There was a certain town in which many people were dying of sickness, but those who felt well used to play shinney on the beach every day. Then something came down through the air and one of them seized it and was dragged up from the ground. Another person grasped his feet, endeavoring to pull him back, but he, too, was carried up and another and another until there were ten. All of these were taken up out of sight.
The next day the same thing came down a second time, and ten more were carried off. This happened every day until all the men
in the town were gone. Next it came to a woman, and all the women were carried away in the same manner except two.
These two women now walked along the beach calling for help. They did not know whither their friends had gone. And every day they went up into the forest after roots.
One day, after they had gone up into the woods, one of these women began swallowing root-juice, and it formed a child in her. This was born and proved to be a boy. After he had grown a little larger, his mother named him Root-stump (XAt-cûgû'Lk!î). This is what helped her. All the men who used to chop canoes away from town had also disappeared.
The child grew very rapidly and repeatedly asked his mother, "Where have all my friends gone?" She said to him, "We do not know. They kept going up into the air." When he was a little larger he began to test himself. He would go up to a tree, seize a limb, and. try to stretch himself. Then roots would run out from him in every direction because his mother had named him to have that sort of strength. a
His mother said to him, "Look out when you go down on the beach to play, because those who do so go up into the air and you will also go up. So look out." Then he ran down to the beach and began playing. All at once the thing came down. He seized it, and immediately roots grew out from him into the ground in every direction. So he pulled down the thing that was killing his people, and it broke into small pieces.
There was another being in the woods who always chopped and made noises to entice people to him in order to kill them. He was in the habit of killing people by asking them to get into his canoe, when he knocked out a thwart so that it closed in upon them. He was the one who had killed the canoe-makers. Root-stump once found this man engaged in making a canoe, and the man asked him to jump inside. Root-stump knew what he was about, however, and jumped out too quickly. Then Root-stump was so angry that he seized the canoe-maker and beat his brains out. He broke up the canoe and piled it on top of him.
This boy grew up into a very fine man. He brought in all kinds of things for his mother. If he were hunting mountain sheep and came to a chasm or other similar place, he would cross it by sticking his roots into the ground on the other side.
This is why they say even at the present time to a woman who works with roots, "Do not swallow the sap. You might have a baby from it."
41:b See story 49.
42:a The exact words of the story-teller.