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Title: Myths and Legends of Alaska
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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             OF ALASKA



  Author of "Myths and Legends of
    the Pacific Northwest," and
  "Montana, 'The Land of Shining



        A. C. McCLURG & CO.

        A. C. McCLURG & CO.

     Published September, 1911

    W. F. Hall Printing Company

  [Illustration: Tlingit Indians in Dancing Costume]


      Especially of Washington and Oregon.
      _With 50 full-page illustrations. Small 4to._
        _$1.50 net._

    MONTANA: "The Land of Shining Mountains."
      _Illustrated. Indexed. Square 8vo._
        _75 cents net._

    A. C. McCLURG & CO., Publishers


Long ago, even before the days of the animal people, the world was
only a great ocean wherein was no land nor any living thing except a
great Bird. The Bird, after a long, long time, flew down to the
surface of the water and dipped his great black wings into the flood.
The earth arose out of the waters. So began the creation. While the
land was still soft, the first man burst from the pod of the beach pea
and looked out upon the endless plain behind him and the gray salt sea
before him. He was the only man. Then Raven appeared to him and the
creation of other beings began. Raven made also animals for food and
clothing. Later, because the earth plain was so bare, he planted trees
and shrubs and grass and set the green things to growing.

With creation by a Great Spirit, there came dangers from evil spirits.
Such spirits carried away the sun and moon, and hung them to the
rafters of the dome-shaped Alaskan huts. The world became cold and
cheerless, and in the Land of Darkness white skins became blackened by
contact with the darkness. So it became necessary to search for the
sun and hang it again in the dome-shaped sky above them. Darkness in
the Land of Long Night was the cause, through magic, of the bitter
winds of winter--winds which came down from the North, bringing with
them ice and cold and snow. This was the work of some Great Spirit
which had loosened the side of the gray cloud-tent under which they
lived, letting in the bitter winds of another world. Spirits blow the
mists over the cold north sea so that canoes lose sight of their
home-land. Spirits also drive the ice floes, with their fishermen, far
over the horizon of ocean, into the still colder North. Spirits govern
the run of the salmon, the catching of whales, and all the life of the
people of the North who wage such a terrific struggle for existence.

So there must needs be those who have power over the evil spirits,
those who by incantations and charms of magic, by ceremonial dancing
in symbolic dress, can control the designs of those who work ever
against these children of the North. Thus there arose the shamans with
all their ceremonies.

The myths in this volume are authentic. The original collections were
made by government ethnologists, by whose permission this compilation
is made. And no effort has been made, in the telling of them, to
change them from the terse directness of the natives. The language of
all Indian tribes is very simple, and to the extent that an effort is
made to put myths and legends into more polished form, to that extent
is their authenticity impaired.

Only the quaintest and purest of the myths have been selected. Many
Alaskan myths are very long and tiresome, rambling from one subject to
another, besides revealing low moral conditions. These have been
omitted, as have also those which deal with the intermarriage of men
and birds, and men and animals. Such myths are better left among
government documents where they can be readily consulted by those
making a special study of the subject. They are hardly suitable for
any collection intended for general reading. The leading myth of the
North, however, the Raven Myth, is given with a fair degree of
completeness. It would not be possible, nor would it be wise, to
attempt a compilation of all the fragments of this extensive myth.

Especial thanks are due to Dr. Franz Boas for the Tsetsaut and
Tsimshian myths, to John R. Swanton for the Tlingit myths, to Edward
Russell Nelson for the Eskimo myths, to Ferdinand Schnitter, and to
others. Thanks are also due for courtesies in securing photographs to
Mr. B. B. Dobbs and particularly to Mr. Clarence L. Andrews, both of
whom have spent many years in Alaska.

                                                    K. B. J.

    _University of Washington,
       Seattle, Washington
           July, 1911._


  The Raven Myth                   _Eskimo_ (_Bering Straits_)      17

  The Flood                        _Tlingit_ (_Wrangell_)           33

  The Origin of the Tides          _Tsetsaut_                       37

  How the Rivers were Formed       _Tlingit_ (_Wrangell_)           39

  The Origin of Fire               _Tlingit_                        40

  Duration of Winter               _Tlingit_ (_Wrangell_)           41

  Raven's Feast                    _Tlingit_                        42

  Creation of the Porcupine        _Tlingit_                        44

  How Raven Taught the Chilkats    _Tlingit_ (_Wrangell_)           45

  Raven's Marriage                 _Eskimo_ (_Bering Straits_)      46

  Raven and the Seals              _Tsimshian_                      51

  Raven and Pitch                  _Tsimshian_                      53

  Raven's Dancing Blanket          _Tsimshian_                      55

  Raven and the Gulls              _Tsimshian_                      56

  The Land Otter                   _Tlingit_ (_Wrangell_)           57

  Raven and Coot                   _Athapascan_ (_Upper Yukon_)     58

  Raven and Marmot                 _Eskimo_ (_Bering Strait_)       59

  The Bringing of the Light
    by Raven                       _Eskimo_ (_Lower Yukon_)         61

  Daylight on the Nass River       _Tlingit_ (_Wrangell_)           65

  The Naming of the Birds          _Tlingit_ (_Wrangell_)           67

  The Origin of the Winds          _Tlingit_                        70

  Duration of Life                 _Tlingit_ (_Wrangell_)           71

  Ghost Town                       _Tlingit_ (_Wrangell_)           72

  How Raven Stole the Lake         _Haida_ (_Queen Charlotte
                                         Islands_)                  73

  The Killer Whale                 _Haida_                          75

  Origin of the Chilkat Blanket    _Tsimshian_                      77

  Origin of Land and People        _Eskimo_ (_Lower Yukon_)         80

  Creation of the World            _Athapascan_ (_Upper Yukon_)     81

  Origin of Mankind                _Eskimo_ (_Bering Straits_)      82

  The First Woman                  _Eskimo_ (_Bering Straits_)      83

  The First Tears                  _Eskimo_ (_Bering Straits_)      85

  Origin of the Winds              _Eskimo_ (_Lower Yukon_)         87

  Origin of the Wind               _Athapascan_ (_Upper Yukon_)     91

  North Wind                       _Tlingit_ (_Wrangell_)           92

  East Wind and North Wind         _Tlingit_                        93

  Creation of the Killer Whale     _Tlingit_                        94

  Future Life                      _Tlingit_ (_Wrangell_)           96

  The Land of the Dead             _Eskimo_ (_Lower Yukon_)         97

  The Ghost Land                   _Tlingit_                       100

  The Sky Country                  _Tlingit_                       103

  The Lost Light                   _Eskimo_ (_Port Clarence_)      105

  The Chief in the Moon            _Eskimo_ (_Bering Straits_)     109

  The Boy in the Moon              _Eskimo_ (_Lower Yukon_)        110

  The Boy in the Moon              _Athapascan_ (_Upper Yukon_)    112

  The Meteor(?)                    _Tsetsaut_                      113

  Sleep House                      _Tlingit_                       114

  Cradle Song                      _Koyukun_                       115

  Proverbs                         _Tsimshian_                     118

  How the Fox became Red           _Athapascan_                    119

  Beaver and Porcupine             _Tsimshian_                     120

  The Mark of the Marten           _Athapascan_ (_Upper Yukon_)    126

  The Wolves and the Deer          _Tsimshian_                     127

  The Camp Robber                  _Athapascan_ (_Upper Yukon_)    129

  The Circling of Cranes           _Eskimo_ (_Bering Straits_)     131

  The Last of the Thunderbirds     _Eskimo_ (_Lower Yukon_)        132

  How the Kiksadi Clan Came
    to Sitka                       _Tlingit_                       135

  Origin of the Grizzly Bear
    Crest                          _Tlingit_                       137

  Origin of the Frog Crest         _Tlingit_                       138

  Origin of the Beaver Crest       _Tlingit_                       139

  Origin of the Killer Whale
    Crest                          _Tlingit_                       140

  The Discontented Grass Plant     _Eskimo_ (_Bering Straits_)     142

  The Wind People                  _Koryak_ (_Siberia_)            147

  Tricks of the Fox                _Koryak_ (_Siberia_)            148


    Tlingit Indians in Dancing Costume                  _Frontispiece_

    Reindeer on the Tundra                                          20

    "Raven taught them how to build houses of driftwood and
      bushes, covered with earth"                                   21

    "The next morning the baby was a big boy"                       24

    "The clay became a beautiful girl"                              25

    Ivory Pipe Stems                                                28

    Kayak Man Casting a Bird Spear                                  29

    Eskimo Woman from Cape Prince of Wales                          34

    Fur Parkas Worn by Eskimo Women                                 35

    Reflection of Mountain Peaks                                    38

    "So the smoke-hole spirits held Raven until the smoke
      blackened his white coat"                                     39

    Pine Falls, Atlin                                               42

    Elk Falls                                                       43

    Porcupine                                                       44

    "Raven showed the people how to make canoes out of skins"       45

    Shoup's Glacier, Valdez                                         48

    Birdseye View of Valdez                                         49

    Masks                                                           52

    Dolls                                                           53

    Eskimo Boys                                                     58

    "Marmot put out the tip of his nose"                            59

    Ice Hummocks on Bering Sea                                      62

    Snow Shovel, Pick, Rake, and Maul                               63

    Eskimo in Waterproof Coat Made of Walrus Intestines             66

    "Raven said to Grouse, 'You know that Sea-lion is your
      grandchild'"                                                  67

    Figurehead on Indian Canoe                                      68

    "Raven said to Crow, 'You will make lots of noise. You
      will be great talkers'"                                       69

    "Raven said to North Wind, 'Your back is white.'" (On the
      Road to Fairbanks)                                            70

    Old Russian Blockhouse, at Sitka                                71

    "Raven unrolled the lake there. There it lay"                   74

    "The man-spirit was inside the Skana"                           75

    A Chilkat Blanket                                               78

    Alaskan Baskets                                                 79

    Keystone Canyon                                                 80

    The "S" Glacier                                                 81

    The Yukon, Taken at Midnight in June                            84

    Islands in Sitka Sound                                          85

    Tool and Trinket Boxes                                          88

    Spoons and Ladles                                               89

    Skagway River, from Porcupine Hill                              92

    Middle Lake and Bridge on the '97 Trail                         93

    Face of Davidson Glacier                                        96

    "The Land of the Dead"--Graveyard at Rasboinsky                 97

    Perry Island, Bogosloff Group, Newly Risen from the Sea        100

    "The end of the Death Trail"                                   101

    Walrus Tusks                                                   106

    A Shaman                                                       107

    Box Canyon, on White Pass and Yukon Route                      110

    Near Valdez Narrows                                            111

    Frozen Waterfall                                               114

    "The wind blows over the Yukon"                                115

    Travellers over the Chilkoot Pass (1891) after the
      Discovery of Gold                                            118

    Looking down Cut-off Canyon from below White Pass Summit       119

    Dog Team with Record of 412 Miles in 72 Hours                  122

    Siberian Husky                                                 123

    Totem Poles                                                    126

    Laplanders Milking Reindeer, near Port Clarence                127

    View of Skagway                                                130

    Bering Sea, near Nome                                          131

    View of Eldorado                                               136

    Scene on the White Pass and Yukon Route                        137

    Alaska Cotton on the Tundra, near Nome                         142

    A Crested Hat                                                  143



_Eskimo_ (_Bering Straits_)

It was in the time when there were no people on the earth plain. The
first man for four days lay coiled up in the pod of the beach pea. On
the fifth day he stretched out his feet and burst the pod. He fell to
the ground and when he stood up he was a full-grown man. Man looked
all around him and then at himself. He moved his hands and arms, his
neck and legs. When he looked back he saw, still hanging to the vine,
the pod of the beach pea, with a hole in the lower end out of which he
had dropped. When he looked about him again, he saw that he was
getting farther from his starting place. The ground seemed to move up
and down under his feet, and it was very soft. After a while he had a
strange feeling in his stomach, so he stooped down to drink some water
from a small pool at his feet. Then he felt better.

When Man looked up again he saw coming toward him, with a fluttering
motion, something dark. He watched the dark thing until it stopped
just in front of him. It was Raven.

As soon as Raven stopped, he raised one of his wings and pushed up his
beak, as though it were a mask, to the top of his head. Thus Raven
changed at once into a man. Raven stared hard at Man, moving from side
to side to see him better.

Raven said, "What are you? Where did you come from? I have never seen
anything like you."

Raven still stared at Man, surprised to find this new thing so much
like himself. He made Man walk around a little, while he perked his
head from side to side to see him better. Then Raven said again, in
astonishment, "Where did you come from? I have never seen anything
like you before."

Man said, "I came from the pea pod." He pointed to the plant from
which he came.

"Ah, I made that vine," said Raven. "But I did not know that anything
like you would come from it. Come with me to the high ground over
there; it is thicker and harder. This ground I made later and it is
soft and thin."

So Man and Raven walked to the higher ground which was firm and hard.
Raven asked Man if he had eaten anything. Man said he had taken some
of the soft stuff from one of the pools.

"Ah, you drank some water," said Raven. "Now wait for me here."

Raven drew down his beak, as though it were a mask, over his face. He
at once became a bird and flew far up into the sky--far out of sight.
Man waited until the fourth day. Then Raven returned bringing four
berries in his claws. He pushed up his beak and so became a man again.
Then he gave to Man two salmon berries and two heath berries, saying,
"Here is something I made for you to eat. I wish them to be plentiful
on the earth. Eat them."

Man put the berries into his mouth, one after the other, and ate them.
Then he felt better. Then Raven left Man near a small creek while he
went to the edge of the water. He took two pieces of clay at the
water's edge, and shaped them like a pair of mountain sheep. He held
them in his hand until they were dry, and then he called Man to come
and see them. Man said they were pretty, so Raven told him to close
his eyes. Man closed his eyes tightly. Then Raven pulled down his
beak-mask, and waved his wings four times over the pieces of clay. At
once they bounded away as full-grown mountain sheep. Raven told Man to

Man was so much pleased that Raven said, "If these animals are
plentiful, perhaps people will try to kill them."

Man said, "Yes."

Then Raven said, "Well, it will be better for them to live among the
steep rocks so every one cannot kill them. There only shall they be

Raven took two more pieces of clay and shaped them like tame reindeer.
He held them in his hand until they were partly dry, then told Man to
look at them. Raven again drew down his beak-mask and waved his wings
four times over them. Thus they became alive, but as they were only
dry in spots while Raven held them, therefore they remained brown and
white, with mottled coat. Raven told Man these tame reindeer would be
very few in number.

