There is a fish, called hîn-tayî'cî, which is shaped like a halibut but has very many "legs."
Early one spring a KîksA'dî shaman at Sitka named Face-of-mountain (Câ'dâq) began singing, and the people did not know why. Another morning he got up very early and began to sing again, while the spirits talked to him. Then all of the KîksA'dî also rose. When his possession was over the shaman said to them, "Take the canoe down and let us start off." They did so, placing the shaman in the bow under a mat, and, as they went along, his spirits talked under it. Finally they came to a deep bay in front of Sitka and the spirits said, "This is the place," so they started shoreward. When they came to a spot just beyond a steep cliff which runs down precipitously into the sea, the spirits said, "Here is the place where we are to land." Then the shaman went up from the canoe and sat in a hollow on top of a rock, while all watched him. By and by his spirit said that the people must do likewise, so they found similar places and seated themselves there.
Now the shaman seemed to be watching for something, so all of the people looked in the same direction, and suddenly they saw a school of killer whales coming along, making noises like yelping dogs. The people wondered what was the matter and looked closely. Finally right out from the cliff they saw something very black and shiny. It was the hîn-tayî'cî, and, when a killer whale ran up against it, he would be cut in two. The killer whales fought very hard, but, when they were through, only three remained, who went off barking like dogs. After that the hîn-tayî'cî came up in front of the place where the men were sitting and made a great noise. They wondered at this and were frightened, but the shaman understood it and said to them, "It is saying 'Don't feel badly for me if I should get killed. I should not have fought those people, but I had to do it, for they, were coming here to eat all of my food."'
Now the people went home, but, after some time had passed, the shaman asked them to take the canoe down once more and go out again. They did so willingly, for they were anxious to see what more would happen. The shaman had learned that all the killer-whale people were going against the hîn-tayî'cî and that the sculpin (wêq!) had come to him saying, "The people are coming after you again."
[paragraph continues] So the people went to their former station, and presently the hîn-tayî'cî came out of his hole and began jumping about on top of the water like a salmon. It was very quick and very large. When it saw the great crowd of killer whales coming on, it went out to meet them and killed all except the killer-whale chief and two others, which it allowed to escape. Then it again jumped up and down in front of the people, making a great noise, and the shaman told them it said, "I am tired. If they come right back with the same number of people, I shall be killed. It will be my fault. I should not have killed them."
Then the people went home and remained there quite a time. At length, however, the shaman's spirits told him that the sculpin had again come to the hîn-tayî'cî to say that people were coming to kill him. So he told his friends about it, and they went to the same place. As they sat there watching, they saw a smoke arising far in the distance. It was the killer whales blowing. There were still more of them this time, but, as before, the hîn-tayî'cî destroyed all except three. Again it told the people that it expected to be killed next time.
Now the shaman was very anxious to know what would be the outcome of all this, so he went back to his village and waited impatiently for another fight to take place. Finally the sculpin went to the hîn-tayî'cî once more and said, "They are gathering more men for you, stronger men this time. They are getting the devilfish people to fight you." When the shaman learned of it through his spirits he told his people, and they went out to the cliff. Again they saw something coming from a distance very rapidly, making the water boil. Just as the devilfishes reached the hole of the hîn-tayî'cî, the latter jumped through the largest of them, after which it killed all of the others and all of the killer whales but three. It was easier for him this time because there were fewer killer whales.
Next time the sculpin came to the hîn-tayî'cî it said "All of the monster halibut are being gathered to fight with you." So the people went over once more and sat in their accustomed places. They saw the largest halibut go up toward the hîn-tayî'cî's hole with open mouth ready to swallow it, but, as before, the hîn-tayî'cî jumped through and through it, and killed all of its antagonists except three killer whales. Where they fought the water was covered with blood, and after every battle the hîn-tayî'cî would come out and say that next time it expected to be killed.
Now, however, a very long time passed before the shaman heard anything, and he began to think that they had given up fighting. But-finally his spirit came to him once more to say that the sculpin had been to the hîn-tayî'cî. The sculpin had said to it, "They are coming after you again. They have gathered all of the big crabs to
kill you." Then the hîn-tayî'cî answered, "Those are the ones that are going to get me." So the shaman went out with his friends and watched from their former stations.
Presently the watching people saw the killer whales approach with a big crab in advance of them. Its body was under water, but its legs stuck out, and the water seemed to boil as it swam forward. Then the hîn-tayî'cî came out and said to the shaman, "They will get me this time. It is my own fault. I am sure that I can not kill that big person with the shell." Then the hîn-tayî'cî went back into its hole, and the crab ran up against the opening so it was unable to get out. So the hîn-tayî'cî said, "How is it that you do not allow me to come out when you have come here to fight me? Let me come out so that you can get me. I have killed enough of you deep-water people to come out now. Stand away a little and let me come."
The hîn-tayî'cî wanted to see where the joints on the crab's claws were situated, and, as soon as the crab moved to one side, it went against one of them and cut it off. With its remaining claw, however, the crab seized it, lifted it into the air, and killed it in sight of everyone. After that it placed the body on the back of the chief killer whale, and the crab and the killer whales sang together as they went away with its body. As they went they kept close to the surface of the water.