Page:Tlingit Myths and Texts.djvu/44

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[bull. 39

After his nephews had stayed with him for some time the man said within himself, "I have no devilfish for bait," and the same evening the young fellows were gone after it. Although it was high tide many devilfish were found in front of his house. The young otters called good weather bad and bad weather good.

One day they went out with their uncle to fish, and, when he put his line down with the buoy on it, the little otters all jumped into the water. They went down on the line and put on the hook the big gest halibut they could find. After they had brought in the canoe loaded twice their uncle had an abundance of provisions.

In the evening the otters had worked so hard that they fell asleep on the opposite side of the fire with their tails close to the blaze. Then their uncle said to them, "Your handy little tails are beginning to burn." On account of those words all became angry and left him, going back to their father. Then the man's sister came to him and asked what he had said to his nephews. He said, "I simply told them that their clothes were beginning to burn on them." So the the otters' father tried to explain it, saying to them: "Your uncle did not mean anything when he said your clothes were beginning to burn. He wanted only to save your clothes. Now go back and stay with him." So they got over their displeasure and went back.

All that time the man was working upon his canoe. He said within himself, "I wonder how my canoe can be gotten down." Next morning his nephews went up, put their tails under it, and pulled it down. When they got it to their uncle's house, he loaded the canoe and started home with them, but quite near his town he missed them out of the canoe. Then all the people there wondered where he could have gotten a canoe load of such things as he had. He gave every thing to his friends. Then his wife said to the people, "Something came to help us. We have seen my husband's sister who was drowned long ago, and that is the way we got help."

Afterward he went back to the place where he had received assistance but saw nothing of those who had helped him. He hunted all about the place from which his sister used to come but found nothing except land-otter holes. He became discouraged and gave up searching.


There was a great famine at Sitka, and all the people went halibut fishing. Then a certain man went with his wife to the mouth of Redoubt bay. He had prepared barks some time before, and, when they got to this place, they made a house out of them. They fished there for a long time, but caught no more than one or two halibut a week. By the end of two months they had little to live on except shellfish and other things picked up at low tide.