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All the big animals and the little animals and the birds met together. The buffalo said, "I have more fat in me than any of

p. 8

you, and my meat has the best flavor of all." The elk said, "I have a great deal of fat too, and my meat is good eating." The mountain goat said, "I have the best of all of you; my fat and my meat is the best eating among all the animals." The deer said, "I have the thickest fat and my meat is best." The little snowbird said, "You big animals have fat, but not like my fat. I have the best meat; not one of you has meat like mine."

Last of all Salt Mother said, "Do not quarrel any more about the flavor of your meat. You have all good fat and are good to cat. But if I am not there, not one of you is good to eat at all. I don't care how much good fat you have, if there is not my flesh, there is no taste. Here is snowbird stew. We will serve it to you all. You will see there is good fat and much meat, but in the other bowl of the stew I will put my finger and you will see what gives flavor to your meat." The animals came up and tasted the first dish, but no one wanted a second mouthful. They passed on to the second dish and there they ate and ate, for Salt Mother had put her finger in the stew. So they found out that unless salt was added, all their flesh was tasteless. Salt Mother said, "We all know that you animals have fat but without me there is no taste in the dish." So the animals agreed. "It is true we are fat, but we have no taste unless there is salt in the dish."


7:9 Informant 1. Notes, p. 206.

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