Distant Time Stories As Told By My Grandfather–Raven and Mink

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Raven and Mink

Raven and Mink decided they would go where the fish spawn. They wanted to kill a grizzly bear. So they went. They each had a canoe. They finally reached there when they saw a bear walking in a trail. But they did not do anything to it. There were too scared to spear it.

Then Raven told Mink to make a hole inside a fish tail. “I will go inside it. Maybe the one that is walking on its trail will swallow me. When it swallows me, I will cut through its chest and jump out. When it comes towards me, watch closely. When I jump out, you should spear it too. Maybe it will die then,” he said. Mink agreed and he put the fish tail on the trail with Raven inside. After a while, something came. But when the grizzly opened its mouth to eat the fish tail, Raven cawed and flew up. He became scared and did not stay inside the fish tail. The grizzly ran into the brush, too.

Mink came to Raven and said, “What did you do? How come you let it go when it finally came? When the sun goes down, I will do it instead.” So Mink went inside the fish tail. Raven told him he would spear the grizzly when Mink jumps out. A grizzly finally came along and swallowed the fish tail. When he swallowed it, he started thrashing around. Mink cut through its chest and jumped out. While this was going on, Raven had his spear stuck between two trees.He tried to get it unstuck. Soon the grizzly fell dead from the wound that Mink had made. Mink said to Raven, “What happened? You were supposed to spear it when I came out. Why did you have the spear across your stomach so you had to lunge against it?” Raven said, “The spear got struck between the trees with me. That is why I didn’t help.”

They skinned and cut it up. They got the fat too. Raven said that they will cook the fat to get grease out of it. “Like our forefathers used to do it. They would take the intestine and string it through a portage. Then they would pour the grease into it. I will show you how it is done,” he told Mink.

Mink went to work cooking the fat while Raven strung the intestine through the portage. The intestine must have been really long. There was a knot tied at the end so that the grease would not run out on the ground. Then Raven said, “I will go walking in the woods while you are cooking the fat and filling the intestine. It will get full soon. That is the way our forefathers used to do it.”

Mink, therefore, kept working. He kept filling the grease into the intestine. Raven went into the woods. He circled and returned to the portage where the intestine ended. Mink kept on working but the intestine never filled up. The grease kept flowing on down into the intestine. Then he started to wonder if Raven was at the end of it. He stopped and stole away down there to the end of the intestine. When he got there, Raven was there drinking the grease.

Mink got really mad and he picked up a burned stick that was there. He ran to Raven and hit him on the forehead. Raven fell backwards and was knocked unconscious. Mink tied up the intestine again and went back through the portage. Finally, Raven got up and went into the brush. Mink was working again. This time the intestine filled up. Raven returned when the sun went down. He had soot on his forehead. Mink asked him, “What happened to you that caused you to have soot on your face?” Raven told him, “I was pushing a burned tree which my forefathers had left when one fell on me. That is why I have soot on my face.”

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