Manataka American Indian Council
A Chinook Story
Now there was a sea-lion and a sea-cow (?), one at each side of the door. They stood in the doorway. Now Blue-Jay became very cold. He tried to jump into the house and the animals bit him. They had almost been unable to recover him. Then the chief stepped up and he took one sea monster in each hand and threw them away. "Ehehiu," shouted the person ["how he throws away the sea lions of the supernatural people"]. "'Ehehiu', you say; I threw away those who bit me," said Blue-Jay.
Then they all entered the house and stayed there. There were no people in it except the chief's sister. [Blue-Jay said to his brother Robin:] "What will they give us to eat, Robin?" "Oh, be quiet," replied Robin. Then said Blue-Jay: "Our chief's fire makes noise just as this here." There was only one log in the house. Then the person shouted: "Come down to the fire you who splits wood with his beak."
Then a being came out [from under the bed] with a long beak who split the log. "Robin," said Blue-Jay, "that was our great-great-grandfather's slave." "I do not know that he was our slave; you alone have slaves." Then a fire was made and the whole house was full of smoke. The person shouted: "Come down to the fire, Smoke-eater." "Robin," said Blue-Jay, he also was our (great-great-grandfather's) slave; he always carried me on his back and led you by the hand." "I do not know that he was our slave; you alone have slaves."
Then the smoke man came down and [they saw that] he had an enormous belly. He stepped into the middle of the house and swallowed all the smoke. The house became light. Then they brought a small dish and one cut of meat was in it. "Robin," said Blue-Jay, "that is too little; that is not enough for all of us; I certainly shall not get enough." Then a person shouted: "Come down to the fire you who cuts whale with his beak."
Then a person came to the fire with a very sharp beak, who began to cut meat. He cut and cut until the whole dish was full. Then he blew upon it and it became a large canoe full of meat. They boiled it, and when it was nearly done they all went out and their chief took reeds. These he put into their months [and pushed them right through them] so that they came out at the anus. They all did so, also Blue-Jay.
Then they entered again and sat down. They made small holes where they sat and began to eat. They swallowed the meat and it went right out at the anus. Blue-Jay arose and there lay his anus. "Look here, Robin, my anus fell down right here!" Then the people took him by his arms, carried him out of the house, and pulled the reed out of his mouth. Then the chief and Blue-Jay entered again; he took three spoonfuls and he had enough.
the people continued to eat and the whale meat became less and less. Then they
went out, took out the reeds and reentered. They continued to eat. Now they ate
in the right way and finished all they had boiled. Then a person cried: "Ehehiu,
how they eat all the meat of the supernatural beings!" Then Blue-Jay said:
"Did you think I could not finish what you gave me to eat?"
Now they stayed in the house. Blue-Jay went out. He was oversatiated. He looked and saw a patch of kinnikinnik berries. He began to eat them, when a person called: "Oh, Blue-Jay eats the excrements of the supernatural people;" whereupon Blue-Jay said: "'Ehehiu', you say; do you think I eat them? I merely look at your kinnikinnik berries."
They stayed there. After awhile a person came out of the house and said: "They wish to play with you; you will dive." Blue Jay said: "We always dive in our country." "Do you think they do as you are accustomed to?" said the woman. "When they dive the one dies and the other one has won." She said to them: "Blue-Jay shall dive." Blue-Jay went down to the water and threw the bushes out of his canoe into the water.
Then he and the diver fought against each other. They dived. Blue-Jay hid his club under his blanket. They jumped into the water and after awhile Blue Jay's breath gave out. He came up and hid under the bushes which he had thrown out of his canoe. There he breathed and dived again. He said to the diver: "Where are you?" "Here I am," she replied. After awhile his breath gave out again.
more he came up under the bushes. Four times he did so, and then he became
tired. He went to look for the diver. He found her biting the bottom of the sea.
She had her eyes closed. Blue-Jay took his club and hit her on the nape. The
people saw something floating on the water and then a person said: "There
is Blue-Jay." He was, however, in the bushes which he had thrown out of his
canoe. After a little while Blue-Jay jumped ashore and a person shouted: "Ehehiu,
how Blue-Jay won over the diver of the supernatural beings." "'Ehehiu',
you say; we always dive so in our country," said Blue Jay.
Then again a person stepped out and said: "They want to play with you; you will climb up a tree together." Then Blue-Jay said: "We climb every day in our country." But the young woman remarked: "Do you think they are just like Indians? They will place a piece of ice upright, then you will have to climb up the ice. When a climber falls down he breaks to pieces and the other one wins."
Then they said to Blue Jay: "You shall climb up." They placed upright a piece of ice which was so long that it reached to the sky. Blue-Jay made himself ready and tied his bearskin blanket around his belly. [The supernatural beings sent a] chipmunk who made himself ready [to climb up the ice]. They began to climb, and when they had reached a certain height Blue-Jay grew tired.
he let go of the ice] and flew upward. [When he had rested] he again took hold
of the ice. Then he grew tired again. He looked back to the one with whom he was
racing and saw her climbing up with her eyes shut. She did not grow tired. Then
Blue-Jay took his club [from under his blanket] and struck her on the nape. The
chipmunk fell down. The people looked up and saw a person falling down.
