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p. 265


Formula for the Salmon Medicine. 1

p. 268

Three immortals came into being at Xaslindiñ. They began to talk about what would be when Indians should come into existence. One of them went away up the Klamath river. The other two remained waiting for him. "I don't think we better wait for him," said one of those who remained. He went down to the river. "Let a stone cup become," he thought. And it became. And then in it a salmon became. "Already it has happened," he thought. "It is finished," he told his brother.

He made the salmon swim down the Trinity and Klamath rivers to the ocean. Then he caused it to swim along the beach southward. Having gone entirely around the world, he came back with it from the north to the mouth of the Klamath again. He made it swim back up the Klamath and Trinity rivers to the starting place.

There he questioned it. "What will you do if a person with a bad body eats you?" he asked. The salmon swam around in one place. He asked it about every kind person. After each question it swam for a short time in one place. Finally he asked, "What will you do if a woman who has miscarriage eats you?" It died at once. It rose to the surface of the water. Then he took it and placed it on the shore where it lay for five days.

After the five days, in the morning, the two brothers went down the river and crossed over to the place where it lay. The one who was officiating cut the salmon and cooked it there. He put incense root in the fire with which he cooked it. When the salmon was done they ate it. When they were through they shot at a mark and had all kinds of games. "This is the way Indians will do when they come," he thought.

Then he said, "All of you go away from me." Having built a fire he put incense root in it and prayed. "Indians when they come into existence, will eat this happily," he thought. "They will have plenty of food when the time comes for it to grow. The birds will not bother it. It will be good wherever it grows. Whatever anyone says will happen."

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The two brothers went up the river and crossed over to their home. They found the one who had gone up the Klamath was not yet come back. Then they tore down the house and the sweat-house and went back to Xaiyame. There, one on each side of the river, they took their stations to watch their salmon.

When the one who had gone on the journey, came back to Weitchpec and started up the Trinity he was surprised to see salmon scales scattered about. When he got back where they had lived he found they had departed. He tracked them to Xaiyame where he found them. "Well," he said, "I will take my place at the Tseyekyauwhwikût. There I will keep watch. The salmon which a bad person would eat, if it were caught, I will take out as it passes up. Indians when they come into existence will make mention of us. 'At that place he did that,' they will say."


265:1 Told at Hupa, June 1901, by Robinson Shoemaker in whose family the celebration of this medicine is an hereditary trust. The priest performs the ceremony in ceremonial dress, with beads around his neck, and his face painted red. He carries a fisher-skin quiver. When he has caught the salmon at the fishing-place in Sugar Bowl valley he cuts it with a stone knife, holding his breath while he does it. He then builds a fire and cooks the fish. He places incense root, Leptotaenia Californica, in the fire saying, "Kyōle, may there be many salmon." For ten days following he does not drink water. One meal a day is eaten at the exact time the sun reaches a fixed mark in the sweat-house. The meal is eaten from new baskets and is cooked by a woman chosen for the duty. She is dressed in a beaded dress. A male attendant remains in the sweat-house to attend to the fire. The priest keeps the incense root in his hand at night that he may not have dreams. He is careful not to say evil things for what he says or dreams will happen. He prays every night for many salmon. He does not eat salmon during the remainder of the year.

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