Again Raven took two pieces of clay and shaped them like the caribou
or wild reindeer. But he held them in his hands only a little while so
that only the bellies of the reindeer became dry and white. Then Raven
drew down his beak-mask, and waved his wings over them, and they
bounded away. But because only their bellies were dry and white while
Raven held them, therefore the wild reindeer is brown except its white

Raven said to Man, "These animals will be very common. People will
kill many of them."

  [Illustration: Reindeer on the Tundra
    _Photograph by B. B. Dobbs_]

  [Illustration: "Raven taught them how to build houses of driftwood
      and bushes, covered with earth"]

Thus Raven began to create the animals.

Raven said one day to Man, "You are lonely by yourself. I will make
you a companion." He went to some white clay at a spot distant from
the clay of which he had made animals, and made of the clay a figure
almost like Man. Raven kept looking at Man while he shaped the figure.
Then he took fine water grass from the creek and fastened it on the
back of the head for hair. When the clay was shaped, Raven drew down
his beak-mask and waved his wings over it. The clay became a beautiful
girl. The girl was white and fair because Raven let the clay dry
entirely before he waved his wings over it.

Raven took the girl to Man. "There is a companion for you," he said.

Now in the days of the first people on the earth plain, there were no
mountains far or near. No rain ever fell and there were no winds. The
sun shone always very brightly.

Then Raven showed the first people on the earth plain how to sleep
warmly in the dry moss when they were tired. Raven himself drew down
his beak-mask and went to sleep like a bird.

When Raven awakened, he went back to the creek. Here he made two
sticklebacks, two graylings, and two blackfish. When these were
swimming about in the water, he called Man to see them. Man raised
his hand in surprise and the sticklebacks darted away. Raven told him
the graylings would be found in clear mountain streams, while the
sticklebacks would live along the coast, and that both would be good
for food.

Raven next made the shrewmouse. He said, "The shrewmouse will not be
good for food. It will prevent the earth plain from looking bare and

In this way Raven was busy several days, making birds and fishes and
animals. He showed each of them to Man and explained what they were
good for. Then Raven flew into the sky, far, far away, and was gone
four days. When he came back he brought a salmon to Man.

But Raven noticed that the ponds and lakes were silent and lonely, so
he made water bugs to flit upon the surface of the water. He also made
the beaver and the muskrat to live around the borders of the ponds.
Raven told Man that the beavers would live along the streams and build
strong houses, so Man must build a strong house also. Raven said the
beavers would be very cunning and only good hunters could catch them.
He also told Man how to catch the muskrat and how to use its skin for

Raven also made flies and mosquitoes and other insects to make the
earth plain more cheerful. At first mosquitoes were like flies; they
did not bite. One day Man killed a deer. After he had cut it up and
placed the fat on a bush, he fell asleep. When he awoke he found the
mosquitoes had eaten all of it. Then Man was very angry and scolded
the mosquitoes. He said, "Never eat meat again. Eat men." Before that
mosquitoes never bit people.

When the first baby came on the earth plain, Raven rubbed it all over
with white clay. He told Man it would grow into a man like himself.
The next morning the baby was a big boy. He ran around pulling up
grass and flowers that Raven had planted. By the third day the baby
was a full-grown man.

Then another baby was born on the earth plain. She was rubbed over
with the white clay. The next day the baby was a big girl, walking
around. On the third day she was a full-grown woman.

Now Raven began to be afraid that men would kill all the creatures he
had made. He was afraid they would kill them for food and clothing.
Therefore Raven went to a creek nearby. He took white clay and shaped
it like a bear. Then he waved his wings over it, and the clay became a
bear. But Raven jumped very quickly to one side when the bear became
alive because it looked fiercely around and growled. Then Raven showed
the bear to Man and told him to be careful. He said the bear was very
fierce and would tear him to pieces if he disturbed it.

Then Raven made the seals, and taught Man how to catch them. He also
taught Man how to make strong lines from sealskin, and snares for the

Then Raven went away to the place of the pea vine.

When he reached the pea vine he found three other men had just fallen
from the same pod that Man had fallen from. These men were looking
about them in wonder. Raven led them away from the pea vine, but in a
different direction from the first man. He brought them close to the
sea. Raven stayed with these three men a long time. He taught them how
to take wood from the bushes and small trees he planted in hollows and
sheltered places, and to make a fire drill, and also a bow. He made
many more plants and birds which like the seacoast, but he did not
make so many as in the land where Man lived. He taught these men how
to make bows and arrows, spears and nets, and how to use them; and
also how to capture the seals, which were now plentiful in the sea.
Then he taught them how to make kayaks, and how to build houses of
drift logs and of bushes, covered with earth. Then he made wives for
these men, and went back to Man.

  [Illustration: "The next morning the baby was a big boy"
    _Copyrighted by F. H. Nowell_]

  [Illustration: "The clay became a beautiful girl"
    _Courtesy "Alaska-Yukon Magazine"_]

When Raven reached the land where Man lived, he thought the earth
plain still looked bare. So, while the others slept, Raven planted
birch and spruce and cottonwood trees to grow in the low places. Then
he woke up the people, who were pleased with the trees.

Then Raven taught Man how to make fire with the fire drill, and to
place the spark of tinder in a bunch of dry grass and to wave it about
until it blazed, and then to put dry wood upon it. He showed them how
to roast fish on a stick, and how to make fish traps of splints and
willow bark, and how to dry salmon for winter use.

Where Man lived there was now a large village because the people did
everything as Raven told them, and therefore all the babies grew up in
three days. One day Raven came back and sat down by Man by the creek
and they talked of many things. Man asked Raven about the skyland. Man
wanted to see the skyland which Raven had made. Therefore Raven took
Man to the land in the sky.

Man found that the skyland was a very beautiful country, and that it
had a much better climate than his land. But the people who lived
there were very small. Their heads did not reach to Man's hips. The
people wore fur clothing, with beautiful patterns, such as people on
earth now wear, because Man showed his people how to make them. In the
lakes were strange animals which would have killed Man if he had tried
to drink of the water. In a dry lake bed, thickly covered with tall
grass, Man saw a wonderful animal resting upon the tips of the
grasses. It had a long head and six legs. It had fine, thick hair, and
on the back of the head were two thick, short horns which bent forward
and then curved back at the tips. Raven told Man it took many people
to kill this animal.

Then they came to a round hole in the sky and around the edge of the
hole was short grass, glowing like fire. Raven said, "This is the star
called the moon-dog." Some of the grass had been pulled up. Raven said
he had taken some to start the first fire on earth.

Then Raven said to Man, "Shut your eyes. I will take you to another
country." Man climbed upon Raven's back and they dropped down through
the star hole. They floated a long, long time through the air, then
they floated through something else. When they stopped Raven saw he
was at the bottom of the sea. Man could breathe there, but it seemed
foggy. Raven said that was the appearance of the water. Then Raven
said, "I want to make some new animals here; but you must not walk
about. You lie down and if you get tired, turn over on the other

Man went to sleep lying on one side, and slept a long while. When he
waked up, he wanted to turn over, but he could not. Then Man thought,
"I wish I could turn over," and at once he turned. As he turned, he
was surprised to see that his body was covered with long, white hairs;
and his fingers were long claws. Then he went to sleep again. This he
did three times more. Then when he woke up, Raven stood by him. Raven
said, "I have changed you into a white bear. How do you like it?" Man
could not make a sound until Raven waved his wings over him. Then he
said he did not like it; if he was a bear he would have to live on the
sea, while his son lived on land; so Man should feel badly. Then Raven
struck the white skin with his wings and it fell off. So Man became
himself again. But Raven took the empty bearskin, and placed one of
his own tail feathers inside it for a spine. Then he waved his wing
over it, and a white bear arose. Ever since then white bears have been
found on the frozen sea.

Raven said, "How many times did you turn over?"

Man said, "Four."

Raven said, "You slept just four years."

Then Raven made other animals. He made the a-mi-kuk, a large, slimy
animal, with thick skin, and with four long, wide-spreading arms. This
is a fierce animal and lives in the sea. It wraps its four long arms
around a man or a kayak and drags it under the water. A man cannot
escape it. If he climbs out of his kayak on the ice, the a-mi-kuk
will dart underneath and break the ice. If Man runs away on shore, the
a-mi-kuk pursues him by burrowing through the earth. No man can escape
from it when once it pursues him.

Then Raven showed Man the walrus, and the dog walrus, with head and
teeth like a dog. It always swam with large herds of walrus and with a
stroke of its tail could kill a man. He showed him whales and the
grampus. Raven told Man that only good hunters could kill a whale, but
when one was killed an entire village could feast on it. He showed him
also the sea fox, which is so fierce it kills men; and the sea otter,
which is like the land otter but has finer fur, tipped with white, and
other fishes and animals as they rose to the surface of the water.

Then Raven said, "Close your eyes. Hold fast to me."

Then Man found himself on the shore near his home. The village was
very large. His wife was very old and his son was an old man. The
people gave him place of honor in the kashim, and made him their
headsman. So Man taught the young men many things.

Now Man wanted again to see the skyland, so Raven and Man went up
among the dwarf people and lived there a long time. But on earth the
village grew very large; the men killed many animals.

  [Illustration: Ivory Pipe Stems
    _From photograph loaned by the Smithsonian Institution_]

  [Illustration: Kayak Man Casting a Bird Spear
    _From drawing loaned by the Smithsonian Institution_]

Now in those days, the sun shone always very brightly. No rain ever
fell and no winds blew.

Man and Raven were angry because the people killed many animals. They
took a long line and a grass basket, one night, and caught ten
reindeer which they put into the basket. Now in those days reindeer
had sharp teeth, like dogs. The next night Raven took the reindeer and
let them down on the earth close to Man's village. Raven said, "Break
down the first house you see and kill the people. Men are becoming too
many." The reindeer did as Raven commanded. They stamped on the house
and broke it down. They ate up the people with their sharp, wolf-like
teeth. The next night, Raven let the reindeer down; again they broke
down a house and ate up the people with their sharp teeth.

The village people were much frightened. The third night they covered
the third house with a mixture of deer fat and berries. On the third
night when the reindeer began to tear down the third house, their
mouths were filled with the fat and sour berries. Then the reindeer
ran away, shaking their heads so violently that all their long, sharp
teeth fell out. Ever since then reindeer have had small teeth and
cannot harm people.

After the reindeer ran away, Raven and Man returned to the skyland.
Man said, "If the people do not stop killing so many animals, they
will kill everything you have made. It would be better to take the sun
away from them. Then it will be dark and people will die."

Raven said, "That is right. You stay here. I will go and take away the

So Raven went away and took the sun out of the sky. He put it in a
skin bag and carried it far away, to a distant part of the skyland.
Then it became dark on earth.

The people on earth were frightened when the sun vanished. They
offered Raven presents of food and furs if he would bring back the
sun. Raven said, "No." After a while Raven felt sorry for them, so he
let them have a little light. He held up the sun in one hand for two
days so people could hunt and secure food. Then he put the sun in the
skin bag again and the earth was dark. Then, after a long time, when
the people made him many gifts, he would let them have a little light

Now Raven had a brother living in the village. He was sorry for the
earth people. So Raven's brother thought a long time. Then he died.
The people put him in a grave box and had a burial feast. Then they
left the grave box. At once Raven's brother slipped out of the box
and went away from the village. He hid his raven mask and coat in a
tree. Soon Raven's wife came for water. When she took up a dipperful
to drink, Raven's brother, by magic, became a small leaf. He fell into
the water and Raven's wife swallowed him. . . . .

When Raven-Boy was born he grew very rapidly. He was running about
when he was only a few days old. He cried for the sun which was in the
skin bag, hanging on the rafters. Raven was fond of the boy so he let
him play with the sun; yet he was afraid Raven-Boy would lose the sun,
so he watched him. When Raven-Boy began to play out of doors, he cried
and begged for the sun. Raven said, "No." Then Raven-Boy cried more
than ever. At last Raven gave him the sun in the house. Raven-Boy
played with it a long while. When no one was looking, he ran quickly
out of the house. He ran to the tree, put on his raven mask and coat,
and flew far away with the sun in the skin bag. When Raven-Boy was far
up in the sky, he heard Raven call, "Do not hide the sun. Let it out
of the bag. Do not keep it always dark." Raven thought the boy had
stolen it for himself.

Raven-Boy flew to the place where the sun belonged. He tore off the
skin covering and put the sun in its place. Then he saw a broad path
leading far away. He followed it to the side of a hole fringed with
short, bright grass. He remembered that Raven had said, "Do not keep
it always dark," therefore he made the sky turn, with all the stars
and the sun. Thus it is now sometimes dark and sometimes light.

Raven-Boy picked some of the short, bright grass by the edge of the
sky hole and stuck it into the sky. This is the morning star.

Raven-Boy went down to the earth. The people were glad to see him.
They said, "What has become of Man who went into the skyland with
Raven?" Now this was the first time that Raven-Boy had heard of Man.
He started to fly up into the sky, but he could get only a small
distance above the earth. When he found he could not get back to the
sky, Raven-Boy wandered to the second village, where lived the men who
had come from the pod of the beach pea. Raven-Boy there married a wife
and he had many children. But the children could not fly to the sky.
They had lost the magic power. Therefore the ravens now flutter over
the tundras like other birds.


_Tlingit_ (_Wrangell_)

Long, long ago, in the days of the animal people,
Raven-at-the-head-of-Nass became angry. He said, "Let rain pour down
all over the world. Let people die of starvation." At once it became
so stormy people could not get food, so they began to starve. Their
canoes were also broken up, their houses fell in upon them, and they
suffered very much. Then Nas-ca-ki-yel, Raven-at-the-head-of-Nass,
asked for his jointed dance hat. When he put it on water began pouring
out of the top of it. It is from Raven that the Indians obtained this
kind of a hat.

When the water rose to the house floor, Raven and his mother climbed
upon the lowest retaining timber. This house we are speaking of,
although it looked like a house to them, was really part of the world.
It had eight rows of retaining timbers.

