People came to a fort to live and began to kill bears, ground hogs, porcupines, mountain sheep, etc., with spears, and bows and arrows, laying the meat up in the fort. After they had killed some of these animals they would cut off their heads, set them up on sticks, and begin to sing for them.
There was a young man among them who had been put into a mountain-sheep's skin instead of a cradle as soon as he was born. When he grew older he was able to follow the mountain sheep to places where no one else could get, so he killed more than the others. He would also play and dance around the heads after they had been cut off and say, "I wish my head were cut off, too." Then people sang about it. Meanwhile the sheep were getting tired of losing so many of their number.
One day all the people went up to a mountain to hunt, and, finding a flock of sheep, began to chase them to a certain place where they could bunch all together. Suddenly this youth became separated from the other people, and on the very top of the mountain was met by a fine-looking man who shone all over and had a long white beard.
[paragraph continues] This man led him through a door into what he at first thought was a house, but it was really the inside of the mountain. All at once it looked very strange to him. Piles of horns lay about everywhere.
Meanwhile all of his friends had missed him and were hunting about, but had to go home without him. They thought he was gone forever. They hunted for him every day and found his horn spear stuck into the ground at. a certain place near the top of the mountain, but nothing more. After searching everywhere in vain they became discouraged and beat the drums for him.
Meanwhile the mountain sheep tried to fit a pair of horns on the young man's head. They heated these first in the fire, and tried to put them on, when it seemed to him as if the insides of his head were all coming out.
The people kept up their search for him, however, and about a year afterward a man climbed up on the same mountain to hunt sheep. Above him he saw a big flock, and he heard a noise as though some one were shouting or talking there. Then he went straight down, for he knew that it was the person who had been lost, and he knew that the mountain sheep had captured him. Pointing this mountain out to the people, he said to them, "It is he, for I know his voice." So all the people started up.
Now the sheep could see whenever the Indians set out to hunt for the person they had taken, and they said to him, "There come your friends. If you will tell them to throw away their weapons, we will let you go to them." So he said to his friends, "If you will lay down your hunting weapons, I will tell you what these mountain sheep say to me." Afterward he said, "They say that I am being punished because you are destroying them too much, and, when you have killed them, you take the heads and put them on sticks." Although he was among the mountain sheep he retained his own language. He said besides, "The mountain-sheep chief tells me to say to you that you must hang up the sheep skins with their heads toward the mountain and the rising sun and put eagle feathers upon them. They tell me to say, 'Do not put our heads on sticks. Grizzly-bears' heads are the only ones you should treat that way-not ours.'" One could not see or hear this man unless he were specially purified by bathing in urine. Afterward the sheep went right into the mountain with him to the place where they have their homes.
Now they tried in every way to recover him, and finally came out with dogs. Then the mountain sheep said to him, "You can go among your friends after a while, but now you may talk to them from the top of a little cliff." So his friends came up underneath this, and he talked down to them. By and by the sheep again changed their minds regarding him, and one day he said to his friends, "This is the last time I shall come to see you. If you are going to begin a war on
my account, try it in the fall. Then they always come down into the thick timber below the glacier, and you can come up there with dogs."
In the autumn, therefore, they prepared to kill the sheep. The people were told to put the sheep heads toward the rising sun and throw their skins about anywhere without drying, for they thought that this would make the mountain sheep let their friend go.
Then the mountain-sheep chief said to the man, "They are going to let you go now, because all of your fathers are suffering very much from not having their skins well dried."
The mountain sheep could easily see when all of his friends started out to fight for him, and they got him ready to send down to them. Then they said, "Now you will be allowed to start down to them." When they got down far enough the dogs which were coming up in front met the flock he was standing among. Then they took off his mountain-sheep skin and put it aside, leaving him in human form, and he chased all the dogs away from them.
He stood in the midst of the flock of sheep, and all the people stood below. Then he said to his friends, "Do not kill any more mountain sheep, for they will now let me go among you." So they broke all of the shafts of the spears they had used in fighting the mountain sheep and threw them away.
