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The Punishment of the Stingy and Other Indian Stories, by George Bird Grinnell, [1901], at

p. xi

The Bluejay Stories

ON the shores of the ocean which washes our northwest coast live many tribes of a hardy, seafaring people. Their houses stand along the beach just above high-water mark, and behind them the wooded mountains rise sharply. The waters at their feet yield them the chief share of their living. The salmon that each year come to the rivers to spawn, the great shoals of little herrings that visit the beach, the halibut that lie at the bottom far at sea, the seals, the sea-lions, the porpoises, and the whales, all provide something towards the tribe's support. Or, if for a while all these fail, there are flat-fish on the shoals, clams in the mud flats, and mussels clinging to the rocks. In the stories told by this race of seafarers, the incidents have to do with the common events of their lives, and the scenes are commonly laid

p. xii

on the water or at the water's edge. Thus they treat of the hunting of the sea-lion, of the catching of the salmon, most often of the search for food

Most of the stories to be related here are very old, and date from a period when men and animals were far more closely related than they seem to be to-day; when, as the tales clearly show, each could understand the other's language, and when friendly intercourse between them was common. Although in recent years all the conditions of the lives of these people have changed, stories such as these may still be heard, if one can gain the confidence of the aged men and women who yet retain this legendary lore. In somewhat different form, the Bluejay Stories, in the original tongue, may be found in the Chinook Texts, collected by that eminent ethnologist, Dr. Franz Boas, whose studies of American tribes have yielded such important and valuable results.

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