When Raven and his mother climbed to a higher timber, the people of
the world were climbing into the hills. Then Raven and his mother
climbed to the fourth timber; by that time the water was half-way up
the mountains. When the house was nearly full of water, Raven's mother
got into the skin of a cax. To this very day Tlingits do not eat the
cax because it was Raven's mother. Then Raven got into the skin of a
white bird with copper-colored bill. Now the cax is a diver and stayed
upon the surface of the water. But Raven flew to the very highest
cloud and hung there by his bill. But his tail was in the water.

After Raven had hung in the cloud for days and days--nobody knows how
long--he pulled his bill out and prayed to fall on a piece of kelp. He
thought the water had gone down. When Raven fell upon the kelp and
flew away he found the waters just half-way down the mountains.

Raven flew around until he met a shark, which had been swimming around
with a long stick. Raven took the stick and climbed down it as a
ladder to the bottom of the ocean. But Raven had set Eagle to watch
the tide.

Raven wandered around the bottom of the ocean until he came to an old
woman. He said to her, "How cold I am after eating those sea urchins."
He repeated this over and over again.

  [Illustration: Eskimo Woman from Cape Prince of Wales
    _Copyrighted by F. H. Nowell_]

  [Illustration: Fur Parkas Worn by Eskimo Women
    _Copyrighted by F. H. Nowell_]

At last the woman said, "What low tide is this Raven talking
about?"[1] Raven did not answer. The woman kept repeating, "What
low tide are you talking about?"

    [1] In these Northern myths, questions and answers have no
    relation to each other. Such speeches are regarded as magic

Then Raven became angry. He said, "I will stick these sea urchins into
you if you don't keep quiet." At last he did so.

Then the woman began singing, "Don't, Raven! The tide will go down if
you don't stop."

But the water was receding, as Raven had told it to, in his magic
words. Raven asked Eagle, who was watching the tide, "How far down is
the tide now?"

"The tide is as far down as half a man."

"How far down is the tide?" he asked again.

"The tide is very low," said Eagle.

Then the old woman started her magic song again.

Raven said, "Let it get dry all around the world."

After a while, Eagle said, "The tide is very low now. You can hardly
see any water."

Raven said, "Let it get still drier."

At last everything was dry. This is the lowest tide there ever was.
All the salmon, and whales, and seals lay on the sands because the
water was so low. Then the people killed them for food. They had
enough food to last them a long time.

When the tide began to rise again, the people were frightened. They
feared there would be another flood, so they carried their food back a
long distance.

Afterward Raven returned to Nass River and found that people there
had not changed their ways. They were dancing and feasting. They asked
Raven to join them.



A long time ago, a man wandered down the Nass River. Wherever he
camped, he made rocks of curious shapes. Now his name was Qa, the
Raven. The Tlingit call him Yel.

Qa wandered all over the world. At last he travelled westward. Now at
that time the sea was always high.

In the middle of the world Qa discovered a rock in the sea. He built a
house under the rock. Then he made a hole through it and through the
earth and fitted a lid to it. Raven put a man in charge of the hole.
Twice a day he opens the lid and twice each day he closes it. When the
hole is open the water rushes down through it into the depths; then it
is ebb tide. When he closes the lid, the water rises again; then it is
flood tide.

Once upon a time, Tael, a Tlingit chief, while hunting sea otters was
carried out to Qa's rock by the tide. The current was so strong he
could not escape. When Tael was drawn toward the rock, he saw a few
small trees growing on it. Tael threw his canoe line over one of the
trees. Thus he escaped being carried down by the water into the hole
under the rock. After some time he heard a noise. The man was putting
the lid on the hole. Then the water began to rise. Tael paddled
rapidly away. He paddled away until the tide began to ebb again. Then
he fastened his canoe to a large stone nearby, and waited until flood
tide came again. Thus Tael escaped.

  [Illustration: Reflection of Mountain Peaks]

  [Illustration: "So the smoke-hole spirits held Raven until the smoke
      blackened his white coat"]


_Tlingit_ (_Wrangell_)

Petrel was the first person created by Raven-at-the-head-of-Nass. He
was keeper of the fresh water. No one else might touch it. Now the
spring he owned was on a rocky island called Dekino, Fort-far-out,
where the well may still be seen. Raven stole a great mouthful of
water, but as he flew over the country drops spilled out of his beak.
These drops made the rivers: the Nass, Skeena, Stikine, and Chilkat.
Raven said, "The water that I drop down upon the earth, here and
there, will whirl all the time. There will be plenty of water, but it
will not flood the world."

Now before this time, Raven was pure white. But when he stole the
water from Petrel he tried to fly out of the smoke hole. Petrel cried,
"Spirits of the smoke hole, hold him fast." So the smoke-hole spirits
held Raven until the smoke blackened his white coat.



Long ago, in the days of the animal people, Raven saw a fire far out
at sea. He tied a piece of pitch to Chicken Hawk's bill. He said, "Go
out to the fire, touch it with the pitchwood, and bring it back."
Chicken Hawk did so. The fire stuck to the pitchwood and he brought it
back to Raven. Then Raven put the fire into the rock and into the red
cedar. Then he said, "Thus shall you get your fire--from this rock and
from this red cedar." The tribes did as he told them.


_Tlingit_ (_Wrangell_)

Once Raven went to Ground-hog's house for the winter. Now Ground-hogs
go into their holes in September. At home they live like people.
People to them are animals.

So Raven spent the winter with Ground-hog and became very tired of it.
But he could not get out. Ground-hog enjoyed himself, but Raven acted
like a prisoner. Raven kept shouting, "Winter comes on. Winter comes
on." Raven thought that Ground-hog had power to shorten the winter.

Now at that time, Ground-hog had to stay in his hole for six months;
at that time, Ground-hog had six toes, one for each month of winter.
Then Raven pulled one toe off each foot, so that the winter would be
shorter. That is why the Ground-hog now has but five toes.



Raven's mother died, so he gave a great feast, but first he went to
the Ground-hog people to get food. Now the Ground-hog people know when
slides descend from the mountains, and they know that spring is then
near at hand, so they throw all of their winter food out of their
burrows. Raven wanted them to do this. He said, "There is going to be
a world snowslide." Ground-hog chief answered, "Well, nobody in this
town knows about it."

In the spring when the snowslides did come, the Ground-hogs threw out
all their green herbs, and their roots from their burrows.

Therefore Raven said to the people, "I am going to have a feast. I am
going to invite the whole world." Raven was going to invite every one
because he had heard that the Gonaqadet had a Chilkat blanket and a
Chilkat hat and he wanted to see them.[2] First he invited the
Gonaqadet and afterward the other chiefs of all the tribes in the
world. At the right time they came.

    [2] See myth, "Origin of the Chilkat Blanket."

  [Illustration: Pine Falls, Atlin]

  [Illustration: Elk Falls
    _Photograph by C. L. Andrews_]

When the Gonaqadet came in he had on his Chilkat hat with many crowns
and his Chilkat blanket, but he was surrounded by a fog. Inside of the
house, however, the fog melted away.

Because Raven had this feast, people now have to have feasts. Because
Raven had this burial feast, when a man is going to have a burial
feast he has a many-crowned hat carved on the top of the dead man's
grave post.



Raven went into the woods and set out to make porcupines. For quills
he took pieces of yellow cedar bark. These he set all the way up and
down the porcupine's back so that bears would be afraid of it. That is
why bears never eat porcupines. Raven said to the porcupine, "Whenever
any one comes near you, throw your tail about." That is why people are
afraid to go near a porcupine.

  [Illustration: Porcupine]

  [Illustration: "Raven showed the people how to make canoes out of


_Tlingit_ (_Wrangell_)

Raven taught the Chilkats that there were Athapascan Indians. He went
back into their country. So the Chilkat people to this day make their
money by going there. Raven also taught the Chilkats how to make
secret storehouses outside of their villages, and he taught them how
to put salmon into the storehouses and keep them frozen over winter.
That is how the Chilkats got their name, from _toil_, "storehouse,"
and _xat_, "salmon."

Raven also showed the Chilkats the first seeds of Indian tobacco and
taught them how to plant it. After the tobacco was grown, he dried it
and pounded it up with burned clam shells. The Chilkats made a great
deal of money by trading tobacco with the Athapascans.

Afterward Raven went beyond Copper River to Yukatat. There he showed
the people how to make canoes out of skins.


_Eskimo_ (_Bering Straits_)

After Raven had lived alone a long while, he decided to get married.
It was late in the fall and the birds were flying southward. So Raven
flew away in the path of the geese and birds on their way to
summerland. Raven stopped directly in the path.

Soon Raven saw a young goose coming near. He looked down at his feet
and called, "Who will marry me? I am a very nice man." The goose flew

Soon a black brant passed. Raven looked down at his feet and called,
"Who will marry me? I am a very nice man." The black brant flew on.
Raven looked after her. He said, "What kind of people are these? They
do not even stop to listen."

A duck came near. Raven hid his face and called, "Who will marry me? I
am a very nice man." The duck looked toward him, then flew on. Raven
said, "Ah, I came very near it then. I shall succeed this time."

Soon a whole family of white-front geese came along. There were the
parents, four brothers, and a sister. Raven called out, "Who wants to
marry me? I am a fine hunter. I am young and handsome." The geese
alighted just beyond him. Raven thought, "Now I will get a wife."

Raven saw near him a pretty white stone with a hole in it. He picked
it up, strung it on a long grass stem, and hung it about his neck.
Then he pushed up his beak so that it slid to the top of his head like
a mask; so he became a dark-colored young man. Then he walked up to
the geese. Each of the geese pushed up its bill in the same manner;
they became nice looking people. Raven liked the girl; he gave her the
stone, thus choosing her for his wife, and she hung it about her own
neck. Then all pushed down their bills again and became birds. So they
flew south toward the summerland.

The geese flapped their wings heavily and flew slowly. Raven, on
outspread wing, glided on ahead. The geese looked after him, saying,
"How light and graceful he is!"

When Raven became tired he said, "We had better stop early and look
for a place to sleep." Soon they were all asleep.

The next morning the geese were awake early. They wanted to be off.
Raven was sound asleep. Father Goose wakened him. He said, "We must
make haste. It will snow here soon. We cannot wait."

So the geese flapped their wings and flew slowly and heavily along.
Raven led the others with outspread wings. He was always above or
ahead of the others. They said, "See how light and graceful he is!"

Thus they travelled until they came to the seashore. They feasted upon
the berries on the bushes around it. Soon they were asleep.

Early the next morning the geese made ready to go without breakfast.
Raven was hungry but the geese would not wait. As they flapped their
wings and started, Father Goose said, "We will stop once on the way to
rest; then our next flight will bring us to the other shore." Raven
began to be afraid, but he was ashamed to say so.

The geese flapped their wings slowly and flew steadily, heavily along.
Raven, with outspread wings, glided ahead. After a long time Raven
began to fall behind. His wings ached. The geese flew steadily on.
Raven flapped heavily along, then glided on his outstretched wings.
But he grew more and more tired. He fell farther and farther behind.
At last the geese looked back. Father Goose said, "He must be tired. I
thought he was light and active. We will wait."

  [Illustration: Shoup's Glacier, Valdez]

  [Illustration: Birdseye View of Valdez]

The geese settled close together in the water. Raven flew slowly
up, gasping for breath. He sank down upon their backs. When Raven had
his breath again, he put his hand on his breast. He said, "I have an
arrow here from an old war. It pains me greatly. That is why I fell

After resting, the geese rose from the water. They flapped slowly
along. Raven flew with them. After a while, Raven began to fall
behind. He grew more and more tired. At last the geese looked back.
Father Goose said, "He must be tired. We will wait." So the geese sank
down together in the water, while Raven flew slowly up to them and
sank down upon their backs.

Raven said, "I have an arrowhead which pierced my heart in an old war.
That is why I fell behind." Raven's wife put her hand on his breast.
She could feel it beating like a hammer; she said she could not feel
an arrowhead.

So the geese rose again from the water. They flapped slowly along. But
Raven's wings were very tired. Before long he fell behind again. Again
the geese waited for him.

Then the Geese Brothers began to talk among themselves. They said, "We
do not believe he has an arrowhead in his heart. How could he live?"

Now this last time when they rested, they could see the far-off shore.
Father Goose said to Raven, "We will not wait for you again. We will
not rest again until we reach the shore."

So the geese rose from the water and flapped slowly along. Raven's
wings seemed very heavy. The geese flew nearer and nearer the shore;
but Raven flew nearer and nearer the waves. As he came close to the
water he shrieked to his wife, "Leave me the white stone. Throw the
white stone back to me." It was a magic stone. Thus Raven cried. Then
he sank down into the water, but the geese had reached the land.

Raven tried to rise from the water. His wings would not spread. Raven
drifted back and forth with the waves. The white caps of the surf
buried him. Only once in a while could he get his beak above the water
to breathe. Then a great wave cast him on the shore. Then he struggled
up the beach. He reached some bushes where he pushed up his beak. Thus
he became a small, dark-colored man. Then he took off his raven coat
and mask. He hung them on a bush to dry. Raven made a fire drill out
of dry wood and made a fire. Thus he dried himself.



As Raven travelled along, he came to a house where a man lived near
the edge of the water. Raven said to him, "I will be your friend."

The man said, "That is good."

Now the beach in front of the house was full of seals. Raven ate them
all during two nights. He ate all the seals in front of the house.
Then he was hungry again.

Raven killed the man. Then he used his canoe and harpoon. Raven used
those. He speared four seals. Then he returned to the shore. He took
the seals out of the canoe and began cutting wood. Then he built a
fire and placed stones in it in order to heat them. Afterward he put
the seals on a pile of hot stones. He cooked the four seals and
covered them with skunk cabbage leaves.

Raven then raised the cover and took out a seal. He ate it. Then he
stretched out his hand and took another seal.

Now there was Stump sitting nearby. Raven held the seal in his hands
and said to the stump, "Don't you envy me, Stump?" Then he went into
the woods. At once Stump arose and sat down on the hole in which the
seals were steaming. The seals were right under Stump. Then Raven
returned, carrying leaves of skunk cabbage. When he saw Stump sitting
on his seals, he cried. He was much troubled because he was hungry.
Then he took a stick and dug the ground. He cried all the time he was
digging. He found a little bit of meat and ate that. But he could not
do anything. He cried all the time because he was so hungry.

