Stephen D. (Stephen Denison) Peet.

The American antiquarian and oriental journal [electronic serial] online

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us anything." Then she knew that somebody had taken the
di^es from her and she said: "A stranger must be here who
took the dishes out of my hand," and all the women said: "Oh
stranger, have mercy upon us, take the blindness from our eyes."
The brothers chewed certain roots and spit into the eyes of the
women. Then their eyesight was restored; they were trans-
formed into ducks and flew away. The one alone, upon whose
blanket the young man had stepped, was unable to fly away. He
asked her : " Where is Tlai^i's home ? We want to marry his
daughters," The duck replied : " Tlai^j is a bad man ; he kills
all the suers of his daughters. If you really intend to marry
them you had better see your grandfather first. He will give
you medicine that you may not be conquered by Tlai^i."

The youths followed the duck's advice. They went on and ar-
rived at the house of their grandfather Pacin (Oneleg, the crane).
As he was not in they went in search of him. On their
way they met the snake and took its blanket. When they
descried their grandfather standing at a brook, where he was
fishing, they assumed the shape of salmon by putting on the
blanket of the snake. They swam to the place where their grand-
father stood holding his harpoon ready for flinging it When
they came near him they stopped swimming. As soon as
he saw the two salmon he flung his harpoon at them, hit both
with a single stroke and pulled them on shore. While he turned
around to get his fish club, intending to kill the fish, they trans-

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formed themselves into his grandsons and laughed heartily as
they had thus deceived their grandfather. " Oh, my grandsons "
said Pacin, "where do you come from, where are you going?"
" We want to marry Tlai^j's daughters," replied the youths.
"Then accompany me to my home, that I may make you strong,"
said Oneleg. He led the way and the young men followed him.
When they arrived he said: "First, Tlai>( will offer you a por-
cupine for a seat. Sit down on this stone that you may be able
to stand the test." Thus speaking he let them sit down on a
slab of slate, and their seats were transformed into stone. He
anointed their bodies with the juice of a magic herb, and threw a
black stone (mesais, basalt) into the fire, and when it had become
red hot he pulled it out with a pair of tongs and placed it into
the mouths of the youths. Before doing so he had ordered them
to make a quick jump as soon as he would let go the stone.
They obeyed, and the stone fell through them without doing any
harm,* * * * He showed them the way to Tlai^j's
well and told them that they would find the girls there.

Here they climbed a tree and sat waiting on the branches.
After a short while the girls came out of the house singing:
" Not Tleqelen's (Bad weather) sons shall be our husbands,
Aielen's sons shall come and marry us." The young men were
very glad when they heard this song. On the following morn-
ing the girls again came to the well to fetch water. When they
stooped they saw the images of the youths in the water and they
began to cry, as they believed they were dead and lay on the
bottom of the well. One of the youths spit into the water to
attract their attention, and now they saw the two young men sit-
ting on the branches of the tree and their hearts were glad. The
youths jumped down; the elder one took the elder of the sisters,
the younger the younger, and they went together into the house.

They reached the house and Tlai^i offered them a porcupine
for a seat. As their seats were of stone they were not hurt.
Then he put some red-hot stones into their mouths. They gave
a high jump, as their grandfather had taught them, and they
were not hurt. The hearts of the girls were glad when they saw
that Aielen's sons had stood the test. In the night the young
men made the girls bite the wedges and then turned out their
teeth. * * * * When, on the

next morning, Tlai^ found that the youths were still alive, he got
very angry and resolved to do away with them in some other

He had hewn down a tree and was engaged in cutting it into

*The stars take the place of certain expressions which are not suitable for publica*
tlon.— Editor.

