One winter the people at a certain place on Copper river were left with nothing to eat and began dying off. About the middle of that winter all of the children and some of the adults were dead, and only about half of the former population remained. When only eight men were left they said to one another, "Let us leave. Let us walk down this side of the river." So they started off down the bank, and, after a long time, one of them died of cold. They buried a him and went on. By and by another froze to death and was also buried. This kept on until there were only four. One day three of the remainder succumbed in succession, the last at evening, leaving but one man from all that village. This man was very sickly looking, but he felt strong, and when his last companion fell, he left him lying there and went on rapidly. He thought he would drop with grief, however, at the loss of his last comrade.
As he was going on quite late in the evening he suddenly heard some one shout right ahead of him. He followed the voice, which kept on calling continually. Finally he came to a great fire and stood near it to warm himself. It was that that had been calling him.
When the man had become thoroughly warmed he was about to start on again. Suddenly, however, he heard the bushes breaking behind him, and, looking back, he saw all the men who had frozen to death and all of the village people standing around the fire. This fire is called Self-burning Fire (WAyî'k! gA'nî), and it was that that had brought all of those people to life. From that time on they were able to get their food very easily at the mouth of the river.
186:a The words of the narrator, but corpses were usually burned.