  [Illustration: Masks
    _From drawing loaned by the Smithsonian Institution_]

  [Illustration: Dolls
    _From drawing loaned by the Smithsonian Institution_]



Raven went travelling through the woods until he came to the house of
Little Pitch. Little Pitch was rich, and invited him in. When Raven
had eaten enough, he slept. When he awakened, he said they would go to
catch halibut.

Little Pitch was willing, but said, "It is not good for me to be out
after sunrise. I must return while it is still chilly. I shall have
enough by that time."

Raven said, "I shall do whatever you say, Chief."

Little Pitch said, "Well!"

Then they started for the fishing place. They fished all night. When
the sun rose Little Pitch wanted to go ashore.

Raven said, "I enjoy the fishing. Lie down in the bow of the canoe and
cover yourself with a mat."

Little Pitch did so. After a while Raven called, "Little Pitch!"

He answered, "Heh!"

After a while Raven called again, "Little Pitch!"

He answered again in a loud voice.

Again after some time, Raven called again, "Little Pitch!"

Then Little Pitch's answer was very weak because the sun was getting

Now Raven hauled up his line and paddled home. He pretended to paddle
hard, but he only put his paddles into the water edgewise. Again he
called, "Little Pitch!"

"Heh!" Little Pitch replied, but his voice was very weak. The sun was
getting still hotter. Then Raven knew that Little Pitch was melting.

Behold! Pitch came out and ran over the halibut in the boat. Therefore
the halibut is black on one side.

Then Raven took the pitch and mended his boat with it.



One day Raven put on the shaman's blanket of his grandfather. Then he
went away; he strayed off. He was very poor and he tore his dancing
blanket. Then he caught ravens. He used anything to kill the ravens.
Then he took the skins of the ravens and tied them together. Then he
walked about in them, dressed very well.

Now he saw a good shaman's blanket like the one he had before. He tore
his raven's blanket. He took the dancing blanket that hung before him.
Behold! it was not a shaman's blanket. It was only the lichens on a
tree. Now he saw it was only lichens. He sat down and wept. He took
his old raven's blanket and tied it together. Then once more he went
on, weeping with hunger.



Raven did another thing. He induced the olachen to come to Nass River.
He said to them, "Go up on both sides of the river." They did so. Then
Raven's canoe was quite full of fish. He had not used his rake, but
the whole shoal of olachen jumped into his canoe.

Then he camped at Crab-apple place. He clapped on the top of the
stone. Then very slippery became the top of that stone that the
olachen should not be lost. He put olachen on spits to roast them.

Raven called, "Little Gull!"

Then many gulls came. They ate all the olachen of Raven. They said,
"_Qana, qana, qana, qana!_" They talked much while they ate all the
olachen of Raven.

Then Raven was sad. Therefore he took the gulls and threw them into
the fireplace. So the tips of their wings have been black, ever since
that day.


_Tlingit_ (_Wrangell_)

Raven said to Land Otter, "You will live in the water just as well as
on land."

Raven and Land Otter were good friends, so they went halibut-fishing
together. Land Otter was a good fisherman. Raven said to Land Otter,
"You will always have your house on a point where there are breezes
from all sides. Whenever a canoe with people capsizes, you will save
the people and make them your friends." That is how the Land Otter Man
was created: because Raven told this to Land Otter.

If people who are taken away by Land Otters are brought back by their
friends, they become shamans. It was through the Land Otters that
shamans were first known. Shamans, by means of Land Otter spirits, can
see each other, even though others cannot.


_Athapascan_ (_Upper Yukon_)

A long time ago, Raven wanted all the birds to look well, so he
painted them. Raven painted Coot last. Then Coot began to paint Raven,
who wanted many bright colors. So Coot painted Raven with bright
colors with one hand, but in the other hand he hid charcoal. When
Raven looked away, Coot quickly blackened all the bright colors with
charcoal. Then Raven was angry and he chased Coot. But Coot ran too
quickly, so Raven threw white mud at him,--white mud which spattered
over Coot. Therefore Coot had white spots on his head and back. But
Coot flew away and left Raven all black.

  [Illustration: Eskimo Boys]

  [Illustration: "Marmot put out the tip of his nose"
    _Photograph by C. L. Andrews_]


_Eskimo_ (_Bering Straits_)

Once Raven was flying over a reef near the seashore, near seabirds
that were perched on the rocks. Seabirds cried to him, "Oh, you
offal-eater! Oh, you carrion-eater! Oh, you black one!" Raven turned
and flew far away crying, "_Qaq! qaq! qaq!_" He flew far away across
the great water until he came to a mountain on the other side.

Raven saw just in front of him the hole of Marmot. Then Raven stood by
the door watching, until Marmot came home, bringing food. But Marmot
could not enter his hole because Raven stood in the way. Marmot asked
Raven to stand to one side. Raven said, "No. They called me
'carrion-eater.' Now I will show them I am not. I will eat you."

Marmot said, "All right; but I have heard that you are a very fine
dancer. Now, if you will dance, I will sing. Then you can eat me, but
let me see you dance before you eat me."

Raven agreed to dance. Then Marmot sang,

    "Oh, Raven, Raven, Raven, how well you dance!
    Oh, Raven, Raven, Raven, how well you dance!"

Raven danced. Then they stopped to rest.

Marmot said, "I like your dancing. Now I will sing again, so shut your
eyes and dance your best."

So Raven shut his eyes and danced clumsily around. Marmot sang,

    "Oh, Raven, Raven, Raven, what a graceful dancer!
    Oh, Raven, Raven, Raven, what a fool you are!"

Because Marmot, with a quick run, had darted between Raven's legs and
was safe in his hole.

When Marmot was safe in his hole, he put out the tip of his nose and
mocked Raven. He said, "_Chi-kik-kik, chi-kik-kik, chi-kik-kik!_ You
are the greatest fool I ever saw. What a comical figure you cut when
dancing! I could hardly keep from laughing. Just look at me--see how
fat I am. Don't you wish you could eat me?"

Raven, in a rage, flew far away.


_Eskimo_ (_Lower Yukon_)

In the first days, the sun and moon were in the sky. Then the sun and
moon were taken away and people had only the light of the stars. Even
the magic of the shamans failed to bring back the light.

Now there was an orphan boy in the village who sat with the humble
people over the entrance way of the kashim. He was despised by every
one. When the magic of the shamans failed to bring back the sun and
moon into the sky the boy mocked them. He said, "What fine shamans you
must be. You cannot bring back the light, but I can." Then the shamans
were angry and beat that boy and drove him out of the kashim. Now this
boy was like any other boy until he put on a raven coat he had. Then
he became Raven.

Now the boy went to his aunt's house. He told her the shamans had
failed to bring back the light, and they had beaten him when he mocked
them. The boy said, "Where are the sun and moon?"

The aunt said, "I do not know."

The boy said, "I am sure you know. Look what a finely sewed coat you
wear. You could not sew it that way if you did not know where the
light is."

Thus they argued.

Then the aunt said, "If you wish to find the light, go far to the
south. Go on snowshoes. You will know the place when you get there."

The boy put on his snowshoes and set off toward the south. Many days
he travelled and the darkness was always the same. When he had gone a
very long way he saw far in front of him a ray of light. Then the boy
hurried on. As he went farther the light showed again, plainer than
before. Then it vanished for a time. Thus it kept appearing and

At last the boy came to a large hill. One side was brightly lighted;
the other side was black as night. Close to the hill was a hut. A man
was shovelling snow from in front of it. The man tossed the snow high
in the air; then the light could not be seen until the snow fell. Then
the man tossed the snow again. So the light kept appearing and
disappearing. Close to the house was a large ball of fire.

The boy stopped and began to plan how to steal the ball of light.

Then the boy walked up to the man. He said, "Why do you throw up the
snow? It hides the light from our village."

  [Illustration: Ice Hummocks on Bering Sea
    _Photograph by B. B. Dobbs_]

  [Illustration: Snow Shovel, Pick, Rake, and Maul
    _From photograph loaned by the Smithsonian Institution_]

The man said, "I am not hiding the light. I am cleaning away the
snow. Who are you? Where did you come from?"

The boy said, "It is so dark at our village I do not want to stay
there. I came here to live with you."

"All the time?" asked the man.

"Yes," said the boy.

The man said, "All right. Come into the house with me." Then he
dropped his shovel on the ground. He stooped down to lead the way
through the underground passage into the house. He let the curtain
fall in front of the door as he passed, because he thought the boy was
close beside him.

Then the boy caught up the ball of light. He put it in the turned-up
flap of his fur coat. Then he picked up the shovel and ran away toward
the north. He ran until his feet were tired. Then he put on his raven
coat and flew away. He flew rapidly to the north. Raven could hear the
man shriek behind him. The man was pursuing him. But Raven flew
faster. Then the man cried, "Keep the light; but give me my shovel."

Raven said, "No, you cannot have your shovel. You made our village
dark." So Raven flew faster.

Now as Raven flew, he broke off a little piece of the light. This made
day. Then he went on a long time in darkness, until he broke off
another piece of light. Thus it was day again. So as Raven flew to
the village he broke off the pieces of light. When Raven reached the
kashim of his own village he threw away the last piece. He went into
the kashim and said to the shamans, "I have brought back the light. It
will be light and then dark, so as to make day and night."

After this Raven went out upon the ice because his home was on the
seacoast. Then a great wind arose, and the ice drifted with him across
the sea to the land on the other side.

Thus Raven brought back the light. It is night and day, as he said it
would be. But sometimes the nights are very long because Raven
travelled a long way without throwing away a piece of the light.


_Tlingit_ (_Wrangell_)

When Raven had grown quite large he walked down the bank of the Nass
River one day, until he heard the noise people were making in the
darkness as they fished for olachen. Now all the people in the world
lived at one place on the Nass River. They had heard that
Raven-at-the-head-of-Nass had something called "daylight." They were
afraid of it and talked about it a great deal.

Raven shouted to the fishermen, "Why do you make so much noise? If you
make so much noise I will bring the daylight here."

Eight canoe-loads of people were fishing there. They said, "You are
not Nas-ca-ki-yel. You are not Raven-at-the-head-of-Nass. How can you
have the daylight?" They kept on making much noise.

Then Raven opened the box and daylight shot over the world like
lightning. They made still more noise. So Raven opened the box wide
and there was daylight everywhere.

Then the people were frightened. Some ran into the woods and some
jumped into the water. Those that had clothes of fur seal skins jumped
into the water; they became seals. Those which had clothing of bear
skins, marten skins, and wolf skins, ran into the woods and turned
into grizzly bears, martens, and wolves.

  [Illustration: Eskimo in Waterproof Coat made of Walrus Intestines
    _Copyrighted by F. H. Nowell_]

  [Illustration: "Raven said to Grouse, 'You know that Sea-lion is
      your grandchild'"]


_Tlingit_ (_Wrangell_)

Now Raven went around among the birds, teaching them. He said to
Grouse, "You are to live in a place where it is wintry. You will
always live in a place high up so you will have plenty of breezes."
Then Raven gave Grouse four white pebbles. He said, "You will never
starve so long as you have these four pebbles."

Raven also said to Grouse, "You know that Sea-lion is your grandchild.
You must get four more pebbles and give them to him." That is why the
sea-lion has four large pebbles. It throws these at hunters. If one
strikes a person, it kills him. From this story it is known that
Grouse and Sea-lion understand each other.

Raven said to Ptarmigan, "You will be the maker of snowshoes. You will
know how to travel in snow." It was from these birds that the
Athapascans learned how to make snowshoes, and how to put the lacings

Raven came next to Wild Canary, that lives all the year around in the
Tlingit country. He said, "You will be head among the very small
birds. You are not to live on the same food as human beings. Keep away
from them."

Then Raven said to Robin, "You will make people happy by your whistle.
You will be a good whistler."

Then Raven said to Kun, the Flicker, "You will be chief among the
birds of your size. You will not be found in all places. You will
seldom be seen."

Raven said to Lugan, a bird that lives far out on the ocean, "You will
seldom be seen near shore. You will live on lonely rocks, far out on
the ocean."

When Raven came to Snipes, he said, "You will always go in flocks. You
will never go out alone." Therefore we always see snipes in flocks.

Raven said to Asq-aca-tci, a small bird with yellow-green plumage,
"You will always go in flocks. You will always be on the tree tops.
That is where your food is."

Raven said to a very small bird, Kotlai, the size of a butterfly, "You
will be liked. You will be seen only to give good luck. People will
hear your voice, but seldom see you."

Then to Blue-jay Raven said, "You will have very fine clothes. You
will be a good talker. People will take colors from your clothes."

  [Illustration: Figurehead on Indian Canoe]

  [Illustration: "Raven said to Crow, 'You will make lots of noise.
      You will be great talkers'"]

Then Raven said to Xunkaha, "You will never be seen unless the
north wind is going to blow." That is what the name Xunkaha means.

To Crow, Raven said, "You will make lots of noise. You will be great
talkers." That is why, when you hear one crow, you hear a lot of
others right afterward.

Raven said to Gusyiadul, "You will be seen only when warm weather is
coming. Never come near except when warm weather is coming."

To Humming-bird Raven said, "People will enjoy seeing you. If a person
sees you once, he will want to see you again."

Raven said to Eagle, "You will be very powerful and above all birds.
Your eyesight will be very good. It will be easy for you to get what
you want." Then Raven put talons on the eagle and said they would be
useful to him.

Thus Raven taught all the birds.



Now Raven went off to a certain place and created West Wind. Raven
said to it, "You shall be my son's daughter. No matter how hard you
blow, you shall hurt nobody."

Raven also made South Wind. When South Wind climbs on top of a rock it
never ceases to blow.

Raven made North Wind and on top of a mountain he made a house for it
with ice hanging down the sides. Then he went in and said to North
Wind, "Your back is white." That is why mountains are white with snow.

  [Illustration: "Raven said to North Wind, 'Your back is white'" (On
      the Road to Fairbanks)]

  [Illustration: Old Russian Blockhouse, at Sitka
    _Photograph by C. L. Andrews_]


_Tlingit_ (_Wrangell_)

Raven-at-the-head-of-Nass tried to make human beings, at the same
time, out of a rock and out of a leaf. But he created human beings out
of the leaf first. Then Raven showed a leaf to people. He said, "You
see this leaf. You are to be like it. When it falls off the branch and
rots there is nothing left of it."

That is why there is death in the world. If men had come from the hard
rocks there would be no death. Years ago, when people were getting
old, they would say, "It is unlucky that we did not come from the
rock. We are made from leaves; therefore we must die."