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boards. One day he asked his sons-in-law to help him. They,
however, suspected his bad intents and went first into the woods
to their grandfather, Tamtam (a bird), and asked him for his
blanket. He gave it to them. This and white and red paint
they took along to the tree. When they arrived they saw that
Tlai^i was about to split the tree by means of wedges. He began
to ram in a new wedge and suddenly he let go his stone hammer
which fell right into the open crack. He asked the youths : "Oh,
crawl in there and get my hammer." They did as they were
bidden. As soon as they had entered the crack Tlai^i pushed
out the wedge, and the tree snapped together with great force.
The youths, however, put on Tamtam's blanket and flew away in
the shape of birds, while they left the paint in thetree. The latter
oozed out of the crack, and Tlai^j believed it to be the brains and
the blood of the youths. He returned home full of joy that he
had killed his sons-in-law. What was his surprise when he found
them sitting safe and sound by the side of the fire. He was deeply

And he thought again and again, how he might be able to
kill his sons-in-law. Early one morning he flung his dog into
the sea and transformed it into a diver. Then he called the
young men, who were still asleep, and said : ** Come here and
catch yon bird." The brothers took bow and arrows, ran to the
beach and shot the diver. But, although they hit him again and
again, they were unable to kill him, and he gradually swam away
from the beach. Tlai^i said : " Launch your little boat and
pursue him. You will easily get hold of him." They obeyed
him and pursued the bird, which led them far into the sea. Then
Tlai>( summoned the wind and a heavy gale arose which threat-
ened to destroy the boat. The youths, however, began to sing
and beat the time on the gunwale. At once it was calm and fair all
around the boat; for they were Aielen's (Fair weather) sons. They
returned home and, although the gale was raging furiously, calms
prevailed wherever their boat went.

The youths resolved to take revenge upon Tlai^j if he should
attempt again to harm them. The next morning Tlai>i called
them : ** Come along, we will go red cod fishing," The young
men first called upon their grandfather, Huls^uls, (a diver), and
borrowed his blanket. Besides this they took along some gum
which they moulded into whales, sharks and sea-lions. When
they had arrived on the fish-bank Tlai^ was the first to throw his
hook. The young men thought : " Oh, might the hook catch
the bottom of the sea." They had hardly thought so when
Tlai^i's hook became entangled among the seaweed and boulders
of the ground. Now they threw their gum into the sea and the
little figures were transformed into whales, sharks and sea-lions,
which played all around Tlai>i's boat. The young men assumed
the shape of divers and returned home.

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Tlai^i was so much frightened when he saw all this, * * *
that he felt very sick. He lay in the house near his fire that was
burning low, as his supply of wood was well nigh exhausted. He
sent his sons-in-laws into the woods to fetch fuel. They obeyed
and went to see their grandfather, the woodpecker. They asked
him : " Let the bark of the tree fall down." The woodpecker
complied with their request and a large piece of bark fell down.
They carried it home and broke it into many pieces. They gave
a small fragment to Tlai^'s youngest son and bid him take it to
his father. The boy obeyed. When Tlai^j saw how little it was
they had given him he got very angry, for he wanted to have as
much as possible for making a large fire. When his son, how-
ever, began to break up the bark, it rapidly increased and fin-
ally filled the whole house.

One day Tlai>( longed to have cranberries, although it was
midwinter. The young men went to see their grandfather
(another water-fowl) and asked him to whistle. He complied
with their request, and when he whistled the shrubs began to
sprout. When he continued whistling they began to blossom,
and at last they bore fruit. The young men gathered a small
bucketful and carried it home. Then they ate away as their
hearts desired. When Tlai^ saw this he asked for some berries.
His sons-in-law gave him a small dish full — but when he began
to eat he found that the dish never became empty. At last he
got impatient and flung the dish to the ground. At once a
cranberry-bush grew out of his navel.

Another day Tlai^i asked the young men to catch the wood-
pecker. They went to their grandfather, the woodpecker, and when
they carried him home they whispered in his car : " Pick out
Tlai>i's eyes, but torment him first." When they arrived in the
house the woodpecker hopped upon Tlai>|'s stomach and began
picking. Gradually he proceeded toward his head contin-
ually picking him. At last he arrived at his head and although
Tlai^j turned his head to the right and to the left to escape the
woodpecker the latter picked out his eyes.

Finally Tlai^ wanted to have the Aihos (the double-headed
snake), which was to kill the brothers. The younger one caught
it and while carrying it home whispered in its ear : " Kill Tlai^i."
The Aihos obeyed. One of its heads devoured him, beginning
at th( head, the other beginning at the seat. Thus he died. The
brothers threw his corpse down upon the earth.

