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Ts'ung, a conifer.

T'ung, Paulownia imperialis.

Ts'e, calthrop (Tribulus terrestris).

Wei, grass.

Yang, poplar.

Yu, elm (Ulmus campestris).


Chi, leech.

Chi, ringed pheasant.

Ch'i, worm.

Chui, piebald horse.

Ch'ung, general term for reptiles

and insects.
Fang, bream.
Fu, wild duck.
Fung, male phoenix.
Hiao, owl.
Hiung, bear.
Ho, crane.
Hu, fox.
Hu, tiger.

Hui, venomous snake.
Jan, boa.
Ki, fowl, chicken.
K'i, piebald horse.
K'in, birds in general.
Kou, dog.
Ku, heron.
Ku, colt of a horse.
Lang, wolf.
Lin, fish-scales.

Lo, white horse with black mane.
Lu, stag.
Lung, dragon.
Ma, horse.
Mong, tree-frog.

Ngo, moth.

Niu, ox.

Pai-ma, white horse.

Pao, dried fish.

Pao, panther.

Pao-p'i, panther's skin.

Pei, cowrie-shell.

Piao, tiger-cat; stripes of a tiger.

Pie, fresh-water turtle (Trionyx

Se, team of four horses.
She, serpent.
Sia, chrysalis of a mantis.
Tiao, sable.
Ts'ing-niu, dark ox.
Ts'ing-wu, dark raven.
Tsou, small fishes, minnows.
Tsou, a fabulous beast.
Tsii, fish-hawk, osprey.
Ts'ui, bird-down.
Ts'ui, kingfisher.
T'un, sucking-pig.
Wu, raven.
Yang, sheep.
Yang-she, sheep-tongue.
Yen, swallow.
Yen, wild goose.
Yu, polecat.
Yu, fish.

It should be understood, of course, that it is by no means implied that the foregoing names had a totemic origin. This remains to be investigated by tracing in detail the history of these families bearing such names. In some cases it is certain that such names are not connected with a totem, but have a quite different origin. For instance, a man in the sixth century B.C. bore the family name Chuan, a word designating a large fish found in the Tung-t'ing lake. He killed Wang Liao, prince of Wu, with a poisoned dagger which was concealed in the belly of this fish served to him at dinner. This story plainly accounts for the origin of the family name. The list of these plant and animal family names, however, is interesting in itself, and, it is hoped, may prove a stimulus to serious investigation.

Field Museum Op Natural History,
Chicago, Iii.




Preface 427

1. Story of Beaver 429

2. Origin of the Earth . . . 441

3. The Great Flood .... 442

4. Origin of Fire, and Origin

of Death 443

5. Raven, or Big-Crow . . . /\i\i\

6. Big-Man (Dene Tco') ... 444

7. The Brothers, Big-Man, and

the Giants 445

8> The Giants and the Boys . 448 9. Bladder-Head Boy; or, The

Monster that ate People. 450

10. The Kaska Man who made

Whales 451

11. War with the Swan People . 453

12. The Deserted Woman . . 455


13. The Sisters who married

Stars 457

14. The Man who cohabited

with his Sister .... 459

15. Story of the Water-Man . 460

16. The Deceitful Wife ... 461

17. The Owl-Woman .... 462

18. The Dog-Man and Dog

Children 463.

19. Story of Lynx-Man . . . 464

20. The Fog-Man 465

21. Rabbit-Man (Ga.'tcoeze') . 467

22. Wolverene 469

23. Wolverene and his Wives . 470

24. Wolverene and Wolf . . .471

25. Story of the Baby stolen

by Wolverene 471


The following collection of tales or traditions is from the Kaska of the northern interior of British Columbia. The Kaska and Tahltan are closely related tribes of the Nahani division of the Athapascan stock, and occupy territories adjacent to each other. The Tahltan inhabit the whole region of the upper Stikine River, and extend easterly to Dease Lake and River, where they meet the Kaska, who claim the country from there down to the Liard. The Tahltan are thus chiefly on the Pacific drainage slope, and the Kaska altogether on the Arctic slope. Owing to their location, the Tahltan have an abundance of salmon in their country, while the Kaska have none. Both tribes live chiefly by hunting and trapping, but the Kaska depend more on the chase than do the Tahltan. Large game-animals are abundant, consisting of moose, caribou, sheep, goat, and bear. Marmots are plentiful in certain parts, and buffalo are said to have been fairly numerous at one time in the more eastern sections of the country.

