Big Figure's Wife
One day, Hunter was deep in the wilderness hunting for deer, elk or young he heard a noise that sounded like someone working with an axe.
"That sounds like a canoe maker," he thought, "But who would be working this far back in the woods?" He knew that it was no one from his village.
Hunter moved noiselessly toward the sound of the worker, and it led him to a clearing where a big figure was hollowing out a large cedar tree with an axe. Her back was to him, but he could see that it was a huge figure of a woman. Her baby was seated behind her in the hollowed-out tree.
Hunter did not wish to startle the giantess, so he crept up to the back of the canoe and pinched the baby's little toe. The infant cried out. Without turning around the mother said, "That could be Hunter, who pinches you-the one who hunts on water and on land."
The hunter pinched the baby's toe again and it started to cry. "It's just that hunter teasing you, don't cry," said the giantess again without turning.
Finally the hunter came around to the front of the woods giant's woman. "'Yes, it is I," he said. "'What are you making that canoe for?"
"We live beside a long lake," said the giantess. "'We will use it there. Why have you come to me?" she asked him. "I followed the sound of your axe," he replied, "and now I have found you I want something from you." "What is it that you want?"
"I am a provider of food for my people and I have not had much luck lately in hunting. Can you help me?" "I will help you," responded the lady. "I will use my power to bring elk, deer and bear to you. When you are hunting in the water, seal will come to you."
The hunter was pleased at the big woman's generosity, yet he asked her for one more favor. "I want to use your features in a dance mask," he said.
"If you use me, you must use all of me and my four children too," she replied. "This baby is the youngest of the four. You may use us all in a dance."
After that the hunter became a very successful provider of food, and a dance was created showing the huge woman with her four babies being born one by one.
Copyright: James Wallas, "Big figure's wife," Kwakiutl Legends. Blaine, Washington: Hancock
House, 1981, p. 162-164. Source: Tacoma Public Library Online
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