A certain man had a felon (kwêq) on his finger and suffered terribly, so that he could get no sleep. He did not know what to do for it. One day somebody said to him, "Hold it under the smoke hole of the house and get some one to poke it with something very sharp through the smoke hole. You will find that it will get well." He did so, and the two eyes of the felon came right out. Then he wrapped them up and put them away. Late in the evening he looked at it and saw a little man there about an inch long. It was the disease from his finger. He took very good care of this little man and he grew rapidly, soon becoming large enough to run about. He called the little man Little Felon (Kwêqk!u).
Little Felon was a very industrious little fellow, always at work, and he knew how to carve, make canoes, paint, and do other similar things. When he was working his master could not keep from working himself. He simply had to work. They thought it was because he had come from the hand. Little Felon was also a good shot with bow and arrows, and lie was a very fast runner, running races with all the different animals. Finally he started to run a race with the heron, and everybody said the heron would prove too much for him. They raced all the way round Prince of Wales island, and, when they were through, Little Felon said to the heron, "I have been way back among the mountains of this island, and there are thirty-three lakes." The heron answered, "I have been all along the creeks, and there are fifty creeks."
By and by a youth said to Little Felon, "There is a girl living with a certain old woman. She is a very pretty girl and wants to marry, but she hasn't seen anybody she likes. Her grandmother has the dried skin of an animal and she has been making all the young fellows guess the name of it. Those that guess wrong are put to death. You ought to try for her." But Little Felon said to the boy, "I don't care to marry, and I don't want to guess, because I know. You tell her that it is the skin of a louse. It was crawling upon the woman, and she put it into a box and fed it until it grew large. Then she killed and skinned it. You will get her if you tell her. But be careful. That old woman knows a lot about medicines. When you are going toward her, go with the wind. Don't let the wind come from her. Don't go toward her when the south wind is blowing.
toward her when the north wind is blowing. Nobody goes directly to her. People talk to her from quite a distance. A person goes to her house only to be put to death. Those persons who guess stand a great way off to do it. When they don't guess right they go to that house and are put to death. She has a large square dish in which she cooks their bodies."
After that the boy went toward the old woman's camp and remained at some distance from her for a very long time, for the south wind was blowing continually. She seemed to know that he was there, and said to her granddaughter, "There is a fellow coming who has been around here for a very long time. He is the one who is going to marry you." The little man had said to the youth he was helping, "Don't tell about me. That old woman has all kinds of dangerous things with which to kill people."
As soon as the north wind began to blow, Little Felon told him to go on, so he approached the old woman unnoticed and stood looking at her for a long time. Finally she looked up, saw him, and said, "Oh! my grandson, from how far away have you come?" He told her, and she invited him in to have something to eat. She gave him all kinds of food. Then, when they were through, she showed him the skin and said, "What kind of skin is this?" He answered, "That is a louse skin, grandma." She looked at him then for some time without speaking. Finally she said, "Where are you wise from, from your father?" "Oh!" he said, "from all around." Then she said "All right, you can marry my granddaughter. But do you see that place over there? A very large devilfish lives there. I want you to kill it."
The youth went back to Little Felon and told him what she had said. "Oh!" he answered, "there is a monster there. That is the way she gets rid of boys, is it?" So Little Felon made a hook, went to the place where the devilfish lived, made it small, and pulled it right out. He put the stick over his companion's shoulder and said to him, "Carry it this way." The youth did so and, coming to the old woman's house, he said, "Is this the devilfish you were talking about?" He threw it down, and it grew until it became a monster again that filled the entire house. The old woman felt very badly, and said, "Take it out of this house and lay it down outside." He did so, and the moment he picked it up it grew small again.
Then the old woman said, "Do you see that cliff that goes right down into the water? A monster rat lives there. If you kill it, you shall have my granddaughter." The youth went away again and told Little Felon about it, who said, "I told you so. I knew that she would give you a lot of things to do." So they got their bows and arrows ready, went to the hole of the monster, and looked in. It was asleep. They began shooting it. They blinded it first by
shooting into its eyes and then they shot it through the heart. They ran in to it to shoot, but, as soon as they had wounded it fatally, they rushed out again, and it followed them. It ran right into the ocean, and they could hear it splashing the water about it with its tail. It sounded like thunder. Finally the rat died and drifted ashore.
Then Little Felon told the young man to take it up and carry it to the old woman, and, as soon as he had grasped it, it was very small and light. He carried it in to her and said, "Is this the rat you were talking about?" Then he threw it down, and it filled the house. So she said, "Take it up and put it outside."
Now the old woman spoke again. "Way out there in the middle of the ocean is a sculpin. Go out and fish for it, and you shall get my granddaughter." So he and Little Felon went out there and caught the sculpin, which Little Felon made very small. He threw it into the bottom of the canoe and left it there. When they reached land the youth took it up to the old woman and threw it down inside. Lo! it was an awful monster with great spines.
Now the old woman did not know what to do. She thought, "What kind of boy is this?" Then she said, "Do you see that point? A very large crab lives out there. Go and kill it." When they got out there they saw the crab floating about on its back. It looked very dangerous. Little Felon, however, told the crab to get small, and it did so. He killed it, put it into the canoe, and carried it to the old woman, who exclaimed, "Oh! he has killed everything that belongs to me."
Then the old woman said, "Go far out to sea beyond the place where you got that sculpin. I dropped my bracelet overboard there. Go and get it." So he and Little Felon set out. But first they dug a quantity of clams and removed the shells. They took these out to that place and threw them around in the water, when all kinds of fish began to come up. Then Little Felon saw a dogfish coming up and said to it, "A bracelet was lost over there. Go and get it for me." He did so, and the youth took it to the old woman.
Then the old woman was very much surprised and said, "Well! that is the last." So she said to her granddaughter, "Come out. Here is your husband. You must have respect for him always." So he married her. After that he went over to Little Felon and asked how much he owed him. "You don't owe me anything," said Little Felon. "You remember that at the time I was suffering so badly you pricked me through the smoke hole." And the youth answered, "Oh! yes, this is the fellow." Little Felon (Kwêqk!u) is a slender fish that swims close to the beach.
After that the young man and his wife always traveled about together, for he thought a, great deal of her. By and by, however, they had a quarrel and he was cruel to her. So she went away and sat
down on a point, after which she disappeared and he did not know what had happened to her. He went out on the point and hunted everywhere. He is a lonely beach snipe, called ayAhîyiya', which is often seen hunting about on the points to-day, and when they see him the Tlingit say, "There he is looking for his wife."