There was a town, I might say, on the upper course of Skeena River. This was Prairie Town, and there were very many people,--many chiefs, old women, young men, young women, and really many children. They were very foolish, because there were a great many, and the old people did not take care what the children and the youths were doing (?).
They were almost always happy, and their hearts were glad because they had no enemies to attack them. Therefore they did whatever they pleased. Sometimes a chief made a great feast, and he would kill many slaves; and they did many bad, wicked things.
Then one morning the young men arose to play camping on the other side of Skeena River. There were many youths. After they had finished eating, they went up a little brook up river in order to drink. When they got up there, behold! many trout were jumping in the river. Then they began to fish for trout.
When they had caught a trout, some very bad youths took the trout and opened its mouth and poured urine into the fish's month. Then they threw it back into the water. Then it swam about, belly up. Then they all shouted together, and laughed at what the youths had been doing.
Many trout were floating on the water. It was spring when they were doing this, and every day was fine. And while they were doing this, they had a good time. They had been doing this a long time, then the day was at an end.
Suddenly they saw a black fog on the sky; however, the youths did not mind it. They did not mind it when a strong wind and black clouds arrived. Then heavy rain came down to the ground, and the brook where they had been playing with the trout began to rise. The young men did not reach their houses on the other side, but they were all first drowned in the water.
Then a strong wind and rain came. Then the people took up their anchor-stones and put them into the canoes. They used large canoes in those times. All the people of Prairie Town were ready for the Deluge. They took provisions with them, elk-skins, coppers, and every kind of property, and their crests and everything. The people knew that their children had been drowned in the water, therefore they did so.
Now their houses were submerged. The rain lasted for twenty days, and the water was rising. They went farther up every day. The water was rising, and went farther up every day. Then all the people went aboard their canoes. They made houses of elk-skin in their canoes. Now the water passed over the place where it had been at the former flood. Therefore the people knew that this was going to be a real Deluge.
When the water continued to rise, all the people were in their canoes, and their town was submerged. The very old and the poor people were drowned. All the valleys were flooded, but the canoes floated on the water, The
houses of elk-skin were in the canoes, therefore they did not get wet with the rain. Then all the hills were covered by the water; and the canoes were full of foam, because the waters were boiling; while the rain lasted a long time, and the wind was strong.
When the water reached the middle of the mountain, several canoes drifted away one by one, because their anchor-lines broke, and some of their anchor-lines were too short, and they drifted away with their anchor-stones. Then many just went up to the top of the mountain. However, they really died because there was much rain and strong wind.
Then, when all the large canoes were swept away by the wind and the boiling waters, the water stopped and staid there. Then the people of Prairie Town were scattered over the whole earth as far as Alaska and Bella Bella.
They really have together only one tradition. Therefore all the different tribes around us have only four clans and my own name. That is also the name northward as far as Alaska and among the Bella Bella, G*it!amâ'0t, G*idESdzâ'0t, G*itq!â'0da, G*itqxâ'
la, and all the nine towns of the Tsimshian.
Two people were saved on top of the great mountain inland from Prairie Town,--one young woman and also one young man. Then the water went down and they walked down. Then they saw that not one tree was left. They were destroyed by the great currents of water. Only clay remained in the whole country.
All the high mountains were not covered by the water. The animals had run up to the tops of the high mountains,
and all kinds of animals were saved. Only the hauhau' and the simsi'm were dead.
(This animal is worse than the hauhau. Its body is like that of an animal, but its face that of a man. When it is angry, it stretches out its face. It is the one that vanquishes all the animals and people. These two died in the Deluge,--the hauhau' and this animal,--only two, because they make their house in caves.)
While the water remained on the earth, a strong wind struck the great mountains, and the people staid in their canoes with elk-skin houses in them, which were in the canoes. Then they heard a great noise above. It was like the sound of a bell which was ringing in the air. Therefore the people were much afraid. They were frightened of everything during the Deluge.
And they wailed for their children who had died in the Flood. And when their canoes were driven away to the edge (of the sea), and the waters covered everything on the earth, all the tops of the greatest mountains were not submerged; and then everything that was breathing and living on the ground died.
For twenty days the earth was submerged. Then it stopped, and the water began to sink again and went down from the ground. The water went down continually, and all kinds of trees were swallowed by the whirlpool of the sea; and also the corpses of the people and the dead animals and the dead birds, and all the dead snakes,--everything was swallowed by the whirpool of the sea.
Some people did not perish at this time, yet they were scattered around along here. That was when their tongues
were mixed. Before the Flood they had one language; after the Flood, when they were scattered everywhere, their languages were different. Therefore the people along here know that they are relatives, although their languages are different; and they know their crests, Eagle, Bear, Wolf, or Raven,--even if they are Tlingit, or from the south as far as Rivers Inlet, and out West as far as the Haida,--because they are really come from one town before the Deluge, and they were scattered after the Deluge. Although they do not understand their languages, yet they know by their crests that they are relatives.
You know I told you that two persons were saved on top of a high mountain. These were the parents of the tribes on the Upper Skeena River. Thus they also have the same crests, although their language is different, and also the tribes of Nass River.
Therefore this is a great tradition among the people here, and also among our fellow-tribes along here. Wherever the canoes came ashore, there they camped on unknown ground. They did not know where they came from. Then they made a camp in the unknown country. All those canoes that did not perish in the Deluge camped about along here, wherever they landed.
Soon after the Flood there were no trees. The whole new land had only clay, and they had houses of elk-skin. These were the houses in which they camped on the shore of the great sea which they had not known before. And all the animals and everything was new to them; but they always kept their crests which they had used in their old camps.
Then all these people, wherever they camped, increased, and all had one crest. There were a great many people when they forgot their languages, and they use new tongues now, which they did not know before. All the camps chose each one chief, because they had new towns, but they kept their crests right along through all generations.