This is a story of something that happened among the Haida. It is about a young man there who married a very fine-looking. girl. This girl deceived her husband and went with the son of the town chief, but her husband found it out and killed him. Since the dead man belonged to such high-caste people, the girl's husband was afraid and told his slave to take him off in his canoe. Before the relatives of the murdered man found it out and had started in pursuit, he had gotten some distance away. He and his slave paddled very hard and got way out into the ocean, and, when at last the man looked up, he found that he was close to a large rock very far out. Then he jumped ashore, and, seeing that there were very many seals there, he began clubbing them forgetful of the fact that he was a fugitive. At last, when he did look up, he found that his slave had deserted him and was now a long distance off.
The man camped on the rock that night and next morning studied very hard what he should do. At last he fixed upon a plan which he proceeded to carry out. Taking the largest seal he had killed, he skinned it very carefully so as not to cut through the hide anywhere. Late that night he got inside, tied the skin together over himself very tightly so that no water could come in, and set himself adrift. Then he floated along on the ocean, and at times he felt that he was bumping against rocks, but he kept quiet and after he had gone for a long time he felt himself drift ashore upon a beach.
Next morning very early, as he lay there, the man heard an eagle cry and knew that it was flying toward him. Finally it lighted right on top of the seal. The eagle seemed to notice, however, that this seal sounded empty, and instead of trying to eat it, sat still there. By and by the man took out his knife, cut through the skin right where the eagle sat and seized its legs. Then he looked up at it through the hole, and lo! instead of an eagle there was a girl. Then the girl said to him, "Come up to my father's house with me." He agreed, and, when she had taken him up, he saw a fine house over every bed in which hung an eagle skin.
After that the young man took the girl for his wife. At that time one of his brothers-in-law stood up and gave him an eagle-skin coat, saying, "I have given you a coat as a present. With this coat you can catch cod easily." Another brother-in-law got up and said, "I also give you a coat. With this coat you can easily catch salmon." Another got up and said, "I also give you a coat. With this coat you can catch halibut." Another got up and said, "I, too, will give you a coat. With this coat you can catch seal. Always sit on a tree top and look down at the water. Then the seal will look to you like a very small fish. It feels like a small fish when you catch it in this coat." So, all in the house presented him with different coats. The last of them was a young black eagle which said, "I give you this coat, and with this coat you can catch a sea lion." Then the older eagles made fun of his gift, saying, "With that young skin you need not think you can catch even the smallest trout."
Meanwhile the people in the town this boy had come from had sent his mother, who was a very old woman, away from the village to starve. He was at that time very near where she was living, but he did not know it.
After this the young man put on the coat he had received first, went out in it and caught a cod which he gave to his wife. He put the next coat on and caught a salmon. When he looked down upon this it appeared to be very small, and it felt very light while he was carrying it, but when he got it home it was a very large fish. With the next coat he caught a very big halibut, and with the next a seal. This seemed very light to him, but, when he got it home to his father-in-law
and his brothers-in-law, he was surprised at its size. Lastly, he put on the black eagle skin. He went out and watched, and after a while he saw a sea lion a long distance out. He went after it and brought it ashore easily, but, after he had taken it to his father-in-law, he wondered how he had carried it.
By and by the man felt that his mother was suffering somewhere, and, going along the beach, he found her living in a little house made of branches. He asked her what the matter was, and she told him. Then he said to his mother, "In the morning you will hear some sea gulls. As soon as that happens, get up and go along the beach. You will find a large salmon." The woman did so. In the morning she got up and looked and a very large salmon lay there. She had to cut it up and carry it to her brush house in pieces. In the evening her son went to her again and said, "To-morrow I will get a seal for you. Look for it very early." So she awoke very early, found a large seal, and took up its meat.
After that her son went to her again and told her that he had been captured by the eagles and was living very comfortably among them. He said that he had a wife who was very good to him and told her not to worry for he would always look after her. Then he said, "Early next morning go and look again. I will try to get you a sea lion." She did so, and found a very large sea lion upon the beach. She took off the skin, dried it, preserved the oil, and dried the meat.
Now the man went to his mother once more and said to her, "Next morning I will get a whale and leave it down here on the beach. Don't touch it. A canoe will come from our village and find it. While they are cutting up the whale don't go down to them." It happened just as he had said, and when this canoe had carried back the news everybody came down from the village to cut it up.
As the old woman did not go down to look while they were cutting up this whale, some one said, "Run up to see the old woman." When they came there, they found her in a very large brush house in which salmon, seal, and sea-lion meat were drying. They were surprised to see how much food she had when they themselves had barely enough. Then everybody ran up to look at her. They had stripped the whale down, but had not taken off the pieces. When they left her house to go down again, the old woman came out and the eagle, which had sat on top of a tree watching, said to her, "Getaway. Getaway." After that one of the men took a rock and hit her in the face with it.
When the eagle saw what was done to his mother he flew down, seized the town chief by the top of the head and flew up with him. Then he came down again far enough for a person to seize the town chief's legs and flew round and round the whale. By and by another man caught hold of the chief and was unable to let go. The eagle flew around a little higher up until another seized the second man, and so
he continued to do until he had carried up all of the men. Meanwhile the women were in a great hurry to cut the whale, but the old woman poked it, telling it to go out, and it went away from them right out to sea. Meanwhile the eagle rose higher and higher into the air and flew far out over the ocean, where it dropped all of the men of that place and drowned them.