[Told by Chief Mountain]
A long time ago the people of Lax-q?al-tsa'p and those of G*itwunksi'Lk were starving. There were two sisters living in these towns. When the provisions were almost exhausted, the sister living in Lax-q?al-tsa'p thought that she would try to reach her sister who lived in G*itwunksi'Lk. She started and went up the valley. After some time she saw a woman approaching. When she came near, she recognized her sister. She knew at once that the people of G*itwunksi'Lk were starving also. The sisters met and sat down and cried. Since that time this place has been called Hwîl-lē-nE-hwa'da (Where-they-met each-other). The sister who had gone up the river had only a few haw berries, and the other had only a small piece of spawn about as long as her finger. They divided and ate.
In the evening they made a small hut of branches and lighted a fire. The sister who had come from G*itwunksi'Lk had a daughter whom she had taken along. They lay down to sleep,- About midnight all of a sudden a man appeared and lay down next the younger sister, who was unmarried. He asked her, "Is it true that all your friends are starving?" She said, "There were no provisions in our village, and I went to see my sister." The man continued, "Stay here. I will make a fish weir for you." His name was Hō'uX (Good-luck). He was a supernatural being. Early in the morning he rose and made a
weir of small sticks and twigs,, and soon it was full of trout. He took them out of the weir and the women roasted them. Then he went hunting, and in the afternoon he came back, bringing five porcupines. Then the sisters were glad. On the following day he went hunting again, and brought back a mountain goat. The sisters had made a basket of spruce roots in which they boiled the meat. On the next day he went hunting again and caught a large bear, the fat of which was about as thick as a man's hand is wide. On the fourth day he returned early in the morning, bringing a bighorn sheep. He told the sisters that he had killed ten sheep, and asked them to carry the meat home. The house was now full of meat and fish, because the trap was full every morning.
Soon the woman was with child, and she gave birth to a boy. When the boy was able to walk, his father made snowshoes for him and sent him up the mountains to look for bears. The boy came back in the evening, but he had not killed anything. His father asked him, "Did you not see a bear?" The boy had not seen any. Then his father demanded to see his snowshoes. He examined them and found that he had made a mistake in making them. He made a new pair and sent the boy off again. Soon he returned, bringing a piece of bear meat. He told his father that a bear which be had killed was lying on the mountains. Then his father put on his snowshoes and brought the bear home. On the following day the father went out hunting. Soon he returned, bringing two mountain goats, and told his son that there was a flock of goats on the other side of the mountains. The father sent him after them. Then his mother said, "Now we have a name for our son. We will call him Asi-hwî'l. That means Going-across-the-mountains."
Before the boy left, the father made a new pair of snowshoes for him, and said to him, "With these snowshoes you can climb mountains, however steep they may be. Whenever you come to a difficult place, put on these snowshoes." Then he took a bag made of cedar bark from under his arm. He opened it and took out two tiny dogs, one of which was spotted, the other one red. He put them on the snow and struck them, saying at the same time, "Red, red, red," to one, and, "Spotted, spotted, spotted," to the other. At once they became large dogs. Then he struck them again, and they became small again. He told the boy to take the dogs out of the bag whenever he should see any goats, to make them large, and to command the one to go up the mountains on the right-hand side, and the other to go up on the left-hand side. Then they would run up, barking, and frighten the goats so that they would fall down. Furthermore, he cut a pole for his son, with a goat horn attached to one end, which he was to use in climbing the mountains. He said, "If you strike the rock with the horn,
there will be a hole." The other end of the pole was provided with a sharp black bone point. The boy, after having received these gifts, left his parents.
Once upon a time the young man fell in with a powerful man whose name was Wud?aX-mExmä'Ex (Large-ears). This man asked him, "What weapons do you use for killing game?" The boy replied, "I do not use any weapon. I run after them, and they fall down. What kind of weapon do you use for killing game?" "I do not use any weapon. I have supernatural powers." Asi-hwî'l was desirous to know how Large-ears killed his game. They went a short distance together, and came to a place where there were many goats. The youth said, "Let me see how you kill goats." Large-ears took a pair of long mittens from under his blanket. He put them on and clapped his hands. At once all the goats fell down the steep sides of the mountains. They went to another mountain where they saw a number of goats. Then Large-ears said, "Now, let me see how you kill mountain goats." Asi-hwî'l pulled his bag from under his blanket, took the dogs out, and said, "Red, red, red! Spotted, spotted, spotted!" Then the dogs grew large--one went to the right, and the other to the left--and they began to bark. The goats fell down at once. Then Asi-hwî'l put on his snowshoes, and walked right up a vertical cliff. When Large-ears saw this, he was surprised. They parted, and each went home. When Asi-hwî'l came to his father, he told him what had happened, and his father praised him.