1 The present collection of Kaska tales, together with another one of Tahltan tales, was collected by Mr. J. A. Teit in the seasons of 1913 and 1915 in the region of Stikine River, British Columbia. These two seasons of field-work were devoted to a general ethnological investigation of the Tahltan and Kaska Indians, under the auspices of the Geological Survey of Canada. The present publication embraces the mythological results of the trips. Other aspects of the ethnology collected by Mr. Teit will be published by the Geological Survey from time to time in the form of special monographs. To facilitate the appearance of Mr. Teit's Tahltan and Kaska tales, the Geological Survey of Canada has authorized its Division of Anthropology to intrust their publication to the American Folk-Lore Society. — E. Sapir, Head of Division of Anthropology. Geological Survey of Canada.

The Kaska are entirely surrounded by Athapascan tribes, while the Tahltan are neighbors of tribes of two other stocks; viz., the Tlingit to the northwest and west, and the Niska and Kitksan tribes of the Tsimshian stock to the southwest. To the south the Sikani, Carrier, and Chilcotin tribes of the Athapascan stock separate the Tahltan and Kaska from the Shuswap and Lillooet, the nearest tribes of the interior Salish. Owing largely to their position, the Tahltan had a great deal of intercourse with the Tlingit, much more than with any other people. Intercourse and trading were chiefly by way of Stikine Raver. Trade was in the hands of the Tlingit of Wrangell and vicinity, who annually transported goods by canoe up the river to the head of canoe navigation, a little above Telegraph Creek and close to the headquarters of the Tahltan. The people of the latter tribe acted as middlemen in passing coast products inland, and inland products coastward. The main trade-route between the far east (the Mackenzie valley and the plains) and the Pacific coast in this part of British Columbia lay through the Tahltan and Kaska territory, and there is evidence of a number of cultural features having penetrated a long distance in both directions along that route. Here, as in other parts of the west, the main trade-routes lay as nearly east and west as the physical features of the country allowed; while other routes running north and south within the interior were unimportant, notwithstanding the fact that the nature of the country generally was favorable for travel and intercourse.

It may be expected that dissemination of tales has occurred chiefly along the main trade-routes, where intercourse between the tribes was most frequent and closest. Hence throughout the interior, dissemination of tales has followed east and west lines rather than north and south. As the same conditions as to routes prevailed in the southern interior as in the northern, it seems probable that a number of the incidents in tales of the Tahltan and Kaska which correspond with those in tales of the interior Salish have not passed directly from Athapascan to Salish tribes, or vice versa, but have reached both from the same eastern and western sources,— chiefly, it seems, the latter. The Tahltan assert that in the old trading-rendezvous on the upper Stikine, members of the two tribes associated there for weeks together, and that one of the features of meeting was story-telling. Tahltan raconteurs told their stories one day, and Tlingit told theirs the following day. Sometimes they thus told stories turn about for


weeks. Occasionally the tribes competed in story-telling to see which had the most stories. As a result, it came to be acknowledged that the Tlingit had considerably more stories than the Tahltan. In this way, it is said, the Tahltan learned Tlingit stories, and vice versd.

It is therefore not surprising to find many elements of Tlingit origin in Tahltan tales. It seems that most stories of the Raven cycle, and many other tales, have been borrowed almost in their entirety. On the other hand, the Kaska tales show much less indication of Tlingit influence, and probably a little more of influence from the east. On the whole, they are probably more purely Athapascan. The importance of the chase (especially hunting of caribou) is reflected in the tales of both tribes. Fishing is not prominent, excepting in tales borrowed from the Tlingit. Root-digging and berrying, features often referred to in Salish tales, are almost entirely absent. Tales of European origin appear to be altogether unknown. I inquired for such tales as those of Petit Jean, John the Bear, and others, but without result. About one hundred and fifty themes, episodes, and incidents occurring in tales of the interior Salish (chiefly Shuswap), regarding which I made inquiry, I failed to obtain among the Tahltan, and there are also many others that are absent.