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[Another Version of the Tradition.]

Two young men, the sons of Aielen, (Aielen is the name of
the sun when spoken of as a human being), went in their boat to
catch birds. When they had left the land far behind they com-
menced flying their arrows toward the sky and continued to do
so until a chain of arrows was formed reaching from the sky to
the earth. The elder brother rose and shook the chain. When
he found it firm and strong he said to his brother : " I shall
climb up into the sky. Stay you here. Do not mourn for me,
but go home, climb upon the roof of the house and play and be
joyful." Then he began to climb up and ere long he had disap-
peared from his brother's view. The latter returned home
and spoke to Aielen : " 1 have lost my elder brother. I do not
know what has become of him, and I tear he is dead," and all
the people who heard this cried with sorrow. He, however,
climbed upon the roof of the house and played and was joyful,
for he knew that his brother was in the sky.

When ttie elder brother had arrived there he found a road
leading through a beautiful level country. Far away he saw
smoke rising. When he came near he saw the squid, which
lay comfortably near the fire and chewed gum. The youth
asked him, "Oh, give me some gum ? " The squid answered:
" What do you want to do with it ? You cannot use the gum
for your teeth." The youth, however, said again : " Oh, ^ive
me some gum and your blanket." Then the squid gave him

The youth went on. Soon he saw smoke rising at a distant
place. When he came near he found a number of blind women
sitting around a fire, (etc., see p. 205.) He asked the duck that
was unable to make her escape, "Where is Tlai^'s house? 1
want to marry his daughter." The duck replied : " Follow this
road; then you will find a lake in which the girls use to swim.
Tlai^ has four daughters. Mind that you do not marry any of
the elder ones, * * * Marry the youngest one."
The youth was glad when he heard this news and strolled on.
After awhile he met the woodpecker, who gave him the same

Finally he reached a lake. Here he put on the blanket of the
squid and thus assumed the shape of that animal. Soon he
heard the girls coming and singing: " Oh, I wish the sun's son
might come and take me for his wife." They arrived at the
pond where the youth lay waiting in the shape of a squid. The
first to see him was the eldest of the sisters, Yinisasj (derived
irom yinisy tooth). She became frightened and cried: "Ha!
who is this here ? The other sisters, on seeing him, spoke to
one another : "Let us take him home. He shall be our slave.
When father goes deer-hunting, he shall assist him." Yinisak

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tried to lift him, but the squid held firm to the ground by means
of his suckers, so that she was unable to move him. The sec-
ond sister and the third also tried to lift him, but they could not
move him. At last the youngest made an attempt and the squid
let go nis hold. So she carried him to the house and deposited
him in in iront of the door.

The girls entered the house and said to their father : " We
have found a slave for you in the woods." Tlai^ asked : " Where
is he?" " We left him in front of the house," replied the daugh-
ters. Then Tlai^ asked them to bring the slave in Yinisa^
was the first to go, but she was unable to lift him. He also re-
sisted the second and the third, but he followed the youngest.
She placed him near the fire. When Tlai^ and his daughters
were eating salmon the girls threw the bones at him, but he
accepted only those which the youngest oflered him. At night
time he stealthily slipped into the youngest girrs room; he
threw off the souid's blanket, and now she saw that he was the
shining sun. He said: **I am Aielen's son. I know you are
better than your sisters, therefore I want to have you tor my
wife. But you shall not throw food at me as at a dog; give it to
me in a dish." When daylight came on, he again put on the
blanket of the squid and lay down near the fire. Again Yinisa^
and her sisters flung fish-bones at him. He, however, did not
mind them, but turned to the youngest among the sisters, who
offered him food in a dish, as he had asked her. At night time
he went again into her room, where he took off his blanket.

