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The Beautiful Blanket






Category: TSIMSHIAN TALES

Source: Indian Legends Retold

Not long after this, Raven grew tired of the jet-black robe that his
father had given him, and one day he exchanged it for a beautiful
blanket of many colors, such as is worn to dances. He had not gone
very far when the gay blanket fell to pieces, and he was cold and
sorrowful.

He did not know what else to do, so he went back to look for his
raven skin and found it lying by the roadside. He put it on again, but
soon came upon another dance blanket even handsomer than the first.
Forgetting the lesson he had just had, he tore his old robe in half
and threw it away with contempt, and dressed himself in the other.
Then he walked on, thinking how well he must look in the eyes of any
whom he might chance to meet.

This fine dandy was greatly pleased when he saw a strange village near
at hand, until, glancing downward, he found to his dismay that he was
covered with nothing but moss and lichens. Crying bitterly, he was
once more forced to go back in search of his raven skin; after hunting
a long time he found it, but it was torn in two. Sadly he pinned it
about his body as well as he could and again turned his steps toward
the village.

While he was still a little way off, Raven plucked up spirit and
gathered a piece of rotten spruce wood, which by his magic art he
turned into a slave. Lacking a fine blanket, he made for himself some
large ear ornaments out of common clam shells which he found on the
beach. Then he ordered his slave to walk before him, crying in a loud
voice:

"People of the village, here comes my master, who is a great chief!
You will know him by the costly ornaments of abalone shell in his
ears!"

It is said that the strangers were deceived by this fine talk and
invited the pretender to their chief's wigwam, where a feast was given
in his honor.





Next: Raven And The Hunters

Previous: Raven And The Crab



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