ancestors of men had supernatural power, and (therefore) they arrived in one day at Yô'gwatê. Then one of the attendants asked (the girl) in marriage
from the chief; and what could the chief say against the words of the Ghosts? They were just sent by Inviter to get married quickly.
Then the four attendants went back, and they got back in one day from where they had gone to. Immediately they related the good words of Inviter, and immediately the Ghosts got ready to get married. Many of them launched their canoes and went aboard. They were all aboard, and Wealth-coming-up came also, standing on the ground outside of the house. Then he spoke; and the great one asked for the magic power of his tribe, that the people might not become contorted again when they should see them. Immediately his whole tribe agreed to what he had said, and those who were sitting in the canoes beat time. Then Wealth-coming-up spread out his blanket to catch the supernatural power of his tribe; and then he threw it into the ground, that it should become the supernatural power of his one younger brother. Then all the spirits became ordinary people.
After Wealth-coming-up finished his work, he went aboard his canoe, and the many people paddled away. It was not yet noon when they arrived at Yô'gwatê, the village of the Magic tribe. Immediately they began the marriage ceremony. Then, as soon as the four attendants stopped speaking, the attendants of the chief of the Magic tribe also began to speak; and he made a speech about the carvings of the large house, and also about the names; and as soon as he stopped speaking, the house came moving from the ground and floated on the water; and
the four, attendants of Inviter brought the princess. As soon as she went aboard the canoe of her great husband, the people of Wealth-coming-up tied a rope to the large house, and they came towing the large house.
It did not take them very long before they arrived at Cut-Beach, and right away the numerous tribe just lifted the large house by the corners, and they went and put it on the ground in the middle of the village site; for why should they not do it? It was all finished by evening. The great numerous tribe were always happy because their chief was now living with his wife, and Wealth-coming-up was always giving feasts.
They had been living for a long time at Cut-Beach. Then Wealth-coming-up did not know why he wished to walk inland from Cut-Beach. The great one started to go, and he had not gone far inland before he saw a double-headed serpent. Immediately he bit the end of his tongue and drew blood, and he spit the blood on the double-headed serpent; and he also spit the blood on his cane, and that was the instrument with which he struck the man in the middle 3 of the double-headed serpent between the eyes. Immediately the man in the middle of the double-headed serpent split in two. Then the double-headed serpent was dead. Wealth-coming-up took the intestines of the double-headed serpent and its scales, and he took the intestines of the double-headed serpent and put them under ground, at the foot of a hill. Then he took one end of it, and pulled it to the rear of the
village. As soon as the intestines stretched out from the ground, the great Wealth-coming-up spoke to the intestines, and said, "You shall be the water of future generations, and you shall never cease running, even in a dry summer." Thus he said. Then a little river began to run there. The quality of Wealth-coming-up of being not an ordinary man was really present again.
They staid there a long time. Then the tribe learned that Q!â'nêqê?laku was coming to set everything right all around our world. Immediately the great Wealth-coming-up spoke to his tribe. And this is what he said to his tribe: "As soon as Lord Q!â'nêqê?laku comes, I shall ask him to transform me into a rock, and I shall be an island in this water, so that I may be seen by later generations." Thus he said. Then one of his attendants also spoke, and said, "O great chief! I will also be transformed into a rock by Lord Q!â'nêqê?laku; but I will be under you, else you would remain on the rock in this water." Thus he said to him. As soon as he stopped speaking, they went out.
Then, after a long time, Q!â'nêqê?laku came. Immediately the great one was invited by Chief Wealth-coming-up. Then Lord Q!â'nêqê?laku went to his house, and Wealth-coming-up spoke to Q!â'nêqê?laku. He said to him, "O great Lord! I invite you that you may turn me into a rock, that I may stay in the water at this river, that I may be prayed to by later generations." Thus he said to him. Immediately the Lord called him to go to the
water, and immediately the great Wealth-coming-up went ahead of his attendant, and behind them went Q!â'nêqê?laku. Then Wealth-coming-up and his attendant acted in their own way a little upstream of the place where water is drawn. Then the attendant lay down on his face, and the great Wealth-coming-up sat on his back. As soon as he had sat down, he was transformed into a rock. Then the tribe of the past chief just prayed to Q!â'nêqê?laku, for they were really frightened by what they had seen being done to their chief. That is the end.
323:1 Compare, Publications of the Jesup North Pacific Expedition, Vol. III, p. 377.
333:3 The double-headed serpent is represented as a serpent's body, with a serpent's head at each end, and a man's head in the middle.