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The Thunder Bird Tootooch Legends, by W.L. Webber, [1936], at

p. 29

Shwah Kuk, The Frog

Shwah Kuk, THE FROG

According to the mythology of the Nootka Tribes of Vancouver Island, Saghalie Tyee, Creator of the Universe, lived in the Celestial Regions, where two gigantic frogs were the guardians of his household. When Huloima Tillicum (strangers) approached, the frogs would croak loudly to warn their master of their coming. The frogs had many other duties to perform. When the sun became too hot, it was the task of the frogs to regulate the heat. They also had means of correcting the Kula-Kula (birds) who made too much noise, disturbing the Creator's rest. They also acted as heralds, going around the Tenas-Town (village), giving out the orders of the day.

Another mythical story comes from the Tsim’shian tribes, Skeena River, British Columbia. As the voice of the frog was very strong and could be heard for long distances across the chuck (water), and was therefore a guide for the Indians in foggy weather, great attention was paid to his croaking. Long ago, a man and his wife were crossing a large bay. It was very foggy. They heard the croaking of a frog which guided them to the shore, for the frog was croaking all the time in their language, saying over and over again: "I will show you a place of safety." The Indians turned their canoe towards the place where this voice seemed to come from and finally reached the shore: "This frog is mine." The woman screamed: "No, it is mine! I will keep it!" Thus they argued until at last the woman took the frog and treated it like her own child. She took it to a lake in the woods and left it there, praising it for the noise it made which had helped them to find the shore.

A chief of great importance, whose presence was particularly desired at a Potlatch, was invited. When he appeared he surprised the other guests by wearing a kamo-suk (necklace) of live frogs tied leg to leg. Since that time his family have used the frog for a crest.

According to other Indian legends the supernatural Siam itchwoot (Grizzly Bear) was mortally afraid of frogs. Frogs were often put on Totem Poles or houses to prevent them falling down or being destroyed. The frog is used on the Totem Poles of Kit-wanga, along the Sheen,. River, also on Poles of Alaska, the most popular being Kicksetti or Tlingets.

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