The next morning the men were going deer-hunting, and said
to one another: "We will place the squid in the stern of the
boat. He shall be our steersman." They asked Yinisa^ to
carry him into the boat, but she and the two other sisters were
unable to lift him, while the youngest carried him readily into
the boat. When they had arrived at the place where they in-
tended to start hunting, Tlai^ ordered the squid to watch the
boat and particularly the rope by which it was tied to the shore.
Then they went hunting, and the squid remained alone in the
boat. He had the woodpecker hidden in his blanket, and whis-
pered to him: **Fly to the tops of the trees and give the deer a
warninfiT that they may run away." The woodpecker obeyed,
the deer escaped and the hunters returned empty-handed. They
went home. When the girls tried to carry the sauid back to
the house, only the youngest was able to lifl him. He spent the
night with her.

The next day the men went deer-hunting and took the squid
along as steersman. They left him in charge of the boat, and
again he sent out the wood-pecker to warn the deer. Then he
threw off the blanket and sat upright in the stern of the boat.
He shone bright as the sun. Tlaiij and the other hunters re-
turned empty-handed. When Tlaii{ saw the sun in his boat he
became frightened. He cried: "I will give you my eldest

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daughter for wife." The young man shook his shoulders and the
boat moved far off from the shore. Tlai^ cried: *'I will give
you my second daughter." Again the youth shook his shoulders
and the boat moved still farther off from the shore. He also de-
clined the third daughter, but when Tlairsj offered his youngest
daughter he shook his shoulders and the boat returned to the
shore. The next time when they went deer-hunting he whis-
pered to the woodpecker: "Call all deer hither to the sea." The
woodpecker obeyed ; the deer came and tumbled down the steep
rocks and lay dead on the beach. While all the other hunters
had not got a single deer, the young man had a full boat-load,
and when the others returned he had finished dissecting his

When Yinisa:si saw him she wanted to have him for her hus-
band. She said: "Oh, look, mother, doesn't he look just like
the sun ?" and she carefully arranged her bed in order to attract
him. The second and the third sister did the same thing. The
youngest, however, did not mind him at all. Then Yinisaif and
.her two sisters invited him to come into the house. He, how-
ever, remained in the boat imtil the youngest called him. Then
he took her publicly for his wife.

Tlai^i, however, intended to kill his son-in-law. He went into
the woods to split a tree. (See p. 207. A woodpecker flies out
of the crack and passes dose by Tlai^*s eyes. He was the
young man.) The youth resolved to take revenge upon Tlaiij,
and asked his wife: "Do you know what Tlai^ is afraid of?"
She replied: "He is afraid of whales and other large sea ani-
mals." On the next day, Tlaiif and his son-in-law went red
cod fishing. The young man chewed the gum that the squid
had given to him and put it into the sea. It was at once trans-
formed into whales and sea-lions. (See p. 207.)

Dr. Franz Boas.
New York, March, 1888.

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I have already remarked that the public interest in prehistoric
anthropology was greater in Europe than in the United States.
I have mentioned the number of societies organized, the govern-
mental and municipal, as well as private museums, are greater
three than here. I also remark the greater number (apparently)
of individuals paying attention to the science. Judges and law-
yers are more ready to spend their vacations in this pursuit
The medical fraternity are more interested in this science in
Europe than in the United States. The priesthood number
some of the most ardent anthropologists, while tradesmen, and
even the peasant tiller of soil, have a knowledge of the imple-
ments of the prehistoric man which is gratify'ing to the foreigner.
This public interest manifests itself first in the attention to,
search for, and recognition of the implements, and evidences of
the existence of the prehistoric man ; and, second, that these evi-
dences are not so much for curiosity as for use in the scientific
study of the man himself. A marked difference in the two coun-
tries in regard to this science, is that in Europe the public inter-
est is attracted towards the existence of the man of much greater
antiquity than seems to be the fashion in the United States. The
man of the paleolithic age attracts most attention and gives most
interest in Europe, while in the United States he seems to have
been neglected by the scientific world, except by a party almost
insignificant in number. Even more: the question of man in an
earlier epoch, called the Eoltt/Uque, during the tertiary period
has occupied much time and been a serious topic in the discus-
sions of the International Anthropological Congresses from 1867
to 1880, and of the last three meetings of the French association
for the advancement of science. The European governments also
take more — I will not say greater — interest in the science. The
United States government maintains the scientific institutions at
Washington in an entirely worthy and not a belittling manner,
ut the European governmental interest is manifested in their
ttention to details. Thus in their laws for the purchase and pro-
ection of monuments; in their establishment and purchases for

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museums ; in their aid to private societies; in their sending into
foreign countries commmissions intended to study their archae-
ology and anthropology.

