Page:Tlingit Myths and Texts.djvu/71

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TLINGIT MYTHS AND TEXTS

Then the brant chief said to his son-in-law, "Your wives friends are almost destroyed. Could you do anything with your bows and arrows to help them?" You could not see whether these were brants or people. They looked just like people to him. When he ran among them to help his wives' friends, he killed numbers at each shot and made them flee away from him. The heron tribe was so scared that they sent out word they would make peace. So messengers were sent back and forth, and the heron chief was taken up among the brants while the brant chief was taken up among the herons.[1] They renamed the heron with his own name and the brant with his own name. In making peace they had a great deal of sport and all sorts of dances. From that time on the heron has known how to dance, and one always sees him dancing by the creeks. Then the birds began to lay up herbs and all kinds of things that grow along the beach, for their journey north.

Meanwhile the man's people had already given a feast for him, and he never returned to his father. He became as one of the brants. That is why in olden times, when brants were flying along, the people would ask them for food.


25. STORY OF THE PUFFIN

There is a place called Ganaxa' and a creek close by called GanAxa'hln whither many people used to go to dry salmon and do other work. One day some women went out from there at low tide to a neighboring island to dig shellfish. They brought their canoe to a place where there was a hole in the side of the island, but, when they endeavored to land, a breaker came in, upset the canoe, and drowned all of them except one. In former times, when this woman went by in her father's canoe, she used to think the birds here looked pretty and was in the habit of saying, "I wish I could sit among those birds." These birds were the ones that saved her. They felt so happy at having gotten her that they flew about all the time.

Meanwhile drums were beaten at the town to call people to the death feast, for they thought that she was drowned.

One time a canoe from the village containing her father happened to pass this place, and they said to him, "Look among those birds. Your daughter is sitting there."

The puffin chief had ordered the lAgwa tc!, a bird which lives on the outer islands and is the puffin s slave, to braid the woman's hair, and she always sat on the edge of the cliff.

Her father was very rich, so he filled many canoes with sea-otter, beaver, and marten skins for the birds to settle on when they flew

out. When they reached the place, however, he could not see his

  1. See Twenty-sixth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, p. 451.