A KîksA'dî youth lived with his father in a long town. When he was well grown, he went about in the woods hunting with bow and arrows. One time he came close to a lake and heard the voices of girls. When he got nearer he saw two girls bathing there. Then he skirted the shore toward them, and, when he was very close, discovered two coats just back of the place where they were. These were really the girls' skins. He took them up, and they began talking to him, saying, "Give us those skins." But he said, "I want to marry both of you." So he married both of them and took them to his father's house.
Both of this man's wives used to look over his hair to pick out the lice. When spring was coming on and the brants were coming from the south, the girls sat on top of the house with him and kept saying, "There comes my uncle's canoe. There comes my father's canoe." They were beginning to get homesick, and they asked their husband if he would let them go home. When the brants began coming, one would say, "Those are my friends coming up. I am going to ask them to give me something to eat." So, when they were above the house, she said, "Give me something to eat," and down came green herbs one after another.
When it was time for the brants to start back south, both of the girls had become tired. They wanted to go home. They knew when it was time for their father's canoe to pass over, and just before it was due they told their husband to go up into the woods after something.
When he came down, his wives were gone. He said to his father, "Do you know where they went?" but he answered, "No."
Then the young man said, "I will start down on foot to the place whither I think they have gone." So he set out, and after he had gone on for some time, he heard people making a noise. It was the brant tribe in camp. On this journey he took a bag full of arrows with mussel-shell points, and bows. For this reason, when he came back of the place where they were, and they caught sight of him, they were afraid and flew away. Then he went down to the place where they had been sitting and found all kinds of green herbs such as brants live on.
After this the girls said to their father, "Let us camp a little way off. He has been with us for some time, and we have gotten his heat. Therefore let us camp near by so that he can come to us and be taken along." But their father answered, "When he comes behind us again and camps, say to him, 'Our fathers a do not like to see your bows and arrows. Get rid of them.'" They came to him and repeated these words, but he said, "I do not take them in order to do harm to your fathers but to get game for myself. I wish you would tell them that I want to go along, too." So they told him to come down, and, when he did so, his father-in-law said, "Bring out the best coat. I want to put it on my son-in-law."
After that his wives said to him, "We are going to start along with you. When we set out do not think about going back and do not look down." Then they put a woven mat over him and started. After they had gone on for some distance the man wanted to urinate and dropped down from among them on the smooth grass. The brants did not want to leave him, and they followed. It was quite close to their real camping place. The brant tribe was so large that he felt as if he were in his own father's house. They would play all the evening, and he felt very happy among them.
When they arrived at their real home, this man took off his bag of bows and arrows and hid it back in the woods so that they could not see it. In the same town were fowls of all kinds--brants, swans, herons, etc.--and by and by war arose over a woman, between the brant tribe and the heron tribe. They went outside and started to fight. The swan tribe was between, trying to make peace. When they came out to fight for the second time, the brant tribe was pretty well destroyed by the heron people's long, pick-like bills. It was from the herons that the Indians learned how to make picks. This is also the reason why the L!ûk!nAxA'dî use the swan as their crest, for they are very slow, and the KîksA'dî use the brant as their emblem because they are very lively.
Then the brant chief said to his son-in-law, "Your wives' friends are almost destroyed. Could you do anything with your bows and arrows to help them?" You could not see whether these were brants or people. They looked just like people to him. When he ran among them to help his wives' friends, he killed numbers at each shot and made them flee away from him. The heron tribe was so scared that they sent out word they would make peace. So messengers were sent back and forth, and the heron chief was taken up among the brants while the brant chief was taken up among the herons. a They renamed the heron with his own name and the brant with his own name. In making peace they had a great deal of sport and all sorts of dances. From that time on the heron has known how to dance, and one always sees him dancing by the creeks. Then the birds began to lay up herbs and all kinds of things that grow along the beach, for their journey north.
Meanwhile the man's people had already given a feast for him, and he never returned to his father. He became as one of the brants. That is why in olden times, when brants were flying along, the people would ask them for food.
55:b See story 54.
56:a Meaning their father and his brothers.