04.28.08–DISTANT TIME STORIES AS TOLD BY MY GRANDFATHER–CH`ITITAZKANE–THE WORLD TRAVELLER

world_traveller_trail_b&w

Here is a story about a man that traveled around the world. He had a brother that had two boys. So he was their uncle. Every time the boys came around to the uncle’s place he told them, “Get me melted snow for drinking.” The boys were really getting tired of this because their uncle was not doing anything and he was always staying at home.

The boys comes home and told his father, “Why is my uncle always telling me to get him water?”

“Well,” his father said to him, “Next time he asks you to get him water, put dog manure in the bottom of the bucket, and then put snow on top of it. Maybe if you do that, he will go hunting.” So on the next day, the boy went into his house again, and he asked him to pack snow for water. He said, “Yes,” and he took the birch bark basket and went out again. He put dog manure in it and covered it with snow. Then he took it back in to his uncle and went out again.

When the snow melted, the uncle found the dog manure floating in the water. He grabbed a stick, and with it, stirred up the water and manure becoming very angry at the same time.

Afterwards he got ready to travel. He got his sled ready and loaded it. Then he started to pull the sled down the trail.

‘I will never come back,’ he thought to himself as he pulled his sled on and on. Finally, he came to a creek that had a glacier on it, and he found wolverine tracks there. The tracks went up the creek. “I wonder where that one is going,” he thought to himself as he followed the tracks.

As it began to get dark, he saw a fire. There was someone camping behind a beaver house. He had chopped the beaver house open and got all the beavers out. He was roasting a small beaver by the fire.

He told him, “You can make yourself a bed on the other side of the fire. When the beaver is roasted, you will eat.” By this time, the beaver was cooked. “You m ay eat half. I will have the other half only.”

Then he continued to tell him, “I came over the mountain, and there down in the small valley, I defecated. You should look for this place. And there was another mountain that I climbed over. There is a big valley. Down there in the bottom of the valley is a dry creek bed. I defecated there too. If you back track me, be sure to look at this place too.” Then Wolverine continued, “It is time for me to go to bed.”

“I’m going to bed also,” Ch`ititazkane woke up, the man was gone. He found out that he had eaten raw beaver the night before. Where he thought there was a fire, there was no fire. There wasn’t even a place where a fire could have been. So he looked around for the tracks and found where a wolverine had jumped in the snow. So he back tracked the wolverine like he was told. He went over a mountain and came to a valley where the wolverine had defecated. There he found a bear den. When he looked inside, there were a bear and cubs. He clubbed them and killed all of them. Then he left them there after he cut them up.

traveller_clubbing_bears

Again he pulled his sled where the wolverine came from. He came to a mountain and he pulled his sled over it. He came down the other side. He came to another valley with a dry creek bed. He was pulling his sled along the valley when he came to another valley with another bear den. This den was much larger than the last one. This one was a grizzly bear and cubs. He killed them, and kept on going. He came out in the plains away from the mountains.

As he traveled, many days passed. He kept traveling. Finally, spring time came and it started to get warm, but it froze at night. As he traveled, he came to a creek. The creek was open. So on the shore he made a home. He thought to himself, ‘Maybe I should make a boat, but I don’t know how to make it.’

At this camp, however, he found a good tree that could be split, and a good place to camp. So he made a home out of bark. Then he began to make a canoe. He got the tree and split it. Then he made a frame. He also got the birch bark to cover the canoe. As he was doing this, he thought to himself, ‘How am I going to sew this birch?’ Then he copied the breast bone of a spruce chicken. To make the gunwale, he covered the frame with the birch bark and it was ready to be sewed.

Then he went to bed and began to wonder, ‘How am I going to sew this the canoe.’ Then he thought, ‘Maybe I should go outside and call out for someone to come and sew my canoe.’ He did this, and an answer came from far back in there in the big trees, and another one came from the willows across the river. Then he went back to bed. After a while, there was a sound like someone landed out there. A second one landed by his canoe and they began to sew on it. They began sewing with awls.

women_sewing_birchbark_canoe

“Maybe I should take a peek from the hole in the wall.” When he looked out, he saw there were two young girls sewing his canoe. In the morning when he woke up, he saw that his canoe was fixed. When he looked out the night before, he noticed the girls were pretty. The other girl was pretty too but her hair was messed up. So after coming out when morning came to inspect the canoe, he found that the girl who had her hair fixed nicely did a good job. He had to cut the thread on the side where the sewing was bad. He thought to himself, ‘Maybe if I call out again tonight, the girl that sewed the best will come back.’

When night came, he called again. The girl that did the good sewing came back. He wanted to marry this girl, but when he ran out to grab her, she flew off.

He looked at his canoe. It was done but nothing was done about the thread holes. Therefore, he began to wonder. He began to wonder how to fix that. Finally, he thought of spruce pitch.

He melted the pitch with coal on the end of a stick. Now the canoe was done. He put it in the water. There were no leaks at all in it. He also made a paddle. Then he loaded the canoe and headed down river, leaving his sled.

As he traveled down river, he came to someone tanning a hide. The hide looked like a man’s skin. He stopped to take a closer look and he asked her, “Is there anyone on this river?” “Oh!” she exclaimed and then she jumped down the bank to grab him, but she missed, and grabbed only the end of the canoe. She really got angry with herself. She was angry because she did not see him before he came close to her. So she poked an awl in her eyes. Then man stopped and looked at the hide closely. It was a man’s hide. The woman was a mouse. The reason why the mouse’s eyes are small is because it poked its eyes out with the awl.

awl_mouse

The man traveled and he saw what looked like a fence, but it was a trap. The log trap came together in the middle. He thought to himself, ‘I must find out who set a thing like this.’ But then he also thought that this trap should only get the back of his shirt. So he paddled fast at it and went through it, but the trap got the back of his shirt.

