Page:Tlingit Myths and Texts.djvu/20

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6
[bull. 39
BUREAU OF AMERICAN ETHNOLOGY

Raven put all of the salmon except one fat piece cut from around the "navel"[1] which is usually cooked separately, into the skunk cabbage and buried it in the fire. Before they returned, he dug this up and ate it, after which he put the bones back into the fire and covered them up.

When the birds at last came back he said to them, "I have been across two mountains myself. Now it is time to dig it up. Dig it out." Then all crowded around the fire and dug, but, when they got it up, there was nothing there but bones.

By and by the birds dressed one another in different ways so that they might be named from their dress. They tied the hair of the blue jay up high with a string, and they added a long tail to the ts!lēġēnî', another crested bird. Then they named one another. Raven let out the ts!lēġēnî' and told him that when the salmon comes he must call its slime unclean and stay high up until the salmon are all gone.[2]

Now Raven started off with the piece of salmon belly and came to a place where Bear and his wife lived. He entered and said, "My aunt's son, is this you? The piece of salmon he had buried behind a little point. Then Bear told him to sit down and said, "I will roast some dry salmon for you." So he began to roast it. After it was done, he set a dish close to the fire and slit the back of his hands with a knife so as to let grease run out for Raven to eat on his salmon. After he had fixed the salmon, he cut a piece of flesh out from in front of his thighs and put it into the dish. That is why bears are not fat in that place.

Now Raven wanted to give a dinner to Bear in return, so he, too, took out a piece of fish, roasted it, set out the dish Bear had used, close to the fire and slit up the back of his hand, thinking that grease would run out of it. But instead nothing but white bubbles came forth. Although he knew he could not do it, he tried in every way.

Then Raven asked Bear, "Do you know of any halibut fishing ground out here?" He said "No." Raven said, "Why! what is the use of staying here by this salt water, if you do not know of any fishing ground? I know a good fishing ground right out here called Just-on-the-edge-of-kelp (Gī'ck!îcuwanyî'). There are always halibut swimming there, mouth up, ready for the hook."

By and by Raven got the piece of fish he had hidden behind the point and went out to the bank in company with Bear and Cormorant. Cormorant sat in the bow, Bear in the middle, and, because he knew where the fishing ground was, Raven steered. When they arrived Raven stopped the canoe all at once. He said to them, "Do you see

  1. Perhaps the anal opening.
  2. See Twenty-sixth Annual Report of Bureau of American Ethnology, p. 455.