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

p. 51

Gal-Quith, The Cod Fish


At the time of this legend, the tribe of Boya-lith, of the Bella Bella Indians, were in the throes of a famine. During this period, a young man by the name of Cha-gum-cha-kas, decided to go out and see what he could do for his people. Asking another young man of the tribe to go out with him on this venture, the two started out early the following morning in a canoe and headed for the outmost islands of the Pacific Coast, known to the Indians as Che-Che-Kwas and later known to the white man as the Gander Islands.

They anchored in a tiny bay, sheltered from all winds, and there they slept. Cha-gum-cha-kas was suddenly awakened by a persistent knocking on the bottom of the canoe. Looking over the side he saw that it was codfish slapping the side of the canoe with its tail as it swam around. Catching the codfish on its next round, he tore it to pieces and threw the pieces overboard. He lay down again and, before the stars could wink twice, was sound asleep. When he awoke again he found himself in very strange surroundings, he saw that he was in a house decorated with things that grow in the sea.

Cha-gum-cha-kas woke his companion and they both stepped out of the canoe, as it was resting on dry land and, as they did so, two guards stepped out of their box and escorted them to the presence of the Big Chief. Standing beside the Chief, his apparel all torn to pieces, was the Chief's son, for it happened that the codfish the hunter had torn to pieces was the son of the Chief. So Cha-gum-cha-kas told his story and apologized with the deepest concern. The Chief then announced that there would be four days of feasting for the strangers and at the last feast both hunters were made Chiefs. Cha-gum-cha-kas as Chief Gal-quith and his friend as Chief Boya. On their departure the Big Chief filled their canoe with all the sea-food it would carry, for he knew of the famine prevailing among the tribe of the strangers.

Thus, when the two hunters awoke they found they had been away four years and not, as they had thought, four days. Preparations were made for a great feast, for they had been given up for lost. After telling all that had befallen them they were recognized as the two leading Chiefs of the tribe for they had acquired powers by which they were able to keep their people well fed with all sea foods. Both Chiefs took the Codfish and Halibut for their crests.

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