were no schools in the days of which I speak, but there was a spot near
the forest, a playground, where children used to play. One little boy
that played there had a knife -- what kind I don't know; it happened a long,
long time ago.
The other children
wanted to borrow that knife but the boy told them, "My mother and
father won't allow me to lend it. My mother said you might cut yourself
with it, then blame me. My father said you might lose it and never return
it. That is what my parents told me."
Well, you know what
kids are like. The children decided they would not play with the little
boy with the knife. "Let him go by himself," they said to one
another. They taunted the boy and teased him. Their backs were to the
forest. Suddenly the boy with
the knife cried, "Hey! I see a big figure in
the trees!" The children did not
turn around and look but kept their backs to the forest. "You're
just saying that because we won't play with you," they shouted."
No, I'm not,"
argued the boy. "There it is again! A big figure. It's watching us." But the children would
not listen. "You're just trying to fool us but it won't work,"
they chided. "We're not going to have anything to do with you."
screamed the boy. "It's coming!" The children saw it
then. It was a big, big man, bigger than any other. He had hair all over
his body and his eyes were set deep in his face. He carried a large basket
on his back. The children's strength drained out of them in fear. They
were helpless. The wood giant grabbed
the boy that had the knife first and threw him in his basket. Then he
threw all the rest of the children on top of him. He set off through the
forest while the children peeked through the cracks of the basket, trying
to see where he was taking them. The boy with the knife
was right at the bottom of the basket and could hardly move with all the
children on top of him.
Finally he was able to cut a slit in the basket
big enough to squeeze through and he dropped to the ground. The big man did
not notice and the boy ran back to his village crying, "Big Figure
has taken all the children!"
The men of the village
gathered together. They asked the boy to lead the way that Big Figure
had gone. They traveled over roots and under logs. At the place the boy
had fallen through the basket the trail became harder to follow. They
could see where something big had gone through the bush and followed that
till eventually the trail ended at a large cave.
The men of the village
could dimly see some of their children hanging by the feet in the dark
cave. A huge figure of a man was tying up the other children's feet and
putting pitch in their eyes. The figure's wife and children were helping him."What are you
doing with our children?" the villagers cried."We're going
to smoke them," answered the giant.
"Those are our children! We want to take them home with us, said
the villagers. "We're going
to smoke them and eat them," replied the big man. He and his wife
finished tying the children's feet and started hanging them up, one by
one, with the other children.
"Don't do that,
the fathers of the children pleaded. "Let us take them home with
us."The big man started
building a fire under the children. Then he said to the men, "Why
are your faces so nice and smooth and not rough like mine? You have nice
eyes. They don't sink way in your head like mine do."The villagers thought
fast. One of them said, "You can have a face just like ours. We can
fix you up. Go outside and get a big flat rock and another smaller rock
with a sharp end."
So the big man did what they asked. It was easy for him to carry the big
flat rock because he was so strong. Then the men of the village said to
the giant, "Lie down and use this flat rock for a pillow. We're going
to fix you up just like us.""How long will
it take?" he asked as he lay down and put his head on the flat stone." Just four days,"
they answered. "Close your eyes. Close your eyes tight." Then
they took the rock with the sharp end and sunk it between the big man's
eyes. Then the big fiture was dead."How long is
he going to lie there?" asked the giant's wife.
"Oh, about four
days," answered the men. They took their children, untied their legs
and removed the pitch from their eyes. Then they went home to their village
where the people were very happy.
Wallas, "Big figure," Kwakiutl Legends. Blaine: Hancock, 1981,
Tacoma Public Library Online
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