Not as a list, but taken at hazard and as illustrations, I may
cite the following : Denmark sent Dr. Miiller to Greece and
Russia in i88i; Germany maintains her Archaeologic Institute
permanently at Rome, and principally the scientific school at
Naples ; England sends Mr. Theodore Bent to the islands of the
Grecian Archipelago.

France organized in 1876 a commission, under the minister of
public instruction and beaux art, on voyages and missions, scien-
tific and literary. This commission is composed of forty-six
members, renewable each year. Permit me to give a list of the
scientific missions sent out from France by this commission in
the year 1884-5, viz.: M. Doctor Poussie, to Australia and In-
dia, to make studies in ethnography and natural history; M.
Doctor Le Bon to India, to study the primitive architecture ; M.
Paul Roud, to Lake Copais to gather scientific collections des-
tined for the government; M. C. Robat, mission scientific in
Russia, Lapland and Spitzbergen ; M. Jules Monsier, archaeo-
logic researches in Caucasus; M. Brau de Saint-Pol-Lias to
Malacca and Sumatra, to study and make collections in ethnog-
raphy and natural history; M. E. Gauthier to Turkey in Asia
and to Persia, for researches in natural history and anthropology.

It will be inutile to continue this list through the subsequent
year — they would be much the same, and I only give such as I
have as illustrations of the interest taken by the governments in
these scientific matters.

Mr. E. Cartailhac has just published his report of his mission
to Spain and Portugal in 1880-81 to examine and study the
prehistoric ages of these countries and compare them with those
of France, It forms a beautiful volume of 348 pages, 400 en-
gravings and 4 full page planotypes. The result of Weier*s
mission to Peru has also just been published in an equally beau-
tiful and complete volume.

The United States maintains her geologic survey and bureau
of ethnology, and s^nds parties of scientific explorers each year
among the Indians to the far West, and possibly to Alaska. But
these are all within our own country, and the United States is
bound to do it, while the European governments send their ex-
ploring parties to foreign countries. I am informed that even in
our own country, especially Alaska, some European govern-
ments, notably Germany, are our most persistent and determined
competitors, and oftimes winners, in obtaining information and
in purchasing ethnographic material.

I do not say these things invidiously against my own country,
nor yet am I influenced by that most detestable fashion prevail-
ing in some quarters, of lauding everything foreign, because it

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is foreign. I would tell the plain truth, and while, I trust, not
puffed up with vain boasting of my own country, I hope I have
enough good sense to see that we are not possessed of all the
virtues, and so I think we should be willing to obtain whatever
of benefit we may from the examples of foreigners whenever we

Our country may be younger and not so well settled or
studied as the foreign countries, but I hope we are past pleading
our youth as an excuse for any shortcomings, real or imaginary.
We are old enough, mature enough, rich enough, and have
enough of talent, capacity, and good taste, that we may fairly
and without arrogance aspire to be the equal of any nation on
earth, whether in politics, law, literature, science, or even in art.
And to finish this idea, I wish to place on record my testimony
in favor of the good work done by the government institutions
at Washington, as well as the private organizations and museums
throughout the country. They have an opportunity to study
the archaeology of our prehistoric peoples, who with their tribes,
customs, languages, etc., are now fast passing away, and as this
opportunity exists it becomes a duty, and this duty performed
becomes a credit, an honor; unperformed, becomes a disgrace.
All honor to those persons, societies and institutions which are
engaged in the performance of this duty.

France has had for many years a commission of thirty or more
members for the care and preservation of historic monuments
and the purchase, if need be. The Society of Anthropology at
Paris, in 1878, took the initiative to procure a like commission
for like purposes with respect of prehistoric monuments. M.
Henri Martin, senateur, was then president of the society, and
to him was confided the care of the project. He was successful,
and a commission of members was appointed, some of whom

Online LibraryStephen D. (Stephen Denison) PeetThe American antiquarian and oriental journal [electronic serial] → online text (page 68 of 88)