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

p. 44

Kwaie’tek, The Sea Gull

Kwaie’tek, THE SEA GULL

This folk tale of the Sea Gull comes from the Haida Indians of the Queen Charlotte Islands. If it had not been for Sea Gull there would not have been any fish in the waters of the Pacific Northwest.

A Powerful Grandmother who lived in a great inlet controlled the tides by lying on her back and raising her legs up and down. In her house were many boxes filled with the fishes that now inhabit these waters. Raven, on his travels alighted on the beach and, taking off his mask, became human. As usual, he was very hungry and this time for Oolichan (Candle fish). He was doubtful as to whether he would be able to obtain any from the Grandmother so he said to her very pleasantly, "I am cold and tired."

The Grandmother asked him where he had been. "Out fishing for oolichan," he replied. Grandmother then said: "You old liar, you had better keep away from my house." This reply disturbed Raven. He would have to use more tact. He then went down to the beach, as the tide was out, and there he saw Sea Gull and the Crane. Sea Gull was in the act of swallowing a dead oolichan, one that Grandmother had thrown away. Raven was anxious to get hold of the dead fish to see what would happen so he thought the best way to do it would be to start a fight between Sea Gull and Crane. He told Sea Gull that Crane did not think much of him and called him a tattle tale who, with that big mouth of his, was always making a lot of noise when anything to eat was in sight. He then told Crane that Sea Gull said he had a long beak which was always being stuck into other people's business. At that Crane became angry and went and kicked Sea Gull in the stomach, causing him to belch up the oolichan, which Raven promptly picked up. He then rubbed the scales off the fish on his hat and went back to Grandmother, telling her that she did not have all the fish in the sea as there were more down on the beach than she ever had. At this she became vexed and, when the tide came in, she opened all her fish boxes and emptied them into the water.

And that is the reason for all the different kinds of fish being in the waters today. Sea Gull, ever since that day, has always been known as "Tattle tale."

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