When he came down he smelt like the things that grow on the tops of cottonwood trees (dôxkwâ'nk!). They brought him into the house and he saw the mountain-sheep skins lying about there at random. Then he said, "They let me come among you again that I might have you dampen these, hang them up, and dry them thoroughly." After they had worked upon the skins for some time they put red paint upon them and eagle down. The man who had come down from among the sheep told his people to say this to, the skins while they were doing so: "We will put your skins in just the position in which they came off from the flesh."
In the morning all of the houses shook. Every piece of flesh that had come off of the mountain sheep was in its place in the skins, and, when the man who had come back to them opened the door, they came down from the drying racks and marched off. But they had been so long among the Indians that just before they reached the highest mountain where they belonged they lost their way and became scattered over all the mountains. Because the mountain sheep once saved (or captured) a man, they have beards and look in other respects like human beings.
After this the mountain sheep sent a spirit called Yîxâ' (A-very-young-man (or -yêk)) to the man who had been rescued, to be his strength (yêk). There was great rejoicing among his friends when this spirit began to manifest itself in him, and all commenced to
sing for him. At the command of this spirit he had them make him a pair of snowshoes with which his spirit could take him around the e, a shaman's mask, and bows and arrows.
Then they came with him to Fort-by-small-lake (Âk!u Nû), just west of Juneau, a and built a big house for him with inside rooms (t!âq!), corner and middle posts, the last mentioned being carved to represent the Great Dipper (YAktê'). At that time the shaman for four days and YAktê' (the constellation) appeared to him. So from that house the people were called YAktê'-hît-tan (Wain-House people).
The mountain-sheep tribe gave this man the name of SkôwadA'
l, and he was also called CAxtcâ'tc (Long-toothed-humpback). When his spirit was about to work in him, two porcupine bladders were blown up and hung in the house, and, when the spirit arrived, all stood up in the customary way. Then he put on his mask and his snowshoes, which were thrown down on the floor for him, and carried his bow and arrows in his hand. Although he could not see through this mask, he climbed up on the walls of the inside rooms and ran around there backward. While there he shot at a bladder and the arrow passed straight through it.
When the shaman's spirits left him he said, "You people are going to see a wonderful gift. It is coming to such and such a place." In the morning they went out with a dog and armed with spears, and before they got far away the dog began to bark at a bear. Then the animal ran under a log, and all climbed on top of the log prepared to spear it. The shaman had said, "Something is going to happen to one of you," and sure enough the first man that speared this bear fell down before it and was caught and killed. Then the others quickly speared the bear through and through and killed it.
Meanwhile a spirit came to the shaman, who had remained at home, saying, "Your friend has been killed by a bear." They brought the bear and the dead man's body down at once and laid the body before him in the middle of the house. Then the shaman took some of the red paint with which they had brought the mountain sheep to life and put it on the body after which he began running around it. The third time he did this the dead man sat up. The shaman always had such strength.
Some time afterward he again began testing his spirits, because they were going south to war, and, when they left him, he told his people that they would destroy an entire town.
When he was walking around in the woods a raven fell in front of him, and on getting back to the house he said to his clothes man, "I am in luck." He told some one. to return with him, and they found the raven still with life in it. Then he said to his friends, "I will set up
all these things." So he took sticks and set them all round the raven. "Before I cut it," he said, "I will let the wings flap over it. This will be (i. e., represent) your enemies. Before I cut it I will cause it to kill all of your enemies. The raven will have so much strength." When they tested him a the spirit said, "All people on sticks," meaning that it wanted all of their foes to fall on sticks and be destroyed when they fought. Then they prepared, saying, "We will start." The shaman said, "At the moment when we arrive a man is going to chop down a tree in front of us."
Toward morning they came close to the fort, all prepared for fighting. After they had surrounded it a man came out with a stone ax and climbed up a tree to chop off limbs. Then they shot him with arrows, unnoticed by the fort people, so that he fell down dead. But a little while afterward the fort people said, "Where is that man who climbed the tree a short time ago. He is not there now." At once they rushed together on both sides, and all those in the fort were destroyed just as the shaman had predicted. Then they returned to their own fort, which was also known as Eulachon-trap fort (Câ
Another time five women went around the island where they had their fort, after mussels, and came to a reef on the outer side. They left their canoe untied and it floated away. Then the tide began to come up. They stood up on the reef with their hands in the air, singing death songs for themselves, for they knew they were about to die. After that the reef was called Woman reef (Câ q!â't!agu), on account of the women who were destroyed there.