"Ah, that is Blue-Jay! There he falls down." [But when they saw the
chipmunk] a person shouted: "Ehehiu, how they won over the chipmunk of the
"'Ehehiu', you say; we always climb in our country." Then their chief won two sea-otters.
Then they stayed awhile longer. Then again a person came out and said: "They want to have a shooting match with you." Blue-Jay said: "We have shooting matches every day in our country." The young woman said: "Do you think they are like Indians? They place people against each other. One stands on one side, the other on the other. [They shoot at each other,] the one dies, and the other wins." Then they said to the Beaver: "You stand up [on our side]." They took a grindstone and tied it to his belly. They took another one and tied it to his back. The supernatural beings made the loon stand up on their side.
[the beaver and the loon] took their arrows and the loon shot at the beaver. The
arrow broke and fell down. Then the beaver shot at the loon. "Uhû,"
said he when he was struck by the arrow. Then the loon shot again.
"Ha," he said, and the arrow broke and fell down. Then he shot again
at the loon. "Uhû," he said, then fell on his back and died. "Ehehiu!
How they won over the bird of the supernatural people." Blue-Jay spoke:
"You say 'ehehiu'; we have shooting matches in our country every day."
They stayed there some time longer. Then again a person came out of the house and said: "They want to play with you; you will sweat in the sweat house." Blue-Jay spoke: "We always sweat in our country." Then the young woman said: "They always heat caves, and when they are hot, they enter them. The one party will die, the other will win." Then their chief said: "We must go into the cave." Now the supernatural beings heated the caves. They got hot. There were two caves in a rock. [The chief and some of his people] went into one, the supernatural beings went into the other.
the caves were closed. The chief, however, took some ice and put it under their
feet. They stood on it. After a little while a sound was heard like the bursting
of a shell that is being roasted. Five times that sound was heard. Then the
caves were opened; first that of Blue Jay's people--they were all alive; next
that of the supernatural beings--five of them were dead. They had won again.
"Ehehiu! How they won over the supernatural beings." "'Ehehiu',
you say," replied Blue-Jay, we use the sweat house every day in our
"Now the chief's brother-in-law said: "Let us catch whales." The sister told him: "Take care; they will try to put you to shame. This is their last attempt at you." In the evening they went to catch whales. She took Blue-Jay and put him into her right armpit. Then she took Robin and put him into her left armpit [and told them]: "Now I shall keep you here; do not say 'ehehiu,' do not look!"
in the evening they all went down to the beach. She said to her elder brother:
"Four whales will pass you, but do not throw your harpoon; when the fifth
comes, then harpoon it." Now the supernatural people stood there. The young
woman took a torch in order to help her brother.
After a while a person shouted: "Yuyayuya, a flatfish whale comes." [The chief did not stir.] After a while a person shouted: "Yuyayuya, an albatross whale comes; raise your harpoons." Blue-Jay tried to look [from under the arms of the woman]. At once her torch began to flicker, and she pressed Blue-Jay, saying: "Do not look!" Then again a person shouted: "Yuyayuya, an elk whale comes; raise your harpoons." [The chief did not stir.] Next a person shouted: "Yuyayuya, a sperm-whale comes; raise your harpoons."
Then the sister said to him: "Now, look out; now the real whale will come." Then a person shouted: "Yuyayuya, the whale of the supernatural people comes." Blue-Jay tried to look [from his hiding place]. Then the torch of the young woman began to flicker and was almost extinguished. The people said: "Why does AnêktcXô'lEmiX's torch always flicker?" The person shouted once more: "Yuyayuya, the whale of the supernatural people comes."
Then AnêktcXô'lEmiX said to her brother: "Now the real whale will come." The chief harpooned it and threw it ashore. "Ehehiu! How they threw ashore the whale of the supernatural people." Blue-Jay replied: "Ehehiu," and at once the torch was extinguished, and Blue-Jay [fell down from the armpit of the woman and] was drowned. He drifted away. Thus they won again. Their chief won again. Then they went home.
AnêktcXô'lEmiX said: "Coil up this rope in your canoe; when you get across tie Robin's blanket to it." [Then they started. When they were in the middle of the ocean the supernatural people] created a strong gale against those going home. Now they tied [Mink] on to the gunwale of their canoe [thus making it higher and preventing its being swamped]. They almost perished; finally they reached their home [safely. Then they tied Robin's blanket to the rope. AnêktcXô'lEmiX pulled it back, and when she found the blanket at the end of the rope she knew that her brother had reached home safely].
Our thanks to Blue Panther Keeper of Stories email@example.com
Read AnêktcXô'lEmiX - A Chinook Story - Part I
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