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p. 188


[Told by Moses]

There was a town. There was a chief and a chieftainess. They had a son. He was almost grown up. He had four friends, who were always near him. They were playing all the time. Once upon a time one of them went out of the house. He saw a little slave girl coming along the street. She entered the last house of the town. There she sat down near the fire. Then the wife of the owner rose, took the back of a salmon, and gave it to the little slave girl, but she did not accept it. The little slave girl rose and left the house. She

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entered another house, and again sat down near the fire. The wife of the owner rose and gave her the backs of salmon to eat, but she did not accept them. She left the house. She did so in every house.

The friend of the chief's son who had gone out re-entered and said to the prince, "A little slave girl is coming along the street." Then his friends spoke: "Why don't you marry her when she comes in here?" When she came near the chief's house, they took a mat and spread it in the rear of the house. The prince sat down on it. Then the little slave girl entered. Her head was very large. She was not at all clean. One of the prince's friends said, "Sit down over here." Then the little slave girl walked to the rear of the house and sat down by the side of the prince. His friends started a large fire. Her hands,

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her feet, and her whole body were covered with scabs. The prince's friends saw it. Then the chieftainess rose. She took some dry salmon, roasted it at the fire, and when it was done she broke it to pieces and put it into a dish, which she placed before the boy and the little slave girl. Then they ate. When the dish was empty, one of the friends stepped up to them, intending to take the dish. Then the little slave girl took one large scab from her body and put it into the dish. She said, "Place it in front of the chief." One of the men did so. The great chief looked at it. Behold, it was a large abalone shell. Then the chief was very glad.

The chieftainess took another dish, and she put into it crab apples mixed with grease. Another man placed it in front of the prince and

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the little slave girl. (In olden times the people used to call this "slave wife.") When they had eaten, she took off another scab, and, behold, there was a large abalone shell. That is what was on her body. She placed it in the dish, and then she said, "Place it before the chieftainess." A man did so. Then the chief and the chieftainess and the prince were very glad when they knew that she was not a slave, as the prince's friend had said.

Now they finished eating. In the evening a woman came to the house and pushed aside the door. She stood in the doorway and said, "Did not She-who-has-a-labret-on-one-side enter this house?" One of the prince's friends said, "Come in, come in! She has married the chief's son." The woman replied, "Indeed, my dear, then take good

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care of her." Thus said the woman who was standing in the doorway. She continued, "My people will come to visit the chief's son to give food to him. They will bring much food--boxes of grease, boxes of crab apples mixed with grease, boxes of cranberries, soapberries, and dried meat, and much fat."

It grew dark. Early the next morning there was a fog on the river. Then many canoes that were full of boxes approached. One canoe was full of boxes of crab apples, one was full of berries, another one full of soapberries, another one full of meat, still another one full of fat, and two canoes were full of elk skins, marten skins, and copper plates. They put them into the house of the chief,.

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which was entirely filled by the goods. Then the chief and the chieftainess were very glad.

Now the prince was a great chief. The name of She-who-has-a-labret-on-one-side's mother was Evening Sky. She was a supernatural being. Nobody could see her. Her people lived far away from all other people on the other side. They were not Indians; therefore, they had much wealth and much food. Now the prince invited the people in. Then they came, and his father's house was filled with them. Crab apples and grease were given them to eat, and various berries and meat and fat. When they finished eating, they brought out soapberries. After the feast, on the next day, the people were again invited in. Then the prince put into the middle of the

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house elk skins, copper plates, slaves, and canoes, which he was going to use in the potlatch. He distributed them among the people. After he had finished, the people went back and returned to their own towns. He did so for many days. He gave many potlatches. Then be came to be a great chief. Then he married again. He had two wives. (In former times they called this "one wife on each side.")

Then the prince started in his canoe to visit the town Chilkat. 1 The elks come from this place. The inlanders kill them. The prince intended to buy elk skins for copper plates and seal meat. Now he arrived at Chilkat. Then he bought elk skins, and he took another wife.

Now She-who-has-a-labret-on-one-side was left behind. The prince had a brother who was very awkward. The prince went to Chilkat

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very often. Then She-who-has-a-labret-on-one-side said to the awkward man, "You shall go to Chilkat too." The awkward man answered, "I have nothing to sell." Then She-who-has-a-labret-on-one-side said, "I will give you something that you may sell there. Take red paint along." Thus spoke She-who-has-a-labret-on-one-side to the awkward man. "You shall buy weasel skins for the little box full of red paint, but don't let your brother see it when you arrive there. When you arrive at Chilkat, walk about, and when you see the young women, then put your finger into the red paint and put it on their faces." He did so. When all the young men and the young women saw it, they were anxious to buy it, and they asked him, "Is it expensive?" And they asked the great awkward man, "What do

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you want in exchange?" He replied, "I want weasels." Then the men and the women brought weasel skins, and the awkward man bought them. He had a whole box full of weasel skins. Then he had sold all his red paint.

When the prince saw him, he made fun of his own brother. Then they returned, and arrived at their own town. In the evening She-who-has-a-labret-on-one-side questioned the awkward man, her brother-in-law, and he showed her what he had purchased. Early the next morning She-who-has-a-labret-on-one-side said to the awkward man, "Go to the place where the water runs down. I shall go to meet you there." She intended to leave her husband, because he did not take her along when he went to Chilkat. Therefore she was

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ashamed. She took the awkward man and washed him in order to purify him. Then she intended to marry him. She was going to leave the prince who had first married her. Then the awkward man went out, as She-who-has-a-labret-on-one-side had told him. He went to the place where the water was running down, and be stayed in the water for a long time. Then She-who-has-a-labret-on-one-side came. There were four deep water holes in the creek. She washed him in the first hole, then in the second one, in the third one, and in the fourth one. Then his skin was very clean, and he became a beautiful man. After be was purified, he married She-who-has-a-labret-on-one-side. Then her mother, the Evening Sky, came again,

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bringing many elks, copper plates, canoes, Slaves, and much food. Then the great awkward man invited all the tribes, intending to give a potlatch. Then he did so. Then the former husband of She- who-has-a-labret-on-one-side was ashamed because the awkward man was going to give a potlatch. He was no longer awkward, because he had been purified, because She-who-has-a-labret-on-one-side had washed him.

Now the tribes came. Then they ate all the food. The day after they finished eating, all the tribes went into his house. They put the elks, the copper plates, slaves, and canoes in the middle of the. house. Then the great awkward man, the husband of She-who-has-a-labret-on-one-side, came. He wore a blanket made of weasel skins

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set with abalone shells. He used a weasel hat. Then he entered and stood in front of the elk skins. Then they sang. After they had finished singing, they stopped, and he gave away abalone shells, copper plates, elks, slaves, and canoes. Then the tribes were glad, and the awkward man had become a great chief.


194:1 The narrator maintained that this was a place inland near the headwaters of the Nass river.

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