The Old Woman And The Tides
Category: TSIMSHIAN TALES
Source: Indian Legends Retold
Again Raven flew over the waters till he reached the mainland and the
wigwam of the old, old woman who holds the tide lines in her hand. At
that time the tide would remain high for many days at a time, so that
the people could get no clams or other sea food. It happened that
Raven was very hungry for clams, but he entered the hut and sat down,
"Good day, grandmother: there is fine digging to-day. I have just had
all the clams I could eat."
"Nonsense!" exclaimed the old woman. "What are you talking about,
Raven? You know very well that the clams are all covered."
"Yes, but I've had all the clams I want," he insisted.
"That isn't so," she declared.
Upon this he rudely pushed her backward until she fell down, and her
mouth and eyes were filled with dust. Of course she was forced to let
go the tide lines, so that the tide ran quickly out, and the beach was
covered with fine fat clams and other shellfish. Raven did not come
back to the hut until he had eaten as many as he possibly could.
"My eyes are blinded with dust," mourned the old woman. "Will you not
give me back my sight?"
"I will, if you will promise to slacken the tide lines twice a day,"
So she said that she would, and from that time to this the tides have
run in and out twice each day.
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