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19. KÂTS! a

Kâts! belonged to the Kâ'gwAntân and lived at Sitka. One day he went hunting with dogs, and, while his dogs ran on after a male bear, this bear's wife took him into her den, concealed him from her husband, and married him. He had several children by her. Indoors the bears take off their skin coats and are just like human beings.

By and by he wanted to go back to his people, but before he started she told him not to smile at or touch his Indian wife or take up either of his children. After his return, he would go out for seal, sea lions, and other animals which he carried up into an inlet where his bear wife was awaiting him. Then the cubs would come down, pull the canoe ashore violently, take out the game and throw it from one to another up to their mother. On account of the roughness of these cubs it came to be a saying in Sitka, "If you think you are brave, be steersman for Kâts!."

One day Kats! pitied one of his children and took it up. The next time he went up the inlet, however, the cubs seized him and threw him from one to another up to their mother, and so killed him. Then they scattered all over the world and are said to have been killed in various places.

What is thought to have been the last of these was killed at White Stone Narrows. When some people were encamped there a girl spoke angrily about Kâts!'s child, and it came upon them, killing all except a few who escaped in their canoes, and this woman, whom it carried off alive, making her groan with pain. One man tried to kill it but did not cut farther than its hair. Finally all the Indians together killed it with their spears and knives. b


49:a See story 69; also Boas, Indianische Sagen von der Nord-Pacifischen Küste Amerikas, p. 328

49:b Because a human being married among the grizzly bears, people will not eat grizzly-bear meat.

Next: 20. The Unsuccessful Hunters