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

p. 37

Slag’ame, the Butterfly


Among the many adventures and travels of Thunder Bird, while he was putting the finishing touches on creation, he met with Butterfly, who was also travelling around. They became quite chummy. Being supernatural, they were in their human form. They came to a Siwash Tyee's (Indian Chief's house on the Queen Charlotte Islands. The chief invited the tired travellers to stay for Muckamuck (dinner). Thunder Bird, wishing to uphold his dignity, did not wish to talk to ordinary mortals, so Butterfly did the interpreting.

The host asked Thunder Bird if he would like some boiled salmon with oolichan grease. Butterfly said that Thunder Bird did not eat salmon and ate both portions himself. Thunder Bird was then asked if he would like some tender seal meat, his favorite dish. Again Butterfly said that Thunder Bird did not care for seal. Thunder Bird was then handed some dried o’lil-lie (berry) cakes. Butterfly took them from him, saying that such things made him sick. The host was very angry, not knowing how to please Thunder Bird. He did not have anything more to offer him except some stale and smelly salmon so this was presented to the important guest. Butterfly said that Thunder Bird was very fond of tainted fish, but he could not eat, although he tried. By this time he too was getting very angry so he got up and left with Butterfly, who was so full of food that he could hardly walk, tagging along.

The trail took them to a creek spanned by a shaky cedar log. Thunder Bird crossed over the log first but Butterfly was afraid to cross because he was tired and drowsy. Thunder Bird said he would steady the log for him but when he mounted it Thunder Bird rolled the log on top of Butterfly. This removed all the food from his stomach. After Thunder Bird had eaten the food he sewed Butterfly up. That is why Butterfly is always flat.

Butterfly is carved on the totem poles of the Haidas. It is also woven into baskets and other fibre articles of the Indian tribes of Vancouver Island.

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