Alaska: Raven and Pitch

This story is part of the Alaskan Legends unit. Story source: Myths and Legends of Alaska, edited by Katharine Berry Judson (1911).


Raven and Pitch
Tsimshian

[LIBRIVOX AUDIO]

RAVEN went travelling through the woods until he came to the house of Little Pitch. Little Pitch was rich, and invited him in. When Raven had eaten enough, he slept.

When he awakened, he said they would go to catch halibut.

Little Pitch was willing, but said, "It is not good for me to be out after sunrise. I must return while it is still chilly. I shall have enough by that time."

Raven said, "I shall do whatever you say, Chief."

Little Pitch said, "Well!"

Then they started for the fishing place. They fished all night.

When the sun rose Little Pitch wanted to go ashore. Raven said, "I enjoy the fishing. Lie down in the bow of the canoe and cover yourself with a mat." Little Pitch did so.

After a while Raven called, "Little Pitch!"

He answered, "Heh!"

After a while Raven called again, "Little Pitch!" He answered again in a loud voice.

Again after some time, Raven called again, "Little Pitch!" Then Little Pitch's answer was very weak because the sun was getting warm.

Now Raven hauled up his line and paddled home. He pretended to paddle hard, but he only put his paddles into the water edgewise.

Again he called, "Little Pitch!"

"Heh!" Little Pitch replied, but his voice was very weak. The sun was getting still hotter.

Then Raven knew that Little Pitch was melting. Behold! Pitch came out and ran over the halibut in the boat. Therefore the halibut is black on one side. Then Raven took the pitch and mended his boat with it.



(Halibut: white underside, dark on top)


(300 words)









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