_Tlingit_ (_Wrangell_)

Once Raven came to a large town which was deserted. Every one seemed
to have died. Raven entered the largest house, but he felt some one
continually pushing him away. Yet he saw no one there. It was a ghost
house. The place was called Ghost Town.

Raven then loaded a canoe with provisions from the empty houses and
started to paddle away. He did not notice that a long rope was
fastened to the stern of the canoe and to a tree on the shore. When
Raven had paddled the length of the rope, the canoe was pulled right
back to the beach. All the provisions were carried back to the houses.
Yet Raven could see no one. Then a ghost dropped a large stone on
Raven's foot. This made him very lame.


_Haida_ (_Queen Charlotte Islands_)

After Raven had made the crows black because they had eaten his
salmon--crows had always been white before that, they say--he met some
people with feathers on their heads and gambling-stick bags on their
backs. They said, "What is the matter?"

Raven said, "Oh, my father and mother are dead."

Then they started home with him. These were the Beavers, they say.
They were going out to gamble, but turned back on account of him.

The next morning they put their gambling-stick bags upon their backs
and started off again. Raven flew around behind a screen. Lo, a lake
lay there! In a creek flowing from it was a fish trap. The fish trap
was so full of salmon it looked as if some one were shaking it. There
were plenty of salmon in it and in the lake were very small canoes
passing each other. Several points of land were red with cranberries.

Raven pulled out the fish trap, folded it together, and laid it down
at the edge of the lake. Then he rolled it up with the lake and
house, put them under his arm, and pulled himself up into a tree that
stood close by. They were not heavy for his arm. He had rolled the
lake up just as though it were a blanket. Raven sat in the tree
half-way up.

After a while some one came. His house and the lake were not there.
After he had looked about him for some time, he looked up. Lo, there
sat Raven with their property!

Then the Beavers went quickly to that tree. They began cutting it with
their teeth. When it began to fall, Raven went to another one. When
that began to fall, he went to another. After the Beavers had cut down
many trees in this way, they gave it up. They then travelled about for
a long time, they say. After a long time, they found a lake and
settled down on it.

Then after Raven had travelled around for a while with the lake, he
came to a large open place. He unrolled the lake there. There it lay.
He did not let the fish trap or the house go. He kept them to teach
the Seaward (mainland) people and the Shoreward (Queen Charlotte
Islands) people, they say.

  [Illustration: "Raven unrolled the lake there. There it lay"]

  [Illustration: "The man-spirit was inside the Skana"]



A long time ago, a canoe-load of Indians were out seal-hunting. The
weather was calm and the sea was smooth. Then a killer whale kept near
the canoe and the young men threw stones at it. They hit the fin of
the killer whale with several stones. Then the whale went to the
beach. Soon the men in the canoe saw a smoke rising from the beach.
They went to see who was there. When they reached the shore, there was
not the Skana, the killer whale, but a man cooking some food.

The man said, "Why did you throw stones at my canoe? You have broken
it. Now go get cedar withes in the woods and mend it."

So the men mended the broken canoe. When they had finished, the man
said, "Turn your backs to the water. Cover your heads with your fur
robes. Don't look until I call you." They all did as he told them.
They heard the canoe grate on the beach as it was hauled down into the
water. Then the man said, "Look now."

They looked and there was the canoe in the water. But when the canoe
came to the second breaker, it went under. When it came to the
surface, behold!--there was no canoe. There was a Skana--a killer
whale. The man-spirit was inside the Skana.



    [3] Although the patterns of the Chilkat blankets vary, nearly
    all of them show, in symbolic weaving, the bear with his heart
    between his eyes, Gonaqadet the sea spirit, the boy, and the
    father of the chief's daughter. In some of them also, the raven
    and the thunderbird figure. Only the Indians can really
    interpret the various weavings, and their interpretations vary.

In the days of the animal people, long, long ago, all the animals were
divided into different tribes. In those days also, animals could take
off their furry skins; then they looked just like people.

Now in those days long ago, a group of women once went out to search
for wild celery in the early spring. They found it growing here and
there, and spent all day gathering it. Then they tied it in bundles
and started home with it on their backs.

Now among these women was the daughter of a chief. She picked twigs as
she followed in the trail in the evening light, and then slipped into
the footprints of a brown bear. The jolt loosened her pack. She
stopped to readjust her bundle of celery. She said sharp words about
bears. Then she hastened on to rejoin her companions who were already
lost in the dusk.

Suddenly the chief's daughter heard footsteps behind her. A handsome
young man joined her. Soon he asked her to be his wife. The chief's
daughter consented, so she went home with him. They walked far, far
into the woods until they came to Bear village. Then the chief's
daughter knew that her lover belonged to the Bear tribe.

After a while the chief's daughter became unhappy. She wanted to go
back to her father's home, but the Bear tribe watched her so she could
not escape.

One day chief's daughter reached the shore. Out on the water she saw a
fisherman in a boat, and she called to him to rescue her. The
fisherman touched his canoe with his killing club and in one bound it
sprang to the shore, just as the Bear and some of his tribe appeared.
The fisherman began to fight Bear, but he could not kill him. Then the
chief's daughter told him to strike Bear between the eyes, because his
heart was there. So Bear was killed.

The fisherman took the chief's daughter in his canoe. But behold!--he
was no fisherman at all. It was Gonaqadet, the spirit of the sea. So
the woman married Gonaqadet, who was very kind to her.

  [Illustration: A Chilkat Blanket]

  [Illustration: Alaskan Baskets
    _Copyrighted by F. H. Nowell_]

After a long while, the chief's daughter became unhappy again. She
wanted her son to be trained by her people, as the custom was. Then
Gonaqadet permitted her to return to earth with the boy, but he
made her promise that she would weave him a blanket telling of her
life and his courtship. So the woman returned to earth from the sea.
Then she wove for Gonaqadet the blanket. This was the first Chilkat

Now one day Yel, the Raven, wandering along the seashore, entered a
great cavern under the sea. There he found Gonaqadet, wearing a
beautiful Chilkat blanket. Gonaqadet welcomed Raven, and offered him
food. He placed food before him in two long carved platters. After
Raven had feasted, Gonaqadet taught him many dances and gave him a
copy of the blanket pattern. Then Raven taught the people how to weave
the blankets, but he taught the Tsimshian tribe first. Afterward the
Chilkats learned how to weave them.


_Eskimo_ (_Lower Yukon_)

In the beginning there was water over all the earth. There were no
people. It was very cold. The water was covered with ice, and the ice
pieces ground together, making long ridges and hummocks.

Then a man came from the other side of the great water and stopped on
the ice hills. He took for his wife a wolf. Then their children grew
up. Each pair spoke a different language from that of their parents,
or from that of their brothers and sisters. So each pair went out in a
different direction and built houses on the ice hills. Then the snow
melted and ran down the hillsides. It scooped out ravines and river
beds and made the earth. Thus the earth was made and the people. That
is why so many different languages are spoken.

  [Illustration: Keystone Canyon]

  [Illustration: The "S" Glacier
    _Photograph by C. L. Andrews_]


_Athapascan_ (_Upper Yukon_)

A long time ago, water flowed all over the world. There was one family
and they made a big raft. Then they put animals on the raft.

Now there was no land but all water, so the people wanted to make a
world. The man tied a cord around a beaver and sent him down to find
the bottom of the water. But the beaver got only half-way and drowned.
Then the man tied a string around a muskrat and sent him down. Muskrat
drowned, but he reached the bottom and got a little mud on his hands.
Then the man took the mud out of the muskrat's hands into his palm. He
let it dry and then crumbled it to dust. Then he blew the dust out of
his palm all over the waters. This made the world.


_Eskimo_ (_Bering Straits_)

Long, long ago, a man and a woman came down from the sky and landed on
one of the Diomede Islands. They lived there a long while, but they
had no children. At last one day the man took some walrus ivory, and
from this he carved five dolls, just like people. Then he took some
wood and made from it five more dolls. Then, one night, when all were
finished, he set them off to one side, all ten in a row. The next
morning the dolls had become people. The ivory dolls became men,
therefore they are brave and hardy; but the wooden dolls became women,
therefore they are soft and timid. From these ten dolls came all the
people of the Diomede Islands.


_Eskimo_ (_Bering Straits_)

Long, long ago there were many men living in the northland, but there
was no woman among them. Far away in the southland lived one woman. At
last one of the young men in the northland travelled south to the home
of the woman and married her. He thought, "I have a wife, while the
son of the headsman has none."

Now the son of the headsman had also started to travel to the home of
the woman in the southland. He stood in the passage to the house and
heard the husband talking to himself. So he waited until all the
people were asleep. Then the son of the headsman crept into the house
and began to drag the woman away. He caught her by her shoulders.

Then the husband was awakened. He ran to the passage and caught the
woman by her feet. So the men pulled until they pulled the woman in
two. The son of the headsman carried the upper part of her body to the
north. Then they began to carve wood to make each woman complete. Thus
there were now two women.

The woman in the south was a good dancer; but she could not do fine
needlework in sewing the furs, because her hands were wooden. The
woman in the north was a poor dancer, because her feet were wooden,
but she could sew with fine stitches in the furs. So all the women of
the north are skilful with their hands, and all the women of the south
are good dancers, even to this day. Thus you may know that the tale is

  [Illustration: The Yukon, Taken at Midnight in June
    _Photograph by C. L. Andrews_]

  [Illustration: Islands in Sitka Sound
    _Photograph by C. L. Andrews_]


_Eskimo_ (_Bering Straits_)

One day Man hunted for seals along the seashore. Many seals were
there, but as Man crept carefully up to them, they slipped into the
water. At last only one seal was left on the rocks. Man crept up to it
carefully, but just as he was about to catch the seal, it slipped into
the water.

Then Man stood up. His breast was full of a strange feeling. Water
began to drop from his eyes. He put up his hand and caught the drops;
thus he saw that they were really water. Then loud cries came from his
breast and more water came out of his eyes. Now Man's son saw him
coming. He called to his wife that Man was making a strange noise. So
they went down to the seashore. They were surprised to see water
coming out of his eyes. Then Man told them he had tried to catch
seals. He had crept carefully up, but they slipped into the water.
Thus all the seals had escaped. Then water began to come out of the
eyes of the son and his wife. Loud cries came from their breasts. In
this way people first learned to cry. Afterward, Man and his son
killed a seal; then they made snares for more seals from its skin.


_Eskimo_ (_Lower Yukon_)

A long time ago a man and his wife had no children. So one night the
man went out of the house to find a solitary tree that grew on the
tundra. First he saw a long track of bright light, like that made by
the moon shining on the snow. It led across the tundra. So far, far
along the trail of bright light travelled the man until he saw a
beautiful tree, all alone, shining in the bright light. He took out
his hunting knife, cut off part of the trunk, and went home again over
the bright trail.

When the man reached home, he carved a boy doll from the wood and his
wife made fur clothes for it. Then the man carved little wood dishes
from the scraps of wood. The wife set the doll on the bench opposite
the entrance, in the place of honor. She placed before it food and

That night, when all was dark, they heard low whistling sounds. The
woman said, "Do you hear that? It was the doll." When they made a
light, they saw that the doll had eaten the food and drunk the water.
They saw that its eyes moved.

In the morning, the doll was gone. The man and his wife could not find
it, but they saw the tracks of the boy doll leading away from the
door. The tracks followed the direction of the trail of light which
the man had followed the night before. So the man and his wife went
into the house.

But Doll followed the bright path until he came to the edge of day,
where the sky comes down to the earth. There were holes in the sky
wall covered with gut-skin.

In the east, Doll saw the gut-skin cover over the hole in the sky wall
bulging inward. Doll stopped and said, "It is very quiet in here. I
think a little wind will make it better." Doll drew his knife and cut
the cover loose about the edge of the hole. A strong wind blew
through, bringing with it a live reindeer. Looking through the hole,
Doll saw another world, just like the earth. Then he drew the cover
loosely over the hole, and said to East Wind, "Sometimes blow hard,
sometimes lightly. Sometimes do not blow at all."

Doll walked along the sky wall to another opening at the southeast.
The gut-skin cover bulged inward. Then Doll cut the cover loose at the
edges, and a great gale swept in. It brought reindeer, trees, and
bushes. Then Doll fastened the cover lightly and said, "Sometimes
blow hard, sometimes lightly. Sometimes do not blow at all."

  [Illustration: Tool and Trinket Boxes
    _From photograph loaned by the Smithsonian Institution_]

  [Illustration: Spoons and Ladles
    _From photograph loaned by the Smithsonian Institution_]

Then Doll came to a hole in the south, and the gut-skin cover bulged
inward. He cut the edges loose and a hot wind rushed in. It brought
rain, and spray from the great salt sea which lay beyond the sky hole
on that side. Then Doll closed the opening lightly and said to South
Wind, "Sometimes blow hard, sometimes lightly. Sometimes do not blow
at all."

Doll walked along the sky wall to the west. There he saw another
opening, covered by gut-skin. So he cut the edges loose, and West Wind
swept in, bringing with him rain, with sleet and spray from the gray
ocean. Then Doll fastened the edges of the gut-skin loosely, and said
to West Wind, "Sometimes blow hard, sometimes lightly. Sometimes do
not blow at all."

So Doll passed along the sky wall to the northwest. When he cut the
edges of the gut-skin covering, a blast of cold wind rushed in,
bringing snow and ice. Doll became cold; he almost froze. Therefore
Doll closed the hole quickly, saying, "Sometimes blow hard, sometimes
lightly. Sometimes do not blow at all."

Again Doll went along the sky wall to the north, but it became so cold
he had to leave it. So he went toward the centre of the earth, away
from the sky wall, until he saw the opening to the north. Then he went
to the hole in the sky wall, but so great was the cold that Doll
feared to cut the strings. He waited. Then he cut the strings quickly.
The terrible North Wind swept in, bringing with him great masses of
snow and ice. North Wind strewed the snow and ice all over the earth
plain. Then Doll closed the hole very quickly, yet he fastened it
loosely. He said to North Wind, "Sometimes blow hard, sometimes
lightly. Sometimes do not blow at all."

Then Doll travelled into the midst of the earth plain. He looked up
and saw the sky arch, resting upon long, slender poles, like a tepee,
but of beautiful blue material. Then Doll went back to the village
where he was made.


