The Long Winter
: ALASKAN STORIES
: Indian Legends Retold
It was almost summer time when some boys who were playing in a boat
pulled out of the water a long piece of drifting seaweed and put it in
again on the other side of the canoe. For this trifling, not only the
mischievous boys were punished, but all the people in their village.
For winter at once came on again with fresh fury, and snow was piled
so high in front of the houses that the people were soon in want of
food. Their winter stores were exhausted, and they would have starved
to death, had it not been for a bluejay which one day perched on the
edge of a smoke hole with a spray of fresh elderberries in its beak.
"Kilnaxe! Kilnaxe!" screamed the jay. Now this was the name of a
neighboring town. So all the people took the cedar bark they had
prepared to make their summer houses of and went to Kilnaxe, where
they found it was full summer and the berries already ripe. Winter
lingered only about their own village.
From this story we learn that one must not insult anything--not even a
piece of seaweed.