A year after this some people went across from the fort to a lake into which salmon run, and were surprised on encountering people. They thought it was some war party from very far south and beat a precipitate retreat to the fort. Then the people in the fort saw a big canoe all covered with abalone shell come out from this place and make straight toward them. When it had come close in, the chief questioned these strangers and learned that they were on a friendly visit from Yakutat. It took the strength of all the people to bring up this canoe. Then they made the fort chief a present of land-otter skins, marten skins, skins of all kinds. This was the custom in olden times, a slave being generally given back.
The chief at this place had a nephew named Yêtxâ' who was very fond of gambling. The fourth day that the visitors were in town the chief's nephew was away from home, and the fire went out. Then he acted as though he were crazy. He went down to the valuable canoe of the visitors, broke off the stern piece for firewood, and threw it indoors so that the abalone shells fell off of it.
Next morning, when the man that owned the canoe got up, he saw that his stern piece was missing, and that burnt abalone shells were
lying by the fire. He called to his companions, "Get up and let us be gone. Push the canoe down and load it quickly." He had a number of copper plates and other property which he had not yet unpacked, and, after he had gotten a little distance from the fort, he landed and took these out. Then he went right back in front of the fort to destroy them on account of the injury he had received. When these people came opposite they took out a copper plate, struck it on the edge of the canoe so as to make it sound and threw it into the sea. They threw away four. Then the fort chief also took four coppers, flung them on the wall of the fort and threw them into the ocean.
[I have explained to you before where this copper came from. It came from the Copper river. Probably this rich man came several times before the fort. Coppers were valued according to their height when they were first made, some at four slaves and some at six.] a
When the Yakutat man came before this fort again, his copper plates were all gone, and he began to use cedar bark. His people would tie a rock on each piece and throw it into the water. Mean while the fort chief put his canoe on the walls of the fort and began to put Indian beads, caribou skins, moose skins, and other articles into it. Since these L!enê'dî have the dog salmon for their emblem, the chief's sister began acting like one when it is shaking out its eggs. She pretended to be shaking out riches in the same way, and, while she did so, they threw the canoe over the edge of the fort, and all the good things spilled out. The man from Yakutat was foolish to try to contend with so wealthy a chief. His name (i. e., the Yakutat man's) was Kâ'yeswûsâ't. They chased him out with riches, and told him to come back again with more property. A song was com posed about this afterward to the effect that he was simply fooling the people with this yellow cedar bark which was not real property at all. (See song 43.)
In the same fort a woman gave birth to a boy, who exclaimed as soon as he was born, "How many things there will be for all the people who are holding my mother." In olden times certain women used to hold a woman who was about to give birth, and they were paid for this service. The child grew very fast. He was going to be the greatest liar among his people. After he was grown up and had a family of his own, his mother died, and he started for Chilkat to invite people to the death feast. This was before the Russians came.
He said to his children, "Pull away. Pull fast." He had started off without any of the property he had intended to take, but on his way Indian rice hailed into his canoe, and a large box of grease floated down to him. When he got close to the mouth of Chilkat river he came in front of a waterfall. He tasted the water of this and found it very sweet. Then he took all of his buckets and filled them with
it so that they might put this water on the rice when they ate it. As he was bound for Klukwan, the village farthest up the river, he said to his children, "Blow on the sail." They did so and passed right up to Klukwan. Then he stood up in his canoe and began to talk. They took all of his stuff up, and in the evening the drums were beaten as a sign that he was going to give out property.
He began to cry in the customary manner as he beat the drums. Then he took a piece of bark and put it in front of his eyes, upon which the tears ran down it in a stream. Afterward he gave out two copper plates and invited the people to eat what he had brought. Then the people danced for him in return, and a man came in with something very shiny on top of his head. a
That is all he told when he returned.
61:a Or on the side toward Sitka.
62:a That is, when the people allowed him to perform before them.
63:a An "aside" by the story-teller.
64:a This last was said to be "the way the story went," but otherwise was unexplained.