_Athapascan_ (_Upper Yukon_)

A long time ago, when all were men, there was no wind. Now Bear used
to go about with a bag on his back. The animal people wanted to know
what was in the bag. Many times they asked Bear but he would not tell
them. One day Bear fell asleep with the bag on his back. Then a man
saw him asleep. The man cut the bag and found the wind in it.
Therefore the wind escaped and has never since been caught.


_Tlingit_ (_Wrangell_)

After Raven left the Land Otters, he came to Taku. There North Wind
lived in a cliff at the mouth of the inlet. Raven stayed there with

Now North Wind is very proud and shines all over with what the Indians
think are icicles. So the Indians never say anything against North
Wind, no matter how long it blows, because the spirits give it power.
Years ago people thought that there were spirits in all the large
cliffs upon the islands and would pray to those cliffs. This was
because Raven once lived in this cliff with North Wind.

  [Illustration: Skagway River, from Porcupine Hill]

  [Illustration: Middle Lake and Bridge on the '97 Trail
    _Copyrighted by C. L. Andrews_]



A high-caste man married first the daughter of East Wind. When he
heard of the pretty daughter of North Wind he married her also. He
took her back to the village where his first wife lived.

Then people said to the daughter of East Wind, "There is a pretty
woman here. Her clothes sparkle all over. They make a tingling noise."

The daughter of East Wind was very jealous. She made the east wind to
blow. It began to grow warm and cloudy. Then the daughter of North
Wind lost all her sparkling clothing. The icicles and the frost melted
away. Then the daughter of North Wind was no longer beautiful.



A man named Natsayane, belonging to the Seal People, made the killer
whales. He first tried to carve them out of red cedar, then out of the
hemlock, and then out of all other kinds of woods. He took each set of
figures to the beach and tried to make them swim; but they only
floated on the surface. Last of all he tried yellow cedar. Then the
killer whales swam.

Natsayane on one marked white lines from the corners of its mouth back
to its head. He said, "This is going to be the white-mouthed killer

When Natsayane put them into the water, he said, "Go up into the
inlets. Go up into the head of the bays. Hunt for seal, for halibut,
and for things under the sea. Do not hurt human beings." Before this
people did not know what a killer whale was.

When the Killer whale tribe start north, the Seal People say, "Here
comes another battle. Here come the warriors." They say this because
the killer whales are always after seals. The killer whale which
always swims ahead is the red killer whale, called the "killer whale
spear" because it is long and slender.


_Tlingit_ (_Wrangell_)

After Raven had created people, a man died. Raven came into his house
and saw his wife and children weeping around him. Raven raised with
both hands the blanket of the dead man and held it over his body. So
he brought him back to life.

Now Raven and the man both told the woman there was no death. She
would not believe them. Then Raven said to her, "Lie down and go to

When the woman slept she saw a wide trail. There were many people on
it and many fierce animals. Good people had to pass this trail in
order to live again. At the end of the trail there was a broad river,
and a canoe came to her from the other side. When she crossed the
river, people came to her. They said, "You had better go back. We are
not in a good place. We are hungry here and can get no water to drink.
We are cold."

That is why people burn the bodies of the dead and place food in the
fire for them to eat. If they were not burned their spirits would be
cold. That is why food and drink are given to them at the feast of the

  [Illustration: Face of Davidson Glacier]

  [Illustration: "The Land of the Dead"--Graveyard at Rasboinsky
    _From photograph loaned by the Smithsonian Institution_]


_Eskimo_ (_Lower Yukon_)

A young woman on the Lower Yukon died. When she died she went to sleep
for a while. Then some one shook her arm and said, "Get up. Do not
sleep. You are dead." Then she saw she was in her grave box and the
shade of her grandfather was shaking her. Then she went with her
grandfather back to the village, but the country she knew had
disappeared. In its place was a strange village which reached as far
as the eye could see.

As she entered the village, the old man told her to go into one of the
houses. As soon as she entered it, a woman picked up a stick of wood
and raised it to strike her. The woman said, "What do you want here?"

So the young woman ran out, crying to her grandfather. He said, "This
is the village of the dog shades. Now you see how living dogs feel
when beaten by people."

They came to another village. Here she saw a man lying on the ground
with grass growing up through his joints. He could move, but he could
not rise. The grandfather said this shade was punished for pulling up
and chewing grass stems when he was on earth. Then the grandfather
suddenly disappeared.

The girl followed a trail to another village, but she came to a swift
river. This river was made up of the tears of people who on earth weep
for the dead. When the girl saw she could not cross the river, she
began to weep. At once a mass of straw floated down the river to her.
Upon this, as a bridge, she crossed the stream. Before she reached the
village the shades smelled her. They crowded around her, saying, "Who
is she? Where does she come from?" They looked for the totem marks on
her clothing.

Some one said, "Where is she? Where is she?" and her grandfather came
toward her. He led her into a house nearby and there was her
grandmother. The old woman asked her if she were thirsty. The girl
looked about and saw only one water vessel made like those of her own
village. This had in it their own Yukon water. It had been given them
at the festival of the dead by the girl's father. The other tubs had
only the water of the village of the shades. The old woman gave the
girl a piece of deer fat. This, too, had been given at the festival of
the dead. Then the grandmother explained that the guide had been the
grandfather because the last person thought of by a dying person
hurries away to show the road to the new shade. Thoughts are heard in
the land of the shades.



The young wife of a chief's son died and the young man was so
sorrowful he could not sleep. Early one morning he put on his fine
clothes and started off. He walked all day and all night. He went
through the woods a long distance, and then to a valley. The trees
were very thick, but he could hear voices far away. At last he saw
light through the trees and then came to a wide, flat stone on the
edge of a lake.

Now all the time this young man had been walking in the Death Trail.
He saw houses and people on the other side of the lake. He could see
them moving around. So he shouted, "Come over and get me." But they
did not seem to hear him. Upon the lake a little canoe was being
paddled about by one man, and all the shore was grassy. The chief's
son shouted a long while but no one answered him. At last he whispered
to himself, "Why don't they hear me?"

At once a person across the lake said, "Some one is shouting." When he
whispered, they heard him.

  [Illustration: Perry Island, Bogosloff Group, Newly Risen from the

  [Illustration: "The end of the Death Trail"]

The voice said also, "Some one has come up from Dreamland. Go and
bring him over."

When the chief's son reached the other side of the lake, he saw his
wife. He was very happy to see her again. People asked him to sit
down. They gave him something to eat, but his wife said, "Don't eat
that. If you eat that you will never get back." So he did not eat it.

Then his wife said, "You had better not stay here long. Let us go
right away." So they were taken back in the same canoe. It is called
Ghost's Canoe and it is the only one on that lake. They landed at the
broad, flat rock where the chief's son had stood calling. It is called
Ghost's Rock, and is at the very end of the Death Trail. Then they
started down the trail, through the valley and through the thick
woods. The second night they reached the chief's house.

The chief's son told his wife to stay outside. He went in and said to
his father, "I have brought my wife back."

The chief said, "Why don't you bring her in?"

The chief laid down a nice mat with fur robes on it for the young
wife. The young man went out to get his wife, but when he came in,
with her, they could see only him. When he came very close, they saw a
deep shadow following him. When his wife sat down and they put a
marten skin robe around her, it hung about the shadow just as if a
person were sitting there. When she ate, they saw only the spoon
moving up and down, but not the shadow of her hands. It looked very
strange to them.

Afterward the chief's son died and the ghosts of both of them went
back to Ghost Land.



Long ago, a man's wife was stolen from him. He cared for her so much
he thought he would follow her. So he began to walk. He thought he was
walking along the beach, but he was following a wide trail through the
woods. He walked on for a long time with his head bent down, until he
saw smoke ahead. When he came near he saw a woman tanning a skin. He
showed her a necklace he had made. He said, "I will give you this
string if you will tell me where my wife is."

The woman said, "She is over at the next camp."

So he at last reached his wife and stayed there a long time.

Now the people of this village wanted to kill him. They kindled a fire
and began to drag him to it. He said, "Oh, how glad I am! I want to
die." Then they stopped and began to drag him toward the water. The
man said he was afraid of water, so they threw him in. He came up in
the middle of the lake.

People said, "See him. He is looking at us."

The man laughed. He said, "The water is just where I like to be." He
said this because he was a good swimmer and there was much rain in his
country. He stayed in the water all the time he remained in that

Now all this while the man and his wife had really been in the sky.
Now they wanted to get down. They started back to the house of a
certain woman. She was the spider. The house was her web. The woman
put them into a web and began to lower them to the earth. Before they
started, the woman said, "If you get caught on anything, jerk backward
and forward until the web comes loose." She thought they might get
caught on the edges of the clouds. So the man and his wife reached the
earth safely and the web was drawn up into the sky.


_Eskimo_ (_Port Clarence_)

Once upon a time, all the people were together in a singing house.
While they were dancing the sun disappeared. No one knew where it had
gone. Because it was so dark, people could not go hunting and soon
their provisions were exhausted. Then they told the women to mend
their clothing carefully and to make as many boots as possible. These
they put into bags. Then the people set out to search for the sun.

They followed the seacoast. They travelled so far they wore out their
boots, so they put on new boots from their bags. Yet it was dark all
the time.

After many days they came to a country where were many, many seals and
walrus and deer. The language of the people was different from their
own. After a while they learned to talk it a little. They asked these
people where to find the sun.

These people said that the sun was far off. Before they came to the
sun's country they would come to five places. This was the first
place. But in the fourth place beyond there lived a woman who kept
both the sun and moon in her house.

So they went on. It was very cold and they ran as fast as they could
because it was so cold. Then their food gave out. But they reached a
country where there was plenty to eat. Here the people spoke a strange
language. After a while they learned to talk it a little. These people
told them that at the third place they reached they would find a woman
who kept the sun and moon in her house.

The people ran on. They ran because it was so very cold. Then when
their food was gone, they reached another country where there was
plenty of food. The language of the people was different from their
own. But after a while they learned to understand it a little. These
people said that at the second place which they would reach lived a
woman named Itudluqpiaq who had both sun and moon in her house, but it
was doubtful if they would be able to get them.

Then they went on again. They had to run as fast as they could to keep
warm. It was very cold. When their food was almost gone, they reached
the country of the dwarfs. It was a country with plenty of food,
walrus and seal and deer. The dwarfs tried to run away when they saw
the large men coming. But the people caught them. The dwarfs said that
at the next place lived the woman Itudluqpiaq who had both sun and

  [Illustration: Walrus Tusks
    _Photograph by B. B. Dobbs_]

  [Illustration: A Shaman
    _Copyrighted by Case and Draper_]

As the people ran on from the country of the dwarfs, they found ice
and driftwood in their way. They kicked it all aside. At that time the
people were very strong and able to lift heavy stones.

After they had run a long way, they saw a singing house. When they
came near, they went very slowly because they were afraid. At last one
of the men tied his jacket around his waist and his trousers around
his knees. Then he crept cautiously through the entrance and put his
head through the door at the bottom of the floor. He saw a young
woman, Itudluqpiaq, sitting in the middle of the house toward the
rear. Her father was sitting in the middle of the house on the
right-hand side and her mother on the left-hand side. At the back of
the house, in the right-hand corner on the rafter, hung a large ball;
in the left-hand corner a small ball.

The man whispered, "Itudluqpiaq, we came to ask you for some light."

The mother said, "Give them the small ball."

The man refused the small ball. He asked for the large one. Then
Itudluqpiaq took it down and gave it a kick. It fell right into the
entrance hole.

The people took the ball and ran outside. Then they tore the ball to
pieces and the daylight came out of it.

It was not so warm at once, but it grew warmer day after day. If they
had taken the small ball it would have been light, but it would have
remained cold. The small ball was the moon.


_Eskimo_ (_Bering Straits_)

Far away in the moon lives a great chief and shamans with strong magic
visit him there. A long time ago a shaman went to visit the great
chief. He flew like a bird up as high as the sky because of his magic.
The sky was a land just like the earth, only the grass was long, and
grew downward toward the earth. And the grass was filled with snow.
When the wind blows up in the sky it rustles the long grass stems,
hanging downward, and loosens the snow. When the wind blows the snow
loose in the sky, it falls down upon the earth from the long grass
stems, and men call it a snowstorm.

Up in the sky, among the grass, are many small, round lakes. At night
these shine and men call them stars.

But the Malemut tribes say that the north wind is the breath of a
giant. When he builds a snow house and the snow flies from his shovel,
then there is a snowstorm upon earth.


_Eskimo_ (_Lower Yukon_)

Once upon a time, long, long ago, in a village on the great river,
lived four brothers and a sister. There was also a small boy who was a
great friend of his sister. The brothers were hunters and in the fall
hunted at sea, but after the Bladder-feast was over they went to the
mountains and hunted reindeer. But the boy was lazy.

Now the boy fell in love with the girl. One day the girl took up a
dish of meat and berries and went out of the house. There she saw a
ladder leading up into the sky, with a line hanging down by the side
of it. Taking hold of the line, the girl climbed the ladder going up
into the sky. Then her brothers saw her and began at once to scold the

The boy caught up his sealskin trousers. Being in a hurry, he thrust
his right leg into them and drew a deerskin sock upon the other foot
as he ran outside the house. There he saw the girl, far, far up in the
sky, and he began to climb the ladder to her. But the girl floated far
away, the boy following her.

  [Illustration: Box Canyon on White Pass and Yukon Route]

  [Illustration: Near Valdez Narrows]

Now the girl became the sun and the boy the moon. Ever he pursues her
but never overtakes her. When the sun sinks in the west, the moon
rises in the east, but always too late. The moon has no food, and
sometimes almost fades away. Then the sun reaches out the dish of meat
and berries and the moon becomes fat again.


_Athapascan_ (_Upper Yukon_)

Long ago, in the days of Raven, there was a great famine. No one in
the village had anything to eat. Then a boy dreamed that they would
kill many caribou. Then the hunters began to find caribou and to kill
them. The boy said when they killed all the caribou that the leader of
the herd must be given to him. The boy's uncle gave him caribou, but
not the leader, because he did not believe the boy dreamed what he
said. Then the boy cried two nights because he did not get the right

The next morning the boy was gone. Now this boy wore trousers of
marten skin. When they searched for him, they found only the left leg
of his trousers on a pole in the smoke hole. So they knew the boy had
gone away through the smoke hole.

