The Feast Of The Mountain Goats
Category: TSIMSHIAN TALES
Source: Indian Legends Retold
In the old days the hunters were many and skillful. They killed
hundreds of mountain goats for their flesh and skins and left their
bones lying unburned on the rocks, which was a great dishonor.
Moreover, their children were thoughtless.
One day, a young man whose name was Really Black Raven Feather was
walking along the beach, and he saw a group of boys making merry with
a kid. They would seize it and throw it into the water, watch its
struggles for a time, then drag it ashore half drowned, and as soon
as the poor creature was able to walk, they would throw it in again.
When they tired of this sport, they built a fire and put the kid in
the fire, to dry, as they said; but before it was more than scorched
this young man pulled it out and scolded the boys severely for their
cruelty, so that they all ran away.
Not long after this, a messenger came down from the hills inviting all
the villagers to a feast, and as was the custom they followed the
messenger. They came to a large wigwam on the mountain side which they
had never seen before, and all were seated within this immense tent.
Really Black was given a seat immediately behind the tent pole, which
was unusually heavy.
Soon a crowd of people wearing goats' headdresses came dancing and
singing over the rocks. They danced around and in front of the wigwam,
and presently the chief dancer kicked so high that he touched the
tent covering with his goat's hoof. Instantly it fell down on the
heads of the guests and became a mountain which crushed them to death.
Only Really Black was saved. He clung to the tent pole, which became a
giant spruce growing out of the side of the mountain. Therefore he and
his descendants have always respected the goats, and taken care to
burn their bones when it was necessary to hunt them for food or
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