Manataka® American Indian Council
An Alsea Legend
Once there lived an old woman with five children. All were boys, and only one was a girl. They kept on growing, and when they attained adolescence they told their mother, "We are going to travel all over the world."
"What are you going to do?" asked the old woman.
"Oh, we will do all sorts of things."
"I think," said the old woman, "you won't be able to do anything when you go. What do you imagine you could do?"
"Oh, we can play shinny; we can also play the guessing game, and we can dance a great deal."
Finally the old woman said, "Very well, you may go. But you must take your younger sister with you." The boys eagerly agreed to do this.
Then the old woman spoke to her daughter, "You will accompany your older brothers and watch over them carefully, so that no one harms them anywhere. Here, take this stick along. You will use it as a powerful magic." The old woman repeatedly told her daughter this.
Finally they started out. They soon came to a river, and were inhabitant spoke to them in the following manner, "Do you want to play shinny?"
"Certainly," they answered.
"If you like it, we will begin to play at once."
All agreed quickly to this. So the people placed their bets, and the travelers placed their sister as their bet. Soon all were playing shinny and the brothers were staking their sister. They had not played for very long when the brothers began to win every point. Finally the shinny game came to an end. The next day they started out on on their journey again. Before they set out, they left behind the women whom they had won in the game. These women became pregnant as soon as the boys left them.
Then they came to another river. The same thing happened as before: they began to play shinny with the people. As they had done before, they bet their sister again, putting her up as their stake. However, this time the shinny game lasted a little longer, and at night, after they stopped playing, they began to dance again. During the dance, their sister constantly stood behind them, but at a distance. When the night was almost gone, the girl suddenly began to suspect something. So she said to her brothers, "I feel we will meet with some foul play." This she told her brothers several times until they stopped dancing.
The next morning they did the same thing as they had done before: they left the women they had won and said, "We will return for them on our homeward journey."
So they started out again. Once more they came to a river where people were living in even greater numbers. "Where are you going?," they were asked.
"Oh, we are challenging people to shinny playing."
"Very well," they were told, "we will play a game of shinny against you."
So then all the people assembled on the bank of the river where the shinny game was to be played, and began to bet with one another. At first, only dentalia shells were place as bets. But the travelers again put up their sister as their bet, whereupon similar bets were made by the people from the other side of the river. And after everything had been agreed to they began to play shinny. For a long time the game was a tie. But finally the brothers succeeded in winning enough points to win the game. Then all stopped playing; and after all were through eating, they began to dance, at night. They had not danced for long when again their sister began to suspect something. So she spoke to her brothers about it, and they stopped dancing. Next morning they were again ready to leave.
"We are going to leave our winnings here."
"On our way back we will stop for them."
They had not traveled far when they came to another river. They were ferried across.
"Where are you going?," they were asked after they had arrived on the other side.
"Oh, we are challenging people."
"What kind of games do you like most?"
"Oh, any kind."
"All right, let us play shinny."
They eagerly agreed to it, and the people began to bet one another. Once again the travelers offered to put up their sister as their stake. Then everybody joined the shinny game. The game was a tie for a long time, and the brothers could barely win enough points. In fact, it was almost nighttime when they at last began to win consistently. So everybody stopped, and when night came they began to dance again. While they were dancing the house seemed to give off a cracking sound like metal. The night was almost completely gone when their sister began to realize the danger they were in.
So she told them, "I came close to not watching over you as I was asked."
So they stopped dancing. When they came outside, the walls of the house appeared to be made only of ice. In the morning they did the same thing as before; they left their winnings, that is, the women.
So they started out again. They had not traveled very far when they came again to a village. Once more they were ferried across.
"Hello, are you the boys who, we're told, travel about beating people at various games?"
"Yes, we're the ones."
"Very well, we'll play you today."
"All right! Let's play shinny."
Then all the people of the village assembled on the river bank where the shinny game was to take place. And all began to place their bets. The boys did the same thing as before: they bet their sister. Then the game was started. The game was tied for a long time. The sun gradually set, but still the game remained tied. Nighttime was fast approaching when the boys at last succeeded in winning enough points, and everybody stopped playing.
"We should like to see you dance tonight."
"Very well, we'll dance."
So when night came they began to dance. The boys paid little attention to what was going on around them. Toward dawn those who had been watching suddenly disappeared. The girl looked around everywhere, but the house had simply turned into a rock! So she looked up and saw a tiny hole. So she quickly fastened her cane to the ceiling, climbed her cane quickly and made her escape through that small hole. However, she did not know what she could do for her brothers. So she went around the house several times and saw that it was made only of rock. Nowhere was there even a tiny opening in the stone. She could do nothing, so she started home. She was ferried across the river, and when she arrived at the other side, she began her journey home. Pretty soon she began to cry. Every time she came to a place, where her brothers had previously stopped, she would begin to cry. Whenever she came to a village, she would be asked, "Where are your brothers?" "Alas! we were tricked." Then she would again be ferried across. And as she continued her journey home, she was constantly laughed at; she was always asked the same questions whenever she stopped at a place. Finally, on the fifth day, she arrived home.
"Well?" said the old woman, "where are your brothers?"
"Alas! The house suddenly closed over them! The house turned into a rock! I barely got out myself!"
"I told you to watch over your brothers constantly; that was why I sent you."
"Yes, but I couldn't do anything by myself alone, I was overpowered."
So the old woman prepared to go and the two started out. At first nothing was said to them. But, in fact, as they kept on going the old woman was constantly laughed at. However, she didn't seem to mind it. On the fifth day they finally arrived there. Then the old woman began to try her own magic several times. She would touch the ground gently with her stick, and the ground would at once split in two.
"Look!" exclaimed the youngest of her boys' captors, "what on earth is the old woman doing?"
Then she gradually increased the speed of her motions and arrived right where the rock had closed on her children. She walked around the house several times and sang. She put her stick quickly against the southern wall; but the house did not move even a little. Again she put her stick on the northern wall; still it did not move even a little.
"Look, the old woman is getting angry!" said the youngest of her boys' captors.
Then she touched the house again with her magic cane. It did not shake even a little. At that point the old woman shouted impatiently, "WHAT MANNER OF PEOPLE ARE THOSE WHO BROUGHT HARM UPON MY CHILDREN?"
Then she began to dance and again touched the house with her magic cane. Finally, on her fifth try, she touched the top of the rock with her magic cane and said: "I AM CYCLONE!"
As soon as she placed her cane there the rock split open. Her children were standing in exactly the same position as they were in when they were dancing. She told them to leave the house, and after they came out they all started homeward.
Whenever they stopped at a village where they had played shinny, they took with them the women they had previously won. But at each village she came to the old woman would touch the ground with her cane and the place would turn over quickly and all the inhabitants would be buried underneath. Then they would start home again. Once more they would come to a river and would stop again for the women whom they had previously won. And the old woman would do the same thing as before: she would suddenly upturn the ground on the inhabitants, whereupon they would start out again. Now, whenever they would arrive at a village, the old woman would do this to the inhabitants, until, finally, they arrived home.
"We will now fix ourselves differently," the old woman said. "You will turn into winds." And so it happened. "I myself will travel in the ocean and Cyclone will be my name. If anyone ever dreams of me, he will have the same power as I have." And, having said this, she went into the middle of the ocean. Here the story ends.
-Submitted by Blue Panther Keeper of Stories
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