The Punishment of the Stingy and Other Indian Stories, by George Bird Grinnell, , at sacred-texts.com
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AT Sea Side lived many peoplea big village. Their houses were on the bank, and, below, the wide beach sloped down to the salt water. Under the bank the canoes rested on the beach above high-water mark. Beyond was the sea.
One day the Chief of the village died. He had one son, a big boy just growing up to be a man. It was winter, and the people had hardly anything to eat. They looked along the beach for food cast up by the sea, but they could find nothing. They were hungry, and did not know what they should do. Mussels and roots were their only food.
One day a hunter said to the men: "Everybody get ready; let us go out to sea. Perhaps there we may find something to eat; even if we kill nothing, we can at least gather mussels."
So all the men got ready, and they started out to sea in two canoes. After they had gone some distance they came to a small island, and saw there some sea-lions, and the hunter speared one, and it jumped out to the water and swam strongly, and then it died and floated on the water. They dragged it up on the shore near by, and Bluejay said, "We will boil it here." So they made a fire there and singed it and cut it up and boiled it. Then Bluejay said: "Let us eat it here. Let us eat all of it, and not take any of it home with us." So these people ate there. The Raven wished to take home some of the meat to give to persons who were hungry, and hid a piece in his mat and carried it to the canoe, but Bluejay ran down and took the meat and threw it into the fire and burned it. After they had eaten all they wanted, they made ready to go home. They gathered mussels, large and small. In the evening they came to the village, and Bluejay called out to his wife, "Stikuá, come and get your mussels." There was a noise of many feet as Stikuá and the other women came running down to get their mussels, and carried them up to the houses.
The Raven took care of the Chief's son. That night the boy said to him, "To-morrow I want to go with you." Bluejay said: "What are you going to do? The waves will carry you away. You will be washed away. I was almost washed away."
Early the next morning the men made ready to go hunting again. They went down to the beach and got into the canoes, and the boy also went down to the beach. He intended to go with them, and as they were pushing off he tried to get into one of the canoes. Bluejay said to him: "Go up to the houses. Go up to the houses." The boy went, as he had been told, but he felt very sorry, and then Bluejay said, "Quick, let us leave him." The people began to paddle.
At length they reached the land where they had been the day before. It was a rocky island. The hunter went ashore and speared a sea-lion. They hauled it to the shore and pulled it up on land, and then pulled it up away from the beach. Bluejay said, "We will eat it all here, or else our Chief's son will always be wanting to come with us." So now they singed the sea-lion, and cut it up and boiled it
there. Then, when what they were cooking was ready, they ate plenty. The Raven tried to save one piece of the meat. He tied it in his hair, intending to hide it, but Bluejay took it out and threw it into the fire and burned it. When they started home they gathered mussels, and at evening they got home. Before they landed, Bluejay called out loud, "Come, Stikuá, and get your mussels." There was a noise of feet running, and Stikuá and her children came running to the beach with all the other women. Then they carried the mussels up to the houses. Bluejay said to the men who had been with him, "Do not tell the Chief's son, any of you, for if you do he will always go with us."
That night the boy said, "To-morrow I am going with you"; and Bluejay said to him: "What are you going to do? You may drift away. You may be overwhelmed by the waves." The boy said, "I will go with you."
On the third morning they rose early and went to the beach, and the boy also went to the beach, and took hold of the side of the canoe to get in. Bluejay said: "What are you doing here? Go to the houses." The boy cried, but
he went back. Then Bluejay said to the others, "Quick, paddle; we will leave him behind." Then the people paddled away. At length they arrived at the rock of the sea -lions, and the hunter went ashore. He speared a large sea-lion, and pretty soon it floated dead on the water. They pulled it in to the shore and up on the beach, and then they hauled it up above the beach and singed and cut it up and boiled it there. When it was done they ate, and Bluejay said: "We will eat it all. We will not tell any one, for fear that our Chief's son should want to come with us." After all had eaten enough, a little meat was still left. The Raven tried to hide a piece of it. He tied it to his leg and put a bandage over it, and said that his leg was broken. Bluejay burned all the meat that was left over. He said to the Raven, "I want to see your leg." He seized the Raven's leg and untied it, and found the piece of meat that the Raven had tied to it and burned it. Towards evening they gathered mussels, and then they went home.
