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There was a man called NatsîlAne' (the name of a worm that appears on dried salmon) who was continually quarreling with his wife. He had many brothers-in-law, who became very much ashamed of this discord but had to stay around to protect their sister. One day his brothers-in-law took him to an island far out at sea, named KAts!ê'uxtî, and talked very kindly to him. But, while he was out of sight upon the island, they left him. Then he began thinking, "What can I do for myself?" As he sat there he absent-mindedly whittled killer whales out of cottonwood bark, which works easily. The two he had made he put into the water and, as he did so, he shouted aloud as shamans used to do on such occasions. Then he thought they looked as if they were swimming, but, when they came up again, they were nothing but bark. After a while he made two more whales out of alder. He tried to put his clan's spirits into them as was often done

p. 231

by shamans, and, as he put them in, he whistled four times like the spirit, "Whu, whu, whu, whu." But they, too, floated up. Now he tried all kinds of wood-hemlock, red cedar, etc. Finally he tried pieces of yellow cedar, which swam right away in the form of large killer whales. They swam out for a long distance, and, when they came back, again turned into wood. Then he made holes in their dorsal fins, seized one of them with each hand and had the killer whales take him out to sea. He said, "You see my brothers-in-law traveling about in canoes. You are to upset them." After he had gone out for some distance between the whales they returned to land and became wood once more. He took them up and put them in a certain place.

The next time he saw his brothers-in-law coming along in their canoes he put his spirits into the water again, and they smashed the canoes and killed those in them. Then NatsîlAne' said to his killer whales, "You are not to injure human beings any more. You must be kind to them." After that they were the canoes of spirits, and, if shamans are lucky, they get these spirit canoes. It is through this story that the DAqL!awe'dî claim the killer whale. This clan was scattered everywhere in Alaska, as well as among the Athapascans, Haida, and Tsimshian.


230:a See story 4.

Next: 72. Story of the Nanyaâ'yî Crests