Grizzly Bear And The Four Chiefs
Category: TSIMSHIAN TALES
Source: Indian Legends Retold
There were once four chiefs who were brothers and lived in one
village. In the dead of winter, when food was scarce, a lean stranger
came among them and stopped at the hut of the eldest brother.
He was courteously received and seated by the fire, as is the custom,
and the chief asked him where he came from.
"I have come a long way," replied the stranger.
"And what have you eaten on the way?"
"I have eaten nothing but snow," he said.
Then the chief ordered a dish of snow and a spoon to be placed before
his guest, but he got up without touching it and went on to the house
of the second brother.
Here he was again asked where he came from and what he had eaten on
the road, and when he answered that he had eaten only snow, he was
given a large dish of it with a spoon. The same thing happened at the
When the traveler came to the dwelling of the youngest brother, and
the host heard that he had eaten nothing but snow and was starving, he
said to his wife, "Wife, see if there is still a dried salmon left."
She looked, and found a single one, half of which she broiled and gave
it on a dish to the stranger.
After he had eaten, he made ready to go on, but his host said, "Wife,
give our guest the other half of the salmon to eat on the journey,"
and she did so.
Then the stranger said to him, "All the others ridiculed a starving
man, but you were a true host. Your kindness shall be rewarded. Meet
me to-morrow at the mouth of the river."
The young chief did as he was told, and behold! a great grizzly Bear,
who presented him with leggings, a grizzly-bear headdress, and a
magic bow which killed all manner of game. From that day he never went
hungry, but became the envy of his elder brothers and the richest man
in the village.
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