The boy went up into the moon. He was seen there the next night. His
father and mother knew it was the boy because the right leg was larger
than the left. The left leg had no trousers because it had been caught
in the smoke hole.



A long time ago fire was seen coming through the air from the north.
It looked like a huge animal. Its face was fire. Fire came from its
mouth and also from its back. Flames of fire shot from its paws. The
Thing, moving backward, thundered through the air.

In the olden times, these monsters came often. Now they have not been
seen for a long time.



Once a Huna man and his wife were paddling along in a canoe, about
midnight, in search of seals. The man kept hearing a noise around his
head like that made by a bird. At last he hit the thing with his hand
and knocked it into the canoe. It was shaped like a bird, only with
eyelids hanging far over, and its name was Ta, Sleep. He gave the bird
to his wife, saying, "Here, you can keep this for your own." So she
gave it to her relatives who built a house called Sleep House. All the
poles in it were carved to look like this bird. After that the man got
very tired without being able to sleep. At last he ran away into the

  [Illustration: Frozen Waterfall]

  [Illustration: "The wind blows over the Yukon"
    _Photograph by C. L. Andrews_]



    [4] Transcribed by J. A. Dall.

    "The wind blows over the Yukon,
    My husband hunts the deer on the Koyukun Mountains.
    Ahmi, Ahmi, sleep, little one.

    "There is no wood for the fire.
    The stone axe is broken, my husband carries the other.
    Where is the sun-warmth? Hid in the dam of the beaver, waiting
        the spring-time?
    Ahmi, Ahmi, sleep, little one, wake not!

    "Look not for ukali, old woman.
    Long since the cache was emptied, and the crow does not light on
        the ridge pole!
    Long since my husband departed. Why does he wait in the mountains?
    Ahmi, Ahmi, sleep, little one, softly.

    "Where is my own?
    Does he lie starving on the hillside? Why does he linger?
    Comes he not soon I will seek him among the mountains.
    Ahmi, Ahmi, sleep, little one, sleep.

    "The crow has come, laughing,
    His beak is red, his eyes glisten, the false one.
    'Thanks for a good meal to Kuskokala the shaman.
    On the sharp mountain quietly lies your husband.'
    Ahmi, Ahmi, sleep, little one, wake not!

    "'Twenty deer's tongues tied to the pack on his shoulders;
    Not a tongue in his mouth to call to his wife with.
    Wolves, foxes, and ravens are tearing and fighting for morsels.
    Tough and hard are the sinews; not so the child in your bosom?'
    Ahmi, Ahmi, sleep, little one, wake not!

    "Over the mountain slowly staggers the hunter.
    Two bucks' thighs on his shoulders, with bladders of fat between them.
    Twenty deer's tongues in his belt. Go, gather wood, old woman!
    Off flew the crow,--liar, cheat, and deceiver!
    Wake, little sleeper, wake, and call to your father!

    "He brings you backfat, marrow, and venison fresh from the mountain.
    Tired and worn, he has carved a toy of the deer's horn,
    While he was sitting and waiting long for the deer on the hillside.
    Wake and see the crow, hiding himself from the arrow!
    Wake, little one, wake, for here is your father!"



A deer, although toothless, may accomplish something.[5]

    [5] Deceptive appearances.

He is just now sleeping on a deerskin.[6]

    [6] Comfort now but trouble ahead.

He wants to die with all his teeth in his head.[7]

    [7] Too reckless to live to old age.

You think Nass River is always calm.[8]

    [8] Foolhardiness of those who think everything favorable to
    them. The mouth of the Nass is very rough.

You mistake the corner of the house for the door.[9]

    [9] A gross blunder.

What will you eat when the snow is on the north side of the trees?[10]

    [10] Improvidence. At the end of winter food is always scarce.

  [Illustration: Travellers over the Chilkoot Pass (1891) after the
      Discovery of Gold
    _Copyright, 1898, by E. A. Hegg_]

  [Illustration: Looking Down Cut-off Canyon from below White Pass



Once Fox, when very hungry, was travelling through the country. All at
once he saw a goose with many goslings. Fox ran after them. As he ran
he sang,

    "I shall have your tender breasts before I go to sleep;
    I shall have your tender breasts before I go to sleep."

As Fox ran toward them, the geese came to water and plunged in. Fox
followed slowly along the edge of the water. When he saw he could not
get the geese, Fox became so angry he turned red all over--all except
the tip of his tail.



Now Beaver was the friend of Porcupine. Much they loved each other.
Then Beaver invited Porcupine to his house on the large lake. There in
the very middle of the lake was the house of Beaver. Now Beaver, on
his part, liked the water, but Porcupine had no way to go from the
shore to the lake, because he knew not how to swim. Therefore feared
Porcupine that he should die should his stomach be filled with water,
because he knew not how to swim. Therefore this did Beaver: from the
lake to the land he went for Porcupine. Only twice rose Beaver above
the water, going to where Porcupine was sitting on the shore.

Then said Beaver to Porcupine, "I carry you. Fast hold my neck."

Porcupine was afraid. He said to Beaver, "I might die."

"You shall not die." Thus said the Beaver to the Porcupine.

Then went up Porcupine to the back of Beaver.

Beaver said, "Fast hold my neck."

Thus did Porcupine. Then swam Beaver out on the water. But not long
did he swim. Beaver dived. Then much troubled was Porcupine because he
knew not how to swim. Now the Beavers really own the country of the
water, but among the mountains is the country of Porcupine.

Twice rose Beaver above the water. Then reached he the middle of the
great lake where floated his home. But much troubled was Porcupine,
lest he die in the water. Then they entered the house of Beaver. Then
they ate. Now this for food had the Beaver: sticks were the food for
his feast. Then really troubled was the Porcupine, there to eat
sticks. Yet Porcupine ate the stick.

Well, then one day, said Beaver to Porcupine: "Friend, now we play."

Then said Beaver how he would play: "I carry you. Four times I emerge
from the water."

"Surely I die." Thus said the heart of Porcupine. Yet he agreed.

Beaver said, "Fast hold to my neck. Lie close against the nape of my

Then was ready the heart of Porcupine to die. Then dived Beaver. Yet
first struck he the water with his tail. Thus he first splashed water
into the face of Porcupine. Then dived Beaver. Long was he under
water. Then a little dead was Porcupine. His stomach was full of
water. Three times the Beaver rose from the water. Then only once more
remained. Then again dived Beaver. Almost dead was Porcupine. Then
with him he returned. From lake to land he took him.

Then Porcupine went back to his tribe. When again he reached his
tribe, to his house he invited the people. Then into the house of
Porcupine went the invited ones. Then he told them what Beaver had
done in his great house on the lake. He told the people what Beaver,
who had invited him, had done. He said, "Almost dead was I through my

Then said his people, "Good! You also invite him. Also play with him."

This did Porcupine. He also invited Beaver, his friend. To the house
of Beaver did he send. Then came Beaver into the valley. Up he went.
Then came he to the house of Porcupine. Then this did Porcupine: when
Beaver entered into the house, Porcupine struck on the fireplace with
his own tail. Then it burnt. Then Beaver made a song:

    "In the middle burnt the tail of little Porcupine, pa!
    In the middle burnt the tail of little Porcupine."

  [Illustration: Dog Team with Record of 412 Miles in 72 Hours
    _Copyrighted by B. B. Dobbs_]

  [Illustration: Siberian Husky
    _Courtesy "Alaska-Yukon Magazine"_]

Then ran Porcupine around in front of Beaver to play with his friend.
Now when this was finished, what did the Porcupine? He got food for
the Beaver to eat. Then this did the Porcupine: bark of a tree and
leaves of a tree did he give him for a feast. Then, on his part,
Beaver was afraid to eat. Then this said the Porcupine to his great
friend, Beaver: "Eat fast, friend. Eat fast, friend." Then so did the

Then said Porcupine, "Friend,"--thus said he to Beaver--"to-morrow
morning we play, you and I. There stands a tree on a grassy slope.
There is my playground."

Then they slept. But Porcupine sang,

    "Now along the edge I walk . . . out falls my shooting star."

Then spoke Porcupine to the sky, and the sky did so. Clear became the
sky. The ground was ice in the morning.

Now again Porcupine invited the people to a feast for great Beaver.
Then Porcupine said, "We play, friend. There stands my playground."

Now very sharp was the cold. The ground was ice. Where water ran down,
slippery was it with ice. But Beaver followed Porcupine. Then again
was Beaver troubled. Always slippery were his hands, but long were the
claws of Porcupine. Then Porcupine returned to see great Beaver. Then
said Porcupine, "Come, do it, friend." Thus said Porcupine to great
Beaver. But the Beaver could not cross, because icy was the mountain.
Then this did the Porcupine: he took the hands of Beaver, then across
he led him. Thus across he got. Porcupine was going to play with
Beaver, just as he also did once. So they reached the place where
stood the tree.

"Good! Go up!" Thus said Porcupine to Beaver. Then much troubled was
Beaver. He was afraid.

"Well! See!" Thus said Porcupine. So Porcupine went up first. Up he
went to the very top. Then he let go the top of the tree. As soon as
he dropped, this he said, while coming down:

    "An-de-be-laq! An-de-be-laq!"

Then he dropped on a stone, but arose. Not dead was he!

Then said Porcupine to Beaver, "See, friend! It is not hard."

Then up on the tree carried he Beaver. He said, "Fast hold to my
neck." And very fast he held to the neck of Porcupine. Then when
Porcupine reached near the top of the tree, he put Beaver on a branch.
Then greatly afraid was Beaver for his hands were not good for holding
fast to a tree. Only a Porcupine knows that, because long are his

Then thus said Porcupine: "Really hold fast, friend. I go down
first." The Beaver did so. All around the branch were his hands. Then
Porcupine let go the tree. Into space he went. Again he said,

    "An-de-be-laq! An-de-be-laq!"

Then once more he dropped on the stones, but not dead was he!

Much troubled was the heart of great Beaver, in holding the branch.
Much troubled was he at falling. Then about the foot of the tree ran
Porcupine. Then up he looked to where was his friend. Thus said
Porcupine: "Go on, friend. It is not hard. Look at me. Not dead am I
because I fell!"

Then Beaver let go the branch. Thus said Beaver as he fell,

    "Loop! Lo-op!"[11]

    [11] "Stone! Stone!"

Then Beaver struck the rocks. He lay on his back. He was dead.


_Athapascan_ (_Upper Yukon_)

Long ago a hungry marten went to an Indian camp. The Indians around
the camp fire were eating salmon. Marten sat still and watched them.
He was hungry and he watched this Indian and then that. Then an Indian
threw at him a piece of red salmon. It struck Marten on the breast and
the reddish mark is there, even to this day.

  [Illustration: Totem Poles
    _Copyrighted by F. H. Nowell_]

  [Illustration: Laplanders Milking Reindeer, near Port Clarence]



Now the Wolves had a feast on a prairie at the mouth of Skeena River.
Then invited the Wolves to the feast all the Deer chiefs. At once came
the invited Deer. At once they sat down on the prairie face to face
with the Wolves.

Then said the Wolves to the Deer, "Laugh ye on the other side."

"No," thus said the Deer to the Wolves, "ye first laugh."

"Well," said the Wolves at once, "then we will laugh. _Ha, ha, ha, ha,
ha!_ Go on, ye also. Ye also, on the other side, laugh."

"Well," said the Deer. Then they laughed, "_Mm, mm, mm, mm, mm!_ Again
also ye must laugh."

"Well." At once again laughed the Wolves: "_Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!_"

At once the Deer were much afraid when they saw the great teeth of the
Wolves. Then again said also the Wolves, "Go on! Laugh again, ye on
the other side. Keep not your mouths closed when ye laugh. Not so
does any one laugh. Open wide your mouths when ye laugh." Thus said
the Wolves. "Now, laugh ye!"

At once then laughed the Deer: "_Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!_" Thus laughed
the Deer, opening their mouths. But they had no teeth. Then the Wolves
saw that the Deer had no teeth. At once they attacked them. At once
the Wolves bit them all over. At once they ate the Deer. Only a few
escaped. Therefore now are the Deer afraid of Wolves.


_Athapascan_ (_Upper Yukon_)

    [12] The camp robber is the slate-colored Alaskan jay,
    troublesome for its habit of stealing food from the camps.

Now in the days of the animal people, the camp robber was a medicine
man. One time the people had nothing to eat, so they asked the
medicine man to find food for them. Therefore for six nights the men
dreamed of a way to find food. The camp robber was the sixth man. He
dreamed on the sixth night. Then he called all the people together and
told them to bring their snares with them. He took all the snares,
make a pack of them, and put them on his back. But the people heaped
up the snow in a great pile. Around this snow pile the camp robber
walked, chanting and singing "By and by meat will come." Thus he sang.

Then the camp robber reached into the snow and pulled out a caribou's
head by the horns. This was not a real caribou; it was the spirit
caribou. So the camp robber painted the horns and tail red and sent it
back into the snow heap. The next day a great herd of caribou came.
The one with red horns and tails was among them.

That is why an Indian never kills a camp robber when he steals food.
He lets him go because he helped to find food for them in the days of
the animal people, when the camp robber was a medicine man.

  [Illustration: View of Skagway
    _Photograph by C. L. Andrews_]

  [Illustration: Bering Sea, near Nome]


_Eskimo_ (_Bering Straits_)

One day in the autumn, long, long ago, the cranes were preparing to go
southward. As they gathered in a great flock, they saw a beautiful
girl standing alone near the village. The cranes wanted to take her
with them. They gathered about and lifted her on their outspread
wings. So they carried her into the air and far away. Now when the
cranes were taking her up into the air, they circled below her closely
so she could not fall. They also cried in loud, hoarse voices so that
people could not hear her call for help. Therefore the cranes always
circle about in autumn when preparing to fly southward, and utter loud
hoarse cries.


_Eskimo_ (_Lower Yukon_)

Long, long ago there were many thunderbirds living in the mountains,
but at last there were only two left. These birds made their home on
the round top of a mountain overlooking the Yukon. They hollowed out a
great basin on the summit for a nest, and from the rocky rims they
could look down upon a village upon the river bank.

From this perch the thunderbirds, looking like a black cloud, would
soar away, bringing back to their young a reindeer in their talons.
Sometimes with a great noise like thunder they swooped down upon a
fisherman in his kayak and carried him away. The man would be eaten by
the young birds, and the kayak broken to bits in the nest. Every fall
the young birds flew away into the northland, but the old birds
remained in the nest. They had carried away so many fishermen that
only the most daring would go out on the great river.

