GAmnâ'tck!î killed a seal, skinned it, and threw the skin and meat to his wife to wash. While she was washing them in the sea she saw some killer whales coming landward. By and by the meat she was washing drifted out from her and she waded after it. She went out until the water reached her hips. Then she suddenly felt some one pull her and she disappeared under water. It was the killer-whale people who thus took her into their canoe.
After that GAmnâ'tck!î felt very badly and thought to himself, "How can I get my wife back? How can I look for her under the water?" He could not sleep all night, and early in the morning he thought, "I wonder if I couldn't raise this water so as to go under it." In the morning, therefore, before he had eaten he took his red and black paints, went down to the water, raised the edge of it just as if he were raising a blanket, and walked under. He walked on farther and farther. It was just like walking on land.
By and by he came to a village full of very pale people who went about with their heads down. He found out that they were the red cod people. He wanted to make friends of them, so, thinking that they looked very white, he painted them all red--men, women, and children. That is how these fishes got their color. After that he asked them if they had seen his wife, but they said that they had seen no one, so he went on. Presently he came to another village and asked the people there the same question to which he received the very same answer. Those were the halibut people. In each village they gave him something to eat.
After he had 'left the halibut people GAmnâ'tck!î traveled for several days before he came to another town. By and by, however, he perceived smoke far ahead of him, and, going toward it, he saw that it was from a fort. Inside of this fort was a large house which he immediately entered, but the people there did not seem to care to see strangers and would not talk to him. These were also very pale people, so to please them he took out his black paint and painted all of them with it. Then they felt well disposed toward him and were willing to talk. "Can you tell me what clan has my wife?" he said. At first they said that they did not know, but afterward one replied, "There is a strange woman in that town across there." Then this person pointed the village out, and GAmnâ'tck!î felt pleased to know where his wife was. The people he had come among were the sharks, and those whose village they showed him were the killer whales.
Then the shark chief said, "Every time we have had a fight we have beaten them." The shark people also said to him, "The killer-whale chief has a slave. Every morning the slave goes out after
water. Go to the creek and tell him what to do when he comes in. Tell him to bring the water in and hand it to the chief over the fire. As he does so he must drop it, and, while the house is full of steam, pick up your wife and run out with her. The chief has married her. Then come over here with her. They will run after you, but, if you can get away, come right across." The shark people had always been jealous of the killer whales because they had this woman.
While the shark people were telling him what to do, a strange, bony-looking person kept jumping up from behind the boxes. He wondered what made him act so queerly and began to feel uneasy about it, but, when the bony person saw him looking at him in a strange manner, he said, "Why! don't you know me. I am that halibut hook (nAxu) that the sharks once took away from you. My name is
Lgudjî' (the name of an island)."
Just after that the man started for the killer-whale town and sat down by the creek. When the slave came out after water, he asked him to help him, saying, "I hear that my wife is with this chief." "Yes," the slave answered, "if she were a man, they would have kept her for a slave like myself. Since she is a woman, the chief has married her, and she is living very well. I will help you as much as I can. She wants to return to you. Now watch and I will do what you tell me to do. I will spill this water on the fire."
After that he took GAmnâ'tck!î to the door and showed him where his wife sat. Then the slave walked in with the water while he stood outside watching. He watched his wife through a crack and saw that she appeared very much cast down. As soon as the fire was put out and the house filled with steam he ran in, seized his wife, and started off with her.
Then, when the slave thought that he had gotten a long distance away, he shouted, "Some one has taken the woman away." The chief looked around, and sure enough his wife was gone. Going outside, they saw that this man had almost reached the shark fort, and they saw him enter it.
As soon as he got there, the shark people began to dress themselves for war. They were noisy and acted as though they were very hungry, so that GAmnâ'tck!î became frightened. The halibut hook came to him, however, and told him not to be frightened, because the killer whales were coming over. All at once the fort began moving up and down. Whenever the killer whales tried to enter, the fort killed them by moving up and down and cutting off their heads. The slaughter was so great that the few survivors were frightened and went back. Two or three days later the killer whales came again with like result.
After this the shark people said to GAmnâ'tck!î, "You better not start out I right away. Stay here a while with us. They might be
lying in wait for you. Since we have fought for you so much, it is better that you should get to your home safely." GAmnâ'tck!î did so, and some time later they said, "Go straight along by the way you came, and you will find your way out easily." He did this and reached his home in safety.
215:a Evidently a version of the Tsimshian Story of Gunxnaxsîmgyêt. See story 4.