Sacred Texts  Native American  Northwest  Index  Previous  Next 


At a certain place in the interior lived a manly little boy who was very fond of hunting. He would take his lunch and go off hunting very early in the morning and stay all day, bringing home two or three porcupines in the evening. One morning he started earlier than usual and came upon a giant as tall as the trees. He was very much frightened and ran away with the big man in pursuit. As the giant was not a very fast runner, the boy kept ahead of him until he came to a sort of cave like a house at the foot of a hill and entered it. When the big man saw this, he said, "Come here, my grandson." The boy refused, and the giant continued his entreaties for a long time. At last the boy consented to go with him, so the giant said, "Get inside of my shirt. I will carry you that way." Then the boy vaulted in there, and they started off.

After they had gone, along in this manner for some time, the boy, who had his head out, saw a very small bird called old-person (LAgu-qâ'k!u) and said, "Grandpa, there is a bird I would like to have." Then the big man stopped and let him down, and he shot the bird with an arrow and put it into his bosom, after which he crawled back into the big man's shirt. But now this bird had increased the boy's weight so much that the giant could scarcely move along. At every step he took he sank deep into the moss. When the boy noticed this, he said to himself, "How is it that, since I picked up

p. 213

this small bird, I have gotten very heavy, and it is hard for him to walk?" Then he threw the bird away and the giant walked on again as lightly as before. The boy enjoyed so much being with this giant that he had forgotten all about his father and mother. After that they traveled on together until they came to a very large lake. In it the boy saw beaver houses, and the beaver dam ran right across it. He thought, "This is a beaver lake. This is the kind of place my father has told me about." Then the big man tore a hole through the top of a beaver house, took all of the beavers out, and made a fire right back of the lake at which to cook them. They camped there for several days, living on beaver meat and drying the skins. But the first evening the giant said, "Keep a look out. If you hear any noise during the night, wake me up. There is a bigger man than I of whom I am much afraid." He also said to the boy, "Sleep some distance away from me, or I might move against you or throw my leg on you so as to kill you."

The second night they encamped there the boy heard the bushes breaking, and sure enough the second giant came along. He was so tall that his head was far up above the trees, and they could not see it. This second giant had been looking for the other for a long time unsuccessfully, so he rushed upon him, threw him down, and lay on top of him. Then the boy's friend cried, "Grandson, take that club of mine out and throw it at him." The boy ran to the big man's bed, took his club, which was made from the entire skeleton of a beaver, out from under it, and threw it at the intruder. As soon as he let it go out of his hands it began chewing at the second giant's leg, and, as he was unable to feel it, the club chewed off both his legs. Then the other, who had been almost smothered, killed him and threw his body into the lake.

After this the boy's companion had nothing to fear, and wandered from lake to lake, and the boy was so fond of hunting that he forgot all about his father and mother. It was now winter time, and that winter was very severe. From the time the second giant had been killed he had been doing nothing but killing beaver.

One evening, however, the boy began thinking of his father and his mother, and was very quiet. Then the big man said, "Why is it that you are so quiet this evening?" The boy answered, "I have just thought of my father and mother. I feel lonely (i. e., homesick) for them." Then his companion said, "Would you like to go to them?" "I can't go to them because I don't know where they are. I don't know which way to go to get to them." Then the big man said, "All right, you can go," but the boy did not know what he meant. Now the big man went to a small tree, broke it off, trimmed it well for the boy, and said to him, "Take this along and as soon as you feel that you are lost, let it stand straight up and fall over.

p. 214

[paragraph continues] Go in the direction in which it falls. Keep on doing this until you get to, your father's place."

At first the boy was afraid to start off alone, but finally he did so. Whenever he was in doubt about the direction he let the tree fall, and it led him at last right down to his father's village, where all were exceedingly glad to see him.

Next: 58. The Boy with Arrows on his Head