One day when a fisherman went to look at his traps, he cautioned his
wife not to leave the house for fear of the thunderbirds. During the
morning, she needed fresh water and started for the river. A noise
like thunder filled the air, a black shadow fell over her, and a
thunderbird darted down upon her.

When the fisherman returned to his house, people of the village told
him of the thunderbird. He made no answer. He took his bow and
quiverful of war arrows and started for the mountain. When he reached
the rim of the great nest, he looked in. The old birds were away. The
nest was full of young eagles with fiery, shining eyes and shrill
cries. The hunter fitted a war arrow, the string twanged, and the
arrow killed a young thunderbird. So the hunter killed them all.

The hunter hid behind a great rock near the nest. When the old birds
came home, the thunder of their wings was heard even across the great
river; their cries of rage frightened the villagers on the river's
bank. The mother bird swooped down upon the hunter beside the rock.
Quickly he fitted a war arrow, the string twanged, and the arrow bit
deep into her throat. Then the mother bird, flapping her wings so that
the hills shook, flew away to the northland.

The father bird circled overhead and then swooped down upon the
hunter. He crouched below the rocks and the thunderbird's great talons
caught only the rock. The hunter fitted a war arrow in his bow, the
string twanged, and the heavy war arrow bit deep under his great wing.
Spreading his wings like a black cloud in the sky, the thunderbird
flew away to the northland.



Long ago, when we were first born, people hated us. Then the Sky
People brought war upon us. They destroyed us completely. One woman
saved herself; she hid in a hole which she dug under a log.

Afterward various people came to her. "I wonder who can tell me about
things," she said. Grizzly Bear came near her.

"What can you do?" she asked.

"Whenever I catch a man, I slap my paws down upon him."

The woman said, "That is nothing."

Some one in the sun spoke to her. "How am I?" said a voice.

"What can you do?"

"My father in the sun peeps out through the clouds--the mottled

So the woman married the child of the sun. He lowered down from the
sky a great fort to protect the woman and her children. When the enemy
saw that, they came back. The father said, "When the enemy get too
strong, put your minds on me." So when the enemy became too strong,
the woman and her children put their minds on Grandfather Sun. He
peeped out through the clouds upon the enemy. It quickly became
smoking hot. The sea water out there boiled. The enemy ran down
quickly into the water and were all destroyed. Then the water stopped
boiling. The grandchildren of Sun stayed inside their fort.

  [Illustration: View of Eldorado]

  [Illustration: Scene on the White Pass and Yukon Route]



A long time ago when some of the Kagwantan clan were catching herring
at Town-at-mouth-of-lake, a bear came to the place where they were
fishing. The bear reached down through the smoke hole and stole the
herring they were drying. Then people said; "Who is this thief that is
stealing our fish?" Because they said that, the grizzly bear killed
all of them. Then the Kagwantan seized their spears and set out to
kill the bears nearby. When they found them, the bears were lying in
holes they had dug out for themselves. The people said to them, "Come
out here. We will fight it out." So the bears came out and the people
killed them. They took the skins from the heads of the bears and
preserved them. That is how the Kagwantan came to use the grizzly bear



Long ago, a man and his wife were crossing a large bay near Sitka when
it became very foggy. They could not even see the water around their
canoe. Then, in the thick fog, they heard singing. The song was:

    We picked up a man;
    We picked up a man;
    You picked up a man.

    They captured a man;
    They captured a man;
    You've captured a man.

The voice was so strong they could hear it reëcho among the mountains.

As the fog rose, the song came nearer and nearer. At last they saw the
voice came from a wee little frog.

The man said: "This frog is mine. I shall claim it."

His wife said, "No, it is mine. I shall claim it."

Thus they argued. At last the man let his wife take the frog.

The woman took it ashore, treating it just like a child. She took it
up into the woods, put it down by a lake, and left it there. That is
why the Kiksadi clan at Sitka claim the frog as their totem.



A young beaver was captured, long ago, by a family of the Decitan. It
was well cared for, but it became angry and began to make songs.
Afterward the beaver's master went through the woods to a creek and
found there two salmon-spear handles, beautifully carved. They were at
the foot of a big tree. He took them home and when the beaver saw them
he said, "That is my work."

After a while, something offended the beaver again. He began to sing
just like a human being. Then he seized a spear and threw it through
his master's chest. So his master was killed. The beaver thumped its
tail on the ground and the house fell into the ground. The beaver had
dug a great hollow under the house. It is from this story that the
Decitan clan claim the beaver as their totem and have the beaver
crest. They also have songs composed by the beaver.



A long time ago there was a man named Natsiane who always quarrelled
with his wife. One day his brothers-in-law took him to an island far
out at sea and left him there.

Natsiane began to think, "What can I do?" As he sat there thinking, he
whittled two killer whales out of cottonwood bark. He put them into
the water and shouted as the shamans do. They looked as if they were
swimming but when they came to the surface, they were only cottonwood

Natsiane made two more whales out of alder. He tried to put the spirit
of his clan into them. As he put them in the water, he whistled four
times like a spirit, "_Whu, whu, whu, whu_." When they floated to the
surface they were only alder wood. Then he tried hemlock, then red
cedar. Afterward he tried yellow cedar. These whales swam right away
like large killer whales. They swam out a long distance. When they
came back they turned into wood.

Then Natsiane made holes in their dorsal fins, seized one of them
with each hand, and let the killer whales tow him out to sea. He said
to them, "If you see my brothers-in-law in canoes, you are to upset
them." After the whales had towed Natsiane to sea for some distance,
they returned to the island. They became wood again.

The next time Natsiane saw his brothers-in-law in their canoes, he put
the spirit of his clan into the killer whales. Then they overturned
the canoes and broke them to bits. They killed the people in them.
After that Natsiane said to his killer whales, "You are not to injure
people again. You must be kind to them."

So these two killer whales became the canoes of the spirits. Shamans
are lucky if they can get the spirit canoes.

It is through this story that the Daqlawe clan have the killer whale


_Eskimo_ (_Bering Straits_)

Near the village of Pastolik, at the mouth of the Yukon, grows a tall,
slender grass which the women weave into baskets and mats.

A grass-stalk which had almost been pulled up by the women became much
frightened. He wished he were something else. Close to him was a bunch
of herbs, living peacefully and quietly. Grass said, "I wish I were an
Herb." At once it became an Herb, and lived peacefully.

One day the women came back with sharp-pointed picks, made from the
antlers of the reindeer. They began to dig up the herbs and to eat
some of the roots. Again Grass was frightened. He saw a small creeping
plant nearby, very small and obscure. Grass said, "I wish I were a
Creeping Plant." At once he became a small Creeping Plant.

The women came back again and tore up much of the small creeping
plant. Grass became much worried. He said, "I wish I were that small
Tuber-plant there." At once he became a plant having a tuberous root.

  [Illustration: Alaska Cotton on the Tundra, near Nome
    _Courtesy "Alaska-Yukon Magazine"_]

  [Illustration: A Crested Hat
    _Copyrighted by Case and Draper_]

Soon a small tundra mouse came creeping through the grass, and began
nibbling at one of the tubers nearby. Grass thought, "I will not be
safe until I become a Mouse." At once Grass became Mouse.

He felt quite free as Mouse, and ran around over the tundra, nibbling
at roots. Sometimes he would sit up on his hind legs and look about
him. While travelling along, Mouse saw a great white Thing coming
toward him. Sometimes it dropped to the ground, and after eating
something would fly on. As it came near, Mouse saw it was a great
white owl. Owl saw Mouse and darted down upon it, but Mouse slipped
into a hole nearby and Owl flew away.

Mouse was very badly frightened by this. When he came out of his hole,
he said, "I will be Owl. Then I will be safe." At once he became a
beautiful white Owl. With slow, noiseless wing he flew toward the
north, stopping now and then to catch and eat a mouse. After a long
flight, he came in sight of Sledge Island. Owl thought he would go
there. When far out at sea, he became very tired. He could hardly
reach the shore.

As he rested on a piece of driftwood on the sand, two men passed along
the shore. Owl thought for a while. Then he said, "I will be a Man."
At once he became a fine-looking young man, but he had no clothing.
Night came on and the air became cool. Man sat down with his back
against the piece of driftwood and slept there until morning. When the
sun arose he awakened. He felt lame and stiff from the cold night air.

Looking about him, Man found some grass which he wove into a loose
robe, which helped to keep out the cold. Suddenly he saw reindeer near
him. He crept on hands and knees close to one, seized it by the horns
and broke its neck with a single effort. He carried the reindeer on
his back to his sleeping place. He felt all over the reindeer's body
but its skin was too thick for his fingers to break an opening. For a
long time he thought. Then he saw near him a sharp-edged stone. He
picked it up and found he could cut the skin with it. So Man skinned
the deer. But he had no fire with which to cook it. Looking around, he
saw two round white stones upon the beach. Striking them together, he
saw they gave out sparks. He then found some dry wood and scraped off
bits. With the wood and the stones he made a fire, and roasted some of
the meat.

Man tried to swallow a large piece of meat, as he had done when he was
Owl, but he could not do it. He had to cut it with the sharp-edged
stone into smaller pieces.

The next day he killed another reindeer and skinned it. And the next
day another. Then the nights became so cold he wrapped the skins upon
him. When they dried, they became as part of his body. But the nights
became still colder, and the days were colder. Then Chunuhluk, the
man, found some driftwood and made a rough hut.

After finishing his hut, Chunuhluk was walking over the hills one day
when he met a strange black beast among the blueberry bushes.
Chunuhluk did not know what to do, but at last he caught it by the
hind legs. The black thing turned around with a growl and showed its
white teeth. Chunuhluk quickly caught the bear by the heavy hair and
threw it to the ground so it lay quiet. Then he killed it. Then he
threw it across his shoulders and went home. Then he skinned it.

When Chunuhluk skinned the bear, he found it had much fat. He thought
it might burn. His hut was very dark. So he went along the beach until
he found a flat stone with a small hollow in it. He put the oil from
the fat in this; then he put in a bit of dry moss and set the end of
the moss on fire. Then his hut was lighted very well.

Chunuhluk also hung the bearskin in the opening of the door to keep
out the cold. So he lived many days.

But at last Chunuhluk became lonely. Then he remembered the two men
who had passed him when he was Owl. He went in search of people. At
last he found two new kayaks at the foot of a hill, with spears,
lines, floats, and other hunting implements. Then he saw a path
nearby. On the top was a house. On the ground around were several dead
white whales. Chunuhluk crept cautiously into the entrance way and up
to the door. He lifted the corner of a skin and saw a young man
working on some arrows. He stepped in very quietly. The young man
raised a bow and arrow to shoot, but Chunuhluk said, "I have come,

The young man said gladly, "Are you my brother? Come and sit beside

At first the young man was very glad. He taught Chunuhluk all things.
Then at last he became jealous of him. Then Chunuhluk became scornful.
He said one day, "You cannot kill anything without a bow and arrow. I
can kill with my hands alone." Then the brother became still more

One day both were out on the water in their kayaks. The young man
said, "Now let us see who can gain the shore first." They both reached
the beach at the same time. Then the young man said, "You are no more
my brother. You go in that direction and I will go in this." So they
parted angrily. As they went, Chunuhluk turned into Wolverine and his
brother became Gray Wolf. To this day they wander in the same country,
but never together.


_Koryak_ (_Siberia_)

It was at a time when the Creator lived. Once a violent snowstorm
broke out and it blew incessantly. Creator got ready to go to Wind
Man's village to find out why the storm raged so constantly. He took a
skin boat instead of a sledge. He hitched to it mice instead of
reindeer. Then he started.

He came to the village of the Wind People. All the people surrounded
him and laughed at his sledge and reindeer. "How will you carry off
our presents on such reindeer?" they asked.

Creator said, "Just put them into the boat and never mind how I carry
them off."

The Wind People took out all the food and clothes they had and loaded
the skin boat heaping full. Creator drove back his mice which dragged
the loaded skin boat home. Then he returned to the village of the Wind
People. They loaded his skin boat again and he carried off everything
they had. Then Creator's mice gnawed the straps off all the sledges
and harness of the Wind People. Thus the Wind People could not drive
any more and the snowstorm ceased. That's all.


_Koryak_ (_Siberia_)

One day Fox said to his children, "I am going to get some eggs." He
went to the woods and saw Eagle's nest high up in a tree. He put some
grass stalks into his ears, knocked with them on the tree, and said to
Eagle, "Throw me down an egg. If you don't, I will knock the tree over
with these stalks and break it."

Eagle became frightened and threw down an egg.

"Throw down another," said Fox.

"That's enough," said Eagle. "I will not throw down any more."

Fox said, "Throw it down. If I knock down the tree, I'll take them

Eagle was frightened and threw down another egg. Then Fox laughed and
said, "I fooled you nicely. How could I have knocked down a whole tree
with these small grass stalks?"

Eagle became angry. He threw himself upon Fox, grasped him with his
talons, lifted him high in the air, flew far out to sea and threw him
down upon a lonely island.

Fox remained on that island. He lived there and thought to himself,
"Am I really going to die on this island?"

Fox began to sing shamans' songs. Seals, walrus, and whales appeared
near the island. "What are you singing about?" they asked Fox.

"This is what I was singing about," said Fox. "Are there more animals
in the waters of the sea or on the dry land?"

"Certainly there are more in the waters of the sea," so the Sea People

"Well, let us see," said Fox. "Come up to the surface of the water and
form a raft from this island to the land. Then I will take a walk over
you and count you all."

The Sea People all came up to the surface of the water and formed a
raft. Fox ran over their backs, pretending to count them. But as soon
as he reached land, he jumped ashore and went home. That's all.


Transcriber's Note

Variations in spelling are preserved as printed.

The following amendments have been made:

    Frontispiece caption--Tinglit amended to Tlingit--Tlingit
    Indians in Dancing Costume

    Page xiii--Tinglit amended to Tlingit--Tlingit Indians in
    Dancing Costume

    Page 19--beak-mast amended to beak-mask--Then Raven pulled down
    his beak-mask, ...

The frontispiece illustration has been moved to follow the title page.
Other illustrations have been moved where necessary so that they are
not in the middle of a paragraph.

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