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A man eats his sisters' berries

An American Indian Legend - Nation Unknown

Once there was a man who said to his three sisters, "I saw many ali'la-berries (Lower Thompson word) down the river. Let us go down there in a canoe and pick them."

They arrived at the place, and picked berries until they had filled one set of baskets. When they had placed them in the canoe, the brother said, "I hear enemies coming. They will kill us. All of you must hide."

The two eldest sisters ran off into the woods; while he hid the youngest one in a hole, and covered her with leaves. Then he went to the canoe and ate all the berries, threw the juice over himself, and lay down in the bottom of the canoe as though he were covered with blood.

The little girl peered through the leaves, and saw what he did. After a while the elder sisters returned, and, finding where she was hidden, asked her where their brother was. She told them what she had seen, but they would not believe her.

When they went to the canoe and saw him, they thought he was dead. They said, "The enemies must have killed him. See! He is covered with blood."

The little girl answered, "That is not blood, it is berry-juice." They tickled his soles until he moved and began to laugh. They asked him why he had acted thus.

He answered, "I longed for a good feed of berries." Then they filled the other set of baskets with berries and returned home.

NOTE: A version of this story is current among the Uta'mqt.

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