Topic: Legends


On the Suiathl lived a small but strong tribe. Their last chief was Wah-Wihlkd. These poeple were strong and great hunters, traveling much up in the high country, in summer and fall. There they killed goats, bear and deer, cured and prepared Skabiatch (dried venison), picked Soudahk (huckleberries) and El-el-bihk (blueberries), dried them and brought down to their homes–supplies for the long winter. In the late fall and winter they trapped or snared Shweetlai (the mountain goat), for its meat and hide and long hair; of this hair they made twine and yarn. From the yarn they made the wonderful

Jid-Was and Dsa-Kokd-Suk

Up near Big Lake in Skagit county stand the big rocks. They can be seen from the highway. Have you experienced a strange feeling when you passed them? Well this is why. They are the soul thieves Jid-was the largest, Dsa-kokd-suk, the next in size, and a couple of smaller ones. These rocks, malicious and crafty, stood in waiting to rob Indians of their souls. If man or woman were not in good health when they passed these rocks, they were in grave danger. Now and then, perhaps once in 5 years, some person would turn up crazy. Some would

Goat and Deer

Shweetlai and Quaguilch Once goat was brown and deer was white. They both had much trouble avoiding their enemies, because brown goat on white snow could be so easily seen, also white deer in dark woods. One day they met and talked over a plan to make it better for both. Both all of a sudden said: “Suppose we try to trade coats and see how it goes.” They did and after that they had very little trouble in avoiding their enemies. Goat was hard to see near gray rocks or white snow, and deer was hard to see in

Chef-Eth,The Kingfisher

Along the river there was a camp where lived many birds. They lived on land and in the trees, and eat berries, bugs, and worms. Sometimes they talked about others who did not live as they did, and said things about them. About Kingfisher they said: “He is a careless bird, flying away from home all the time. He surely can’t take care of his family.” One day- Kingfisher heard this and he stopped and said: “You only feed yourself; see, I bring home a fish every day for my wife and family, and never have trouble at home. That

The Flood

One time, long ago, the waters in the whulge came up high, and flooded all the country way up into the mountains. First a big black Thunderbird flew over the country and made much noise, then it beget to rain. It rained and rained. The water came up and up, and when it stopped there were only some high hills and mountains sticking out. After a ‘long time it went down again. You can see sometimes now clamshells high up in the hills, and some places up in the mountains white logs lying just like on the beach. They were

Kulshan and Shuksan

Way up on the Skagit live two big mountains. Sometimes mountain Tyees get mad and makes a big fire. Once this happened with Kulshan; he got so mad over something that a big piece fell off and slid way down the mountain. This made a big fire and lots of noise. Kuishan and Shuksan became black all over. The waters in the rivers became black and warm. Fish came floating down the rivers cooked. Lots of Indians and animals fled from the upper Skagit and came to Kee-ke-alos and Stillaguamish. Next year most of them went back again. Since then

The Great Medicine Meeting

After years of training from boyhood up the Indian youth at the age of 18 or 20 went out to seek his guiding spirit or tamanois. He would go into the hills and fast for three or more days, when he would be bodily clean and in the proper state of mind and body for the tamanois to enter. The youth might wish for skill in hunting, shrewdness and luck in gambling, protection against fire, death from knife wounds etc., but the greatest was to be either big man in councils or good tamanois doctor. With some tribes the youth

The Tide Lake

Old time Indians once found a big lake way back in the mountains. In this lake was a small island. In this island was a big hole. At regular intervals lots of water bubbled out of the hole. This water tasted salt, just like the whulge. Suddenly the water would stop, then the waters of the lake would begin running into the hole faster and faster and the lake would get low just like low tide. Those who saw this lake said: Maybe this is where the tides in the whulge are made. This hole where the waters go in

The Wren and the Water Ousel

Stilpakad and Hoh-Te-Kogds Along the rivers and little creeks lives a small bird that jumps up and down all the time. He lives on bugs and little worms in the water. He can dive and swim and seldom goes away from along the water. When he sees other birds on the land and in the trees along the streams he talks very much. One time he made a long talk to Stilpakad, the wren, saying: “You land birds don’t know very much, you are afraid of the water. I am both wise and strong; suppose you wrestle with me.” Wren

The Thunder Tamanois

He who gets the spirit of the Thunder may be almost immune to death by knife or spear wounds. Spul-kaedib when young got the tamano1is of Thunder. He had 17 knife wounds and survived them all. Once when down at Skabalko he and his brother got into an argument with some people which ended in a little battle. The brother got out of it unscathed but Spul-kaedib was badly cut up. His brother got him into a canoe and poled up the river. For several hours he poled and Spul-kaedib, who was lying in the bottom of the canoe, was