Pacific NW: Why There Are No Snakes on Takhoma

The Cowlitz tribe are a Coast Salish people who live in western Washington. You can find out more at Wikipedia. Tyhee Sahale is their chief god.

Meanwhile, the mountain referred to here as Takhoma is known in English is "Mount Rainier," so named by George Vancouver in honor of Admiral Peter Rainier. You can read more about the mountain's name at Wikipedia.

[Notes by LKG]

This story is part of the Pacific Northwest unit. Story source: Myths and Legends of the Pacific Northwest, especially of Washington and Oregon, by Katharine Berry Judson (1910).

Why There Are No Snakes on Takhoma

A LONG, long time ago, Tyhee Sahale became angry with the people. Sahale ordered a medicine man to take his bow and arrow and shoot into the cloud which hung low over Takhoma.

The medicine man shot the arrow, and it stuck fast in the cloud. Then he shot another into the lower end of the first. Then he shot another into the lower end of the second. He shot arrows until he had made a chain which reached from the cloud to the earth.

The medicine man told his klootchman and his children to climb up the arrow trail. Then he told the good animals to climb up the arrow trail. Then the medicine man climbed up himself.

Just as he was climbing into the cloud, he looked back. A long line of bad animals and snakes were also climbing up the arrow trail. Therefore the medicine man broke the chain of arrows. Thus the snakes and bad animals fell down on the mountain side.

Then at once it began to rain. It rained until all the land was flooded. Water reached even to the snow line of Takhoma. When all the bad animals and snakes were drowned, it stopped raining.

After a while the waters sank again. Then the medicine man, and his klootchman, and the children climbed out of the cloud and came down the mountain side. The good animals also climbed out of the cloud. Thus there are now no snakes or bad animals on Takhoma.

(300 words)

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