When they were nearly at their home Bluejay called out, "Stikuá, your mussels." There
was a noise of feet, and Stikuá and the women ran to the beach. They carried the mussels up from the beach and ate mussels all night. The boy said, "To-morrow, I think, I shall surely go along with you." Bluejay said to him: "What are you going to do? You will drift away. I should have drifted away twice if I had not caught hold of the canoe."
Early the next morning they made themselves ready, and the boy got up and made himself ready. Then the people hauled their canoes down to the water and got into them. The boy tried to get into a canoe too, but Blue-jay took hold of him and threw him into the water. He stood in the water up to his waist. He took hold of the side of the canoe, but Blue-jay hit his hands to make him let go. For a long time he held on, and cried and cried, but at last he let go and went up to the house. Then Bluejay and the other people paddled away. After a while they reached the rock where the sea-lions lived, and the hunter went ashore and speared a sea-lion, and it jumped into the water and soon floated there dead. Then they towed it to the beach and pulled it up and singed it, and cut it up and boiled it. Bluejay
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HE SAW A BALD-HEADED EAGLE
said, "We will eat it here." They ate for a long time and ate half of it, and then they were satisfied. They were so full that they went to sleep. After a while Bluejay awoke and burned all the meat that was left. Towards evening they gathered mussels and then started home.
When they were near the shore, Bluejay called out to his wife, "Come and get your mussels, Stikuá," and they heard the noise of feet running down to the shore. Then they carried up the mussels from the beach. That night the boy said, "To-morrow I shall go with you"; and Bluejay said to him: "What are you going to do? We may be thrown into the water and you may drown."
Early the next morning the men made ready to start. The boy also got up and made himself ready. Then Bluejay and the people hauled the canoes down to the water and got into them. The boy tried to get into the canoe, but Blue-jay threw him into the water, and they pushed off. The boy caught hold of the side of the canoe and held it. He stood there in the water up to his armpits, and tried to get into the canoe, but Bluejay hit his hands and made him
let go. The boy cried and cried. Bluejay and the people paddled away.
After a little time the boy went up to the beach, feeling very sad, and trying to think what he should do. At last he went into the house and took his arrows and started, walking along the shore. He walked around a point, and saw a black eagle, and shot it. He skinned it and tried to put the skin on his body, but it was too small. It did not reach down as far as his knees. He took it off and left it there and went on. After a while he saw another eagle, and he shot it, and it fell down. Its head was partly white. He skinned it and put the skin on his body, but it was too small. It reached down only a little below his knees. Then he took it off and left it lying there, and went on a long way. At last he saw a bald-headed eagle. He shot it, and it fell down. Then he skinned it and put the skin on himself. Even this was too small, but it nearly fitted him. Then he tried to fly. At first he could only fly downward. He could not rise in the air. He tried again, and this time he found that he could turn, so he kept on trying, and pretty soon he could fly well.
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THE BIRD CAME DOWN
Now he flew towards the village, and when he had come near to this point he smelled smoke, and in that smoke he smelled fat cooking. So before he got to the village he turned and flew out to sea, following the smell of the smoke. Pretty soon he came to the rock of the sea-lions, and there he saw the men of his village. He lit on a tree far off and watched them, looking down on them below. He saw that they were cooking, and when the meat was done he saw them eating. When they had nearly finished eating, he flew towards them, and he thought, "I wish Bluejay would see me." Bluejay did see the bird flying, and he said, "Ha! a bird is coming to get food from us." The boy flew around them once, and then again. Five times he circled around them, all the time coming lower. Bluejay took a piece of meat and threw it out, and said to the bird, "I give you this to eat; take it." The bird came down, and, grasping the piece of meat, flew away. Then Bluejay said, "Why, that bird has feet just like a person!"
