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There was a large town in the Yakutat country not very far back of which lay a big lake very full of frogs. In the middle of the lake was a swampy patch on which many frogs used to sit.

One day the town-chief's daughter talked badly to the frogs. She took one up and made fun of it, saying, "There are so many of these creatures, I wonder if they do things like human beings. I wonder if men and women cohabit among them."

When she went out of doors that night, a young man came to her and said, "May I marry you?" She had rejected very many men, but she wanted to marry this one right away. Pointing toward the lake he said, "My father's house is right up here," and the girl replied, "How fine it looks!" When they went up to it, it seemed as though a door was opened for them, but in reality the edge of the lake had been raised. They walked under. So many young people were there that she did not think of home again.

Meanwhile her friends missed her and hunted for her everywhere. Finally they gave her up, and her father had the drums beaten for a death feast. They cut their hair and blackened their faces.

Next spring a man who was about to. go hunting came to the lake to bathe himself with urine. When he was done, he threw the urine among a number of frogs sitting there and they jumped into the water. When he was bathing next day he saw all the frogs sitting together in the middle of the lake with the missing woman among them. He dressed as quickly as possible, ran home to the girl's father, and said, "I saw your daughter sitting in the middle of the pond in company with a lot of frogs." So her father and mother went up that evening with a number of other people, saw, and recognized her.

p. 54

After that they took all kinds of things to make the frog tribe feel good so that they would let the woman return to her parents, but in vain. By and by her father determined upon a plan and called all of his friends together. Then he told them to dig trenches out from the lake in order to drain it. From the lake the frog chief could see how the people had determined, and he told his tribe all about it. The frog people call the mud around a lake their laid-up food.

After the people had worked away for some time, the trench was completed and the lake began draining away fast. The frogs asked the woman to tell her people to have pity on them and not destroy all, but the people killed none because they wanted only the girl. Then the water flowed out, carrying numbers of frogs which scattered in every direction. All the frog tribe then talked poorly about themselves, and the frog chief, who had talked of letting her go before, now had her dressed up and their own odor, which they called "sweet perfumery," was put upon her. After a while she came down the trench half out of water with her frog husband beside her. They pulled her out and let the frog go.

When anyone spoke to this woman, she made a popping noise "Hu," such as a frog makes, but after some time she came to her senses. She explained, "It was the Kîkca' (i. e., KîksA'dî women) that floated down with me," meaning that all the frog women and men had drifted away. The woman could not eat at all, though they tried everything. After a while they hung her over a pole, and the black mud she had eaten when she was among the frogs came out of her, but, as soon as it was all out, she died. Because this woman was taken away by the frog tribe at that place, the frogs there can understand human beings very well when they talk to them. It was a KîksA'dî woman who was taken off by the frogs, and so those people can almost understand them. They also have songs from the frogs, frog personal names, and the frog emblem. All the people know about them.


53:a See story 76. This myth is more often localized at Wrangell, and the woman's name is said to have been Qaltsî'xk!î.

Next: 23. How the Frogs Honored the Dead