All the Tahltan tales, with the exception of six, were collected during the course of my work among the tribe in 1912. Almost all of them were obtained from Tuu:'ts ("strong rocks"), also known as "Dandy Jim," of the Nahlin clan of the Raven phratry of the Tahltan. He was selected by the tribe as the best-qualified person to give me information on their general ethnology, mythology, and so on. The other six tales were obtained at Telegraph Creek in 1915 from Jim and others. The Kaska tales were collected at the foot of Dease Lake in 1915, my informants being Tsonake''!, also known as Albert Dease, and his wife Nettie Mejade'sse, both members of the Kaska tribe. In every case I collected all the tales my informants knew.

Historic traditions, such as tales of war-expeditions and migrations, are not included in the present collection. I have included a number of variants of incidents in the text. I have added some explanatory notes where these seemed to be required. The comparative notes, excepting those referring to the interior Salish, Chilcotin, and some of the Tsetsa'ut notes, were added by the Editor of the Journal.


A long time ago, when all the animals were people, Beaver was a great transformer. He travelled along a wide trail that was much used. Along the trail were many monsters that preyed on people. He came to a place where people always disappeared. Wolverene killed them. His house was at the foot of a glacier, between two

. j

rocky bluffs. The glacier was very slippery, and people a casing it •lid down to the bottom, where they were transfixed on a spear placed there by Wolverene. As toon as something touched the spear, Wolverene knew it, and came out at once. If they were dead, be carried the bodies home; if they were only wounded, he kiDed them. His house was full of peoples' bones. Beaver went down this slide, and, cutting his lips with the spear so that they bled, pretended to be dead. Wolverene knew something had been caught, and came out smiling and very happy. When be saw Beaver, be said, "What a large beaver!" Then be laughed, and said, " I have caught this dever man." He carried the body home and put it down in his bouse. He had four flensing-knives. He used one after another, but they would not cut Beaver's skin. Then he searched for the fourth knife. Beaver knew that this knife would cut him, so he opened his eyes to see where be might find a stick. One of Wolverene's children noticed him, and called out, "Father, the Beaver has opened his eyes!" Wolverene answered, "You are mistaken. How can a dead man open his eyes?" Beaver jumped up and seized a stick, with which he broke Wolverene's arms and legs. He killed him, and put his body before the fire to roast. He also killed all Wolverene's children, and treated their bodies likewise.1

Beaver went on, and came to a bluff overlooking a deep creek. He heard a dog barking below the cliff. He listened, and approached cautiously. Presently he saw a man on the top of the cliff, and went to him. This was Sheep-Man, who killed people by pushing them over the cliff. His wife attracted them by barking like a dog, and any who were not killed outright by the fall were clubbed by her at the bottom of the cliff. When Beaver reached Sheep-Man, the latter said, " Look at the sheep down below!" Beaver said, "You look first, you saw them first." They quarrelled as to who should look over the brink first. At last Sheep-Man looked, and Beaver at once pushed him over. He was killed by the fall.* When Sheep-Man's wife heard the thud .of something falling at the base of the cliff, she ran out quickly, and began to club the man before she noticed that it was her own husband. She then looked up and saw Beaver, who threw a rock at her head and killed her. This is why the head of the mountain-sheep is so small between the horns; and the tongues of sheep are black because they once ate men.

Beaver travelled on, and came to a large camp of Sheep people. The women were good, and called to him, "Why do you come this way?" He answered, "I am looking for friends who have passed

1 Bellacoola (Boas. JE I : 86, Sagen 250), Eskimo (Boas, BAM 15 : 176), Loucheuz (Camscll-Barbeau, JAFL 28 : 255), Tsetsa'ut (Boas, JAFL 10 : 46).

• Chllcotin (Farrand, JE 2 : 26), Pend d'Oreille (Teit, MAFLS II : 116), Sahaptin (Farrand-Mayer, MAFLS n : 152); see also RBAE 31 : 803.

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