BNA: Origin of Rivers in Queen Charlotte Islands

This story is part of the British North America unit. Story source: Myths and Legends of British North America by Katharine Berry Judson (1917).

Origin of Rivers in Queen Charlotte Islands

BEAVER lived in a beautiful house on the shore of a large lake. In the lake were salmon and on the shores were berries of all kinds.

One day Raven disguised himself as a poor, hungry person. He went to Beaver's house.

Beaver was just coming home with a fish and berries. Beaver said, "What are you doing here?"

Raven said, "My father has just died. We have the same ancestors. He told me to visit you and ask for food."

Beaver believed Raven and pitied him. He told Raven to stay at home, promising to give him much food. There were always fish in the lake and ripe berries on the shores.

The next day Raven went to the lake. He rolled up the water like a blanket. He took it in his beak and flew away. He alighted on the top of a large cedar tree.

When Beaver went out to fish, he found his lake was gone. Then Beaver called all the Beavers to help him, all the Wolves and Bears. He called also a monster Talat-adega, which has a long body, a long tail, and many legs. He asked them to throw the tree down. The Wolves dug up the roots of the tree, Beavers gnawed the trunk of the tree. All the animals worked until the tree fell; then Raven flew to another tree. All the animals of the forest worked hard. They tried to throw this tree down. But when it fell down, Raven flew to another tree.

After they had felled four trees, the animals said, "Please give us our chief's water. Don't make us unhappy."

But Raven only flew away. He spilled some of the water on the ground as he flew along. Thus originated all the rivers on Queen Charlotte Islands. Raven also made the Skeena and Stikine rivers.

There was a man named Kilkun at Skidegate. Kilkun said to Raven, "Give me some water!"

Raven gave him only a few drops. Then Kilkun became angry and fell dead. He forms the long point of land at Skidegate.

(400 words)

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