The guy that set the trap came back and saw that he got a man in his trap. The trapper said to himself, “Maybe I got it long ago since its stiff.” So he examined it closely, and the one that was trapped also watched him at whatever he was doing. The trapped one made himself like a dead person. So the trapper packed him back to where he came from. He also said to himself, ‘I will rest along the way since it is a long portage.’ So he packed him for a while. He got to a ditch and then to the river. He propped him but Ch`ititazkane passed air. “Why are you passing air when you are dead?” he, the trapper, said to him. Then he rolled him over. He began to carry him and soon got to a ditch again where he descended and jumped on to the other side. He dropped him for a rest, and again, Ch`ititazkane passed air. He, the trapper, said, “Why is he passing air when he had died a long time ago?” So he carried him again for a while. Soon he got to his home, and he took him inside.

There Ch`ititazkane looked around and saw two old women sitting in one corner. There was a curtain there, but he did not know what this was for. Then he wished the trapper would put a club under his head. This the trapper did, and he told the women to look for knives to cut him up, but the women did not find any knives. The trapper got angry and fought with the women. The women began to cry and he turned around by the fire to warm up his aching back. While he turned his back away, Ch`ititazkane got his club and hit him over the head killing him.

There was an older woman there was in the corner who ran out the door. He started to hit her but missed. He hit her only on the tail. That is why now the wolverine has a flat tail. The woman was the wife of the one he already killed. He did not know this, however. The woman ran up a nearby tree. The man got his bow and arrow, and started to shoot her, but the wolverine woman talked to the arrow telling it not to hit her. Then he began to chop the tree, but Wolverine Woman urinated on him. So he gave up and left from where the wolverine had carried him.

wolverine_people_fighting

From the place where the wolverine took him, Ch`ititazkane turned back and traveled on by canoe. He came to a fence. He saw a man standing there. He stopped and pulled his canoe up and walked over portage behind the man. The man that was standing there did not see him. So he went in the water below him and started to swim. He became a king salmon. As he was swimming along, he saw the man was ready to spear a fish. He thought to himself, ‘I wish he would pick me out from among the other fish.’

The man picked him, and he tried to spear him, he grabbed the tip off the spear. He swam back downriver with it. He came back out of the river and checked the spear tip. It turned out that the tip was a big bill of a seagull. Then he went back the way he had come to his canoe. He put the seagull bill under the deck of his canoe because he thought, ‘He will search me if I come to him in a canoe.’

He came round the bend and saw the fisherman. He asked the man, “How are you?” The man told him how the salmon got away with his spear tip and asked him if he was responsible for it.

Ch`ititazkane left again. He was paddling downriver when he came upon a woman who was working on a skin. When he came up, it looked like a human’s skin. He started watching really close. The woman said, “I am glad you came. No one ever comes. I will stay with you and live here.” Ch`ititazkane did not want to. He told her, “I am not raveling around looking for girls. I like being alone.” While he watched her, he went back into his canoe, then she said, “Wherever you stay over night, I will be there too. Even if you don’t want me, I will always be there.”

He left her there and continued downriver. He stopped when the sun was going down. He fixed his bedding and went to bed. He wondered if the girl would come. He was watchful but then he fell asleep. When he woke up, the girl was sleeping next to him. He didn’t touch her. ‘I wonder how she’ll kill me,’ he thought. He sneaked away. Again the sun was going down when he stopped. It was early when he awoke. The girl was there again. He didn’t like that very much but he couldn’t do anything.

He left again. He reached a creek and went paddling up the creek for a long ways. Next morning again the girl was there sleeping next to him. He got restless. He started to think of clubbing her. He was still wondering how she killed the people.

She got a small stick and spread his legs with it and poked the stick into him. When it sounded like it had crunched into him, she pulled it out. Only half the stick came out. “I think I finally killed the one I am following around,” she said. Ch`ititazkane lay still. The girl got up suddenly. Ch`ititazkane sprang up and clubbed her. He finally found out how she killed the men that slept with her. He left her lying there. He kept going and spent the night but she never came. ‘I killed her,’ he thought to himself.

It was early morning when he came around a bend and there was a house. There were many people there. They were glad to have some company. “We never see anyone. Where are you from?” they said. “You will stay with us inside.”

Ch`ititazkane did not want to. He was suspicious. He always had his club tied to him just in case something happened. They brought him in and made him comfortable. There were people all over. He got really drowsy and went to sleep. Then he heard them singing. All the people were singing and dancing. They were singing, “The person that came to us has died.” He opened his eyes slowly wondering what was going on. He moved a little. When he did, everyone looked surprised and stopped. He got up and said, “What’s all this noise while I’m sleeping?” They told him that they thought he died. “We always dance when one of us dies. We don’t know about sleeping,” they said. Ch`ititazkane said, “Where I come from the people go to sleep at night.” From that, they found out that people sleep.

natives_dancing

When he left there, he saw something black on top of the river bank. He paddled across towards it. He floated down near it when he saw that it was a black bear. It was sleeping. It had blueberries smeared on its rear end. Ch`ititazkane smiled and said, “If someone comes paddling, he will laugh at you. You shouldn’t sleep like that with your rear end showing.”

bear_man_b&w

The bear ran off into the woods when he heard it. It would have been like that to this day, the bear eating berries and sleeping along the banks of the river, but because Ch`ititazkane told him, that the bear is now in the woods somewhere when he is eating berries. You never see him along the river banks.

(c)1978–Personal Communication.

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