There was a long town from which all the people used to go out fishing for halibut and other large fish every day. In those times, before bone was used, they made hooks of two pieces of spruce from young trees, sharpened the point and hardened it in the fire. For lines they dried slender kelp stems.
A very poor man living at one end of the town fished among the others, but did not catch anything. While they were having a good time fishing he remained perfectly quiet, and they kept laughing at him. One day, when he pulled at his line, it acted as if it were fast to something. He thought it had caught upon a rock and pulled it about in the endeavor to free it. All at once it began to come slowly up, and, although every one laughed at him, he held on.
After he had brought it close to the canoe, he looked down and saw that it was a great live abalone caught in the flesh. Its color shone out of the water. As it ascended it was so big that all the canoes seemed to come inside of it, and it shone in every one's face. Then some people who wanted to take this valuable thing away from him, said, "Cut the line. It is a great thing that you have caught. You better let it go." After a while he became tired of the people's talk, so he cut his line. Then it began to go down very slowly, shining all over.
Then others came to him and said, "You did not do the right thing. It is a very valuable thing you let go." He said, "Has it sunk?" So nowadays, when a person has lost a valuable thing, they say to him, "Is it an abalone that has sunk?" (Dê'ca gu'nxa ak we wut!a'q!) Whenever he thought about this he cried at the riches he had let go.
Another time they went out fishing, and he was with them. He had a sponge in his hand, and taking a piece of flesh out of his nose inside so as to make it bleed, he filled the sponge with blood and let it down into the ocean. When he began to pull up his hook, it was again fast. He pulled it up slowly, for it was very heavy. It was another valuable thing, the nest of a fish called îcqê'n. Then he filled his canoe with these fishes, called the other canoes to him and filled them. After that he stood up in his canoe and said, "The abalone has not been drowned from me yet. I still have it." He
distributed these fishes all over the town and began to get rich from the property he received. People gave him all kinds of skins--moose, caribou, fox, etc. He had great stores of riches from having caught the abalone and the nest of fishes.