After some time Hō'uX said to his wife and to her sister, "Your brothers are coming to look for you. Therefore I must hide in the woods." A short time after he had left, the brothers came. When they saw the house full of meat, they were surprised. Then the women gave them to eat. On the following morning the brothers left, carrying along some meat which the sisters had given them. As soon as they left, Hō'uX returned. The sisters told him that their brothers had asked them to return home. Then Hō'uX said, "Let us part. You may return to your home; I will return to mine." On the following morning many people came to fetch the women and the boy. They took them to G*itxadē'n. The boy's uncles gave a feast, and his mother told them the boy's name, Asi-hwî'l. The people bought meat of them, and paid for it with elk skins, which Asi-hwî'l used in giving a potlatch.
A supernatural being who lives in heaven saw that Asi-hwî'l was a great hunter. He covered one of his slaves with ashes, so that he looked like a white bear, and sent him to Nass river. The hunters set out to kill the bear, but they were unable to reach it. When the bear came to G*itxadē'n, Asi-hwî'l put on his snowshoes, took his bag and his pole and pursued it. The bear reached Leading point. There a
vertical cliff rises, and the tracks of Asi-hwî'l's snowshoes where he climbed the cliff are still visible. Beyond the cliff he saw the bear entering a large house. He stayed at the door and heard the people singing:
[paragraph continues] That is, "Asi-hwî'l is picking the bones of my neck." Asi-hwî'l was unable to enter, and returned. He had lost the bear.
He went to the country of the Tsimshian, and married a girl of that tribe. The girl's brothers were sealion hunters. Once upon a time, during winter, gales were raging, and the brothers were unable to kill any sealions. One day Asi-hwî'l accompanied them. When they came to the sealions' rock, they found that there was a high swell, and they were unable to land. But Asi-hwî'l put on his snowshoes, took his staff, and jumped ashore. Then he ran up the rock and killed all the sealions. The brothers became jealous of him, and deserted him. When Asi-hwî'l had killed all the sealions and made ready to jump back into the canoe, he saw that the brothers had left. The tide began to rise. When it had almost covered the rock, he put his staff into a fissure and sat down on top of it. When the flood tide rose still higher, he tied his bow to the end of his staff and climbed on top of the bow. There he sat, and whistled the call which his father had taught him:
Then the tide ceased to rise, and soon the water began to fall. The rock became dry again. Then he lay down to sleep. While he was sleeping, somebody nudged him and whispered, "Grandmother invites you in." He looked. down, but be did not see anyone. He pulled his blanket over his head and tore a hole in it with his teeth. Then he peeped through the hole. After a little while he saw a mouse
coming out of a place where a bunch of grass was growing. She whispered in his ear, "Grandmother invites you in." Then he pulled off his blanket, and saw the mouse disappearing under the bunch of grass. He pulled it out, and saw a house underneath. The mouse had taken the shape of a woman, and spoke to him, "Enter, if you are Asi-hwî'l, who has been deserted here." He entered, and the woman gave him to eat. The old woman who had invited him in said, "You know that this rock is the house of the sealions. Their chief is very sick. The shamans are unable to cure him. Please try if you can heal him." He promised to do so, and she led him to the chief, who was sick in bed. Asi-hwî'l saw a bone harpoon in his side. He sat down. Then the mouse said to the chief, "He will heal you if you will give him this canoe in payment." So saying, she pointed to the largest canoe. It was made of the intestines of sealions. The chief gave it to him. Then he stepped up to him, and, taking hold of the harpoon, pushed it first slightly into the flesh and then he pulled it out. The chief opened his eyes, and said at once that he felt better. Then they moistened the intestines, placed him inside, tied them up, and put them into the sea. Then they invoked the west wind, which drifted the intestines to the mainland. In the evening he heard the surf, and felt that the sealion's intestines were being knocked about on the beach. Then he opened them, and went out.
He resolved to take revenge. Therefore he carved two killer-whales out of red cedar. He put them into the water. They swam a short distance, but then they became logs, turned over, and drifted about. He called them back, and carved two new ones of yellow cedar. They swam a little longer than the first ones, but then they also became logs, turned over, and drifted about. He called them back and burnt them. Then he carved two new ones of yew wood. They became real killer-whales, who swam, blowing and snorting. They did not turn into wood again. Then he called them back and said to them, "The men who have deserted me will go out sealion hunting to-morrow. As soon as they go out I shall put you into the water. Go and break their canoes." On the following morning, when he saw his enemies coming, he put the whales into the water, and they broke the canoes. Asi-hwî'l went back to his wife and stayed with her.