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A porcupine and a beaver were once very close friends. b They traveled about everywhere and reported to each other all that happened. The bear is very much afraid of the porcupine, but he hates the beaver. Wherever the beaver has a dam the bear breaks it up so as to let the water down, catches the beaver and eats him. But he is afraid of the porcupine's sharp quills, so the porcupine sometimes stayed in the beaver's house, which is always dry inside.

When the lake began falling, they knew it was caused by the bear, and the porcupine would go out to reconnoiter. Then he would come back and say to his friend, "Do not go out. I will go out first." Then the bear would be afraid of the porcupine's sharp quills and go away, after which all the beavers began repairing their dam while the porcupine acted as guard.

By and by the porcupine said to the beaver, "I am hungry. I want to go to my own place." Porcupine got his food from the bark and sap of trees, so he told the beaver to go up a tree with him, but the beaver could not climb. Then the porcupine told him to stay below while he went up to eat. Soon they saw the bear coming, and the beaver said, "Partner (xô'ne), what shall I do? The bear is getting near." Then the porcupine slid down quickly and said, "Lay your head close to my back." In that way he got the beaver to the top of the tree. But, after a while, the porcupine left him, and the beaver did not know how to climb down. He began to beg the porcupine in every way to let him down, but in vain. After quite a while, however, the squirrel, another friend of the beaver,

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came to him and helped him down, while the porcupine was off in a hole in the rocks with a number of other porcupines.

By and by the porcupine went back and saw his friend swimming in the lake. The beaver asked him down to the lake and then said, "Partner, let us go out to the middle of the lake. Just put your head on the back of my head and you will not get wet at all." Because these two friends fell out, people now become friends, and, after they have loved each other for a while, fall out. Then the porcupine did as he was directed, the beaver told him to hold on tight, and they started. The beaver would flap his tail on the water and dive down for some distance, come to the surface, flap his tail, and go down again; and he repeated the performance until he came to an island in the center of the lake. Then he put the porcupine ashore and went flapping away from him in the same manner.

Now the little porcupine wandered around the whole island, not knowing how to get off. He climbed a tree, came down again, and climbed another, and so on. But the wolverine lived on the mainland near by, so after a while he began to sing for the wolverine (nûsk)"Nû-u-sguê-e', Nû-u-sguê-e', Nû-u-sguê-e''." He called all the animals on the mainland, but he called the wolverine especially, because he wanted the north wind to blow so that it would freeze. a

Then the wolverine called out, "What is the matter with you?" So he at last sang a song about himself, saying that he wanted to go home badly. After he had sung this the whole sea froze over, and the porcupine ran across it to his home. This is why they were going to be friends no longer.

Then the porcupine made friends with the ground hog and they stayed up between the mountains where they could see people whenever they started up hunting. One day a man started out, and when they saw him, the porcupine began singing, "Up to the land of ground hog. Up to the land of ground hog." The man heard him. That is why people know that the porcupine sings about the ground hog.

After this the man began trapping ground hogs for food and caught a small ground hog. He took it home and skinned it. Then he took off the head and heated some stones in order to cook it. When he was just about to put it into the steaming box the head sang plainly, "Poor little head, my poor little head, how am I going to fill him?" The man was frightened, and, instead of eating, he went to his traps in the morning, took them up (lit. "threw them off") and came home.

Next morning he reported everything to his friends, saying, "I killed a ground hog, skinned it and started to cook the head. Then it said to me, 'Poor little head.'" After that he went out to see his

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bear traps. While he was endeavoring to tighten the release of one of these, the dead fall came down and struck him in the neck, making his head fly off. When he had been absent for two days they searched for him and found him in his own trap. This was what the ground hog had predicted when it said, "My poor little head.'" They took his body down to the beach, beat the drums for him, and had a feast on the ground hogs and other animals he had trapped.


43:a See story 63.

43:b WutcyAqâ'wu, signifying friendship between people regardless of relationship.

44:a See Twenty-sixth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, p. 453.

Next: 16. The Poor Man Who Caught Wonderful Things