When Bluejay and the people had finished eating they went to sleep. Again the Raven hid a piece of meat. Towards evening Bluejay
awoke, and then the people ate again, and afterwards Bluejay burned what they had left. Then they gathered mussels and started to go home. When they were close to the houses Bluejay called out, "Ah, Stikuá, get your mussels." All the women ran down to the beach with a noise of feet, and carried up the mussels.
When the boy got home he at once lay down. That evening the people tried to wake him, but he did not rise.
The next morning, as soon as it became day, early, they began to get ready, and again they hauled their canoes into the water. The Chief's son still lay in bed. He did not try to go with them, and they started off. After a while the sun rose. Then the boy got up. He called together all the women and children and said to them: "Quick, wash yourselves. Hurry; don't be lazy." They all washed themselves. Then he said, "Quick, comb your hair." They did so.
Then he put down a plank on the ground and took a piece of meat from under his blanket, and said to them, "All your husbands eat a great deal of this meat every day." He put two pieces of the meat side by side on the plank.
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FIVE TIMES HE CIRCLED AROUND THEM.
[paragraph continues] Then he cut off a piece of the meat and greased the heads of all the women and the children. Then he pulled out of the ground the wall planks of the houses and sharpened them. If a wall plank was wide, he split it. He sharpened all of them. The Raven's house was the last house in the village. He did not pull down its planks. He fastened the planks on the backs of the women, and said to the women, "Now go to the beach and swim towards the sea, and as you go, swim five times around that rock and then go out to sea. After this you shall be killer whales. When you find sea-lions you shall always kill them, but do not give any of them to stingy people. When you kill a good whale you shall eat it, but do not give any of it to stingy people. I shall take these children with me. They shall live on the sea and be my relations." Then he began to split sinews; he split a great many of them. He threw down the sinews that he had split on the stones where the people used to gather their mussels, and said to the mussels, "After this when Bluejay and these others go to take up you mussels, you shall always be tied fast to the rocks."
Now the women went down to the water's edge and swam about, and began slowly to jump out of the water. Five times they swam backward and forward before the village; then they went seaward, swimming very fast. They kept on to the island where Bluejay and his fellows were cooking their food. Bluejay said to the men, "What is this that is coming?" The men looked at the things that were coming, and saw the women often jumping out of the water. Five times they swam around that rock, then they went out to sea. After a while birds came flying after them towards the seabirds with red bills, just as if blood were on their beaks. They kept following one another, many of them. Bluejay said: "Do you see these birds, how they keep coming? Where do they come from?" Then the Raven said, "How is it that you do not recognize these as your children?" Five times the birds flew around the rock, just as the women had gone around it, and then they flew away out to sea.
When Bluejay and his people were eating the meat that they had killed, that hunter said: "Quick, let us go home. I am afraid that we have seen bad spirits. We never before saw
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THEN THEY WENT SEAWARD.
anything like this at this rock." Then they gathered some mussels, and put in the canoes the meat that was left and carried it with them. Just at evening they came to the village, and Bluejay called out, "Ah, Stikuá,, come and get your mussels." There was no noise of people running. Five times he called to her, but no one came. It was all still. They went up on the beach, and then they saw that no one was there, and that the walls of the houses had disappeared. Then they began to cry, and Blue-jay cried too. Some one said to him, "Be quiet, Bluejay; if you had not been bad, our Chief would not have done this to us."
Now they made only one house for all; all lived together. Only the Raven, who had been kind-hearted, had a house to himself. He often went along the beach looking for food, and was lucky, for sometimes he found a sturgeon; or again he went along the beach looking for food and he found a porpoise. Bluejay often went along the beach trying to find food, but he was always unlucky, for he found nothing, and often, while he was looking, suddenly it would begin to hailbig hailstones. Often he went out to gather mussels and tried to break them
off from the rocks, but he could not do it. They were stuck fast to the stones. So he gave up and went home. He cried a great deal. Often the Raven looked for food along the beach and found a seal. The others had nothing to eat except roots.
Thus these men who had not brought food to their families had now lost their women and children, their houses had been pulled down and taken away, and they had nothing to eat. So their Chief punished them for being stingy.