Alaska: Raven's Feast

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

Raven's Feast 


RAVEN'S mother died, so he gave a great feast, but first he went to the Groundhog people to get food. Now the Groundhog people know when slides descend from the mountains, and they know that spring is then near at hand, so they throw all of their winter food out of their burrows. Raven wanted them to do this. He said, "There is going to be a world snowslide."

Ground-hog chief answered, "Well, nobody in this town knows about it." In the spring when the snowslides did come, the Groundhogs threw out all their green herbs, and their roots from their burrows.

Therefore Raven said to the people, "I am going to have a feast. I am going to invite the whole world." Raven was going to invite everyone because he had heard that the Gonaqadet had a Chilkat blanket and a Chilkat hat and he wanted to see them. First he invited the Gonaqadet and afterward the other chiefs of all the tribes in the world.

At the right time they came.

When the Gonaqadet came in he had on his Chilkat hat with many crowns and his Chilkat blanket, but he was surrounded by a fog. Inside of the house, however, the fog melted away. Because Raven had this feast, people now have to have feasts. Because Raven had this burial feast, when a man is going to have a burial feast he has a many-crowned hat carved on the top of the dead man's grave post.

(illustration from Judson's book)

(300 words)

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